The Next Level (Dungeons & Dragons 5.0)

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Jim
I think what Chris was referring to have a base set of rules that is basically a skeleton, that you could "put meat and flesh on" with modules.

Steve Jackson did something like this with GURPS. Have a basic book or two needed...then have expansions/worlds/extra rules to flesh it out how you like it.

I can see it like this: PHB/DMG needed, then if you wanted an Eberron world, the Eberron book, and maybe either a 3.5E or a 4E "module" to make the game feel like how Eberron was, or how it is now in 4E.

Then you could branch out with that. Add a Pirates one that raises the weaponry up to flint locks and reduces the usefulness of armor.

Something like this I actually would go for. I am a old GURPS fan, and the only argument I have with that is that GURPS combats takes 2-5 hours with just 3 players (at least that is what it feels like to me. Take D&D's faster combat system into something like that and I probably would run to that system :-)
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Here is an article I recently wrote, please forgive my writing style as this is not something I do professionally.

Dungeons & Dragons 5.0 (The Next Level)


One thing is sure — the gaming community is a buzz! What ever the name of the “next” incarnation of Dungeon & Dragon, there is a lot of chatter on the topic today. The camps are forming, the wagons circling and we have yet to see if this will be the ultimate version of our hobby or the greatest edition war yet to come!

The Pathfinder groups are snug and smiling in their 3.75 world, while the 4.0 marines that adapted and moved forward are staggered and waiting for which direction to step next and the 3.5 and minus groups are likely gripping their tattered books are proclaiming you shall not pry these from my cold steel grip!

Here we give you a chance to hear what we see on the topic and give feedback regardless of the camp you are proclaiming.

So without more chatter I will weigh in with comments and opinions about my transition from 3.5 to 4.0 and then reflect on The Next Level.

When I first cracked open my 4.0 tomes and read them, I kept thinking what is this game masquerading as Dungeons & Dragons?

First game: I did something I have not done since playing Basic D&D (BECMI), I played a fighter, a dwarven fighter to be exact. Now this is very important to me as I drifted away from some martial classes in earlier editions because they were not as much fun as, wizards, clerics, psions or classes that has lots of options to bring to the challenge. Aside from the very funny feeling that this is not D&D something else happened, something very strange. I enjoyed playing my Dwarven Fighter and I enjoyed that each round I could plan my minor, move and standard actions. I also had fun figuring out if I should use an at-will, encounter or daily and which order I should use them in. Instead of a hack, slash and power attach I could do cool and exciting maneuvers each round.

On the downside the feel of this 4.0 thing was off is the best way to describe it. Using the system as written tends to focus on combat instead of adventure. A lot of great work went into the combat side of 4.0, movement, standards, conditions, etc.

There are in my opinion some very weak components to 4.0 like skill challenges, magic items, milestones, all fell very short of previous D&D benchmarks. The actual list of skills was fine, except non-combat items and the use of skills in non-combat situations is glazed over and vague to say the least. Also stealth what a joke, which re-vision are we on now, 3 or 4. Does anyone out there really enjoy the way stealth has panned out or is handled, not so much. Unfortunatly magic items and the creation of magic items lost some of their former glory and flavor. I house-ruled my 4.0 game so that most power sources could use the ritual create magic items and use a relevant skill for their creation. Druids with nature, Clerics with Religion, Mages with Arcane, Psions, etc. I also increased the time to a minimum of 1 day per level for basic items and most items had a required unique component like the tear of a pregnant queen or the hair of the dread hag. Was not at all happy with the 4.0′s attempts at multi-classing.

As a game master the monsters for 4.0 in the first two monster manuals were missing the spark of their previous edition and felt too much like stats on a page with no soul.

Please do not take my comments the wrong way I have run 4.0 Mystara campaign for several years and the group is at level 14 and they are at a hugh cliff hanger while we paused. Some great items that also came out of 4.0 was rituals and the removal of rituals from combat. After the 4.0 machine started rolling we gained a lot of options in choices, classes, races, themes, backgrounds, etc. The clarified character construction methods are better and you can build a character faster than in previous editions. The unified level charts, feat gains, etc while not being a new idea are still solid components of the D&D model, 4.0 or otherwise.

The core mechanic of 10 + half level for dice test is simply one of the easiest pieces for characters and game masters. Characters using their other stats to score magic and psionic attacks and hit has always made good logic too me having played a variety of systems out there including Rolemaster. Also the static defense for AC, Reflex, Fortitude and Will are consistent with 3.5 with the exception of the value being a static number and used like AC.

Another great piece of 4.0 is retraining! What a great mechanic for changing feats that did not work out the way you planned and what a great way too allow swapping it for new products released. From a game masters standpoint constructing encounters was far easier with monsters that were no longer players with character levels.

Let me close by saying that rituals is the single greatest thing that came from 4.0 and are amazing!

This is a brief overview of the time I spent with 4.0 and next time we will delve into what the Next Edition could be.

5e’s biggest obstacle isn’t the future – it’s the past.
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According to coverage at DDXP DnD 5 will be similar to how GURPS is in so much it is a modular system. So if a player wants to play a Fighter that just stands and swings he can do that, but if he wants to bolt on moving creatures, marking creatures...he adds complexity by making a micro-payment to WotC for module X. Sorry, but I will probably pass just on this alone. I do like how they plan to stick with a Vancian magic system for standard flair characters but add new types of magic systems.
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I read the two article / transcripts from the DDXP and I understand the GURPS reference but I do not think it will go all that way. I especially like some of the notes on classes.

Here are some of the highlights I take away.
* Lots of base classes available at the onset with the PHB. Bards, Barbarian, Druids, Fighters, Wizards, ect.
* I think the classes will be built in an Essential 4e style where all of your choices (or most) are preselected) with the option to pick apart and change most componenets or aspects. You want to be a ranged fighter great, give up the classic sword and shield bonus and get this or this. Now having said that I assume it will be a new and different essentials dropping the pieces of 4e that did not work and focusing on the good 4e pieces.
* The have already figured out they need to disconnect magic items as player resources and put the zip back in the them making them more wonderous and special.
* They have discover that they handed players too many powers to track and manage so they will work towards subbing out low level powers for higher level power that do more. This removes redudancy and reduces the number of powers you are tracking.
* Rituals is a keeper maybe minor alterations.
* Spells will be a return to prior version of spell slots with some bolt on 4e alterations.
* Multi-classing will be more similiar to 3.5 as 4e's version was terrible.

Again these are my takes on what I have read from the two transcriptions with a lot more to come.

I am very pleased to see a better version of D&D having run 4e since it came out and every version prior to this.

I think I will post the transcripts here or start a new thread as they are long.

Regards
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Thanks for the overviews from DDXP! I look forward to reading the transcripts!
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Jim
It would take some kind of innovative/amazing to really pull me out of 3.5 or Pathfinder. Who knows...maybe Hasbro/WotC can do that.


I wouldn't even try to get you to quit playing 3.5 or Pathfinder unless you play with a bunch of players that preferred different editions over yours. That's the biggest reason I would like to switch to D&D Next; the different players in my group want different editions, so we're always swapping around.

I myself would switch to Pathfinder, except for one thing: 4E made the job of DM planning SOOOO much easier. I can't even look at a 3.5 or Pathfinder monster without freaking out.

So, in order to keep myself relatively happy, I made the group go all-Essentials (with my own custom-created classes if they want a class that's not already in the system) and added in the Combat Maneuver system of PF simply because it's awesome.

No matter what, I'm buying the PHB and MM for D&D Next, just to see what they've done.
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Epic!
+1 on the DM easier and encounter building, etc. this is one thing that 4.0 lends to. I really think 4e and BECMI are very similar in feel. I play D&D as it evolves and if I do not like the feel or system I change it to be better.

Regards

Jacob
Jim
It would take some kind of innovative/amazing to really pull me out of 3.5 or Pathfinder. Who knows...maybe Hasbro/WotC can do that.


I wouldn't even try to get you to quit playing 3.5 or Pathfinder unless you play with a bunch of players that preferred different editions over yours. That's the biggest reason I would like to switch to D&D Next; the different players in my group want different editions, so we're always swapping around.

I myself would switch to Pathfinder, except for one thing: 4E made the job of DM planning SOOOO much easier. I can't even look at a 3.5 or Pathfinder monster without freaking out.

So, in order to keep myself relatively happy, I made the group go all-Essentials (with my own custom-created classes if they want a class that's not already in the system) and added in the Combat Maneuver system of PF simply because it's awesome.

No matter what, I'm buying the PHB and MM for D&D Next, just to see what they've done.

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They pretty much lost me after 3.0, never got the why of 3.5. I saw 4 as a way of turning D&D into just buying cards like in Magic.
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When 3.5 came out I was kind of mad (after buying a bunch of 3.0 books) and didn't play for a long time. But I got back in to it with a group from work and found it had a TON of resources to create characters. I like the versatility and searching for those special combos for something unique. As a DM, playing higher levels is challenging because characters can wipe the floor with most enemies at their CR and above. The system kind of out grew itself with the mods and abilities where the creature CRs weren't really relevant anymore.

So, almost all my creatures are usually just "based" on another creature if something is lacking. I'll swap special abilities or have them work different ways. That's also be good to do IMO with web games using a VTT. Players have access to all the info with just a click.

Overall, 3.5 is my favorite because of the versatility but is also the biggest pain for the DM for the same reason. But I do it for the love of the game. If 5 can be versatile but also provide the tools to make the DM job easier, I'll be all for switching.
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