"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

To the Core

I am going to be honest with you...

I own a number of 4E books.

I find the whole philosophy and structure of 4E interesting. I have mentioned a number of times that I love the gameist nature of B/X - the fact that it is unabashedly a game and not a theatre improve session - and I see many of the same things in 4E. I can also appreciate the math behind the system - call it a by-product of all of my years of investment banking.

However, I do not like the business model that goes with 4E. I understand that the Character Generator available on the DDI service will begin to have pieces of the Players Handbook 3 available this summer. PHB 3? Already? Didn't #2 just come out? And these are "Core" rules?

Now, I don't blame Wizards of the Coast for how they are trying to generate revenue but from a consumer perspective 4E is unlikely to get any more of my gaming budget. I know there are a bunch of gamers that are more than willing to spend money on the latest rule book available and I do not begrudge them their fun one little bit.

As time goes on, I find that it is not so much the "old school" rules I enjoy but the fact that they are "rules light" games. The mass that will quickly become the core rules for 4E just does not appeal to me. I have found a number of new games over the past year that I enjoy including Savage Worlds, RISUS, etc. B/X is still by far my favorite but it is nice for some diversity.


  1. I'm skeptical of the long term viability of D&D's marketing scheme. It seems like they are trying to squeeze maximum dollars out of a slowly growing (if it all)fanbase.

    I think that affordable and easily digested 80's era games (Star Frontiers, Basic D&D, etc) held more long-term promise for the hobby. Hell, people are still playing them. They have become classics, like Monopoly. :)

  2. "They have become classics, like Monopoly."

    If only they were sold like Monopoly! It would be wonderful if you could pick up a boxed set of D&D off the shelf in a department store next to Monopoly, Clue and Sorry!

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  4. Hear hear! I totally understand what you meant by being a rules lite gamer. I know the "cool thing" right now is to denounce everything after 1981, but really it's just because I don't have to possess a working knowledge contained within an piles of books to play OR run a game.

    The same joys I find in B/X D&D and most of the clones I also find in Savage Worlds, Dungeonslayers, and Dungeon Squad!

  5. I downloaded Dungeon Squad about a month ago. It is great!

  6. I guess that's why I'm going beyond '81 for a portion of my influence (Skyrealms of Jorune) on my RPG rules-set.

    I wonder how many blinkin' retro clones can the market truly support?

  7. P_Armstrong: Awesome! I fell hard for Dungeon Squad a few years back. It'll most likely be my go-to game for teaching the kids (5 and 6 now) and maybe even the lil' wife about the joys of RPGs. Have you seen my adaptation/expansion of the original rules (http://meepodm.googlepages.com/dungeon_squad.pdf) ?

    Timeshadows: I have my suspicion that even one clone is pushing that limit!!

  8. Meepo,
    Yours is the one I was actually referring to.