The fate of NEXT.

While composing a post in another thread, I came to a realization about D&D in general.  I'm old enough to remember gaming with the original Red Box, and long after I stopped playing Advanced, I still carted around my battered, slightly water-damaged DMG because it the best DM resource I'd ever seen (still is, IMO).

Dungeons & Dragons is a constantly changing game.  Not only has each edition introduced grand, sweeping changes (sometimes just change for the sake of change, sadly), each edition changed radically during it's run.  Compare a group playing with the 2nd Edition PHB, DMG, and Monstrous Compendium to a group using the "Black Books", all the Completes, and the Player's Option books.

Each edition has released content that totally changes everything, and a few years down the line, the game as it is is almost unrecognizable from the game at launch (which is usually where the players grow weary of thousands of obscure splatbooks and sales drop, prompting yet another "new edition").

NEXT will be no different.  The game we'll get at launch will rapidly vanish, as we get the NEXT versions of Unearthed Arcana, Martial Power, and Magic of Incarnum.  It won't happen right away, but in a year we'lll probably have psionics.  A year after that, Savage Species.  And the next year, Martial Adepts or Truenamers (or the equivalent in strangeness).

I point this out because I see two very different expectations on this forum. 

The first expects NONE of this "player entitlement crap" to be in NEXT.  And at first, they will probably be right.

The second expects ALL of it to be in NEXT.  And at first, they will probably be wrong.

Nothing that the developers are telling us now about the game will necessarily be true in two years.  It's just the way D&D works, and always has been.  If we don't have Drow and Cavaliers in Year One, don't worry- it's only a matter of time.

And no matter how good the basic framework of the game is, by Year Four or Five, the system will be bloated with options so different and varied from Core that people will gripe, sales will drop, and we'll be looking at 6e.

It has all happened before, and it will all happen again.  So really, some people should just relax.  ^_^                  
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
my opinion is that no matter the edition, even if they change mechanics the flavor of the game should remain the same. i am one of those old men i play cyclopedia and 1st and 2nd without the skills and powers junk. when i read 3rd, 3.5 or 4th the wording used and the design of the game are so alien i just really am not interesting in learning multiple versions of the same game. i also play gurps any edition of gurps is basically similar with some tweaks on things that needed it. so i can as a master of 1st edition gurps pick up 4th edition and play with little to no problem, try doing that when you know 1st or 2nd and pick up 4th it will take a month just to understand the mechanic name changes and that is not how games should progress
GURPS remaining consistent is a strong selling point for that game- no matter how many other books you choose to use, the core rules remain mostly the same.  Now if it wasn't for those damned sidebars...!

But D&D has always struggled with this sort of thing.  The game was designed by wargamers, and a lot of it's early mechanics were seen as needlessly complex.  I never felt that the rules of early D&D were it's strong point- it was the vast detail put into HOW to run and play the game.  The AD&D DMG is a treasure trove of DM advice and aids, and I was very happy to see it return to print.

But those rules can be difficult to tackle, and 2nd Edition, despite supposedly clarifying the game, made it worse (a common challenge I make to people who claim to be experienced 2e players is to ask them about bonuses to saves due to wearing magic armor- very few people even know what I'm talking about!)...the change to magic resistance, for example, is one of the many reasons few play groups ever had a problem with high-level spell slingers.

As the game has evolved, each development team has tried to get rid of older mechanics and replace them with newer ones.  Attack matrices > Thac0 > BAB > Attack Bonus > Bounded Accuracy.  And the game is constantly being pulled in two directions by it's players.

Often, the changes are "changes for the sake of change", unecessary and people who liked the game the way it was resist the new way.

But just as often, the changes are actual improvements, and people who didn't like the way the game was immediately jump on board.

D&D's error has been, since the beginning, the mindset amongst it's developers that there isn't any real reason to appease the first group, because they can always just stick to the base game.  The people they try to shill product to is the second group, which leads to dozens if not hundreds of supplements and the inevitable "new edition".

I admit, I'm usually in the second group.  But that doesn't mean that all change is good- sometimes it is just "we changed it to sell more books".  Rarely do the developers really come out and explain WHY the change was "necessary".  And even when they do, too often, the only way we have to let them know we don't like the change is to not buy the product.                   
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
I think at contrary that the problem comes from the slow evolution between each edition.

We have an edition, with many splatbooks, and this edition should stay its own things.

Each subsequent edition should be an entire different system only retaining very distinctive traits, like classes, levels, iconic spell names and else.

The dislike of new editions is unavoidable, so I find counterproductive for each new edition to sabotage themselves by keeping incredibly burdening sacred cows.

If most D&D players are old (40+) and still attached to 2nd edition, It's a loss of time to create DDN instead of returning to fully support 2nd edition. The alternative would be an AD&D 3rd edition.

Someone like old me who is bored to death by 2nd edition after more than 10 years of play with heal bots and without any vancian alternative beside psions, or someone young who played other RPGs with better planned developments, won't be interested by an edition riddled with used and abused clunky concepts.

Each edition should have its own rebooted system IMO, because nobody gains from a frankenstein edition.
any edition of gurps is basically similar with some tweaks on things that needed it.


But imagine you decided, as a designer that more than small tweaks were needed to fix things that you thought were broken. But, also imagine that you made those fixes and you thought everything was fine, but then you realized that you either introduced new problems or you had overlooked some existing problems that became really exposed by your changes. Now, you have to make more changes to fix these issues.

I think this is basically what happened with D&D. Up to second edition, the game was going along with some mechanics and things in it that the designers felt were large enough problems that they needed to be removed, things like THACO and built-in spell failures like in the Teleport spell. Some of these changes introduced new problems, like built-in magic item expectations partially dictated play style, or revealed already existing problems, like taking aware nearly all spell failure chances revealed that casters were incredibly powerful with the resulting spells.

They made fourth edition to fix these problems.
They are making fifth edition to fix the problems introduced by fourth (both real problems and stylistic issues).

However, there is nothing that indicates that once they reach an edition that they don't see problems with that you won't get to the point that you say GURPS has, where each edition is only tweaks from the previous edition. Even book "bloat" is not really an issue in such a system if the books are released in easy to organize blocks, which 3e and 4e didn't really do much of. For example, in second edition you could say things like "the Complete Book of series is allowed, but not campaign settings or historical settings". In GURPS you can easily organize by genre or technology level and the books generally fit within such frameworks. 3e and 4e are a lot harder to break apart like that.
I think the biggest problem with bloat in 4th Edition was the "everything is core" approach.

They continued to develop and publish rules as core books (PHB2, PBH3, DMG2, DMG3, etc.) and focused too little on publishing adventure material and specifically optional splatbook or campaign setting material.

I think if they would go  back to publishing adventure, and the campaign/splatbook material, as the default printed paper products; and left the rules development to Dragon magazine articles (with printed paper product anthologies), things would have a longer lifecycle.

They have the DDI as recurring revenue, they don't need to continually put out "core" mechanics/rules material to generate that type of income. I'l rather see material that extends our games, not material that bloats the game itself.

I hope that wasn't too unclear
It should be easier to decide what elements to drop into or excise from the game, yes.  4e did assume that everything existed in all campaigns (with a few outliers, like no Divine magic in Dark Sun...which didn't make much sense, since 2e Dark Sun had Priests, but I digress).  Sourcebooks would go out of their way to say "and of course, Dragonborn PC's come from Argonessen".

Not that I have an explicit problem with this, but if someone did want to make a game that didn't have certain elements, you couldn't just say "don't use book X, Y, or Z".  If I don't mind Seekers or Monks, but hate Wilden and Runepriests, I have to explicitly say "these options are ok, these options are not"- I couldn't just say "no PHB3".

And yes, obviously good adventures have been a rarity for awhile now.  People like to blame 3e/4e for this, but I have at least a digital copy of every 2e module, and trust me, a lot of those were duds too.   
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
Everything that has existed in previous editions is on the table to be included in D&D Next at some point.  That happens with every edition of D&D.

That's why making radical departures from the past is just pointless.   Look at what happened to 4e with sub races.  At first they removed them, next they added them as backgrounds and feats, and then finally they reintroduced them.   The same is true with the specialist wizards, just look at all the crazy arcane classes in 4e, and they are still incomplete.   
 
That's why the designers are correct to create a core that can be expanded upon with modules.    Yes, D&D will have splat books for the min/maxers and others for the role players, but that doesn't mean they will be playable at all gaming tables.   The system will be modular and everyone will be using their own combination of official rules and house rules.  The great thing about D&D Next is that players won't be "entitled" to play with any offical splat book.

No one will be able to look back at D&D next and say that by the end of its life cycle the game became a bloated and confusing mess of rules.   The reason is that the core game will remain the same.    Modules will not be required and they will be judged on their own merits.    


You're probably right.


I think the effort here is to create a core that lasts and doesn't change much as the game is expanded. I don't particularly like all of the decisions they're making but I'm finding the core (by core I mean the VERY core, like how checks are determined and resolved, what attributes there are and so on) really easy to bolt things onto, so in that way I think 5e is successful. Perhaps more successful than 2e's myriad of options that didn't conflict with the core rules because it doesn't depend on inventing whole new check systems for doing things - something I think was more of an affectation of 2e's designers than any real necessity in the core 2e system.


I think also WOTC's strategy is shifting away from game making and more into adventure writing, which they're trying to keep neutral, so that would lengthen the life of 5e in a big way.


So there's stuff going on that will probably lengthen the edition cycle, which is probably a good thing, and adventure modules will be backward compatible, which is an awesome thing.


So here's hoping.

I hope you're correct, dmgorgon.  However, history has proven that every edition eventually loses sight of it's original goals as supplemental material is produced.  Worse, NEXT may suffer from the same problem other "meta-systems" have- no two groups play exactly the same game.

Mind you, that's been true of D&D in the past as well, but I'm seeing a problem when people come to discuss the game.  "My group is playing with the Incarnum and Psionics modules, but we dislike the Savage Species module..."

"Wth is wrong with you?  Incarnum is busted, SS is balanced..."

"Yeah well, my DM bans martial adepts and at-will magic..."

....


Ok, so nothing will really change, after all.  ^_^             
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
It should be easier to decide what elements to drop into or excise from the game, yes.  4e did assume that everything existed in all campaigns (with a few outliers, like no Divine magic in Dark Sun...which didn't make much sense, since 2e Dark Sun had Priests, but I digress).  Sourcebooks would go out of their way to say "and of course, Dragonborn PC's come from Argonessen".

Not that I have an explicit problem with this, but if someone did want to make a game that didn't have certain elements, you couldn't just say "don't use book X, Y, or Z".  If I don't mind Seekers or Monks, but hate Wilden and Runepriests, I have to explicitly say "these options are ok, these options are not"- I couldn't just say "no PHB3".

And yes, obviously good adventures have been a rarity for awhile now.  People like to blame 3e/4e for this, but I have at least a digital copy of every 2e module, and trust me, a lot of those were duds too.   


When you look at D&D movies and video games, you can understand why D&D adventures are duds.

I would prefer if WOTC released about 8-10 books as reference material and no more.....ever!!!!!

1 book released digitally for free (Basic) + option to buy hardback copy.
2 more books release at low profit online as PDF (Core) or buy hardback copy
3-5 books released as hardback for profit (Custom D&D or advanced settings) with PDF copy sold at online.

Maybe a few more module books like tactical combat or war engines but nothing like the splatbook bonanza we have seen in past editions.

WOTC then fires all their staff and rehires a new staff that can write and design excellent adventure series, including some of the following:


  • Background music for each setting in adventure

  • video and audio files for NPCs

  • handouts (maps, clues, discoveries)

  • miniatures or card sets

  • cardboard battle sets

  • costumes (for the LARPer type crowd)


Adventures could run anywhere from $15 up to $300 or more (for authentic costumes).

WOTC also concentrates on movies, video games, and novels.

This would be my recipe for making a billion dollar company.  Of course, quality in each of these endeavors is more important than quantity.  Less can be more.


 
I hope you're correct, dmgorgon.  However, history has proven that every edition eventually loses sight of it's original goals as supplemental material is produced.  Worse, NEXT may suffer from the same problem other "meta-systems" have- no two groups play exactly the same game.

Mind you, that's been true of D&D in the past as well, but I'm seeing a problem when people come to discuss the game.  "My group is playing with the Incarnum and Psionics modules, but we dislike the Savage Species module..."

"Wth is wrong with you?  Incarnum is busted, SS is balanced..."

"Yeah well, my DM bans martial adepts and at-will magic..."

....


Ok, so nothing will really change, after all.  ^_^             



Yeah, nothing will change.  It's just important for the system to account for that.   The designers need to embrace that fact.    


Nobody is stopping you from play a core rulebook only game. I'm doing that right now with a 4e minicampaign. The only player options allowed are from PHB1. No exceptions. The game is working out great and everyone is having fun.

I predict that after 5 years of D&D Next you will still be able to do the same thing. Just because bloat exists does not mean you have to allow it in your game. 
Nobody is stopping you from play a core rulebook only game. I'm doing that right now with a 4e minicampaign. The only player options allowed are from PHB1. No exceptions. The game is working out great and everyone is having fun.

I predict that after 5 years of D&D Next you will still be able to do the same thing. Just because bloat exists does not mean you have to allow it in your game. 


Why do editions die?  They become unprofitable.  Why?  They depend on bloat to survive and bloat is eventually unprofitable.

The solution is to avoid bloat and depend on resources that do not strangle the original game to make money.  
Writing adventures isn't a profitable solution. Too many just homebrew.
Writing adventures isn't a profitable solution. Too many just homebrew.


My argument would be that too many homebrew because the quality of readymade adventures is too low.  My homebrew adventures have more interesting plots and storylines than the readymade.

The advantage for homebrew is that the adventure can match the party or the players.

The solution is to create adventures that are both high quality and adaptable.

Perhaps adventures could involve locations, scenes, background music, NPC audio and vidual files, creature audio and vidual files, etc. which can easily be moved into homebrew adventures as well. 
Writing adventures isn't a profitable solution. Too many just homebrew.



Pathfinder has been churning out adventure modules and zero crunch supplements. They seem to be doing very well for themselves.
My argument would be that too many homebrew because the quality of readymade adventures is too low.  My homebrew adventures have more interesting plots and storylines than the readymade.

I don't homebrew because purchased modules aren't exciting (except for 4e modules, which are positively the worst published adventures I have seen in every category - story, mechanics, encounter set-up).

I homebrew because I don't need to go buy a story, I can tell one on my own.

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."

If modules included actual useful bonuses, I would be very interested. Maps for the combats, chips for the monsters, as said before video and audio stuff, or at least tons more pictures to show. Plus a focus on big locations that can be used as a lunching pad to more adventure.

If they did all this, and made good stories that aren't 90% useless filler combats, I would happily buy a bunch of modules. 
"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
If modules included actual useful bonuses, I would be very interested. Maps for the combats, chips for the monsters, as said before video and audio stuff, or at least tons more pictures to show. Plus a focus on big locations that can be used as a lunching pad to more adventure.

If they did all this, and made good stories that aren't 90% useless filler combats, I would happily buy a bunch of modules. 


That's true, a lot of the old TSR modules had some amazing maps and handouts that made the adventure a lot more emersive and awesome. I'm thinking about the Undermountain and Dragon Mountain boxes in particular but there are loads of examples.
..., try doing that when you know 1st or 2nd and pick up 4th it will take a month just to understand the mechanic name changes and that is not how games should progress



Wow, you need to work on that then.  I played 1e (or my homebrew version of it) for 20yrs (skipped 2e & 3e), picked up 4e and started playing in 24hrs.  It seemed pretty seemless to me.
I think at contrary that the problem comes from the slow evolution between each edition.

We have an edition, with many splatbooks, and this edition should stay its own things.

Each subsequent edition should be an entire different system only retaining very distinctive traits, like classes, levels, iconic spell names and else.

The dislike of new editions is unavoidable, so I find counterproductive for each new edition to sabotage themselves by keeping incredibly burdening sacred cows.

If most D&D players are old (40+) and still attached to 2nd edition, It's a loss of time to create DDN instead of returning to fully support 2nd edition. The alternative would be an AD&D 3rd edition.

Someone like old me who is bored to death by 2nd edition after more than 10 years of play with heal bots and without any vancian alternative beside psions, or someone young who played other RPGs with better planned developments, won't be interested by an edition riddled with used and abused clunky concepts.

Each edition should have its own rebooted system IMO, because nobody gains from a frankenstein edition.




so you cant homebrew your own casting system and enjoy the 2nd editon play you loved? i wanted from the start for them to release adventures and campaign settings that were edition neutral so people could stick with the systems they liked best.
Writing adventures isn't a profitable solution. Too many just homebrew.



Pathfinder has been churning out adventure modules and zero crunch supplements. They seem to be doing very well for themselves.

I don't know about zero crunch supplements. Using even a really strict definition of "Crunch supplements" - not even counting the DMG or the Bestiaries - PF has released about a half-dozen player crunch supplements, or a few each year. It's certainly less than D&D at its densest, but it's still some. Then again, they also make all that material 100% free, so who knows how that plays into it.

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.
so you cant homebrew your own casting system and enjoy the 2nd editon play you loved?

Is the only reason you aren't playing a retro-clone that you cannot find any published pre-made adventures?

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."

My argument would be that too many homebrew because the quality of readymade adventures is too low.  My homebrew adventures have more interesting plots and storylines than the readymade.

I don't homebrew because purchased modules aren't exciting (except for 4e modules, which are positively the worst published adventures I have seen in every category - story, mechanics, encounter set-up).

I homebrew because I don't need to go buy a story, I can tell one on my own.



Give me a team of artists, designers, writers, and a budget and I guarantee my story will be better and more immersive than yours.

Each scene would have music and sound effects.  Each creature and NPC would have either a picture or a video.  Each scene would have a grid (Some 3d).  The storyline would not be just a string of encounters but an actual story with elements to discover and challenges that are physical, mental, intellectual, moral, and emotional.

I'd have handouts for clues and discoveries.  I'd have partial maps.

I'd also make it modular so that scenes and events could be easily moved into a homebrew adventure as well. 

It would be far more valuable and interesting than buying a splatbook. 

If we actually got all that when we bought an adventure then there'd be real value to it. TSR tried it and I don't know if they lost money in the deal but there were some memorable adventure modules in there.


I make up my own stories because I don't see the need to buy them when I can make stuff up, but if the adventure modules offered me actual resources and not just a poorly formatted book with badly organised information in it (I really hate the way the playtest adventures are laid out) then I'd consider buying one now and then.


All that said, I don't think adventure modules are really all that much better in terms of quality. I've played through plenty (I don't DM from 'em but if someone else does i'm game) and it seems to me that perhaps 1 in 10 are really worth the price. I don't appreciate video or too many pictures because I respond to descriptive language better and I like to envision it on my own. One of the things I like about D&D is there are no videos or pictures in play unless a conscious choice to use them is made.

One thing the OP fails to mention: the core mechanics of D&D continue to get more refined and unified with every new edition. I know there are some Grognards who will argue that 1e or 2e is more straightforward and flexible than 3e or Next, but I think if we're honest here that's just not the case.

The edition cycle is one of constant progress. Every new edition starts with the best ideas of the end of the old edition.
One thing the OP fails to mention: the core mechanics of D&D continue to get more refined and unified with every new edition. I know there are some Grognards who will argue that 1e or 2e is more straightforward and flexible than 3e or Next, but I think if we're honest here that's just not the case. The edition cycle is one of constant progress. Every new edition starts with the best ideas of the end of the old edition.

There are certainly ideas from the previous editions. The bulk of a new edition starts on what was there immediately before. Whether they're the best ideas isn't a subject I'd touch with a barge pole, least of all here.

The edition cycle is one of constant progress. Every new edition starts with the best ideas of the end of the old edition.


This is not, strictly speaking, true.  It is, of course the goal, that design should be an iterative process, but as designers have changed it is not a matter of simple refinement of old ideas into new and better forms.  Instead, a change of paragdim resultant from new people with new opinions at the helm results in a lateral shift, one that discards the old in favor of the new because the older element, though refined, no longer fit within the master-vision.  This is more apparent in the WotC editions, where both 3rd and 4th had major paragdim shifts from the edition directly preceding them.  With bounded accuracy, 5th/Next looks to again engage in a shift of paragdim.  You can't claim that part of the core of 5e is an element of 4e, seeng as 4e is nearly defined by its hit-rate scaling.  Similarly, 4th's central power structure is more of a reaction against third than an evolution of it, and 3rd's system of class (many classes, free multiclassing) is entirely unrelated to anything in 2nd.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
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In general, the comment about mechanics becoming more refined is true, as each edition seems to make a valiant effort to abolish unecessary sub-systems and move towards more consolidated mechanics.  But there still remain specific examples where this is not the case.

Back during my 2e days, I was often at a loss for why the rules for, say, unarmed combat (punching, wrestling, and the later martial arts) were completely unlike any other form of melee combat.  Instead of selecting an attack and rolling to hit, my to-hit roll determined the actual attack I was allowed to use, within a certain range of numbers (due to the "chart bonus"), with the best results typically coming when you managed to hit with very low numbers.

It's not that it was bad- the system had a great deal of potential and flexibility as you alloted more proficiency slots to it.  But having the rules of combat change because you decide to punch an enemy as opposed to simply stabbing them with a dagger was...inelegant, to say the least.

So when 3e simply added "unarmed strike" to the weapons table, while a lot of the flavor of being able to pummel someone into submission was lost, the mechanic was now more fully integrated with the rest of the combat system.  This was a plus.

However, at the same time, 3e decided to create an even more complex subsystem to govern wrestling, with it's convoluted and exasperating grapple rules.  So one step forward, one step back.

Each D&D design team has approached the game with their own opinions about design theory.  The corpus of the system does become more refined, but I think that's more of a side effect of the process, as this does not prevent the creation of less elegant systems to replace what has come before.  Each version of D&D is a separate game that resembles it's predecessors, but can, in fact, be a very different beast.  And you can't point to any definitive point in an edition's lifespan and say "this was Xe", because within the lifespan of the edition, updates and new products are introduced that make significant changes to the system.

Thus 2e "core" is different from 2e with Completes, which is different from 2e with Player's Options.  They are all 2e, but have very different options presented, which can make two play groups playing the same exact version of D&D be radically different from one another.

NEXT, by design, is, as stated by the developers, intended to support a large number of variants.  Now I like options as much as the next guy, but there will reach a point where choosing which optional variants will become a chore, and discussions about the game amongst it's players will be hampered by the fact that you have to differentiate between discussions about which variant of the same version of the game is being played.

As has been shown by each previous version of D&D, there eventually reaches a point where the myriad different options and updates to the launch version of the game make the current version of the game unrecognizable compared to the launch version.  At this point, the options reach 'critical mass', sales drop, and developers start talking about a new edition.

My opinion (and I'd be happy to be proven wrong), is that despite all the promises made, NEXT will not break the chain.  It will be just as divisive as every other version of the game has been, and will eventually be shucked for the "Next NEXT" sometime after Year Four.          

         
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks

NEXT, by design, is, as stated by the developers, intended to support a large number of variants.  Now I like options as much as the next guy, but there will reach a point where choosing which optional variants will become a chore, and discussions about the game amongst it's players will be hampered by the fact that you have to differentiate between discussions about which variant of the same version of the game is being played.

This is the only ray of hope though, because if it's intended to support a large number of variants then I think the hope is that they can make efforts to stave off the chore of trawling through content as long as possible.

If one of the reasons variants become a chore is that the game is designed to be the "one true D&D" with the hope that the old variants aren't needed anymore, then the assumption that variants will always be needed should help mitigate the problems as designers anticipate them.


I doubt the designers can anticipate all the problems, but it's something.

...

It has all happened before, and it will all happen again.  So really, some people should just relax.  ^_^                  





Now that you have solved the puzzle about the future of D&DNEXT could tell me the winning numbers for the next lottery?
I feel particularly outraged by having my rights of wild speculation restrained so abruptly.Tongue Out




Give me a team of artists, designers, writers, and a budget and I guarantee my story will be better and more immersive than yours.

I know my players; I know what they like and what they don't like, I know the parts of the game they are most interested in and when and where they have fun - and I know the parts of the game that don't interest them and where they will not have fun. This give me an overwhelming advantage.

"But you don't have to use all of the module if your players won't like sections" Then I have just paid for something I won't use. No thanks.
Each scene would have music and sound effects.  Each creature and NPC would have either a picture or a video.  Each scene would have a grid (Some 3d).

All of which goes out the window the moment the players fly off the rails and do something you didn't forsee (and if you don't think this ever happens, you obviously have never DMed). Much of which I may never use, because a story is a flexible, living thing, and unless I railroad and follow the story exactly how you intend, there will be scenes that you don't have prepared for me, and there will be scenes that you do have prepared that I won't ever use.
The storyline would not be just a string of encounters but an actual story with elements to discover and challenges that are physical, mental, intellectual, moral, and emotional.

So in other words "like storylines I already write up".
I'd also make it modular so that scenes and events could be easily moved into a homebrew adventure as well.

Good luck making the same adventure applicable, scenic, and appropriate (and take advantage of the unique things about each setting) for Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun.
It would be far more valuable and interesting than buying a splatbook. 

I can use a (properly made rule) splatbook in every session from here until I die of old age or play a different game. I can use a pre-made module with any given group once; at the point that the entire module has been played thru, I now have something more-or-less useless to me.

Releasing "splatbooks" that most people can use will probably be better than releasing adventures that rely upon people not wanting to make their own content. I cannot say this for absolute certain, however; maybe WotC would make a ton of money adapting Paizo's MO. What I can tell you is that I will never purchase a pre-made adventure, and I don't think I am unique as a DM in that.

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."

Give me a team of artists, designers, writers, and a budget and I guarantee my story will be better and more immersive than yours.

I know my players; I know what they like and what they don't like, I know the parts of the game they are most interested in and when and where they have fun - and I know the parts of the game that don't interest them and where they will not have fun. This give me an overwhelming advantage.

"But you don't have to use all of the module if your players won't like sections" Then I have just paid for something I won't use. No thanks.
Each scene would have music and sound effects.  Each creature and NPC would have either a picture or a video.  Each scene would have a grid (Some 3d).

All of which goes out the window the moment the players fly off the rails and do something you didn't forsee (and if you don't think this ever happens, you obviously have never DMed). Much of which I may never use, because a story is a flexible, living thing, and unless I railroad and follow the story exactly how you intend, there will be scenes that you don't have prepared for me, and there will be scenes that you do have prepared that I won't ever use.
The storyline would not be just a string of encounters but an actual story with elements to discover and challenges that are physical, mental, intellectual, moral, and emotional.

So in other words "like storylines I already write up".
I'd also make it modular so that scenes and events could be easily moved into a homebrew adventure as well.

Good luck making the same adventure applicable, scenic, and appropriate (and take advantage of the unique things about each setting) for Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun.
It would be far more valuable and interesting than buying a splatbook. 

I can use a (properly made rule) splatbook in every session from here until I die of old age or play a different game. I can use a pre-made module with any given group once; at the point that the entire module has been played thru, I now have something more-or-less useless to me.

Releasing "splatbooks" that most people can use will probably be better than releasing adventures that rely upon people not wanting to make their own content. I cannot say this for absolute certain, however; maybe WotC would make a ton of money adapting Paizo's MO. What I can tell you is that I will never purchase a pre-made adventure, and I don't think I am unique as a DM in that.



I think that the premade adventure paths from Paizo are pretty great.  They aren't for everyone by any means, but they get released at an appropriate rate to run with the release dates and they are a wonderful way to have a second game going or to introduce a new DM to sitting behind the screen.  The also tend to introduce little snippets of rules along the way, sometimes new feats and spells, sometimes prestige classes and a lot of one-shot mechanics.  A good example is the "chase" deck they made.  Fun stuff.

So, they aren't for everyone, adventure paths never will be.  But they have a place.

I want splatbooks too of course.  I want both.  They should make both.
Specifically, premade campaigns are a great way to monetize.  You can only release so many splatbooks before you are just adding bloat and covering the same ground again.  Premade campaigns?  You can release those forever without flooding the game.  


I think that the premade adventure paths from Paizo are pretty great.  

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Premade campaigns?  You can release those forever without flooding the game.  



+1

"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

I think that the premade adventure paths from Paizo are pretty great.  

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Premade campaigns?  You can release those forever without flooding the game.  



+1


+1 too, 2e did that to no end and sold a LOT of stuff without bloating the crunch part of the game.
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com

Some of 2e's later, more off the wall campaign ideas are its best remembered as well.


Adventures are like everything else in this game: springboards. They break the ice and get folks going. Once they're off, the adventure can go in the bin and that's A-OK.

It's really regrettable that that's the case, but in some ways it's what you'd expect. The longer people work at making material for a system, the better the system is understood. The more "this works, this doesn't" gets built up. The more experience is accumulated. Unfortunately, while the PHB of each edition is 100% of the material when it's released, and thus gets lots of attention, the more material that already exists for each edition, the more of a drop in the bucket each new bit of material is, so really brilliant and well-designed stuff sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

This wasn't the case with 4e, but that's because after a brief period of getting better and learning what did and didn't work (note the lack of classes with split primary stats in PHB2). Only after a while, instead of learning, it kind of lost it and in what in retrospect looks like a blind panic when it a random direction. So you don't see the same effect with 4e, I guess.
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.
I feel the need to point out in this whole "Why don't they just release adventures?" debate that Paizo is NOT WotC.

This is important because, as a small company, Paizo can continue to publish adventures if they make ANY profit at all, while, as a public company, Hasbro evaluates profits as a return on investment and measures it against the return from other investments. If the profit from releasing adventures isn't as good a return as say, releasing a new line of G.I.Joe figures, they'll yank the money out of Adventures and put it into G.I.Joe without a second thought because their obligation is to make their shareholders as much money as possible and not to support marginally profitable enterprises.

And that's why we will continue to see endless streams of player focused splat-books until the market is saturated and they have to release a new edition again... because that's the area of RPG publishing with the largest potential market and therefore the biggest possible return on investment.

And that's why we will continue to see endless streams of player focused splat-books until the market is saturated and they have to release a new edition again... because that's the area of RPG publishing with the largest potential market and therefore the biggest possible return on investment.

I would speculate that it's also the most expensive though. To write a good adventure you need an author or two, an editor and maybe a playtest group. Probably you don't need the playtest group but it's nice.

A whole new game or a splatbook involves easily double the number of people, I would have thought, and they all need to eat.

Hasbro is far more likely to hide as much as possible behind a subscription pay-wall.  Much, much more than current.