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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released 213

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?

    • 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.
      • One of the projects I am working on at home with my boys, is to develop a table-top RPG. There are many simple and fun examples already available to help with ideas. Though we are prepared to do lots of work in developing and testing. Still, our few session working on this have been a blast. Exploring the options and ideas is a lot of fun on its own.

      • Absolutely. People just like to complain - there are enough source materials in every modern D&D incarnation that you could play radically different campaigns for decades, yet people still seem to freak out when something new comes along.

        No one says you have to use the new versions (plenty of people still use 3.5, for example), and D&D is formatted so that you can create your own campaigns and rules and characters forever with the same books you have no. Wizards/Hasbro know this, which is why they'

        • If you like those, great. If you don't, who cares? No one is taking YOUR game away.

          An interesting advantage for tabletop games compared to fancy new MMORPG games. If someone would rather keep playing WoW with the 1.0 rules they're shit out of luck. At least if they want to be legal.

        • by cynyr ( 703126 )

          Learned on 3.0 in college, we moved to 3.5 when it came out. (psionics were much much better in 3.5, as were a few other things). Haven't even looked at the 4.0 stuff and played a game of AD&D. I found AD&D very limiting coming from a full set of 3.5 books. You had to start as one of 3 classes, and all you could do was hit a thing with a stick at that point... Granted we could have started a few levels in, but to be honest some of the most fun I've had in 3.5 has been the lvl 2 - 7 bracket. enough t

      • 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.

        2nd edition had by FAR the best rule set imo.

        • I learned on 2e (although I did play some 1e later on), and while I'll concur that 1e had the best AD&D flavor, as well as the best campaign worlds (fuck yeah spelljammer and planescape. planescape was AWESOME), the actual ruleset is a tremendous pain in the ass. We were forever looking shit up, and finally I just made up rules on the fly for anything we weren't going to have to do over and over again.

          I like 4e. it's a lot easier to get friends who have never played tabletop games into it by describing

    • I thought, but I may be mistaken as I've only played D&D sporadically over the years, that AD&D was essentially D&D 2. With D&D 3 they dropped Advanced from the name. I've not run across any books published under that name in many, many years.

      • by deniable ( 76198 )
        There was an AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition. There were also multiple editions of D&D before 3rd.
      • Re:Anything Else? (Score:5, Informative)

        by pthisis ( 27352 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:59AM (#40126215) Homepage Journal

        D&D and AD&D had several versions alongside each other (they were separate games developed in parallel by TSR). After Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, they merged them into a single line that was named D&D but was more like TSR's AD&D rules. Consequently there are 2 different things called D&D 3rd Edition, D&D 4th Edition--to avoid confusion, Wizards of the Coast refers to the old TSR-released ones as "D&D Version 3" and reserves the name "3rd Edition" for the post-WotC merged game. But historically the TSR one was also called D&D 3rd Edition.

        The timeline was something like:
        D&D 1st Edition/Chainmail rules
        D&D 1st Edition/Greyhawk rules
        D&D 2nd Edition
                                                            AD&D 1st Edition
        D&D 3rd Edition
        D&D 4th Edition
                                                            AD&D 2nd Edition
        D&D 5th Edition
        (Wizards of the Coast buys them out here)
                            D&D 3rd Edition
                            D&D 3.5th Edition
                            D&D 4th Edition

        Wizard of the Coast's D&D 3rd Edition and later are evolutions of the AD&D rules more than of the D&D rules
        Unofficially the later years of AD&D 2nd Edition are called the 2.5th edition sometimes.

        The original 1st edition of D&D you had to have the Chainmail table-top game rules to resolve combat; that changed when the Greyhawk supplement was released, giving D&D its own combat rules. So a lot of people consider the change from Chainmail to Greyhawk rules to be as significant as an official new edition.

        • by equex ( 747231 )
          And just so you know, someone took the time to scan *all* of it, and more.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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

    • by Terwin ( 412356 )

      Have you ever encountered GURPS? (Generic Universal Role Playing System)
      They recently released a 4th edition(the 3rd edition was released in the 80's).

      It has a point-based character generation system that uses d6 (mostly 3d6 for success rolls), but there are enough rules/optional rules to give any degree of realism you with to put in the effort to achieve. While everything you need to play is in the basic set(two books in 4th edition), they also have hundreds of generally well-researched source-books from A

      • by Terwin ( 412356 )

        It seems I misremembered the dates, GURPS 4th(2004) was only released 16 years after 3rd edition(1988) which was released only 2 years after the 1st and 2nd editions(1986).
        According to the Wikipedia article, the Fallout game was originally going to license GURPS, but then changed to use their own derivative version during development. []

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      I used to like realistic combat rules like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee :)
      It's all very much an abstraction and not very realistic to avoid the boring gameplay that would happen if your character gets removed from the game or vastly reduced in ability within the first few seconds (eg. an arrow to the knee and your character can never walk unassisted again). Realism may end up being no more exciting in terms of gameplay than a single coin toss. That's why we end up with a ridiculous "madoka ma
      • This.

        I used to like intricate rules for everything until I realized that they mostly just serve to make the game more complicated. If you have a GM and players who are committed to making the game fun and semi-sensible you don't need anatomically correct hit zone rules; you just estimate what effect the given hit could have and move on. If you do decide you need more complex rules you can still introduce them as neccessary.

        An enlightenment in this regard was moving from Shadowrun 3E with its utterly com
    • Realism? In a game that has magic swords, dragons, and fireballs?

      Original Dungeons and Dragons was decent - the attribute bonus rules were uniform ( +0 for 9-12, +1 for 13-15, +2 for 16-17, +3 for 18), the attack and armor rules were relatively straightforward, skills were simple, hit points were simple, saving throws were a bit odd. It wasn't a flexible game, but it was by far the easiest for newbies to learn.

      Every edition since then, from AD&D1 through 4th edition, added flexibility plus c
      • Every edition since then, from AD&D1 through 4th edition, added flexibility plus complexity. AD&D 1 and 2 had different weapon damages based on the size of the opponent you were hitting, and different weapon classes (piercing, slashing, crushing). AD&D 1 and 2 also had different attribute bonuses for different stats, and multi-classing, and all the oddness of the saving throws mechanics from original Dungeons and Dragons.

        Which is why the "Classic" Moldvay/Mentzer/Rules Cyclopedia D&D game survived for so long. Sure Elves are class, but it keeps the superflous complexity to a minimum in favor of speed of gameplay.

    • AD&D has been gone for over a dozen years now. Third edition did away with the "advanced" moniker after Wizards of the Coast did away with the red-headed stepchild of the "original" or "basic" D&D line.

      Also, I don't know what version of AD&D you played, but I've been playing since about 1980 and no version of AD&D I've ever played did anything close to "simulate realism". The d20 system (refined through 3.0, 3.5 and now Paizo's Pathfinder) does more to "get out of the way of playing the gam

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well as simulation, AD&D was pretty bad. But as a role playing game it was fairly good.

      Realism is an illusion in tabletop gaming. What produces that illusion is having to make choices that have consequences that play out. There's a certain *rhythm* to a game that's working well. It goes like this: decision (attack the creature), immediate result (creature is not surprised), string of action rounds, second decision (run away), result (party gets through the door) then problem (how to secure the door?).

    • by ais523 ( 1172701 )
      As of third edition, AD&D was renamed to just D&D, and Basic D&D was dropped altogether.
  • Uh....May Fools Day? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:17PM (#40125645)
    Are they kidding here? Fourth edition is will turn 4 years old next month, and they're already actively developing the next set?

    It takes at least four years just to fully develop a new edition of a major tabletop game, with all the adventures and campaign settings and stuff that come out. And forget how long it takes the publishing to catch up, what about the players? All the rule and supplement books are at least $20; the most basic set of stuff for running a campaign is $70+, and that doesn't include any "toys" like campaign manuals or power-gaming goofy shit like epic-level character rulebooks / setting-based weapons and spell guides, etc. That shit's expensive, and it takes time to get used to.

    Releasing a new edition of D&D every five years is just as much a slutty cash grab as releasing a new Call of Duty annually. They're not even letting the new version settle in before they prepare to shove it out the door.
    • by Elgonn ( 921934 )
      This edition has been in the work for a long time. So they really didn't even let 4th live in priority for more than three years. I'm not sure they have a good thing going though at all. Everyone I know played 3rd, 4th but eventually consolidated on Pathfinder. Does anyone like their pen and paper role playing game simplified down to 4th's level?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

        It's simplified? That's good. D&D has been going way down hill since 2nd edition when they added complexity. AD&D was best one I think.

      • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        3.5 is pretty much the standard in my gaming circles, but Pathfinder (a.k.a. 3.75) is gaining traction. People really like what Paizo has done with the rules and the setting.

      • by pthisis ( 27352 )

        Everyone I know played 3rd, 4th but eventually consolidated on Pathfinder.
        Really? The 3rd Editions's the one that accelerated level advancement a lot; the game works best and is most fun for low-mid level characters, and that one change made it much tougher to run an ongoing regular campaign for more than a year or two. And the skills and feats changes made it feel less like D&D and more like a generic GURPsy fantasy RPG. Almost everyone I know settled on the 2nd Edition eventually.

      • by N1AK ( 864906 )
        Well I do and the circle I game in does but most of us are either new to RPGs or comparatively light players. Personally I find more complex rule sets limit the game more than they open them up if you have a remotely flexible/capable GM and they definitely slow everything down.
    • 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 Selanit ( 192811 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @03:13AM (#40126685)

        The big problem with Wizards of the Coast is that it's being run by marketing specialists who don't game. They're hugely out of touch with their target market, and the result has been a crappy product that few people want to buy.

        Meanwhile, Paizo -- the company that makes Pathfinder -- has taken the pulse of the d20 gaming community. The company is run by gaming geeks. Virtually everyone there plays for fun, even the CEO. Paizo makes most of its money off adventures, not rules -- their subscription-based monthly adventure modules are their primary revenue stream. All of the actual rule mechanics are available free online under an open license [], and if you want pretty illustrations to go with them, the PDFs are reasonably cheap.

        At Paizo, the adventure comes first, and the rules are just a framework. WotC puts the rules first, and the adventure second. Even this WotC play test strikes me mostly as the WotC marketing droids aping Paizo. Which just demonstrates their cluelessness even further.

        • Paizo makes most of its money off adventures, not rules

          Ah now see, this is the smart way to play it. What I liked about AD&D 2E was the vast depth of resources available.

        • There's got to be some sort of internet law about how impossible it is to have a discussion about D&D without talking about how other systems are 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 Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:45AM (#40126609)

        My playgroup's biggest problem was the amount of "system mastery" required to play the game in a timely manner. When every character has 10+ abilities which are all useful in slightly different situations using keywords like push, pull, slide, daze, stun, mark, etc., it can take an incredibly steep learning curve. Add to that all the bookkeeping you must do round-to-round for 5-6 PCs plus 5-10 monsters with abilities that have durations, cause damage each round, refresh and can be re-used, trigger off actions or events, have moving or variable areas of effect, and so on. Combat took forever. We run a session once a week for about 6 hours, and found that we struggled to run two combat encounters each night. Sure, we could structure the night better so that we had everything optimized to keep gameplay as smooth and quickly paced as possible, but that's not a fun way to play a game. D&D is about sitting around a table laughing and bullshitting with friends. I don't want to organize my game session like a business meeting. I get enough of that at work!

        The other issue is that such a strong mechanical focus in the rulebooks for 4E overtakes even the storytelling and roleplaying aspects of the game. Ideas like Skill Challenges work great for things like navigating the wilderness or disarming complex traps, but the designers tried to force this mechanic into any encounter that wasn't a combat encounter. Including those better resolved with talking and roleplaying (which really doesn't need rules). Additionally, often in the published encounters we found that the author assumed the players would succeed at skill challenges or that the DM should allow unlimited retries even when you're doing things like... trying to be diplomatic or search for information in a hostile town. So it became "roll dice until I say you can continue with the story" and then "oh, you failed again? what happens... it looks like you can't continue and have no hope of picking up the trail. that's lame and defeats the purpose of running a module, so let's assume you succeeded or it's game over".

        Those of us in the group that loved mechanics loved the game. Mechanically combat was fantastic. It was complex and interesting. It was never just "roll a d20 and roll for damage" over and over. Problem was... those beautiful mechanics completely got in the way of the rest of the game. 4E was a tabletop war game shoved into an RPG box. It was a really good and fun tabletop war game, but it wasn't D&D.

        The only mechanical issue I had with the game is that the mechanics were too delicately balanced. It was obvious that even a +1 or -1 to a die roll was immensely important. The mechanics were so tight that it was obvious while playing it. That's... too tight. The fudge factor needs to be higher.

    • by Dracos ( 107777 )

      These short lifecycles are proof that WOTC (and their Hasbro overlords) still don't know how to manage an RPG. Almost everyone complained about moneygrubbing when 3.5 came out, and then some more when 4e came out. WOTC over-corrected for TSR's failure (too many crap/undersupported settings, and silly supplements) and took the wrong lessons from it. They've reduced the number of settings and put the core system on a version cycle that the model can't support, when they should have let system versions stan

      • by cynyr ( 703126 )

        3.0 psionics... that is all i have to say...

      • by west ( 39918 )

        My (unconfirmed) sources indicate that Hasbro was seriously considering forcing WOTC to kill D&D because 3.5 sales (by then mostly supplements) were making it a niche market that Hasbro has no interest in.

        The much maligned Fourth edition may have saved D&D for a few years.

        For many larger companies, if it's not selling a kajillion units a year, then close it down and start developing something else that does. Simply making a small but decent profit is not sufficient to keep a product alive.

    • Gaming Evolution (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Saxerman ( 253676 ) * on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:44AM (#40126391) Homepage

      For the first few levels of Gamer, the game system matters quite a bit. Be it so you can collect 'em, min/max them, abuse them, or complain and contrast them. These levels tend to be an adrenaline filled ride, and quite a rush.

      After Gamer level four, you start to get access to the skills which suggest the rules themselves aren't as important as you thought. And maybe you start to doctor up your own set of house rules errata, or start to blend aspects from various systems you like, or just start writing up your own.

      Around Gamer level seven, the social and creative aspects of gaming can come into sharper focus. This also tends be around the time of the realization that the raw supplies for gaming aren't just coming from RPG and office supply companies... but rather from life itself. Creative inspiration can suddenly be found almost anywhere, not just from books, movies, and songs, but every cultural medium... every thought or emotion.

      By level eleven (or sooner, from certain types of cross-class synergy) you tend to have open access to the skills that let you liberally apply your gaming experience to manipulate many of the rules found in life itself.

      And since I'm here, I'd like to give a big shout out to those who gamers who breeched the teen levels. Your secrets remain safe with us.

    • Fourth edition was a (relative) failure. Wizards saw their flagship game (no not Magic, the other one) beaten in sales by an iterated version of its very own previous edition (Paizo's Pathfinder). Paizo stole the crown from Wizards as King of the RPG. They improved the parts that fans wanted improved, left the rest alone and put it all in a professional and well designed world. The best developers fled from Wizards en masse, some working for Paizo, many starting their own operations publishing compatible m

  • Quick Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:17PM (#40125647)
    The playtest is pretty limited. Lots of little minor changes. But what I can make out so far:

    4th Edition Base - Limited Power System + New simplified math system for positive or negative modifications to circumstance + Vancian Casting (kinda)

    If you're expecting a huge shift or one back to 3rd you're better off sticking with Pathfinder at this point.
    • Re:Quick Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> 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.

      • You realize that the Slashdot story for such an iPad/iPhone integration would be riddled with complaints about how having to hold pencil and paper is the only true D&D experience and Wizards was pissing on it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Say what you will, 4e makes a great tactical combat game. WotC was working on a digital thing for it, except the head developer committed a murder-suicide.

        • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

          Once again proving the efficacy of restraining orders. Most often used as leverage in a divorce, restraining orders serve no rational purpose. If someone wants to hurt another person, they will, no matter the existence of the restraining order.

      • by cynyr ( 703126 )

        wake me up when the app is flexable enough to take into account house rules, large numbers of circumstance bonuses, and custom races (with or without bloodlines). I keep trying out spreadsheets and programs for it, and always run into something the program/sheet/app can't handle.

        For example, could you tell me where the druid lvl 0 "create water" spell specifies the type of water or where it is created? My wife sucssufully argured that it was holy water and should appear where she wanted it to (above the vam

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

        Well, investing money in actually improving it would make this an ACTUAL improvement, and less of a slutty cash grab (credits for that phrase above).

        D&D: the invention
        AD&D: an improvement on the invention
        AD&D extra crap starting with UA: slutty cash grab
        AD&D2nd Ed: pure slutty cash grab
        3rd Ed: I think this was a conscientious effort to really pull the system into a

        • 3rd Ed: I think this was a conscientious effort to really pull the system into a consistent set of mechanics and a rules set that was (by now) more exceptions than rules.
          3.5 slutty cash grab

          You've got these two backwards. When Wizards bought TSR they decided to do a third edition as a way to modernize the rules and put their own mark on it. However, when Hasbro purchased Wizards in 1999 it put them under a great deal of pressure to get the new edition out ASAP. This led to the great concept and poor execution of third edition, as the development cycle was artificially accelerated. 3.5 was the result of having time to actually finish up the development cycle of what should have been third editi

  • 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.
    • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:07AM (#40125967)
      Not to mention with pathfinder, pretty much everything is SRD, the monster stats, the rules, wealth by level, virtually everything you would want or need to run a game. (3.5 did this for the most part, but intentionally left major omissions such as wealth by level, experience tables and pretty much everything that was added in the suppliments after the fact). You can pretty much run a pathfinder game straight from the information at
      • yep. starting a game on Tuesday and I'm the only one that actually owns any books. I pointed all the players at that website and helped them where they needed it.
    • Or just use an old core D&D or AD&D rules, and modify rules as you see fit.

      My friend said,"Why oh why do you roll for hit points on level?" He knows it is a bad rule( you can roll all 1s and be perma gimped), yet he cares it is in there. I would think in today's day and age, we can all come up with our own custom systems. D&D has been out for decades now, you'd think each game master would have their own list of custom house rules and wouldn't embrace every change that comes down the pipe.
      • by Cylix ( 55374 )

        Back in the day, we had a fairly good GM and wouldn't let you gimp yourself on a bad roll.

        We even implemented a blue mage class for my character. Sure, you can learn spells as long as you survive the effect (percentage chance of course). The positive offset was the class could learn monster magic. ie, a needleman attack.

        This more or less barred the character from certain forms of magic, but it made a far more interesting game.

  • 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.


    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 pthisis ( 27352 )

      You're absolutely right that there's strict differentiation between classes in D&D compared to other systems (or at least there was, before 3E's skills and feats). There are pluses and minuses to both mechanisms, IMO, but forgetting that distinction is why the post 2nd-Edition D&D rules have all sucked: either you want to play Dungeons and Dragons, in which case you want strong class delineation, or you want a skill-based game a la GURPS. 3E tried to blend the two with just plain ugly results.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:17AM (#40126007)

      Dude, your DM must be an asshole. And also your DM must be in 1985.

      Every 5th level fighter has a wide variety of feats to select from. A 1st level human fighter has THREE feats to pick- you could specialize in archery, melee, reach weapons, combat maneuvers, or take defensive feats or mounted feats.

      You also have skill points to determine non-combat things, such as how perceptive you are, whether you are good at sailing and/or cooking, or pretty much anything else.

      The term "magic-user" hasn't been used since 1st edition, and of course, every caster's actual spells that he has access to make a wide difference- on top of the feats, he has.

      And in practice, you have widely different magic items.

      Dicing for stats, while certainly supported, is but one of many ways to assign character stats. Unarguably the most popular version is a point buy, which lets you build a character much closer to the one you want.

      Your terminology and assumptions are out of date, but even way back THEN, you could point buy, and had other things to distinguish characters, even though we didn't see feats to represent areas of specialization until 3.0.

    • 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 Dracos ( 107777 )

      I wouldn't say D&D was crappy, but it is primitive by today's standards. WOTC managed to oversimplify it... that made it crappy.

    • 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....


    • 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.

      When was the last time you played D&D? This hasn't been true since the early days of second edition, back in the late 80's or so. At the very least with Skills & Powers and Combat & Tactics in the mid 90's.

  • by ageoffri ( 723674 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:43AM (#40126137)
    My biggest complaint with the fourth edition of D&D is that it has become a miniature game. If I want to play with miniatures I'll pull out Warhammer 40,000. Even the published material really just encouraged people to buy various miniatures to use on the supplied maps. Before the GM became a total ass, half the group I was playing with had not played role playing games and just don't understand what a game is. I tried suggesting other systems and the questions were always how do the maps work, how do the miniatures compare. D&D 4E is not a role playing game and I hope WoTC goes back to a role playing game.
    • Yeah, I find it difficult to even use maps in gaming, unless they are countrywide or large scale.

    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

      My biggest complaint with the fourth edition of D&D is that it has become a miniature game.

      I've seen miniatures used in Basic D&D. That edition already had rules for movement, where you go ~20 or so depending on encumberence. The only thing it didn't define was facing, and that's easily handled.

      Of course, Basic had plenty of problems if you weren't careful to read enough of the rules concerning combat, most of which weren't contained in a single book. If you just had the boxed sets, you know that fighting withdrawl is possible but you won't learn that you get a priority attack if the enemy ad

  • Why would the Israeli army be so against D&D? [] They claim that those who participate in the game, "are detached from reality and susceptible to influence."

    If a person admits to playing D&D to the army they are automatically placed in low security clearance and are sent to a psychologist

    • by C0R1D4N ( 970153 )
      While all the articles on that mention D&D by name, the Army was actually referring to LARPing
  • ...nothing is more important than Mentzer D&D (BECMI/RC) or AD&D. Only the ones who kind-of care buddied up with WotC.
    • Mentzer knew what the hell he was doing with those box sets...well except for a few inconsistencies...and the wacky gold box immortals set which basically made every lil pisscutter Screaming Demon (aka Type ! Vrock to you AD&D folks) a true immortal. Wrath of the Immortals fixed that by creating the "exalted" class of beings, wich fit Demons...I mean "Fiends" and their good guy equivalents (Archons, Titans) nicely.

      Thourh Wrath is missing some of the interesting things about the gold box, like the "dim

  • And rolling a 42 is auto-win, every time for every roll.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein