Reintroducing what made me stop playing D&D

3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.
Vancian Magic is back for "flavor" more than for system needs of game balance.

HP = GP has always been true in D&D, and 5e does not look to change that (so far)

Making Spell Durations "Encounter" length sounds too much like 4e for those who hate it.

Complex AoEs are supposed to harken back to the wide variety of spells shapes/forms in earlier editions and are (probably) supposed to be more "evocative" in ToTM

Save or Die is back in full

HP Rolls are "Old School", Yo...get on the 5e wagon as the 4e bus is the only one that runs to Modern Town.
"I'm just killing time, since it's killing us." --Cyon Fal'Duur, Pathfinder Chronicler: Rogue Ascendant


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That's my point, all of these game elements were added because that's the way they did things in older editions, not because they actually make a better game.
If WotC makes a mechanically perfect game, and the silly old grognards don't buy it because they want their silly old sacred cows, is it really a better game?

That's one of them ice cream koans.
I would add abilty scores to this. Green Ronin got it right, IMO, first with True20 and then with Mutants and Masterminds 3e (and its counterpart DC Adventures). If you have an ability score of 16, and it gives you a +3 to relevant rolls, and the +3 part is pretty much all you use, then why bother with the number? Its a throwback and completely unneccessary. 

For the most part I do agree with what you posted. 
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.

I agree in general, that the Vancian concept is not ideal.

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.

As a DM, I generally do not allow 'free and easy healing' between every signifigant battle. No heal potion spam in my games.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?

Yes, a hundred times yes!


Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.


Yes, no need for complicated area of effect. I would prefer an area to be more like: '1 target per level within 20' of the target', or something like that. 

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.

I agree, interesting idea but not worth the extra bookeeping/calculation

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



Well, some players may like random hp, but I would prefer HP to be (CON SCORE)+(CON MOD+1/max HD)xLEVEL
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.




I totally agree.

You could also add to the list the reintroduction of monsters whose sole power consists of a basic attack; monster descriptions that bury powers somewhere deep in the prose flavour text; and the lack of opportunity attacks.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

For you- those are all deal breakers. I get that, but most of your list I could view as minor complaints.

Vancian Spellcasting- I agree it's complicated, but to me it's rewarding and fun.

HP=GP- I couldn't have said it better myself, and it might be my only complaint so far as a DM with Next, although it works just fine in the constraints of the 3 level we were given. It does seem to be in line with the design goal to make magic items feel special and powerful but not essential to character progress. I hope  that what we will gain from giving PCs the ability to create magic items (the cool factor for the player, the ability to create a character concept like the arcane metalsmith/ alchemist of myth and legend) will not be marred by misuse of such capabilities (the aforementioned wand of cure light wound or carts of potions).

Tracking Spell Durations- I can see why this was a pain in the ass at earlier editions, with sort durations or simply random durations, but lets not forget that 4E has tons of spell effects (and effects for power that aren't spells) that last a round or so, and tracking Conditions, Recharges, Ongoing Damage, Sustains, etc. was very difficult. With 1 minute durations, you can easily say the spell/ power lasts for the whole fight, something you could only say in 1E and 2E, and almost never at 4E (villain's Menace does come to mind).

Complex Areas of Effect- A valid point, although I can't see it as more than a minor problem, to be resolved after enough playtesting with Mini- Loving groups.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining- You are right it breaks immersion (we've seen it with spells only effecting monsters below a HD threshold in 3E). I think it can be solved by using descriptions like the Bloodied condition, which can be used as a descriptor in a normal sentence, maybe new descriptors that refer to weak creatures as well as wounded, stronger, creatures ("weakened" is pretty good, right?)

HP Rolls- I'm pretty sure WotC said it was an optional rule, and that they fully expect groups will rule average rolls of even maximum results.

All in all, those aren't major issues for myself and many others, but I do understand if you say these a deal- breakers for you. I do expect you to playtest some more and voice your objections and suggestions from the inside, in the interest of making D&D the game you want it to be (assuming you do care and haven't given up on it for other RPGs. But from your lengthy post I assume you do want this game to improve).

Play Hard!

Vancian Spellcasting
I think it is iconic and losing it was a big mistake of 4e.  I think though they need additional types of casters to suit all the magical playing preferences that exist.  Leaving out vancian though is bad for so many people that it would be crazy from a business perspective.  Just provide more options and we are all fine.  If your group hates vancian then ban it from your games class wise.

HP = GP
I agree.  I dislike mundane healing though.  I'd much prefer a cleric or alchemist or herbalist be able to produce X magical healing potions per day that last for a single day.   Since these potions are magic they don't break anyone's verisimilitude.  They can then work much like surges work.

Tracking Spell Durations
I think 1 minute == whole encounter.  They chose real times to increase the flavor and hide the mechanics.  The second I saw 1 minute I thought - entire encounter.

Complex Areas of Effect
It is just as easy for ToTM people.  It only get's harder with a grid.  I believe they will include grid templates in their tactical rules module.  


Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
I thought this number was max hit points and not current hit points.  I ruled it that way in my last playtest game.  If it is current hit points then I'd be for making it max hit points.   It is intended as a power throttle.


HP Rolls
Like alignment it is so easily houseruled why even worry at all.  I'm sure the game will provide various options for rolling and not rolling everything in the game.  Ability scores and hit points will be possible without rolling a die.  For those that like to roll they can be happy too.   Win win.   If you are of the camp that thinks those who like die rolls are just stupid or don't get it, I might advise a step down off the high horse.  While I don't prefer rolling hit points (I like rolling ability scores),  I am smart enough to realize that different people like different things and there is fun in all ways for some people.






I agree with some of what you said. Hey, I've played every edition but am open-minded about another.  My notes in blue

3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game. I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.



The game is a work-in-progress and we've only scratched the surface. I expect it to change a lot over the next few months.  I'm not sure that your conclusion, that this is not the way to design a good game, is based on anything more than gut feeling. It's probably wrong.



Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.



I dislike pure vancian magic rules too. However, that's not what was introduced. It's a hybrid approach - some vancian, some at-will. I think it's a workable compromise.


HP = GP

Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.



Yeah. Healing needs to change. There needs to be more healing in the hands of the clerics.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?


Agreed. Durations should either be encounter or daily.

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.



The more complete combat mechanics will fix this - I hope.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.



Is this an attempt to emulate "bloodied"

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



Agreed. I don't like the rolling one bit.

-------------------- D&D Player/DM since 1975 - Veteran of Chainmail, AD&D, 2e, v3.5, DnD4e and now Next.



Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.



It doesn't take that long to memorize your spells.   If the player has a good spell sheet that's designed well, it only takes a few minutes.     When I played a 2e wizard I had a spell selection list that I would use for exploration and a selection list that I would use for generic combat.     These are not big problems to solve with a little organization.   They only take a bit longer than unmarking your powerlist from used to not used in 4e. 

I think that vancian is far less restrictive in that it allows you to pick from a vast pool of spells.    It makes your spellbook a prized possession.   It also allows wizards to aquire and search for spells.      You can actually learn the spell that the NPC wizard used to turn the fighter into a frog, that is if you can find his spellbook.   With the vancian system magic spells can be shared and even researched.    You also never have to permantely unlearn your spells like you do in the AEDU system at each level.   

With that said, I would happy with any alternative that allows you aquire spells and increase your magical repertoire.   It's the one thing I really hated about the AEDU system.  


HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.



I think 4e made divine healing meaningless. Technically, the Healing surge mechanic is just a replacement for having a supply of healing potions or a wand of cure light wounds.      

The problem of healing is a part of every game.   The solution has a lot to do with your playstyle.   Personally, I prefer magic solving this problem over a gamist mechanic, but that's my playstyle.


Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?



I like having spell effects last longer than simply one encounter.   Not everything revolves around the 'encounter' anyway.     Spells shouldn't only be focused on combat.    


Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.



They will most likely have a miniature rules module with 5e.  The base system doesn't need it and that's what the playtest is about. 


Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.



I like spells to be able to do anything and work anyway imaginable.   We don't need a set of mechanics for spells.  Keep them all different.     There should no limits.      In fact, I'm sure Wish will return to the game


HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



I think the die roll represents how much your character actually learned from the previous adventure.   I don't see a problem with it being a random roll.      You could just house rule it to be the average if the player rolls too low.    I'm sure there will be few optional rules for this in the PHB.   Some people will like to roll for HP and some won't.   Regardless, the game shouldn't force a particular way to play on anyone.   Rolling or not rolling for HP isn't critical to the game anyway.   



If WotC makes a mechanically perfect game, and the silly old grognards don't buy it because they want their silly old sacred cows, is it really a better game?

That's one of them ice cream koans.



Yes.  It is a better game, but less popular because "silly old grognards" prefer a worse game.  Popularity =/= Quality, only popularity.

Now, does this better game = successful product?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If none of the grognards buy it, then probably not.  But history is littered with products/ideas/creations that are fundamentally better, but were unpopular.  Some because they were "before their time"; some because they were just plain too different.  And others failed because of market pressure from older, more established yet inferior products.

Does that mean every failed product was actually "better"?  No, of course not.  But that also doesn't mean that the cream always rises to the top.

The world is unfair.  The best don't always succeed, and the worst don't always fail.  C'est la vie.

Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
I'm not sure that your conclusion, that this is not the way to design a good game, is based on anything more than gut feeling. It's probably wrong.


Any game mechanic needs to be justified. It's not enough that the mechanic existed in previous games. Designers need to consider the effect that the mechanic will have on the game experience.

it is so easily houseruled why even worry at all


House-ruling presents its own problems, though. It's extra work on the part of the DM, and players have extra rules to keep track of. Plus, it does no good for games at stores or conventions.
If WotC makes a mechanically perfect game, and the silly old grognards don't buy it because they want their silly old sacred cows, is it really a better game?

That's one of them ice cream koans.



If WotC makes a mechanical perfect game, and the silly new advancenards don't buy it because they want their silly new sacred cows, is it really a better game?

That's one of them ice cream koans.

See what I did there? It doesn't sound better that way. It is still truly silly. ;)
Personal taste is never more than just personal taste.  
     
  
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



As is already quoted, what we have isnt a strict vanician casting system, its a hybrid one with at wills. Also, all spell lists seem to have been brought from 9 levels to 7, and we havent seen any spell slots per level go over 4.

In 4e, HP didnt mean anything at all. Healing became irrelevant, as one could just heal up to full after every single fight, making many of them nigh irrelevant. In 4e, out of combat healing wasnt irrelevant past level one, it was irrelevant from the start.

Tracking spell durations is an incredibly important thing for me. The game keeps going out side of the encounter, and tracking time in a meaningless and ever fluctuating interval like the encounter is simply just a bad idea. Spells have an influence outside of combat, and should be able to be used as so.

Personal thing here, but ive never had too much trouble imaging how any area effects work in the theatre of the mind.

As for HP roles, its truly a thing of personal preference. Many people are quite fond of the system, and its quite easy to change. Should you not be a fan of it, simply take the highest value for each level.
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3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.

Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



You forgot the totally unbalanced class design and terrible monster design in your list of concerns together with non-standardized ability descriptions (where is the mechanic for the slayer's 'near-miss', is that crunch or fluff? Does being underwater stop healing word working on you because the range is sound-of-voice?), apart from that, yep you've hit the nail on the head.
In 4e, HP didnt mean anything at all. Healing became irrelevant, as one could just heal up to full after every single fight, making many of them nigh irrelevant. In 4e, out of combat healing wasnt irrelevant past level one, it was irrelevant from the start.


This is simply not true. You had a limited number of healing surges per day. Once you ran out, you couldn't be healed any more by any source, magic or no.
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.

Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone..



Not really a problem of vancian spellcasting but of few vs many options. A vancian spell list of 6 spells each level would be quickly resolved. A spell or power or any list of 100 possible options wouldn't vancian or not. It (probably) requires either an experienced player, pruning beforehand by an experienced player or DM or some downtime.  
The good news: We probably shan't see this before the nigh end of 5th life circle. The same was true with 3rd and 4th ed. 

HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource..



I agree. I also greatly dislike it. It feels too gamey, too disruptive to me. (But I thought it was also a problem in 4th. They just used another color to paint over it.)

Tracking Spell Durations

Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?.


I disagree. I like different spell/power durations, especially for out of combat uses. "Encounter-length" is not a thing I would strive or hope for. I find it prefereable if a power or spell can run out during the eg social encounter.

Complex Areas of Effect

Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder..


Depends on the play style. Before grid a DM would use the description as his guideline and judge fairly based on that. A grid is more "objective" and open to proof, but also more time consuming. Personally I prefer a mixture of both and like these descriptive elements. Each to his own. /shrug

Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining

Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example..


Generally I agree. Reasons: As you said. However I have no troubles with some of those effects: Once your opponent is tired enough shouldn't a special move become more likelier or just possible? If it breaks my immersion or not is therefore dependant on the explanation offered.

HP Rolls

Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.


I'm fine either way. I fully expect to houserule hp anyway. As I always did.
As far as conventions/store game nights go: If it is a one-shot adventure, then it's no big deal. If it is an ongoing campaign, then it's nearly always possible and reasonable to come to an agreement with your DM.
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions.



Indeed, this is very obviously the intent.  And the reason for this should be obvious: D&D was a dominant, profitable product for decades, and now it is not.    I understand why you're upset, and I sympathize with you, but it was inevitable that the designers would go back to what made the product successful in the first place.

Unfortunately, I don't know that anything can revive the D&D brand.  Too many of us have gone back to custom built 2e games or moved on to systems like Savage Worlds.  The publisher seems to be stuck in a quandary here, where it is unlikely to be able to win back its traditional core audience (people like me), and yet it is about to release a product that will completely alienate the new audience that it tossed me aside for.

Karma, I suppose.
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions.


If you believe this, then there's a communication problem.  The point behind Next is not to make it be like older editions, the point is to take the best parts from all of them and make the best D&D evar.

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The point behind Next is not to make it be like older editions, the point is to take the best parts from all of them and make the best D&D evar.


If that's the case, why is it combining many of the worst parts of them?

moved on to systems like Savage Worlds


This is the category I happen to fall into. I was hopeful that Next would be good enough to bring me back. Based on what I've seen so far, it won't be.
Worst is a highly subjective viewpoint.  Also, it's not even remotely close to complete yet.  Judging it based on only what you have now is almost certainly going to result in an incorrect verdict.  I do wish they had released a more complete playtest.  A lot of things were in earlier material that explained a lot of things people are worrying about now.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Outside of the echo chamber that is this particular forum, I think you'll find a lot of disagreement on what the 'worst' parts of D&D through the years have been.
The argument of making the game worst because of gognards like it that way it's stupid... WotC should compete with the rpg on the market...not trying to attract gognards...as much as gognards want to say they do...they are not the majority of who bought D&D on the bast or play RPGs currently(and because hating 4e is being "hip" on the rpg comunity)... there are alot of rpg out there, not just pathfinder and D&D, with diferent mechanics, flavor, settings and design, some of them really good and other completly terrible (aces and eights a big example of terrible), not only that, but the market is now shared with other hobbies similar to tabletop RPGs (computer & console games, online rpgs, social network RPing)

The problem is that seems like WotC is trying to ignore how alot of people play RPGs, 80% of people i know that play RPGs is not on stores, or reunite on a house, they do it online. Some by forum/post, others with virtual tabletop software (maptools) and skype, myself included on the use of virtual tabletop software, people are alot busier with alot of things to reunit on a schedule every week to play...so i got into a online D&D group, i play from people on other countries, and it's easier to get into a group, because all rules on 4e are standarized, unlike what 5e/next is going to be with the mess that is going to be modulation of the system (yet they forbid people to playtest the current draft this way),  having a game based on grid/square make it alot easier to play than using feets when using those softwares. 4e works perfectly with those softwares
Outside of the echo chamber that is this particular forum, I think you'll find a lot of disagreement on what the 'worst' parts of D&D through the years have been.


I like the implication that there's little to no disagreement here on that subject.

It makes me chuckle. 
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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Outside of the echo chamber that is this particular forum, I think you'll find a lot of disagreement on what the 'worst' parts of D&D through the years have been.



I disagree.  I thought that was the best part of DnD!




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I may get flamed here, but I never have found Vancian magic particularly complex, let alone unnecessarily so.  Pick x items from each list, cross them off as you use them.  It's actually a very simple system and requires far less math than even spell points.  Now I will admit that some implementations grew complex, especially with lots of choices, (and combining all the spells into a single section of the book rather than separating by class and level really didn't help), but that doesn't mean the basic system is complex.

It's flexible and simple, and the addition of at-will minor powers removes the biggest weakness in play (what's the mage to do once they run out of spells?).

As for HP=GP, anything that gets rid of the mind-bogglingly bad idea of healing surges is at least a step in the right direction.  As a DM, I can control purchased healing pretty easily with simple scarcity and encumbrance rules (not that ANY of that matters when a single long rest recovers all hit points).

I think we'll be better placed to judge things once we know more, but at the moment I wouldn't say they've brought back the worst elements of what went before.
Jack Vance deserves your respect, it's Vancian, not "vancian." The goal for Next is to be inclusive; you can't include by exclusion.
The Vancian magic system made a game feel like DnD for me.
As for rolling for HP beig important, yes it is but it doesn't mean that you should alway get max because of it. Having two fighters the same level and con score have exactly the same HP as well just makes them even more clone-like. At least 5E give you the safety net of having your con score be the minimum amount you can gain per level.
I personally don't find anything here terribly onerous, but that's because most of these are subjective qualifications. That's what DDN is supposed to be a modular game - one where you have a toolbox to work from, and you pick and choose what you want to use, what works at your table, etc. And that's fine. One point I wanted to make, though:


Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.



I was all set to completely agree with you on this one. I am a *big fan* of immersion, playing one's character to the hilt and making damn sure that OOC knowledge remains there, etc etc.

However, then I was struck with something - this isn't necessarily a "heavy metagaming" thing at all. With the current official word on how Hit Points work, once a creature goes below 50% of full, they begin to experience real wounds (even if those are bruises and such). So, characters will likely have an entirely in-game visual cue that their enemy is starting to be hurt, and that it's possible it could be affected by a spell such as Sleep.

Now, that doesn't entirely avoid the possibility of folks metagaming, but nothing ever really does I don't think.

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

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

 

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

But seriously now:

3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions. This is the only explanation for a number of baffling design decisions. The result is that the design is unfocused. Game elements appear to be introduced without any thought to the effect they will have on the player experience, simply because of tradition. This is not how you design a good game.

I hope my impressions are wrong, but everything I've seen points in that direction.



My impression of the design goals for DnD Next was to make the game of DnD customisable (or modular) so that you could play the game that you wanted to play.  Which I imagine involves making it like all the older editions.



Here are just a few game elements that should not be reintroduced:

Vancian Spellcasting
I can understand wanting to make spells a daily resource once again. But why return to Vancian, one of the most unnecesarilly complex spellcasting systems? You could accomplish the same thing with Spell Points or Spellcasting Checks, without having to spend 20 minutes after each rest for the spellcasters to select their spells for the day. Vancian spellcasting is slow and restrictive, and it bogs down the game for everyone.



The polls that Wizards have done show that sentiment is pretty evenly split between Vancian casting and AEDU casting, so I would expect both systems to be represented.

If you dont like it then you do not need to use it.


HP = GP
Every edition of D&D except 4e has suffered from out-of-combat healing becoming meaningless after the first few levels. There's nothing stopping players from buying a barrel full of healing potions, and healing to full after each and every combat. Once healing potions become cheap enough, hp is no longer a daily resource.



I think that trying to artifically limit an adventure day by hit points was bad game design - not being able to keep pushing on because your healing somehow was not working anymore?


Tracking Spell Durations
Tracking the duration of each spell in effect is just one more thing that slows down combat. 1 minute is usually long enough to last for an entire encounter, so why not just make it explicitly last for the whole encounter and do away with some bookkeeping?



I dont know if any edition has done power durations well.  If you are going to have buffs and debuffs etc then you are going to have to track it somehow.

Personally I prefer duration to be linked to how powerful your character is, rather then some blanket duration.
 

Complex Areas of Effect
Next is supposedly a miniatures-optional game. I like my toys, but I can respect this decision. But if that's the case, why are some of the areas of effect so complicated? Without minis, it's difficult enough to determine what is targetted by a square blast or burst. It's even harder to determine what would be targetted by a cone or cylinder.



Yeah, I can see that being a problem for grid combat but not so much if you dont use the grid.


Spell Effects Based on HP Remaining
Some spells, such as sleep, are stronger if the target has few hp remaining. Determining if the targets fall under that hp threshold is only possible through heavy metagaming. There's no internal logic behind this mechanic (lost hp doesn't weaken a character in any other way), so all it does is break immersion when the player asks which enemies have low enough hp and need to make a save. If a spell effect is too powerful, there are other ways to balance it. Make it higher level, or easier to save against, for example.



I think it maybe too earlier for me to comment on this new mechanic.  It could be better or worse.

HP Rolls
Rolling for hp is the most important roll you will ever make for a character, unless they reintroduce save-or-die spells (which would be another item for this list). The results of that roll will stay with the character forever, punishing or rewarding a player for the results of a single random die roll. The die roll doesn't even represent anything in particular, and there's no way to influence it. There's no reason for this important stat to be randomly-generated.



This is the easiest module to implement in your game.  Module A roll hit points or module B take the average score, or module C some other thing entirely.

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That's my point, all of these game elements were added because that's the way they did things in older editions, not because they actually make a better game.



Where is your basis for believing that the "only" reason they were added is because that's the way they did things in older editions? That's like saying that there's absolutely nothing in an older edition that could make the game better. If that were true then we should just throw out the entire game and play something else. I've played every edition of D&D and I think a lot of these older concepts are far better and make a far better play experience than a lot of stuff they put into 4e.
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 I'd much prefer a cleric or alchemist or herbalist be able to produce X magical healing potions per day that last for a single day.   Since these potions are magic they don't break anyone's verisimilitude.  They can then work much like surges work.


To be fair, as soon as you think about HP as an actual indicator of "wounds," your verisimilitude has been dashed to pieces.  
That's my point, all of these game elements were added because that's the way they did things in older editions, not because they actually make a better game.



Where is your basis for believing that the "only" reason they were added is because that's the way they did things in older editions? That's like saying that there's absolutely nothing in an older edition that could make the game better.

Let's be fair, now.  I don't agree with everything he said, but he did give individual reasons why he thought these specific things he called out made the game worse.
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions.


If you believe this, then there's a communication problem.  The point behind Next is not to make it be like older editions, the point is to take the best parts from all of them and make the best D&D evar.




Your statement stands in contradiction.  Taking the best parts from all of them is in fact making it like older editions =/  "take the best parts" is mutually inclusive of "make it be like older editions."  To what extent is arguable, I know a lot of 4e fans feel like it has very little 4e in it.
3e and 4e, as imperfect as they are, at least have clear design goals. The only design goal of Next seems to be to make it like the older editions.


If you believe this, then there's a communication problem.  The point behind Next is not to make it be like older editions, the point is to take the best parts from all of them and make the best D&D evar.




Your statement stands in contradiction.  Taking the best parts from all of them is in fact making it like older editions =/  "take the best parts" is mutually inclusive of "make it be like older editions."  To what extent is arguable, I know a lot of 4e fans feel like it has very little 4e in it.


No, it's not a contradiction.  There are lots of things in the older editions that aren't the best parts.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Where is your basis for believing that the "only" reason they were added is because that's the way they did things in older editions? That's like saying that there's absolutely nothing in an older edition that could make the game better.



No, it's really not.

Things like rolling for hit points are terrible ideas. It's unfair, is not fun and adds nothing at all to the game. The only reason the designers wouold ever add a mechanic like that to 5E is if they're purely trying to appeal to nostalgia. That should be pretty obvious.

The entirety of 5E has a purely retro feel to it. We're past the point of "taking good stuff from every edition" and are making AD&D 2.75.
I think that trying to artifically limit an adventure day by hit points was bad game design - not being able to keep pushing on because your healing somehow was not working anymore?


The same criticism could apply to Vancian spellcasting.

Yeah, I can see that being a problem for grid combat but not so much if you dont use the grid.


This I really don't understand. How does not having a grid make it easier to visualize complex areas of effect?

That's like saying that there's absolutely nothing in an older edition that could make the game better.


I implied no such thing. The fact that a mechanic existed in an older game is not sufficient evidence that the mechanic would be either a good or bad addition to Next.

Where is your basis for believing that the "only" reason they were added is because that's the way they did things in older editions? That's like saying that there's absolutely nothing in an older edition that could make the game better.



No, it's really not.

Things like rolling for hit points are terrible ideas. It's unfair, is not fun and adds nothing at all to the game. The only reason the designers wouold ever add a mechanic like that to 5E is if they're purely trying to appeal to nostalgia. That should be pretty obvious.

The entirety of 5E has a purely retro feel to it. We're past the point of "taking good stuff from every edition" and are making AD&D 2.75.

Well maybe some people might feel like the underdog for rolling less hps than others.

Used properly as a story tool by the DM the story of this underdog surviving a tough challenge might make the player shine and turn a disadvantage to an advantage.

I am not sure how you can simulate this in a game where all similarily specced fighters will have the same HPs.

This is not nostlagia talking - this is an element of the game that in my opinon is missing from 4th edition however unbalanced some peopel might consider it.

So, you're saying there is no way at all to simulate "the story of an underdog" unless we have randomized HP?
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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.)
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Used properly as a story tool by the DM the story of this underdog surviving a tough challenge might make the player shine and turn a disadvantage to an advantage.

I am not sure how you can simulate this in a game where all similarily specced fighters will have the same HPs.

This is not nostlagia talking - this is an element of the game that in my opinon is missing from 4th edition however unbalanced some peopel might consider it.



Arguing in favor of playing a 5th level fighter with a 16 Con who has less hit points than a Wizard with a 12 Con is an argument for bad game design.  Why not have fighters just roll a D4 for Hit Points to make them an "Underdog"?  Are we going to argue that players should keep a natural 1 rolled on Hit Points to make them an "Underdog"?


Rolling for Hit Points is a Board Game mechanic that needs to die.  Board Games force players out.  That's a key component of Board Games - to force players out by chance alone.  Go directly to Jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200gp.  All by chance.  A Fighter is forced out when they die from not having enough Hit Points.  Having the same Strength and same Weapon doesn't spec fighters?  Not having enough hp to do the job kills them.  It forces them from the game on a one time chance they cannot fix until they have a new character.  For people who constantly argue against the "video game" aspect of DnD it's odd that they're forcing people to make a new toon.
I think that trying to artifically limit an adventure day by hit points was bad game design - not being able to keep pushing on because your healing somehow was not working anymore?


The same criticism could apply to Vancian spellcasting.



Yes thats true, which is why we have classes that do not use the Vancian system.



Yeah, I can see that being a problem for grid combat but not so much if you dont use the grid.


This I really don't understand. How does not having a grid make it easier to visualize complex areas of effect?



Because it is easier to fit a cone onto an area when there is no grid and even easier if you do not use miniatures.

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