The overall problem of a modular system (hinted at via L&L articles).

While I think the idea of a modular system is pretty cool, there is one overall problem with this.  That problem is organized play.  While DMs at home games may use this or that, organized play would inevitably have to deal with a set of rules, and this set would than be, IMHO, the most supported.
I agree. I love the modular design idea and really think it can be what makes D&D great again (see a thread I have just started asking WotC to really push the idea).

I am also a fan of organised play (its the only reason I play Pathfinder).

So I think for D&D Next, organised play will have to try to find an acceptable set of modules to use for organised play and simply run with that. I imagine it would lean towards the more complex side of things (i.e. tactical combat, races, skills etc all being included).

TBH its not that much different from how certain options are ruled out of Organised Play systems already, for example in Pathfinder Soceity item creation is not allowed (effectively a module not included in play), nor are the Words of Power magci system from Ultimate Magic (again a module not included).

I look forward to both modular design and organised play
R Grant Erswell Geek in wolf's clothing
Organised play would probably just have a list of modules used for "this particular organised play" before the event. I don't see much problems other than "blast, I didn't buy the trap-making module, and I will need it in this one game".
Check out my D&D-based play-by-post game, based on exploration and roleplaying. Agora
organized play will likely be the 'basic' version, a simplified retro type game, something like castles and crusades
A modular system doesn't hamper organised play.  They already pick and choose what's allowed at their events, after all.  
At least I have my proper avatar now, I guess. But man is this cloud dark.
"blast, I didn't buy the trap-making module, and I will need it in this one game".


Maybe I have a different interpretation of how WotC will implement modules, but I see the core rulebook (be it PHB or simply "D&D") will itself have modules in it. There may be further modules added in supplements but I see the main modules all being in the core book.

So for organised play just use modules (maybe not all) from the core book - there shouldn't be an issue of not having bought a module.

R Grant Erswell Geek in wolf's clothing
"blast, I didn't buy the trap-making module, and I will need it in this one game".


Maybe I have a different interpretation of how WotC will implement modules, but I see the core rulebook (be it PHB or simply "D&D") will itself have modules in it. There may be further modules added in supplements but I see the main modules all being in the core book.

So for organised play just use modules (maybe not all) from the core book - there shouldn't be an issue of not having bought a module.




Yes, of course, there will probably be many "modules" inside one handbook, but I outlined a possible problem - using a model from an official handbook, but one that's moderatly obscure and some may not have bought it.
Check out my D&D-based play-by-post game, based on exploration and roleplaying. Agora
"blast, I didn't buy the trap-making module, and I will need it in this one game".


Maybe I have a different interpretation of how WotC will implement modules, but I see the core rulebook (be it PHB or simply "D&D") will itself have modules in it. There may be further modules added in supplements but I see the main modules all being in the core book.



I have this same impression. I've also seen this idea in the threads for material supporting all different eras of the forgotten realms. And I don't quite understand how such a thing is going to work.
Any book they sell would automatically contain a lot of stuf that's for rules I'm not using or in the case of the realms: for eras I'm not playing in.
And if they're going to sell the modules separately, won't it be like the fractured market of TSR, where every product appealed to only a fraction of the players and didn't make enough revenue.

I don't know how they're going to reconcile 'selling their stuff to as many people as possible' with 'having all these optional parts only a number of people are going to use'.

Should I make grammar mistakes, I am most likely unaware of them. Feel free to point them out lest I keep making them. I shall take no offense.
While I think the idea of a modular system is pretty cool, there is one overall problem with this.  That problem is organized play.  While DMs at home games may use this or that, organized play would inevitably have to deal with a set of rules, and this set would than be, IMHO, the most supported.



A DMG could contain all kind of optional rules.
A world builders book could contail all kind of difrent cosmolegies and tech levels you could use.

A campain getting would be a book that spicificly tells you what rule set and which things like cosmolegy and tech level are used.

so organised play would not be general DnD
but more like this week we will be playing a game of forgotten realms,
the rules set that would be used would be the one set in the forgotten realms campaign setting

the next week you might play darksun
that has difrent rules chosed from the DMG, might have a totaly difrent cosmolegy and lower tech level and lower magic level then forgotten realms does.
but you know exactly what rules apply as this is specified in the campaign setting.

but a DM wanting to create his own hombrew could mix and match these thing till he finds the rules that fit his idea of his campain.
The core rulebooks absolutely must contain all important rules modules: ie, the equivalent of feats, skills, all spells, trapmaking, gird-based/gridless combat, and the like. If that isn't the case, then I'd say 5e is a non-starter.
IMO a modular system will make organized play easier to accomplish. I doubt that this will include WotC centered Living campaigns. That is where a modular system would start to become limited because players would be focused on that Living campaign's set of rules. The best approach would be to include the modular system in an OGL and allow 3rd party organizers to develop Living type campaigns without interference. WotC wins by players buying into the system and not having to invest in campaigns that are becoming more and more a niche market. Players win by having a system that is flexible and not overly controlled by corporate desires that focus on profitability as opposed to the stability that is really needed. Of course, support materials would most likely be published for areas that are seen as profitable but don't count on your favorite splat books to cover all of your favorite settings.

Just some thoughts...on trying to be an informed observer.

Leonard (Lenny) Logan
A modular game system needs to have all the "slots" pre-defined. As a programmer, the use of an event-driven model is pretty much the standard anymore. This means that all those events should be well and clearly defined, which allows applications to "hook" into those events and respond. One design decision that has consistantly borked game balance is "slotless" bonuses, such as untyped bonuses (that always stack) and slotless items (which allow for abuse too easily). Initially define every game element, and allow for each element to become more complex via additional modules.

If you played the Talisman board game, its exactly how they implemented the special locations like the Town and Dungeon. For those who haven't, it would be like playing Monopoly, but adding modules that give an optional sub-game for the corner squares of Go, Jail/Just Visiting, Go to Jail, and Free Parking. Some people might like exanded rules, some won't, but either way the game can still "feel" like Monopoly. If you haven't played Monopoly, I'm out of comparisons

Magic Dual Color Test
I am White/Green
I am White/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
Sign In to post comments