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Mearls and first edition D&D.

hackmastergeneral

Pope of Chili Town
Validated User
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.
With room-based traps and environment traps, you could totally do a massive adventure like those old death trap adventures like Tomb of Horrors.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing stopping a DM from running a series of games like this.
 

jacobkosh

Registered User
Validated User
With room-based traps and environment traps, you could totally do a massive adventure like those old death trap adventures like Tomb of Horrors.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing stopping a DM from running a series of games like this.
I've actually done a couple of all- (or almost-all-) -environmental dungeons in 4E and they were pretty fun! I should do those more often.
 

hackmastergeneral

Pope of Chili Town
Validated User
  • Spell components were fun. A pain to keep track of, but always gave it the feel of real magic. Keeping bat guano moist or a cricket alive was quite an ordeal.
  • The feel of magic being special would be nice to bring back. When someone cast a spell, it used to be a big freaking deal. Monsters would freak out, people would be in awe. Now spells can be cast at will, it just seems to take the coolness out of magic.
  • Most importantly, I sure would like combat to speed back up. :D
  • Random tables are fun.
  • Dice that come with crayons (just for fun)
  • Greyhawk.

The following can be easily fixed in home campaigns, but would just be nice to see in some of the new adventures:
  • More puzzles.
  • Less monsters that are more powerful.
  • A reason for equipment. (Rope, 10ft pole, Backpack)
  • Getting rid of some balance would be fun. It's boring when everything is exactly tough enough for the PC's.
See me? I hated the arbitrary and capricious nature of older versions of D&D.

I HATED spell components. I am a wizard capable of firing spells that will melt your brain and warp reality, but I go around picking garbage off the ground like a hobo, and keep an itemized list of how much bird droppings, dead spiders, and fairy moss I have. "Whoops, I'm almost out of bat guano - guess we'd better hit a local cave..."

I enjoyed random tables back in the day, and I think you COULD release a set of random encounter tables balanced to levels, but with some options much easier and some options much harder, without making it as completely random as it used to be.

Having a group of level 1 characters get attacked and TPKed by a Owlbear because of a random percentile roll wasn't my most fun experience. Sure, it plays up the verisimilitude of the real world, where you could encounter things you weren't powerful enough to handle. But at the end of the day, it means everything grinds to a halt while everyone makes up new characters because of a random fucking roll. And when you only have enough PHBs for 4 people, and your group is 10, it means the rest of the evening was spent making characters (I know it's supposedly "dirt fast" to make 2ed characters, but when people have to roll a bunch of times to get the stats they want, and the the GM cuts them off so they moan, and then have to figure out what they can best make to fit the stats they roll, and then others need to switch up their characters because three guys roll good wizards and noones playing a fighter or rogue....yeah....)

I agree uber-attention to balance can make everything seem "same-y" and get boring, but again, I like that everything I face I have a CHANCE of living to see the other side of. That 5th level characters won't find themselves face to face with a Balor or something because of a stupid roll of the dice.
 

Biohazard

mostly lurking
Validated User
"But Mearls doesn't believe that most D&D players want to play that way. "I almost think narrative games are a different hobby, where it really is group world building or literal group storytelling. In a more traditional roleplaying game like D&D, you build it as you go and it's almost like a game of football or some sport where the action arises as you go.""

This is great. It's too bad it's all hot air for the moment.

This article tells me that there's some good, practical vocabulary out there to express a distinction between two different types of D&D.

The next step is to stop trying to square the circle and bring back two separate D&D lines, like Rolemaster Classic and Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying.

Why the hell don't they do that, anyway? Edition wars can't be good for business. A new gamer doesn't want to check out what the internet has to say about their hobby and find all this infighting and negativity.
A nice idea.

It would be problematic to find something that appeals to a bigger demographic, but those are the usual problems.

I have a D&D version to gm and play, but would give a D&D classic a go.

- The unified mechanics of 4th with much less crunch and tactical depth.

- Faster combats.

- Maybe more niche protection again. For me, less powers that have IMHO a problem with an in-game logic (contentious, I know).

- And a quite classic sandboxy beginner box (like the first part of Night Below).
 

hackmastergeneral

Pope of Chili Town
Validated User
Wow. Next time you look at one of these, just remember that literally millions of people enjoyed these versions of the game for close to 20 years. There is something in there that is worth knowing about.
Why? I am with him. When 4ed starts becoming 1st/2ed redux, that's the part I get off the train.

There are ASPECTS you can look to older designs for inspiration, sure. And that millions did enjoy those games means there was something fun in there.

Or perhaps many people, like me, were trapped into the gigantic elephant in the room, and had no choice but to play it or not game. Or didn't KNOW there were a lot of other options, because there was no internet and they were in small town USA where it was hard enough to get gaming books as it was, but the only one that sold enough for a store to bother with was D&D.

Appeal to popularity isn't a strong argument. I will never say older versions are worthless (I once did, but have softened on that, thanks to folks like Old Geezer) but I do not want the game moving backwards. Those editions still exist, and are plkayable. It would be nice if WOTC would release the old boxes and books one time, or as PDF, but there are masses still out there.
 

deadscribe

Registered User
Validated User
Ug. Yeah. I kind of hope most of the stuff people in this thread think is great never makes its way back into 4e. I love 4e. I play 4e because I want to play 4e. If I wanted to play an older version of D&D, I would. I assume Mearls is playing 1e for a lot of reasons, one of them being that it lets him see what kinds of things were fun in 1e, and how to keep that kind of fun while making better rules.
 

Tokezo Tenken

I R Serious Monkey
Validated User
Wow. Next time you look at one of these, just remember that literally millions of people enjoyed these versions of the game for close to 20 years. There is something in there that is worth knowing about.
People aligned with you get to moan constantly about 4E. Why should someone like me (neutral as I have enjoyed every edition of D&D excepting 3.x) care when it's going the other way?
 

Owlbear Camus

Autothrusters engaged!
Validated User
Eh. Older D&D was gonzo in a lot of ways that were fun when I was younger, but looking back it just seems like scattershot mechanics and pun monsters. 3.X I really didn't play a great deal, and ran less, both waning over the decade it was out, and looking back it's because it was such a gargantuan pain to prepare and run. So I guess 4e took the one thing that was awesome from older editions: Turning monsters back into purpose-built player-facing constructs and taking a lot of burden off the GM.

No skin off my face that people still play these things, but I wouldn't want the current iteration to stretch too far to take its stuff.
 
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CleverName

nom de GM: The Bastard
Validated 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!
That article is such a piece of crap, that I don't take anything it says seriously. I believe Mearls discussed playing 1st edition on the D&D podcast last month. It was a lunchtime game, not "his current campaign."
 
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