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View Full Version : D&D Next Live Q&A with R&D 4-25-2014



Lokiare
2014-04-27, 07:03 AM
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/news/liveqa


Join us at 11 AM PDT this Friday (April 25th) for a live Q&A with Dungeons & Dragons R&D! Mike Mearls, Rodney Thompson and Chris Perkins will be there to talk about the new edition of the game, so come prepared with your questions.

Did anyone get to watch this. Looking around for info, it says that 5E is 95% done, and is basically in the bug squashing phase where no more major changes will happen.

Edit: You can watch it here: http://www.twitch.tv/wotc_dnd/c/4130889 Click highlights->Live D&D Q&A with R&D

Lokiare
2014-04-27, 08:09 AM
Interviewer "What do you do here at WotC Chris Perkens?"
Chris Perkens "I don't know."

Hilarious quote.

Mearls "We are nearly done. It plays like a finished game."

I think I'm done being supportive of 5E at this point. Time to enter criticism mode.

Rodney Thomas "Next milestone is a physical product being held in my hands"

They finally realize that re-inventing the campaign settings is bad. At least something good came from 5E right?

Mike Mearls "5E is higher than 95% done." Basically paraphrasing, its down to number adjustments and bug squashing.

The only things still in development are optional things like mass combat and tactical options.

Chris Perkens "we have the art, design, and layout...making sure everything fits" So basically they are getting the books ready for the print run and only minor text changes are going to happen at this point.

Rodney Thompson talks about the Fighter Battle Master being slightly more complex than a 2E fighter. You have 2-3 choices every round on whether you want to trip, push back, or help an ally.

Backgrounds are almost as good as 4E, but are in the DMG.

Tactical Grid Rules:

"I don't know what to say".

Instructions on how to use a grid.

Some optional rules for things like flanking. So we are back to 3.5E levels of tactical combat. Not even close to 4E levels.

Optional rules for hitting allies if you shoot through them, yay, more fantasy vietnam.

Legendary monsters still have legendary actions and their lair gets a turn in initiative. So basically a borked version of 4E solos that throw the rules out the window and break the action economy. I can hear it now, thousands of new players shouting at once "You are cheating, I'm rage quitting."

Basically they also admitted they don't have a handle on how DMing works, even though they created the game and have been DMing it for weeks or months now. I'm sorry, but if I was designing something I would know it inside out and know how everything works long before release.

They actually listened to my idea of using keywords like 'short rest' and 'long rest' and then having rules options that define them where a short rest is either 5 minutes, an hour, or a day. Now they just need to gut 5E and do that for all things.

Some good news, they are going to put out campaign settings for all times of each campaign, so people like me can go play in Dragonlance during the original book trilogy, instead of the all the nonsense that happened after that with AO and the gods leaving and all that crap.

Magic Items:
Commissioned a lot of magic item art for classic items, instead of you know, spending that money on testing them to make sure they don't break the game in half. "Trolls that are 5 levels above us, no problem I have a flame tongue, these guys are push overs."

"People don't play the game for the rules, they do it for role playing"
Despite the fact that we can play make believe without picking up a D&D book at all. I guess we don't need to buy another TTRPG book because we don't play the game for the rules. I can see it now "5E sales plummet."

More good news, I can rip the magic item description tables for 4E and everyone else can rip it for 3.5E or even Pathfinder. "You find a ring made of interlocking bones, with a holy symbol inscribed on it".

Randomly summoning a pit fiend: They had to wait for players to tell them they didn't like it on a wild magic surge to remove it. More proof they have no clue about the math or the mechanics. Level 16 monster gets randomly summoned at level 1, what could possibly go wrong with that? "As soon as I find out that he's a wild mage, I attack and kill him. Sorry, buddy, go roll up a new character I don't plan on dying every 20th time you cast a spell."

Its like every time I hear them talk or read one of their articles my respect for them goes down another notch. The only thing I can think after this one is "How are these people employed and I'm not?"

Downtime: Let's wreck any semblance of balance we have at all. DM "Ok, you guys are going to be in town for 3 months waiting on the caravan to show up before you can move on what are you going to do during that time?" Player "Sweet! I raise an army and then start a thieves guild for a secondary income. The Wizard over there can deck my army out with magic items and then we can roll over the BBEG like he's nothing in the next encounter." DM: face palm "Ok, who's for going back to playing 4E, 3.5E or Pathfinder? Heck, I'd be up for a good game of 2E at this point. Do they give refunds on opened books?".

Bounded Accuracy + Ability to raise an army and then arm them with magic items = Epic Fail

"Balance is meaningless" Yep, we could tell you felt that way, no need to tell us straight out.

All of this was typed while listening to the video so it might come off as disjointed. Anything that is not referenced that is in quotes is a quote from the video.

Seerow
2014-04-27, 10:40 AM
Mike Mearls "5E is higher than 95% done." Basically paraphrasing, its down to number adjustments and bug squashing.

The only things still in development are optional things like mass combat and tactical options.

Tactical options: Less than 5% of the game.

Sounds about right. And judging by earlier articles we're going to end up with bs facing rules and such rather than any actual tactical depth.

Kurald Galain
2014-04-27, 02:13 PM
"People don't play the game for the rules, they do it for role playing"

This is definitely true for me and several other players in my area. Of course, this makes us rather hesitant to buy any RPG book that has nothing but rules in it.

Lokiare
2014-04-27, 06:25 PM
This is definitely true for me and several other players in my area. Of course, this makes us rather hesitant to buy any RPG book that has nothing but rules in it.

If this is true, then why don't you quit buying RPG books and buy novels instead? That should work perfectly fine for you if the rules mean nothing. Its also possible that you think that the rules mean nothing, but instead its more about familiarity and complacency, in which case this is simply a form of self denial. So I say prove it. Play a completely rule free RPG and then come back and tell us if it was better than your preferred edition.

1337 b4k4
2014-04-27, 06:40 PM
If this is true, then why don't you quit buying RPG books and buy novels instead? That should work perfectly fine for you if the rules mean nothing. Its also possible that you think that the rules mean nothing, but instead its more about familiarity and complacency, in which case this is simply a form of self denial. So I say prove it. Play a completely rule free RPG and then come back and tell us if it was better than your preferred edition.

Defensive much? People play RPGs for lots of different reasons, and despite your insistences to the contrary, not every player plays the game for just 1 of the types of fun, and even the ones that do don't all play for your specific brand of that type of fun.

Of course what you're doing here is projecting your own straw arguments onto your opponents. To say "people don't play RPGs for the rules" is not to say that the rules aren't important or don't impact the game. It's just an acknowledgement that the rules are the method by which the game is conveyed, not the purpose of the game.

Seriously you need to start realizing that your reasons and purpose for playing the games you play the way you play them is not the only and may not even be the most common way and reasons.

Sartharina
2014-04-27, 10:48 PM
If this is true, then why don't you quit buying RPG books and buy novels instead? That should work perfectly fine for you if the rules mean nothing. Its also possible that you think that the rules mean nothing, but instead its more about familiarity and complacency, in which case this is simply a form of self denial. So I say prove it. Play a completely rule free RPG and then come back and tell us if it was better than your preferred edition.

Rules don't mean nothing, but they're not sacred, either. They are guidelines for resolving disputes and determining where the story goes in a hopefully fair, impartial, and interesting manner.

Stubbazubba
2014-04-28, 01:17 PM
If this is true, then why don't you quit buying RPG books and buy novels instead? That should work perfectly fine for you if the rules mean nothing. Its also possible that you think that the rules mean nothing, but instead its more about familiarity and complacency, in which case this is simply a form of self denial. So I say prove it. Play a completely rule free RPG and then come back and tell us if it was better than your preferred edition.

Yeah, you need to calm down and be just a tad bit more generous in your interpretations of text. Saying that people don't play games for the rules is self-evident: people play for the experiences they have when they play. Very few players reminisce about that cool rule, they reminisce about the interesting player characters, side characters, or villains, the crazy plots, the unimaginable dungeons, the epic victories or the hilarious defeats. That is what they play the game for. But saying that doesn't mean rules don't matter, because they do; the rules have a big impact on how consistently you can get those kinds of memorable results, so they need to be done well. But we don't play the games for the rules, they are an intermediary between the players and the experiences that are the goal of role-playing games.

Cool rules may be the reason we download a game to read it, but people who do that are in the extreme minority. I know you're going to want proof of this, so I'll just tell you now I don't have any, but go outside and find a local D&D group or two and tell me the percentage who have purchased/downloaded a game just to read it, not necessarily to play it.

Lokiare
2014-04-28, 06:41 PM
Yeah, you need to calm down and be just a tad bit more generous in your interpretations of text. Saying that people don't play games for the rules is self-evident: people play for the experiences they have when they play. Very few players reminisce about that cool rule, they reminisce about the interesting player characters, side characters, or villains, the crazy plots, the unimaginable dungeons, the epic victories or the hilarious defeats. That is what they play the game for. But saying that doesn't mean rules don't matter, because they do; the rules have a big impact on how consistently you can get those kinds of memorable results, so they need to be done well. But we don't play the games for the rules, they are an intermediary between the players and the experiences that are the goal of role-playing games.

Cool rules may be the reason we download a game to read it, but people who do that are in the extreme minority. I know you're going to want proof of this, so I'll just tell you now I don't have any, but go outside and find a local D&D group or two and tell me the percentage who have purchased/downloaded a game just to read it, not necessarily to play it.

This post is closest to the truth.

People don't consciously play the game for the rules, but they wouldn't get the memorable experiences they do out of the game without the rules being there. With bad rules you get bad experiences, otherwise everyone would have adopted 4E and made it the best selling edition of D&D ever. That didn't happen, so we know for a fact that rules matter, whether people are willing to admit it or not.

Saying you don't play the game for the rules and you could care less about the rules, just means you don't understand how the rules impact your experience. If you don't believe me go play a few sessions of F.A.T.A.L and then tell me how the rules didn't matter or get in the way of your group having fun (unless of course you are extremely mentally ill, then you might actually enjoy the game).

Edit: And for people that think I was having an emotional response in that last post, I wasn't. It was completely neutral. It was showing an extreme to show the absurdity of the viewpoint I was countering.

Stubbazubba
2014-04-28, 07:53 PM
People don't consciously play the game for the rules, but they wouldn't get the memorable experiences they do out of the game without the rules being there.

That's not necessarily true, either; great DMs have run great games in any system. They may have to fight or ignore parts of a given system to make it happen, but ultimately, the quality of your gaming largely comes down to the quality of your gaming group, not the system you choose. However, for a large number of cases (but short of an overwhelming majority), the system has to prop up a DM or a group. Even in the best-case scenario, an excellent DM will at some point slip up and its up to the system to carry him or her through those rough patches adequately.

No system, though, can make up for a truly bad DM or group of players, while an excellent DM and group of players can make up for the faults of any system (even if that means ignoring them). That's not the Oberoni fallacy, though; the system isn't cured because the group has fun anyway, it just means the system is not the ultimate arbiter of the group's fun.


Edit: And for people that think I was having an emotional response in that last post, I wasn't. It was completely neutral. It was showing an extreme to show the absurdity of the viewpoint I was countering.

There was no absurd viewpoint being put forth, you erroneously inferred one out of a completely innocuous statement and "countered" that. If you did so consciously, that's called strawmanning. If you didn't, it's a reading comprehension issue.

Kurald never once said rules weren't important or didn't matter, you made that up out of thin air and then arrogantly recommend he stop gaming to read novels instead. Maybe that's neutral in some bizarro world of sheer logic where words have no assumptive implications behind them, but when you tell people they're having fun wrong, it's an attack on that person's subjective experiences, the very experiences that we're all seeking when we play at all. And the fact that you cloak these attacks in self-aggrandizing "objectivity" and keep linking to one paper we've all read and apparently interpret differently just makes you unpleasant.

Sartharina
2014-04-28, 08:36 PM
And some people interpret/handle the rules of a system to a different degree.

For example, some players/DMs get caught up with the minutia of what a Skill check allows and strictly relies on the table and enumerated powers. Others see those as guidelines and examples of what to do, and take a more hands-off approach. Something I wonder about 3.5 is the last time one of them made an ability check to do something, instead of diving to find the right skill, feat, or spell to try to do what they wanted to accomplish.

The DMG in the Next playtest packet has the advice "Don't call for a Dex check just to cross a room." That serves one of two purposes:
1. It says to not be a jerk about forcing ability checks where they're not needed or wanted.

and more importantly, but I think is overlooked:

2. A dex check can be called for in order to cross a room in unusual circumstances.

Envyus
2014-04-28, 10:28 PM
I disagree with pretty much everything you posted Lokiare. But for now I am going to focus on this as


Legendary monsters still have legendary actions and their lair gets a turn in initiative. So basically a borked version of 4E solos that throw the rules out the window and break the action economy. I can hear it now, thousands of new players shouting at once "You are cheating, I'm rage quitting."


This is vastly vastly superior to 4e solos. The action economy gives players such a huge advantage over single large creatures and this allows single large creatures to be very threatening bosses. Instead of a sack of hp that will get stun locked into oblivion like in 4e. They don't throw the rules out the window they just have more options in the round. This in turn makes them more challenging.

Seerow
2014-04-29, 09:35 AM
I disagree with pretty much everything you posted Lokiare. But for now I am going to focus on this as


This is vastly vastly superior to 4e solos. The action economy gives players such a huge advantage over single large creatures and this allows single large creatures to be very threatening bosses. Instead of a sack of hp that will get stun locked into oblivion like in 4e. They don't throw the rules out the window they just have more options in the round. This in turn makes them more challenging.

I agree with this. 4e solos were already "cheating" if you are comparing them to player creation rules. Huge HP and defense bonuses out of nowhere? Big bonuses to saving throws? Why can't I play a PC with 4x more HP than anyone else?!

The Legendary Monster rules that were previewed are one of the few things out of next I've seen that I actually liked, along with their lairs. The action economy boost makes it feasible to run a solo encounter against a party, and that's a good thing because those kinds of encounters are iconic of the genre.

Lokiare
2014-04-29, 09:40 PM
Whether you use the rules exactly or not, they form the basis for the feel of the game. You don't go into playing 4E and expect it to 'feel' like 3.5E. You don't go into playing 3.5E and expect it to feel like 4E either. At some point the game is informed by the rules, whether the DM follows them exactly or uses them as guidelines, they are still there and still affect the game. Many people don't make this logical connection. No matter how much you house rule if you still follow 50% of the rules, then the game will dictate many things in the world. Just having vancian casting or 4E encounter recovery powers alone (if you threw out the rest of both editions) will give a very particular feel to the game. If you are throwing out 100% of the rules, then you are free forming and playing home theater and make believe. You are no longer playing D&D. At that point you might as well not even buy the edition.

As to 4E solos. No monster is created using the same rules as players, however they are all ruled by the same action economy and expected damage ranges. In 5E that is no longer true. It isn't that they changed up how solos work, its that they did it in such a cheap way. Here is an example of what might happen:

Wizard Player "I cast hold monster on the dragon, now that its used up all its saves on my lower level spells."
DM "Not so fast. It flies out of your range."
Wizard Player "But its my turn, why did that happen."
DM "That's just how legendary creatures work."
Wizard Player "By breaking the action economy and pre-empting our tactics. Forget this I'm playing something else where the developers don't have to cheat to make something work and where I can plan things out and expect tactics to play a role."

For anyone who thinks 4E solos 'break the rules' they don't. They take the role of around 3-5 creatures in a combat so they have the hp and attacks of 3-5 creatures. An excellent article on the subject can be found here:

http://angrydm.com/2010/04/the-dd-boss-fight-part-1/

Even if you ignore the articles house rule, its still an excellent article on how 4E solo's can be created.

I personally add this power to all solo monsters in my game:

Indomitable
No Action
At the start of each round the solo makes a saving throw against each negative condition or ongoing damage on it. If the condition doesn't normally allow a save, the solo takes a -5 penalty to that save.

That alone makes it harder to lock down a solo, while not robbing players of their agency. There is about a 45% chance every round that the monster won't be locked down on its turn.

I also like to use this one as an alternative for creatures like beholders or ettins or other creatures that normally have many attacks each round:

Supernatural
No Action
Each of the creatures Main Attack Powers gets an initiative roll. On the turn of the attack, the creature can make one attack with that power. Each time the creature is affected by a condition or effect, it only affects one of the Main Attack Powers or the creature itself. For things that affect movement like slow or immobilized, they always affect the creature itself. For conditions that affect attacks, they always affect the Main Attack Powers first.

This way the player sees progress if they use action denial on the creature, but they don't completely lock it down.

An example set of powers:

Ettin Ravager
[insert stats]

Main Attack Power: Left Club
Effect: Roll initiative for this power. On its initiative the Ettin makes a club attack.

Main Attack Power: Right Club
Effect: Roll initiative for this power. On its initiative the Ettin makes a club attack.

Club
Melee 2; +12 vs. AC
Hit: 2d12+6 damage and the target is pushed 2 squares. If it cannot be pushed it is knocked prone.
Special: this power can only be used by the Left Club and Right Club Main Attack Powers.

This make the monster equivalent to 2 lesser monsters possibly 3 with its ability to make saves at +5 and 2 action points.

Another Set of example powers:

Beholder
[insert stats]

Main Attack Power: Cause Wounds Eye Ray
Standard Action
Attack: +16 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8+20 necrotic damage.
Special: This power acts on its own initiative roll and can be affected by conditions that deny actions.

Main Attack Power: Freezing Eye Ray
Standard Action
Attack: +16 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d6+8 cold damage and the target is immobilized (save ends).
Special: This power acts on its own initiative roll and can be affected by conditions that deny actions.

Main Attack Power: Flaming Eye Ray
Standard Action Wall 8
Attack: +16 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d6+8 fire damage.
Miss: Slide the target to the nearest unoccupied square outside the zone.
Effect: The attack creates a zone that deals 1d6 damage to any creature entering it until the end of the Beholders next turn.
Special: This power acts on its own initiative roll and can be affected by conditions that deny actions.

Main Attack Power: Paralyzing Eye Ray
Standard Action Ranged 10
Attack: +16 vs. Will
Hit: The target is immobilized (save ends); First failed save: The target is dazed (save ends).
Miss: The target is slowed until the end of their next turn.
Special: This power acts on its own initiative roll and can be affected by conditions that deny actions.

Bite
Standard Action Melee 1
Attack: +18 vs. AC
Hit: 2d8+8 damage and the target is grabbed. Grabbed targets take 1d6 damage each round on the Beholders turn until they escape. The beholder can have only one creature grabbed in this way at a time. Grabbed creatures cannot use encounter or daily martial powers.

Anti-Magic Ray
Recharge 5-6
Standard Action Blast 7
Attack: +16 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target cannot use encounter or daily Arcane powers (save ends).

That is all completely within the rules for 4E and doesn't destroy the action economy. It also encourages tactics, rather than legendary creatures in 5e which encourage unloading on the thing everything you have on your turn.

1337 b4k4
2014-04-29, 09:56 PM
In 5E that is no longer true. It isn't that they changed up how solos work, its that they did it in such a cheap way. Here is an example of what might happen:

Wizard Player "I cast hold monster on the dragon, now that its used up all its saves on my lower level spells."
DM "Not so fast. It flies out of your range."
Wizard Player "But its my turn, why did that happen."
DM "That's just how legendary creatures work."
Wizard Player "By breaking the action economy and pre-empting our tactics. Forget this I'm playing something else where the developers don't have to cheat to make something work and where I can plan things out and expect tactics to play a role."


[CITATION NEEDED]

Nothing in what I've seen so far on what WotC has been saying about the legendary creatures implies that their off turn actions are unlimited or whatever move the DM decides. From what I recall of the Q&A example in the video, they stated that you have a Beholder monster stat block, they would then have "Legendary actions" that they could take as a legendary creature, and then there are another set of "Lair" actions that occur on the "Lair"'s initiative.

Sartharina
2014-04-30, 02:31 AM
Aye... I've not seen anything like that kind of action-economy breaking shenanigans in D&D Next. Instead, that sort of thing is loaded into late-run 3.5.

The "lair" rules for D&D Next make single legendary monsters a threat while keeping them acting on their turn (Though having them get multiple initiative counts isn't an issue, either), by making the lair essentially an extra enemy in itself that cannot be defeated until the Legendary Monster is destroyed.

And every one of those "Acts on its own initiative" powers breaks the action economy rules of 4e, because players don't get access to anything like that (By your own logic), nor do any player characters have the ability to count as two creatures in the initiative count - even characters with companions act in the same round.

Envyus
2014-04-30, 09:37 PM
Even from the Prototype rules for the black dragon it does nothing but encourage tactics. Unloading everything you have is more of a 4e solo thing. I am starting to think you are biased or determined to see everything in a negative light Lokiare.

captpike
2014-04-30, 10:07 PM
Even from the Prototype rules for the black dragon it does nothing but encourage tactics. Unloading everything you have is more of a 4e solo thing. I am starting to think you are biased or determined to see everything in a negative light Lokiare.

the faster you win the less resources you have to use in the long run.

unloading everything you have is more then just a 4e thing, its basic tactics. if you want to discourage it you need to design the system around it (like 13th age did). I am not saying its a bad thing, but its not a simple thing to do

Sartharina
2014-04-30, 10:52 PM
Unloading everything you have into a Legendary creature in D&D Next is a good way to waste powerful abilities on its auto-saves.

To try to discourage "spiking", they need to have abilities that either give diminishing returns on a full assault, or give the battlefield a rhythm that prevents spiking.

captpike
2014-04-30, 11:22 PM
To try to discourage "spiking", they need to have abilities that either give diminishing returns on a full assault, or give the battlefield a rhythm that prevents spiking.

the problem is if you try and hardcode this into the system you risk taking away alot of meaningful choices from your players. you could easily end up where you either can't control when your using your own powers (like some classing in 13th age) or where the round number dictates what power is going to be used.


DM: "ok its the start of round 2"
Player1: "ok that means I will use my best encounter power"

you could even have where everyone basically blows of the first round, because they can't use any power good enough to care about.

it is a problem worth looking at but it needs to be done with skill and subtly.
for example one thing I hated about some solo's in 4e was that they were made all but immune to conditions, so when I was playing a controller I might as well have not been there, that kind of problem needs to be avoided.
----
idealy you want something that still allows for a nova, but you get more total power if you spread it out.

let us say that the average power you put out is X for the first three turns, spreading out your limited resources. but if you nova you get 1.5X on your first turn, then .5X on your second two.

you can nova if you want, but it wont be an IWin button, and in long run it would often be better not to.

Noldo
2014-05-02, 06:21 AM
Unloading everything you have into a Legendary creature in D&D Next is a good way to waste powerful abilities on its auto-saves.

To try to discourage "spiking", they need to have abilities that either give diminishing returns on a full assault, or give the battlefield a rhythm that prevents spiking.

One way to discourage novaing and make choice of option more tactical could be that several options would do more if used against an opponent that is under some specific condition (bloodied, dazed, stunned,) together with giving several classes various methods to inflict those conditions.

If a druid goes first, should he go with something like entangle (possibly hindering the movement of opponents), if the same spell would also deal some damage, if the fighter is given an opportunity to daze the enemies first? Such a design could also encourage team work, where it would be highly beneficial for some characters to use options that enable others to use their big guns to maximal effect. And if it would be difficult for same character to generate and exploit the same condition (kinda like Dragon Age 2 did), the design would further encourage combined arms teamwork.