Saturday, June 14, 2014

Conversational D&D: The Living Game

A new proclamation, a new controversy...

Yesterday, there was a panel with Mike Mearls and Rodney Thompson at the Origins gaming convention.  They were talking about 5e, of course. At one point, they said "D&D will be more of a living game and a conversation rather than Wizards dictating what the game should be."

Does this mean DMs can dictate their own house-rules, be empowered to run the kind of game they want, influence how D&D evolves through surveys, playtests, and advocacy (bitching on forums)?  Will there be D&D lobbies like Thieves and Assassins Guilds to join in the post-edition apocalypse which is surely coming?

At least on the EnWorld message board, this brought up the subject of constant updates as opposed to an entirely new edition of D&D every 5 years or so.  Assuming this is the case, some saw it as a positive, others a negative.  In such a scenario, the rules might be continually tweaked and refined a little bit at a time, as needed, online.  Like a spam or malware program that does its thing in the background, always making sure (well, most of the time) your machine is protected from the latest outbreaks of virus, hackers, or unwanted products latching on.

Those who saw this as a positive like the idea of never having out of date rules or playing an obsolete game.  Similar to those massive multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft.  The guys who have played that from the beginning are essentially playing the same game, possibly with the same characters - it's just that the game continually updates itself around them.

Those not in favor of this would prefer one massive overhaul to a thousand tiny changes implemented over half a decade - or better yet, reassurance that 5e is it, that they got it right this time and the 5th Reich shall reign for a thousand years!

Those invisible adjustments require time and energy to notice and implement because, after all, paper & pencil tabletop roleplaying games are not the same thing as computer RPGs.  Also, if 5e becomes someone's favorite edition, what about 2 or 3 years from now?  The game could look different enough where you have inter-edition wars - a tribe of gamers who love 5e from early 2015 while a competing tribe prefers 5e from the last half of 2016.  Are we supposed to keep track, a la 5.02 vs. 5.33?

And what would this mean for the actual hardcover rulebooks many of us are purchasing this summer and fall?  Should we anticipate buying all new books with 5% changes a year from now?  Do we limp along with the same books even though 7% of the core rules have been fixed (or merely altered)?  And how does this news jive (or jibe, whatever) with the digital tools of Codename: Morningstar?

Or, perhaps, the inferred constant update thing is totally bogus.  Perhaps treating this new D&D like a conversation and living game means something completely different...


p.s.  Seriously, they need to fix the trident.  The excerpt just does not do the trident justice!  As written, it's far too weak.  Very little difference between it and a quarterstaff... WTF?!?

p.p.s.  The above picture was the ONLY image I could find on the internet after hours of googling Community + D&D.  Sorry, guys.  :(

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