Legends and Lore - The Rules

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Legends and Lore
The Rules

by Mike Mearls

“The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don’t need any rules.” 
–Gary Gygax

Talk about this column here.

Hip hip hooray.

Sign me up for core rules.

I'll take some of this... "The core rules could consist of the basic functionality of combat, roleplay, and exploration. Ability checks with a d20 measured against a DC serve as the basic rule. For combat, the rules could feature a fairly simple, miniatures-less system..."

With a side of this... "Of course, a DM could always just rely on the core rules and improvise or imagine the outcomes. In this manner, the DM tailors the campaign not only to what he or she wants but also to how the group will approach those goals."

Now that could be my dream edition of D&D right there.

Thanks Mike. 
"And why the simple mechanics? Two reasons: First, complex mechanics invariably channel and limit the imagination; second, my neurons have better things to do than calculate numbers and refer to charts all evening." -Over the Edge
@Mike - If you're trying to guage how interested people might be in this kind of game I can see how some people would like it but it's not for me. Or at least it's not for me when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons.

Can't wait for that "big announcement" at Gen Con. ;) Sorry, sorry. I had to say it, hehe. I jest, I jest.



You're not reading the articles then. He's talking about opt in complexity, you don't like simple and rules light, use more rules. I, however, would love rules light D&D, it would be great. We can both play D&D, WotC can sell books and the fan base can at least start pretending like they're coming back together again.

A core game that allows for all levels of complexity (rules light to rules heavy), all kinds of play styles, and can simulate every edition of D&D... all as one game. What's not to love?
"And why the simple mechanics? Two reasons: First, complex mechanics invariably channel and limit the imagination; second, my neurons have better things to do than calculate numbers and refer to charts all evening." -Over the Edge
the concept of an edition like this sounds ambitious, and while im al ittle apprehensive about how well wotc would pull it off i'd still pick it up on launch day,
I just hope they bring back the 9 alignements to give players and DM who like them more options, more complexity.

ewho do not like them could do what they always did, ignore them.


You can stilll use them if you want to. 
NG and CG are both aspects of good, NE and LE both fall under Evil, CN never made sense, but it and LN can fall into unaligned.
I realized this the first imte I read the 4E PHB a couple days after it was released.
All that is really gone from the alignment system is them having mechanical effects, which was rarely that good for the game anyway, as it mostly served for purposes like catch-22ing the Paladin.  
We already had this "core" system in the OGL/SRD era.
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I think I can glimpse my "bestest and most favorite" version of D&D coming soon.  Dont coup de grace my dreams, Mr Mearls...

I do want a simpler rules-lite version.  But I dont want a miniatures-less version either.
So if they make the next version of D&D modular, I hope I can mix and match something along these lines:

Simple character generation.  Focused just like the current Essentials characters, but just a tad bit more options for powers.  You guys overdid Essentials chargen in my opinion.  Simplify the powers while keeping them focused, but dont lessen the number of options too much.  Which leads to...

Simpler powers.  Less fiddly, but just as distinctive. 

Streamline combat a bit more.  Less conditions, perhaps amalgamate a few of em. Combat needs to go faster.  So, maybe an option to streamline initiative.  My solution would be: Initiative/perception is used only once to determine which pcs get a turn before the monsters.  After that, initiative isnt used again.  Each side now takes turns (all monsters, then all pcs, repeat til combat is resolved).  Hell, Im gonna figure out how to start using that now!!!

Keep powers focused on grid-based miniatures combat.  I love minis, I love maps. 

Essentials was almost there... I can nearly taste what I want D&D to be...
Basically, I want the 1980's Basic/Expert D&D but:

1) add the current combat powers for characters, less marking/conditions/fiddly bits

2) replace to hit charts with attack roll vs AC/Fort/Ref/Will

3) delete skills, bring back ability scores to the fore. Skill checks use ability scores vs DC 

4) feats should be rolled into powers, gain a level: choose a feat, combat power, or a utility power.

5) monsters like the current ones.   I love my Rules Cyclopedia/Moldvay Basic/Cook Expert... but I cant go back to playing against monsters who are only bags of hitpoints with attacks based on their hitdice.
i hate where this seems to be going, but it doesnt matter bc i wont buy 5e. ill stick with 4th, 1st edition ad&d which is having a revival right now, and call of cthulhu. i have no interest in two forms of rules, or catering to players who want a dumbed down version of the game. if essentials isnt simple enough for you, i dont think youre cut out for dnd


also i hate every idea the guy above me had. except 5, but i hate the idea of a new edition so i hate the premise its built on
I understand where the design goals of D&D may head in the future, the problem however is having the trust of the player base to pull it off. With 4E being fairly new, and Essentials following close on its heels, I am not sure another major change in direction will be accepted for some, and can't happen soon enough for others.

The trick with optional rules, is making them appear optional, so that the majority of players will be happy with the core system and it can pull off 99 percent of the game as intended. So if one of the goals it to be less dependent on the grid, then they will have to really focus on powers to preserve flavor of 4E and essentials, without going over the top with tactical movement. Then an optional rule could be if the player does so much damage, or uses advanced weapons, implements, or spell components, you can add in movement effects. Items like skills may be a little more forgiving, if the optional rules are only to add in a little more speciliazation or flavor, while still maintaining the core mechanic.
I would be all over add on rules with increased layers of complexity. Esp if they could add increased "simulation" style to the game, as opposed to increased abstraction. But either way, me likey. Perhaps 5e will bring me back to the fold.
*Deep breath* - Where to start?

Most of the stuff Mike says would fit well... if the game was aimed squarely at an explorative/Simulationist-in-the-Forge-sense game.  The problem is that some core "what makes D&D what it is" features (hit points, levels) really don't fit well with that sort of game.  2E was often pilloried for just this reason.

Then, the "D&D can't be competitive" point:
In some ways, the entire concept of RPG mechanics makes little sense when you consider that the DM is on hand to adjudicate things. Rules can’t turn a bad DM into a good one or ensure a “fair” (whatever that might mean) game. In my view, rules that try to force the DM to play fair are a waste of time. After all, the DM can just put Tiamat in the next room of the dungeon and slaughter the characters whenever he or she wishes. Why try to legislate some of the DM’s power while leaving huge, gaping holes elsewhere? Is the book going to suddenly animate and pummel the DM for being a meanie?

All very true, and yet activities do exist where millions get satisfaction from stepping up to a challenge that is, theoretically, at the creator's whim to make arbitrarily difficult.

Crosswords and Sudoku puzzles are very popular.  They are, pretty unequivocally, about "the challenge" - they are there for you, the "player", to beat.  And yet, theoretically, the creators could make them nigh-on impossible to do.  They could make up words, present you with a blank grid and say "solve that!" or use impossibly obscure references.

But they don't.  Because the very raison d'etre of such challenges is that they should be tough, but feasible.  And still such 'games' have rules.  There is even a grid (!).  The rules let the players know what they can do, what they can expect.  They define how the game "works".  A crossword with squares scattered all over the page, with the letters of each word randomly allocated to various squares, would be seen as just plain "cheating"; the result is not a crossword.  Adhering to the rules is important if the players are to have a reasonable chance of meeting the challenge.  With out the rules, in fact, it's not really a "challenge" at all - it's just a pointless waste of time.  It is in this sense that I think a roleplaying game can be "competitive", can be "about stepping up to challenges".  And I think 4E is excellent in that respect.

In short, I think that Mike's assessment of the rules as "describing common procedures and mechanisms" is partial and superficial, at best.

It seems to me that rules can define how the game works, or they can contribute to defining how the game world works, or they can define something about how players will behave.  These are all possible, but contribute to very different styles of game.  You have to choose one of them as "primary".  D&D has never been good at the last one and has fundamental issues with the second; I think it works best when focussed on the first, therefore, and that is what 4E does.
======= Balesir
Week by week, little by little, 5th edition is revealed. I miss the D&D Alumni. That series talked more about the past in a favorable light to 4th. Legends and Lore reminds me of how much of 4th edition is being thrown under the bus. Miniature-less combat? F@&$ that S@&$!
seriously
So 5th edition for 2012? It IS the end of the world.

Wizards...I am sorry you won't get another dime out of me if you do this.
Thank God I kept the offline builder on my computer!
So 5th edition for 2012? It IS the end of the world.

Wizards...I am sorry you won't get another dime out of me if you do this.
Thank God I kept the offline builder on my computer!



Week by week, little by little, 5th edition is revealed. I miss the D&D Alumni. That series talked more about the past in a favorable light to 4th. Legends and Lore reminds me of how much of 4th edition is being thrown under the bus. Miniature-less combat? F@&$ that S@&$!



Oh, come ON! 5th Edition isn't going to be coming any time soon, and you both know it. There's still so much more that can be done with the current iteration of the game! Need I remind you that two rulebooks have already been (unofficially, mind you) announced for 2012? As for combat without miniatures, it's been done before. Not everybody like to use minis or tokens.
So 5th edition for 2012?


Mearls' article is so focused on the preliminaries, there's no way a 5e could come out in 2012.  I imagine it will be announced in 2014 or 2015 for a release in 2016 or 2017.
I have two basic problems with what Mike says here:

1. Having a basic core with optional layers sounds like a balance nightmare, especially when you consider optional layers of player content that vary between players at the same table. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it'll be a mammoth task.

2. Doing this will make the game less portable. One of the strengths of 4E is the ability to move from group to group and be playing tmostly the same game in your new group that you were playing in your last group. This was a failing I found in 3E, where due to DMs allowing varying levels of books and the extent 3E tended to be houseruled, I found myself having to relearn D&D everytime I joined a new group. I was particularly guilty of this as a DM, as I was never satisfied with "my version" of the rules and scrapped them and built a new set of houserules from scratch after every campaign. My players(and me) had to learn a "new D&D" after every campaign. There is value in the rules being consistent across the gaming community, value that will be lost given what Mike is proposing.
...whatever
1. Having a basic core with optional layers sounds like a balance nightmare


I don't think the problem is as bad as you think.  The add-ons all seem to be in separate spheres.  You have an add-on for strategic combat.  You have an ad-on for exploration.  You have an add-on for social situations.

Also, I don't think Mearls is envisioning that individuals at a table would be using different add-ons.  The expansions would be table-wide.  A DM (or Dm and group) would decide which supplements would apply to a campaign.

2. Doing this will make the game less portable.


While I agree this is a cost, I don't think it's a prohibitive cost.  3e's issue was that the game was unbalanced in unpredictable ways given the combo of supplements.  If the core is meticulously balanced, then it's easier to make sure each option is balanced.  So a DM/group would only be choosing expansions based on the style of play that's right for them, not because Complete Hacker is overpowered, or because if you use Spelunker Power in conjunction with Drama Queens of Eberron, you can make the ultra-powerful Mushroom Princess build.
no, that is as bad as i think. even worse, they way you describe it, because it sounds like a money grab...multiple rulebooks for what used to require one. this of course will lead to confusion about what products you need, completely undermining the entire goal of simplicity....much like essentials has
1. Having a basic core with optional layers sounds like a balance nightmare


I don't think the problem is as bad as you think.  The add-ons all seem to be in separate spheres.  You have an add-on for strategic combat.  You have an ad-on for exploration.  You have an add-on for social situations.

Also, I don't think Mearls is envisioning that individuals at a table would be using different add-ons.  The expansions would be table-wide.  A DM (or Dm and group) would decide which supplements would apply to a campaign.



I was thinking of one player using the core Fighter as laid out in the Core book compared to another player using piles and piles of optional material. Ignoring material is always an option, unless the options are forced on people which is its own problem.

2. Doing this will make the game less portable.


While I agree this is a cost, I don't think it's a prohibitive cost.  3e's issue was that the game was unbalanced in unpredictable ways given the combo of supplements.  If the core is meticulously balanced, then it's easier to make sure each option is balanced.  So a DM/group would only be choosing expansions based on the style of play that's right for them, not because Complete Hacker is overpowered, or because if you use Spelunker Power in conjunction with Drama Queens of Eberron, you can make the ultra-powerful Mushroom Princess build.



3E was unbalanced in unpredictable ways using just the Players Handbook.

As for the rest, it depends on how they do it, and the difference between cosmetic and meaningful choices. The more meaningful the choice, the more it changes things. The more cosmetic the choice, the bigger the question of why bother in the first place. Having a balanced core may help(3E certainly wasn't helped by its unbalanced core) in terms of balance, it doesn't need to be unbalanced for there to be a disconnect between what table A and table B are playing.
...whatever
I was thinking of one player using the core Fighter as laid out in the Core book compared to another player using piles and piles of optional material.


I dont' think that's what mearls is saying.  All of his statements are of a DM setting the rules for a campaign:
"a DM could either create a specific type of campaign"
"the DM might decide to incorporate additional rule systems"
"For a campaign that instead focuses on tactical battles, advanced rules and options would allow"
"by opting into a set of rules, the DM indicates"
"a DM could always just rely on the core rules"
"In this manner, the DM tailors the campaign"

Mearls is definitely not thinking that two players at a given table would be operating under different rulesets.

3E was unbalanced in unpredictable ways using just the Players Handbook.


Yes.  As I said, the problem was that because of the imbalances, DMs were hesitant to appw new books in.  Because 3e's core was unbalanced, that imbalance was only accentuated witht he additionl of supplements.  If the core is balanced then the supplements can be balanced and you don't get the problem you had with 3e.

in terms of balance, it doesn't need to be unbalanced for there to be a disconnect between what table A and table B are playing.


And as I said, I agree there would be some disconect.  But I don't see that as a big deal.  Particularly since the expansions Mearls suggests are based on playstyles.  If table A is playing a primarily hack-n-slash game and table B is playing primarily a game of political intrigue, you've already got a disconnect.  But in Mearls' framework, at least the hack-n-slashers dont' have to bother with the political machination rules and the political machinators don't waste time focusing on combat rules they don't care about.
Huh. It all sounds like a monstrous headache, really. 
I don't agree with this perspective at all.  The rules have always been Core Minus, not Core Plus.  ESPECIALLY in 4th edition, the printed rules are the assumed baseline to which everybody is expected to agree on as a starting point.  It's what lets you and me and any other random player all be playing the same game, and be able to play with new people without significant learning or relearning.

The DM has always been able to ignore or change rules that don't fit his or her specific idea, and that won't change with Core Plus.  But, and here's the important part, we as D&D players put more value on the printed rules than on any particular houserule.  I, quite frankly, don't trust the average bear to Plus out a new rule.  Minusing a rule is much less of a stretch on the overall system.

Which brings us to the function the rules play.  Gygax is correct, and if you know your party well enough (as players, as characters, truly being able to predict each others' decisions etc) then you don't need rules.  But that's exceedingly rare, and the rules function to take the game from "I got that ogre in the face" "No you didn't" "Yes I did" to something with some semblance of fairness.

The larger point is that while the rules can always be edited, that flexibility does not make them irrelevant, which I think going too far down the "Just do it yourself" path makes them.  We pay you guys money for rules for real, legitimate reasons, not just because we like your company.  Don't forget that.  Ever.

If, instead, Core Plus is talking about doing what I think it's doing, and breaking up the printed rules into various splatbooks for us to drop money on to have a complete system...that would be a disappointingly transparent money grab.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
no, that is as bad as i think. even worse, they way you describe it, because it sounds like a money grab...multiple rulebooks for what used to require one. this of course will lead to confusion about what products you need, completely undermining the entire goal of simplicity....much like essentials has



+1

Mike Mearls has published some really awful ideas in Legends & Lore recently, and this is probably one of the worst.

The future of D&D doesn't look very good IMO. 
@Wrecan

You're forgetting a big part of the picture, something that loomed huge over both 3E and 4E, and that is the options for options' sake crowd.

What you describe relies on the options having a purpose and being used for that purpose. There are large sections of the D&D community who use everything regardless of its intended purpose for the sole reason of having the most customizable PC possible.

There is also the inevitability of unintended consequences, with CharOp finding unintended combos in books having nothing to do with combat and players allowed to use books that don't have any direct bearing on the game being run being allowed to build special snowflakes that melt under the first sign of stress.

I sort of see what Mike is proposing as requiring a level of maturity and responsibility that I don't think you can reasonably expect from RPG players on the whole.
...whatever
If, instead, Core Plus is talking about doing what I think it's doing, and breaking up the printed rules into various splatbooks for us to drop money on to have a complete system...that would be a disappointingly transparent money grab.


If the core book is a single short book for basic characters, perfect for casual gamers and pick-up games, which is what I think Mearls is describing, it's not a money grab at all.  Rather than having to purchase a $35 PHB, and a $35 DMG, you buy a single $25 Corebook and you're good to go.

If you want options, you buy the $35 book on Mini Combat, or a $35 book on Political Play, or a $35 book on Expanded Skills.

It's only more expensive if you want to play with all the options.  But I think most people would be thrilled having to buy only one or two books for a campaign.

I am curious how Monster Manuals would work on this system.  Would there be a "Core" Monster Manual with only the barebones for basic creatures, and then each expansion would have its own Monster Manual giving the expansion rules for those creatures?  How would it work if you have a campaign with multiple expansions?  That, to me, is the most complicated portion of this concept.

I sort of see what Mike is proposing as requiring a level of maturity and responsibility that I don't think you can reasonably expect from RPG players on the whole.



Maturity aside, I don't have the patience for this approach. I do not want to go on another 2-year "acquire-the-game" project just to collect the various options I want/need while WotC doles them out.

I did not participate in the 3.x era of the game. I have bought almost everything published for 4E. However, I'm not doing that again (it was interesting, but I'm over it). Unless all these options are released simultaneously with the core mechanic, I will be sorely vexed. 
There are large sections of the D&D community who use everything regardless of its intended purpose for the sole reason of having the most customizable PC possible.


I don't see why that's a problem.  If their gaming group uses every option, then let them have fun.

There is also the inevitability of unintended consequences, with CharOp finding unintended combos in books having nothing to do with combat and players allowed to use books that don't have any direct bearing on the game being run being allowed to build special snowflakes that melt under the first sign of stress.


I don't think that's something we can particularly control.  Birds gotta fly, optimizers gotta optimize.  If the spheres are distinctive enough, then this should be less of an issue than with prior editions.  Right now, because all the spheres are tossed together, you have combat powers that boost skills, skill powers that boost combat, and you end with Diplomancer and Intimidamancer builds.

In a system where social skills, exploratory skills, and minis combat are kept rigidly separated, the designers won't be throw in combat powers that boost skills and skill powers to boost combat.  You might end up with fewer unintended synergies.

awful ideas

Unless all these options are released simultaneously with the core mechanic, I will be sorely vexed. 


That's just not how the market works.  You can't release five supplements at once.  You would release the corebook and then once a month or every other month, you release an expansion.  If that bugs you, you should probably stick with 4e for the first year that 5e is out (if it uses such a system).  Then you can buy the core and all the expansions in one fell swoop.
If, instead, Core Plus is talking about doing what I think it's doing, and breaking up the printed rules into various splatbooks for us to drop money on to have a complete system...that would be a disappointingly transparent money grab.


If the core book is a single short book for basic characters, perfect for casual gamers and pick-up games, which is what I think Mearls is describing, it's not a money grab at all.  Rather than having to purchase a $35 PHB, and a $35 DMG, you buy a single $25 Corebook and you're good to go.

If you want options, you buy the $35 book on Mini Combat, or a $35 book on Political Play, or a $35 book on Expanded Skills.

It's only more expensive if you want to play with all the options.  But I think most people would be thrilled having to buy only one or two books for a campaign.

I am curious how Monster Manuals would work on this system.  Would there be a "Core" Monster Manual with only the barebones for basic creatures, and then each expansion would have its own Monster Manual giving the expansion rules for those creatures?  How would it work if you have a campaign with multiple expansions?  That, to me, is the most complicated portion of this concept.



At some point, options become non-options and the RPG community divides into camps. It lacked the animosity of the groups in 4E, but 3E had some clear camps in the "core-only" crowd and the "pile-o-books" crowd. They didn't hate each other, but they also weren't playing the same game to any real extent.

There can be different factors to this. One is popularity. If most everybody uses a book, peer pressure tends to make it stop being optional. Excellence can do this as well, as a book can be too good to ignore. In any case, you end up dividing the community into camps or making things into a muddled mess.

I don't buy this whole core with added options line. Its a mess, a bomb just waiting to go off. A simple game needs to remain simple or it will cease to be so. The only way for a game to remain simple is to never add the complexity, optional or not. If there is a need for a simple D&D, we need two D&Ds, one simple and one complex, and we need to keep the simple D&D free of the complexities and the two games separate from each other.
...whatever
Unless all these options are released simultaneously with the core mechanic, I will be sorely vexed. 


That's just not how the market works.  You can't release five supplements at once.  You would release the corebook and then once a month or every other month, you release an expansion.  If that bugs you, you should probably stick with 4e for the first year that 5e is out (if it uses such a system).  Then you can buy the core and all the expansions in one fell swoop.



Probably better waiting 3, so they can get "5e Basic" or whatever they'll call the new big change in that edition out.


I don't buy this whole core with added options line. Its a mess, a bomb just waiting to go off. A simple game needs to remain simple or it will cease to be so. The only way for a game to remain simple is to never add the complexity, optional or not. If there is a need for a simple D&D, we need two D&Ds, one simple and one complex, and we need to keep the simple D&D free of the complexities and the two games separate from each other.



Agreed. 4e started off really simple, and ballooned with time. Essentials got even simpler (well, if you're a martial class that is), and was advertised as a standalone product, but then became the "new direction" seemingly influencing everything after.
And what if we don't agree on what is core?  I'm talking specifically about tactical combat.  Is there anyone who thinks that 4e's system of assumed grid isn't a good core idea?  Sure, I know there are some people who don't use it, but do even they think gridless combat should be the default?

What ruleset will organized play use?  Core only?  Full-options?  How am I expected to be able to keep track?

Again, Core Minus is a better philosophy than Core Plus.  You can not use rules you don't care about, but that doesn't mean that the game should be designed to function without them.  The entire potential system space must be designed and balanced as a whole, not just as a sum of balanced parts.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Unless all these options are released simultaneously with the core mechanic, I will be sorely vexed. 


That's just not how the market works.  You can't release five supplements at once.  You would release the corebook and then once a month or every other month, you release an expansion.  If that bugs you, you should probably stick with 4e for the first year that 5e is out (if it uses such a system).  Then you can buy the core and all the expansions in one fell swoop.



I understand that they can't do that; do not think me naive about the marketing and sales strategies they need to employ. As I said, though, I am not interested in going through the process again, or waiting a year to grab them all, etc. I got to try out the whole "D&D Supplement Program" for 4E, and while it was fun and educational, it's not fun enough to want to do it again.

As a result, if this is how it's done, then my D&D experiences will likely begin and end with 4E. That's not a bad thing, although I'm sure WotC would prefer that I keep purchasing.
Unless all these options are released simultaneously with the core mechanic, I will be sorely vexed. 


That's just not how the market works.  You can't release five supplements at once.  You would release the corebook and then once a month or every other month, you release an expansion.  If that bugs you, you should probably stick with 4e for the first year that 5e is out (if it uses such a system).  Then you can buy the core and all the expansions in one fell swoop.



Then we get another Edition War, and rightfully so. People who want a mature game with all the bells and whistles aren't going to be able to get it from the new edition, and as such stick to the old. Even if the new edition is strikingly superior to the old(like 4E was) and people switch for that reason, it still won't be able to do everything the old edition could do until enough books come out(which was true of 4E as well).


...whatever
There are large sections of the D&D community who use everything regardless of its intended purpose for the sole reason of having the most customizable PC possible.


I don't see why that's a problem.  If their gaming group uses every option, then let them have fun.



It becomes a problem when the options have a purpose and players use them with no regard for that purpose. Lets say for example a DM runs mostly hack and slash but allows every book in the game. Unless each book keeps its resources separate, players are free to spend character options on things that contribute little to a hack and slash campaign.

There is also the inevitability of unintended consequences, with CharOp finding unintended combos in books having nothing to do with combat and players allowed to use books that don't have any direct bearing on the game being run being allowed to build special snowflakes that melt under the first sign of stress.


I don't think that's something we can particularly control.  Birds gotta fly, optimizers gotta optimize.  If the spheres are distinctive enough, then this should be less of an issue than with prior editions.  Right now, because all the spheres are tossed together, you have combat powers that boost skills, skill powers that boost combat, and you end with Diplomancer and Intimidamancer builds.

In a system where social skills, exploratory skills, and minis combat are kept rigidly separated, the designers won't be throw in combat powers that boost skills and skill powers to boost combat.  You might end up with fewer unintended synergies.



Its all theory. It might sound good, but I think it will be a disaster in practice.
...whatever
Then we get another Edition War


I think edition wars are a necessary consequence of new editions and an internet to complain about them in.

The only edition that won't result in edition wars are editions that are merely revisions.  And I don't foresee Wizards ever doing that as long as they have game seigners on staff.  Maybe some day, they'll get rid of designers, leave a skeleton crew of onling content editors, and declare one  edition to tbe the ruleset in perpetuity.  Until then, new editions means drastic changes, and drastic changes mean edition wars.

I don't like edition wars, but I like stagnation even less.
Then we get another Edition War


I think edition wars are a necessary consequence of new editions and an internet to complain about them in.


But there are definite ways to reduce their severity through actions taken by the developers.  Yeah, haters gonna hate, and trolls gonna troll, but if you intentionally release a half-complete edition then you're just being reckless.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
with modern technology and online tools there is no real need for a new edition, ever. they have already shown they can make changes to old books and even introduce major structural changes without making a new edition. i know i dont speak for everyone by any stretch of the imagination but i dont think anyone who has purchased nearly every book like myself is ready to start that process all over again simply bc some players cant freaking understand the already simple game system. if you want simple, grab the red box. if you cant figure out the red box, theres something seriously wrong with you
It becomes a problem when the options have a purpose and players use them with no regard for that purpose.


I don't see it as a problem the designers should care about if players insist on using stuff for purposes not intended.

Its all theory. It might sound good, but I think it will be a disaster in practice.


Well, since it's a theory, we can't know what the practice will be until it's practiced.  I like the idea.  I've been mulling something similar for a long while now.  Clearly, people like you, mand12, and frothsof don't like it.  It's okay.  Few people graduate from edition to edition.  Every change leaves people with a library of the edition they liked best.  Such is life.
if you intentionally release a half-complete edition then you're just being reckless.


But it's not half-complete.  You can absolutely play a core-only game.  The supplements simply add more support for specific playstyles.