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Do you really want dials and options?

Aeolius

Adventurer
Options and Complexity Dials? I'm in.

Complexity Dials

From HERE we are given this graph:

ll_20110614_2.jpg


Which was later expounded upon HERE :

“Setting aside mechanics, I think you can boil D&D down to three basic activities: exploration, roleplay, and combat. Personal tastes vary as to which of the three is the most important, but I think most groups dabble in all three... From a design perspective, I think that you need to design a game that accommodates all three activities in an easy, intuitive manner. The rule set should provide at least basic support, with opt-in complexity or expansion in specific directions for groups that prefer one over the other. That concept is the root of the diagram I showed off two weeks ago.”

I explored the idea of the “complexity dial” over HERE . In short, if implemented in an intuitive manner, one could use the dials to make a game that was combat-light (no minis, init/to hit/dmg only) and role-play heavy, or dial up combat for a night of dungeoncrawling.


Books

You could even retool the monster books by challenge rating; MM1 for levels 1-5, MM2 for levels 6-10, MM3 for levels 11-15 and so on. If you wish to begin your campaign at a higher level, you could always opt for My Monster Manual , where you could create a book that was either fluff-heavy or statblock-rich.

DMGs could incorporate more specific adventure styles; DMG21containing the essence of Dungeonscape, DMG2 containing Cityscape, and so on. Players Handbooks would incorporate more complexities, throughout the series, and perhaps add alternate magic systems as well (psionics, Incarnum, Tome of Magic, and the like).

Then, I would break with tradition and release a World Builder’s Guide. This book would not only encourage DMs to build their own settings, but to do so in a manner that is consistent and structured. A sample campaign setting, the World of Greyhawk, would be introduced in the book, as well as bits from past environmental supplements. Further campaign settings would be released at later dates, using the format set forth in the WBG.


Online Play

A bit like the complexity dial, the degree of technology present in the future incarnation of D&D should be a matter of preference. Self-confessed luddites could continue to play face-to-face tabletop games with no electronic assistance, while though who prefer chat-based, play-by-post, or VTT games would have their mediums of choice presented clearly in a chapter of the DMG devoted to gaming online.

Striking a happy medium, one could keep track of one’s character sheet via a Player app which would change dynamically as the game progressed. The DM could roll physical dice and enter the results, or simply let the DM app handle all the numbers. Ideally, one could run a face-to-face game while including videoconferencing/telepresence options for players who are unable to attend.

A proper D&D Virtual Tabletop (Mac OS/Windows/iOS), which would be play-tested and ready before the new ruleset was released, so that it’s use could be mentioned in the rulebooks. Playing online should be an integrated option from the beginning, not an afterthought.

All rulebooks would be available for purchase in EPUB3 format, incorporating video, audio, and interactive charts.

Miniatures

For use with Virtual Tabletops, players and DM’s alike could access free design apps like DAZ Studio or perhaps a custom version of a design application with a limited and intuitive feature set. WotC could sell various sanctioned models of core races, monsters, equipment, and so on.

With the advent of 3D printers. one could send your custom character design to WotC, who would then mold the model and ship it to your address.
 

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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
IanB said:
While I would agree that the hypothetical is fairly unlikely, we have to remember that for every person that gets pissed off/offended about an element's inclusion, there is likely another person who would be pissed off/offended at that same element's exclusion.

I think, even in that hypothetical, neither party would object to it being an option.

I think part of what irritated people who didn't like the dragonborn, or blink elves, in 4e, was that they were "assumed." You COULD turn them off, but...well...look at how distorted Dark Sun became in an effort to include Eladrin (a setting that specifically warps nature, the planes, and arcane magic including a race of extraplanar nature-loving arcane magicians! All because the designers were afraid to "turn off" options). The assumption was that they were there.

A D&D that only "assumed" the most basic of rules would be a huge antidote to that poison pill.
 

FireLance

Legend
For what it's worth, I find myself rather intrigued by the sentiment expressed by [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION] in this post:

This reminds me of one other thing that grated during 4E for me: clarity about the (excellent basic concept of) "everything is Core". I too kthis to mean (and genrally found it supported in fact) that every element - race, class, monster, whatever - in the game was balanced with the others. In other words, as a DM I could safely and without extensive thought and design for the ramifications, include anything in the rulebooks in our game.

What it should never mean - but some took it to mean (especially players but even designers who, frankly, should have known better) - is that "every game element must be included in every game world". That way madness lies - not to mention that it hamstrings any attempt to develop a genuinely unique game world.

Saying "everything should be 'safe' to include in your world" is fine* - saying "everything is mandatory to include in your world" is not.

Edit: Actually, it's better than fine - the lack of this in older editions' "unearthed Arcana" type stuff is a definite weakness.
If it was made clearer that everything is optional, even in the first PH, do you think it would significantly reduce any unhappiness arising from the inclusion of Race X, Class Y or Power Z?
 

Aldarc

Legend
I think, even in that hypothetical, neither party would object to it being an option.

I think part of what irritated people who didn't like the dragonborn, or blink elves, in 4e, was that they were "assumed." You COULD turn them off, but...well...look at how distorted Dark Sun became in an effort to include Eladrin (a setting that specifically warps nature, the planes, and arcane magic including a race of extraplanar nature-loving arcane magicians! All because the designers were afraid to "turn off" options). The assumption was that they were there.

A D&D that only "assumed" the most basic of rules would be a huge antidote to that poison pill.
How is this different though from D&D assuming that my campaign will have halflings, wood elves, dwarves, or even humans?
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Aldarc said:
How is this different though from D&D assuming that my campaign will have halflings, wood elves, dwarves, or even humans?

I didn't say it was different.

But since you asked.

It's different in a lot of ways. It's obviously different because they are different races. It's a little more subtly different because "dragonborn" and "tieflings" don't carry the same sort of Tolkienesque or mythological pedigree that those races have. It's also subtly different in that creatures like eladrin and tieflings imply a cosmology that may or may not be accepted. It's also subtly different in terms of how dramatic the racial powers are -- halflings can't shoot fire from their mouths, and dwarves can't teleport through walls.

It's also similar, in that some settings won't want dwarves or elves or even humans. And if 5e delivers on its promise for a modular game, it won't assume any particular race. That doesn't mean it won't provide them as options, however, and I personally think if we were determining the minimum number of races to make an iconic D&D game, we'd settle much more comfortably on elves, dwarves, and halflings, then on dragonborn, tieflings, and blink elves.

But, heck, maybe they'd be in the PH. As an option. That's the nature of the dials, after all. YOU could turn the wahoo up to Dragonborn and Blink Elves, while EDDIE could turn it all the way down to "only humans." The idea is that they are optional -- nothing published in the future assumes you are using any particular race.
 

Because this is DnD not GURPS or talislanta. DnD default is elves dwarves humans, at the least. You can house rule them out if you wish but they need to be there to start with the be a DnD ruleset. There has to be some starting point and with DnD that includes those races, classes and other such things... especially with the stated goal of being backwards looking/inclusive. A lot of posts ATM are the 'I'd really like X' when X is something that throws out core features of all editions of DnD. Well that ain't going to happen in the Inclusive Edition.
Whether or not that would be a better game is irrelevant, it is not inclusive to do away with classes for example.
 

I know it seems like a strange thing to ask, but human nature is strange (IMO, YMMV, etc.).

Sure, everyone seems supportive of dials and options on the surface, but the underlying, unstated sentiment seems to be, "I am in favor of including an option I want."

However, experience from the last few years seems to suggest that including desired options is only half the story. The other half is excluding options that are not wanted.

The warlord class. The tiefling and dragonborn races. The come and get it power. Even though the game might have options they want, the fact that it also includes options that they don't want seems to be a sticking point for some people.

So, search your feelings and answer true: are you really in favor of dials and options? If you can get the play experience you want, would it bug you that other people can adjust the game to get different play experiences that you specifically would not like?
I am skeptical on this issue, but not necessarily because of dragonborn or come and get it or save or die. Maybe because I still want 4E's decent balance and can't see it surviving in a system with too many dials. (Especially with dials that purposefully shift the balance?)
 

Balesir

Adventurer
If it was made clearer that everything is optional, even in the first PH, do you think it would significantly reduce any unhappiness arising from the inclusion of Race X, Class Y or Power Z?
Heh - no, I don't, human nature being what it is - but in a way that's not the main point. As long as the designers have a clear and unambigous policy amongst themselves as to what the aim is, here, and the clarification was included somewhere prominent to reassure fans that the haters had no real basis for their rants, everything should work out fine.
 

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