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Thursday, May 17, 2012

5E Caves of Chaos, part III

     Over on OD&D Discussion, member Azafuse summarized the D&D Next live chat that took place yesterday. A full transcript is posted here.

     To quote Azafuse (with some editing for compactness):
  • Playtest pack focuses on core rules & has 5 pregens (fighter, 2 clerics, wizard, rogue) + Caves of Chaos adventure + CoC bestiary + DM/Player rules; monsters have short stat block in adventure, extended stats/fluff in bestiary
  • Pregen characters have Themes & Backgrounds, which give at-will powers; Themes give Skills & Backgrounds give Feats
  • Classic four races (halfling, human, elf, dwarf); future options for sub-races
  • Rules are made to give any class the chance to shine
  • Cleric "domains"; one playtest is classic (mace + armor), the other more mystic
  • Fighters have maneuvers (alternative to feats but with more options)
  • Wizards have cantrips (at-will useful in and off combat) but also vancian magic
  • Spell point & power systems differentiate sorcerer, warlock & wizard
  • Rogues have "schemes" (distinguishing features)
  • No Prestige Classes for the moment
     I can't say that any of the above sounds very encouraging. They've gotten pretty far from the statements back in January about "the idea to create an edition of Dungeons & Dragons that encompasses all previous editions". They also seem to have great fear of not having enough "options" even in the core.

   They continue to use the Caves of Chaos from B2 as they playtesting scenario. If you are new to this blog, Gygax wrote B2 in 1979 specifically as an introductory module for the Holmes Basic Set (replacing B1).

    See pt II linked below for a pic of what the cover of this scenario may look like. This "Fifth Column" post talks more about the earlier playtest, and mentions some of the Caves features: "rim of the ravine", "tribe of kobolds", "complex full of orcs", ogre, higher level caves being more difficult. Sounds like the Caves we know. Looks like they were using the original maps too.

    See also:
    5E Caves of Chaos, pt I - pt II


  1. Oh, I don't know. It sounds like they might be going for a "modular" system like Battletech uses: one uses the level of detail one wants. Note this is all supposition based on:

    "Themes give skills & Backgrounds give Feats"

  2. I agree with Anthony, the description doesn't rule out them achieving the stated goal. Start with an old school foundation and offer a bunch of modular options for those who want them. As long as the rules allow players to pass on the options it can be an old school friendly game. Given the will and some time I'm certain any of us could work out a way to play D&D with characters from all versions.

  3. No major problems with what I read about the new edition. I have a minor issue with this statement, "rules are made to give any class the chance to shine".

    In my experience, it is the player himself who makes a class shine. I think this is the biggest disconnect with the game as it was introduced and played and how it is currently presented.

    1. I agree. As a player, I don't want a lot of options/choices when I create a new character. I just want to start playing. The character should be defined by play, not by "building".

      It sounds like they are including a lot of Themes/Backgrounds/Skills/Feats/Maneuvers in the core rules, which means lots of options for building. Which means NPCs should also have these options, which means large stat blocks.

    2. It doesn't have to mean that at all, not if you take them at their word, which only time will tell. 1e had weapon speed and weapon type vs. AC type, but how many actually used it and how many ever added the information to their character sheets? Rules we don't like don't automatically add up to a game we don't like. 1e was my game of choice for about 30 years but there was quite a few things I didn't like and some stuff I wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

      Just playing Devil's Advocate.