Rule of Three questions for next week (4/17)

Hey all. Usually we grab questions for the Rule of Three articles from ongoing conversations in the various D&D and RPG communities, but I wanted to try something different. This week I wanted to reach out directly and see if you guys had any questions about design or development for 4E or D&D Next.

We can't really tackle questions about the business side of things (ex: Are you going to do something like the OGL for Next?) the future of digital tools or organized play, or specifics about future product releases. So we're sticking to design and development questions.

With that in mind, please reply with whatever design and development questions you may have for 4E or D&D Next. It's unlikely I'll be answering any of them here, but I will be adding those that fit into the above criteria into the pool of questions Rodney takes a stab at for the weekly article.

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

Inspired by some recent conversations:

How much thought is being put into keeping core material as setting-neutral as possible? For example, will we see racial features that are a product of culture, or will racial features instead be those that would remain consistant across the different cultures of different settings? Or maybe something in between where players can select their own racial features and thus opt into or out of culturally inspired ones depending on what's appropriate for the specific character or setting?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Will the new rules address modules from all versions? I.e., will a section of the book show how to adjust the stats in (for example) The Village of Hommlet (1979), Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (2001), and Keep on the Shadowfell (2008) so they can be played under the new rules?

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

Are other WotC game systems being considered to borrow game elements from?  In particular, Star Wars Saga Edition already contains a blend of 3rd and 4th edition ideas -- could we expect to see things like talent trees or the condition track cropping up in D&D Next?

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

There's a lot of talk of player capabilities with Next, but nothing much thus far has been said about monsters. What directions are monsters taking at this stage in the design process, and what sort of iconic monsters can we expect to see get touched upon in the first MM for the edition?
Inspired by some recent conversations:

How much thought is being put into keeping core material as setting-neutral as possible? For example, will we see racial features that are a product of culture, or will racial features instead be those that would remain consistant across the different cultures of different settings? Or maybe something in between where players can select their own racial features and thus opt into or out or culturally inspired ones depending on what's appropriate for the specific character or setting?




Just quoting because my question is related.  Are there even going to be racial ability modifiers?  Or are the races going to be defined by Racial Traits like the 3.5 dwarf racial trait stonecunning or the 4e teifling's infernal wrath or a Drow's ability to use darkness?  If there are racial ability modifiers are there going to be bonuses and negatives? I think the over all question here is how are the races going to differ with each other?  Even if there isn't a really hammered down version of the races can we get some insight on whats going on  for ideas in this area and what it's looking like to the developers?
I've got a pile of the old collectable D&D minis and I'm hoping to be able to use them to accurately represent monsters in the next edition as well.  Do you expect that monsters will undergo massive changes to appearance and/or size in the new edition? 
Inspired by some recent conversations:

How much thought is being put into keeping core material as setting-neutral as possible? For example, will we see racial features that are a product of culture, or will racial features instead be those that would remain consistant across the different cultures of different settings? Or maybe something in between where players can select their own racial features and thus opt into or out or culturally inspired ones depending on what's appropriate for the specific character or setting?



+1 vote for this question being answered. I fully support the idea of keeping cultural features in a separated stat block; that way, each campaign setting can "change" the cultural feature block for each race, whenever apropriate.

Will 5e be compatible with my 3.x/3.PF books?



I believe that has been answered already, even though I do not remember the source: no, they will not be directly compatible (although I think there is always the possibility of a convertion guide).

-------------------------

And now, to my question: If, according to today's Ro3, there will be no session-based time measurement units, then does that mean that we will continue with the in-game day as an unit, or are the designers considering other possibilities (i.e., the adventure as a time measurement unit)?
Inspired by some recent conversations:

How much thought is being put into keeping core material as setting-neutral as possible? For example, will we see racial features that are a product of culture, or will racial features instead be those that would remain consistant across the different cultures of different settings? Or maybe something in between where players can select their own racial features and thus opt into or out or culturally inspired ones depending on what's appropriate for the specific character or setting?


Another voice for this one.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
define module and it's place in the books, as well as the support planned for these modules. 

for example: if they're planning on adding both gridded and non-gridded options to the game, i hope for more detail (IE: support) then simply going "revert every 5 ft to 1 square, done". 4th ed had a fantasic job supporting gridded combat by doing more then just going "5ft=1sq", but taking advantage of the grid itself through the use of visual terrain and terrain effects, classes that have abilies (like the fighter) that work due to specific positioning, etc... 

how does the "modular" aspect of 5th ed plan on handling this in a way that satisfies those who want to play the game gridless as well as with a grid?

how does this extend to other areas fo the game, like how many modules am i expected to see per book that are properly supported and more then just lip service, and how many books, if any, would i be expected to purchase if i wanted to run, say a heroic fantasy & high magic dungeonpunk game VS a gritty low-magic faux-europe game?

*edited for clarity* 
Are you planning to introduce schools of magic, so that a wizard can specialize in fireballs, illusions or controller spells?
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
How "swingy" is combat going to be?  Will the outcome of a fight be decided on fewer die rolls, and thus be less predictable?

I ask because there was some indication a boss monster could be taken down in about five minutes.  The only way I can see that happening is if players are making less rolls, and if each roll is proporitionately more meaningful. 
Can you give some kind of mechanical example of how you are going to differentiate between arcane, divine, martial, etc. abilities? Are you intending to use the idea of power sources like 4e (even if they're not hardcoded into the rules)? Will it look more like 3.5 where the ideas were implicitly there, but the abilities that applied to martial + magic were very distinct, but there was little division between kinds of spellcasting, etc?

I expect there will be multiple modules that apply to this, but I'm just curious about some of the mechanisms. For example, there was some discussion of fire and forget magic not being as suitable for divine casters as arcane casters and things like that.  

Also, I know that there has been some discussion about this, but it's been in fairly general terms, and I'd like to see something specific.
How "swingy" is combat going to be?  Will the outcome of a fight be decided on fewer die rolls, and thus be less predictable?

I ask because there was some indication a boss monster could be taken down in about five minutes.  The only way I can see that happening is if players are making less rolls, and if each roll is proporitionately more meaningful. 


Good question. Here are some follow up questions.

How many rounds did each fight in your 1 hour game last.
Will a 20 th level fight last more rounds than a 10th level fight.
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
What is the current thinking on higher level play, such as 3.x Prestige Classes or 4 Paragon Path?  How do these fit in with the current Background/Theme mechanics recently discussed and with multi-classing?
There has been mention of bringing Vancian Magic back.  Is this looking to be core or module for D&D Next.  If module,  is this looking to be Campaign based, Class based (e.g. Class X is Vancian, Class Y is not), or character based (Character A is Wizard with Vancian, Character B is Wizard with non-Vancian)?  For non-Vancian option, are we looking at 4E like,  or are we looking at older alternative mechanics (Cleric who knew all spells in list but could only cast so many per level,  or Spellpoint System, or 4e Psionics)?

Maybe this all boils down to what type of Arcane/Divine/Psionic Magic Systems are being looked at current for PHB1?  (With caveat that final results may changed based on feedback and space).

  • Given that recent polls have shown that Vancian magic was not the most popular option, will there be some form of non-vancian (AEDU or Point-Based) available for wizards and clerics? If so will it be available in PHB1 or will we have to house-rule it until it arrives in a later supliment?




  • What really ideas are the designers hoping to bring to the forefront in 5e that perhaps didn't get as much love in previous editions? What old adventures, obscure rule quirks, or cool synergies do you feel could get more play?




  • Mounted combat and centaurs have always been tricky rules-wise. How does a centaur climb a ladder in a dungeon? how does a knight get his horse into the tavern to help him with the brawl? How do you deal with characters who 'abuse' their mounts and get them killed, but complain because all their abilities revolve around mounted combat and now their riding-lizard is toast they are too?




  • Will there be some form of reward/punishment for characters based upon actions? In previous editions this was handled by alignment changes equating to loss of divine favouror or in 4e the intelligent magic item concordance rules. What does the future hold for 5e?

What efforts are being put into conversion charts, etc to incorporate old material?
I'm a 2e player and have stupid amounts of books and PDF's
The only way I'm really interested in 5e is if I can convert old modules, monsters, characters etc into the new edition. I'm doubtful that I'll purchase anything to 5e if it won't give me some guidelines to use my old sourcebooks. And if I purchase the core books to 5e it's safe to say that I will continue to buy new 5e material. If I don't feel that 5e will help me with this I won't purchase core and thus there's absolutely no chance of me purchasing further material.
What is the current thinking on higher level play, such as 3.x Prestige Classes or 4 Paragon Path?  How do these fit in with the current Background/Theme mechanics recently discussed and with multi-classing?


+1 on this.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

I have 2 big questions, but if I had to choose one to get answered, I want the first one answered more.

1) What efforts, if any, are being made or planned with regard to reviving D20 Modern using the DDN rules (even if it's only going to be a module for DDN)?

2) Will DDN (even if not at launch) provide meaningful help for homebrewers to create their own balanced material, like races, magic items, and classes?

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.

Howdy folks,

I've deleted a few posts that weren't direct questions for Rule of Three.  Remember, this thread isn't for discussion.  If you have a question you'd like to see answered in Rule of Three, please post it here.  Please take any discussion to other threads.

Thanks.  

All around helpful simian

Has there been any consideration as to magic item creation, particularly the availability of extra spell slots in the form of scrolls, potions, and wands?
It appears that DDN will try to restore the ability of spell-casting classes to cast interesting, creative, and useful spells out of combat. Is an effort being made to give martial classes like the fighter interesting abilities to do out of combat beyond simple bonuses to skills?

Before 4th edition, D&D had a list of spells that was kept from one edition to another.  Can we expect to see most of these spells in D&D Next either as “magical feats”, spells or rituals?

Will D&DN allow a wizard to find a new spell during an adventure, and add this spell to her spell book?
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
here's my question.

 I've heard the Monk will be a subclass of the Psion. Will other Classes with Ki abilities fall under the Psion? Like Various OA classes?

And as a side note, is there any reason not to call Psions something more familiar like Psychic or Esper?

I just get the idea that with a sufficient body of Subclasses, people will be more accepting of psionics.
Options are Liberating
Can I have a psion in the "core book"?  Would it help if I promised to bake you all cookies?
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)
Can I have a psion in the "core book"?  Would it help if I promised to bake you all cookies?




There has been mention of bringing Vancian Magic back.  Is this looking to be core or module for D&D Next.  If module,  is this looking to be Campaign based, Class based (e.g. Class X is Vancian, Class Y is not), or character based (Character A is Wizard with Vancian, Character B is Wizard with non-Vancian)?  For non-Vancian option, are we looking at 4E like,  or are we looking at older alternative mechanics (Cleric who knew all spells in list but could only cast so many per level,  or Spellpoint System, or 4e Psionics)?



Another very good question. +1 for it being answered. I sincerely hope the answer is not "Class-based".
Psionics. Core or not. Any progress if any on the system.
- I know one of 5e's goals is to have a variety of mechanical styles for different classes supported but I'm not clear on how that will work yet. Is each class going to have a particular play style but within a related archtype of classes multiple styles are represented (eg among arcane casters wizards use daily spell slots while sorcerers use spell points and warlocks use at-wills/encounters)? Or will individual classes have different types of sub-class options that use different styles (eg basic wizards use daily spell slots but other wizards may choose to swap out those spell slots for at-will or encounter spell slots)?
We keep hearing about there being a "flatter" math progression and monsters and such remaining relevant longer, but what about low-level spells and things like alchemist's fire? One of the things I enjoyed doing at lower levels in past editions was having alchemical items, like alchemists fire or flasks of acid. Sadly, the damage on these items was a mere 1d6 so they were pretty useless after the first couple of levels due to how quickly HP and damage scale. This also resulted in lower level spells becoming useless later on, since they just didn't do enough damage to really matter at higher levels of play. One would think having a jar of napalm or acid thrown on them would really ruin their day no matter how experienced a fighter they were, but such was not the case in past editions of the game.

4e tried to address this issue by offering higher level versions of alchemical items, but the costs scaled exponentially and became totally ridiuclous, such as having high level acid cost hundreds of thousands of gold per flask! Will this trend continue in 5e or do you intend to make some changes so that things like alchemist's fire remain relevant throughout all levels of play, without costing ridiculous amounts of money?

One other question: I really liked in 4e how wands, staffs and the like were "implements" that acted as a focus for a caster's spells in the same way magic weapons improve a fighter's attacks. Are there going to be spell implements in 5e or are we going to go back to having wands and staffs be nothing but spell-storage devices, or "50 scrolls rolled up in a stick" as I liked to call them?
Any guess on the Open Beta timetable?
One of the big draws for 4e was the greater ease for DMing - how is that going to be maintained (or even improved upon) in 5e?
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)
I've always had a strong draw to monsterous creatures as player characters, and I feel I am not alone in this. Even if races like Lizardfolk are not included in the Player's Handbook, will there be sections under monsters in the Monster Manual detailing how to make those races into player characters? (Wether by a process or by providing player stats for them.)

If there is a such a concept as Monsterous player characters, will it return to an Leval adjustment based system, or have you thought about taking a different approach to monsterous characters? And if so, what?
I've always had a strong draw to monsterous creatures as player characters, and I feel I am not alone in this. Even if races like Lizardfolk are not included in the Player's Handbook, will there be sections under monsters in the Monster Manual detailing how to make those races into player characters? (Wether by a process or by providing player stats for them.)

Yes, please.
(um, I mean, uh, "seconded")

I've always had a strong draw to monsterous creatures as player characters, and I feel I am not alone in this. Even if races like Lizardfolk are not included in the Player's Handbook, will there be sections under monsters in the Monster Manual detailing how to make those races into player characters? (Wether by a process or by providing player stats for them.)

If there is a such a concept as Monsterous player characters, will it return to an Leval adjustment based system, or have you thought about taking a different approach to monsterous characters? And if so, what?


As a fellow fan of monstrous races, I am also curious about this.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
I've always had a strong draw to monsterous creatures as player characters, and I feel I am not alone in this. Even if races like Lizardfolk are not included in the Player's Handbook, will there be sections under monsters in the Monster Manual detailing how to make those races into player characters? (Wether by a process or by providing player stats for them.)

Yes, please.
(um, I mean, uh, "seconded")




Thirded, or is it Fourthed by now?
"I don't want to fight dragons." - Hiccup If dragons are to be invovled, I much prefer to play as a dragon, dragon rider, dragonslayer-slayer, dragonfriend, or anything else *but* a dragonslayer.
I like the idea of playing monsters as races except most people will play them to break the game or get an edge and just expect to be treated normal in the party or around cities.
If it works out great, but we don't need Teenage Mutant Ninja Werewolf Turtles.
I like the idea of playing monsters as races except most people will play them to break the game or get an edge and just expect to be treated normal in the party or around cities.
If it works out great, but we don't need Teenage Mutant Ninja Werewolf Turtles.


This is very much dependent on implementation.  Look at older editions, and you can see more of this, because monster races tended to be more powerful than standard ones.  Look at 4e, though, and it turns out most monster races are actually a good bit weaker than standard ones.  I myself, though I am a fan of monster races, don;t play them in 4e unless the DM is willing to allow me to sub in a standard race's mechanics.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
How are you going to handle reflavoring/retexturing and the heated debate of flavor / mechanics being interwined? Are you going to do something like what people came up here on these boards (flavorful abilities, but underlining the mechanical parts of them and allowing those who don't like the default flavor to change it easily)? Are you going to go back to the old days of Call Lightning being nearly impossible to reflavor? Are you going to keep going in 4E direction of mechanics being detatched by the default flavor entirely so that everybody can play the character they want, regardless of what's written on their sheet?


What are your plans for class uniqueness? I understand you are still working on the core four classes, which are very different already in concept and therefore in execution. However, when you are going to consider the other classes - for instance, paladin and barbarian - what are your plans for them? Many people playing older editions argue that barbarian and paladin could be subclasses of the core four. I think this is determined by the fact that, apart from a few abilities you can easily swap in and out, older editions' classes felt exactly the same to play: a barbarian sure had rages, but in a fight he still charged and full attacked exactly the same way as a fighter. A paladin might smite and pop a healing spell / lay on hands, but in the end those could just be feats a normal fighter could take, or he could be a cleric focused on martial combat. In 4th edition, most if not all classes played very differently during combat: as part of the core mechanics of the class there was a playstyle that emerged vigorously, and the mechanics focused on enhancing that playstyle. A paladin's mechanics practically require him to act like a paladin in combat: he must challenge and engage his enemies to benefit from his class features and powers. It's not just something he activates, like 3.5's smite. It's something he does. Each class has a style that distinguishes it from the others during play, rather than on the sheet. Are you planning to keep doing this, or are you going back to a more diluted "every caster casts spells, every other character full attacks" type of mechanic?
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
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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
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