Revision Spotlight03/04/2003


Monsters, beasts, and the WWW



Q: Do the people designing the games read the bulletin boards and forums and take those comments seriously?

A: We read the message boards constantly. We try to take the comments seriously, but there are so many comments that we need to scan them pretty quickly. Anything that looks abusive or badly reasoned gets largely ignored. Personally, I spend about an hour a day reading our message boards and surfing the rest of the web. Other members of the RPG R&D team spend similar amounts of time online.

Q: Why was the beast type removed from the creature list?

A: It was redundant and confusing. Originally, the animal type was for real-world animals. The beast type was for nonmagical but nonexistent creatures. The magical beast type was for fanciful, magical creatures. That sounded good, but then we started wondering why dinosaurs, which did exist, were beasts right alongside griffons, which we're pretty sure didn't. What if an existing animal became extinct? Would that shift it from being an animal to a beast? Why could druids and various spells that affect animals not affect dinosaurs or other "natural" beasts just because we didn't want them to affect fanciful ones?

In the end, we answered a lot of questions by putting real-world critters (along with their extinct and dire cousins) in with the animals they were most like. Those few fanciful beasts went into the magical beast category.

Q: You revised the Monster Manual. Will the Monster Manual II also be revised at some point?

A: Maybe, but I expect we can handle the "revision" to the Monster Manual II with a web article. It won't need much adjusting.

Q: Will this revision eventually lead to updated versions of Oriental Adventures, Manual of the Planes, Epic Level Handbook, Forgotten Realms, or any of the other hardcover books that I bought in lieu of food and life-saving medication?

A: I knew people who used to sell blood to pay their rent. When they went to Gen Con, they'd debate whether to pay rent that month or buy the newest game releases. I expect they eventually got kicked out of their apartment. Oh, well -- you can play games pretty much anywhere.

We don't anticipate revising any of those books. In most cases, it just isn't necessary -- the necessary updates will either be intuitive or simple things we can make people aware of through the website. In the spirit of never saying never, I suppose it's possible that certain material might need more extensive updating and that we might revise a particularly important or popular subject, but we'd rather focus our effort on providing new material.

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