Time to Dust Off the Beard and Get Typing.

There have been a couple of big announcements this week and I’m sure that everybody who cares about either of them already knows.

First, There’s going to be a new edition of D&D.

My take on it, is that WOTC figures that they are not far from having milked 4th edition for all it’s worth. That’s reasonable from a publisher’s point of view. There really only is so much you can say about something and expect people to pay you for it. I wish them the best in this. While I loathe don’t play 4th ed. I’ve given it a more than reasonable number of fair chances, it’s just not the game for me. I do feel though that what’s good for Dungeons and Dragons is good for RPGs as a whole, so I do want WOTC to make all the money they possibly can on it. My hypocrisy is that none of that money is mine.

There’s been a fair amount of doom and gloom over D&D5 will “Kill” D&D4 or Pathfinder. Well, it won’t, the only thing that can kill a game is people not playing it. D&D5 will cripple it’s direct predecessor D&D4 simply because the resources that would have gone into publishing more 4th edition will go into publishing 5th instead. Some people love 4th, I’m sure of it, they post things on the internet. Those people can still play it. For many of us it was a great disappointment.

I loved Star Wars Saga Edition, in fact I own every single book for it, in hard copy I can go to my shelf and look through them right now. From the sound of it 4th Ed was going to be a lot like it, I was stoked. Then I got ahold of a PDF of the final version a few days before it was to be released. I barely got past the table of contents, when I saw that the “chapter” on character classes was over 100 pages long. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but I wasn’t really looking forward to it anymore.

I played it at Miscon. I didn’t care for it, but maybe it was the GM. So I tried again with a different GM, and again. No good, I just couldn’t like this game. About the same time a little earlier i think actually Pathfinder came out as the “spiritual successor” to D&D 3.5, and it was pretty good, It improved the things i thought were wrong with 3.5, without creating a ton of new problems.

Wow, I’ve some how become a rambling old man. The point of that was I still have a few (to be fair I have purged most of them, because of shelf space concerns) 3.5 books, I know a few people who still pretty much have them all, and we could play it if wanted to.

The concern that it will “kill” Pathfinder is completely unfounded. Pathfinder is legally and legitimately published by a non-WOTC publisher, and WOTC simply doesn’t have the power to kill it. The only way that would be possible is if Paizo allows it to happen. They would have to abandon it, maybe if D&D 5 is super awesome they might find that viable, go back to their roots as a third party publisher. I don’t realistically see that happening.

I think what is more the point. What really has people upset is the thought that the books they have purchased will become obsolete, and they will have to start over from scratch. This isn’t an appealing idea, I’ve been through it enough times to know the pain. It’s never as bad as it seems like it will be though. Those books will still exist in your library as reference, and you will probably still spend what you can afford on new material.

What I do think is interesting here is the massive playtest that WOTC is planning. Paizo did that and their product is outstanding. It’s interesting to me to see the big dog in the park look at  a smaller competitor, see what they have done that has worked, and emulate it. I notice that they aren’t emulating it perfectly, I think there’s a small amount of corporate fear in play. This isn’t an open play test they are doing, it’s limited. Which unfortunately means that it will probably be mostly consist of fans of 4th edition, so I expect D&D 5 will move farther in the direction 4th has already started, and I have little interest in it myself, which I realize is an inherently self-defeating stance. I will however give it every opportunity it deserves to impress me, and who knows maybe I’ll love it.

The second Announcement I wanted to mention was the second wave of the new 52 announced today. The news is bittersweet for me. While it involves the canceling of OMAC, Men of WAR, and Hawk & Dove, some of the biggest stinkers of the new 52 (yes, I have read them all now) it also involves the canceling of Static Shock, which I like (a lot) when I read it (not often), and Mister Terrific, which I like a lot and have read every issue, and Blackhawks which is one of the titles I most look forward to every month. On the other hand I’m looking forward to at least two of the new six titles. I’ll pick up at least #1s and probably the #2s of each just given how I order my comics through Midtown Comics.

The new Titles will be:

BATMAN INCORPORATED – Writer: Grant Morrison. Artist: Chris Burnham. The acclaimed ongoing writer of ACTION COMICS, Grant Morrison, presents a fresh take on BATMAN INCORPORATED, in which the Batman brand is franchised globally in preparation for a major international threat.

I’m not thrilled about this one, we currently have 6 titles a month featuring Batman, with two of those soon to include backup stories, not counting Batwing which I’m told regularly hosts Batman as well. I like Batman well enough but seriously enough already. I can take or leave Grant Morrison, I am enjoying Action, but meh.

EARTH 2 – Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.

This one does excite me, I’m pretty giddy. I love the golden age heroes of Earth 2, When they announced that they where going to put a backup story in Detective I really wanted it to be the Golden Age Sandman who originally graced Detective Comics. (For the record I am the guy who hates the Neil Gaiman Sandman, in case you were wondering who that asshole was.) I also love the work of James Robinson, Starman was one of my favorite comics of all time, and I am currently loving the Shade.

WORLDS’ FINEST – Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.

I’m optimistic about this one. I know Deep One and Head Minion will be absolutely thrilled, their biggest complaint about Mister Terrific has been that it’s not about Power Girl. I am not a power girl fanatic, but still looking forward to this one.

DIAL H – Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero.

I don’t know, there are a lot of variables in play here, but I like the concept. It sounds like the sort of story I enjoy, we’ll see.

G.I. COMBAT – Writer: J.T. Krul. Artist: Ariel Olivetti. Featuring the return of a classic DC Comics series, THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, along with rotating back-up stories and creative teams – including THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, with writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian; and THE HAUNTED TANK, with writer John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.

On the one hand this sounds like a replacement for Men of War and Blackhawks, which I hate and love respectively. On the other hand J.T. Krull is a factor here, I like his work on Captain Atom, I hated his most recent Green Arrow run. I just don’t believe that as a newish writer he really has it in him to crank out two good stories every month, I haven’t seen evidence that suggests that he does, and I haven’t heard any buzz about his run on Captain Atom ending any time soon. This goes again into the we’ll see column.

THE RAVAGERS – Writer: Howard Mackie. Artist: Ian Churchill. Spinning off from TEEN TITANS and SUPERBOY, this series finds four superpowered teens on the run and fighting against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.

Teen Titans and Superboy are two of my favorite books of the month, They are both written by Scott Lobdell, who is unfortunately also responsible for Red Hood and the Outlaws, which I hate. So we have a spinoff of two books I love with out the writer that makes me love them. It could be good, it sounds a little unfortunately like an underage Suicide Squad. We’ll see how things go with this one.

So that’s my take on things.

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