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Role Playing (Games) Books Media Book Reviews

30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of D&D 329

Posted by timothy
from the no-seriously-was-it-good? dept.
Aeonite (Michael Fiegel) writes "When I was in fourth grade, my teacher once made the class grade each other's papers. As she read off answers, I stared in horror at the paper I had been given from the girl next to me. Every answer was wrong. Every one. By the time I had ticked off the 30th incorrect answer, I was practically in tears. I felt responsible, somehow, for the problems on the page. It would not be her fault that she failed, but rather my own fault for calling attention to her flaws. I felt ashamed. I felt awful. That was twenty years ago. I've gotten over it. That said, I have purposely not read any other reviews of the new 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons coffee table book, so I have no idea if other 'students' will judge this book in the same way I am about to. Which is to say, with a critical eye and a sad, sad shake of my head." Read on for Fiegel's review.
30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of D&D
author Peter Archer (Editor)
pages 284
publisher Wizards of the Coast
rating 2
reviewer Michael Fiegel
ISBN 0786934980
summary A look back at 30 years of Dungeons & Dragons.

The inside book jacket explains that "(t)his book is a celebration of that phenomenon (D&D, natch) and a tribute to the millions of players who brought the Dungeons & Dragons experience to life." When I think of tributes, I think of missing-man formations flying over stadiums, of 21-gun salutes, and Taps played on a lone bugle. As a tribute, this book is the equivalent of a handful of cellophane balloons released from the rooftop of a children's hospital just before noon on a Sunday, with Kool and the Gang playing on a cassette deck nearby.

OK, perhaps that's harsh. Or perhaps you really like Kool and the Gang. In either case, I'll do my best to lay out my case clearly, and in the end you can decide for yourself if you think my harshness is justified or not.

The Cover

I walked by this book at Barnes & Noble five times before I noticed it, even though it was laying flat on a table, its cover clearly visible to me. As covers go, it's really not designed to catch the eye. It's a book designed for rogues, or wraiths, muted gold images wrapped within a translucent sheet of white plastic, making the whole thing look like it's being viewed through a heavy mist, or perhaps a Wall of Fog spell. The title, if you read it off as you notice the elements on the page, is something like "Years A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons Of Adventure 30." The "30" in this case is represented by two 8-sided dice -- clever enough but very difficult to read. And why 8s? Why not 20s? Wouldn't that make more sense if we were trying to be clever? (Ed. It's been pointed out since I wrote this that it's actually a d8 and a d10, though my opinion stands.)

Front Matter

The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel. I guess this is high praise for the 16-year-old set who likes that movie where he drives around really fast, or maybe that one where he plays that criminal with the spooky eyes. I've got nothing against Vin Diesel, and I know he plays Dungeons & Dragons and all, but come on, folks. 30th Anniversary, and there's no place for Gary or Dave in your book? Throw 'em a bone. Hell, Steve Jackson could write a more appropriate Foreword.

For the young folk, "Gary" and "Dave" refer to Mr. Gygax and Mr. Arneson, respectively, two gentlemen who are peripherally involved in the role-playing industry. And yes, Gary Gygax does have a piece in the book -- but it was written in 1999. Somewhat tellingly, it includes the following statement by Mr. Gygax: "We were in a great hurry to get it done, and I was concerned about editing."

One wonders if the same could be said for this book.

At any rate, after Mr. Diesel's piece is an Introduction by the book's editor, Peter Archer, the brand manager for novels at Wizards of the Coast. His four-page intro is of particular interest for two reasons. First, it lays out the basic history of Dungeons and Dragons, from its roots to the release of Eberron. This history is important, because we're going to hear it retreaded and retold over and over and over again by different authors, and sometimes multiple times by the same author, on the pages that follow.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, his introduction is also some of the only text in the entire book which is grammatically correct, properly and cleanly laid out, and free of typos (at least insofar as I am aware). This book is positively awash in errors. If this were an OGL-released d20 product put on the market by a small publisher, said publisher would be lambasted for their sloppy work. I'm not about to pull any punches here because it's Wizards.

About the Graphic Design

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Listen, I'm not the world's foremost expert on layout and design. Heck, I consider myself a writer by trade, though I do layout at my day job. But it doesn't take an expert to take one look at this book and go "Yeagh."

"Yeagh," here, interpreted as a vomiting sound.

All the basic rules of design are broken for no apparent reason other than to give the book a "hip" or "cool" layout. Instead of being presented with the text at a normal 90 degree angle to the page, every single page has the text skewed to the right or the left, so you have to constantly wiggle the book back and forth, back and forth to read it clearly. And the page numbers are no help. They're little 10-sided dice in the margin on right-hand pages, difficult to read (I didn't even notice they were there until I was halfway through the book) and serving no purpose other than to look cute.

The skewing of the pages left and right, left and right, means that the text is forced to flow in unnatural ways across pages, leading to awkward widows and orphans (when single words or sentences are left abandoned at the top or bottom of columns) and horrible breaks between pages and even within sentences:

"And the best part is that as you defeat more
monsters and gather
more treasure your character's chances to fight
and survive improve."

Flowing text between pages is simple in today's desktop publishing applications. You set up text boxes on each page and then you just paste all your text into the first block. Magically, it flows through the entire document, filling the boxes. Then you just save the document and send it off to the printer. Well, you're not supposed to do that. But that's evidently what happened here. Just a wee tiny little itty bit of nudging could have made this book a billion times more readable. Consider:

"TSR tackled the task of translating the game" (next page) "into the French language."

Why not adjust the leading or spacing a fraction of an inch to bump this back so the entire sentence fits on the first page, avoiding the awkward break? It's easy, really. I do it every day.

"Every staple of fantasy/swords & sorcery fiction could" (next page) "find a comfortable home in the Known World."

This one is even more egregious. At the bottom of that first page, there's a full two inches of space. You could have fit an entire new paragraph there, much less eight words. Come on, guys.

All this comes to a head in the latter pages of the book, when numerous smaller sub-articles by the likes of Ed Stark and Ryan Dancey are interspersed with the main narrative in a confusing jumble, both the sub-article and the main article continuing on across two, three or more pages. This causes the reader to have to flip back and forth numerous times to try and follow the separate threads, with amusing consequences. I think at one point Peter Adkison interrupted himself.

Moving on, there's much to be said of the overall graphic design, and none of it is good. Artwork, lifted from 30 years of Dungeons & Dragons products, is sprinkled willy-nilly with little regard for the subject matter. Some dramatic pieces have their most interesting bits cropped off seemingly at random. Other pieces are just reversed out and pasted on black or dropped behind a red mask, presumably for a "dramatic effect" akin to passing around a bowl of spaghetti when your players discover a pit full of snakes. In a chapter on AD&D 2nd Edition, several 1st Edition AD&D books are pictured. In a chapter on the 2nd Edition Historical Sourcebooks, several cover images are used over and over again on successive pages. And so on.

Color schemes shift from page to page, with any notion of good contrast tossed out the window. Here we have black type on white, then black type on brown, then black type on brown with a gradient from light brown to dark brown, then white on red. Page 189 is one of my favorites. Heck, even the notion of simple reversed text is thrown to the wolves here: compare 208 to 211; same white on purple scheme, different degrees of brightness. No doubt some of the pages even feature black text on a black background, though not having elven blood in me I lack the Darkvision necessary to perceive this strange and cryptic Moon writing.

Even simple things like two-page splashes are handled poorly. Check out pages 196-197 (or rather, try and find them, since they're not numbered) and try and decipher the subtitle mashed into the gutter of the book.

About The Editing (or lack thereof)

I have no way of knowing exactly who's to blame here. As Editor, I could be quick to point a finger at Mr. Archer, but perhaps here "Editor" means that he pulled the material together and strung it out so it made sense, in which case he did a good job. Whoever was responsible for copyediting and layout, however, should have to do this book all over again from scratch, on their own time. Some of the mistakes made here are positively amateurish, others so obvious that it's incredible that they weren't caught before this went to press.

Some examples of typos, poorly-phrased sentences and other gaffes that absolutely should have been fixed by an editor, chosen randomly from about the book:

"My second greatest love however, next to acting was gaming."

"My own campaign world grew out of that original map that I took a half hour to draw. z" (sic)

"...we saw a merchant caravans crossing the desert..."

"I may remembering wrong..."

"1976 was a year of beginnings as the Ral Partha miniatures company appears on the scene."

"using your time in a ways that's entertaining but also enriching."

"Until TSR published that Gary Gygax's home campaign setting back in 1975..."

"We start in town and buy your stuff."

"poured over books" (referring to reading them, not dumping water on them)

"dire straights"

"silly to support two separately game lines"

"hen we released the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons..."

and the best, on page 253,

"Advance Dungeons & Dragons"

Lest you think me harsh, let me point out that these were all things I caught on my first read through the book. I'm not a professional copy editor by any stretch of the imagination, and I make mistakes all the time. But for a product which is made out to be this huge 30th Anniversary Celebration, you'd think someone would actually read through the thing one last time before it went out the door to try and fix stupid errors and clean up grammar. Sometimes Dungeons & Dragons is all caps, sometimes not. Sometimes Dungeon Master is capitalized, sometimes not. This is something a spell-checker could fix automatically had anyone taken fifteen seconds to run it.

Part of the problem (and no doubt, one of the arguments used to defend it) is the fact that a number of the typos and grammatical errors appear in one-page "celebrations" written by various people in the entertainment industry, some well known and others of more dubious fame. "We didn't make the errors," this mythical copy editor might say, "those people made the errors." To which I reply, any editor worth his salt knows that it's preferable to correct typos, fix punctuation and even slightly massage quotes to make them sound correct. No one wants to go down in print sounding like a goober, even if they typed the sentence out that way. They'd be happy you fixed it. We all would. Some of these little one-pagers read as if they were copied out of Outlook and pasted into InDesign without a second glance.

And speaking of stupid editing mistakes and one-pagers, take note of Nik Davidson's contribution on page 98. You'll be seeing it all over again on page 194. How this page got replicated, paragraph break error and all, is beyond me. It smacks of sloppiness, however, as does the whole book.

Which I will now discuss.

Chapter 1. The Adventure Begins

By Harold Johnson with Gary Gygax

As first chapters go, this is one of the worst. In fact, as all chapters ever written go, it's one of the worst, on countless levels.

To start with, the predominant color scheme in this chapter is red and black, which makes everything look as if the layout artist slit his wrists over his work in despair. Turning everything blood red does not make it more dramatic, guys. It makes it more muted and hard to see.

Then there are the stupid typographical errors. The introductory "adventure" is written across a two-page spread entirely in italics, for no other reason than to be in italics. Though the fact that it's difficult to read is certainly in its favor, as it's hardly stellar work, featuring numerous examples of the aforementioned bad spelling, run-on sentences, bad grammar and godawful writing:

"Two were warriors as could be seen by their swords, the dwarven one sported a long beard and held a heavy warhammer. The other two were something of an oddity-- the first wore long robes and carried a slender wand of white ash, his eyebrows were animated as he took in the scene. The other wore a loose fitting tunic and held a thin bladed dagger in one hand as his enigmatic grey eyes took in the setting."

Chris Prynoski's one page "celebration" (page 22) features more bad writing, including an obviously (and badly) contrived "example" of gameplay which introduces the words "fucked" and "piss" into the book for no apparent reason other than to be crass.

"What do you mean, 'What are you gonna do'? Don't I have to roll these fucked-up-looking dice or something? What am I supposed to do?"
"You can do anything."
...
"Okay. My guy pulls down his pants and pisses on the altar."
...
"I'm rolling to see what happens to you."
"Shouldn't I be rolling to see what happens to me?"
"I'm the Dungeon Master, dude."

Riiiiight. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Prynoski is telling the story sans embellishment, as it actually happened. Even so, it should be up to an Editor to say "You know, this is the one single page in the book where we use profanity, so maybe I should EDIT the page to remove it, for consistency. Since I'm the Editor. And stuff."

Cardell Kerr's one pager, which faces Prynoski's, is fairly coherent, but there are little things that suggest -- like the rest of the book -- that these "celebrations" were all pasted together from emails with little or no editing:

"Wow . . . thinking about it, is almost embarrassing. I mean, kobolds would never ride dragons!"

Other such "celebrations" in this chapter include testaments from Stephen Colbert, Wil Wheaton, Sherman Alexie and Ben Kweller, whose enlightening thoughts include one of the best collections of unrelated sentences in the entire book:

"When I was young, I read a ton of the Dungeons & Dragons Choose Your Own Adventure books. Music's always been my one passion in life. I had piano lessons when I was growing up..."

This first chapter of the book also features sections entitled: "Where Did It Come From?", which reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins; "A Gathering of Gamers," which not only discusses GenCon's beginnings, but also reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins; and "The Birth of D&D," which reiterates the story of D&D's historical origins.

I only wish that they'd included a section that reiterated the story of D&D's historical origins. Alas.

Chapter 2. Worlds of Adventure

By Steve Winter with Peter Archer and Ed Stark

The second chapter of the book is a tour of the main campaign settings that have been featured in Dungeons & Dragons throughout the years. As a whole it's much better written and edited than the first chapter, with more factual and relevant information and less "golly-gee" gushing.

Things begin to turn around when Peter Archer discusses Dragonlance, though he does lead off his retelling of Krynn's development with an interesting bit of time travel, stating that "Tracey Hickman, a Mormon, had returned from his mission abroad in Indonesia in March 1980" and then later that "Laura Curtis had introduced Tracy to D&D in 1997 before he went abroad."

The portions written by Steve Winter are excellently done, this inconsistency leading me to believe that the majority of the book was self-edited by the respective authors, without a final pass-through at the end. Winter's piece on the Forgotten Realms is fascinating, containing anecdotes and information about the creation of the Realms that I was previously unaware of, and his sections on Mystara, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun and Planescape contain similar revelations.

In fact, my only real gripe with the bulk of this chapter are things I've mentioned previously: awful layout (including some truly bad design decisions in the Planescape section, inserting one-page "celebrations" in the middle of the main narrative in a confusing fashion), and the bad editing and inconsistent writing in those same one-pagers. Some of them (Dan Trethaway's, and Feargus Urquart's) are well-written and edited, while others are disjointed (Laurell K. Hamilton's) or somewhat self-serving and seemingly irrelevant (John Frank Rosenblum).

Chapter 3. AD&D 2nd Edition

By Steve Winter

I expected this section to be well-written and informative, as the author, Steve Winter, had demonstrated his ability to do both those things in the previous chapter. I was not disappointed. Here, Winter covers not only the origins of 2nd Edition, but the PHBR Reference Books, the Historical Sourcebooks and the infamous Black Box (aka 1070), which was one of the best-selling items ever (over 500,000 copies worldwide). Winter seems bittersweet writing about these products, recognizing their flaws and respective levels of popularity (or lack thereof). Though not laid out so clearly, this sense of melancholy is a good lead in to the next chapter.

Chapter 4. From TSR to Wizards of the Coast

By Peter Adkison with Ed Stark

This chapter talks about Adkison's view of the merger, from the point of view of Wizards of the Coast, interspersed with Ed Stark's view from TSR. It's an interesting way to present the information, and is informative and interesting. As mentioned earlier, the layout choice to intersperse and interweave these smaller sub-articles through the main narrative makes it somewhat difficult to read, but here it almost seems to benefit the section's two-headed approach.

Sub-sections of the narrative are entitled "How I Became a D&D Fan," "TSR Needed Help," "The Acquisition of TSR," "Wizards of the Coast" and "Building TSR to Last," all self-explanatory as to the sort of content they contain and all interesting. "How I Became" really gets across the wonder of discovery, and "Needed Help" explains in layman's terms how it was that TSR crashed and burned despite record sales. "Acquisition" includes information on Ryan Dancey and the million dollar fax, while "Wizards" and "Building" wrap up the narrative nicely, bringing fact and feeling together quite nicely.

As a whole, this is perhaps the best part of the entire book, though as it starts on page 200 of a 284 page book, it's not really enough to save the whole.

Chapter 5. Third Edition

By Peter Adkison

As one might expect, this chapter covers the origins of 3rd Edition, discussing some of the design decisions that went into its development and covering topics such as the Open Gaming License that modern gamers are probably more familiar with. Though informative, it's bound to be less interesting to most readers since, unlike previous material, it's neither truly historical (it discusses events of the past five years) nor really revelatory. The section also suffers horribly from the poor layout discussed earlier, with numerous sub-articles running alongside and in-between the main narrative. Overall, it's a confused mess, and a slight downturn from the previous chapter.

Chapter 6. Into The Future

By Ed Stark

Really more of an Epilogue than a Chapter in itself, this consists of more graphical content than actual information. Here, computer games, "mature" products like the Book of Vile Darkness and Hasbro's purchase of Wizards of the Coast are discussed in more detail, though not with as much "oomph" as other sections of the book. It all feels tacked on, a feeling exacerbated by the fact that on page 282, halfway through the section, suddenly none of the paragraphs are indented. And then there's this:

"But things remained quiet. There were a few shake-ups, but mostly outside the RPG R&D department. Hasbro didn't interfere with us, and we kept our heads down for them."

And we turn the page and...

Um.

That's the end of the book, folks. That's how it ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper. It's as if everyone just got tired of looking at it and stopped working on it. Appalling.

Credits

As far as I'm concerned, only three people need to be called out onto the carpet on this one:

First, the Editor, Peter Archer. Sorry Peter, but you get a C. I'll grant you that it's not like there's a typo on the front cover but there is, on average, one typo or other error on every page of this book. For every one perfect page there's one with two or three errors on it. The editing is at best inconsistent. The middle of the book is much better, but it's far from perfect, and the first chapter really ruins the mood early on. Since there's no copyeditor listed in the credits, I have to point the finger Archerwards. Maybe it wasn't your fault. But we gotta blame someone, and your name's listed first. But you're not alone.

Art Direction: Matt Adelsperger
Graphic Design: Matt Adelsperger & Brian Fraley
Typesetting: Matt Adelsperger & Brian Fraley

Together you guys get a D. This is really bad. Really. I can sort of comprehend how this was perceived as a cutting-edge art book with nifty crosswise and crooked layout, lots of colors and a slapdash, thrown-together look. I just think it looks sloppy. As an art book, maybe it's quite the achievement. As a celebration of the greatest RPG ever published, it sucks.

The Price

$49.95? Are you kidding me? For this? It's worth half that, and I expect it'll be half that in about two weeks when it winds up in the half-price bin. I'm not about to take my copy back (I can write it off on my taxes since I wrote this review, after all), but I'm not inclined to show it to my gaming friends.

Summary

This book does not make me want to celebrate Dungeons & Dragons. It makes me frustrated and sort of angry that this sloppy product was foisted off on us. So much more could have been done, and so much better. Even if no additional content were added, a cleaner layout with better use of graphics and a single pass through by a copyeditor could have caught most of the mistakes I mention above, and helped make it a delightful read. But alas, no. I see nothing stylish about being random and sloppy. If this were anything other than a Celebration of 30 years of D&D I might be more forgiving, but it isn't, and I'm not. We deserve better.

The middle of the book, especially the portions written by Mr. Winter and Mr. Adkison, are really interesting, fun and informative. But these highlights are dimmed by the broad shadow cast by much of the other material, including some of the more awful "gee whiz" one-pagers and the entirety of Chapter 1.

I'd recommend this book if you're a true fan, a completist, or if you have 50 bucks to spend. I would not recommend you buy this as a Christmas gift for someone else, because really they'll probably be disappointed, and you don't want that. Give them a $50 gift certificate for your FLGS instead. It'll be much more appreciated, and chances are the product they buy with that money will get them a much cleaner, much better edited product than this.

Let's hope the "50 Years of Adventure" book is a little better than this. Assuming we're still reading books in twenty years, of course.


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30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of D&D

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  • by danielrm26 (567852) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:42PM (#10945879) Homepage
    ...wasting my every waking moment on WoW...
  • Old School (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skyshadow (508) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:43PM (#10945892) Homepage
    Ashamed, awful, sad shake of the head...

    Interesting how one would be able to apply all of those same terms to the state of D&D itself ever since, well, second edition came out. Not that there weren't some good rule tweaks, but that's where this "You need 1000 rulebooks to play a basic game" mentality really emerged in earnest. I mean, c'mon, the illusionist's handbook? "You make people see things". The *bard's* handbook? "Nobody plays this class, nitwit."

    You enter a 10x10 room. Two orcs are guarding a chest. They leap to their feet as you enter, one orc looks to the other and says "Looks like Dwarf for dinner again", and the other responds "how come we never get any pork up here?". Roll initiative.

    • Unlike WoD, which requires you to purchase 1 core book and at least 15 supplements to really understand what the core book is talking about. By the time you've figured it out, they release a totally new core book.
    • 2nd Edition (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The thing that really bugged me about all the extra books in 2nd edition is that they took a large amount of the creativity of the game out by basically laying down rules for things that people would otherwise have to come up with on their own.

      The thief's handbook was the worst one, ironically because it was the best one. They took a lot of the creative things that players had been doing and wrote it all up so all of the sudden all this neat stuff was standard equipment.

      The first time I saw a character

    • Re:Old School (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:02PM (#10946067)
      Uh? My group played 3e D&D for the better part of a year with a player's handbook, a monster manual and a DM's guide. where exactly are you getting the idea all those little class supplements are required for play?
      • Seconded. While it's true that after a while you tend to want/need to pick up more books, it's nothing more than the natural progression towards specialization. But you definitly don't need any more than the 3 named by the parent to start out, and you could probably leave out the Monster Manual for a few sessions(AKA, until they get bored of killing kolbolds).
      • Re:Old School (Score:2, Informative)

        by Xardion (215668)
        Seems like they were more bitching about 2nd Edition AD&D, which was notorious for its brevity when it came to clarifying a complicated situation. And instead of release errata or an FAQ on an official website (yes, the web was still a 'new' thing back then, but honestly), they'd release a new book. And the whole 2nd edition revised books was just the last flailing cash grab of a tanking company.
    • by Ignignot (782335) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:17PM (#10946201) Journal
      The *bard's* handbook? "Nobody plays this class, nitwit."

      I take offense to your blatant bias against all of us bards. I've played my half-elven bard, Illiariariniara, for 12 years now and I must say it is the most fulfilling part of my life!! And I read the bard's handbook constantly to improve my understanding of my bard. She is currently level 26 and I hope that within a year she'll reach level 27. She can play a mean lute, let me tell you, and will charm the stink off a kobold! haha! Once you really get into character you'll better understand why the 2nd edition is so much better and why bards are so deep. They are the master of no trades but the jack of all but they get in all the sticky situations with the tavern wenches... I'll never forget the first time my bard had sex. So before you go jumping on people about how bards suck, you should try it for awhile and see if you like it!
      • Re:Old School (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Brandybuck (704397)
        You sound so much like my old girlfriend. I still shudder at her memory. She once left her three year old kid home alone for the weekend because she had to go to a con. That was the last straw. The dad sued for custody and he won (in a state where dad's never get custody) by default because she was too busy playing DnD to show up to court. Is she still playing that LG vampire paladin after twenty five years? Probably.
      • by corbettw (214229) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `wttebroc'> on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:44PM (#10946480) Journal
        I'll never forget the first time my bard had sex.

        Yep. You're a gamer. ;)
      • by Alkaiser (114022) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:04PM (#10947618) Homepage
        I had the best bard ever. He was a Gnome. Named Warren.

        Warren G-Nome. Coolest Bard ever. I think I got him to level 6 before we finished the campaign and went onto something non-D&D.

        As "punishment" for naming my character "Warren G-Nome" the DM said I'd have to actually have a song when I cast spells. So I came up with fresh freestyle rap songs for each of my spells for the first 3 weeks, until the DM realized the one being punished was him. =)
      • Re:Old School (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jcenters (570494)
        Anyone who thinks the Bard sucks probably isn't playing him right.

        I have a Bard that I use like a jack of all trades. He wields two longswords quite effectively, casts spells, uses his songs, picks pockets, among other fun things. Incidentally he's also my favorite (And most powerful character).

        The trick with Bards is that they're kinda good at several things. Use them in the right combination, and he quickly becomes a valuable character.
    • Re:Old School (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:21PM (#10946237) Homepage Journal
      The more different RPGs I played, the less I enjoyed long sets of rules. Some of the best games I played had extremely spare rules that simply laid out some basics of the world, and left the rest up to the GM. Yes, that requires a good GM, but then the heavily rule bound games just become mindless dice fests without a good GM. In the end I often played a very simplified game with only 2 rules:
      1. You don't question the GMs decisions
      2. You don't question the GMs decisions

      And the GM simply had a fairly free flowing game tried to understand the skills and abilities of the characters and just worked out a percentage chance of success in his head, and asked people to roll on it for any given action.

      In the end great RPGs are made by great story telling. Get in a good storyteller for the GM and rules are almost irrelevant. Get in a bad one and not matter how many rules you add you just have a boring dice game suitable only for pedants who like to say things like "But it says here on page 237 paragraph 4 of the Rogue Illusionists handbook..."

      Jedidiah.
    • I think you can make a general statement that any book published by a company documenting its own history is self-serving at best, corporate propaganda most likely, and a purile mastubatory exercise at worst.

      RPG companies of the late 1970s in many ways parallel the dot-com industry in the 1990s. Start with a cool idea, driven by young enthusiastic individuals. More people get into the mix. It becomes a business. Business grows. Revenue becomes important. Nature of the beast changes until it becomes unrec
    • The first mistake the reviewer made here was reading the book.

      This is not a book to be read. It's a coffee table book about D&D. It's meant to be purchased as a semi-thoughtful gift by people who know nothing about the game, given to relatives who are into it.

      Each copy will then (in theory) be "on display" in the giftee's living room. Of course, the typical D&D nerd has a coffee table completely covered in half-painted miniatures, stacks of Japanese manga, and empty pizza boxes, so it's hardly
  • by datastalker (775227) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:43PM (#10945894) Homepage
    When I was in fourth grade, my teacher once made the class grade each other's papers. As she read off answers, I stared in horror at the paper I had been given from the girl next to me. Every answer was wrong. Every one. By the time I had ticked off the 30th incorrect answer, I was practically in tears. I felt responsible, somehow, for the problems on the page. It would not be her fault that she failed, but rather my own fault for calling attention to her flaws. I felt ashamed. I felt awful. That was twenty years ago. I've gotten over it.

    I may not be a psychiatrist, or even play one on TV, but that sounds *way* too much like you haven't gotten over it. ;) Of course, with Slashdot as your only cahartic outlet, you may never get over it! ;)

  • by bubbaprog (783125) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:47PM (#10945931)
    D&D fans cannot be burdened with the time-wasting task of copy editing. There are twelve-sided dice to be thrown!
  • Hire Him! (Score:4, Funny)

    by fembots (753724) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:49PM (#10945947) Homepage
    This Michael should be the chief editor of Slashdot with unlimited mod points, or maybe not?
  • Review? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Godeke (32895) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#10945963)
    I'm a bit confused the the focus of this review. From what I gather, this is an art book. Yet very little of the review discusses the art within. Typos, grammatical errors and orphan control are not what I usually rate my art books on (although layout is important and shouldn't be this shabby). I found the review 100% helpful in regards to the quality of layout and only 20% help in regards to contents, except when it was misspelled.

    It is almost like this review needed to be edited by a third party editor...
    • Re:Review? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aeonite (263338) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:08PM (#10946127) Homepage
      Fair enough. I wouldn't go so far as to call this wholly an art book. I'm not sure what it was intended to be, nor who the audience was.

      However, looking at it as an art book, there really is little worth mentioning beyond what I say in the review. The overall design is a sloppy-looking, crooked affair, and the art (selected from 30 years of D&D products) is used so inappropriately as to diminish its artistic value, with colors shifted, heads cropped off, etc.
  • Uh oh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by SweetZombieJesus (788843) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:53PM (#10945981) Homepage
    My THACO isn't low enough to read this article...
  • by Savatte (111615) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:54PM (#10945986) Homepage Journal
    I will roll my d30 and eat that many bags of cheez doodles tonight!
  • Yeesh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:54PM (#10945990) Homepage Journal
    Formatting issues are bad enough (and esily avoided - you get a standard template). Factual errors (like version numbers) are worse, since the book is supposed to be a work of fact, not a work of fiction.


    No "celebration of D&D" is possible without mentioning games that existed alongside it - Tunnels and Trolls being probably the most obvious. Games don't exist in a vaccuum, and the push to evolve exists because alternatives exist.


    I can't recall that many uses for a D10 in D&D/AD&D. Rolemaster, certainly. Rolemaster is 99.9% percentiles, which makes GMing much simpler. But D&D? Nah. That uses almost anything but!


    Character advancement is through many mechanisms and it is entirely possible for a character to reach very high levels with never seeing a gold piece or a single monster. Rare, but possible. This book sounds horribly like the author is a weenie power-player who only does dungeon-bashes against hopelessly out-powered, out-classed foes with GMs who prefer to please their players with vast hordes of treasure than serious game-play or challanging problems.


    I'll pit my 20th level hamster mage against his best characters, any day.

    • Re:Yeesh. (Score:4, Informative)

      by drxenos (573895) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:01PM (#10946053)
      In 2nd edition (and some monsters in 1st) used a d10 for suprise. It was also used for some large weapons, and of course percentile (MR, thieves' skill checks, teleport errors, etc.).
    • Re:Yeesh. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by servognome (738846)
      This book sounds horribly like the author is a weenie power-player who only does dungeon-bashes against hopelessly out-powered, out-classed foes with GMs who prefer to please their players with vast hordes of treasure than serious game-play or challanging problems.
      AKA Munchkins.
      The biggest problems with Munchkins is that they can ruin a good role playing group by turning everything into a competition.
      Roleplayers see the game in terms of character development ("the journey is just as important as the desti
    • Re:Yeesh. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tet (2721) *
      I can't recall that many uses for a D10 in D&D/AD&D.

      Errr... initiative? Admittedly, it was d6 in D&D, but by AD&D 2e, it had changed to a d10. Yikes. I've been playing 2e for so long that I'd almost forgotten it used to be anything other than d10.

  • by dougnaka (631080) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:55PM (#10945997) Homepage Journal
    They have infra-vision!

  • by Bob_Robertson (454888) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:56PM (#10946005) Homepage
    The players made the game. All the books in the world cannot take the place of the imagination of the players.

    I agree with the reviewer, a "tribute" without Gygax is absurd.

    Bob-

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:56PM (#10946007)
    Read the Gary Gygax interview in the OD&DITIES fanzine (issues 10 and 11 i think??) anyway read the OD&DITIES fanzine anyway, it's quite good and has the oldschool atmosphere of D&D from the 70's/80's. Yeah it's a free download. I'm not going to link to the site so it doesn't get slashdotted. I'll let you look on google for it. ;)
    Then if you can, get the Dragon Magazine CDROM archive. It has every one of the magazines from #1 to #250 on it in PDF. It's probably one of the best values out there for the money. Great Xmas gift too, btw. :)
    Also, look around used bookstores, online stores, ebay, etc. for the 1981 edition of the Basic and Expert rules. These are the epitome of oldschool D&D, and unlike 1e AD&D, the Basic/Expert rules are quite easy to play. Each book is only 64 pages, and it's not all just rules there's also lots of examples and advice in there. In fact it's quite remarquable that the editors (Moldvay and Cook) managed to cram so much stuff in so little space, and yet still keep it fully understandable by 10-year olds.
    Then look around for some of the old Basic edition modules. B1-B5, and X1 (Isle of Dread) are damned fine places to start. You don't really *need* the modules, but they do help set that oldschool tone.
    Finally just make sure you got enough pretzels/chips/cheetos and Mountain Dew (or whatever ya enjoy) and grab your dice and graph paper.
    That's how I'd celebrate 30 years of D&D. Relive it. Hell, you might even come to like it more than the newer games out there. It definetely has a style all to its own.
  • Vin Diesel? (Score:5, Funny)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:56PM (#10946012) Homepage Journal
    The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel.

    Vin Diesel?!

    VIN DIESEL!!!

    *searches in his Bag of Holding for the first large, heavy weapon he can lay his hand on*

    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > The book boasts on its cover that it features a Foreword by Vin Diesel.
      > Vin Diesel?!
      > VIN DIESEL!!!
      > *searches in his Bag of Holding for the first large, heavy weapon he can lay his hand on*

      There's no need to sully a perfectly innocent +5 Mace of Encluement on this. Just empty your bag of holding and send to the editor, along with this:

      *hands smoothwombat a portable hole*

      The editor will do what comes naturally to him, and we'll all be the better for it.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Monday November 29, 2004 @04:57PM (#10946021) Homepage
    ... in some parents' basement?

    • A parent's basement? What in the world are you talking about?

      The first campaign I played in was at my school in the library. I still have most of those dice.

      The last time I played DnD was in a well-lit living room. My wife sat next to me, and we played with the DM's wife and her brother. Our kids played nearby. (Not DnD - they're too young... for now.)
  • by ragnar (3268) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:03PM (#10946080) Homepage
    Not to pick on the reviewer or anything, but was anyone else beginning to hear the voice of Comic Book Guy (simpson's reference) in your head about mid-way? It actually got better at that point for me. ;)
  • Attention seeker.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by M_Talon (135587)
    You can find this same review, word for word, on a different site.
    http://www.gamegrene.com/node/419/ [gamegrene.com]

    That's pretty low. If you're going to trash something on multiple sites, at least don't just copy and paste the same thing.
    • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquietNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:55PM (#10946587) Journal
      That's pretty low. If you're going to trash something on multiple sites, at least don't just copy and paste the same thing.

      You're right. Detailed critiques of published works should be disseminated only when they're positive.

      Wait....

      If neither Slashdot nor Gamegrene required exclusive rights as a condition of publication, then he's welcome to push his review wherever he wants. There's no point to reinventing the wheel.

      So he saved Gamegrene a Slashdotting. Good for him. If you're concerned about him 'trashing' the book on multiple sites, you're more than welcome to write a detailed, insightful, positive review and submit it wherever you want.

      • by mbourgon (186257)
        So he saved Gamegrene a Slashdotting. Good for him.

        Except that Fark had it a week or so ago. :)
        (but still, it feels a bit disingenuous - like he submitted the link, got bounced, then submitted a review)
    • What specifically are you accusing him of, plagiarizing his own work?

  • Should this really come as a suprise? Outside of the core books (and even they could stand a few hours of field-testing before the 3.6 release) the quality of work from Wizards is always sub-par from when examined from a design standpoint.
  • Haven't seen the book, but if Steven Colbert is involved, I'd be suspicious that the whole project is an excercise in ironic humor.

  • Thanks, you made my evening.
    Excellent review.
    I saved $50 :)
    No one will call that a slashvertisement I guess :)
  • by bani (467531) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:26PM (#10946297)
    ... by listening to the classic dead alewives skit:

    NARRATOR: "Your children, like it or not, are attracted in their weaker years to the occult. And a game like D&D fuels their imagination and makes them feel special while drawing them deeper and deeper into the bowels of El Diablo. This afternoon, the Dead Alewives' Watchtower invites you to sit in on an actual gaming session, and observe the previously unobservable as a hidden camera takes you into the inner sanctum of Dungeons & Dragons."

    (Session begins)
    Dungeon Master: "Galstaff, you have entered the door to the north. You are now standing by yourself in a dark room, the pungent stench of mildew emanates from the walls..."
    Player 1: "Where are the cheetos?"
    DM: "Next to you."
    Player 2: "I cast a spell!"
    P1: "Where is Mountain Dew?"
    DM: "In the fridge, duh!"
    P2: "I want to cast a spell!"
    P1: "Can i get one?"
    DM: "YES! You can have a Mountain Dew, just get it!"
    P2: "I can cast any of these on the list, yes?"
    DM: "Yes, any of the first level ones."
    P1: "I'm going to get one, any one else want one? Hey, I'm not in the room, right?"
    DM: "What room?"
    P2: "I want to cast... Magic Missile!"
    P1: "The room where he's casting all this stuff at!"
    DM: "He hasn't casted one yet."
    P2: "I am though, if you'd listen. I'm casting Magic Missile!"
    DM: "Why do you want to cast magic missile? There is nothing to attack here..."
    P2: "I'm attacking the darkness"
    (laughter)
    DM: "Fine, fine, you attack the darkness. There is an elf in front of you."
    P2: "Whoa!"
    Player 3: "That's me, right?"
    DM: "He's wearing a brown tunic, and he has grey hair, and blue eyes..."
    P3: "No I don't, I have grey eyes!"
    DM: "Let me see that sheet..."
    P3: "W... well, the sheet says I have blue eyes, but I decided I want grey eyes!"
    DM: "Whatever... ok, look, you guys can talk to each other now."
    P2: "Hello."
    P3: "Hello."
    P2: "I am Galstaff, sorcerer of light!"
    P3: "Then how come you had to cast magic missile?"
    (laughter)
    DM: "You guys are being attacked!"
    P1: "Do I see that happening?"
    DM: "NO! You are outside, by the tavern!"
    P1: "Cool, then I get drunk!"
    DM: "There are seven ogres surrounding you."
    P2: "How can they surround us? I had Mordenkainen's Magical Watchdog cast!"
    DM: "No, you didn't."
    P1: "I'm getting drunk, are there any girls there?"
    P2: "I totally did! You asked me if I wanted any equipment along before this adventure, and I said no. But I needed material components for all my spells so I cast Mordenkainen's magical watchdog!"
    DM: "But you never actually cast it!"
    P1: "Hey, roll the dice and see if I'm getting drunk!"
    DM (sighs) (rolls dice): "Yes, you are!"
    P1: "Are there any girls there?"
    DM: "YES!"
    P2: "I did though! I completely said when you asked me!
    DM: "No, you didn't! You didn't actually say you were casting any spells so now there are ogres, OK?"
    P1: "Ogres! Man, I got an ogre slaying knife! It's got a +9 against ogres!"
    DM: "But YOU ARE NOT THERE! You're getting drunk!"
    P1: "Ok but, if there are any girls there, I want to be able to DO THEM !"

    NARRATOR: "There you have it. A frightening look into America's most frightening pastime. Remember that it's not your children's fault that they've been drawn into a satanic cult of nightmare. It's their gym teacher's fault for making them feel like outcasts when they couldn't do a single pull up!"
  • Fark (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
    This same review was posted on Fark a couple weeks ago, but by someone else, so I'm going out on a limb here to suggest that this guy just plageriazed the review.

    Now, as to whether the review is a good one? I'd guess so. Wizards has taken what used to be a great franchise, and have done nothing but turn it into the great money-milking machine +5.

    I'm not saying I didn't like 3ED, I think it streamlined a lot of things and made it easier for new players. But every single book past that has been nothing but

  • by Embedded Geek (532893) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:35PM (#10946394) Homepage
    Long ago, I had a link on my site to a server side quiz by Bruce Blanchard that you could fill out to find your D&D stats if you were unfortunate enough to personally be stuck inside a D&D game (based on Dave Harper's usenet post [google.com]). When the link died, I rehosted it in Javascript and put it up at my site. If you're interested: Try it. Have fun. Be glad you don't fight trolls in real life.
  • by PMuse (320639) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:43PM (#10946470)
    This book does not make me want to celebrate Dungeons & Dragons. It makes me frustrated and sort of angry that this sloppy product was foisted off on us. So much more could have been done, and so much better. ... We deserve better.

    We could say the same thing about our beloved game, more's the pity. We've had 30 years of just-barely-good-enough and sub-par and unprofessional and get-it-out-the-door. It's almost as if the book is merely a cleverly accurate reflection of the quality of its subject matter. Almost.

    So much more could have been done in our game, and so much better.
  • Anyone have a copy of "Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space" for StarFrontiers for sale? I hate asking at slashdot, but I figure if this review doesn't garner the attention of some old-schoolers (like myself) nothing short of TSR PDF's will.

    Kudos to the reviewer! Thorough job!
    People who write books for people who build worlds with them should know better than to half-ass the job. They should have Opensourced the text and used happy-faces for the rough images. After accepting scathing edits and corrections fo
  • Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by otis wildflower (4889)
    A negative book review on Slashdot.

    I've been wasting time on this site since, what, 1998, and I do believe the number of negative reviews (scoring 4 or lower) could be counted on no more than two Simpson hands.

    Granted, one might argue that if one hasn't anything nice to say then one should say nothing at all, but that's actually wrong when it comes to product reviews. If you believe that tech book reviews 'matter', then it's as useful to know about bad ones to avoid as to know about good ones to buy.

    BTW
  • The Munchkin Game (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:53PM (#10946562) Homepage Journal
    ADnD fills the Microsoft niche in RPG world. Like Windows, most roleplayers use it because they simply don't know that other games exist. Or they claim that it's too difficult to learn a new set of rules, yet gladly "upgrade" to d20/3.5 without skipping a beat.

    I've never understood the appeal of ADnD. I stopped playing it the instant I bought my first non-TSR game twenty years ago. I never looked back. In the fantasy genre I've played MERP, Rolemaster, HarnMaster, RuneQuest and many other minor games. Also through in Traveller, Spacemaster, JB007, GURPS, etc. My favorites are Rolemaster (now pretty much defunct) and HarnMaster (still going strong with a tiny but awesome community).

    RPGs shouldn't be about rolling dice and counting coup, but that's what the preteen munchkin wants. Sadly, that's the target market for RPGs. Double sadly, many munchkins never grow up. It's hard finding players interested in your storytelling style of gaming. They don't want political intrigue or realistic social settings. If the world doesn't have wall-to-wall dungeons with new-never-before-fought monsters on each floor, they're not interested. In the height of the LOTR movie mania it was difficult to find players for a LOTR game.

    I think back to the beginnings of the industry and wonder why the TSR competitors didn't do better. They're like the Microsoft of RPG.
    • by Morrisguy (731956)
      RPGs shouldn't be about rolling dice and counting coup, but that's what the preteen munchkin wants...If the world doesn't have wall-to-wall dungeons with new-never-before-fought monsters on each floor, they're not interested.

      Then maybe you should give them the role-playingless dungeon hacking game, Munchkin [sjgames.com] instead?
  • I remember I played a gnome who was an expert in making inventions. My most famous invention: The "insta-drink potion container. No turns required to drink!"

    I prepared my ingredient list and handled it to my DM.

    Ingredients:
    1 long piece of skin to make the straw (yeah you drink by straw)
    1 canteen
    1 bottle of extra strong glue
    8 heavy-duty nails, size "tiny"

    The guys couldn't go on. When the DM finished reading the "heavy-duty" part, they all laughed for about a straight minute.
    • by tekrat (242117) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:27PM (#10947124) Homepage Journal
      I think my favorite experience was when our Party was having a sea battle -- and the ship we were on, which was trying to escape the town, had no weapons.

      We did however, have our horses and some very strong men, oil, and torches.

      I think you can guess what happened next.

      We had the DM in hysterics, trying to figure out if you could sink the vessel by throwing a horse, ON FIRE, at the enemy ship.

      Trying to envision such a scene had us all gasping for breath.

      PETA would have murdered us, but we thought it was as funny as hell. To this day, all I have to do is get on the phone, call my friend and say "burning horse damage table" -- and that private joke will leave us in stitches....

    • I was DMing a civil-war era slave escape campaign, with magic weapons instead of firearms. The party was moving as quickly and quietly as possible through the forest while their master's sons and neighbors looked for them with dogs and horses.

      They'd just brilliantly ambushed a search party with lightning weapons at a river crossing. While looting the bodies:

      Player: Is there anything else on him?
      DM: You've taken everything but his clothes and his hat.
      P: Hm... are any of these guys my size?
      DM: One of them
    • Not D&D, but funny anyway.

      We're playing a very large game with about 8 players. One of us has gone off on their own adventure, and our GM had planned this and recruited a second GM to handle his part. These were both happening simultaneously, so we're sitting in different rooms playing.

      At one point, the lone player pokes his head into our room and asks "Does anyone know the target number for major invasive surgery?"

      Dead silence.

      (Turned out it was 4.)
  • by PyrotekNX (548525) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:16PM (#10946932)
    The original writers of AD&D really don't have any creative control over their products anymore. The independant gaming companies have been absorbed into conglomerates. Since then it has been all downhill.

    When role playing first came out, it was run by the enthusiasts. The creators and owners of the games were also players. Richard Garfield, the creator of M:TG and the EX-CEO of WOTC was an avid player of M:TG and was saddened and outraged when Hasbro decided to change his game.

    Roleplaying and videogame companies like SSI, Blizzard, WOTC, and TSR were once independant. Hasbro now owns all of them.

    Hasbro is a children's gaming company. Role playing and CCG's weren't invented for kids, it was invented for young adults. When Hasbro took control over WOTC, one of the first things they did was water down their products.

    Hasbro took a lot of cards out of Magic:TG just because they didn't want kids to certain cards because they were "A Family Company." These huge conglomerates don't care about the people, all they care about is profit. A new expansion for M:TG comes out every few months, the newer sets are practically worthless because they aren't out long enough for people to really collect them and use the cards long enough before the next set comes out. To them, you are nothing but a consumer.

    The same thing goes with AD&D, there hasn't been anything groundbreaking in the past decade as far as roleplaying goes. The truth is that corporations don't want free thinking individuals. They want kids to act like droids that play videogames all day long. Roleplaying helps develop certain key parts of the brain. It also promotes people to be more social.

    Video games do nothing but stunt the growth of the brain and can over time casue permanant brain damage as a result. All video games seem to promote is antisocialism. In extreme cases, they lose their social abilities and become a recluse. It has caused countless amounts of kids to drop out or flunk out of school. In a few cases suicides has been a direct result of playing video games. Speaking of which, WoW is now out. I wonder how many kids will lose out on their social skills and flunk out of school over this one.
  • by finder (69621) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:16PM (#10946952)
    Completely off-topic, but I contacted Mr. Gygax for an interview while I was a senior in high school many moons ago. My senior paper was debunking the myth that roleplaying games led to satanism. Although the interview was done over email, I was very surprised that Mr. Gygax was so very cordial and more than happy to help out a mere high school student. He even asked me to send him a copy of the paper, which I made certain to do.

    I just wanted to point out that he's a very kind-hearted individual and definitely impressed me during my interview.
  • First of all, any book that doesn't cover "Dragon" Magazine and "What's New with Phil and Dixie" (essentially, the MegaTokyo of it's time) automatically doesn't really cover what was so cool about D&D.

    And what about the wacky and wonderful Marvel/Toei animated series that used to be on Saturday AM?

    Overall, I'd say this review was smart and on-target, and will probably prevent me from wasting cash on this book, although, as someone who knows Chris Prynoski, I'll defend his work to the death.
  • Wait a minute... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NerveGas (168686)
    (D&D, natch)

    You use the term "natch", and claim to have a critical eye?

    Myself, I'm skeptical of people who claim to have a double-digit IQ if they use the term "natch".

    steve
  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:36PM (#10947248) Homepage Journal
    My first month at my first professional job I got to visit TSR [highprogrammer.com] on a business trip. This was after the Wizards of the Coast buyout but before the move out of the Lake Geneva office. If such a thing might interest you, I offer my observations on one of TSR's final days [highprogrammer.com].
  • *rolls d20* pleased by this anniversary
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:56PM (#10947503) Homepage Journal
    If you liked the movie [imdb.com], you'll love the book!
  • Editing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Erwos (553607) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:04PM (#10948250)
    The reviewer's comments on editing are spot-on. Somewhere in the past year or so, WotC apparently decided that editing wasn't worth the time past, MAYBE, one read-through.

    The proof is the debacle that was D20 Modern Weapons Locker. There were so many glaring typos, so many missing tables that you have to wonder if anyone even proof-read it ONCE.

    Thankfully, D20 Future isn't so bad. But, something over there seriously needs to get fixed, and soon.

    -Erwos
  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Monday November 29, 2004 @11:28PM (#10949594)
    Especially in the field of games for consoles and home computers.

    Does anyone remember Zork? The Final Fantasy series? Innumerable console games that required strong interaction by the player (e.g., role playing) to advance the storyline? Or more recently Ultima Online and the original EverQuest and everything since infuenced by these two massively-multiplayer games?

    Yes, I do agree that D&D wasn't perfect, but then, its inspiration for game designers since the first D&D game came out in the early 1970's is still unmatched to this day.
  • Synopsis: Seminal RPG company publishes sloppy book, hypercritical fan nit picks every last error and opportunity for improvement in the book in a review that's probably better informed than the source material, rather than seeing it for the obvious piece of crap that it is and walking away immediately without a second thought, like any sane person would do.

    If that's not D&D in a nutshell, I don't know what is. And that's why I love this game.

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.

Working...