What the Playtest of D&D Next Means for You

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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What the Playtest of D&D Next Means for You

Mike Mearls explains some of the mechanics in the public playtest of D&D Next.

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Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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My fault, sorry about that bad link and thanks kyosai7 for pointing it out.
 

Scars Unseen

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May 7, 2009
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That's okay, WotC isn't faring much better. The download link they e-mailed me gives me an invalid URL error.
 

Tradjus

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Apr 25, 2011
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I notice at the end, he says that DnD doesn't need new spells, new mechanics, new stuff like that. So uh.. what are you doing exactly? Just reformatting old ones? Boy that's boring, kind of seems like a waste of time and money if you're not even going to put in anything new, just rehash the old stuff with different numbers. I'll stick with 3.5 thanks.
 

Scars Unseen

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Tradjus said:
I notice at the end, he says that DnD doesn't need new spells, new mechanics, new stuff like that. So uh.. what are you doing exactly? Just reformatting old ones? Boy that's boring, kind of seems like a waste of time and money if you're not even going to put in anything new, just rehash the old stuff with different numbers. I'll stick with 3.5 thanks.
You can have it. 3.5 is kind of like Rifts: the game's validity as a balanced ruleset is inversely proportional to the number of books the DM allows at the table. Besides, he didn't say no new mechanics. He said that adding lots of new mechanics is a bad idea, and I agree, especially if the goal is to preserve D&D for future generations. Scrapping the old instead of evolving it and refining it is what led to the community's current fractured state. Sewing that mess back together is going to be a challenge, and declaring 5E to be the "new new" would not help matters.

Reinvention works for some things, but when you want your creation to last through decades, the Nintendo Method works best.

Besides, if you want more spells, go look up the 2E Spell Compendiums. If you think you need still more spells that that, then I don't know what to say.
 

Axyun

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Oct 31, 2011
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I'm not sure why 3-3.5 needed to be ditched in favor of 4.0. I started playing D&D during 2nd edition's prime and have been DMing Planescape ever since. About a year after 3rd edition came out, my friends and I all switched to 3rd and I adapted the Planescape rules to match. We liked 3rd edition because it was a good mix of flexibility and customization. Warriors were no longer boring and prestige classes allowed for custom prestige classes that can be used to personalize a character without having to invent an entire base class from the ground up, assuming one of the billion prestige classes released throughout the books did not satisfy your needs.

I don't think re-inventing the rules of the game every few years is doing anyone any good. Sure, a few versions are fine but once the engine is running smoothly, you have to switch gear. It's funny but Wizard's infinitely more successful product: Magic, does exactly that. The first few editions of Magic continued to shift the rules until they were polished by 6th edition. Since then, all future editions introduce new settings and new mechanics ON TOP of the foundation. They don't replace them. Why can't they do that with D&D?

Release campaign settings every 1.5-2 years that introduce a new theme and major story line with some additions on top of the core mechanics. That way, after players have played a setting for some time, they can make new characters in a new, fresh setting with some new mechanics to play with. You don't invalidate the old settings or the core books but can keep the game fresh and every setting is an entry point for potential new players.
 

Emiscary

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You're better off investing in Paizo's "Pathfinder" than modern DnD IMO. It's just a slightly more unified/streamlined version of 3.5 with significantly better core backstory.

Think of it like... DnD 3.75.
 

Caffiene

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Jul 21, 2010
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Hmmmm... Sounds interesting. Good or bad, Im undecided. I guess thats the point of them giving me access to the resul to test, though :D

Greg Tito said:
My fault, sorry about that bad link and thanks kyosai7 for pointing it out.
The link after the first paragraph is working. The one at the end of the article is still broken.
 

Scars Unseen

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Emiscary said:
You're better off investing in Paizo's "Pathfinder" than modern DnD IMO. It's just a slightly more unified/streamlined version of 3.5 with significantly better core backstory.

Think of it like... DnD 3.75.
And that's exactly why I don't care for Pathfinder. I don't want D&D 3.75. I only switched to 3.5 because my 2E stuff got stolen and then I moved and joined a group that had switched editions. Right now I've got Castles & Crusades because 4E was too mini-centric, but it looks like 5E will be stepping back from that, so I'm going to follow the playtest and see what we're getting.
 

Baralak

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Dec 9, 2009
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I kinda like what I've seen so far. I really like the schemes and themes for characters, a good way to mix fluff and mechanics!
 

Hungry Donner

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Mar 19, 2009
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What does it mean for me? Probably nothing, I've moved onto Ars Magica.

I'm not going to dismiss this out of hand, I'm willing to check out the beta and see what it's got. However I suspect any attempt to put the fractured pieces of the D&D community back together is destined to failure. 4E was an extremely different sort of system, and trying to balance it with 3E seems too contradictory. (I'm assuming they won't stretch back as far as the AD&D/3E schism.)
 

castlewise

Lord Fancypants
Jul 18, 2010
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So I've been reading through the rules of the new system. Seems like they basically ditched the majority of the combat and power system from 4 and replaced them with more class specific rules. Now everyone can move and take an action on their turn. The action can be anything from pushing over a barrel, to swinging a sword, to hiding, to casting a spell. There isn't any move-minor-standard stuff, though. As far as classes, everyone can attack with a weapon but only wizards and clerics can use spells. Rogues can sneak attack, hide and disarm traps and fighters don't do anything but attack. No more grids or tokens, the sample adventure just comes with one map of the entire area. It all seems very old school. My guess is that they are trying to woo back the 3.5 crowd.

P.S. I was going to say something about how they didn't compromise at all, but completely abandoned 4th edition to appease the "core" crowd. But then I was reading a post on an enworld forum about how this new edition still reeks of 4th and doesn't go far enough. :p I suppose you know its a compromise when everyone is unhappy, but I don't know how good that will be for sales.
 

Scars Unseen

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castlewise said:
So I've been reading through the rules of the new system. Seems like they basically ditched the majority of the combat and power system from 4 and replaced them with more class specific rules. Now everyone can move and take an action on their turn. The action can be anything from pushing over a barrel, to swinging a sword, to hiding, to casting a spell. There isn't any move-minor-standard stuff, though. As far as classes, everyone can attack with a weapon but only wizards and clerics can use spells. Rogues can sneak attack, hide and disarm traps and fighters don't do anything but attack. No more grids or tokens, the sample adventure just comes with one map of the entire area. It all seems very old school. My guess is that they are trying to woo back the 3.5 crowd.

P.S. I was going to say something about how they didn't compromise at all, but completely abandoned 4th edition to appease the "core" crowd. But then I was reading a post on an enworld forum about how this new edition still reeks of 4th and doesn't go far enough. :p I suppose you know its a compromise when everyone is unhappy, but I don't know how good that will be for sales.
Keep in mind that this first stage is likely basic by design. At the very beginning of a playtest you shouldn't be trying to wow people with fancy features; you should be trying to hammer out the basic mechanics that serve as the foundation for everything else. The once-per-encounter technograpples and Githyanki necropaladins can wait until a later stage, since those can be used or ignored as an individual group desires. If the baseline mechanics fail to hit the bullseye, however, the dominoes will fall down like a house of cards.
 

Draconalis

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Axyun said:
I'm not sure why 3-3.5 needed to be ditched in favor of 4.0.
I'm not sure why 2nd was ditched in favor of 3rd.

OT: The term Hit Dice has come a long way since my edition where it was something equivalent to a monster's level. Now it's some form of heal?

In any case, I'll stick to my 2nd.
 

Scars Unseen

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Draconalis said:
Axyun said:
I'm not sure why 3-3.5 needed to be ditched in favor of 4.0.
I'm not sure why 2nd was ditched in favor of 3rd.
Three words: TSR went under.

I still like 2nd Edition better than its successors as well, but that doesn't leave me completely pessimistic about 5E. And even if it does turn out bad, I've got Castles & Crusades and possibly(in the near future) Myth and Magic to scratch my TSR era itch.
 

Mabster

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May 8, 2011
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One thing I think we learned over the past 10 years is that adding lots of mechanics to the game is a bad idea over the long run. The game doesn't really need new spells, new feats, and so on.
Hopefully they actually stick by this. I kinda like 4E, but it's ridiculously bloated with unnecessary and samey races, classes, powers, feats and items. There have been some fun additions that actually feel unique, but they just end up buried in the avalanche of bland.

I read through the How to Play and DM Guidelines last night, and I gotta say I'm pretty happy with how they are shaping up. Looking forward to actually trying the game out.
 

Ferrious

Made From Corpses
Jan 6, 2010
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I liked third because it was my "birth" edition. I liked 3.5 because it flattened out some of the worst parts of third (Man, do I hate Wizards). It didn't solve the problems though, and it was still fairly (stupidly) hard to teach to new players (especially if they wanted to be a magic class). The "Book of Nine Swords" was the best moment for me in 3.5.

4th was, for me, great fun. It was easier to teach and balanced the game better than previously. I loved the fact that roles actually existed and that Fighters felt like they actually did something at higher levels other than roll 4/5 D20s and say "next" while the Wizard blew away half the battlefield.

I get that people have the whole "edition revulsion" problem. I spent most of my time playing third being told how second was the "one true path", now I hear how third was.

All that said, you bet I'll look into these rules and earlier this week I bought Pathfinder's core book. Let's see who can make a good game that appeals to new players as much as old ones.