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Mearls and first edition D&D.

walkerp

New member
Banned
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.
If they were to massage D&D in this direction, that would be a big step in making the game appealing to me again. Very well put.
 

Bryant

Sleepy
Validated User
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!
I hear that some D&D designers play Shadowrun, Champions, Dresden Files, and even Traveler. I'm not entirely sure that we can assume that just because someone's playing a game, it means they're going to incorporate elements of it into whatever they're designing.
 

Asmodai

Warrior Kobold
RPGnet Member
Validated User
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.
Level 30 parties can handily kill gods - including Lolth and Bahamut. After slaying all the gods and redefining reality (as many epic destines can), what else is left?
 

tweaker

Retired User
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!
I think we are veering towards a 4.5e. This is a great time to stop buying product and use what is available, rather than allowing new releases to rub someone the wrong way.

I do think editions are timely. It's not so much that one edition is better or worse than another; it's more about what other options exists while playing any edition. I thought the option crap stuff that came out for 2e was horrible, so I jumped over to Vampire because it was available as an alternative. When oWOD started getting crazy, I jumped back to 3e because it was a viable alternative. One of my friends plays WoW with his kids, rather than teaching them D&D. WoW is a viable alternative to 4e. I think editions need to compete against the alternatives of the TIME.

The fact that Mearls is playing 1e just speaks to his age, rather than alternatives. If you've been playing a game for a while, and you don't intend to continue to buy splats, than any edition will work. It's what your players and you are most comfortable with playing. Playing an old edition will not bring back the old times. Age and experience transforms us.
 

Asmodai

Warrior Kobold
RPGnet Member
Validated User
For me, I'd like to see a return to the modular aspect of AD&D a bit. 4e is mostly written on the assumption that everything will get tossed into the content blender. I'd like to see more products like AD&D's Kara-Tur or Maztica settings that were very deliberately their own thing, with the mechanics, races and design assumptions tailored to those settings. Dark Sun made huge strides in that direction - and I hope we see a similar design philosophy adopted in Ravenloft and other subsequent settings.
 

Eurhetemec

New member
Banned
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.
This is what it comes down to for me. Even in 2E, this was very strong still. Things (and some monsters) worked in weird ways, magic items felt unique, spells felt like spells, random treasure and monsters added surprises and inspiration for both the players and DMs, and there was much more of a sense of mystery and a weird world to explore.

It wasn't just new-ness or nostalgia, either, because going back to older editions, even ones not previously played, that comes back.

I don't think there's any reason it's impossible to add that back into 4E and still retain the balanced roles in combat and so on. It sounds like Essentials is on the way there, and hopefully it will continue to go that way. The most concerning/negative thing I've seen so far from Essentials is the loss of Rituals entirely. They may be boring to some, but others love them and if no Essentials classes can use them, we can expect just about zero support from them in the future, and even a kind of anti-support in the form of making Essential Wizards and similar classes have ritual-like abilities. That's something I don't appreciate seeing back from 1E - that you have to go begging to a Cleric if someone dies, or go begging to a Wizard if you want a spell cast.
 

Ground_Squirrel

Retired User
I have played a lot of RPGs in my day and I really love 4E, it is certainly my favorite iteration of D&D and probably my favorite published RPG (with the possible exception of Paranoia, but that is so niche it doesn't count).

However, I do think older versions of D&D had a certain charm to them, and I think their are things 4E could learn from them as well.

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.
This is definitely a good, I kind of like the sense of wonder and unpredictability that old D&D sometimes had. I think 4E could tap into that unpredictability a bit more without become totally random and unbalanced.


Another thing I would like to see in the future is better support for sidekicks and followers. I remember fondly how in older games the party would often pick up various NPCs who accompanied and aided the party. Some of these were combatants, while others were useful in other matters. Sure, their are rules for companion characters in 4E - but these are mechanically complex and I am sure that more then one or two would really slow down the game.

Perhaps 4E could adopt an optional system of "minion followers". To prevent them from being killed left and right, you could rule that when their 1 HP is gone they are knocked out of action, not necessarily killed right away (unless of course they lose that HP in a particularly gruesome manner or due to PC carelessness). After the fight the PCs could use the heal skill, magic items, and so on to see if they can resuscitate downed sidekicks.
 

Peregrin

Bwahaha!
Level 30 parties can handily kill gods - including Lolth and Bahamut. After slaying all the gods and redefining reality (as many epic destines can), what else is left?
I'm talking about the traditional end-game. Leading armies, managing kingdoms, etc.

The perpetual vagabond is kind of an odd thing, IMO.
 

Ground_Squirrel

Retired User
I'm talking about the traditional end-game. Leading armies, managing kingdoms, etc.

The perpetual vagabond is kind of an odd thing, IMO.
Well, nothing in 4E is stopping you from becoming a king or general now. However, doing so is reliant upon GM fiat. This isn't a bad way to go, but it could be neat to have an option more crunchy set of rules to fall back upon. I wouldn't want a system that requires too much micromanagement or paperwork, but it would be nice to have a little more detail to fall back upon other then DM fiat if your group was so inclined.

One possible way to handle it might be to make a separate mass combat and/or kingdom management board game that has rules for plugging it into 4E. Kind of like how 3-dragon ante is a gambling game but has rules for effecting the outcome if played as part of your D&D campaign. WoTC seems to be a d&d related boxed-set and boardgames kick right now so if those do well maybe this is something they might consider.
 

Bohemian Ear Spoon

Advanced DM of Doom
Validated User
Mearls is just a frustrated dm like the rest of us. He still plays 1e in his home group cuz he's never been able to convince them to change to a newer system. They are grognards after all, but mearls is always looking for a way to get them, so what does he do? He decides to become president of Dnd and design a game product that is so dripping of the old school feel, he even packages it in a Red Box (capitalized) that he is sure he will finally convince his players to agree to switching to 4e.

I do this crap all the time trying to challenge my players comfortable assumptions, its just a difference of SCALE.
 
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