Torment Writer Officially Apologizes For Complete Book of Elves

Torment Writer Officially Apologizes For Complete Book of Elves

Torment: Tides of Numenera has hit $2.5 million in Kickstarter funding and that means it's time for writer Colin McComb to say he's sorry for The Complete Book of Elves.

Colin McComb is the creative lead on inXile's RPG-in-Kickstarter-progress Torment: Tides of Numenera. He's also the man who, many years ago, wrote the AD&D Second Edition sourcebook The Complete Book of Elves. It is not the most universally-well-regarded sourcebook of all time, as noted on the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter page, which states, "You AD&D players may remember how dreadful this work was, making elves so incredibly powerful and unbalanced that all of our AD&D games were henceforth ruined until 3rd Edition D&D came to save us. (This is a slight overstatement. We could just pretend the book never existed, after all. That's what I did.)"

Despite having to put up with that kind of abuse from his employer, McComb is a pretty good sport about it all and actually offered to apologize for the book as part of the Torment Kickstarter's $2.5 million stretch goal. That figure was hit with ease, and now McComb has stepped up to the plate.

It's not the smoothest apology I've ever heard, but I get the feeling that his heart isn't entirely in it and suspect that perhaps there's a bit of the theatrical at work here, too. After all, the best apologies are the ones you have to work for, and while I find it hard to have too much sympathy for his suffering - let's face it, the guy was writing D&D supplementals while I was still trying to justify my failure to finish high school - I certainly give him props for taking one for the team. We forgive you, Colin - but don't screw up Torment. Our magnanimity only goes so far.

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I had that book back in the day and loved it. It had such rich details about elven culture. Never actually used it in play though.

Just remember McComb, elves are like apologies: never too fellate.

I sort of hoped he would go a little over the top with it, and call the book a pile of bullshit, a reason for being depressed through his 20's [1], something like that. What we got was... Watchable?

They better make that 2.75 million "apology for apology" stretch goal.

[1] Which I'm not saying happened. It's a joke, see?

Today has been a day of anger and frustration at my university's organisation.

This cheered me up immensely.

I was out of D&D by that time.. what kind of stuff did the book do that made elves so overpowered?

I always thought it was strange that beings that would live for thousands of years wouldn't be more powerful individually than an individual human. Didn't they have a reproduction rate akin to dwarves?

Just seemed logical to me.

The Crotch:
Way more than you could ever want to know about the Book of Elves.

Wow,Elves are kind of A-holes in this book. They're almost a super charged version of the Seelae Fae from Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. I They posses a "Wondrous might",do they? Don't mean Dwarves? The ones that are usually related to Axe/Hammer wielding miners? And if DA2 taught me anything, it was that they could be skkilled merchants,spies and marksman, too. What is wrong with you,sir? I get you want to make Elves "more awesome", and there for increase their opinion in pop culture, I have not much malice for you personally,as I don't know you, but don't you think that maybe you came on a little bit too strong?

...

What?

Abomination:
I always thought it was strange that beings that would live for thousands of years wouldn't be more powerful individually than an individual human. Didn't they have a reproduction rate akin to dwarves?

Just seemed logical to me.

According to the Book of Elves, an elven pregnancy lasts two years, and the child isn't considered an adult until they're 110. And their marriage rates are terrible.

None of it makes any fucking sense, really.

I'm satisfied at my pledge since the project director isn't a spineless worm.

Don't back down!

A good DM doesn't incorporate stuff just because it's published by the same company that made their sourcebooks. I'd never have needed to follow the rules because my elves have their own culture. Not that it matters now that I can't get together with a group anyway.

Oh wait, people are still playing Forgotten Realms modules?

Gamers: a group who is so petty and stuck in the past that hearing an artist apologize for a piece of art he made and they didn't like makes them happy. I would say something else but the underpinnings of this make me want to vomit.

It has some cool ideas that I gladly would incorporate into an AD&D universe.

Some of the kits would need to be retooled to give better advantages and to diminish the over powered ones.

The Crotch:
...

What?

Abomination:
I always thought it was strange that beings that would live for thousands of years wouldn't be more powerful individually than an individual human. Didn't they have a reproduction rate akin to dwarves?

Just seemed logical to me.

According to the Book of Elves, an elven pregnancy lasts two years, and the child isn't considered an adult until they're 110. And their marriage rates are terrible.

None of it makes any fucking sense, really.

Makes perfect sense, that's the trade-off for being so powerful and long-lived - your reproduction is shit. Every elf life is worth 10 human due to life expectancy alone.

I played D&D all the way back to when I was so young I couldn't really be considered a competent player. We're talking red and blue box days, and 1st, 2nd, Advanced, 3rd, and 3.5 until my last group fell apart.

I used to make relentless fun of dinosaurs that hated and feared change, and refused to move on with new editions that came out. Then 4th came out, and something about it just profoundly put me off, in a way no edition had ever done before. It felt less like D&D and more like a video game put to paper. To a lesser degree, I felt the same way about Eberron.

Just like that, I was out, and had become that which I mocked for years.

The Book of Elves is what happens when you try to square Tolkienesque Elves with how they were initially presented in D&D, and then try and keep some sort of game balance. You ultimately have to ignore many of their supernatural qualities and boil it all down to a few unimportant attribute bonuses and lame racial abilities. That being said, I never found that book particularly terrible, just that it did try to make elves really darn elvish, and not just humans with a few extra abilities.

Pink Apocalypse:
I used to make relentless fun of dinosaurs that hated and feared change, and refused to move on with new editions that came out. Then 4th came out, and something about it just profoundly put me off, in a way no edition had ever done before. It felt less like D&D and more like a video game put to paper. To a lesser degree, I felt the same way about Eberron.

Just like that, I was out, and had become that which I mocked for years.

To be sure, my group and I gave 4e a good run over a year, but we ultimately were unsatisfied with it. It didn't feel so much like a CRPG to us as it did a board game. About the only upside was that, yes, you could hand a newbie their character sheet and power cards and they were ready to play. The downside was nearly everything else, and thus we abandoned it in favor of Pathfinder, which we've been plowing through every since.

I used this book, both as a player and a DM, and it went smoothly. We just took the useful tips about elven culture (sometimes, using those as starting points to develop our own lore), and reached a consensus on balancing the over-powered stuff.

Regarding the whole "elves are uber" thing, in my campaigns elves tended to be one of the elder races (usually along with dragons), so it fit well into the theme. Also, we chose the "elves are uber, but declining" angle, as a simple answer to the question "If elves are so uber, why aren't they running the world?"

And, after finding out about Planescape, I got a huge source of inspiration for all the millions of reasons for the elven decline. The Blood War and the deals/betrayals between aasimon and tanar'ri/baatezu (yep, I still think of them with these names, none of that simpleton's demon/devil stuff :) ) was one of the best ideas that came out of good old TSR.

Too right he should apologise, damn knife ears lover.

God, I loved that book. Forgetting the actual gameplay mechanics, never before(and never since) has there been a book that so thoroughly explored both the nature and culture of the Jerkass Elf. One of my three favorite D&D characters drew heavily from this text in terms of overall personality(he did evolve from there... still a jerkass, but a somewhat more tolerant one).

No apology needed, Mr McComb.

The Crotch:
...

What?

Abomination:
I always thought it was strange that beings that would live for thousands of years wouldn't be more powerful individually than an individual human. Didn't they have a reproduction rate akin to dwarves?

Just seemed logical to me.

According to the Book of Elves, an elven pregnancy lasts two years, and the child isn't considered an adult until they're 110. And their marriage rates are terrible.

None of it makes any fucking sense, really.

The running gag in our D&D games was that elves were all gay, but super fertile. They only reproduced when a male accidentally fell into a female.

 

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