Not every little rule from previous editions should be a module

Level drain.  Age-based penalties/bonuses.  How a particular weapon works.  Minimum starting ages.  And many more!

These are all tiny, little things that people want, but might take up half a page or a page.  We argue over them for pages and pages and finally agree that they should all be optional modules.  I say no.   WotC shouldn't publish them at all.

But Pash, you are a mean, close-minded little man, and your opinion is subjective, and you aren't acting in the spirit of 5e, and stop trying to force me to play your way!

Pash, why? 

It's simple.  The developers have a limited amount of man hours to spend on this game, and they can only put out so many products.  Modules will be great for big things, but these small ones?  It would be a waste of time and money for everyone involved. The designers ought to include a short section in the DMG that encourages us to make our own modules and that gives us guidelines on doing so and/or converting old rules into 5e.  For example, look at level drain again.  You might like it, or you might not, but it's a solved puzzle.  The devs aren't going to come out with some radical new way of implementing level drain.  A level drain module would consist of a rule telling you how long it lasts, a spell for restoring it, and a list of monsters that get the ability.  That's a ten minute job for a fan, and we have three editions of examples to go on.

What we need isn't to clog the production schedule with every minor detail.  What we need is to remember that we can make modules ourselves, and a solid platform for trading fan made modules.  We, as a community, have much lighter limits on man hours and virtual page space, and we have a lot more interest to boot.  These boards already have a homebrew section where people can and do trade things, I'm sure it could be made better.

Let's call for that.
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I disagree, for a couple of reasons. 

1. I don't think including these little options is as difficult a task as you imagine. Look at the 2e PHB and DMG - when it comes to actual rule systems rather than class, race, spell and item descriptions, most of the information is optional stuff. The core system will, and should, be tiny - covered in less than 50 pages. Leaving 200 or more pages for optional modules.

2. A tiny fraction of the potential D&D playerbase frequents these boards. I don't play with anyone on these boards - I don't know that I've ever played a home game with anyone who's ever posted on a D&D board elsewhere on the net.
I agree some little rules like age stats don't need to be added like it was in ad&d. Weapons need to be simple. With 1 stat damage not different for small med large.
I disagree, for a couple of reasons. 

1. I don't think including these little options is as difficult a task as you imagine. Look at the 2e PHB and DMG - when it comes to actual rule systems rather than class, race, spell and item descriptions, most of the information is optional stuff. The core system will, and should, be tiny - covered in less than 50 pages. Leaving 200 or more pages for optional modules.


It isn't about these tasks being difficult, Kaldric.  It's about them being too easy.  There are already plenty of difficult options for the devs to tackle.  We don't need them working on the parts we can easily handle ourselves.  Realistically, there's only a limited amount of stuff they'll publish, and plenty of big, complicated modules to fill that up.

2. A tiny fraction of the potential D&D playerbase frequents these boards. I don't play with anyone on these boards - I don't know that I've ever played a home game with anyone who's ever posted on a D&D board elsewhere on the net.


And yet, the internet continues to grow.  More people are coming to the net for D&D.  How many more would come if the module creation guidelines tipped them off to a place where they could find and share homebrew?  How many more only come online for DDI that could be tipped off with a link on that page?  Currently, the homebrew section is a small segment in the forums, which are themselves a segment in in the "D&D Community" page.  You have to be looking to find them.  I propose WotC straight advertises it.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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I disagree, for a couple of reasons. 

1. I don't think including these little options is as difficult a task as you imagine. Look at the 2e PHB and DMG - when it comes to actual rule systems rather than class, race, spell and item descriptions, most of the information is optional stuff. The core system will, and should, be tiny - covered in less than 50 pages. Leaving 200 or more pages for optional modules.

2. A tiny fraction of the potential D&D playerbase frequents these boards. I don't play with anyone on these boards - I don't know that I've ever played a home game with anyone who's ever posted on a D&D board elsewhere on the net.



1. The core might be small, but I'm not going to play with core only. Neither are most people really. Most people are going to want good rules (not to say that core only won't be good rules, but really, they will be terribly limited rules with very few options; not going to cut it, barely cut it when D&D didn't even exist). In order to satisfy both 4E people and 3e people you're going to need much more page space than any given PHB already. And that's without counting any new stuff, or grognards.

2. Realistically, everybody who plays D&D has access to Internet. Internet is quickly becoming as widespread as running water in modern states, and I rather doubt D&D sells in the third world (unfortunately). One thing is coming on these boards now, when the only realistic reason you'd do so is to take a look at CharOp. Another thing entirely is coming to these boards if you know there's going to be homebrews, advertised modules, "official" stuff with tons of rewievs. A growing and cool community makes everything 100% better.
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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.
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I'm more concerned about the core system and the little modules than I am the big, complicated ones - I won't be using those. I suppose that's a big factor in our difference of opinion here.
I agree with the principle - get the base done properly first.

If I could add an extra to the list - epic levels.  See how the system shakes out for at least a year - maybe two and then design from there.

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A lot of these modular options can be reintroduced to the game through Dragon articles written by freelancers, rather than the main designers.  They don't have to be as balanced as the core game engine and they wouldn't take time away from the primary developers.
The first PHB and DMG should only contain a few modules, because these books have to be readable by new players that are just beginning to learn what an rpg is. Furthermore I agree with the original poster that WOTC should concentrate on getting the base game right before they spend too much time on optional rules.

But around 2014 I would be happy to see tomes of battle, magic, and playable races with lots of optional rules for different aspects of the game. The only thing that worries me is game balance. Each module should be constructed so that the game is balanced with and without the module. Here is a list of modules that makes make me worry about balance


  • Weapon specialization 

  • Level drain 

  • Damage reduction

  • Non Vancian casting

  • Mass combat


The following subjects that do not interest me personally, but I would be happy to buy the books if it could delay the arrival of 6ed.


  • Minimum starting ages 

  • Aging

  • Alignments

  • Planar travel



    DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
    I'm less concerned with the amount of work WotC designers have to do than I am concerned with how much work I have to do as a DM. I'd rather have the designers do the work fleshing out the little stuff than feel like I'm forced to do it myself. Their time might be limited, but my time is even more limited and they're getting paid to work on the game while I'm not.

    I'm not saying literally everything needs to be a module or spelled out in the rules, the books can only be so big after all and not every rule would work well as an optional rule module. But basically it's WotC's job to hammer out the rules to make it as easy as possible for me as the DM to hammer out adventures. If as a DM I end up having to work on lots of houserules and tweaks to the game system itself then WotC is not holding up their end of that bargain.
    Rest assured that WotC will not be bringing back every little mechanic that has ever graced a D&D tome.  We will not be seeing a module for 1e unarmed combat.  The designer will be making extremely hard choices about what modules to include and what to not include, most likely based upon their perceived conceptions of the relative popularity of each potential module.
    Personally, I'd like to see one of those 'Big, Complicated' systems be a set of rules for an open-table, multi-party, multi-DM, 15 to 50 players playing a hundred or more characters in a persistent campaign world. This would require things like a timekeeping module, aging modules, something to deal with balancing very long-lived or effectively immortal races against shorter lived ones, and domain rules. 

    Things like aging matter when the campaign concept isn't limited to, to characterize it uncharitably only to make the point, being a short-term solipsistic bubble around 4 or 5 PCs.
    I agree with the principle - get the base done properly first.

    If I could add an extra to the list - epic levels.  See how the system shakes out for at least a year - maybe two and then design from there.



    I'm staggered. Not only is Shas agreeing with us, but I'm actually 100% with him on the "let system shake out before you do epic" thing. No offence, Shas, but we don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. So, when we agree on something, it probably bears looking into.

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    57019168 wrote:
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    I'm less concerned with the amount of work WotC designers have to do than I am concerned with how much work I have to do as a DM. I'd rather have the designers do the work fleshing out the little stuff than feel like I'm forced to do it myself. Their time might be limited, but my time is even more limited and they're getting paid to work on the game while I'm not.


    It's true that they get paid to make the game, and we don't.  But that cuts both ways, to a degree.  If they make it, we have to pay to get it, but homebrew is free.  You, as an individual, don't need to have the time to homebrew all the little details, but the community as a collective does.  You have time to post on these boards.  That'd be enough to browse a homebrew content section and grab a copy of someone else's stuff. 
    I'm not saying literally everything needs to be a module or spelled out in the rules, the books can only be so big after all and not every rule would work well as an optional rule module. But basically it's WotC's job to hammer out the rules to make it as easy as possible for me as the DM to hammer out adventures. If as a DM I end up having to work on lots of houserules and tweaks to the game system itself then WotC is not holding up their end of that bargain.


    And I'm not saying that WotC should release a broken or incomplete system.  But, to use a 4e example, WotC could hold up their end of the bargain even if 5e didn't include rules for Brutal weapons.  
    Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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    This thread is fundamentally flawed because it's not addressing any real points.



    No one wants them to work on random tiny modules before they finish the core game.  Not a lot of people want these sort of things in the PHB.


    At some point, they should be added to the system, in a perfect world, through modules.  When and by whom are not really things that most people are discussing, and I think everyone would agree that the core should be finished before ANY module is worked on.
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    The core concept will set the tone for the inclusions that follow.

    As I consider the next iteration of D&D, I wonder if the core rules will embrace a deadly game a la AD&D or a forgiving game a la 4th Edition.  From there, various concepts can be included or excluded based on relative worth.  Level-drain abilities, healing surges, save-or-die effects, aging effects, and the other minutae from the various editions will be weighed, judged, and used or abandoned as befits the core concept. 

    I don't have a definite desire for the core rules; I just want the game to include enough detail for role-play-heavy games, enough strategy for thoughtful combat, and enough magic and magical effect to maintain a feel for high fantasy.  From there, as others have said in this thread, we can homebrew the ideas that are not officially developed.   
    I don't know that Pashalik plans to use the complicated modules, and not the minor ones, and thus is disingenously arguing for a rationale of inclusion that caters primarily to his own preferences based on that motive.

    I do know that I don't plan to use board-rules, for instance, while I would certainly get a lot of use out of open-table persistent multi-party campaign rules. Both are complicated systems, both have appeared in previous editions, both could use an update and tinkering to fit with the new system.

    If Pashalik finds a rationale to press for the inclusion of one big system he does plan to use, while pressing for the exclusion or long-term postponement of big systems he doesn't like, I might be more inclined to view his argument with a cynical eye. Haven't seen that yet, though, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
    @Pash: I both agree with you and disagree.  I would say that the barometer for whether or not the Devs should tackle an issue as a module isn't how much space it will take up.  Instead, I think it comes down to the amount of playtesting required by the rule, regardless of space.

    You used level/stat drain and aging as examples that wouldn't take up much space.  However that's not totally accurate.  If you have a list of monsters that should get level/stat drain, you will need to recalculate their CR/encounter level/whatever becuase of the new offensive power.  By that token, aging mechanics are a far different animal.

    I like your idea about a cost-free marketplace of homebrew ideas, I just disagree on what needs to be done by the Devs.

    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.

     

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    Here's the primary reason I disagree with you:

    because your list seems (and if I'm wrong, please correct me) to coincide with the rules you don't like.

    My first rule is to listen to no one who's arguing for their own side. If you want to argue for 10 things not to be included, 5 of which you think should definitely be included, then I'll consider your idea. Otherwise it's nothing more than rationalizing 'give me what I want and screw everyone else'.

    For that same reason I wouldn't listen to me when I say all of those things (excpet maybe starting age) should definitely be included. However, if you give me a great big list and I divided it into 'I like/I don't like', and then compromised a 50/50 list it would be more acceptable.

    Another way to do it is through careful polling. Anything polling at less than 10% could probably be left out without a problem. Of course, having watched the polls pretty carefully, almost nothing polls under 10%. But once you get over 10% you're potentially losing a fair amount of consumer base, risking targets.


    To be perfectly honest, I got my examples by skimming the front pages of the Product Speculation and Mechanics boards for thread titles with this thread's first post open in another tab.  What did I have, four examples?  Four relatively small rules that I like but am willing to make or convert myself in order to see bigger stuff published.

    1. Divine Investiture for divine classes.
    2. Martial Practices.
    3. The Supernal Language.
    4. Lycanthropy.

    As for your basic argument that it's entirely economic (meaning all resources, not just $$$) based, have you SEEN the supplement flood that has existed for every edition since 2nd??? I don't think they have a problem putting out lots of material. In fact, going over a lot of it it seems more like they have trouble coming up with good stuff to fill their product line. I can kick out a page of rulebook in 15 minutes, edit it in 15, typeset and pretty it up in 30. That's an hour per page (call a page 2 rules). If you can come up with 80 rules to cut out you'll save a whopping 80 man hours and about $4 publication cost (in-house). It's nothing compared to the investment in a top of the line print run roleplaying game. Not even pocket change.


    I have seen the supplement flood.  The supplement flood that has led to the bloating of two editions in record time and left them putting out a new edition just to sell something again.  WotC has seen it, too.  They've seen it divide the community, exhaust the buyer's wallets and deplete their goodwill from the community.  I rather suspect they'd do well to make 5e last a ot longer than 3e or 4e, and some things the devs have said seem to hint that they see it that way, too.  Churning out material at a lightning fast rate doesn't help such a goal, though.
    Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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    The problem is what we each individually think is valuable is different.  What we think the majority wants is different.

    I'd say level drain is at least as popular has healing surges.  Neither is super popular.  Healing surges will likely take pages when you count all the other unintended consequences of such a system. Whereas level drain takes about 1/4 of a page if that and your done.  

    if you remember I suggested giving the monster attacks a name and then defining the various ways that name could be interpreted elsewhere.  This approach makes optional rules very easy to insert when it comes to monster attack types.  Rust monsters can work the same way.  They have a rusting attack which gets defined multiple ways elsewhere.

    Since adding in a lot of old school stuff will probably take about two pages, and that group while the smallest is still significant, I'd give them their two pages.   The 4e and 3e people will get their numerous pages. 

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    I'd say level drain is at least as popular has healing surges.  Neither is super popular.  Healing surges will likely take pages when you count all the other unintended consequences of such a system. Whereas level drain takes about 1/4 of a page if that and your done.


    I think you are seriously over-simplifying level drain.  The actual mechanical implication on a character can probably be done in a 1/2-3/4 page (1/4 for instruction, and another 1/4-1/2 for showing it being applied to a sample character).  However, it will also need a list of monsters that have that power, it will need to state which of the creature's attacks carry that power, and it will need to state the CR/encounter level/whatever adjustment for each creature on the list.  Even then, a new level drain module will have to be printed in ever monster book that comes out after the book with the list in it.  Either that, or the level drain effect will have to be printed in one book, each monster's stat block will have to specify which attacks carry the level drain effect, and each monster's stat block will have to have two CRs/encounter levels/whatevers (one with and one without the level drain).  All of that amounts to significantly more space than you have attributed to it.

    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.

     

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    I put together a frivolous example of a level drain module. It's almost 1 am, so I've probably missed something. Was just curious as to how much space it might actually take up.

    [spoiler=A spitballed take on a Level Drain module]
    Some monsters and spells attack the life energy levels of adventurers, the positive energy bestowed by powerful supernatural entities that have a special interest in your hero's career. The attacks inflict temporary negative levels, as the heroic mana that powers your supranormal heroic abilities is drained. After a time, the drain may become permanent. This rules module is only suggested for use when all players are aware that it could permanently damage their characters, and the DM is confident of his ability to use such dangerous creatures fairly. Additionally, reverting characters to lower levels can be complicated, and thus this module is not suggested for use with the more complex character customization options, unless the DM is confident of her ability apply it appropriately.

    "Level Drain: Save vs the attack's DC. For each level lost, lose 3 hp and take a -1 to each die rolled, including save dice, damage dice, any die rolled to use a spell, hit dice, or skill attempts. If your level is lowered below that necessary to cast a spell or use a power you know, you may not use it. If you lose enough levels to take you to level 0, you die immediately and are 50% likely to rise as an undead creature under the control of the creature that killed you. 24 hours after suffering level drain, make the better of a con/wis saving throw vs DC 15, unmodified by the current drain effect. If successful, the effect of the level drain ends. A restoration spell administered in this period immediately ends the effect as if a successful save had been made. If failed, the damage is permanent. The drain effect ends, and your current level is adjusted downwards by the number of levels of drain adminstered in the encounter 24 hours prior to the saving throw. Monsters with Level Drain attacks will have a footnote naming the attack which inflicts the drain, special circumstances, Save DC to resist the infliction of the drain, and the CR modification to the monster if the attack is made available to it.

    To reduce level permanently: Remove latest levels first. Remove the average of your hit die+modifiers, rounded down. Lower base saves and base attack to appropriate level. Remove feats/traits/whatever. Spells are not removed from your book, but you may not cast them. For more complex character creation options, DM discretion is necesary - be fair.
    [/sblock] 
    I'd say level drain is at least as popular has healing surges.  Neither is super popular.  Healing surges will likely take pages when you count all the other unintended consequences of such a system. Whereas level drain takes about 1/4 of a page if that and your done.


    I think you are seriously over-simplifying level drain.  The actual mechanical implication on a character can probably be done in a 1/2-3/4 page (1/4 for instruction, and another 1/4-1/2 for showing it being applied to a sample character).  However, it will also need a list of monsters that have that power, it will need to state which of the creature's attacks carry that power, and it will need to state the CR/encounter level/whatever adjustment for each creature on the list.  Even then, a new level drain module will have to be printed in ever monster book that comes out after the book with the list in it.  Either that, or the level drain effect will have to be printed in one book, each monster's stat block will have to specify which attacks carry the level drain effect, and each monster's stat block will have to have two CRs/encounter levels/whatevers (one with and one without the level drain).  All of that amounts to significantly more space than you have attributed to it.



    Monsters in their stat block have a special attack called negative energy attack 1.   Negative energy attack 1 has various balanced options.   In a module somewhere, one such option is drains 2000 x.p. and applies a temporary -1 to all attacks and defenses for one day.  As I've said countless times above, I want NO spells to recover that x.p.   Negative energy attack 1 could be defined ten more times in ten different modules.  The only requirement is that the effect be balanced with the other effects.  No monster, no spell, no nothing needs changing.   If you insist on a spell as an option then the spell can say "removes the effects of negative energy attacks".



     

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    I happen to like Aging, Level Draining, how a particular weapon works, and rolling for Starting Ages, Weight, Height, etc.  There are many AD&D gamers who really like those rules and want to see them return as options.    

    I don't think it's fair to say that these rules are not important.  I know many who don't like the concept of Healing Surges, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be included as an optional rule in the PHB.   

    2e did a great job at providing dozens of little optional rules in the PHB and they didn't take up a lot of space.    In fact,  I would rather the designers focus on providing us with more content in the PHB then wasting space with too many graphics.   


    I'd say level drain is at least as popular has healing surges.  Neither is super popular.  Healing surges will likely take pages when you count all the other unintended consequences of such a system. Whereas level drain takes about 1/4 of a page if that and your done.


    I think you are seriously over-simplifying level drain.  The actual mechanical implication on a character can probably be done in a 1/2-3/4 page (1/4 for instruction, and another 1/4-1/2 for showing it being applied to a sample character).  However, it will also need a list of monsters that have that power, it will need to state which of the creature's attacks carry that power, and it will need to state the CR/encounter level/whatever adjustment for each creature on the list.  Even then, a new level drain module will have to be printed in ever monster book that comes out after the book with the list in it.  Either that, or the level drain effect will have to be printed in one book, each monster's stat block will have to specify which attacks carry the level drain effect, and each monster's stat block will have to have two CRs/encounter levels/whatevers (one with and one without the level drain).  All of that amounts to significantly more space than you have attributed to it.



    Monsters in their stat block have a special attack called negative energy attack 1.   Negative energy attack 1 has various balanced options.   In a module somewhere, one such option is drains 2000 x.p. and applies a temporary -1 to all attacks and defenses for one day.


    Yeah, I get you.  However, all that amounts to the second option I mentioned (bolded above for convenience).

    I'm not saying that you over-simplified the mechanic.  I'm saying that you are underestimating the page space.  Every listing of "negative energy attack 1" (which, as a humorous side note, reminds me of the nutcracker from Robot Chicken with his "Testicle Attack #69"), takes space.  I'm not saying it takes up too much space, or that it's not worth it; I'm just saying that it takes space.  Plus, each of those listings should include a citing of the page number (or range of pages) in the module that defines level drain.  So, when you say that level drain takes only 1/4 page, I think you aren't taking it all into account.

    None of that, however, is an agrument against a level drain option.  I think it's something the Devs should handle, instead of being homebrewed by the community, because of the work involved (every monster that has it will need to have an alternate CR/Encounter Level/Whatever for DMs using them with level drain) and the playtesting needed to get it right.  The same is true of stat drain.

    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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