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[AU/AE] Chat with Monte Cook Transcript
« am: 14.03.2005 | 10:42 »
Auf EnWorld gab es einen Chat zu AE. Hier mal eine Kopie des Transcripts:

Comments in bold are from Monte Cook. All other comments are from the chat moderator unless preceded by a name in brackets.

Evening All! I'd ask how you're doing but you can't talk. We've got Monte Cook with us tonight to answer questions about Arcana Evolved. How are you doing tonight Monte?

Monte: I'm a little tired, actually. Sue and I decided we had too much crap in the house, and so we donated a BUNCH of stuff to the Salvation Army. Then today we spent hours rearranging what was left.mIt's still all chaos here.

Sounds like fun.

But I'm here now, and that's super cool.

How are things going for Malhavoc? What's new and nifty?

Things are going really great. Arcana Evolved is out (finally), and is getting a good response so far. So that's both new and nifty. Plus, Ruins of Intrigue is out now in pdf and soon in print.

I know Arcana Unearthed, is Arcana Evolved an add on? a suppliment? something new?

It's sort of a "director's cut." It has everything that AU had, plus the Diamond Throne and the Player's Guide from the screen. Plus a bunch of new stuff, new color art, new layout, etc. I call it a "director's cut," because it's still the same game, but with some "deleted scenes" and a few things done differently. I use "director's cut" to make it clear that even if you're an AU fan, it's not necessary to buy it. It's not a new edition. You can still use AU with AE. I don't want anyone to HAVE to buy a book this big. I do, however, want people to WANT it.

Big? How many pages?

432. Full color.

Wow. That is big. what are the "deleted scenes"? Crunchy stuff? Setting Fluff?

There's new crunchy stuff. For example, while I didn't want to change a lot, I did want to add a lot. So there's a new race (the dragon-like dracha), a new class (the ritual warrior), new spells, new feats, new monsters... oh, and all the classes go up to level 25 now rather than 20, which was a lot of fun.

Straight advancement or do you have an Epic advancement after 20?

Nope. It ignores the epic rules. 20 was just an arbitrary number we (the core D&D designers) picked because of game history. 25 is just as good, and makes the game last a bit longer. In my experience, a lot of people who enjoy high level play don't go much higher than level 25 or 30 (although I know some do). With racial and evolved levels stacking in, you could go to level 31 with AE.

<Friadoc> Monte, with the Dragons Returning, it seems that the Diamond Throne will be tossed into a cold war, with the Dragons and Giants holding within their own lines, yet with the other races being left to more of a free agent status. Basically, it seems a lot like Cold War Europe, was that your inspiration?
Partially. Truthfully, what happens next with the setting is up to you, not me. It could be cold war, it could be all out war, it could be business as normal. But in my campaign, it's the cold war model, with the PCs getting to act as agents (sorta).

<Navar> In the review on it is mentioned that we will see splatbooks on the Diamond Throne. How likely are those, and how quickly will we see them?

Well, Mike Mearls wrote a book called Transcendance, which is about as close as we plan to come to classbooks. It's basically a player's guide, covering new material and advice for all the classes and races, and presenting some cool new stuff as well. That book comes out in July, by the way.

Will it be hardcover or softcover?

That's a softcover.

<Staffan> Question for Monte: Why did you choose to use the D&amp;D-style alphabetical order of spells instead of ordered by level/complexity? Alphabetical works in D&amp;D where different classes have different spell lists, but AE only has one list.

Interesting question. Basically, we debated over that very thing and went with something that felt like what people are used to in the 3E PH. You'll notice, though, that combat rites are just listed by rank, since they didn't have a precedent.

<Navar> How do you feel about Racial levels for Monsters outside of the Diamond Throne world. (ie do you think we will see Minotaurs with racial levels (and evolved levels) or something simmiler?)

Do I think we'll see them? Well, Savage Species sorta does it that way. I could see someone doing a dragon article or something. I doubt WotC will do it on their own, however. I think it's cool, though. I like how it works (but I'm biased).

<Friadoc> By the way, as a Litorian player, thanks for giving us our claws (back). On top of the products Malhavoc will be putting out, how many 'other' publishers are on board this time? We had Ebonring Keep from MEG, as well as some counters from Fairy, anyone else this time?

<.thatdarncat> (I think he means Fiery... pity James isn't here )

Hee hee. Fiery Dragon's not only doing counters and an AE Battle Box (how cool is that!) but some adventures and other products as well. Plus we'll still have miniatures from Iron Wind. There are other companies we're talking to right now as well. For example, Blue Devil Games, who did the excellent Poisoncraft book, will be doing some things, like a book about akashics and akashic nodes.

For you, what's the coolest thing about AE?

That's really hard. I guess I'd go with the ritual warrior and his ability to use combat rites. Combat rites are like spells (although their not magical) that basically help him be a better warrior and do cool combat-related stuff. Why should the spellcasters have all the fun of managing cool resources like that?

Now that we've covered that, what would you highlight for someone new to AU/AE? What would you point to as an example, "Buy this! you'll use it!"

If you're totally new to AU, I'd say the big "hook" is that it's just like the stuff you already know (classes, races, feats, skills, etc.) but it's all different. So you get these new classes and races and whatnot. It's like a whole new box of toys. You can use them with each other alone or with your existing "toys." Plus, I'd probably point out that the magic system is a lot more flexible. (Although I do like d20 magic, as can be seen by all the books of spells and whatnot i've done).

<Friadoc> Yes, I did mean Fiery. Sorry. Are there any plans for other novel(s), or just the anthologies?

No problem. I just like to kid James. Right now, we don't have any definite plans for novels, but never say never. It would be cool.

<Blackeagle> We've been hearing so much about Arcana Evolved that The Book of Rougish Luck hasn't gotten much attention. What can you tell us about it?

BoRL was written by Wolfgang Baur. It's pretty cool. It's maybe a bit too easy to just call it a rogue book, so I won't. What it really is, is a book about the criminal underworld, and subterfuge. It's got some new core classes and prestige classes, and crunchy stuff, but it's also got stuff on gambling and gambling dens, breaking into places, thieves guilds, and other criminal stuff. it's great for any campaign and any character that spends time in an urban environment really. One of the core classes, the Gutter Mage, is particularly cool. It's a nice flavorful blending of rogue and mage. I'd say it's about half and half, although the "crunch" is also very flavorful, because that's Wolf's style.

When can we expect to see BoRL?

Ummm... June, I think.

I'm playing a rogue in a campaign here, I might just have to buy it for our DM

Cool. It's going off to press soon. Maybe I should have said May.

<xmanii> what can we expect from Monte in the next few months

Well, although it's not exactly what you mean, I can tell you that next week we're going to have a REALLY BIG announcement. So you can expect that.

Tease. Any hints?

It's the explanation for why no one has seen Mike Mearls in months. And it might just have something to do with a big GenCon release. If you want to know about what I'm working on at the moment, the big announcement for that will be in July.

What products can you tell us about?

That July announcement will be fun. Something that, in the "wow factor" category puts AE to shame. Well, we've got Ruins of Intrigue coming out in print really soon. That's another book by Mike, and it supports AU/AE. It's sort of a campaign building book. Really, what it is is a big book full of cool ideas. It's out in pdf now. Then there's Transcendence and Roguish Luck. And a big GenCon release. When we announce that next week, we'll also be announcing more follow-up products for the rest of the year.
<Blackeagle> Does that big July announcement have anything to do with the "Upstairs or Down" poll you conducted on the Ptolus discussion board?

You can also keep your eyes on, we have a lot of cool new free things coming, like adventures and stuff. I'm not saying nothin' about that announcement. Sorry. Sue would kill me.

I could arrange to get you into the witness protection program?

<Friadoc> Hey Monte, any chance of an Alternity reunion of sorts, since we had the Planescape one, you know, a Sci-Fi product?

Maybe. Hadn't really thought of it. The only Alternity product I ever worked on was Dark Matter. You know, I forgot something... I'm also busy going through material for the Year's Best d20 book that's coming out in September. That's a LOT of fun.

Is that going to be a collection of OGL material from across the industry?

Yep. Basically, a lot of people contact me regarding whether such-and-such material is balanced, or if they should allow such-and-such into their campaign. This book is my way of saying, "in my opinion (the key word there), this is the best stuff that came out in 2004. You could feel pretty good about using all of it in your game." It's also a way to shine a spotlight on people doing really good work, which is always a good thing. Basically, a lot of people contact me regarding whether such-and-such material is balanced, or if they should allow such-and-such into their campaign.

Is it a burden being one of the "fathers" of the d20 movement?

Well, I guess so. I don't know if it's a burden, really. I mean, I'm really sympathetic. There's a lot of stuff out there, and not all of it is good. Not everyone has the time or inclination to go through it all. To me, though, that's fun.

<JDigital> Question for Monte. With all these products, you and your fellow Malhavoc writers seem to have an endless supply of creativity. What's your secret for coming up with interesting ideas, something that the majority of would-be fantasy writers seem to be lacking?

Well, when it comes to game writing, it almost all comes from my own campaign. I'm always creating new stuff for my players, because they're all professionals in the industry and thus, jaded. (Kidding. But they aren't impressed by a +2 cloak of resistance, or anyting else so straightforward). Plus, I just like creating new stuff rather than taking it out of a core book or something. Then, I usually figure, if something worked well in my game, it might work well in someone elses. And if I had the need to create it, perhaps there's a hole there, and I can fill it in someone else's game. So it get's put in a product, or it gets a whole product designed around it (that's where Requiem for a God, for example, came from.)

<Friadoc> Oh, yeah, just that Darkmatter thing. Nothin' big. Just so you know, it's what got me hooked on you and Wolfgang. Given the examples of contemporary fiction (Of Aged Angels and the Shandler Chronicles) is that your prefer form of fiction, or do you like trying to write it all?

I like it all. For example, Shandler Chronicles (in Game Trade Magazine) is over now, but I'm going to replace it with a fantasy series. I really like all kinds of different genres.Thanks for the kind words about DarkMatter, by the way. It's something I'm REALLY proud of.

How are your fingers doing Monte? They getting as sore as your back yet?

I'm OK. I type for a living, you know.

Let's take a bit of a breather. People, don't forget to PM your questions to an op! You said you had a prize to give away tonight?

Yeah, I thought we could send out a copy of our newest fiction anthology, the Dragons Return.

How did you want to give it away?

I've got an AU/AE trivia question. It's pretty hard.

OK let me lay down the ground rules first. I'll unmoderate the channel and Monte will ask the question. The winner is the first person on Monte's screen who answers correctly. I will moderate the channel again once Monte tells me that we have a winner.

Ready? Set? ... Go!

What's the name of the dragon that used the Tenebrian Seeds to first create the dramojh?

<Friadoc> Nithogar.

Wow. Done. Wow. Congrats.

That was impressive

Yes it was.

I've got a few general questions here.

<Friadoc> Monte, even though you offer the maps in digital form through your site(s), is there any chance of a printed map product? Obviously not on the scale of the Kalamar Atlas, although it'd be cool, but more along the lines of the Realms or Greyhawk four piece maps.

Actually, in Fiery Dragon's AE battlebox, they'll be including poster size versions of the Diamond Throne and the Mysterious West map, as well as the Dor-Erthenos map. Very cool. Hey, Morrus.

<technowraith> I only had the chance to flip through Book of Iron Might, but wanted to know if the Ironborn was OGC or not?

I don't remember. Probably at least most of it. The mechanics, anyway

<Morrus> Hi! am i late?

Err about an hour But it's all good, we're still chatting.

. What time is it in England, Morrus?

<Morrus> 2AM - I got a little confused by the time zones, as usual!

Silly me living in something other than EST or PST.

Yikes! Those are my kind of hours.

<Morrus> Everyone should move to London. That'd make my life much easier!

I'd be up for it, actually. I love London.

Yeah but imagine the server load at lunch time.

<Morrus> Anyway, I didn't mean to interrupt.

I had a question around here somewhere...

<Blackeagle> The AE cover art is great! Any chance of there being a poster version?

Thanks. No plans from our end, but the artist could produce one on his own. That would be cool.

<Navar> Complete Arcane introduced the Warlock class (a caster that uses spell like abilities rather than cast spells.) What is your opinion of this Class (if you know it) and do you think AE will see anything similer in the future?

I've not seen one in play, but I've read the class and liked it. I worry, a bit, that it's so focused it might get dull. In my experience, the sorcerer runs that risk, and the warlock is far more focused than the sorcerer. That could just be me, though I like to play mages because of the flexibility. (No reason at all not to use the warlock with the AU classes, though.)

Feel up to giving us a Haiku?

Sigh. What's the syllable count again?

Hey, it's tradition: 5-7-5.

Give me a minute.

Every chat I say I'm going to go back and find all the haikus and post them on the website. One of these days maybe I'll actually get it done.

Arcana Evolved
It's a brand new book that's cool
And very pretty

(everyone's counting syllables now)
Ok. And it is, in fact, shiny.

Since we're doing the traditional questions part of the night... let's see, you've answered the eggroll question... any plans for Psionics in upcoming books?

No psionics books in the near future. Bruce did a great job with Hyperconscious, and we're still all really enjoying that one.

If there were a writer you could work with, whom you haven't worked with yet, who would it be?

Jesse Decker. He's now the development managemer at WotC, so there's not much chance of that. But oh well.

If there were a product you wanted to write, but you haven't written yet, what would it be?

You'll find out in July.


Basically, when people ask me that question, I usually AM writing the Product I want to be writing.

True enough.

That's why I started Malhavoc Press.

Are you going to any cons this year?

I just got back from BASHCon in Toledo. I'll be a guest of honor at Origins and GenCon this year as well. I think that's it.

<Friadoc> Hey Monte, what sort of advice would you offer to a rookie freelancer?

I'd say write for Dungeon and Dragon. That's a great way to get exposure (everyone in the industry reads it). If you get an assignment, always make your deadlines. Always. You'd be surprised how many great and talented writers out there just can't get their professional act together.

Any last questions from the audience? I had to ask...

<Friadoc> If a woodchuck were an oathsworn, how many Rhodin could he slay?

All of them.

<Litorian> besides tracendance and ruins of intrigue, will there be any more follow ups to AE this year?

Yes, but we've not announced them yet. We have something in the works that will be cool for those who think there aren't enough spells in the system, and another for those that would like to see the setting get more fleshed out. I don't know if both will make it out before the end of the year, though (I honestly don't remember).

<Litorian> will there be updates for legacy of the dragons and mystic secrets?

What kind of updates?

<Litorian> to "bring them up" to AE.

No. There's no need. Nothing in AE invalidates them. That's exactly the kind of thing we tried to avoid. That's why we didn't do a new edition.

I think that's it for questions. Will you be sticking around a little after the chat Monte?
Maybe for a little bit. I've got to get back to moving stuff around. Thanks to everyone for coming. I appreciate you sharing an hour or so with me. Thanks, everyone!

<Blackeagle> Mean Monte! Keeping us in suspence until July!

Sorry. But really, next week--there will be a really cool announcement from us.

<tofu_master> Any new minis coming out soon?

There's new AE minis out now. More in May, I think.

<Mithran> Hi Monte, glad I made it at all since I didn't exactly know about the chat.

I'm glad you made it too. It was cool of all of you to come.

<Blackeagle> Are you planning to do all your chats on enworld, or will future ones be back on WW?

We'll be doing more chats there as well.

<Litorian> Monte, how come the giants being the "inventors" of combat rituals don't get even +1 in racial levels?

Because they get lots of other cool stuff instead. Well, I should probably get going.
Abraham Maslow said in 1966: "It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

Offline Don Kamillo

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Re: [AU/AE] Chat with Monte Cook Transcript
« Antwort #1 am: 14.03.2005 | 11:03 »
Monte war und ist sowieso einer der besten, die D&D hatte/ hat, egal, was er gemacht hat!!! Und man sieht wieder mal, daß er Spass an der Sache hat ( auch seine Planescape-Sachen sind echt gut! )
Awesomeness ist eine Krankheit, bei mir chronisch!
"I greet you as guests and so will not crush the life from you and devour your souls with peals of laugther. No, instead, I will make some tea." - Toll the hounds - page 282 )
Der Don zockt gerade: nWoD Crossover, D&D5e Homebrew mit Monsterrassen, D&D5e Wildemount, D&D5e Moonshaes, D&D 5e Hoard of the Dragon Queen & Conan 2D20