The death of D&D

Having done both playtests numerous times, my bi-monthly group of middle aged dungeoneers have decided to quit the playtest altogether and look for greener pastures. Next stop, Dragon Age RPG. Why? Because we see the trend in the playtest to layer on more and more modifiers, rules, and tracking that the DM has to take care of.  D&D has sowly turned it's DMs into accountants. While there are some brilliant accountants who amaze with their abilities, the average Joe gets bogged down. This is the death of D&D.  

D&D is built upon a conceit. That conceit is that if a person plays a game 187 times exactly the same way with the same rules, he will become bored and no longer play the game. He needs something more to keep him interested. He needs more adventures, more spells, more powers, more choices, more anything.  This is wrong.  Ask anybody who plays a lot of chess this question; "Are you so bored with chess now that you need new rules or powers to keep it interesting for you?" for anybody but Magnus Carlsen, the answer is, "No!"  Ask any Monoopoly player. Ask any Scrabble player. This is where all RPG games go wrong.  The idea that the first time you enter a dungeon as a level 1 character is not as fun as entering your 459th dungeon as a level 1 character is abusrd. It feels the same. That's why we continue playing. It's not for the added stuff. It's for the fun of getting involved in an adventure.

 Let's do an Einstein thought experiment!  Let's make Level 1 equal to Level 20. That means you get all powers, spells, dice, etc, you would get if you played up to the Epic level in 4e right off the bat as a level 1 character. Is this any more fun than being a level one character and defeating a level one opponent? No, of course not.  For one thing, simply "boning up" on level 20 would be equivalent to a doctoral thesis in D&D.

If WOTC want to make an impact with Next, eliminate levels altoghether. Good dungeon masters, like professional screen-writers can adapt and make endlessly incredible adventures using simple level one characters. That's where everybody starts, and that's what everybody loves. 

It's like watching the 257th episode of CSI-SVU. Fans never get tired of the simple formula. Chess players never tire of the format. It is the same for any successfull game. Get a clue.

 
Good bye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Cool story, bro.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I really expected the "sky is falling" threads to come a little bit later in the playtest process. Oh well.
Having done both playtests numerous times, my bi-monthly group of middle aged dungeoneers have decided to quit the playtest altogether and look for greener pastures. Next stop, Dragon Age RPG. Why? Because we see the trend in the playtest to layer on more and more modifiers, rules, and tracking that the DM has to take care of.  D&D has sowly turned it's DMs into accountants. While there are some brilliant accountants who amaze with their abilities, the average Joe gets bogged down. This is the death of D&D.  

 



Although I agree with your premise (that they are starting down a trend to more and more modifiers, etc) - I disagree with your approach to the problem.

But if you lack the inclination to argue for what you think the game should be (aside from the no level stuff - that just won't happen)  - enjoy your greener pastures.

Carl
Listen, you whippersnappers, Knee jerking solves nothing. What's wrong with a level 1 game with endless adventures?  Nothing. What's wrong with level 5 modifiers and spell books? Everything...especially if youu're a DM.
Listen, you whippersnappers, Knee jerking solves nothing. What's wrong with a level 1 game with endless adventures?  Nothing. What's wrong with level 5 modifiers and spell books? Everything...especially if youu're a DM.



Thought you were moving on. Why are you still here? What you want to play is clearly not dungeons and dragons, so go find the game you do want to play. I recommend something free form.
Listen, you whippersnappers, Knee jerking solves nothing. What's wrong with a level 1 game with endless adventures?  Nothing. What's wrong with level 5 modifiers and spell books? Everything...especially if youu're a DM.



Love that he's calling someone 40 years old (me) a whippersnapper.

And how 'right' or 'wrong' something is, in a gaming environment, is purely subjective.  You don't like it, then it's wrong for you, and you're free to spend your time, money, and energy on something else.  It may not be wrong for someone else, whose style differs from yours.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Listen, you whippersnappers, Knee jerking solves nothing. What's wrong with a level 1 game with endless adventures?  Nothing. What's wrong with level 5 modifiers and spell books? Everything...especially if youu're a DM.



I play Traveller - there is nothing wrong with a zero-advancement mechanics game.  And you probably can make a fanstastic Fanatasy RPG with no advancement mechanics.  And you don't need advancement to tell a great story. 


It just isn't D&D.  And making D&D like that would be 'the end of D&D'.



(And you young 40-something's are whippersnappers.......)

Carl
Edit: I am slow and 8 other comments were posted while I was typing this.

I'm not sure what your argument is here, you are kind of all over the place. I am making the assumption that you and your group have played D&D for quite some time. You don't state that, but it is kind of implied.

1. You claim that the playtests are adding more and more mechanical complexity requiring DMs to be "accountants".  This is a valid viewpoint and probably worthy of an entire thread, however that is as far as you go with it.

2.  You claim that D&D is killing itself by constantly adding content to the game, that people should be content to play with the same basic content endlessly. Now some will be and some won't. I agree that with a good group you can play with the same base content and have countless different adventures in inumerable different worlds. 

3. You completely negate argument 2 by claiming that you are going to move on to a new game with new content, rules, etc. If you are content with D&D (whatever version you happen to enjoy the most) then why not just stick with it. Wizards is not adding any new content to versions 1-3.5 and within a few years won't be adding any content to 4th . Pick your favorite edition, pick a subset of the available content, and you have your static game. You can play as many times as you like and you don't have to worry about any new content interferring with your game. I haven't looked into Dragon Age RPG ever, but I am fairly certain that it is going to have the same issues of constantly adding new content.

 4. You advocate the removal of all progression. This is the first time I have heard anyone arguing for this. At first I thought you were advocating a leveless system, but then upon rereading your post you actually want to remove all progression from the game. This is another topic that would be worthy of a whole thread. I very strongly disagree with you that this is a good idea but would be interested in a discussion on the topi. Regardless, if that is what you want there is nothing preventing you from removing experience and levels and just playing at lvl 1. Having not looked into Dragon Age I would be surprised if the game offered no progression.

5. The claim that people don't tire of simple formulas is a gross overgeneralization. Overuse of the same formula is the reason I no longer read Clive Cussler, the reason I no longer enjoy most TV shows, and the reason I constantly buy new games most of which are relatively unkown to the general public.
I'm just amazed that "middle-aged dungeoneers" just now realized that D&D is level-based and are now giving up on it. You think they would've come to this realization around 1974 or so.
I apologize for the rudeness above. Several of my fellow posters do not realize the loss of a single voice weakens the choir. To survive if not flourish then D&D needs its fanbase to grow not merely maintain and for the last half-decade the game has been shrinking. 

That said, I cannot fully disagree with your statements. While it is possible to play many long years without new content, D&D has always been an expanding game. After finishing the first boxed set, the first thing the creators of the game did was start making new classes and monsters and spells. After doing that for 4 years they compiled and repackaged the rules as AD&D and started adding even more new content.
When new players come into the game, one of the first things they often do is start making their own monsters or spells or content.
D&D is built on and predicated on the concept of continual growth and expansion. It has never been a tight, lite game save the side project of Basic D&D, which was done by seperate staff as Gygax had no interest in it.

Furthermore, no business ever stops releasing product. Toy companies make new toys, book companies publish more books, car companies always have a new model each year.
If the game doesn't produce content it goes out of print and dies.

As for levels....one of the points of D&D Next is to focus on the element that are common to all versions of D&D. Every version had had levels. Dumping them would be a HUGE change and likely alienate much of the fanbase. 
If you - a very small minority of the playing audience- don't like levels then don't use them. Have your characters start at level 3 or 5 and not change. That's pretty easy as house rules go.  

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

Edit: I am slow and 8 other comments were posted while I was typing this.

I'm not sure what your argument is here, you are kind of all over the place. I am making the assumption that you and your group have played D&D for quite some time. You don't state that, but it is kind of implied.

1. You claim that the playtests are adding more and more mechanical complexity requiring DMs to be "accountants".  This is a valid viewpoint and probably worthy of an entire thread, however that is as far as you go with it.

2.  You claim that D&D is killing itself by constantly adding content to the game, that people should be content to play with the same basic content endlessly. Now some will be and some won't. I agree that with a good group you can play with the same base content and have countless different adventures in inumerable different worlds. 

3. You completely negate argument 2 by claiming that you are going to move on to a new game with new content, rules, etc. If you are content with D&D (whatever version you happen to enjoy the most) then why not just stick with it. Wizards is not adding any new content to versions 1-3.5 and within a few years won't be adding any content to 4th . Pick your favorite edition, pick a subset of the available content, and you have your static game. You can play as many times as you like and you don't have to worry about any new content interferring with your game. I haven't looked into Dragon Age RPG ever, but I am fairly certain that it is going to have the same issues of constantly adding new content.

 4. You advocate the removal of all progression. This is the first time I have heard anyone arguing for this. At first I thought you were advocating a leveless system, but then upon rereading your post you actually want to remove all progression from the game. This is another topic that would be worthy of a whole thread. I very strongly disagree with you that this is a good idea but would be interested in a discussion on the topi. Regardless, if that is what you want there is nothing preventing you from removing experience and levels and just playing at lvl 1. Having not looked into Dragon Age I would be surprised if the game offered no progression.

5. The claim that people don't tire of simple formulas is a gross overgeneralization. Overuse of the same formula is the reason I no longer read Clive Cussler, the reason I no longer enjoy most TV shows, and the reason I constantly buy new games most of which are relatively unkown to the general public.

O.K. This is going to take me a while to reply to each and every one of you but I let me respond to the 5 points Cormroc has made.

1.  To go farther about DM's being accountants belabors the point.

2. I did not say that D%D is killing itself by adding content. I said that D&D is turning DMs into accountants, which will be the death of it.  

3. My group decided to try the simpler rules offered in level 1 of Dragon Rage. They want adventure, not accounting. Upon closer inspection of Dragon Rageseems to be even more complicated than D&D. It has spells that affect a caracters performance over time that the DM has to keep track of. (Blood Crows can "Blind" a character for X turns, reducing his "to hit" dice roll. 

4. Preachings from WOTC talk about the sanctity of the "core rules". Substitute "core rules" for "Level 1 basic rules". Any difference? Layering complexity on top of the core rules only circumvents those rules.  Dragon age goes to level 5 in it's first package. Later packages go up higher levels.  It's basically a clone of D&D. It makes the same mistake D&D does by assuming that players will not be happy with level one simplicity after a few rounds.  

5. Being bored easily is the same thing as "Short Attention Span Theater".  It"s not an indication of intelligence, rather the opposite.
 
I'm just amazed that "middle-aged dungeoneers" just now realized that D&D is level-based and are now giving up on it. You think they would've come to this realization around 1974 or so.

After a time, you have to ask yourself, "Are all these extra powers and abilities making me enjoy the game more?" If the answer is "Yes!", then you are just going to Looooooooooove 5e.
I'm just amazed that "middle-aged dungeoneers" just now realized that D&D is level-based and are now giving up on it. You think they would've come to this realization around 1974 or so.

After a time, you have to ask yourself, "Are all these extra powers and abilities making me enjoy the game more?" If the answer is "Yes!", then you are just going to Looooooooooove 5e.



Or you can say "Do I enjoy playing a character who grows and becomes more powerful over time so that eventually situations that were formerly beyond his abitlities can be handled and things which once challenging become less so.

"If the answer is "Yes!", then you are just going to Looooooooooove 5e."  Ok really just about every Fantasy RPG, because that is a part of just about all of them.  (Or maybe not because there is always more to it than this one aspect.)


Sorry to hear your greener pasture (Dragon Age) wasn't actually greener.  What game are you going to play instead?  I'm sure you have a list of a dozen or so better games, right?

I'm not going to deny that, imho, this last packet was a step in the wrong direction.  I thought I saw trends in game design going from the last F&F packet to the first open packet that I liked - only to see those trends reverse course (and small bonuses was a part of this, but not the only symptom).  But I don't see the removal of advancement as the solution - and I certainly don't see throwing in your dice and giving up as an option either.

But to each their own - enjoy your ideal no-advancement, no-recordkeeping fantasy game.



Carl
Here is my advice on addressing the issue of a game playtest you see going in a direction you very much dislike.

1. The point of a playtest is to get feedback by which the game may be improved before implementation. "X is bad" is useless to game designers. Hyperbole, sarcasm, overgeneralization, and ultimatums ("Change X or I'm leaving you for another game!") are similarly unhelpful when it comes to said point of playtesting. Okay, you've gotten your point across about how serious an issue this is with you. We get it, and I'm sure everyone has such a spot on which to take a stand. I, for one, would have very deep concerns if they went to a fully-3.w skill mechanic. (For the record, I'd still play, but houserule the [...] out of that part of it.) But there are helpful ways of addressing issues, and there are temper tantrums.

2. If you post on the forums, e-mail them detailed explanations, fill out every question on every survey, wait for a playtest or two for them to have a chance on working out kinks in new dynamics & mechanics, and they still do not address the issue or issues you have, then you need to ask yourself a few questions. "Is this a dealbreaker for me? Can I be satisfied just playing an earlier edition? Are they ignoring everyone, or does my issue seem to affect hardly anybody?" I'm sure there are plenty of issues, polarized ones, on these forums, where the loud polar opposites are grossly overrepresented. But they do use feedback. The fixed-HP/rolled-HP option, and the idea of adding the ConMod to heals and HPs, were suggested by me (and I should think many others) in the first survey, and there it is. So maybe the last question is, "Do I actually have a better suggestion that will fix the problem, or am I just presenting a problem and expecting them to fix it no matter what?"

3. Do what your answers tell you. If it's a dealbreaker, break the deal. If you can't be satisfied with another edition, don't spend your money on or play them. If they're ignoring everyone, don't feel too bad about going. If your issue seems to be in the minority, the game may not be for you anyway. If you have a better suggestion, tell them and wait to see. If you don't, shall we give the experienced professionals the benefit of the doubt?

4. If you must go, bow out gracefully. If you want to tell the designers the deal is broken, don't stand on a soapbox in the middle of the forum. An e-mail will get to them even more certainly, especially if maturely- and well-written. Grandstanding will only invite ire from those of us still enjoying D&DN thus far. If you decide to announce your departure in such a manner, it's not about D&D, D&DNext, the mechanics, the designers, how much better any other games may or may not be, modularity, progression, stats, or anything else. It's about you, and if you want to believe you're doing it for any other reason, you just failed an Insight check against yourself.

5. If you say you're going to go, go. Don't hang around the thread to see who agrees with you and argue with those who don't. It helps no one, gets nowhere, and wastes everyone's time. 
"Our idea of rules modules has a wide range of scope; sometimes, our rules modules might just be small tweaks and variant rules, while other times they could be large-scale changes and entirely new subsystems. We want people to make the game their own, and that means provided a whole array of possibilities based on what you, the players, tell us that you want." -D&DNext Q&A Blog, 8/29/12, Answer #3.
I apologize for the rudeness above. Several of my fellow posters do not realize the loss of a single voice weakens the choir. To survive if not flourish then D&D needs its fanbase to grow not merely maintain and for the last half-decade the game has been shrinking. 

That said, I cannot fully disagree with your statements. While it is possible to play many long years without new content, D&D has always been an expanding game. After finishing the first boxed set, the first thing the creators of the game did was start making new classes and monsters and spells. After doing that for 4 years they compiled and repackaged the rules as AD&D and started adding even more new content.
When new players come into the game, one of the first things they often do is start making their own monsters or spells or content.
D&D is built on and predicated on the concept of continual growth and expansion. It has never been a tight, lite game save the side project of Basic D&D, which was done by seperate staff as Gygax had no interest in it.

Furthermore, no business ever stops releasing product. Toy companies make new toys, book companies publish more books, car companies always have a new model each year.
If the game doesn't produce content it goes out of print and dies.

As for levels....one of the points of D&D Next is to focus on the element that are common to all versions of D&D. Every version had had levels. Dumping them would be a HUGE change and likely alienate much of the fanbase. 
If you - a very small minority of the playing audience- don't like levels then don't use them. Have your characters start at level 3 or 5 and not change. That's pretty easy as house rules go.  

Mr. Gygax resolved combat in his original dungeon with "Rocks, Paper, Sissors". "Levels" only applied to the depth of the dungeons, not the characters. It's a natural progression, deeper dungeons require stronger characters ad infinitum.  Even D&D succumbs at some point to the law of diminishing returns.  Here we are in the 21st century, with 4e "Epic" levels and so forth. We are way, way beyond even Gygax's imagination, and what are we doing?  Adding complexity.  That alone alienates any fanbase (Ms. PacMan anyone?). That's why participation, and with it, sales, are down.  Why do you think Pathfinder was so popular (beyond the advertising dollars spent)? Is it because people crave extra modifiers in their combat? Pathfinder groups put up with the extra complexity because of the story and not the other way around.  That's why WOTC have finally hitched their wagon to Forbidden Realms. I consider them to be grasping at straws at this point.

Yes, we are all free to make the rules that suit us, but D&D next "core rules" get more complex with every playtest".  I'm betting that the next playtest will be at least one month late (November?) and include at least 10 more pages of stuff I have to learn. That is not improvement. 

In the meantime, I shall try other games that suit my delicate sensibilities, while keeping an eagle eye on the game that excited me in the first place, Tunnels and Trolls. Oops, I mean Dungeons and Dragons.
Mr. Gygax resolved combat in his original dungeon with "Rocks, Paper, Sissors". "Levels" only applied to the depth of the dungeons, not the characters.



[citation needed] 
Mr. Gygax resolved combat in his original dungeon with "Rocks, Paper, Sissors". "Levels" only applied to the depth of the dungeons, not the characters.



[citation needed] 




Agreed.  Given that the game was an outgrowth of a miniatures combat game he also wrote the rules for, I do not think this is correct.

Carl
Mr. Gygax resolved combat in his original dungeon with "Rocks, Paper, Sissors". "Levels" only applied to the depth of the dungeons, not the characters.



[citation needed] 



Looks at OD&D 3-pamphlet set, pamphlet named Men & Magic, Volume 1 from 1974.
Sees dice descriptions on page 5 (1 pair 4-sided, 1 pair 8-sided, 4 to 20 pairs of 6-sided, 1 pair 20-sided, 1 pair 12-sided).
Sees levels and level-names for Fighting Men (9 levels, from Veteran to Lord), Magic Users (11 levels, from Medium to Wizard), and Clerics (8 levels, from Acolyte to Patriarch) on page 16.
Disregards OPs comments.   
Did Chainmail use levels?
Men & Magic definitely did.
The OP is misremembering an anecdote involding Dave Arneson.

Specifically, before development on the original Dungeons & Dragons game began in earnest, Arneson used Rock/Paper/Scissors for campaigns played in Blackmoor as his gaming interests began to move away from wargaming and into the exploits of individual heroes.

Regardless, this method was abandoned as the rules for D&D developed between Arneson and Gygax.   

All around helpful simian

Mr. Gygax resolved combat in his original dungeon with "Rocks, Paper, Sissors". "Levels" only applied to the depth of the dungeons, not the characters. It's a natural progression, deeper dungeons require stronger characters ad infinitum.  Even D&D succumbs at some point to the law of diminishing returns.  Here we are in the 21st century, with 4e "Epic" levels and so forth. We are way, way beyond even Gygax's imagination, and what are we doing?  Adding complexity.  That alone alienates any fanbase


please go reread the original Chainmail rules and compare the complexity with modern games.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

I am DMng a 5E playtest game that had three different story lines going at the same time.  I am not an accountant.  I am just organized and flexible.

5E will keep me, as a DM, hopping.  But I can't imagine enjoying DMing a game that did not.

Plus, my feedback is amazing.  They still need me.  Laughing

I am about done with the playtest material, tho.  There is nothing in the beastiary that can touch my capped sorcerer.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Answer: Have a slow experience progression with any version of D&D you want to play. That way you can experience as much of each level as you want. The rest just gets into a mechanics discussion, and I agree everyone has different tastes. The only other thing I can state, is the benefit of sticking with the current edition of the game is support in regards to adventures, etc. That has always been my biggest draw to the system, including the availability of players. There are other systems that work better for my needs, but I do not have the time available to create adventures, worlds, etc. like I did when I first started to play.
     
I don't really see a problem here. You don't like higher level play and the additional complexity that comes with it? Don't make characters level up in your campaign. If you and your players do not feel the need to acquire new, shiny options for your characters during a campaign and are content doing the same things over and over, do it.

The Wotc police is not going to bash down the door and burn your books. 

However, those of us (the overwhelming majority, I'd say) who like levels and a bit of scaling complexity, need professionally designed rules. You see, it's much easier to have something (like rules for leveling up characters and multiple class/feats/spells options) and ignore it if you don't like it, than to NOT have something and having to create it from scratch if you want it.

Let us have our multiple, complex options. You can safely ignore them.

If WOTC want to make an impact with Next, eliminate levels altoghether. Good dungeon masters, like professional screen-writers can adapt and make endlessly incredible adventures using simple level one characters. That's where everybody starts, and that's what everybody loves.

 

I disagree!

The DM isn't the only person playing at the table. Everybody is! Creating your character, imagining his background or how he looks is all part of the fun. Having your character go from zero to hero is loads of fun. All these things make a better story.

I've played other games that don't use levels (GURPS, d100 games). They're not nearly as fun than D&D. Whenever I play these games, I always get the feeling that my character is stagnating. The only exception is Cthulhu because in our games, combat pretty much means we're going to die.

Even for a DM, levels are fun. You have a lot more to take into account against high level characters: divinations, bad ass exploration spells. Incorporating these new spells in the story just makes it better.


Chess players never tire of the format. It is the same for any successfull game. Get a clue.



Developpement is an integral part of many other games. Why do people play FarmVille, Railroad Tycoon, Sim City, the Sims? What's the point in having a Tamagotchi?

All these games have one thing in common: you're building something. Character building is fun! Well for some of us anyways.
 

4. Preachings from WOTC talk about the sanctity of the "core rules". Substitute "core rules" for "Level 1 basic rules". Any difference? Layering complexity on top of the core rules only circumvents those rules.



I get how you feel. Sometimes the numbers "mill" seems to increase just because the monsters numbers increase. And the monsters only increase because they need to be a challenge for Player's increase, and on and on. So at 1st level you have an AC of 18 and that's pretty awesome, but by level 8 an AC of 18 is pretty bad and you need to be in the low to mid 20's to be effective. The thing is, D&D has always done this for the past 25+ years. Expecting it to change NOW is just wishful hoping. And apparently this model has been effective as a D&D game for 25+ years (or longer).

So, my suggestion is: Don't level up your characters as you adventure. Perhaps you still want to add some magical items to your game, then use the D&D:Next rules for magical items as they pertain to your campaign or perhaps you like the 1st level Dual-Class/Hybrid rules (if they make such a thing). What E6 did (a version of 3rd Edition D&D) is stop progression at 6th level and from there, progress by Feats as you gain XP. So if your players still want some sort of gain/growth from adventuring then perhaps instead of level, you just gain Feats.

Anyways, I don't think this is the death of D&D at all. The model has been unchanging for as long as I've played the game and while the differences of HOW to play the game change all the time, the basic principals that D&D has run on are still there: A class-based, level-based
Fantasy Roleplaying Game.



5. Being bored easily is the same thing as "Short Attention Span Theater".  It"s not an indication of intelligence, rather the opposite.
 



Now for this; first a short attention span does not equate to limited intelligence. That's just plain insulting. Second, the game can get stale for players when their options are never changing. Using the same maneuvers, the same 10 spells, the same armor or weapons, going against the same monsters IS boring (IMO) after a few months of playing it. If there feels like there is no progression (aside from story) then after a while the POINT in adventuring loses it's luster. So, if your group is fine with 1st level and the basic rules of D&D:Next, then I'd suggest you house-rule a "No Progression" rule where your 1st level character is the end-all, be-all and live with it. I would not expect D&D:Next, however, to conform to that and remain with levels for the end of days.
If WOTC want to make an impact with Next, eliminate levels altoghether. Good dungeon masters, like professional screen-writers can adapt and make endlessly incredible adventures using simple level one characters. That's where everybody starts, and that's what everybody loves.

 

I disagree!

The DM isn't the only person playing at the table. Everybody is! Creating your character, imagining his background or how he looks is all part of the fun. Having your character go from zero to hero is loads of fun. All these things make a better story.

I've played other games that don't use levels (GURPS, d100 games). They're not nearly as fun than D&D. Whenever I play these games, I always get the feeling that my character is stagnating. The only exception is Cthulhu because in our games, combat pretty much means we're going to die.

Even for a DM, levels are fun. You have a lot more to take into account against high level characters: divinations, bad ass exploration spells. Incorporating these new spells in the story just makes it better.


Chess players never tire of the format. It is the same for any successfull game. Get a clue.



Developpement is an integral part of many other games. Why do people play FarmVille, Railroad Tycoon, Sim City, the Sims? What's the point in having a Tamagotchi?

All these games have one thing in common: you're building something. Character building is fun! Well for some of us anyways.

If level 5 is more fun than level 1, why bother with level 1 at all? I don't believe that level 1 is level 5 with training wheels attached.  Adding modifiers and more hit points is not in any way "character building".  I'm just saying that moving your character up another level shouldn't be the be all and end all of the game. Level 10 characters are not "more fun". They are more complicated. You have to carry around lots of paperwork to keep track of all the additions.  If that is the goal, why not just start with those rules and powers anyway?
If level 5 is more fun than level 1, why bother with level 1 at all?


It is the journey, not the destination, grasshopper, that matters.

You have to carry around lots of paperwork to keep track of all the additions.


Fortunately for you, the playtest materials allow you to have a simple character with very little paperwork.  Don't use Backgrounds, don't use Specialties.  Want a simple character?  Choose a fighter and use CS only to inflict extra damage.  Choose a thief.  As you level up, all you'll ever have to do is ocassionally add a +1 to your attack bonus or a skill check and roll hp.  That's as simple as it ever was in OD&D (simpler, since we traded attack matrices for the simpler atack bonus).
 
Yes, we are all free to make the rules that suit us, but D&D next "core rules" get more complex with every playtest".  



Not sure the core element is changing that much... they seem to be introducing core + some module or another. The change in hit points may have been a removal of a module for instance. For instance the first rules had perhaps a heroic hitpoints module.

I dont think they have given up on the simplistic "core"  
  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."

 

The OP is misremembering an anecdote involding Dave Arneson.

Specifically, before development on the original Dungeons & Dragons game began in earnest, Arneson used Rock/Paper/Scissors for campaigns played in Blackmoor as his gaming interests began to move away from wargaming and into the exploits of individual heroes.

Regardless, this method was abandoned as the rules for D&D developed between Arneson and Gygax.   



I may make a module using a form of rock paper scissors... presumedly it was abandoned due to the desire for more detailed variation. 5e's use of bounded accuracy is actually supportive of it, since to hit progression is a somewhat less significant value of leveling... its been transferred at some level to damage.  If there is an armor was damage resistance technique that would help a bit as well.

  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."

 

If level 5 is more fun than level 1, why bother with level 1 at all? I don't believe that level 1 is level 5 with training wheels attached.  Adding modifiers and more hit points is not in any way "character building".  I'm just saying that moving your character up another level shouldn't be the be all and end all of the game.



Character advancement IS fun because it has a direct correlation with your achievements as you progress through the game (adventure, quest, etc). Level 1 IS fun and that's why it takes a few sessions to go to 2nd level. Once you hit 2nd level, you can breath a tiny bit more as you adventure. Orcs and Kobolds are still dangerous but your more reassured in your capabilities to deal with those threats. That is then challenged by something more difficult and different. As a 1st level character, I know how Goblins and Kobolds and Orcs fight. I see the traps they make and gain a grasp of how their society works. That intrinsic knowledge helps me overcome them when they're adversaries. Then you  throw in an Ettin and it's a whole new ballgame with new experiences and more knowledge to gain (as a Character).

I have a feeling that you believe most D&D players have some sort of value system where as their level goes up, so too does the fun but that simply isn't true (at least for me anyways). I see different kinds of fun at the level I'm playing. I thought the tiers of play 4E brought in was a terrific idea that had a lot of sense build in. The first ten levels were heroic. You did heroic things that would have an effect on a smaller area, perhaps a few small towns or small region. Here you fight more common foes that plague simple people and small civilizations. The Threats are on par with your level and the area your in. In paragon tier, your more renown but the threats you face are more threatening. Cities are specifically requesting your name to deal with Frost Giants, with Demons and Devils, and corrupted organizations. These are characters that affect big cities and big regions than before because the scheme of the monsters are often incorporated over a bigger area with more intrigue. Then you hit Epic tier, 21-30 levels and this is where your on the world/cosmic scale. The foes you face in this aspect aren't demons and devils, they're Princes of Hell or Avatars of Gods. Your directly working with rulers of countries and national powers. Your hardly considered "mortal" by plebeians and revered as Legends. You can travel planes as easily as people walk to the farmer's market. You converse with Angels and divert world-dominating forces. People at level 1 just don't do this. Ever. And if they could, then it shouldn't be a level-based game.


 Level 10 characters are not "more fun". They are more complicated. You have to carry around lots of paperwork to keep track of all the additions.  If that is the goal, why not just start with those rules and powers anyway?



That really depends on class, rather than level. I had a 3E wizard that had 5-6 pages starting out at 1st level. They were mostly spells and equipment page with the basic stats on page 1. I can make a D&D:Next fighter at 5th level on 1 piece of paper, with the equipment and background and mechanics and specialties all listed there. It takes a bit of shorthand (like dmg for damage, atk for attack) but it's pretty simple as far as management of paperwork goes. Additionally, your equating complicated with options and that's simply not the case. A 5th level Fighter in the playtest has a few more options but works pretty much the same. I attack with a static bonus, add damage, and that's about it. I'm just not seeing the over complexity with D&D:Next as you, perhaps.
Yes, we are all free to make the rules that suit us, but D&D next "core rules" get more complex with every playtest.

Yes, the complete rules will be more complex than an incomplete subset of the rules with no attempt to fill in for the missing rules.

Kind of like how the rules for chess are more complex than the rules for how pawns and bishops move.

And the playtests have been moving toward being more-complete subsets - they don't have even a first draft of complete rules figured out yet.


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
If level 5 is more fun than level 1, why bother with level 1 at all?

I don't think Level 5 is more fun than Level 1, and I don't think Level 1 is more fun than Level 5. What I DO think is that watching my character progress, gain new skills and new abilities is fun. I like starting with something just out of the training hall, and watch her grow with her experiences, learn new spells or combat moves or skills or languages or ... And it's satisfying to see that we ARE gaining those things because we have, as a group, overcome the challenges that the DM has set us. If I want to play a game with static rules, where the challenge is to try to use the known set of rules to WIN, I'll choose Chess or Monopoly or Bridge, or something like that. But for us, D&D isn't a game we WIN. It's a game we play and really love that's been going on for nearly 30 years. What game of Chess can claim that?

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

If level 5 is more fun than level 1, why bother with level 1 at all?

I don't think Level 5 is more fun than Level 1, and I don't think Level 1 is more fun than Level 5. What I DO think is that watching my character progress, gain new skills and new abilities is fun. I like starting with something just out of the training hall, and watch her grow with her experiences, learn new spells or combat moves or skills or languages or ... And it's satisfying to see that we ARE gaining those things because we have, as a group, overcome the challenges that the DM has set us. If I want to play a game with static rules, where the challenge is to try to use the known set of rules to WIN, I'll choose Chess or Monopoly or Bridge, or something like that. But for us, D&D isn't a game we WIN. It's a game we play and really love that's been going on for nearly 30 years. What game of Chess can claim that?



Anything I would try to add would just be redundant due to SteeleButterfly's post. Well said.
I like simple systems but I've always felt that the forms should vary and be plentiful.  A form is a particular monster or a spell or a feat.   Such things so long as they harmonious fit inside a simple system makes for a fun game.  

I am on the fence about 5e.  I don't know if it will be the game for me.  But I definitely would never make that decision prior to the final game getting released.  I'll comment along the way if I feel like it.  I see things I like a lot and things I dislike.  Thats the way of life.  I never know which direction the playtest will go.  I get the feeling that they are reacting to feedback.  





 
 
Yes, we are all free to make the rules that suit us, but D&D next "core rules" get more complex with every playtest".  



Not sure the core element is changing that much... they seem to be introducing core + some module or another. The change in hit points may have been a removal of a module for instance. For instance the first rules had perhaps a heroic hitpoints module.

I dont think they have given up on the simplistic "core"  



This is in error as stated.


We are testing the core.  The last packet was a version of the core.  This packet is a version of the core (with the possible exception of the Sorcerer and Warlock not being core four).  The next packet will be a version of the core.


Changes to things like the hit points do not represent modules - they are alternate versions of core.


Carl
Personally, I think the core element needs to remain simple.  I like what they have so far.  It simple, and its streamlined.  Its a good start to build other stuff on.  I'll be interested to see what the next playtest material looks like.  Personally, I don't want to see all the fluff built into this version that 3, 3.5 and 4 all have.  I want a simple core that I can play with the base four classes.  Beyond that, they can add on with modules and other stuff.  I think when they switched from being more Theatre of the Mind to Tabletop MMORPG, they killed what this game was.  Some people like all that fluff.  Some people approach this game wanting to power game with a fantasy superhero.  Me, I want to build that superhero one level at a time, so that he don't come into his own until about 7th level or so.  I like the Frodo journey to hero, instead of starting out as Thor, God of Thunder.  But that's just me.
Waah!  Waaaaaaah!  I quit!

 



Bye