Modularity

Is that even a real word?

Anyway I'm wondering if this aspect of 5e is worrying anyone but me.

In 1e/2e psionics were modular, and they could really mess up the game because they weren't balanced, mostly because of the magic =/= psi assumptions.  I don't expect anything that glaring really, but with many more modules there's a chance some of them won't play nice together.

Thoughts?  Assurances?
Modularity (yes, it's a word) isn't an inherently imbalanced idea. Let's face it, in the 1e/2e days, the designers didn't really know much about good game design. Psionics was broken because it was designed poorly, not because it was modular.
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Also the early D&D editions weren't Designed to be modular. So so called 'modular' rules content didn't necessarily mesh up with the existing stuff very well. Extra content was just bolted on to a basic system that wasn't necessarily best designed for the level of expansion it eventually got.

For myself, the modular design of 5e is one of the things i think Wizards are doing right - it will (if they get it right) allow for an unprecedented ability to tailor the game to different gaming groups, and in some cases even to different people within a gaming group - without that adaptation unbalancing anything.

Playtest coming up this week and i'm signed up - looking forward to even the merest glimpse of the bigger picture we'll get to see.
From what they've said the first playtest won't have anything modular.

That said even if the whole game in modular, you'll end up with the same edition warring that we have always had. People will like how A, F, G, M, S modules work together and others will like how B, F, I, K, X work together. You'll have the same problem as before trying to find your 'game' as you always have. The only upside is WotC will continue to make products for it...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I like the idea of modular system but I wish know about monsters. Some optional rules could make monster be more or less dangerous.

For example let´s imagine Raveloft setting, the demiplane of dread with module about dark powers& taint, fear, sanity and mental stress. PCs are facing a secret mindslayer cult of thoon, and they discover their leader is a great horror never seen before, a brainstealer dragon.

Some module about extra powers could be added like a template, no problem, but... what if modular system can change the true challenge rating of monsters, traps and other dangers/risks?

"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 

Is that even a real word?
Anyway I'm wondering if this aspect of 5e is worrying anyone but me.



Why should I worry?

I've been doing modular D&D for 30+ years.
The base has always been;
Generate ability scores, find modifiers
Pick race/class
Pick weapons/armor/eqipment & note any math that comes with it - damge dice, AC etc
Figure out "to hit" & "saves"
Tell the DM what your characters doing
This base hasn't changed a bit since the day I opened my 1st set of Basic!

After that comes everything else.
Doesn't matter wether it's something the designers made up & sold us or something that we made up ourselves around the table....
As for how well all that extra stuff has worked?  Some great, some ---, some really bad.  The thing is?  It's occured in equel porportions no matter who came up with it!



The fact is, your never always going to he able to find the system you want to play in your area--This isn't the nature of the game, it's the nature of the community. More specifically, the size of the community.

WotC can't help you find games, they can only support the game system you want to play.

With that said, modularity worries me when it comes to new players. What to us veterans appears a large and varied rule set is to the newbie an intimidating and unforgiving system. They won't know which modules they want, so I feel it should be heavily stressed that the core rules are where you should start.

Now, obviously modules pose a risk to balance, but that is said for any new mechanic you add on to a system. It's the nature of design, and removing the modularity isn't neccesarily the best solution. Having said that, I also worry they will try to accomplish too much with their first run of core books, and the result will be something horrible and unimaginable (Cthulhul rises from the ashes of Next, terrifying the unexpecting gamers and destroying the world!)
http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af156/Tom_Shambles92/DrSeuss.jpg http://www.last.fm/user/Pogo92 Endorsed by the C.C.A.A. Booty Patrol. "If all the classes can compete on equal footing in a combat situation then it becomes less about "Which is the best" and more about "Which conveys the character I want to play"." - Areleth
What to us veterans appears a large and varied rule set is to the newbie an intimidating and unforgiving system. They won't know which modules they want, so I feel it should be heavily stressed that the core rules are where you should start.



+1. This was always a real problem with new players (and not just in 3e but in 2e as well). With class splat books and optional rules abounding it was really hard for new players to know where to draw the line for their initial purchases. I always told my new players to buy the PHB and nothing more and wouldn't let them use splat books or optional rules until that had a firm understanding (IMO and the group's) of the core rules (usually we'd run a few one offs with them). After that they were welcome to branch out to whatever optional rulebooks were being used in the campaign and they could reroll a new PC or rework their test PC who would be brought into the campaign during the next session. So starting with the core rules only is a good rule of thumb for new players.  

"We are men of action, lies do not become us" ~ D.P.R.
I find that people underestimate new players rather frequently.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Is that even a real word?

Anyway I'm wondering if this aspect of 5e is worrying anyone but me.

In 1e/2e psionics were modular, and they could really mess up the game because they weren't balanced, mostly because of the magic =/= psi assumptions.  I don't expect anything that glaring really, but with many more modules there's a chance some of them won't play nice together.

Thoughts?  Assurances?

There's no reason modular can't be balanced.  You could fairly easily take each Source in 4e, for instance, and treat it as an optional module.  Take out Divine, and the game still works fine.  Add in psionics, still basically OK.   

OTOH, if modules are additive, there's the potential for imbalance.  For instance, if there's a "Theme Module" and every character who takes a theme gets extra skills and special abilities, then, there'd be an imbalance if non-theme-module-using characters were also in that game.  Likewise, if modules introduce new rules or sub-systems, there is the danger that they 'won't play nice' with eachother.

 

 

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I find that people underestimate new players rather frequently.

Nod.  I found, IMX, that introducing completely-new players to 4e was easy, they found it intuitive and easy to understand, while veteran D&Ders had a little trouble with it, and returning gamers who had been away from the hobby for years were really thrown for a loop.  

There are, though, in addition to new gamers, let's say 'casual gamers,' who do not want to delve deep into system mastery to get a viable character or a playable game.  5e needs to accomodate them, as well, and that would mean keeping the modularity from making it too complex, and also making any player-optional modules balanced.

 

 

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If the future new d20 Modern can use modularity...could we see a d20 superheroes with a right balance of power?

"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 

I'm basically a new player and I wouldn't say that a DM telling me to start with the core books is underestimating me. I would much rather an experienced player tell me which books I need to buy to learn the basics, rather then me going out and buying a bunch of books for a game I'm not even sure I'll like.
The vast majority of the modules that have been discussed are very, very likely to be included in the PHB or DMG.  So, two books that are part of the Core Three for basically every edition ever, the third being the Monster Manual.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I think, apart from a brief faddish period in the early 80's, new players coming to D&D without being introduced to it by a person who already knows how to play has been, and will continue to be, very rare. People don't go out by themselves and purchase the game unless they know people who are already playing it. The 'new player' coming at the rules with no prior experience has, I think, been mostly a myth for about 30 years now.
Oh god, the viking hat is priceless....


Back on topic.  The other thing that has fundamentally changed is that a new player, now, more than likely has at least some experience with RPGs as a genre, even if they're not pen-and-paper tabletops like D&D.  Some people in the old-school camps will rail on videogames as being a negative influence on D&D, but I'd argue that they do way more good than harm.  Not only is the alleged harm a bit hard to substantiate, the good that the provide is that it gets people used to a lot of the core concepts before they crack open the PHB.  That makes the learning process dramatically simpler.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I think, apart from a brief faddish period in the early 80's, new players coming to D&D without being introduced to it by a person who already knows how to play has been, and will continue to be, very rare. People don't go out by themselves and purchase the game unless they know people who are already playing it. The 'new player' coming at the rules with no prior experience has, I think, been mostly a myth for about 30 years now.




If you're talking about a group of people saying, "Hey let's buy that D&D game and learn to play it" then for sure I'd say that probably hasn't happened for a long time. But new players to a group happens fairly often IMX. You're right that many (if not most) folks that play are brought into the game by someone they know. But regardless of it's someone they know bringing them into the game or them finding a group at their FLGS, if they have never played an PnP RPG, or even just D&D before then they are a "new player". Their only game knowledge come from what their friends may have told them about the game, which may be incomplete or totally incorrect (if their friend is a bad player) or from what they have read in the PHB but never used.  

I have a local guildmate on WoW who has never played a PnP RPG before (or a PC RPG based on a PnP RPG like Neverwinter or KoTOR) in her life. She's expressed interest in D&D before so I invited her to be a part of our play test and after that if she's interested she's welcome to join our regular group as well. If she decides to play she'll be the 6th "new player" (by that I mean a never played an PnP RPG before "new player") I've welcome to our group in the past 10 years.  None of them came to the group on their own, but all of them were new players. 

"We are men of action, lies do not become us" ~ D.P.R.
If the future new d20 Modern can use modularity...could we see a d20 superheroes with a right balance of power?


You know, I really want to see a module that lets us run D20 Modern/Future 5e.  I don't know if I should be encouraged or discouraged by them merging the old D20 Modern forums with other old edition forums.

As for the topic, I'm not worried about the modularity.  I'm worried about power creep appearing in a significant quantity within the modules.

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.

I think, apart from a brief faddish period in the early 80's, new players coming to D&D without being introduced to it by a person who already knows how to play has been, and will continue to be, very rare. People don't go out by themselves and purchase the game unless they know people who are already playing it. The 'new player' coming at the rules with no prior experience has, I think, been mostly a myth for about 30 years now.




My group of 5 and I jumped right in with none of us having any experience whatsoever. Fortunately, the internet facilitated this a bit in the beginning, but speaking strictly from my experience it does happen. We're definitely the outliers, though. 
http://i1003.photobucket.com/albums/af156/Tom_Shambles92/DrSeuss.jpg http://www.last.fm/user/Pogo92 Endorsed by the C.C.A.A. Booty Patrol. "If all the classes can compete on equal footing in a combat situation then it becomes less about "Which is the best" and more about "Which conveys the character I want to play"." - Areleth
I first played D&D as a little kid when my Uncle used to watch me since he and a bunch of his friends used to play(...well still play) but that was back in 2002. I only got interested in it again since my girlfriend is a gamer (I and told her that I played a little) and her group is interested in playing the new D&D. So I would say that I'm only here because of people I know (who play).