Thursday, July 3, 2014
Basic D&D v 0.1 Is Out
We had played the beta for Next and were impressed. I thought that it was a nice take on OD&D, but I worried it was ripe for abuse by over-enthusiastic game designers. I've seen more Franken-D&D's in my life than I ever wanted to, and Next certainly had the potential to run off the rails big time.
D&D Basic is different than the last version of Next I was exposed to. It's pared down, to it's essentials - yeah - but that's a given. There was some rules that I expected to see - but are not there. I'm not sure what is still covered with the NDA, so I won't get into it, but yeah - odd. I think they may have been additional complications that the designers just didn't want to clutter the place up with.
But what IS in the Basic Rules is very cool. The document is well written and organized. I like how it feels "DONE," even if it really isn't. I enjoyed the references to a variety of pre-existing D&D worlds - Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Greyhawk - and mentions of known characters like Tika Waylan. Maybe those references are too much for a new player - maybe they are innocuous and will go over the newbie's heads. But the part where a player named 'Bob' was creating a dwarf character named 'Bruenor,' well, I really couldn't do anything but laugh and smile.
Clearly they are courting old folks like me - but I don't mind some courting - yanno?
No tongue though.
What about the actual rules? Well, that is what my son and I were discussing. Wizards with d6 Hit Dice? Clerics with spells at 1st level? Humans have +1 in everything? What kind of madness is this? Okay, yeah, we've been playing a LOT more archaic D&D that anything new in quite a while, so we were trying to when and where particular features that we were seeing showed up in D&D - like that shift from d8 to d10 for fighters, etc.
The Boy was really excited about the Lightfoot halflings - but was really bummed out about the lack of bards. He was very intrigued about the concept of the war cleric, but bummed that it wasn't included. To him, I think, everything looked good - but MORE would be better. But, of course, that MORE is coming - just like winter.
The concept of Inspiration sounds cool. I'll let you look that one up - but it seems like a stick and carrot for the DM to use with players. What really intrigued me is the really really really fleshed out Background system as compared to previous incarnations. Yeah, some players will just ignore it or mine it for bonuses, but I think is a great aid for people who want to play a character with a personality beyond a what being a 'DCC meat funnel survivor' will get you. And what it does for DMs is give them built in hooks for adventuring motivations. Quite nice - however, I am REALLY missing the noble background from the playtest. That thing was AWESOME. That alone might nudge me to get the Player's handbook - assuming that it's in there. :)
Well, so right now, we've skimmed the D&D Basic Rules and done a lot of thought experiments about what those rules mean. But the only way to tell if it works is to actually play - so that's what we will do next. I get the feeling that this particular ruleset can do everything that MY old Basic D&D did for me way back when - in a slightly more fresh way - but without pissing me off, boring me to tears, or making me pitch the rulebook across the room. I am stoked. But who knows, I may print the thing out just to light the damn thing in the fire pit out back. We'll see. :)