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Mike Mearls is polling about how much you'd pay for him to make you an AL legal custom subclass

flametitan

Explorer
https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/909977249843003392

EDIT: I should at least clarify that it's technically a donation for Extra Life, but my overall feelings still stand

On the one hand this seems kind of cool, but I don't know about the precedence this sets. It seems kind of wrong to be able to (with a donation to charity, yes) pay someone to essentially homebrew something for you and circumvent the guidelines of AL. Likewise, I have concerns about the possibility that this wouldn't be as stringently tested as something put together for a published book, or even UA.
 
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darjr

I crit!
They do.

How many people it'll be, one maybe two, three people? Not really a big deal. Though I don't like pay to win, this isn't that.
 

Eltab

Hero
I think doing this for AL - which relies on a level of predictability and sameness to allow random tables to be built and succeed, no "I've got a special case" - is probably a mistake.

However, if we can get more neat ideas for subclasses out where people can 'kick the tires' and try them out, with the goal of eventual publication ... I would like that.
 

Anthraxus

Explorer
While AL does have/need a level of predictability, this will affect very few people(one person and DM's for their games). Mearls will hopefully make it a little underpowered to account for lack of playtesting.

It's for charity and I have absolutely no problem with it.
 

Pauper

Explorer
*sigh* Here we go again.

That link above goes to a special cert Mearls put together for his DDAO module he ran at Winter Fantasy 2016 that allowed the bearer to play a Mystic (the psionic playtest character class) legally in Adventurers League. Based on the conversation in that thread, and that there was (and still hasn't been, to my knowledge) any official AL announcement about the cert means that Mearls basically made the cert on his own and put it in the module without bothering to check with other AL staff to see if it was a good idea -- he just did it because he could.

Looks like the same thing is happening here. It'd be nice to see folks with official AL credentials chime in to say that doing this is a Bad Idea for Adventurers League, even if it is for charity.

--
Pauper
 


We live in an age of exclusivity. There are special editions of game books and dice. Conventions offer VIP experiences for those with the cash. Like everywhere else, conspicuous consumption opportunities abound.
 

smerwin29

Explorer
We live in an age of exclusivity. There are special editions of game books and dice. Conventions offer VIP experiences for those with the cash. Like everywhere else, conspicuous consumption opportunities abound.

And in addition to this, that extra money others pay to get something exclusive might be--in very real terms--funding the "normal content" that you get to receive/play/consume at the regular price.
 

Cascade

First Post
I luv ideas like this.
I don't suffer from the envy that someone else has something I don't.

I believe this game runs better with wider, more creative options. Sitting and meeting someone new at a table that has something I've never seen is what I like about conventions. It's almost like an extension of the adventure. If someone wants to donate $2500 for a cool theme, lettem have it...
 

Pauper

Explorer
And in addition to this, that extra money others pay to get something exclusive might be--in very real terms--funding the "normal content" that you get to receive/play/consume at the regular price.

It's not -- Mearls posited the option as an explicit ExtraLife activity, so anything he'd raise would presumably be donated to charity.

I disagree with that argument on principle, but it doesn't apply here, as the money raised by WotC isn't being spent on the campaign. It's in effect just a 'publicity stunt' to try to get bigger donations to the charity. I'd like to think the integrity of the official Organized Play campaign would be worth more than that sort of stunt.

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Pauper
 
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Pauper

Explorer
I don't suffer from the envy that someone else has something I don't.

It's not envy, it's an understanding that maintaining an Organized Play campaign isn't like running your own home game. In a home game, you can go ahead and throw whatever you want into the game and if things blow up, you can just start the game over. That's not really an option with OP -- if you screw up the game by adding things that shouldn't belong, you have limited options to fix the situation short of getting rid of the things that don't belong, and if you're going to do that anyway (and thus piss off the people who got those things), then why bother adding those things to the campaign in the first place?

My problem is that this isn't the first time that Mike Mearls has looked at the OP campaign and seen, not a program that promotes his game, or a well-managed social experiment, but a plaything for him to satisfy whatever need-of-the-moment he has (get more playtesters for his Unearthed Arcana material, up the amount of donations he can pass along to a charity). It's frankly irresponsible behavior, and short of convincing someone higher up on the food chain that it's irresponsible behavior and order him to stop it (which doesn't seem likely), the only other option is to point out how irresponsible it is in the hopes he'll get the message and cut it out.

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Pauper
 

Pauper

Explorer
Let's contrast this Mearls gimmick with the Tortle Package, just to give you a clearer idea of my issue with the former:

The Tortle Package, from all indications, is a pretty slapdash piece of work. (Really, guys? The question of 'what happens when a tortle wielding a shield withdraws into its shell' never came up during playtest at all? Really??) Yet it was put together by multiple designers, and while it was teased by folks outside the AL, there was an official announcement by AL admins, indicating that the project was pitched and sold to the admins as a good thing for the campaign, meaning the admins also got a chance to chime in to give their opinions on, say, how to roll out the package, how to implement it into AL's resource rules (the 'treat the Tortle Package as part of XGtE' advice was clearly an admin decision), and such. The admins and the designers are clearly on the same page here.

Meanwhile, for the second time in eighteen months, Mike Mearls announces something unilateral, for a limited audience, that is going to be shoe-horned into AL without anyone from the AL admin staff knowing about it or having any idea what's involved prior to the announcement. No buy-in, no feedback, no chance to have their opinions taken into consideration. It creates, as an admin pointed out during the previous discussion, "problems with...the philosophy of the campaign".

Unfortunately, the other discussion made it clear that, while everyone involved is uncomfortable with such a situation, Mearls clearly has the authority to do what he is doing, and nobody on the D&D team or the AL admin team can stop it. Nor can an AL DM declare the cert to be illegal -- it's an official cert and must be accepted at the table. As an AL DM, my only option to protest this sort of activity is to simply refuse to run a game where someone possessing such a cert appears, which while unfair to the other players at the table is sadly the only legal option left to me to show my own distaste at the practice.

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Pauper
 


Cascade

First Post
It's not envy, it's an understanding that...
--
Pauper

Hmm, perhaps your understanding is incorrect.

I have played with a number of admins over the past years and at many big and small conventions. The Open play understanding is that any player can make a character within a set of rules and play with other people under the same rules. Campaign certification is a known exception; whether you get one from being first in line to buy a boat at a con, whether you buy a race on the DMs guild, whether you play a one time special event, whether your group approaches the campaign and asks to generate something unique, whether you play something that is so interesting, that the judge makes something special just for you...this is the current campaign. It has essentially evolved away from the old strict style of play where encounters are scripted and spells precast in a specific way (a-la old D&D open style).

I've seen many character specific "flavor" certs being generated at cons all over the country. I've seen one for a character to be Lawful evil and have no faction. I've seen one where the group spent resources (DT and gp) to make a park in Holtburg and the group got a special one page cert (even with their names on it). There are tons of things being generated that are effectively "not tracked".

The game rules are completely reliant on honesty. Games run on it and people expect it. For tables I run; if a player has something unusual, I'll ask him to describe the story behind it - especially from his character's perspective. If it seems reasonable...allow it, adjust the mod if I need to and move on and have fun.

I don't mind. It doesn't affect play (the judge can pretty much adjust anything).
 


Henry

Autoexreginated
Oh, dear Lord - are there people honestly objecting to four special certs that will raise money to help real-life sick children, because they may cause problems for a small number of people playing in a game?

If you donated lots of money that helps sick children, I'd let you play Pun-Pun in a game.
 
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lonelynoose

First Post
Damn! He raised 10k in a few hours. Whether or not you like the pay2play, you have to admit that it was some good creative thinking to help out the kids.

Also, if the buyer (donater?) chooses he can make the subclass available to all. That's kinda awesome.
 

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