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It was a sign of relief to me that when picked up Midnight Roads (I can’t resist roleplaying books, OK?) and started to read it, I almost got sucked back in to the idea of running a World of Darkness game.

Don’t worry, nWoD. The magic isn’t dead! It’s just resting!

Edit: Changed the title, which was from an earlier revision of this post.

There were some threads going around about how skill challenges were horribly broken when you look at the numbers. Your average level 1 character is looking at a +8 to +11 bonus on a trained skill linked to a primary stat. The default DC for skill challenges at that level is 20, and the easiest challenge involves accumulating four successes before two failures. The math just doesn’t look good for the PCs.

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Edit: Changed the title. I posted in haste. Please forgive!

Well, blog, we’ve finally arrived at this point. I have my first substantive complaint about 4th Edition. Here it is: level 1 is a corner case in this system, which can easily lead to a high whiff-factor, particularly for spellcasters. A DM’s gotta be careful or else they can get pretty frustrated.

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Blog, I would like to offer you my apologies. I was out of town for most of this weekend, hanging out with some old college friends, and I neglected to put even a single post up explaining my absence. I hope you can find it in your shriveled, black heart forgive me.

So what happens now?

The bad new is that I probably won’t post anything until this weekend.

The good news is that I’ll more than likely have some material from the setting I’m working on that I am happy to share. I had a little jolt of inspiration while laying in bed this morning, and I have a decent amount of material to work with. I also have a draft or two laying around that could be polished into some kind of post.

In the meantime, you should go check out Wizards’ site, if only to look at the article about kobolds as well as the D&DI Compendium, which apparently went up today. Short version: the kobolds bit is awesome, and the Compendium is pretty good for version 1.

I feel like a jerk for not even bothering to read the previews for the new Hunter game. I really like most of the work that White Wolf does when it comes to the World of Darkness. (Exalted, on the other hand, I don’t much care for. But to each his own!) And I think I’ll like Hunter when it comes out.

However, the D&D monkey is on my back, and it must be satisfied by at least a couple more months of obsession. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing: by then, I believe Hunter will be out and I could perhaps maybe kind of possibly run it.

This is me doing some amateur monster design.

You see, I noticed that the lowest level spider in the Monster Manual happens to be level 4. As I recall, there were plenty of level 1 vermin in the 3.5 Monster Manual. I decided to create a fairly simple spider with a mild poison.

At first I was winging it as far as the numbers are concerned because I feel pretty confident about what level 1 characters’ attack bonuses and defenses are. It turns out the numbers I was using matched up with the default recommendations, at least for the most part!

I’ll talk a bit more about it after the jump.

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If you see posts come and go in various forms, it’s because I’m playing with blogging software. (This is also my excuse for making various little changes to the post afterward.)

WordPress’ default editor is actually rather nice. What annoys me is the page refresh after every Ctrl-S. I tried BlogDesk and the inability to create headings outside of editing HTML was irritating me. Now I am trying Zoundry Raven. It’s nice, but it also has bugs.

So, uh, bear with me.

I found an interesting article today on Gamasutra, titled The Adventurer’s Guide to Thievery. Independent of this post, it’s a good read, talking to some extent about the ways in which D&D borrows from MMOs and to a greater extent the ways in which MMOs could learn a thing or two from D&D.

This got me thinking about a post I’ve half-written a couple of times since I started this blog: the frequent comparison of D&D 4th Edition to a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. I’m mainly going to talk about World of Warcraft, here: World of Warcraft is one of the most— if not the most— popular MMOs out there, so it’s sort of pointless to discuss most other MMOs in any detail.

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This is a bit old by this point, but still extremely awesome. Arc Matrix is a post by Robin Laws. At the time of that writing, he was getting up to speed with D&D 4e and looking for ways to ensure that characterization wasn’t lost in the shuffle of a new system.

His solution is a matrix of long-term influences that characters can have on one another, with two major outcomes. It’s pretty neat, and I suggest you read it. I’m tempted to do something similar when I get my act together and start running a long-term game.

While this was in the context of D&D, you really could use it anywhere. I could definitely see this being useful in a Vampire: the Requiem game, for example.

I’m going to be a bit content light this week, as I’d like to spend more of my time reading and digesting the new books. Of course, I still have thoughts about what I’m reading and what follows is a collection of thoughts and ideas about what I’ve read so far.

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