Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking at the Latest "Rule of Three": Crafting the Abstract Evolving Hit Points in D&D Next

The skeletons of dead editions of D&D reside within

1  Do you think mundane crafting has a place in D&D Next?

Yes—but we haven't figured out exactly where yet (that's one of those honest answers that almost make you feel the game designer's pain). The goal is to make sure the rules for crafting things are present, and that you can opt into being a craftsman if you want as a player, but that doing so doesn't consume a significant portion of the resources you need for adventuring (if it happens between sessions, what adventuring resources is it occupying?  the most valuable gaming resource is TIME). We've tinkered with putting it in themes, for example, as a benefit that you just get. (but if it's a benefit you "just get", is there actual crafting involved, or do you "just get" the item?  is this another part of the streamlined D&D Next where it's "No Roll required?")

 2  How do you see hit points evolving in D&D Next?

Hit points are a great example of an area of the game that we don't think needs any real changes. They have remained consistent in their use throughout the editions, and we think they are one of the touchstones of the game. We might tinker with acquisition (either you get them when you level - or you don't.  not much room to tinker.  changing the Hit Die may be considered a tinker, but it's changed so often between editions I don't think anyone is married to the size anymore) and recovery of hit points (more Second Wind shit from 4e I presume?  Sorry 4e fans, but your combats last forever because the Hit Point Pool regenerates faster that a Troll on crack), but the basic concept of hit points should remain unchanged.

 3  It seems like we might be able to use an abstract time unit for some things - the session. Is this something you guys are looking at in D&D Next?

Right now, no. A session can vary so widely not only between play groups, but also week to week, that such abstract measurements of time make it very difficult for the DM (or the adventure designer) to predict what resources the characters will have available to them. In fact, one of the goals right now is to make it even easier on the DM to predict how draining a particular adventure will be on the party, and design the adventure accordingly (this goes back to the "One Hour Play Sessions" goal from earlier.  Balance everything in 1 hour blocks.  Bland as all shit gaming if you ask me). Real-world time measurements make that much more difficult, because we might spend one session exploring and interacting with only a single combat encounter, and another engaged in a series of combat encounters. If my character has a combat resource that is per-session (shit, this is more of that 4e at will, encounter, daily shit, aint it?.  I don't want my fighter to be a caster of fighter moves and specials, I want him to be a fighter), it not only means the character is weaker in a multi-combat session, it also makes my decisions as a player tougher, as I now need to decide when to use my resource based on the expected contents of each session of play, instead of based upon the events that the character participates in.

Notice how they've been playing these posts closer to the vest the past few weeks?  Could it be all the folks (like me) that ponder their words and try to decipher their actual direction?

Shouldn't I wait until I have the game in hand to critique it?

No, because by then in will be too fucking late to fix it.

As I've said before, WotC should make the best D&D game possible AND THEN worry about whether it includes everybody's desires.  Because it won't.  The best D&D game possible won't please everybody but will be a rocking game none the less.  A game built to please everybody will fail and please very few.

Gelatinous Cube by Malcolm McClinton


  1. Well said. Now I will proceed to cackle in gleeful agreement.

  2. "more Second Wind shit from 4e I presume? Sorry 4e fans, but your combats last forever because the Hit Point Pool regenerates faster that a Troll on crack"

    I laughed out loud at this comment. I have played a fair bit of 4E (never knock it until you have tried it) and the fast hit point recovery makes games much less exciting. Especially with all of the ways to heal (and odd things like surges adding to zero and not to negative hit points).

    When you take out all of the risk the game is a lot less exciting.

  3. hmmm - gleeful cackling and laughing out loud - I must be doing something right ;)

  4. I feel that 5e will be the last edtion WotC will put out. With them mixing all of the edtions together in 5e,all they will have to do is to release all of the older edtion's. Oh wait...they did first already.
    Just a thought.......


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