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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #58: Chess for Kids, Geek Dads, D&D 4E

by Ken Newquist / October 31, 2007

On this episode of Radio Active, I discuss my daughter Jordan's sudden desire to learn chess and my approach to teaching her, contemplate the impending arrival of National Novel Writing Month, check out the Geek Dad Podcast and Simian Farmer blog and offer some thoughts on the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

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Show Notes

  • Nuketown News
    • Chess for Kids: Jordan’s started playing chess: She decided she wanted to learn, got a book at the library, now we’re reading it every night. She’s got three games under her belt and is doing pretty well.
    • NaNoWriMo Rising
  • Promos: Playing for Keeps
  • Netheads
    • Geek Dads Podcast
      • The blog spawns a podcast. I’ve only just started listening to it, but it seems a good mix of tech and parenting, with roundtable discussions of life and geek dadhood.
      • Currently running a contest to build a mouse-trap powered contraption with your kids; winner gets a LEGO Star Destroyer.
    • Simian Farmer
      • The geek dad of two young boys talks about life, home improvements, parenting and geekiness. Expect to find antecdotes, video, photos, and plenty more. An amusing diversion for your morning RSS reading.
  • Promo: Better Late Than Never Podcast
  • Commentary: D&D 4th Edition:
    • So far, none one in my group is clamoring for a new edition of the game, and I think most of us have taken a "wait and see" approach to upgrading.
    • I'm not opposed to staying with 3.5; they killed off the print editions of Dragon and Dungeon, which were two of the engines that kept me wanting to stay current with D&D. I think we could get a manageable version of 3.5 working by jotting down what books we're going to use in a given campaign, and red-lining any prestige classes/feats/spells we felt didn't fit the Greyhawk setting.
    • A recent installment of "Sage Advice" said there would be no conversion guide from 3E to 4E and recommended that people start over at 1st level rather than convert. While I'm sure we will start over at 1st, there's no way we're giving up 11 years of campaign history. They’ve backed off from that article somewhat, saying you’ll be able to convert a character “thematically”, but there’s no one-for-one conversion (and given the amount of rules 3.5 spawned, that’s somewhat understandable).
    • Most concerned about the WoWification of D&D, as every class is able to do something every round. It could be cool … but it could also be overpowering for our relatively-low powered Greyhawk game. My theory? D&D 4E may be a great game … but it may not be D&D.
    • Whether I like the game or not may depend on how the action point mechanic is integrated; I like how Savage Worlds, Battlestar Galactica and Mutants & Masterminds have used a similar technique to reward role-playing in-game and found it to really work well. If the mechanic manages to foster role-playing over statdumping, then I’ll be a happy gamer.
    • I suspect that we'll do what we did with 3rd edition, which is run a short, 4-6 month campaign using the core rules of the new edition, and see whether the improvements and changes warrant an upgrade. I’m pushing for my “Planetorn” campaign idea, in which we   play characters that adventure through the planescape, trying to figure out what has caused a massive planar storm that’s destroying material planes. Folks can play anything they want, including kobold paladins. Really. My original planetorn write-up is on the web site.
  • Promo
  • Outro
Audio icon NuRA-2007-10-31.mp321.99 MB


Great thoughts on 4th Edition. I think you hit it right-on with the inspiring aspect. A very good description of feelings to 4th. The campaign sounds interesting as well, etc.

- George

Thanks. The Planetorn/D&D 4E thing really has my imagination firing; the more I think about Planetorn, the more I think how fun it could be to have a huge, multiverse-spawning campaign that shakes the very pillars of reality.

If nothing else, it would certainly be something we'd never tried before. :)