4e a week (and a little more) later

After a week of keeping 4e discussion compressed to a handful of threads, they’ve opened 4e forums for discussion and analysis.

4e Social Combat described [1] and [2]… it sounds pretty cool.

I liked this set of Death conditions:

(from Saga) Brought to 0 HP + receiving damage greater than one’s threshold = dead. If it’s not higher than the threshold, the character is merely unconscious. However, once the character is unconscious, a coup-de-grace automatically kills them. So instead of accidental deaths, it has to be intentional death.

Someone has to really want that character dead for them to die. At least this way, we aren’t relying so much on Raise Dead/Resurrection.

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Eight random facts

From Heather at Errant Thoughts:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

Eight random facts. Hmm…

1) I learned roleplaying at lunch time, at school, in a game run by two teachers: Mr. Reid and Mr. Martin. It was a zany 1e dungeon crawl. Mr. Martin is my dad.

2) I like to learn things in spurts. I’ll happily read fiction or work related stuff for six months, then I’ll suddenly go on a self improvement kick and decide to learn about something new, often a period of history. The most recent kick was China; I enjoyed a few histories and a solid memoir, Wild Swans, which did a great job of showing life over the previous three generations of China. While I enjoyed the broad sweep of history books, Wild Swans grounded me. Seeing the cultural revolution from a teen’s point of view was powerful.

3) The learning spurt I was on when I met Jennifer was America’s revolutionary and founding era. I waded through about half of the Federalist Papers. Interestingly, I found that reading the Federalist Papers made me very curious about the anti-Federalist papers, because so many of the strongest papers seem to be responses to specific anti-Federalist paper claims.

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Next Game: Saturday September 1st

We’re still on the Saturday schedule; Jennifer survived last week but this week is the full system test. Keep your fingers crossed…

Let us know if you have plans this weekend. Otherwise, we’ll look forward to playing around 6:30, same as this week.

Padilla and the constitution

From Hilzoy’s post, Jose Padilla And Lowell Jacoby. As always, it’s best to read the whole thing.

rather than dwelling on the verdict, I want to focus instead on a memo (pdf) that Marty Lederman posted at Balkinization a few days ago. It’s the single most shocking document concerning this administration’s attitude towards the Constitution that I have seen thus far. It’s from Lowell Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and it is an explanation of why Jose Padilla should not be allowed access to counsel. Bear in mind that the Sixth Amendment holds that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall (…) have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” Of course, Padilla was not at that time charged with any crime, which is why one might have thought that the Fifth Amendment might have been relevant: “No person shall be (…) deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Possibly there are exceptions for prisoners of war, but Padilla was arrested at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, not in the mountains of Afghanistan.

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The big announcement is made: 4e D&D

Quickly summarizing many other websites, who are themselves summarizing the Q&A and “press sheets” Wizards of the Coast is putting out, 4th Edition is coming. The new PHB will come out next May, MM in June, DMG in July.

Wizards of the Coast has redone their D&D website to coincide with this change. Interestingly, if you go in through the Settings (hit the plus) and “Eberron” or “Forgotten Realms”, those pages still have the old layout and links to the old material.

I got sucked into way too much browsing last night and found that many sites are repeating the same stuff… which is probably what’s in the information packet.

The two articles Wizards put out, Design & Development: Race and Design & Development: Class make it sound like this will be a pretty big jump without “backward compatibility”– it’ll be its own thing.

A grab bag of what interests me so far:

  • Built for 30 levels instead of twenty. They acknowledge that the old game had a small sweet spot (about levels 4-14 in their estimation) and they’re trying to expand that so play is fun at all levels.
  • All characters have at will, per encounter, and per day powers. It sounds like Mages will get “at will” effects similar to reserve feats– so they don’t have to drag out a crossbow when they run out of spells… they’ll throw a “mage bolt” (or whatever) that works like a crossbow but fits their concept.
  • Skill lists will be slimmed, with the less useful stuff taken out and the remainder shifted to emphasize what you can do with the skill.
  • Magic items are getting pushed down in importance: it won’t take feats to make them, they won’t sell as easily, and they won’t be as essential to “keeping up” with other characters in your class.
  • The races presented in the PHB will shift, which means that some of the races our group never uses (gnome, half-orc) might get replaced with ones that we will.
  • Races will set you apart at throughout. In the final version of 4th Edition, most of your racial traits come into play right out of the gate at 1st level—dwarven resilience, elven evasion, a half-elf’s inspiring presence, and so on. As you go up levels, you can take racial feats to make those abilities even more exciting and gain new capabilities tied to your race. You can also take race-specific powers built into your class, which accomplish a lot of what racial substitution levels used to do: a dwarf fighter with the friend of earth power can do something that other 10th-level fighters just can’t do.
  • The new book covers have pretty artwork.

A more complete roundup of the discussion is over at Jonathon Drain’s d20 source. Inquest magazine has a short article that hits the high points of the new edition, with a slightly different emphasis.

The Fourth Edition FAQ post is pretty handy too.

Mike Mearl wrote on his GenCon blog about D&D Insider, etc.:

Playing D&D Online: There’s a natural reaction to see this as similar to Warcraft and other MMOs, but I think that’s a mistake. A better analogy might be online poker. Imagine you had a Wednesday night poker game. If that game broke up for whatever reason, online poker is something you might turn to for your poker fix. Or, maybe you simply can’t find players. The really exciting thing to me is that it lets you game with friends you’ve met at conventions or via online forums. If someone talks about their cool campaign on the message boards, you can now play in that cool game without flying across the world.

More about D&D Insider.

Rodney Thompson talks about playtesting a 4e character, DMing, etc.

http://dnd4.com/ is gathering links and discussions and reposting the presentation videos.

Game shift: Saturday August 25th

Update: The first Saturday game is tomorrow night (Saturday) at 6:30 pm!

Also, rumors and info gathered about the recently announced D&D 4th Edition.

After speaking with everyone tonight, it sounds like we should be able to make the shift to Saturdays. That’ll allow Jennifer to make it… and, maybe, it’ll make for slightly fewer yawns. Our next get together is Saturday, August 25th. Do we want to meet at the same 6:30 start time?

Let us know if you’ll have any problem making it, or if there’s anything else we need to know.