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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hot topics today-

D&D4e makes collectible cards part of their game.

On the one hand I don't care because I don't play 4e. When the game was released I read through the PH and decided it wasn't for me, it had gone a little too far for my tastes from the game I grew up playing. So why should I care?

On the other hand, 4e is the new D&D, it is what people associate me and my hobby with, so I am getting tarred by it's brush. I never liked the collectible aspect of WotC's miniature line for the same reason I never liked CCGs- I like to know what I am buying and whether or not it'll be worth my money. I don't want to have to spend $7000 so I can get enough trolls for the encounter I had planned. Plus they'll all be the same troll mini, that bugs me. I like diversity in mini sculpts.

Also with CCGs there is always some jerk powergamer with more money than sense that builds the awesome deck of always win. You know what "Gamer" card game was awesome? Avalon Hill's Up Front (the Squad Leader card game). You know why? Aside from it's innovative design, you got all the cards when you bought the game. Sure there were expansions released later, but they just added new nationalities. Citadel's Combat Cards were fun too. Sure, they were basically just an advertisement for Warhammer in simple card game format, but if you bought a deck you could play and all the cards for the deck you bought were included.

Religion in RPGs.

Sure it is always there, omnipresent in D&D. A cleric in every party. But does religion ever matter? In my experience no. I have had some players that were really into playing their cleric as, say, a priest of Thor. All anti-giant and combat oriented, cool right? Sometimes. Sometimes it just doesn't work though, largely because, in my opinion, religion in D&D is by default Catholic. That means that being a serious heathen worshipper falls outside the scope of how the class feels. It really shouldn't, there is nothing mechanical about it, it's just that, as designed, the Cleric was supposed to be like a crusader knight. Later this was superceded by the Paladin, but every cleric is still Odo of Bayeux out there wielding a mace so as not to spill blood.

As a DM I have painstakingly created a realistic pantheon of gods and religious observances complete with holy days, based on my mad anthropology and history skillz, only to have it be completely ignored as essentially campaign world flavor text. Helpful for me as DM to set the stage, not so important to the players unless there is a plot hook embedded in the harvest festival. Even clerics (usually) seem less than interested in the day to day, season to season rituals of their religion.

Why is this? I think it probably has to do with the increased secularization of our society. Nobody I play with now or have played with regularly in the past is terribly religious, so they probably don't think about it often.