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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is D&D Next "Close Enough to Emulate" the OSR, and is That Good or Bad?

I REALLY need to catch up on the latest release of the D&D Next rules, but as I'm sure others already are caught up, I pose the following questions to my readers:

- Are the rules close enough to the OSR to emulate OSR / Old School style gaming - or is this just a simplified 3x with some other pieces bolted on?

- Have they figured out the simple / complex - basic / advanced in the same campaign paradox that they were trying to implement? Does it do what it "says on the box"?

- If it can come close to Old School style gaming, is that good for the OSR in general or a sign of the forthcoming gaming apocalypse?

29 comments:

  1. I don't know if it'll be OSR. I'd settle for OGL. Then we can all just make clones of it.

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  3. When I looked at the ruleset they were purposing, it was tough to keep up with all the changes and I lost interest along the way, it looked as if they were attempting to take bits of every edition and put them together. I have no idea whether it will be good or bad if it emulates the OSR. Smarter people can figure that out. Either way I'll be getting the core books like I did for 4th ed and see what its about. And if someone want to play a game of D&D Next I'll have some idea how it works. Now I am going to say something completely stupid, but to me the OSR approach is not a system, its how I approach every game. I'm here to play.

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  4. I just hope they don't keep the name. What will they call the 6th edition in another 5 to 7 years? Stupid, stupid, naming conventions.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that Next is just the project's name and Dungeons & Dragons is going to be on the cover. 4E didn't have edition number on the cover.

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    2. I believe they said at Gencon that by release time it won't be called "D&D Next" anymore. I assume it'll just be released as 5th Edition, or maybe 40th Anniversary Edition.

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    3. I never liked how "D&D Next" only sounds okay when abbreviated. "Dungeons and Dragons Next" sounds clumsy.

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  5. Just my opinion, but even in its simplest form, avoiding options like feats and skills, 5e is still much more complex and "modern" feeling than OSR games. It feels kind of like 3x/Pathfinder/4e lite right now. That isn't a bad thing, but I think a purist just coming from something like OD&D would still have a "Huh?" look on their face reading through it. It feels like WOTC-era D&D to me, if that makes sense.

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    1. I imagine that it would be hard for anything produced by Wizards of the Coast to feel like anything but a Wizards of the Coast era game - of course a company as productive as Wizards could surprise us, but I just don't see it.

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    2. My play tests so far have suggested it's actually a bit simpler than AD&D in actual play, although OD&D is a different beast entirely. I don't think the design right now would emulate OD&D necessarily, but I could easily see picking up pretty much any OSR module (or even 3E module) and running it with 5E. If I had to point to any one edition that I am finding 5E closest to, it is 2nd edition, in terms of the very modular approach to backgrounds (kits) and feat groups in the latest playtest (which are also sort of like kits now). The spell mechanics are simpler in DDN than they ever were in the 3E-4E era, actually.

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  6. Even if D&D Next can "emulate OSR / Old School style gaming" it won't be worth purchasing! Why spend a hundred bucks to buy pretty artwork to emulate what I do now with my original white box and the help of my creative friends in the OSR community for free?

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    1. Well said.

      If the new D&D is NOT like Old School D&D, I don't WANT it. If it IS like Old School D&D, I don't NEED it. So WotC can ring up a "no sale" from me in either case.

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  7. I think a lot of people will jump ship because the brand name still has a lot of pull, but I don't think D&D5 will kill the OSR. The OSR may have had its origins in dissatisfaction with D&D4 -- and even that's not the whole story -- but it's evolved beyond that and can stand on its own, regardless of what WotC do or produce.

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  8. i think that wotc design team is first and foremost having paizo crowd in their cross-hairs. and i feel that PF crowd is more or less pleased with what they got. just last night i played some DCC with my regular group and you could tell that three regular PF players felt frustrated by the open-ended and loose rules of the DCC. at one point one of them asked 'what does distinguish one warrior from another in DCC?' and i was like 'player, dude'. that has left them speechless but they still insist that they positively hate DCC rules for the 'lack of options'.

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    1. Why do they particularly need to be "distinguished" anyway?

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  9. I'm not too dialed in to Next. I've downloaded the playtests, and read through them, but I haven't played with them. The last full set I downloaded was over 300 pages, which is a lot of printing for a playtest. As for its potential impact on the OSR, I think that depends less on the actual rules that finally get released, and more on WOTC's business practices. Too many option books, especially for PC generation, at $30-40 each, can really tax a player base. If Next turns into another 4e, wherein you MUST use software (pay-to-play software, at that) in order to generate characters, the OSR will chug merrily along.

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  10. I can't see what the downside would be if it can emulate OSR-style play. What's the bad side to having a new, well-supported version of D&D that lets you play that way, and gives a common rules basis for both old school and new school styles of play? Or that puts out more material you can retrofit back to your OSR system or retrofit forward your OSR stuff into the new stuff?

    I'm convinced "old school" is a style of play, not a rules issue. But if the rules have a lot in common, well, that just makes switching between your preferred set and another set easier. That gives you more stuff to play with and potentially more players to play with. I mean, would it be better if the new version of D&D made old school style play impossible or was totally incompatible with OSR rules sets and concepts?

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    1. "I'm convinced "old school" is a style of play, not a rules issue."

      This is true to some extent, but it's also possible to create a set of rules that actively discourages Old School play. For example, if character creation took a very long time and combats were ridiculously prolonged and not very deadly. Just as, you know, a random example.

      "I mean, would it be better if the new version of D&D made old school style play impossible or was totally incompatible with OSR rules sets and concepts?"

      Since I intend to spite WotC by not buying from them under any conceivable circumstances, it would be just as well to me. Someone with a less malicious attitude toward the company might feel differently, I guess.

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    2. I didn't say rules couldn't affect play style. Of course they can, but that's not the point. But if a new Dnd can play well in an old school style, I'm just not seeing any downside. Even if you ignore the supplements due to spite, it's not hurting you that they're out there.

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  11. It's not ready yet, and most of the playtest was about mid complexity game, until the 2nd last packet, which was the simple version.

    My problem with feats, etc. isn't that those are too complex, but choosing if I should put +1 to x or y isn't interesting choice.

    Why should fighters need to select if he can make attacks against only multiple ranged or melee targets instead of doing both. Instead of being masters of all arms, fighters are kenseis (or what ever is plural for kensei).

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    1. Forgot to add that I've no opinion if it's good or bad for OSR, and WotC has been converting AD&D modules in their virtual magazine.

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  12. I remember a post on the WotC website from about a year-and-a-half ago or so. Monte was still on the design team. It talked about the different "playing styles" fans of different editions liked: according to them, BX/BECMI fans like simple rules, and 2nd Edition players like to tell stories in their game. I forget what the other "playing styles" were, but they were about as useless.
    5E will not be able to emulate old school gaming, because the designers don't understand it. When thinking about gaming styles they get no further than "role-playing vs. roll-playing" or Robin's Useless Laws of Roleplaying. None of which are adequate to describe different gaming styles as they're actually played.

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  13. At this point I'm interested in it for the first time since the original iteration of the public playtest over a year ago. I don't know yet how it's likely to turn out or if it'll be very OSR-supportive but I'm starting to believe that they at least have some clue of where they're going.

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  14. Sorry. I lost hope in D&D Next, 5E or whatever.. It basically looked like Stripped down back to D20 or 3E rules with options to make it more basic.. such as dropping skills. Doesn't matter what it does, it plays like 3E. I have no problem with that, but its NOT OSR. So they should stop lying to themselves, and just face the truth. Their aim is to steal the Paizo fans back.. Which will not happen.

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  15. I'm not sure why everyone in the OSR seems to obsess over new rules and new retroclones.

    Isn't the point to play the original D&D, either white, Holmes, BX, or AD&D. And all those actual, genuine rules are available.

    The OGL exists to write adventures and splat books.

    Who gives a shit if Next can emulate anything? We have the rules we want to use, and have since 1974, 80, etc etc even without OSR rewrites.

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    1. It depends where you live, if it's easy to get printed products or not, so retroclones can be easier to get for reasonable price and shipping costs.

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  16. i am not obsessing but i feel that the best thing to emerge from OSR movement is DCC rpg. and it is new.

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