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Monte Cook DUMPS 5e and quits! Would he be appropriate for WFRP?


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#1 Emirikol

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:09 PM

Not going to happen….but OK, now I don't know if it would be a good thing or not for a D&D designer to come to WFRP.  Could they handle the complexities of writing non-dungeon-crawl scenarios?

 

Here's the article where he essentially told them to stick it:  montecook.livejournal.com/251404.html

Sounds like Hasbro has more crappy ideas in store for the "in the toilet" franchise.

I grew up on D&D and over the past 'necessary' years, with Pathfinder as well, but since starting WFRP, I can't stand the empty plots of those other games.  Also, I'm pretty sure those character systems are just plain "lacking" compared to the specificity and simplicity of WFRP.

Anyways, I think it would be interesting if WoD or Cthulhu authors moved into the WFRP scenario-authorship realm.

 

jh



#2 Heretek

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

 Monte Cook writing for wfrp…. hell no thank you very much, hes to gamey and cheesy. His rendition of NWOD was horrific and I never loved anything he did that I can think of.  Some good CoC writers might not be a bad idea though.



#3 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:00 PM

Heretek said:

 Monte Cook writing for wfrp…. hell no thank you very much, hes to gamey and cheesy. His rendition of NWOD was horrific and I never loved anything he did that I can think of. 

What he said.


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#4 Johannes_Tippmeister

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:07 AM

It seems to me that this would be troublesome.

The reason is that D&D and WFRP are quite distinct in their theme, tone and the structure of their adventures. What we have seen is that excellent D&D campaigns, when inserted into the Warhammer universe tend to feel inappropriate and disassociated, like they are a D&D campaign with WFRP stats, but not a WFRP campaign.

An excellent example for how this can fail is the ill-fated Doomstones campaign. There's a very informative article on this in Warpstone Magazine by Toby Pilling (1). Now, the original on which it was based on was a 'system-less' (=Runequest, D&D) campaign for the 'Complete Dungeon Master Series'. The adventures were published between 1984 and 1987 and they map onto the converted WFRP parts like this:
CDM1: 'The Halls of the Dwarfen Kings' -> 'Dwarf Wars
CDM2: 'The Lost Shrine of Kazar-Khan' -> 'Blood in Darkness'
CDM3: 'The Watchers of the Sacred Flame' -> 'Fire in the Mountains'
CDM4: 'The Feathered Priests' -> Death Rock
CDM5: 'Deep Water - Shallow Graves' (never came to print)

According to the article, the original was quite good. While being a dungeon crawler, it was a very good dungeon crawler and it worked nicely with the systems it had in mind. Dungeon crawling in D&D isn't a bad thing at all and if you get the story and the pacing right you really start to tap into the potential of the system.

But Warhammer is very different from D&D. In fact, Graeme Davis describes WFRP as being designed as the 'anti-D&D' when they put the groundwork down for the first edition. It was everything that D&D was not. The whole interview on the 'Small But Vicious Podcast' is highly recommendable and the part I just alluded to can be found from 6:30 to 14:30. Here's the pointer:

http://www.d20radio.com/sbv/
Small but Vicious Special 4 : The Writer Within

Warhammer is dark and gritty; black anarchistic British humour mixed with horror. It's story-driven and uses a narrative resolution for many aspects of the game-play. In a way, WFRP and D&D are polar opposites. To be fair, I can't really speak for D&D, since I lack the familiarity with the system, but I could imagine that there is still quite a difference even to settings like Ravenloft.

Now, Call of Cuthulhu is the exact opposite. It is very closely-related in spirit to WFRP. You can take a horror mystery adventure from Cthulhu, sprinkle some black British humour on it and you've got yourself a WFRP scenario. In fact, in the same interview, Graeme Davis (at 15:25) says that 'Shadows over Bögenhafen' was the first bit that was written for TEW and his brief was to 'write a bloodless Call of Cthulhu adventure for Warhammer'.

So in summary, I don't think that Monte Cook would be a good choice for WFRP. It doesn't fit the whole theme and tone of WFRP and also it would be a waste of his talent, since he is known to write D&D modules that are quite well-received by the D&D community. I mean, if he chooses to write for Paizo (who'd embrace him with open arms I am sure), then he could capitalize on his strengths and write for a community that wants to play modules of this type.

(1)
Pilling, Toby (2001). "Who are the Feathered Priests? A Fresh look at the Doomstones Campaign". In Warpstone Magazine 16: 7-10.
 



#5 monkeylite

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:30 AM

I might be biased, but istm, WFRP fans write the best WFRP stuff. In general writers write better stuff than fans, but it's pretty clear to me using the entire canon of WFRP as evidence, over the years this hasn't been the case with WFRP.

Of course, with RPGs generally, the line between writer and fan is a lot narrower than in other spheres, but even so.



#6 BigKahuna

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:17 AM

Cook is responsible for some of the best books (and best selling books) in role-playing of all time, which is exactly why he was chosen for the job, his reputation for success.  Books like Arcana Unearthed not only re-defined D&D but really paved the way for dozens of role-playing sub-systems that followed.   The dark matter campaign may very well stand as one of the best science fiction campaigns ever written (Star Drive perhaps being the only other real contender) and his book of eldritch might stands as one of my personal favorite suppliments of all time (and the most used).

Lets give credit where credit is do. 

 

 

 

 

 



#7 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:45 PM

BigKahuna said:

Cook is responsible for some of the best books (and best selling books) in role-playing of all time, which is exactly why he was chosen for the job, his reputation for success.  Books like Arcana Unearthed not only re-defined D&D but really paved the way for dozens of role-playing sub-systems that followed.   The dark matter campaign may very well stand as one of the best science fiction campaigns ever written (Star Drive perhaps being the only other real contender) and his book of eldritch might stands as one of my personal favorite suppliments of all time (and the most used).

Lets give credit where credit is do. 

 

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this.


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#8 Heretek

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 06:29 PM

Doc, the Weasel said:

BigKahuna said:

 

Cook is responsible for some of the best books (and best selling books) in role-playing of all time, which is exactly why he was chosen for the job, his reputation for success.  Books like Arcana Unearthed not only re-defined D&D but really paved the way for dozens of role-playing sub-systems that followed.   The dark matter campaign may very well stand as one of the best science fiction campaigns ever written (Star Drive perhaps being the only other real contender) and his book of eldritch might stands as one of my personal favorite suppliments of all time (and the most used).

Lets give credit where credit is do. 

 

 

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this.

 

Agreed,

As a 1-2nd edition AD&D player I hated what 3rd edition/D20 brought to the game and thought it was almost all total garbage (except I sorta wanted to like the Conan RPG for reasons other than the system.  IMOP Monte Cooks stuff represented most of what was wrong with D&D so if credit is due there it is. I read that he left "due to creative differences" and so perhaps 5th edition might have a shot now of not totally being crap. Either way I'm happy with WFRP 3e "for the most part" I just don't want to see him anywhere near the wfrp license.. I'm sure Paizo would be happy with him and they would make a better fit.



#9 BigKahuna

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:19 PM

I suppose if you don't like 3rd edition than it might make sense that you don't care for his work, but personally I find 3rd edition and in particular Pathfinder to be the definitive version of D&D and very flexibile and fun to both run in and play.  I mean nostalgia aside, 1st and 2nd edition has its place, but I can't really see myself running anything but a nostalgia session, I mean by todays standards its a very dated system and lacks the ingenuity of modern role-playing systems.

I can agree that 4th edition was a botch though not that anyone said it, but I think that seems to be the consensus here.  The problems however are less with the design, which I felt was fine for what it was trying to acomplish, I just personally didn't care for its goals and ultimatly the result. 

Naturally like any system there where things about 3rd edition I didn't care for but as a GM it really allowed me to create high fantasy epics very easily and was very game world flexible offering interesting settings like the Scarred Lands for example among my favorite high fantasy settings in all of role-playing.  

In a way I like 3rd edition (with specific suppliments and campaign books) for many of the same reasons I like Warhammer Fantasy.  Its a game, that as a GM allows me to develop my own style easily adding or removing elements I don't want or do want in any particular game.  There was a comfort in the fact that when I wanted add some unqiue and interesting element to the game their was a suppliment available that covered it.  For example, if I wanted to run a high seas adventure, there was a suppliment for it.  Its becoming more and more true about Warhammer Fantasy and while its a bit narrow in that its always in the same game world, it does within the scope of that setting offer (already even as a relatively young edition) plenty of options.  I love the fact for example that the expansion each focus on a particular type of campaign, like Lure of Powers focus on politics and nobility.  These types of expansions show Fantasy Flight Games understanding that we don't need random generic adventure, but rather focused mini settings within the scope of Warhammer to trigger campaign directions.

I will say this though, if you have never read the Dark Matter setting, you really should, especially if your a sci-fi fan.  Its just an amazing book, though I actually recommend the Alternity version to the D20 version but all and all the only difference is the mechanical aspects which are generally unimportant as the setting itself is whats so great about it.

In any case just wanted to say that I agree that Monte Cook is not a good choice for WFRP, but I can't imagine anyone who thinks in D&D more would.  Its a very different mind set philosophically about what role-playing is. 



#10 Noblesse

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:19 PM

Monte Cook… no, thank you. I can only judge the man based on his previous works and I do not think that he has it in him to deliver a work turthful to the Warhammer World… of course I could be totally wrong.



#11 GravitysAngel

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:46 PM

Heretek said:

 

 Monte Cook writing for wfrp…. hell no thank you very much, hes to gamey and cheesy. His rendition of NWOD was horrific and I never loved anything he did that I can think of.  Some good CoC writers might not be a bad idea though.

 

 

 

I think Ptolus is pretty awesome, but that's just me.  I ran campaigns in it for years.  It was rather high magic, because its intent was to be a backdrop for playtesting D&D3, so it had to match the game, but it was also gritty and full of interesting uses for technology.

If he could do a book like that for the WFRP world, I say yes please!



#12 Johannes_Tippmeister

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:14 PM

This is sidetracking a bit, but I feel this might be an interesting nugget of information. Wizards, and in this case Monte Cook, has been shedding some light on 5ed on their forums and they have polled the community to see how they feel about some of the ideas. This particular poll caught my interest. Apparently, the image of D&D and what the community wants are not the same.
http://www.wizards.c...nd/4ll/20120206

I'll cite a few of the results:

----------------------snap----------------------

Last Week's Polls
What's your favorite play style for your D&D games? Rate each of these on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "not at all important" and 5 being "vital to the game."
(…)

Story-based
1 69 2.8%
2 113 4.6%
3 380 15.5%
4 840 34.4%
5 1042 42.6%
Total 2444 100.0%

(…)

Heroic and high action
1 95 3.9%
2 228 9.4%
3 496 20.4%
4 835 34.3%
5 781 32.1%
Total 2435 100.0%

(…)

If you could have only one of the following, which would you choose?
Story-based 1033 39.3%
Heroic and high action 734 27.9%
Fast and simple 440 16.7%
Tactical combat 272 10.4%
Simulationist 149 5.7%
Total 2628 100.0%
 

----------------------snap----------------------

What do you know? It turns out that D&D players (well, those ~2600 that participated in the poll) consider a story-based approach to be vital to the game and - this is a revelation, almost - if they could have one thing and one thing only, it would be a story-based game, not a tactical combat game at all! A simulationist game with crunchy rules for everything is nearly irrelevant to them, even.

Wow. Who'd have thunk it. Oh my.

One point to note though - they have made it clear in this poll that they want their game to be heroic and high action. In this, they clearly differ from the grim and gritty world in which we so enjoy adventuring.

Other than that, this is food for thought indeed.



#13 Emirikol

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:23 PM

Hey at least they're polling..but yes, it does go to show that they intend to shove more high fantasy dungeon "tactical" crawls down the throats of their audience.   Of course, they were polling the community audience (the people who "think" about gaming more), which is a different audience from the unreachable masses that only focus on D&D part time.  See my illustration below:



#14 Ralzar

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:40 PM

Yeah, I was thinking the same as Emirikol. There's a surprisingly large amount of RPG gamers that do not even bother reading the rulebook. They just show up at the game, learn the rules as they play and then don't really think about the game until next session. Often, they think up some backstory for their character, but are really mnore there just to have some fun, bash in some doors, kill some orcs and get some loot. They might as well be going to a LAN-party as far as expectations for the game goes.

While GMs tend to constantly churn plans for games around in their heads. In addition, they learn all the rules and show an interest in every new publication to improve their game. GMs also seem to have a stronger interest in the story they are telling. A good GM is usually a storyteller first and a rules judge second.

The GMs naturally are a lot more active in online communities and keep themselves updated by following news on the publishers website. Just look at the users on this forum; I have a feeling allmost everyone here is either a GM or wishes he was. Naturally, if you poll this group it will give results that fit the GMs. But each GM is only 1 in a group of 3+ people.

On the other hand: The GM is usually the guiy who actually BUYS the products. Players might invest in the Players Guide or similar, but usually just borrows the GMs books if they want to read up on the rules. So polling the GMs will give them the answer to what their big-spending customers want.

 

Somewhat related: I followed a discussion on Reddit a while ago about RPGs centering around D&D, where several people mentioned that D&D was hardly a roleplaying game anymore and a bunch of people accused them of not playing it correctly and citing that they roleplayed more than they fought in their games. What I felt the D&D-fans were missing, is that you can roleplay in ANYTHING. 
Heck, you can sit down with Monopoly and roleplay businessmen. That doesn't make Monoloply a roleplaying game. 
The question is what mechanics the game supplies in order to enhance and encourage roleplaying. D&D in its current form is written from the ground up to let people play a dungeoncrawl. Then they have added some parts about how you can use these dungeon crawling rules to roleplay.

 

As for Monte Cook, I honestly do not know who he is. Only D&D writer I know of is Salvatore. But my knee-jerk reaction is: Keep anyone who writes D&D rules and books away from my Warhammer!



#15 Johannes_Tippmeister

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

Yes, that's an astute observation. You are both right of course in pointing out that the sample is not representative for the actual player population.

Thinking about who Wizards should target - the GM buying their all of their stuff or the players - they have made an obvious decision in their marketing efforts: they target the player and ignore the GM.

Note that D&D targets the casual board gamer with their 'roll some dice' slogan. It's not that they advertize creating a story, developing a character or even creating your own game universe.

Rolling some dice, killing monsters, that's the gist of both D&D and even Pathfinder's marketing. Not surprisingly, their main adventure is the dungeon crawl, which can be story-boarded like this:

"Here’s the dungeon crawl formula:
1. Encounter a challenging monster
2. Kill monster
3. Divide up the goodies
4. Repeat, throwing in the occasional trap"
(Jamison 2009:80)

Here's Paizo's advertizement (1):
http://paizo.com/ima...POSTER_500.jpeg

Here's Wizards of the Coast advertizement:

Roll some dice, kill all the monsters (collect them all).

And this, apparently, appeals to a large part of the casual game community. Some even would like to see their D&D go more into the board game direction:
http://dungeonsmaste...roll-more-dice/

So this is probably it - D&D GMs really would like to have their roleplaying game back (see poll), but the D&D community is largely happy with it being a casual board game.

I don't know, I don't have an emotional attachment to D&D. I've only played it once in the early 90s - I don't know which box or edition - and I recall going through 3 wizards that evening; They had the life expectancy of a fruit fly. I played it since I liked the people, we had fun and rolled some dice. Had they played a board game, I'd have tagged along for that too. So I assume I was a casual gamer in that regard.

I'm glad we don't have this massive division with WFRP. Nobody calls out for it to be more boardgame-like and less story-driven. My pet theory is that this is because you can already get your wargaming kick with other games set in the Warhammer world. Large strategic battles? WFB and 40k. Skirmishes? Mordheim. And then's there's card games and boardgames. This is very good indeed, since it means our WFRP stays that which makes it so special.

Lucky us, huh?

 

 

Note:
(1) Actually, I was surprised to see them market their game just like D&D4E. My outside impression has been that Pathfinder had turned into the safe haven for washed-out D&D GMs who felt estranged to D&D4E and who wanted more story and more roleplaying in their system, while staying loyal to the D&D game that they had loved since it had the TSR logo. But Paizo's marketing at least clearly steers around those GMs and targets the dungeon-crawling casual gamer.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reference:
Jamison, Bian. (2009). Gamemastering. CreateSpace.
Available on Amazon or http://www.gamemastering.info/



#16 Ralzar

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:50 PM

Urgh, those commercials.

If I want to explore dungeons to kll monsers and get loot, I'll play Diablo. Or any one of the numerous other computer dungeon crawlers that have been produced since the 80s. Doing nothing but fighting and getting loot was fun when I was a teenager and played Hero Quest and Warhammer Quest. Now it just feels like a waste of time.



#17 BigKahuna

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:15 AM

D&D is a rather strange situation in terms of how its developed over the years.  1st edition was a very simple, fairly unbalanced game system but there really wasn't much else competing against it and not much to compare it to.  There was also the novalty of the whole thing and the kind of dark and tolkenish mystery to it.  It was almost a "secret game" and had this sense of "play it in the shadows" kind of feel to it.  For most gamers who where there at the time, D&D became and continues to be a thing of nostalgia.  I mean by todays standards 1st edition D&D is not a good game mechanic at all, but personally if someone said "hey lets play 1st edition" I would throw myself in traffik to get to the game, its almost like re-living portions of my youth and I would play it for the nostalgia high alone!

Follow up editions like advanced dungeons and dragons and even 2nd edition at which point there was plenty of competition in role-playing still kind of kept dungeons and dragons under this kind of mysterious vail and ultimatly what would become the nostalgia effect for many people.

When 3rd edition came out there where several already well established competitors but I really believe that its massive popularity at this point had more to do with people coming back to D&D for its nostalgia value.  People where trying to re-capture the magic of that first exposure to role-playing game but at this point people had points of references, some who where still playing 1st and 2nd edition saw their franchise infriged on and cheapened (edition wars) and ultimatly the game in as a whole had even more mechanical holes and stringent restriction than previous editions.  4th edition buried the whole thing, neither catoring to nostalgia and so different from any other edition it was barely even reckgonizable as D&D.  This is why so many people hate the franchise right now.  D&D is a classic name, but 3rd and 4th edition are not part of this legacy that made it so, they are just follow ups like really bad sequals or remakes to classic movies that where trying to ride on the coat tails of past game systems.

To me personally WFRP 3.0 is almost a far truer successor to D&D than any other game I have played because oddly enough even through its modern design it creates that vail of mystery, that unique and special element and feeling I got when I played 1st edition in my youth.  I think above all else this is why I love it.

The people managing games like 4th edition and Pathfinder are really out of touch with their audiance in the sense that they think their is some kind of mutation of a modern D&D player, but this doesn't exist.  Classic D&D players don't want anything to do with 4th edition and modern role-players that cut their teeth on other systems see its countless mechanical and philosophical flaws in the face of modern rpg game design.  Really whats left is what the 4th community is today, a mis-mash of people who bought into the games concept.  My personal experiance however is that even people who play 4th edition seemed to be disilussioned by it as they try to force the system to do things its not really designed to do, most noteably storytelling.  Its why 4th edition never really even became part of the D&D legacy and why 5th edition has been announced as a game design that will (direct quote here) "one of the goals of the new iteration of Dungeons & Dragons was to unite the editions".  All I have to say to that is no **** sherlock!

Its amazing to me that Wizards of the Coast can be so out of touch with the history of its own franchise and that they have managed it this poorly, but my hope is that 5th edition will perhaps return to its roots, not just as a catch phrase, but in actual application of the rules and narrative focus of 1st edition but using modern game design as is seen in WFRP 3.0.  If they do that, they might have something.  Needless to say Im not holding my breath and frankly I have spent more money on WFRP 3.0 already than any other single system I have played in the last I don't even know how many years and I can't get enough of it.



#18 Emirikol

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:38 AM

I concur and I got banned from RPG.net for essentially saying the same thing that you just did.  The sensitivity about edition warring is worse than it is for WFRP ;)

 

jh






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