Balance is restored

Wizards’ must know a thing or two about game balance. Every time they get something so right (as in the brilliant old-school article I wrote about yesterday), they go and restore the karmic balance by screwing up in equal measure.

Rather than rant further, here’s a straight copy-and-paste of my comment from the announcement about the D&D Starter Set being released over on Critical Hits.

Reading through the ENWorld thread and I just discovered there’s no Character Generation for 1st level characters – there’s just pregens.

FFS Wizards! When will you stop screwing up like this!?!!?!

The one chance they have to bring back the classic Red Book feel to 4th Edition and give us a terrific starter pack to get new budding role-players in on the game, all in a kid-friendly and appealing package that’s perfectly timed for Christmas, and they miss out a huge part of the game.

Assuming the pregens are double-sided sheets and there’s 5 of them, that’s 10 pages which could instead have contained information about a handful of the races (Human, Dwarf, Dragonborn and Elf, say, just 1/2 a page each) and four classes (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard and Rogue, maybe) at 2 pages per class – more than enough for a handful of Powers from 1st-3rd level. Add a sidebar of equipment, and it’s done leaving plenty of reasons for the (now hooked) player to want the full blown PHB/MM/DMG package for the rest of the races, classes and Powers.

How. Hard. Could. It. Be?


On the positive side, it’s great that there’s a mini Monster Manual (that’s not a manual containing only miniature monsters, but….. oh, never mind), battlemats and a great collection of tokens. So….. damned…. close. That’s what makes it most annoying of all.

So, so close.

Damn you, balance.

3 Comments on “Balance is restored”

  1. While I agree on principle, pregens have pretty much been their standard model for a while. I’d like for them to take advantage of their miniaturization of rules space in 4e, or just ditch some of the business models they adopted starting with 3.0 but they’ve worked so far, so I can’t blame them.

    Wyatts last blog post..I’m Doing Stuff, You Just Can’t See It

  2. I wouldn’t say they’ve exactly been their model for a while. We’ve seen pregens come to the fore with 4e, but they were hardly used at all in 3e.

    I don’t mind pregens being supplied with an adventure at all, especially if it’s a showcase (like Shadowfell), of designed as a stand-alone one-shot.

    But a fricking Starter Kit SHOULD contain all the rules you need to get started, INCLUDING basic character generation rules.

    As I wrote in twitter about this:

    A Starter Kit without char gen isn’t a Starter Kit – it’s just an adventure with Cliff’s Notes.

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