Who is Tracy Barnett?
Tracy is an gaming blogger and game designer. You can often find him tweeting about his game experiences as @TheOtherTracy or catch up on his opinions and game development at SandandSteam.net.
Trevor Kidd: Could you tell us a little bit about your gaming background and maybe some information on your current gaming group?
Tracy Barnett: I started with the D&D Red Box back when I was eight. I never really played a session with it, but I rolled up a lot of characters. When I hit college, a buddy at work asked me to join his D&D 3rd Edition game and I was hooked.
I started GMing about six years later, and I haven't really stopped. Right now, my group, which meets semi-weekly, is alternating between a Pathfinder campaign and a Mutants & Masterminds campaign. We're having a lot of fun with both.
Trevor: What's your favorite thing that you're seeing in the D&D Next playtest?
Tracy: I love the amount of DM control that is present. That requires a lot of player/DM trust, but since that's vital for a successful game anyway, leaving some things up to DM discretion is a strong move in my book. As well, the core mechanics seem to allow for a more narrative flow than previous editions, which is something that I love.
Trevor: What elements would you like to see changed in future playtests?
Tracy: If extensive playtesting is going to be successful, then more than the Caves of Chaos needs to be available. A lot of DMs love rolling their own when it comes to setting, campaign, etc. Players are often used to that, too. The materials that have been presented with the current playtest documents are far more limited than what most groups are used to.
Trevor: Is there anything you just didn't like in the current playtest?
Tracy: I didn't particularly care for the Caves adventure. I love story more than anything, so I would like to have seen a more fleshed-out narrative that gives good reason for why the group was going to the Caves in the first place. There were some loose reasons given, but it wasn't enough for me.
Trevor: Is there an adventure that you’d like to see in future playtests? One that gives you more of that story you’re looking for?
Tracy: I'd say, if the team really wants to test if D&D Next can be a system for all editions, a great 3rd Edition adventure would be a good choice. Something like The Red Hand of Doom comes to mind, though that's really long and covers many levels. However, it would be a great stress-test and has a good narrative attached.
Trevor: What's your overall feel of the D&D Next playtest so far?
Tracy: I'm excited to see where it goes from here. The goals set out by the design team are laudable, and I want to see more of what they've got planned.
Trevor: What about the design goals has you excited?
Tracy: Gaming, in any system, is all about group ownership. From the moment that a given game group gets their hands on a set of rules and starts a campaign, the rules belong to them, not the creators. Some games fight that, and some games embrace it. I get the feeling that the design team has embraced that idea with D&D Next. By making it modular, it actually has the possibility of appealing to players of all previous editions. They're making a system for all of their players, not just for a certain group of them.
Trevor: What are you really looking forward to seeing in a future playtest?
Tracy: Character generation, with full access to races, classes, backgrounds, and themes. That's what I want to see the most.
Trevor: What one thing does the playtest need to have or do to be successful?
Tracy: Player buy-in. There needs to be a compelling reason for players and DMs to give up whatever fully fleshed-out rules system they're using to play incomplete rules.
Now that we've got a few of these under our belt, I'd like to hear from you to find out who in the D&D community you'd like to see profiled. If you have any suggestions for who should be in the next playtester profiles, please let me know in the comments or send me a PM. Also, if there are any specific questions you'd like to see asked send those my way as well.