The fourth part of the D&D Next goals series was just posted, covering the proposed “advanced” rules. Here are links to parts one, two, and three if you are interested (they are all worth reading). Overall, I have to say that I am quite impressed and intrigued, even regarding the advanced rules.
Previously, I had assumed that this would be the basic structure of 5E:
- Basic: similar to Moldvay, simple traditional classes
- Standard: more classes, feats, and other build options such as multi-classing
- Advanced: detailed tactical rules, miniatures, domain rules, etc
However, it seems like in addition to detailed rules for adding depth to particular parts of the game, “advanced” will also cover a number of what Mearls calls “dials.” That is, guidelines about how to adjust things like XP rewards and lethality. These elements would replace elements of the core game rather than adding to it. Anyone who has been following my blog recently knows that these are the things that I am probably most interested in adjusting when tinkering with rules.
This seems like an excellent way to structure the game, and I really look forward to seeing the final presentation.
I like this approach as well. Very interesting.
What WotC should do is sell PoD customized player’s/campaign books, in which all the ‘dials’ are set, the options chosen, etc.
So the DM might have the hardcover of the full rules, but most people round the table have a slim softcover with the rules actually in use at that game.
Yeah, a custom print on demand service would be great for many groups. Best of all for WotC, it would be a per campaign revenue source. They don’t have the best track record with technology and web apps, but if they hired the right consultants they could put together a pretty slick resource.
My main complaint stands: with this approach it is impossible to know what anyone means when they say, “I’m running a 5E game” or “I want to play 5E.” I think that really weakens the brand and will make it harder to find and join successful groups.
If you make a narrowly focused game, then you will limit its appeal. To some degree, I think this was one of the failures of 4E. It was really good at what it did, but what it did was not what many players wanted. The 5E basic, standard, advanced, and modular format seems wiser to me. Everyone plays with house rules anyways; this just potentially gives players a shared language to talk about them.