A Universal System - Plausible, Preferable?

     Why have we had years of edition wars?  Why have DnD knockoffs been so popular in recent years?  Why are these forums ablaze with new ideas and mechanics arguments?  Simply put, people like playing their way.  Personally, I didn't like 4th Ed. all that much.  Lots of people loved it.  Lots of others didn't.  And those that really liked 3rd or 3.5 went over to Pathfinder.

     Is it really possible to make a one-size-fits-all RPG?  Is it even preferable?  Do people really want to be shoehorned into what really is a mix-and-match ruleset made from majority opinions on the web?  Personally, I think it's a pretty good idea on Wizard's part, but I don't.  I want my game.  That's why I play tabletops instead of video games.  My rules, my story, my characters.  All mine.

     But making a fully customizable DnD is both ridiculous and impossible.  Still, different editions have taught us different things and appealed to different players.  2nd Ed. AD&D was immensely popular for its storytelling elements.  3rd Ed. gave us dozens of options.  4th made our encounters really cool.  But could all of these advantages really coexist in one system?  Maybe.

     But I think it's a lot like choosing a class.  You can be a fighter or a wizard or a cleric or anything, and you're pretty good.  Then you can multiclass.  Now, you've got the advantages of two classes, but are you really as good in either class as you'd be if you stuck with one or the other?  No.

     Instead of making one universal system, I think Wizards should repeat an old TSR lesson and release two different editions in one.  Make two DnD games that are alike enough that it won't be too difficult to switch and so that adventures can be written with only slightly different rules, but different enough to appeal to players with different tastes.  At the same time, Wizards should start supporting some of their older editions.  This really shouldn't be all that difficult.  Run small, even 'limited edition' reprints of older books, and then release adventures with brief notations that would allow them to be adapted for different editions.  2, maybe 3 pages of equivalencies and minor changes could easily bring hundreds of players back into the fold.  Heck, it doesn't even have to be for all editions.  But at least for 3/3.5, 4, and the new 5.

     It's just an idea, but what do you think?
     But making a fully customizable DnD is both ridiculous and impossible. 


WotC apparently disagrees.

You say that it is ridiculous and impossible largely because no prior edition of D&D has ever done it.

But no prior edition of D&D has ever tried.



You say to release two editions in one, where you can switch between them easily.  Yet you categorically deny the possibility that the two systems can be close enough to be used interchangeably, even piecemeal?

Why?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
     One system can't, for example, simultaneously have THAC0 and the 3rd edition armor class rules.  It can't both simultaneously have and not have feats.  Some people like THAC0, others don't.  Some like having feats, others think they're pointless overcomplication.  How can one system possibly both have something and not have that same thing simultaneously?

     Wizards can't possibly make a single game that can account for every single person's interests.  Even if we allow for house rules, the fundamental mechanics of a system can't be completely redone.  At that point, the group would just be better to work under another system.

      The option exists to create a rulebook that sets no rules in stone but instead proposes dozens of different rules systems and allows the group to basically write its own rules, but that would confuse all but the most veteran and dedicated players.  My proposal to create two rules sets was my idea for a solution.  The old saying "if you try to please everyone, you'll ending up pleasing no one" is a pretty good summary of why I say what I do.

     It is rhetorically impossible to prove nonexistence, so I won't try.  But if you read these forums, you'll find a lot of debate over different systems and mechanics.  How can Wizards possibly incorporate every single player's opinion?  I, personally, don't like the 'powers' from 4th edition.  Yet they're a major part of the game that help to balance the classes.  So if Wizards releases another edition that incorporates powers or something akin to powers, I probably won't play it.  I'll stick to custom rules or 3.5 or try Pathfinder or do something else.  Yet if Wizards releases a rules set without powers or something akin to powers, some 4th Ed. players won't play it.  Well, what do you do?  Do you make a system that can have powers, but doesn't require them?  If so, then how do you account for class balancing both with and without powers?  I also like wizard spellbooks.  Lots of people don't.  That's an easy fix, but when you consider just how many nuances people want in their games, it becomes an exercise in futility to try to incorporate each and every one of them.  So how do you fix that?

     Personally, I like a rules-light game in which I can make plenty of house rules and as DM make most of the major decisions about how and when something happens.  My friend is the exact opposite.  If he sees an RPG book online with 1000+ pages, he'll buy it just to read the rules.  He loves rules.  How can you possibly reconcile these two playstyles?

     My solution: make two systems, one with a lot of technical rules and one without.  Make the fundamentals similar, so players can switch between them without much of a headache.  I don't know if I'm right.  But I believe (note: I'm not claiming that it's a fact, just a belief)  that there are a lot of viewpoints that are fundamentally irreconcilable.

If the reactions on these boards are any indication at all of how the average 4e player thinks, they basically reject *every single concept * that was ever in previous editions but is not in 4e. It's acceptable on the condition it's "put in a module".


Core may end up looking like this:


Welcome to D&D Next! This game lets you play a champion of good (optional alignment module) fighting (choice of two combat modules) fearsome fire-breathing (subject to reflavoring) dragons and leveldraining wights (optional module). Cast powerful spells (optional vancian module), command the battlefield with your defender (tactical combat module), hide in shadows before delivering a deadly blow.


We really need to see how the module system works soon, because right now it's hard not to get the impression that Next will be like the famous horse that was designed by committee.


If the reactions on these boards are any indication at all of how the average 4e player thinks, they basically reject *every single concept * that was ever in previous editions but is not in 4e. It's acceptable on the condition it's "put in a module".


Core may end up looking like this:


Welcome to D&D Next! This game lets you play a champion of good (optional alignment module) fighting (choice of two combat modules) fearsome fire-breathing (subject to reflavoring) dragons and leveldraining wights (optional module). Cast powerful spells (optional vancian module), command the battlefield with your defender (tactical combat module), hide in shadows before delivering a deadly blow.


We really need to see how the module system works soon, because right now it's hard not to get the impression that Next will be like the famous horse that was designed by committee.





Exactly!  Now, this approach would probably make Wizards more money.  But personally, I'd rather have 2 core rulebooks that dealt with most of this stuff and then some general modules that could apply to either one.  I don't want to have to buy a module to get basic rules that really should be in the core but are to contentious to include. 
     One system can't, for example, simultaneously have THAC0 and the 3rd edition armor class rules.  It can't both simultaneously have and not have feats.  Some people like THAC0, others don't.  Some like having feats, others think they're pointless overcomplication.  How can one system possibly both have something and not have that same thing simultaneously?


There's a difference between having the same core design principles present and having the same mechanic present.

THAC0 and 3e AC are the same core design - roll a die, add a number, compare to another number.  Nitpicking the mechanics are just going to cause flamewars on the forums, but they aren't going to impact gameplay.

For example, take a 4e core design principle - wizards and fighters of the same level should be approximately the same level of overall combat power.  In 4e this was accomplished by both of them using the same resource structure, AEDU.  But that's not the only way to meet that design principle.  It's entirely possible to meet that goal without reproducing AEDU word-for-word, mechanic-for-mechanic.

Think bigger.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
     One system can't, for example, simultaneously have THAC0 and the 3rd edition armor class rules.  It can't both simultaneously have and not have feats.  Some people like THAC0, others don't.  Some like having feats, others think they're pointless overcomplication.  How can one system possibly both have something and not have that same thing simultaneously?


There's a difference between having the same core design principles present and having the same mechanic present.

THAC0 and 3e AC are the same core design - roll a die, add a number, compare to another number.  Nitpicking the mechanics are just going to cause flamewars on the forums, but they aren't going to impact gameplay.

For example, take a 4e core design principle - wizards and fighters of the same level should be approximately the same level of overall combat power.  In 4e this was accomplished by both of them using the same resource structure, AEDU.  But that's not the only way to meet that design principle.  It's entirely possible to meet that goal without reproducing AEDU word-for-word, mechanic-for-mechanic.

Think bigger.



I only hope the designers are thinking more like you and I, Mand, and less like the Doomsayers.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
     I really don't want to come off as a 'doomsayer,' and I'm sorry if I do.  If Wizards can come up with the absolute ultimate RPG that is unquestionably the best, then I'm all for it.  Heck, I'd pay triple the normal price to get that.  Unfortunately, I don't know if that's possible.  I hope it is.  Regardless, I have the feeling that a lot of things are going to fall by the wayside.  Wizards is trying to make a game for the majority of players, and that's awesome.  But if my group and I don't fall in 'the majority,' then I feel like we won't be using DnDN, which would really be a shame.

     So I've got my fingers crossed and I'm hoping to contribute to playtesting and helping Wizards see what I and my friends feel is important.  I hope we fall in that majority and ride off into the proverbial sunset, helms all bright and shiny and dragons gliding overhead.  But if not, I'd like the game to be malleable enough to allow us to make it into what we want.  If not, we probably just won't bother with it.  Which, once again, brings us to the issue of a truly universal game.

     Now, if Wizards wants to make a one-size-fits-all game, they're going to have some interesting challenges to deal with.  Especially since the whole point of this is to bring everyone back to a pretty general game style that isn't riddled with unique homebrew edits and house rules.  Get everyone back on the same page.

     Once again, I feel like two coexistent games could accomplish this better than one single game that can be twisted into dozens of different shapes.  If rules don't matter all that much to you and you just want to use the generic rules, then you get the full rules set and start playing.  If you use the rules-light system that's made to be more tailored to your group and greatly influenced by homebrew edits and house rules, then you know what you're getting into.  The former is good for beginners, tacticians, tournaments, and a good chunk of the gaming population.  The latter is good for people like me who want a little more leeway.  It has nothing to do with my anticipations that DnDN will fall short.  It will probably be an amazing system.  I'm just worried it may not be what I'm looking for.  And if that's the case, I'd like the opportunity to tailor it to my needs, without buying a library of modules.
I think WotC needs a universal system like a new d20 Modern to sell other franchises like Gamma World, Dark Matters, Alternity, Space Frontier...

A good d20 superheroes rpg by WotC could be mine of gold, a soucer of money, the chicken of eggs of gold..(if the work is made in the right way). I don´t talk only about rpg soucerbooks but novels and toys, but as well as copyright to adaptations to movies and videogames.  

The challenge would the right playtesting to get the balance of power when charactes use firearms or superpowers (and when anytimes they don´t it because they are civilians againts a phsico-killer in a adventure of horror and investigation).   

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Wizards is trying to make a game for the majority of players, and that's awesome.  But if my group and I don't fall in 'the majority,' then I feel like we won't be using DnDN, which would really be a shame.


They say that they're trying to make D&D for everyone, not just a majority.

Daunting task?  Hell yes.  Worth attempting anyway?  Hell yes.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Wizards is trying to make a game for the majority of players, and that's awesome.  But if my group and I don't fall in 'the majority,' then I feel like we won't be using DnDN, which would really be a shame.


They say that they're trying to make D&D for everyone, not just a majority.

Daunting task?  Hell yes.  Worth attempting anyway?  Hell yes.



Good point.  If it really is for me and my group, then that's terrific.  Like I said, I'm all for it.  I hope it is all they say it will be.
I hope we don't see a return to 3e's mechanical uniformity.  Monsters and player characters were much better off operating under their own seperate mechanical systems in 4e simply because you didn't have to fiddle with as many numbers or ambiguities in order to make them work.
I hope we don't see a return to 3e's mechanical uniformity.  Monsters and player characters were much better off operating under their own seperate mechanical systems in 4e simply because you didn't have to fiddle with as many numbers or ambiguities in order to make them work.



I think that monster complexity should be available, but not inherent to the building process.  The way this was done in 4th ed seems to have been templates, as with added complexity one got more power.  Or monster themes to give slight boosts to monsters.  Moreover, giving exact examples of how to build a monster; the guidelines within the DMGs were horribly vague.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

If the reactions on these boards are any indication at all of how the average 4e player thinks, they basically reject *every single concept * that was ever in previous editions but is not in 4e. It's acceptable on the condition it's "put in a module".


Core may end up looking like this:


Welcome to D&D Next! This game lets you play a champion of good (optional alignment module) fighting (choice of two combat modules) fearsome fire-breathing (subject to reflavoring) dragons and leveldraining wights (optional module). Cast powerful spells (optional vancian module), command the battlefield with your defender (tactical combat module), hide in shadows before delivering a deadly blow.


We really need to see how the module system works soon, because right now it's hard not to get the impression that Next will be like the famous horse that was designed by committee.



That's not truly accurate.  A modular system, by its very nature, will have to start with the most basic elements in core; the modules will then build off the base.  Since 4e is more complex than "I swing my weapon in the one and only way I am allowed to," I believe quite a bit of 4e will be in the modules (powers for non-magic characters is one aspect of 4e that I particularly see as appearing in a module).  I also think that the tactical combat module will include the stuff from the combat sections of the 3e and 4e PHBs, while the core rule will be a simple roll to hit.  I don't see it using THAC0, because of the counter-intuitive feel of a To Hit Arbitrary Number mechanic.  That being said, a system with flatter math does make THAC0 actually conceiveable, and it may be one of the options that are presented (perhaps even in a sidebar in the core PHB).

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

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