Archives for: September 2010
September 15th, 2010
Published on September 15th, 2010 @ 04:35:57 am , using 179 words, 1420 views
It is official. Dias Ex Machina is releasing two books in early 2011.
Ultramodern4 (U4) – Universal 4th Edition Modern / Science Fiction rules.
Fully compatible with D&, including newer books like Players Handbook 3.
--The new "Ladder" system that offers more adjustability with character creation. Modify your class with one of six ladders. Dozens of different combinations.
--Eleven new modern classes including Sniper, Faceman, Infiltrator, and Grappler.
--Rules for creating a non-combat classes.
--Expanded rules for more realistic role-playing within the architecture of 4th Edition.
--New armor including powered combat suits.
--New skills & feats.
--All new weapons including traditional firearms, rocket launchers, and laser rifles.
--Pimp your auto. Purchase vehicles and modify them.
--All new opponents from fanatics and guerillas to tanks and giant robots.
Ultramodern4 Campaign setting.
Espionage / Counterterrorism / Cyberpunk[/B]
--The hacker class, the Manipulator.
--Four new races: Nugenic, Prosthetic, True-Born, and Virtuant.
--An entire spectrum of cybernetics from the simple brain implant to total body prosthesis.
--Install and run programs in allies and enemies.
--Remote control robots from microscopic bugs to walking talks.
September 11th, 2010
Published on September 11th, 2010 @ 01:43:38 am , using 1060 words, 201 views
There has been a real debate among the playtesters of late. It pretty much resolved itself but I wanted to share what it was and why. It also involved a friend of mine that runs a very successful DnD blog site. Since he hasn't mentioned the conversation, I won't mention who it was.
Anyway, the entire topic dealt with the design philosophy of WOTC and if 3rd party publishers have an obligation to follow it. I heard about this a couple times. About the "yes" mentality instead of "no". My opinion, and my entire group agrees, that yes and no are interchangeable depending on how you word your question. You can word a question in order to get a yes/no response and have it say exactly the same thing. A game is about yes and no. No DM in the world says yes to everything. A game has rules...rules are a series of no's and yes's. Plus there is such a thing as "Yes, but why" which is still a "no" (Elf gives you bow and Dex bonuses…so…Fighter?) 4E gives the illusion of freedom while still as constricting as most other games. Alignments (something I never agreed with) impose a moral view you may not agree with (and there are fewer in 4E). People cannot all be settled into four profiles.
When 4E PHB1 came out, the roles imposed by these new classes absolutely shoehorned you into a specific way of thinking. In fact, people say Amethyst says no, while we have Lifepaths that modify classes (custodian), and then we introduce techan classes that say, "hell with roles, we're doing what we want." We offered dual-role options and classes more malleable depending on how you created it.
Then we got criticism about that to. Some people WANTED those defined role--those series of absolute yes's and no's. We present techan classes, which many people thought couldn't be done. We said, yes...here...guns...go at it. But the setting--the thing that is NOT 4E DnD--says these two worlds are separate. One critic said "that's a no". Then I countered, "Run a canon Middle Earth game. Would you, as a DM, say yes to someone wanting to bring in a tiefling? Saying yes to everything leads to chaos...yes...I very much know the irony in that. People create settings all the time that limit options.
This leads me to Dark Sun. Amethyst disallowed divine classes. Now Dark Sun has done the same. What Dark Sun has done is nothing bad. I love they did it...because it shows that this mentality moving through critics is a paradigm that WOTC doesn't completely endorse. They know that certain settings will limit options. They are retroactively paving the way for us. Not every setting has to have every race and every class. Not every game has to be Forgotten Realms and Eberron. Dragonlance limits options, so does Middle Earth or Dark Sun.
In 3.5 Amethyst, we allowed divine classes because we could redefine them as tapping an undefined power from the gate some people "claimed" as divine. We created (as some have said) the single best paladin prestige class in all of 3.5. It had powers based on an internally defined virtue. In some places, people use such power without being religious. In 4E, with limits on the GSL, we could not do that, so I took them out.
Why couldn't we just ignore it? Well, that means we allow the proof of god/s. This is very dangerous in many ways. If we allow a priest to have divine powers and cleric to have divine powers, this forces a proof of god into the setting in some readers. You have dozens of people with divine powers, each that verify their god as fact…and thus rendering them all false, as they can't all be true. We could say, "Your faith gives you power, not your god." Well, that's heretical as well. We're not smoothing the waters by saying "sure, go at it."
Amethyst is not a Dungeons and Dragons setting. It's Amethyst using 4th ED architecture. DMs and players don't need me to give them reasons to change it. We list the canon setting as it is and let the group alter it how they see fit. The canon setting has limited magic use. So I disagreed with those few critics saying Amethyst follows a 3rd Edition mentality of saying "no." That would be like saying Harry Potter follows a 3rd Edition mentality by saying no, or Song of Ice and Fire, or any other setting established as a fantasy over just a DnD Campaign. In the end, I think that was the issue. Some people expected a setting that was just "Guns on top of Forgotten Realms". Well, you can do that. Grab the guns and classes and away you go. That's not Amethyst. I didn't want to use virtue as I did in 3.5 because I felt that was a cheat. You can spend years reading books to cast a spell or you could just "believe" really hard.
Now, a point came up that we have demons, therefore hell, but not heaven or angels. The demons of Ixindar are only called that because that is the word people use. They look nothing like demons. They don't call each other demons. It is the conflict of chaos and order. They have spellcasters. We have spellcasters. They have monsters. We have monsters (we actually have a lot more monsters). They don't have evil clerics, so neither do we. It is incorrect to assume Ixindar is hell. People like saying it is, but there is no fire or brimstone, no forked-tail devils. Religion made these connections and they are not all true. Just the same, Attricana is sure as beans not Heaven. Nearly all monsters on this Earth are from its influence. Trolls, ogres, dragons, all sorts of abominations, all from Attricana.
I wanted to enforce the idea that WE, the human race, are still the same from modern day. The issues over religion and faith are unchanged. I wanted it to be a mirror of our real world, which means divine power is delegated to holy books and bad Kirk Cameron films.
What does this have to do with our playtesting? Nothing…well, not exactly nothing. I'll explain it all next time…
September 1st, 2010
Published on September 1st, 2010 @ 03:33:12 am , using 113 words, 238 views
To say there has been no activity has been an understatement. On the contrary, I've been working so hard, I have had no time to do much else. After only a month of playtesting NeuroSpasta, I have already made over 300 changes to character classes alone. Among the many amendments include adjusting class power level to balance with other 4th Edition DnD classes, even ones seen in later publications. We have made the non-combat classes better by making their non-damaging powers even more effective.
Meanhwhile, in Amethyst, We have locked down our three new races for the book (Pagus, Kodiak, Tenenbri) and are polishing up the mixed martial arts-inspired vanguard class.
Oh and this...