Legends & Lore: D&D Next Goals, Part One

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Legends & Lore
D&D Next Goals, Part One

By Mike Mearls

Mike starts off 2013 with an overview of the basic goals of D&D Next. Come learn more about our guiding principles as we work on this game.

Talk about this column here.

This Week in D&D

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

All sounds goid to me!

Danny

"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.  If the core is to be set in stone for all time (i.e. for all of the edition's run time), it needs to be as broad as possible.  And there WILL be big disagreements about broadening things that have been traditionally narrow.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

"Create a set of rules that allows a smooth transition from a simple game to a complex one."

With the complexity brought about by having 6d6 martial damage dice and 8 maneuvers you can spend them on (with each not necessarily using up a max of one martial damage die)?

With the complexity involving giving a PC as many as 12 spells per day?

I fing this statement questionable to laughable.  Plus, if you ask me, the major issues surrounding the game mostly fall under
* bad marketing
* poor customer support
* increasing number of alternatives to D&D
* poor system development

Especially when it came to 3E and 4E.

I'd like to see this set of rules he speaks of, that allows a smooth transition from a simple game to a complex one.  Because even if I make a lot of assumptions regarding the latest playtest, I'm not seeing him actually fulfilling the very goals he's stated. 

As for "Create a version of D&D that embraces the enduring, core elements of the game", I wonder: how many old-time players that see D&D Next for the first time would ask, "where's the Fortitude/Reflex/Will save?" (sure, we playtesters and bloggers know the answer, but what about the old-timers who still haven't been going online and are only vaguely aware of this new upcoming D&D?)
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Overall, pretty predictable.  Well, here's to them meeting their goals by the end of this playtest thing!  A toast!  *cue throwing bread slices*

The Knights of W.T.F. may as well be ghosts, but the message still stays;

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
  • PRAISE THE SUN!
1. Core Elements of D&D

I don't really buy this, that there is one core D&D that can stay true across all editions and playstyles. What different editions did, particularly 4E, was often in complete conflict with other editions. What is "core" to one group is "kill it with fire" to others, and you can't have it both ways. The most interesting line is this:

the design implication is that D&D Next should deliver the primary strengths that each edition brings to the table.



In many cases, those strengths are mutually exclusive. They have also, in this playtest so far, shown no comprension of what 4E's strengths are for the people who prefer it.

2. Smooth Transitions

This whole declaration seems to be under the mistaken impression that power creep doesn't exist. More options inevitably leads to power creep, as its impossible to perfectly balance them. Some options are inevitably better than others, and more options means more better options, and the game with more options will be ahead of the power curve as a result. New players playing core only will not be playing the same game as people playing with all the options. I'd also like to know how they expect to write adventures equally playable core only or option rich. I've seen year 1 4E adventures destroyed by modern, well built 4E characters, and 4E was built around balance from the ground up. 5E does not seem to be being designed with as strong a focus on balance.

Also, if the core is going to be the same and unchangeable, it needs to not suck and not force people to use things they don't want in their D&D. Modularity won't fix it, as he's describing things.

3. All Editions, all the time

I'm not sure how ok with this I am, as I have a "kill it with fire" reaction to many iconic bits of AD&D and 3E. There is a lot in the old editions that I honestly never want to see again, and many of those things are essential to other people. I think the reverse is true in terms of people disliking newer editions. I also don't believe its truly possible, given how many essential bits of various editions are mutually exclusive.
...whatever
With the exception of one edition, I think the rules of the game look pretty similar throughout the years.
I also feel the game by and large hasn't gotten more complex over the years and editions.
I feel it is the differences between the introductory product and additional material that are causing fewer and fewer people to make the move towards the latter.  I think new players can pick up any version of D&D with ease, and don't need a dumbed down version that only caters to experienced players through heavy module addition.

These guiding principles are nothing like the design goals we were given in early 2012.  The game that was supposed to be simple to run has become the game too simple with which to have fun.  The game that was supposed to be recognizeable as D&D has become the game that embraces a handful of D&D concepts with no connection or correlation to one another.

The Legends & Lore article that was supposed to improve my morale has simply confirmed to me that the train has jumped the track and the following question must be asked.  "Is it jumping the shark if you never intend to land?"
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.


Not true.  At least, not if what they've been saying about the playtest content still being open to change.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.

That's an awful lot of things.  Advantage/Disadvantage, Martial Damage Dice, Spellcasting, basic class structure, and a host of other basic game elements are all still being argued.
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.

That's an awful lot of things.  Advantage/Disadvantage, Martial Damage Dice, Spellcasting, basic class structure, and a host of other basic game elements are all still being argued.



Attrition based play based on daily resource recharging and at what rate HP are recharged. I don't see how either of those are modular without changing the entire game into something it wasn't before. I don't see how adventures can be written to account for both and still be playable.
...whatever
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.

That's an awful lot of things.  Advantage/Disadvantage, Martial Damage Dice, Spellcasting, basic class structure, and a host of other basic game elements are all still being argued.



Attrition based play based on daily resource recharging and at what rate HP are recharged. I don't see how either of those are modular without changing the entire game into something it wasn't before. I don't see how adventures can be written to account for both and still be playable.

People are still arguing whether resources should be daily, encounter, or other.  Even the basics you listed are still being debated.
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.

That's an awful lot of things.  Advantage/Disadvantage, Martial Damage Dice, Spellcasting, basic class structure, and a host of other basic game elements are all still being argued.



Attrition based play based on daily resource recharging and at what rate HP are recharged. I don't see how either of those are modular without changing the entire game into something it wasn't before. I don't see how adventures can be written to account for both and still be playable.

People are still arguing whether resources should be daily, encounter, or other.  Even the basics you listed are still being debated.


People are arguing, but the design team seems to have already decided.
...whatever
With the exception of one edition, I think the rules of the game look pretty similar throughout the years.
I also feel the game by and large hasn't gotten more complex over the years and editions.

Heck, even with that one edition difference, there are still a number of similarities between the editions (in fact, I've went about and tried to convert 4E to appear more pre-4E-like, and apparently the 4E fighter gets +12 to Fort saves and +10 to Ref/Will saves at level 20, which is around 4 points more than the Ref/Will saves of pre-4E Fighters).

As far as I can tell, the complexity only increased in two editions (2E, 3E) primarily due to the options available to players both in and out of encounters, and the only reason why 4E is deemed complex is the tracking involved (in both leveling up and in the form of conditions/effects that are save ends and end of next turn).

Of course, if anyone can claim that a Fighter 2/Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Cleric 3/Prestige Class A 5/Prestige Class B 4 is less complex than a Swordmage level 20 who has a Paragon Path, I'd like to understand why that's the case.

I feel it is the differences between the introductory product and additional material that are causing fewer and fewer people to make the move towards the latter.  I think new players can pick up any version of D&D with ease, and don't need a dumbed down version that only caters to experienced players through heavy module addition.

These guiding principles are nothing like the design goals we were given in early 2012.  The game that was supposed to be simple to run has become the game too simple with which to have fun.  The game that was supposed to be recognizeable as D&D has become the game that embraces a handful of D&D concepts with no connection or correlation to one another.

It's too simple, too bland, yet at the same time too complex, and weirdly containing dead levels.

For a system with a rich historical background, dead levels are a mystery upon itself.  Well, they promised more content, let's see what they're actually talking about.

The Legends & Lore article that was supposed to improve my morale has simply confirmed to me that the train has jumped the track and the following question must be asked.  "Is it jumping the shark if you never intend to land?"


Agreed, sort of.  Still hoping that it'll be a system I'd consider spending time and effort on, but if not then there's always 13th Age and D&D 4E.
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I might have believed this if they had left "core" at what we had in the very first playtest packet, maybe the second. Martial damage dice, maneuvers, skill dice, and a whole lot of the class options are, in my opinion, all far too complex to make irreplacable assumptions about how the game functions. They would all be fantastic modules, and I would chose to use a lot of them in my games, but if martial damage dice (for example) is core and there's no module that allows you to remove them, I'm sure a lot of people - particularly the players mentioned in the article who have been away from the game for a long time - would not recognize the core as D&D AT ALL. Sure it's fine for those of us who have been participating in the playtest this whole time, but someone who stopped playing after 2E who hears that D&D is going back to its roots and decides to look at a copy of this new product would read it and be very, very confused.
"Core is supposed to be unchangable by modules."  Time to expect a lot more fights about what is core.


If you can fight about it, that means it's not core.

That's an awful lot of things.  Advantage/Disadvantage, Martial Damage Dice, Spellcasting, basic class structure, and a host of other basic game elements are all still being argued.



Attrition based play based on daily resource recharging and at what rate HP are recharged. I don't see how either of those are modular without changing the entire game into something it wasn't before. I don't see how adventures can be written to account for both and still be playable.

People are still arguing whether resources should be daily, encounter, or other.  Even the basics you listed are still being debated.


People are arguing, but the design team seems to have already decided.

Sure, but I was replying to Mand12, not the developers.  The latter do not communicate directly with the people on these forums.
I might have believed this if they had left "core" at what we had in the very first playtest packet, maybe the second. Martial damage dice, maneuvers, skill dice, and a whole lot of the class options are, in my opinion, all far too complex to make irreplacable assumptions about how the game functions. They would all be fantastic modules, and I would chose to use a lot of them in my games, but if martial damage dice (for example) is core and there's no module that allows you to remove them, I'm sure a lot of people - particularly the players mentioned in the article who have been away from the game for a long time - would not recognize the core as D&D AT ALL. Sure it's fine for those of us who have been participating in the playtest this whole time, but someone who stopped playing after 2E who hears that D&D is going back to its roots and decides to look at a copy of this new product would read it and be very, very confused.


At the same time, if the core for 5E was what they released in the first playtest, I'd be throwing it straight in the trash and playing something else. I still think the current playtest is a steaming pile and the direction they seem to be taking is a travesty, but the original playtest was slightly worse.
...whatever
I might have believed this if they had left "core" at what we had in the very first playtest packet, maybe the second. Martial damage dice, maneuvers, skill dice, and a whole lot of the class options are, in my opinion, all far too complex to make irreplacable assumptions about how the game functions. They would all be fantastic modules, and I would chose to use a lot of them in my games, but if martial damage dice (for example) is core and there's no module that allows you to remove them, I'm sure a lot of people - particularly the players mentioned in the article who have been away from the game for a long time - would not recognize the core as D&D AT ALL. Sure it's fine for those of us who have been participating in the playtest this whole time, but someone who stopped playing after 2E who hears that D&D is going back to its roots and decides to look at a copy of this new product would read it and be very, very confused.


Like I said, the absence of one of the most iconic features of D&D -- Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves -- is already a big enough issue, even if it is for the sake of simplification.

I'd prolly say that Monte Cook's Numenera already looks like a revisit of 0E's Men and Magic (and although I normally have reservations against the guy who ensured system mastery as a necessity in D&D 3E, I may look at Numenera just to get ideas from it, if [and when?] it gets released, simply because I like the basic premise of Men and Magic, even though there certainly was a lot of room for improvement).  13th Age looks like a mix of at least 3 of D&D's editions.  1E & 2E are already covered by OSRIC and BECMI as well as Old-School Hack... and as far as I can tell, compared to all of these, I'm not sure what I can say about what D&D Next looks like.

Some might say that D&D Next is supposed to look like D&D Next, but that's a completely different turn from what the original assumptions and goals were in 2012.

My guess: it's going to be a repeat of D&D 4E's playtesting, where a lot of people -- especially CharOp -- points out all the problems of the system, but the devs would just pat us on the head and ignore us anyway.  Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.

Again, it's just a guess. 
Show

You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
They never said it was going to look like or play like any edition of D&D. They said they wanted everyone from each edition to be able to enjoy the game on their own terms. That's not the same as saying "It will play like X edition".
My two copper.
They never said it was going to look like or play like any edition of D&D. They said they wanted everyone from each edition to be able to enjoy the game on their terms. That's not the same as saying "It will play like X edition".



From the article we are currently discussing:

D&D Next must provide a home for the variety of play styles supported across the history of D&D, with rules terms and procedures that D&D players recognize and understand. What that actually means will be covered in part two, but the design implication is that D&D Next should deliver the primary strengths that each edition brings to the table. If an edition was good at something, D&D Next needs to do a good job of providing it.



 Would you care to attempt to explain your assertion to somebody who hasn't bought into what 5E is selling?
...whatever


My guess: it's going to be a repeat of D&D 4E's playtesting, where a lot of people -- especially CharOp -- points out all the problems of the system, but the devs would just pat us on the head and ignore us anyway.  Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.

Again, it's just a guess. 



Yeah, I've been suspecting that myself for the past few packets. This article pretty much confirmed it for me. I'm still going to stick around and hope I'm not just shouting in a vaccuum, because the actual design goals are quite admirable, but they just keep drifting further and further away from those goals... But hey, if all else fails, there's always 13th age, which seems to be doing what Next set out to do, and doing a much better job of it. (not the modules part, but the flexible core that combines the best part of every edition).


My guess: it's going to be a repeat of D&D 4E's playtesting, where a lot of people -- especially CharOp -- points out all the problems of the system, but the devs would just pat us on the head and ignore us anyway.  Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.

Again, it's just a guess. 



Yeah, I've been suspecting that myself for the past few packets. This article pretty much confirmed it for me. I'm still going to stick around and hope I'm not just shouting in a vaccuum, because the actual design goals are quite admirable, but they just keep drifting further and further away from those goals... But hey, if all else fails, there's always 13th age, which seems to be doing what Next set out to do, and doing a much better job of it. (not the modules part, but the flexible core that combines the best part of every edition).



They're(the designers) too caught up in the hubris of those goals to actually deliver them. 
...whatever


My guess: it's going to be a repeat of D&D 4E's playtesting, where a lot of people -- especially CharOp -- points out all the problems of the system, but the devs would just pat us on the head and ignore us anyway.  Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.

Again, it's just a guess. 



Yeah, I've been suspecting that myself for the past few packets. This article pretty much confirmed it for me. I'm still going to stick around and hope I'm not just shouting in a vaccuum, because the actual design goals are quite admirable, but they just keep drifting further and further away from those goals... But hey, if all else fails, there's always 13th age, which seems to be doing what Next set out to do, and doing a much better job of it. (not the modules part, but the flexible core that combines the best part of every edition).



They're(the designers) too caught up in the hubris of those goals to actually deliver them.

+1, or -1 as the case may be.
They never said it was going to look like or play like any edition of D&D. They said they wanted everyone from each edition to be able to enjoy the game on their terms. That's not the same as saying "It will play like X edition".



From the article we are currently discussing:

D&D Next must provide a home for the variety of play styles supported across the history of D&D, with rules terms and procedures that D&D players recognize and understand. What that actually means will be covered in part two, but the design implication is that D&D Next should deliver the primary strengths that each edition brings to the table. If an edition was good at something, D&D Next needs to do a good job of providing it.



 Would you care to attempt to explain your assertion to somebody who hasn't bought into what 5E is selling?




 I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.


 Mike will go down in history as the man who saved D&D if it works or the man who wrecked it. Either way I don't think I would like Mikes job. Well actually I would but I would ignore the forums and shove an evolved fusion of Star Wars Saga and 4th ed down everyones throat. I would try for a simplified d20 system aimed at 3rd and 4th ed players that may appeal to older gamers as well but most of the pre 3rd ed holdouts made their decision a long time ago and you may be able to win some of them over at the expense of the 3rd and 4th ed crowd who like d20, feats and skills even if they get tweaked a bit.

They never said it was going to look like or play like any edition of D&D. They said they wanted everyone from each edition to be able to enjoy the game on their terms. That's not the same as saying "It will play like X edition".



From the article we are currently discussing:

D&D Next must provide a home for the variety of play styles supported across the history of D&D, with rules terms and procedures that D&D players recognize and understand. What that actually means will be covered in part two, but the design implication is that D&D Next should deliver the primary strengths that each edition brings to the table. If an edition was good at something, D&D Next needs to do a good job of providing it.



 Would you care to attempt to explain your assertion to somebody who hasn't bought into what 5E is selling?




 I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.



What you describe sounds like a recipe for disaster, and that they don't get it at all. That they are so a focused on this ideal of unification that reality is thrown out the window.
...whatever
They never said it was going to look like or play like any edition of D&D. They said they wanted everyone from each edition to be able to enjoy the game on their terms. That's not the same as saying "It will play like X edition".



From the article we are currently discussing:

D&D Next must provide a home for the variety of play styles supported across the history of D&D, with rules terms and procedures that D&D players recognize and understand. What that actually means will be covered in part two, but the design implication is that D&D Next should deliver the primary strengths that each edition brings to the table. If an edition was good at something, D&D Next needs to do a good job of providing it.



 Would you care to attempt to explain your assertion to somebody who hasn't bought into what 5E is selling?




 I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.



What you describe sounds like a recipe for disaster, and that they don't get it at all. That they are so a focused on this ideal of unification that reality is thrown out the window.



 I have a similar opinon. I would be going back to the drawing board with a d20 system and taking a long hard look at 3.5, SWSE, Pathfinder and 4th ed as all of them have something positive in them. Might want to add 13th age to that list as well I just don't know enough about it and are gogin on second hand information. I won't lie and say it would be perfect and be able to duplicate 4th ed but powers would be in there somewhere, wizard would be vancian, Sorcerer and Warlock would not be vancian. The playtest would also have the Warlord in it before the monk because I think alot of 3.5 players would not mind that class even with its 4th ed origins and it seems popular.

 Honestly the monk is probably one of the least popular classes they could put in the playtest. It was core in 1st ed to mixed reactions,not core in 2nd ed, not exactly popular in 3rd ed and it was a PHB3 class in 4th ed. I've used powers in SWSE and 3.5 converted from 4th ed and I have no problems with them I just did not like 4th eds implementation of them.

 I couldn't give 4th ed players everything they want but the 3.5 crowd wouldn't get everything they want either assuming all they want is a 3.5 clone. Meteor Swarm would be one of the best level 9 spells and it would do somthing like 6d6 damage and have 4 meteors (24d6 damage total).
The designers seem to think the past is the key to 5E, when the absolute last thing I would want from 5E is the past. In addition, those who want the past already have it. On top of that the past isn't the past, its often an idealized memory, which no reality can truly compete with.
...whatever
Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.




Could be for the best looking around these boards.

They had me at the 1st Packet (the best one), this article is really good news, just what I want, I am delighted. 

They need to make feats and skills completely optional (as of now they are both tied to rogue class features). 


 I couldn't give 4th ed players everything they want but the 3.5 crowd wouldn't get everything they want either assuming all they want is a 3.5 clone


But see, you can at least admit that you can't give everything to everyone, which puts you a step ahead of where the Next designers appear to be. What Next needs to do if it wants to succeed (especially with the goals as stated) is accept that they cannot make a single game that every edition's supporters can accept, and instead make a core game that is literally the bare minimum (like... 0E minimum) and have absolutely everything else be modular.
Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.




Could be for the best looking around these boards.

They had me at the 1st Packet (the best one), this article is really good news, just what I want, I am delighted. 

They need to make feats and skills completely optional (as of now they are both tied to rogue class features). 


There needs to be a way to upvote this post somehow. Seriously, the first packet was perfect for a core. Every packet since then has looked like some hodgepodge of different mechanics that would make nice modules, but should really not be core. At least not if they are seirous about the design goals they're touting in this article.
Not sure if I can believe anything the devs say anymore. It's time to stop talking and start doing.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.


 I couldn't give 4th ed players everything they want but the 3.5 crowd wouldn't get everything they want either assuming all they want is a 3.5 clone


But see, you can at least admit that you can't give everything to everyone, which puts you a step ahead of where the Next designers appear to be. What Next needs to do if it wants to succeed (especially with the goals as stated) is accept that they cannot make a single game that every edition's supporters can accept, and instead make a core game that is literally the bare minimum (like... 0E minimum) and have absolutely everything else be modular.



 The problem with that approach is you are oging to have a very basic game that probably won't appeal to the modern gamer. Buy our simple core book and by this module to make it more complex. or screw that I can play 2nd ed/3rd ed/4th ed for free (or PF or 13th age etc).

 I'm thinking somehting a bit more complex somewhere between 2nd ed and 4th in that regard. To bare bones and you are gonna get something like the current playtest which is a bit boring. You odn't include at least some aspects of d20 and you are going to lose the 3rd ed and 4th players right there or at least a good chunk of them as they do have other more complex options to chose from (3.5, SWSE, 4th ed, PF, 13th age). 4th ed, PF and SWSE all have no dead levels for starters. I have heard that 13th age also doesn't have dead levels. Say what you will about them they are not really boring. IDK what ediiton of D&D has the biggest user base but I am sure the 3rd and 4th ed players combined are the easily largest %. Annoy them enough and D&DN is likely DOA.
I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.


 Mike will go down in history as the man who saved D&D if it works or the man who wrecked it. Either way I don't think I would like Mikes job. Well actually I would but I would ignore the forums and shove an evolved fusion of Star Wars Saga and 4th ed down everyones throat. I would try for a simplified d20 system aimed at 3rd and 4th ed players that may appeal to older gamers as well but most of the pre 3rd ed holdouts made their decision a long time ago and you may be able to win some of them over at the expense of the 3rd and 4th ed crowd who like d20, feats and skills even if they get tweaked a bit.


Let's see...

Rules simplicity
Character customizability
Balanced baseline
Modular approach

Sounds like a non-D&D system I know

13th Age isn't trying to be 4E's version of Pathfinder (heck, I'm actually tempted to import stuff like 4E's minions to lessen the mook monitoring even further).  It's described as "a love letter to D&D", and takes a lot of the good stuff from a lot of RPGs (not just D&D) and makes it all... well, just work I guess.


  • The character creation is simple and straightforward

  • Rules are very flexible and easy to grasp (all the more if you've played D&D), and you're actually constantly nudged as a DM (by the system) to make various calls and rulings wherever it seems appropriate

  • With the Unique Thing, Backgrounds and Relationship Dice combined with the swappability of powers and talents it can easily match 3E's customizability

  • And there's a heapload of underlying balance within the system

  • Plus the system itself is so modular it's really easy to plant parts of the system to just about any edition of D&D, from the concept of mooks, to Icons and Icon Relationships, to Escalation Die, to backgrounds, and the One Unique Thing especially.



I'd say that 13th Age unintentionally raised the bar for D&D Next because right now it's accomplished everything D&D Next originally set out to achieve while being original enough in its own right.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging


 I couldn't give 4th ed players everything they want but the 3.5 crowd wouldn't get everything they want either assuming all they want is a 3.5 clone


But see, you can at least admit that you can't give everything to everyone, which puts you a step ahead of where the Next designers appear to be. What Next needs to do if it wants to succeed (especially with the goals as stated) is accept that they cannot make a single game that every edition's supporters can accept, and instead make a core game that is literally the bare minimum (like... 0E minimum) and have absolutely everything else be modular.



4E was elegant and intuitive despite its complexity. I don't believe for a second that a bare bones core as you describe with modules piled on top can deliver that. What you describe is what people who want that bare core want, it's a 2nd rate game for those of us who don't.
...whatever
Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.




Could be for the best looking around these boards.

They had me at the 1st Packet (the best one), this article is really good news, just what I want, I am delighted. 

They need to make feats and skills completely optional (as of now they are both tied to rogue class features). 


There needs to be a way to upvote this post somehow. Seriously, the first packet was perfect for a core. Every packet since then has looked like some hodgepodge of different mechanics that would make nice modules, but should really not be core. At least not if they are seirous about the design goals they're touting in this article.


The 1st packet is not the core of any D&D I'd care to play at this point.
...whatever


 I couldn't give 4th ed players everything they want but the 3.5 crowd wouldn't get everything they want either assuming all they want is a 3.5 clone


But see, you can at least admit that you can't give everything to everyone, which puts you a step ahead of where the Next designers appear to be. What Next needs to do if it wants to succeed (especially with the goals as stated) is accept that they cannot make a single game that every edition's supporters can accept, and instead make a core game that is literally the bare minimum (like... 0E minimum) and have absolutely everything else be modular.



 The problem with that approach is you are oging to have a very basic game that probably won't appeal to the modern gamer. Buy our simple core book and by this module to make it more complex. or screw that I can play 2nd ed/3rd ed/4th ed for free (or PF or 13th age etc).

 I'm thinking somehting a bit more complex somewhere between 2nd ed and 4th in that regard. To bare bones and you are gonna get something like the current playtest which is a bit boring. You odn't include at least some aspects of d20 and you are going to lose the 3rd ed and 4th players right there or at least a good chunk of them as they do have other more complex options to chose from (3.5, SWSE, 4th ed, PF, 13th age). 4th ed, PF and SWSE all have no dead levels for starters. Say what you will about them they are not really boring.



No one ever said the modules had to be sold separately. In fact, the devs have said several times that what they mean by "core" is not "what's in the core books," it's what's at the mechanical center of the game. Within the core books you could have numerous sidebars, even entire chapters devoted to how to expand that core in what ever way suits your group.

I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.


 Mike will go down in history as the man who saved D&D if it works or the man who wrecked it. Either way I don't think I would like Mikes job. Well actually I would but I would ignore the forums and shove an evolved fusion of Star Wars Saga and 4th ed down everyones throat. I would try for a simplified d20 system aimed at 3rd and 4th ed players that may appeal to older gamers as well but most of the pre 3rd ed holdouts made their decision a long time ago and you may be able to win some of them over at the expense of the 3rd and 4th ed crowd who like d20, feats and skills even if they get tweaked a bit.


Let's see...

Rules simplicity
Character customizability
Balanced baseline
Modular approach

Sounds like a non-D&D system I know

13th Age isn't trying to be 4E's version of Pathfinder (heck, I'm actually tempted to import stuff like 4E's minions to lessen the mook monitoring even further).  It's described as "a love letter to D&D", and takes a lot of the good stuff from a lot of RPGs (not just D&D) and makes it all... well, just work I guess.



  • The character creation is simple and straightforward

  • Rules are very flexible and easy to grasp (all the more if you've played D&D), and you're actually constantly nudged as a DM (by the system) to make various calls and rulings wherever it seems appropriate

  • With the Unique Thing, Backgrounds and Relationship Dice combined with the swappability of powers and talents it can easily match 3E's customizability

  • And there's a heapload of underlying balance within the system

  • Plus the system itself is so modular it's really easy to plant parts of the system to just about any edition of D&D, from the concept of mooks, to Icons and Icon Relationships, to Escalation Die, to backgrounds, and the One Unique Thing especially.



I'd say that 13th Age unintentionally raised the bar for D&D Next because right now it's accomplished everything D&D Next originally set out to achieve while being original enough in its own right.


No kidding! But it also has the advantage of not being D&D, and therefore not having to preserve sacred cows simply to keep the fans from complainging that it "doesn't feel like D&D" since it's not and never claimed to be.
I think they will look at the large defining elements of each ediiton and try and make somehting appeal to that.

1/st/2nd simplicity
3rd complexity
4th balance

 Things like 3.5 system mastery and 4th ed tactics part will get the bonfire of the vanities treatment. Putting it togather you get something that is a bit more complex than 2nd ed in some ways but with an attempt to balance it better than 3.5 but maybe not tot he extent of 4th ed and power creep kind of hurt 4th ed anyway (and 3.5 and 2nd ed to a lesser extent).

 So you don't end up with a hybrid system but somehitng like 4th eds tactics might have to wait for the D&DN verison of the minatures handbook/book of 9 swords treatment.

 The optional rules will probably resemble 2nd eds optioanl rules i am guessing. It may turn out to be very good but I have my doubts. I can easily houserule 2nd ed into something a bit more 3rd ed based if I like and houseruling 3.5 to fix balance issues requires alot more work but it can be done (ban and rewrite the problem spells and effects like polymorph). Ironically as much as some of the 4th ed players thing I am a 3.5 edition warrior you would have alot more 4th ed in D&DN now than what it currently has if I was in charge. I wouldn't be able to duplicate 4th ed 100% but neither is 13th age from what I hear.


 Mike will go down in history as the man who saved D&D if it works or the man who wrecked it. Either way I don't think I would like Mikes job. Well actually I would but I would ignore the forums and shove an evolved fusion of Star Wars Saga and 4th ed down everyones throat. I would try for a simplified d20 system aimed at 3rd and 4th ed players that may appeal to older gamers as well but most of the pre 3rd ed holdouts made their decision a long time ago and you may be able to win some of them over at the expense of the 3rd and 4th ed crowd who like d20, feats and skills even if they get tweaked a bit.


Let's see...

Rules simplicity
Character customizability
Balanced baseline
Modular approach

Sounds like a non-D&D system I know

13th Age isn't trying to be 4E's version of Pathfinder (heck, I'm actually tempted to import stuff like 4E's minions to lessen the mook monitoring even further).  It's described as "a love letter to D&D", and takes a lot of the good stuff from a lot of RPGs (not just D&D) and makes it all... well, just work I guess.



  • The character creation is simple and straightforward

  • Rules are very flexible and easy to grasp (all the more if you've played D&D), and you're actually constantly nudged as a DM (by the system) to make various calls and rulings wherever it seems appropriate

  • With the Unique Thing, Backgrounds and Relationship Dice combined with the swappability of powers and talents it can easily match 3E's customizability

  • And there's a heapload of underlying balance within the system

  • Plus the system itself is so modular it's really easy to plant parts of the system to just about any edition of D&D, from the concept of mooks, to Icons and Icon Relationships, to Escalation Die, to backgrounds, and the One Unique Thing especially.



I'd say that 13th Age unintentionally raised the bar for D&D Next because right now it's accomplished everything D&D Next originally set out to achieve while being original enough in its own right.



 It also describes SW saga as well;) Even I'm considering 13th age but I'm waiting to see it 1st and read a few reviews. THe big thing with WoTC and the screwups made with 3rd and 4th ed is I have lost my faith in them as a compnay and I no longer automatically assume D&D is my default RPG system no matter what. It honestly would not bother me if Disney bought D&D- they may look after it better.

 THe other major concern I have is Mike Mearls. I missed the 4th ed players dislike of him but he doesn't seem to have alot of RPG design credits to his resume so to speak. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th ed designers were seasoned veterens of previous systems or even other RPGs even if you did not like what they did you can usually see why they did it. 13th age and Paizo also have experienced designers on board. Mealrs as a designer yeah sure, project manager really does puzzle me.

 He will either be the new Gary Gygax or Lorraine Williams depending on how it turns out.


Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.




Could be for the best looking around these boards.

They had me at the 1st Packet (the best one), this article is really good news, just what I want, I am delighted. 

They need to make feats and skills completely optional (as of now they are both tied to rogue class features). 


There needs to be a way to upvote this post somehow. Seriously, the first packet was perfect for a core. Every packet since then has looked like some hodgepodge of different mechanics that would make nice modules, but should really not be core. At least not if they are seirous about the design goals they're touting in this article.


The 1st packet is not the core of any D&D I'd care to play at this point.


First packet as is?  Probably not.  There was potential though, as a core module.  But no, instead of pushing on to developing a variety of good ideas, the moment people started praising the Expertise Dice they just raped the concept to death, replacing skills and even sneak attack dice.

Rogues being shotgun married to skills and even having the Fighter into a polygamy by making Parry into a skill die-connected thing is just... well, sad, because the modularity they were advertising seems to be vaporising quite quickly...
Show

You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
It also describes SW saga as well;) Even I'm considering 13th age but I'm waiting to see it 1st and read a few reviews. THe big thing with WoTC and the screwups made with 3rd and 4th ed is I have lost my faith in them as a compnay and I no longer automatically assume D&D is my default RPG system no matter what. It honestly would not bother me if Disney bought D&D- they may look after it better.

Rob Heinsoo was the lead designer of 4E, and is even mentioned in SWSE.  Jonathan Tweet was the lead designer of 3E. Both of them are lead designers for various indie games as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of their experiences with various indie and mainstream RPGs helped shape 13th Age (for instance, the presence of Ars Magica's freeform magic in 13th Age's ritual magic).

Just letting you know

THe other major concern I have is Mike Mearls. I missed the 4th ed players dislike of him but he doesn't seem to have alot of RPG design credits to his resume so to speak. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th ed designers were seasoned veterens of previous systems or even other RPGs even if you did not like what they did you can usually see why they did it. 13th age and Paizo also have experienced designers on board. Mealrs as a designer yeah sure, project manager really does puzzle me.

 He will either be the new Gary Gygax or Lorraine Williams depending on how it turns out.

Let's just say that Mike Mearls' history with 4E from the start -- all the more with Essentials -- has not been favorable in terms of encouraging me to look forward to what he's currently doing in 5E.
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Sure, up until the 2nd or 3rd playtest they seemed to be listening, but it's as if they're slowly distancing themselves from us.




Could be for the best looking around these boards.

They had me at the 1st Packet (the best one), this article is really good news, just what I want, I am delighted. 

They need to make feats and skills completely optional (as of now they are both tied to rogue class features). 


There needs to be a way to upvote this post somehow. Seriously, the first packet was perfect for a core. Every packet since then has looked like some hodgepodge of different mechanics that would make nice modules, but should really not be core. At least not if they are seirous about the design goals they're touting in this article.


The 1st packet is not the core of any D&D I'd care to play at this point.


First packet as is?  Probably not.  There was potential though, as a core module.  But no, instead of pushing on to developing a variety of good ideas, the moment people started praising the Expertise Dice they just raped the concept to death, replacing skills and even sneak attack dice.

Rogues being shotgun married to skills and even having the Fighter into a polygamy by making Parry into a skill die-connected thing is just... well, sad, because the modularity they were advertising seems to be vaporising quite quickly...



A core module needs to do two things:

1. It needs to make want to play the game. If I hate the core, I'm not going to bother with modularity. Further, the core needs to be compelling on its own as a game in its own right, even if it(core only) is not what I end up playing.
2. It needs to be the foundation of the D&D I want, not be at odds with it.

The first packet failed spectacularly at both for me.
...whatever
For the record, I was not advocating the 1st packet exactly as it was presented as the core. I was merely using it as an example of the level of simplicity their core needs if they are serious about modules not being able to modify the core in any way. And I will also take this opportunity to stress that I do not mean core as in core books. Modules do not all need to be in splatbooks, and in fact should not all be. The core books need to contain a lot of optional rules in order for me to have any motivation to buy them. Because I'm not going to bother buying books to fix a core system, and I doubt many other people will be enthusiastic about the idea either. Instead, there needs to be an extremely simple base set of mechanics, with myriad options for how to add to those mechanics, all in the core books.