Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Will $50 get You?

So I am slow at this. Sorry, been sick.

The price point for the first releases of the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons has been leaked by Barnes & Noble.

The Player's Handbook has a MSRP of $49.99. (link now dead)
The "Starter Set" has a MSRP of $19.99. (link also dead)
(the Escapist has commentary and screenshots)

And queue the rounds of people saying it's too expensive.

Let's look at the Player's Handbooks over the years. I have included the price, the number of pages, and the retail price. I am also including the adjusted price for inflation based on the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AD&D 1st Ed. (1978) 128 pages, $19.95  ($71.68)
AD&D 2nd Ed. (1989) 246 pages, $20.00 ($37.73)
D&D 3.0 (2000) 302 pages, $19.95*  (special intro price, increased to $29.95)  ($27.10, $40.68)
D&D 3.5 (2003) 302 pages, $29.95 ($38.07)
D&D 4th (2008) 320 pages, $34.95 ($37.97)
D&D 5th Ed. (2014) xxx pages, $50.00 ($50.00)

Maybe $40.00 is the sweet spot on this, but $50.00 does not seem too far out to me.
Compare this to a new video game, $60.00.  Ah, but you say, you can't play D&D with just the player's book, you need at least another 100 bucks for the DMG and MM.  Well. You can't play a video game by itself either you need a system (anywhere from $300 to $400).

So really. This is not a huge expense in today's market.  It is also likely to be 300+ pages, full color with, what I have seen so far, great art.

I am planning on buying these at my Favorite Local Game Store.  I believe in keeping game stores in business and supporting my local economy. So yeah, that means I am in for at least $120.00.  I will get the starter set too.

But you know what? I am an adult. I make good money. I can drop that much on my favorite hobby, on my favorite game.

Currently the modules for D&D 5 run from $5.00 (Vault of the Dracolich) to $18.00 (Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast) to $30 ($18 on sale) (Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle).
I like the art and expect that the rule books will be about the same.

So honestly, this sounds fine to me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

White Dwarf Wednesday #100

Here we are. At the end.  I started this a little more than two years ago but I finally made it to my stated goal of issue 100 of White Dwarf. But before I go all reflective, let's tackle the issue at hand, White Dwarf 100 for April 1988.

The cover of this issue includes photos of miniatures, which I guess is appropriate.  Compare to the cover of Dragon 100 it really isn't a stretch; both did something different.  But with a history of great covers I expected more.  This is a common theme throughout this issue in fact.
Unlike issue #90 (ten years) which featured a look back, this issue is nearly indistinguishable from the last save that there is no other game content except for Games Workshop games. Now I don't want it to sound like I think this is a bad thing. It's not. TSR/WotC did it, most magazines did it and still do it. It's good economic sense.  I like generalist magazines myself and once upon time White Dwarf was the best of the lot.

Sean Masterson makes it clear that issue 100 is not about looking behind, but ahead. Ok. I was hoping for some retrospective, but I am not going to fault them.  This is the blueprint of next 25 years of White Dwarf.
It wouldn't bug except for the teaser of "Special Anniversary Issue" on the cover.

Marginalia discusses The Power Behind the Throne for Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play and another expansion to Dungeonquest.  I think I am going to need to pick up both WFRP and Dungeonquest at some future date just to see what they were all about.

Highway Warriors is a sneak peak into GWs next near future game.  At this point it was unnamed, but a little research and I found out it became Dark Future.  I love reading little insights like this to games.  I remember about the same time reading about the upcoming AD&D 2nd Edition.  It was articles like this that got me thinking about what sorts of things went into making a game.

The Floating Gardens of Bahb-Elonn is an adventure for Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play. I can't judge it on it's own merits.  The players are all some sort of native race with some dumb sounding names, but outside of that it looks like an adventure that could be ported over to any system.  I could see it being run with primitive halfings in D&D or MERP.

The rest of the issue is split up between Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Warhammer 40k.  In fact the only clue that there are other games out there is an ad for Dragonlance Tales vol. 1 (of all things).

Here at the end (not to sound too maudlin) I can see how this magazine is changing into something that Warhammer fans will find useful.  Plus it is also a good example how a company can maintain seperate parallel game lines.  But it is a good place for me to bow out.

What Did I Learn From All of This?
That things really have not changed all that much.  Some of the same discussions on the letters pages and int he editorials are the same as some message board and blog posts today.  Each generation of gamers looks at the generation that cam before as old Grgonards and at the generation that comes after as kids with no respect for the way things were done.  Debates will always rage on and maybe it not the goal of the debate but simply the discussions themselves that are important.

I learned that it doesn't matter what I think I know about games, there is always more to learn. A new game, an obscure one, new ways of doing things. This hobby is more diverse than even we give it credit for.

I learned that there was a ton of great stuff being published back then.  I was fortunate to have lived in a area where I still had pretty good access to games. I now live in a place where any game I want is often a mouse click away or if I need it sooner in physical form, an 8-minute drive.

What I most enjoyed though was going through the older magazines, the ones up to issue 30-40; the Golden Age of RPGs or at least of D&D.  Yes I can be accused of being an old nostalgic gamer and that is fine with me to be honest.  I also liked reflecting on what I was doing at those times as well.

That was a lot of fun. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now what should I do??

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay

Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay.

I have been waiting for this book for a while and I have to say it was worth the wait.
Dolmvay is not only a highly detailed city complete with maps, npcs, new monsters and pretty much everything you need, it is also a shared city.

Let's talk about the product first.  It's Pay What You Want, but it is certainly worth at least $19.95 or more (so pay at least 5 buck or more!).  You get 223 pages worth of material.  There are the maps I mentioned, but there is also a fairly detailed history. You could easily drop this into any game, and let's be honest, any system.   If you are familiar with other products from SNG then takes place in the World of Amherth setting.  But this book (and most of the Amherth books) are easily adapted to any setting.

There is a chapter on adventuring in the city. How the local churches react to magic and what can be expected of travelling adventurers.
Makes it perfect for a way point between adventures, but you would be missing all the fun.
The book also details an number houses, factions and NPCs and their own desires for the city.  If you like games of political intrigue and courtly drama then this is a good place to start.

The bulk of the book details the layout of the city. In this respect it reads like a guide book. NPCs, hooks and other information is given.  There is plenty here for new GM to use it as is and plenty more for an experienced GM to add their own information.
It strikes a nice balance between detail and flexibility.   Among my favorite items are the random rumor table and the common greetings and gestures.   Things like this give a setting life of it's own.

Common businesses are covered as well as a sampling of Taverns and Inns.  City encounters and even some new monsters.
Venture into the sewers or the Island of Heroes.

There is a section on random NPC generation as well.

Dolmvay the concept is the idea that this is a shared City.  If developers want to create their own encounters, adventures or anything else really and set it in Dolmvay then there is an easy to use and free license to do so.
It is such a great idea I am surprised that no one else has done it before.

This book is steal at any price.

I think I will need to come up with some sort of witch coven that is active here.  That would be fun.
It would have to be small and of course persecuted by the local church.

Monday, March 3, 2014

GMs Day Sale at DriveThruRPG

I had forgotten about the GMs day week two week sales at DriveThruRPG.

That is till I went to my wish list and saw a bunch of things I have been wanting get some pretty good discounts.

Pop on over and have a look. Some great deals going on.
At present count it is on over 15,200 items.  Certainly something you will want is on sale.

March Madness OSR Challenge! Part 1

I have bitten off more than I can chew this month.
New month is the big April A to Z blog challenge and this month I need get some more done for work and my witch book.

Plus I am still sick.

So....I am going to have to do this in chunks.
I want to thank Tomb of Tedankhamen for hosting this.

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
It was over 30 years ago so it was either Traveller or Chill 1st Ed. This was all after D&D.

2 What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
I ran Chill. My first character I played in another game was "Zaphod" in Traveller.  The skill system was a new idea for me and I liked it.  Plus the D&D mode of "kill things and take their stuff" doesn't work in most games.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
In my mind the character creation for Traveller gave me the most trouble.  The easiest is anything for Unisystem. I can pretty much create a character for Unisystem in my sleep.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
Easy.  C. J. Carella. His WitchCraft game is a work of art. He created the Unisystem game system and the Cinematic Unisystem.  I was fortunate enough to be working on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG when it was in development.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
Chill. It lived in the shadow of Call of Cthulhu. Of course Chill is seeing some new light from Goblinoid Games in the guise of Rotworld,  Majus and Cryptworld.

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
I am not sure that flumphs are as iconic as say beholders or mind flayers, but that is a discussion for later. For other games  I always liked shoggoths and gugs from Call of Cthulhu.  The "Mean Old Neighbor Lady" from Chill is also fairly iconic for that game.

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
Runequest. I liked it because of it's connection the the Chaosism's BRP system which meant I could add in things from the Elric/Stormbringer/Hawkmoon games and Call of Cthulhu as I liked.

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
None. Not my cup of tea really.  I liked how Spycraft was put together, but I never played it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sick day

Been down with a bad cold all week and I am not getting much better.

Sorry if posting is slow this next week.
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