Saturday, August 18, 2012

Overreaction Saturday

It's been a while since I spent some time on D&D - it's time to rectify that, and there's plenty of material to work with!

  • Future of D&D video from Gen Con is here. I like a lot of what I hear - see below.
  • Every product for every edition and every setting is going to be available electronically. No timetable yet,  but this is exactly what they should be doing both from a financial sense - you have something people will pay for and can make it available at a low cost to the business - and from a customer satisfaction sense -different people like different parts of D&D - give it to them!
  •  I was a little disappointed that so much time was spent on "The Sundering" which is a) not a game product and b) not ready to be discussed in any detail at all.
  • They also mention that they expect the playtest process to take two years total, so we're looking at 2014 for an official new edition. 
  • New playtest packet is here if you haven't already downloaded it. Yes I have it. No I have not yet finished reading it or trying it out.

Things I wonder about: 
  • Reprints of core rulebooks for older editions combined with PDF's of supporting material for those editions mean I could flip through my DMG at the table while reading the adventure off of an iPad. This could lead to a resurgence like we have not seen before - but will the easy availability of OSR material like Labyrinth Lord lessen the impact? Do the people who really care about playing older versions of D&D already have the material they want? Does the "D&D Brand" really carry that much weight? The convergence here of hobby, technology, and business really interests me and I do not have a good feeling for how this might go.
  • The 2-year gap before Next  left me wondering what the heck they intent to sell during that time to stay in business - obviously the PDF's will be a big part of bridging that gap, and possibly the reprints - is that all? Can WOTC flourish through 6-8 quarters of not selling new rulebooks every month? That has to cause chaos in the cash flow and I wonder how they intend to manage it.
  • Pathfinder: How does this impact players and Paizo? It does give them a nice window of being the closest thing to D&D in print, but it could disrupt even that if 3E PDF's go live soon. Do Pathfinder players still care whether it's "D&D" branded or not? Time for Pathfinder 2E in 2015? 
  • Finally, 4th Edition - will people still be playing it a year from now as the bustle of Next grows? Is it considered "done" and the player base will drift off to Pathfinder or something else? So much of it was tied to D&D Insider, will those subs lapse as people decide to stop paying for support for a "dead" game? Conversely will they stop playing if they don't want to pay for DDI anymore? I might be ringing the bell early but it is Gen Con 2012 this weekend and WOTC has nothing to say about 4E as far as I can tell. Outside of the RPGA events there's nothing about it  coming from WOTC - lots of stuff about Next though. Ah well, I suppose it had to be this way once they made the announcement but it's still disappointing.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lack of Focus seems to be the Theme for 2012

So far in 2012 we've played Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Mutants and Masterminds 3E, ICONS, Savage Worlds, D&D 4E, and Pathfinder. That's about a game a month, which is a nice survey of options but it's not allowing for any kind of sustained campaign.

(This is all with the Apprentices - the main 4E campaign has been steadily moving along and will continue to do so, resuming shortly after a brief interruption for the move)

As much as I would like to run a longer format campaign with them I also really like introducing them to different games and seeing how they approach them. I've been trying to reconcile these two interests during our move time and I think the answer is to run some mini-campaigns of 1-3 adventures in several different systems and see how they go.

 Right before the move I started them off in a modern ICONS adventure and I have planned out an arc of 3 adventures that will see them go from nobodies to some-bodies in Atomic City.

After that I may do something with Savage Worlds because as much as I like that system I have done almost nothing with it in the past year and that's really a shame. Between D&D and Superheroes there is a lot of room and Savage Worlds handles most of it in a way I like.

I also have organized those Vigilance Press WW2 adventures I picked up into something like coherent arcs and will probably run those too.

There is also the Emerald City Knights arc for M&M.

I've also been working on a mini-campaign for MSH that sprung from what I think is a good idea.

I also rediscovered V&V and DC Heroes during the move and have been contemplating some short arcs for them.

Uh-Oh I'm doing it again. Packing and unpacking The Library has seriously ignited the Gamer ADD in me. Having it all out in the open on the shelves again is not helping either.

Maybe what I need is "D&D Night" and "Supers Night" and then "Boardgame/Miniatures Night". It's not like I lack material for these things. Maybe I have too much of a good thing?


The start of school in a few weeks is going to seriously disrupt our schedule anyway, not to mention we're not finished unpacking yet - it would be nice to be able to put at least one car in the garage.

I think for now we will finish out the ICONS stuff and then see where we go from there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to Action!

Well the move is complete - we're still pulling things out of boxes but not things we need every day. My off-time is over so we're getting into a routine with new routes to work and a new location for the kids. One of the cooler things is that in the new place I actually have room to keep pretty much all of the RPG's/Boardgames/Wargames on shelves ready to go at will, instead of half of it being shelved or boxed in the garage. I also have the table and the space to leave games out for a few days while we finish them, which is a long time goal of mine and the current re-introductory game of old school Battletech is serving as a fine test run for this concept. It's a very cool thing to have the library all right there out in the open in its own (air-conditioned) space and I'm very happy about it.

At one point I thought about making August a themed month for posts (kind of like Barking Alien is doing - check it out, it's good stuff) and I was thinking that the theme would be session reports. The problem there is that I am tired by the end of the day, with all of the normal work stuff topped off with all the physical action of moving, unpacking, and rearranging, especially with furniture, boxes of books, and stairs involved. Writing those reports can turn into work - I like to get them right - and I'm just not going to commit to that now. So no "Session Report Month" this month. Other than that stuff I posted over the last two weeks.

So I have no grand plan for the rest of the month. I did rediscover quite a few things in this process so those things might show up in some posts. The ICONS game continues and that might show up. As I mentioned above we're giving Battletech some time so that might show up. Being offline for the most part for a week reminded me that while there are some things I care enough to post about, paradoxically there are some that I do not, yet I may post about that too. I'm feeling a lot of "fresh start-itis" these days and with my 3rd anniversary of starting the blog coming up it may be a good time to set some new directions.

In the interests of providing some actual useful content in this post here's the Green Ronin schedule for the rest of the year. Some thoughts in no particular order:

  • Threat Report - I have it in PDF form so I'm not interested in the print copy but it's a good addition to the line. If any type of book lends itself to the printing of a page as-needed it's a "monster book" so that's on I am perfectly happy keeping in PDF.
  • DC Universe book in November - this could be pretty cool, but I don;t intend to run anything in the actual DC Universe. I'll keep an eye on it anyway
  • Emerald City in November? Awwww, I was hoping to see this sooner. I'm looking at running the adventure series for the Apprentices in the near future and it would have been nice to have the box for that. Ah well.
  • Supernatural Handbook in October? I just don't know about this one. Is there a popular subgenre of comics that combines supers and horror? There was a magic supplement for M&M 2E (which I own) but this sounds like Super Call of Cthulu in the description and I have to wonder how many people are waiting for that book - or more importantly how many people are willing to pay 20-30-40$ for that book?
Also, Monte Cook has a new RPG in the works. I'm not sure about this one. It's sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy but it's so far in the future that you lose a lot of the tropes of the traditional post-apocalyptic genre as far as culture and artifacts and if the science then becomes interchangeable with magic then what's the point? Pretty much every D&D campaign is based on making your way amidst the ruins of a bunch of past civilizations with magic taking the place of technology. So I'll be watching it with some interest, though I'm not sure how interested I'm going to stay. Also, my Dragonport campaign uses some of the same concepts and it's really just a Basic D&D campaign, so I'm not sure the setting he's developing strikes me as all that special based on what we know now. Anyway, it's something to watch.

That's all for now - more to come.