21 February 2011

D&D (details & divisions)

Mike Mearls has started a new column on the Wizards of the Coast website called “Legends and Lore” to talk about the history of D&D. I think that’s a great idea. From what I know of Mike, I think he’ll do a good job of that. (Personally, I’m going to be very interested in any products Mike produces after he leaves Wizards.)

I’m going to join in criticizing his first installment, however.

Whether you play the original game published in 1974, AD&D in any of its forms, 3rd Edition and its descendents, or 4th Edition, at the end of the day you’re playing D&D.

We’re talking about at least three different games here. Sometimes differences are important and glossing over them helps no one.

This is our game, and it is as healthy, vibrant and important as we make it. The rest is details. Don’t let that details drive us apart when the big picture says we should be joined together.

Rob Conley has said, “Wizards needs to take leadership.” He’s right. Preaching unity while sowing division rings hollow. I say, if Wizards of the Coast is serious about fostering a community spirit, here’s what they should do:

  1. Pull any products that are confusing history.
  2. Start teaching history instead of obscuring it.
  3. Admit that the marketing of “4th edition” was over-the-line with its attacks on previous editions (including 3rd).
  4. Admit that pulling the PDFs from sale had nothing to do with piracy.
  5. Make all the old TSR and “3rd edition” products available.

That’s not even leadership. That’s merely acting in good faith and refraining from putting obstacles in the community’s way.

Granted, Mike’s column may be a start on #2, but it will take more than that.

If I were them, I’d do #5 by simply declaring those products to be public domain. After all, they aren’t making any money off of those products anyway. Then the community could simply share what they already having instead of Wizards having to do any work to make the historical artifacts of this hobby widely available both now and for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, if Wizards wanted to make those products available again for sale, I think that would sow some good will among the community as well. Although, at this point, they’ve created competition that is trying to fill that niche as best as they can.

And now, according to the Joesky rule, a new monster for Labyrinth Lord:

Flame Salamander Guardbeasts

No. Enc: 1, Align: N, Move: 120’ (40’), AC: 4, HD: 4, Att: 1 bite, Dam: 1d6, Save: F4, Morale: 8, Hoard Class: XX

Flame salamanders often keep these elemental beasts to serve like guard dogs. Like their keepers, these quadrupeds have a lizard-like appearance and give off an intense heat. Those within 10’ take 1d4 points of fire damage per round. Fire-based damage does not harm them. They can detect invisibility to a range of 30’.

Once brought to zero hp, the guardbeast does not die. Instead it transforms into two guardbeasts, each half the size of the original and each having 2 HD. When these are brought to zero hp, they likewise divide into two beasts each one-quarter the size of the original with 1 HD each. When these are bought to zero hp, they (finally) die.

1 comment:

Matthew James Stanham said...

If only! I would love to see the original pdfs back on the market. That was vexing, indeed.