Monday, May 21, 2012

Mike Mearls Keeps on Spinning

I just looked at Mike Mearls latest post over at the WotC website. This one deals with Hit Points, Hit Dice and Healing. I'll have more on that later, as will the Grumpy Dwarf.

No, for me, something else stuck out in Mike's latest.

Mike's last four posts were dealing with the core four classes. Detailing the niches they would fill in D&D Next. I didn't agree with many of Mike's ideas, but I did see where he was trying to ensure each of the classes had their own roles.

With this post, Mike now states that no class is needed. Clerics especially aren't needed - Hit Dice are your 5e Healing Surge - have at it.

The funny thing is, no class is absolutely needed in any edition of D&D. I've run an AD&D campaign without a magic-user in the party and an AD&D 2e campaign without a cleric in the party. It requires your players to use different tactics, but that is part of the challenge of any RPG - working with less than an ideal party make up.

My current ACKS campaign has lacked a cleric in the party for the first three sessions. I haven't made adjustments for that fact as the DM - but my players have. They've played carefully and smartly. All without a cleric. All without healing surges.

Mike, how can you balance a game for one on one play (DM and one player) and regular group play without making the classes equal in everything (just changing the flavor) - pretty much just like 4e?

Again, yet another step away from the lip service paid to Old School Gaming Sensibilities that the D&D Next team trotted out at the announcement of the new edition.

At this point, 5e looks more like 4e with an optional grid than the game that was to unite fans of all the editions. Not a surprise really. The departure of Monte left the 5e team with full of 4e designers.

Thursday will sure be an interesting day.


  1. Head to EnWorld, for a short interview with MM. And more backing off, from the supposed "old school" core. Now, it's a "wouldn't that be nice," idea, instead of being at the core of the game:

    "While themes are by no means complete, I’d love it if you could play the game without them and need only minimal or no modifications by the DM. That would be a good option for groups that want a slimmed down experience or who simply don’t want feat-style abilities in the game. For instance, our assumption for now is that if you want to build NPCs using classes, you don’t have to give the NPC a theme or background. That speeds things up considerably, while pointing us in a direction where PCs could also do that."

  2. For what it's worth, attempting any sort of solo one-on-one play with the 4E rules was very difficult. That particular edition was clearly balanced with group play in mind and some classes are functionally useless or mitigated unless you've got someone else in the party to bounce stuff off of. To run 4E solo, you need to have lots of statted henchmen and NPCs, basically. I've found it much easier to run one-on-one games in all prior editions of D&D (and back in the old days with AD&D 1st and 2nd I regularly ran games for 1 or 2 players without any trouble). So....maybe that's what Mike is aluding to?


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