Legends and Lore - Charting the Course for D&D: Your Voice, Your Game

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The whole "everything for everybody" approach is going to be very difficult to achieve and playtesting has the potential to be a giant mess unless it's handled properly.



I disagree. After reading through this forum, I've come to the realization that WotC can NEVER reconcile the hurt feelings after players spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a game system, only to see it scrapped in 3 years. No matter how much Pathfinder codpiece you kiss, you're not getting those players back - they've already made their investment in a new system. The ONLY path for WotC's continued success is to bring new players to the game - which points back to my suggestion earlier today: don't focus on rules, focus on teaching DM's to be better storytellers. 

The BEST thing I've gotten from attending DDXP and GenCon is to play many, many games of 4e with different DM's of all stripes and colors. In one game, my DM and I were a party that got TPK'd. The DM for that game apologized, but all 6 players at the table THANKED HIM for running an awesome game that kept us on the seat of our pants. It encouraged my DM to take the kid gloves off and throw trickier challenges at our party. [At higher levels, some DM's stop using minions. This is a mistake. Push your players to their boundaries. Be fair, not mean, and force them to use their heads to think through situations so it's not just a splatterfest]

You can have a fun time playing any edition of D&D. The most important thing to remember is that this is a GAME and you're supposed to have fun. With my group of experienced gamers (half of us are in our 40's) we've spent entire evenings roleplaying with 4e rules, yet never needing to roll dice for a single encounter. Not all new players and DM's could do this, I'm certain, but since we're all working together to create interesting characters and even more interesting stories, I'm not sure how changing something as unimportant as the ruleset would encourage us to play more D&D or buy more books. This has taught me that the thing D&D needs most is not new books and a new system of rules for us to learn. No, we need more DM's who understand how to bring their friends together, or even strangers, and teach them how to ROLE PLAY. Don't forget that the 4e book Players Strategy Guide talks not just about min/maxing your characters, but about using your imagination and creativity. 

And feel free to tack on the Wil Wheaton quote: DON'T BE A ****. That's a message that far too many gamers don't take to heart (along with the positive effects of the regular use of soap).

Yeah, I think there's little prospect of a sudden mid-edition edition roll gaining WotC a huge amount of cred with people that aren't happy with them already and ARE happy with another game. This is going to be an expensive proposition for them. I think the worst part on that side is a LOT of people play both games, but all of a sudden there's little motivation for those people to buy more stuff from WotC, so they automatically turned into Paizo customers instead of customers of both companies.

I can't help feeling like a 'retro' D&D at this point is a sort of 'tombstone edition' too. Go back to the old ways and you have a game that AT BEST gets to appeal to the old crowd, which was already a shrinking group that doesn't sustain the game. Make yet another new game and what's the advantage of that over the existing 4e variation of that, which already peeved many grognards? I'd have to say with the die already cast go for as modern a game as you can and at least you have the prospect of the new generation of players. If they really hammer one out that's a 10 in every respect, well maybe at least it will be the game of choice going forward and you can hope a lot of your old customers will drift back. I certainly hope it is a largely forward-looking game. I already have all the old editions, lol.

Training new DMs... Well, yeah, but you have to have the old DMs around to train the new DMs. That's the way it really mostly happens.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
" If they really hammer one out that's a 10 in every respect, well maybe at least it will be the game of choice going forward and you can hope a lot of your old customers will drift back."

I think this is the thinking at WotC. I think it was also the thinking with Essentials, but they maybe didn't give it enough time.

I also think they see the retroclone craze and realize that 4E was, first and foremost, not bringing in ENOUGH new blood to offset all those people getting back into the game and NOT choosing modern D&D. If they can make a game that does a better job at bringing in new blood AND doesn't actively reject the retro folks, they'll have a winner. Tough job? Very much so. Worth shooting for? I think so.

I would call a weapon with a static +1 vs. EVERYTHING and another weapon with +1, +2, +3, +4 vs. a varied list of creatures pretty significant.

If you want to say it was unworkable (I disagree) that's one thing. BUt to say  they're not different, well, that's just not true.

A "flaming" weapon that can cause ongoing fire damage once per day and one that can do it constantly is also a pretty significant mechanical difference IMO.



The 'varied list' of creatures though was only a small fixed list of creatures, all from the MM since that was all that existed at the time. It isn't that it was "unworkable", it was just damned awkward because you had to look up the list every time (or write it all on your sheet, but why should the PC know which was which). The difference between +1 and +4 is fairly noticable, but the difference between +1 and +2 is trivial and unlikely to be noticed at the table, it should have been just one list that got +4 and if that was too much then the question was why use that mechanic? In practice it just wasn't a big deal.

Except again, the 1e flametongue didn't do ongoing damage, such a thing didn't exist in 1e. The 4e version and the 1e version do the same thing. They do extra damage against any creature that is susceptable to fire, except the 1e 'susceptable' was a hard-coded list that wasn't shared with other almost identical things and the 4e version is a keyed list that works how you would expect (IE just because a creature took extra damage from a flametongue why doesn't it take extra damage from a fireball too, it was an inconsistent mechanic). So the mechanics are actually not different in any way that is really meaningful at the table. In fact the 4e weapon does things that the 1e version doesn't (turns any attack made with it to fire and can do an extra burst of damage plus ongoing damage once a day).

So again, there's a lot of perception that really doesn't match up with the reality. 4e magic items are mostly no more 'bland' than the 1e ones. They are simply presented in a consistent way that actually makes sense, and obvious things are assumed not to need to be restated. Again, the point is that people's perceptions don't particularly match up with the reality of the thing. Really I see the main difference as 1e had maybe 10 distinct magic weapons total, 4e has who knows how many, but it is a lot. I can only assume that more is less. That's my experience anyway. As a DM I find most of these variations of weapons to be just noise I have to filter out. Many of them are fine items, but I just don't need anything like the number that exist and with a short iconic list the players are more likely to be excited by getting an iconic item.

The same thing goes with powers in particular. Again, practically every spell you can find in your 2e PHB spell lists exists in 4e (and we have a lot of unique ones in 4e too). Yet the perception is 'blandness'. The problem IMHO is just when you have 500 wizard spells they tend to just blur together. I think each class should have more like 50 powers. Compress the game down to 18 levels, that gets rid of the need for so many levels of powers, then make most powers scale so you don't need to have 10 of basically the same thing, and you now get to have 50 really distinctive looking things that covers most of what the 500 powers did before. Making sure they all have the old-fashioned names won't hurt either, but I suspect Mike will figure that out for himself. That was one thing I really failed to understand with 4e, why they insisted on ditching classic names for both items and powers. That made no sense.


That is not dead which may eternal lie
4e magic items are mostly no more 'bland' than the 1e ones.



i COMPLETELY agree

What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

I would call a weapon with a static +1 vs. EVERYTHING and another weapon with +1, +2, +3, +4 vs. a varied list of creatures pretty significant.

If you want to say it was unworkable (I disagree) that's one thing. BUt to say  they're not different, well, that's just not true.

A "flaming" weapon that can cause ongoing fire damage once per day and one that can do it constantly is also a pretty significant mechanical difference IMO.



The 'varied list' of creatures though was only a small fixed list of creatures, all from the MM since that was all that existed at the time. It isn't that it was "unworkable", it was just damned awkward because you had to look up the list every time (or write it all on your sheet, but why should the PC know which was which). The difference between +1 and +4 is fairly noticable, but the difference between +1 and +2 is trivial and unlikely to be noticed at the table, it should have been just one list that got +4 and if that was too much then the question was why use that mechanic? In practice it just wasn't a big deal.

Except again, the 1e flametongue didn't do ongoing damage, such a thing didn't exist in 1e. The 4e version and the 1e version do the same thing. They do extra damage against any creature that is susceptable to fire, except the 1e 'susceptable' was a hard-coded list that wasn't shared with other almost identical things and the 4e version is a keyed list that works how you would expect (IE just because a creature took extra damage from a flametongue why doesn't it take extra damage from a fireball too, it was an inconsistent mechanic). So the mechanics are actually not different in any way that is really meaningful at the table. In fact the 4e weapon does things that the 1e version doesn't (turns any attack made with it to fire and can do an extra burst of damage plus ongoing damage once a day).

So again, there's a lot of perception that really doesn't match up with the reality. 4e magic items are mostly no more 'bland' than the 1e ones. They are simply presented in a consistent way that actually makes sense, and obvious things are assumed not to need to be restated. Again, the point is that people's perceptions don't particularly match up with the reality of the thing. Really I see the main difference as 1e had maybe 10 distinct magic weapons total, 4e has who knows how many, but it is a lot. I can only assume that more is less. That's my experience anyway. As a DM I find most of these variations of weapons to be just noise I have to filter out. Many of them are fine items, but I just don't need anything like the number that exist and with a short iconic list the players are more likely to be excited by getting an iconic item.

The same thing goes with powers in particular. Again, practically every spell you can find in your 2e PHB spell lists exists in 4e (and we have a lot of unique ones in 4e too). Yet the perception is 'blandness'. The problem IMHO is just when you have 500 wizard spells they tend to just blur together. I think each class should have more like 50 powers. Compress the game down to 18 levels, that gets rid of the need for so many levels of powers, then make most powers scale so you don't need to have 10 of basically the same thing, and you now get to have 50 really distinctive looking things that covers most of what the 500 powers did before. Making sure they all have the old-fashioned names won't hurt either, but I suspect Mike will figure that out for himself. That was one thing I really failed to understand with 4e, why they insisted on ditching classic names for both items and powers. That made no sense.



Ok, it seems you don't actually know which weapon I'm talking about. It's the 1E flametongue in the DMG. I can't cite the page number as I'm at work, but I'd guess around 150 is where the swords were.

It most definitely wasn't "a small fixed list of creatures, all from the MM since that was all that existed at the time."

Unless you consider Undead a "a small fixed list of creatures". Because that's what it was +4 against.
It was +2 against regenerating creatures and +3 against avian or cold using creatures (perhaps swap those because my memory is weak on which was +2 and which was +3). You write that on your sheet and done. Nothing to remember. Very workable.

And I have no idea where the rules would be but you could definitely set things on fire and there was damage they would take until they could put it out. I'm thinking 1d2 or 1d4 per round. I believe it was 1d6 in 3E. Naturally there was no "reflex save" or attack vs. fortitude in 1E. Once they were on fire, they would burn until they would roll on the ground or jump in some water or whatever. But it existed, it just hadn't been "4e-ized" as you say.

There's also definite mechanical difference between being able to set something on fire whenever you want and ongoing fire damage once per day.

I'll not belabor this any more than we have. If you want to ignore the litany of differences, or handwave them as being unworkable, that's fine with me. I can't argue with that kind of response.
But again, I think this is all academic, since it doesn't really matter one way or the other unless for some reason you have a rabid love of your 1E flametongue, which apparently somebody did. Personally, I was a Frost Brand kind of guy. +3/+6 vs. Fire Using/Dwelling creatures. Now that I think about it, I really do think the conditional extra +x to hit is pretty evocative. I like it and I can see why some might miss it if they actually gave it some thought (which I hadn't until just now).
What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. I say this simply because I've used it to introduce the game to new 10 year olds and it still works like a charm every single time. The 4E learning curve and heavy mechanical underpinnings make it less friendly to young newbies, but it's certainly not bad. I think any edition going forward absolutely MUST be child friendly. All the hardcore players I know picked up the game in their youth. I think that is a key demo for new players. I think you're less likely to get new 25 year olds playing the game.
My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. I say this simply because I've used it to introduce the game to new 10 year olds and it still works like a charm every single time. The 4E learning curve and heavy mechanical underpinnings make it less friendly to young newbies, but it's certainly not bad. I think any edition going forward absolutely MUST be child friendly. All the hardcore players I know picked up the game in their youth. I think that is a key demo for new players. I think you're less likely to get new 25 year olds playing the game.



With the popularity of MMO's, this is key. 
What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. 



A ten year old today may have been playing WoW for 4 years and just got Skyrim for Xmas I think they have utterly different expectations and paradigms.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. 



A ten year old today may have been playing WoW for 4 years and just got Skyrim for Xmas I think they have utterly different expectations and paradigms.


And yet original red box still works like a charm with modern 10 year olds. There must be something in there that goes deeper than mechanics.

And really, playing WoW since the age of 6. Really?
What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. 



A ten year old today may have been playing WoW for 4 years and just got Skyrim for Xmas I think they have utterly different expectations and paradigms.


And yet original red box still works like a charm with modern 10 year olds. There must be something in there that goes deeper than mechanics.

And really, playing WoW since the age of 6. Really?


D&D 4e is the first D&D my kids have known as far as playing with anything but freeform
My daughter plays WoW sometimes now (she is six) and my son is 14

When I was three I didnt watch Legalos slide down pallasades on a borrowed shield or Arragorn engage in the Warlord throws the Dwarf.  or try to learn to play Chess because Harry Potter did it.

The distinctions are presentational I think and is the wizard casting a spell and going to sleep afterwards ... those dont exactly jive with somebody whos magical hero is harry potter and who saw Legalos using a behemoth as a jungle gym.








  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. 



A ten year old today may have been playing WoW for 4 years and just got Skyrim for Xmas I think they have utterly different expectations and paradigms.


And yet original red box still works like a charm with modern 10 year olds. There must be something in there that goes deeper than mechanics.

And really, playing WoW since the age of 6. Really?


D&D 4e is the first D&D my kids have known as far as playing with anything but freeform
My daughter plays WoW sometimes now (she is six) and my son is 14

When I was three I didnt watch Legalos slide down pallasades on a borrowed shield or Arragorn engage in the Warlord throws the Dwarf.  or try to learn to play Chess because Harry Potter did it.

The distinctions are presentational I think and is the wizard casting a spell and going to sleep afterwards ... those dont exactly jive with somebody whos magical hero is harry potter and who saw Legalos using a behemoth as a jungle gym.









So why do you suppose it still works so well?
What's stopping new people from liking the old rules? The answer is nothing so I don't understand the point that was made.

It's like you have to be from the mid 70's to 80's to be able to enjoy the rules. I know for a fact that this isn't true because I've had some young people really dig 2nd edition D&D.

Remember this, what may be old and familiar to you is actually something new and exciting to someone that has never seen it before.

The thinking is that because so many people have played them for so long and realize how "broken" they are that they couldn't possibly entice anyone new to play the game unless they were as dumb and rudimentary as everyone was in the 70s. At least that's the impression I get. Shrug.

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago. 



A ten year old today may have been playing WoW for 4 years and just got Skyrim for Xmas I think they have utterly different expectations and paradigms.


That's what I was going to say. It is true that 2e is no less potentially enjoyable today than it was 15 years ago, but A) it is a different world where people have slightly different ideas about what is fun and cool, and B) there are just much better games that have come out in the meantime. Why play 2e when you can play 4e, or maybe some OSR clone that cleans up the rules vastly? You can get pretty much the same gameplay and there is a lot greater variety of rules that competently create interesting gameplay than there were back in the old days.

That doesn't mean you can't do a good game that is very similar to an older game, there are plenty of them, but there'd be little point in just putting out Red Box Basic again as it was then. It might sell OK to old players that started with it in the day, but a more contemporary version, if done right, will be better for new players.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
So why do you suppose it still works so well?


Because children play differently than adults. They ignore, misinterpret, and or alter rules that they find unintuitive and have a different relationship with the rules framework. I can virtually guarentee that anyone here who taught themselves D&D at a young age played with a very different ruleset than the one that's in the books. 
So why do you suppose it still works so well?


Because children play differently than adults. They ignore, misinterpret, and or alter rules that they find unintuitive and have a different relationship with the rules framework. I can virtually guarentee that anyone here who taught themselves D&D at a young age played with a very different ruleset than the one that's in the books. 

But I'm the one teaching it to them. I've been playing RPGs for 30 years.
i see, so the redbox works well when you have someone who's been doing it for 30 years teaching you. i can see some bias but honestly, do you think they would play the game in the assumed fashion with full understanding of the rules without you guiding them?

i know i didn't back then. i played "2nd ed D&D" but i can assure that i wasn't using the ruleset in the books, or at least not the one presented. then again, we didn't have someone to teach us. we had 5 kids in the boonies with a set of 2nd hand books. our understanding was mostly "roll dice, bullshit numbers, fight monsters".

only when i played again did i realize i was doing it wrong and that's probably why i was having fun. 

on the flipside, we all took to videogames quickly. i played the atari & NES as early as 3-4 at my aunt's place while being babysat. i got my SNES in what... '91? '92? still works too. the gist of the fantasy i grew up on was zelda, dragon warrior, mario, megaman and multiple final fantasies. i gobbled up as many RPGs as i could in the SNES & PS1 era of gaming.

on the flipside, D&Ds mechanics were pretty horrible compartively. we played D&D because it allowed a greater freedom to explore, not because the mechanics were stellar. 

a decent GM can make a decent experience with most systems. i can play 3.0/3.5/pathfinder and whatnot and have fun with the group, but i won't say the session was fun because of the system. it was fun because of the group. i generally find the 3rd ed system and it's direct derivatives more of a chore then anything, especially since i could have fun with the same group, but with less of a hassle due to the system. 

as i said before, if not on this forum, but another: 4th ed is the first edition of D&D i feel comfortable running without having to feel the need to rip it apart & re-assemble it just to make it useable. 

just because you can have fun doesn't mean the system is good. i've heard people could have fun with FATAL. i know i had fun when i was a kid with a sword made out of 2 planks and few rusty nails. all it mean is that humans who want to have fun can find ways to distract themselves with the tools they have at hand.

it doesn't say anything about the quality of the tools.
i see, so the redbox works well when you have someone who's been doing it for 30 years teaching you. i can see some bias but honestly, do you think they would play the game in the assumed fashion with full understanding of the rules without you guiding them?

i know i didn't back then. i played "2nd ed D&D" but i can assure that i wasn't using the ruleset in the books, or at least not the one presented. then again, we didn't have someone to teach us. we had 5 kids in the boonies with a set of 2nd hand books. our understanding was mostly "roll dice, bullshit numbers, fight monsters".

only when i played again did i realize i was doing it wrong and that's probably why i was having fun. 

on the flipside, we all took to videogames quickly. i played the atari & NES as early as 3-4 at my aunt's place while being babysat. i got my SNES in what... '91? '92? still works too. the gist of the fantasy i grew up on was zelda, dragon warrior, mario, megaman and multiple final fantasies. i gobbled up as many RPGs as i could in the SNES & PS1 era of gaming.

on the flipside, D&Ds mechanics were pretty horrible compartively. we played D&D because it allowed a greater freedom to explore, not because the mechanics were stellar. 

a decent GM can make a decent experience with most systems. i can play 3.0/3.5/pathfinder and whatnot and have fun with the group, but i won't say the session was fun because of the system. it was fun because of the group. i generally find the 3rd ed system and it's direct derivatives more of a chore then anything, especially since i could have fun with the same group, but with less of a hassle due to the system. 

as i said before, if not on this forum, but another: 4th ed is the first edition of D&D i feel comfortable running without having to feel the need to rip it apart & re-assemble it just to make it useable. 

just because you can have fun doesn't mean the system is good. i've heard people could have fun with FATAL. i know i had fun when i was a kid with a sword made out of 2 planks and few rusty nails. all it mean is that humans who want to have fun can find ways to distract themselves with the tools they have at hand.

it doesn't say anything about the quality of the tools.

I've been letting them read the books by themselves and then i run the game. If they have questions, I answer them. For the most part, I just kind of sit back and watch it happen. It's been a real eye opener. They seem to really get it. After all the forums I've read, one would think such a thing is impossible. I think the biggest key isn't good or bad mechanics, but a simply LACK of mechanics. There just aren't a lot of rules.  Resolution is based on telling a story more often than not. The imagination of the child seems to be the limiting factor and to my surprise, those kids that are heavily influenced by Harry Potter and the likes of Skyrim seem to really run with it. I think it may be a case of "less is more".

"just because you can have fun doesn't mean the system is good."

Also, I don't know what to think about this really. I think any system that is easy to learn and lends itself to an entertaining experience is "good" on some level.
After reading this thread, and listening to some podcasts with a bunch of DM's discussing this, I just had an awful notion: 

coupled with the collapse of the economy and decreasing entertainment budgets, WotC's corporate overlords at Hasbro likely have very wrong ideas about how much money the D&D franchise must generate to be a profitable business. Yes, WotC may be hoping to lure back players who left for Pathfinder, but this move (announcement in the NYTimes, killing 4e sales for the next 2 years until 5e comes out) is both bold and desperate. WotC must be losing tons of business to make such a bold move. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's a fools' quest.

recall how 4e was designed to use minis, and WotC had a miniatures game that kind of went along with the plastic prepainted minis. then wizkids went broke, and a couple of years later, WotC killed the minis line. This must in some way be related to the fact that Americans have less disposable income than ever - who's going to buy a bunch of collectible crap if you're worried about losing your job?

also note that Borders went out of business, and Barnes & Noble has been on the ropes, fighting vs. Amazon for their lives. and yet not a single D&D book is available for the Kindle -- I think the screen is too small on the Kindle for reading but there are those who disagree. Sure, D&D torrents of PDF's abound - cutting into WotC sales and forcing them to make dumbed-down paperbacks like the Essentials collection (tougher to scan to PDF if it's got double the number of pages and won't lay down flat on a scanner). part of this move to 5e MUST be the result of dwindling sales and corporate pressure, although I'm just making calculated guesses here. 

if WotC wants to make a modular version of D&D that appeals to different players, they need to improve their web support and start making apps for the iPhone and Android. These apps should include in-app content purchases. That way you buy a Basic Players' Handbook for $10 or whatever for your iPad, then if you want specialty classes like the monk, or paragon tier powers, you need to buy the downloadable content for $1 or whatever. They could still sell collections of powers for a discount (Every Martial Class! Every Shadow Spell! Rare armor and weapons!) and because this content would be digitally distributed, it would allow WotC to exit the paper publishing market gracefully, gaining the profits from sales and digital distribution without the hassles of printing, distribution, and difficult guesswork such as calculating how many books they need to print. As an additional benefit, they wouldn't have to worry about licensing content because all downloadable content is only sold through their app, and controlled through whatever review process that they have internally. As a result, they need not worry about losing app sales to a D20-style "cloning" scheme.

Note that I _love_ my iPad and bring it to every gaming session. I have PDFs of the books I've bought to make referencing the rules easy during gaming sessions - also to save on the backbreaking work of lugging 25 lbs of books to nerd night. Not every gamer has or wants an iPad, and for some, that will be a real turn-off. But this is where the entertainment industry is headed for music, movies, and yes, BOOKS. You can't stuff the genie back into the bottle - if WotC doesn't move to a digital world, then Paizo or some other enterprising company will.
After reading this thread, and listening to some podcasts with a bunch of DM's discussing this, I just had an awful notion: 

coupled with the collapse of the economy and decreasing entertainment budgets, WotC's corporate overlords at Hasbro likely have very wrong ideas about how much money the D&D franchise must generate to be a profitable business. Yes, WotC may be hoping to lure back players who left for Pathfinder, but this move (announcement in the NYTimes, killing 4e sales for the next 2 years until 5e comes out) is both bold and desperate. WotC must be losing tons of business to make such a bold move. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's a fools' quest.

recall how 4e was designed to use minis, and WotC had a miniatures game that kind of went along with the plastic prepainted minis. then wizkids went broke, and a couple of years later, WotC killed the minis line. This must in some way be related to the fact that Americans have less disposable income than ever - who's going to buy a bunch of collectible crap if you're worried about losing your job?

also note that Borders went out of business, and Barnes & Noble has been on the ropes, fighting vs. Amazon for their lives. and yet not a single D&D book is available for the Kindle -- I think the screen is too small on the Kindle for reading but there are those who disagree. Sure, D&D torrents of PDF's abound - cutting into WotC sales and forcing them to make dumbed-down paperbacks like the Essentials collection (tougher to scan to PDF if it's got double the number of pages and won't lay down flat on a scanner). part of this move to 5e MUST be the result of dwindling sales and corporate pressure, although I'm just making calculated guesses here. 

if WotC wants to make a modular version of D&D that appeals to different players, they need to improve their web support and start making apps for the iPhone and Android. These apps should include in-app content purchases. That way you buy a Basic Players' Handbook for $10 or whatever for your iPad, then if you want specialty classes like the monk, or paragon tier powers, you need to buy the downloadable content for $1 or whatever. They could still sell collections of powers for a discount (Every Martial Class! Every Shadow Spell! Rare armor and weapons!) and because this content would be digitally distributed, it would allow WotC to exit the paper publishing market gracefully, gaining the profits from sales and digital distribution without the hassles of printing, distribution, and difficult guesswork such as calculating how many books they need to print. As an additional benefit, they wouldn't have to worry about licensing content because all downloadable content is only sold through their app, and controlled through whatever review process that they have internally. As a result, they need not worry about losing app sales to a D20-style "cloning" scheme.

Note that I _love_ my iPad and bring it to every gaming session. I have PDFs of the books I've bought to make referencing the rules easy during gaming sessions - also to save on the backbreaking work of lugging 25 lbs of books to nerd night. Not every gamer has or wants an iPad, and for some, that will be a real turn-off. But this is where the entertainment industry is headed for music, movies, and yes, BOOKS. You can't stuff the genie back into the bottle - if WotC doesn't move to a digital world, then Paizo or some other enterprising company will.

"part of this move to 5e MUST be the result of dwindling sales"

Ahem.....no kidding. You think?  Of course, if 4E was selling well enough, they've never can it early. They'd let it continue. It must really be doing poorly for them to whack it off at the knees the way they are.

But I'm not sure selling the d&d equivalent of horse armor is the way to do. I like the idea of microtransactions, but not for materials like this.
Note that I _love_ my iPad and bring it to every gaming session. I have PDFs of the books I've bought to make referencing the rules easy during gaming sessions - also to save on the backbreaking work of lugging 25 lbs of books to nerd night. Not every gamer has or wants an iPad, and for some, that will be a real turn-off. But this is where the entertainment industry is headed for music, movies, and yes, BOOKS. You can't stuff the genie back into the bottle - if WotC doesn't move to a digital world, then Paizo or some other enterprising company will.



There is a place for both print and digital media in DnD. I wouldn't mind some sort of e-version of the book being available from a code you get when you purchase the print book (the way 4E was originally designed to do), but I also want print books.  You mentioned Paizo, Paizo sales both PDF and print books and their print books by all accounts sell well also.  I realize you are a fan of digital books, but I don't think your paradigm should be forced on everyone with no other option available for DnD. 

Yes, digital media has become more popular that being said, I can still go to Amazon and order a print book to come to my home.  If not Barnes and Noble I can go to a good number of bookstore (independent and used book stores as well as larger conglomerates) and purchase print books.  Comic books have a digital copy, but by and large the industry sales paper comics because overall that is what fans prefer, etc so you saying because you love your ipad that DnD should be strictly digital I disagree with. 

I think there is room for both print and digital and honestly I don't see WOTC going this direction for 5E. I do think they might try to do what they did with 4E though and have a code in the books that releases a digital copy after you purchased the print one.

Peace,
Fallstorm

Paper books are heading the way of the dinosaurs, not quickly but it's happening.

IMO, a dedicated app for tablets and computers is the most logical way to go, speaking about mylocal gaming groups, we would have bough more books if they were PDFs and the books we did buy quickly became out of date with all the erretas.

If WotC open a store with linked products from it and 3rd party developers (I.e you buy a book with new fighter powers and it's added automatically to your player handbook) with a quick and easy way to receive new books and advantures and more importantly the ability to admit them to your own use they will have a gold mine.

Each book should have a code for a copy of the book in the app and there should also be the ability to buy the books in the app itself.

Warder 

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Polaris

So why do you suppose it still works so well?


Maybe because what's important with D&D is not the rules, the game system itself, but the mood, the athmosphere. What your heroes do, and not the fact that they roll D20s, have an AC, a class and a level, etc.
I began playing at age 12, and, though I very fast learned to hate the AD&D rule set (there were better rules elsewhere) I still have fond memories of the light hearted heroic "tales" we lived at this time. That is the magic of D&D. Not specific rules or implementations.

Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
Paper books are heading the way of the dinosaurs, not quickly but it's happening....If WotC open a store with linked products from it and 3rd party developers



My point was if WotC is worried about money, then having a digital content management system can cut out 3rd party developers from integrating their products with WotC's as easily as they have been using paper.

If 4e sales are slipping, why? Because they put out far too much material for any one gaming group to use. After the PHB2, there was less and less that we needed/wanted, and the books started having much fewer pages, making them not such a great value.

Perhaps they should put out a "second printing" of the 4e PHB and DMG that include the errata. There's no way my group is going to keep track of all the changes they've made.

If someone doesn't like 4e, they're free to keep playing 3rd or 2nd or AD&D. Or Skyrim or Wow or Dragon Age or yes, even Pathfinder. I don't see how making an "inclusive version" could possibly work. 
This comic says it best:
art.penny-arcade.com/photos/i-xTWHDNT/0/...

My personal opinion is that the original Red Box is just as enticing to a 10 year old today as it was 30 years ago.



The updated Red Box was a great idea for 4e, although it should have been available at launch. But there's no reason they couldn't put some marketing dollars behind pushing the new Red Box every Christmas season. How many years did we play Basic D&D or AD&D without even dreaming of a new iteration of D&D?
To quote a DM from a podcast I listened to, it feels like WotC is throwing 4e under a bus, which is what the lovers of 3e/3.5 said just a few years ago. No, I'm not buying a new version of D&D every 5 years. That's crazy and doesn't make sense. 
I'd like D&D 5.0, or whatever it's named, to look a lot like Star Wars Saga Edition.  Seriously if you haven't played it you should.  Think a it as a simple and elegant blend of 3.5, and 4.0.  It has D20 modern style talents and D&D3.5 style classes, prestige classes.  Healing, movement, skills and defenses are closer to 4.0, but the AC and Ref rolled into 1 (armor adds onto ref, but limits the dex bonus, armor can also boost fortitude defense), and the 4th defense is damage threshold (fortitude defense + misc extra, basically a feat that increases damage threshold but not fortitude defense) tied to a condition track that melds almost all the various conditions into a single entity, think of it as being similar to being "bloodied" in D&D 4.0 but with a bit more granularity.  Many people who've played SAGA says that the damage threshold plus condition track is the single best game mechanic in ANY system they've EVER played.  Combat is fast because you generally get one attack per round unless you spend feats, and area attacks use a single attack and damage roll for all targets in the area of effect.  

The Force power system is a good deal different than either D&D 3.5 or D&D 4.0 spell casting.  In D&D terms, a lot of minor "magic" (D&D 4.0 at-wills) are free.  But you have to spend feats to get "spell" slots for significant stuff (say a fireball), and you get 1+attribute modifer "spells" per feat.  You get your entire "spell" suite back each encounter or by rolling a natural 20 on"use magic" check" within an encounter.  You can get one "spell" (of your choice) back mid encounter by spending an "action point."  With a slight modification you could get daily, encounter, and at-will spells with the same feat, with one spell slot being one spell slot; dailies would be more powerful and wouldn't come back each encounter, and at-wills can be used as many times as you like.  This would cleanly solve the "problem" of having different levels of spells, now there's only 3, and running out of spells in a day.  And if you like you could add in D&D 4.0 style rituals as a 4th category.  

Oh and SAGA has backgrounds similar to D&D 4.0 (I think Rodney borrowed the idea from 4.0). Star Wars SAGA edition made Rodney Thompson (the lead designer) is my all time rpg hero! Gary Gygax is a very distant second.  And if you're looking for examples of brilliance in game design, the rules for swarms, squads, and mass combat are well, elegantly simple and ingenius.  Collections of individuals are melded into a single larger entity with simple rules on how to modify the base stats of an individual to get them.  All Hail King Rodney, Long Live the King!  Oh and I'm sure that with lessons learned, Rodney Thompson could iron out the few wrinkles left in the rule set. 
"One should not seek to control the force for it is an ally not a slave, rather one should seek the aid of the force in controlling one's own self." --Elias Windrider quoting his father
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