Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So, Yeah, "D&D Next"

I'm a day late to this party, but I hereby publicly confirm that, yes, I'm one of the designers on D&D Next (as the cool kids are calling it), a project that will likely evolve into a new iteration of the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. We intend that these rules connect with all previous versions, and indeed, the players of those games. Our goals are big, we own that. But they're good goals, and we won't accomplish them if we don't try. We want to create a rulset that can include players of every previous version of D&D because, after all, it's ALL D&D. The essence of D&D lies outside the mechanics, and we're on the hunt to bring this goal to ground.

25 comments:

tendrilsfor20 said...

Do you think if the goal is to increase sales, market share and ultimately D&D's popularity as both a brand and a game (which I am assuming it is), that the best way forward is to look backward, to court the 'fanbase' that screeches the loudest about how they wish things were 'like the old days,' and are perfectly happy rehashing old books and free rulesets like OSRIC and the SRD instead of aggressively pursuing a new market of younger gamers that can carry a love of D&D through the target demo years (12-18) and into adulthood?

Dimuscul said...

Good luck with it.

My only hope is that WotC lifts the NDA as soon as posible. I'm quite tired of wish lists everywhere.

Jeremy Southard said...

I'm glad you're on the team, Bruce! I've enjoyed every edition of D&D I've ever played in, I'm not too tied down to rulesets as much as I am to having fun. Here's to the future!

Scott said...

Yes, Tendrils, we are the very players that Wizards desperately needs to win back. We may be happy for now with our retro-clones and our OOP books, but there's not one of us who wouldn't be happy to buy a new edition of D&D that didn't insult the memory of the game that used to be D&D.

DnDPrincessAria said...

In response to tendrilsfor20, you don't think that looking back and creating a new iteration using the strong foundation of past editions is going to appeal to a new generation? Do you have any idea how many 12-18 year olds got into dnd at 4th originally because of all the "vintage" crazes? Young gamers are looking back to find new and enjoyable hobbies, I think they'd respond negatively if the newest rule set had nothing to do with the game's past.

DnDPrincessAria said...

I also agree with Jeremy :)

Deltran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tendrilsfor20 said...

@Aria - there is no "strong foundation" of past editions. The rules systems from early editions are objectively worse/less balanced than 4e.
It's like saying Nosferatu or Birth of a Nation or the Great Train Robbery were technically better films than Independence Day or Avatar. They weren't.
What they were was compelling stories told with style. But nothing about F.W. Murnau's gothic classic precludes it from being shot on high-quality 4k digital with professional lighting, and looking slick and having a high-res, gorgeous presentation.
Looking to embrace older systems instead of looking forward to, say, a free app suite for ever-more-ubiquitous smartphones that manage powers and character sheets is folly, the same as shooting on grainy film with ancient Kleig lights.

DnDPrincessAria said...

If you think there's no strong foundation, why are you posting on a blog post about dnd? What would even bring you to it if you're so against it? Plus, the two things you mentioned are not mutually exclusive. There's already an app for 4e, looking backwards to move forward does not mean they won't develop and app and more forward with other high tech options as well.

rook103 said...

Congrats Bruce! I am thrilled that you are on the team. Keep up the great work and know that your efforts are appreciated!

@tendrils ... Okay I am an LD from way back so many thanks for scratching my uber-geek lighting and D&D fetish!

Michael Moscrip said...

A noble goal - good luck to you all!

ps. Is it wrong that every time I see D&D Next, I mentally convert it to D&D NeXT?

Del Johnston said...

I'm for having fun with table-top RPGs. The best rulesets are the ones that effortlessly offer the players and DM the capability to provide whatever level of complexity, table-chatter and intense role-playing they wish, while minimizing the opportunity for characters to outshine one another and reduce each player's ability to contribute at the table.

4e was a massive step forward, but a vocal minority - a minority that didn't buy 4e by-and-large, but rather rejected it on principle, grumble and whine incessantly about it "sullying the D&D name," nevermind that D&D was always and originally a tabletop wargame based on stabbing things and taking their loot.
For WotC to cave to these grognards while not making needed changes to keep up with state of the art (Death to Ability Scores, though that sacred cow will never be slaughtered) in game design is folly.
I get to complain because I've played 2nd Ed, and suffered through learning all the kits and weapon speeds. I switched to 3.X and finally was excited - no more savings-throw matrices! I switched to 4e - finally, martial characters can be fun and interesting! No more save-or-suck spells!
I want the game to continue moving forward, not backward. To embrace modernity. To be good, and fun to both play and run, for casters and martial classes. And if WotC is crowdsourcing this thing, it's my job to be as vocal a proponent for all the good things they've done so far, and how much more there is to do, than all the screeching, cheeto-dusted basement dwellers will about returning to Vancian Casting, Combat Matrices and Elf as a class

tracy said...

Hey everyone. I'm a huge supporter of 4e. It's possible to express your love of one system _without_ putting down others. I look forward to seeing where this goes and am honored that I will get to be part of the feedback process. As a fan of D&D, there's not much more that I can ask for.

Stuart said...

It's like saying Nosferatu or Birth of a Nation or the Great Train Robbery were technically better films than Independence Day or Avatar. They weren't.

There's a reason the first set of films are on the curriculum for anyone studying film theory. :)

Del Johnston said...

I may have chosen poorly for my examples by going for spectacle. Go ahead and substitute, oh, Unforgiven or Forrest Gump in place of Great Train Robbery and Birth of A Nation then, respectively. Hell, Forrest Gump has a clip from BoaN at the beginning of it.


They're taught for the same reason the alphabet is taught. They created the language of film. They represent the building blocks of what was to come. They are worth noting as progenitors, much like Cro-Magnons, but they are not the apex of evolution like humans.


It's important to understand the language of your process, but there's a reason no one codes in Cobol or uses punchcards on an ENIAC any more - because better options exist for expressing what you want to do.

DnDPrincessAria said...

I'm sure you've made these "better options" known through freelance writing submissions and in depth playtesting. Moving on from that point, this is a community effort, along with the immense amount of effort put in by the design team. New gamers will join this community, and our experiences will help shape the future for them. This process is the same for any successful tradition. You don't go replacing everything, you look for what people have always found appealing, and use that as a starting point for advancing the community as a whole. If you found nothing at all appealing ever, you have nothing to contribute to this conversation until the open playtest materials go out. I predict that you'll simply hate it on principle, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Stuart said...

I think Psycho and Citizen Kane are objectively better films than Independence Day and Avatar. I think most film theorists / critics / film makers would agree.

Christian Lindke said...

I cannot wait to see what you guys do with #dndnext. I admired your efforts with "Gamma World" and have enjoyed the direction 4e went. That said, I think too much of the language of the game was left behind with the new edition. Some of that language came back with Essentials and GW, I'd like to see the next step.

I look forward, and hope to have the opportunity, to playtest the game as its being developed.

In the meantime, my B/X game, 3.5 game, and 4e game will continue.

William Dowie said...

I have a few thoughts here-
http://swkhakhan.blogspot.com/2012/01/d-5th-edition-wishlist.html

Shroudmaster said...

My best advice is to find a way to make the game more modular. Each chapter could discuss things you can add if you choose. If you want feats, you put in feats, if you want powers, you put in powers, etc. I know, much easier to say than do. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please.

Do not purposely step back to D&D 3.5 just to court the grognards. Make advances, step forward, make the game better than 4th Edition. Better than 3.5, better than Advanced D&D,and better than the first D&D. You only get this chance every few years, so please make this count.

Chris Lee said...

Please please please don't actually call the game "D&D Next"

Stuart said...

Please, please, please, let me get what I want

Zzarchov said...

Please, Please make there be a good way as a GM to quickly state which optional rules, modular bits etc, are in use if you want every edition to work.

http://zzarchov.blogspot.com/2012/01/gms-character-sheet-dungeons-and.html

Lizard said...

The essence of D&D? D&D is the game where Fahfrd and Conan team up with Sherlock Holmes and Legolas to fight cyborg vampire demons. On Mars.

THAT is the essence to capture, if you want my opinion, not that you do. :)