The best books for nerds from 2014


Thanks for the reviews!

For some reason your article copy is doubled.

Tolkien translated beowulf for his own academic use. It was never meant to be a widely read translation. I’m a bit worried that his name on the spine will unfairly usurp the wonderful Seamus Heaney translation. Primarily of academic interest this publication feels like a sad money grab from Christopher.

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I wonder if the Tolkien industry will last into another generation – given that he is 90 years old, will Christopher’s children mine his notes for yet other needless items of Tolkienana?

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Just picked up Children of Hurin. It will be my first experience with Tolkien’s posthumously published works. A little nervous.

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No hardcore SF? Some nerd you are! :slight_smile:

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More readable than the Silmarillion, and more coherent than Unfinished Tales (unsurprisingly).

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I will do my customary grumbling of how D&D 5e screwed up a bunch of stuff that was fixed in 4e (coherent stat blocks for MM, caster supremacy, etc) but I will say that it’s probably still fantastic and I’m looking forward to playing with it soonish.

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If you’re a fan of the British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, these books are also a must-have! Red Dwarf Encyclopedia

5e is battle grid agnostic and that automatically makes it orders of magnitude better than 4e, in my opinion.

They’re also the best looking books that D&D has ever had.

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Sure, it really comes down to what you find valuable (like any decision ever), but I was just frustrated when I saw that a lot of problems that I enjoyed not having to deal with were reverted on, and that DMing is again a house of pure pain when it comes to monsters/etc.

Example to be clearer: in 4e if I wanted a lich, I had one reference: the lich statblock. I could print that out and be done with it. All the abilities were on there, there was no other needed information aside from basic rules, so I could go about my business and be fine.

In 5e if I want a lich, it comes with multiple spells that it can cast, all of which need to be separately looked up in the appropriate sourcebook (PHB right now, but just wait until the MM2 or 3 comes out), which means more crap I need to spread around or gather beforehand. Additionally, I found the different roles and types (like minion) really handy as well.

Ultimately there isn’t a right or wrong way about this, in the same way that some people enjoy GURPS. I do not deny them their love of it, and I am happy to let 5e exist, but I just wish that some of these minor fixes could have been carried over without them just folding it all back into the 3.75 that 5 is.

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Look, there’s nothing more asinine than two nerds in an off-topic edition war. I’m just gonna say that 90% of all the stat blocks have everything you need and you’re grossly mischaracterizing 5e as a return to 3.X. It’s nowhere near that game in terms of tone or intimidating complexity. My personal success getting players with absolutely no experience in pen and paper RPGs involved and participating in a single session speaks volumes about the success of 5e, in my opinion.

I feel compelled to question your assertion that “there’s nothing more asinine than two nerds in an off-topic edition war”; I would contend that this is trumped by Fox News and Televised Political Debates. :wink:

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