Pax Prime Seminar 2012 - The Future of D&D

Pax Prime Seminar 2012
The Future of D&D

By WoTC R&D

The next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons is on its way! Join D&D Senior Manager Mike Mearls and others in a Q&A about the next iteration of D&D, and how the open playtest is using fan feedback to help shape the future of the game.

Talk about this seminar here. 

Pax Prime 2012 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

It starts at ~00:05:30 for the people who don't need to look a those logos for 5mins.

*now watching*

This is a much watch for those that wanted their vancian wizards to lean more towards the "ish". and, at least I hope, it sounds like it would be easy for the pure vancians to keep it the way they like it.
Next Playtest Packet will be sometime in october showing levels 1-10 with more magic items and monsters - Mike Mearls  (00:29)

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Multiclassing sounds pretty good so far.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

Anyone have an iPhone friendly link?

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I'm just hoping for a typed up version of everything that was said!  My video player on my computer is crap and it takes forever to load anything...  I still want to hear some more of the details about GenCon without having to wait 4 hours to watch a 1.6 hour seminar.

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I like the direction with getting back to the roots of the game, and basically getting a feel for each class then developing the abilities. However, I am still not convinced you need to develop new mechanics for each one. The reference to magic item tables generating a back story is a good approach because it feeds ideas into the campaign, but can easily be ignored if someone just wants basic items or waits for a supplement. I hope they bring back something similar to Oriental Adventures 1E when generating weekly, monthly, or yearly events, as that offers another avenue to generate more ideas.

The major disappointment is going back to 3E multiclassing, which means you can level dip. The only thing I can hope for is they backload major class features to higher levels. I would rather have multiclassing where you take each class and level ala 1E. You pay the price for versatility. Something similar to hybrid classes in 4E goes along the same vein.

I think they missed the point on the queston about 4E and re-skinning, which basically means the mechanics are seperated from the flavor. If the mechanical expectations are mixed in with the flavor, then it is much harder to re-purpose a class, spell, or race.
Notes taken as I go. Things in quotes are very close to verbatim, but should not be scrutenized too closely, becuase I didn't, like, double check them. Stuff not in quotes is looser paraphrase, but is pretty close -

EDIT: Tiny request - As the opinions expressed in the panel are not my own (in fact, I think many of them are deeply misguided), if you quote this post, if you're able to edit the quote box in some fashion to indicate that you're referring to the panel rather than quoting me, I would appreciate it.

- About 2/3 of the audience has downloaded and looked at the playtest material; most who have downloaded it claim that they have had a chance to play.

"In a lot of ways, D&D Next is a sort of getting back to the roots of what D&D is. In a lot of ways, from the story elements to the mechanics to even just the design approach, to even when we start thinking about what are the products we're going to make, it's about getting back to the basics of D&D."

"Focusing on the role of the DM as a world-creator - sort of that storyteller role." - Taking that idea of being very creative, and then extending that to the players.

D&D is the game which has rules that tell you how to break the rules. It's a game where you can attempt anything. RPGs are a mishmash of a storytelling desire combined with world simulation thing that boils everything you try to do down to yes/no/roll a die.

The rules we've released so far are slimmed down compared to recent editions. "We're trying to get back to the core of what the game is and then build up from there."

Modularity is a key idea - start with a simple core that's easy to understand and easy to pull apart to understand how it all works together. Rules modules then "change how the game works." Modularity comes from the observation that DMs like to make their own settings, adventures, and players like to make their own distinct characters. A lot of the appeal of D&D is the idea of ownership - you are making something uniquely yours.

The hope is that you'll be able to take the core rules and then pull in things you want for the sort of game you want - a horror game might use fear, sanity rules, for example. Also mention firearms rules, chase rules as the sort of thing that might be in a campaign. Rather than trying to cram those into a giant game, take a small core that when you add things in creates a feel/theme.

"Two-year playtesting process" - over the course of it, we'll see refined versions of the core simple rules over and over again. Make sure that the kernal is as solid as can be and speaks to all forms of D&D.

D&D has been many things over its history. The game has evolved a lot over the years, and each group plays the game in different ways. Everything from freeform improv to tactical miniatures games are D&D, and we want to create a platform that can accommodate those.

Looking through old editions for the gems and looking for ways to port those forward. Won't usually mean just pasting in old rules, but looking for ways to refine them so they can be at home in Next. Don't want a Frankenstein system.

In D&D there's a tendency for people to want to pick one edition and stick with it. Trying to make a game that's more all-encompasing that anything D&D's done before.

Thinking about how all the stuff in the world works together - monsters, magic items, etc. - as a simulation of the world.

Upcoming playtest - tables you can roll on where if you have a +1 sword, you can see what's its origin, who made it, story properties, etc. Things that bring the weapon to life. No mechanics here, just story stuff. Trying to get a get a feel like you're in an actual world, like in Skyrim.

Focus on world shows up in the recent playtest - we're not just looking at what mechanical options classes offer, but more importantly, what position does this class occupy in the world. When a person in the world sees a wizard, how is that different from seeing a sorcerer or warlock? "We don't want those three classes to just be packages of game mechanics. We want it to mean something in the fantasy world."

Strong ties between story elements and mechanics make it easier for players to get engaged in the game world.

Some people might look at the system and say something like, "Why do we need a ranger class? I can just play a fighter, then take the hunter background and the stealthy guy or archer specialty and then we don't need a ranger class." But rather than getting rid of the ranger, we're looking at where those classes come from and deepening them - being a ranger is going to mean something a little more now in the world, a little more than just guy with a bow or guy with two weapons - getting back to maybe some kind of that stuff with maybe a code of conduct, and maybe actually it's an organization of some sort. Bringing a little more flavor to the classes and either bringing them back more how they were, or in cases like the warlock or sorcerer, adding more detail and depth. Class means more than just the mechanics.

Our vision for classes that aren't the core four is that they have this very strong story element, because our vision for the core four (Wizard/Rogue/Fighter/Cleric) is that they be the most customizable. They are the classes that we expect to almost always be present. They are the defining classes for the game, so we want those classes to be versatile, but if they are super versatile, you end up with a situation where you can make a paladin with the cleric class, so if the paladin is going to have a place in the game, we're going to punch it up. The paladin needs a story footprint in the game that justifies its present.

We're looking at ways to get wizards and other casting classes encounter powers. One thing considered is that if you're, say, an illusionist, rather than just barring some other school of magic, it means you can cast your illusion spells more often. We're making sure that mechanics have a place in the world. If you're an illusionist, you can cast illusions all the time. We're trying to go from the story to the mechanics, rather than thinking of cool mechanics and then trying to justify them.

The playtest is a big part of the future of D&D. You can see the big changes between the first two playtests. Give us your feedback, it's making a difference. The fighter for example changed basically into a different class. Because of the feedback, we went back to the drawing board with the fighter and made it not suck major balls. [Transcriber's note: that last bit is heavily paraphrased.]

With the fighter, we were attempting a balancing act. One of the challenges with the fighter is there are some players who want to play a fighter and just swing their sword. We also know that there are people who want the fighter that has various tactical options, and there are options within the class to go both ways with it.

Design on this version will be very iterative. We're likely to see lots of versions of a lot of things.

The best way to give feedback is through the surveys. They're crafted to give us the information we need. It's very important to do those if you're playtesting.

An example of something we're trying to figure out with iteration is the Opportunity Attack; we're trying to suss out what's important enough that it needs to be in the game.

Next playtest packet: aiming for October. Show off levels 1-10 for the six classes we've released. Magic items. More monsters.

We're building two games, really. We're building levels 1-10, which D&D has gotten right repeatedly and we keep going back and monkeying with it, but then there's levels 11-20 and beyond, and high level play has never quite worked out. There are people who love it, but they're a minority. About 1/4 of gamers go past level 10.

We can be a lot more experimental with this sort of process. We can try things out and if they're terrible, you can tell us. It gives us the freedom to be more daring in our design.

(Q&A)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
While, overall I liked what they had to say, the following exchange is on a topic in which I have great interest (around the 49:40 mark):

Q: So what do you think about reskinning on the player side of things.  So if a player wants to play a wizard, but they actually want to play a warlock?

Mearls: Oh, sure. And that's something we talked about. We had some people say "Hey I want to be able to play a wizard with spell points."  We might not give the wizard a spell point system, because the wizard has a spell slot system and trying to create three different versions of the class would just bloat up the system. But from our end we might do an arcane bloodline for the sorcerer which is you are more like a traditional practice.  You've actually practiced and brought up this energy that anyone could with enough study and focus and natural talent do.  So we are aware that sometimes people want this (pointing right) type of character but with this (pointing let) type of story.  It's much easier for us know because we are building these classes very flavorful but with distinct mechanics.  How could we take this mechanic, if we want to push it in this direction, what would that look like storywise and then build the mechanics back.

Crawford: And also on the player side, reskinning is already in the packet hiding out.  You can take a Background layered on top of a Class and essentially in the world come across as an entirely different class. You can take the Knight Background for instance, put it onto a wizard, and suddenly, am I sort of a warmage?  So you can through taking the elements that are already there there's a tremendous amount of customization that you can do.

So it appears they might make a bloodline that moves the sorcerer to a spell slot system.  Maybe they could make a wizard school that approximates AEDU.  Maybe an arcane pact that makes a Vancian Warlock and a Dragon Pact that makes a spell point warlock.  That might work, depending on how well it is executed.

So it appears they might make a bloodline that moves the sorcerer to a spell slot system.  Maybe they could make a wizard school that approximates AEDU.  Maybe an arcane pact that makes a Vancian Warlock and a Dragon Pact that makes a spell point warlock.  That might work, depending on how well it is executed.



I don't think that's at all what they were saying.


I think they were saying that they'd make an Arcane Bloodline for the sorcerer which is a "study and practice" thing.  So fluff-wise, your sorcerer would be a wizard.  But he'd still use all the sorcerer spell point mechanics.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.

So it appears they might make a bloodline that moves the sorcerer to a spell slot system.  Maybe they could make a wizard school that approximates AEDU.  Maybe an arcane pact that makes a Vancian Warlock and a Dragon Pact that makes a spell point warlock.  That might work, depending on how well it is executed.



I don't think that's at all what they were saying.


I think they were saying that they'd make an Arcane Bloodline for the sorcerer which is a "study and practice" thing.  So fluff-wise, your sorcerer would be a wizard.  But he'd still use all the sorcerer spell point mechanics.



Personal opinion...

For what its worth, my impression of what was said leans toward ankiyavon's interpretation as well.

What did everyone think of the magic traditions blurb and what used to be school specializations? 

All around helpful simian

As far as Wizard Specializations there was a good base there, but I want more details, of course.
Magic Traditions will be a good way to define your Wizard and set it apart. 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I wrote poorly.  I agree with ankiyavon's interpretation.
The bit about Wizard Specializations talking about "casting illusions more often" made it seem to me that the specializations are going to be the vehicle for Wizard encounter powers. How they are going to balance this with a Wizard without a Wizard Specialization, I don't know (or maybe it will be like Rogue Schemes - every Wizard gets one).

If they do go this route, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I kind of like the restricted magic schools from previous editions, but I'm certainly willing to give it a shot.
Personal opinion...

If you notice, they mentioned things like warmage and wild mage in addition to illusionist and evoker.  That sounds interesting as wizard traditions then take on a bit more than just specializations.  

I'm just speculating here, but it also seems like an avenue for reflavoring a wizard.  In the same manner that an "arcane" sorcerer heritage makes a sorcerer feel like a wizard, a "prodigy" tradition (or whatever you want to call it) might make a wizard feel like a sorcerer.  Just a thought.  No idea if that's where they are headed.

All around helpful simian

Personal opinion...

If you notice, they mentioned things like warmage and wild mage in addition to illusionist and evoker.  That sounds interesting as wizard traditions then take on a bit more than just specializations.  

I'm just speculating here, but it also seems like an avenue for reflavoring a wizard.  In the same manner that an "arcane" sorcerer heritage makes a sorcerer feel like a wizard, a "prodigy" tradition (or whatever you want to call it) might make a wizard feel like a sorcerer.  Just a thought.  No idea if that's where they are headed.



I haven't seen the panel, but from what people have been describing them as saying (oh man, there's no chance I'm getting anything wrong here!  ;) )  it feels like the 2E specialist wizards to me.

They were all "schools of magic" in 2E, but not necessarily the eight traditional schools of magic.  Off the top of my head, there were elementalists, mentalists, shadow mages, wild mages, and many more.  Basically, they were specialists in a subschool, and a subschool could be easily modluarly created by just assigning existing spells into it.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
It seems that the classic 4 class will be more generic with a host of traditions/styles that let you customize them and every other character will have a lot more fluff ingrained in them. Don't know how I fel about that yet.


I like how they said they are seriously looking at high level play, making it feel epic and important while keeping the rules not.. wonky and complicated.

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!

It seems that the classic 4 class will be more generic with a host of traditions/styles that let you customize them and every other character will have a lot more fluff ingrained in them. Don't know how I fel about that yet.

That was probably the biggest sad trombone sound effect moment for me in the whole panel discussion. I mean, maybe they know what they're doing, but I'd be pretty surprised if more than hazy echoes of that dichotomization of class design survive in the final product. I'm not saying that I wouldn't expect those classes to be more flexible; in the case of the wizard and the fighter, there's a bit of a legacy of them being the most open classes of their type anyway.  I just doubt that the line will really be evident when the system rolls.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Lots of good, but the "tying the classes (especially the ones beyond the core four) to the story" is a sadface moment.  Adding more fluff, and carving more specific niches for the other classes is just going to make them cover less conceptual ground - and be less useful, as a result.

That's my fear, I guess.  I can already look at the sorcerer and say "Yeaaaaaaah, I don't want to play this, because of its ties to the story, and how the mechanics reflect them."


I don't know.  I just want to see the playtest process continue.  The changes from PT1 to PT2 were enough to imbue me with new faith that they were looking at the feedback, and are actually willing to make serious, serious changes in response (though, as I've said before: when it comes to D&D, WotC has at least always been very reactive to complaints about their material - maybe even too much so).
Feedback Disclaimer
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.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Lots of good, but the "tying the classes (especially the ones beyond the core four) to the story" is a sadface moment.  Adding more fluff, and carving more specific niches for the other classes is just going to make them cover less conceptual ground - and be less useful, as a result.

It's extra nefarious because it's the exact sort of thing that I always think I want; it sounds so good! Let's tie things more tightly to the story! You like the story, don't you Lesp? Then l I see it and I realize that no thank you this is actually the exact opposite of what I want. I'm not interested in playing your character, I want to play my character. They know this, too - one of the best observations in the whole panel is that D&D players for the most part like to feel ownership over things (characters, etc.). I'm not sure where your head has to be to go from that to "we're going to fix in place a bunch of the story elements on most classes. Oh, and it's functionally a random set of them, but it's most of them."

In my opinion, some of the most useless words ever printed are the almost uniformly needlessly specific but still somehow pretty boring bits of "lore" attached to nearly every 3.5 prestige class. I don't think that in my jillions of hours playing and DMing 3.5 and making use of dozens of prestige classes that I've ever found any of those useful. (They also almost all feel the need to posit that nearly every prestige class is for some reason some kind of organization, even if there's basically no reason for that to be the case.) I don't want to read about your character. I want to own my own identity. I'm going to trash whatever you write anyway, possibly while rolling my eyes.

Essentially, this is how I see where they are now:
"Hey, if you can just take some woodsy and shooty specialties and backgrounds as a fighter and make a ranger, why should the ranger class exist?"
"Hmmm, good point. Let's go super deep on the ranger and bind a bunch of story stuff to them and give them a code of conduct and stuff and make them incredi-narrow. That way they're different I guess? I mean, I guess you could still make that character with his story and stuff using the fighter but shut up."
"What if someone wants to use some ranger class abilities but doesn't want all that fluff baggage?"
"Uh, I guess they could try to extract it and reflavor? Or maybe we could kind of make an option to trade it out? Like a module? 'Modules' seems to get a good response from people."

Here's where I hope they get:
"Hey, if you can just take some woodsy and shooty specialties and backgrounds as a fighter and make a ranger, why should the ranger class exist?"
"Because we've got all these sweet mechanics that make playing a ranger feel like a totally different experience."
"What if someone wants those mechanics and relative strengths and weaknesses but doesn't want to be an outdoorsy hunter type?"
"No problem, bro. We've kept the fluff from being super deeply entangled in anything, so it's a really easy swap."
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
See, I like the story and flavor in the niche classes; they're supposed to be niche. As the designers said, the Cleric/Fighter/Rogue/Wizard quintet make up the core of the game, and they are the most modular classes. The other classes (pulling from 3E: the barbarian, bard, druid, monk, paladin, ranger, and sorcerer) flesh out the world of D&D. If you don't want to play in the basic world, hopefully the class system will have been made robust enough with enough features that you can pull those niche classes apart and build your own.

Back in 3E, my setting did not favor the existance of a "LG only Paladin", so I adjusted it to be the Templar. I liked the psionic feats so much that I made a class that worked solely off psionic feats and not powers, called the Savant. My setting had a strong elemental theme, so we adapted the Shugenja and used it instead of the Sorcerer, and we created a 1-4th level warrior-caster class for an elemental magic wielding warrior called the Channeler. We dropped the Bard but used it's "Inspire" system, plus ideas drawn from the OA samurai to create the Knight. We mixed the Monk and psionics to give the Monk a 1st through 4th level psionic power spread.

Make the game your own. I expect for the core classes to support the standard D&D setting (apparently the Realms). 
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
Back in 3E, my setting did not favor the existance of a "LG only Paladin", so I adjusted it to be the Templar.

You should loathe the idea of story and flavor in niche classes, then; they're turning every class (except an arbitrary four) into the 3E paladin.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Back in 3E, my setting did not favor the existance of a "LG only Paladin", so I adjusted it to be the Templar.

You should loathe the idea of story and flavor in niche classes, then; they're turning every class (except an arbitrary four) into the 3E paladin.




Should you really be telling someone what they should and shouldn't like?
So yeah seems like I called the reason why they won't be making the casting styles interchangable correctly over a month ago.  Also diggin on everything I have read as quotes from everyone.  I will give the panel a watch/listen on monday or tuesday, but still...Called it.
I WAS THERE! I realize it doesn't matter, and have nothing else to contribute at this time...just the first one of these where I've been able to say it, so I needed to get it off out there. 8-)




gah you best enjoy pax its a fun time.  I hit up east every time it is in town.
Back in 3E, my setting did not favor the existance of a "LG only Paladin", so I adjusted it to be the Templar.

You should loathe the idea of story and flavor in niche classes, then; they're turning every class (except an arbitrary four) into the 3E paladin.




That wasn't what I got from them at all. What they're doing sounds like giving justification for classes in the defult world of Dungeons and Dragons, and what Xevit did wass say "M'kay that's cool, but I'm going to retune it to my own story and world. They've actively said they want to give you the option to customize your own world. If you don't like something they encourage you to change it. This is just them creating a vivid and flavorful default. 

As for Wizard specializations, I'm optomistic. I like the idea that they're reflavoring encounter spells towards the wizards style of magic. It lets that Wizard truly feel like "I'm a Necromancer" or "I'm an Elementalist" or whatever they have. Interested to actually see it in play and feel it out if it works the way I'm hoping it will. Hopefully it will appear in the october playtest. (Which I'm also happy they dropped because I know it's not set in stone but it gives me an approximation to look forward to)
While, overall I liked what they had to say, the following exchange is on a topic in which I have great interest (around the 49:40 mark):

Q: So what do you think about reskinning on the player side of things.  So if a player wants to play a wizard, but they actually want to play a warlock?

Mearls: Oh, sure. And that's something we talked about. We had some people say "Hey I want to be able to play a wizard with spell points."  We might not give the wizard a spell point system, because the wizard has a spell slot system and trying to create three different versions of the class would just bloat up the system. But from our end we might do an arcane bloodline for the sorcerer which is you are more like a traditional practice.  You've actually practiced and brought up this energy that anyone could with enough study and focus and natural talent do.  So we are aware that sometimes people want this (pointing right) type of character but with this (pointing let) type of story.  It's much easier for us know because we are building these classes very flavorful but with distinct mechanics.  How could we take this mechanic, if we want to push it in this direction, what would that look like storywise and then build the mechanics back.

Crawford: And also on the player side, reskinning is already in the packet hiding out.  You can take a Background layered on top of a Class and essentially in the world come across as an entirely different class. You can take the Knight Background for instance, put it onto a wizard, and suddenly, am I sort of a warmage?  So you can through taking the elements that are already there there's a tremendous amount of customization that you can do.

So it appears they might make a bloodline that moves the sorcerer to a spell slot system.  Maybe they could make a wizard school that approximates AEDU.  Maybe an arcane pact that makes a Vancian Warlock and a Dragon Pact that makes a spell point warlock.  That might work, depending on how well it is executed.



Ok, first off if you make a bloodline that give d4 hit points, the book mechanic where you swap out spells (5 known 3 prepared or whatever), instead of gaining claws you gain all the Wizard spells to your spell list, and can learn spells from scrolls. Sure it might work, but you are literally rewriting the Wizard class into a bloodline, in other words double working. If its anything less then it won't be what we are looking for. How exactly do you turn a Wizard into a Vancian Sorcerer? You don't because you lose all the bloodlines, they would have to create a tradition for each of the Sorcerer's bloodlines and for each of the Warlock's pacts. That's a lot of extra work instead of just making a module to swap out casting styles. It almost appears to me that Mearls saw I originally suggested it and is fighting it to spite me. That or they really are horrible game designers, that's the only conclusion I can come to from this.

Also "We're looking at ways to get wizards and other casting classes encounter powers. One thing considered is that if you're, say, an illusionist, rather than just barring some other school of magic, it means you can cast your illusion spells more often. We're making sure that mechanics have a place in the world. If you're an illusionist, you can cast illusions all the time. We're trying to go from the story to the mechanics, rather than thinking of cool mechanics and then trying to justify them."

This here is worthless. It forces you to become a specialist Wizard in order to go AEDU, something a large group of us don't want to do. Again they are either bad designers or they are trying to spite someone...
"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.
While, overall I liked what they had to say, the following exchange is on a topic in which I have great interest (around the 49:40 mark):

Q: So what do you think about reskinning on the player side of things.  So if a player wants to play a wizard, but they actually want to play a warlock?

Mearls: Oh, sure. And that's something we talked about. We had some people say "Hey I want to be able to play a wizard with spell points."  We might not give the wizard a spell point system, because the wizard has a spell slot system and trying to create three different versions of the class would just bloat up the system. But from our end we might do an arcane bloodline for the sorcerer which is you are more like a traditional practice.  You've actually practiced and brought up this energy that anyone could with enough study and focus and natural talent do.  So we are aware that sometimes people want this (pointing right) type of character but with this (pointing let) type of story.  It's much easier for us know because we are building these classes very flavorful but with distinct mechanics.  How could we take this mechanic, if we want to push it in this direction, what would that look like storywise and then build the mechanics back.

Crawford: And also on the player side, reskinning is already in the packet hiding out.  You can take a Background layered on top of a Class and essentially in the world come across as an entirely different class. You can take the Knight Background for instance, put it onto a wizard, and suddenly, am I sort of a warmage?  So you can through taking the elements that are already there there's a tremendous amount of customization that you can do.

So it appears they might make a bloodline that moves the sorcerer to a spell slot system.  Maybe they could make a wizard school that approximates AEDU.  Maybe an arcane pact that makes a Vancian Warlock and a Dragon Pact that makes a spell point warlock.  That might work, depending on how well it is executed.



Ok, first off if you make a bloodline that give d4 hit points, the book mechanic where you swap out spells (5 known 3 prepared or whatever), instead of gaining claws you gain all the Wizard spells to your spell list, and can learn spells from scrolls. Sure it might work, but you are literally rewriting the Wizard class into a bloodline, in other words double working. If its anything less then it won't be what we are looking for. How exactly do you turn a Wizard into a Vancian Sorcerer? You don't because you lose all the bloodlines, they would have to create a tradition for each of the Sorcerer's bloodlines and for each of the Warlock's pacts. That's a lot of extra work instead of just making a module to swap out casting styles. It almost appears to me that Mearls saw I originally suggested it and is fighting it to spite me. That or they really are horrible game designers, that's the only conclusion I can come to from this.

Also "We're looking at ways to get wizards and other casting classes encounter powers. One thing considered is that if you're, say, an illusionist, rather than just barring some other school of magic, it means you can cast your illusion spells more often. We're making sure that mechanics have a place in the world. If you're an illusionist, you can cast illusions all the time. We're trying to go from the story to the mechanics, rather than thinking of cool mechanics and then trying to justify them."

This here is worthless. It forces you to become a specialist Wizard in order to go AEDU, something a large group of us don't want to do. Again they are either bad designers or they are trying to spite someone...

Once they show you the method for turning spells from vancian to AEDU via Schools.... make it apply to the whole spell list. or if you want purer vancian, don't do it to any of the spells.





Cracktest?Where's the cracktest?I'minthecracktest,areyouinthecracktestwhenisit?October?ohhhhhIcan'twaittotestsomeCRACK!   
How exactly do you turn a Wizard into a Vancian Sorcerer?


Yer a gettin yer spellcastin from the natural inherent magicky magics a flowin in yer blood.  Then grimace a second bout the spellbook afore sayin it's instead some form of focus that's a helpin ya channel the magicky flowin in yer veins into actual spells, like maybe the eyetooth of yer long-lost dragon grandpappy.  Then ye have a wizard class a flavored like a dragony heritage sorcerer.  Helps to have the discipline to be a pickin spells consistent with yer theme.

Ok, first off if you make a bloodline that give d4 hit points, the book mechanic where you swap out spells (5 known 3 prepared or whatever), instead of gaining claws you gain all the Wizard spells to your spell list, and can learn spells from scrolls. Sure it might work, but you are literally rewriting the Wizard class into a bloodline, in other words double working. If its anything less then it won't be what we are looking for. How exactly do you turn a Wizard into a Vancian Sorcerer? You don't because you lose all the bloodlines, they would have to create a tradition for each of the Sorcerer's bloodlines and for each of the Warlock's pacts. That's a lot of extra work instead of just making a module to swap out casting styles. It almost appears to me that Mearls saw I originally suggested it and is fighting it to spite me. That or they really are horrible game designers, that's the only conclusion I can come to from this.



You didn't originally suggest it (also world out to get you much?).  I am sure they though about doing it with the swapping casting styles for about one second and realized that it was a terrible way to design a game.  It bloats the system because you basically have to make a number of classes equal to the current number of classes multiplied by the current number of casting styles.  For instance we would basically need to have 9 classes right now.  Because the sorcerous bloodlines, Warlock pacts, and Wizard traditions, do not work without the mechanic they are tied to, spell points, favors, and vancian casting respectively.  So if you were to design the sorcerer to be able to use all three of the casting styles then you have to design every single bloodline a number of times equal to the number of casting styles.  A new design for every casting style.  Not to mention entirely new class features to work with the new casting style.  Instead they take all of those vancian bloodlines that would exist in your system, and they put them all with the wizard because he is already able to handle vancian based mechanics.  All the spell point based traditions your wizard would have is instead made to be a bloodline for the sorc because the sorc is already built to handle spell points.  Because some traditions would be similar, like a dragon pact, and a dragon bloodline, we only need 1 wizard tradition to cover that type of thing.  Instead of the two separate vancian options built for a warlock and a sorc that can switch their casting style.  No matter what designing it their way cuts down on work, it cuts down on system bloat, and it gives us more page space so we can fit in even more stuff that isn't all about casters.  

Now lets get to system scalability.  Say a new casting style is released.  In your design they would have to basically design a new set of class features for every existing casting class that makes use of the new casting style.  In your design they would have to make new versions of every tradition, pact, and bloodline that makes use of the new casting style.  With their design they can make it so that if they introduce a new casting style they need to design 1 class, and a set of some kind of pacts/bloodlines/traditions,and that is it.  They don't need to remake every class each time they create a new casting style they just need to make 1 class and options for that 1 class.  The system they propose has more scalability than the one you, and others, propose.  

No matter what their style takes less work, less page space, less system bloat, and is more able to scale with an expanding system.  I'd say they are doing a fairly decent job designing things.  I just want to see the sorcerous bloodline that makes you a bit more like a wizard.  
I would agree with that except they state each new class will have it own mechanic, and wizards (with schools) or cleric (with domains) adds to that equation, then you add backgrounds, schemes, and specialities on top of it, and then a swapable casting style is not possible? And I ask why with everything else they are adding to the game without any limits in sight.

A better question is not whether a new casting style can be introduced, but instead can a variation of vancian that is introduced by the sorcerer, warlock or wizard schools be implemented. A variant could be added based on any of those to implement a system based on power points, a more limited vancian, etc.

Overall I would like to see a variaton on vancian, where spells can be recovered quicker each day, but somehow limit the power or selections of spells that are available as a compromise. That is why I prefer 4E design, since you could define vancian as the main system for spell castes, and combat superiority as the main system for marital. Then you can tweak each system to add variation.

They discussed not devising mechanics first, but coming up with a character concept. I believe that is important for a new game, but realistically all the design for D&D is already done. So why not make a uniform system as the core, with variations added to it?

I can not see how it will be balance at all, even if they do not add a alternate casting system. Basically at this point they are going towards 3E in complexity.          
Well if the PT Warlock is an example of how they are going to make classes "flavorful" then i would have to give this idea a big thumbs down.  One of the strengths od D&D has always been that it has been relatively "story neutral" in it's core design. People complain about the Paladin a lot, but even then the idea of a "Holy Warrior" is pretty universal, ranging from such concepts as the 12 knights of Charlemagne to Lui Bei in romance of the three kingdoms.
Y'know what I've (just now) decided I really want to see?

More Sorcererous Origin options.

I mean, the part of it that I don't like is the transformative Jekyll-and-Hide aspect - and that's in the general Sorcerer fluff-and-mechanics - but maybe it's more palatable with other origins?

I don't know.  I think I would just feel more comfortable with the "tie them to the story"-classes if they could show me that it wasn't making the Sorcerer entirely unappealing to me.
Feedback Disclaimer
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.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
I'm very happy with the idea of non-core classes being more niche oriented. It gives the game structure of a sort, a framework to build on. I'm also happy that classes as a whole are more tied to story, it's something I've felt was lacking for a while. 

In my opinion, balance is boring. Or more accurately, everything being the same is boring. If a class isn't mechanically unique then why does it even exist. If a Wizard can use spellpoints or AED type spell progressions, why should a Sorcerer or Warlock even exist? So I'm glad that casting mechanics won't be interchangeable, it makes the classes have a point again.  

Ok, first off if you make a bloodline that give d4 hit points, the book mechanic where you swap out spells (5 known 3 prepared or whatever), instead of gaining claws you gain all the Wizard spells to your spell list, and can learn spells from scrolls. Sure it might work, but you are literally rewriting the Wizard class into a bloodline, in other words double working. If its anything less then it won't be what we are looking for. How exactly do you turn a Wizard into a Vancian Sorcerer? You don't because you lose all the bloodlines, they would have to create a tradition for each of the Sorcerer's bloodlines and for each of the Warlock's pacts. That's a lot of extra work instead of just making a module to swap out casting styles. It almost appears to me that Mearls saw I originally suggested it and is fighting it to spite me. That or they really are horrible game designers, that's the only conclusion I can come to from this.



You didn't originally suggest it (also world out to get you much?).



You realize I was suggesting this before the first play test packet came out back when they first mentioned Vancian being the way Wizard's get spell slots right? If I wasn't the first, I was definitely in the top 10.

I am sure they though about doing it with the swapping casting styles for about one second and realized that it was a terrible way to design a game.  It bloats the system because you basically have to make a number of classes equal to the current number of classes multiplied by the current number of casting styles.



This right here tells me you don't really know what we are talking about. If you make the casting styles swap out, its the only thing that changes in the class. Warlocks still use warlock invocations, Sorcerers still use their limited spell list, Wizards still have their lists. Each class still has all their same features except how they get spell slots (or points). That's the only part that changes.

For instance we would basically need to have 9 classes right now.  Because the sorcerous bloodlines, Warlock pacts, and Wizard traditions, do not work without the mechanic they are tied to, spell points, favors, and vancian casting respectively.  So if you were to design the sorcerer to be able to use all three of the casting styles then you have to design every single bloodline a number of times equal to the number of casting styles.



Actually you wouldn't. You would change the Sorcerer bloodline features to say something like "When you use up 75% of your spells you gain X. When you use up 50% of your spells you gain Y." It might have to have a clause where you say that encounter powers don't count toward this or something like that, but that's all on 1-2 lines in the class description. It seems like you are throwing up a straw man argument here because it has almost nothing to do with what we suggested.

A new design for every casting style.  Not to mention entirely new class features to work with the new casting style.  Instead they take all of those vancian bloodlines that would exist in your system, and they put them all with the wizard because he is already able to handle vancian based mechanics.  All the spell point based traditions your wizard would have is instead made to be a bloodline for the sorc because the sorc is already built to handle spell points.  Because some traditions would be similar, like a dragon pact, and a dragon bloodline, we only need 1 wizard tradition to cover that type of thing.  Instead of the two separate vancian options built for a warlock and a sorc that can switch their casting style.  No matter what designing it their way cuts down on work, it cuts down on system bloat, and it gives us more page space so we can fit in even more stuff that isn't all about casters.



This is all just nonsense. Yes they would have to design the class features and spells to work within each system, but they can easily do that one time for each feature and spell and not have to make one version of each feature or spell. You are overcomplicating things where its not needed.

Now lets get to system scalability.  Say a new casting style is released.  In your design they would have to basically design a new set of class features for every existing casting class that makes use of the new casting style.  In your design they would have to make new versions of every tradition, pact, and bloodline that makes use of the new casting style.  With their design they can make it so that if they introduce a new casting style they need to design 1 class, and a set of some kind of pacts/bloodlines/traditions,and that is it.  They don't need to remake every class each time they create a new casting style they just need to make 1 class and options for that 1 class.  The system they propose has more scalability than the one you, and others, propose.

 

See above. You are making the same argument over and over and its a false argument.

No matter what their style takes less work, less page space, less system bloat, and is more able to scale with an expanding system.  I'd say they are doing a fairly decent job designing things.  I just want to see the sorcerous bloodline that makes you a bit more like a wizard.  



Yeah, and we want to see a feature that makes you exactly like a Wizard except for the casting style. That might be your disconnect from understanding what we want. Huge difference...

The best way to do that using the least amount of page space would be swappable casting styles with a default for each class so no one gets confused. You can even cram the swappable styles into the back of the PHB for all we care as long as there is a rule based version we can use that's all we want...
"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 very happy with the idea of non-core classes being more niche oriented. It gives the game structure of a sort, a framework to build on. I'm also happy that classes as a whole are more tied to story, it's something I've felt was lacking for a while. 

In my opinion, balance is boring. Or more accurately, everything being the same is boring. If a class isn't mechanically unique then why does it even exist. If a Wizard can use spellpoints or AED type spell progressions, why should a Sorcerer or Warlock even exist? So I'm glad that casting mechanics won't be interchangeable, it makes the classes have a point again.  



Ummm... because they get totally different features.

The Wizard gets an unlimited spell book and can swap out spells (a Wizard that used spell points would use something like the clerics spell method), they will also later on get a 'tradition' that grants them more features, and they get a large list of spells to choose from.

The Sorcerer gets bloodlines which determine their hit dice, armor, weapons, and bloodline powers, they get a small list of spells to choose from.

The Warlock gets their weapon and armor proficiencies, Eldritch Lore, Ritual casting and pact boons and gets eldritch blast for free, they get a unique list of invocations to choose from.

So you see each class has identities and features that make them totally unique regardless of their casting style. Which means swapping out casting styles would not hurt the identity of the classes one bit.
"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.
You realize I was suggesting this before the first play test packet came out back when they first mentioned Vancian being the way Wizard's get spell slots right? If I wasn't the first, I was definitely in the top 10.


Ummm....unless you were in Arneson's and Gygax's original group back in the early 70's, you are definitively not the first person to suggest alternate non-vancian casting methods for the Wizards.  The idea is older than any published version of the game.
You realize I was suggesting this before the first play test packet came out back when they first mentioned Vancian being the way Wizard's get spell slots right? If I wasn't the first, I was definitely in the top 10.


Ummm....unless you were in Arneson's and Gygax's original group back in the early 70's, you are definitively not the first person to suggest alternate non-vancian casting methods for the Wizards.  The idea is older than any published version of the game.



I have suggested it since 2E when I started playing, but I advocated early in the 5E process when I first heard they were going back to vancian casting. It doesn't really matter though. Its a wanted feature so it needs to be looked at...
"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.
It seems that the classic 4 class will be more generic with a host of traditions/styles that let you customize them and every other character will have a lot more fluff ingrained in them. Don't know how I fel about that yet.



As, primarily a DM since 1e, I don't like it at all. I and my various gaming friends are already disappointed with Dragon heritage being pigeonholed into gish. In our opinion, they should save the ingrained  fluff and roles  for  their own separate published settings and let us determine it for our own campaigns. 

With this announcement about plans for classes, I am already starting to see similar complaints on other message boards.