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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the roll-3d20-to-see-if-you-are-invited dept.

Role Playing (Games) 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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d3 (-1, Offtopic)

goaxcap (2648385) | about 2 years ago | (#40125625)

No chance. 24/7 D3 :))

Re:d3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125653)

Not if the servers have anything to do with that.

Re:d3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126059)

Not if the servers have anything to do with that.

Not if the NIGGERS have anything to do with the servers.

Re:d3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125657)

There is no d3. The lowest die is d4.

Re:d3 (3, Funny)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 2 years ago | (#40125683)

d6/2, round up. Turn in your geek card.

Re:d3 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125699)

d6/2, round up. Turn in your geek card.

d2. Come on man, if you don't know the damage for blowguns and pixie bites what good are you?

Re:d3 (2)

Heed00 (1473203) | about 2 years ago | (#40126977)

...you don't know the damage for blowguns and pixie bites...

Word is that the newest version just refers to these as "ouchies" -- "You have received an ouchie, you are now hopping from one foot to another for the next three rounds."

There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up either. (4, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40125935)

There is no d3. The lowest die is d4.

As an ancient D&D player, I must say you are wrong. The Three Sided Die is shaped like a football with three ridges. The football shape keeps it from standing on either end, and you read the top ridge.

You can use: "d6 divided by two, rounding up" in a pinch, but prepare to be pointed and snort-chuckled at.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (3, Funny)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#40126001)

So just when did you start playing D&D? I started in 1981 and there was no d3 then.

I met my girlfriend through D&D. Lost my virginity through D&D too. Different girls and in a different time.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126075)

I met my girlfriend through D&D. Lost my virginity through D&D too. Different girls and in a different time.

So Palmela and Her Five Sisters then?

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40126133)

So Palmela and Her Five Sisters then?

You do realize you made that post on a Saturday night on a Slashdot story about Dungeons and Dragons, right?

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126189)

So Palmela and Her Five Sisters then?

You do realize you made that post on a Saturday night on a Slashdot story about Dungeons and Dragons, right?

And sometimes I drive through the poorer parts of town. What's your point?

You insist on judging a book by its cover, that's your problem.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#40126241)

I started in the late 70s, and there were no d100s either, but that didn't stop us.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (4, Funny)

witherstaff (713820) | about 2 years ago | (#40126345)

You had one very interesting GM to allow losing your virginity through D&D. Were there multiple dice rolls or just a simple lookup chart?

You never played 3.5 I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126649)

Plenty of weapons used by small races (halflings, gnomes, goblins, etc.) inflict d3. Slings, daggers, darts, hand crossbows... a couple of weapons used by medium sized races also inflict d3 (gauntlets, knives (when differentiated from daggers, which inflict d4), unarmed strikes (if you aren't a monk and don't have improved unarmed strike feat), etc.).

3.5 came out nine years ago and I've played less than a decade so I'm not certain... but I would put my money on d3s having been used also in 3.0 (came out in 2000).

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (1)

pthisis (27352) | about 2 years ago | (#40126107)

As an ancient D&D player, I must say you are wrong. The Three Sided Die is shaped like a football with three ridges. The football shape keeps it from standing on either end, and you read the top ridge.

The ones I saw were all a football shape where you read the number off the bottom of the roll (similar to how you read a 4-sided die). No ridges or top reading.

They were always pretty rare, though, and don't give you any advantage over the d6. I'd say after the d4/6/8/10/12/20, the only other ones that were somewhat common were the the d30, and the d100, though a couple of my European friends had d34 that are apparently used for some bingo-type game over there.

Aside from those the only other one I've seen that got much traction was essentially an opaque d10 nested inside a transparent d10: another attempt at a d100.

I've seen at least log-shaped d5/d7 and more normal d14, d18, d24, too, but those are all basically novelties.

And then obviously all the dice with other stuff printed on the sides, but that's a whole other conversation.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126167)

As an ancient D&D player, I must say you are wrong. The Three Sided Die is shaped like a football with three ridges. The football shape keeps it from standing on either end, and you read the top ridge.

You can use: "d6 divided by two, rounding up" in a pinch, but prepare to be pointed and snort-chuckled at.

No, the d3 is just like a regular d6, except with only a couple of dots filled in. To wit: 1 dot on 1 and 5, 2 dots on 2 and 4, 3 dots on 3 and 6 (in a v shape on the 6). Easier to roll and multipurpose.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127355)

The Three Sided Die is shaped like a football with three ridges.

No, the d3 is just like a regular d6, except with only a couple of dots filled in.

So are you saying that the football-shaped one doesn't exist [gamescience.com] , or that it somehow doesn't qualify as a d3, despite being a die with three sides?

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126221)

In my day we just said "I'm thinking of a number from 1 to 3"

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126225)

but prepare to be pointed and snort-chuckled at.

Speak for yourself!

We're laughing our asses off that you seem to be serious about wasting money on a special 3-side die.

Re:There is a d3, it's not a d6 / 2 round up eithe (2)

equex (747231) | about 2 years ago | (#40127049)

No. You roll d6, and 1-2 is 1, 3-4 is 2 and 5-6 is 3.

Re:d3 (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#40126235)

I have a pair of d3s. They are d6s numbered from 1 to 3 twice. I've seen other d3s that only have 3 sides. They aren't flat, but they work.

Re:d3 (2)

registrations_suck (1075251) | about 2 years ago | (#40126491)

First Edition all the way - everything else sucks and is nothing more than a money grab.

Re:d3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126837)

Which "first edition" are you talking about? The original pamphlets, or the D&D boxed set, or AD&D v1?

And ... Each of these had their own set of 'essential' supplement books, which you were strongly encouraged to buy.

Selling books to the same hardcore players over-and-over-again has been D&D's business model since the beginning. STOP BITCHING ABOUT IT.

1e fans should check out OSRIC (3, Informative)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#40126923)

You may be interested in OSRIC [wikipedia.org] , which is a free PDF of 1e crunch, with all new fluff for copyright purposes. Basically, OSRIC is to 1e as Pathfinder is to 3e.

Anything Else? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Anything Else? (2)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | about 2 years ago | (#40126111)

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.

Re:Anything Else? (2)

The Good Reverend (84440) | about 2 years ago | (#40126389)

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're developing a new system so soon after 4e came out - it'll sell more books (more people buy the core books than anything else). If you like those, great. If you don't, who cares? No one is taking YOUR game away.

Re:Anything Else? (1)

Keith Mickunas (460655) | about 2 years ago | (#40125943)

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.

Re:Anything Else? (1)

deniable (76198) | about 2 years ago | (#40126203)

There was an AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition. There were also multiple editions of D&D before 3rd.

Re:Anything Else? (5, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | about 2 years ago | (#40126215)

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.

Re:Anything Else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126927)

There was also an unofficial AD&D 1.5 edition ... various supplements which wrecked the game balance, requiring new core editions to "fix" things. (A pattern often repeated since.)

Re:Anything Else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126129)

Hackmaster may suit your preferences.

Re:Anything Else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126209)

So, AD&D used to try and simulate real-world conflict as closely as possible,

You must have been playing some other game. No version of D&D I played ever went in for realism.

Not even close.

Re:Anything Else? (1)

aevan (903814) | about 2 years ago | (#40126623)

Wasn't there a cartoon in some magazine or such about a high level fighter could survive reentry?

Yeah, realism..where you fight as well at 1hp as you do at full health. Sure there were supplement books for adding in hypothermia, exposure, fatigue, and so forth but um.. core books?

Honestly though, how much fun is rerolling a character because you got sepsis after fumbling your roll cleaning your sword? 'Realism' was the mocked word in our fantasy games: "Seriously? You're arguing tumbling physics for the MINOTAUR dodging your FIREBALL spell?"

Re:Anything Else? (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#40126793)

Yeah maximum 20d6 falling damage, so leap out of the plane at your destination, pop back a good healing potion after picking yourself out of the crater in the pavement, and off to the hotel to check in.

Re:Anything Else? (1)

terrab0t (559047) | about 2 years ago | (#40126257)

The Palladium RPG [palladium-store.com] aims more for realism and combat simulation. It can get tedious, but it's pretty flexible in the amount of detail you can enforce.

They also have a lot of books that apply their system to completely different settings like modern day and sci-fi. Heroes Unlimited and Ninjas and Superspies work pretty well together.

Re:Anything Else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126341)

Roleplaying games have generally moved toward keeping rules confined abstract, undetailed conflict resolution systems that are designed to give direction for players to do collective improvisational storytelling in a smooth fashion, rather than try to simulate anything like physics. The idea is to roleplay, not recreate combat - that's more the purview of tactical wargames.

Re:Anything Else? (1)

Terwin (412356) | about 2 years ago | (#40126451)

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 Aztecs(pre-Spanish mezzo-America) to Biotech to Ogre(the giant cyber-tanks) to Lens-man(Based on the books by 'Doc' Smith) to Wheel of Time(Robert Jordan) to Diskworld(Terry Pratchett) to Martial arts to Celtic Myth to Supers. http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/ [sjgames.com]

Of course all of the source-books from 3rd edition work just fine for 4th edition, you may want to tweak the point-costs for the few things that were not very balanced in 3rd edition, but even that is pretty optional.(4th edition mostly ironed out the bugs found in 20+ years of playing and publishing new material for 3rd edition)

Re:Anything Else? (1)

Terwin (412356) | about 2 years ago | (#40126531)

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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS#Licensed_works [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anything Else? (1)

onlineno (2648455) | about 2 years ago | (#40126737)

Yes, the game should evolve along with its players. But it will be a problem of artificial intelligence :)

Re:Anything Else? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40127343)

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 magica" sort of situation where the characters come to no real harm, merely a bit of inconvenience, until their resources run out. It may have very little to do with reality but is more fun to play than going out in the first few seconds due to the pain from a spear wound in the stomach (from the madoka example). Abstraction is fun and makes it a game. Going for maximum realism turns it into a murder simulation, which is not necessarily interesting considing how fragile we all are in the face of fast moving sharp objects.

Uh....May Fools Day? (5, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (2)

Elgonn (921934) | about 2 years ago | (#40125677)

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:Uh....May Fools Day? (1, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40125747)

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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40125765)

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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (1)

pthisis (27352) | about 2 years ago | (#40125877)

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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126939)

With Pathfinder they seem to have really reduced the fast leveling of 3rd/3.5. Not only do they offer different XP scales based on how fast you want the leveling to be but, from my limited experience so far, it seems as though the XP for individual encounters is generally lower than it was before. I've only played in a handful of Pathfinder sessions since I just recently joined a group that's playing it, but we're running it with the "long" leveling chart and having been in 4 4-hour sessions of a lot of hack-and-slash dungeon diving the whole party is only level 2.

The skills and feats are pretty much the same system as 3/3.5 though. If you want to check it out without visiting the local bookstore, buying it, or torrenting the books then you can check out the Pathfinder Reference Document over at Paizo's website. It's the entire set of rule books in easily searchable form, fully updated with any errata that's been added due to discussions on their forums, and is pretty much all you would need to actually run a game under the Pathfinder ruleset if you're not looking to play in the official setting. Pathfinder Reference Document [paizo.com]

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#40126997)

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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125777)

They've finally found the solution to all the crap being released. They are now going to re-release AD&D 2nd edition.

Bring back THAC0, Planescape, and the real Dark Sun!

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (1)

meiao (846890) | about 2 years ago | (#40125949)

Planescape! Though I think planewalker has done an ok job upgrading the setting to 3rd ed.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125789)

AD&D 2nd Edition till I Die! (ssh its not my moms basement she is my landlord)

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125883)


*looks at website*


*remembers he is AC*


Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126307)

d20 -> 1 Critical miss

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (5, Insightful)

DigMarx (1487459) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (4, Interesting)

Selanit (192811) | about 2 years ago | (#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 [paizo.com] , 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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

ConaxConax (1886430) | about 2 years ago | (#40127057)

Do you work for Paizo or something? They took the 3.5 rules and reprinted and sold them with very minor adjustments. The rules have to be open as far as I am aware because WotC unusually made the Open Game Licence where they open sourced their base rules, and so derivative works need to follow suit, which is why PF books say OGL on them. That people even buy Pathfinder is amazing to me. I am in a Pathfinder game on Thursdays and the difference from 3.5 is barely noticeable. In another group I'm playing the d100 Space Marine game this afternoon for the first time, though this group switches between 4e, nWoD and stuff like Dark Heresy, but they don't see the point in Pathinder, as they have all the 3.5 books, so why rebuy them with another company?

Are WotC occasionally a nasty company? Yes, they need to please their Hasbro overlords or they will be cut in to oblivion. Paizo SHOULD put more work in to their adventures, as they already put minimal work in to the ruleset and made a bunch of cash from it.

But seriously, do you work for them, with a post like this?

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127283)

I don't work for Paizo, and I largely agree with the grandparent. Yes, Pathfinder is very similar to D&D 3.5. People *liked* D&D 3.5 - Pathfinder fixes a few bits that didn't flow quite right, simplifies a few other extraneous bits, and repackages it. It's a straightforward fork of an open-licensed project, and a good one.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#40125957)

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).

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (4, Interesting)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 2 years ago | (#40126259)

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 stand for 10 years and draw turnover from new setting materials.

Granted, 1e only lasted ~11 years until 1988 because of a legal spat between TSR and Gygax, otherwise who knows how long it could have run. 2e ended because WOTC thought it was too complex, and therefore difficult to market (it sort of was, after TSR spent its last six years bloating it). 3.5, 4e, and now this are just gratuitous.

And the sad thing is, most people who cut their teeth on 3e+ just don't know how to portray a character (or properly GM a game), because modern D&D is more about combat and powers; it's become somewhat more an FPS/MMO with dice than a classic tabletop RPG.

If this new version trades feats/powers/prestige classes (all the roll-playing junk that metastasized from kits in the brown books) for actual role playing, they'd be getting the game back on track.

Gaming Evolution (3, Interesting)

Saxerman (253676) | about 2 years ago | (#40126391)

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.

Re:Uh....May Fools Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127489)

Well, how many maintenance patches have they released over those 4 years?

Quick Summary (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Quick Summary (1)

matunos (1587263) | about 2 years ago | (#40126097)

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:Quick Summary (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126261)

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.


Re:Quick Summary (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#40126653)

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.

All posts thus far are in some other language... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125695)

Greek? To me it is.

So Many Good Alternatives (3, Insightful)

xaoslaad (590527) | about 2 years ago | (#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:So Many Good Alternatives (3, Informative)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 2 years ago | (#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 d20pfsrd.com

Re:So Many Good Alternatives (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | about 2 years ago | (#40126051)

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.

Re:So Many Good Alternatives (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#40125977)

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.

PS: I might be working on RPG things professionally soon here. I don't want to share a lot of details. I just want to do it, release it, and then talk about it later.

Re:So Many Good Alternatives (1)

Cylix (55374) | about 2 years ago | (#40126037)

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.

Re:So Many Good Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126077)

I google Microlite20 and get a viagra site as the first link. dafuq?

Also, Paizo's use of the OGL means that the mechanics for Pathfinder are all available online on the official site and on d20pfsrd.com.

D&D is a crappy FRP system. (3, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | about 2 years ago | (#40125941)

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?

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (2)

pthisis (27352) | about 2 years ago | (#40125993)

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.

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (3, Informative)

cfalcon (779563) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#40126009)

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.

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126015)

This is the very sort of thing that the later editions tried to fix, with third edition doing pretty decently at it. GURPS has entirely too many game mechanics (but ironically has only four base stats), and its one-second combat rounds go horrendously slow. Me, I like what White Wolf did with its stats customizations, which felt a bit like GURPS quirks that actually meant something. To say nothing of an impressively imaginative magic system in its World of Darkness setting (specifically the Mage part of it).

People play one system or another because they have fun with it. You don't get to tell people they're having fun wrong.

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 2 years ago | (#40126279)

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.

Re:D&D is a crappy FRP system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127265)

I can't speak for all the editions, but do you know which edition that is very much not true in?



Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126027)

Thank you for posting this. I love D & D and nothing beats a free chance to play.

Miniature game or Role Playing? (4, Interesting)

ageoffri (723674) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Miniature game or Role Playing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126281)

3.5 had pretty much the same rules for miniatures.


Re:Miniature game or Role Playing? (1)

Damouze (766305) | about 2 years ago | (#40126857)

It was pretty much the same with D&D 3.5e, but at least you had (more or less) sensible mechanics combined with a load of fun. And if you didn't have miniatures like most of my D&D companions did, there was always something to replace that: distinctly coloured marbles, rarely used dice.

D&D 4e has its plethora of powers (just about everything has been turned into a power, even the combat styles), but with its lack of applicability: the really good ones are limited to per-encounter or per-day use, while the at-will powers would not penetrate a Minotaur's hide (or perhaps it's the Minotaur's thick hide that's the problem here). To me, that is no fun at all. If you base your character purely on what your ideas about it are, it would basically suck. If you min-maxed it to the point that it was no longer a joy to play with you might get lucky and maybe, maybe, if you were really, really, luck, you would hit something.

I've played a multitude of characters in 3.5e settings and there was always something off about them because I "designed" them that way. I don't like my characters to be perfect examples of virtue or perfect masters of sword and archery. Oftentimes I like my character to be something different as well, paradoxical even. Sometimes even mysterious.

The cycle is complete (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126239)


D&D isn't D&D Anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126295)

Wizards of the Coast turned D&D into a different game with the same name. Twice. I dont really care what they do, with "D&D Next." When I want to play D&D I'll use the old 1e AD&D stuff, or even the original rules (the three little books and supplements). THAT is D&D.

Having seen D&D Next, the basic problem with i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126527)

that they reverted everything back to 3e or even 2e standards, then wrote back in random 4e mechanics in a painfully clunky way.

It's kept the worst of multiple editions (the wizard has 10+ powers while the fighter has none; there's no good way to actually protect the squishy members of the party; there are no good rules for social persuasion/combat; the "short rest" mechanic except even clunkier; and so on), and ditched all the best stuff (4e's streamlined mechanics notation; 3e's late-game design of interesting low-level magic items; etc).

Soldiers in the Israeli army who play D&D get (2)

lewko (195646) | about 2 years ago | (#40126925)

Why would the Israeli army be so against D&D? [omg-facts.com] 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

Re:Soldiers in the Israeli army who play D&D g (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#40127461)

While all the articles on that mention D&D by name, the Army was actually referring to LARPing

For that certain type of geek, (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#40127455)

...nothing is more important than Mentzer D&D (BECMI/RC) or AD&D. Only the ones who kind-of care buddied up with WotC.
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