Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers D and D podcast
Celestial Crusade

This episode: A break in the action this week so we can talk about role playing monsters, new manuals from Wizards of the Coast and more.

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8 Comments

  1. April 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm — Reply

    Don’t say you hate Sir Brentzen the Bold! He and Orem are my favorites.
    Orem really roleplayed it up last episode. Stephen seems to have needed the time away from him.

  2. Chris Sanders
    April 24, 2011 at 4:15 am — Reply

    I’ve been listening to the Critical Hits podcast for quite awhile now, and I must say it’s something amazing.

    Requisite fealty aside, I’m disappointed with what seems to be common reaction to the idea of an anti-paladin. I play a roleplaying game where one of the most interesting factions is that of the evil knights. Granted, this game is not D&D, I still think that the commonplace(?) view of evil paladins being glib or contrite could use an update. I have yet to look through the new paladin options for 4e, but I could see from a roleplaying standpoint, this filling a much needed niche. Evil paladins, or “Infernal Knights” as they are called in the game aforementioned , have some really cool powers stemming from the use of necromancy. Long ago I thought the idea of an anti-paladin knight was reprehensible, but since picking up the Infernal class in my RPG, I’ve done a complete U-turn.

    From abilities like summoning gravehands to hinder your foes, putrefaction of your own flesh to lessen damage, leprosy to mangle the arms and legs of anyone near you, the options of the evil paladin seem without limit.

    Ranting aside, I once again want to praise the diligence put forth in the weekly production of this podcast; a true credit to the gaming community!

  3. Benjamin Vail
    April 24, 2011 at 10:32 am — Reply

    First of all I’m a big fan of the show, and have been playing/DMing D&D since grade school. I’m a grad student, 30, and never grew out of RPGs. I was listening to your podcast yesterday (Saturday 4/23) where you had reviewed the new D&D 4e Player Options: Heroes of Shadow, and immediately ran out to my local game store to get the book I’ve been salivating over since the original release date in March was pushed back. What I found was not a new 4e source book, but another (yawn) dumbed down kiddie version that is Essentials in everything but name.

    Chapter 1, page four: About this Book, “Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow is a Dungeons & Dragons game supplement designed for players who are already familiar with the game through books such as Rules Compendium and Heroes of the Fallen lands or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. This book presents the rules you need to make characters who use shadow magic. You’ll need to refer to Rules Compendium for all the details on how the game works.” Excuse me, but aren’t those all Essentials products? Why no reference to Players Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster’s Manual (the core products)? Because this is not a new 4e book, it is an Essentials product.

    I think that it is important for the group to discuss the D&D 4e vs D&D Essentials controversy all over the blogosphere. We were told that the Essentials line was an ‘on-ramp’ to traditional core D&D products, i.e. 4e. We were told that the Heroes of Shadow player source book was going to be the first core component we’ve seen since WoTC started publishing the Essentials line, and that the Essentials line wasn’t D&D v4.5, that they would continue to support core gamers with new content. Well, I’m disappointed. I’ve looked through the new classes and new races, new paragon paths and new epic destinies and all I see are more Essentials character classes with no content for 4e players.

    Check out this illustrative blog review:
    http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/en-world-review-heroes-of-shadow-by-wotc

    And I know what you’re going to say, that the rules are made to be broken. That you can use any or all or none of the materials from the D&D world, subscribe to the insider, and ultimately reject anything that doesn’t work in your game. Been there, done that. I’ve skinned so many Invokers, Paladins, and Wizards that I could outfit a small army with leather.

    What I’m doing is running a 4e game, no character or class restrictions from any core 4e Player Sourcebook. My characters are in a Thieves’ Guild, and are trafficking in magic items and profane religious artifacts in spite of a tyrannical king who discriminates against demi-humans and has outlawed ‘dangerous and subversive artifacts’. We started at 1st level, and have worked our way up to 5th, looking forward to the next story arc that will propel our heroes into the demi-planes. I’m working with a world in which the barriers between the Natural World, the Feywild and Shadowfell are thinning. I’m pitting my party against a lot of undead, Romero style zombie hoards, and loved the Open Grave: Secret’s of the Undead release, yet was disapointed that there was no Necromancer build. I was under the impression that WoTC wanted to stay away from the massive attacks per round that summoning large numbers of minions allows, but I wanted the build as a DM to throw against my players. When I heard that WoTC was publishing a new power source, The Shadow, I was excited that I would finally get what I was looking for without having to skin endlessly tweaked out characters for my NPC and would get a core rule set for evil necromancers. What I found this weekend over my shiny new Essentials book masquerading as 4e was woefully short.

    I’ll use the book in a kitchen sink approach, letting my players swap powers with the new classes and builds, but I don’t have what I was hoping for. A new 4e content source book, a new power source, and a show of commitment from WoTC that 4e isn’t going the way of 3.0, and that essentials is an offshoot. Instead I find that 4e is as dead as beta-max, the players just don’t know it yet.

    DM Ben

    Denton, TX

    • Adam_Y
      April 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm — Reply

      This book presents the rules you need to make characters who use shadow magic. You’ll need to refer to Rules Compendium for all the details on how the game works.” Excuse me, but aren’t those all Essentials products? Why no reference to Players Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster’s Manual (the core products)? Because this is not a new 4e book, it is an Essentials product.

      </blockquote.
      You do realize that the Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and even the Player's Handbook were rendered partially obsolete long before essentials actually exisisted. Wizards actually corrected the issues with the game that were around when the core line was first created. What do you want them to do? Point to the stuff that they essentially admitted had design issues in it. The worst being the Monster Manual because all of that generally more boring and no longer even has the right formatting.

      We were told that the Heroes of Shadow player source book was going to be the first core component we’ve seen since WoTC started publishing the Essentials line, and that the Essentials line wasn’t D&D v4.5, that they would continue to support core gamers with new content. Well, I’m disappointed. I’ve looked through the new classes and new races, new paragon paths and new epic destinies and all I see are more Essentials character classes with no content for 4e players.

      The paladin can take blackguard abilities. The original assasin can take HoS assasin powers. The warlock can take binder powers. The cleric can take warpriest powers. The way the rules work is that since the essentials classes are all subclasses of the original ones you can take any power as long as it isn’t feature specific to that class. So yeah there is plenty of new stuff for the old classes or did you not notice the part where it said that the 4E can take these powers in two or three different spots.

      I’m pitting my party against a lot of undead, Romero style zombie hoards, and loved the Open Grave: Secret’s of the Undead release, yet was disapointed that there was no Necromancer build.

      That actually is a bad DMing no no. Taking what is supposed to be a player class and reskinning it into a monster class can be disasterous. There are plenty of monster types and even templates that should get you what you need.

  4. Adam_Y
    April 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm — Reply

    Actually, 4E isn’t technically supposed to be played as every single monster being aware of what is going on. You are supposed to be able to cheese enounters by manipulating the monsters like that. I will use the gelantinous cube as an example. The gelantinous cube for all intents and purposes is completely blind to anyone hovering an inch off the ground because it utilizes tremorsense instead of normal vision. Tremorsense only detects creatures who are on the ground.

  5. AxiomaticBadger
    April 29, 2011 at 4:04 am — Reply

    What gets me about the Blackguard is that it’s totally unnecessary in 4e.

    Want to play an evil paladin? Then play an evil paladin! Worshop Asmodeus!
    You don’t need shadow powers to disolve someone’s organs, you just need to refluff the powers you have.

  6. Billy
    October 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm — Reply

    Great discussion. Cupla thangs:

    1) I totally agree w/ Matthew’s points about the Shadow classes, or whatever. The funny thing is that he answered his own question about why they exist: for marketing. Everyone wants to play the “dark and brooding” character. So, WotC wisely made them available.
    2) You guys are top dog leaders in the D&D world, so please be sticklers for accuracy and use the correct pronunciation of “blackguard”. Rhymes with “haggard”.

    • October 6, 2011 at 7:57 am — Reply

      2) we are far from being top dog leaders in the D&D world…

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