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Author Topic: D&D 5e Going Live In July  (Read 2332 times)
Morgenstern
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« Reply #75 on: October 15, 2014, 01:29:29 PM »

Finished going through all the classes. Hat's off to the minds behind those - there is polish there the likes of which you rarely ever see.

Essentially every class has a branch point - usually at 3rd level (the Sorcerer branches at level 1). About 75% of the class is shared between all the branches, but the packet of 4-6 abilities does a really good job of flavoring the rest of the mix. And because the format is so consistent, presenting new branches is going to offer game expansibility for years. In Mastercraft terms its a lot like the class gets steps along a path at 3/7/11/15/19 and can chose from 2-3 paths, but once the choice is made, you have to stick with that singular path. It loses a little flexibility but it lets the jumps between the steps be a little more variable to fit in and around the other more fixed progressions.

Every class has an attribute bump (or feat) at 4/8/12/16/19. Its basically pulled out of the "career level table" and folded into each class. Because classes generally have only one ability per level (with a few exceptions at the lowest levels) this means they effectively save on total class ability slots (entirely dropping what would be the D ability in a Mastercraft base class). With simplicity being so highly prized in 5th ed, its a good call. Especially as the 16 remaining slots tend to be unique effects rather than progressions (with one very notable exception - spells).

Gaining access to a new level of spells after 1st (what we'd Circle of Power in these parts Smiley) occupies the class ability slot for that level, meaning full casters lose 8 of their 16 class abilities to their magic. In the process of beating down spell casters to something sane (gods I'm jealous of the new spell structure - no more varies by caster level... ever) they worked out a single unified progression for all "full casters" (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard) and in turn a repeatable structure for the "half casters" (Ranger, Paladin). Then they took that half-caster tech and made it a selectable branch within the fighter and thief. Fighter/mage is just a branch within the Fighter class now Smiley.

Several classes also use a very consistent "Class resource = class level" that kicks in starting at level 2.

Multi-classing is good but not flawless - certain combinations do result in conflicts that generate dead levels.

For the first time in a long time I'm looking at D&D classes that don't boil down to a feat chain. It's equal parts refreshing and meaty. There will be stuff to mine for quite a while.
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« Reply #76 on: October 15, 2014, 05:49:57 PM »

You'd be a man who'd know, but I want to raise a tepid objection in the name of system mastery.
Sure it's complicated, but it's learnable and I think ultimately worthwhile.
The point's not simulation, but emulation. Doesn't have to be just like reality, but a reasonable fake at least.

The highest priority for RPGs generally - generally - isn't either simulation or emulation. It's entertainment, and that very often sits directly opposite complexity on the game design fulcrum. The more complex you make a game, the more unapproachable and unfun you make it for big, big chunks of your audience.

There's a chunk of us who like a certain amount of complexity in our games. All of us are, I assure you, very much in the minority these days. It's true no matter our preferences. Folks like their hobbies simple, and RPGs are complex by their very nature so even the simplest ones are already fighting an uphill battle.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 05:56:30 PM by Crafty_Pat » Logged

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« Reply #77 on: October 16, 2014, 05:02:19 PM »

You'd be a man who'd know, but I want to raise a tepid objection in the name of system mastery.
Sure it's complicated, but it's learnable and I think ultimately worthwhile.
The point's not simulation, but emulation. Doesn't have to be just like reality, but a reasonable fake at least.

I think a lot of d20/D&D3/OGL-inspired game design can be described as trying to write tabletop RPGs as computer scripting languages.  Lotta procedural statements in something like, say, Spycraft 2.  It's fun for the players who like optimizing their characters' functions but kind of a high bar to entry for everyone else.  And I think this hobby's at a point where we need some easy-entry gateway drugs that don't lock out any prospective new gamers through excess complexity.  For the archetypal RPG, what I'm seeing out of D&D5 was the right call for that.

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« Reply #78 on: October 16, 2014, 06:10:13 PM »

Si, si -I get that.
It's the commonplace wisdom about interactive entertainment in general these days. Mainstream videogaming has a very similar philosophy -keep it simple, keep it parse-able, keep the experience streamlined.
And frankly if you can write an RPG "Call of Duty" scale hit hell yes you should. Hipster "artisan crafted" taglines don't move units by themselves any more then critical industry approval awards.

But to extend that metaphor a little further there's a major glut of dead-on-arrival-in-the-discount-bin Modern Warfare-alikes that thought authoring a "go to brown/grey places and shoot brown/grey people" would be a short line to a million-plus sales and discovered quite the contrary.

Competing with the big cats for even a scrap of the kibble is still a gamble, just a gamble in the other direction. CoD has a pedigree, MoW has a bazillion-dollar budget, but who's in third place? In my mind it's Spec Ops: the Line -which has neither, but won attention with some serious thematic testicles.

So anyway I'm plenty interested in upcoming Crafty production like always, but I want to point out that going too far into accessibility risks becoming shallow and forgettable. I know that Crafty's never been about producing crap and that it'd be awesome to win a massive payday so you can finally un-mortage your house and pay down your credit cards and buy back your kids and whatever else is required to make the dream finally come true, but I want to point out that it's very possible to end up failing the other way and end up producing something generic that pleases nobody.

I doubt that's a real risk, I can't even name another Modern RPG, but anyway -whatever, it's all good. Cool
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« Reply #79 on: October 17, 2014, 10:31:24 AM »

I've got 3 problems with D&D Next.  First off.  $150 buy-in price.  *whistles*  And that $150 Core Book collection is spread out over half a year and the DMG is LAST?!.  Everyone have their Player's book?  Great!  I'll let you know when we can use them.  (Yes, I know the intro set is meant as a stop gap until the DMG is out, but.. ugh.. just annoys me.)  After the 4th Edition "We turned our Randomly Packaged Mini game into your RPG game engine", the increasingly skyrocketing cost of D&D is becoming annoying.  At this point, I'd rather play Warhammer.  At least the Orks are cooler.  Secondly.  The mechanics are better than 4e, but they're still very mundane.  I understand the changes.  It tried to go somewhere between 3 and 4.  Combining the best of both.  I don't enjoy it.  Probably the minority C_P is referencing.  (You like crunch, go play Intro to Calc.  RPGs are going Narrative Heavy / Rules Easy.)  lol.  Thirdly.  It doesn't do anything I can't already do with FantasyCraft, and do so with a superior feel.  The ONLY thing it has going for it is the built in world.  That's it.  Even then.. ugh.

Our current playtable is:

Fantasy -> FantasyCraft.
Sci-Fi -> FFG's Star Wars EotE or CL's Shadownrun 5.
Modern -> Spycraft 2.0 with FantasyCraft evil NPCs jammed in with the grace of a Sledgehammer.  Spycraft 2.0 doesn't have a defense against that sorta damage?  Great.  Neither do you!  Cannibalistic, Space Squid worshiping undead Santa Mall Elves?  Now 100% more terrifying when they can throw things at you that you have no defenses for.
Non-RPG -> Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / Eldrich Horror / Descent 2.0

(Edit: Clarified Modern)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 10:51:13 AM by TheTSKoala » Logged
Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #80 on: October 17, 2014, 11:16:04 AM »

I've got 3 problems with D&D Next.  First off.  $150 buy-in price.  *whistles*  And that $150 Core Book collection is spread out over half a year and the DMG is LAST?!.  Everyone have their Player's book?  Great!  I'll let you know when we can use them.  (Yes, I know the intro set is meant as a stop gap until the DMG is out, but.. ugh.. just annoys me.)  After the 4th Edition "We turned our Randomly Packaged Mini game into your RPG game engine", the increasingly skyrocketing cost of D&D is becoming annoying.  At this point, I'd rather play Warhammer.  At least the Orks are cooler.  Secondly.  The mechanics are better than 4e, but they're still very mundane.  I understand the changes.  It tried to go somewhere between 3 and 4.  Combining the best of both.  I don't enjoy it.  Probably the minority C_P is referencing.  (You like crunch, go play Intro to Calc.  RPGs are going Narrative Heavy / Rules Easy.)  lol.  Thirdly.  It doesn't do anything I can't already do with FantasyCraft, and do so with a superior feel.  The ONLY thing it has going for it is the built in world.  That's it.  Even then.. ugh.

Our current playtable is:

Fantasy -> FantasyCraft.
Sci-Fi -> FFG's Star Wars EotE or CL's Shadownrun 5.
Modern -> Spycraft 2.0 with FantasyCraft evil NPCs jammed in with the grace of a Sledgehammer.  Spycraft 2.0 doesn't have a defense against that sorta damage?  Great.  Neither do you!  Cannibalistic, Space Squid worshiping undead Santa Mall Elves?  Now 100% more terrifying when they can throw things at you that you have no defenses for.
Non-RPG -> Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / Eldrich Horror / Descent 2.0

(Edit: Clarified Modern)

Agreed on almost every point.* It's becoming increasingly obvious that I am no longer part of the target audience for D&D and that saddens me a bit.


* My non-RPG list is much bigger thanks to a friend that should belong to Board Games Anonymous. And I can't include "Cannibalistic, Space Squid worshiping undead Santa Mall Elves" in my list, but I am really thinking of changing that.
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« Reply #81 on: October 18, 2014, 05:07:22 AM »

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that Spycraft Third Edition will wind up being oversimplified. I hope those of you who've managed to play some of it can attest to that.

I am saying that in general when you can go complex or not, and there's not compelling reason to go complex other than personal preference, it's almost always the better call to go simple.

And yes, narrative really is the god king of RPG design these days. I think as it should be.
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« Reply #82 on: October 18, 2014, 08:45:37 AM »

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that Spycraft Third Edition will wind up being oversimplified. I hope those of you who've managed to play some of it can attest to that.

I am saying that in general when you can go complex or not, and there's not compelling reason to go complex other than personal preference, it's almost always the better call to go simple.

And yes, narrative really is the god king of RPG design these days. I think as it should be.

I don't mind narrative being king, as long as there's enough crunch there to make me feel like I'm playing a game vs. re-taking my creative writing class.  Fantasy Flight's Star Wars.  I have a few issues with the engine, but I can play it.  It's fun.  FATE.  Too fluff.  Won't touch it.  Shadowrun?  I think that's an example of too crunchy.  If not for the IP, I'm not sure Shadowrun 5 sells.  (And I like 5th better than 4th, but it's still alot of lifting.)

Oh.. and.. seeing as you mentioned Spycraft 3.. <insert obligatory customer begging>. lol.
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