Legends & Lore: A Change in Format

"I was pretty happy to resolve a battle involving five 10th-level characters, over two hundred orcs, sixty hill giants, twenty-four ogres, fourteen dire wolves, and assorted stone and cloud giants in about two hours. You can expect the guidelines, after a few revisions for simplicity and clarity, to show up in an upcoming playtest packet."

This is good news for those of us that prefer over-ground adventures (mass warfare playing a noted role in that) over standard dungeon crawls.

From 1E on, I've had houserules that I've implemented for mass combat. Average HPs, average saves, average damage output, and so on all go into it. It makes it easy to insert the PCs into the warfare and actually make them feel as though they play a part in it, as opposed being there and having the feeling that the outcome is already determined, and all the narrative in-between is just time-wasting filler.

The fact that he was able to resolve a 300+ combatant battle (that involved the PCs) in about 2 hours is wonderful. Since 4E combat could take that long with less than a dozen combatants, including the PCs (sometimes with just the PCs vs. 1 or 2 enemies), this is a breath of fresh air. Well...it will be a breath of fresh air if it's an interesting mass combat. That part is yet to be seen.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
So, coming soon.
• Nitty gritty from R&D.
• Exploration rules: Take turns during noncombat. DM draws map.
• Recalibrate Barbarian and Fighter: Improve Fighter maneuvers, add Barbarian nonrage features. Wait for feedback on Barbarian.
• Old school adventures - quicker to read, more openended - more breakable.
• Masscombat.
Hell Yes mass combat rules, or at least the beginnings of it.  Good thing my testing campaign is currently in a war setting, at least currently after a few battles the plot will change some, but that means I can try out a few battles with these mass combat rules.  Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and some other stuff vs orcs, trolls, goblins, basically your green guys and some other goodies like mind flayers, along with some demonic/devil/other outsiders type stuff.


Tentatively interested. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Just narrate the details away and declare a winner is my guess.
Looking forward to the Explorations and Mass Combat Rules!
Looking forward to the Explorations and Mass Combat Rules!

Looking forward to Exploration rules. This is a big aspect to the game, and I'm curious how they will implement it, and how it will stack up (positively or negatively) to skill challenges.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

Spelljammer actually had a decent mass combat rulesystem in one of the boxed sets booklets that I always remember fondly (they worked really well for me when I used them).  I wouldn't mind seeing those updated to Next if the main mechanics just incorporate something that work for me.
So, coming soon.
• Nitty gritty from R&D.
• Exploration rules: Take turns during noncombat. DM draws map.
• Recalibrate Barbarian and Fighter: Improve Fighter maneuvers, add Barbarian nonrage features. Wait for feedback on Barbarian.
• Old school adventures - quicker to read, more openended - more breakable.
• Masscombat.


Actually, the article doesnt offer much to discuss. Altho the article informs us about the topics that the devs are working on, it doesnt give any details to discuss them, or what the issues or dilemmas are.
Exploration rules!

Gotta see these mass combat rules.

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!

I wish the exploration rules were coming sooner then the next packet (probably a couple more months out).


He mentioned (in the podcast) that they were going to have some smaller releases like the Barbarian in the meantime.


Any chance we can get those exploration rules as one of those 'smaller releases?"


Carl   
Hopefully the exploration rules look at use of skills in comparison to classes and out of combat utility. Drawing maps, versus getting into a long narrative where a host of questions arise, is another reason I started using grid at the table a long time ago. As to old school adventures, that has always been my preference in design. Escpecially when it comes in a series of 3 to 4 adventures.
So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?
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 wish the exploration rules were coming sooner then the next packet (probably a couple more months out).


He mentioned (in the podcast) that they were going to have some smaller releases like the Barbarian in the meantime.


Any chance we can get those exploration rules as one of those 'smaller releases?"


Carl   




I actually think that is what a listing here in L&L means.  That these rules will be soon appearing in micro updates.
I always wanted to create roles for exploration but I could never get it right. Mostly because the roles are more location based in exploration. 4e's skill challenges did help somewhat. While exploring I always asked who was doing what.

I guess for DDN its:


Wilderness
Mapper: Tracks enemies. Writes/read map to prevent getting lost.
Searcher: Actively searches for poisonous plants, natural traps, and predicts dangerous weather.
Spotter: Actively spots ambushes.
Lug: Carries the most stuff. Prevents team from slowing down.

Dungeon
Mapper: Writes/read map to prevent getting lost.
Searcher: Actively searches for traps and disarm minor traps
Spotter: Actively spots ambushes.
Lug: Carries the most stuff. Prevents team from slowing down.

It breaks down in Cities though.

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!

So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?


Good thing it's only been a year
My two copper.
The L&L covers some diverse ground, but most could be filed under the heading "DM tools." I like this. In each case (exploration, adventures, and mass combat) the R&D team identified issues that arose during playtesting  and is working on approaches to resolving those issues. The exploration and mass combat rules sound like modules that can be opted into when appropriate, and the adventure piece is about basic adventure design guidelines, with the primary goal of making the DM's life easier.

Rather then designing a systems out of wholecloth they are looking at specific parts of the play experience and ways they can  improve the experience.

So when it comes to rules for interaction don't ask "can I design a system for adjudicating non-combat scenes?" Instead ask "what problems have I (or others) faced when running non-combat scenes?"

It breaks down in Cities though.

Depends on the city Granted, either rule set could apply for aboveground ruins. Having rules/guidelines for crowd navigation and city encounters would be appreciated.

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So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?


Good thing it's only been a year


You think that development wasn't going on for around a year before the first playtest releases?

I hope to goodness it was...
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.
So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?


Good thing it's only been a year


You think that development wasn't going on for around a year before the first playtest releases?

I hope to goodness it was...

Based on what the first packet actually looked like, I'd guess it'd been going on for maybe a long afternoon.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Based on what the first packet actually looked like, I'd guess it'd been going on for maybe a long afternoon.




That... made me chuckle

But I'm intrigued by the exploration rules concept. Hope they will be good and 'modular', to allow easy porting to other games as well.
So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?


Good thing it's only been a year


You think that development wasn't going on for around a year before the first playtest releases?

I hope to goodness it was...


The version played at D&DXP about a year ago was really rough.  Really rough.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I always wanted to create roles for exploration but I could never get it right. Mostly because the roles are more location based in exploration. 4e's skill challenges did help somewhat. While exploring I always asked who was doing what. I guess for DDN its: Wilderness Mapper: Tracks enemies. Writes/read map to prevent getting lost. Searcher: Actively searches for poisonous plants, natural traps, and predicts dangerous weather. Spotter: Actively spots ambushes. Lug: Carries the most stuff. Prevents team from slowing down. Dungeon Mapper: Writes/read map to prevent getting lost. Searcher: Actively searches for traps and disarm minor traps Spotter: Actively spots ambushes. Lug: Carries the most stuff. Prevents team from slowing down. It breaks down in Cities though.



Good point about cities. I hope the mechanics for navigating cities can handle both the labyrinthine streets of medieval cities, and the large complexes of modern supercities.

Mapper: maps are necessary in many medieval cities, quite mazelike, but it should be easy to find a guide to show travelers around.
Searcher: towns might have poor sections that can be dangerous, also hazards.
Spotter: criminals may well target travelers in schemes, muggings, even kidnappings if seeming wealthy.
Lug: also a donkey, even a horse and cart, depending on what the streets look like.

A medieval city is often a 1000 yards across, from one townwall to the other.



For modern-era campaigns, I plan on using Google Map for maps of wildernesses and cities, and just making up fictional contents of buildings. That way, the players can feel like they are exploring a real place. And the maps are easily available.
I don't really agree with their approach to mass combat...

The old Heroes of Battle supplement back in 3.5 offered a surprisingly robust and flexible system based on letting the players earn "Victory Points" for the things they achieved. The DM decided what the different outcomes of a battle could be based on the VP earned by the players.

I would tend to be even more narrative in my approach, essentially deciding in advance what the crisis of the battle should be, then let the players deal with that. So the battle starts, and then a dragon appears, wrecking their side. Oh no! Now the players need to go deal with the dragon, as the battle rages around them. Or the battle is happening, but they need to race into the enemy fortress to take out the magical barrier before the battle turns against them.

The last thing to do is to roll a bunch of dice to decide how a battle goes while the PCs awkwardly walk around bashing heads. 
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
I don't really agree with their approach to mass combat...

The old Heroes of Battle supplement back in 3.5 offered a surprisingly robust and flexible system based on letting the players earn "Victory Points" for the things they achieved. The DM decided what the different outcomes of a battle could be based on the VP earned by the players.

I would tend to be even more narrative in my approach, essentially deciding in advance what the crisis of the battle should be, then let the players deal with that. So the battle starts, and then a dragon appears, wrecking their side. Oh no! Now the players need to go deal with the dragon, as the battle rages around them. Or the battle is happening, but they need to race into the enemy fortress to take out the magical barrier before the battle turns against them.

The last thing to do is to roll a bunch of dice to decide how a battle goes while the PCs awkwardly walk around bashing heads. 




10 ogers is an acceptable group of monsters to face 2 level 7 PCs...if there is a quicker way to run that combat I will be happy.  I also like that I will be able to let the players be involved in the actual large scale battle coming up in the test campaign.  I also like a victory points type of deal, but I like a victory points deal that can be used to build out the army they will be using in the coming battle.  You know gain these VP and you will have catapults for this upcomming battle.  Recruit the hill giants in the local mountain range to come to our aid.  Go on an adventure to get the help of the elven kingdom to help in this battle.  Those are all fun, but once they are done with all of the preperation and its time for battle I want them to be able to see the battle unfold and have some command over it.

Interestingly enough I think they could make the rules I want and the rules you want and a way to connect the two of them...and that would make me all kinds of happy. 
So...

How many more pie-in-the-sky undeveloped concepts can start getting thrown around two years into a three year design process?



Hopefully lots of them.


Carl
I don't really agree with their approach to mass combat...

The old Heroes of Battle supplement back in 3.5 offered a surprisingly robust and flexible system based on letting the players earn "Victory Points" for the things they achieved. The DM decided what the different outcomes of a battle could be based on the VP earned by the players.

I would tend to be even more narrative in my approach, essentially deciding in advance what the crisis of the battle should be, then let the players deal with that. So the battle starts, and then a dragon appears, wrecking their side. Oh no! Now the players need to go deal with the dragon, as the battle rages around them. Or the battle is happening, but they need to race into the enemy fortress to take out the magical barrier before the battle turns against them.

The last thing to do is to roll a bunch of dice to decide how a battle goes while the PCs awkwardly walk around bashing heads. 




Since you have clearly seen enough of the whole system to constructively criticize it - how about you share some of those details with the rest of us. 


Carl  
I don't really agree with their approach to mass combat...

The old Heroes of Battle supplement back in 3.5 offered a surprisingly robust and flexible system based on letting the players earn "Victory Points" for the things they achieved. The DM decided what the different outcomes of a battle could be based on the VP earned by the players.

I would tend to be even more narrative in my approach, essentially deciding in advance what the crisis of the battle should be, then let the players deal with that. So the battle starts, and then a dragon appears, wrecking their side. Oh no! Now the players need to go deal with the dragon, as the battle rages around them. Or the battle is happening, but they need to race into the enemy fortress to take out the magical barrier before the battle turns against them.

The last thing to do is to roll a bunch of dice to decide how a battle goes while the PCs awkwardly walk around bashing heads. 




Since you have clearly seen enough of the whole system to constructively criticize it - how about you share some of those details with the rest of us. 


Carl  


For the sake of clarity, here is what I am criticizing:
In essence, these rules are guidelines that replace die rolls with the estimated damage per attacker when two big groups fight. Given that X orcs can attack Y giants, and vice versa, you can quickly determine how much damage the two sides soak up each round. I also worked up a simple table to determine what percentage of a mob makes a saving throw against a given DC, making things like cloud kill fairly easy to adjudicate as they roll across a huge battlefield.


My view is that this approach is not a very good one. It is trying to simulate a battle, rather than focusing on what the PCs can do to influence the battle. I in general don't like the idea of using dice to simulate how a battle plays out. It encourages stale play, that focuses on the PCs wading into a fight and knocking heads. Obviously you could still use a simulation system with a more engaging element on top of it (for instance the PCs need to break down a magical shield). But the reality is, the armies are just clashing maguffins, and there's no real need to simulate this beyond a flow chart of how it affects the PCs, and how the PCs affect it. These rules give rules lawyers permission to tell the DM he's doing it wrong off he chooses to hand wave a battle.

"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
Er.

This system is meant to handle situations where the PCs aren't influencing the battle.  That's the point.  You can't say "But I'd rather have the PCs influence the battle!" because the premise of developing this particular tool was for this particular circumstance.  It's like saying you object to the design of a ladder because what you want to do is ride a bike.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition



Since you have clearly seen enough of the whole system to constructively criticize it - how about you share some of those details with the rest of us. 


Carl  


For the sake of clarity, here is what I am criticizing:
In essence, these rules are guidelines that replace die rolls with the estimated damage per attacker when two big groups fight. Given that X orcs can attack Y giants, and vice versa, you can quickly determine how much damage the two sides soak up each round. I also worked up a simple table to determine what percentage of a mob makes a saving throw against a given DC, making things like cloud kill fairly easy to adjudicate as they roll across a huge battlefield.


My view is that this approach is not a very good one. It is trying to simulate a battle, rather than focusing on what the PCs can do to influence the battle. I in general don't like the idea of using dice to simulate how a battle plays out. It encourages stale play, that focuses on the PCs wading into a fight and knocking heads. Obviously you could still use a simulation system with a more engaging element on top of it (for instance the PCs need to break down a magical shield). But the reality is, the armies are just clashing maguffins, and there's no real need to simulate this beyond a flow chart of how it affects the PCs, and how the PCs affect it. These rules give rules lawyers permission to tell the DM he's doing it wrong off he chooses to hand wave a battle.




The point is:  it doesn't address what the PCs are doing at all.  It is a system for determining the outcome of the NPC versus NPC battles -while the PCs do whatever it is that you want them to be doing at that time, as well as a system for determining the effect of large area spells on dozens of combatants without having to roll all of the saves individually.


So your complaint that the PCs are 'akwardly bashing heads' seems misplaced.

The PCs are doing whatever you would have had them doing anyway.  It just gives the DM a tool to decide the outcome that is a bit more sophisticated than "I think that the ogres will win this one" - and making up the outcome on the fly.  (Not that there is anything wrong with a narrative decision rather than a statistical one in deciding this.  Just as there isn't anything wrong with leaving it up to statistics.  But neither has implies anything about the PCs role).


And since he doesn't mention the PCs - you have no idea how or if the PCs actions influence the table or the outcome.


Carl

My view is that this approach is not a very good one. It is trying to simulate a battle, rather than focusing on what the PCs can do to influence the battle. I in general don't like the idea of using dice to simulate how a battle plays out. It encourages stale play, that focuses on the PCs wading into a fight and knocking heads. Obviously you could still use a simulation system with a more engaging element on top of it (for instance the PCs need to break down a magical shield). But the reality is, the armies are just clashing maguffins, and there's no real need to simulate this beyond a flow chart of how it affects the PCs, and how the PCs affect it. These rules give rules lawyers permission to tell the DM he's doing it wrong off he chooses to hand wave a battle.




Well it depends. If you're going to do something like AD&D where you're handing a fighter like 200 followers at level 9, then you want rules to determine what happens when you send those 200 followers to actually do something.
Er.

This system is meant to handle situations where the PCs aren't influencing the battle.  That's the point.  You can't say "But I'd rather have the PCs influence the battle!" because the premise of developing this particular tool was for this particular circumstance.  It's like saying you object to the design of a ladder because what you want to do is ride a bike.


Well if the PCs aren't involved, then I guess this is as good as any method. I'm not sure why you would bother spending a lot of time rolling dice to determine something when the PCs aren't directly involved though.

My concern is, if you include it as a rule for "mass combat" or something, players will expect the DM to hold to it. They might decisions based on the assumption you will follow this model, then you would be cheating the players by not following the model. If it is clearly labelled as an optional rule, then a lot of my fear goes away. I would not want to play under a DM who followed a simulationist mass combat system, though.
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
Er.

This system is meant to handle situations where the PCs aren't influencing the battle.  That's the point.  You can't say "But I'd rather have the PCs influence the battle!" because the premise of developing this particular tool was for this particular circumstance.  It's like saying you object to the design of a ladder because what you want to do is ride a bike.


Well if the PCs aren't involved, then I guess this is as good as any method. I'm not sure why you would bother spending a lot of time rolling dice to determine something when the PCs aren't directly involved though.


Because rolling dice to determine something is both random and impartial, rather than the DM having to play capricious and fickle Olympian deciding the fate of the poor NPC mortals.

If you're really looking for the book to give you official permission to play capricious and fickle Olympian when your players object to you doing so, I'm not sure what to say.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Er.

This system is meant to handle situations where the PCs aren't influencing the battle.  That's the point.  You can't say "But I'd rather have the PCs influence the battle!" because the premise of developing this particular tool was for this particular circumstance.  It's like saying you object to the design of a ladder because what you want to do is ride a bike.



Yeah, if the PCs aren't affecting the battle, roll a few dice with modifiers based on size of armies and level of monsters and be done with it. You don't need 2 hours of watching the DM play with himself in there...Smile
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The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
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The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
The L&L covers some diverse ground, but most could be filed under the heading "DM tools." I like this. In each case (exploration, adventures, and mass combat) the R&D team identified issues that arose during playtesting  and is working on approaches to resolving those issues. The exploration and mass combat rules sound like modules that can be opted into when appropriate, and the adventure piece is about basic adventure design guidelines, with the primary goal of making the DM's life easier.

Rather then designing a systems out of wholecloth they are looking at specific parts of the play experience and ways they can  improve the experience.

So when it comes to rules for interaction don't ask "can I design a system for adjudicating non-combat scenes?" Instead ask "what problems have I (or others) faced when running non-combat scenes?"



I'd rather they ask in the surveys what problems came up and then fix the most prevalent, rather than run their personal play test twice and think they are getting universally applicable data. You know, basic design skills that seem to be lacking...Smile




Actually - experience says that that is not the way to find out what people want.  It sounds good. But it falls short.   Most people don't really know what they need until presented with the solution.  Check out the TED Talk by Martin Gladwell talking about Howard Moskowitz:   www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_sp...

The gist of it is:  when they did surveys to determine what people wanted in a tomato sauce, people asked for certain things because that was what they thought they wanted.  Mostly because they only thought to ask for what they had seen before.  But when they did taste tests and offered many many more options - including options no one ever asked for in response to a survey - they found that the most popular response was actually something no had ever asked for:  chunky tomato sauce.

Surveys are not a good way to find out what works or what people want.  People on the whole tend to automatically self-restrict their responses to ideas they have already seen and thus it will not lead to innovation.  Innovating and then testing is far more reliable approach.  

So if he has an idea and thinks it is worth testing in his opinion - and the opinion of his cohorts - all of whom have been playing for quite awhile - it is likely worth testing.

Whether or not it works is then up to us.  You'll have your chance to rip it apart in the feedback survey - don't you worry.  Until then - I don't see why you are as incensed by the idea as you appear to be.


Carl
Your expectations have no basis in reality.  This is a weekly update, that he managed to fit in two full playtests in the middle of actually doing the design work is a miracle in itself.  It would take far longer than that to incorporate any public playtest survey feedback into his analysis.  You really expect him to not react to his own personal experiences, either?  That's ridiculous. 

You seem to have the notion that internal design isn't valid, and that's just stupid.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The L&L covers some diverse ground, but most could be filed under the heading "DM tools." I like this. In each case (exploration, adventures, and mass combat) the R&D team identified issues that arose during playtesting  and is working on approaches to resolving those issues. The exploration and mass combat rules sound like modules that can be opted into when appropriate, and the adventure piece is about basic adventure design guidelines, with the primary goal of making the DM's life easier.

Rather then designing a systems out of wholecloth they are looking at specific parts of the play experience and ways they can  improve the experience.

So when it comes to rules for interaction don't ask "can I design a system for adjudicating non-combat scenes?" Instead ask "what problems have I (or others) faced when running non-combat scenes?"



I'd rather they ask in the surveys what problems came up and then fix the most prevalent, rather than run their personal play test twice and think they are getting universally applicable data. You know, basic design skills that seem to be lacking...Smile




Actually - experience says that that is not the way to find out what people want.  It sounds good. But it falls short.   Most people don't really know what they need until presented with the solution.  Check out the TED Talk by Martin Gladwell talking about Howard Moskowitz:   www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_sp...

The gist of it is:  when they did surveys to determine what people wanted in a tomato sauce, people asked for certain things because that was what they thought they wanted.  Mostly because they only thought to ask for what they had seen before.  But when they did taste tests and offered many many more options - including options no one ever asked for in response to a survey - they found that the most popular response was actually something no had ever asked for:  chunky tomato sauce.

Surveys are not a good way to find out what works or what people want.  People on the whole tend to automatically self-restrict their responses to ideas they have already seen and thus it will not lead to innovation.  Innovating and then testing is far more reliable approach.  

So if he has an idea and thinks it is worth testing in his opinion - and the opinion of his cohorts - all of whom have been playing for quite awhile - it is likely worth testing.

Whether or not it works is then up to us.  You'll have your chance to rip it apart in the feedback survey - don't you worry.  Until then - I don't see why you are as incensed by the idea as you appear to be.


Carl



The solution then is to put it into the next packet and ask people opinions on it or find out if they had problems with it or not. That is something that you can find out before wasting time on something that may or may not be useful. To put it into the sauce analogy, Mike tasted the sauce and threw a bunch of salt and garlic into it and then he's going to serve it to the 80 thousand play testers and hope he got it right. What is likely to happen is that many will say they liked it fine before, too much salt, too much garlic, or maybe it is great now. However simply asking if people would like more salt or more garlic will reveal that much more than randomly throwing it out there and hoping he got it right...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They can't put everything they think of in the next packet and ask for feedback on it.  The first cut gets made by them, themselves, as part of doing design.  You're the one who seems to not understand basic design.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Your expectations have no basis in reality.  This is a weekly update, that he managed to fit in two full playtests in the middle of actually doing the design work is a miracle in itself.  It would take far longer than that to incorporate any public playtest survey feedback into his analysis.  You really expect him to not react to his own personal experiences, either?  That's ridiculous. 

You seem to have the notion that internal design isn't valid, and that's just stupid.



See, now I know you don't know much about design yourself.

Whether or not he 'fit in' two sessions is not the problem. He could have fit 30 or 1 in and the results would be the same. he's basing the design of a random game with a sampling of 80 thousand play testers on his personal play test of 2 sessions. That's pure anecdotal evidence in its simplist form. At best he should have noted the problems and then asked if it was a problem with everyone in the play test and then see if enough people found it a problem to bother creating an entire module or set of rules around. As you indicate his time is precious and should not be wasted creating things that may or may not be needed. The time needed to incorporate play test feedback will be less than what is needed to create the new rules module and then balance it and then get it into the game, especially if it is wasted time and effort.

The key to good design is not to react to your own personal experiences. You have to act on the part of the customers experiences, which may or may not line up with their own experience. This is a fundamental tenet of design for large audiences and why many many project fail...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They can't put everything they think of in the next packet and ask for feedback on it.  The first cut gets made by them, themselves, as part of doing design.  You're the one who seems to not understand basic design.



No, the first cut should be made based on whether it is viable, after that customer opinions should be used and finally after that the developers should decide which they have time to do before release. Its the basic flow of using XP design which Mearls has admitted to basing their design cycle off of. I don't mean to be insulting, but you really don't know what we are discussing here...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
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