D&D Next Interview With Mike Mearls on RPG Codex

RPG Codex Interview: Mike Mearls on Dungeons & Dragons and D&D Next

By Crooked Bee 
On Mon 23 July 2012

For the third installment in the Codex' P&P RPG interview series, we reached out to Mike Mearls, Head of the Dungeons & Dragons Research and Design team at Wizards of the Coast and Lead Developer on D&D 4th ed. as well as the upcoming D&D Next. In this interview, Mike discusses his career, D&D Next and D&D in general, as well as RPG design. The questions were contributed by Alex, our resident P&P expert.


Mr. Mearls, you have been credited in many gaming books dating as far back as 2000. Could you tell us a bit about your early work and how it shaped your design philosophy? What games did you play that made you go "hey, I have not thought of this before"? What are some of your favorite roleplaying games, settings and adventure modules?

That’s a great question. Here are some of the big titles I’ve come across, starting now and working background.

  • Robin Laws’ GUMSHOE engine stands out as an interesting way to handle investigations in RPGs. I particularly like two games that use those rules, The Esoterrorists and Trail of Cthulhu.

  • There are a number of indie RPGs that I find quite interesting, such as Agon, Dungeon World, Dogs in the Vineyard, and a number of others. I like that they’re focused on a specific story or type of game played in one or two sessions. It’s a nice change of pace from games that are more focused on campaign play.

  • Feng Shui’s stunt system and setting were both very interesting to me when it first came out. I’m really happy that I had the chance to work on that game. The stunt system and core mechanic are easy to pick up. I’ve had some of the best luck introducing new players to RPGs with Feng Shui.

  • The same goes for Unknown Armies. In my mind, it’s the definitive modern occult horror roleplaying game. I really loved how the game’s cosmology and basic premise meshed with its system, along with its new twist on sanity mechanics.

  • Warhammer FRP was the first game that showed me how a system and a setting can blend together. The career system gave your character a real sense of place in the world, and I think that’s key to immersive RPG play.

  • Call of Cthulhu is my favorite non-D&D RPG. Like many of the other games on this list, it does an excellent job of immersing you in a setting through both its writing and mechanic. The sanity rule is, in my mind, one of the first and best ways to reflect the tone and feel of a genre through a game rule.


The odd thing is that these games have had wildly different influences on my approach to D&D. D&D has always been its own beast. For instance, if we took a cue from indie RPGs and made a very focused game, I think that would alienate a lot of people. Gamers like the unbounded possibilities that D&D presents to them. By the same token, if we tie a setting too tightly to the game, a lot of DMs would rebel because they see much of the fun in the game coming from building their own rules.

On to D&D Next, one of the announced goals of the new edition is that it will try to bring together players of different editions. Not only will the system be modular enough to handle the different playstyles of the older editions, but it will supposedly allow people with different preferences to play together at the same table. Can you tell us a bit about how you are planning to do this? What is it like dealing with a target audience that seems to want very different things?

There have always been a wide range of people who play D&D, so in some ways were merely addressing the range of tastes that have been with the game since the beginning. If you think of how people talk about the game – mechanics, story, creating campaigns – that’s been there since the beginning.
The first step is to get a sense of how people play D&D and what they like about the game. That’s where the playtest serves a huge role. That gives us the basic targets we need to aim at for creating the game.
The feedback also shows us where we need to be flexible. For instance, we know that while many people like the classic D&D wizard, there are also big groups that want alternative ways to play spellcasters. With that in mind, we can take some of our classes and give them mechanics and story elements that are more distinct and unique. You might not like how the wizard uses magic, but that means you can opt to play a warlock or sorcerer.

You have also mentioned you are after the "essence" of D&D. Could you talk a bit about this? What aspects have you found that unify the different edition cultures? How do these translate into concrete game mechanics? Have you also looked at ideas that do not translate directly into rules, but instead are more about playing or GMing philosophy? If so, could you talk a bit about them?

The essence of D&D lies in the cultural elements that tie the game together across its editions. It’s things like wizards losing spells when they cast them, magic missile striking unerringly, trolls that regenerate, and so on. That’s all down in the details, but those are the kinds of things that make D&D stand out.
On top of that, there’s the big idea of D&D that players create unique characters and DMs create unique settings and adventures. That was huge in 1974, and it’s still the critical part of the game today.

Could you also tell us a bit about how the edition cultures are different? Are the differences between editions more than skin deep? I mean, do you see the different approaches to rules of 4th edition and 2nd edition as different ways to communicate the same idea, the same game? Or are they trying to accomplish different design goals? If so, what are these goals?

It’s funny, because based on online discussions you’d think that there were huge differences between players of different editions. However, what we’ve seen in our feedback is that people are much closer than you’d suspect.
In terms of game design, I think that 3e and 4e represent the biggest philosophical shifts. 3e was all about unifying everyone under the same set of rules. The idea was that it’s easiest for everyone if you can move from campaign to campaign without learning all sorts of new rules. 2e had embraced more optional rules, and TSR had made it clear in Dragon magazine that they expected people to play by the official rules.
4e focused on making the DM’s job easier while also making the specific experience of playing the game the same across all tables. The idea was to reduce variance in the game to make things more predictable.

One poignant difference between the early and later editions of the game is that the early editions used a more "open" rules system, not necessarily defining everything through rules, but instead frequently defining concepts using natural language and the imaginary world instead of keywords and mathematics. Do you think this difference is important? How challenging is it to provide a game that people can use both ways, and what are the pros and cons of each approach?

I think the difference speaks to one of the key things that people like about D&D Next. We’re definitely moving back to a more open game, where DM adjudication is more important and a DM’s individual skill plays a bigger role in how the game works. That’s a key, unique trait of RPGs that other types of games can’t duplicate. With gaming becoming more and more crowded, it’s key for us to emphasize our unique traits and strengths.
The drawback is that some DMs might feel adrift. Sometimes, it’s nice to have specific rules to fall back on. This is one area where I see modularity stepping in. I’d love to have a detailed set of rules, similar to 3e’s comprehensive approach, that DMs can opt into. You can imagine these rules almost like tournament rules, a specific set of rules more detailed than most tables need but available for DMs to use as a reference if they so choose.

On the subject of exact rules, did Wizards take inspiration from computer or board games for the rules in the previous editions? If so, could you name some that were especially important? Do you see these more exact rules as something that could help the game make the transition to video-games and board games and other environments where there is no GM to make a ruling? If so, does the new edition's focus on modularity make it harder to make a boardgame or videogame based on it?

As far as I know, 4th edition was the first set of rules to look to videogames for inspiration. I wasn’t involved in the initial design meetings for the game, but I believe that MMOs played a role in how the game was shaped. I think there was a feeling that D&D needed to move into the MMO space as quickly as possible and that creating a set of MMO-conversion friendly rules would help hasten that.
What we’ve learned since then is that the specific RPG rules aren’t very useful for making other games. Instead, the world lore, feel of the game, distinct features of each class, race, and monster, and so on are much, much more important. If you look at our current boardgames, they don’t use the same exact rules as the RPG but they evoke a similar feel. That’s really the key to us. We want to be able to have a clear, easily understood definition of what a wizard or paladin is. We can then transfer that definition into other games. As long as the feel and key story beats are there, the specific rules are secondary.

Speaking of modularity, what aspects of the game have you found are most important to make modular? Does this kind of modularity make it tricky to think about the way subsystems in the rules will interact? If so, how do you deal with it? Also, do you see the modularity as enabling the system to be tweaked in order to be played differently from any of the previous editions?

Modularity starts with a simple core. The simpler the core, the fewer the basic interactions, the easier it is to see how things work in the game. I’ll be very happy if this edition of the game is the most hackable version of the rules that we’ve released.
In terms of actual rules modules, I see them as important to allowing groups to evoke a specific feel for their campaign. That might be something like making healing less plentiful or adding more realistic injuries to evoke a grittier feel. Other groups that like miniatures play and the tactical challenges posed by combat probably want more details in the combat system.
The modularity speaks somewhat to evoking the feel of different editions, but I also think that there are a lot of different takes on the key elements of older editions. Some people like AD&D’s lethality, while others like that the rules are fairly straightforward and characters easy to manage. I think that if we tried to create a canonical set of AD&D options, many people would disagree with our take.
Instead, we give people the options that they can mix and match if they choose to create the specific campaign they want.

One aspect that was important for some fans in 4e is how the game is "balanced". Some see this as such an important aspect that they have stayed away from introducing house rules that could break this balance. What is D&D Next's approach to this? Are you still trying to carefully balance the powers and abilities each character can have? Does the modularity aspect of the system work against this? Conversely, do you see the modularity as helping people to tweak their own game, creating new rules, classes, skills, abilities and what not?

When we talk about balance, we want to make sure that the character classes are roughly equivalent in effectiveness across the three basic pillars of D&D play: combat, exploration, and interaction. Some classes might be better in one area that another, but the gap is never so huge that players feel ineffective.
From a monster stand point, the key to balance is to make sure that we can give DMs clear guidance on a monster’s power level and XP value. If a DM throws an ogre at the party, the DM should have a sense of how much of a challenge that might be. We don’t really care how the DM uses these tools. A DM might want to run lots of easy fights, one big fights, or put in monsters that the PCs aren’t meant to fight. We just want the DM to have a good idea of the relative power between characters and monsters.
For modularity, the key is to let DMs know how a new rule can change the game. We trust that DMs will alter the game to fit what they and their groups want out of D&D. If we have a lethal, gritty hit point option, we’re not worried about maintaining balance across everything because the DM has opted into that. To some groups, balance is meaningless, so there’s no point in trying to enforce that in all cases.
If we keep the core simple and transparent, I believe that it will be much easier to create new content. Precise balance is really only possible through lots of playtesting, but I think that if DMs use our existing content as a guide they’ll find it easier to create new stuff.

Moving a bit away from what was done before, could you tell us what is being done now? In what ways does D&D Next differ from any of its predecessors? What are the things that you would like to see changed or that you would like to experiment with? Is there any aspect of the game that you believe has a huge potential for innovation?

One of our design goals is to create a unique mechanic for every class. I’m really happy with how our new fighter mechanic turned out, and I’m also excited with how our non-cleric and wizard spellcasters are developing. My hope is that the new class mechanics are interesting, while at the same time making those classes feel more vivid and closer to their core identity than ever before.
As we solidify the base and deliver the core of D&D, I’d like to start exploring new ideas and concepts specifically in rules modules. I think there’s some exciting potential for people to take D&D in really unique, interesting directions. With modules, we don’t have to worry about anyone other than the people who want that specific option. It can be much more vivid and deep, rather than when we try to make rules that appeal to everyone.

You have also said that D&D Next tries to rise above the differences of not only editions, but also campaign settings. What kind of problems do you need to consider when making the game modular so it can handle many settings? Some settings have elements that go against game aspects such as "balance". Is it difficult to deal with these elements? Are there any type of settings you feel D&D Next would not be able to handle?

This goes back to the idea of having a simple core. When you start with fewer assumptions, or with basic rules that work together clearly and elegantly, it’s much easier to alter the core through modules. Part of it is also thinking ahead.
For instance, when it comes to wizards we’re adding an option to the core class to represent a wizard’s arcane tradition. For the core game, that might speak to school specialization, wild magic, the war mage, and so on. Within a setting like Dragonlance, that option list might boil down to red, black, and white robes, with each one getting a unique set of mechanics or spells.
For something like Dark Sun, we might simply allow all characters to gain psionic wild talents. We can then also turn around and give DMs the tools to create a savage, dangerous world. That’s probably as simple as telling Dark Sun DMs to use more powerful monsters and create more dangerous adventures than ones created using the standard guidelines. It might simply be an XP table that gives DMs a bigger budget for adventures and slows down character advancement. That creates a deadlier, more dangerous environment without introducing massive alterations to the rules.

Thank you for your time. 



Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I'm pretty curious about  seeing those rules in action,because i really like what i have read.
Cant wait for next packet Wink
DM: Products of MY Imagination ©. Since 1986.
Mee too. Quite some stuff will change from the first one, so let's see how it goes.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

I was going to post some huge rant about how the controversial (Dis)Advantage mechanic in core would instantly disqualify any hope of true modularity, but before I could finish writing it I came up with a module to fix it:

Show
Module: (Dis)Advantage as a Flat Modifier: When you would gain Advantage, you instead gain a +2 bonus for each distinct instance of Advantage. When you would gain Disadvantage, you instead gain a -2 penalty for each distinct instance of Disadvantage. These modifiers are cumulative.
The metagame is not the game.
"You might not like how the wizard uses magic, but that means you can opt to play a warlock or sorcerer."

This game is looking more and more like its not for me or people like me...

"The essence of D&D lies in the cultural elements that tie the game together across its editions. It’s things like wizards losing spells when they cast them, magic missile striking unerringly, trolls that regenerate, and so on. That’s all down in the details, but those are the kinds of things that make D&D stand out.
On top of that, there’s the big idea of D&D that players create unique characters and DMs create unique settings and adventures. That was huge in 1974, and it’s still the critical part of the game today."

Wow... its like the essence of D&D just sailed right over mearls's head...

"4e focused on making the DM’s job easier while also making the specific experience of playing the game the same across all tables. The idea was to reduce variance in the game to make things more predictable."

And another miss... not even close this time...

"I think the difference speaks to one of the key things that people like about D&D Next. We’re definitely moving back to a more open game, where DM adjudication is more important and a DM’s individual skill plays a bigger role in how the game works. That’s a key, unique trait of RPGs that other types of games can’t duplicate. With gaming becoming more and more crowded, it’s key for us to emphasize our unique traits and strengths.
The drawback is that some DMs might feel adrift. Sometimes, it’s nice to have specific rules to fall back on. This is one area where I see modularity stepping in. I’d love to have a detailed set of rules, similar to 3e’s comprehensive approach, that DMs can opt into. You can imagine these rules almost like tournament rules, a specific set of rules more detailed than most tables need but available for DMs to use as a reference if they so choose."

See its like they are stumbling around in the dark and occassionaly they stumble onto a good idea...

"As far as I know, 4th edition was the first set of rules to look to videogames for inspiration. I wasn’t involved in the initial design meetings for the game, but I believe that MMOs played a role in how the game was shaped. I think there was a feeling that D&D needed to move into the MMO space as quickly as possible and that creating a set of MMO-conversion friendly rules would help hasten that.
What we’ve learned since then is that the specific RPG rules aren’t very useful for making other games. Instead, the world lore, feel of the game, distinct features of each class, race, and monster, and so on are much, much more important. If you look at our current boardgames, they don’t use the same exact rules as the RPG but they evoke a similar feel. That’s really the key to us. We want to be able to have a clear, easily understood definition of what a wizard or paladin is. We can then transfer that definition into other games. As long as the feel and key story beats are there, the specific rules are secondary."

Noooooo.... Noooooo.....

All that work to refute the MMO analogy and Mearls just tosses it out there like it was a truth or something...

Also Vancian casting doesn't feel like D&D to me. It feels like frustation and annoyance, not things I want tied into 5E.

"Modularity starts with a simple core. The simpler the core, the fewer the basic interactions, the easier it is to see how things work in the game."

You failed right off the bat with the Wizard can Cleric being Vancian and 3.xE Sorcerer style.

"I’ll be very happy if this edition of the game is the most hackable version of the rules that we’ve released."

By hackable I'm assuming you mean "Needs the most house rules to be playable."

"In terms of actual rules modules, I see them as important to allowing groups to evoke a specific feel for their campaign. That might be something like making healing less plentiful or adding more realistic injuries to evoke a grittier feel. Other groups that like miniatures play and the tactical challenges posed by combat probably want more details in the combat system.
The modularity speaks somewhat to evoking the feel of different editions, but I also think that there are a lot of different takes on the key elements of older editions. Some people like AD&D’s lethality, while others like that the rules are fairly straightforward and characters easy to manage. I think that if we tried to create a canonical set of AD&D options, many people would disagree with our take.
Instead, we give people the options that they can mix and match if they choose to create the specific campaign they want."

If they pick the right things to make modular it would work great and sell like crazy, unfortunately they aren't doing that, they are making the wrong things modular and leaving complex systems in the 'simple core'

"When we talk about balance, we want to make sure that the character classes are roughly equivalent in effectiveness across the three basic pillars of D&D play: combat, exploration, and interaction. Some classes might be better in one area that another, but the gap is never so huge that players feel ineffective."

I'm making a pizza run, I assist whoever is the best in the pillar we are in til I get back...

"From a monster stand point, the key to balance is to make sure that we can give DMs clear guidance on a monster’s power level and XP value. If a DM throws an ogre at the party, the DM should have a sense of how much of a challenge that might be. We don’t really care how the DM uses these tools. A DM might want to run lots of easy fights, one big fights, or put in monsters that the PCs aren’t meant to fight. We just want the DM to have a good idea of the relative power between characters and monsters.
For modularity, the key is to let DMs know how a new rule can change the game. We trust that DMs will alter the game to fit what they and their groups want out of D&D. If we have a lethal, gritty hit point option, we’re not worried about maintaining balance across everything because the DM has opted into that. To some groups, balance is meaningless, so there’s no point in trying to enforce that in all cases.
If we keep the core simple and transparent, I believe that it will be much easier to create new content. Precise balance is really only possible through lots of play testing, but I think that if DMs use our existing content as a guide they’ll find it easier to create new stuff."

Look they stumbled on a good idea again... twice in the dame article wow...

"My hope is that the new class mechanics are interesting, while at the same time making those classes feel more vivid and closer to their core identity than ever before."

This is just a bunch of nonsense corporate PR speak... It should raise a red flag.

Another disappointing article where most of the reasons people like D&D just goes right over the designers heads...
"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'm pretty curious about  seeing those rules in action,because i really like what i have read.
Cant wait for next packet



I agree, I like what I'm reading here.
This was kind of painful to read, for reasons very similar to what lokiare already said. I want to respect you Mearls, but stuff like this is just making it more and more difficult...
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
Sounds good to me.  All I'm looking for is a modernized 2E, and it's sounding more and more like that's exactly what they're going to allow me to create.
Sounds good to me.  All I'm looking for is a modernized 2E, and it's sounding more and more like that's exactly what they're going to allow me to create.



I am glad that you, and others like you, are getting a game you want.

For me, OTOH, Next seeming like it will be a "modernized 2E" is a bad thing.
"You might not like how the wizard uses magic, but that means you can opt to play a warlock or sorcerer."

This game is looking more and more like its not for me or people like me...

"The essence of D&D lies in the cultural elements that tie the game together across its editions. It’s things like wizards losing spells when they cast them, magic missile striking unerringly, trolls that regenerate, and so on. That’s all down in the details, but those are the kinds of things that make D&D stand out.
On top of that, there’s the big idea of D&D that players create unique characters and DMs create unique settings and adventures. That was huge in 1974, and it’s still the critical part of the game today."

Wow... its like the essence of D&D just sailed right over mearls's head...

"4e focused on making the DM’s job easier while also making the specific experience of playing the game the same across all tables. The idea was to reduce variance in the game to make things more predictable."

And another miss... not even close this time...

"I think the difference speaks to one of the key things that people like about D&D Next. We’re definitely moving back to a more open game, where DM adjudication is more important and a DM’s individual skill plays a bigger role in how the game works. That’s a key, unique trait of RPGs that other types of games can’t duplicate. With gaming becoming more and more crowded, it’s key for us to emphasize our unique traits and strengths.
The drawback is that some DMs might feel adrift. Sometimes, it’s nice to have specific rules to fall back on. This is one area where I see modularity stepping in. I’d love to have a detailed set of rules, similar to 3e’s comprehensive approach, that DMs can opt into. You can imagine these rules almost like tournament rules, a specific set of rules more detailed than most tables need but available for DMs to use as a reference if they so choose."

See its like they are stumbling around in the dark and occassionaly they stumble onto a good idea...

"As far as I know, 4th edition was the first set of rules to look to videogames for inspiration. I wasn’t involved in the initial design meetings for the game, but I believe that MMOs played a role in how the game was shaped. I think there was a feeling that D&D needed to move into the MMO space as quickly as possible and that creating a set of MMO-conversion friendly rules would help hasten that.
What we’ve learned since then is that the specific RPG rules aren’t very useful for making other games. Instead, the world lore, feel of the game, distinct features of each class, race, and monster, and so on are much, much more important. If you look at our current boardgames, they don’t use the same exact rules as the RPG but they evoke a similar feel. That’s really the key to us. We want to be able to have a clear, easily understood definition of what a wizard or paladin is. We can then transfer that definition into other games. As long as the feel and key story beats are there, the specific rules are secondary."

Noooooo.... Noooooo.....

All that work to refute the MMO analogy and Mearls just tosses it out there like it was a truth or something...

Also Vancian casting doesn't feel like D&D to me. It feels like frustation and annoyance, not things I want tied into 5E.

"Modularity starts with a simple core. The simpler the core, the fewer the basic interactions, the easier it is to see how things work in the game."

You failed right off the bat with the Wizard can Cleric being Vancian and 3.xE Sorcerer style.

"I’ll be very happy if this edition of the game is the most hackable version of the rules that we’ve released."

By hackable I'm assuming you mean "Needs the most house rules to be playable."

"In terms of actual rules modules, I see them as important to allowing groups to evoke a specific feel for their campaign. That might be something like making healing less plentiful or adding more realistic injuries to evoke a grittier feel. Other groups that like miniatures play and the tactical challenges posed by combat probably want more details in the combat system.
The modularity speaks somewhat to evoking the feel of different editions, but I also think that there are a lot of different takes on the key elements of older editions. Some people like AD&D’s lethality, while others like that the rules are fairly straightforward and characters easy to manage. I think that if we tried to create a canonical set of AD&D options, many people would disagree with our take.
Instead, we give people the options that they can mix and match if they choose to create the specific campaign they want."

If they pick the right things to make modular it would work great and sell like crazy, unfortunately they aren't doing that, they are making the wrong things modular and leaving complex systems in the 'simple core'

"When we talk about balance, we want to make sure that the character classes are roughly equivalent in effectiveness across the three basic pillars of D&D play: combat, exploration, and interaction. Some classes might be better in one area that another, but the gap is never so huge that players feel ineffective."

I'm making a pizza run, I assist whoever is the best in the pillar we are in til I get back...

"From a monster stand point, the key to balance is to make sure that we can give DMs clear guidance on a monster’s power level and XP value. If a DM throws an ogre at the party, the DM should have a sense of how much of a challenge that might be. We don’t really care how the DM uses these tools. A DM might want to run lots of easy fights, one big fights, or put in monsters that the PCs aren’t meant to fight. We just want the DM to have a good idea of the relative power between characters and monsters.
For modularity, the key is to let DMs know how a new rule can change the game. We trust that DMs will alter the game to fit what they and their groups want out of D&D. If we have a lethal, gritty hit point option, we’re not worried about maintaining balance across everything because the DM has opted into that. To some groups, balance is meaningless, so there’s no point in trying to enforce that in all cases.
If we keep the core simple and transparent, I believe that it will be much easier to create new content. Precise balance is really only possible through lots of play testing, but I think that if DMs use our existing content as a guide they’ll find it easier to create new stuff."

Look they stumbled on a good idea again... twice in the dame article wow...

"My hope is that the new class mechanics are interesting, while at the same time making those classes feel more vivid and closer to their core identity than ever before."

This is just a bunch of nonsense corporate PR speak... It should raise a red flag.

Another disappointing article where most of the reasons people like D&D just goes right over the designers heads...


Really have to agree with you here. What the hell, what the hell.  
All that work to refute the MMO analogy and Mearls just tosses it out there like it was a truth or something...



"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Sounds good to me.  All I'm looking for is a modernized 2E, and it's sounding more and more like that's exactly what they're going to allow me to create.



I am glad that you, and others like you, are getting a game you want.

For me, OTOH, Next seeming like it will be a "modernized 2E" is a bad thing.



Wait... wha?  How does allowing modules to recreate a 2E-esque gamestyle = Next being a modernized 2E?

I was concerned they would strap too much onto the core mechanics, but everything he says sounds like barebone core, add what you like.  Unless you're worried the modules won't be able to reflect your preferred style of gameplay, in which case I'm sorry (if that ends up being the case).  I actually genuinely hope they can pull this off in a way that all parties are at least approaching a level of satisfaction.

All that's left is for them to not release the modules in a format that gives the impression of money grubbin' :D

Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.

PS: agree with lokiare
All that work to refute the MMO analogy and Mearls just tosses it out there like it was a truth or something...






It seems fairly obvious that it was inspired my mmos, don't see any surprise here! just like a dungeon in wow the 4e game assumes that you have a healer a tank and strikers or damage dealers you can play with or without a controller, but without a well balanced party you will die easy enough... 
the rest are the powers and stuff like that which emulate a mmo ability.

Well probably gonna be crucified by the 4e fanatics but whatever...  
Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.



You're right.  It's designed for everyone.  I thought that was pretty abundantly clear, though.  Now, that doesn't mean it can -deliver- on that, but for the stated design goal it was -never- about designing it 'for' anyone in particular.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.



You're right.  It's designed for everyone.  I thought that was pretty abundantly clear, though.  Now, that doesn't mean it can -deliver- on that, but for the stated design goal it was -never- about designing it 'for' anyone in particular.




But what was just posted means that it by definition fails in my opinion to meet the needs of the 4th fans and no number of modules can really fix the fundamental design differences, most notably DM fiat... This is not a module but a core feature.
All that work to refute the MMO analogy and Mearls just tosses it out there like it was a truth or something...






It seems fairly obvious that it was inspired my mmos, don't see any surprise here! just like a dungeon in wow the 4e game assumes that you have a healer a tank and strikers or damage dealers you can play with or without a controller, but without a well balanced party you will die easy enough... 
the rest are the powers and stuff like that which emulate a mmo ability.

Well probably gonna be crucified by the 4e fanatics but whatever...  



I never went so far as to say "Man, this looks like WoW on paper!" but I did say "Man, this game is practically ready to be turned into an MMO."  Which I find ironic, because the cluttered mess of a trainwreck that was 2E's rules ended up being some of the most cherished CRPGs of all time :P.

Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.



You're right.  It's designed for everyone.  I thought that was pretty abundantly clear, though.  Now, that doesn't mean it can -deliver- on that, but for the stated design goal it was -never- about designing it 'for' anyone in particular.




But what was just posted means that it by definition fails in my opinion to meet the needs of the 4th fans and no number of modules can really fix the fundamental design differences, most notably DM fiat... This is not a module but a core feature.



I agree. Maybe if they jam 13 modules in there full of rules for everything including codified powers we might get something faintly resembling what we want with 4E, but by that time we might as well just play 4E (or the game in my signature, since 4E won't be supported anymore)...
"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.

But what was just posted means that it by definition fails in my opinion to meet the needs of the 4th fans and no number of modules can really fix the fundamental design differences, most notably DM fiat... This is not a module but a core feature.


Standard DM Adjudication.  But yes, that can be built on top of by introducing more hardcoded tables and whatnot that take the adjudication off the DM's responsibility list.  It was the only way to make a modular core -- start tiny and simple and add things on to layer complexity.  It's like building a wall.  You start with the broadest, most basic groundwork and go up, with addition support struts and layering complexity as you go.

I honestly -- and in no way do I mean this to be an insult, or condescending, or -anything- like that -- think that you might be overreacting too soon still.  The new packet comes out shortly; don't toss in the towel yet. 

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.



You're right.  It's designed for everyone.  I thought that was pretty abundantly clear, though.  Now, that doesn't mean it can -deliver- on that, but for the stated design goal it was -never- about designing it 'for' anyone in particular.




But what was just posted means that it by definition fails in my opinion to meet the needs of the 4th fans and no number of modules can really fix the fundamental design differences, most notably DM fiat... This is not a module but a core feature.



I agree. Maybe if they jam 13 modules in there full of rules for everything including codified powers we might get something faintly resembling what we want with 4E, but by that time we might as well just play 4E (or the game in my signature, since 4E won't be supported anymore)...


you have one Neverwinter Online by Perfect World will be inspired by 4e mostly 

It doesn't help that meals thinks 'balance' was the only thing 4E fans wanted.

We liked the idea of helping to determine what happens in the game by saying I use X power and knowing exactly how it would play out, without the DM saying 'eany meany miney ... no you can't do that because my girlfriend broke up with me this weekend'.

In 4E your DM can absolutely hate you and you can still have a playable fun game. You just cannot do that in other editions.

I mean if they wanted to make the powers a little more sensible like 'Come and Get it' use an opposed Cha/Wis check that requires understanding language or the ability to communicate and force movement on the targets turns or something like that I think 99% of 4E fans would be absolutely ok with that. What we are not ok with is now having to ask the DM if we can somehow make a check to make all the enemies charge us without getting a reliable answer back...
"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 agree. Maybe if they jam 13 modules in there full of rules for everything including codified powers we might get something faintly resembling what we want with 4E, but by that time we might as well just play 4E (or the game in my signature, since 4E won't be supported anymore)...



This was always a doomed hope, Lokiare.  Look carefully: You know 4e fractured the base.  No edition war, none of that.  Simple fact.  You know they want to bring the base back together, so remaking something in the image of pure 4E was -never- going to happen -- it -couldn't-.  But you're basing your hopes on what 4E currently looks like.  If they produced something that was 98% 4E...why would you even buy it?  You wouldn't. 

What you need to be looking for is things that improve -beyond- 4E, and that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to start with 4E's groundwork to do so.  -That's- what you should be judging imo.  And those modules will likely be coming, or a new variant of them that improves in ways yet unforseen upon what you're looking for.  That, to me, seems to be the key part everyone is overlooking.


"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Sounds good to me.  All I'm looking for is a modernized 2E, and it's sounding more and more like that's exactly what they're going to allow me to create.



I am glad that you, and others like you, are getting a game you want.

For me, OTOH, Next seeming like it will be a "modernized 2E" is a bad thing.



Wait... wha?  How does allowing modules to recreate a 2E-esque gamestyle = Next being a modernized 2E?

I was concerned they would strap too much onto the core mechanics, but everything he says sounds like barebone core, add what you like.  Unless you're worried the modules won't be able to reflect your preferred style of gameplay, in which case I'm sorry (if that ends up being the case).  I actually genuinely hope they can pull this off in a way that all parties are at least approaching a level of satisfaction.

All that's left is for them to not release the modules in a format that gives the impression of money grubbin' :D




That modules will not reflect my playstyle IS what I am worried about, sadly. I have played D&D with some who are very rules savvy and group-oriented, and have played with those who have trouble with some aspects of the rules or are being jerks that day. Sometimes, a person has belonged to more than one of these groups. The clearer the rules are, the easier time everyone has in getting through a situation that uses the, and the less opportunity there is for someone to ruin others' fun by trying to force a selfish interpretation of a vague rule, IMO (this applies to the DM as well). The core of Next seems to be about improvisation/DM fiat, which is not what I am looking for. I'm not sure how much a module will be able to change this core, or how many "optional" rules my group will want to add.

Also, the default frailty of Next characters in an encounter isn't heroic/cinematic enough for my preferences, and bounded accuracy seems like it will make the most powerful melee PC/monster not that much of a threat for a few dozen level 1 opponents. YMMV.

I am, of course, hoping I am wrong-- and that Next will be able to create the kind of game/characters I like right out of the gate ( also a "no" vote for money grubbin' Smile ).
Well there it is... what most of us who like 4th ed had long ago concluded but the devs had never before admitted. This edition is not designed for us.



You're right.  It's designed for everyone.  I thought that was pretty abundantly clear, though.  Now, that doesn't mean it can -deliver- on that, but for the stated design goal it was -never- about designing it 'for' anyone in particular.




But what was just posted means that it by definition fails in my opinion to meet the needs of the 4th fans and no number of modules can really fix the fundamental design differences, most notably DM fiat... This is not a module but a core feature.



I agree. Maybe if they jam 13 modules in there full of rules for everything including codified powers we might get something faintly resembling what we want with 4E, but by that time we might as well just play 4E (or the game in my signature, since 4E won't be supported anymore)...


you have one Neverwinter Online by Perfect World will be inspired by 4e mostly 




Ahhh.. no... you seemed to have missed the point. I don't want a video game that faintly resembles 4E. I especially don't want an MMO with no role playing. I want a 4E game that has the rough edges smoothed off and the problems fixed. Like put a broadened form of bounded accuracy in 4E. I would love that. Throw in advantage/disadvantage, that would be great. Fix the powers to make more sense in how they apply to the literal world like move powers having to target fortitude or fix 'come and get it' so it doesn't magically pull enemies to you on your turn.

Try the Neverwinter game on facebook. That is exactly what the 4E combat system is. Its even turn based, but that's not what 4E is.
"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.
Mearls, by his own admission, wasn't there at the early stages of 4e development. He has no right to crap over Heinsoo's and Collins' work with the old "4e is WoW" BS argument.

Damn, is he trying to fuel the edition war? 
Sorry they have been promising modules ever since the game was announced but nothing they have actually SAID design wise really confirms that modules will exist and make radical differences in the way the game is played such that you could use the core rules to replicate a 2nd, 3rd or 4th style game.

In fact I am sure I remember comments that modules will not radically change the way the game plays so with all due respect I have to say I don't really believe them at this stage.
Sorry they have been promising modules ever since the game was announced but nothing they have actually SAID design wise really confirms that modules will exist and make radical differences in the way the game is played such that you could use the core rules to replicate a 2nd, 3rd or 4th style game.

In fact I am sure I remember comments that modules will not radically change the way the game plays so with all due respect I have to say I don't really believe them at this stage.


Fair enough.  You can't blame me for trying to offer some positivity though.   Hopefully I'll be shown to be right and you'll end up pleased.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."


I agree. Maybe if they jam 13 modules in there full of rules for everything including codified powers we might get something faintly resembling what we want with 4E, but by that time we might as well just play 4E (or the game in my signature, since 4E won't be supported anymore)...



This was always a doomed hope, Lokiare.  Look carefully: You know 4e fractured the base.  No edition war, none of that.  Simple fact.  You know they want to bring the base back together, so remaking something in the image of pure 4E was -never- going to happen -- it -couldn't-.  But you're basing your hopes on what 4E currently looks like.  If they produced something that was 98% 4E...why would you even buy it?  You wouldn't. 

What you need to be looking for is things that improve -beyond- 4E, and that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to start with 4E's groundwork to do so.  -That's- what you should be judging imo.  And those modules will likely be coming, or a new variant of them that improves in ways yet unforseen upon what you're looking for.  That, to me, seems to be the key part everyone is overlooking.





I'm looking and looking, but nothing is moving beyond 4E. A couple of mechanics like the new skill system are good and advantage/disadvantage if used right could be fun, but that's not enough. It has to do as good as 4E or better. If you haven't looked into Essentials I hope you do because they answered all the complaints of sameness and still made it compatible with 4E. Its a real eye opener. That was an actual improvement in some areas. What we have now is a throwback to earlier times. Which some find fun but a majority of people that like 4E don't.
"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'm looking and looking, but nothing is moving beyond 4E. A couple of mechanics like the new skill system are good and advantage/disadvantage if used right could be fun, but that's not enough. It has to do as good as 4E or better. If you haven't looked into Essentials I hope you do because they answered all the complaints of sameness and still made it compatible with 4E. Its a real eye opener. That was an actual improvement in some areas. What we have now is a throwback to earlier times. Which some find fun but a majority of people that like 4E don't.


No I never got a chance to look at it.  Is that the 'new' Red Box?

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."


I'm looking and looking, but nothing is moving beyond 4E. A couple of mechanics like the new skill system are good and advantage/disadvantage if used right could be fun, but that's not enough. It has to do as good as 4E or better. If you haven't looked into Essentials I hope you do because they answered all the complaints of sameness and still made it compatible with 4E. Its a real eye opener. That was an actual improvement in some areas. What we have now is a throwback to earlier times. Which some find fun but a majority of people that like 4E don't.


No I never got a chance to look at it.  Is that the 'new' Red Box?




Yes and no...

Its the ability to play the one hit wonder fighter and the vancian wizard as well as the wholey different vampire...

different subsystems for each class while still remaining balanced and still play alongside 4E classes...
"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.

What you need to be looking for is things that improve -beyond- 4E, and that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to start with 4E's groundwork to do so.  -That's- what you should be judging imo.  And those modules will likely be coming, or a new variant of them that improves in ways yet unforseen upon what you're looking for.  That, to me, seems to be the key part everyone is overlooking.


The reason 4E fractured the base was that the game tried to improve -beyond - traditional D&D.
It went in unexpected directions for many "old" D&D players, while trying to stay "D&D" both in theme and some mechanics/basic concepts. And the "community" imploded.
DDn tries to capture back what the "leavers" seem unable to live without. Its a fork of the rules before 4E, but the situation will be the same : it will try to improve, but in another direction than 4E did. And it will fracture the base again, even if this time it will be by leaving behind those who found 4E was a much needed and welcomed progress.
The "core" we can see right now is built around ideas and playing styles that do not fit the 4E "feel" Innocent , and it is doubtful any amount of modules can change the fact that the DM/player interactions, the character/setting interactions, as defined right now in the core and in the articles, are not at all what 4E postulated.
There is a difference beyond rules, a difference in spirit, between 4E and Next. So, yes I think Next may be the best incarnation of D&D ever for most D&D players, with incredible modularity and whatever you want - but it doesn't mean it can capture what made 4E interesting for many of us.
4E was very different from traditional D&D - and as strange as it may seem to some, it was one of its selling point, and attracted a new crowd to the game. 5E/DDN tries to recapture the old feel and concept of before 4E - no doubt it will be unstatisfying to 4E players ( or at least a number of them). And they will feel betrayed, like a part of the old base felt when 4E was published. It can't be avoided,w ith what we see and read of te current design. It's not a problem of rules, but of the "values" behind the rules, of what the rules are made to encourage and put forward.

5E/DDN may unite a lot of players - but only those who accept and /or like the basic ideas behind the way it is designed, the design "seeds".


Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
Mearls, by his own admission, wasn't there at the early stages of 4e development. He has no right to crap over Heinsoo's and Collins' work with the old "4e is WoW" BS argument.

Damn, is he trying to fuel the edition war? 



Why yes gungadin... he's already taken sides.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

So, if I don't like the Vancian wizard I have to play a warlock or sorcerer, complete with their own identity. Thanks, but no thanks. I want to play a wizard without being saddled to the Vancian casting style. If I can't have that without being forced to rebuild a class from the ground up I won't be playing Next.
Well, this put an early-morning smile on my face! Thanks for posting plaguescarred!


So, if I don't like the Vancian wizard I have to play a warlock or sorcerer, complete with their own identity. Thanks, but no thanks. I want to play a wizard without being saddled to the Vancian casting style. If I can't have that without being forced to rebuild a class from the ground up I won't be playing Next.

The identity of the warlock and sorcerer is nonexistent until you layer on a background and theme (specialty?), so this gripe is increasingly becoming a moot and tired point.

The only thing the wizard is, is a Vancian spellcaster. Beyond that, everything is up to you.

Danny

Not according to Mearls in this interview. Each class with be distinct and have it's own identity. Doesn't sound like the warlock or sorcerer will use the wizard spell list or spellbooks or have access to wizard can trips and utility spells to me.
I KNEW IT!

They DID attempt the experiment of making an MMO on paper.

Refuting it was folly. You cannot blame them for trying however. It made logical sense to try. We found out however that D&D players in general do not buy in to an MMO style P&P RPG.

I want an updated and modernized AD&D as well!
I am also coming to the sad conclusion that not making power mechanics a selectable module may be a mistake.

I really wish there would be a way for everyone to get a few at-wills, and then you select your power selection option (we'll call this your "Empowerment"): AEDU, Vancian, Power Point, Wild (and others as created), and Martial Traditional.  They could be applied to any class, really.  4e-detractors would only want to use Martial Traditional for non-casters, but I can see others using AEDU or even Vancian on martial characters. 

So to choose a character you need to select:


  • Abilities

  • Race

  • Class

  • Empowerment


And optionally, you also get



  • Themes/Specialties

  • Background

  • Alignment

@wrecan
I am thinking the same thing.

I am thinking it would have been better if power structure was selectable.

Wizard Arcane Spellcasting:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters that cast spells using Intelligence. Choose a spellcasting method:
Vancian
AEDU
Recharge Magic
Spell Point Magic

Wizards are primary spellcasters and use table A for all Spellcasting methods.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I KNEW IT! They DID attempt the experiment of making an MMO on paper. Refuting it was folly. You cannot blame them for trying however. It made logical sense to try. We found out however that D&D players in general do not buy in to an MMO style P&P RPG. I want an updated and modernized AD&D as well!



Not saying you are wrong but the way I read it that was Mearles guess and he stated he wasn't there initially.

Personally doesn't matter to me as 4e didn't seem much like an mmo to me.
 
And like always...nothing saying what new things will be on D&DNext, just stuff saying how to make it "feel old"... I am starting to believe this edition will have nothing new to the game at all, just a conjunction of old stuff mixed together (or thru modules)...
Maybe it has not been done for the inherent difficulty of  balancing the same spell for different casting systems.

I could see various modules for  different casting systems though.
For example:


  • Vancian: fireball do 1d6xlvl max 10d6

  • AEDU: encounter spell, fixed 6d6

  • Spell point: minimum 3d6+1d6 each point

  • and so on.


Putting all those differences in the same book would be complicated, at least for  two different reasons:

  1. Would be confusing for new DM and players if in the same spell block you have 4 different casting systems

  2. Space constraints.Even if you put those different Empowerments modules in different sections,the book size would become enormous..so probably they'll create different books for different casting systems...or so i hope.

DM: Products of MY Imagination ©. Since 1986.