Wednesday, 16 July 2014

D&D 5

I've been a D&D player for over thirty years. My first rules were the Games Workshop printing of D&D, before any of the Advanced D&D rulebooks were published.

I've got copies of AD&D, D&D Second Edition, D&D 3, and I even have Pathfinder - sometimes called D&D in exile.

I don't own D&D 4. Why not? Because I've always wanted a roleplaying game that was good for telling stories. D&D 4 was a miniatures skirmish wargame with rolegaming tacked onto it. I wasn't impressed. By all accounts, nor were most players.

Now Wizards of the Coast are releasing D&D 5. The new rulebooks are coming out over the next three months, but the basic rules have been released in pdf form for anyone to download. So far, I like what I have seen. This is a game where the emphasis is on stories, not on rules or miniatures. Characters are based on their histories and their personalities, with the statistics being a secondary aspect. This is how, as far as I am concerned, it ought to be. What matters is being able to write a collaborative story.

Pathfinder had become far too baroque, with new rules for every detail rather than a simple system that allowed the GM and players to concentrate on the plot. And D&D4 was only interested in combat.

D&D Next seems to have swung the pendulum back towards what in my view should be the core to any game - being able to concentrate on the plot and the characters, rather than stats and rules.

I'll reserve full judgment until I see the rules - but they are firmly on my Christmas list.

And one detail that convinced me that WotC are on my wavelength was the disclaimer at the beginning of the basic rules. If you haven't yet read it and fallen about laughing, I reproduce it here.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, sticking appendages in the mouth of a leering green devil face, accepting a dinner invitation from bugbears, storming the feast hall of a hill giant steading, angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?”

 Someone at Wizards of the Coast understands rolegaming.

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