Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Reactions to Recent D&D Website Updates

I would have actually played D&D last night if a FedEx driver hadn't gotten his truck stuck in the mud and kept half of my gaming group from getting to the game due to working unexpected overtime. Unfortunately, we didn't get to play, and I'm trying really hard not to write a blog post about how bummed I am that this is the third week in a row that we've had to cancel. Instead, I'm just going to express my reactions to some of the articles and features that have popped up on the official D&D website over the last few days.

On Ecology of the Deva
First of all, while I agree that the aasimar needed a new name and a new hook, I'm not a big fan of the way their new story and I think their (re)introduction to the game was horrendously timed regardless of how unintentional the timing might have been. The continual cycle of reincarnation is just a little too Hindu for me, and being reincarnated as a rakshasa if you don't behave? I don't know. It just doesn't feel right to me for some reason. The deva seems to me like a situation in which the "Rule of Cool" was a little forced and the final product just doesn't feel authentic. As for the timing, it really wouldn't have made much difference if WotC hadn't chosen deva as the new name. I can't help it, but every time I see it or hear it, I picture my students singing this song (listen if you're brave). Even though I know that WotC probably had no clue that the name of their reinvented goody-goody race would be so close to the title of Beyonce's most recent (and most annoying) hit single, I just can't see or hear the word deva without associating it with the word diva. Personally, I'd rather see all of the assimar misspellings and hear all of the assimar jokes than to hear a D&D race and immediately get "I'm a a diva, I'm a I'm a a diva, I'm a I'm a a diva, I'm a I'm a a diva, I'm a I'm a a deva, I'm a I'm a a deva, I'm a I'm a a deva" (repeat ad nauseum) stuck in my head. It makes me want to puke. Wizards, I know you didn't see this coming... but because of Beyonce, I don't think I'll ever be able to use the new name. My group will just stick with the ass jokes. Maybe I'm just clinging to the past and I'll get used to the new incarnation of the aasimar in time. On a more positive note, I have to admit that the new visual concept is astounding. At the very least, if I don't like the story or the name I can at least enjoy the artwork.

On the Arcane Power Art Gallery
Speaking of artwork... I've got a fairly decent collection of D&D books, but I'm nowhere close to being able to claim that I own them all. In fact, since the release of the Character Builder and the Compendium, I've found myself with fewer and fewer reasons to purchase many of the newer books (read my explanation here). However, with my modest D&D collection, I recognized six of the eight images in the first two rows of the Arcane Power Art Gallery as well as several others further down the list. There are quite a few other images that were new to me, but it made me wonder how many of those were also reused but were originally in books that I don't own. I guess my question is... what percentage of the art in Arcane Power was borrowed from Complete Arcane or another 3.5 supplement? Does it really hurt the bottom line that much to commission all new artwork for a new book? I'm not a publisher, so maybe it does. I just really enjoy the art of D&D and I'm more than a little disappointed every time I crack open a new book to find pictures I've already seen.

Well, I've gotten all of that off of my chest and haven't complained (much) about not getting to play D&D. I'd call that a great effort. Now, to begin working on the details of the Society of the Eye.
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