Twenty Ways to Improve Your Game, via Robert J. Schwalb. Robert recommends reducing the hit points on all monsters in D&D 4E, and give how prolific a writer he’s been for 4E, I agree with him. Surprisingly, he recommmends against the use of item wish lists:
Magic items have become a character-building tool. Players regard their magic weapon as integral to their character design. This is a problem since it adds yet another exploitative element that can create difficulties at the table. Magic items should be strange, wondrous, and exciting […] If a player wants that +5 holy avenger, create ways to gain the item, environments the player must explore and quests the player must complete to secure the item.
This is close to the attitude taken in my 2007 article, Realistic Magic Item Shopping, so I like the sound of it. In 3E terms you can have your players roll a Gather Information check to discover the locations of items they want; I forget the 4E equivalent to this skill check off-hand.
Stealing the Idol’s Eye, via Robert J. Schwalb. How to make D&D 4th edition feel more like AD&D 1st edition. Interesting suggestions include using the AD&D equipment list, granting XP for treasure found, training to level up, strict light-source rules, and rewarding unconventional solutions.
The advent of v.3.5 — even its self-designation is awful — presaged a shift in tone, content, and business plan that slowly lost me.
DDI Virtual Table goes Beta!, via Square Fireballs. A 2D version of WotC’s gametable is in production, but can we trust it after a disastrous month in which D&D Insider released an unusably buggy new Character Builder and an unfinished Assassin class? What features will it have over Maptools or OSU-GT Gametable?
D&D 4E campaign management software Masterplan announces version 9.9.