Is this the design goal?

This is something I wrote in response to another thread, but it got buried in the ongoing discussion. Perhaps it is just my vanity, but I thought it was a thought worth discussing. Here's the original post:

195926347 wrote:
I have played from AD&D onwards....I have played Deadlands, Shadowrun, Gurps, Whitewolf, tons of D20 variant games, Pathfinder etc. etc.
I think I can say that I am pretty well versed in role-playing game mechanics, and D&D Next is as dull as dishwater.

Here's the thing.... you can find any number of simplified, streamlined games out there with little to nothing in the realm of specific mechanics for anything other than very basic combat.  You can find all sorts of games that have ho-hum homogenized combat statistics and abilities.  You can find tons of fantasy games that do everything that D&D next seems to be attempting just as well if not better than it is doing it.

What is missing are the options.... I know that many people start to feel bogged down too many of them.... but they are necessary.  D&D next leaves very little in the way of character customization.  I know that these things are difficult to hammer out, but all WOTC seems to have done is remove options entirely rather than fix them.

I judge many games based on how well they deal with turning flavor into function.  I can't seem to find either here.  I fully applaud simplification where it is necessary.  There is a difference, however, between simplification and dumbing down.

What I cannot abide is looking at classes that are so incredibly linear in their progression.  Once a player has made their choice of class and race, they are essentially finished all the way to 20 (and presumably beyond).  Each level should be exciting for the player.  Each choice should be impactful.  How many ways does D&D next present you with to play a particular class?  None!!!  Sure there are minor cosmetic differences, but nothing close to what previous editions have offered.  

This is lazy design and nothing else.  Yes, many of the old problems will disappear, but this is like fixing the power imbalance between fighters and casters in 3.5 by just banning casters.  Problem solved right?  Wrong...  just a poorer level of game.

The meetings at WOTC must sound like MMORPG forums.  Everyone just seems to want to deal damage at an equal rate.  This is NOT D&D.  This misses the point entirely.  Non-combat mechanics have once again been thrown out the window.  Customization has gone as well.  

Why not just play a game of minis?

You know.... the best thing I can say about Pathfinder (with all of its many many flaws) is that they seem to take an approach where, if a player/DM has an idea, there is a rule for that.  Now, there really shouldn't be rules for absolutely everything.  But, when it comes to making a character.... there should be lots of different ways to play a class.  One player's fighter should be different from another's.

I don't know.... I just don't get it.  Just play 3.5, turn spells with more than a 1rd cast time into rituals.  Give full heals for short rests.  Stop giving out feats at lvl 10.  Force players to take a feat if they want to do something other than a basic attack.  Stop spells from scaling, and remove the full-attack option from the game..... there you go, its pretty much  D&D next.

How this is progress is beyond me.
How Wizards plans on retaking the market with this product is beyond me. 

 


 
And here's my response:

57691068 wrote:
Maybe the system is meant to be boring. In my experience, the fun of the game comes from the people who show up at the table. I feel like one of their goals in D&DN is to make a game that is very good at getting out of the way. It tries to achieve this goal in a few different ways.

1) Reliance on old, familiar mechanics. By using largely familiar mechanics, long-time players have to spend very little cognitive energy understanding how the game works, meaning they can focus on playing their characters rather than playing their character sheets.

2) Simple, fast-paced rules. Combat is supposed to move fairly quickly, meaning you won't have hour-long slogs that were characteristic of many combats in both 3e and 4e. The point here is that combat is part of the story, but shouldn't force everything to an utter standstill when it happens. A corollary here is an emphasis on theatre of the mind style play. Props are not necessary, and the use of minis and a board can often pause a session that might be in a good groove right up until that moment.

3) Minimal abstraction. The game moves away from a lot of the abstraction that characterized 4e. Hit points are closer to actual physical damage, and there is no need to come up with a reason the fighter can only do a certain move once a day. This means that the game is more oriented towards the basic back-and-forth of an rpg, the pattern of player says what his character is doing, and the DM tells him what happens. The player is not given broader narrative license, because that distracts from the essential dialogue between player and DM.

4) Stripping classes down to what is essential. This stylistic choice means that, mechanically, two fighters are very similar. This encourages players to do things in the game to differentiate themselves. The point is that the real game is what happens at the table. In this mindset it is not really necessary to give lots of mechanical options. The mechanical side of the game exists to resolve situations and get out of the way. More options will mean players lean harder on the mechanics to get their character across, instead of focusing on what they can do at the table.

This is the absolute most generous interpretation I possibly can give to the D&DN design team. I hope this is the approach they're taking, although I'm not sure yet if it is. I am not certain if the design ideas I just described make a game I would like to play, but if they can make a game that follows those principle I do think it would be a great achievement. 



A little more elaboration:

I am somewhat skeptical about the new edition. I am a big 4e fan, and I wish they had built a game on that chassis rather than what I perceive to be the archaic 3e chassis. However, I do like the idea of a simpler, less mechanical game that focuses on storytelling over an abundance of mechanical options. I would rather it be an elegant but simple system, rather than the somewhat messy thing they have right now.

At the same time, I can understand their approach. What I perceive to be "clunky" many others perceive to be intuitive. And even if the design is less "elegant," a less elegant design might actually be better at dissappearing at the table than a more abstract system like I would make.
"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
No, it isn't.

What you're seeing now is not their latest best guess at the final design

This needs to be emphasized, because people still aren't getting it.  They're not simply releasing packet after packet hoping that maybe this one will be The One and they get to send it to the printers.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I understand what you describe, but it doesn't exactly jive with statements they've made about their intentions about 5E, specifically the statements about appealing to fans of all previous editions. The strategy you describe is a rather poor way to appeal to many 3E and 4E fans.
...whatever
I understand what you describe, but it doesn't exactly jive with statements they've made about their intentions about 5E, specifically the statements about appealing to fans of all previous editions. The strategy you describe is a rather poor way to appeal to many 3E and 4E fans.


I wonder if their statements are more than just marketing? I'm not really sure yet what is in there to directly appeal to a true 4e fan, and honestly I don't see much to appeal to a true 3.5 fan either (although I am not a 3.5 fan, so I can't reliably speak for one).

I actually am intrigued by the design, but I see it as a big step away from the old trends that created 3e and 4e. 


No, it isn't.

What you're seeing now is not their latest best guess at the final design

This needs to be emphasized, because people still aren't getting it.  They're not simply releasing packet after packet hoping that maybe this one will be The One and they get to send it to the printers.


I'm not concerned so much with the specifics of the design, but the goals of the design. The goal does not seem to be to create a massively customizable system like 3e, or a unified coherent system like 4e. It doesn't seem to me like they have a real design goal at all besides trying to appease everyone. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and discern an actual real design goal.
"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
Are you evaluating their goals based on what they're saying their goals are, or based on what you think the goals are based on the packet?

If it's the former, then it's very clear that they are trying to create a massively customizable system that maintains some level of coherency.

If it's the latter, then you're falling into the same trap that I described in the post you quoted:  you're taking the packet as being an expression of the goal, rather than a test of specific pieces.  The first step to making a massively customizable system is creating the pieces you can use to customize.  That's where we are now.


What you're doing is like complaining that after observing the testing of the landing gear on the Space Shuttle that you don't see how it'll get into orbit, and that this whole space travel program thing isn't working out.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I am a big 4e fan, and I wish they had built a game on that chassis rather than what I perceive to be the archaic 3e chassis. However, I do like the idea of a simpler, less mechanical game that focuses on storytelling over an abundance of mechanical options. I would rather it be an elegant but simple system, rather than the somewhat messy thing they have right now.

What you just described is 13th Age.

I know, I don't want to be "that guy" either.  But I'll be darned if this doesn't sum up almost exactly how I feel about 4e, Next and 13th Age.   

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Are you evaluating their goals based on what they're saying their goals are, or based on what you think the goals are based on the packet?

If it's the former, then it's very clear that they are trying to create a massively customizable system that maintains some level of coherency.

If it's the latter, then you're falling into the same trap that I described in the post you quoted:  you're taking the packet as being an expression of the goal, rather than a test of specific pieces.  The first step to making a massively customizable system is creating the pieces you can use to customize.  That's where we are now.


What you're doing is like complaining that after observing the testing of the landing gear on the Space Shuttle that you don't see how it'll get into orbit, and that this whole space travel program thing isn't working out.


The problem to me is their stated goals are basically contradictory. If they wanted to make a truly modular game, then the chassis we've seen is a crappy choice, at least in my opinion. If they had a truly universal chassis that was designed to be built upon, wouldn't they have shown it to us?

Instead, they've said they want the "basic" game to be a lot like old-school basic D&D. From what I can gather, they then intend to pile a bunch of stuff on that. There doesn't appear to be a layer below basic D&D, and I think any supposition otherwise is kind of wishful thinking at this point (please prove me wrong!). If they add a bunch of options to the basic game, then what you get is pretty much just 3rd edition, maybe a little bit cleaner in implementation.

They cannot build a modular system designed to appeal to everyone while also making basic D&D the core upon which all else is built. Thus, their stated design is pretty much automatically dead in the water, at least from what I can tell.
"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
As a 3.5 fan, I can say there isn't a lot I see designed to appeal to me. I know I'm only seeing pieces of a final product, but I don't see how these pieces are created with the stated design goals in mind or with any desire to appeal to gamers like me. The pieces of D&D Next seem almost designed in contrary to the stated design goals. "Easy to play" has turned into "Easy to make a character, slightly complicated to play, but hey, at least combat is short, albeit not providing a challenge or positive dopamine response." as an example.
Your entire assessment of their approach is wrong.  They're not building from Basic up, they're building from Standard out - in both directions.  They need to make sure they nail Basic, but what we're playing now is Standard, through and through.  The only time what we were playing wasn't Standard was the very first public packet released way back last May, where there were effectively pregen characters.  That's Basic.

So no, "what you can gather" is dead wrong, and so your assessment of their "crappy" choices based on that are equally wrong.

Now, you may have an argument that they talk too much about Basic when it's Standard that they're actually working on and that there's a communication issue to resolve there, and I'd agree with you. Core does not mean basic, and basic does not mean core, and they get a little sloppy when talking about what they actually mean.

But your fundamental premises about what they're doing and why they're doing it simply are incorrect.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The problem to me is their stated goals are basically contradictory. If they wanted to make a truly modular game, then the chassis we've seen is a crappy choice, at least in my opinion. If they had a truly universal chassis that was designed to be built upon, wouldn't they have shown it to us?

You'd think so, but by pointing this out you're going to get shouted down be people who have some sort of imaginary special insight into WoTC's secret design plan.
Instead, they've said they want the "basic" game to be a lot like old-school basic D&D. From what I can gather, they then intend to pile a bunch of stuff on that. There doesn't appear to be a layer below basic D&D, and I think any supposition otherwise is kind of wishful thinking at this point (please prove me wrong!). If they add a bunch of options to the basic game, then what you get is pretty much just 3rd edition, maybe a little bit cleaner in implementation.

Ding ding ding.  We have a winner.
They cannot build a modular system designed to appeal to everyone while also making basic D&D the core upon which all else is built. Thus, their stated design is pretty much automatically dead in the water, at least from what I can tell.

Agreed.  Unless it turns out those with imaginary super secret insider information on the design process are actually right.  In which case I'd be glad to be wrong.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

TIf they wanted to make a truly modular game, then the chassis we've seen is a crappy choice, at least in my opinion. If they had a truly universal chassis that was designed to be built upon, wouldn't they have shown it to us?

What about the current "chassis" is crappy? I'm not defending it as it plays right now, I'm curious what aspects you think would be best put into D&DN-Core to make it a more flexible rules-neutral core?
If they add a bunch of options to the basic game, then what you get is pretty much just 3rd edition, maybe a little bit cleaner in implementation.

They cannot build a modular system designed to appeal to everyone while also making basic D&D the core upon which all else is built. Thus, their stated design is pretty much automatically dead in the water, at least from what I can tell.

I have two problems here.

For one, if you stick in an At-will/stance/maneuver system, a spell-point based casting system, balance and variety between all classes, out-of-combat rituals, healing surges, marking (and defender punish) abilities, gridded tactical option-rich combat, all of that put onto the game with modules...

...how is that "just a cleaner 3rd edition"?

We have no idea what the modules can and will do at this point. I'm willing to see where they go with it, but I see not a whole ton and a half wrong with the core game as it stands right now (probably because I'll never be playing just D&DN-Core, same as the overwhelming majority of players in these forums).

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."

Your entire assessment of their approach is wrong.  They're not building from Basic up, they're building from Standard out - in both directions.  They need to make sure they nail Basic, but what we're playing now is Standard, through and through.  The only time what we were playing wasn't Standard was the very first public packet released way back last May, where there were effectively pregen characters.  That's Basic.

So no, "what you can gather" is dead wrong, and so your assessment of their "crappy" choices based on that are equally wrong.

Now, you may have an argument that they talk too much about Basic when it's Standard that they're actually working on and that there's a communication issue to resolve there, and I'd agree with you. Core does not mean basic, and basic does not mean core, and they get a little sloppy when talking about what they actually mean.

But your fundamental premises about what they're doing and why they're doing it simply are incorrect.


From Legends and Lore:

"The basic rules represent the starting point for the game. The basic rules cover the absolute core of the game (emphasis added). They capture the strengths of basic D&D. These rules form a complete game, but they don't give much detail beyond the rules needed to run dungeon exploration. Characters are created by rolling ability scores (though we have discussed the possibility that your class gives you an array that your race then modifies), picking a race, and picking a class. Skills aren't part of the game, but we've discussed integrating skill dice into the classes (fighters get their skill dice on all Strength checks, wizards on all Intelligence ones, and so forth) to support improvisation and the use of checks. Each class has a default specialty, and its benefits are presented as class features. The specialties are simple but effective, such as bonus hit points or spells." (Link)

"Dials are rules that change the core but in a predictable way. Other advanced rules are modular, in that they sit atop the core system. Some advanced rules go back and change a key element of the core system in a fundamental way." (Link)

"The core rules present the minimum rules needed, and they rely on a DM to make lots of calls and judgments, primarily because that keeps the game simple and also plays to the RPG's strengths." (Link)

It seems to me like they've pretty explicitly defined basic as core, and then explicitly stated they plan to build all the dials and modules on that chassis.

I think that this is a poor approach to take, but I haven't seen any evidence to support that this isn't what they're doing.
"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
TIf they wanted to make a truly modular game, then the chassis we've seen is a crappy choice, at least in my opinion. If they had a truly universal chassis that was designed to be built upon, wouldn't they have shown it to us?

What about the current "chassis" is crappy? I'm not defending it as it plays right now, I'm curious what aspects you think would be best put into D&DN-Core to make it a more flexible rules-neutral core?



Its a core that caters to one style of D&D at the expense of others, and prioritizes traditional D&D "feel" over flexibility and customization.


...whatever
TIf they wanted to make a truly modular game, then the chassis we've seen is a crappy choice, at least in my opinion. If they had a truly universal chassis that was designed to be built upon, wouldn't they have shown it to us?

What about the current "chassis" is crappy? I'm not defending it as it plays right now, I'm curious what aspects you think would be best put into D&DN-Core to make it a more flexible rules-neutral core?
If they add a bunch of options to the basic game, then what you get is pretty much just 3rd edition, maybe a little bit cleaner in implementation.

They cannot build a modular system designed to appeal to everyone while also making basic D&D the core upon which all else is built. Thus, their stated design is pretty much automatically dead in the water, at least from what I can tell.

I have two problems here.

For one, if you stick in an At-will/stance/maneuver system, a spell-point based casting system, balance and variety between all classes, out-of-combat rituals, healing surges, marking (and defender punish) abilities, gridded tactical option-rich combat, all of that put onto the game with modules...

...how is that "just a cleaner 3rd edition"?

We have no idea what the modules can and will do at this point. I'm willing to see where they go with it, but I see not a whole ton and a half wrong with the core game as it stands right now (probably because I'll never be playing just D&DN-Core, same as the overwhelming majority of players in these forums).



3rd edition actually had most of that stuff, didn't it? Or it could have easily had them with more splatbooks. The difference between 3e and 4e is philosophical: in 4e, everyone is playing according to a fairly strict design system. You start similarly, level similarly, branch out into paragon paths similarly, everything is very unified. 3e has everything in it, but has no fundamental backbone that makes it all coherent and unified. The thing that defined 4e was not the features it had, but the features it didn't have.
"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
Your entire assessment of their approach is wrong.  They're not building from Basic up, they're building from Standard out - in both directions.  They need to make sure they nail Basic, but what we're playing now is Standard, through and through.  The only time what we were playing wasn't Standard was the very first public packet released way back last May, where there were effectively pregen characters.  That's Basic.

So no, "what you can gather" is dead wrong, and so your assessment of their "crappy" choices based on that are equally wrong.

Now, you may have an argument that they talk too much about Basic when it's Standard that they're actually working on and that there's a communication issue to resolve there, and I'd agree with you. Core does not mean basic, and basic does not mean core, and they get a little sloppy when talking about what they actually mean.

But your fundamental premises about what they're doing and why they're doing it simply are incorrect.


From Legends and Lore:

"The basic rules represent the starting point for the game. The basic rules cover the absolute core of the game (emphasis added). They capture the strengths of basic D&D. These rules form a complete game, but they don't give much detail beyond the rules needed to run dungeon exploration. Characters are created by rolling ability scores (though we have discussed the possibility that your class gives you an array that your race then modifies), picking a race, and picking a class. Skills aren't part of the game, but we've discussed integrating skill dice into the classes (fighters get their skill dice on all Strength checks, wizards on all Intelligence ones, and so forth) to support improvisation and the use of checks. Each class has a default specialty, and its benefits are presented as class features. The specialties are simple but effective, such as bonus hit points or spells." (Link)

"Dials are rules that change the core but in a predictable way. Other advanced rules are modular, in that they sit atop the core system. Some advanced rules go back and change a key element of the core system in a fundamental way." (Link)

"The core rules present the minimum rules needed, and they rely on a DM to make lots of calls and judgments, primarily because that keeps the game simple and also plays to the RPG's strengths." (Link)

It seems to me like they've pretty explicitly defined basic as core, and then explicitly stated they plan to build all the dials and modules on that chassis.

I think that this is a poor approach to take, but I haven't seen any evidence to support that this isn't what they're doing.

I think you're misinterpreting what they're saying here.  The choices are not between Basic and Advanced, as you seem to think, but rather Basic, Standard, and Advanced.  Basic and Standard are the same system.  Standard is what we've been playing all this time.  Basic is what you get if you take Standard and essentially pregen the characters and the adventure.  Advanced, on the other hand, is where the changes take place.  When he's talking about the core, it applies to both Basic and Standard.  He talks about it applying to Basic, but it can't not apply to Standard as well, because Basic is part of Standard.

The lack of understanding as to the distinction between Basic and Standard is the core misunderstanding that has generated most of the forum arguments of late.

Edited for clarity and detail.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
@Mand12

I don't want to know what you know, if you do, but do you have information the rest of us do not?  A back door, inside access, etc?

You always have very strong "opinions" of which I take just as that, but you often seem to fight them as if you know more than the rest of us do.

I am sure there is an NDA if you do, but just knowing this "fact" might make your opinions seem less, opinionated.

Not saying I disagree here or there, but you do come off very in your face at times almost to an affront.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Your entire assessment of their approach is wrong.  They're not building from Basic up, they're building from Standard out - in both directions.  They need to make sure they nail Basic, but what we're playing now is Standard, through and through.  The only time what we were playing wasn't Standard was the very first public packet released way back last May, where there were effectively pregen characters.  That's Basic.

So no, "what you can gather" is dead wrong, and so your assessment of their "crappy" choices based on that are equally wrong.

Now, you may have an argument that they talk too much about Basic when it's Standard that they're actually working on and that there's a communication issue to resolve there, and I'd agree with you. Core does not mean basic, and basic does not mean core, and they get a little sloppy when talking about what they actually mean.

But your fundamental premises about what they're doing and why they're doing it simply are incorrect.


From Legends and Lore:

"The basic rules represent the starting point for the game. The basic rules cover the absolute core of the game (emphasis added). They capture the strengths of basic D&D. These rules form a complete game, but they don't give much detail beyond the rules needed to run dungeon exploration. Characters are created by rolling ability scores (though we have discussed the possibility that your class gives you an array that your race then modifies), picking a race, and picking a class. Skills aren't part of the game, but we've discussed integrating skill dice into the classes (fighters get their skill dice on all Strength checks, wizards on all Intelligence ones, and so forth) to support improvisation and the use of checks. Each class has a default specialty, and its benefits are presented as class features. The specialties are simple but effective, such as bonus hit points or spells." (Link)

"Dials are rules that change the core but in a predictable way. Other advanced rules are modular, in that they sit atop the core system. Some advanced rules go back and change a key element of the core system in a fundamental way." (Link)

"The core rules present the minimum rules needed, and they rely on a DM to make lots of calls and judgments, primarily because that keeps the game simple and also plays to the RPG's strengths." (Link)

It seems to me like they've pretty explicitly defined basic as core, and then explicitly stated they plan to build all the dials and modules on that chassis.

I think that this is a poor approach to take, but I haven't seen any evidence to support that this isn't what they're doing.

I think you're misinterpreting what they're saying here.  The choices are not between Basic and Advanced, as you seem to think, but rather Basic, Standard, and Advanced.  Basic and Standard are the same system.  Standard is what we've been playing all this time.  Basic is what you get if you take Standard and essentially pregen the characters and the adventure.  Advanced, on the other hand, is where the changes take place.  When he's talking about the core, it applies to both Basic and Standard.  He talks about it applying to Basic, but it can't not apply to Standard as well, because Basic is part of Standard.

Edited for clarity and detail.


The mistake you make is expecting the rest of us being under some sort of obligation to give them the same benefit of the doubt as you do.

...whatever
You're under no obligation, certainly, but not doing so does nothing but sabotage their efforts and lessen the likelihood that the end result will be something you want to play.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You're under no obligation, certainly, but not doing so does nothing but sabotage their efforts and lessen the likelihood that the end result will be something you want to play.



I see no possibility that the end result will be something I want to play unless something breaks down before 5E gets released. 
...whatever
You're under no obligation, certainly, but not doing so does nothing but sabotage their efforts and lessen the likelihood that the end result will be something you want to play.

No.  Don't try to pin any lack of success that Next may have on its detractors.  That's ridiculous and frankly, insulting. 

It's as silly as claiming credit for any success Next may have because you participated in a playtest.

The hard working folks at WoTC will be responsible for whatever measure of success or failure Next has, and rightly so.  They're doing all the heavy lifting.  We're just commentators.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Considering I've never claimed that, I'm not clear why you think it's relevant, or had anything to do with anything I posted.

People who give up on the process because any individual step doesn't look like the end goal they want aren't being constructive participants.  They're being nonparticipants.  And as a nonparticipant, who don't provide feedback, is there any conceivable situation where you think that just somehow, magically, they might read tco's mind and just know what he wants, and give it to him?  The answer is no, which is why I said being a nonparticipant will make it less likely that your concerns will be addressed to your satisfaction.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Mand12, I'm not sure if your point is relevant to mine. There is no deep chassis for the game beyond the rules we've already seen. And without some deeper core, there is no way to make a truly modular game. By starting with standard, they have essentially limited any opportunity for true modularity.
"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
Considering I've never claimed that, I'm not clear why you think it's relevant, or had anything to do with anything I posted.

People who give up on the process because any individual step doesn't look like the end goal they want aren't being constructive participants.  They're being nonparticipants.

You claimed it sabotaged their efforts.  Nonparticipants can't sabotage anything. 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Considering I've never claimed that, I'm not clear why you think it's relevant, or had anything to do with anything I posted.

People who give up on the process because any individual step doesn't look like the end goal they want aren't being constructive participants.  They're being nonparticipants.

You claimed it sabotaged their efforts.  Nonparticipants can't sabotage anything. 


What it sabotages is any hope that the nonparticipants' concerns will be addressed, which is what I meant.  Not that they're going to cause the whole thing to crash and burn and be good for no one - if you got that out of what I said, then I was unclear.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I've seen a few people complaining that Next lacks customizability... I have to say I'm not seeing it. I mean, sure, if you compare late-stage 3.5e or 4e, there's no comparison... but if you compare the current playtest even to the first PHB from 3e or 4e, I'd say they're not doing a terrible job. Once they put in multiclassing, I'd say Next will actually offer MORE flexible character design than either previous edition did at launch.

Compared to 3e, martial classes get more customizability and they get it earlier. Classes like monks and (soon) barbarians that were completely set in 3e have way more options. Casters get fewer spells, but clerics are more differentiated by deity choice than 3e clerics were by domain choice, and wizard traditions add a bit as well.

Compared to both previous editions, skill selection is less restricted, and feats are more impactful.

Now, if you're coming out of 4e and looking at Next, I can see issues. Specifically, I think martial classes in Next still don't get enough maneuvers and such. And everything after level 10 is incredibly bare-bones at this point. I do hope they address those issues; they've at least indicated that they're looking at them. But adding 3e-style multiclassing will mean that you have WAY more build options in Next than you ever could in 4e - the question is whether those options are effective and interesting.
Mand12, I'm not sure if your point is relevant to mine. There is no deep chassis for the game beyond the rules we've already seen. And without some deeper core, there is no way to make a truly modular game. By starting with standard, they have essentially limited any opportunity for true modularity.



You say there is no way to make a truly modular game - how do you know?  They've already described several ways that Advanced is going to change the game, and it goes beyond the buzzword of "modular" that they've been using.  Some pieces are standalone additions, some pieces are adjustments, some pieces are radical redesigns.  When you say "modular," are you really taking into account the different possible ways that the whole system could be altered?  Are you really so confident in your own imagination to say that there is "no way" for this to work?  Have you tried?  Maybe this is just me being too willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but going down the list in the L&L article on Advanced rules, I saw myself saying "Yeah, now that could be perfect for my group!" more than once.  That's how Advanced is supposed to work.  And yes, Advanced can and will provide wholesale modifications to the core that you say is somehow unchangeable - the best example is the one where they're working on a way to do away with daily resources entirely, and go completely to encounter resources.  That's not core in the remotest sense of the word, and yet it could very well be in the DMG at launch.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I've seen a few people complaining that Next lacks customizability... I have to say I'm not seeing it. I mean, sure, if you compare late-stage 3.5e or 4e, there's no comparison... but if you compare the current playtest even to the first PHB from 3e or 4e, I'd say they're not doing a terrible job. Once they put in multiclassing, I'd say Next will actually offer MORE flexible character design than either previous edition did at launch.

Compared to 3e, martial classes get more customizability and they get it earlier. Classes like monks and (soon) barbarians that were completely set in 3e have way more options. Casters get fewer spells, but clerics are more differentiated by deity choice than 3e clerics were by domain choice, and wizard traditions add a bit as well.

Compared to both previous editions, skill selection is less restricted, and feats are more impactful.

Now, if you're coming out of 4e and looking at Next, I can see issues. Specifically, I think martial classes in Next still don't get enough maneuvers and such. And everything after level 10 is incredibly bare-bones at this point. I do hope they address those issues; they've at least indicated that they're looking at them. But adding 3e-style multiclassing will mean that you have WAY more build options in Next than you ever could in 4e - the question is whether those options are effective and interesting.

I think this is a very fair observation; I tend to agree.  Only problem is, I'm coming from 4e so yeah, I focus on the problems.  But there's still lots of time to see what develops.  I'm not so inclined to give benefit of the doubt at this point but I'm very inclined to wait and see - cause that's my only choice since next to nothing I've suggested or wanted for Next so far as been implemented.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Considering I've never claimed that, I'm not clear why you think it's relevant, or had anything to do with anything I posted.

People who give up on the process because any individual step doesn't look like the end goal they want aren't being constructive participants.  They're being nonparticipants.  And as a nonparticipant, who don't provide feedback, is there any conceivable situation where you think that just somehow, magically, they might read tco's mind and just know what he wants, and give it to him?  The answer is no, which is why I said being a nonparticipant will make it less likely that your concerns will be addressed to your satisfaction.



They don't need to read my mind. All I'm after is the vanilla 4E experience, or a decent approximation. If they can't comprehend that or figure out how to deliver it, that's all on them.
...whatever
I'm not so inclined to give benefit of the doubt at this point but I'm very inclined to wait and see


I find this statement confusing, because I really don't see the distinction. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I've seen a few people complaining that Next lacks customizability... I have to say I'm not seeing it. I mean, sure, if you compare late-stage 3.5e or 4e, there's no comparison... but if you compare the current playtest even to the first PHB from 3e or 4e, I'd say they're not doing a terrible job. Once they put in multiclassing, I'd say Next will actually offer MORE flexible character design than either previous edition did at launch.

Compared to 3e, martial classes get more customizability and they get it earlier. Classes like monks and (soon) barbarians that were completely set in 3e have way more options. Casters get fewer spells, but clerics are more differentiated by deity choice than 3e clerics were by domain choice, and wizard traditions add a bit as well.

Compared to both previous editions, skill selection is less restricted, and feats are more impactful.

Now, if you're coming out of 4e and looking at Next, I can see issues. Specifically, I think martial classes in Next still don't get enough maneuvers and such. And everything after level 10 is incredibly bare-bones at this point. I do hope they address those issues; they've at least indicated that they're looking at them. But adding 3e-style multiclassing will mean that you have WAY more build options in Next than you ever could in 4e - the question is whether those options are effective and interesting.



it compares badly with both 3E and 4E in that the customizability doesn't scale. It offers the same(roughly) range of choices at first level as the 3E and 4E PHB, but nowhere near the customizability as you progress.

...whatever
As far as what we are playing NOT being Basic, Mand12 is correct.

No insider information is needed to deduce this.  It's clear from reading the L&L articles and other releases.  You can try to split hairs by using the confusion of nomenclature that comes from clumsy usage of "core" vs. "Core" (capital C) and "basic" vs. "Basic," and a lack of clear definition of those terms by the devs, but fundamentally, the current packet is a rough sketch of the Standard game.  Edit: One example of how we can know this is because options that have been explicitly stated to be outside the domain of Basic are available in the playtest packet, e.g. choosing your own Background and Specialty or even creating your own custom ones.

We have seen approximately no modules or modular rules, with the possible exception of the HD rules that are now slated to become optional, and which I hope (and fully expect) will be an option alongside something more akin to 4e's surges.  There's no way to predict what modules will show up in the game once it's released, except possibly this: demand.  If enough people want a module (or set of modules) that digs deep into the core of the game and changes it into a combat-driven tactical game (like 4e) -- or a survival horror game, or an epic super-hero simulation, or anything -- it'll get made.

Considering all of the options that should (at least ostensibly) be available to customize the game, if WotC manages to avoid the most devastating pitfalls (getting the math and balance right), I'm confident that almost anyone will be able to enjoy the final product, assuming they aren't clinging to personal prejudices.

Maybe I'm just being optimistic.  I don't care.  I'd rather not be a curmudgeon and wait till I see the final product before I make my final call -- and even the inital release might be "too soon" to pass judgment, as the options and capabilities of the system can only expand from there.  I know I initially judged 4e as lacking options, but it's since become rife with them.

Fundamentally, I think the question is: Do you like the idea of a game that's designed to be played however you want to play it?  Because I know do.  What's yet to be seen is if WotC can actually build that system.  And depending on what you want out of the game, their success (or failure) may not become clear until after the game's official release -- possibly well after it's release.  That last bit may be the main weakness of the system: with new options and modules constantly rolling out, will we ever be able to call it "complete," and judge whether it does what we want?

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

it compares badly with both 3E and 4E in that the customizability doesn't scale. It offers the same(roughly) range of choices at first level as the 3E and 4E PHB, but nowhere near the customizability as you progress.

This very incomplete early test of the system doesn't have as many options as fully-fledged games that have been out and accumulating options for years?

Shocking.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

it compares badly with both 3E and 4E in that the customizability doesn't scale. It offers the same(roughly) range of choices at first level as the 3E and 4E PHB, but nowhere near the customizability as you progress.

This very incomplete early test of the system doesn't have as many options as fully-fledged games that have been out and accumulating options for years?

Shocking.




The skeleton doesn't ofter the same amount of choices. You don't choose a power or feat just abourevert level like 4E, or offer what 3E feats and free multiclassing offered.

In 5E you get less choices to make as you advance. 
...whatever
Oblivion - could you elaborate on why you think there are fewer options at high levels than in 3e, other than multiclassing not being implemented yet? Other than the sheer number of feats, spells, and classes in 3e (which Next will likely rival by the time it's released), I don't see any advantage for 3e.
As far as what we are playing NOT being Basic, Mand12 is correct.

No insider information is needed to deduce this.  It's clear from reading the L&L articles and other releases.  You can try to split hairs by using the confusion of nomenclature that comes from clumsy usage of "core" vs. "Core" (capital C) and "basic" vs. "Basic," and a lack of clear definition of those terms by the devs, but fundamentally, the current packet is a rough sketch of the Standard game.  Edit: One example of how we can know this is because options that have been explicitly stated to be outside the domain of Basic are available in the playtest packet, e.g. choosing your own Background and Specialty or even creating your own custom ones.

We have seen approximately no modules or modular rules, with the possible exception of the HD rules that are now slated to become optional, and which I hope (and fully expect) will be an option alongside something more akin to 4e's surges.  There's no way to predict what modules will show up in the game once it's released, except possibly this: demand.  If enough people want a module (or set of modules) that digs deep into the core of the game and changes it into a combat-driven tactical game (like 4e) -- or a survival horror game, or an epic super-hero simulation, or anything -- it'll get made.

Considering all of the options that should (at least ostensibly) be available to customize the game, if WotC manages to avoid the most devastating pitfalls (getting the math and balance right), I'm confident that almost anyone will be able to enjoy the final product, assuming they aren't clinging to personal prejudices.

Maybe I'm just being optimistic.  I don't care.  I'd rather not be a curmudgeon and wait till I see the final product before I make my final call -- and even the inital release might be "too soon" to pass judgment, as the options and capabilities of the system can only expand from there.  I know I initially judged 4e as lacking options, but it's since become rife with them.

Fundamentally, I think the question is: Do you like the idea of a game that's designed to be played however you want to play it?  Because I know do.  What's yet to be seen is if WotC can actually build that system.  And depending on what you want out of the game, their success (or failure) may not become clear until after the game's official release -- possibly well after it's release.  That last bit may be the main weakness of the system: with new options and modules constantly rolling out, will we ever be able to call it "complete," and judge whether it does what we want?



Thats asking the wrong question. The question isn't whether or not you'd enjoy 5E, but whether or not you'd enjoy 5E enough to switch from the game you're already playing. The second question sets the bar a bit higher.
...whatever
Oblivion - could you elaborate on why you think there are fewer options at high levels than in 3e, other than multiclassing not being implemented yet? Other than the sheer number of feats, spells, and classes in 3e (which Next will likely rival by the time it's released), I don't see any advantage for 3e.



Presige classes, combos and synergies, feats past level 10...
...whatever
Next will have PrCs too. Synergies are more nebulous, but the feats in the latest playtest are headed that way. You're right on feats, though.
it compares badly with both 3E and 4E in that the customizability doesn't scale. It offers the same(roughly) range of choices at first level as the 3E and 4E PHB, but nowhere near the customizability as you progress.

This very incomplete early test of the system doesn't have as many options as fully-fledged games that have been out and accumulating options for years?

Shocking.

The skeleton doesn't ofter the same amount of choices. You don't choose a power or feat just abourevert level like 4E, or offer what 3E feats and free multiclassing offered.

In 5E you get less choices to make as you advance. 

Actually, in the playtest packet you get less choices to make as you advance.

It has been expressly stated that they'll be implementing prestige classes/ paragon paths (we'll see how those work... I'm a bit leary), as well as the Legacy system at higher levels.

Multiclassing is going to be similar to 3.x (but hopefully better), so that argument doesn't really stand.  As to not getting to pick a feat or power just about every level, that may be a legitimate concern, but again I suspect that more Standard and Advanced options will allow customization to your hearts content.  Unless you want a point-based system ala 2e Skills and Powers or M&M... that probably won't come along until several years after release.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Thats asking the wrong question. The question isn't whether or not you'd enjoy 5E, but whether or not you'd enjoy 5E enough to switch from the game you're already playing. The second question sets the bar a bit higher.

Fair enough.

But I'm distinguishing the generic "Do you enjoy 5e?" from the specific "Do you want a system that is built to be modified?"  By extension, I agree we can add, "Enough to switch systems?" although for many that question is completely false, as not everyone devotes themselves to one system to the exclusion of all others.  I tend to favor one system at a time, so I can answer the second half of the question with a resounding, "Yes."

I've had loads of fun with 4e, but the problem is that everything in 4e is "always on."  Having the liberty to dispense with a game mat when I like while also having the ability to use one when it suits me... even just the thought of that's immensely liberating, and I look forward to seeing the tactical rules, so I can use them or not as I see fit.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

This game feels more like a pastiche of pre-3rd stuff and 3.5 than Dungeons and Dragons Next/5.

4E was a gigantic edition change. This is like, Dungeons and Dragons 2.5 now. I think conceptually and mechanically that they've gone even further into the past. Which is not necessarily "moving backwards" nor would something radically different than what was produced, a Dungeons and Dragons 5, automatically
be the best way to do it.

But now you have things like Kits and Specialties, the skills are way different and closer to 2nd than 3.5 or 4E and the like. 

I think WOTC is going more for the Retro Revolution guys and 3.0/early 3.5 fans more so than Pathfinder. I hear people talk about what we've seen so far as Pathfinder Light but there is no way.

As it stands, what we have right now is pretty different than 3.5/Pathfinder and radically different than 4E. It barely even resembles 4E right now.



As it stands, what we have right now is pretty different than 3.5/Pathfinder and radically different than 4E. It barely even resembles 4E right now.

Why is it that after every 4-5 posts I feel like I have to start all over back from square 1 in explaining how modules are supposed to alter the core gameplay?

Is this something that the majority of people don't understand?

Does nobody at least skim the first few and last pages of a topic, or just read the first post and then reply?

I'm really tempted to just make some copypasta (or maybe I should put it in my sig?) that briefly explains how modules are being said to work according to the developers.

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."

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