D&D 5E The three 5th editions - D&D Core, D&D Legends, D&D Tactics

mkill

Adventurer
Reading the forums in the last week, I came to the conclusion that it won't be possible to please everyone with one single game. But maybe this is not necessary. Why not publish 5th edition as three separate, complete and self-contained games? D&D Core, D&D Legends, and D&D Tactics.

Each is targeted at a different audience, but all games are compatible enough that you could "guest star" with a PC from one game in another, or completely convert him if you switch groups.

If each of these is modular, groups can mix and match the elements. You could play a rules-light game as per D&D Core, but add some tactical battle rules like opportunity attacks from D&D Tactics, and character backgrounds from D&D Legends.

This also makes it easy to describe your campaign to others, compared to a game where there is one core and unsorted options.

D&D Core

Target:
* New players who don't want to be overwhelmed by rules
* Players who like OD&D, or retro-clones
* Players who like rules-light games
* Players who like classic dungeon crawls
* Convention games
* Players who like it straightforward, but hardcore

This represents the "core" of D&D, and the game the other two are based on. In the PHB, it contains Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, and Cleric, Human, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling. The rules are simple and straightforward, and can be explained in less than an hour. There are some modernizations, such as 3E-style ability score modifiers and ascending AC, and a very basic skill system, but the essence and the playstyle are very much like the Red Box.

There are Core-only splatbooks, but these don't add to the rules framework, but rather contain equally rules-light player options, such as additional races, classes and spells.

Since this game targets newcomers, it will come with plenty of player and DM advice. It also includes some optional rules that lead to either D&D Legends or D&D Tactics, to give groups a preview who wish to move towards a more complex rules system and help them find the playstyle that fits them best.

Optional rule: Tournament Mode. This is where the gloves come off, old school. Includes a standard module for competitive play, with detailed point scoring depending on how well the group did.

Note: Easy introduction for newcomers and compatibility to the other games is more important than faithful replication of old editions. This game should not adopt retro rules like level caps for non-humans for retro sake.


D&D Legends

Target:
* Players who like AD&D
* Players who liked 3rd edition, but never bothered with miniatures
* Players who like storytelling-focused systems like 7th Sea
* Players who write long backstories for their characters
* Players who read fantasy novels
* Players who have played a child of one of their PCs

Based on Core D&D, but enriched with elements that support storytelling, intrigue, and in-character play. Rules expansions concentrate on character backgrounds, perks & flaws, NPC relations, reputation, social status, and similar story-driven and story-driving rules.
Combat rules are focused on narrative. Players are expected to describe their actions, and the DM interprets it with a flexible framework. No miniatures or battlemat. Action points allow players to take control of the narrative.
Big focus on social interaction, and social conflict rules.

Optional rules for spontaneous magic (making up spells and effects on the fly).

Includes background material on organizations, and how players can act within these.

Optional rules for joint DMing.


D&D Tactics

Target:
* Players who like 3rd edition, but thought the Fighter needed fixing
* Players who like 4th edition, and especially the Warlord
* Players who like Final Fantasy Tactics and Risk

Based on Core D&D, expanded by no-holds-barred miniature skirmish battle rules. Attacks of opportunity, tactical movement, interrupt powers... Each class has a clear combat role attached, and is tightly balanced to other classes. There is a big focus on making each class interesting and useful. Action points do cool stuff.

Includes skill challenge rules to deal with non-combat situations.

Rules expansions include mass combat, naval warfare and siege rules. Rules for strongholds and followers.

This book has very little "fluff", and focuses on "crunch".

"Super-D&D"

Use both D&D Legends and Tactics at the same time, with all options enabled (Core is included in both anyway).

Combats will be run from Tactics, while the storytelling will be taken from Legends. This works because each book expands a different element of the game, and they are based on the same Core rules.

This will work best with groups that either like both aspects of the game, or with large groups where players have different interests, but the DM leaves them space to focus on their interests.

The books need a chapter with guidance on how to combine both directions.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


LurkAway

First Post
That's funny, I had the opposite naming scheme, a month or so ago, I called "D&D Legends" the 4.75E (because 4E is about very high legendary fantasy) and "D&D Lore" as the evolution of "classic"/3E low/traditional simulationist fantasy.
 

mkill

Adventurer
That's funny, I had the opposite naming scheme, a month or so ago, I called "D&D Legends" the 4.75E (because 4E is about very high legendary fantasy) and "D&D Lore" as the evolution of "classic"/3E low/traditional simulationist fantasy.

(Note: My arguments are based on the Threefold Model. It represents a better split of player tastes than 3E/4E).

The thing is, if you look closer, both D&D Legends and D&D Tactics are an evolution of 3E. The reason is that 3E is not really traditional/low fantasy, and it's not that simulationist either, but it does nod in both directions.

To play "low fantasy" with 3E (and AD&D for that matter), you have to end the campaign at a fairly low level, maybe 5 or 6. After that, PC power level and everything else is at least "heroic fantasy". And after level 15 or so, magic goes through the roof.

However, there are groups who like this level 1-5 low fantasy play, and they were pretty miffed when 4E changed it.

As for simulationist, yes, there are some simulationist elements, for example in the way that 3E tried to express the whole game world in PC rules, including giving the average joe a class (the Commoner). The problem is that D&D is an inherently gamist system, and always was. It's just not a good system to make something like a Commoner class. How does a farmer gain XP? Why would a 20-year old 1st-level Commoner be easily killed, while an experienced 40-year old (pretty much a grandpa in such a world) need two or three strikes with a sword (because he has a higher level and thus more hp)?

However, there were groups who liked these simulationist elements, and they were pretty miffed when 4E changed it.

What 3E also did was make the game more gamist. The combat rules introduced elements that demand miniatures and a battlemat to work properly, namely opportunity attacks. Challenge Rating for monsters is also a purely gamist concept.

Now, there were groups who ignored these gamist elements, and they were pretty miffed when 4E replaced the hood with a sheet of glass and exposed the gamist engine to everyone. This is where the "it's a board game" complaints come from.

3E managed to serve a very broad category of gamers with very different preferred playing styles, while 4E catered to a smaller audience. With the Tactics / Legends split, I hope 5E can catch a broader range of players at either end.
 

hanez

First Post
A highly doubt they will follow this idea because it will make two uncompatible systems.

Still, its creative and interesting.

All signs are that they will make classes that have all the choices made for them in the simple mod, and in the advanced version you will be able to undo those choices and take other options. (e.g. the simple fighter takes simple feats like toughness over and over, boosting HP, attacks etc. The advanced version lets you choose other things instead that give you other choices)

I predict a system where one player can pick simple, and the other pick advanced and they can sit at the SAME table and be relatively equal in strength (ok maybe not 4e equal, but still relatively equal)
 
Last edited:

mkill

Adventurer
A highly doubt they will follow this idea because it will make two uncompatible systems.

That's the thing - each of the three books has to be written in a way that the rules are compatible. That is, if a Core Fighter level 7 has a base +3 to hit, then this figure has to be the same in Legends and Tactics.

Since Tactics mainly expands Core combat, and Legends mainly expands the Core storytelling parts, it's possible to combine the two and play "Super D&D" if the group wants both.
 

LurkAway

First Post
(Note: My arguments are based on the Threefold Model. It represents a better split of player tastes than 3E/4E).
If D&D can be split along the threefold model to be modular for playstyles, then I'm all for it. OTOH, apparently, there's some contention over whether games are actually split along GNS lines or rather according to this:
Breakdown of RPG Players

The reason is that 3E is not really traditional/low fantasy, and it's not that simulationist either, but it does nod in both directions.
Yes, one guy gave me a hard time with the simulationist description and insisted on distinguishing between "pretend simulationist" vs true/hard-core simulationism. I said many/most people aren't interested in (or even aware of) using these strict GNS definitions colloquially. I remember a nod to realism thread where people seemed already gearing to argue what is the definition of "realism" and I felt obligated to head that off before it snowballed into another semantic argument. Anyway, sorry, never mind me, that's just my pet peeve.
 

Walking Dad

First Post
I very dislike the original post.

It implies between Legend and Tactics that

- 4e players are not interested in character backgrounds and don't read novels
- 3.5 was playable without miniatures and keeping all the rules
- older editions players are more interested in the story behind the game

Liking detailed rules is not the same as disliking story. Or otherwise. Less detailed rules make not more story rich sessions.
 

mkill

Adventurer
I very dislike the original post.

It implies between Legend and Tactics that

- 4e players are not interested in character backgrounds and don't read novels
- 3.5 was playable without miniatures and keeping all the rules
- older editions players are more interested in the story behind the game

Liking detailed rules is not the same as disliking story. Or otherwise. Less detailed rules make not more story rich sessions.
Oh c'mon. Unless you are dead set on finding something to be offended here, I cannot understand how you could ever come to this conclusion.

I AM a 4e player who is interested in character backgrounds and I read novels. So you are accusing me that I am implying something about 4E players which doesn't even fit myself. *facepalm*

As for 3.5, I know very well that it was a bit of a crutch to play it without miniatures, but I myself did so in the past, and so did a lot of other game tables. The point here is that there is demand for miniatures-free D&D, which 3E didn't serve well.

As for the older editions, AD&D had some of the most complex game world supplements, while 3E and especially 4E are decidedly more rules heavy. If this is something you miss about newer editions, then D&D Legends is targeted at you.
 

Walking Dad

First Post
I still think you post implied my points, even if you not intended it.

I agree that there is a demand for miniatures free D&D. But this will need a more elegant targeting for spells like fireball and less AoO and flanking rules. If this D&D hasn't them, has no miniature free rules, but requires the DM to determine things on the fly, which I personally dislike doing as a DM. The effects of spells should be consistent in a system.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top