Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Obligatory 5e Playtest Materials Post

No worries. A good night's rest will take care of those
3rd degree burns!

Or, Why I Seriously Doubt I'll Ever DM 5e.

There's stuff I like about the fledgling 5e.

There's also shit I don't like, mind you.

Hypothetically, it could turn into a game I'd be interested in running.

If the feedback they receive isn't overwhelmingly in favor of ditching the stuff I like, in an attempt to turn it into 4e Take II.

If the majority of the feedback goes in the exact opposite direction, dumping a bit more of the 3e influences, as well.

Based upon my cursory reading of WotC's forums, as well as EnWorld, the company's current fanbase isn't too enamored of those features of the game which I find admirable.

And of course, they tend to favor many of the things which I don't like, at all!

I suspect that by the time it's said and done, 5e will have moved even further away from the kind of game I like to run.

I Don't Expect Too Many Old School Influences to Survive the Playtest

If WotC's current customers comprise the main playtest participants, then it's a fairly safe bet that the end result will be pretty damn far from suiting my tastes.

But, well...

So what?

I've already got enough D&D editions/printings/clones/variants.

I've got my DIY D&D magic wand.

And if I'm in the mood to run something different?

No Matter What WotC Ends Up With, There's No Fucking Way It'll Be As Groovy As DCC!

No. Fucking. Way.

And I don't feel the need to compromise, just so I can play the "current edition" of Dungeons & Dragons.

The Compromise Edition

So, some Old School philosophy, married to a stripped down 3e, a dollop of 4e, a healthy dose of 2e and C&C. A smidgen of LotFP. Overall, they didn't do a bad job. But, there are places where they're mixing oil and water.

In places, the thought process of the designers, the path of Compromise, is glaringly, obviously evident.

Some folks seem fine with that. They'll houserule it in the direction they want it to go.

Or, wait for the "module" from WotC, to move the game into their preferred style of play.

Many gamers seem genuinely happy with how things are developing. I hope they get the RPG they want.

So, will the "Old School" Module make 5e something I would choose to run?



Because anyone sitting at my table, who likes the idea of playing 5e with the "Old School" module, would in all likelihood be just fine with playing a TSR edition or Retro/Neo Clone.

In fact, they'd probably Prefer it!
My copy has the Keep, as well as the Caves.

And unless WotC can put out an edition that I like so much, that it breaks into my shortlist of faves, I have no real reason to run the game.

What little bit they've put out so far, is nowhere near that shortlist. That's not going to change. Not unless they want to totally alienate their current fanbase.


Got a game Friday. There's a chance the party might end up at a certain Keep, Bordering certain Lands.

A module I'd much rather run with OSRIC. Where Fighters don't do damage when they miss, Magic-Users don't have unlimited Magic Missiles and the PC's don't regenerate, without at least having a Ring, or something.


  1. Kinda my feelings on it. Nothing against the new edition, I just don't need it. But, if it meshes with the old stuff, maybe it means more people will be able to use my Nod stuff with it - that would be cool.

    1. I reckon that's the thing. As someone who likes all editions of D&D (am I a nonesuch?), this version already seems like the one that will have me breaking out adventures from prior editions and adapting stuff from the osr.

  2. "unless WotC can put out an edition that I like so much, that it breaks into my shortlist of faves, I have no real reason to run the game." Well said!

    And then there's this: "Where Fighters don't do damage when they miss. . . " Please explain!

    1. The Fighter in the playtest has a "feat." When he misses in combat he still does damage (his strength bonus, if I recall correctly.)

    2. Not wanting to use profanity on your fine blog, but I call bulls**t on that one.

      Luckily the game soc. I play with has a high regard for the kind of old schools stuff that seems to interest you. Apart from a brief and ill0advised dip into the murky pool that was 4th ed the year it came out, people seem way happier with anything that dropped before 3rd.

    3. You can say bullshit on my blog.

  3. What if the playtest purposely started with Old school elements they intend on removing as the playtest moves along? Something to get us all reading it but eventually arriving at what you suggest above?

    The only question I am asking is this: Do you take the playtest at face value?

    1. I think they'll ultimately be moving in whichever direction the majority of the wind is blowing. They're probably being a little disingenuous, but no more so than you would expect of any corporation.

      That said, I think Mr. Mearls really does want a game that's more traditional RPG and less tactical miniatures skirmish game.

      But, he's trying to keep one foot in the old school and one in the new and I don't know how many gamers are going to be willing to straddle that divide. Judging from the pt docs, the design team is quite ok with including... elements that wouldn't sit well, with many of the gamers whose sensibilities regarding simulation, are more in line with TSR era D&D.

  4. off topic, I work with the guy who painted that first image. he's become really well-known, but I still get a kick every time I see his stuff in some unexpected place.