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Author Topic: DnD Insider: Is it worth it?  (Read 6646 times)
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Arnir
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« on: July 18, 2009, 03:11:23 AM »

Now that we are about to kick off a new campaign, I'm looked at Insider again.  Is it worth the subscription fee?  Essential/nice to have/waste?
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 05:23:11 AM »

Honestly, the most useful part of Insider in my mind would be full access to the Character Builder. During my time fooling around with it, it seems that it knows what it's doing, and thus seems to be totally accurate when it comes to powers, defenses, weapons, and such. You also get access to the Compendium, which lists every single power, skill, feat, class, etc, in the entire game.

It would be cheaper (sorta) then buying the books, but then you lose out on the ability to flip through the books when you're looking at an overall kinda picture of thing. Up to you in the end. Honestly, I'd wait to see how things go with our adventure first and then decide if you want access to far more of the game.
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Rich
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 05:59:51 AM »

Yeah I caught some D&D fever last Saturday night after only getting 4 hours of sleep over a 41 hour period and purchased 3 months of DDI, I like the character builder part but I enjoy the actual books more.  On the flip side I didn't think I would care about the Dragon and Dungeon online magazines but I've already found some interesting stuff in a few issues, that and a book or two a month is just too much to ask right now.  I spent way too much on 3.5 books that I never used, granted I got a lot of those via some closeout sales and ebay but still.


What I would do honestly is wait until you need to roll a level 4 character then purchase a month of DDI to test it out, at that time you can download all the back issues of Dragon, Dungeon, and any artwork & maps that you want to have a digital copy of.  I'm getting good use out of the artwork they make available especially all the artwork from the monster manuals, it makes creating monster tokens easier.
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TiLT
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 09:42:34 AM »

I have a subscription to D&D Insider, and I think it's worth it. The character builder is extremely useful (particularly for finding errors on the character sheets your players have made) and allows you to use feats, items and other features from books you don't even own, with full descriptions of what they do.

The D&D Compendium lets you quickly search for items, monsters, feats, rules, skills, etc. from any published source so that you don't have to keep all the rulebooks handy during play. It doesn't matter what books you already own, their contents will still be readily available to you.

Another new application is also set to appear within the next month or two (I think). This is the Monster Builder. It lets you browse through a list of every single monster that has been published so far and gives you its complete stats. Then you can quickly modify it as much or as little as you like. Do you like that Illithid but think it's a bit too high in level? No problem, drop it a couple of levels with the press of a button, and the information on the screen will be instantly adjusted. Not only that, but you can even build your own monsters from scratch with this utility. From what I've seen, it looks like a really useful tool that I can't wait to try out.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 01:55:33 PM »

You know, the Monster Builder sounds like a really useful app for those DMs out there. Seems like the digital age is upon us, and subscribing in addition to buying the many books is the way to go for avid D&Ders.
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Arnir
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 03:23:46 PM »

Are they increasing sub prices as new features come online?  Or are we helping to subsidize development?

edit:  I decided to risk $10 and signed up for a monthly subscription.  I can switch to a better rate if I like it or just cancel if I don't.  But I'll give it a shot.  I always get so excited when a new campaign starts.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 05:01:31 PM by Arnir » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2009, 05:23:49 PM »

Make sure you go download happy. Get the newest version of the Character Editor, download all the Dragon and Dungeon magazines, and enjoy poking around. Let the thoughts of high level characters fill your head. biggrin
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TiLT
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2009, 09:27:52 PM »

Quote from: Arnir on July 18, 2009, 03:23:46 PM

Are they increasing sub prices as new features come online?  Or are we helping to subsidize development?

They have increased the prices, but those who subscribed with the old prices keep them for the rest of their subscription period. I wouldn't expect prices to rise much more than they've done right now, at least not for a long while, no matter the amount of new features.
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kadnod
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 01:51:03 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on July 18, 2009, 09:42:34 AM

The D&D Compendium lets you quickly search for items, monsters, feats, rules, skills, etc. from any published source so that you don't have to keep all the rulebooks handy during play. It doesn't matter what books you already own, their contents will still be readily available to you.

Yeah, the Compendium is great.  It's what makes Insider worth the subscription price to me. Setting up and running games are a breeze with all that info at your finger tips.   It cuts down on wasted "let me look that up" time during a game to almost nil.
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kadnod
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 07:34:05 PM »

I can't fool around with it right now, but it looks like the Monster Builder Beta is up.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/insider/monsterbuilder

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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2009, 10:00:33 PM »

And the Monster Builder beta is officially excellent! It holds the same level of quality as the Character Builder, but is still different. There are a few features missing at the moment (templates and NPC classes most notably), but they'll be added before the full version is released from what I've heard.

I want to send my 4E party up against an Otyugh in the sewers of a large city this week, but the standard Otyugh in the books doesn't quite fit what I need. First of all, it's a 7th level standard monster, while the party is level 2. They might be able to beat it like that, but they'd miss so much and be hit so often that it wouldn't be fun for them. Using the monster builder, I dropped it two levels down to level 5, which makes its attacks and defenses more reasonable. Since I still want it to be a big challenge for the group without being frustrating, I decided to make it an Elite monster. With the way the Otyugh is built, it will only have two attacks, both of them designed to hit only one enemy at a time and both of them standard actions (meaning it can only do one of them each round unless it spends an action point). Since the party will be going up against this monster alone (with just a few minions to keep the wizard busy), I need to give it something to keep the entire party busy and (most of all) nervous. Looking through a unique, higher-leveled Otyugh in the included bestiary, I found something that was vaguely similar to what I wanted. It was a power that was a standard at-will action, close burst 3, that did minor damage but would continually deal 5 necrotic damage to its victims until they make a saving throw. I changed it into a standard recharge power (recharges on a roll of 6 on a six-sided die), close blast 3 (note that it was changed from burst to blast, a significant detail), that deals a moderate amount of damage to all the targets and deals continual 5 acid damage per round. I named it Filth Spray.

With that I have made a challenging and very unique opponent for the climax of this week's session. How much time did it take me?

5 minutes. smile
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Destructor
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2009, 04:00:25 AM »

Quote from: TiLT on August 03, 2009, 10:00:33 PM

*what he said*

And that shows just how cool this Builder apparently is. Sounds pretty damn kickass, actually. Excellent review of it for that matter. biggrin

And I subscribed myself, actually - just having the Character Builder alone is worth the sub fee for a few months.

BTW, TiLT - anywhere I can read a play-action of your game so far? Sounds like it should be quite fun.
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Graham
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2009, 05:44:34 AM »

I am scheduling a meeting with WotC at GenCon.  Do you guys have any D&D questions that you'd like answered?  They don't have to be about Insider, but I figured this might be the best thread to ask people if they have any questions.
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TiLT
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 06:03:00 AM »

Quote from: Destructor on August 04, 2009, 04:00:25 AM

BTW, TiLT - anywhere I can read a play-action of your game so far? Sounds like it should be quite fun.

Sadly, no. It's not an online game, and even if AARs were written, they'd probably be in Norwegian. Thanks for the interest though. smile

Btw, you can right-click a monster in the Monster Builder and choose to copy it to either an image or rich text (for importing into Word, for example). Here's the image I get when copying my Sewer Otyugh:

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kadnod
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 02:07:29 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on August 03, 2009, 10:00:33 PM

And the Monster Builder beta is officially excellent!

Yeah, it's really great.  I ran a game this weekend and threw a couple of customized monsters in.  The players liked them a lot.  I even took a minor baddie NPC who escaped from my players' run through Keep on the Shadowfell, clicked the "Elite" button in the monster builder and now I've got a pretty tough reoccuring villain. 

Quote from: Graham
I am scheduling a meeting with WotC at GenCon.  Do you guys have any D&D questions that you'd like answered?  They don't have to be about Insider, but I figured this might be the best thread to ask people if they have any questions.

Will the Character Builder ever support homebrew content? I'd love to be able to plug my own items/races/etc. into the program. 
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Arnir
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2009, 07:20:59 PM »

August update:

Patch Notes - August 2009 D&D Insider Update

Data Update
Data from the following published materials are new this month:
•   Books
•   Eberron® Campaign Guide
•   Divine Power®
•   Adventure
•   Seekers of the Ashen Crown™
•   Khyber’s Harvest™
•   Online Magazines
•   Dragon® Issue 376
•   Dungeon® Issue 167
•   Debut from Player’s Handbook® 3
•   The Githzerai Race

Character Builder

Data Update

Data from the following published materials are new this month:
•   Books
•   Eberron® Campaign Guide
•   Divine Power®
•   Adventure
•   Seekers of the Ashen Crown™
•   Khyber’s Harvest™
•   Online Magazines
•   Dragon® Issue 376
•   Dungeon® Issue 167
•   Debut from Player’s Handbook® 3
•   The Githzerai Race

Character Builder

Content Highlight
•   Debut for the Githzerai Race
•   New content in Divine Power (The introduction of Domains and the powers associated to them)


Compendium

Domains have been added to Compendium to support Divine Power



Complete Data Set

•   Player’s Handbook®
•   Dungeon Master’s Guide®
•   Monster Manual®
•   Forgotten Realms® Player’s Guide
•   Forgotten Realms® Campaign Guide
•   Adventurer’s Vault™
•   Martial Power™
•   Draconomicon™: Chromatic Dragons
•   Manual of the Planes™
•   Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead™
•   Player’s Handbook® 2
•   Arcane Power™
•   Monster Manual® 2
•   Eberron® Player’s Guide
•   Eberron® Campaign Guide
•   Online Magazines
•   Dragon® Issues 364–376
•   Dungeon® Issues 155–167
•   Adventures
•   H1 Keep on the Shadowfell
•   H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth™
•   H3 Pyramid of Shadows™
•   P1 King of the Trollhaunt Warrens™
•   P2 Demon Queen’s Enclave™
•   P3 Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress™
•   E1 Death’s Reach™
•   E2 Kingdom of the Ghouls™
•   FR1 Scepter Tower of Spellgard ™
•   Seekers of the Ashen Crown™
•   Khyber’s Harvest™
•   The Psion, levels 1–30 (Debut from Player’s Handbook® 3)
•   The Githzerai (Debut from Player’s Handbook® 3)
•   Miniatures
•   Player’s Handbook Heroes: Series 1™
•   Player’s Handbook Heroes: Series 2™
•   Monster Manual: Dangerous Delves™

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Vidiot
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2009, 01:48:44 AM »

Do you get the backlog of PDF Dungeon and Dragon mags when you subscribe, or just the issues release during the months you are a member?
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 06:00:09 AM »

Quote from: Vidiot on November 30, 2009, 01:48:44 AM

Do you get the backlog of PDF Dungeon and Dragon mags when you subscribe, or just the issues release during the months you are a member?

During any time you're a subscriber you can download all the Dragon and Dungeon magazines made after 4th Edition started (when Wizards switched to 4th mode), plus you can download all the artwork they post for all the books, plus you can update all of the software they've released (the Character Builder, etc). And you can keep doing so until your sub ends.

So you get a much better deal subscribing every few months and update everything then than you do with a month to month sub.

So to answer your question - yes, you get all the mags ever released for 4th Edition.
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2009, 12:27:27 AM »

Destructor - I really think you need to run an online campaign.  I think you'd be great at it.

I'm just sayin'....


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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2009, 03:03:50 PM »

Quote from: Lockdown on December 01, 2009, 12:27:27 AM

Destructor - I really think you need to run an online campaign.  I think you'd be great at it.

I'm just sayin'....


We need to get our campaign with Rich running again...or another campaign, I was having a lot of fun.
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