We have the new subtitle for Geist now. The full name for the game is Geist: the Sin-Eaters. This, of course, raises more questions than it answers. It’s a pretty safe bet that with the name Geist, Wraith is this game’s antecedent. Oh, man. Wraith.

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The final chapters for Er-Eret are coming up. That’s right, blog: I decided to end this shit.

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The latest Design & Development is about half-orcs and gnomes, both of which will be in PHB2. I have opinions and I am going to write these opinions in this blog.

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Holy crap out of butts, this book is huge! I thought at first that I might’ve been ignorant, not having read the page count in the catalog entry. I don’t see it in there, though. It’s about 254 pages, and roughly on par with some of the core books in terms of size. 

On the way home with it, I joked that it had must have character creation rules for playing a murderer. (“Step 1: Attributes … Step 7: kill somebody. Step 8: don’t get caught.”) I was intrigued enough to start flipping through it. This is quite a bit more thorough than I expected. 

For starters, it looks like they’re almost a splat in their own right. They’re much like  hunters, in that they have a bunch of specific tactics and merits that set them apart from regular people, mechanically and stylistically. Enumerated herein are also a bunch of archetypes, called “undertakings.” I must say that I appreciate that choice of word.

I’ll confess that I was expecting something more along the lines of the other supplements to annual games, and this surprised me. Good times.

Oh, I’ve also got my hands on Mekhet. More on that later.

Also, look for a post on Monday about, of all things, gnomes.

This? This is amazing. And it’s due to come out this month, even. Remind me to talk to my FLGS guy about this— he’ll be tickled pink if he doesn’t know about it already.

While I’m at it, I might as well mention that tomorrow I’ll be picking up Mekhet and Slasher.

So far, the new clanbooks have been a real treat, and I suspect that Mekhet won’t be the exception. I’ll admit that in this case I am buying Slashers because I am a horrible completist when it comes to nWoD stuff, despite the fact that I’m still quite strongly on a D&D kick.

In part, I think this is because I find it a lot easier to run D&D. My expectations are generally lower, it’s more lighthearted, and if nothing else, we can roll dice and kill monsters in an entertaining way. Fantasy is also a bit more of an escape for me. I’m not sure if that’s just because of the current geopolitical scene, or if extremely shitty things happening is just not my speed right now.

Hope you all have interesting plans for the weekend! I aim to have something more interesting up tomorrow or the day after, perhaps about the slew of new classes we’ve had coming up. (Dwarves sure have gotten a lot of top tier love lately!)

I got my gnarled, mold encrusted hands on a copy of Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. It’s the analogue to Draconomicon, and although I could go either way on dragons, I do like undead, as I’d like any other staple of D&D or the fantasy genre in general. 

It’s also aimed squarely at DMs, so you won’t see anything much for players in here; the only real content for players are a rituals and, to a lesser extent, artifacts.

With that out of the way, here’s what I think.

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I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time lately looking at old D&D stuff, including things like Planescape, Dark Sun, AD&D 1st Edition, and some old modules like Temple of Elemental Evil. While reading through T1, something in the text jumped out at me. Specifically, in the Dungeon Master’s section, this passage occurs amid a brief discussion the players’ power level:

You should sharply limit the amount of gear and treasure they can bring to the village (as you will understand when you read the adventure). If your group of players has had exceptional luck, simply engineer a minor encounter or two along the way—light-fingered leprechauns, a thief or two, or perhaps some brigands—to rid them of a few of those cumbersome gems, coins, and magical items.

Good times, eh?

As much as I love some of the old D&D stuff, this sort of thing reminds me of how far we’ve come (despite the overall decline of the industry, perceived or otherwise). The relationship between rules, the DM, and the players have evolved quite a bit since then, and this is one example.

All right, so what should you do instead? I don’t want to get too much into this. I’m guessing this scenario is somewhat less likely these days, though perhaps this reveals something about the assumed style of play. These days, I would probably create a new character, but my impression is that people tended to stick with their character. It makes a certain amount of sense, and I’ve thought a bit about a similar structure of play. More on that later, perhaps!

So, assuming someone wants to bring an existing, over-leveled character with them, instead of taking stuff away, I would probably just ask them to play something else and try to relate this person to their character somehow. Maybe they’re a relative or acquaintance. Alternatively, they could power down their PC and play this like it’s in the PC’s past (though most likely without whatever accumulated wealth and magic items the over-leveled character had).

So last time I was wondering about race and class affinity, and I’ve since come up with some data. This contains a lot of discussion of crunch and rules. I can’t really explain why I like this stuff, as this is very much not in character for me, but there you are. Skip this if this topic bores you!

Right off the bat, let me say that there’s a lot that goes into whether a race/class combination is any good. Attributes are one factor. Racial feats, traits, and powers are another. For instance, Dragonborn are viable for most if not all melee classes, whereas dwarves have considerably fewer builds for which they’re viable. Nevertheless, Dwarven Weapon Training and Dwarven Resilience make dwarves an excellent choice for some builds where they might otherwise have been average (e.g. tempest fighter, two-weapon ranger). It’s something to keep in mind.

Despite that, attributes are a decent predictor of whether or not a race/class combo is viable. Ain’t nothing wrong with having a 20 in your primary, and when it comes to classes like the warlock or artful dodger rogue, high Intelligence or Charisma render a lot of good abilities even more powerful.

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I have a tendency to like new things. The real test, though, is whether I like such a thing after I’ve had some time to get acquainted. Inevitably, there are problems that only emerge after a lot of time has passed, and the true metric as to whether I like something is to what extent those problems bother me.

4e is about six months out now, and I’ve had a few thoughts about things that don’t work for me with or bother me about 4th Edition.

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All right, so let’s talk about Manual of the Planes.

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