D&D 5e, except they want to incorporate mechanics from all previous editions and thus call it "Next"

Discussion in 'Other Games' started by Rarefied Horse Meat, May 21, 2012.

  1. We all know it's 5e, obviously, but I can sorta see why they want to make the distinction. Where 4e was a whole new different thing from 3.5 in many ways, they want 5e to respect, borrow, and riff on all the previous editions.

    Start here:
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showwiki.php?title=D and D Next: General Information#Design Goals

    My reaction:
    • Pretty lofty goals, but awesome if they work out. Reviews from playtesters have been very positive, with the most common complaint being that the character sheets have too little information on them.
    • When I ran a gestalt 3.5 game for a year, 4 of my players loved the options, but one was clearly overwhelmed. Natch, his character was designed by committee and its feats were frequently underutilized. Per the "Next" design goals above, I imagine he'd opt for a more 4e-esque character with solid stats and a handful of powers, or even a 1e style character who's just stats and a personality.
    • In other words, even when people manage to agree to play the same edition, the effort and detail they want to invest can vary widely; I like the idea that not only the DM, but each individual player for a change, can decide that level for themselves and not feel gimped for it.
    And if you're still up for more reading:
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showwiki.php?title=D and D Next: Classes

    Then check out:
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showwiki.php?title=D and D Next: Mechanics#Three Pillars

    My reaction:
    • I think I would love a three-pillar game of D&D, if they can pull it off. Combat has always been D&D's strong suit, but the other two have had inconsistent levels of success.
    • I especially like the idea that all characters, even Fighters, are designed at baseline to be useful in interaction and exploration, instead of having 1 or 2 useful skills but otherwise leaving it all to the Rogues.
    • For me, 3.5 was capable of tense exploration and intricate crunch mechanics, but interaction typically boiled down to either your absurdly maxed-out skill checks, or spinning your story in such a way that the DM liked it (I can play Apples to Apples or work corporate for that kind of "pandering to power" gameplay).
    • Conversely, 4e had really well-fleshed-out mechanics for interaction, typically involving a natural-ish conversation with a "skill challenge" running alongside it, but exploration was practically nil. Traps were part of encounters, not exploration, and in general exploration was narratively handwaved so that the party could quickly move from interaction encounter to combat encounter to trap encounter, and repeat.
    I don't know if "Next" will scratch all my itches and fix all the things that have bothered me about D&D over the years, but it seems aimed to try, at the very least. Like GW2, I'll be watching it closely in the hopes it remixes the increasingly-stale genre into something that lets you have as much fun possible with only as much work as you feel like, moving minutiae from a mandate to an opt-in system.

    Would love to hear other folks' reactions to those info links!

    (Reactions, please, not line-in-the-sand stuff like:
    "I didn't more than glance at the links, but [edition] of [system] is all I'll ever need. I'm just commenting to make sure everyone knows that my stance is to disapprove of all else."
    When you read and reply, instead of skimming for bones to pick and chips to shoulder, everyone benefits!)

    r_b_bergstrom likes this.
  2. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    The editions (now called 'iteration' to prevent edition wars?) are quite different and I don't see one game incorporating them all without being a turd.

    You know, we have a fairy tale about a Doggie and Kitty who wanted to bake a cake. They didn't know what to add, so they added what each of them liked. Kitty added fish, milk, Doggie added meat, bones, sweets, etc. When it was done, they went to call children to give them the cake. Meanwhile a bad dog found it and ate it. When Doggy and Kitty came back, they found out that the cake is gone and later they have found the dog with a terrible stomach ache.

    And this is why I fear the outcome. Sure, it may be the best DnD game ever, but reading some of the dev team blog posts, I have many doubts. Their effort to make one ruleset to bind them all reminds me ot this XKCD comic.

    Anyways, I've opted in for the betatest, it should start on 24th of May. If you want to try it out, go here.
  3. Yeah, that's certainly one direction in which their project could fail or overreach. Like I said, their goals are pretty dang lofty. I am really looking forward to the playtest in order to help me determine whether to watch its growing pains from a nice safe distance, or jump onto it with both feet if it lives up to its promise.

    I wouldn't say they're impossible goals, though. I've used Burning Wheel to improve my D&D, and D&D to improve my White Wolf. They're not incompatible, if you pick and choose which things to transplant or replace.

    One standard that replaces them all would be the exact problem shown in XKCD, and one standard that tries to use all styles at the same time would lack identity, if it even worked at all. I think a modular approach has potential, though, if that's what they're driving at. It would need to give you the option of using one of several modern takes on previous styles, ones that have been specifically tailored for use in a lightweight, flexible engine. You can't copy all parts of a previous edition wholesale, but you can certainly grab their coolest, most salient stuff along with some of the underlying feel and complexity level.

    At least, that's what I am hoping for, so that's what I'm reading into these posts, but we'll see!

    I always modify the crap out of any D&D edition I play anyways, so a system built for modding will naturally be pilferable as hell should I need to DM for a group that only plays [edition].

    Thanks for the link; I've been watching Reddit to see if any playtest tables pop up in my area, but didn't realize I could sign up for alerts directly from the Hasbro Megacorp.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  4. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    This is the problem. While the goal is noble, I fail to see how a, say, 1st and 4th edition players could play together, each with his own style and both are roughly equal.

    Asking the community "what do you think about X" means jack shit.
    We have one RPG game here, in fact the first one in Czechoslovakia (it came out in 1990 and we have splitted our countries in 1993). Over the time it has evolved into the last version which came out roughly in 2000. Even then the game was imbalanced, superfluous or stupid mechanics, more roll-play than roleplay (though it got better over time). In 2004 a new edition came out, which was more of a simulation, than a RPG game. There was a chart for almost everything. Last year, new edition came out, basically a bastard child of FATE (narrative system) with the original game (some fluff, classes and a few other things have remained).

    People did not like it, so a few groups have decided for a new version of the original game (because they still play it, albait heavily houseruled). That was all fine and dandy, but....nobody knew what he wanted. If you asked ten people about their 'sacred cows', which had to be in the game, everyone will say a few things, which differ from the others and a few things someone other has said. When someone said "this mechanic is crap, let's replace it with this", some people agreed, some said that it breaks the spirit of the game.

    The moral of the story is that asking what the community wants is meaningless and if you want to change something that is already varied, many people will not like it because someone dared to change something they like.
    Aegho and OmniNegro like this.
  5. Mr_Strange

    Mr_Strange Member

    For years, I have been really impressed with how much time and energy WotC is willing to put into playtesting and design work. Their re-releases of Risk and Axis & Allies, along with the Design diaries, were just fantastic reading for me. 4e was some excellent work, but I don't think they anticipated some of the complaints it would raise. With that knowledge in hand, I think they have a really good chance of making this work.

    I think it should be simply for 1e and 4e style characters to play together - just allow players to replace broad bonuses with specific bonuses of their choosing. For example, a 1e character just has strength, and gets a +3 bonus to all strength-related actions. A 3e character has selected a growing list of specific strength actions, and given herself +5 bonus to those actions, and has no bonus for the others. Simple.

    Similarly, wizards could simply deal some amount of "magic damage" in a fight, or they could select from specific spells which would do slightly more damage, or slightly less with some other effects (chill, ignite, etc.) That would keep things balanced while allowing depth to characters.

    Two years ago, I was seriously considering becoming the brand manager for D&D at WotC, so I personally have spent a lot of time thinking about these issues. I'm pretty confident they'll do just as good a job as I would have done had I moved up there for that position, which puts me very much at ease.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  6. Loswaith

    Loswaith Member

    Some interesting bits, and some concerns. Enough of a variance for me to put some interest into following D&D again (though whether I'll play it is a different matter).

    I'm not sure about using the community as a basis for determining stuff. Given I dont realy know of a group that doesnt have some kind of modified house rules for D&D, while some are similar, most vary from group to group.

    The essence I guess will ultimatly be if it feels like D&D at the end of it all.
  7. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    OmniNegro likes this.
  8. Interesting to hear it from the man himself, I'd heard he left secondhand. The tone of his columns and the style of his self-published work had me not thinking it was a big deal - he's Grognardia's champion, not mine. However,
    That could mean anything from he thinks they're trying to push the door out the game too fast, to him not being able to handle corporate bullshit after years of working for himself. He seems to even be saying that he likes the game they're making. It wouldn't be the first time he got frustrated with the Hasbro Megacorp and bailed, though. They seem to soulcrush a few of their deisgners on a yearly basis, actually. Not sure I'd wanna work there myself.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  9. Loswaith

    Loswaith Member

    ooo... ouch. That's not always a good turn of events if you happen to like the stuff Monte does and was hoping some of that stuff could be bought to the table. Ah well, such is the way things go I guess, hopefully his current input has given them some food for thought.
  10. Alright, I found some leaked material. Classes & characters seem to be going in the directions promised, but monsters and conditions... wtf? They're more complicated and opaque than 3.5 conditions, without using any sort of keywords or standardization to help the players and the GM muddle through it. Pretty early draft, thankfully, but those 2 parts look worse than both previous editions, with no visible evolution or improvement whatsoever. Da fuq?
  11. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    I wouldn't be so hasty in judging the game by some leaks. Now, I'm not trying to say that the game is actually great or something like that, I am merely pointing out that leaked materials are not very credible. Heck, I can make up something from scratch and call it a leak I have found somewhere in depths of the internet.

    Warhammer 40.000's 6th edition rules were supposedly leaked, many rumours are flowing here and there but you know what? Many of them contradict with each other.

    The test starts tomorrow (at least according to my timezone), so let's wait with judgement until then.
  12. Also just found this:
    I'd sooner believe that to be their dream of what they intend the system to become, than the reality of it now, but that would be an awesome summary of a game, if realized. Vested interest of interview subject is vested, but those are pretty nice words if they're more than spin.
  13. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    The beta e-mail came a while ago, but I can't download the materials right now (sitting at work at the moment). I'll have a look at it tomorrow.
  14. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    D&D never needed rules. It is roleplaying and requires imagination. Nothing more is actually needed.

    Editions are just an excuse to sell the same old materials after slightly modifying them.
    klaymen_sk likes this.
  15. Glazed

    Glazed Member

    I disagree completely. D&D is a game. Games need rules. Rules provide structure. Anyone who knows D&D 4e rules can walk into a gaming venue, roll a character, and join any campaign, and it will likely be successful. D&D campaigns can vary from zero role-playing and 100% exploration and tactical battles, to very heavy role playing with not a lot of focus on combat. In all cases, behind everything is a clear set of rules that everyone can agree on. Plus the D&D books create an environment and lore without requiring every DM to make all of that up.

    If you want to sit in a circle and make up stories about your characters, then you don't need D&D. If you want to play a role-playing game then that's what D&D is for.
    Essence likes this.
  16. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Ah... Sitting in a circle and spinning stories is what role playing is. Rules are bypassed half the time anyway, weather using another rule or DM discretion, it is the same. Rules mean little or even nothing.

    Combat that involves rolling dice and choosing what spell to fail at means nothing good for a game. Stretched out stories about mythical battles that require people to think is what it all really boils down to. Choices matter. Not die rolls. Rules preventing you from doing something because the book says so are a good reason to ignore the book.

    Sure, some things have to be decided in a cold way like a die roll, but not everything. A good DM can play without dice at all. They do not need to consult a rule book to determine just how much damage you take when you break that Staff of the Magi or toss a Bag of Holding into a portable hole. They need to decide what extraordinary circumstances change the stated rules to allow you to live.

    Will it be a Deity or other potent force called you back from death to fulfill a quest as penance? Will you wake in a lower plane with a new fight that gives you an opportunity to get back to the exact time and place of your previous character, but with a new body that has extraordinary powers but an aversion to something otherwise common?

    Rules are restrictions. To hell with rules. (I play a Chaotic Neutral mostly, but as others here have said, I border on Chaotic Good.)
    klaymen_sk likes this.
  17. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    Glazed, did you try FATE? It is very simplistic - the game uses virtually a few mechanics, nothing more.

    Two Czech brothers have released a FATE-based game. From all the 188 pages, about 40 are devoted to the rules. Discounting sample characters and other (quite long and detailed) examples, it is not more than ~10 pages. The rest is just fluff. And FATE is a game heavily focused on roleplaying, even the players can do the DM's work in a limited way.

    The game is just narrativistic (sp?), instead of gamistic DnD, therefore you don't need hordes of feats and skills to add up numbers (mind you, I'm not implying that gamistic RPGs are wrong or something), so it has an added bonus that munchkins are going to avoid it because they can't powergame there. And lest I forget, it can be played in any setting, just like GURPS, without you having to buy craploads of sourcebooks.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  18. Glazed

    Glazed Member

    Remind me never to play a role playing game with you. To me, the game portion of it is very important.

    No, I haven't played a table-top RPG in 10 years. I'm OK with that. I only mentioned my opinion of RPGs as a contrast to Omni's "pure" role playing concept.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  19. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    What Glazed says is very important. Different RPG systems exist because different people want different things out of them. If you want a interactive storytelling experience there are plenty of places that will give them to you. But some people (and, from personal experience, some overworked GMs) prefer that polyhedrons be the arbiter of success or failure rather than the whimsy of the GM. Some love the combination of the thrill of seeing that their roll was amazing and will actually let them leap that chasm, put an arrow in the Beholder's upper left-hand eye or steal a guard's uniform while he's wearing it with no one the wiser.

    Rules create an impartial arbiter between player and GM, a pre-agreed peacemaker that will prevent arguments between conflicting narratives. This is very important for preserving harmony in all groups. Even pure RP groups have house rules of some sort. Published systems, as Glazed said already, just make everyone familiar with those rules and cut down on the time taken in explaining them (sometimes.)

    Also, no rules =/= no munchkins. Most munchkins just want to grandstand and show off how they're the best, and in my experience, they'll try to do it more when there's no clear rules. Munchkins just have to be managed or, in extreme cases, kicked out. Sad, but that's the way it is.
    Aegho, Loswaith and OmniNegro like this.
  20. FaxCelestis

    FaxCelestis Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Monte Cook is sort of a drama queen and is very into the "magic is superior to mundanes" paradigm that, frankly, ruined 3e. He's also into "ivory tower" design: game mechanics that reward system mastery instead of being rewarding in their own right.
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