An Opinion on Design

What is D&D? A miserable pile of sacred cows.

Let me start by saying that I am not an edition warrior. I have some preferences for 4E and Pathfinder, but I largely see many of the same issues in all of them. Rather, I come from an outside perspective as someone who would prefer that WotC make an objectively better game, not simply please some groups which may or may not be pleasable. To that end, I'm going to point out what I see as serious CORE flaws, ones that hold the entire edition back, and that can't simply be fixed by expecting everyone to buy splat books called "modules".

Ability Scores:

So let's start from the absolute basics, attributes. We've had six ability scores for a while now, and the basic premise is fine, in that it attempts to give a triad of physical and mental stats which should altogether cover pretty much anything. That's good. What isn't, however, is the lack of balance, and sometimes lack of definition in a few of them.

So first off, Strength. The only non-skill or attack based function it provides is carrying capacity, which historically becomes moot due to things like bags of holding. It typically helps with things like jumping, swimming, and climbing, but at the same time these activities are often penalized by armour to begin with, and strong characters tend to be the armour wearing types, so this evens it out, if anything. Then we have the combat aspect, it only acts as a bonus to attacks and damage. What this means, is we have a stat that effectively is only useful for it's attack bonus, because the damage bonus is small and will never scale to match monster HP, but the attack bonus will always be useful. And on top of that, attack bonuses like this destroy the concept of bounded accuracy, which in turn means that this stat either keeps that effect and breaks the purpose of bounded accuracy, or loses it and effectively governs nothing. Either way, it needs work.

Next, Constitution. This one has been an age old problem, because a stat that governs HP will automatically be useful to everyone, but more importantly it simply controls too much of player HP. If we look at the average HP per level, Wizards and Rogues currently get 4, Clerics get 5, and Fighters get 6. What this means, is a 14 Con is about a 50% HP boost to the lower health classes, and 16 Con is a 50% health boost to a Fighter. The only stat somewhat comparable in how much of an effect it gives is Dexterity, which I'll get to in a moment. Constitution also governs saves against quite a few effects, many of them lethal if a save is failed, once again making it possibly too important.

Dexterity is thought of by some to be a "super stat", and honestly it's true. Governing attack and damage of finesse and ranged weapons, AC, initiative, several types of checks, as well as still governing the same saving throws as reflex, it's doing far too much. In particular, as noted with Strength, the attack part would have to go, while the damage doesn't scale and has the same issue of starting powerful and then becoming unimportant. The AC boost could also be argued to be a bad thing for bounded accuracy, since in that kind of system it's important for monsters to be able to hit the players as well. And as for initiative, it's arguable, because the swingier the game is, the more imbalancing it is, because winning initiative can mean winning the fight.

Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma all share very similar problems. Simply put, they have nothing to properly govern as far as stats are concerned, acting only as stats for skill checks, savings throws, and govern the attack of a magic user, which as noted more than once, is a bad idea for bounded accuracy. While their influence on skill checks are fine, they lack any tangible way to affect combat, their saving throws are ambiguous due to being split off from Will saves, and in the case of Wisdom and Charisma, the stats themselves are difficult to properly define. Wisdom apparently reflects perception, insight, and... religion for some reason? If it weren't for the random tying of this stat to divine magic, you might easily be able to simply call it Perception, as that is what it otherwise governs and seems to make an awful lot more sense.

Then there's Charisma, which suffers from a few problems. First off, it's the "social stat" making it's usefulness entirely dependent on both the DM creating appropriate social situations, and the players using social checks rather than trying to fight or avoid interaction. What this also causes though, is a discrepancy between roleplaying and checks, where high Charisma can allow a player to be accomplished in social interaction without actually roleplaying, and conversely a good roleplayer can be penalized for not putting enough points into Charisma to ensure success. There is also of course the issue of immense overlap between Wisdom saving throws and Charisma saving throws, to the point where the example saves for Wisdom(charms, fears, being influenced) really make more sense for Charisma, as in this case it helps protect against anything that mess with sense of self. The last thing I have to say on Charisma, is as it represents force of personality, sheer force of will, and the ability to influence others, perhaps it ought to be known as Willpower instead? If there's an issue of influencing others not always making sense, with the way checks and skills work it hardly matters, just pick the score that DOES fit for that situation.

Classes:

Next, your four "core" classes. Along with ability scores needing work, if you are to base all future classes off of your first four, you're going to need a very strong foundation, otherwise the game will fall apart. Due to the nature of the classes, and their interaction being the important part, I won't cover them individually, but I will instead compare them and comment on the whole.

So the first issue, is you need to decide what core four really means. Is it playstyle, role, or just theme? Because as it is right now, it seems more like theme than anything, because while the four are different, it's not in a way that's good for the game. Three pillars of the game have been brought up before, and that applies here. Every class needs to be able to contribute equally in combat, exploration, and social situations. Social situations above all others is more RP and DM based, so class influence in that area should be fairly slim, but still equivalent, leaving that area of progression to the story and interaction. That leaves combat, and exploration, which absolutely MUST be equal. Note, that equal doesn't mean that what a class provides needs to be the exact same as another, only that the output is even.

So, we have a class that by name alone claims that it must be the best at fighting, which is already a bad idea. We have a class that defines itself by only using skills, acting as an opposite almost, which is also bad because this means that the Rogue will always outperform the Fighter in exploration and social areas, while failing at combat, when really the two should be even with different approaches. We then have a class that arguably has too much influence on the flow of the game due to a monopoly on healing, while still being generally effective in the other areas. And lastly we have a class that seems to be specifically designed as a one round winner type of class, where they simply steal the spotlight from the rest of the players by expending a limited resource to simply end fights outright much of the time, using that same ability to generally instantly succeed and exceed what the other classes can do in exploration as well. All in all, it's a mess, the Fighter needs more exploration and out of combat abilities, the Rogue needs less instant success on every skill ever and better but different combat ability than the Fighter, the Cleric can't be the only guy with healing, and needs to avoid out of hand spells, but is otherwise a decent base gish, and the Wizard needs to stop doing everyone's job better, because a limited number of uses doesn't make that balanced.

If you need a brainstorming starting point, consider the 4E roles, but don't stop at combat. The four core classes already largely comprise of those combat roles, but define four different ways of doing exploration, and possibly four different ways of handling social situations. You can consider these to be similar to themes/specialties/backgrounds, and as a result you open up the possibility of mixing and matching combat style and exploration style to give different approaches to classes.

Oh, and quit it with the dumb Fighter needs to be simple thing. Just give every class basic options(That means Wizards and Clerics too), and then build upon them with choices for every class to make. This means let every class have a bunch of things they could choose to do every round WITHOUT making basic attacking objectively better, which unfortunately is how the Fighter currently is. Also fill up dead levels and give options as characters level. if you only want to give us ten levels base because making anything higher is too "hard" for you, then at the very least make them meaningful. there is literally zero point in just getting higher numbers and stronger versions of the same things other than to please people who like bigger numbers. I'm not saying do away with leveling altogether, but more choices should be a core feature, not a module. The last note on classes I have is, first step to balancing out casters and avoiding five minute workdays or one spell encounter enders, is do away with vancian casting as core, just saying.

Races:

Lastly, races. I don't have much to say here, because it's all pretty much been said, but what I will say is this. Give humans a real feature, endurance or ingenuity could be a starting point, but make it something that actually effects how they play, make it something that isn't objectively superior to other races, and stop it with the versatility thing, that's most of the problem with your Wizard design too. Separate racial and cultural benefits into two neat packages, dwarves may always be tough, but they might not always use hammers, for example. On a similar note, make the benefits of the races useful to any class. This is something you tried to do somewhat in 4E, but you seem to have completely abandoned it at this point. This means stop giving them weapon based bonuses as a major trait, it pigeon holes characters into picking those options, and it doesn't benefit any character that can't or wouldn't use those weapons.
There's quite a few good ideas/points in there.  I fear the time for good ideas has past, though.  For good or ill, DDN seems to currently be in the "Boldly going forward, and thing are getting worse!" phase.
I agree with a lot of this. When backgrounds were announced, I was so excited - they could now make all classes contribute only to combat, and backgrounds contribute only to out of combat. In that model, a rogue is a "mobile warrior/acrobat", and a wizard is a "spell caster/spell caster." That allows clerics, who tend to lack out of combat options, to be focused on "spell caster generalist" or face or guru, depending on what the player wants.

However, the feedback on the forums tends to be that tradition is important, whether it makes the game good or not. While I understand the appeal of tradition, I buy games on their merits, not on their nostalgia.

I just feel like the developers have blind spots. The whole discussion of magic users and different casting systems _never_ got to the concept of easy to run spell users. It was always the spell casters are the classes the experts play, where the new players should play fighters. I just don't understand why we rely on tying archetypes to play styles - if I'm new and want to play Harry potter, why do I have to play Conan, just because its easier? Why not have a easy wizard?
Well put, MeCorva.  I truly hope they take the risk to design a great game, regardless of violating nostalgia.  

Making class determine only the combat pillar, with backgrounds as exploration/social would have been a great step in that direction.

The metagame is not the game.

+1
The designers could look at fun successful new RPGs for inspiration. Many of them have some very interesting mechanics. Instead creativity has been replaced by nostalgia and good game design has been given no thought at all. Oh well.
Unfortunately, I find myself agreeing with many views here :P. Sometimes, "nostalgia and tradition" seem to affect Next's design much harder than "balance and playability".
Are you threatening me master jedi? Dungeons & Dragons 4e Classic - The Dark Edition
The designers do seem to be having an unatural relationship with the earlier editions and Next seems to be held hostage to the whims of grognards. I do not want a 2-3 decade old retread.

So what the OP is saying is "focus on 4e". That's a valid position but I'd be more intrigued with some actual suggestions using the framework we have, since at this stage there is absolutely no way they're gonna throw out the framework they've got.


I quite like how it's taking the spirit of AD&D and integrating ideas, myself. It's a long way from perfect, I'll give you that, but the game plays well once I fix the monsters.


I wonder how the reactions will change when the tactical rules come out.


So what the OP is saying is "focus on 4e". That's a valid position but I'd be more intrigued with some actual suggestions using the framework we have, since at this stage there is absolutely no way they're gonna throw out the framework they've got.




Hes not saying focus on 4E he is saying, He is saying focus on balance and gameplay rather than sacred cows. As this elements are emphasized in 4E you are saying he wants focus on 4E... it doesn't mean 5E should copy 4E, but shouldn't ignore it as well.

I have no idea why one edition has to be a complete departure from the previous one. Makes no sense to me. IMO the smoothest the transition the better. WoTC is greedy, they want´to have all its customers back, all at the same time. It wont´happen. Starting with 4E fan base. If they made a smoother transition, they would keep all current fans, and gather a lot from other games. To do this, they should look forward to better ideas and not look back to the old days of AD&D when the game was the best selling because it was the only game in town.

I understand lots of people form old days are avid to get back to D&D and are giving high rates to the playtest, out of nostalgia alone. Unfortunately I´m afraid it won´t hold the game together for more than a couple of years. If that´s the path WoTC wants to follow they should keep the current edition and constantly update it, at the same time they should release an old school version of D&D, try to slowly gather the old school crowd.

WoTC will not be able to convert everyone to it´s new edition in the day it´s released, that´s for sure.



I wonder how the reactions will change when the tactical rules come out.




Putting tactics on top of a not functional framework won´t make it better. A "tactical module" won´t fix all the problems the OP is highlighting, it will make it worst and more complicated.

 
D&D Next should foucs on D&D Next and neither on 4E nor on older Editions. There are many, many things that devs should reconsider before releasing something, which people already had 10 years ago. Also that would not make old customers turn their backs on older editions or other RPGs. The OP really brings forth the main issues and problems. 

I for example also have always wondered why a barbarian can't intimidate as good as a bard does, though his appearance should be more intimidating by default. Yet the skill relies on charisma and charisma is more than often a dump stat for barbarians, who give more attention to strength, constitution and dexterity, simply because they are in bigger need of all their physical abilities. They need to hit and damage well, they need to have good hitpoints and they need a good armor class even with light/medium armor. No big room for mental abilities then. Though is charisma actually a mental ability?

Thing is, 4e made the mistake of being a huge departure from the previous. I agree that you're courting disaster when you do things like that with an edition of an existing game, but it's all ready happened.


I also agree that by backpedaling they're probably repeating that same mistake and the validity of their reasons is a point of debate.


One thing Mearls said in an interview that they were looking at all versions of D&D for inspiration, which means that some will go ahead and call it a pile of sacred cows.


It also means that the next edition will definitely be a large departure from 4e because 4e was a large departure from D&D, in general. It doesn't mean that there won't be any 4e in there though.

So first off, Strength. ... What this means, is we have a stat that effectively is only useful for it's attack bonus, because the damage bonus is small and will never scale to match monster HP, but the attack bonus will always be useful. And on top of that, attack bonuses like this destroy the concept of bounded accuracy, which in turn means that this stat either keeps that effect and breaks the purpose of bounded accuracy, or loses it and effectively governs nothing. Either way, it needs work.

Dexterity ... In particular, as noted with Strength, the attack part would have to go, while the damage doesn't scale and has the same issue of starting powerful and then becoming unimportant. The AC boost could also be argued to be a bad thing for bounded accuracy, since in that kind of system it's important for monsters to be able to hit the players as well.
Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma all share very similar problems.... govern the attack of a magic user, which as noted more than once, is a bad idea for bounded accuracy


"Bounded accuracy" means exactly that. Not that it can't increase, but that there are upper bounds placed upon it. Since Ability Scores are hard-capped at 20 (except for Strength, thanks to the Girdles of Giant Strength), and no magic weapons grant more than a +3 to hit (and that is only the absolutely most powerful ones) accuracy is effectively capped at +13: +5 Ability, +5 Class, +3 Magic Sword.
It occurs to me that the foundation of DDN seeks to encapsulate all that D&D is in its purest core, so the first three rounds of playtest material has labored towards nostalgia as it begins the groundwork of the edition. Once the 'feel' has been captured, I fully anticipate seeing more consideration for balance, playability, and contemporary mechanics. If we can just hold off on all the 'wahh, boo, grognardism, D&D is old and DOOMed™' we can most probably expect a pretty cool game in about 18 months.

Danny

Why not have a easy wizard?




That would be the one in the 1st playtest packet (the best packet so far), as of the last packet the classes are a tad scattered  (the wizard is a mess, IMO).



Uh, no the first Wizard was still a vancian mess. Think about the third splat book when that Wizard had access to 100's of spells.

When we say simple we are talking comparable to the 3.xE Fighter or the 2E Fighter simple. Here this is what we are talking about:

Wizard
Arcane Magic
Benefit: You can blast magical energy at your foes whether they are adjacent to you or far away.
Spells: Pick an area type. Its size is based on your level * 5'. You deal 1d6 damage for every third level you have acheived.
Elements: At first level choose 2 damage types. You can add the damage type to your magical energy type. At each succeeding level choose another energy type. If you choose the same energy type multiple times you can ignore 1 point of resistance for every additional time you chose that energy type.

See a new class in one paragraph.

Thing is, 4e made the mistake of being a huge departure from the previous. I agree that you're courting disaster when you do things like that with an edition of an existing game, but it's all ready happened.


I also agree that by backpedaling they're probably repeating that same mistake and the validity of their reasons is a point of debate.


One thing Mearls said in an interview that they were looking at all versions of D&D for inspiration, which means that some will go ahead and call it a pile of sacred cows.


It also means that the next edition will definitely be a large departure from 4e because 4e was a large departure from D&D, in general. It doesn't mean that there won't be any 4e in there though.




Yep, I like mixing chocolate ice cream into my fish stew. It just makes it better than fish stew and chocolate ice cream separate.
There are a few other sacred cows I'd be happy to slaughter and grill, but that's not really the point.  The point is that D&D as a franchise is weighted down by four decades of bad design.  So many of the decisions made back in the day were just plain bad decisions, and we've been slowly winnowing them out as we learned and the hobby as a whole developed.  But by now, many of them have the weight of tradition behind them and cannot be changed without a backlash.  Now, the fanbase is torn between people who want to move forward and people who want to move back, and those two things cannot be made compatible.  Anyone who thinks 4e fans can be satisfied by a tactical rules model doesn't understand 4e.  For all its flaws - and believe me, I can and have gone on for pages about its flaws - it was so much more than that.  It was about an attempt to balance classes in combat and across levels, about math that worked, hit points as an encounter resource, ending the 5mwd swing (at least the class disparity part of it, failed to fix the other half but not the point), about reducing trap options, ending dead levels, ...  And avowedly taking as your starting point an an attempt to distill the essential traditions of D&D (aka, the most sacred of its antiquated cows) doesn't inspire the new generation with hope for the future.

People put a lot of stock in modules, but even as a concept they have limits - as a practical matter they are unlikely to even stretch those limits.  People who like their first level fighter to be one-shottable cannot play at the same table as people who don't.  People who like hit points as an encounter resource cannot play at the same table as people who don't.  It does in fact affect the rest of the table's experience and potentially enjoyment when a vancian wizard trounces what was meant to be a tough encounter by blowing his save or suck spells, then asks to rest because let's face it, spamming ray of frost is not a fun or helpful way of getting through even a 4th level encounter when the fighter's doing more damage than that on a miss.  Or when a rogue completely shuts everyone else out of 2/3s of the game because anything you can do, he can do better.  Or when a fighter trivializes a climactic encounter with a BBEG fire giant because he can, with relatively low rolls, at-will, disarm him (mighty exhertion).  You can't fix an 8x1 fighter/wizard durability gap with a module without either super-powering the wizard or nerfing the fighter (although perhaps the fighter deserves to be nerfed, it still doesn't help the unnerfed fighter and the nerfed fighter play at the same table because "modules").  Nor can you fix fighters being useless in the interaction pillar or rogues being useless in the combat pillar without completely reworking the entire PHB, or just letting fighters rule the world with the same iron fist wizards used to.  

But even beyond the limits of what modules can do to unite players at a given table, there are practical limits to what they can do across tables.  A module that allows one to play an at-will or encounter-based wizard (and I don't mean non-scaling at-wills plus one encounter spell from your tradition) would have to rewrite fair chunks of the spell list to remain interesting and balanced (especially if the core wizard is maxing out at 2 spells/spell level).  A tactical module that doesn't come with a whole suite of powers designed to interact with positioning the way 4e did is going to be a waste of everyone's time (we don't just want to push people around the grid because we like fondling minis, we want those pushes to have tactically meaningful consequences, and flanking isn't half way to being enough).  A module that actually allows clerics to be something other than a healbot without ruining a party's long term durability (and no, HD don't fix that, you need at the very least to have cure spells pulling from a different resource pool than offensive spells) is also going to require a pretty serious reworking (you don't want to just cut their spell pool in half, since the whole point is to actually give them more spell slots that don't have to be spent on healing, and making a change like this to what is effectively a party resource as opposed to a player resource can have far reaching repercussions on the whole table).  And then there's the problem that any time you come within 10' of something that even smells like 4e, certain subsets of the fanbase throw a fit and run away without even giving serious consideration to whether it's a good thing, it's just "not D&D" or "too WoW" (I'm not accusing anyone in particular, and there are people who turn their noses up at 4e style mechanics for legitimate playstyle reasons so feel free to assume I put you in that category, but I have seen this).  So I don't have high hopes that even if a module comes out that does what I want it to do, that does it well, and that does it in a way that lets me play my way while the guy next to me plays his way without interfering with one another, that modules will actually succeed at uniting fans of different editions.  Add to all these difficulties the fact that, since the announcement of Next, the designers have never once hinted that they even understand what 4e fans wanted out of next (hint, it's not just a handful of fighter maneuvers and some at-will spells that become useless two levels in), and I'm seeing next to zero chance that 5e will be a game I want to play.  I'll keep looking, and giving feedback, and hoping they'll listen, but I'm not optimistic.

But more than that, they're already killing what chance they had of uniting the editions.  "It's only a playtest" only gets you so far as an excuse.  I keep coming here in ever dwindling hope, but the sand is trickling out of the hourglass.  I know at least 20 people who play D&D/OGL games regularly.  Not one of them is at all interested in the playtest, because not one of them thinks it has anything to offer them in its current format.  Maybe this is short sighted of them, but that's not the point.  The point is, they aren't playtesting.  That means WotC isn't getting their feedback, so WotC isn't hearing what they want out of the game, and therefore isn't going to give it to them.  And even if WotC did give it to them it would be too late because they've already given up on Next.  I recognize what a monumental undertaking the public playtest is, I really do.  But by the time they've hammered out the core, even if it is a good one and even if it is possible to add modules to achieve any play style, they'll have already chased away a good chunk of their potential customers.
Kadim: I don't want a rehash of 4e - I want a good system with innovative mechanics that appeals to the masses. If that means aedu for all classes fine. But, more likely, it involves making new and interesting decisions - and risky ones. Things like redefining character creation. Things like redefining classes to design to allow balance as an option. If that includes things from 1-4e, good.

Mrpop: I hope you're right. They've shown some interesting glimpses of design, such as advantage and backgrounds - if they can continue to execute well with new innovations, I'll be happy if it also "feels like d&d"
Power: it does feel like some of the worst designs have come from bowing to fans. Rogue as "skill monkey" seems entirely driven by fan backlash, for example. I'd be impressed if the designers were good enough to make an awesome game given the constraints they're under.
I for example also have always wondered why a barbarian can't intimidate as good as a bard does, though his appearance should be more intimidating by default. Yet the skill relies on charisma and charisma is more than often a dump stat for barbarians, who give more attention to strength, constitution and dexterity, simply because they are in bigger need of all their physical abilities. They need to hit and damage well, they need to have good hitpoints and they need a good armor class even with light/medium armor. No big room for mental abilities then. Though is charisma actually a mental ability?



The current playtest has fixed this issue for you with skills decoupled from ability scores.

When the barbarian flexes his bulging bicepts and bellows a mighty roar to intimidate the goblin, DM calls for a Strength check.  When the barbarian stabs his hand with a dagger, drinks the blood, and grimaces "you want summa this?!" then the DM calls for a Constitution check.  When the rogue does a flashy swish-swish with the rapier then the DM calls for a Dexterity check.  When the wizard crackles magical energies in her hands the DM calls for a Intelligence check.  When the cleric threatens with the eternal doom of the gods then the DM calls for a Wisdom check. 

Or, if the PC is more Charisma focused, then any of these can be a Charisma check.  

Decoupling skills from ability scores and lack of a hard framework in how they are to be applied melts away many of the problems the OP has with ability scores.
There are a few other sacred cows I'd be happy to slaughter and grill, but that's not really the point.  The point is that D&D as a franchise is weighted down by four decades of bad design.  So many of the decisions made back in the day were just plain bad decisions, and we've been slowly winnowing them out as we learned and the hobby as a whole developed.  But by now, many of them have the weight of tradition behind them and cannot be changed without a backlash.  Now, the fanbase is torn between people who want to move forward and people who want to move back, and those two things cannot be made compatible.  Anyone who thinks 4e fans can be satisfied by a tactical rules model doesn't understand 4e.  For all its flaws - and believe me, I can and have gone on for pages about its flaws - it was so much more than that.  It was about an attempt to balance classes in combat and across levels, about math that worked, hit points as an encounter resource, ending the 5mwd swing (at least the class disparity part of it, failed to fix the other half but not the point), about reducing trap options, ending dead levels, ...  And avowedly taking as your starting point an an attempt to distill the essential traditions of D&D (aka, the most sacred of its antiquated cows) doesn't inspire the new generation with hope for the future.

People put a lot of stock in modules, but even as a concept they have limits - as a practical matter they are unlikely to even stretch those limits.  People who like their first level fighter to be one-shottable cannot play at the same table as people who don't.  People who like hit points as an encounter resource cannot play at the same table as people who don't.  It does in fact affect the rest of the table's experience and potentially enjoyment when a vancian wizard trounces what was meant to be a tough encounter by blowing his save or suck spells, then asks to rest because let's face it, spamming ray of frost is not a fun or helpful way of getting through even a 4th level encounter when the fighter's doing more damage than that on a miss.  Or when a rogue completely shuts everyone else out of 2/3s of the game because anything you can do, he can do better.  Or when a fighter trivializes a climactic encounter with a BBEG fire giant because he can, with relatively low rolls, at-will, disarm him (mighty exhertion).  You can't fix an 8x1 fighter/wizard durability gap with a module without either super-powering the wizard or nerfing the fighter (although perhaps the fighter deserves to be nerfed, it still doesn't help the unnerfed fighter and the nerfed fighter play at the same table because "modules").  Nor can you fix fighters being useless in the interaction pillar or rogues being useless in the combat pillar without completely reworking the entire PHB, or just letting fighters rule the world with the same iron fist wizards used to.  

But even beyond the limits of what modules can do to unite players at a given table, there are practical limits to what they can do across tables.  A module that allows one to play an at-will or encounter-based wizard (and I don't mean non-scaling at-wills plus one encounter spell from your tradition) would have to rewrite fair chunks of the spell list to remain interesting and balanced (especially if the core wizard is maxing out at 2 spells/spell level).  A tactical module that doesn't come with a whole suite of powers designed to interact with positioning the way 4e did is going to be a waste of everyone's time (we don't just want to push people around the grid because we like fondling minis, we want those pushes to have tactically meaningful consequences, and flanking isn't half way to being enough).  A module that actually allows clerics to be something other than a healbot without ruining a party's long term durability (and no, HD don't fix that, you need at the very least to have cure spells pulling from a different resource pool than offensive spells) is also going to require a pretty serious reworking (you don't want to just cut their spell pool in half, since the whole point is to actually give them more spell slots that don't have to be spent on healing, and making a change like this to what is effectively a party resource as opposed to a player resource can have far reaching repercussions on the whole table).  And then there's the problem that any time you come within 10' of something that even smells like 4e, certain subsets of the fanbase throw a fit and run away without even giving serious consideration to whether it's a good thing, it's just "not D&D" or "too WoW" (I'm not accusing anyone in particular, and there are people who turn their noses up at 4e style mechanics for legitimate playstyle reasons so feel free to assume I put you in that category, but I have seen this).  So I don't have high hopes that even if a module comes out that does what I want it to do, that does it well, and that does it in a way that lets me play my way while the guy next to me plays his way without interfering with one another, that modules will actually succeed at uniting fans of different editions.  Add to all these difficulties the fact that, since the announcement of Next, the designers have never once hinted that they even understand what 4e fans wanted out of next (hint, it's not just a handful of fighter maneuvers and some at-will spells that become useless two levels in), and I'm seeing next to zero chance that 5e will be a game I want to play.  I'll keep looking, and giving feedback, and hoping they'll listen, but I'm not optimistic.

But more than that, they're already killing what chance they had of uniting the editions.  "It's only a playtest" only gets you so far as an excuse.  I keep coming here in ever dwindling hope, but the sand is trickling out of the hourglass.  I know at least 20 people who play D&D/OGL games regularly.  Not one of them is at all interested in the playtest, because not one of them thinks it has anything to offer them in its current format.  Maybe this is short sighted of them, but that's not the point.  The point is, they aren't playtesting.  That means WotC isn't getting their feedback, so WotC isn't hearing what they want out of the game, and therefore isn't going to give it to them.  And even if WotC did give it to them it would be too late because they've already given up on Next.  I recognize what a monumental undertaking the public playtest is, I really do.  But by the time they've hammered out the core, even if it is a good one and even if it is possible to add modules to achieve any play style, they'll have already chased away a good chunk of their potential customers.



+1
I know our group has been completely driven off from Next. I couldn't get anyone to give the latest iteration a try. Instead we're now focusing on house rules to fix what we feel are the holes in 4E to make it fit our playstyle better.

We aren't interested in going back to previous versions of D&D. We abandoned each of the previous editions for other game systems for a reason and we came back to new editions of D&D because of the advancements in design that had been made.

The fact is the rest of our group has decided that starting a Rifts campaign is a better use of their free time than testing Next. When you're losing your potential audience to RIFTS then you have a real problem.
I know our group has been completely driven off from Next. I couldn't get anyone to give the latest iteration a try. Instead we're now focusing on house rules to fix what we feel are the holes in 4E to make it fit our playstyle better. We aren't interested in going back to previous versions of D&D. We abandoned each of the previous editions for other game systems for a reason and we came back to new editions of D&D because of the advancements in design that had been made. The fact is the rest of our group has decided that starting a Rifts campaign is a better use of their free time than testing Next. When you're losing your potential audience to RIFTS then you have a real problem.



I started in this hobby with Palladium, and I couldn't agree with your last statement any more.
Yes, you could dump many of D&D's essential concepts and design a new game, from scratch.

It wouldn't be D&D any more, by definition. And since other companies are already doing that, you'd be throwing away the one thing D&D has over its competitors in the marketplace: brand recognition.

So no.

Decoupling skills from ability scores and lack of a hard framework in how they are to be applied melts away many of the problems the OP has with ability scores.



Actually, it doesn't. While it helps, I wrote my post with that in mind. Even decoupled, you're looking at one of two situations, either ability checks are applied to skills in a way that largely makes sense, which does still limit it somewhat so that you can't say use Strength for every check, or they let you use any stat for any check, in which case the whole meaning is lost and you might as well just have a single stat.

My real problem with the scores is what they do aside from skill checks, their mechanical interaction, and the severe lack of balance between those interactions.

Yes, you could dump many of D&D's essential concepts and design a new game, from scratch. It wouldn't be D&D any more, by definition. And since other companies are already doing that, you'd be throwing away the one thing D&D has over its competitors in the marketplace: brand recognition. So no.



Oh look, it's you.

If you're so hung up on D&D looking and feeling exactly as it has for decades, why do you even post here, seriously? I thought the whole point of D&D Next was to make it better, not stagnate. With people like you around, this edition would be better named D&D Old, because you don't seem to at all understand what innovation or growth mean. If all you can ever say is you "like how it was, change it back", then I'd suggest you stay out of my threads, for both our sake, because you'll get none of that, and I've grown tired of your "tradition is best" arguments.
Yes, you could dump many of D&D's essential concepts and design a new game, from scratch. It wouldn't be D&D any more, by definition. And since other companies are already doing that, you'd be throwing away the one thing D&D has over its competitors in the marketplace: brand recognition. So no.



Oh look, it's you.

If you're so hung up on D&D looking and feeling exactly as it has for decades, why do you even post here, seriously? I thought the whole point of D&D Next was to make it better, not stagnate. With people like you around, this edition would be better named D&D Old, because you don't seem to at all understand what innovation or growth mean. If all you can ever say is you "like how it was, change it back", then I'd suggest you stay out of my threads, for both our sake, because you'll get none of that, and I've grown tired of your "tradition is best" arguments.


The last time DnD did that, it splintered the fanbase and caused the massive cluster**** that spawned Pathfinder. The entire point of 5e is that they're trying to reunify the fanbase.
Kadim: I don't want a rehash of 4e - I want a good system with innovative mechanics that appeals to the masses. If that means aedu for all classes fine. But, more likely, it involves making new and interesting decisions - and risky ones. Things like redefining character creation. Things like redefining classes to design to allow balance as an option. If that includes things from 1-4e, good.



I don't think anyone actually wants 4e all over again. Quite the opposite; if that was true they'd be selling more 4e stuff and not making a new edition.


But I can't help but notice that these kinds of threads (which are generally fairly derisive and often read like the person is venting off steam) basically suggest another look at 4e. I don't think 4e should be discarded, but I would love to see some new things suggested that do the things that people like about 4e and integrate with the system we've got in front of us.


And I agree that there are many characteristics of the game that are recognisable as peculiar to D&D - which is good because it makes the game unique. I'm not saying it doesn't brook improvement, but it means that it's in the interests of the brand to keep things recognisable.


If the stated aim is to catch the spirit of all editions of D&D, then 4e's going to have a voice in the end product. However, that voice will be proportional to the representation it's had in the past 40 years (basically 10% of it) and that's just assuming they aim to make sure each concept is present proportionally. If the attempt is instead to give each edition equal representation in the rules, then you're looking at 25% - perhaps 33% if you make AD&D one big edition.


Point is, the stated goal automatically places 4e fans at a disadvantage.

It wouldn't be D&D any more, by definition.  And since other companies are already doing that, you'd be throwing away the one thing D&D has over its competitors in the marketplace: brand recognition.


I think you're making a presumption as to just how much of D&D's mechanics are actually required for brand recognition when probably 90%+ of the US population thinks that "D&D" and "roleplaying" are the same thing.

The modern Corvette is vastly different from the 1953 original and yet both enjoy the brand recognition of being a Corvette.

Frankly, so long as the game has adventurers going through dungeons fighting monsters (including dragons) I think the vast majority of those who aren't already grognards (including the 4E variety) are going to think "yup, that's D&D... it says so right on the label."

There will always be car enthusiasts who insist that [insert make and model here] from three decades ago was the pinnacle of automotive design. That doesn't mean their pinnacle of design won't be blown out of the water by its modern equivalent in every single aspect.

The same goes for RPG design (which has advanced considerably in the past couple of decades). Frankly, D&D needs to have some ergonomics and best practices-style overhauls done to it if it has any hope of surviving in the modern multimedia jungle of today's entertainment options.

I am of the personal opinion that 4E's biggest problem is that it did not go far enough in terms of killing off needless sacred cows (indeed, some of the internal bits that have come out are that they did indeed hold back in order to not alienate the grognards quite so much) and that if you want to get real mass market appeal for the game it needs to go even further in the direction of using the same design principles that major video game producers use for their products (i.e. ergonomic evaluations, focus groups, best practices reviews, et cetera) and not trying to recapture a past that has long since vanished outside of the RPG equivalent of classic car collectors (an extremely niche market).
If the stated aim is to catch the spirit of all editions of D&D, then 4e's going to have a voice in the end product. However, that voice will be proportional to the representation it's had in the past 40 years (basically 10% of it) and that's just assuming they aim to make sure each concept is present proportionally. If the attempt is instead to give each edition equal representation in the rules, then you're looking at 25% - perhaps 33% if you make AD&D one big edition.


Either approach (based on number of years or based on number of editions) is a terrible design decision. This isn't a paint by numbers project. The mechanics used in 4e that were new mechanics were introduced for a reason. Some were thought to be fun and cool, some were placed there to solve specific issues, and some were natural evolutions based on audience expectations. When making a new edition, the designers should look at what they are trying to accomplish in each aspect of the game and use a mechanic that they see fitting there, regardless of what edition it comes from.

For example, if a 4e mechanic is the best mechanic so far to fix an identified issue, but there is a lot of dislike for that specific mechanic, then don't try to make it fit and don't try to use an older mechanic that doesn't solve the identified issue, instead make a new mechanic. And you can see this in how they use Backgrounds to create a separation of most skills from classes.
Professor daddy:

If D&D's essential concepts were incompatible with good design, you'd be right.  But I don't think the game loses it's brand recognition when it has math that works, when it balances classes within pillars, when it drops +x bonuses on weapons/armor, when it has hit point progressions that don't result in one-shottable first level characters and unstoppable 10th level ones.  The 6 ability scores may be so important that they cannot be changed without it not being D&D (although some toying at the margins might be ok), the core four classes almost certainly, but there's an awful lot they could do if they started holding onto concepts instead of mechanics.  HP that more or less double from level one to two, that's a mechanic not an essential concept.  +1 weapons?  That's a mechanic, not an essential concept.  Controversial statement alert: Vancian casting, that's a mechanic not an essential concept.  I'm not saying that AEDU was conceptually equivalent to Vancian, and that the people who said "this doesn't feel like a D&D wizard to me" had an invalid opinion.  I'm saying there's ways to make a wizard that feels Vancian without causing 5mwd issues.  A wizard who scours the globe for powerful spells to scribe into his book, carefully chooses a limited number to prepare based on what he expects to face that day, and then loses them when he casts them.  Those are the essential concepts of a vancian, D&D wizard.  The mechanic that converts that into a mess where wizards rock single encounter days and fall apart on longer ones?  That can be fixed without losing those concepts.  Unless you think rocking one-encounter days and sucking longer ones is an essential part of the wizard's concept, in which case I don't want to play at the same table as you anyway.  

4e lost some important concepts, introduced some new ones, and generally did a pretty terrible job explaining why it made those departures and why they were much smaller departures than they appeared at first glance.  Mostly, it threw naked mechanics at us and completely ignored the concepts they might have been implementing.  Next can learn a lot from that failure, but the truth is the lesson is not that the mechanics were bad (at least not all of them).  Case in point, surges and AED wizards are back, just with a greater emphasis on the concepts those mechanics are supposed to be implementing and how those concepts really aren't all that different from older editions, because we've always been heroes with super-human endurance and AE is a function of the magic schools you've long had, and because we heard you didn't like heal bots and archers with pointy hats (and some minor tweaks in the mechanics that make them work even less well than they did in 4e, but that's another thread).  Much can be done to keep the essential concepts alive while at the same time gutting the system underneath.  I'm saying take your classic car and install a new, modern engine, don't install some gas-guzzling, underpowered hunk that was the best we could do 40 years ago, but also not tossing the whole thing and buying a brand new import.  Best of both worlds.  I think it can be done.  I don't think they're going to do it.  I wish they would.
It wouldn't be D&D any more, by definition.  And since other companies are already doing that, you'd be throwing away the one thing D&D has over its competitors in the marketplace: brand recognition.


I think you're making a presumption as to just how much of D&D's mechanics are actually required for brand recognition when probably 90%+ of the US population thinks that "D&D" and "roleplaying" are the same thing.


*looks at the 4e/Pathfinder cluster*****
A lot more than you seem to think. After all, 90% of the US population were never going to buy DnD books to begin with, so their thoughts on the subject don't matter.
For example, if a 4e mechanic is the best mechanic so far to fix an identified issue, but there is a lot of dislike for that specific mechanic, then don't try to make it fit and don't try to use an older mechanic that doesn't solve the identified issue, instead make a new mechanic. And you can see this in how they use Backgrounds to create a separation of most skills from classes.


Of they could go with an even simpler method (though one that won't sell nearly so many books... 'The Big Book of Backgrounds' is probably a no-brainer given the current layout) would be to simply decouple skills from classes entirely and simply allow every PC to pick X number of skills (or assign Y number of skill points to whichever skills are desired) regardless of race or class.

Depending on their application, you could even see a decoupling of skills from level advancement entirely, instead creating a mechanic for increasing one's capability with a skill based on how much that skill is used rather than what level the character is (i.e. you gain +1 to a skill for every X successful uses of the skill... or every Y attempts at using the skill... or every Z critical successes with the skill... or some combination of the above).

This would allow for blacksmiths who can craft better than any PC could ever hope to (because they've used their blacksmith skill repeatedly for decades) without them also having to be 20th level combatants as well (a problem with linking skill advancement to character level).

*looks at the 4e/Pathfinder cluster*****
A lot more than you seem to think. After all, 90% of the US population were never going to buy DnD books to begin with, so their thoughts on the subject don't matter.


I think its a mistake to conflate the 4e/Pathfinder issue to the specific of "Not D&D" with the much more general "resistance to change" that is found in the public at large. The switch to 4E was, after all, the first time that a viable alternative to the 'update or keep what you have and drop out of the market entirely' has presented itself.

Had there been a serious 2e clone offering new material at the time 3e launched, I suspect you'd have seen a similar pushback against that new edition, not because it was not D&D, but because it was change in general (and because a certain percentage of the population have the same mentality as some of the classic car collectors I referred to previously about whatever their particular interest is).

*looks at the 4e/Pathfinder cluster*****
A lot more than you seem to think. After all, 90% of the US population were never going to buy DnD books to begin with, so their thoughts on the subject don't matter.



You do realize that Pathfinder changed mechanics too, right? Pathfinder is known by some as 3.75 simply because it tries to accomplish some of the same things that 4E did, starting with class balance, skill condensing, and the like. It's not as if Paizo was like "Old was good, let's never improve anything", they actually did improve it, though not as much as they could have if they weren't held back by the 3.5 system in the first place. The fact of the matter is, Pathfinder and 4E aren't so different, the big difference is only in feel, because 4E wasn't afraid to challenge old ideas to makie new better ones. They failed, yes, but to say that the approach is bad would be wrong, it's just the incomplete result that was the problem.

And let me point out once more, I'm not an edition warrior, and I'm not saying that D&D Next should be 4E. I like BOTH 4E and Pathfinder better than the others only because they try to fix problems. I want D&D Next to be 5E, the next logical progression, not D&D Old.

*looks at the 4e/Pathfinder cluster*****
A lot more than you seem to think. After all, 90% of the US population were never going to buy DnD books to begin with, so their thoughts on the subject don't matter.



You do realize that Pathfinder changed mechanics too, right?


Yes, but nothing really important, as is demonstrated by the fact that they took care to maintain backwards-compatibility with 3.5.


Yes, but nothing really important, as is demonstrated by the fact that they took care to maintain backwards-compatibility with 3.5.




You're failing to see the point. The point I'm trying to get at, is that for D&D to succeed, it needs to evolve. If brand recognition is all it has, it's going to die when other RPGs(Pathfinder included) trump them on design. When that happens, we'll have a new brand that will be recognized. Never cling to the past, but DO see it as a lesson to be learned from. It is better to look back through the editions and find everything wrong with them(and yes, I include Pathfinder and 4E), and work towards fixing it, than to cling to things out of tradition.

The reality is, you D&D players have something to lose, if this edition fails it WILL get shelved at this point, if you're fine playing the same old editions with no innovations, then you'll be fine, sure, but if you expect more content, you won't get it. On the other hand, i have nothing to lose, either this edition succeeds and I play it, or it fails and I cherry pick whatever gems it might hide for my own system. Either way, it's in my best interest to push WotC towards better design.

Yes, but nothing really important, as is demonstrated by the fact that they took care to maintain backwards-compatibility with 3.5.




You're failing to see the point. The point I'm trying to get at, is that for D&D to succeed, it needs to evolve. If brand recognition is all it has, it's going to die when other RPGs(Pathfinder included) trump them on design. Whe that happens, we'll have a new brand that will be recognized. Never cling to the past, but DO see it as a lesson to be learned from. It is better to look back through the editions and find everything wrong with them(and yes, I include Pathfinder and 4E), and work towards fixing it, than to cling to things out of tradition.

The reality is, you D&D players have something to lose, if this edition fails it WILL get shelved at this point, if you're fine playing the same old editions with no innovations, then you'll be fine, sure, but if you expect more content, you won't get it. On the other hand, i have nothing to lose, either this edition succeeds and I play it, or it fails and I cherry pick whatever gems it might hide for my own system. Either way, it's in my best interest to push WotC towards better design.


Well, yeah, but you're missing mine: it also has to remain substantially intact, otherwise it will fragment the fanbase again, and risk causing another 4e/Pathfinder debacle. Indeed, as it has the major goal of reunifying the DnD fanbase, it has to look backwards, as that is what many of those fans are doing.
"Looking backwards" is one thing.
"Living in the past" is quite another.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I am of the personal opinion that 4E's biggest problem is that it did not go far enough in terms of killing off needless sacred cows (indeed, some of the internal bits that have come out are that they did indeed hold back in order to not alienate the grognards quite so much) and that if you want to get real mass market appeal for the game it needs to go even further in the direction of using the same design principles that major video game producers use for their products (i.e. ergonomic evaluations, focus groups, best practices reviews, et cetera) and not trying to recapture a past that has long since vanished outside of the RPG equivalent of classic car collectors (an extremely niche market).



Interestingly, much of the criticism of modern video games that are out and available for mass market is that they're just "more of the same". I get the vibe from reading reviews of major titles that people are really keen to try something new, but the big companies aren't giving it to them.


That could be taken either way in this discussion, really. Maybe a bit of retro that we haven't seen in a while is something new, maybe burning the house down and rebuilding it is something new. It depends on the context of the game and the point of view of the individual.


But what happened to goodwill? Basically D&D has a large audience now. It's shrunk in recent years but there's still a lot of folks playing D&D and developing games based on older versions of D&D - those games have enjoyed a fair bit of success.


Now, I don't think that means that WOTC needs to go full on retro, but I have to wonder if they're actually trying to play it safe and work on the people who play or played D&D before rather than go all mass market up in the house. I hope so 'cause I really get turned off by mass market hype.


My prediction: as the playtest carries on, more and more people will make up their minds about it. The numbers will dwindle, maybe a few will still respond to the surveys and read the packets but on the whole, the opinion will settle into a pattern. I think they will continue to use the existing conventions that D&D's established in the past 40 years because they feel it's a safe bet - for better or worse.


I also think the audience will expand a bit as the people who do carry on with it get used to it and start pulling new people in. There will be a critical shift where the audience stops being folks who are perdominantly curious and interested in shaping the game and it'll start being folks who are playing it for the fun of it. The feedback will change considerably over that time.


By then, it's highly likely that the people who really hate it will just put it down and walk away. That's OK; a creation should not attempt to please everyone. Instead, it should try to be the most perfect thing it can be for that narrow audience they're looking at. That's how things of true quality gain longevity. The notion of perfection is highly subjective and not everyone will agree.


And if that's enough to make Hasbro shelve the game and keep a skeleton crew around to publish adventure modules then I honestly think that could be the best thing that could ever happen to the game. 4-6 years is far too quick for a revision cycle. Really, it needs to be 8-10. If they shelve it in a coroprate sense, it'll get that.


The other possibility is it's sold off to someone who cares, which actually would be the best possible outcome. Big corporate business is an easy way to water down everything that's good about something. It reminds me of a line from Talking With... by Jane Martin:


There's a bunch of ****s in this country who sneak around until they see ya havin' fun and then they buy the fun and start sellin' it.


It seems that they've bought our fun. Them losing interest in our fun is probably the very best thing that could possibly happen.


Yes, but nothing really important, as is demonstrated by the fact that they took care to maintain backwards-compatibility with 3.5.




You're failing to see the point. The point I'm trying to get at, is that for D&D to succeed, it needs to evolve. If brand recognition is all it has, it's going to die when other RPGs(Pathfinder included) trump them on design. Whe that happens, we'll have a new brand that will be recognized. Never cling to the past, but DO see it as a lesson to be learned from. It is better to look back through the editions and find everything wrong with them(and yes, I include Pathfinder and 4E), and work towards fixing it, than to cling to things out of tradition.

The reality is, you D&D players have something to lose, if this edition fails it WILL get shelved at this point, if you're fine playing the same old editions with no innovations, then you'll be fine, sure, but if you expect more content, you won't get it. On the other hand, i have nothing to lose, either this edition succeeds and I play it, or it fails and I cherry pick whatever gems it might hide for my own system. Either way, it's in my best interest to push WotC towards better design.


Well, yeah, but you're missing mine: it also has to remain substantially intact, otherwise it will fragment the fanbase again, and risk causing another 4e/Pathfinder debacle. Indeed, as it has the major goal of reunifying the DnD fanbase, it has to look backwards, as that is what many of those fans are doing.



You're both correct.  5e needs to look both backwards and forwards.  The only real way they can do that is through the modularity design that they have been touting.  The 5e paladin debate is an ideal example of this process.  They need to look backwards and provide a LG only paladin for those who want it.  They need to look backwards and provide alignment for those who want it.  They also need to look foward and provide ways to remove alignment AND for paladins of other alignments for those who want them. 

By making alignment as an optional module to include, they have looked both backwards and forwards on that issue.  By making either LG only paladins as a module OR other alignment paladins as a module, they have looked backwards and forwards on that issue. 

Well, yeah, but you're missing mine: it also has to remain substantially intact, otherwise it will fragment the fanbase again, and risk causing another 4e/Pathfinder debacle. Indeed, as it has the major goal of reunifying the DnD fanbase, it has to look backwards, as that is what many of those fans are doing.



I didn't say don't look backwards at all, I said learn from the past, and then go forwards. Rather than try to recreate old editions to unite the fanbase, they can also innovate it instead, potentially succeeding at the same thing. The idea is, 4E didn't go far enough and got too caught up in the details. if you instead aim to simply make a well balanced and fairly open game to begin with, from there every edition can get what it wants without a need for seperate modules or pissing off one group over another.

Let me give an example, one thing 4E tried to do to balance the attributes a bit was to make them all more relevant in combat. The reality is, 3E tried to do something similar with feats like weapon finesse and zen archery. We can also see examples of using more thna one ability score for the same thing, such as Intelligence being a possible component to AC, or Charisma being a possible component to Will. If you take this idea, and push it one step further, you could very easily deattach ability scores from weapons and the like, much like how skills are no longer attached to ability scores. From there, add some simple rules on what an Intelligence attack looks like, or a Strength defense, just making sure to give a few options, but allowing it to be rather freeform while balanced at the same time. Then it's just a matter of making sure the non attack or defense aspects of stats, such as carrying capacity and initiative, are balanced out amongst them. The main point here, however, is to make the framework light but far reaching, 4Es issue was it codified your powers too strongly, but otherwise it actually had the right idea.

Oh look, it's you.


HI!


If you're so hung up on D&D looking and feeling exactly as it has for decades, why do you even post here, seriously?



If I were "hung up" on those things, it might well be to ensure that the new edition doesn't lose that which I find important to the brand.  Since I'm not, your vitriol does not apply.

 I thought the whole point of D&D Next was to make it better, not stagnate.



Don't fix what ain't broke.  Presupposing that all existing states are "stagnant" and that new=better, just because, is as much a mistake as believing that they should stay just because they're old.  In all cases, design choices should be evaluated on their merits.  In the case of things like having classes, the core four, the six attributes, etc., there's simply not going to be a mechanical advantage significant enough to outweigh the marketability of appealing to the existing brand's strengths.  I will not suggest, as some have, that questining the sacred cows means you should go play GURPS or some other more freeform game system.  I will insist that, in both haling back lapsed enthusiasts and bringing in new gamers who've never played a TTRPG, one of D&D's primary strengths is going to be an appeal to nostalgia.  In addition, I think it important to mechanically simplify the game, but that's grist for another mill.  

 
I'd suggest you stay out of my threads, for both our sake, because you'll get none of that, and I've grown tired of your "tradition is best" arguments.


For both our sakes?  Threats?
Happily, not your internet.

After all, 90% of the US population were never going to buy DnD books to begin with, so their thoughts on the subject don't matter.



On the contrary, I think their thoughts matter *MUCH* more than those of any existing fan.  After all, we've already found a system we like.  We're likely to stick with it, in whatever iteration, or go back to whatever edition we prefer, depending on how much we enjoy the new edition.  But for that 90%, if I were a designer for this brand I'd be desperately asking "WHY haven't they ever bought a D&D book?  And how can I convince them to do so?"

I submit that since D&D, as was noted previously in the thread, is practically synonymous with RPG in the minds of those potential consumers, emphasizing the iconic aspects of that brand become more important, not less.  That's the fluff, certainly, including the mechanofluff of things like "There are 6 attributes" and  "Paladins are morally uptight" and "dragons are enemies, not characters."   I couldn't care less about the math and mechanics, except inasmuch as more complex mechanics will serve as an additonal barrier to brand adoption by new players. 

Sign In to post comments