Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Rucht Hour: D&D Next

So, the next edition of D&D will be coming out in 2014. I was surprised that Mik hadn't heard about it. In any case, if you somehow haven't heard about it, the news is that they are planning for a 2014 release after a two-year development cycle.

I perused some of their early playtest materials and thought it was...okay. It was definitely recognizable as D&D and much closer to the 3.0 or 3.5 editions of D&D than it was to 4th edition. However, it just lacked oomph.

This latest playtest packet, however, I have been impressed with. Making characters was an exercise of interesting choices. The whole game seems to invite houserules as well. Throughout character creation, you are given lots of guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, whenever you start taking feats, you can just pick whatever feat you want or pick a themed feat list (called a specialty) which shows you what feats you get and when.

I suspect that most people will want to pick whatever abilities they want, not abiding by any list. However, what the specialty lists did was to help me make my choices. For example, I built an archer and looked at their Sharshooter Specialty list to get ideas. More importantly, all of their theme lists have a decent amount of flavor, giving you character ideas as you build your character. As I was building characters, I got all sorts of ideas for different characters, different settings, and different games.

Most importantly, I was impressed that when I built some sample characters, I was "forced" to give them all backgrounds. You cannot make a generic fighter. When you sit down to make a fighter, that character will have a personality and a background. This is accomplished by Character Backgrounds an aspect of your character which determines what skills you get and gives you a cool story ability as well.

Anyhow, the playtest went well, but I'll talk about that next time. In the meantime, if you want to see the state of their current Beta Version, check it out here!


  1. "I was surprised that Mik hadn't heard about it."

    Mik's been under a rock lately!

  2. Well, they had that initial massive media blitz about it. It was in Forbes and everything! Anyhow, WotC has been very quiet about their new edition lately, because they are still developing. I would expect them to blitz again next year, leading up to the new edition being released.

  3. I remain cautiously optimistic. It looks to me like they're going for a "big tent" approach that will offer something for the old school guys (who seem to make up a surprisingly large number of the Pathfinder Crowd, judging from the forums) and the newer blood.

    They're also got the advantage of those Penny Arcade/Pvp live D&D games that they've been holding at PAX for the past... three years running I think? And then there were podcasts stretching a few years back even before that. It's quality material that's worth checking out if you haven't already.