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5th Edition

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1 5th Edition on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:08 am

I don't have the article link handy but did everyone see they are going to be releasing a 5th Edition?

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2 Re: 5th Edition on Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:22 am

Ross

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Yep. It wil be a long time in development though. They want it to be a game built by ideas from players and DMs.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

3 Re: 5th Edition on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:09 pm

Hmmm.... and I'm still getting used to 4th edition!

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4 Re: 5th Edition on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:55 pm

Ross

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I say stick with 4e. I think they will be designing 5e like 3.5 as they want to get those players back, that went to Pathfinder.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

5 Re: 5th Edition on Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:20 pm

Ross

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So I'm thinking it was B.S. when they said 5th edition will be a game based on Players input. It seems like they knew exactly what they wanted to do with it based on the below seminar chat:

D&D XP Seminar Chat Stream
Charting the Course

An Edition for all Editions (Thursday; 12:30 to 2PM EST)

Join Mike Mearls, Monte Cook, and Jeremy Crawford as they discuss the origin for the idea to create an edition of Dungeons & Dragons that encompasses all previous editions. The designers discuss the challenges in creating compatibility and balance, as well as the exciting possibilities such a system creates. Seminar to be followed by a Q&A session.

Thursday January 26, 2012
9:25
Welcome to the D&D XP Seminar: Charting the Course!
9:26
Comment From Guest
Hello
9:56
Sorry for the lul there - we're up and running and everything should be moving along now.
9:57
Monte: Every edition of the game "breaks down" at a certain level. I don't think it breaks down, I just think it changes.
9:58
Monte: I think 4E does the best of highlighting that high level change and being clear that things are changing.
9:58
Monte: I think that we can run with that for the future and have a list of options for classes/characters that open up when you hit a certain level
9:59
Monte: We can also have other options, like building a castle, having followers and vassals. We can build that into what high level characters get.
9:59
Mearls: I think Monte hit on the really important point with saying that different people mean different things when they say the game breaks down at high levels.
10:01
Mearls: Some people are excited that their characters get really powerful. The question is what should that change really be? How should the game change at high levels? What should it look like and how should we build the breadth of options to cover that? Those are the real questions we're trying to answer when addressing high level play.

10:01
Moving on to talking about having monsters be relevant at low levels, and then have those same monsters remain relevant at higher character levels.
10:02
Monte: Instead of the figher getting a better and better attack bonus, he instead gets more options to do stuff as he goes up in level, and his attack bonus goes up at a very modest rate.
10:03
Comment From Malien
Hello everyone! Excited to hear about the new D&D!
10:04
Monte: I think it offers a better play experience that the orc/ogre can remain in the campaign, and people can know how the monster would work from a previous experience, but they remain a challenge for longer.
10:06
Jeremy: The Monsters are in the design teams hands now and we'll be moving to development in the next few weeks. What I can say about this goal that Monte is talking about is that we're working ot provide the DM with really good world building tools. And it's important to provide information about the orcs place in D&D while making sure that a Monster remains relevant as the characters level up. They're might be an orc shaman, an orc champion or whatever for higher levels, but we also want the basic orc to be relevant at higher levels. We want it to be really easy for the DM to open the Monster Manual and drop an orc or iconic monsters into the game.
10:07
Comment From Patrick
I actually kind of really like the idea that inflated numbers at higher levels don't stratify monsters into tiers (kobold-goblin-orc-hobgoblin-bugbear-gnoll...) but that's kind of a radical change for the game. Isn't it? I hope we get more details on that.
10:07
Trevor: Just for clarification for everyone following in chat, there is still room in there for fighting a slew of orcs at higher level - that is part of the scaling.
10:08
We're talking about different tastes in the game and building the game in general.
10:09
Jeremy: It's been great to see in playtesting how many different playstyles and desires have come up. The thing that's been driven home for me is how important his modular approach is, and the big tent to bring everybody in to play the same game.

10:10
Comment From Guest
I am of two minds about this. Stratification is part of the usual D1D long-term campaigns, and it's quite interesting in terms of making the interest remain as you change adversaries. That being said, one thing that I liked a lot about 4E is the easy scaling, whereas it was horrendous with 3.(x), especially at the higher levels.
10:10
Comment From Tedium
Patrick: Go look up Tucker's Kobolds, in older editions creatures didn't have to be at-level to be challenging (in 4e, a party could probably obliterate them with autodamage zones)
10:10
Comment From Dan
I like the division that 4th edition seems to focus on in that heroic tier is saving a town/area, paragon tier for saving a country/region, and epic for saving the world
10:10
Comment From Kerri
I think that's an interesting concept. What's wrong with change? Everrything needs to change sometimes in order to keep things interesting. You wouldn't want things to stay the same, otherwise you'd get really board after awhile.
10:11
Comment From mpiikge
i'm tryin to start DMing when next comes out

10:11
Jeremy: We know that the standard D&D game falls into the middle of all roleplay and all combat, but the feedback so far really drives home all the diversity and difference in desires and playstyles. When one person wants X and another person wants Y and they're both on opposite ends of the spectrum it's important that we take into those ideas and adding it in to our modular approach.
10:12
Comment From Audra
One of my least favorite things about the leveling system in DnD is the widespread jump every level. I ended up determining values for feats, skills and such and using a merit based point system similar to Karma in Shadowrun. A Bard at 10th level whose never picked up a blade should not be better at sword fighting than a 4th level fighter. Also I don't like how certain classes are blocked from certain skills. I think the classes being blocked off and segregated as much as they are isn't realistic and it keeps people's characters 2 deminsional and role based.
10:12
Monte: Making sure that a D&D wizard, or a D&D ranger feels like a D&D wizard/ranger is really important.

10:13
Capturing that feel is one of the more difficult challenges because it's more ephemeral. It's difficult, but I think we've done a good job. When you get a chance to help in the playtest, hopefully you can let us know.
10:13
Moving on to how these guys design an adventure that is satisfying to players.
10:14
Comment From Dan
Looking back on 3rd edition, I feel like it did a good job of capturing the unique feel of each class. In 4th edition all classes feel similar, because in the end you're just using x daily powers. Sure, the effects are different, but since the mechanic is identical, it didn't really matter what you played, it still felt the same.
10:15
Jeremy: We have talked about having advengtures that cater to very particular tastes - political intrigue or classic dungeon crawl. You can also have the sandbox adventure that is an environment with hooks, fleshed out NPCs, evocative locations, And it really becomes a canvas for players and DMs to paint on. Sometimes, I think that's the best approach for people who want to choose their own way, but sometimes it's better to give a more directed approach for people who need that.
10:15
Greg: What's the targeted game that you would make for your table?

10:17
Monte: I would probably use miniatures, but I wouldn't necessarily want to get too tactical. For example, I would want rules for using a grid for movement around an encounter, but I wouldn't want to worry about too much detail. I would want there to be a lot of social interaction in my game and exploration. I would want those interaction to focus on player/character ingenuinity and descriptions of what they're doing instead of just rolling their dice and telling me what they got.

10:17
Comment From Jeremy V
I think that a game that focuses on storytelling and has streamlined combat is the one that would be best for me. It's really hard to tell a good story with the characters when combat takes and hour when it's being done fast

10:17
Comment From Onyxman8
I always start low levels campaigns very directed, then give the players more options as they get more comfortable with the environment.

10:18
Comment From Sentack
Personally, some of us liked the AEDU mechanic. It allowed everyone to do something cool and/or special at the table every fight. Not all of us enjoyed the "And I make another basic melee attack" of the fighter or the "And I'll cast another heal for this round" of the cleric.

10:18
Mike: I like changing things up from session to session based on what's going on. I really want that flexibility.

10:19
Jeremy: I would want to have the flexibility to swing back and forth between mass battles and normal sized encounters, and for the rules to cover those kinds of things.

10:19
Comment From Malien
I'd like a modular system that provides me mechancs to resolve rolls that could be simplistic (ie a yes/no result from a simple die roll) to the complicated (lots of modifiers, multiple rolls) that I could pick and choose between depending on the situation.

10:21
Comment From Onyxman8
Good NPCs help plot development in ongoing campaigns. Especially if you can get players to interact separately with different NPCs. Relationships to match their classes.

10:21
Comment From jks
im hoping this new edition of D&D coming up will have lots of options and support for players who prefer anti hero characters

10:23
Opening it up to questions from the floor now. First one is about multiclassing.

10:24
Comment From Tanks
Hw will multiclassing be handled? Will it go back to previous editions or be a feat tax?

10:24
Answers: We want to make it simple, but iconic class features need to be important as well. There are also packages we're looking at where characters can gain certain featuers or qualities that helps them branch out and feel like more of an individual or a real person.

10:25
Comment From Austin
As a long time DM I liked the idea of multiclassing that came up in 3.5 and the feat options that came up in 4th editon but the idea of a hybrid character is just a terrible option for players.

10:26
Question: In the recent editions it looks like a lot of the player options have been narrowed down to things they can/can't do in the rules. Is this next iteration going to get away from that.

10:27
Monte: While having options in the rules is great, we want to open things up so players can get creative and ask to do things that are specifically covered by the rules. We want to empower DMs to with information in the DM guide and others resources to be able to handle those out of the box situations. So basically better gaming through better DM tools and DMing.

10:29
Question: Are the random tables going to make a return to D&D?

10:29
Comment From scott
I hope so

10:30
Monte: There are a few different groups that most DMs fall into, and one of those groups wants to have randomness or at least an easy way to drop something into the game. I do want to make sure that we have those random tables for support for those kinds of DMs.

10:30
Comment From Qucalion of Celene
I'd like to use my percentile dice more often . . . Wink

10:30
Comment From Stirling
Random tables are nice, but they really seem at odds with the DM's balanced approach to encounter design. I remember in 3.5 ignoring basically almost all the random rolls because they where pitting monsters way outside my characters' abilities to face.

10:30
Comment From Malachy19
The random treasure tables were half the fun for me as a DM

10:30
Question: Is there a timetable as to when we can start playtesting?

10:31
Greg: The open playtest starts up sometime in the spring, and that's about all the information we have at this point.

10:31
Comment From Weem
I loved random tables - even if you don't want to roll on them, you could use them for "at a glance" selections

10:31
Quesiton: How easy is it to switch to different styles of gameplay with this modular approach depending on the play groups mood or progression of the story?

10:32
Mearls: The idea is that, hoepfully if we do it right, that you can switch on the fly if you need to from one encounter/story bit to the next. Like maybe you can use miniatures and grid rules for this fight, but switch to some social modularity for the next bit. If we do it right that should be fairly easy.

10:33
Question: How are you addressing the specific needs of organized play, and how are we going to see that in the future.

10:33
Comment From Josh
I hope they have a whole lot more. I really like encounters and lair assault. More more!

10:34
Mearls: What I imagine what you might see us doing is, so for our organized play game, here our the standard rules that characters and DMs will be using. It's important for us in an organized play environment that people know what we're getting in to. It's like what you've seen in LFR where there are accepted character options and players and DMs know what to expect.

10:35
Question: Do you expect one player to have fun with really stripped down rules and another player to have fun with controlling and doing bigger effects at the same table, or will those players migrate to different tables?

10:36
Comment From Alex
One of the negatives of essentials for me was that the simple classes were great for new players, but they often got bored with them as they leveled up and gained experience. Hopefully players will be able to switch between different styles of playing as their experience level and wants change.

10:37
Monte: Running a few playtests, I had at one long term table a guy who hadn't played since 1st editon, a guy who was more 3rd edtion and a guy who was recently in to 4th. The guy who hadn't played in 1st edition didn't want a lot of options. This solidified in my mind, along with the other evidence we've seen, that there are a lot of players who want to have very few options on their character sheet. As a game goes on, that guy might see some of the cool things that other classes are doing and might want to add some of those modular abilities. This is something that is easy to do and change as the character progresses - he can pick up some of those more modular options if he wants after that point.

10:37
Comment From Alf
On the other hand, Essentials gave a better feel for the iconic characters (versus the sort of cut-and paste of 4e)

10:38
Mearls: The players will have the flexibility they want at the tables, so the other goal is to make sure the DM has the tools he needs to make sure the different characters/players have a chance to shine with whatever options they choose.

10:38
Comment From TheOldDragoon
Re: Alex - Essentials is what got me to buy into 4e. As an old-school player, "Defender Aura" made a lot more sense to me than "mark" ever did. The Warpriest played more like an old-school Cleric. Basically, the snozberries tasted like snozzberries to me and my grognard friends, and we had a blast with it - and never got bored.

10:39
Jeremy: You can have two fighters that are very different at the same table, based on picking from the spectrum of complexity and options. You can have someone who is more just a sword and board, and another guy who focuses on combat maneuver options on the other end of complexity. It's about taking that spectrum we already have in the game and making it broader.

10:40
Comment From Ben
I preferred the detailed controls of 3.0 and 3.5 over the more generalized 4.0 mechanics.

10:41
Question: Sometimes you have arguments at the table causing lulls or a character who has too many options and takes forever to act. Any plans on addressing these issues?

10:42
Comment From Guest
I'll have to concur with that. While we've all heard of 4EE's simpler structure boring 4EAEDU guys, that has personally never occured in my gaming table. The 3.5 newly-converted guy especially continued to have a blast with his cavalier even if some options were locked on, while the slayer, well, slew stuff.

10:42
Comment From Elle
I agree! Please find a solution to the combat-that-takes-forever!

10:42
Comment From KingOfChaos
Too many options? Sounds like a problem with the player, not the rules set.

10:42
Monte: For the first one, we're going to give the DM a lot of tools to address players actions as well as rules discussions. We want to keep play moving quickly. The same goes for the player with too many options - we're planning on DM and player help to address as much of that as possible.

10:43
Do you think D&D started taking itself to seriously?

10:43
Comment From Lanethan
That's what I'm talkin' bout. This chat is making me grin from ear to ear.

10:44
Mike: I think D&D needs to have elements of chaos in it. Sometimes that can be funny, or weird or off the wall. I think that's one of the places where the randomness fo the d20 can come into play. I think that some of the recent history of the game has the designer buttoning down and eliminating some of that chaos, and we want to get away from that. It's the interactions between the DM, the players and the game that make it was it is, so we shouldn't stifle that.

10:45
Comment From Bret
How about a 'Frequently Looked Up' page in the back of the new DMG? The index is nice, but there are some charts and information that a DM frequently looks up AT the table. And sometimes I find myself hunting for that one sentence about how much gold a higher-level character starts with in 4E (example).

10:45
Jeremy: the idea that this game is taking itself to seriously has crept into our art as well. I'll give an example - in the last two editions if you look at the art, I think you'll see a lot of characters that look like super heroes. They all look like they've been to the gym recently, they don't have backpacks for traveling through the dungeon - the guys are well shaven.

10:45
Comment From Josh
As long as I the Dm can choose which chaos I want I can be fine with that. But too much chaos makes it hard to tell my story.

10:45
Comment From Thanatos
I think it's not a factor of taking itself too seriously, I think it's a factor of it playing too much like an MMORPG. This is a problem I had with both 3.5 and 4th editions

10:46
Comment From Rupert DnD
Mike, that´s amazing. I think chaos and randomness in some degree brings a lot of fun to the game.

10:46
Comment From Stirling
I admit the best memories of dnd where when something off the wall happened or something horribly went wrong. Never cared about doing 500 damage in one hit or stuff like that. No I remember when I leaped to save the princess, rolled 1, and nearly crushed her as 350 lbs of platemail fell on top of her

10:46
Comment From KyleH
I think D&D as a game should have the flexibility to be serious or silly. It's up to the group how they want to play.

10:46
Jeremy: in our recent art we've added a more diverse, modular approach - you've got people that look vastly different. You'll have the halfling who's a bit overweight with some food stains on his clothes along side the more heroic look dashing sort.

10:46
Comment From TheOldDragoon
@Mike : As a long-time DM, I kinda concur with what you're saying. The players, due to the current rules for encounter generation, *know* the encounter is equivalent to their abilities. There's no situations like there were in the old days where a random encounter might clearly outclass the PCs, and they may just have to retreat... or outhink the situation... That was part of the fun!

10:46
Comment From KingOfChaos
Chaos in D&D is where I excel. I am not happy unless my DM is wearing that 'you gotta be insane' look on their face.

10:47
Comment From nothingxs
Dungeons and Dragons has always, for the most part, focused on the combat. It essentially came from modifications made to a war game, and so it will probably stay forever. What I would like, however, is for a better, cleaner and more interesting way to resolve encounters that are not "physical" (combat) in a sense. I want chaos and randomness, sure, but I want to be able to resolve mental and social encounters as well, in a way that's not just "oh okay I rolled diplomacy and made the check, w00t"

10:47
Comment From Devrial
Insanity is just part of the game

10:47
Comment From gnarwhal
If combat takes a long time, it should be due to chaos and hilarity. Players can be too worried that they'll make the wrong choice, spend the wrong powers or move to the wrong square.

10:47
Question: How are you guys going to provide iconic D&D experiences or having some awesome and interesting longer combats.

10:49
Mike: The first step there is defining what those iconic D&D experiences are, which is what we've been focusing on in a lot of these playtests. There's a lot of room there between roleplay and smash and grab combat, and tactics.

10:49
Comment From KingOfChaos
DMs ultimately determine how a roll affects the game, pass or fail. If you want the NPC to react negatively even when the player passes a check, do so...just make sure there is a reason or make one up on the fly. You don't need a rule for every single situation that arises, that takes the fun and creativity out of the game that is the cornerstone of its foundation.

10:49
Comment From Drowbane
Well, back before all the skill checks, you actually had to role-play out all the social situations that now can be resolved with a die roll. It kind of takes away a lot from the game. Although, in a timed game (like LFR), I can understand how the role-playing gets pushed to the side.

10:49
Comment From ranthoron
@nothingxs well, that would mean that skill challenges would probably fill many pages and not a paragraph...

10:50
Jeremy: we've seen a great range of tactical style and combat length in the playtest's so far, so our plan is to definitely have DMs and players be able to determine what kind of combats they want to have and have the right options to support those.

10:50
Comment From Nosfecatu
Yeah. I love 4E, but one thing that bothers me is that I always tend to go to earlier editions when exchanging "war stories." It's because earlier editions generally saw some guy doing some crazy thing, whereas 4E tends to stick to their powers even though, as a DM, I judiciously remind them to be creative.

10:51
Question: What are you doing to make sure that each character/player feels useful in each part of the game?

10:51
Comment From Ben
I think a lot of players expect the DM to provide the roleplay, when really they can do it much easier. Don't just roll the dice, give it context.

10:52
Comment From JamesL
I think the older editions weren't afraid to throw extreme challenges at the players, and let them figure it out. This version has all solutions be combat or skill challenge ones, that are all level appropriate with a 90% chance of success.

10:52
Mike: It goes back to the three pillars and supporting the different kinds of play - we definitely are working on having DM and player tools and optoins in place so that characters are engaged. Example - you can have that master climber, but you want others to feel included and involved in whatever thing when that master climber gets to show off.

10:55
And that wraps up this chat. Tomorrow we'll be having a seminar on class design at 12:30 Eastern time, so make sure to keep your eye on the feeds and join us again. Thanks much to everyone!

10:55
Comment From Luke
Thanks for chatting with us Mike

10:55
Comment From mbeacom
Thanks for doing this everyone!

10:56
Comment From Dusty
thanks for posting my questions... it was awesome....

10:56
Comment From Alf
::thumbs up::

10:56
Comment From Thanatos
Thanks. Looking foreward to it
10:56
Comment From Craetwin
Thanks for the chat!
10:56
Comment From Yohen
Thank you guys!


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

6 Re: 5th Edition on Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:33 pm

...agreed. Seems like they already have the framework in place for where they (the designers) want to take the game. I wonder if the monsters will scale both ways? If a regular orc will be a challenge for the 20th level fighter, then will a giant be a reasonable challenge for a 1st level wizard? I'm thinking that there will be some sort of "base" level where a monster is an appropriate challenge for a PC and then the monster will only scale "up".

I get the feel the game will be less mechanical, less battle oriented and more situational/ story oriented compared to 4.0. I wonder if that's a good fit for our group?

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7 Re: 5th Edition on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:57 pm

Ross

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Admin
Monty Cook is behind 5th edition. He's a known hater of 4e and publicly announced that he felt 3.5 was the ultimate DnD version. So I'm sure 5e will have lots of customization features.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

Ross

avatar
Admin
I found this an interesting comparison of 3rd vs 4th Ed. It's long but worth the read.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/new-horizons-upcoming-edition-d-d/317715-very-long-combat-sport-vs-combat-war-key-difference-d-d-play-styles.html

Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
…and how to reconcile them in 5ed.


On another forum I’ve been running in circles with fans of other editions about different D&D play styles and how different editions support them, but I think I’ve finally nailed a key difference that sheds an enormous amount of light about so many disagreements about 5ed development.

Without quite realizing it, people are having the exact same debate that constantly flares up on MMORPG blogs about PvP: should combat resemble sport (as in World of Tanks PvP or arena combat in any game) or should it resemble war (as in Eve PvP or open world combat in any game).

People who want Combat as Sport want fun fights between two (at least roughly) evenly matched sides. They hate “ganking” in which one side has such an enormous advantage (because of superior numbers, levels, strategic surprise, etc.) that the fight itself is a fait accompli. They value combat tactics that could be used to overcome the enemy and fair rules adhered to by both sides rather than looking for loopholes in the rules. Terrain and the specific situation should provide spice to the combat but never turn it into a turkey shoot. They tend to prefer arena combat in which there would be a pre-set fight with (roughly) equal sides and in which no greater strategic issues impinge on the fight or unbalance it.

The other side of the debate is the Combat as War side. They like Eve-style combat in which in a lot of fights, you know who was going to win before the fight even starts and a lot of the fun comes in from using strategy and logistics to ensure that the playing field is heavily unbalanced in your favor. The greatest coup for these players isn’t to win a fair fight but to make sure that the fight never happens (the classic example would be inserting a spy or turning a traitor within the enemy’s administration and crippling their infrastructure so they can’t field a fleet) or is a complete turkey shoot. The Combat as Sport side hates this sort of thing with a passion since the actual fights are often one-sided massacres or stand-offs that take hours.

I think that these same differences hold true in D&D, let me give you an example of a specific situation to illustrate the differences: the PCs want to kill some giant bees and take their honey because magic bee honey is worth a lot of money. Different groups approach the problem in different ways.

Combat as Sport: the PCs approach the bees and engage them in combat using the terrain to their advantage, using their abilities intelligently and having good teamwork. The fighter chooses the right position to be able to cleave into the bees while staying outside the radius of the wizard’s area effect spell, the cleric keeps the wizard from going down to bee venom and the rogue sneaks up and kills the bee queen. These good tactics lead to the PCs prevailing against the bees and getting the honey. The DM congratulates them on a well-fought fight.

Combat as War: the PCs approach the bees but there’s BEES EVERYWHERE! GIANT BEES! With nasty poison saves! The PCs run for their lives since they don’t stand a chance against the bees in a fair fight. But the bees are too fast! So the party Wizard uses magic to set part of the forest on fire in order to provide enough smoke (bees hate smoke, right?) to cover their escape. Then the PCs regroup and swear bloody vengeance against the damn bees. They think about just burning everything as usual, but decide that that might destroy the value of the honey. So they make a plan: the bulk of the party will hide out in trees at the edge of the bee’s territory and set up piles of oil soaked brush to light if the bees some after them and some buckets of mud. Meanwhile, the party monk will put on a couple layers of clothing, go to the owl bear den and throw rocks at it until it chases him. He’ll then run, owl bear chasing him, back to where the party is waiting where they’ll dump fresh mud on him (thick mud on thick clothes keeps bees off, right?) and the cleric will cast an anti-poison spell on him. As soon as the owl bear engages the bees (bears love honey right?) the monk will run like hell out of the area. Hopefully the owl bear and the bees will kill each other or the owl bear will flee and lead the bees away from their nest, leaving the PCs able to easily mop up any remaining bees, take the honey and get the hell out of there. They declare that nothing could possibly go wrong as the DM grins ghoulishly.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Some D&D players love the tactical elements of the game and well-fought evenly matched combat within it while other players prefer the logistical and strategic elements and if only end up in evenly matched fights if something has gone horribly wrong. These two kinds of play styles also emulate different kinds of fantasy literature with Combat as Sport hewing to heroic fantasy tropes while the Combat as War side prefer D&D to feel like a chapter of The Black Company. This was really driven home by one comment from a Combat as Sport partisan talking about how ridiculous and comedic it would be PCs to smuggle in all kinds of stuff in a bag of holding so they could use cheap tactics like “Sneak attack with a ballista!” However, sneak attacking with a ballista is exactly what happens in Chapter Forty-Eight of Shadows Linger (the second Black Company book) and the Combat as War side think that’s exactly the sort of thing that D&D should be all about.

While either form of D&D can be played with any edition, it works better with some editions than others. A lot of people have played TSR editions from more of a Combat as Sport Mindset and a lot of later TSR products seem to consist of trying to frog march poor Croaker into heroic fantasy, but TSR-D&D mostly sucks at Combat as Sport. It’s not easy to gauge what would be a good fair fun fight for a given party and the same fight could end up as a cakewalk or a TPK, melee combat is repetitive, there’s one-hit kills etc. Also a lot of elements of TSR-D&D design that drive Combat as Sport people crazy, really tie into the Combat as War mindset. Things like tracking rations, torch usage, rolling for wandering monsters, etc. are important for this kind of gameplay since they make time a scarce resource, which is vital for strategic and logistical gameplay since if the players have all the time in the world so many strategic and logistical constraints get removed and without those constraints you get all kinds of problems cropping up (most notably the 15 minute adventuring day). As Gygax says, in all caps no less “YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT” (DMG page 37), which sounds like crazy moon logic for people who like Combat as Sport gameplay but is a central factor in making Combat as War gameplay work.

With 3ed the game shifted a bit towards Combat as Sport and then shifted a good bit more with 4ed (although you can still certainly run 4ed as a Combat as War game with heavy use of things like rituals, but the main thrust of the game is towards Combat as Sport). In 4ed it’s easy to tell what’s a good fair fight for a given party and combat rarely goes in a direction that the DM completely didn’t expect and there’s tons of fun combat variety. However, the 4ed focus on balancing combat at the encounter level rather than the adventure level (or just not balancing it at all and running a sandbox) runs directly counter to Combat as War gameplay. In order for a combat encounter to be well-balanced nothing that happens outside of that encounter can matter too much. This means that in order to get proper encounter balance, the impact of strategic and logistical gameplay must be muted as if having stuff that happens outside of the combat make a huge difference in the difficulty of the encounter, then there’s no way to guarantee fun balanced fights. Hence Encounter Powers, hence Healing Surges (sure starting combat with half of your healing surges sucks but not as much as starting it with half of you hit points), hence not having any classes that are designed to be below par at tactical combat, hence a lack of abilities that are useless in some fights but “I win” buttons in other fights, hence a lot of Sports and War dislike for the few bits of 4ed design that don’t fit well with balancing combat at the encounter level (notably Daily Powers). Of course 4ed is not doesn’t do this 100%, but it comes a lot closer than any other edition. However, the whole line of thinking runs counter to Combat as War thinking, the whole POINT of Combat as War gameplay is to make the playing field as unbalanced as possible in the favor of the party, so mechanics that are built around balancing combat at the encounter level just get in the way. In addition, 4ed removes a lot of items from the Combat as War gamer’s bag of tricks and it’s much harder to rat the opposition with 4ed powers than 1ed spells, since they’re specifically written to be resistant to be used for rating and the lack of specific information about specifically how 4ed powers work in real-world terms make it hard for Combat as War players to use them to screw over the opposition instead of beating them in a fair sportsmanlike match since it’s hard to figure out exactly how to use 4ed powers for off-label purposes.

But probably most importantly, 4ed combat just takes too damn long for Combat as War players. If you’re going to spend your time doing sneaky rat bastard Black Company stuff before combat starts, then having combat take a long time is just taking time away from the fun bits of play. Also if combat takes a long time you just can’t have the sort of attrition-based gameplay since there just isn’t time to have 5 combats in five hours with plenty of time for other stuff aside from combat and a break for pizza as well. 4ed thrives on big flashy set piece battles and that doesn’t work well with Combat as War gameplay since the best kind of combat for those players is having the enemy die like a chump in the first round (with a good admixture of the PCs running and screaming in terror in the first round).

OK, now how can we reconcile these two different play styles in 5ed. Having the tactical rules be an add-on module for the Combat as Sport people is an important first step, this lets the people who like that have fun with it while the Combat as War people can use the simpler combat rules to get combat over quickly. But I think that the Combat as War people could use a DM-side add-on module as well with ideas to emphasize strategic and logistical thinking (the “Fantasy ing Vietnam” Module basically). How monsters are written up also matters a lot. In the getting the honey from the bees adventure, specifics of monster ecology and biology don’t matter that much for the Combat as Sport side, but just look at how much they matter in the Combat as War side (does smoke keep giant bees away? how much territory will one hive of giant bees patrol? what time of day is the owl bear at home in its cave? do owl bears love honey? will thick clothes and mud help against the bees? will the owl bear fight the bees or run away? how far will the bees chase the bear if it runs). Of course the DM will have to answer a lot of these questions, but monster write-ups can help a lot. Finally, the spells that appeal to each side are different with the Combat as Sport side’s favorite spells being boring to the Combat as War side and the Combat as War side’s favorite spells being far too quirky, situational and unbalancing for the Combat as Sport side. Hopefully some ways will be found to reconcile the two sides.

tldr:

Combat as Sport: valuing the separate roles of the quarterback, linebacker and wide receiver and what plays you can use to win a competitive game.
Combat as War: being too busy laying your end zone with caltrops, dousing the midfield with lamp oil, blackmailing the ref, spiking the other team’s water and bribing key members of the other team to throw the game to worry about all of those damn squiggles on the blackboard.

Or:

Combat as Sport:


Combat as War:


Which one you like makes a massive difference in how you play D&D and what sort of rules you want for 5ed. How to deal with this?


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
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9 Re: 5th Edition on Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:29 pm

Ross

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If you'd like to try play testing 5th Edition there is a link on this site to sign-up.

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120109


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

10 Re: 5th Edition on Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:49 pm

Arrrggg...but what if I truly like both Combat as Sport and Combat as war? Could it be true? From playing with me all these years, which am I? As a player, I think I like Combat as Sport...as a DM, I think I like Combat as War but realize that if I kill all the PCs off frequently, we wouldn't have a game.

As a campaign or gaming group, what are we? I think we're a Combat as Sport group. BTW, I really liked reading the post two above.

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11 Re: 5th Edition on Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:16 pm

Ross

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Admin
I think you've usually been combat as war, but since 4e I think you've switched to combat as sport.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

12 Re: 5th Edition on Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:38 pm

Yeah, I can agree with that position on where I am...for years I think I was combat as War...now, if not all the way combat as sport, much closer.

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