Seminário de Dungeons & Dragons na Gen Con

Ontem rolou o seminário 4th Edition D&D Q&A/Making of D&D com a participação de Bill Slavicsek, James Wyatt, Stephen Schubert, Andy Collins , Chris Youngs e and Peter Lee, o cara das miniaturas de D&D. O ponto principal foi o anúncio/recapitulação dos lançamentos dos próximos 12 meses:

What’s coming next?

  • August: Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, a comprehensive look at the setting, advancing the storyline 100 years. Also includes a threat chapter that treats what in the past would have been NPCs as unique creatures (e.g., warlock knights).
  • August: H3 Pyramid of Shadows.
  • August: A Reader’s Guide to R.A. Salvatore’s The Legend of Drizzt.

Tudo isso já saiu, e a aventura parece ser divertida. Muita gente tem falado bem do Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, quero dar uma olhada mesmo sendo FR…

  • September: Adventurer’s Vault, full of magic items and equipment for characters, including alchemy, weapons, armor, tools, and plenty of useful tables listing them out.
  • September: Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, targeted at (naturally) players, with new races (the drow, updated from the version listed in the Monster Manual, and genasi), a new class (swordmage), a new warlock build (the dark pact), character backgrounds, feats, and rituals. All of it will be useful not just for players in the Realms but for players in any campaign.
  • September: The Scepter Tower of Spellguard.

Setembro vai ser interessante – o Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide vem cheio de regras e novas opções e o Adventurer’s Vault tem potencial.

  • October: Martial Power, with new powers and builds for the fighter, ranger, rogue, and warlord, plus new paragon paths, epic destinies, and feats.
  • October: P1 King of the Trollhaunt Warrens, for levels 11-13, and the first adventure (in print) to take players to a new realm of existence.
  • October: Dungeon Tiles: Streets of Shadow, with rooftop, street, and sewer tiles.
  • October: R.A. Salvatore’s The Pirate King, with — what else — pirates!/

O Martial Power definitivamente vai ser o destaque aqui, em um mês que ainda trás uma aventura da qual eu ainda não tinha ouvido falar, provavelmente a primeira de uma nova trilogia. Streets of Shadow me da um medo por ser jogador de minis, os últimos mapas com esgotos e telhados eram chatos demais, o último inclusive foi banido!

The Pirate King – Uhuuu piratas! Argh Salvatore!

  • November: Draconomicon, featuring chromatic dragons for all levels, new draconic monsters, ready-to-use lairs, hoards, rituals, magic items, and artifacts.
  • November: Roleplaying Game Starter Set, including everything new players need to start playing but also geared toward educating new Dungeon Masters.

Mais um Draconomicon, vamos ver se vive às expectativas do que veio antes. Roleplaying Game Starter Set é uma idéia excelente, se vier em uma caixinha preta ou vermelha então vai ser foda!

  • December: Manual of the Planes, exploring the planes of existence with details on the feywild, shadowfell, elemental chaos, and astral sea.
  • December: P2 Demon Queen’s Enclave with the drow as key players in the world.

Manual of the Planes, que sabe eles realmente façam os planos serem algo interessante como prometeram, por que até agora estão mais do mesmo. E acho que essa aventura é continuação da King of the Trollhaunt Warrens.

  • January: Open Grave, with undead creatures at all levels of play (Acererak!).

Mortos vivos! Será que é um mero livro de monstros, ou algo tipo o Necronomicon?

  • February: Dungeon Delve, based on the popular format used at Gen Con, with delves for all levels (30 sets of encounters, 1 per level, and using maps built with the recent Dungeon Tiles).
  • February: Dungeon Tiles: Caves of Carnage.

Dungeon Delve pode ser uma mão na roda para os mestres, mas os encontros da Wizards bem que poderiam ficar mais inspirados do que os que vimos até aqui na Keep on the Shadowfell e aventuras da Dragon.

  • March: Player’s Handbook II, with eight new classes, five new races, and the primal power source. September’s Dragon will preview a build from one of the new classes for folk to playtest.
  • March: P3 Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress.
  • March: Player’s Handbook and Martial Power Cards.
  • March: Feywild miniatures (with some old favorites, including the rust monster!)

Só o Player’s Handbook II com a volta de velhos conhecidos como bárbaros e druidas já segura Março de 2009 como o mês mais esperado desde Junho de 2008 para os fãs de D&D.

  • April: Arcane Power, with new powers, feats, and builds for arcane classes from the Player’s Handbook and Player’s Handbook II (such as the bard).
  • April: E1 Death’s Reach (just finished in design).

Arcane Power com bardo confirmado! Death’s Reach é a primeira de outra série de aventuras, a Wizards está apostando forte nelas nesses primeiros meses da nova edição, se não me engano são três séries de três aventuras até agora.

  • May: Monster Manual 2 (including the frost giant at last!).
  • May: Player’s Handbook II Power Cards.

Monster Manual 2 vai ser o destaque aqui, embora até lá eu acho que os livros de monstros de outras editoras vão se destacar e muito, adotando o modelo com mais descrições e informações sobre as criaturas.

  • June: Eberron Campaign Guide (from yesterday’s seminar).
  • June: Dungeon Tiles: Arcane Towers.
  • June: E2 Kingdom of the Ghouls.

O Mês mais esperado por este que vos fala. Ainda que eu não tenha gostado de algumas coisas anunciadas no seminário de Eberron, vou catar o Eberron Campaign Guide nem que seja para me felicitar de não ter passado minha campanha de Eberron para a 4ª edição.

  • July: Eberron Player’s Guide.
  • July: Divine Power.
  • July: Seekers of the Ashen Crown (adventure).
  • July: DDM miniatures (with Huge figures, such as the frost titan).

Wow, além do Eberron Player’s Guide ainda tem o Divine Power que se não me engano não tinha sido anunciado até então.

  • August: Adventurer’s Vault 2.
  • August: Revenge of the Giants super-adventure (boxed, including tokens for all monsters needed to play the adventure; an homage to Against the Giants).
  • August: Arcane Power Cards.

Putz já vai ter um Adventurer’s Vault 2? E uma super-aventura contra gigantes que vem em uma caixa não tem como não gostar!

Também rolou um resumo da parte sobre a criação da nova edição do D&D e sua arte:

The Making of 4th Edition

Looking back at the making (and re-making, and re-re-making) of 4th Edition, the panel remembered Bill’s initial instructions for the new edition:

  • Don’t screw it up. No, really.
  • Still cooperative storytelling.
  • High rolls are always good.
  • Still (and more) fantastic.
  • Quicker to play around the table.
  • Better resource management.

He also stressed that the designers’ role was not to play it safe. They were not making 3.75, but were to push the game into new territory.

Stacy Longstreet looked back at the development of 4th Edition art. The art transition from 3rd to 4th Edition served several goals. First was enhancing the world. Illustrations needed to convey exciting flavor and show off the vast array of environments and possibilities of D&D, yet they needed to be versatile so DMs and players looking at them could still imagine the specific games and settings they wanted. Artists had to create specific D&D runic alphabets (such as the elvish and dwarven languages in the PH, plus new ones: draconic, primordial, and supernal). New races were created, such as the dragonborn, with multiple iterations needed. To make them distinct, entire weapon and armor sets were designed for each race. The dwarves, for instance, were given a more visual culture in their stylized features (with greater focus on the females and on making them beautiful). The elves needed two looks to distinguish elves (rugged) from eladrin (refined) and emphasize their different histories and flavor. Half-elves were balanced between the look (especially in the eyes and ears) of humans and elves. Halflings were given a distinctive place in the world (aquatic) and were made taller (in previous editions, halflings were about the size of kindergartners). Humans (like tofu) take up the flavor of their surroundings; through several concepts, their ruggedness was always present. Tieflings, with their compelling backstory and horns that needed to be integrated into their design, underwent the most visual changes. When their final look was achieved, it actually helped determine the mix of classes (the coolness of tieflings supported putting warlocks in the PH).

Até doí ler isso, quanta bobeira. Essa ênfase nos alfabetos das raças podia ter sido voltada um pouco para a composição de cenas menos estáticas e bizarras (PH pg. 51), contratação de um arte finalista e coloristas melhorzinhos (PH pg.33) ou ainda em melhores estudos de personagem (PH pg.39). A nova edição tem ótimas ilustrações, mas tem umas bem ruins também, sem contar o monte de imagens reaproveitadas no Monster Manual. E quase tudo isso já tinha sido dito no Wizards Presents Races and Classes. Mas ok, humanos são como tofu, vai ver eu estou em um ambiente muito ácido!

E por último uma penca de perguntas!

Lively Questions

How far in advance will campaign settings be announced?
One year, most likely around Gen Con (this year, Eberron was announced for 2009).

Does the Martial Power sourcebook mean we’ve seen all the martial classes?
No. As new, compelling martial classes are created, they will continue to be published where appropriate.

Que pergunta é essa? Óbvio que não, se fosse assim, com o lançamento do Arcane Power e Divine Power (e futuramente um Primal Power da vida),  o que teriam para colocar nos Player’s Handbooks 3,4,5,6? Só raças?

Will Dragon ever appear physically in stores?
The periodicals industry (and for that matter, newspapers as well) is suffering as a whole, in many cases being replaced by online resources. Which means, it makes the most sense for Dragon and Dungeon to live online. That said, Dragon Annuals will be released as print products. Magazine articles are also in PDF format, and thus printable.

Psionics?
It’s coming, but it’s not yet on the schedule. Psionic characters were originally scheduled for the PH2 but were taken out for further development.

Se eles ainda não foram sequer anunciados devem aparecer só em 2010 em um Player’s Handbook, ou mais dificil, em um livro solo, tipo um Psionic Power.

Will there be a published “core” setting?
There’s concern that a core setting (any setting, really) will be used by only a minority of gamers, and thus any setting must be approached carefully. At this time, there are no plans for a published core setting (though online will likely see more core setting material, such as the return of Domains of Dread).

Will there be a two-weapon build for fighters?
Yes, in Martial Power, and it will be uniquely a fighter (that is, not like a two-weapon rogue or ranger).

Finalmente, ainda bem que isto será feito através de talentos e poderes ao invés de uma nova classe.

Are there concerns about eventual character class saturation?
There will be a steady but manageable rollout of classes. The Player’s Handbook will always be an easy place to start.

When will the online gaming table be available?
The quick answer is when it’s ready, and in a measurement of months.

Will we see a return of the polymorph school of magic?
Yes. Additional schools of magic will appear, such as illusion and summoning in Arcane Power. Polymorph is still in development. Some of it will appear in Player’s Handbook 2.

What was the thinking behind rituals?
Rituals were an interesting design space that provided another means for players to gain utility as well as a means of helping shape magic use in the world.

Final reveal: The panel also gave a first look at our next D&D cartoon, set to appear on the website next week and featuring the iconic red dragon.

E ainda algumas perguntas do seminário 4th Edition Adventure Design com Mike Mearls, Rich Baker, Bruce Cordell, James Wyatt e Chris Youngs:

What are the big changes in 4th Edition adventure design?
Rich: The skill challenge system allows encounters that aren’t all about beating the tar out of monsters.
Bruce: Ease of creating balanced encounters, because of 4E monster design.
Chris: Integrated encounters (monsters, traps, and terrain) are now the expectation, not the exception. Encounters also take place, generally, in much larger spaces. Look at the first encounter in H1 as a prototypical 4th Edition encounter.

What advice would you give 3.5 DMs for running encounters in 4th Edition?
Chris: Thinking cinematically helps. Think about where the fight’s taking place and how the PCs might make use of that terrain (if it’s a ballroom, what if the PCs or monsters are tipping over tables, jumping on them, etc.).
Mike: If the PCs don’t use the terrain, don’t be afraid to have the monsters use it instead. Then the PCs will learn … and will learn to check the room first!
Bruce: Start off with PCs vs. monsters, and then build in terrain, and traps, and so on.

Respostas meio genéricas, mas acho que pegam bem a lógica dos encontros da nova edição. Mais que nunca os encontros se baseiam em posicionamento, e o terreno se tornou decisivo nos combates.

How to best use minions?
James: I don’t release them all at once; release them in groups over time.
Rich: I see them being meta-gamed. If players see a large group of monsters, they assume they’re minions. It’s good to break up that player expectation.
Bruce: Not all minions will show themselves right away, or the boss can call further minions later in the fight.
Chris: I use them as if a single monster, running up and attacking as a group. Use them as combat advantage for the boss (to flank, aid others, etc.).

What rules would help ratchet back a monster (from, say, solo to minion, or a cowardly gnoll cook)?
Mike: Find an existing minion of the appropriate level to use as a base.
Rich: As a side-note, lack of epic-level minions is indeed an existing design gap.

How would you manage making minions different threats but still just minions?
Mike: Take into account stealth and giving them terrain to use.
Rich: Be careful to avoid needing to track stealth for too many creatures at once. Don’t have them all hide at the same time.

Eu acho a mecânica de minions muito divertida e útil nos combates, mas é algo que eu vejo que vai ter que ser expandido em breve. A idéia é excelente, mas como o Rich Baker falou, em níveis mais altos já não funciona muito bem, e é por isso que existem poucos minions de nível acima de 10.

Paragon/Epic

What is a defining feature of a paragon-level adventure?
James: The story must have greater threats and consequences. Instead of just orcs raiding a village, the seemingly local problem of drow raids turns out to be a world-wide phenomenon that must be investigated. Which is why drow were made paragon-tier monsters, as this tier best matched their story role.
Rich: Magic item integration and powers at this tier become very important. Which also means the DMs can take their gloves off a bit as the party has a better pool of resources at its disposal. Also, plan for what happens if monsters suffer conditional effects (stunned, blinded, etc.), because at this tier, they will.
Bruce: Environments change, with trips to the Shadowfell for example, and other parts of the cosmology.
Chris: Greater integration of characters’ story with the campaign story, which increases the sense of immersion.

What about epic?
Bruce: Having just finished writing an epic adventure (with Chris Sims), this tier involves major world figures and provides hooks that speak to characters’ epic destinies. In the upcoming adventure, for example, there is a chance for the archmage to learn the secrets of artifacts and the underpinnings of the universe. New (and more specific) epic destinies are also being released.
Chris: There are also epic destinies coming out in Dragon.
James: The epic destinies in the PH were intentionally designed more generally so that they could be more broadly applicable.
Rich: It should now be much less intimidating to run the epic tier.
Mike: The threats at epic aren’t even felt at the heroic tier, because characters at the heroic tier are too far beneath an epic threat’s notice.

Open Questions

Advice for making epic play run faster?
Bruce: Don’t give the bad guys too much healing. Also, encourage players to use average damage instead of rolling every time.
James: It helps to build a character up to epic, instead of starting at epic, so the players are very familiar and practiced with their character’s powers (and thus may know some shortcuts).

Huh? Encoraje seus jogadores a usar a média do dano ao invés de rolar em todos os ataques? Ué, uma das grandes vantagens anunciadas à exaustão sobre a 4ª edição não era a maior velocidade dos combates? Foda assim, primeiro fazem uma campanha super mal sucedida baseada nas críticas a terceira edição, e agora a sugestão do Bruce Cordell para corrigir um desses problemas é uma house rule, que inclusive já existia na edição anterior…

Thoughts on round-robin DMing and player-created quests?
Rich: Round-robin DMing was a concept to make DMing more fun (so they too can take a turn as players) and avoid DM burnout.
James: — as well as train more DMs. Player-created quests are a means for players to stay invested in the campaign’s story and reward players for creating character backgrounds.
Chris: In round-robin style, it gives me a chance to be on the other side of the screen with my players, even just as a session or two break. It also gives me insight into the players.

Balance between encounter time and reward?
Rich: A house rule is cutting monster hit points in half, to provide more encounters per session.
Mike: Players missing with encounter and daily powers can prolong a fight; it is a pitfall to recognize as the DM. Again, consider terrain — allow players to make creative use of it to help bring a long fight to a close.

What format will published adventures take?
Rich: We will definitely continue with the encounter format within the adventures.
Bruce: Dave Noonan came up with the folio format during a Dungeon Delve, and it worked so well we looked at it for our published adventures!

For the novelists, do actions in the game help influence novel events?
Rich: I did update the 1st edition module A1’s pre-made characters to use in a 3rd Edition session, which one player picked up and really got into. In City of Ravens, a novel character disguised himself in the same booming voice and refer to himself in the third person, in homage to this player.

A stated goal was creating shared experiences through adventures. Was the difficulty of H1’s Irontooth created for this goal?
Bruce: When I turned over Irontooth, he was not so brutal. He increased just enough in difficulty during development to make him such a tough fight. But he was not intentionally created to be a TPK!

Cara que triste, eu realmente achava o Bruce Cordell legal com sua obsessão por Mind Flayers e cultistas malignos, mas tá foda. Obviamente um encontro de nível 6 contra um grupo de nível 1 ou vai unir o grupo, ou mais provável, destroçá-lo. E um goblin de 106 pontos de vida e que rola 1d8+1d10+4 quando está bloodied tem boas chances de levar um ou dois personagens. E se estes forem os defenders do grupo? Enfim, preferia que ele tivesse assumido que era pra brutalizar mesmo como fizeram com o dragão branco da Fuga de Sembia. Colocar aquele encontro sem noção e dizer que foi sem querer, isto quando um dos autores da 4ª edição escreveu a aventura (Mike Mearls), só piora a situação. E olha que meu grupo nem morreu contra o Irontooth, imagina se tivesse…

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