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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Grumpy Dwarf Chews The Chat - Mike Mearls D&D Next Chat Session (Part 2)

link to part 1 of the chat, with Grumpyisms ;)

11:31
Mearls: Next!

11:32
Jeremy Crawford:
My favorite new condition is intoxicated. ;)  (isn't it for most dwarves? ;)11:32
Comment From Mike 
How are we going to provide feedback on the open playtest?
11:33
Mearls: We'll have a series of surveys we're sending out  OMFG!  Enough with the fuckin' surveys!  Have you read the surveys at the WotC site Mike? 

Do you take potty breaks during your D&D Sessions?  YES ? NO?  

Should D&D sessions be shorted to eliminate the need for potty breaks?  YES?  NO?  MAY I FUCK A TURNIP?

I also think that we might have a dedicated forum on the site for discussion, but I think Trevor might now more about that. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for us to capture feedback, while also reaching as wide an audience as possible.  (wide audience = open playtest w/o NDA or sign up requirements)
11:33
Mearls: BTW, the surveys are being put together by the folks at WotC who do that for a living (shit!  that means the same asses that write them at the end of every post on the WotC site... sigh).

11:33
Mearls: Next!

11:34
Comment From The Mormegil 
I know your top one priority is making the game feel like D&D, but those of us who do not notice any distinctive feel in D&D (which may also be true of those hoping to find a D&D feel in the game) and would like to help too may need a direction for their efforts. What are you looking for in this playtest? What do you expect from it?

11:35
Jeremy Crawford: We also want to know whether the game is enjoyable for you, whether the rules make sense, and whether is evokes a swords-and-sorcery feel. (has D&D really been a Swords & Sorcery game by default?)

11:36
Mearls: There are two ways to look at it.

if you're a long-time D&D fan, the playtest should feel like you're coming home again. (long time 4e?  3e?  old school?  can you really accomplish that with such divergent expectations?) We want the rules to be easy to use, rulings simple to make, and the game to move at a good pace. All while feeling like D&D at its heart.  (how about feeling like D&D in its Soul?)
if you don't have a particular attachment to D&D or its specific feel, then the game should be fun to play, interesting to run, and an overall good fantasy RPG.

Our biggest goal is making sure that the core rules are easy to understand, easy to use, and fully functional.  (that should apply to any set of RPG rules)

11:36
Mearls: Next!

11:36
Comment From Tara 
What were some of the major changes from the last few days?  (did you all catch this in the first part of the chat?  major fucking changes the week before putting the play test in the public's hands!  that does not bode well)

11:36
Jeremy Crawford:
Haha!

11:36
Mearls: Hmmm... is there anything we haven't changed in the past few days?

11:37
Jeremy Crawford:
One of my favorite changes from this week is adding more flavorful effects to some of the cantrips.

11:37
Mearls: I did a review of our weapon table, and I think the spear was the one weapon I didn't comment on. Probably the biggest things are rogue schemes (no idea what this is - must have missed something when i read the rogue write up) and cleric domains.

11:38
Jeremy Crawford:
Yeah, the rogue has really come into focus this week. (just in time for the playtest)
11:38
Mearls: Yes, cantrips that you use to attack are basically utility cantrips that have a way you can use them against creatures. The ignite cantrip lets you start fires, whether its lighting a torch or a goblin's butt. (of course, because as we know, every D&D game session needs fire and torture - and burning the goblin's ass covers both)
11:38
Mearls: Next!

11:38
Comment From Kamikaze Midget 
Can you tell us about anything you guys have discovered in focusing the game on the entire adventure, rather than on the individual encounter? (hasn't the focus usually been the entire adventure, or did that change with 4e?  wait, 4e has Encounters as an RPGA event.  never mind)

11:38
Jeremy Crawford:
The poor goblin and his butt.

11:40
Mearls: The biggest thing is making it OK for one character to own a particularly encounter. If the wizard casts sleep and KOs a group of six kobolds, that's OK. In the next encounter, the rogue might sneak up on the kobold shaman and gank him, or the fighter blocks a doorway and takes down a wave of attackers. Same goes for characters with good social abilities, and so on.  (wow.  you mean characters don't have to be balanced by the encounter, but but the adventure as a whole?  that's novel.  yes, i'm being sarcastic, as this is nothing new)

11:40
Mearls: It also means for a much faster game - characters contribute in each encounter, but we can let someone shine without feeling that everyone must have at least 4 or 5 turns to do their thing. (4e, they are talking to you kid!)

11:41
Jeremy Crawford: There is a tremendous amount of world texture that we can include when there isn't pressure to make everything count in every single combat encounter (my god but 4e must be a tedious fucking game). We can include character options that speak to social situations, exploration, traveling on the high seas, hopping into other planes of existence, and so on, without segregating those options into little buckets. (okay - I'll take your word for this jerry)

11:42
Mearls: It also means that "unbalanced" options are more viable. For instance, in one adventure the characters fought a gang of hobgoblins. One of the hobgobs was a beast master who used a whip and a prod to drive a pair of giant scorpions forward. The rogue sniped the beast master, so the scorpions turned around and had their revenge on the tribe. (but a wizard casting glitterspray and grease to take out the evil cleric is overpowered?  overpowered or just a bit of prejudice against spell casters?  which is it Mr Iron Heroes?)

11:43
Mearls: It ended the fight pretty quickly, but it made for a fun adventure. The characters ended up luring the scorpions into a room with a window, locking them in there while the rogue climbed out. (sounds like a little DM Fiat in use there.  not complaining, just remarking)
11:43
Mearls: Next!

11:43
Comment From Brian 
How do you plan on handling the discrepancy between the 4e-style spells for wizards/sorcerors (Powers) vs the older-style spells (A lot of very unique and varied spells)? Would both styles of play get along nicely in a game?

11:43
Jeremy Crawford:
Yes, they get along together very nicely. :) (glad you think so jerry)

11:44
Mearls: We have some potentially interesting ideas for the warlock vs. sorcerer vs. the wizard. I can't say much, but when you have two or three classes using arcane magic, you have room to maneuver. In 3e the warlock was sort of 4e-like, as was the binder. I think we can make room for both in a way that makes those classes unique and fun. (whatever... the real question is which method is used with the core class?)
11:45
Mearls: The great thing about classes is that you can have a spell slot system, a spell point system, and a power system all in the same game. (just so long as it's not in the same class)

11:45
Mearls: Next!

11:45
Comment From Somnambulant gamer 
Everyone's incredibly excited about this initial offering, do we know what kind of timeframe we're looking at for materials to generate new characters and a chance to see more of the core classes that will be released?

11:45
Jeremy Crawford:
Even in the playtest spells, you will see elements from classic spells and elements from powers.

11:45
Mearls: Let me check our schedule. It's on a white board on the other side of my desk... AFK

11:46
Jeremy Crawford: We plan to roll out character-customization options this summer.  (this will be the point where we do more than just kick the tires - this will be the true test drive)

11:46
Mearls: OK, if things go smoothly you'll have that stuff before the end of the summer. Keep in mind that feedback is a part of this, and it's all contingent on how much we need to change based on round 1.

11:46
Mearls: Next!

11:47
Jeremy Crawford: And we'll roll out other classes bit by bit. Since our focus is on collecting feedback, we are not going to release too much at once. We want to make sure each part of the game gets the love it deserves.

11:47
Comment From Andrew 
Can you comment on adventure pacing versus the wonder of magic? In 3e, PCs were often required to rest after the cleric/wizard were out of spells, regardless of the state of the rest of the party. In 4e, everyone can keep going until out of surges, but there was less "magical pizazz" across the classes -- a sword being a magic missile being a druid's claw.

11:49
Jeremy Crawford: We have been striving to connect pacing to concrete things in the game world: magical resources, such as spells; hit points; and various options that might rely on a character expending some of his or her vitality.  (point system code word?)
11:49
Mearls: That's a great question. We want magical to feel magical yet rooted in the world. The cantrip thing ties into this. Cantrips aren't specifically made to blast people, but a cantrip you use to create a small amount of acid as part of an alchemy experiment can also be a useful weapon. Spells should feel magical and maybe even mysterious in some way.  (this sounds intrguing.  i like it.  see, i'm not a total fucking grump)
11:49
Mearls: For instance, going back to cantrips, we specifically didn't want to just make a spell that was the same as a crossbow but it did fire damage. That sells magic short, IMO.

11:49
Mearls: Next!

11:49
Comment From Somnambulant gamer 
You mentioned all casters have at-will spell "options" now. Are these class features, or tied into the themes or backgrounds?

11:50
Jeremy Crawford: Both!  (huh?)
11:50
Jeremy Crawford: The cleric and the wizard get them, and some backgrounds and themes offer them.

11:51
Mearls: Yes, both. At-will spells come with classes. Rogues and fighters can opt into that if they want (wait, all classes can get "at will magic powers?  isn't this 4 e in just a new package?). I'd also like to at some point offer an option for a non-at-will magic game, but we received overwhelming feedback in favor of at-will magic. That feedback was largely edition independent. (largely independent of any edition prior to 3e perhaps? so mike, this is the game that will bring back the old school players, cause i dont see it)
11:51
Mearls: Next!

11:52
Comment From Preston 
What races will be in the play test? Do you see race or culture as being a driving force behind a characters mechanics?

11:52
Jeremy Crawford: Yeah, when playing a spellcaster, many people like to feel like a spellcaster all the time and not have to resort to a crossbow--or a dart! (huh?  oh, this is an answer to the previous question)
11:53
Jeremy Crawford: The classic four will be in the playtest: dwarf, elf, halfling, and human. (gnomes always get the short stick)

11:53
Mearls: Halfling, human, dwarf, and elf. We're actually doing a mix of race and culture with our approach. A high elf and a wood elf share some innately elf things, but also get some things distinct to their specific culture.  (again, no complaints with this approach)

11:53
Jeremy Crawford: Right out of the gate, you'll see the high elf, for instance.

11:53
Mearls: Next!

11:53
Comment From HustontheTodd 
What I love about 4e is the ease with which I can throw an encounter together. What can I expect from dndnext to make adventure building fun?

11:54
Jeremy Crawford: While Mike answers that, I'll say something else about race. A thing I love about our current approach is that you don't just pick your race, such as dwarf. You also pick what kind of dwarf you are.  (Hill, Mountain, Dueger?)

11:55
Mearls: 4e provides the standard we're using for DM tools and adventure building. My goal is to do a mix of basic D&D - which was fairly step-by-step - combined with 4e's approach, though focusing more on the adventure as a whole rather than encounters. We also know that DM experience plays a big role in how people approach adventure and campaign design, so we want to offer a lot of options including "roll lots of dice and randomly determine everything" to "do whatever you want."  (i'm not really sure what to make of this - mark this as a wait and see)

11:55
Mearls: Next!

11:55
Comment From RupertDnD 
Are Fighters getting cool stuff too, like powers or maneuvers?

11:56
Jeremy Crawford:
The fighter gets to carry my wizard's tea! (now that's fucking funny!)

11:57
Mearls: Right now, we're keeping the fighter fairly basic but giving you those options in feats. (wait, i thought you could only get feats in a kit - or whatever the hell they call them in 5e) However, the fighter does get a couple unique mechanics to make him different. This is definitely an area where we're looking at feedback, but so far people seemed more concerned with getting at-will magic that in making manuevers something all fighters automatically get.  (more about the at-will magic... sigh)
11:57
Mearls: And to be clear, right now if you spend a feat for maneuvers you're getting a whole suite of options to use, not just one thing. (so, it's not just kits then)

11:58
Mearls: Also, I don't think the first pregen fighter has maneuvers to start with.  (psych!!!)
11:58
Mearls: Next!

11:58
Jeremy Crawford: We're committed to giving fighter players interesting tactical options, but we also want to make it possible to play the simple basher. Feedback is usually split on wanting both types of fighter.

11:58
Comment From Jozh 
Prestige Classes/Paragon Paths? In or out?

11:59
Mearls: We're not sure yet. One of our next big tasks is to look at high level play and how things might evolve beyond class. If we do paths or prestige classes, we want to make sure that they fit into the overall Next system in an organic way, We don't want to just bolt them in.  (they just finished the 1st level pretest characters between last week and this week - i'd be afraid if they were thinking high level,as low levelisn't even set in sand yet)11:59
Mearls: OK, one more question then I have a lunch meeting.

12:00
Comment From EdofDoom 
Are there any obvious tanking mechanics in the new edition? Something that guarentees a wizard in the back doesn't get ganged up on by people running past the fighter?  (Ah, obligatory MMORPG question)
12:00
Jeremy Crawford: Our initial high-level playtests were a hoot and included elements similar to paragon paths / prestige classes, but we're still exploring options.

12:01
Jeremy Crawford: There are definitely ways for one character to protect another. We have a whole theme dedicated to the concept, in fact, but you won't see a tank per se in the first batch of five characters.  (and depending on the feedback, that theme may be invalidated.  please call back later)

12:02
Mearls: There are two things. First, creatures grant cover. So, cowering behind people is a good idea. (now that's heroic gameplay for ya!) That said, the basic option for that rests in a theme right now. My feeling on tanks is that it's best if a player wants to do that, rather than saying an entire swatch of characters are assigned that when a player might want to be a fighter to be good in combat.

I'd rather it be clear that a player has taken a theme to do that and is getting into it because that's what the player enjoys doing in D&D.
12:02
Mearls: Thanks for the questions, everyone. This was a lot of fun. I've asked Trevor to capture the questions we couldn't get to so we can cover them before the playtest launches.  (they sure as hell wont be answering any of mine)12:02
Jeremy Crawford:
Yes, thank you, everyone!
12:03
Trevor: Alright, that wraps things up for the Q&A! Thanks everyone for all the great questions. We weren't able to get to them all, but as Mike mentioned, we will be trying to answer as many as we can in future articles and conversations.

2 comments:

  1. What I see here is that they really have no game and not enough new ideas to make even a basis of a game.

    Encouraging me even further.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe if we are very lucky the playtest will be a fiasco and they will decide to just make all previous editions, 0-4, available POD.

    ReplyDelete

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