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D&D 5E How should 5e handle rules problems?

How should 5e deal with any rules problems that emerge?

  • It shouldn't. If you have a problem, fix it.

    Votes: 15 15.2%
  • It shouldn't. 'Problems' can be addressed in 6e.

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • New material should be adjusted to make up for any problems.

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Problems should be collected and fixed in one big revision.

    Votes: 12 12.1%
  • Errata should be issued, rarely, for major problems only.

    Votes: 37 37.4%
  • Errata should be issued whenever needed to fix problems.

    Votes: 31 31.3%


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Errata (and rule updates, for that matter) is a net good. It improves the game. Use it, or don't. But stop griping about it. Incorporating errata is not the nightmare that a lot of people are trying to make it out to be. It's relatively easy, and we know it's relatively easy, so the people complaining about it just seem whiny.

I dont see why it is whiny to not want my rule books to be made obsolete by constant internet updates and erratta. The digital age is great, but at acertain point over-use of it for errata does start to bother alot of people. It may not bother you, and that is fine, but many of us like to stick to the rules in the print book occassionally supplemented by a sheet of reasonable errata. That isn't an unreasonable position.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
The Compendium does the same thing, though it is behind a paywall. That said, the argument that a DDI subscription is something every D&D DM ought to have (and probably every player, too) is a pretty strong one.
So the philosophy I'm advocating is that I should be able to buy into a system, and have any errata or fixes to that system available in an easily accessible and usable form without having to pay any more money.

This is not an unimpeachable position (expecting to have value added to my product on a constant basis without paying for it), but it works for at least one company by generating players through goodwill and the usability of the system, and I'm advocating that WotC should copy it.
 


Ahnehnois

First Post
4e's errata and fixes are free.
I didn't say they weren't; we're talking about the future here.

Also, my definition of 'usable' as described above involves having access to the rules with the errata incorporated, so I can easily use them in play, as opposed to having to look for them. I want a current and comprehensive version of the rules at my fingertips. For free.
 

Dannager

First Post
I dont see why it is whiny to not want my rule books to be made obsolete by constant internet updates and erratta.

Your rule books are not made obsolete. They are fully functional. They allow you to play the game. They do not allow you to play the most up-to-date version of the game by themselves. On the other hand, neither do the rules updates allow you to play the most up-to-date version of the game by themselves.

Again, it boils down to a fairly simple, two-scenario situation:

1) You like rules updates. In this scenario, you think rules updates are good, and you therefore incorporate them into your game using whatever means you feel works best - reliance on the Compendium, post-it notes in your books, or whatever. Everything is groovy.

2) You hate rules updates. In this scenario, you think rules updates are bad, and you therefore make no effort to incorporate them into your game. Everyone in your game plays by the original rules. Everything is groovy.

The only pseudo-concern arises when you want to use the original rules but your players rely on the Character Builder. I say "pseudo-concern" because it's really only a concern if you object to rules updates on philosophical grounds - that is, you object because you have a strong personal belief that games should remain static - rather than objecting to them because they're too much work. After all, the Character Builder handles the work of incorporating the rules for you. No effort on the DM's part is required.

The short of it is that whining that rules updates are a bad thing for the game because they're too much work is silly. If you like rules updates, you can incorporate them. If you don't like rules updates, you don't have to incorporate them. It is no skin off your nose to have rules updates that you won't use published, and the continued insistence that the game not receive regular rules updates only means that those of us who appreciate the updates will be less likely to receive them because WotC might make the mistake of caving to the whiners.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I didn't say they weren't; we're talking about the future here.

Also, my definition of 'usable' as described above involves having access to the rules with the errata incorporated, so I can easily use them in play, as opposed to having to look for them. I want a current and comprehensive version of the rules at my fingertips. For free.

So, essentially what you want is something where you buy a PHB, and then you get a code that lets you log into 5E's online tools and look at an up-to-date electronic PHB, without having to have an ongoing DDI subscription?

Sounds like a good idea to me.

If you like rules updates, you can incorporate them. If you don't like rules updates, you don't have to incorporate them. It is no skin off your nose to have rules updates that you won't use published.

Three issues.

First, if errata get included in print runs of the books, or if some people at the table are using electronic tools (not the Character Builder, I'm talking about rules references you use at the gaming table) and others using print books, you end up having to reconcile two contradictory rules sources on the fly.

Second, there is a concern that easy-to-issue errata could lead to sloppiness on the designers' part, so that they don't put as much work as they should into polishing and problem-checking the initial release. Based on the software world, this is a valid worry.

Third, organized play could become a major hassle if the rules are constantly changing.

Myself, I don't see any of these as a reason not to issue errata. But they are worth considering when planning how, how often, and for what level of problems errata should be issued. It is not a cost-free exercise.
 
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Dannager

First Post
First, if errata get included in print runs of the books, or if some people at the table are using electronic tools (not the Character Builder, I'm talking about rules references you use at the gaming table) and others using print books, you end up having to reconcile two contradictory rules sources on the fly.

If you're playing at the same table, this shouldn't be an issue. Simply say, "We're using the original rules as printed in this book," and pass that book around if a rule needs to be double-checked. Maybe if you're playing online it could come up, but that just sounds like a situation where you'd want to be using DDI anyway.

Second, there is a concern that easy-to-issue errata could lead to sloppiness on the designers' part, so that they don't put as much work as they should into polishing and problem-checking the initial release. Based on the software world, this is a valid worry.

It is, but I think we've seen the light at the end of that tunnel. There was a period of time, recently, where software designers had sloppy product launches followed by patches soon after, but that's largely behind us. Products now are by and large shipped in polished form, or receive a Day 0/1 patch to address any concerns that arise after the title has gone gold. I think we saw this cycle in 4e already - during the first year and a half of the game's lifecycle, a lot of books required major patching. Now there is a concerted focus on needing as little post-release attention as possible. They've written a couple of online columns on this very topic and how they've been addressing it.

Third, organized play could become a major hassle if the rules are constantly changing.

Organized play has been dealing with it for a while now. Organized play DMs are typically dedicated and rules-savvy, and tend to be up-to-date on how the game mechanics function. The players gripe occasionally, but that's mostly because organized play sees a lot of optimized play, and many builds bandied around as optimal tend to be what I've called "nerf-vulnerable." There are some builds that are so obviously more powerful than the accepted norm that players who decide to use them should not be surprised when their character receives a nerf to one or more of its rules elements. Organized play rules typically allow for retraining of the affected element when major changes are made.

Myself, I don't see any of these as a reason not to issue errata. But they are worth considering when planning how, how often, and for what level of problems errata should be issued. It is not a cost-free exercise.

I agree. But as I've pointed out, I feel strongly that it is a net positive.
 

Lanefan essentially demanded that the core rulebook be used as-is because it's official.

Errata (and rule updates, for that matter) is a net good. It improves the game. Use it, or don't. But stop griping about it. Incorporating errata is not the nightmare that a lot of people are trying to make it out to be. It's relatively easy, and we know it's relatively easy, so the people complaining about it just seem whiny.

How easy is it sans computer? I don't want to pay good money for a book only to have it be full of taped up pages of errata within a couple months and on top of that, have it called a good thing.

Design a solid yet flexible ruleset. Playtest well, THEN print it. Do not release your active beta as the finished game. Pnp rpgs are not software. People don't want to spend good money on beautifully crafted books that don't even last a year before being outdated.

SJ games can manage this and they are a much smaller company. With the resources WOTC/Hasbro has at their disposal its just embarrassing to have all this errata streaming out in such a short time.

Does this mean a zero tolerance policy for errata? Of course not. Books are assembled by people and sometimes mistakes are made. With a decent editor, (which a company of this size had better be able to afford or just stop now) the amount of errata will be small and easily corrected on a second print run.

I sincerely hope WOTC has learned its lesson about trying to make the game "hack proof" and chasing every little loophole inspired exploit like a dog chasing its tail. Here is a bit of secret lore that game designers should know by now:

ANY RPG WORTH PLAYING CAN BE "BROKEN" BY ANYONE WHO TRIES HARD ENOUGH.

Design your game knowing that will help you hold on to your sanity. Endless futzing around for a balance that doesn't exist with patch after patch is for computer games. You kind of need to there because there is no human being in the equation to exercise judgement. Computer game rules have no spirit. Games intended to be run by human beings DO.
 

Kingreaper

Adventurer
A point of importance to me:

If you don't know why something was broken, you're not ready to fix it.

If you find a multi-attack power, combined with a certain paragon path, is a broken combo, and you fix the paragon path, that seems fine.

But then, another paragon path comes out, and the multi-attack power is broken with that too, so you fix that one too.

And the cycle repeats.

The designers should never issue errata they don't understand the reason for. Because when they do, there's a good chance they'll errata the wrong thing, or do it in the wrong way.
 

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