Friday, January 22, 2010

The Year Ahead for WotC

Thought y'all might find this interesting. Some will look at this and see it as a good sign for the OSR. I suppose it is. I'm still not entirely certain, however, how you make an entire campaign out of "Tomb of Horrors." I suspect that you build a bunch of dungeons and other such out of a backstory for Acererak. I just can't help but feel it will widely miss the major point. ToH was written with a certain mindset, one that becomes clear to players who are careful and observant and who take their play seriously. Like "Vault of the Drow" and "Shrine of the Kuo-toa," ToH is a blatant repudiation of the stereotypical kill-and-loot style of play. Can you build an entire campaign out of that theme? Especially in 4e? Is the skill challenges system now robust enough to take the strain of supporting a campaign? Hell, is it strong enough to support an entire adventure? Especially considering that, last I heard, they're still built around the assumption that the players will fail more than half of them?

Of course, that still misses the point, since ToH embraces not rolling dice. Heck, even its most infamous trap doesn't invoke dice, even for a saving throw. I doubt WotC has the cojones to build a D&D campaign that is focused on not rolling dice. But I'll be first in line to buy it if they are, just to see what it looks like.

The world of Hard Fun, er, I mean, "Dark Sun" is, of course, not considered something "classic" in the strictist sense, being very much a product of the era of 2e. It is, however, quite pulpish and pleasantly twisted, and a very fitting contribution to our Year of Science Fantasy. I still regret not picking up the original, and I'm curious to see what WotC does with the setting.

8 comments:

Oddysey said...

I'm pretty sure that the Tomb of Horros campaign is not going to so much be Tomb of Horrors as "Tomb of Horrors"-themed. Plenty of traps (skill challenges!) and you fight Acererak at the end.

Considering that 4e isn't so much D&D as it is "D&D"-themed.

Likewise, I'd be looking forward to Dark Sun if I didn't suspect that they're going to eviscerate the parts of it I find most interesting (survival in a physical hostile and culturally alien environment!) in favor of fighting evil plants and dragon-wizards.

In general, the whole move towards "nostalgia!" and "1e feel!" disturbs me, because they're just so painfully clueless, and they're going to propagate that cluelessness on a mass scale.

Robert Fisher said...

Hasn’t this already been done? Is there any surprise that they’ve got yet another retread of a retread on the schedule? From what I’ve seen, the history of these kinds of things is that they are always recasting the old thing in the new style rather than trying to capture the old spirit with the new mechanics.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just not going to believe it’s going to be anything different until it actually proves itself to be.

I think there’s an even more fundamental point that gets missed here. The tomb was designed to be something special. Try to expand it into a campaign or even make it part of an “adventure path” and it ceases to be special. This is the place you hear rumors about and—one day—choose to risk everything to prove that you’ve got what it takes.

Carter Soles said...

Agreed, a ToH campaign definitely misses the point, and will likely eradicate or elide everything that makes that module to legendary. But then again, I would say "misses the point" is an apt description of 4e in general. . .

Christian said...

They can say it's 1e in essence all they want, but when I played 1e I didn't need three players handbooks and a stack of other core books.

Robert Fisher said...

Of course, I used to lug (at the end) nine hardback books to every AD&D session. Although, I could argue that at that point I might have been running thin on 1e essence myself.

JB said...

As long as people keep buying their shit, WotC will continue to produce shit.

Norman Harman said...

Unlike most (it seems) I was/am not a fan of ToH. GDQ1-7 or whatever that monster combination was called is firmly at the center of my nostalgia. Still wouldn't get the 4e version. I have the 1e versions and they work fine.

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