D&D 5E Is DnD next chasing a pipedream?

Evenglare

Adventurer
I thought the "three pillars" was Gamism, Simulation, and Narrative. Is this correct? It doesn't seem that these are what you mean when it says that D&Dnext is going to support them. If I'm wrong with these three pillars could you tell me what they are ? (I'm genuinely curious)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

S

Sunseeker

Guest
I thought the "three pillars" was Gamism, Simulation, and Narrative. Is this correct? It doesn't seem that these are what you mean when it says that D&Dnext is going to support them. If I'm wrong with these three pillars could you tell me what they are ? (I'm genuinely curious)

Those are the three main qualities in GNS Theory, which has more to do with how players see the game and their methods of addressing it.

The "three pillars" of D&D are generally regarded as "Combat", "Exploration" and "Social".
 


pemerton

Legend
I thought the "three pillars" was Gamism, Simulation, and Narrative. Is this correct?
Like shidaku posted, I meant the "three pillars" of combat, exploration and social that Mearls has talked about in his Legends & Lore columns.

My own view is that as long as non-combat resolution is left to essentially free roleplaying, it is not viable to balance PCs around the three pillars, as (more-or-less by definition) free roleplaying means no mechanical potency to balance.

At the moment, for example, there is nothing in the D&Dnext rules to stop a wizard going to town on combat spells on day 1, and then going to town on utility spells on day 2, and thus being pretty strong across all 3 pillars as desired. Whereas a fighter doesn't have anything like the same flexibility.

The main mechanic I'm familiar with to introduce mechanical structure into non-combat resolution, and thereby to allow mechanical balance in respect of it, is extended contest resolution of the skill challenge variety (found also in a raft of indie games, such as HeroWars/Quest and The Burning Wheel). For this to work, though, the GM needs definite techniques at his/her disposal (like narration of complications based on metagame considerations).

There may be other mechanics here that I'm not familiar with, of course. But so far I've seen no hint of them in the playtest.
 

S'mon

Legend
Absolutely. That is the one area where I think 3.x/Pathfinder fails. It's very task-heavy/time-consuming (with a lot of un-fun [to me] stat block building) for the homebrewer.

The best editions for home-brewing/telling one's own story are probably OD&D, BECMI, 1E, or 2E (or similar retro-clone, such as Swords & Wizardry).

I have not had a problem generating content for 3e D&D or the Pathfinder Beginner Box, but I don't normally attempt to create my own stat blocks. I use the ones I'm given (eg in the 3e DMG), or a quick sketch of important bits as per the quick NPC system in my sig.

GMing the Pathfinder Beginner Box I've found content generation very easy, as it gives me all the tools I need, in particular random encounter tables with a mix of monsters & NPCs, plus full treasure generation for the monsters - each monster has a treasure listing. Full Pathfinder is highly defective there; as far as I can tell there is no treasure listing by monster, just the average-treasure-by-CR table. There are magic item tables (which beats 4e, urgh - I hate trying to assign magic treasure in 4e) but no automatic way to generate treasure by monster; the link is broken. I guess 3e D&D had the same problem, I think I got around it by mostly using NPCs, the NPCs have pregenerated wealth-by-level, and the PCs would loot the NPCs for treasure. I do remember with 3e occasionally struggling to work out what treasure a random monster encounter had; I'm very glad the Pathfinder Beginner Box addressed this.
 
Last edited:

She gets it. In the three and a half years that Pathfinder has been in print, they've released only 5 player-oriented splats.

Even a conservative count of player-oriented splats for 3.5 gives me a count of 23 books. If we further round that down and assume 20 is actually the limit for how many player-oriented splats a game can support before it collapses under diminishing returns, it'll still take Paizo another 9 years at their current pace.

Paizo appears to have found a business model that's very sustainable. The big question is whether or not WotC can find one, having spent the past decade floundering through the same burn-out supplement treadmill strategy that proved itself to be a purely short-term solution in the '90s.

Well it may be only 5 player splats, but they are big splats! I think it's safe to say that each 1 book of splat from Paizo is about the same size as two of the 3.5 splat...
 

JustinAlexander

First Post
I wouldn't say that's safe to say at all. Paizo's splats appear to be consistently 256 pages. WotC's appear to range from 192 (Complete X) to 288 (Tome of Magic/Spell Compendium).
 

drothgery

First Post
The question was what was there to bring out for 4e? Not that much - I wanted Birthright, Spelljammer, and mass and quick combat rules. But the players side stuff is more or less complete (and given the quality of the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide stopping when they were ahead might have been a good idea).
... which has always been sort of a problem for WotC. They manage to put out most of the player crunch that will really sell well in about three years ... but most players will not accept a new edition that often, or even the once every five years they've mostly done with D&D. And the OGL and d20 SRD made it legal for anyone to produce near-clones of 3.5, and Paizo did it with good production values and adventure support, and suddenly prior-edition fans had their game still supported pretty well (which I didn't expect at the time, possibly due to wishful thinking since I mostly like 4e, but in retrospect was obvious).

The box WotC was in with 4e is even worse with D&D Next because
- Paizo is still supporting Pathfinder, so youneed a very compelling argument for them to switch
- Many people who liked 4e have been... unimpressed, at best, with D&DNext so far, and are upset with WotC for not supporting the only game they currently have right now (I'd wave here)
- Nothing will legally stop anyone from creating a 4e equivalent of Pathfinder (IMO, and IANAL, nothing recognizable as D&D could not be reverse-engineered from the d20 SRD, and the OSIRIC effort pretty much proved this)
- It's become far easier to find out about non-D&D games over the last decade or so as the internet has become pervasive
 

Ratinyourwalls

First Post
Well it may be only 5 player splats, but they are big splats! I think it's safe to say that each 1 book of splat from Paizo is about the same size as two of the 3.5 splat...

As someone who plays both Pathfinder and 4E on a regular basis...I consider the APG to be a better purchase then almost all of the 4E player-based books combined. The Pathfinder players books are so CASH. WotC really needs to start amping up the quality of their splatbooks if they ever want to compete with Pathfinder.
 

Votan

Explorer
Absolutely. That is the one area where I think 3.x/Pathfinder fails. It's very task-heavy/time-consuming (with a lot of un-fun [to me] stat block building) for the homebrewer.

The best editions for home-brewing/telling one's own story are probably OD&D, BECMI, 1E, or 2E (or similar retro-clone, such as Swords & Wizardry).

Yeah, I would tend to agree as well. Pathfinder has a lot of fiddly bits that can be really interesting for building a PC. But the decision to port all of the fiddly bits over to the NPC side is a pain for the Game master. I actually find the feats the worst -- I often just don't know what all the different feats and class powers do which slow gameplay (or, occasionally, they get ignored).

Looking at the Rules Compendium is an eye-opening experience in terms of relative complexity.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top