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Mearls and first edition D&D.

Blue Jacket

Retired User
So people have been talking about the interview with Mearls over at The Escapist.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_271/8109-Red-Box-Renaissance

On the second page there is this:
It's clear there is more to Essentials than merely attracting new players. The tone that Mearls uses when discussing his current campaign, which uses first edition D&D rules, belies a reverence to the "old school." We asked him if he was trying to bring 4E back in line with classic D&D.

Emphasis mine. That being said, what are your thoughts that he is using the old rules as his current campaign? What kind of things do you hope to see in the following months with new 4e designs? I don't want this to turn into some sort of war or heated discussion about what people hate about 4e, but more of what old school things or elements you might be excited to get meshed in to 4e. Let's think positive!
 

Caduceus

Not the rod of Asclepius
Validated User
Older versions of D&D were more esoteric and mysterious. I'd like to see that incorporated into 4e without it losing its ease of play and organization.
 

Lars Dangly

Registered User
Validated User
Interesting thread. I think the core mechanics of 4e would have no problem serving as the basis for an 'old school' feel game; what would have to change is the basic structure of adventures and encounters. These things are not necessarily hard-wired into 4e's rules, but for all practical purposes the game has been wrapped around the balanced combat encounter as the core 'unit' of play, and adventures are commonly (though I'm sure not universally) organized as a string of these combat encounters run end-to-end until people level up. Once you accept this as the basic structure of play, characters are really only interesting in as much as they fill a certain role in combat. And, another implicit premise is that all characters of equal level should be equally useful in combat. Now you are pretty much committed to the idea of 'strikers', 'controllers', etc. and the general form of most 4e play.

A cycnic would say this is what D&D has always been, but that is just wrong.

So, what I would like to see is a line of products that are focused on player-driven adventure, interesting events and challenges that have nothing to do with combat and can't necessarily be abstracted into a 'challenge roll'. Possibly the most iconic 1st edition dungeon was Tomb of Horrors. It takes hours and hours of play to complete. there are almost no fights and most of the things you do can't be described by a d20 roll. More of that! I want a version of 4e where the characters I make are things like vikings and priests and duelists and barons and necromancers and explorers, not strikers.
 

Mock

Force 5 Wrongnado
Validated User
I don't have any position on what rules he uses on his own time. I think its interesting that he uses 1e in an academic sense, but if he's having fun, more power to him.

4E is my first D&D, so there's nothing in prior editions I care about seeing brought forward. I've read the available essentials books, and nothing in them is terrible. Maybe a bit spartan, but if people want to play them, cool. As a DM, my characters just get better every time they rev the monster designs.
 

jacobkosh

Registered User
Validated User
I want a version of 4e where the characters I make are things like vikings and priests and duelists and barons and necromancers and explorers, not strikers.
Those things aren't exclusive. Striker describes what you do in combat and that's all. It's all it ever has been. You can be a necromancer striker or a baron striker or a baron defender or a professor controller. And when the fight ends, you go back to being a plain old baron or commoner or whatever.
 

VaticanT

Self-Abusive GM
I'm liking the new magic item rules, and a random table for treasure. I miss rolling randomly for wat my players get - I feel compelled to give them something they explicitly want, whereas with a random table they can roll it and say "hmmm. What can I do with that?"
 

Alter_Boy

Big Brain Ideas
Validated User
Those things aren't exclusive. Striker describes what you do in combat and that's all. It's all it ever has been. You can be a necromancer striker or a baron striker or a baron defender or a professor controller. And when the fight ends, you go back to being a plain old baron or commoner or whatever.
Agree with you 100%. Still, the role portion of classes is a heavy definition of what the class is. If you want to play someone tough, you'll probably have to be a defender and be expected to protect others. BORING! Or if you want to be a magic-solver-everything, the best you've got is the Wizard with all their stupid attack powers and Rituals-that-take-minutes-to-cast. BORING!

I think Essentials is going down to what is really, er, Essential :D about what players want from classes. Essential Rogues are good at backstabbing. If that's all you want, then you don't have any distracting Encounter or Daily Powers that other players will be pestering you to use. You can give out a big DUH! and just do that one thing you want to do over and over and over and over again.

Thank God that there's a Rogue for the rest of us! :cool:
 

Blue Jacket

Retired User
"Older versions of D&D were more esoteric and mysterious. I'd like to see that incorporated into 4e without it losing its ease of play and organization."

Especially the art! Some of it was cheesey but some of it got your creative juices going!

"Interesting thread."

Thank you! I was worried it would turn into something negative which I don't want!

And I agree, I think more character/player driven products rather than "level up" combat strings would be cool. Puzzles and exploration is fun. And maybe I'm using the wrong examples because they have nothing to do with old editions of the game, but puzzles like in Resident Evil and the old Legend of Zelda games. Things like that. I remember back in the 2e days there were some great books that had very little crunch and some of them really got your mind working and helped create some fun scenarios.
 

Blue Jacket

Retired User
I'm liking the new magic item rules, and a random table for treasure. I miss rolling randomly for wat my players get - I feel compelled to give them something they explicitly want, whereas with a random table they can roll it and say "hmmm. What can I do with that?"
Yes, the random tables were a blast. So you're a fighter who gets a magic necklace that you can't use? What do you mean you can't use it? Just because you might not be able to use the abilities it has doesn't mean you can't use the necklace for something else that is story driven! I am a believer that just because you are a certain class you don't have to get treasure specifically made to tailor that class. Being creative with things you wouldn't normally use can bring on some good RPing moments.
 

Peregrin

Bwahaha!
I started with 3rd/3.5, and I think older editions are cool. Definitely a different philosophy on how play should be conducted.

Personally, I'd like to see a return of the D&D end-game, even if just in the form of a supplement.
 
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