4vengers Assemble: Gathering Interest?

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It's becoming obvious to many of us that the new edition is not what we had hoped. Some of us have been saying it since Essentials; others more recently, but we all agree that the direction of D&D is not one that we want to see, and not one we think is for the good of the game.

But the question is: can we do anything about it?

The power of many voices joined as one has already been demonstrated all too clearly. The collective whining of a legion of fans has led us to where we are now, after all. The voices on the forum right now, though, are fractured, bickering among themselves and unable to agree on much of anything other than two groups divided roughly into "sucks" and "doesn't suck" camps. 

I propose we change that.

This thread is a check to see if there is enough interest to actually give this a try. Read my proposal below, and if you think this is worth a shot, chime in. Then, spread the word. I know there aren't many of us who read this forum, so it's up to us to get word out. Put it in your sig, blog about it, PM your friends, call people, talk about it in IRC, tell your gaming group, text, tweet.

Here is my proposal: 

I believe that the basic framework of the new edition of D&D can be made to be the best edition of D&D that has ever existed, and I belive it can be made into the game that we want to play. But I think Wizards of the Coast is going to need some help getting it there. We are going to provide that help.

Each week, I will post a thread in D&D Next General Discussion with the title of "4vengers Assemble" and a topic dealing with some aspect of the new edition's system. Our job is to figure out how each specific part of the game can be tuned, refined, or rebuilt into the kind of game we love. We already know the framework the playtest has provided us works--now let's make it work for us

A few posts won't do. Dozens isn't even good enough. I want each of these threads to explode with ideas and discussion. Hundreds of posts each; the more people contributing, the better. We need to show the designers that we do exist, and that we will support what they're doing as long as they support our desires in turn. I want each thread to stay glued to the front page all week because it's getting more responses than the rest of the forum combined.

If this works, we might--just might--begin to swing the game in a better direction than it's headed now.

There are two ground rules I would lay down for this project, which I'll also include in the opening post of each weekly thread:

1. We are here to help the game. We want to show the designers that freedom and simplicity are not incompatible with balance and logical design. We don't badmouth the game or the designers, we don't throw out their work and start over, and we don't act like holier-than-thou jerks to the community either. Let the whiners whine; stooping to their level is counterproductive and only makes us look bad. 

2. Discussion, not declaration. We're not here to argue or start fights. It's okay to take an unpopular stance, but remember that we're trying to build a dialogue, not throw gasoline on the edition war. Also, don't merely agree or disagree: explain yourself. Add something to the discussion. If you like an idea, say why, and how else you think it might be improved. If you dislike it, offer your ideas and thoughts on how it could be done differently, or why it doesn't work for you. Remember, this only works if we acually build an effective dialogue about making the new edition "4venger compatible".

So what do you think? Pipe dream? A sleep-deprivation-induced temporary insanity that I'll regret in the morning? Bats*** crazy?

....or just crazy enough to work?

Group forums like this are rarely very active, so you're unlikely to get a lot of responses, here.  Don't take that as a rejection of the idea.  

I think some of this already happens.  Each L&L, for instance, starts a lively hundreds-of-posts discussion, which almost always include those ragging on 4e and those sticking up for it.  

If you do come up with a really good topic, by all means start it.  Maybe not with that title, or maybe with that as just part of the title.... 



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I've been fortunate enough to meet a few of the designers over the past few years. I'm always impressed with them. They are people like you, and like me, with a passion for D&D. They are level-headed. They want a great game. They had games in their basements, they had bigger games, they became freelancers or scores a sweet job, and now they want to use their position to make a game that speaks to the game they love. They are just like us.

Well, except they are far better designers than I am. When I turn in an article for DDI, their corrections and suggestions are excellent. My articles come out better. They fix monsters. They improve plot hooks. They create better play programs.

That doesn't mean I don't speak up. I do. But, I do recognize where they are coming from and that in their position they get a lot of criticism. As Kalranya suggested, they welcome a dialogue. They don't welcome flames - not because they can't handle it, but because this is their job and flames don't offer anything constructive. For feedback to be valuable it has to have, well, value. It is the difference between a red X on a school paper and a friend that explains the topic to you and how to get an awesome result.

I've been able to playtest a few games. This is by far the longest and most extensive playtest process I've seen for a game. They have already made a ton of changes. Some areas are huge changes. And, as they've said, many of the changes are in the direction of 4E.

For me, this group can be valuable by organizing areas where the members feel D&D Next is lacking, putting together good constructive ideas, and bringing those politely to the attention of the design team (via feedback, via the surveys, via the blogs, etc.). Keep in mind that no edition will ever meet all of an individual's needs. And keep in mind that we can't get them to take us seriously if we can't be open minded. We have to try the new game out with an open mind so we can correctly assess the differences and how to speak not just to 4E fans but to all fans. That might seem like a tall task, but it shouldn't be unreachable - especially with add-on modules.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Grab your 4E DnD DM Guides and the new stuff then while ignoring the homebrew chapters get creative by exchanging members of Encounter Groups, exchange and add dephts to the Next's materials using past 4E campaigns and settings materials then flaunt your stuff all over the WotC's forums.

Next is here, so where is 5E going to be is where such promising direction can be earned, unfortunately until that happen; all those looking for a recognized direction of developments with the rest of what's next must work with what's will be next in order to budge the progressing directions back onto a paved way of their own contributions done within the known moderation alreadied established that grew from the DnD foundations which earned the mass of loyalists and fame that made what's next worth an attempt to produce and worth the time to look at.

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As Kalranya suggested, they welcome a dialogue. They don't welcome flames - not because they can't handle it, but because this is their job and flames don't offer anything constructive....

I've been able to playtest a few games. This is by far the longest and most extensive playtest process I've seen for a game. They have already made a ton of changes. Some areas are huge changes. And, as they've said, many of the changes are in the direction of 4E.

It's nice to hear that they might be feeling their way back in the general direction of 4e, but they'd've saved themselves a lot of trouble if they'd just started with 4e and improved upon it - something sadly impossible because of the virulent hatred for the edition among those who felt somehow betrayed by it.

Frankly, the message I get from the early adulteration of 4e with Essentials and the subsequent abandonment of it, all in just 4 years, is that unreasoning hatred is what they listen to.  The 'h4ters' banded together, demanded 3pp support, harshly criticised 4e - resorting to flames, insults, and and a torrent outright lies in their rush to say something, anything, bad about it - and got what they wanted.

If the designers don't want to be flamed and don't want to cater to irrational, hateful fans, don't give them what they want.  'Edition waring' continues because the 3.5 edition warriors have consistently gotten what they want.  They got Pathfinder, they got 'simpler fighters' with no dailies in Essentials, they got 4e prematurely killed.  They're still going at it to make sure anything good from 4e gets expunged from 5e - and they expect to get what they want, because they always have before

Frankly, other than sink to that level, I don't think there's much fans of 4e can do, beyond leaving WotC the fan-base they've chosen for themselves.  Reasoned discourse and valid, honest, feedback is the high road - that's never led anywhere before.

Yes, I know, I'm just being cynical.  I'm sure Mr. Mearls & Co are great guys and talented designers, but it seems like they must be in just an impossible position.



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I don't understand Wizards, I really don't. They KNOW PERFECTLY WELL that book sales SUCK as a profit maker. They have a perfect cash cow not - Online CB. You pretty much can't play 4e without it, and it generates monthly subs for them - something no other D&D edition has ever done - CONSISTENT, ONGOING REVENUE. If they decide to ditch 4e in favor of Next, they will sacrifice this consistent revenue for a short book sales, that they already know won't be much, because of piracy and general unwillingness of modern players to invest into books.

The best thing for them to do would be maintaining support for 4e in form of OCB, Encounters and Lair Assault, WHILE publishing books for Next. 
After eagerly signing up for the Playtest of Next before the first playtest package was out, manuevering past technical glitches to download the playtest package by joining the Next forums, and looking at the recent Legends & Lore...

D&D Next doesn't look anything like 4E. So far there are no rules for DMs to follow to effortlessly scale encounters, and there are no modular systems that were promised. Meantime, they've patched the 3.5E Wizard Spells to Next, well done.

Rather than leave behind the 4E Fanbase, I think there is room for an improved "4E" on the market, with less bloat, less Feat tax, more ease of cherry picking, better balanced Roles, etc, with more interesting Items and Feats. Most importantly what "4E" is has to allow new people Accessibility and Ease of building without having to pay for DDI and/or sift through half-dozen books to Optimise. Otherwise the Game will simply die a natural death without Accessibility.

Even the modularity first promised in Next (so far no whiff of that yet) can be incorporated into that new Game. While I'm not crazy about Essentials, I have to admit they did bring some interesting things to the table, and they're relatively easy to benchmark the performance of the PHB Classes against. Those who like Vancian Magic can have optional Rules to incorporate it into the game, and likewise for those who like Save or Die (not me, but I think level-headed people should be able to develop rules even for something I don't personally find enjoyable). Of course this might be the wrong forum for such Optional Rules since we're all "Old"-Guard LOL.
BTW I'm saying "4E" since its obvious to me that WotC is not inclined towards this direction, and if Fans work on it, we have no choice but to drop the name "4E" and move on with something that appears completely separate, if only to keep the proverbial hammer from falling from you know.

I am Blue/White

I've remained rooted in the 4e camp, not because I deem it any better or worse than any other edition, but because I'm invested in the current organized play campaign.

I've been checking in with the Next playtest every so often - including the early releases - and the feedback I've experienced and heard is ...

First playtest: "This feels a lot like they just picked up 1st edition."
GenCon 2013 playtest: "This feels a lot more like 3rd edition."

My conclusion is that the development team is slowly working their way through the editions, trying to keep the best parts of each edition as part of Next. The reason it doesn't feel like 4e (IMHO) is that I don't think they've gotten that far yet ... but if the pattern holds, they will soon.I believe the best thing we can do for D&D Next is to make our voices heard about what we love best about 4e, and aspects that we hope to see incorporated into Next. Pointing out flaws or complaints about previous editions - or even what we see in Next - will not go far.

Every edition has had its flaws (yes, even 4e) and no edition is perfect ... but what can we as a community - those who see the strengths of 4e as opposed to those who never played 4e and call it crap - what can we point out as the strengths that need to be a part of Next?

For me, the following design goals of 4e are needed in Next ...

• The cleric (party leader) needs to be more useful than spending every turn healing allies as their main action.
• PCs of the same level should be reasonably balanced so everyone can contribute in an equally meaningful manner.
• PCs should be defined by their build choices, not by their gear/items.

I tend to worry less about specific mechanics and more about broad design goals. Those who really like 4e mechanics are going to stick with 4e ... true of every edition ... but there's a better chance they will play Next if the new system is able to capture the broader "what we like about 4e."

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

I particuarlly liked Utility Powers, every class got a chance to do something non-combative, that wasn't just a wizard spell. I don't know if I'm describing it well. A condensing of skills, infact the removal of them I like, although I wouldn't mind adding just a smidge back in. I feel the non-combat aspects of the game should be flushed out with more mechanics, and I thought Utility Powers and skills help that, although I like that they sort of float underneath abilities right now, I like that. Various classes like rogues have seen skill powers and such, and that's alright. I'll contribute only this much for now, I'm off to do things. Good luck!

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine

I went from AD&D to a long pause to 3.5, to 4e. At first, 4e was too different for me to feel comfortable. Then a few games later, I got the groove and I am a serious fan. I even took my first try at DM and found the tools wonderful, and I hate the idea of losing them.


One think I espcially liked was the decidedly different flavors of magic-users. Yes, that's still my default term for arancists.  Warlocks were distinctly different from Sorcerors who were different from Wizards. Different powers. I strongly dislike going back to the "classic spell lists" that have so much overlap.


I know one of the big complaints with 4e was people insisting they HAD to use their move, their standard and their minor action every single turn, making combat drag and drag. Maybe some tweaking there.


It was also simpler for me as a DM or a player to look at everything as an attack. AC, Refrex, Fort, Will. 


I would love an opportunity to suggest tweaks that use the best of 4e.

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