D&D 5E If it fails, this is one reason why...

Stormonu

Legend
My mind still boggles with what we're actually going to get, not only ruleswise but how the content will be doled out. Will it be a beginner's boxed set supplemented with a triumverete of books to expand the rules? Will it be one or more rulebooks filled with options/rule options? Will it be like the BECMI books, broken in some sort of tier/rule module grouping? Will it be like 4E essentials with its Rule Compedium core and Heroes of ... add-ons?

I've just sort of thrown my hands up at this point and given up on 5E.
 

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Mishihari Lord

First Post
IMO the OP is exactly, 100% wrong. A new edition of D&D has to feel like D&D. Everything else is optional if they get that right. In addition, in a new edition I want rules that work better than previous editions and some cool new stuff.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Let me expand on this idea.

There have already been games that sort of crossed a compatibility bridge between BECMI and 3e in C&C and other products. Not completely, but somewhat.

WotC with it's ORIGINAL goal seemed to be headed in a way which one could actually HAVE the common core of the systems and be compatible with all other systems they've come out with.

They looked at what all the systems had in common. For starters, they each used a D20 that you rolled in order to hit your opponent in regards to their defense (which was normally AC, except in 4e where they utilized a defense system rather then the saves system they utilized previously, aka, modified the 3e save system to a defense system).

They had six stats. They had common classes.

These are not things out of the ordinary, and are even found in their NEW system...but instead of creating something completely new like they have, they could have created a common core which UNITED the old systems, instead of creating something totally and completely different.

I don't want a new D&D...they've reinvented it what...6 to 7 times now, with this being the 3rd time in the past 15 years?

I want compatibility like they started with. If it can't be compatible with 1e players side by side with 3e players, at least have a system that is truly compatible with the other systems.

I don't see this new system as uniting everyone...instead I see it as simply yet another new edition with a totally new ruleset with yet a bunch of new promises they are making which may or may not come to pass. They've already fragmented their fanbase with their other editions...I see this as simply doing more fragmenting rather than any uniting.

I think their original idea WOULD have worked...and I think it was doable. I think other people have already come close with systems that could be compatible with various versions of D&D, and if those could do that...WotC which actually owns the trademarks and copyrights should have been able to do even better.

In otherwords, I think there are a LOT of players that would have jumped on if the system was compatible and could be cross edition compatible.

But I think that gets a LOT more iffy with a system that simply claims to recreate the feel of D&D (just like a couple dozen other systems do currently, including Pathfinder, OSR's, and others) with a totally new ruleset.

Because it's a NEW ruleset that doesn't really do anything (as far as I see it) in regards to actual compatibility to older editions, or any real connection to the older editions...I think it's simply going to fragment the base even further.

The problem is, something unique that they aimed for at the beginning, was somehow lost in the translation/process. An actual ruleset that had compatibility with all their previous editions...now that would have been special, and actually had cross edition appeal.

A new ruleset that doesn't (at least from appearances thus far) really create compatibility with ANY edition, but simply claims it has a feel like them...doesn't really do anything that I can see that stands out or appeals to the older edition players.

I think many will buy the core rulebooks, but then after that, go back to their PF, OSR, or DCC/C&C type games, and that's a big factor I'm looking at for 5e not being as successful as it may have been had they stuck to the original gameplan.

Now there may be other reasons (and probably will be), but if 5e fails, I think a LOT of it is that instead of bringing and uniting the base, they have simply just once again created a new ruleset that will actually fragment the base further rather then doing anything to unite it.

Hopefully I'm wrong, but from my vantage point, that's what I feel it looks like it's heading. If it does indeed turn out that way...you can point this thread out at a later date as ONE of the items that was foreseen even before the edition came out.

OF course, if it's wildly successful (let's hope) you can also point this thread out and mock my business sense in this matter to heck and back.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
What the heck is "compatibility"? :hmm:

Do you expect a player that "I know how to play D&D edition X" to sit at a gaming table playing edition Y and be able to play using rules X? Not going to happen.

Do you expect someone to bring a character sheet written for edition X and play that character in a game of edition Y? Not going to happen.

Do you expect the DM to pick an old adventure written for edition X and play it as-is in a game using edition Y rules? Not going to happen.

Do you expect the DM to pick a monster from a book published for edition X and put in into an edition Y adventure? Not going to happen.

Nothing like this has ever happened, because each edition has its own numbers, mechanics and other rules. Different editions have different math, so that combat stats scaled differently; when only numbers differ, you might be able to use a character or monster in another edition, but at the very least you need to know how to compare it with others (e.g. a level A character/monster of edition X is not going to be still a level A character/monster if dropped into edition Y, at the very least you need to know what its new level B is). Some mechanics exist only in some edition, in which case some stuff simply doesn't apply.

Then even if you take two very close versions of the game such as 3.0 and 3.5, you may drop a 3.0 PC into a 3.5 game or viceversa, but you have a secondary problem of fairness, because the 3.0 character is going to have something less than what it would have if created with the 3.5 rules in the first place.

So if you mean compatibility as "no need for adjustments", you're failing before starting, because previous editions are already incompatible with each other. Thus how can 5e be compatible with OD&D, AD&D, 3e and 5e if none of them is compatible with each other?

The bottom line is, if you want to use an adventure, character or monster from a different edition, you should always be expected to adjust it. We can discuss how much adjustment is tolerable, or how to design 5e to make necessary adjustments less, and then talk about "compatibility" in loose terms, but not more than this.

---

A very different thing from compatibility is replicating the gamestyle.

Rules determine gamestyle, and even numbers ranges influence it.

To play a Vancian spellcaster in old editions, where you really had your few daily slots and not much more, has already a significantly different feel compared to play it in 3e where (if you don't diverge from the wealth-by-level tables) you have easy access to scrolls and wands, and it's going to be different again in 5e with cantrips at-will and rituals. 4e is even more different because of the AEDU system.

5e took a very bold design target of being inclusive of gamestyles, by presenting ways to create characters tailored to different gamestyles, but it's very hard design, and in fact you won't get the feeling of a spellcaster of any of the previous editions as a result (mostly because of the presence of cantrips and rituals as a default, instead of as an option).

At least the inclusiveness has a lot of merit. Because if you want to really get the feel of BECMI or 3e, you should go and play them, not play 5e, and at least WotC is now providing many old edition books for sale in digital format. But you are on your own finding enough people who want to play the same thing as you. If you have such people already then great, why are you even complaining about 5e not giving you more? You already have what you need, you should be happy. OTOH there are also people who are not that lucky, and maybe 5e can give a help bringing back a group together, where one player wants a PC that is simple and relaxing to play, another wants to tailor fiddly bits around it, another likes daily-based resource management and the last one cannot stand it at all. But they still have to make the effort of seeing these "gamestyles" in more general terms, not focusing too much on the mechanics.
 

lutecius

Explorer
There have already been games that sort of crossed a compatibility bridge between BECMI and 3e in C&C and other products. Not completely, but somewhat. […]
I think their original idea WOULD have worked...and I think it was doable. I think other people have already come close with systems that could be compatible with various versions of D&D, and if those could do that...WotC which actually owns the trademarks and copyrights should have been able to do even better.
care to give some examples? because I'm really not seeing it.
I see people converting characters, monsters and adventures from other editions or even other systems and some stat blocks may even be used 'as is' without causing too many balance issues, but many others simply don't make sense because, as Li-Shenron said, they refer to mechanics that don't apply in other editions.

Maybe you mean that WotC shouldn't try to create new mechanics and only adapt what has already been published? But at the end of the day they're going to have to make choices as to which mechanic or numbers they keep and break compatibility with other editions.

Or do you mean all the new material should have stats and guidelines for various editions? There may be a market for that and it could probably work for adventures but I think most players will find that confusing and consider it a waste of space.

Now there may be other reasons (and probably will be), but if 5e fails, I think a LOT of it is that instead of bringing and uniting the base, they have simply just once again created a new ruleset that will actually fragment the base further rather then doing anything to unite it.

Hopefully I'm wrong, but from my vantage point, that's what I feel it looks like it's heading. If it does indeed turn out that way...you can point this thread out at a later date as ONE of the items that was foreseen even before the edition came out.
The thing is, the rpg market is shrinking, many players are now set in their habits and expectations and every new system (even one that only builds on past editions) has a high chance of failure and further fragmenting the base. There was even a split over Essentials in 4e and you might argue that Pathfinder split the 3e base. And those were fully backward compatible. The only safe option is not to publish anything new.

Sure, 5e's stated goal is to appeal to the broadest segment possible but being actually compatible with previous editions just isn't a realistic expectation and I don't think it ever was WotC's plan (didn't they actually clarify that?) And again, I'm not sure why those who really want to play an older version of the game would need books that are "somewhat" compatible, with all the discrepancies and balance issues that may occur, when they could just play their edition of choice.
Trying to keep the aspects people liked, even as optional rules, is important but if it hopes to sell, a new edition has to bring something new at some point. Of course that is no guarantee of success, but imo just trying to replicate what has already been done (and works well for some) is a sure way to fail.
 
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JeffB

Legend
The whole idea of uniting the fan base and attempting to cater to all editions was FUBAR from the get go, and I said as much back then.

There are too many radical sweeping rule changes and additions between some editions, you have radically different playstyles between certain editions, and you have a couple of fanbases like the OSR crowd who want absolutely nothing to do with any game that was not directly created by or heavily inspired by the work of Gary,Dave, and other TSR luminaries. They do not want Monte Cook, Heinsoo, Tweet, or Mearls D&D and never will.

But it was good marketing..it gets people on the fence to pay attention and maybe download or playtest the game rules.
 

Wicht

Hero
What the heck is "compatibility"? :hmm:

Do you expect a player that "I know how to play D&D edition X" to sit at a gaming table playing edition Y and be able to play using rules X? Not going to happen.

I routinely have people play Pathfinder with me at Origins who have never played Pathfinder. I always say, have you played Third edition. When they say, "yes," I say, "You'll pick it right up then," and I maybe explain the one or two differences on their character sheet and the whole process takes maybe two minutes. The changes are fairly intuitive. If they say, as they sometimes do, "I haven't played since Second Edition," I say, "That's no problem, you'll get the hang of it very quickly, and then I explain the d20 mechanic, and a few other basics and the whole process takes about 5 minutes. A few questions may arise during the game, and I will tell them what skills they need to be using to accomplish what they want to do, but the language of roleplaying and the actual process of roleplaying have remained consistent between those editions that 3e and Pathfinder are very compatible, and 2e and Pathfinder, while not mechanically compatible, retain the same overall framework of actions and interactions.

I never get that feeling from conversations about 4e. The latest fighters vs. wizards thread has reinforced this for me.

Anywho, ideally, from me, the answer to your second question is, "Yes." I would like them to produce a game where a player from 2e or 3e could sit down at the table, and while the rules may be different, the actions and interactions remain true enough to what I know as Dungeons and Dragons that the person picks it up in a matter of minutes.



Do you expect someone to bring a character sheet written for edition X and play that character in a game of edition Y? Not going to happen.

Do you expect the DM to pick an old adventure written for edition X and play it as-is in a game using edition Y rules? Not going to happen.

Do you expect the DM to pick a monster from a book published for edition X and put in into an edition Y adventure? Not going to happen.

Now these questions points to expectations and definitions of what makes an edition an edition.

I can run any 3.0, 3.5 or Pathfinder modules interchangeably, with only a few mental changes (and to answer a point you make later, sometimes I would forget to make the adjustment and it wouldn't matter). For a couple of years we ran straight 3.0 characters through 3.5 dungeons. And I have, for a fact, run 3.0 and 3.5 modules using Pathfinder, without adjusting the monsters base stats, and had no problems, and I would have no problems, if I chose, doing it the other way. Assuming you accept all those as editions, then the answer to all three questions is potentially yes.

Likewise, back in the day, I used modules from Basic and Expert Dungeons and Dragons interchangeably with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, without normally making any adjustments, or if I did, making them so quickly they were inconsequential. Assuming you accept all those as various editions, then the answer to your question is still yes.

It is possible for one edition to be compatible with other.

I question (and questioned when it was first announced) the ability to craft an edition that was compatible with Advanced, 3.0 and 4e. That, I think is not going to happen. But they can easily craft something compatible with either 1e or 3e.

Nothing like this has ever happened,

That's not true. See above.
 

Wicht

Hero
The thing is, the rpg market is shrinking....

I'm not sure I believe that.

I think the RPG market goes through the same cycles as every other market with ups and downs, but I would be surprised, very surprised, if the general trend has not always been towards growth numerically. I also think it very possible for a product to create a boom in the cycle, and ride a wave of success (as 3e did). A momentary downturn in sales (which may very well be based on poor performance by one of the market leaders) is not indicative of longterm trends.
 

Wicht

Hero
Offering substantial support for two similar lines, frankly, is probably pushing it.

I think its the way they should go.

Personally, if I was them, I would return to the old Basic line, using the Rules Compendium as the base, but making some adaptations to account for improvements from 3e (positive AC, simplified saves, etc) and to bring it into general harmony with my second line (see below). I would sell it in the traditional box sets, with a Compendium as an ultimate option. I would not publish a lot of splats for that line, but would instead make modules and gazetteers for a single world (Greyhawk), in much the same way as Paizo does Golarion.

And then I would publish an "Advance Dungeons and Dragons" Line, with more options, very similar to 3e and Pathfinder. I would not call it Fifth, I would call it Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. For this line I would offer limited splats (nothing drastic, avoiding power creep), modules, and about 2 campaign settings for this (Forgotten Realms and Eberron) with some occasional forays into planar adventures (ie. Planescape) or space (Spelljammer).

I would then stop making massive changes to the game, but would instead publish updates to the rules as new editions every few years, incorporating the most popular changes from the Splats. I would focus instead on Campaign setting material and adventures.

If they did that, I think their sales would be overall steady and would avoid this ridiculous boom and bust they have got themselves into with recreating the game every 5 years, which does them and nobody else any good.

But of course, that's not what they are going to do.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Or, as I keep arguing for, more than one. Support 3.5 and 4e. We could be have Complete Incarnum 3 by this point if they hadn't shut down the line.

Don't you think that if the first Magic of Incarnum book had actually made any money in the first place, Wizards would have put a second book into production? The fact that they didn't is a pretty good indication that nobody wanted the original one, let alone all these mythical supplements for it.

If there's really this "huge market" for 3E material... where are all the 3PPs still producing stuff for them? Sure, a couple companies make stuff for Pathfinder... but I don't see many (if any) still making stuff for 3.5. Why is that? Maybe it's because the number of people who would actually buy it is far, far less than the money it would cost to produce the stupid thing.

A handful of people shouting "support old editions!" now means absolutely nothing. Because if there were enough of you people to make it finacially viable... you would have bought the all supplements they were selling at the time they were actually produced. Thereby keeping the line active to begin with.
 

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