5E Mearl's Book Design Philosophy
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    Mearl's Book Design Philosophy

    "I have this kind of personal philosophy for managing the product line," Mearls said last month in Renton, Washington. "I don't want to duplicate any product that's come before. I think that if people have seen it, then it's not really new and it's not really exciting."

    From:
    http://www.polygon.com/features/2016...er-mind-flayer

    Thoughts?
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    I like Mearls. Even when everyone else was beating him up online daily. I don't always agree with him, but I enjoy his insights.

    However, my BS meter went off with that quote.

    Repackaging old adventure themes from previous editions with some twists....Princes, Strahd, Storm King, Tyranny. These are things we have seen before in Temple, I6, G1-3, and Dragonlance. They are not fresh or exciting to me. They are old ideas tinkered with for a new Edition. There have been SCAG like products in previous editions. There have been "lore/ecology" filled monster books throughout D&D's History. If he means format changes...like going to hardcover adventure paths? Well

    Im not seeing anything truly new at all. Very vanilla.

    Eberron , love it or hate it, was fresh/new for D&D. It really put a twist on the tropes. I am not seeing anything like this for the last two editions. 4e mechanics were new/fresh, but the product line was still pretty much the same ol same ol.
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    I'd agree with @JeffB that the themes of the adventure paths have been re-treaded from previous publications, so I don't know if I'd agree with Mike either when he says he doesn't want to duplicate things. Although, if I had to guess... I'd suspect that what he was thinking was the publication of books with titles that have been used before. So no Unearthed Arcana, no Fiend Folio, no Player's Handbook 2, no Complete Psionics Handbook, no Deities & Demigods, no Manual of the Planes etc. etc. Basically, new "identities" for the types of books they are releasing, and that the stuff you find in them are not the exact same stuff you'd have found previously. So for instance adding ecology info, lair maps, and player race write-ups in their new "monster book", rather than just the straight new monster catalog of editions past.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
    "I have this kind of personal philosophy for managing the product line," Mearls said last month in Renton, Washington. "I don't want to duplicate any product that's come before. I think that if people have seen it, then it's not really new and it's not really exciting."

    From:
    http://www.polygon.com/features/2016...er-mind-flayer

    Thoughts?
    Weird. I think that's exactly what J. J. Abrams said before he released The Force Awakens.
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    Yeah my BS meter just went off.

    Even that page in the link is recycled lore from 3.5s Book of Aberrations if not 2E Illithiad.

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    I can see this at work in the products that I've used. SCAG isn't your usual splatbook, for one. For two, all the adventures I've played through - LMoP, HotDQ, and CoS - have been very different sorts of adventures. And though they've been similar in some ways to storylines from earlier editions, they are also very divergent from those storylines in key ways.

    Every new thing is built on what has come before, but the similarities between, say, Dragonlance and HotDQ are little more than skin-deep, IMO, and comparing what my CoS group has done so far with what I've read about in I6...well...they went to Barovia Village?
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    I can see the spirit of what he says in the approach to some of the products they've made so far. And just because he says he has one approach, it doesn't mean he does not also allow for other approaches. Interviews like these are often treated as if they're written in stone...maybe he was just explaining his general approach? Who knows what may have been said that didn't make the article?

    But all that aside...I'm pretty psyched for this book, especially since it has NPCs! I didn't know that....I am stoked about that.

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    My concern is that the more books come out revolving around the realms the less chance there is for something entirely new. One of the turn-offs of 5e for me is how backward looking it seems as far as the adventures go.

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    On the one hand, I'm saddened this might mean we don't get a definitive Manual of the Planes that is bigger and better than the last three versions. On the other hand... I have three versions of the Manual of the Planes already.

    I don't know how well it applies to the adventures. But I can see that being the desired approach with the splatbooks. A lot of people buying the products have much of the classic material, and need that new hook.
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    I'm agreeing with @JeffB too. 5e so far is, IMO the most catering toward nostalgia and taking only the most financially safe steps edition.

    I think, but it could be just my personal bias, that this quote is his justification and rationalization for not making setting and lore books.

    If you don't want to make anything that was done before, well, you won't make an awful lot of things. Besides, his reasoning, that "reused" material wouldn't be interesting, because people seen it before... Well, what about the new gamers, who didn't? What about them, who wasn't here for the 2e era, or even for the 3e FRCG? The material would be completely new and interesting for a LOT of people. It's just no in-line with the game's focus on new gamers, reasoning not dong books because old fans already have that material.

    And what about system updates, new material, even the dreaded metaplot, because some people like living, evolving settings? DMsG material is ok, but it's old. Old as layout, old as artworks (although I like a lot of the old books' visual style) old as story, old as plot, old as system. It's not backward-compatible, and in the case of living settings, like FR, even the lore is not the same.

    I generally haven't got any personal problems with Mearls. I enjoy a lot of his writings, regardless of how I like the current approach of D&D or not. I generally try to not make any personal attacks when criticizing it. But this specific quote for me is just PR talk, which wants to show in a more flattering way something, what ultimately is just "because it won't make enough money and we have to make money".
    Last edited by PMrk; Tuesday, 25th October, 2016 at 12:07 AM.

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