Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Fourth Edition of "Subterranean Expeditions Among Draconidae"

A friend of mine who, like myself, is an enthusiast for the game "Subterranean Expeditions Among Draconidae" recently sent me a link detailing the rumors and previews that have been released for the fourth edition of that pastime.

I perused the information presented and found it to be quite a revelation. In truth, I found it ludicrous; a transparently derivative pap that so clearly appeals to a certain audience that it only needs "World of..." in the title to complete the transformation. I shall share here some of the most heinous of proposals (the emphases are mine):
  • The only difference in the classes are their ’special ability’ talent trees.
  • A wizard will never completely run out of spells.
  • One thing WotC is looking at having DMs decide how much total xp an encounter should and then “buying” monsters with that xp. In addition, there will be several types encounter, including chases and social encounters. There are going to be some actual mechanics to back these up.
  • Aggro will be core. (A creature will want to attack someone more then others)
  • Magic will be more prevalent to all classes.
  • The whole idea of powers.
  • Monsters will have different versions which will scale their difficulties. The different versions of monsters will be minion, standard, elite, and boss.
  • Tiefling and Dragonborn PC races.
  • Warlock and Warlord PC classes.
These things, quite frankly, ruin precisely the main appeal the game had over games played on elecrographological machines. The original game was strong in all of those places that had no rules; a player could affect the course of the game by insulting the king, seducing the princess, and making a deal with the ogre king to take over the kingdom. (Of course, such behavior is completely ungentlemanly and is not condoned in any way by this author!) Now it seems that the Wizards who Dwell on the Coast would like to attach rules to as many things as possible. Their reasoning? I imagine it is this: excitable, caffeine-addled players like rolling dice. Embarrassingly awkward children like using abilities with names like "Darktalon Blow" and "Eviscerating Strike." They care nothing for storytelling or having to spend five or more minutes without making a skill check.

I imagine that young people who grow up on this game will no longer excitedly tell their friends about how they fight dragons, solve riddles, get wondrous treasure and rule a kingdom. Instead, they will boast to their friends about the abilities they have selected to maximize the damage their characters can do. And we already have enough games like that, I believe.

Another thing that I fear is that the new edition of this once-beloved game will be turned into even more of an opportunity to sell their materialistic game of cheaply constructed, unreasonably priced sculpture tokens. This thought is enough to make me wish to stop this line of inquiry altogether. Good night!

1 comment:

Kawaika said...

"DMs decide how much total xp an encounter should and then “buying” monsters with that xp."

Sounds like the board game Descent...

If people want to roll dice then they should play Frag.

It seems like whenever a new version comes out it ruins the game. A pox upon those addlepated fiends!