Wednesday, March 3, 2010

News and Notes (Updated)

As a news note the March upgrades for the Character Builder and Adventure Tools are now available. The new source material (Martial Power 2) is included plus a smattering of fixes, this is the first substantial update following the annual Christmas holiday slow-down time. My personal bugaboo - the print limit on journal entries - is not fixed yet, but too be fair most of the open issues are for stuff that is pretty esoteric (known issues list here). As such I don't think there is anything that affects us as first level characters.

I did notice that character sheets now include a power card that includes all 17 of the skills and their score. Of course this information is on page one of the character sheet, but I think I might start including this on the initiative card that each player has. The real point of the power cards on the last page or two (or three) of your character sheet is so that each player can cut them out and use them in a fashion similar to Magic Cards.

You can actually buy decks of power cards - Brian and I were each given a deck when we were at Gencon last year. But like Magic Cards any deck of Power Cards will quickly become outdated and incomplete as new material is released (I just looked at my box of Wizard Power Cards and the cards are still in their wrapper). In fact the Wizards product list (here) shows a release of several new decks of power cards in mid-February.

Fortunately the CB tool allows every player to review and choose from all available powers, weapons, and magic items and then include only what they need on their character sheet. Of course as first level characters we each have a relatively small set of powers to sort through so not cutting them out but just leaving them collected all on one or two sheets make sense for now. Maybe later, once characters start accruing levels and the requisite powers, weapons, and magic items that go with that, I suppose one might feel differently.

I mentioned something in the previous Into The Crypt post that as I thought about it later required more commentary. This past Sunday, despite our usual tardy start and then later going in a direction for which I had not prepared, the party got through (almost) two complete encounters, and we still finished before 10:00. Obviously every encounter takes on a life of its own, and getting through more than one encounter per night is not really a goal, but it is also obvious that we have been getting through encounters a little quicker every week.

The encounters aren't getting easier, but we've had no character deaths for a few weeks now, although someone does get bloodied every week. I'm sure my DM'ing doesn't help, but we are generally down to one or two longer discussions of rules minutia per session as well. All I am saying is that we are starting to slowly move beyond just focusing on the mechanic and getting back to more of a role-playing mode ... pretty much like we thought would happen when we started.

Update: On the CB splash screen there is a one line comment that innocuously mentions that errata is included in the update to the CB tool. Wizards published the list of corrections here. The PDF list of changes is 84(!) pages in length. Technically, the changes are being made to specific books, so specific book names and page numbers are given to reflect where the changes are being made, but most of the changes flow into the DDI tools as well.

Most of the changes appear to be wording clarifications as opposed to actual changes in rules. Wizards had the same problems when Magic:The Gathering came out where a lot of rules had to be revised and clarified to not only keep everyone on the same page but to attempt to discern what the true intention as to the rule in question.

Unfortunately, sweeping in this many changes at one time can be risky and Mark found out that some of his Channel:Divinity powers simply disappeared at Level 2. Apparently this is a known problem and a fix is being worked on. Twice that I know of Wizards has put out an interim update for a crucial fix - the interim update does not count against your upgrades per month limit though.

As for us we will likely be leveling up in the next 2-4 weeks and when new character sheets are printed out you will get the updates if any of the changes should affect any of the powers or equipment your character might have.

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