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Rule-of-Three: 09/19/2011
Rich Baker

You've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D's Rich Baker to answer, whether about the about the making of the game, the technical workings of our DDI studio, or anything else you care to know about… with some caveats.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.

1 We like the new expertise feats that give attack bonus plus some other bonus, but are there any plans to provide similar feats to the item groups that are missing, such as weapons used as implements, tomes, and totems just to list a few?

We have a few new expertise feats on the way. For example, Heroes of the Feywild debuts a Totem Expertise feat, and a Two-handed Weapon Expertise feat that provides greatsword users with a different expertise choice than Heavy Blade Expertise. Beyond that we haven’t created any formal schedule to cover each “missing” weapon group or implement type. That would seem to offer some obvious subject matter for a Dragon submission or two, especially if presented as part of a compelling story premise.

2 The pixie will be the first player race introduced that can fly from as early as 1st level. What kind of considerations did R&D have to make for a race like that, and how did it impact the design/development of the pixie.

(Rodney Thompson generously answered this one for me): Flight is obviously an ability that has a potential to mess with an adventure, so we wanted to approach it carefully. At the same time, we want new races to do bold and exciting things, and being a flier from the get-go is definitely exciting. So, we look for ways to retain that excitement while walking the fine line between “I can do something that no one else can do!” and “Wow, I just wrecked the adventure by flying over this wall.” Flight’s biggest issues are obstacle avoidance, travel, and enemy avoidance. Obstacle avoidance means flying over barriers that are meant to block movement, and also avoiding traps and hazards; given those two main things, we decided that the latter is fun and allowable, while the former can disrupt adventures. Travel is not much of an issue; sure, a flying creature could travel faster “as the crow flies” and avoid ambushes, but that doesn’t really help the rest of the party. Lastly, enemy avoidance is the biggest issue; if I can fly 10 squares above the enemy that only makes melee attacks while I make ranged attacks, that can be encounter-busting. As a result, the pixie does have an altitude limit of 1 square, so while the pixie can fly to avoid difficult or hazardous terrain at will, the DM still has some ability to challenge heroes with spatial limitations, like walls and cliffs.

3 Will the open-style playtest currently being used for the upcoming minis game be used for other products?

Yes, we want to make use of more open playtesting. Naturally subjecting our work to the widest possible scrutiny helps us to detect problems, but just as importantly, we find that it’s a great way to show off the game for the audience. Open playtesting gives us the ability to offer a “test drive” for a new game. Nothing demonstrates the fun of a new game or answers questions about how it works like a chance to actually play it. If we’ve done our job right and created a game that’s fun to play, it’ll just about sell itself. Stay tuned for some more open playtesting opportunities in the next few months!

How can I submit a question to the Rule-of-Three?

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to So, if you’d like to have your question answered in the Rule-of-Three, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!

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