New DDXP Recaps from Critical Hits

Ok. Criticism time. We now have something to actually talk about. I like the following things:

The focus on ability scores, flatter power progression, and faster gameplay



I think this is something we can all get behind with, as a general direction.


...they made ability scores actually matter. As discussed in the skills and abilities seminar, ability scores now act as a sort-of passive skill check. If you want to open a barred door and that door’s DC is 13. If you have a strength ability score of 15, you don’t even have to roll. You kick in the door. It’s elegant, simple, easy to understand, and uses the whole score instead of the ability bonus. There are still bonuses for abilities, but now the score itself means something to the game and that meaning actually makes everything else much faster.




Finally a core mechanic. This is pretty simple and easy to understand: you automatically beat DCs up to your ability score. Bonuses to skill checks act like bonuses to ability scores, so if you have Str 11 and +2 to bash doors, you automatically bash DC 13 doors. Very easy.

I guess that you have to roll for higher DCs, but I don't know the details. Maybe if you have Str 13 and you need to beat a DC 18 you'll need an 18-13 = 5? Possible, but I don't know really.


The focus on ability scores means that the core of your character is represented by those six scores. Everything else is mainly a modifier of those scores. Every tweak to your character simply tweaks those scores. As stated by Monte Cook, everything else about your character grows out from these core ability scores.



 I don't know whether or not I like this, but I can see this being very solid as the core system.

Skill specialization might not give you the same giant bonus that it did in 4e, instead specialized skills might only be 5% or 10% easier than anything else you might do. You won’t run into the problem in 4e where you’re trying to argue a way to bench-press a throne when having a conversation with a noble lord because your diplomacy is 12 points lower than your athletics.



I don't know, this seems rather controversial. On one hand I definitely appreciate not having huge disparities between different skills. On the other, I'm not sure if I like having so little possibilities of specialization. What if I want to play a high court diplomat and end up being 15% more diplomatic than the uncivilized sorcerer? Really, that might be the case. Consider the following:

I want to be a diplomat. I will have 15 Cha. Not more than 15 because I need the rest of the abilities too and can't afford to spend too much on this one. I will also have a +2 from taking that skill, through a feat or whatever. Total 17.

My friend wants to be a gnome sorcerer. He wants to keep most of his ability scores balanced since he doesn't want to end up useless in any situation (much like I did) so he ends up with a 15 Cha too. +1 from race it's 16 Cha. +1 from class it's 17. He doesn't know anything about etiquette, but even with a DM-imposed penalty, he's still about as diplomatic as me. I'm not sure I like this.
In both 4E and 3.5 skill training and ranks differentiated a bit more: I'd end up having 4 to 5 points more than my friend in diplomacy.

I'm most likely exagerating the issue, but I can see this happening in a few situations...

We might have had ten battles spread out through these games. As shown in Greg Bilsland’s pictures from the event, some of them were free-form descriptions between the DM and the player, some of them had loose diagrams just to keep everyone on the same page, and some had full tactical maps with miniatures. I ran it all three of those ways without any real break in the narrative of the game. We simply used what made sense.



This one might sell 5E to me alone. I might houserule everything else to be like 4E, but I love this kind of freedom. Of course, five minutes for a boss battle sucks but I think there will be the option to run the fight a bit longer...

Here’s the overly broad and sweeping generalization I’ve made about the game: in AD&D 2e and before, many things just did not have rules, so the DM had to make them up. In 3e-4e, there were rules for many things. In this new edition, I feel like the presentation gives you the rules you most need, and then for rules that work by being the DM’s judgement call, it tells you specifically that it’s the DM’s judgment call. So for me it’s a nice balance between there being enough rules to guide me so it’s not consistently an arguing game, while still telling everyone that some rules are going to be based on what the DM says, no more, no less. If this was intentional, or even if this survives into the final version of the game, remains to be seen, but I like it so far.



I love this and hope it stays. Funnily enough, it's one of the best things of 4E in my opinion (lack of many rules, strong skill system to support any kind of action). I didn't play 2e, though, so I don't know about how that system handled this. 

But then, this tore me apart:

Two of the groups I had both went into the Caves of Chaos with very typical 4e empowerment. They had expectations about their capability and survivability. Both returned to the Keep bloodied, battered, and with a long shopping list of door-spikes, rope, poles, and crossbows. Both groups went out as 4e PCs the first time and old-school PCs the second. The entitlement they expected in the codified rules of 4e quickly transformed into the understanding that they would need to take hold of their own destiny. The world wouldn’t save them, they would have to save themselves, and the best weapons they had were their imaginations.

Once that transformation took place, the whole game changed. The antagonism between player and DM transformed into a true cooperative story. Described by Monte Cook as the core mechanic of the game, the players told the DM what they wanted to do and the DM told them whether they succeeded or not.




This one might be the single worst thing I ever heard about the new edition.

What. The. Hell.

Seriously. We went back to the dungeoncrawling game about not dying? What happened to heroic fantasy? What happened to playing a game about a group of heroes? Ten feet poles? SERIOUSLY?
And that's cooperative DMing? Telling a tale about how you avoid the world screwing with you? Dungeon crawling and fighting for your life against a kobold? I don't want any of that. 2E players, go ahead and buy this game, but believe me when I say I won't have any of that.

Now, I hope that was just poor DMing. Or rather, DMing in a way that I personally hate. Playing a game I don't want to play. I hope there will be room for heroic action games like those I love to play. But if the system is built around this concept... I'm not sure it will be anything I can call "my edition".

And of course, this:

That same Paladin had previously charged a room full of stirges, and become close to death by blood loss, necessitating a several week recovery time back at the Keep.



Oh, come ON! Several WEEKS recovery time? Weeks? That's not something I want at my table, I'll be damned if I allow it anywhere nearby.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
And this is the Deathknell of D&DNext, for me. Gaming like this hinders stories. Vast amounts of time to get back to adventuring, retreating from a dungeon because they "didn't prepare", the idea that trying to survive is the best expression of D&D

Yeah. I'm done.
It sounds to me like they accurately captured the feel of module B2, which is decently impressive. However, the whole business about "Both returned to the Keep bloodied, battered, and with a long shopping list of door-spikes, rope, poles, and crossbows." is most certainly a DM style issue, since plenty of people didn't play that way even in 1e.
Between Dave the Game and Sly Flourish, I feel a lot better now about how 5e might run.  There are some things I am still hesitant on how much I'll like, but I'll try to remain optmistic. 

At least now I feel that 5e might at least be worth purchasing based on this to cannibalize for stuff to use in previous editions.
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If you read some of Mike Shea (SlyFlourish) and his tweets, basically the issue is that the 4e players were expecting balanced encounters and got in over their heads.

Notice that they didn't just die, so that means they were given a chance to run away and try again - which is good - so they took a few punches from something they weren't supposed to fight, but weren't punished with character death. 
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I'm taking this in the big picture way, and not getting too caught up in the intricate details (since, as DM, I'll just modify, add, or throw out whatever I like as I please).

I like it. It's pretty much how I run games anyway, although of late I have been a bit quick on the "roll a Skill check" trigger. I doubly like that it's empowering other DM's to run things that way. I'm not so worried about the last part that has other folks upset - that very well could be something specific to that DM or that adventure/module.

Overall, this is a big positive, in my opinion. 

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

Oh, come ON! Several WEEKS recovery time? Weeks? That's not something I want at my table, I'll be damned if I allow it anywhere nearby.

Really now?
"Weeks" doesn't mean we stop playing in June and come back in August.  it just means a DM-handwave and "several weeks have passed - you're all better now" with a game-disruption of a Taco Bell run at worst.
Was that second article written by Buffalo Bill of "Silence of the Lambs"? Because his views on what is entitlement and what is co-operation aren't quite compatible with what the dictionary tells me.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

If you read some of Mike Shea (SlyFlourish) and his tweets, basically the issue is that the 4e players were expecting balanced encounters and got in over their heads.

Notice that they didn't just die, so that means they were given a chance to run away and try again - which is good - so they took a few punches from something they weren't supposed to fight, but weren't punished with character death. 



Playing a game of "Guess where the random trap is located with a pole!" is worse than death IMO. At least you can roll up a new PC.   

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Reading the report left me most positive feelings than negative. 
I still have many questions and many compuctions.
Actually the thing that make me fairly optimistic is the announced freedom of the system to do everything you want. So, if someone don't like lets say the ability score damage (i translate the blood loss from stirges), then he is free to not incorporate the rule to the game. This will not change the feeling of gaming.
Unfortunately that was not possible in 4th edition. Many rules were hardcoded and if you change them then you have to adapt many things in order to get the game you wanted. In the end you just play the they give instead the thing that you want. 

Ps. One of the things that i liked much is the thing that appalled Mormegil most. I like grittyness in my game and i like the improvisation of the characters. I think these two elements were missing from 4e (the system imho didn't support much improvisation which is almost fatal for the new players).
Oh, come ON! Several WEEKS recovery time? Weeks? That's not something I want at my table, I'll be damned if I allow it anywhere nearby.

Really now?
"Weeks" doesn't mean we stop playing in June and come back in August.  it just means a DM-handwave and "several weeks have passed - you're all better now" with a game-disruption of a Taco Bell run at worst.



So hand-wave it that it took place in a day or hours. If in-game time doesn't matter, it can be done quicker in-game.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

If you read some of Mike Shea (SlyFlourish) and his tweets, basically the issue is that the 4e players were expecting balanced encounters and got in over their heads.

Notice that they didn't just die, so that means they were given a chance to run away and try again - which is good - so they took a few punches from something they weren't supposed to fight, but weren't punished with character death. 



Playing a game of "Guess where the random trap is located with a pole!" is worse than death IMO. At least you can roll up a new PC.   




I also wonder how much has to do with the adventure - it was a classic adventure with new stats, not something that was designed with the new rules in mind.
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i like the improvisation of the characters. I think these two elements were missing from 4e (the system imho didn't support much improvisation which is almost fatal for the new players).



4ed is built on improvisation. It's Pg. 42. Look it up. ON PAGE 42.  

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick









Two of the groups I had both went into the Caves of Chaos with very typical 4e empowerment. They had expectations about their capability and survivability. Both returned to the Keep bloodied, battered, and with a long shopping list of door-spikes, rope, poles, and crossbows. Both groups went out as 4e PCs the first time and old-school PCs the second. The entitlement they expected in the codified rules of 4e quickly transformed into the understanding that they would need to take hold of their own destiny. The world wouldn’t save them, they would have to save themselves, and the best weapons they had were their imaginations.

Once that transformation took place, the whole game changed. The antagonism between player and DM transformed into a true cooperative story. Described by Monte Cook as the core mechanic of the game, the players told the DM what they wanted to do and the DM told them whether they succeeded or not


The above two paragraphs tell me right away that DND 5e is NOT inclusive and is NOT a game that I want to play.  If the only way to have fun is to play it "right" (as though we are properly paranoid players at the hand of a killer DM who is out to get us in the classic 1e Temple of Element Evil Style), then we aren't doing it "right" and are "entitled and weak 4e players" that can't "appreciate" the glory of "true" DnD.


If that's what DND Next is about, it will be DnD last.


-Polaris
I get the impression that "the bad games" there was more a result of the DM than anything else - that the game went that way, because that's how the DM wanted it to go.  There isn't a lot of mention of other groups faring like that.

But that might just be wishful thinking.

I think the "core part of the game" being "Ask if you can do it, and the DM tells you yes or no" - that actually turns me off more than a lot of the other stuff.  Not that it's necessarily bad - but it's just so... unecessary.  It sounds like "magical-tea-party" play.  I mean, I suspect there's more to it than that, and, like, rules to go by.  But it sounds like those rules are still just "here's how to put numbers to your magical-tea-party".

Again, not bad.  But the game is going to need to be pretty good everywhere else or, frankly, I could just improvise something along those lines, and never give Hasbro a dime.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)









Two of the groups I had both went into the Caves of Chaos with very typical 4e empowerment. They had expectations about their capability and survivability. Both returned to the Keep bloodied, battered, and with a long shopping list of door-spikes, rope, poles, and crossbows. Both groups went out as 4e PCs the first time and old-school PCs the second. The entitlement they expected in the codified rules of 4e quickly transformed into the understanding that they would need to take hold of their own destiny. The world wouldn’t save them, they would have to save themselves, and the best weapons they had were their imaginations.

Once that transformation took place, the whole game changed. The antagonism between player and DM transformed into a true cooperative story. Described by Monte Cook as the core mechanic of the game, the players told the DM what they wanted to do and the DM told them whether they succeeded or not


The above two paragraphs tell me right away that DND 5e is NOT inclusive and is NOT a game that I want to play.  If the only way to have fun is to play it "right" (as though we are properly paranoid players at the hand of a killer DM who is out to get us in the classic 1e Temple of Element Evil Style), then we aren't doing it "right" and are "entitled and weak 4e players" that can't "appreciate" the glory of "true" DnD.


If that's what DND Next is about, it will be DnD last.


-Polaris



+1
I get the impression that "the bad games" there was more a result of the DM than anything else - that the game went that way, because that's how the DM wanted it to go.  There isn't a lot of mention of other groups faring like that.

But that might just be wishful thinking.

I think the "core part of the game" being "Ask if you can do it, and the DM tells you yes or no" - that actually turns me off more than a lot of the other stuff.  Not that it's necessarily bad - but it's just so... unecessary.  It sounds like "magical-tea-party" play.  I mean, I suspect there's more to it than that, and, like, rules to go by.  But it sounds like those rules are still just "here's how to put numbers to your magical-tea-party".

Again, not bad.  But the game is going to need to be pretty good everywhere else or, frankly, I could just improvise something along those lines, and never give Hasbro a dime.



Based on what Dave the Game wrote, it seems like the philosophy of the new edition is "say yes"

Adopting a “say yes” philosophy lets me run games on the fly a lot easier than what I used to. While fighting a player’s questions would close off options and ideas, saying yes means I had something to run with when trying to figure out what happens next (or what would happen later.)

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i like the improvisation of the characters. I think these two elements were missing from 4e (the system imho didn't support much improvisation which is almost fatal for the new players).



4ed is built on improvisation. It's Pg. 42. Look it up. ON PAGE 42.  




I know the pages fairly well. I am playing 4e from day 1.

The powers and general imho were actually so restrictive that humbered you and limit your number of choices.  
I don't know, maybe after all i am a bad dm, or the new players were not so eager to role playing or improvise. The fact is the new players mostly were tied to the rules - especially powers - thinking that the only thing that they can do is this.

Anyway, I don't intent to to comment more about the pros and cons of 4e. 

I am way more interested in the info of the 5e, which as i can see i like a lot and the gameplay seem to be similar to my game style. 
 
Oh, come ON! Several WEEKS recovery time? Weeks? That's not something I want at my table, I'll be damned if I allow it anywhere nearby.

Really now?
"Weeks" doesn't mean we stop playing in June and come back in August.  it just means a DM-handwave and "several weeks have passed - you're all better now" with a game-disruption of a Taco Bell run at worst.




True, in game time doesn't matter. It can just be handwaved. But you know what that means, along with the above paragraph?

It means the focus of the game shifted away from what I love. It isn't heroic fantasy, it's gritty dungeoncrawl. I don't like gritty dungeoncrawl, I think it's boring and uninspiring. I don't like playing a poor guy who needs to rest weeks in an hospital before getting back in the fray. I like playing a hero. I like feeling better than the average man. I like being able to influence the world and change it, for better or for worse. I like fighting a war demigod and being soundly beaten, then get a second chance and show him how awesome an hero I am. I don't like sitting weeks in an hospital because some random monsters got me surrounded once.

The game is changing. It's really going back to what it was. Problem is, that sucks for me, and it isn't something I want to play. Ever.
You wanted feedback on D&D Next, here it is. If the game shifts away from being the awesome game I love so much and goes back to being a tactical boardgame spinoff (oh, the irony) I'm not going to buy it. Drastic? Yeah. My way or the highway? No, not really. Just "allow me to play my game or I won't buy it". It's pretty simple, and I think it's pretty fair. I'm still allowing them to prove me wrong. 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
It sounds to me like they accurately captured the feel of module B2, which is decently impressive. However, the whole business about "Both returned to the Keep bloodied, battered, and with a long shopping list of door-spikes, rope, poles, and crossbows." is most certainly a DM style issue, since plenty of people didn't play that way even in 1e.
Wasn't 4e supposed to be about "saying yes" too?  (And people wonder why I am always skeptical....)

The point is that all the feedback I am getting is telling me that DnD 5e is a (IMHO poorly thought out) retro-clone.  I have no desire to be told that the "right" way to play DnD is to grab my iron spikes, ten foot poll, and have to constantly outthink the DM (which DOES lead to a player vs DM confrantational style which I personally despise).  If some of you have fun with it, fine, but I outgrew that twenty years ago and I have no desire to have it back.


-Polaris  
long recovery times might not mean a long break out of game, but in-game? a lot can happen in a week... but weeks? plural? it's really hard to have a good, continuous story if there are month-long breaks between it's parts. rather then have the  15-minute workday, we now have the 15-month dungeon. long recovery times dissuades pushing onwards

also: a laundry list of knick-knacks? are really returing to the pixelbitching era of "we cautiously poke every square inch"?

the "flattented power progression" also makes be a bit weary at the possible return of dead or uninteresting levels. i'm putting it in the "unoptimistic, but open to change" category. as a sidenote, does this mean level is no longer a measure of your progressive skill/talent/ability/whatnot then? if the math is so flatter that a lower level monster (say 4 levels) still poses a viable threat... what defines a "level"?

from mike's accounts, it also seems the game has failed to impress everyone, with a few of his convention friends saying "s'not for me" and the more i hear, the more i agree with those friends.
The above two paragraphs tell me right away that DND 5e is NOT inclusive and is NOT a game that I want to play.  If the only way to have fun is to play it "right" (as though we are properly paranoid players at the hand of a killer DM who is out to get us in the classic 1e Temple of Element Evil Style), then we aren't doing it "right" and are "entitled and weak 4e players" that can't "appreciate" the glory of "true" DnD.


If that's what DND Next is about, it will be DnD last.


-Polaris


The idea that players feeling 'empowered' is a bad thing disturbs me.

"So, those darn players from 4th edition came to my game feeling empowered, like they were actually strong enough to face the dangers of the world, but luckily the DMG came with some great advice! It reminded me that Dungeons and Dragons is supposed to play out like a Lifetime Movie, and the players are like Meredith Baxter-Birney looking at the business end of an iron rod. I hear the DMG is going to come packaged with a free iron rod so players won't be able to leave the table!"

I rather like my players being excited about how they're going to go stop the BBEG. Not dreading about how I'll screw them over at the first dungeon they come across. Even if it is just that particular adventure I don't like where this is going.
I seriously hope the gameplay style described in those articles is just one module.

Really, really, REALLY hope.

If you want players of all editions to enjoy the game, you can't have "sadistic Gygaxian dungeon a la OD&D" be the default mode. Some of us want our heroic characters to actually be heroic. 
Wishlist: -Alternate ability bonuses for pre-PHB3 races -Lots more superior implements or an official customization rule -Monk multiclass feat that grants Unarmed Combatant
I'm hoping that this is where some of those elements that let people play different styles come into play. 

All you need is a table that lists out some options, like:
* Cinematic - restore to full after a nights rest
* Gritty - restore 1/hp per night of rest, healing spells and skills may speed up the process

Then before the campaign begins, the group selects the one that reflects how they want to play.  It's even modular enough you could switch halfway if you really wanted. 
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I'm hoping that this is where some of those elements that let people play different styles come into play. 

All you need is a table that lists out some options, like:
* Cinematic - restore to full after a nights rest
* Gritty - restore 1/hp per night of rest, healing spells and skills may speed up the process

Then before the campaign begins, the group selects the one that reflects how they want to play.  It's even modular enough you could switch halfway if you really wanted. 




It doesn't work that way. It's not just the health system (which is very debated here on these boards and I'm pretty sure devs will come up with a modular approach to that one), it's the style of the system.

WARNING: the post below is a rant. I tried to stay within the boundaries of the CoC and I think I managed. I hope nobody feels offended by what I will say, but sometimes you just need to say what you think.



I was one of the people that didn't understand what "it doesn't feel like D&D" meant. I heard it and heard it and I thought "man, this is just being petty". I now understand what those people meant. They saw 4th edition, and it didn't have 3 feet poles. They saw 4th edition, and it was designed to have characters who were heroes from the start. They saw 4th edition and saw none of the broken spells they loved so much. They saw 4th edition and read a book that was about a gaming system instead of a fantasy world.   They saw 4th edition and read that you could heal your wounds with little effort. They saw 4th edition and heard that it was balanced around the characters. They saw 4th edition and noticed there was practically no way to elude the fact that the system was built to be a fun and balanced game except DM fiat, and that there were no impossible fights, no deadly death traps, no save or die spells.

Yeah, now I get what that mysterious D&D feel is. It's what keeps me away from earlier, and at this point future, editions. I finally know what D&D really is, at a fundamental level. I finally know what the core of the game is. Thank you D&D Next for making me realize that.

It appears I don't like D&D at all. In fact, I hate it; I think it's an awful game. I think it's the spinoff of a boardgame and that it resembles Chainmail and WoW. You like it? More power to you. But I don't want to play D&D anymore. I will play the thing that has been rightly called "NOT D&D"TM for years now: the infamous 4th edition. And if the playtest doesn't prove me wrong, I will stop calling it D&D. After all, they insisted this was the true D&D, and I will not be the one to say that they are wrong.

Heh. I think I found my dealbreaker. 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
So far I have to say everything sounds good (maybe too good), but as long they have codified options for 4thers then maybe everyone can be happy.
So far I like the way it is heading but really want a more developed action resolution system.  Something that makes skills useful with a chance of success and failure being a constant concern but with chance still being a relatively minor factor.

I don't want to play a diceless system but nor do i want to play a boardgame (at least not when i sit down to play an RPG). 

If the core stays close to what is being described I won't use the core game as is because it looks like it s leaning too much towards a diceless system dominated by attributes (with skills being close to worthless).  If there are modules to fix the issues I'm seeing at the moment I'll be happy.
So far I like the way it is heading but really want a more developed action resolution system.  Something that makes skills useful with a chance of success and failure being a constant concern but with chance still being a relatively minor factor.

I don't want to play a diceless system but nor do i want to play a boardgame (at least not when i sit down to play an RPG). 

If the core stays close to what is being described I won't use the core game as is because it looks like it s leaning too much towards a diceless system dominated by attributes (with skills being close to worthless).  If there are modules to fix the issues I'm seeing at the moment I'll be happy.



I'm thinking the system won't be too hard to modify to get rid of "passive" checks and always roll (or only roll if your passive check doesn't exceed by say 5 or more) and then always have a failure on a 1.  AT least there is always a 5% chance of failure.
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So far that sounds like a pretty fun game.

I like the Passive Attribute use, I might even start using that in my regular games

I like the idea that combat was fast, even for people new to the system

I like the sound of the flattened progression

but most of all I like the sound of the adventuring as a whole, those sounded like some really great games they played there.


5E sounds like it is shaping up very nicely
Actually, from the description of the caves of chaos, I suspect what they did in 5e was de-emphasize the concept of a balanced encounter. In 4e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to hit a 2,000 xp encounter. In 3e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to walk into a CR 5 encounter. In 1e, if your first level characters poke their nose into the evil priests on the third level and get mobbed by twenty skeletons and a third level evil cleric, well, you shoulda picked your fights more carefully.
One thing I've been trying to discern:

We know that if youre ability score is pretty good for the type of skill you're trying to succed at, you might not need to roll.

But what about when your score is not close? What if I'm a Cha-primary with Str being a dump stat and I want to try to break an object? Do I roll or am I just told that I simply can't do it?

If it's the first, then good, if it's the second that I'm going to be very frustrated very often.
Actually, from the description of the caves of chaos, I suspect what they did in 5e was de-emphasize the concept of a balanced encounter. In 4e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to hit a 2,000 xp encounter. In 3e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to walk into a CR 5 encounter. In 1e, if your first level characters poke their nose into the evil priests on the third level and get mobbed by twenty skeletons and a third level evil cleric, well, you shoulda picked your fights more carefully.





Which pretty much is what I do not like of the new edition. In fact, I might as well say I outright hate it. What kind of story are you building if your characters die because they poked their nose around a bit? What kind of adventure are you building if you put challenges that cannot be overcome? That are not thought for the party? For the players? For the protagonists of the game?

When you tell a tale, you don't kill the main character because he walked into the wrong fight. The fights that character walks into are relevant to the story, dramatic (either because they are challenging or because they showcase how badass the hero is) and definitely not deathtraps. That kind of style is just an incentive to bad DMing and confrontational play. It also promotes running around with 10 feet poles and poking at every corner just in case there is a trap. My god, are we joking? A hero going around with a 10 feet pole so he doesn't randomly walk into a mine that blows him up? That's just plain stupid and would make me laugh a good while if it wasn't what they are actually saying we should all play.

The hell. I don't want a game that is built around old assumptions, I want a game that is built around the characters, thankyouverymuch.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E

One thing I've been trying to discern:

We know that if youre ability score is pretty good for the type of skill you're trying to succed at, you might not need to roll.

But what about when your score is not close? What if I'm a Cha-primary with Str being a dump stat and I want to try to break an object? Do I roll or am I just told that I simply can't do it?

If it's the first, then good, if it's the second that I'm going to be very frustrated very often.

Actually, what I was wondering was that if stats are going to take an active roll in how you succeed DC checks, won't the DC of actions have to increase by like ten or fifteen to prevent people from auto-winning all the time?


@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

My guess is that it's mechanically equivalent to "you can take 10 at any time". Though now I wonder if you'll have things like: 'Web: strength save 15', meaning anyone with a 15 strength or more automatically breaks free, anyone with less strength has to roll. Autosuccesses on saves would be... interesting.
One thing I've been trying to discern:

We know that if youre ability score is pretty good for the type of skill you're trying to succed at, you might not need to roll.

But what about when your score is not close? What if I'm a Cha-primary with Str being a dump stat and I want to try to break an object? Do I roll or am I just told that I simply can't do it?

If it's the first, then good, if it's the second that I'm going to be very frustrated very often.



Without knowing the exact mechanics, I'm thinking it's something along these lines:

Player says what they want to do: "I want to kick the door down"
DM determines what the DC is and what stat it would apply to: 15 & STR
The DM then compares the the character's stat to the DC.

If the Stat is equal to or greater than the DC, then there is no need to roll, you succeed.
If the stat is lower than the DC, DM has your roll a D20+Stat, if the combined total is equal to or greater than the DC you succeed, otherwise you fail.

So if you had a STR of 8 trying to kick down that DC 15 door, you'd have to roll a 7 or higher to succeed in kicking down the door.

This is all just speculative theory though.  
Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
I have played D&D in 5 different decades.  I have spent over 10,000 hours - more than a year of my time on earth - playing or planning role playing games (more than 24 hours X 365 days).  I've played all editions - extensively - and imagine that I'll be playing D&D when I'm old and grey.

My view on this whole topic goes to the core of what D&D is: A role playing - game.  Again, this is my view from the outside.

D&D is a role playing game.

Role playing is playing a role - which is what actors do.  When we play a role playing game, we're improvising a series of dramatic scenes to tell a communal story.

If you took an acting class, you'd likely eventually be asked to improvise.  When that happens, you'd be introduced to some rules of improvising.  There are a number of different sets of rules out there, but they all pretty much begin with the same idea: Never say no.  Why is this rule there?  Because saying no is NO FUN!  It drives everything to a halt in terms of story progress and it takes away the power and contributions that each actor gives to the story. 

If this is a core rule of improvising, shouldn't it be heeded in a ROLE PLAYING game?  I think there are strong arguments that avoiding NO is a great way to make games better.

However, you can't always say yes in D&D.  Can my fighter cast spells?  NO.  Can my PC keep fighting after he loses all his HPs?  NO.  Can I just decide that my fighter has a really awesome magical sword? NO.  

We say no to these questions because D&D is not just role playing - it is a role playing GAME.  It is a game, and games have rules.  Rules are there to tell you what you can - and can't - do.  The rules tell you when to say NO.

And thus we find the conflict at the heart of D&D - the role playing is better with less rules, but the rules are necessary for the game.  The trick that EVERY edition has tried to figure out: How do you balance these two opposing forces?

I think we've seen the evolution of D&D push entirely in one direction so far.  D&D in the 70s was all about ROLE PLAYING, with the game elements being present as an afterthought that provided a very flexible environment to tell the story.  However, 2E in the 80s, 3E in the 00s and 4E in the 10s all pushed the game farther from the ROLE PLAYING and more towards the GAME end of the spectrum.  This was a slow evolution at first, but when the internet began to unite gamers, the evolution moved into warp speed.  3E, 3.5 and 4E all involved significant leaps towards simplification, stabilization, balance and (eventually) compatibility with electronic representations on computers - devices that understand nothing but rules.  All of these goals required the game to push in the direction of rules over role playing.

I am not saying that the role playing was ignored by the designers of these editions.  I know from their internet presence that it was a focus of theirs to keep the role playing side of D&D strong.  However, it was also their intent to build a stronger rule set for their game - and rules are the enemey of role playing.  They had to try to balance the two goals, and in every edition the GAME beat the ROLE PLAYING more and more...

Until now.

5E seems so far to be the first edition where the designers have said, "We've gone from a ROLE PLAYING game to a role playing GAME.  We evolved D&D to enhance the rules because we believed that more structure made a better D&D... and I think we've overshot the mark.  There is now too much structure.  Too many times where someone has to say NO.  It is time to push us back in the other direction and move back to a point where there was a better balance."

Does this mean 4E was a mistake and that 5E will be a reversion?  Of course not.  The evolution of D&D can't be broken down to simply RP vs G.  Both the RP and the G are components of D&D.  Each component can have its own development, and can be improved through lessons learned.

Although the restraint of the rules in 5E might be reduced,  the rules will still be there, and they will be based upon the lessons of prior editions.  They will look at what worked in 4E and build upon it.  They will look at what didn't and look elsewhere for ways to improve it (whether that is prior editions, other games, or innovation).  5E will be a move forward for the rules from 4E.

However, I expect that they'll be more agressive in 5E than 4E was.  4E was afraid of many great story telling tools.  Polymorph has traditionally been wild, unpredictible and game changing in the hands of an intelligent player.  This tendency resulted in rules nerfs that neutered polymorph until it was essentially just superficial fluff that told players: NO - you can't fly.  NO - you can't run faster.  NO - you can't breath fire.  My expectation is that 5E will go in a different direction.  Instead of saying such a strong NO, 5E will say a thunderous SORTA!  

Can I fly?  SORTA!  You can do it with these limits to keep it from being too powerful.  Can I run faster? SORTA!  But no PC of your level is going to move faster than X when polymorphed.  Can I breath fire?  SORTA! But your dangerous looking dragon breathes fire that does about as much damage as your other spells do.

The rules also seem to be doing something else neat for the role playing side of the game: Maintaining the importance of the mundane.  After all, if all the PCs ever experience is the fantastic, then the fantastic is the norm.  If the PCs continual to see the mundane for much of their career, then the fantastic has more meaning.  I see this as a smart step in balancing the RP and the G.

What do I mean?  In the article, they discuss orcs being threats that no PC can ignore.  They also discuss PCs needing to go back to town for nonmagical equipment.  Is a PC that has been played for over a year really going to be fun to play if he has to struggle against an orc and make sure he brought his grappling hook?  HECK yes.  Needing the right tool tool and struggling to beat all foes are key elements of the GAME side of D&D, and they're the types of things that tell a good story.  Those are some of the best things in D&D because they cater to BOTH the RP and the G.  When things get too fantastic, then magic can solve any problem and there is no challenge to the GAME.  That is why many people have often found low magic games to be so rewarding - there are fewer fantastical ways for the RP side of the game to eliminate the challenge of the G side of the game.  Don't get me wrong - i think there is a place for the fantastic and highly magical side of the game, but it needs to have the right balance to keep it frombeing the 'autosolve' to every problem.

I think 5E sounds like it is headed in a great direction and I look forward to it.  I think that once we get a chance to see it, people that play 3E/Pathfinder and people that play 4E will be able to see how it is an evolution of their favored games... and - if if the quality of the execution matches the quality of the goals - will be a great thing for the entire community.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
Actually, from the description of the caves of chaos, I suspect what they did in 5e was de-emphasize the concept of a balanced encounter. In 4e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to hit a 2,000 xp encounter. In 3e, you figure that a party of 1st level characters isn't going to walk into a CR 5 encounter. In 1e, if your first level characters poke their nose into the evil priests on the third level and get mobbed by twenty skeletons and a third level evil cleric, well, you shoulda picked your fights more carefully.



Which pretty much is what I do not like of the new edition. In fact, I might as well say I outright hate it. What kind of story are you building if your characters die because they poked their nose around a bit? What kind of adventure are you building if you put challenges that cannot be overcome? That are not thought for the party? For the players? For the protagonists of the game? When you tell a tale, you don't kill the main character because he walked into the wrong fight. The fights that character walks into are relevant to the story, dramatic (either because they are challenging or because they showcase how badass the hero is) and definitely not deathtraps. That kind of style is just an incentive to bad DMing and confrontational play. It also promotes running around with 10 feet poles and poking at every corner just in case there is a trap. My god, are we joking? A hero going around with a 10 feet pole so he doesn't randomly walk into a mine that blows him up? That's just plain stupid and would make me laugh a good while if it wasn't what they are actually saying we should all play. The hell. I don't want a game that is built around old assumptions, I want a game that is built around the characters, thankyouverymuch.



Even in 1st you could have played the game the way you're suggesting, but it sounds like it wasn't the popular way to play.

I much prefer a narrative adventure to a non-stop oh-s*** fest. If you encounter a high-level group of baddies, then make a narrative out of it, perhaps have the big  bad put all the heroes to sleep and then have them carried off by minions or have a bad guy speech and then leave the area because the heroes just aren't worth his time (yet!).
there is, however, a difference between "villagers ask you to help them kill the goblins of Stereotypical den" and "you open the door to find a dire owl-o-mancer who screeches "GET THEM MY BABIES!""

the first is setup to give you an expectedly balanced encounter. it's genre appropriate to have a bunch of heros wipe out the goblin den in their first levels.

the second comes out of left field and simply murders you.

the fallacious concept that all 4th ed encounters must be balanced at party level sis one i still shake my head in disapproval. i've yet to meet a single 4th ed player that though "gee wiz, i'm level one. i'mma summon orcus and kills him now, KTHNXBYE." and expected it to work.

if a situation is described as being ludicrously dangerous, it should be labeled as such and appropriate warnings should be given when such a course of action is mentionned. a new player might not have any idea of a hydra's power level while a more experienced might.

i have created unbalanced encounters, i've played in unbalanced encounters and i've both killed and been killed in their running.

but a totally random, out of left feild, "here's a troll, deal with it you level 1 chumps." is simply bad adventure design.

and that's what it all boils down to: adventure design. most adventures are generally small in scope, made to be run over the course of a single level. a more balanced encounter/monster creation system allows for the GM to quickly fill up his adventure with encounters, both combat and non-combat, that will level up the players.

a linear series of adventures that takes place over the course of several levels (like the H/P/E series modules, paizo's adventure paths, etc...) generally use ecounter design to get an idea of the pacing and what kind of challenges the party can go up against.

for a "sandbox" game, it's MUCH harder to do so though, especially if your sandbox is supposed to run over the course of multiple levels.

to get an idea of what i'm talking about i'll use the Gamma World game i'm playing in right now as an example.

gamma world has 10 levels. we're level 5.

-our first first level was spent near the home base where we did a few oddjobs. the first few sessions of it was us getting used to the differences between 4th & GW
-our second level was our "big break" where we were dispatched to locate a rather late train. after going back with our findings, we TPK'd against the BBEG. oops. it was done on our terms though so no hard feelings were had.
-our third level was spent locating a few missing people on that train and what happened
-our fourth level was spent locating the source of our recent problems
-our fifth level is where all is coming together and we're finally going to have a showdown with the BBEG after locating her.

we've had our teeth kicked in and we've kicked a few in ourselves, but the encounter design the GM is doing is quite well done and consistent. we've thrown him a few curveballs and there are definitely a few plotlines that have been left hanging (mostly due to in-game time restraints, we simply were not able to follow up on all of them).

for the most part, it's sandbox. we tend to go do what we want to, but the GM has a good idea what to prepare for a session or two ahead.

now, in a game without a good encounter/monster creation guideline? it's simply much harder on the GM to put encounters in place and hope it doesn't accidentally kill off the all the PCs.

anyone can unbalance a balanced system, but not everyone can balance an unbalanced one.
My guess is that it's mechanically equivalent to "you can take 10 at any time". Though now I wonder if you'll have things like: 'Web: strength save 15', meaning anyone with a 15 strength or more automatically breaks free, anyone with less strength has to roll. .



its sounding exactly like that. taking ten works. still, in 4e even someone trained can easily fail a check if they roll low. taking 10 gives a dm freedom, but the players are eventually going to have roll some run of the mill checks. i have to say that low rolls on these checks can lead to hilarious results. 5e sounds like, 'jump the pit is 12', and if you have 12 its automatic. this shifts power to the players, as for many things they will just be automatically able to do it, whereas before there was a chance, albeit a slight one, of failure. but who knows