Some of you may recognize the image over there as the one created as an April Fool joke back in 2011. The reason I reposted it is really to just mess with your head. Calm down everybody. ;)
I've just finished reading through the D&D Next Playtest files. I was planning to write a breakdown of my feeling about each and every bit of it. I've got the notes right here - all my little scribbles and chicken scratching.
I'm not going to post them.
Why? Well, First off, I'm not sure exactly what I can say with the NDA - I need to read over that again as well - but honestly, It doesn't matter. No one really cares about all that minutia, anyway. So, I'll keep to larger, more sweeping observations.
In reading the rules, and taking a peek at other peoples' writings on the matter, I think it goes like this:
- If you want to like the rules presented in the D&D Next Playtest, you will, and
- If you do not want to like the rules presented in the D&D Next Playtest, you won't.
It's really simple as that. The ruleset is so basic, and the actual rules that would evoke interest or disgust are so absent from this playtest, that I think your mind will probably try to fill in the blanks with what it is expecting, for better or worse.
I'm not sure whether that is by design, or by accident.
So what do we really have here with the D&D Next playtest? I see this is an attempt to emulate old school style play using the 'language' of modern role playing games. There are a few mechanics that offer a different flavor - but none of them are too repulsive. The whole Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic intrigues the hell out of me. The en masse move of virtually all saving throws and checks to the Abilities appears to be wonderful.
I could see running the kind of D&D games I like to run with this very ruleset. I could see sitting down with a bunch of young punk gamers in a book store get-together, playing with them, and not projectile vomiting all over their manuals.
The big thing that worries me is the creeping in of character customization and specialization. Race - okay. Class - sure. Background - umm . . . well . . . hmm. Theme - umm . . huh? The character creation rules are absent from the playtest, so this minefield of a subject is just hinted at by the pre-gen character sheets.
Of course, I haven't playtested yet, so all my thoughts are worthless until put into action. Since one of our GM's games is on hiatus at the moment, I'll be running a playtest starting Wednesday. Crazy Ass Tim has got the lineup over on his awesome blog.
One thing I'll remind ya'll is that you must sign the NDA to playtest. This includes children. The boy is under 13, so of course he can't sign anything at all legally - but WOTC has provided something for me to sign, which allows his to play and give feedback to them.
If WOTC keeps on going in a good direction with this, I see 5e as something I would play. Not as my go-to game or anything, but as a game I could sit down with some kids and play without feeling the need for a shower. And really that what I am hoping for - a game that can get the punks and the grognards in the same room together - for at least a little while. Of course, I am filling in the blanks with my hopes and expectations (and fears) - as we are wont to do with anything in life.
P.S. - WOTC, if you are listening right now, why not take this simplified ruleset and publish it as BASIC D&D, then throw the kitchen sink in and publish that as ADVANCED D&D. Completely foreign and bizarre idea, I know, but it just might work!