Denizens of Dread: a swindle?

Post/Author/DateTimePost
#1

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 8:54:59
Well. I don't know if I am the only one feeling cheated about the 3.5 conversion of Denizens of Darkness: Denizens of Dread. First, when I bought this book, I do because it is a conversion from the previous book, second because it has some new monsters in it, and third, because it was some of the most errata filled book than I ever bought. But I nearly had to make an horror check, when I begin to compare the two books, it's exactly the same material reprinted using only the 3,5 layout!. Of course they do the more cosmetic changes like the damage reduction issue or the new types of monsters regrouping. But what happen with the more important change made in the monster creation in 3,5. I fear that the Ravenloft developers didn't stop to read the new core books, and the fact that the more changed book was the Monster Manual (quantity of work). In the new version of the game, monsters were created using the same pattern that characters were (gaining feats and skills the same way) and that was completely ignored in the new book. And even the new monsters were wrong, probably because they were created for the first book and finally don't get in it.
I think that the Ravenloft Developers are very disrespectful to Ravenloft Fans, and this is not the first time it happens in this way. First was the Ravenloft: Player's Handbook (I'm not going to talk about previous books and the quality of their content), a serious quasi-swindle for me. Of course it has new material, but all of it was nearly useless and very out of place.
And now this monster book. I have all the Ravenloft Material printed to this day (from the Black Box to the last gazetteer) and I'm aware that the quality of the Ravenloft books are the worst ever... At least some authors are doing the best, and some of the books have a good content that make me ignore the many faults and inconsistence about presentation or rules.

I feel better now. I really need to say all this because if I don't I'll explode.
Please forgive my English, I'm from Spain and I don't talk it very well.

Greetings.
#2

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 11:56:54
Well, to add my opinion - I really don't see what all the hullabaloo is about. I think that perhaps some fans were walking into this whole 3.5 ed re-release hoping to see drastic and measurable changes for the better. The truth of the matter is that the only real changes that needed to be made were mostly minor and cosmetic at best.

So, no I don't think it's a swindle, but that's only because I bought the new 3.5 Ravenloft re-releases not expecting much of a change. The moral of the story? Low expectations always lead to pleasant surprises.

VNM
#3

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 12:26:40
When you buy a car, for example, it has to function ┬┐NO?. I think that if the D&D 3.5 makes some changes, and there is a license that compel you to re-release the core books of the licensed products, you have to do exactly that. I don't have false expectations about DoD, I bought this book because it suppose to be a 3.5 revision of Denizens of Darkness, AND FINALLY IT WAS NOT.
#4

Matthew_L._Martin

Feb 26, 2004 14:25:52
Interesting. Would you like to post some examples? Ravenloft products are tough to find here, and this book's distribution seems to have been worse than average. (I admit, I haven't made much effort to get a hold of it, not being interested in paying $35 for the update at this time.)

Matthew L. Martin
#5

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 14:38:48
Hello Matthew. I'm sure I can't put here the printed material here, so I try to explain what is exactly the problem. I first noticed this issue when I put the two books together and begin to compare some monsters (I don't know why but before the Ravenloft Player's Handbook I suspected something like this). The monsters in the two books have the same skills and feats, exactly the same. There is some monster's that are different, but only because some old skill did not longer exist, and they at least had respected this change. I took the D&D Monster Manual then, and calculate the skill points and feats some monster must have, and I finally see what happened, they ignore this changes because it could be too much work to remake all monsters in the new book.
#6

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 15:09:03
So what you're sayin' is, White Wolf just slapped a 3.5 label on some 3.0 monsters?

It seems from what you're sayin' they didn't follow the new 3.5 rules for calculating monster skill points and feats.

How about the other changes - did they at least convert to the new damage reduction system? Are all the facings for the monsters perfectly square, or is there still any 3.0 non-square facing?
#7

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 15:27:13
So what you're sayin' is, White Wolf just slapped a 3.5 label on some 3.0 monsters?

Exactly that.
They skip all the hardest work. They only add to their 3.0 monsters some new rules like the damage reduction and the like. I feel really cheated with this book.
#8

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 17:32:56
Well that's just, ahh...

So who do they have editing for them?

Why are the developers still the developers?

Why are some of their writers still writing for them when others are not?

Because, really. Every time one of these Q&A's have cropped up, I've seen nothing to assuage my fears about the Ravenloft line.

The only thing that's been reassuring at all has been Steve Miller mentioning he'll be offering up his own contributions to it.

I've a few more words I'd like to write at the moment, but I don't believe the moderators would appreciate them.

Suffice to say, not up-dating the skill points and feats, which should have been an easily done, minor thing, just makes for some poor people to be having in the quality-control department for the Ravenloft line.

Painfully poor.
#9

zombiegleemax

Feb 26, 2004 18:14:00
TricksterGod said:
The only thing that's been reassuring at all has been Steve Miller mentioning he'll be offering up his own contributions to it.

If only they give him some control about the Ravenloft Line. But I fear he will be only a co-author in the Bloodline book.
I always believe that the better developers and producers of a product will be the ones that really know it and more important the ones that love it.

I was playing Ravenloft since the day it was born, and I'm really sad to see how the things are going. Yes, I know that someone could say that: what is better? To have Ravenloft back as a poor shadow of itself? or, to have nothing at all?... well I'm not sure now... because I'm not sure if I'm going to buy the next product. After all, I can understand the inconsistencies, the mistakes and all the bad stuff when I'm downloading some free fan made net book, but actually some of these net books are by now really better and more seriously made than some Arthaus Ravenloft Products.
#10

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 8:45:21


Un-friggin'-believable. How do those two "developers" still even have JOBS?!?

They have to be two of the laziest, most incompetent people to ever work in the industry...

I'm forced to conclude White Wolf could care less about their customers and is only out to make a FAST d20 BUCK, or they would have canned those two broads long ago.

#11

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 8:58:57
d20 Modern Elvis said:

Un-friggin'-believable. How do those two "developers" still even have JOBS?!?

They have to be two of the laziest, most incompetent people to ever work in the industry...

I'm forced to conclude White Wolf could care less about their customers and is only out to make a FAST d20 BUCK, or they would have canned those two broads long ago.

It can be said Louder but not clearer.
#12

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 9:50:03
Originally posted by Falkovnian Renegade


If only they give him some control about the Ravenloft Line. But I fear he will be only a co-author in the Bloodline book.

As I know Steve Miller is writing about half of the book.
#13

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 10:29:09
As I know Steve Miller is writing about half of the book.

That's what i said, he is the co-author of this book. I wished they could give him some control of the Ravenloft line.
#14

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 11:35:16
Hey, did y'all know there used to be a FR Novels board here? I don't associate much with Forgotten Realms stuff, so I don't know about the board firsthand.

I just know its been removed. Alot of people were very upset about WHY the board was eliminated. Speculation ran rampant.

In the end, it came down to these important considerations:

In brief, our decision to close the boards has to do with resources. We have an extremely limited marketing budget, and it made more sense to us to devote those resources to other aspects of our web site than to maintaining boards, especially when a lot of authors have message boards on their sites and when there are many other forums on the web for discussing our novels.

Quite frankly, we were influenced as well by a lot of the negative discussion and author bashing that's gone on. Too often a small group of people have hijacked threads to attack authors and their works, driving many authors off the boards altogether. It didn't make a lot of sense to us to sponsor a forum dominated by attacks on the very products we're trying to sell.

I agree with you that a lot of people may be upset by our decision, but I think it's for the best. However, as I said, I'll discuss the idea of some sort of Magic storyline board with the folks here, and we'll see.

Thanks again for your input.

Best,

Peter Archer

and...

I understand that it's far more interesting to speculate about corporate conspiracies, but there really isn't one here. I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that the final decision was made easier in light of the volume of extremely negative and insensitive chatter last fall that distracted authors, and the Publishing and Web team staffs alike. We take very seriously our responsibilities to our fans, our authors, and our company to publish the best shared-world fiction and bring it to market in the best possible light. Now everyone will have a little more time to do just that.

Mary Kirchoff
Vice President, Publishing
Wizards of the Coast

I'm just sayin...
#15

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 12:26:52
Thanks, MSD. That definitely needed saying (quoting?). I've only been back to the boards for a few days, but the volume of negativity and destructive (vs. constructive) criticism has greatly outweighed the good, constructive threads.

Yes, yes, we can all see how much you folx love the setting or you wouldn't be so passionate in your complaints, but voicing your concern once is enough. There really is no need to go on and on and on, which only serves to stoke the flames of your flaming, as it were. You may all mean well, but feeding off of each other's negativity won't help do anything other than degenerate into childish insults and name-calling. I won't go so far as to prove my point by quoting one of the above posts....

Say what you have to say and be done with it. Let's get on to the more fun and creative aspects of a Ravenloft message board. Which, I assume, is why you're all here in the first place, isn't it?

VNM
#16

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 13:48:23
Originally posted by VNM
Thanks, MSD. That definitely needed saying (quoting?). I've only been back to the boards for a few days, but the volume of negativity and destructive (vs. constructive) criticism has greatly outweighed the good, constructive threads.

Yes, yes, we can all see how much you folx love the setting or you wouldn't be so passionate in your complaints, but voicing your concern once is enough. There really is no need to go on and on and on, which only serves to stoke the flames of your flaming, as it were.

Say what you have to say and be done with it. Let's get on to the more fun and creative aspects of a Ravenloft message board. Which, I assume, is why you're all here in the first place, isn't it?

You do have a point; going on and on about something doesn't serve anyone particularly well. No need to go beating a dead horse, right? For example, another thread on Champions of Darkness, or folks opinions on the Kargatane, really aren't going to do much. Most people already have their opinions on them, and very little is going to change that. So a rash of new negative commentary on them serves no purpose, outside of the occasional individual who doesn't know better and asks for folks opinion without having read those previous threads.

However no such thread has really cropped up in regards to Denizens of Dread, now has it?

Furthermore, I'm not sure what good there is to be said about it. Anything decent about the book would have existed before the revision, as to my knowledge, it doesn't really have much new material in it. Perhaps if it cleaned up previous flaws that already existed in the original book it revised, and if such is the case at all, well, I do think, out of fairness, those should be brought up. Presumably pre-existing flaws were not cleaned up, however.

There's also a difference between opinionated criticisms (writing style of different authors, for example) and factual criticisms. I'll assume Falkovnian Renegade isn't lying, and that the skill points and feats do not sync up with what the monster should have in 3.5. So being critical of Arthaus on this matter isn't off-base.

Now, I do realize a goodly amount of commentary about the Ravenloft line has been negative as of late, but that's only appropriate considering two of the most recent books out for the setting have been revisions of previous products, which will nearly always stir up that "I don't want to buy this twice" response. And though I don't really want to stir up some bad blood, but most of the negativity surrounding threads on the fourth Gazetteer really weren't the product of the regular fan and Ravenloft devotee...

And if it keeps up when the revisions are out of the way...?

Well, as I said, beating a dead horse doesn't do much good after a while. Nor for that matter do unsupported complaints. But a supported criticism that has not yet been made or overly discussed - such as this one on Denizen's of Darkness - is perfectly valid. It's one thing to think twice about running your mouth off because of, say, personal reasons, another to be worried about saying something bad about a book when it's an essentially reasonable criticism. Furthermore, in regards to old arguments, if further support keeps cropping up in the form of new books that only further solidify past complaints, well, that's also fairly valid.

And while I do come to these boards for a sharing of fun and creativity, it's also to avoid bad books or to warn other people off from them - even if I did buy a book that lacked the proper skill points and feats for its monsters, I'd like to know that ahead of time.

Ahh well.
#17

zombiegleemax

Feb 27, 2004 16:38:52
I had the chance to pick up DoDarkness and the RLPHB today, instead I bought Werewolf: The Apocalypse: APOCALYPSE (tis the end of the world, baby!), Target: Awakened Lands, New Seattle and Shadows of North America. Shadowrun is getting most of my attention until Ravenloft grabs me again.