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

Legends & Lore
D&D Next Goals, Part Three

By Mike Mearls

After going over the basic rules last week, Mike dives right into the standard rules overview for this week, plus he shares more exciting news.

Talk about this column here.

This Week in D&D

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Great news!

When is the next Playtest Packet going to be released so those of us who cant be at Winter Fantasy can give it a test drive?
This sounds promising. I'm surprised that the barbarian is the new class, but I'm excited to see how it goes over with the playtesters. It sounds like a promising new way of designing the class. And it sounds like the Standard System is more or less what we've been playtesting so far, albeit without some of the elements Mearls mentioned. (i.e. monster creation, multiclassing, etc.) I can't wait for the next playtest packet! 
prowlers, you beat me to 1st post. lol 
Great news!

When is the next Playtest Packet going to be released so those of us who cant be at Winter Fantasy can give it a test drive?


I would guess sometime around the convention itself, if not the day of the convention. I think there was another packet that came out the day of a convention where the packet was introduced.
Barbarian!

Congrats to Orzel, JayM, and Howndawg, who guessed it correctly!
prowlers, you beat me to 1st post. lol 



I was quick on the draw ... been waiting for this post since yesterday Cool
Barbarian!

Congrats to Orzel, JayM, and Howndawg, who guessed it correctly!


I guess that means we all owe them vast quantities of magic items and money over betting...
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

These, in the day when heaven was falling, The hour when earth's foundations fled, Followed their mercenary calling, And took their wages, and are dead. Playing: Legendof Five Rings, The One Ring, Fate Core. Planning: Lords in the Eastern Marches, Runequest in Glorantha. 

Wait...

the aim is to match the *complexity and intricacy* of 4e DMing?!  Wasn't the simplicity and ease of 4e's DMing widely held even by the few grognards who picked the system up to be the best thing about 4e?  Unless he means the lack of complexity and intricacy, in which case why not say that?

IDGI.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I like what i hear about Standard D&D!

Also YAY for Barbarian !

And YAY for PDFs !


Today is a great day for D&D!!!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

the aim is to match the *complexity and intricacy* of 4e DMing?!  Wasn't the simplicity and ease of 4e's DMing widely held even by the few grognards who picked the system up to be the best thing about 4e?  Unless he means the lack of complexity and intricacy, in which case why not say that?


 Read the paragraph.

In addition, our aim is to produce a set of nonplayer character and monster creation guidelines that meet 4E's level of complexity and intricacy. A DM running a standard game sees the rules more as a tool to produce specific things he or she needs or wants to do, much in the same way that a player in a standard game pictures a character then turns to the rules. In many ways, the standard rules for DMs assume that the DM is interested in system tinkering and mechanical creation as an interesting task in itself, where the basic rules place a much bigger focus on stocking a dungeon or wilderness with existing traps and monsters, or creating scenarios using pre-built mechanical elements. 

The goal is to give DMs tools for monster creation akin to 4e's guidelines, which allows you to make complex and intricate NPCs that remain balanced.  The idea is to let you tinker with the system and create mechanics with less fear of breaking the game.  The intricacy and complexity is in your creations, not the system itself.
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

I find it fascinating that powers by level just keep coming up in spite of vehement denial in some quarters of their existence on the DM side of the screen.



Snark aside, I really hope what he wrote is what happens in 5e. It's exactly what I want.

I was never a fan of 3rd Ed style multiclassing.  It was about as senselessly video-gamey as it gets. 

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

The standard rules represent the next step up in terms of complexity and options. You can think of them as a combination of 3rd Edition's character creation and 4th Edition's approach to DMing, with flexibility brought to the forefront for players and rugged extensibility for DMs. We're also adding elements to allow for a 2E-with-kits feel (specialties and backgrounds) for players who want to focus more on story in character creation than mechanics.

OK, that clears up a lot of questions over what the difference between basic and standard are. What we have been play testing is closer to the standard game then the basic game. The basic game will be really stripped down, with the classes themselves simplified and no multiclassing or other options. This pretty much secures what I expected, except for a few role playing heavy groups, nobody posting here is going to be playing the basic game. It is mostly for kids and introducing people to the game, and most groups are going to move to the standard game in short order.

I hope we get a basic game play test packet at some point. I have a some young relatives I was planning to corrupt introduce to D&D this year. Running them through the basic play test would be cool.

So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?



I totally agree.   3e multi-classing and 2e dual classing just doesn't work all that well.   


So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!




I fear that the issue just won't receive enough complaints.    I also think that mearls has already made up his mind that 3e multi-classing is the way to go.

I find it very disruptive to the narrative of my campaign when a character just picks another class mid adventure.   


So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!




I fear that the issue just won't receive enough complaints.    I also think that mearls has already made up his mind that 3e multi-classing is the way to go.

I find it very disruptive to the narrative of my campaign when a character just picks another class mid adventure.   



This is one of the things I really liked about Hackmaster. When you gained a level, you got nothing in the way of abilities/spells/training until you went to a school and trained. Just adding the mechanic that if a player wants to multiclass that they have to go to school and spend an amount of time there correspondent to what level they are learning, this would put a big damper on abuse.
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!




I fear that the issue just won't receive enough complaints.    I also think that mearls has already made up his mind that 3e multi-classing is the way to go.

I find it very disruptive to the narrative of my campaign when a character just picks another class mid adventure.   



This is one of the things I really liked about Hackmaster. When you gained a level, you got nothing in the way of abilities/spells/training until you went to a school and trained. Just adding the mechanic that if a player wants to multiclass that they have to go to school and spend an amount of time there correspondent to what level they are learning, this would put a big damper on abuse.



Yes, I have done that.  The problem is that a dungeon delve or a time sensitive adventure might level the party up past the level a player wants one of his classes to advance in.     


This is essentially what I have hoped for.  I always loved 2nd eds. character kit rules, and the backgrounds and specialties seem like a good replacement for them,  it will let us ad just enough to starting characters to give them their own flavor.  I'm less thrilled by the return of 3rd ed multiclassing, like some others I liked 1st/2nd's system for it better.  In fact I wouldn't have been too upset if multiclassing were eliminated outright, but others (like my sister) would hate that.
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I totally agree.   3e multi-classing and 2e dual classing just doesn't work all that well.

It can work well, if it's implemented well. Most of the issue is, as many have pointed out, front-loading. I've allowed 3e-style multiclassing in my 2e campaign, but there's no front-loading.

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!

I fear that the issue just won't receive enough complaints.    I also think that mearls has already made up his mind that 3e multi-classing is the way to go.

I find it very disruptive to the narrative of my campaign when a character just picks another class mid adventure.   

Work it into the story, both the campaign and the character story. For us, the player has to give good, solid reasons why he's choosing a new class to add. Usually it's because of a whole lot of character development as the campaign progresses. "You've really been concentrating on your spiritual side. The church of [whatever] is offering to train you as an acolyte." If the player accepts the offer, the PC spends the training time and adds the new class.

This is one of the things I really liked about Hackmaster. When you gained a level, you got nothing in the way of abilities/spells/training until you went to a school and trained. Just adding the mechanic that if a player wants to multiclass that they have to go to school and spend an amount of time there correspondent to what level they are learning, this would put a big damper on abuse.

We've used the training mechanic all along. That really works well.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

... I wouldn't have been too upset if multiclassing were eliminated outright, but others (like my sister) would hate that.

Multiclassing -- and flexible enough multiclassing -- is one of the points that has to be met for me to move my campaign to 5e. "Can we make our current characters (or close enough to satisfy us) with the current rules?" is the question we keep striving to answer, and multiclassing is a requirement for at least one PC, and possibly up to five of them.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

anyone knows about the quality of the PDFs?

are we talking scans, or bookmarked / text-selectable / OCR stuff?

My RPG Campaigns

 

I joke that D&D Next is what happens when, A Christmas Carol-like, 3rd & 4th edition's ghosts travel back in time to an evening near the end of AD&D 2E's life, and say "this is what is coming" and so AD&D 2E heads off in a different direction. So, it's like alt-reality AD&D 3rd, maybe?Cam Banks

 

This is essentially what I have hoped for.  I always loved 2nd eds. character kit rules, and the backgrounds and specialties seem like a good replacement for them,  it will let us ad just enough to starting characters to give them their own flavor.  I'm less thrilled by the return of 3rd ed multiclassing, like some others I liked 1st/2nd's system for it better.  In fact I wouldn't have been too upset if multiclassing were eliminated outright, but others (like my sister) would hate that.



Although they mention 3e multiclassing as standard 5e multiclassing I think they acknowledge the challenge they face.  I wish them well on this endeavor. 

I look forward to basic and standard.  I have been playing for 30+ years and sometimes a good ole basic game is exactly what we needed.  Leads me to wonder if a basic character and a standard character can play side by side.

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

So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?



I totally agree.   3e multi-classing and 2e dual classing just doesn't work all that well.   




I agree with that, I don´t know about other people, but I have a great time on multiclassing in 4E, it´s hybrids rules are simples and clean, multiclassing trough feats work pretty well too.
anyone knows about the quality of the PDFs?

are we talking scans, or bookmarked / text-selectable / OCR stuff?



I just downloaded B1 for free.  It looks like a scan but it is a very good scan.  I like it.

Bookmarked!

Looks like they have Moldvay Basic for 5 bucks

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

The Standard concepts and goals sound pretty good, I do agree with the whole give me a different version of the multiclassing system (can't comment on 2nd ed's but I certainly prefer 4th's systems over 3rd's), but I'm going to see if they actually can make it work before I complain.
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?



I totally agree.   3e multi-classing and 2e dual classing just doesn't work all that well.   




I agree with that, I don´t know about other people, but I have a great time on multiclassing in 4E, it´s hybrids rules are simples and clean, multiclassing trough feats work pretty well too.



The mutli-classing feat rules in 4e didn't really work for me, but the hybrid concept was the best yet.  For the first time in D&D I could select the abilities of each class that I wanted and my character wasn't any more or less powerful than the single class characters. 

The only limitation was that you couldn't create a triple class character with those rules.

For me 5e mutli-classing will be a partial failure if I can't create a fighter/wizard/rogue at first level.   I don't want to wait three levels (several sessions later) for my character concept to be realized.  




All good stuff.

On the multi classing front, dualclassing and multiclassing could easily coexist if the system is built for it to work that way.

The issue is the sacrifices made to create a system that meaningfully allows for warrior mages and for warriors who become mages. The system will have to give up a few things and will end up encouraging certain builds depending on how it is done.

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

This article had a lot of good intentions to pave D&DN's road. And you know where that road leads.
Sorry, I just don't see any evidence that this team can turn "a la cart" 3e multiclassing into something that approximates a balanced game. If this works its way into NPC and monster customization then it's also at odds with the reliable tools they talk about for tinkering DM's.
Characters are built rather than randomly generated, with players aiming to combine a specific set of abilities to craft a customized character.

Random McRandomguy needs to be possible, even if (whoo hoo!) not the default.
If in the basic rules a cleric carries a mace and turns undead, a cleric in the standard rules might be a devotee of Thor who wields a warhammer and calls down thunderbolts to smite enemies. The characters in the standard game are a more diverse lot, with a focus on options to build unique stories, combinations of abilities, and so forth.

So long as "basic" cleric is not using a completely different ruleset, and is just a possible outcome of "standard", this will work out great - ideally so if "more options" doesn't end up just meaning "more better".
Most notably, we see multiclassing and prestige class rules as part of the standard game. Advancing to 3rd level as a fighter, then grabbing a few levels as a rogue before becoming an executioner of the Dusk Shadow Guild, is a great way to use the game rules to customize your character.

This had better not be a harbringer of 3E/SWSE-style "plan your guy from level one" PrCs
Create 3E-style multiclassing that creates balanced characters within reasonable mixtures of class levels, if not all such mixes.

Good luck with that, guys!  3E multiclassing either resulted in way awesome or way behind, with no middle-ground.  It'll take a miracle (or some minimum-swag-by-total-character-level tables) to pull that off.
Allow for a story-centric approach to character creation without forcing players to become system experts for fear that they might unintentionally create weak characters.

That's great, so long as I and my DM decide the "story", and not some baked-in alignment screwjobs or warts or somesuch.
the hybrid concept was the best yet.  For the first time in D&D I could select the abilities of each class that I wanted and my character wasn't any more or less powerful than the single class characters. 
 



That is my experience too.


I appreciate that he qualified the multiclassing - "within a reasonable mixture of class levels".  There are bound to be outside cases, and Mike acknowledged that.  People will ALWAYS find ways to break the system.  That doesn't mean that it's not a generally workable system though.

Analogy time: If I dump sand in my car's radiator, my car will break.  But if I operate my car within precribed bounds, it runs just fine.  All the multiclassing rules need to say is "we recommend no more than X number of levels between your highest and lowest class levels" and it's covered.  You can go outside of that recommendation all you want, but the system also covers itself by saying it works best within prescribed bounds.
So what's the obsession with 3e style multiclassing? You want characters who feel effective without giving the GM reason to regret allowing them, 1e/2e style multiclassing did that. And let you play your Elf Fighter/Mage from 1st level, and ensured that you didn't suddenly develop a whole swathe of abilities when you took your second class at 2nd level. I mean, the article acknowledges there were problems with the 3e version, so why not go with a version that's been shown to work reasonably well rather than one which has been seen to be both abusable for more power than is desirable and also one where it's easy to slide into an ineffective character through misjudgements?

I, too, would like the 1st/2nd-ed method of multiclassing in addition to the 3e method. Both have good points. I sure wish they'd throw multiclassing into a packet soon so we can see what we're likely to be working with!




I fear that the issue just won't receive enough complaints.    I also think that mearls has already made up his mind that 3e multi-classing is the way to go.

I find it very disruptive to the narrative of my campaign when a character just picks another class mid adventure.   


I feel the same.

AD&D multiclassing is the only multiclassing I will accept; and I think there are enough of us that feel that way that it will have to be a Standard module, at the very least.
This feels like one of those "it all sounds well and good, BUT..."
Ok with the basc/standard/advanced partition. But I wouldn't want that all the promise for modularity will end up being a 3-layers approach where you have to pick one and get on with it. 
My expectation is that all those layers and their components are permeable, so that if I want to play a Basic game with some elements from Standard it will just work without problems. 
So, yes, the intentions are commendable, but it is down to what will be the actual delivery upon those. 
 
Nooooooooooooooooo.  Death to 3e multiclassing!
This is essentially what I have hoped for.  I always loved 2nd eds. character kit rules, and the backgrounds and specialties seem like a good replacement for them,  it will let us ad just enough to starting characters to give them their own flavor.  I'm less thrilled by the return of 3rd ed multiclassing, like some others I liked 1st/2nd's system for it better.  In fact I wouldn't have been too upset if multiclassing were eliminated outright, but others (like my sister) would hate that.



Although they mention 3e multiclassing as standard 5e multiclassing I think they acknowledge the challenge they face.  I wish them well on this endeavor. 

I look forward to basic and standard.  I have been playing for 30+ years and sometimes a good ole basic game is exactly what we needed.  Leads me to wonder if a basic character and a standard character can play side by side.

I think that this will remains a primary goal, just as PCs using certain modules will still be playable alongside PCs that don't use those modules.

YAY-


  • PDF sales

  • Barbarian

  • 4th style monster creation


Not YAY



  • 3e multi class (I don't mind this too much, but I don't really like 3e style.  I'd rather take 2e style or perhaps 4th style hybriding.  Heck, I'd almost consider gestalt)

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

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
Very excited for the Next Barbarian! Hoping to be able to play a skinchanger/werebear/Berserker at level 1. Not at all excited for 3E style multiclassing. I would much prefer AD&D multiclassing or 4E hybrids...

Edited to correct terminology
Once again, my biggest beef is the nomenclature.  What Mearls calls "Basic" should just be called "Dungeons & Dragons."  It is essentially what the game consisted of for the majority of its lifespan.  The idea that specialized rules for *wresling,* of all things, is somehow part of the "standard" game is mildly off-putting, but I think the real harm is that it will convince the potential player, the one new to D&D but wanting to try it out, that the *real* game is the one which requires a 300+ page rulebook and the balancing of skills, feats, backgrounds, multi-classing, etc. in order to play. 

That's going to reinforce that barrier of perceived complexity which is one of the things keeping a broader audience out of the hobby.  I sincerely hope they'll reconsider labelling the bloated version the "standard" game.  That one should be called "expanded."