You've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever D&D Next questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the about the making of the game, the technical workings of our DDI studio, or anything else you care to know about… with some caveats.
There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.____________________________________
Will there be rules or guidelines for smaller or larger groups? 1 DM and 1 Player? Groups of 10 or more?
Our plan is to have our DM’s guidelines on designing adventures cover any possible spread of characters and character levels. Since our idea of adventure design is largely based on the characters’ abilities and how much punishment they can take, the DM should be able to simply take the level of each player character and the number of characters in the party, reference our adventure design rules, and come up with an appropriate adventure challenge. This also handles having players at different levels, so that groups that like having players at different levels can do so without worrying about the adventure balance.
That’s obviously just the basic adventure balance. There are certainly social issues that arise from having 10 players in a game (time between turns, ability to get spotlight time, etc.) that no amount of mechanical design can help with, but there have been many volumes of DM advice written in the past to cover such things.
Will NPC villains in D&D Next be "built" like player characters, with classes and specialties, or will they be "built" more like monsters?
Ideally, both—or rather, whichever way the DM wants to do it. We have certain expectations for what average monsters of various challenge levels should look like, and building an enemy NPC to those specifications should work just fine. The guidelines for designing monsters should work the same way when designing enemy NPCs. That way, the DM that wants to design NPCs quickly or the DM who just wants to provide them with a few iconic abilities can do so without having to go through a more involved process.
However, we know that there are DMs that enjoy having their NPC villains built just like player characters. In those cases, what we’ll likely do is allow the DM to build the NPC, then provide guidelines for comparing the end result of that character creation system to our expected values in the monster design system, then derive the NPC’s XP value from that. Regardless of how the NPC is built, the important thing is how tough and deadly the NPC is in play, and our XP system should be able to take whatever the numbers are—no matter how you built the NPC—and help you determine the appropriate XP value. Building a highly dangerous NPC is no different from building a highly dangerous monster, and how the DM gets to the statistics should be a matter of personal preference.
How will you define the "adventuring day?"
The conceptual definition is, “The quantity and relative danger of hazardous challenges that a character can handle between long rests.” The more practical definition is that it’s the amount of XP worth of monsters, traps, exploration hazards, and other things that players can overcome in between long rests. The long rest—a.k.a. sleeping overnight—is our “reset button” for player abilities. In order to help the DM design adventures, we provide guidelines for filling the time between long rests with challenges that are appropriate for the characters’ levels, based on the resources we have given to those players. This is expressed in the form of an amount of XP. Since most hazards and monsters should have an XP value associated with them, the DM can simply populate the adventure with that many XP worth of challenges and feel secure that the adventure is balanced so as to provide a challenge for the players. Of course, we also provide guidelines for running adventures that are easier or harder than our expected middle ground, allowing the DM to tweak accordingly.
It can also work the other way around; if the DM wants to design the adventure first, populate a dungeon with monsters as he feels appropriate with no regard for balance, the DM can then compare his or her creation to our expected guidelines to get an idea of where the break points in the adventure will come in. This can help prepare the DM for how the adventure should play out, and can also provide suggestions for places where the DM may want to include safe places to rest in the middle of the adventure, based on those break points.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. So, if you’d like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!