Saturday, May 26, 2012

DnD Next and the OSR

In short it is a clone of classic D&D. And Old School Renaissance will treat it as such. Mainly because it's adventures and settings promises to be compatible with the editions we do like and play. Promises to compatible to a far greater degree than 3.X, Pathfinder or 4.0 ever did.

Just look at the Cave of Chaos adventure. Despite the differences in mechanics it works out about the same way you expect if you ran it with Mentzer rules.

I created my own original adventure to use for the playtest and did everything the same I would preparing for Swords & Wizardry. And having run it 2 and a half times with three different groups it was nothing like the 3.5/4e games I played and a lot like the Swords & Wizardry/Majestic Wilderlands hybrid I use for my regular campaigns.

The playtest is a clone and the Old School Renaissance will treat it as such.

No more and no less.

Ist success among the OSR will be the same as any similar high production value project. If it open to third party support, plays nice with the community, and produces good material using the format we had seen then it will have a slice of the OSR as customers.

However what it will not do is supplant the love or the playing the classic editions. Because what newcomers forget time and time again is that the point is not to play something like the older editions but the older editions themselves. If you want to get customers among the OSR then your work needs to be useful to people playing and refereeing the older editions.

I am optimistic at this point mainly because of the format of the included Cave of Chaos, the fact it works as is in actual play and that it is the full caves and not some stripped down version

I see by the comments I didn't get my point across. The Cave of Chaos adventure is almost as verbatim copy of the original and it uses ONE line stats blocks that are useful in actual play. If this format continues to be used this means that it is highly likely that D&D Adventures, Settings, and maybe supplements would be of some use to the OSR. Much in the same way that Swords and Wizardry gamers find material useful that was written for OSRIC.


Zenopus Archives said...

Best analysis I've read so far.

Greg G said...

That they used the caves of chaos means little to me.

That is merely a token gesture, lets not make a big deal about it.

Unknown said...

Couldn't agree more Greg. It is a Trojan horse as you said.

Robert Conley said...


It not that they used the Cave of Chaose but the format. I.E. the one line stat block the almost verbatim resume of the text. This is unlike 3e or 4e versions of classic modules.

Unknown said...

I do like the one line stat block, but compare it with what is in their bestiary and it is a different monster. You don't get its saving throws where in older editions you had F2 and could cross reference your screen or have it memorized. Now we need to know its ability scores.

Better than 3.x or 4e though.

quindia said...

You COULD NOT run the Caves of Chaos in 3-4E. 3E brought us the five room dungeon as the standard and it became ten times worse in 4E. We had trouble getting through two encounters a night. With the 5E intro material, my players fought their way through both orc caverns in a four hour session (which included a hour or so of roleplay at the Keep).

The Caves of Chaos module in the playtest is often verbatim B2. Many of the encounters are straight from the book. Furthermore, with the limited bestiary provided I would have no trouble converting monsters from The Secret of Saltmarsh, The Palace of the Silver Princess or any other lvl 1-3 module from D&D/AD&D.

It really is a lot better than I was expecting and I am looking forward to seeing more.

Cross Planes said...

@Grimshwiz, Or you know, you could MAKE UP the creature's stats. Personally, I find this easier to grok (even with 20 years experience as a DM) and much easier for new DM's to learn. Its not some arcane chart typed by class, it's their Con Mod.

A Trojan horse? Only I guess, in the sense that they want you to use their rules in your games. Are we supposed to loath them for trying to get us to spend our money with them? They're not a charity guys. Neither was TSR. Neither am I. I run a game store in KY & I embrace Labyrinth Lord, 4E, Pathfinder & D&D Next. Buy what you want, play what you want, but don't pretend that each company DOESN'T want your money.

Like Rob, I ran it last night with an original adventure, and aside from 1st level characters being able to take a little more damage (and how many AD&D games house ruled that?), it was more S&W than 3/4E. Even more than the Closed Playtest.

@Kitedyaksman, So do you want them to make a gesture or not? It seems that WotC is unpopular when they ignore the OSR AND when they embrace it. We can't have it both ways. Gary would have caught the same flack when AD&D came out if he operated TSR during the internet age. Replace Mearls with Gygax and Monte Cook with Arneson and we would've seen the same forum threads we see now.

x said...

After 36 hours of reading posts and watching videos I would say the numbers have broken down to something like this:

85% Not Impressed/Against

10% Undecided/Still Reviewing

5% Like

So the majority, regardless of gaming background, dislike what they have seen. The 4e fans have been the most vocal in their pure hatred of it but I guess that is to be expected.

And make no mistake-WizBro is not trying to appease OSR players. They are trying to wipe the OSR out. If you think I'm kidding then ask yourself why they don't make a mint off marketing what they already own. They want a unified field theory that simply can not exist.

And the overall reaction to what it represents at this point is a kind of rules-lite 3.x with 4e chrome for trim. Not saying there aren't bits from everywhere. That is just the reference I have seen the most.

I believe too that people completely misunderstand the different versions of what can be called 'edition' wars. Granted, when AD&D and the box sets began to appear the hardcore old school white box players were vocal. But nothing like what has happened recently. I ran retail gaming back in the day and the antagonism just didn't exist. Myself included, we used parts of OD&D, AD&D, B/X, 3pp, etc for source material and massaged the rules to make the game we wanted.

The modern problems lay squarely at WizBro's feet. The ad campaigns they used for 4e depicted previous editions and players of those editions as silly and stupid (look up the videos at Youtube if you doubt it) and convinced the new 4e players that they were playing the superior version of D&D. THAT'S when the real war started. And it will never end.

If they want to continue in the TRPG field they need to create a new rpg and give it a new name. D&D exists in so many forms now that any additional editions will just show diminished returns.

The final observation: If it isn't released under the OGL then many consider it D.O.A. already.

For what it's worth...

instantapathy said...

RE:4e started the war... people seem to forget the 3e marketing campaign. 4e's benefied fro ma more robust internet presence all around, so it was more in your face, but 3e took it's jabs at the older editions too.

"The final observation: If it isn't released under the OGL then many consider it D.O.A. already."

Also, I'd say that if it isn't released under the OGL many... don't care. I understand why people get angry at this, since the OGL was a big shot in the arm for their legitimacy but for the majority of consumers out there... it just doesn't matter to them.

x said...

I don't know who your 'many...don't care' refers to but I'm referring to 3pp who won't go through another GSL fiasco, FLGS owners who will think twice about taking space away from Magic:TG and Pathfinder for a new unproven rpg from a company with a track record that is getting worse by the day and the fans who are happy with the way things are shaking out.

They DO care...and so do I. I don't think that WizBro is going to green flag publishers to produce material for the system without a heavy hand, yet Paizo has already encouraged 3pp to be developed even for the PFBB (which I am slowly gearing up for) which they have no plans to expand on but fans are asking for more and luckily play a system where that is possible.

The 're-invent the wheel' method has got to end because at the end of the day it is still just another wheel.

The other day on reddit was one of those 'ask me anything' bits and they had Erik Mona and a couple guys answering questions. When ask what advice Mona would offer to the makers of DDN his answer was 'make it Pathfinder compatible'.

That about sums it up.

x said...

As for the future I think this guy makes good points and ends with the proper attitude that would make gaming so much better.

I can dream...

Will Mistretta said...

A clone? I wouldn't go anywhere near that far. They clearly take some some inspiration, but there are more than enough lingering 3E and 4E-ism to make it even less of a claim to "clone" status than Castles & Crusades, let alone OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord.

Remember, a clone is an attempt to recreate everything one legally can from a given classic edition. How does this describe Pepsi, uh, I mean, D&D Next?

As for how WotC can "win" with grognards: Evergreen PDF *and* POD support for the entire TSR back catalog.

instantapathy said...

"I don't know who your 'many...don't care' refers to but I'm referring to 3pp"

As I said "consumers". Yes, I know publishers care, but I'm fairly sure consumers vastly outnumber the publishers, even if you count amateur /self publishing stuff.

Re: that link... yeah, "play what you want and don't worry about if it's the newest" isn't a bad philosophy.... but more important I think "play what you like and don't worry if people want to play something else, newer or older" is a better one.

Unknown said...

IMHO, the game that will dethrone Pathfinder will need to be amazing! I doubt that Next will ever get close to reaching that status.

The OGL platform does matter to game consumers, like me, who pay attention.

No longer having faith or trust in WoTC is an even bigger issue for those of us who haven't forgiven them for ruining Dragon/Dungeon Magazines. They could put out a perfect game and I'd still play Pathfinder.

Screw me once, shame on you.
Screw me twice, shame on me.