I don't have the new Races and Classes book but I did find this post on Paizo from someone who apparently does have it. It provides more insight on WOTC and the purpose of deities as well as the company's view on the subject. What is listed is the entire post which started the thread. I don't know how many folks here have the book or are aware of it but I thought for those who are interested in 4th edition (for better or worse) I would share it. I've been trying to refrain my opinions so as to reduce my bloodpressure. My health insurance doesn't cover ailments from WOTC. So here it is.....
So Wizards has a few preview pages for Races and Classes on the page. Here are the reasons they provide for changing the default gods:
Heh, what a joke. So the gods exist only for the PCs? And we don't have any grasp of real world polytheism, so we can't figure out why priests of an agricultural god would want to do stuff?
I do like how the gods were too old and tired for the new improved D&D experience. Hmm, let's look at the list. GH and FR gods aren't omni anything, so check. Both have epic characters becoming gods... (quasi deities in GH).
So that leaves 'fewer, better' deities. Except they seem to have the same old deities.. Bane, Pelor, Bahamut.... so I'm not sure how that's better. It does seem to be be fewer.
And it doesn't explain why they couldn't come up with their own pantheon of 'newer, better', except maybe they weren't 'older and worse' after all.
“We didn’t move forward in 4th Edition with that pantheon because its deities weren’t designed for the improved experience of D&D we were forming(yes, a name and spheres of control can be so utterly limiting when deciding how game mechanics work. It must be why nobody has ever converted Greyhawk to another game system. Ever.) Also, its ties to Greyhawk and its uses in 3E wouldn’t sync up with the new cosmology and mythology we’ve designed to be better for play(Totally agree there, dude. If only the old cosmology didn’t suck so bad that it inspired a whole outer planar campaign of its own- PLANESCAPE. It even had a horrible PC game made for it that NOBODY bought!). We struggled with what deities to put in the game for a long time, and many factors influenced our final decisions:
• We don’t want deities to be thought of as omniscient and all-powerful. Omniscience and omnipotence makes it difficult to use gods in adventure plots or have them interact with characters. (Yep, the deities have never interacted with characters in Temple of Elemental Evil, and they certainly had nothing to do with the adventure plot. It does really suck that the Greyhawk deities were never statted out for the purpose of direct character interaction. Actually, let me check my Greyhawk Folio and most every other Greyhawk product featuring deities from there onwards…)
• We want epic characters to be capable of challenging gods and even of becoming gods. (So true! So, Drizz’t is going to be a deity too? Hell yeah! If only somebody like Zagyg of Greyhawk could have done something like this, or every noob’s 287th level gnome cleric/ mage/assassin/ barbarian could systematically kill every god in the order they appear in Deities & Demigods! If only Greyhawk were a world known for having deities that were once characters. Oh, wait…)
• We wanted deities to be designed for play in the D&D world. Sure, it’s realistic in a sociological sense to have a deity of doorways or of agriculture, but it’s hard to figure out how a cleric who worships such a deity honors his god by going on adventures. (Ooh! “..designed for play in the D&D world.” What world would that be? Ah! It’s a transcendental concept that you either “just get”, or not! Yes! It would be so nice if the Greyhawk gods had been originally designed for play in a “D&D world”! Damn you Gygax for Greyhawk not being a D&D world! And I agree, what thief in their right mind would want to worship a deity of locks and portals anyways? If only such things warded something like treasure or an enemy stronghold! It’s a conspiracy I tell you!)
• We wanted fewer, better deities. In your campaign, you can have as many deities as you want, but in order to design classes, a cosmology, and products that work well together, we wanted a good set of deities that cover most players’ needs without that pantheon being too complex and cumbersome. (D&D has always been a simple game for simple people, but it needs to be made simpler still! For a glimpse of future D&D players see http://www.carlosmencia.com/content/videos.php?id=66 )
• We wanted deities to represent the new game and new vision for the D&D world. For a long time we wanted to design a pantheon that was wholly new, but the harder we pushed it in that direction, the more it seemed like some of the deities of the 3E pantheon were a good fit for the game’s needs. Thus, the pantheon is a blending of old and new. (So, they threw out the work they had done because they couldn’t come up with anything good themselves, and so decided to instead pick and choose deities from all of the different and unrelated campaign worlds, blend them together, and make an unrecognizable whole that the new generation will consume as the “proper state of things”, all the while alienating the customer base that made D&D the success that it has become in the first place. Brilliant!)
Sorry. Matt is either trying to explain away what he knows many people will not be happy about by trying to make them believe something that is not true(as if you say it enough, it MUST be true!), or he doesn’t know anything of the product history of Greyhawk, or he is simply a complete and utter idiot lack-wit. Perhaps it is some or all of the above. If you are going to say idiotic things, best be prepared to be derided by people who have even the slightest bit of intelligence. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
While the jury may be out so far on the new cosmology (I still want to see a complete setting/system/etc before I make final judgement), I think they made clear from the start it was not going to be the same as anything from before. I can't count the number of times my friends and I have said "I like this deity, but I also like this diety, and hate this one...what if I mix em all up and make a new pantheon for my new world I'm working on. Yeah, this way I don't have to reinvent the wheel, just use the spokes I already have. I could rename em, but it will be easier for everyone if I just leave them the same, since we all read and play in just about all the DnD worlds anyway!
I understand that from a Greyhawk perspective this is a bad thing, but step back and see that they aren't doing anything but what a thousand home brew campaigns have been doing since the red box set! Take what you know, combine it in new and (to the creator) interesting ways, and see how it flies. Most of the races in DnD were DIRECT rip offs of Tolkien, and yet in almost every world they have managed to differentiate themselves sufficiently. Sure the basics are the same, but the details are different enough that we all know the difference between halflings, hobbits, kender, and athas halflings (for example).
Sorry, but it just seems like to me we keep losing perspective that 4E is not based directly on any one campaign that came before. Sure they are picking through the best of their IP for ideas. I do it all the time when I come up with a new world/campaign,. I'm sure I'm not the only one. The difference is, WOTC gets to make theirs a default setting. Does it give Greyhawk the shaft? In many ways sure. In other ways, not so much, The same can be (and has been) said for Forgotten Realms (the 2nd edition default game) and Ebberon (the 3rd/3.5 edtition specifically designed game).
All I'm really saying is lets look at it based on itself, not based on anything else. As for the designer's comments, all I can say is he has been having to defend himself far too much from EXACTLY this attack, though not specifically from you. Do I agree with his conclusions? not especially, but I can concede that they had their reasons, and that could have been as simple as "We want something new, but recognizeable. Mix and match. Don't be afraid of killing someone's sacred cow, because in the end, they (the ideas) are all our cows. Lets get a coherent setting out, regardless of where the elements came from."
I dunno, and I'm sure many of you won't agree with me, and that's cool.
I really think that if you are a company trying to sell a product as a great new advance, you ought to be able to do better than what any homebrew DM pressed for time or creativity can and does do.
My objection here, aside from the continuous snide denigration of what has gone before that is their main marketing scheme, is that they are willfully creating a break between the fans of the now and any fans of their future.
They are going to recycle all these names, but they just aren't going to have the same meaning any more. Eladrin... do you mean CG angels or feywild elves? Devils.. do you mean LE exemplars or recycled Luciferians? Pelor.. wait, was that the GH version or the 4e version? I'm going to need a thousand and one footnotes just to have a simple conversation in a canonfire thread in the future. Until 4e hits the shelves, all those terms pretty much have the same meaning from the little brown books to 3.5e.
They may be defending themselves from attacks against their competence, but frankly that is their own fault. The marketing of the new version simply is incompetent. A lot of their ideas are good, but they are trying way to hard to seem like some hip new guy with a slick new product and they are plain just saying stupid stuff in their blogs and diaries.
This article is a great example: The old gods are tired and overly limited, but umm we can't think of better ones so we are polishing a few of them up and saying they are all new.. Almost every single article either says "Existing D&D stuff is just weak sauce and you'll realize that once you taste 4e" or it says "our players are too stupid to handle 3.5e, so we are doing stuff to make it simple enough for them to understand."
Plot cue cards? Character "roles" and monster "roles"? The stripping away of any context fluff for monsters beyond their immediate role in a fight? Maybe the MM 4e won't be as dumb as their design articles suggest, if so they are definitely spinning it badly. "Abilites and description that don't pertain to combat just confuse the DM..." Right.. *sigh*
I'm sure they think they are doing the right thing and I'm sure some or even most of their ideas are pretty decent or even cool. But this gushing like a fanboi with his greatest new homebrew rules and general disdain for what has gone before just grates, badly.
<4e may end up being OK, but many of the reasons being given for their revisions so far are crap.>
Sadly, I don't disagree with you. I'm just hoping beyond hope that we do actually get something good out of all of this. I don't mind adapting if the end result is good. I don't mind making footnote after footnote if its worth it. Besides I'll have it all memorized just like I do the current information, and it won't even make me skip a beat.
I just hope 4E is internally coherent. That's my only real request of it.
I've been thinking about what I could add to this post over the last couple of days, but having read Vormaerin's comments above I'm not going to bother. What he says is a perfect summation of how I feel about the situation.
Looks like 4e will be for a new generation of players, as none of mine want anything to do with it. They may want to stop referencing anything from the previous edition(s) as soon as possible. I may pick up a copy of the 4e core books if they contain some innovative game mechanics that I think will be useful(or if somebody wants me to write something using the rules set). Otherwise I've about written 4e off at this point, and this has nothing to do with the lack of(or inclusion of) any Greyhawk material. I didn't expect it to be in the core books anyways. 4e as presented so far just seems much too full of bad ideas for may taste. Maybe the full picture will present everything in a better light, but I don't have high hopes that this will be the case. So far as the rules are concerned, it doesn’t even sound like it will be D&D anymore. But will be better(somehow).
Besides, new core books being released every single year(let alone any other accessory books) as a way to milk people's wallets sounds bad enough as it is. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
I heard that Ragr! Just for the record, I was previously aware that others are for 4th edition or at least neutral to the idea and my previous silence was to respect their views....however....now that Ragr has called me out....Those are fighting words.....but I'll pick my fight with the Imperial Tower of Inescapable Gluttony rather than you.
WHY WE CHANGED THE GODS
This part I don't have a problem with....Matt is kinda nice name. However.....
The gods presented in the 3rd Edition Player’s Handbook originated in the GREYHAWK Campaign Setting. It might seem odd to tell you that if you’ve been playing D&D for 10 or more years, but if you started playing during 3rd Edition you could easily have missed the GREYHAWK setting or not know much about it. GREYHAWK was the original setting used by Gary Gygax for his home games. I mention that because it shows how long ago those gods were designed.
As we can see....WOTC is setting up the situation here....telling us that the deities are too old. He is right about things though....so far as D&D goes, yes the deities are old. What he fails to tell us is that this is a good thing. These individuals have stood the test of time earning their place in the hearts of many (not all) players around the world. It is also mentioned that you might have missed the Greyhawk world if you started with 3rd edition....Ah Ha....caught you! WOTC said that Greyhawk was the default world for 3rd edition. If it was, then why did we miss knowing about Greyhawk? Oh, because they failed to follow through with another goal/promise. I realize things change as you go along.....but then why did they keep insisting it was the default world?
We didn’t move forward in 4th Edition with that pantheon because its deities weren’t designed for the improved experience of D&D we were forming. Also, its ties to Greyhawk and its uses in 3E wouldn’t sync up with the new cosmology and mythology we’ve designed to be better for play. We struggled with what deities to put in the game for a long time, and many factors influenced our final decisions:
The improved experience of D&D is subject to one's opinon. Not a fact. Some people prefer 1st edition others, 2nd, still others 3rd. I'm sure many will prefer 4th. This does not make it improved....only different. As far as its ties to Greyhawk....of coarse they are tied to Greyhawk....so leave them out of the 4th edition.....and while your at it leave Bane out since he's tied to Forgotten Realms. Then we go on to say that these Greyhawk ties wouldn't sync up with the new cosmology and mythology that has been designed for better play....Then why did you strip Obad-Hai, Pelor, Bahamut, Tharizdun, all from Greyhawk? Last time I checked they were Greyhawk Gods. So first WOTC announces which Greyhawk gods they are going to use....then they say why they aren't going to use Greyhawk Gods.....so which is it? How do you plan on doing both at the same time? Now I know your going to use them....you made that clear....how do you say your using the deities, then say they aren't good enough...then use them anyway , so why the double talk.
• We don’t want deities to be thought of as omniscient and all-powerful. Omniscience and omnipotence makes it difficult to use gods in adventure plots or have them interact with characters.
• We want epic characters to be capable of challenging gods and even of becoming gods.
Umm....Hello, they are gods, not monsters to slay. When I first started playing D&D I heard a lot about "I slayed Thor with a Push spell" Anyone remember that one? I heard similar statements in school about how kids had their characters slay this god, and reach 364th level, etc. etc. etc. Somehow, I thought it was suppose to be a good thing to outgrow this kind of play....seems I was wrong again....
As far as interaction with characters.....that's a limitation of imagination and intelligence. If WOTC can't find a way to present gods in a manner other than "The Great Big Monster at the end of the Game" then they need new jobs. The deities purpose is to flesh out the campaign. They provide spells, quests through the church, ancient temples to explore, curses, prophecies, religious wars, etc. They are always talking about looking outside the box. Well do it, don't just throw the towel in and say "we can't think of ways to use deities".
Let's see....me fight god...me kill god....me become god....
If this is the mentality we are told to play....why are there any gods left? What comes around goes around. If you have PCs killing gods, logically they are going to stamp out the little buggers before they get that powerful. If the gods are viewed as lunchmeat they wouldn't give anyone in the game spells and other divine abilities to begin with. I thought gods were suppose to be intelligent, as were designers? What happens to all the Bahamut worshippers when he is killed....oh..let me guess...they lose their spells. Great way to make a game, do we think about the consequenes that this kind of play has on the campaign? Guess not!
• We wanted deities to be designed for play in the D&D world. Sure, it’s realistic in a sociological sense to have a deity of doorways or of agriculture, but it’s hard to figure out how a cleric who worships such a deity honors his god by going on adventures.
• We wanted fewer, better deities. In your campaign, you can have as many deities as you want, but in order to design classes, a cosmology, and products that work well together, we wanted a good set of deities that cover most players’ needs without that pantheon being too complex and cumbersome.
This has already been stated well by others. If WOTC need help in coming up with ways of how to use "less adventuring gods" I'd be happy to help. Ummm I worship Istus and I (much to my regret) adventure. She's not exactly what I call an adventuring deity. I can see leaving them out of the PH because of space issues, plus they should be delegated to a campaign world pantheon anyway.
Gods of Door/locks: Others said it, I agree, great for rogues.
Agriculture: New methods of farming, need to be given to those around the world....oh wait who will go....we need a cleric who can face the dangers of the world....there might be monsters along the way. Oh, a great plague has caused the crops to shrivel and die, Nyrond is on the brink of starvation....who do we call upon, clerics of agriculture...apparently not.....how about ghostbusters!
Playing a cleric in my opinon has more to do with roleplaying than game mechanics. That is where these other deities fall in to place. We do roleplay in 4th edition right?
• We wanted deities to represent the new game and new vision for the D&D world. For a long time we wanted to design a pantheon that was wholly new, but the harder we pushed it in that direction, the more it seemed like some of the deities of the 3E pantheon were a good fit for the game’s needs. Thus, the pantheon is a blending of old and new.
They are right about one thing here....it is a new game...not D&D. Others have said it....they couldn't think of new deities so they blended. Kinda contradicts the original idea of saying the gods were to old and need to be taken out and shot. You want to put them out of their misery, but then you recycle them.
You want to know why the deities fit after your cross-examination....because they weren't broken like you thought in the first place. Just because someone else made the previous editions doesn't mean they are bad games and broken.
WOTC: You want to create new rules to make more money....fine. Then at least have the common sense and imagination to create a new pantheon for your new game and leave the old ones where they belonged, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and where ever else you stole from.
So do you worship Pelor, God of Greyhawk or do you worship Pelor recycled God for 4th edition?
Here's a clue for you...when you create new mechanics, you'll get some right and some wrong....only by playtesting them with real world gaming groups will the rules improve to the point of "Yes we got it right"! The more you change, the more someone else will have to fix your mistakes. And you can't create a mistakeless edition for millions of fans. Stripping the game and putting a whole new outfit on isn't the answer to your problems, its just the start of all new ones.
At least we know they will have favored classes in 4th edition....WOTC are rogues. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Another thing is that they almost seem smug about how much better 4e will be than the horrifically flawed versions of the game that came before. They mention the superiority of 4e often enough, don't they? Once again, if you say it enough, somebody might actually start to believe it. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
"Cebrion....I have read such statements exactly 333 times and have come to the realization that I have been wrong. We must obey the master....the master watches over us....the master protects us from all that is flawed and evil....the master is our friend....the master understands our weaknesses and has forgiven us....the master says our money is evil so it should be given unto them....the master wants us to gather our current books....the master says toss them into the darkness of the pit...the master wants us to strike a match....
Oh, God, no, what's happening.....the master won't give me a saving throw....must light match....trying to stop....master is so powerful....Ahhhh...need help...." _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Wotc are rogues? You go too far PROPHET (see I do listen sometimes). To slander an entire profession like this is outrageous. Expect a strongly worded letter from Dobbin and Hoofnibble of Dingly Dell (solicitors of choice to the discerning misunderstood Halfling), after the holidays.
Hmmm......I recall you once telling me you worked for the Thieve's Guild. Now everyone knows that another name for Thief is Rogue, and that you are a Rogue. Therefore it stands to reason that since WOTC's favored class is Rogue, you must work for them. After all, you did visit their tower, most willingly drink that nectar they offered you while sitting in the most plush chair their gold coins could buy. Then after a friendly little chat you left with a big smile on you face. Perhaps many of these fine 4th edtion posts by WOTC are secretly penned by you?
Now that I am apparently getting close to what might be the truth....you threaten to throw me into a fire and use me to cook your fine delicacies. Tsk...Tsk...Ragr, you do have an appetite don't you?
And you think I need an exorcist?
I'm worried about you my friend! _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
I think you do have regard for traditions and institutions of the past.....its called Greyhawk. So I figure you can't be all that bad. Perhaps with your business contacts at Ragr's Tower of Gnome Smiting you could get them to make some minimal changes to 4th edition......bring back the Dragon and Dungeon magazines, bring back gnomes, barbarians....etc. etc. etc.
Or perhaps I have misunderstood your position at the Surmountable Ghost Tower of D&D Past and you secretly are a spy in employment of some other distant former company which neighbored my neck of the woods....or three letter game designer....or even newer company who has shown a repeated interest in Greyhawk and recently assisted in penning a Exp. adventure. We can only hope so. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
I'm a double agent. Or maybe a triple agent. Or even a travel agent. Hell's teeth, I don't know who I am anymore. It's all your fault, Prophet. Until you started confusing me I was just a humble goods reliever.
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