D&D 5E Why the D&D Next playtest won't resemble the final product

Derulbaskul

Explorer
Really? What percentage of the D&D fanbase do you think ever saw that adventure? (snip)

82.5436%.

I know a lot of people who were turned off of 4E due to a lot of early bad adventures and play examples.

Things like complexity 5 skill challenges where your only options were Diplomacy and Bluff. Really dumb use of solos. Dozens of kobolds in a row. Whatever the heck KotS was.

I had one group of people who are diehard 4e folks toss the WotC adventure path in disgust, in effect. Another set who disliked 4e who had a ton of fun when I ran them through Curse of the Crimson Throne in 4e. Adventures do make a difference.

Every edition needs its Meepo.

It's a shame that Rich Baker and Chris Perkins didn't write more of the early adventures for 4E. Both of them seemed to "get" 4E. (The other option would have been sending Bruce Cordell back in time - a la Austin Powers - to get back his adventure-writing mojo.)

For me, my formative D&D experience was found in Caverns of Thracia. Here you had RP opportunities, exploration of the past and, of course, combat encounters . It was the perfect blend and got me hooked on D&D for life. 4E needed something similar when it launch. But, as that ship has clearly sailed, Next needs to launch with an absolute winner or a few winners to get people really hooked.
 

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Emerikol

Adventurer
I don't put much faith in the theory that anything besides the system itself hurt 4e's sales or caused the edition war. I give roleplayers more credit than that. I think 4e took sides in a great debate, the opposite side from previous editions in many cases, and as a result was heralded as great upon arrive by some and reviled by others. Not a shocking result. Anyone claiming any game is objectively more fun is of course foolish.

Now given all of that. I agree wholeheartedly that anything WOTC does they should do well. I agree that early adventures should exemplify the strengths of said system. You have my full support.

I just didn't want to buy into the rest of your argument by saying just that.
 

Back to the original topic, here are my thoughts. The game isn't going to look much like we are seeing *now*, but it will definitely look a lot like the final playtest. Some parts we have now are most definitely going to be in it. The basic action resolution, abilities as saves, advantage/disadvantage, and a whole lot more. The core system isn't going to be much different. The classes, races, monsters, equipment, spells, feats, skills, and magic items (ie, the content components) are in a state of constant flux. When something survives about 4 or 5 packets unchanged, it's probably going to make the final cut, unless something else has to be altered that affects it.

They aren't likely to pull a switcheroo redesign between final packet and publication for a reason that has been mentioned: they won't want to break something.

And as far as the fear of giving away their game for free, as was brought up, people who want it free will get it free.

We buy the game (in some form) because we like it and want to support its production. The playtest makes it more likely we will like the finished game enough to want to support it.

I buy the game in pretty form (hardcover, or pdf if that's not feasible) because I want a work of art, and I like having that book in my hands. An SRD just isn't the same thing.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
82.5436%.

That's exactly the same number resulting from my calculations too!

The game isn't going to look much like we are seeing *now*, but it will definitely look a lot like the final playtest.

I think so too... The final product will add art, charts/tables, and more examples or guidelines, but will be pretty much the same as the last playtest packet.

There can be some exceptions however. A few material elements such as class choice points, specialties or background could be added in at the last minute. Not everything needs to be playtested by the masses, just like the material that will be in splatbooks won't be: the open playtest is presumably only for the core, but there can be stuff which is first meant to be for supplements but might be squeezed into core at the last minute to reach page count.

Also, what is in the Basic product may not need to be playtested openly. I refer to the Basic version of classes where preset choices are bundled into the PC's stats. In fact, we've known about this for a long time, but they never showed to us exactly how does a "Basic Fighter" looks like. This because a Basic Fighter is essentially just one of the many Fighters that you can build with the playtest rules, so they can playtest the standard Fighter and that includes the basic Fighter, without necessarily show to us what exactly the latter looks like in the BD&D product.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Also, what is in the Basic product may not need to be playtested openly. I refer to the Basic version of classes where preset choices are bundled into the PC's stats. In fact, we've known about this for a long time, but they never showed to us exactly how does a "Basic Fighter" looks like. This because a Basic Fighter is essentially just one of the many Fighters that you can build with the playtest rules, so they can playtest the standard Fighter and that includes the basic Fighter, without necessarily show to us what exactly the latter looks like in the BD&D product.

I actually wonder if the "Basic" game won't resemble an adventure in a format closer to a board game, with basically pregenerated characters and a small rulebook to adjudicate the adventure(s).
 

The basic game will have the core 4 classes and races.

Each class will have a single build, and it won't be specified as a specific build, it will just be "fighter" or "cleric." The builds in basic are valid options that will also be found amongst the larger set of options in standard.

They may or may not offer subraces--I'm going to say 5:3 odds against. Your character will still have a subrace, and when you grab the standard PHB and look at his stats you'll be able to tell what his subrace was, but it's quite likely the basic version won't tell you you are a hill dwarf, if will just say "dwarf."

It will use the minimum modules (so that means no modules for any area of the game where you don't have to pick one), and all module choices will be to give the most iconic flavor to the game.

No skills, no feats.

The majority of the level appropriate spells and monsters will be included (although some of the less iconic monsters aren't going to make the Basic cut).

They've mentioned it will probably only go to level 10, but that's fine, because you can literally play the basic game straight out of the standard books (and thus go all the way to 20 if you want), it's just that the basic game pre-selects from the standard game's options and doesn't offer the others.

It will come in a Red Box, because why not? I'm hoping for some dice and miniatures, but I don't know if I'll get those.

I'm probably going to end up playing standard with select advanced modules, but you can bet I'm going to be buying that Red Box too. Great way to introduce people to D&D, and great for nostalgia factor for many established players.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think they will find out what is popular and put that in the final product so bits and pieces from all of the packets will be turning up.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I actually wonder if the "Basic" game won't resemble an adventure in a format closer to a board game, with basically pregenerated characters and a small rulebook to adjudicate the adventure(s).

It might have pregens but it will also have character creation rules, although obviously basic (see [MENTION=6677017]Sword of Spirit[/MENTION] for a good description of what Basic will offer in terms of choices vs what it will pre-select for you), because character creation (at the very least picking class+race and rolling for stats) is an essential part of D&D and they have said Basic will be a full game and not a sample. IMO if it only had pregens then it would be a sample, because you could not make your own PCs.
 

Iosue

Hero
In addition, Mearls has mentioned envisioning the game coming with something like a Temple of Elemental Evil supermodule that will take players from level 1 to 10.

So, imagine a group that enjoys playing board games -- maybe a family or group of friends. They regularly spend 1-2 hours a week playing such games. They go to their local Target and see the new Dungeons & Dragons Basic game. Maybe they have experience with a D&D board game. In any case, they buy it and try it out. The uses simple but comprehensive rules, and comes with a super-adventure that provides basically a year of play. They can make characters or use pre-gens. Everytime they play they get further into the super-adventure. By level 10, they're pretty comfortable with the system. Now they can start making their own adventures, or buying new ones, or smoothly transitioning into the Standard rules for more options, and more rules for different playstyles. Ideally, one or more the group gets really hooked and becomes a hardcore RPG gamer.
 

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