Rich Baker on 'splat books' and other topics

SPECTRE666

Explorer
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14733077&postcount=2051 :)

[sblock=Rich Baker]Hi, John --

I can't say too much about our product schedule beyond the middle of '08, just because it's company policy to avoid talking about products that have not yet appeared in our catalog. Speaking very broadly, you'll see a product mix that is a little heavier on adventures and a little lighter on "splat books" early on in 4e.

Regarding the "older flavor" -- no, not really. We've made a decision to make a wider thematic separation between demons and devils (for example), so we're not going to produce material showing you how to keep 'em the way they were. I don't doubt that many folks on line will come up with alternative "4e conversions" for some of these things to suit their own tastes. They're welcome to do so. As far as the Great Wheel, you can actually accommodate the outer planes within the new Astral Sea notion quite well, with very little change. Our take on the Inner Planes and the Ethereal Plane is definitely different, though.[/sblock]
 

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Rechan

Adventurer
So, if Noonan is working on a Sourcebook with rangers, and supposedly we're going to get an Arcane book... how are we not going to have splatbooks soon?
 

Khuxan

First Post
Rechan said:
So, if Noonan is working on a Sourcebook with rangers, and supposedly we're going to get an Arcane book... how are we not going to have splatbooks soon?

Nowhere does he say we're not going to have splatbooks soon. He says: "a product mix that is a little heavier on adventures and a little lighter on "splat books"". So instead of getting 1 splatbook a month and 1 adventure a quarter (or whatever), we might get 1 splatbook every second month and 1 adventure every second month (or whatever).

Still plenty of time for an arcane book and a book with rangers.
 

helium3

First Post
Rechan said:
So, if Noonan is working on a Sourcebook with rangers, and supposedly we're going to get an Arcane book... how are we not going to have splatbooks soon?

Marketing is going to work very hard to see that they're called "Splashbooks" from now on.
 

Imaro

Legend
So the annual PHB's. DMG's and MM's Won't be stopping the inevitable splatbook treadmill. Yeah, I kinda suspected that even though I was hoping the people on these boards who thought otherwise were right.
 

Stogoe

First Post
I love splatbooks. Splatbooks keep a game (and a game company) afloat and give me more options. More splatbooks, please! I really don't understand why people are afraid of them.
 

Brown Jenkin

First Post
Stogoe said:
I love splatbooks. Splatbooks keep a game (and a game company) afloat and give me more options. More splatbooks, please! I really don't understand why people are afraid of them.

Because one of the reasons given for 4E was that 3.x was too complicated. A bunch of this complication came from the glut of splatbooks available.
 

jinnetics

Explorer
Brown Jenkin said:
Because one of the reasons given for 4E was that 3.x was too complicated. A bunch of this complication came from the glut of splatbooks available.

I think it's rather that 3.x was born complicated. It wasn't the splatbooks that made it so. Many of the 4E designers have acknowledged this.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
Brown Jenkin said:
Because one of the reasons given for 4E was that 3.x was too complicated. A bunch of this complication came from the glut of splatbooks available.
I don't think splatbooks added any complication. They added options and features, but all of the most complicated stuff in 3E was found in the PHB and DMG. The core rules themselves were too complicated, and splatbooks were nothing but good for the game.
 

Imaro

Legend
TwinBahamut said:
I don't think splatbooks added any complication. They added options and features, but all of the most complicated stuff in 3E was found in the PHB and DMG. The core rules themselves were too complicated, and splatbooks were nothing but good for the game.

Well one thing splatbooks do (that's not necessarily good for the game) with all those options and features is...create combinations that can't be tested thoroughly as far as game balance with all previous and future sourcebooks. That's just off the top of my head, but with WotC new emphasis on even more abilities, racial traits, class powers, etc. I see this as a very real possibility.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
Imaro said:
Well one thing splatbooks do (that's not necessarily good for the game) with all those options and features is...create combinations that can't be tested thoroughly as far as game balance with all previous and future sourcebooks. That's just off the top of my head, but with WotC new emphasis on even more abilities, racial traits, class powers, etc. I see this as a very real possibility.
Certainly true... But I don't think this is the kind of complication that WotC is referring to when they talk about making the game simpler to play. After all, this kind of complication, based on the wide variety of options for building a character, is a lot of fun for a significant fraction of the D&D playerbase, and provides a lot of income for WotC.

Removing complication as you describe it would be more limiting to D&D than beneficial to the game.

On the other hand, making the core rules themselves less complicated is nothing but a benefit for the game.
 

Rechan

Adventurer
Imaro said:
Well one thing splatbooks do (that's not necessarily good for the game) with all those options and features is...create combinations that can't be tested thoroughly as far as game balance with all previous and future sourcebooks. That's just off the top of my head, but with WotC new emphasis on even more abilities, racial traits, class powers, etc. I see this as a very real possibility.
I don't think the major beef that the designers have is with this:

"With these four feat, that magical item, this spell, and this class, I can rule the world!"

It would appear the real meat of their addressing is:

1) Faster play overall. Grappling rules, turning rules, multiple attacks seeming to not be the norm, etc. All to make a combat round go faster.

2) A CR/EL system that works more like a science than an art.

3) Classes balanced against one another, in combat, and classes balanced within their roles.

4) Easier prep-time for DMs.

5) Reduction on the dependency of magical items. The argument is that the 3e system assumes a character has the big six: AC boosting items (Amulets of Nat Armor), stat boosting items, save boosters, and magical arms and armor. This is because BAB and To Hit rise much faster than AC, monster saves rise much faster than spell DCs, monster abilities rise faster than saves, et al. Solution: reduce the need for these items to compete at higher levels.

Others are welcome to argue these points, and there are some minor goals I believe that they had (like making monsters still threatening over more levels, make classes have stronger niched abilities, make first level PCs tougher and higher level characters weaker, etc), but I think the above 5 are more important than those, to the designers.
 
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Yes, 3.5 has complexities at the upper end. Splat books add complexity in other parts of the gaming experience:

1. DM time evaluating combinations requested by players. With the core rules, you don't have to do this.

2. DM and/or player time referencing splatbooks in addition to the core rules during play.

3. Splat books introducing new subsystems and options that are slightly to greatly different from the core rules, and taking more play time to understand, implement and adjudicate.
 

Steely Dan

Banned
Banned
"Our take on the Inner Planes and the Ethereal Plane is definitely different, though."


Ah, so the Ethereal plane is still in 4th Ed?

I thought the Feywild and Shadowfell were enough.
 

Cadfan

First Post
Steely Dan said:
"Our take on the Inner Planes and the Ethereal Plane is definitely different, though."


Ah, so the Ethereal plane is still in 4th Ed?

I thought the Feywild and Shadowfell were enough.

I wouldn't draw that conclusion automatically. The Feywild and Shadowfell have a lot of similarities with the ethereal plane. He may mean that the 4e "take" on the ethereal plane IS the feywild and shadowfell.
 

Steely Dan

Banned
Banned
Cadfan said:
I wouldn't draw that conclusion automatically. The Feywild and Shadowfell have a lot of similarities with the ethereal plane. He may mean that the 4e "take" on the ethereal plane IS the feywild and shadowfell.

Ah yes, you're right, I feel better now – the Ethereal never quite cut it for me.

I'm all for going incorporeal, but ethereal…
 

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