Monday, June 18, 2012

Mike Mearls Talk About 5E on Reddit

So last Friday and Saturday, Mike Mearls did an AMA on Reddit answering questions about DnD Next (mostly...). You can find the entire thing at the link above, but here were some takeaway quotes (good, bad, and ominous from my point of view) I plucked out from the whole:
So, the key lies in establishing the limits in each area and then, most importantly, throttling way back on the flood of mechanics. We have to consider each spell, theme, or whatever with the same attention that the Magic team regards a new card.

I'd like to incorporate a core "swarm" rule into the game, an easy way for DMs to group up monsters into single attacks.

...the aim is to make combat much faster (unless you want long combats - we'll have optional rules for that).

The simple rules we've shown off so far are about as complex as we want the core.

[Our] goal isn't to make everyone happy by making a game. It's to make a range of options that any individual DM can modify and reconfigure to make the specific type of D&D they always wanted and that no other edition was able to exactly deliver.

I think that 4e fans will see more stuff they like - the tactical rules module, maneuvers for fighters, other magic systems - as we move along.

Favorite campaign setting is Greyhawk.

We're using the 4e rules as a starting point [relating to adventure creation], XP budgets for adventures that scale with the number of players and character level, along with all-in-one stat blocks and a fairly simply math system for creating monsters/NPCs.

A little over a year ago, we went back and played ever major iteration of D&D from 1974 onward. That was our starting point for creating a list of features that the game needed to support.

The idea behind XP budgets and CR is to give DMs a tool to judge lethality. What they do with it is up to the DM to build deadly fights or whatever. It doesn't mean that DMs can't do what they want.

We want to go back to 3e multiclassing, but I think we learned some very valuable things from the hybrid system in 4e.

I'm a fan of the OGL. I think it did a lot more good than harm. I wouldn't have this job without it.

The XP system is the kind of thing where I want to do a few different systems and have the DM pick one (XP for treasure, XP for killing, XP for meeting story goals, etc) to establish the tone for his or her campaign.

One of the key hang ups we have with healing is trying to find a way to make the cleric optional. So, we're definitely aiming to make it so that you can remove classes, races, or entire types of magic without screwing up the game's balance.

The healing rules are going to get a complete overhaul.

[On the best aspect of each edition:]
0e - The core concept of an RPG, a game without limits or rails that is adjudicated by another person.
1e - Character options, creating a sense of the world of D&D rather than just a dungeon.
2e - Crazy cool settings like Planescape and Spelljammer, kits and stuff that tied characters to the setting.
3e - An easy core mechanic, clear rules for combat, a game that can be modified.
4e - Core math to build stuff, much easier DM tools, tactical challenges.

7 comments:

Spawn of Endra said...

What does he mean he wouldn't have his job without the OGL? I feel that I should know what he's talking about, but since 4e and 5e aren't OGL it shouldn't have much to do with his job. Unless he means that if Pathfinder etc. didn't exist to outcompete WoTC, they wouldn't be working on 5e in the first place?

Joseph Bloch said...

He did work on more than a few d20 titles back in the early 2000's, before coming to WotC. Legends & Lairs, Arcana Evolved, Iron Heroes, the AEG d20 line, etc.

instantapathy said...

He's talking about where he got his start, in the OGL d20 stuff. Iron Heroes is still my favorite iteration on the 3e rule set.

Yggs said...

0e - The core concept of an RPG, a game without limits or rails that is adjudicated by another person.

- yet 5e supposes DMs will be able to make the sandbox anyway they want. no limits or rails for tournament games? Hah!

1e - Character options, creating a sense of the world of D&D rather than just a dungeon.

Um, bu the world of D&D includes the word DUNGEONS.

2e - Crazy cool settings like Planescape and Spelljammer, kits and stuff that tied characters to the setting.

Nothing good ever comes out of combining the words "crazy" and "cool".

3e - An easy core mechanic, clear rules for combat, a game that can be modified.

Clear easy rules that change! Who would have thought of that?

4e - Core math to build stuff, much easier DM tools, tactical challenges.

Easier DM tools? Maybe if you want to provide tactical challenges that won't live up to the name.

I like how the answers end on the question why did Monte Cook leave?

He kind of lost me where he said 4e was the most balanced game, but all-in-all a nice read with my chips and soda. Equally nourishing.

instantapathy said...

Well, there more answers if you hit the "show more" button at the bottom. But yes he didn't answer that question, and it doesn't seem like the parties involved want to talk about it more than vaguely.

I don't see a mention of tournament games, but of course tournament games will have whatever modules the tournament is decided to have... and if that specific game is run at different events it will still have those specific modules... but home gms will be able to play however they want, just like always...

D&D includes dungeons, but it's not all it has to be...

I dunno, both Planescape and Spelljammer strike me as crazy and cool settings (more Planescape for me than spelljammer to be honest)

The 3e mechanic was pretty easy... though I'd say there some murky parts of the combat rules (grappling, I'm looking at you), and the d20 mechanic was modded and used in all sorts of things like Mutants and Masterminds, d20 StarWars, d20 modern, and the various OGLed rule sets...

And 4e, in my experience, was one of the best and easiest Dming experiences I've had. It really does work to be easy to run, and have a lot of balance between the parts involved. Now, whether or not that balance is to the taste of the people involved... *shrug*

MM, tasty soda and chips hitting the spot when I want to relax and satisfy that snacking urge.

So, all in all I'm not really sure what your points are in there... so my reply may or may not really be applicable to them.

Boris said...

instantapathy:
"show more" aside, it was still funny irony.

Tournaments again for irony. Free of rules, as long as the rules are followed. Of course home gms will do as they will, that's the whole of the rules.

D&D includes dungeons, but it doesn't have to always go beyond it either.

Crazy cool is as crazy cool does. YMMV.

Every edition had/has its murky parts. Yes, even 4e.

1e, in my experience, was one of the best and easiest DMing experiences I'm having. It really does work and its easy to run.

Again, YMMV.

5e seems like a snack so far. May not be healthy long term, but now and then it might satisfy the dice munchies.

Oh, your reply certainly is applicable. Everyone's at the same buffet here. (now, I am getting hungry)

5e may get some of us to look at plug'n'play changeables and say, "hey why not give it a try?"

I guess I'm just not really seeing it yet.

JB said...

I don't know why, but Mearls just continues to rub me the wrong way.