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Friday, January 27, 2012

Time for Part III of Picking Apart the 5e Seminar - Modules

Q: How will roleplaying, combat and exploration be supported?
Mike: If we support those three things, we've covered about 90% of what's important in the game. The customization comes in at the table level. DM makes choices along with the players to craft their game. (What is the other 10%, do tell)
Jeremy: If a group wants more social interaction, the DM can choose the module that support that. If the group wants more tactical combat, then the group chooses those modules.  (Not to knock 4e, but it was designed to put an emphasis on combat.  Use of battle maps / grids left may DMs opting for pre-written adventures.  Doing your own in 4e is a PITA BTB.  Allowing for more social interactions is great, but using the term “module” is disconcerting for those of us raised on a “module” referring to The Tomb of Horrors such.)
Mike: For example, a mass combat expansion would have a basic, core system. Choose modules to play generals, etc. Are you seeing the mass combat from the top down, or from an individual's POV?  (So, you can have more then one mass combat module?  Yep, they've found an expandable market for themselves)
Monte: These choices have helped influence class design as well. This lets a combat-heavy fighter and an exploration-based rogue to both fulfill their roles well. Bards can still kick ass. Depending on what a player wants to do in/out of combat, there will be classes that well support that.  (This sounds like they aren’t trying to make every class equally effective in combat {4E}.  That’s awesome!  If I want to excel as a support class, I can.)
Mike: Swap the core class bits to make the character you want to play.  (I’d like to see this simple sentence in action)
Q: How will high level play work? 
Monte: Every edition of the game "breaks down" at a certain level. I don't think it breaks down, I just think it changes. I think 4E does the best of highlighting that high level change and being clear that things are changing. 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. We can also have other options, like building a castle, having followers and vassals. We can build that into what high level characters get. (I can be a 9th level Lord and have my troops and collect taxes again?  Nice!  Wait, this also sounds like there will be levels that are demarcation lines of sort.  Not so sweet)
Mike: 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. 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.  (They don’t have the answer yet, but they are working on it.  That not really much of an answer)
I’m thrilled that everyone being equally effective in combat is going the way of the dodo.  If I play a Bard or a Cleric, I don’t expect to deal the damage that a Fighter can.
I’m very interested in seeing how well this new idea of “modules” will work in actual play.  I can see it has the potential of making WotC some decent cash, as it can be released gradually as add-ons to the new edition.

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