D&D 5E The Physical D&D Next Books

Halivar

First Post
Joking? Perhaps. ;)


It could be a coffee table book, two foot by 1 1/2 foot, and open to lie flat as a 24" x 36" battlemap. At the thickness it would need, it might hold a half dozen maps. Maybe even keyed as a single adventure setting. We could call them . . .


Battle-Ups! :D
Mark, if you steal his idea and run with it, I will buy the hell out of them LOL.
 

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Chris Knapp

First Post
Am I the only one who liked the smaller 4E essentials sized books? They are easy to read and easy to stuff in a backpack. My guess is they are also cheaper than hardcovers.
 

the Jester

Legend
If we do have boxed sets, let's have BOXES and not these lame-ass poorly-thought-out slipcovers.

Box: Good because you can fit what you need in it.
Slipcover: Bad because unless you take pretty much exactly what came in it, it either falls off or won't fit.
 


Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
I like boxed sets, especially for the "starter set." The entry point to the game can be a single product, but still have separate player and DM books, as well as dice and any other appropriate accessories.

I don't think that the "starter set" needs to be a separate product. I still have a fondness for the BECMI approach of adding options and complexity as you gain experience with the game, and the Basic Set never became obsolete.

I've never been involved in a campaign that went on long enough to get past 10th level in 25 years of gaming, and I suspect I'm not the only one who has never (or only very occasionally) had use for the higher level content. The inclusion of character options for progressing through to level 20 (or 30 in 4E) is a major reason for the huge pagecount of the core rulebooks, and it's a major accessibility issue for new players.

There was also something cool about buying the next set when your characters were ready for it and discovering what new horizons were available to your character, versus seeing it all laid out in the book when you first created your character. Yeah, this might be just me, and it's an experience that you can only really have once, but it was very cool.

To use 4E terms, if the rules were to be released in boxed sets for Heroic (1-10), Paragon (11-20), and Epic (21-30) tiers, then you could have more streamlined books that didn't have 100+ pages of spells or powers. If the players were more interested in a "low-magic" or "gritty" campaign, then nobody needs to purchase anything beyond the Heroic rules, and there is a natural stopping point to the campaign.

I really like the Essentials DM's Kit, with a DM's guide, counters, poster maps, DM's Screen, and a sizable adventure all included. It would be a great way to get started as a DM.

The Essentials Monster Vault was also a great product, with all of the counters, the maps, and an adventure in addition to the monster book. I love the idea of including all of the appropriate monster tokens with a monster book, although if 5E is moving away from using minis and a battle grid in the core rules, it isn't as big an issue.

I also think back to older boxed sets, such as campaign settings, that would often include two books, four poster-size maps, transparent grid overlays, and a stack of full-page "cards" that had adventure ideas, player handouts, compiled tables, and other visual aids (such as gods' holy symbols). I love all of that stuff, and hardcovers make it very difficult to include such items.

I predict...

...a Player's Handbook, covering the first two complexity dials and core races and classes (160 pages, $20 loss leader for the first year, upped to $25 after)

...an Advanced Player's Handbook, covering the second two complexity dials and more races but hopefully not classes
(200 pages, $30)

...an Essential Monster Manual to begin with (120 critters on 120 pages, $20)

...a Monster Compendium Annual (I'd *really* love to see a return of the binder system - I'd be prepared to pay a premium price for that format; however, it will likely be just 300 pages, $40)

...a Dungeon Master's Kit (Screen, Guide, Dice) (cardboard screen, 120 pages, 7 dice, $30)

...a Forgotten Realms Campaign Boxed Set (Old Grey Box II, three books with a total of about 400 pages, poster map, premium quality materials, $60)
These two posts deserve XP!
_____________________________
This thread makes me consider the following...

A D&D Heroic Boxed Set that gives you four races (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Human) and four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard). The box is for levels 1 to 10, of course. It has the frame work of the D&D game with none of the 3e or 4e designs. No feats, prestige classes, or advanced grid combat rules. There are Vancian spellcasting for the cleric and wizard and "stunts" for the fighter and rogue. There are optional skill rules and a variant spellcasting system based on either spell points or 4E's system.

The box includes enough of the rules and monsters for low-level campaign arc. It comes with either a new module or an updated version of one of the classic B/X modules. Or maybe one of each. An homage to an original and a new sequel module that takes the classic adventure in an entirely different direction.

After this box comes the core rules, the PHB, the DMG, and the MM. This would be the core game that builds on the framework of the Heroic Box. The PHB includes not only the races and classes from the box but the other iconic races and classes from the 1e, 2e, and 3e PHBs minus a class like the monk, which should be saved for an Oriental Adventures hardcover.

In truth, perhaps the sub-classes should become themes instead, so you would have one theme for each of the following: assassin, bard, druid, ranger, sorcerer, etc. This makes themes work a lot like the old 2e kits but with a better design. It would include a more complex skill system including the 4E skill challenges mechanic as well as rules for adding feats, as per 3e/4e. The DMG would give you everything you need to create your own additions to the core rules.

The three core rulebooks are for levels 1-20, but it includes an appendix that details taking the game beyond the Paragon tier.

As an alternative, their could just be one core "rulebook." It would be a Rules Cyclopedia for D&D Next. You'd still have a Monster Manual or perhaps a boxed Monster Vault. You'd support this tier with a trilogy of adventures.

After the core rules have been out a while, you release an advanced rulebook (or an advanced PHB) that looks at tactical combat and anything else that complicates the game to the point that it needs to be looked at in detail.

This also might be best if done as a boxed set. Sort of an D&D Advanced Tactics Box. This book/set details levels 1-30 in all its full advanced glory. This would be the ruleset for people who love the grid combat system of 3e and 4e. It would give more character options. Instead of paragon paths and epic destinies, you'd have advanced themes. These themes would be tied directly to grid-based combat. Think of this as the heir to the old BattleSystems rules but built off of the best design concepts of 3E/4E. It would come with counters and its own trilogy of tactical adventures.

There would also be an Epic Tier book, as a separate product that would build upon the classic D&D roleplaying concepts for high-level play (levels 21 to 30). Sort of an Advanced Dungeon Master's Guide. It would work with the Advanced Tactics Box, but the two products wouldn't require each other. It would have it own themes devoted to role-playing instead of roll playing. This book would be supported by its own adventure trilogy as well.

(I'd also like to see an Immortals Handbook that looks at adventuring after level 30, but I won't go into that here.)
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Am I the only one who liked the smaller 4E essentials sized books? They are easy to read and easy to stuff in a backpack. My guess is they are also cheaper than hardcovers.
I like them very much. However, I don't think they have as strong a sales appeal on the shelf. They don't stand out.

If the core books do really, really well, I could see WotC offering digest-sized versions at a later date, as long as they are the same books. It's worked well for Castles & Crusades.

If we do have boxed sets, let's have BOXES and not these lame-ass poorly-thought-out slipcovers.

Box: Good because you can fit what you need in it.
Slipcover: Bad because unless you take pretty much exactly what came in it, it either falls off or won't fit.
I agree! Real boxed sets please. I didn't buy the Shadowfell box because it wasn't a true boxed set.
 

Piscivorous

First Post
I predict...

...a Player's Handbook, covering the first two complexity dials and core races and classes (160 pages, $20 loss leader for the first year, upped to $25 after)

...an Advanced Player's Handbook, covering the second two complexity dials and more races but hopefully not classes
(200 pages, $30)

...an Essential Monster Manual to begin with (120 critters on 120 pages, $20)

...a Monster Compendium Annual (I'd *really* love to see a return of the binder system - I'd be prepared to pay a premium price for that format; however, it will likely be just 300 pages, $40)

...a Dungeon Master's Kit (Screen, Guide, Dice) (cardboard screen, 120 pages, 7 dice, $30)

...a Forgotten Realms Campaign Boxed Set (Old Grey Box II, three books with a total of about 400 pages, poster map, premium quality materials, $60)

You're dreaming. :) You'll need a wheelbarrow of cash to buy those items. This is a money making scheme. WotC isn't in this for anything but cash and more cash.
 


Dire Bare

Legend
While I want to see even tighter integration between the print products and DDI, WotC has to add something to the mix for print products that isn't easily replicated online. They've already started doing this with boxed sets that surround "standard" game books, but add tokens, maps, props, etc. Something Essentials got right, in my opinion.

I'd be happy with Essentials-sized digest softcovers, but my favorite rpg book size/shape is the current Mutants & Masterminds game (3rd Ed?), or at least the DC version I purchased at release. It's roughly the size of a graphic novel (makes sense), and wasn't as bulky as the "standard" but still felt solid in my hands.

I would love to see Essentials-style boxed sets . . . or better yet, the style used for the new Gamma World and D&D board games. Give me a complete (if basic) rulebook with lots of toys . . . it might be expensive ($50-60?), but worth it.

To make later supplements attractive in print form, I'd love to see important, major supplements get the full-sized, hardcover, full color, big-book treatment. Ptolus!!! Well, maybe not quite that big, but big and meaty, no more of those skinny hardcovers from 4E. Imagine the next Manual of the Planes, or Draconomicon, being a true TOME! Again, expensive, sure.

The ideas I propose would be expensive in print form, but could easily co-exist with less expensive "basic" D&D releases . . . and if all of it was available in ebook format through DDI at subscription or by microtransaction, those who don't want to pay for the big books and boxes wouldn't have to. Maybe throw some one-time use coupons in the box sets or books for the electronic upgrade . . .
 

delericho

Legend
I like Boxed Sets in principle, but...

In the UK, books are exempt from VAT. Boxed sets, if they contain dice, cards, or pretty much anything that makes them a 'game' rather than a 'book', are subject to VAT. This means that if you produce a boxed set, there's an immediate 20% markup when sold in the UK.

My preference would be for a single, good, boxed Starter Set.

Then, a single Core Rulebook, of about the same format and size as the 4e "Rules Compendium". If the game doesn't fit in that, it's too complex.

After that, expand the game in the most appropriate way, whether that's hardcover books, softcover books, or boxed sets. I'm not really bothered too much. But, and this is key - once something is in print, they must try really hard to not errata/revise it.

In addition to this, everything must also be available online, whether rolled in as part of a DDI sub, or sold separately as a PDF, or whatever.

In fact, I would advocate that most new material should be made available via DDI first, in a vastly beefed-up eDragon. It should then go through what amounts to an open playtest, and any revisions/errata applied. And then, at the end of the year (or every six months, or something), it should be 'locked' (so no future errata are allowed), and compiled into the hardcover releases for the year.

Of course, that means that the DDI crowd get early access to materials, but that's the benefit of having a DDI sub. (It also probably much reduces the market for printed materials, but WotC are going to have to strongly resist the urge to get rid of print products entirely. It must be possible to play the game without DDI access.)
 

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