Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
 
Basic Dungeons & Dragons

As I recently wrote, I consider 5th edition to be both too complex and too expensive to make a good product that gets new players into pen & paper role-playing. And apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that: Mike Mearls from Wizards of the Coast announced Basic Dungeons & Dragons, a FREE online pdf with just 4 classes and 4 races, but covering level 1 to 20. So everybody who wants to start playing can use those free rules system for his first campaign, and then decide whether he wants to expand on that with the information from the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. I will definitively check that out, and maybe even buy the $20 D&D Starter Set to (solo) test how easy it would be to play just using Basic D&D and the starter set.

I hope this works out for Dungeons & Dragons, and they get a lot of new players. Because frankly up to now I didn't see who would actually buy 5th edition. Because 4th edition is such a different game, and 5th edition is conceptually a step backwards, introducing old flaws back into the system, it is safe to say that most fans of 4th edition aren't going to rush to buy 5th. And the people who always hated 4E have long since found a good home in Pathfinder, and it isn't obvious what the advantage of switching to 5E would be. So new players are actually the best bet for 5th edition.

Comments:
Tobold! You know I'll be buying it. And as the resident DM in my neck of the woods that means roughly 20-odd other gamers will be subjected to 5E and will end up buying it (whether because it's great and they love it or it's Stockholm Syndrome and they get it because that's what the DM is running remains to be seen).

I think the market for 5E is as good as its going to get. OSR and 4E fans will stick with their preferred systems, until or if it becomes hard to get games going over 5E interest. The real question is: how many gamers can Pathfinder retain? I think a large number of Pathfinder players will jump ship the moment a system which offers an equal level of diversity but without all the complexity comes along. Of course...still need to see if that system is 5E, but we'll know soon.
 
Whoa did someone say FREE? I am so there! Thanks Tobold! :D
 
Totally off-topic, but does anyone know if there is any software/websites for running pen & paper groups online?

Your recent posts got me thinking about my old D&D groups and that while we all leave in different cities now, we still game together online now and then.

It's not a stretch for us to use online comms like Teamspeak to Pen & Paper game together but it's not something we've done.

I was just thinking that if we did do something like that, having some interactive 'mapping' software to show where walls/NPCs/PCs are would be pretty neat.

Dice rolls are already possible via TS.
 
Urgh, looks like the free pdf is not out till mid July. Oh well, hopefully I remember to check on it again (unlikely).
 
sid67 I have been a part of several successful campaigns that have used www.roll20.net as our virtual tabletop. Their system has grown and evolved for a couple of years and offers greater service for paid subscriptions without feeling like they are stripping a whole lot from the free service. I've played everything there from Wheel of Time and 4th ed D&D to Savage Worlds and the playtest for 5th ed and have really fallen in love with the system.

My one criticism of the site is that their internal video conferencing system isn't great, so I would recommend Skype or Google Hangouts for your communication needs.
 
sid67 try Fantasy Grounds, it's what I've used for prior forays into online gaming and I liked it a lot. It's available on Steam now, amazingly.
 
Looks like someone at WotC reads your blog... ;-)
 
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