D&D (2024) A simpler game is a better game...for us

The game will never be simple enough for some players, nor complex enough for others. An unfortunate but true statement. The game cannot and will not be all things to all players.

However, I do agree with @Shardstone that it tends to be easier to start with a simpler foundation and then let other companies build upon it, rather than have a more complex game and companies try to strip components away to create a simpler one. It can be done, obviously (as we have Level Up going in one direction and @Sacrosanct 's game going the other for instance)... but I suspect that WotC will always try and split the difference. 2014E had some parts very easy and some parts that were more complicated, and 2024E will do the same thing (even if different parts get changed along the easy/difficult axis.)

The only thing I wish would be for players to finally get over the idea that they must play the "official game" published by Wizards of the Coast for it to count as being a "valid D&D player". That attitude is silly and unhealthy. If you want a more complex game, then just play Level Up - Advanced 5E and you can BE that "D&D player" who plays a more complex version of D&D-- rather than stick with the "official game" you don't like and are constantly complaining that the game and its designers are unwilling for it to BECOME the game that you would like. To me... that's just cutting off your nose to spite your face. Just play the game you like more! It's fine! D&D is D&D, no matter WHO publishes it! Isn't that why so many got so hurt about the OGL debacle in the first place? What was the point in getting all bent out of shape about the OGL potentially going away if you don't consider any of those products to be "real D&D" as you constantly keep trying to push the 2024E game to become the game you want (even if it seems obvious that the game in those instances will never be)?
For us to agree so deeply...something ill comes ti this world
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
yeah, most of this I could not be bothered with in the 1e days either, 1e is only simpler if you ignore 60% of it ;)
B/X with 1e classes and races. ;) :p

Now, to be fair, and I said this above, I love AD&D. I'm not trying to disparage it. Gary was an insurance underwriter--tables and charts are what he knew so it's no surprise that appears in D&D. And he didn't have 50 years of RPG design to see what worked and what didn't. He deserves a ton of credit for coming up with the rules he did. I'm just saying that I think it's pretty clear that AD&D is more complex than 5e because of those reasons. Which is OK. It's not a bad thing.

If you want an indicator of how complex a system is? Look at how unrelated gaming groups played the game. With 5e, I bet most tables play the same way with few houserules. With 1e, we all played completely differently from each other, with huge swaths of rules either changed or ignored.
 

I think some of my post has gotten misinterpreted in this thread.

My post isn't specifically about whether the game is simpler for players or DMs. My post is mainly on the fact that the game is simpler to modify in 1D&D. That, to me, is the most important thing that WotC could update about DnD.

A game that is hard to modify and that obscures much of its design with little in the way of explanation is a baroque mess hard to decipher. Creating subclasses in 5E is not straightforward; up until a certain point, there were "hidden structures" to every class and every subclass. For example, defensive abilities for Warlock subclasses usually came on at level 10, a movement or emergency ability at level 6, etc etc.

Likewise, writing for 5E was a chore. Keeping the differences straight between attacks, melee attacks, melee weapon attacks, and attacks with a melee weapon was onerous and obtuse. These things get in the way of actually building on top of the game.

Quite frankly, the discussion of making a simpler game for players/DM's is, to me, an ouroboros. There is no answer. Instead, I'm only interested in the game itself being easier to modify. An easier to modify game allows both nascent and experienced DMs to modify DnD while making third party supplements higher quality due to not getting filtered by the "hidden structures" of the game.

No one single change enables this in 1D&D. There are many small changes that enable this. Things like grappling changes, subclass level standardization, rest changes, etc overall make 1D&D my go-to option now when I think about homebrewing or creating third party design.

If you're uninterested in hacking your games or designing new parts for them, then sure, 1D&D so far isn't that impressive. And if you have very strong ideas on what the game should look like at the base, of course 1D&D isn't going to stimulate you. But, as a third-party designer with a few Kickstarters under my belt, I can say that 1D&D is a very clear TOOL upgrade. I can more easily express myself through its mechanics. I can more easily create the games I like to play on its skeleton.
 
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mamba

Legend
Now, to be fair, and I said this above, I love AD&D. I'm not trying to disparage it. Gary was an insurance underwriter--tables and charts are what he knew so it's no surprise that appears in D&D. And he didn't have 50 years of RPG design to see what worked and what didn't. He deserves a ton of credit for coming up with the rules he did.
I am not knocking him, he laid the foundations. I just think we improved a lot on that in TTRPG design since. Much like in anything else, the ones doing it first are not the ones doing it best

He had his preferences and the game reflects that (all those polearms…)

I'm just saying that I think it's pretty clear that AD&D is more complex than 5e because of those reasons. Which is OK. It's not a bad thing.
Agreed, what you prefer is personal taste, although I still would prefer a better designed complex game over a ‘badly designed’ / evolved one
 

JohnSnow

Hero
I've been saying for years that D&D needs a Starter Set that covers Character Creation AND the first 5 levels but offers only a limited selection of Ancestries, Classes (and Sub-Classes).

What it should NOT be is an incomplete game that only includes pregen characters. Start with Human, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling and Clerics, Fighters, Rogues, Wizards, and MAYBE 1 or 2 others (Ranger and/or Bard?).
At that point, you can have a pretty complete game that's focused on introducing new players to the system.
That's a decent chunk of options and about 1/4 of the levels. It's only an introduction - like the old Mentzer Red Box (which only went to Level 3), but that's enough to get people hooked.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I've been saying for years that D&D needs a Starter Set that covers Character Creation AND the first 5 levels but offers only a limited selection of Ancestries, Classes (and Sub-Classes).
Well, it goes to level 10 and not 5, but yeah. This is pretty much what you describe ;)

BandB webcover png.png
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I agree. We may have to wait for a real 6e for any changes to the base form of the game, which I think is a little too complex. I think a great way to go would be for a very basic core with only 10-12 levels and easy-to-use features. THEN you make subclasses that escalate in complexity and replace the simple features at various levels (perhaps culminating in the most "advanced" subclasses replacing core features at every level with something more complicated.

Personally, I'd like to see Spell Casting in general to be MUCH more simple than a giant chapter of spells, and I'd like to see Martial Combat to be quite a bit more complex than "Attack AC; hit or miss; deal damage."

For all its other faults, 4e did this part well, but it would have been served well by having a complexity rating on each power. I can't tell you how many times people who didn't want (or couldn't handle) took complex, moving-parts 4e powers, when they should have limited themselves to simpler options.

The lesson learned there, to me, is that all this about complexity should be openly discussed by the game, and players should be instructed on what they're going to get by what they choose. Informed decisions, is what I'm talking about, if I'm making sense.
 

I've been saying for years that D&D needs a Starter Set that covers Character Creation AND the first 5 levels but offers only a limited selection of Ancestries, Classes (and Sub-Classes).

What it should NOT be is an incomplete game that only includes pregen characters. Start with Human, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling and Clerics, Fighters, Rogues, Wizards, and MAYBE 1 or 2 others (Ranger and/or Bard?).
At that point, you can have a pretty complete game that's focused on introducing new players to the system.
That's a decent chunk of options and about 1/4 of the levels. It's only an introduction - like the old Mentzer Red Box (which only went to Level 3), but that's enough to get people hooked.
Essentials kit essentially does that... doesn't it?
 

I think subsystems are substantially underrated compared to the "one roll to rule them all" philosophy of the last 23 years.
On the contrary. I think that subsystems have been used since 4e far better than they were quarter of a century ago. Races, classes, and monsters all work by exception based design so they get to have their own subsystems that best exemplify them and how they are distinctive built on top of a common core that's designed with bolt-ons in mind.

This isn't the 1e "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks including helmet rules, weapon speed factors, etc." approach. And it's not the 2e "Let's overwrite parts of the existing system and take away abilities to give new ones with things such as kits and 'Non-Weapon Proficiencies'". But there are definite subsystems - and I'll take the Battlemaster and the Echo Knight over any two 2e kits any day.
 

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