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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the roll-3d20-to-see-if-you-are-invited dept.
New submitter thuf1rhawat writes "For a certain type of geek, nothing is more important than Dungeons & Dragons. In January, Wizards of the Coast announced that the next iteration of the game (referred to as D&D Next) was under development, and now they've released an open playtest. They hope to gather as much player feedback as possible to help refine the new rules."
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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released

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  • Anything Else? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:15PM (#40125637)

    So, AD&D used to try and simulate real-world conflict as closely as possible, leaving it up to the players to come up with "cool moves", provided their attributes and GM would support it. The modern versions of D&D are more in line with Video Game Design, in that they're trying to mimick a mechanic that is fun to play, balanced, but has nothing to do with realism.

    I miss that realistic twist from the old rules, without "feats" or "powers" or other abstract concepts that are more just bootstraps to their specific world. I haven't been a table-top RPGer for 30 years, so I don't know what else is really out there, but I'm curious if there were any other properties that went the opposite direction, instead choosing to refine their rules in favor of keeping them out of the way of the experience of playing the game, and simulating a fantasy space. AD&D lost me completely with their 3.0+ versions because of that. Anything out there today that fits my criteria of interest?

    Oh, and what's with D&D Next relative to AD&D? Did Wizards of the Coast just fold everything into a straight "D&D" branding (which makes sense to me)? Or do they still have a separate AD&D line of games?

  • by xaoslaad (590527) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:30PM (#40125719)
    My advice is to try Pathfinder, Castles and Crusades, or Microlite20.

    M20 is free. Pathfinder and Castles and Crusades have cheap PDF/eBook alternatives to buying expensive books.

    They all seem more intent on maintaining a usable rule set than simply releasing new rule sets every few years in order to convince people to rebuy all their books.
  • Re:Quick Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:40PM (#40125793)

    What boggles my mind is the missed opportunity at iOs/Android apps.

    Have one unit as the "DM". Other people in the same area/LAN can be flagged as players. DM can see everything, players can only see relevant combat data and their own character sheets. You could literally replace all of the paper with a well-written iPad/Android suite and they'd make boatloads of money doing it.

    Unfortunately WotC seems content to just re-release the game every five years and clean up on the sourcebooks. It's vile.

    As an explanation for the sheer depth there is in 3.5, did you know there's something on the order of 700+ classes and prestige classes in that edition? And that's just in the official sourcebooks.

  • Re:Anything Else? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:49PM (#40125847)
    <quote><p>>I miss that realistic twist from the old rules, without "feats" or "powers" or other abstract concepts that are more just bootstraps to their specific world.</p></quote>

    Then USE the old rules. There are plenty of people that still do. Or better yet, write your own.. I don't think I've ever played with a group of people that used any set of book rules in its entirety.

    And if you're not imaginative enough to write your modules, it's incredibly easy to buy a modern module and convert it to any rule set you'd like.
  • by DigMarx (1487459) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:57PM (#40125897)

    Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro really shat the bed with 4e, and WOTC have pretty much admitted they've alienated just about every demographic in their fanbase. The grognards were put off by the MMO styling, the simulationists hated the dissociated mechanics, the math trolls...well, they'll never be happy. The icing on the cake was the red box (it's 4.5e, but it's not). Basically they had to go back to the drawing board because Paizo, makers of Pathfinder RPG, have been eating WOTC's lunch for the past year or so. Plus, I mean, who doesn't like a slutty cash grab?

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:04AM (#40125941) Homepage

    I spent way too much of my teenage years playing D&D...very enjoyably.

    But...

    D&D is a crappy game system. Every fifth-level fighter is the same as every other fifth-level fighter. Every ninth-level magic user is the same as every other ninth-level magic user. The only way a character differs from others of the same class and level is in their strength, dexterity, etc., and those are (a) mostly not very important, and (b) generated by rolling dice, which is not very interesting.

    Systems like GURPS and Traveller did a much better job of allowing you to create a character with individual skills, strengths, and weaknesses.

    Why is anybody still playing D&D instead of something better?

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:06AM (#40125957) Homepage

    They have to release fifth edition because 4e has been such a dismal failure. A lot of people stuck with 3.5, probably a lot more than they anticipated. And some of the people just switched to Pathfinder which is effectively D&D 3.75. There was pretty big backlash on 4e. A lot of people have objected that all the classes feel similar (every class pretty much has some number of daily powers, some number of per an encounter powers and some number of at will powers), that magic has become too weak, that multiclassing is too inflexible (you can't just take a few levels of one class and a few of another but rather need to spend feats to get some limited multiclassing functionality), that it feels too much "like WoW" (this last encompasses many of the other objections but also gets to the feel that the game is not as simulationist but more gamist since NPCs and monsters are no longer working off the same rule set of players). There are other objections also, but the basic result is the same: not great sales for WoTC and a very fractured base.

    It also doesn't help that WoTC took the time to also redo their forums around the same time and make a lot of good links to homebrew content and the like go simply dead, and then precede to dump all discussion for pre 4th edition into a single forum (why yes, it does make so much sense that people trying to design new prestige classes in 3.5 should be posting in the same forum where someone wants advice about how to run AD&D.).

    I think that a lot of people are hoping that 5e will look more like 3.5 or 2e than it looks like 4e, but I'm not that optimistic. So far WoTC has shown that they have more business sense than TSR but less understanding of what players want (although TSR made some real doozies in that regard also).

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:17AM (#40126009) Homepage

    D&D is a crappy game system. Every fifth-level fighter is the same as every other fifth-level fighter. Every ninth-level magic user is the same as every other ninth-level magic user. The only way a character differs from others of the same class and level is in their strength, dexterity, etc., and those are (a) mostly not very important, and (b) generated by rolling dice, which is not very interesting.

    If you think this, you really should look at 3.5 or pathfinder a bit more. There's a lot of customization. For example, sorcerers get a limited set of spells known, so pretty much any two sorcerers will have different abilities. A sorcerer gets around 40 spells to choose from (unlike the classical "Vancian" casting of a wizard who has to prepare spells, a sorcerer may cast their spells with no preparation). So every sorcerer has a slightly different set of strengths and weaknesses (in core alone there are over a hundred spells to choose from) Similarly, the Tome of Battle splatbook made a pretty similar system for combat classes where they can learn specific martial maneuvers. Again, the level of customization is high. And this is before we get into feats and prestige classes. I agree that GURPS does still do a better job in terms of overall flexibility (especially weaknesses which D&D never really handled that well) but the level of flexibility is still pretty high.

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:07PM (#40128739)

    "Every fifth-level fighter is the same as every other fifth-level fighter."

    It's called a role playing game... ROLE.... Not ROLL. A swashbuckly Robin Hood type (5th level fighter) is very different from a cynical mercenary (5th level fighter) or a retired town sheriff (5th level fighter), or perhaps even a soldier in the service of the local Lord (5th level fighter)

    It's not about the stats man, it's about the CHARACTER. Now get off my lawn....

    Tony

  • Re:Anything Else? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2012 @03:55PM (#40130027)

    The timeline was something like:
    D&D 1st Edition/Chainmail rules
    D&D 1st Edition/Greyhawk rules
    D&D 2nd Edition

    Let's add to this.
    1985 TSR squeezes Gary Gygax out
    1989 Without it's creative backing TSR is hurting, decides to bring out "2nd edition" for a quick influx of cash by making people buy all new books.
    1997 TSR is bought out by Wizards of the Coast.
    1999 The game prospers and Wizards gets bought out by Hasbro who sees a cash cow.
    2000 To pay for their purchase of Wizards, Hasbro decides to bring out "3rd edition" for a quick influx of cash by making people buy all new books.
    2003 In order to squeeze more money out of their cash cow, version 3.5 is created in order to get a quick influx of cash by making people buy all new books.
    2007 Its been a few years, hey! Lets squeeze some more money out of the cash cow and get a quick influx of cash by making people buy new books (AD&D v4)
    2012 Its been a few years, hey! Lets squeeze some more money out of the cash cow and get a quick influx of cash by making people buy new books (AD&D v5)

    Does anyone see a pattern here? I predict: 2016 v6, 2020 v7, 2024 v8 ...

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