Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Level Up

DDI Tools

The monthly upgrades for the DDI tools - Character Builder and Adventure Tools - are now available for download. I don't think there is anything in there particularly necessary for our current adventure, but there are always some level of bug fixes that may touch something we are not aware of. The opening splash screen lists the new material included and includes a link to the list of known bugs.

One bug that specifically vexes me is that the journal will only print the top 6-7 lines of text. You can cut and paste in a page of text and you can view the complete journal text in the CB tool, but when printing a character sheet only the top few lines appear. This is included as a known bug, but I will concede that this is a comparatively minor issue. Most of the listed bugs involve higher level race and class interactions and are likely to be given a slightly higher priority.

Leveling Up

As I stated in the previous post at the completion of the next encounter all the party members will have earned enough XP to be able to move up to level 2. I went through every character and at the next level everyone will gain the following:

A Utility Power
An additional Feat

The list of Utility Powers is included in the PHB, and let's please stick with the decision to only use powers available in the PHB. Utility Powers are generally class-specific, so each of you should spend some time reviewing the list in preparation for choosing one that you feel will fit best with your character.

Feats are a little different. The choices for Feats are large and varied. For instance, a Dwarf Fighter can pick a Feat available to either a Dwarf or a Fighter. There are also more generic Feats, such gaining proficiency in wearing armor or wielding a weapon, or improving the proficiency you might already have. There are also Feat's for improving or adding a skill. Chapter 6 of the PHB that covers feats in more detail.

Update: An extended rest is needed before the effects of leveling up can take affect.

New Material

Wizards has a full schedule of material to be released in 2010 (here). The most interesting of these is the Rules Compendium. It is essentially an updated PHB - but without the innumerable lists of powers, feats, etc. It is just the rules, including all the post-PHB rules updates, corrections, and tweaks accumulated over the past two years. Paperback cover, 320 pages, for $19.95, available in September.

Wizards is insistent this is not 4.5E, but I tend to think of it as a likely 4.1E. Wizards did a lot of playtesting before releasing 4E, but no matter how much playtesting was done once it was released to the world numerous problems and weaknesses were going to be identified. Wizards has maintained a list of rules corrections and updates and some of the corrections are providing via access to the DDI tools, but at some point a new basic rules book was going to have to be compiled and published.

Yes, it is one more thing to sell, but I also think there is a desire to keep all 4E players on more-or-less the same page. Look at us - we are playing by strict PHB1 rules only. There are likely other groups who are playing with their own less-than-up-to-date rules variations as well. Some people will never access the DDI tools or buy more than the initial set of core books. This seems like a clever way for Wizards to put their rules flag in the ground and ask everybody to meet at that point.

This also begs the question as the what is Wizards going to publish going forward. We are overflowing in races and classes now, and I am not sure how many more class "builds" or powers we need - and that stuff just flows into the DDI tool and we can access it without having to buy the book anyway. I guess I would initially expect more of the same (Martial Power II), but I think we will likely see more "world" books (Dark Sun) and adventures going forward.

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