5E The Multiverse is back....

Desdichado

Adventurer
Indeed. But I suspect that reference may be too buried in statistics-jargon for most people. They don't know that an oultier is (generally) 2nd or further standard deviations from norm, or out in the thin spots of the tails of the bell curve.
Not to change the subject, but if so, that's a sad commentary on the current state of the education industry. I first heard the term--along with mean, median, mode, and standard deviation, in a statistics unit in junior high math class.

And I'm not really that old.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Not to change the subject, but if so, that's a sad commentary on the current state of the education industry. I first heard the term--along with mean, median, mode, and standard deviation, in a statistics unit in junior high math class.

And I'm not really that old.
We teach it in grades 5-up still, at least in Alaska. Or, more correctly, we're supposed to, and the schools I've worked in do so. But we're so busy trying to jam so much in that it's not sticking. Too much to teach, too little time to teach it.

If I go further into why, I'll violate the "no politics" rule.

The applicability to D&D - we can't presume that everyone, even on EnWorld, has retained that specialized mathematical vocabulary. Hell, we can't even presume they're out of high school.
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
We teach it in grades 5-up still, at least in Alaska. Or, more correctly, we're supposed to, and the schools I've worked in do so. But we're so busy trying to jam so much in that it's not sticking. Too much to teach, too little time to teach it.

If I go further into why, I'll violate the "no politics" rule.

The applicability to D&D - we can't presume that everyone, even on EnWorld, has retained that specialized mathematical vocabulary. Hell, we can't even presume they're out of high school.
It's a much more common word than half of the ones Gygax used freely in the 1e DMG. I think I'll be perfectly OK presuming that if someone doesn't know what an outlier is in a formal, statistical sense, they can still figure it out close enough from context, or barring that, look it up.
 

pemerton

Legend
They changed the organizational structure of the planes for 4E. 90% of the time, that's not going to matter. 9% of the time, it's a minor issue. 1% of the time, it's internet tolling feedstock.
For me, this relates to my remark upthread, that [MENTION=2067]Kamikaze Midget[/MENTION] objected to, about some D&Ders apparently caring more for minor details than thematic resonance.

The organisational structure of the planes seems to me, in and of itself, one of the lesser elements of a cosmology. Changing it around is like drawing a new map for some other campaign element. (And the 4e MoP had a one-page sidebar explaining how to redraw the map to get the Great Wheel back.)

What I think is more important, in the question of fidelity or revision to what has gone before, is whether a designer is starting from scratch, or trying to work with what came before. To my mind there is no doubt that the 4e designers saw themselves as falling into the second camp, and were correct to do so. Worlds & Monsters even sets out their methodology (and it is the openness about methodology that makes me regard W&M as one of the best GM guides put out for D&D, because it is the only one that addresses the use of story elements for story purposes from a metagame rather than an ingame framework).
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Have you shown evidence of being a reasonable person? From people's reactions, it seems you have not.
I'm reasonably sure that his moderator status and his previous 13,000 well-received posts aren't because he's a total nutjob. :)
 
For me, this relates to my remark upthread, that @Kamikaze Midget objected to, about some D&Ders apparently caring more for minor details than thematic resonance.
Here I'm going to to disagree with you. KM seems to find thematic resonance in certain details.

The organisational structure of the planes seems to me, in and of itself, one of the lesser elements of a cosmology. Changing it around is like drawing a new map for some other campaign element. (And the 4e MoP had a one-page sidebar explaining how to redraw the map to get the Great Wheel back.)
This is IMO a misunderstanding for two reasons.

First is that a didactic symmetric cosmology is a thematic element of the setting. That the cosmology is specifically a symmetric wheel and that you can infer elements of the cosmology just by looking at the chart is a thematic element of the setting. They are thematic elements I don't happen to like but this certainty and didacticism is a definite thematic element.

The difference isn't my problem.

My problem is that neither setting is designed with alternate interpretations in mind.

Which is exactly comparable. 2e preseumed that everyone use the 2e cosmology, 4e presumed that everyone use the 4e cosmology, 5e looks to be presuming that everyone use the 5e cosmology and all of these are a problem for exactly the same reason: not everyone's going to want to use that cosmology.
I disagree that this was true about 4e; most of the cosmology was not presented as symmetric diagrams and lists but as legends. Stories of the sort you'd tell children. I no more get the impression that you are meant to presume that 4e's cosmology as presented in the books is true (other than that the planes you can reach exist) than you're meant to assume that any given mythology in the world you are playing in is true unless the deities choose to manifest. The details are left to the GM. 4e's is set up as legends without a necessary interpretation so to say that it's not designed with alternate interpretations in mind is to largely miss the point.

3e's presumption of people using the 3e cosmology was quite a bit lighter (the Manual of the Planes has all sorts of advice for adapting your game to places with different planar structures,
4e's shows you how to draw the planar structure, but assumes the exact planar structure is something that serves the GM not the other way round.
 

Nivenus

Villager
I disagree that this was true about 4e; most of the cosmology was not presented as symmetric diagrams and lists but as legends. Stories of the sort you'd tell children. I no more get the impression that you are meant to presume that 4e's cosmology as presented in the books is true (other than that the planes you can reach exist) than you're meant to assume that any given mythology in the world you are playing in is true unless the deities choose to manifest. The details are left to the GM. 4e's is set up as legends without a necessary interpretation so to say that it's not designed with alternate interpretations in mind is to largely miss the point.

4e's shows you how to draw the planar structure, but assumes the exact planar structure is something that serves the GM not the other way round.
Mmm... maybe that's true insofar as the Nentir Vale setting or generic play is concerned, but there was definitely a push early on to make it a core cosmology as universally true as the Great Wheel during 2e. The Forgotten Realms' World Tree cosmology was completely tossed to the side and rearranged to conform to a particular version of the World Axis and if the reaction against 4e's changes to FR hadn't been so drastic, it doesn't seem altogether unlikely WotC would have pushed the cosmology onto other settings as well (instead, Eberron transitioned from 3e to 4e mostly unchanged and a lot of the details of Dark Sun's cosmology were left deliberately vague).

So I think Kamikaze Midget's assertion that 4e's cosmology was intended to be universally applicable (and indeed expected), just like 2e's, is actually quite true.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
I'm reasonably sure that his moderator status and his previous 13,000 well-received posts aren't because he's a total nutjob. :)
I see no evidence of moderator status on Pemerton. That said, I tend not to look outside a given thread for whether someone's being reasonable, and I've plenty of experience with unreasonable moderator staff on various boards. Many accuse me of it, at that. His posts in thread don't seem terribly reasonable, and do seem a bit inflexible.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
For me, this relates to my remark upthread, that [MENTION=2067]Kamikaze Midget[/MENTION] objected to, about some D&Ders apparently caring more for minor details than thematic resonance.

The organisational structure of the planes seems to me, in and of itself, one of the lesser elements of a cosmology. Changing it around is like drawing a new map for some other campaign element. (And the 4e MoP had a one-page sidebar explaining how to redraw the map to get the Great Wheel back.)

What I think is more important, in the question of fidelity or revision to what has gone before, is whether a designer is starting from scratch, or trying to work with what came before. To my mind there is no doubt that the 4e designers saw themselves as falling into the second camp, and were correct to do so. Worlds & Monsters even sets out their methodology (and it is the openness about methodology that makes me regard W&M as one of the best GM guides put out for D&D, because it is the only one that addresses the use of story elements for story purposes from a metagame rather than an ingame framework).
Without wanting to get drawn into this, I disagree that the changes 4e imposed on many classic elements of D&D, including the planes and creatures therein, can't reasonably be called "minor details" given the scope of it all and how it was impressed onto the various settings. No Blood War in core so no Blood War in settings; archons are evil elementals, guardinals don't exist, and eladrin are now blink elves rather than a race of CG outsiders - doesn't matter if those elements have extensive involvement in various settings, it's that way in core and must be that way in the settings, etc. The organizational structure changes were paltry compared to the pervasive infusion of core PoL setting material into the planes (or alternatively a random hodgepodge of 1e/2e/3e Great Wheel planar material inserted into the World Axis oftentimes without the original context intact).

That said, I see it as having been more the former rather than the latter of the two camps you mention above: a presentation of 'this is what D&D is now'. They've moved back from that rather severely with 5e (it being enough remains to be seen I suppose, but the effort is there).
 

pemerton

Legend
Here I'm going to to disagree with you. KM seems to find thematic resonance in certain details.

<snip>

a didactic symmetric cosmology is a thematic element of the setting. That the cosmology is specifically a symmetric wheel and that you can infer elements of the cosmology just by looking at the chart is a thematic element of the setting.
I see your point. But I think this aspect of the Great Wheel, while important in Planescape, and perhaps in some other 2nd ed AD&D play (? for me this is just specuation, due to my lack of evidence & experience), was not very important in 1st ed AD&D.

For instance, nothing in PHB Appendix IV or DDG suggests that the symmetric cosmology is meant to play a didactic function, as opposed to being just a convenient arrangement by reference to alignment.

I see no evidence of moderator status on Pemerton. That said, I tend not to look outside a given thread for whether someone's being reasonable, and I've plenty of experience with unreasonable moderator staff on various boards. Many accuse me of it, at that. His posts in thread don't seem terribly reasonable, and do seem a bit inflexible.
I'm confused. Your original comment about reasonableness referred to [MENTION=2067]Kamikaze Midget[/MENTION] (who is a moderator, as per his profile description in the uppper left of his posts). This is what [MENTION=205]TwoSix[/MENTION] was responding to.
 

pemerton

Legend
Without wanting to get drawn into this, I disagree that the changes 4e imposed on many classic elements of D&D, including the planes and creatures therein, can't reasonably be called "minor details" given the scope of it all and how it was impressed onto the various settings. No Blood War in core so no Blood War in settings
Huh?

Is the Blood War mentioned in the 3E or 3.5 MMs? I don't remember it being very prominent in either. The Blood War is discussed in muliple 4e sourcebooks, including The Manual of the Planes, The Plane Above and the Demonomicon. So I'm confused as to what you mean by "no Blood War in settings".

archons are evil elementals
I already discussed this above - evil elementals aren't a re-imagining of Jeff Grubb's archons, they're a re-use of the old label for a new creature. There is nothing in 4e that would stop a fan of the old archons continuing to use them as servants of Moradin and Bahamut.

guardinals don't exist
Likewise, nothing in 4e stops anyone using "guardinals" as servitors of Pelor in Hestavar.

eladrin are now blink elves rather than a race of CG outsiders
ANd this is an instance of exactly what I'm talking about. Eladrin in 4e are a race of mercurial fey beings who live on another plane that is (on balance) a plane of light rather than shadow. They are inherently magical - like many eladrin in 3E, they can teleport themselves, and have other magical abilities too (I refer you to the eladrin entries in the 4e MM and MM2).

This is not an abaondoning or "disrespecting" of what has gone before. It is a re-presentation of it.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
This thread keeps cropping up as having new replies in my settings, but doesn't. Thread is a liar.

Actually...there's a new post visible right now, under Topic Review (newest first) that wasn't visible earlier. But it's two days old. Weird.
 

Nivenus

Villager
I already discussed this above - evil elementals aren't a re-imagining of Jeff Grubb's archons, they're a re-use of the old label for a new creature. There is nothing in 4e that would stop a fan of the old archons continuing to use them as servants of Moradin and Bahamut.
Except using the same name does confuse things (I'm not sure why you'd claim otherwise). It means that if you use pre-4e archons you've got to rename them... or go the extra mile to explain, yes, these are archons but they're not the same archons. In fact, they're nothing like those other archons who happen to share the same name. Don't worry. It makes sense.

And this is an instance of exactly what I'm talking about. Eladrin in 4e are a race of mercurial fey beings who live on another plane that is (on balance) a plane of light rather than shadow. They are inherently magical - like many eladrin in 3E, they can teleport themselves, and have other magical abilities too (I refer you to the eladrin entries in the 4e MM and MM2).
Except that's a major simplification of 4e eladrin vs. pre-4e eladrin. One's a celestial race with intrinsic dies to chaotic good deities. One's high elves with some extra magic. And that's not an exaggeration - in the Forgotten Realms 4e eladrin are moon elves and sun elves... and celestial eladrin (who were apparently the same race all along, but no one knew).

I'm not comfortable with the word "disrespect" in this context, but it certainly is more than just a representation of the same material. There were some major rewrites of the lore going on and it wasn't just Planescape fans who were disgruntled by it. The FR Wiki (which I started editing around 4e's release) damn well considered ignoring the entire edition. We're still dealing with repercussions now six years later, including an editionless policy that makes some of our articles a nigh incomprehensible mess. Even the Eberron Wiki, on my last check, is remarkably shy of 4e material, despite the minimal impact 4e had on that setting.

I think what you - and some other posters - are perceiving as "Planescape fans demanding special treatment for their lore" is actually a much wider phenomenon: which is that fans of published campaign settings don't like to see the boat rocked very much, if at all. Planescape fans don't like it, Realms fans don't like it, Greyhawk fans don't like it, Eberron fans don't like it, etc. It's not a Planescape thing. It's a setting fan thing. The only reason it looks like a Planescape thing is because we're talking specifically about the planes.
 
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pemerton

Legend
Except using the same name does confuse things (I'm not sure why you'd claim otherwise).
Who is confused?

You don't seem to be. Nor does [MENTION=11697]Shemeska[/MENTION]. I am not (and I have a copy of Jeff Grubb's MotP, which I bought and where I first read about archons in 1987).

James Ward's DDG repurposed the concept of "Titan" to describe the mostly evil proto-gods of Greek Myth (as opposed to the mostly noble and generous quasi-divine giants of the 1st ed D&D MM). Somewhere - I think in Jeff Grubb's MotP - there was a brief explanation of how the word "Titan" did double duty. I don't think many people suffered from serious confusion.

It means that if you use pre-4e archons you've got to rename them... or go the extra mile to explain, yes, these are archons but they're not the same archons. In fact, they're nothing like those other archons who happen to share the same name. Don't worry. It makes sense.
To whom are you making this explanation? Players who have read the 4e MM (or are using Arcane Power to build a summoning wizard), and hence have learned what 4e archons are, but who aren't familiar with the prior material, but with whom you want to use the prior material? How many players are in that category? How many times did you have this problem in the course of your 4e campaigns?

Until your post I hadn't even turned my mind to this confusion issue, but now that I have I don't see that confusion is going to be very rife.

Except that's a major simplification of 4e eladrin vs. pre-4e eladrin. One's a celestial race with intrinsic dies to chaotic good deities. One's high elves with some extra magic. And that's not an exaggeration - in the Forgotten Realms 4e eladrin are moon elves and sun elves... and celestial eladrin (who were apparently the same race all along, but no one knew).
I don't know very much about the ins-and-outs of FR lore either pre- or post-4e.

But personally, I don't see a major difference between "celestial race" (= magical race with a few bells and whistles) of pseudo-elves with intrinsic ties to CG deities, and "magical race" with intrinsic ties to the deities of Arvandor (which was, in Planescape-oriented presentations, a CG plane).

I'm not comfortable with the word "disrespect" in this context, but it certainly is more than just a representation of the same material. There were some major rewrites of the lore going on and it wasn't just Planescape fans who were disgruntled by it.
It isn't certainly more than just a representation of the same material. What is changing the nature of a mercurial, magical elven race from "celestial" to "fey" but a new presentation of earlier material? It is not making up something new from whole cloth.

There's room for discussion about how faithful West Side Story is to Romeo and Juliet, and whether the change in the ending is better, worse or just different - but to say that because the setting is moved from Italy to NYC it simply can't count as a reworking of the older material would be silly. Being set in Italy, rather than NYC, just isn't so integral to Romeo and Juliet that you can't keep the gist yet lose that feature. My view is that identifying the essence of Eladrin with game-mechanical concepts like "celestial" rather than "fey", as opposed to story/thematic concepts like "mercurial, otherworldly elven beings" which are preserved in 4e, is precisely the sort of thing I talked about upthread: a focus on minor details rather than thematic resonance and story function.

fans of published campaign settings don't like to see the boat rocked very much
I'm sure that's true. But that doesn't rebut my point. From my point of view it might rather be a confirmation of it.

Furthermore, D&D isn't a "published campaign setting": it is not a work of fiction. The story elements published in the core D&D books - monsters, PC backgrounds and classes, etc - are intended for use by D&D players to create their own works of fiction. (Of course, some players aren't as interested in the story elements as the more nitty-gritty challenge elements, which is fine too.) At most, they carry hints of theme or content for players to pick up and adapt to their own purposes. (See eg the interesting current thread "Evil enough", about tiefling warlock backstory.) In presenting this sort of stuff, it's fine for designers to be inspired by what came before but I at least want them to produce the best that they can. Not simply to republish a recap of what came before with a few extra additions, like some never-ending chain novel. People who love the old versions still have their old books to read.
 

Vic Ferrari

Villager
James Ward's DDG repurposed the concept of "Titan" to describe the mostly evil proto-gods of Greek Myth (as opposed to the mostly noble and generous quasi-divine giants of the 1st ed D&D MM). Somewhere - I think in Jeff Grubb's MotP - there was a brief explanation of how the word "Titan" did double duty. I don't think many people suffered from serious confusion.

Do you not find it a bit odd to have a race of Lawful Good Celestials and Evil Elementals called the same thing?
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
I'm confused. Your original comment about reasonableness referred to [MENTION=2067]Kamikaze Midget[/MENTION] (who is a moderator, as per his profile description in the uppper left of his posts). This is what [MENTION=205]TwoSix[/MENTION] was responding to.
There was an assertion that being a moderator gave one an assumption of reasonableness by virtue of authority, or some such argument. Naturally, it's a suspect argument, but there it was.
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
Do you not find it a bit odd to have a race of Lawful Good Celestials and Evil Elementals called the same thing?
There's a lot of stuff in D&D that is "a bit odd." The disposition of titans is not one of the really major ones that I give much attention to.
 

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