As many of you may have guessed by now, my reason for straying from 4e D&D is because I’m already playing the next edition of the game. I’m not talking about the play test either, I am playing a mostly finished 5e D&D. The playtest is all a facade – the designers are going full steam ahead with the direction they want to take the game, any and all feedback they are calling for right now are basically things already chiseled into the stone of the game’s rules. My guess is they are only running these polls to feign interactivity with the community, and to gauge how much ire they are going to raise in people when the rules are finally released.
I’ve had it up to here with these shenanigans, not to mention the NDA that I signed is basically nothing more than a gag order. The game is near completion but they wouldn’t let you all know that, in a few weeks the final edits will have been run and the art orders completed. Monte, Rob, and Bruce will be sailing around in their expensive yachts drinking scotch and being fed grapes by cosplay girls. While you and I sit here and wait for these supposed ‘feedback cycles’ to end, which is bullshit. My complete and total dissent for all of this has finally come to a head and I can no longer keep my mouth shut. So since this post has most likely already blacklisted me for everything I’ve said here, I may as well go off the deep end and reveal some more tidbits about the game.
You may have heard some bits and pieces about classes through polls, or talk from conventions, or even read those bogus leaked playtest rules. Truth is, what you really need to know about classes in the game is that they are all boiling down to an amalgamation of sameness. All the talk about giving everyone backstab? About the 30 different flavors if fighter? About vancian magic and non vancian magic? It’s basically all the same, they have effectively design themselves into a world of mediocrity with the modular mentality, classes have become no exception to this approach.
I’ll also tell you that they really need to get Rob Schwalb some extra vacation time because all of the ‘classes’ (I now use this term very loosely) are shaping up to look like Assassins. A new 6th level cleric ability “Rosary Garrote”? A 10th level spell called “Bigby’s Heinous Hitmen”? Any character with an INT score of 10 or more can brew poison and gains a +2 bonus to throwing daggers? Things are just getting out of hand. I partially blame Bilsland for this too, he’s got an unhealthy Assassins Creed obsession.
Ah yes, a return to “classic” D&D ideals right? Wrong. The D&DNext playtest documents default combat ‘module’ is for a new line of miniatures yet to be announced (will also be compatible with Dungeon Command minis) that have slotted conical bases. You’ll be able to purchased “rippers” that rip your miniatures into a lightning fast spin, where combat will take place in a Dungeon Rumble Pit© especially made for the game, there will be several Rumble Pits with different themes and campaign setting backdrops to spice up your games. The last miniature left spinning is resolved as the winner of the combat.
Spellcasters will need to purchase small hand operated NERF style Magic Misslers© and attempt to shoot at their enemies in the Rumble Pit to simulate the chaos of magic and bring about opportunities for friendly fire, which is being touted as “old school”. So now you know that this is their idea of “quick” and “easy”, this is awful. It seems like Hasbro is really reaching their arm pretty far up WotC’s ass on this one, I can’t see any of the designers actually going for this. But hey, money talks and other stuff walks, right?
Full disclosure here: since feats were such a big issue in previous editions, and personally I think there were far too many anyway I kind of welcome this change. We all know about being overwhelmed by having too many choices when it comes to making a character, which is why WotC has decided to go with cards. Yep, you heard me. More cards, in random booster packs none the less, similar to Fortune cards, these packs will hold 8 randomly selected feats which you can use when building your characters. They will be set up similar to the classes in the game: Common, Uncommon, and Rare feats. You’ll need to actually posses the cards in order to use the feat, new organized play rules will not be allowing players to use feats without proof of ownership. This means each card will also contain a serial number near the art credits at the bottom of the card, which will require registration through the RPGA. For home games this probably isn’t too big of a deal though, I’m sure someone will pirate them and spread them around the internet in no time. This definitely brings new meaning to the words feat tax.
And Then Some
Of course these are probably the three biggest offenders when it comes to D&DNext completely destroying our beloved game, but there are others. From the new licensed D&D health snack foods meant to be the only form of sustenance at organized play events, to the LARP rules, this is not our D&D. This game went from sounding like a promising avenue to be everyone’s game, to no one’s game.
If none of my words here are enough for you, please view this video I snuck out from one of the exclusive D&D Next playtests at DDXP this year. I’m not the only one who’s speaking out on this either, be sure to find more snippets of info over at Critical Hits where Dave Chalker is spilling some beans too. Until next time, whenever that may be.
Note: In case you haven’t figured this out yet, everything in this article is false. April Fools!