Is Basic/Standard/Advanced enough?

As many know (or maybe many don't), I've been a supporter of a multiple tiered approach for D&D Next for a very long time. I predicted that having multiple official formats for the optional rules for the new game would be the only way to unite multiple factions of the fanbase.

So when the idea of Basic/Standard/Advanced was released, I was happy.

But I wonder if it is not enough. A very large portion of the fanbase will use Advanced rules. The problem is that Advanced isn't a format. It is a grouping of modules and variants. Playing "Advanced" will probably not aid in accurately describing a game. Many of the more hardcore fans are complaining that Standard is not enough and want to use Advanced, their version of Advanced. And then tables might go back to being not very recognizable.

Do you think Next should have another ruleset that is Equal to Basic and Standard with a different shuffle of rules while still being near mathematically equivalent? Should Next instead be made with official sub-rulesets of Advanced rules that display the rules that closely match a particular playstyle or game experience? Or should Advance be ungrouped and have no encouragement or pressure to make playstyle formats?

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 think that having "basic/standard/advanced" types of games just creates more confusion. I would prefer having everything start as "basic" also to be considered the standard, then having anything not basic be optional.

Basic should be the most simplistic version with the least amount of options, pure D&D, gygaxian/toklenesque only. want feats? theres a module for that, want non-standard races heres another module, want superhero or ahem mythic powers for your characters... another module. 

I doubt thats what were getting but thats what I'll push for.      
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I'd prefer that they just label alot of rules as "optional" and have sidebars giving different options for various things, much like they did in 2e. I think having different complexity tiers will just be confusing. Let people pick the rules they want to use a la carte.
I don't really grok what the difference between "Standard" and "Advanced" is. I know that Basic is the tinkertoy no-choices pre-gens version of the game (albeit with probably fairly complex spellcasting, because that's how we roll) that you can just pick up and run, but it's not obvious to me what the difference between Standard and Advanced is. Is it really just one thing, and Standard is the name for it when all the default boxes are checked?
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I have the same type of concerns, especially if the basic is just a dumbed down version of standard, versus being able to stand on it's own with more classes beyond wizard, fighter, rogue and cleric or other features. For me the dicussion boils down is what is used for organized play or offical products and what styles of play will be available. One possible method is to let basic emulate 1E/2E and standard 3E/4E but they will have to build up the game with increasing complexity. The advanced version would deal with controversial ideas. Another method is to make advanced the default for organized play and official prodcuts, and the style of play will change depending on the season of play or adventure being written.
Do you think Next should have another ruleset that is Equal to Basic and Standard with a different shuffle of rules while still being near mathematically equivalent? Should Next instead be made with official sub-rulesets of Advanced rules that display the rules that closely match a particular playstyle or game experience? Or should Advance be ungrouped and have no encouragement or pressure to make playstyle formats?

I don't think it will be necessary, or desirable, to have multiple versions of a tier.

I see the Standard rules being the base for rules. Standard will include some modules that are interchangeable, intended to be swapped in/out for others, and some that are additional options, which don't require any modifications to other rules/modules.

Then, I see Basic rules as being a slimmed down Standard rules that have many customization options pre-defined/pre-selected (such as giving Skills & Feats to classes in such a way that they appear to be class features, but really are just pre-selected options). They could also (as some people already think) limit the number of Classes & Races as well.

Then, I see the Advanced rules having all the other modules available; including the one's that would affect the "core" rules modules in some way (including the one's that have been described as not being designed with any inter-compatibility). Any rules module(s) that would alter the "playstyle" would fall into this category.

I also see groupings of Advanced rules modules that are designed with specific "playstyles" in mind, each with their own section, in the book(s), that gives guidelines for that "playstyle".

So, I don't see the Advanced rules being a "hodge-podge" of disconnected rules; although, I do see then as being usable individually, at the group's discretion.

This is my hope, in any case.

I think that having "basic/standard/advanced" types of games just creates more confusion. I would prefer having everything start as "basic" also to be considered the standard, then having anything not basic be optional.

Basic should be the most simplistic version with the least amount of options, pure D&D, gygaxian/toklenesque only. want feats? theres a module for that, want non-standard races heres another module, want superhero or ahem mythic powers for your characters... another module. 

I doubt thats what were getting but thats what I'll push for.      

Read my reply to Orzel above; but, basically, I see the three "tiers" being just as you've described.

With the current setup, each table will be able to customize the game to their own tastes (this happens anyway, but Next officially recognizes it). Before a game begins, everyone should know what options will be used. If a new player joins an existing game, they will be told what options are used. There should be no confusion.

I am of two minds about groupings, because it could aid new groups in finding options that work well together, but I also don't want to see those same groups stiffled into thinking those are the only options that should be used. I could see a few sets of "official" groupings for Advanced rules used for sanctioned play. I personally would rather they not be printed in the books, as they can change depending on the needs of the RPGA. If they were to be printed in the books, I would want it to be clarified that they are the standard for sanctioned play, and not an indication as to what option groupings should be used for home games.

As far as a 2nd Basic/Standard... that way lies madness Tongue Out

The probable outcome is we'll start to see certain preset module packs - likely revolving around organised play - and they'll start to get names.
The reason I break out basic/standard/advanced is each version of D&D has different design principles and if you do not build up the game with those expectation, then a module will end up being a separate rule set. So how do you include a saving throw table from 1E with unified defenses from 4E, scalability, and all the other features that make each version of D&D different. Most likely they can not do it. 
 
So the question that remains is what features will be available from different versions of D&D, and 4E appears to be a losing proposition, because it is the most dependent on building up expected rules behaviors for it to be executed properly.

I personally thing having some sort of sub-format for Advanced rules would greatly aid in avoiding confusion, preventing poor rules combinations, and creating accurate game descriptions.

When the potential DM or RPGA says "We are doing FR using Mythic rules.", everyone understands.

@FallingIcicle. The flaw I see in that is clarity. You put a lot of pressure on DMs to correctly combine rules in game creation. And discussion about games within the fanbase is destroyed as no games are similar enough to compare with others.

@Shirioken. That is my fear as well. Leave the rules too free and finding and understanding games will be a chore. Make the rules too group, DMs are pressured not to use nonofficial groupings.

@Lawrencehoy. My worry is on the Advanced side. How do describe/discuss/recruit for my ABC game when you are playing XYZ and the next guy likes BCXY and the next LMNOP?

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!

IMO, they should call it "Custom" instead of "Advanced". Perhaps they are trying to tie into "Advanced D&D", but the only way I see advanced working is if WotC builds a PDF that has all of the various modules listed out in some organized fashion, with a checkbox and book/page reference. Add some blank rows for homebrew or 3rd party modules, and now you have a decent reference sheet for identifying the rules your group uses (especially useful for organized play).

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IMO, they should call it "Custom" instead of "Advanced".


Oh, I like that a lot.

Basic is Basic
Standard gets renamed Advanced
Advanced gets renamed Custom
 
I approve! 
The probable outcome is we'll start to see certain preset module packs - likely revolving around organised play - and they'll start to get names.

I can see this happening, too. Organised play will have to lock in a specific set of options (per module? for the whole concept?) so everyone's playing the same game.

Home games, however, won't need such rigid structure. Each group will negotiate which options they want to use. A DM at a public venue can either list options he'd allow and then he and the players work out which ones, or he'll set up a ENGYD game and those who are willing to use those options can play.

I see wrecan posted while I was writing this, and I like his Basic/Advanced/Custom names!

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

But I wonder if it is not enough. A very large portion of the fanbase will use Advanced rules. The problem is that Advanced isn't a format. It is a grouping of modules and variants. Playing "Advanced" will probably not aid in accurately describing a game. Many of the more hardcore fans are complaining that Standard is not enough and want to use Advanced, their version of Advanced. And then tables might go back to being not very recognizable.

What I think the designers need to do is make sure the standard game actually is built around the base line that most people play. So encounters and conventions games can be setup to play standard unless they are setup to show off some optional rule. One of my hopes for the play test is that later in the play test once we have more of the rules, the designers can find out what people actually play with and move things around so that is standard. If there is something that is too heavily split, with the tactical combat option being likely here, then standard could incorporate both.

Do you think Next should have another ruleset that is Equal to Basic and Standard with a different shuffle of rules while still being near mathematically equivalent? Should Next instead be made with official sub-rulesets of Advanced rules that display the rules that closely match a particular playstyle or game experience? Or should Advance be ungrouped and have no encouragement or pressure to make playstyle formats?

Too confusing and creates too many other issues. If advanced gets partitioned up into semi-official sets, then groups playing anything outside those sets are going to have problems. Also, if everybody is playing some specific advanced game, what does WotC market supplements and adventures at? I think for Next to work, people mostly have to be playing standard or standard + this advanced rule.

how i see the 3 tiers.

basic, comes in a boxed set including dice and anything else you might need to play, perfect for people who want to give DnD a go.

standard, this is the rule set asumed to be used and it is what published advantures will be designed for.

advanced , this indeed could also be called custom if you use this you might have to aply slight tweeks to published adventures to suit the rule set you decided to use.
@FallingIcicle. The flaw I see in that is clarity. You put a lot of pressure on DMs to correctly combine rules in game creation. And discussion about games within the fanbase is destroyed as no games are similar enough to compare with others.



There wouldn't be an "incorrect" combination of rules, at least not if they design the options well. The key is making the various options easily removed/swapped out without affecting other things (such as playing without feats).

They can also make it so that different options are still compatible with each other. For example, let's say that one option instead of using skills is letting members of each class add their skill die to checks with one ability (i.e. Int for wizards, Str for fighters, etc.). That way, people can play without using skills, but the mechanical result is similar.

As for discussion being destroyed because no games are similar enough, that's a bit far fetched. The core system is the same for everybody, and a group that uses HD healing, normal skills, and includes feats, is not going to be THAT different from a group that uses a different recovery mechanic, class favored ability instead of skills, and doesn't include feats. 90+% of the game that both groups are playing is still the same, even though they might feel quite different.
There should only be two...


  • Dungeons & Dragons: Basic

  • Dungeons & Dragons


...if the base assumption is that the standard game is modular, there's no need for another distinction beyond standard.

 

Danny

My main concern is non-traditional D&D(including but not limited to 4E-style play) getting shunted into some optional 'separate but equal' rules ghetto.
...whatever
There should only be two...


  • Dungeons & Dragons: Basic

  • Dungeons & Dragons

  • ...if the base assumption is that the standard game is modular, there's no need for another distinction beyond standard.

     



There should be only two:
  • Dungeons & Dragons

  • Dungeons & Dragons: optional rules

  • My main concern is non-traditional D&D(including but not limited to 4E-style play) getting shunted into some optional 'separate but equal' rules ghetto.



    And my main concern is that traditional D&D (rules-lite, no need for mechanically limiting player actions with feats & whatnot) will get shunted into some 'oh, that's just the Basic game, for newbs' rules ghetto.
    There should only be two...


    • Dungeons & Dragons: Basic

    • Dungeons & Dragons

    • ...if the base assumption is that the standard game is modular, there's no need for another distinction beyond standard.

       



    There should be only two:
  • Dungeons & Dragons

  • Dungeons & Dragons: optional rules



  • The problem with this is that you get the "my rules are better than your rules, that's why yours are optional" nonsense.

    There is no right way to play.  They need to take great care that whatever the divisions are called, they do not pass on inherent judgments of value as well.

    I mean, I get that some of you want the system to tell you that you're better than everyone else, but that's because you're selfish and insecure.
    D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
    My main concern is non-traditional D&D(including but not limited to 4E-style play) getting shunted into some optional 'separate but equal' rules ghetto.



    And my main concern is that traditional D&D (rules-lite, no need for mechanically limiting player actions with feats & whatnot) will get shunted into some 'oh, that's just the Basic game, for newbs' rules ghetto.



    What I find funny is that I have seen countless traditional D&D fans on this and other forums asking for exactly what you describe as a concern.
    ...whatever
    how i see the 3 tiers.

    basic, comes in a boxed set including dice and anything else you might need to play, perfect for people who want to give DnD a go.

    standard, this is the rule set asumed to be used and it is what published advantures will be designed for.

    advanced , this indeed could also be called custom if you use this you might have to aply slight tweeks to published adventures to suit the rule set you decided to use.



    Yeah, pretty much.

    For my table it will be whatever Variant we can stack on Basic.

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

    @FallingIcicle

    Mearls has already stated that making every optional rule balanced against each other is not a priority. Some modules will be imbalanced and many will heavily alter the game.

    So in Basic, fighters might be terrible in Social Interaction. In Standard, they can be better and usable in Social Interaction with the right skill choices. Then using Advanced Rule #37 the same character makes the king of thousands kiss his feet. Experiences will be vastly different in Advanced becomes the norm. Conversations between tables will be confusing and developing a custom game will be difficult unless the Advanced rules are heavily explained or designed to be grouped together in certain fashions.

    I hope for an official rule group to ease tensions and difficulty. A group who wants to play a low magic gritty game with factional alignment can run "Thrones and Crowns" with has the HD healing,companion rules, inherent bonuses, and factions balanced together to run something like that. Everyone will understand the DM when he says Thrones&Crowns and any player looking for that kind of game has a jumping off point.

    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!

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    @FallingIcicle Mearls has already stated that making every optional rule balanced against each other is not a priority. Some modules will be imbalanced and many will heavily alter the game.

    That is how it should be. If I want to play a game with PC demi-gods where everybody starts with multiple 18s and is pushing 25 in their main stat by 20th level I can. I just can't do that and expect it not to trash the normal game balance. Hopefully modules come with some guidelines for how much they change game balance and how they change the game in general. One that lets you swap out Vancian casting for spell points will change the feel of the spell casters and tweak a few other mechanics but doesn't change the overall game balance.

    And my main concern is that traditional D&D (rules-lite, no need for mechanically limiting player actions with feats & whatnot) will get shunted into some 'oh, that's just the Basic game, for newbs' rules ghetto.

    That does worry me. I'm hoping that standard splat books and adventures can be used in basic games, even if the player options are cut down a bit. If they get the balance between basic and standard correct, that should be possible for the most part. Some expension books and adventures might specify they only work with certain modules but I expect that to be the exception because the market for such things would be small.

    I'm hoping that standard splat books and adventures can be used in basic games, even if the player options are cut down a bit. If they get the balance between basic and standard correct, that should be possible for the most part. Some expension books and adventures might specify they only work with certain modules but I expect that to be the exception because the market for such things would be small.


    Basic and Standard are the same game.  You can sit a Basic character next to a Standard character, and they work just fine in the same game. 

    Basic is Standard, only with fewer choices.  The construction is the same, and moving from Basic to Standard is as seamless as choosing a new option.
    D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
    I don't really grok what the difference between "Standard" and "Advanced" is. I know that Basic is the tinkertoy no-choices pre-gens version of the game (albeit with probably fairly complex spellcasting, because that's how we roll) that you can just pick up and run, but it's not obvious to me what the difference between Standard and Advanced is. Is it really just one thing, and Standard is the name for it when all the default boxes are checked?


    I think that's it.

    I've been thinking of it as....
    Basic is Standard with a pre-selected set of player/character options.
    Standard is Advanced with a pre-selected set of rules options.
    Feedback Disclaimer
    Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
    A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
    Yeah I think greatfrito's got the right of it with regard to their approach. I like wrecan's names as well, calling the highest tier "custom" plays into how we think of software configuration as well (typical and custom). The name "advanced" assigns a lot of value on whatever that ends up being.
    @JayM

    That should be a given. Custom games should have their own forms of guidance and balance.

    My issue is discussing and recruiting for custom games. How do you describe your game that use modules to simulate a certain setting or genre? "Standard classes, skills with skill dice, no specialties, feat by purchase and training only, companion rules, standard races, fey races, hybrids, lycantropy and vampirism as a skill." Or something as simply as grouping all the gritty modules together or some of the high fantasy and high magic setting together.

    My fear is no one except new players and RPGA players will use Basic or Standard then there will be no unifying terms and methodology for playing or discussing Advanced play since no one is playing anything similar outside of the core.

    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!

    My issue is discussing and recruiting for custom games. How do you describe your game that use modules to simulate a certain setting or genre? "Standard classes, skills with skill dice, no specialties, feat by purchase and training only, companion rules, standard races, fey races, hybrids, lycantropy and vampirism as a skill." Or something as simply as grouping all the gritty modules together or some of the high fantasy and high magic setting together.

    My fear is no one except new players and RPGA players will use Basic or Standard then there will be no unifying terms and methodology for playing or discussing Advanced play since no one is playing anything similar outside of the core.

    That's a reasonable question. If Wizards doesn't give "named" suggestions for groups of optional rules, the community will probably end up doing that. Expect the forums to run at least one thread on naming groups of options. Not only will we have the fun of suggesting various names, but it'll help us to codify "types" of game styles. I'll be interested to watch that one develop!

    In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

    This kind of came up in another thread, and my response there was... how is that really any different from now?

    I mean, yeah, 4e runs with the "everything is core" approach, and seems to have fewer people homebrewing, but 3e?  It's been a long time since I've even seen anything approaching what DDN's "standard" is going to look like - while they may not state it with a big posted list, almost every game I've heard about or been invited to personally still had a list of "rules we are using" that would approach the "problematic descriptions" that people are worried about with DDN's Advanced rules.
    Feedback Disclaimer
    Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
    A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
    @greatfrito

    4E's modules were mostly balanced together. Themes are just power, feat, and skill replacements.

    But look at base 4e and Essentials. The PCs can work together but their resources aren't balanced against each other where they can really be swapped.

    Or look at 3E's UA. Those variants warp the game so much you can't even assumed to be using any of them during a discussion unless it is stated. If I say "Fighter/Wizards are broken in 3e", many will laugh. But add in Gestalt rules or Partial Caster rules, sense is made.

    Just imagine how confusing it would be if Unearthed Arcana was printed with the 1e/3e's PHB and DMG.

    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!


    The problem with this is that you get the "my rules are better than your rules, that's why yours are optional" nonsense.



    No, you end up boiling down D&D to just that: D&D.  The irreducible elements which make up the "heart of the game," to use Mike Mearls' phrase *are*, by definition, more essential to the game structure than those optional addenda which have shown up in one or two editions, or which many tables never used.  Those, then, should be called what they are: "Dungeons & Dragons."  Not "basic," as though it was the lowest level, suitable only for newbies.  Just so, the optional rules are optional.  They are not necessarily "advanced."  Some people will consider them a significant step backwards.



    My fear is no one except new players and RPGA players will use Basic or Standard then there will be no unifying terms and methodology for playing or discussing Advanced play since no one is playing anything similar outside of the core.

     

    An interesting side effect of such a situation would be to possibly shut up those who demand particularly outre' bizzarro-world optional modules be included and supported in the game.  I think it would be humorous as all-get-out to have them then find that there actually wasn't much interest in their particular brand of madness, and that the vast majority of players default back to what we'd consider "standard" D&D.    

    The problem with this is that you get the "my rules are better than your rules, that's why yours are optional" nonsense.



    No, you end up boiling down D&D to just that: D&D.  The irreducible elements which make up the "heart of the game," to use Mike Mearls' phrase *are*, by definition, more essential to the game structure than those optional addenda which have shown up in one or two editions, or which many tables never used.  Those, then, should be called what they are: "Dungeons & Dragons."  Not "basic," as though it was the lowest level, suitable only for newbies.  Just so, the optional rules are optional.  They are not necessarily "advanced."  Some people will consider them a significant step backwards.




    Some people would call going back to the base elements a significant step backwards.


    The irreducible elements don't add up to a playable game. I'm of the modern school, who wants sacred cows slaughtered for hamburger and has little use for 30 years of tradition. A lot of what you would call irreducible elements I would call outdated dreck best left behind. There is essential game structure, not one we can all agree on anyway, and not one that adds up to a game playable by itself.
    ...whatever
    My fear is no one except new players and RPGA players will use Basic or Standard then there will be no unifying terms and methodology for playing or discussing Advanced play since no one is playing anything similar outside of the core.

    That could be a problem. What I expect is that certain sets of optional rules will be common and names will be dubbed, but I really don't want WotC trying to do this because the sets they come up with before the game comes out are going to be wrong. To be useful, it is something we need to wait and see what people actually play.

    I don't really grok what the difference between "Standard" and "Advanced" is. I know that Basic is the tinkertoy no-choices pre-gens version of the game (albeit with probably fairly complex spellcasting, because that's how we roll) that you can just pick up and run, but it's not obvious to me what the difference between Standard and Advanced is. Is it really just one thing, and Standard is the name for it when all the default boxes are checked?


    I think that's it.

    I've been thinking of it as....
    Basic is Standard with a pre-selected set of player/character options.
    Standard is Advanced with a pre-selected set of rules options.



    Precisely. Which should hopefully make for easy explanations: we're playing Ravenloft, so it's Standard plus the Horror Module. Or we're playing in a Reniassance setting so it's standard plus the Invention module and Firearms Module, but I've also turned up the skills dial to reflect higher education and literacy.
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    @SteelButterfly; JayM

    Maybe fan created groups and terms might work. But it will make fan created formats feel more second class and unsupported if WOTC doesn't recognize them.

    But I dunno. Look at all the rage over removing HD Healing. If a large percentage of the fan base flock to HD healing advanced module for gritty games, lower magic games, and games that remove healer as default; how will new DMs know how to process and group modules if the official source doesn't. If I say I am looking for a Horror game, only the few hardcore forum readers will understand. Look how long it took for the 3.5 tier lists to spread.

    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!

    @SteelButterfly; JayM Maybe fan created groups and terms might work. But it will make fan created formats feel more second class and unsupported if WOTC doesn't recognize them. But I dunno. Look at all the rage over removing HD Healing. If a large percentage of the fan base flock to HD healing advanced module for gritty games, lower magic games, and games that remove healer as default; how will new DMs know how to process and group modules if the official source doesn't. If I say I am looking for a Horror game, only the few hardcore forum readers will understand. Look how long it took for the 3.5 tier lists to spread.



    When I first joined the WotC forums back during 3E, I'd start a topic complaining about caster imbalance or magic item Walmart and would immediately be inundated by a couple of people responding that I'm doing it wrong. I expect the same for 5E
    ...whatever