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Tiers of Play
By James Wyatt

W ell, after a discussion of level advancement, it seems appropriate to talk about how the game changes as characters climb those levels.

High-Level Play

It has always been true that the nature of the game changes as characters advance in level. The most obvious measure of that change is the spell lists for the various spellcasting classes. The impact of a 1st-level wizard casting a single magic missile spell each day is very different from that of an 18th-level wizard wielding a wish. Every new spell level along the way introduces incremental upgrades to spellcasters' capabilities.

The original AD&D game had a concept of "name level," a point in each class's level table where advancement slowed (or even stopped, in some cases). A 9th-level cleric (high priest), a 9th-level fighter (lord), a 9th-level paladin (paladin), a 10th-level ranger (ranger lord), an 11th-level magic-user (wizard), and a 10th-level thief (master thief) had more or less hit their peak. Beyond that point, hit point acquisition dribbled to almost nothing—only spellcasting continued to improve.

The Big Milestones

There's not a huge difference between 1st- and 2nd-level spells in terms of their effect on the world, but once spellcasters gain access to 3rd-level spells, things start to change. Suddenly, characters can fly, damage large numbers of foes with spells like fireball and lightning bolt, and even breathe underwater. Spells of levels 3 to 5 include some of the most iconic spells in the game, such as dimension door, confusion, phantasmal killer, cloudkill, cone of cold, and teleport, to choose just from the wizard's spell list. Acquiring those 5th-level spells—teleport, scrying, flame strike, and raise dead—is a pretty big milestone, too.

With 6th-level spells, we get into the territory of spells that really change the way adventurers interact with the world. It's not so much the big, flashy spells—disintegrate, blade barrier, and heal, for example—but behind-the-scenes spells like word of recall, find the path, contingency, true seeing, and legend lore that start changing the way you play the game. Each spell level after that point introduces new effects with a similarly large impact.

When characters get 9th-level spells, they've just about reached the pinnacle of their class abilities, and their spells can reshape reality.

Tiers of Play

While we were designing 4th Edition, we tried to group these big game-changing effects into three tiers of play. We figured that the heroic tier (levels 1–10) was about equivalent to 3rd Edition's levels 1–5, with magic fairly limited so mundane equipment and skills were more important. Paragon tier (levels 11–20) would introduce tactical flight and teleportation, fast travel, invisibility, mind reading, and similar effects that 3rd Edition gave out over levels 6–14. Then epic tier (levels 21–30) gave characters access to flight and teleportation as travel, resurrection, group invisibility, and pervasive magical effects.

That scheme evolved somewhat over the course of 4th Edition design, but the underlying principle was the same: create three distinct tiers of play, staked out by significant changes in character capabilities.

Where We're Heading

Well, D&D Next has returned to a 20-level span of character advancement, as in 2nd and 3rd Edition. But we still think that idea of tiers of play has some value. I think its value is primarily descriptive—it's a useful way to talk about how character capabilities change as they advance in levels, and how their adventures might need to change as well.

So we're looking at using those big milestones as signposts for changing tiers. Apprentice-level characters (levels 1–4) are still learning the range of class features that define them, including their choice of specialization. They're using 1st- and 2nd-level spells, and the threats they face are relatively minor.

When the spellcasters get 3rd-level spells, they enter the expert tier (levels 5–10). All characters have learned the basics of their class features, though they continue to improve throughout these levels. They face increasingly significant threats and their adventures might have larger consequences.

Access to 6th-level spells marks the start of the paragon tier (levels 11–16). Stakes continue to rise, and adventurers are set high above the ordinary populace. Then the epic tier (levels 17–20) puts them in an almost superheroic realm.

But really, most of this takes the form of advice to the DM. These are the sorts of things you should account for when constructing adventures for characters in this tier. You might want to consider raising the stakes of your adventures, so apprentice-level characters defend their villages and epic-level characters defend the world. But that's advice, not rules. We're not looking at any rules tied to the tiers, like paragon paths and epic destinies in 4th Edition.

What Do You Think?

Am I making any sense?

Previous Poll Results

How many goblins should a single character have to defeat to reach 2nd level?
Fewer than 8 200 7%
About 9–12 (like 3rd Edition and the non-minion goblin in 4th) 1136 39%
About 13–20 679 23%
About 20–40 (like the minion goblin in 4th Edition) 401 14%
Between 40 and 100 236 8%
More than 100 (like in 1st and 2nd Edition) 244 8%
Total 2896 100%

How many encounters should a party have to overcome to gain a level?
Just 1 14 0%
Fewer than 5 267 9%
About 6–9 810 28%
About 10–14 (like 3rd and 4th Edition) 1118 38%
About 15–20 404 14%
More than 20 (like 1st and 2nd Edition) 283 10%
Total 2896 100%

How many sessions should a party have to play to gain a level? Assume weekly sessions of three to five hours.
Just one session 172 6%
Two sessions 928 32%
About three to five sessions 1562 53%
More than five sessions 243 8%
Total 2905 100%

Should 1st level go by more quickly than higher levels?
Yes—one session is good. 1102 37%
Yes—two or three sessions should do it (with later levels taking more sessions). 1248 42%
Yes—four or five sessions is about right (with later levels taking more sessions). 154 5%
No. 405 14%
Total 2909 100%

How long should it take to play through a 20-level campaign?
About a month or two 39 1%
A season or semester (three or four months) 138 5%
About five to seven months 149 5%
About a school year (eight to ten months) 377 13%
About a calendar year 792 27%
About a year and a half 598 20%
Two to four years 646 22%
Five or more years 158 5%
Total 2897 100%

Here's a follow-up to my column about random encounters from November. When the characters are on a long journey, how many times in a day of travel do you roll for a random encounter?
Once for the whole trip, no matter the length 345 12%
Less than once per day 474 16%
Once per day 971 33%
2 to 4 times per day 936 32%
5 to 12 times per day 68 2%
13 to 23 times per day 9 0%
Every hour 63 2%
More than once per hour 15 1%
Total 2881 100%

James Wyatt
James Wyatt is the Creative Manager for Dungeons & Dragons R&D at Wizards of the Coast. He was one of the lead designers for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the primary author of the 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. He also contributed to the Eberron Campaign Setting, and is the author of several Dungeons & Dragons novels set in the world of Eberron.
I like those descriptions, but only as guidelines. No need to be rules, as in 4th Edition.

Something that always bothered me about the 3rd edition was the infinite progression of Hit Dice per level. The game ended up being too unrealistic levels above 15 levels. I believe this should be fixed in the new edition ... maybe as optional rules. Something that would please the old school staff as well, since the 1st and 2nd edition characters stopped gaining Hit Dice at 10-level.
Posted By: R.A.S (2/28/2014 5:09:59 PM)


As for me the tiers are:

Lvl 1-4: Heroic
Lvl 5-8: Expert
Lvl 9-12: Master
Lvl 13-16: Legendary
Lvl 17-20: True Legend
Lvl 21-30: Epic
Lvl 31-40: Mythic
Lvl 41+ : Divine

Or even:

Lvl 1-10: Heroic
Lvl 11-20: Legendary
Lvl 21-30: Epic
Lvl 31+ : Divine
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (2/16/2014 6:15:30 PM)


I really think that there should be more to gaining experience points toward level advancement than just killing monsters. Accomplishing story goals, or successfully avoiding combat when fighting is not the bast alternative. The world is a dangerous place and sometimes it is best to avoid certain dangers and sometimes it is even best to run. It takes a wise adventurer to know when to use trickery or diplomacy or combat or evading, or just running to properly navigate the dangers awaiting them in which ever world they find themselves in or on or under.
Posted By: Lothlos (2/13/2014 1:16:38 PM)


The tier delineation seems needlessly complicated with no real benefit. Why not just split each tier into 5 levels, rather than using an odd 4-6-6-4 level spread? It'd still be more complicated than necessary, in my opinion, but at least it would be more intuitive. On the other hand, if there's no mechanic behind the tiers, then I don't see why they even need to exist; examples of appropriate challenges for low/mid/high level parties would work just as well, if not better, as they give more leeway for the GM and the game's setting to decide what is low/mid/high level.

It's also disconcerting that the breakdown of tiers is described in terms of spell levels. What makes the fighter or rogue feel superheroic at levels 17-20? Sure, the Wizard is breaking physics, but how does the guy with the claymore stack up? Can he defy death, cause wounds that never heal, strike fear with his mere presence?
Posted By: Melete (2/11/2014 2:27:32 PM)


Is it just me, or was the description of the distinctions between tiers here made entirely around the abilities of the party spellcasters? Is there no fundamental difference in scope for non-casters as they level? If at expert tier the wizard learns how to fly, teleport, turn invisible, and read minds, while the fighter gets to... jump over 4 square gaps instead of 3 square gaps, then that's not going to be too fun for the fighter.
Posted By: malisteen (2/10/2014 8:18:41 PM)


You have it right. And there needs to be an equivocal power increase for non-spellcasters.
Posted By: Rlyehable (2/11/2014 10:03:02 PM)


One thing that struck me about the survey responses was the (I assume knee-jerk/that's-how-it-was-in-ADnD) response that higher tiers should be slower than the 'expert' baseline tier. If 5e turns out anything like the older eds it's so meticulously imitating, it will have a playable 'sweet spot' that, most likely, will correspond to that 'expert' tier (or maybe then end of Apprentice through most of expert). Extending play in that sweet spot and speeding through the rest would be the next best thing to having a game that was actually good at all levels.

So Apprentice Tier should be lightning-fast, you should be able to play through it in a session or two of backstory (or just skip it and let players fill in their characters' backstory). But, Paragon tier should also go quickly - there just won't be dozens of adventures and hundreds of encounters relevant to such powerful characters. Maybe Paragon can go 'slowly' if the PCs do a lot of slumming around lower-level-approp... (see all)
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (2/7/2014 2:38:01 PM)


Last thing first, I think we're sure to see a new "Epic-Level Handbook" even if it uses different terminology, as you imply. I hear you about expert tier, and it resonates with what I recall about dungeon-plumbing and battling hordes of orcs & hobgoblins. I'm 50, about midrange for a person who played AD&D, but in spite of appreciating your assumptions I don't share your conclusions about the direction of DnDNext.

There are bunches and bunches of monsters for the over-10th level set. Dragons, demons, iconic Underdark denizens like mind flayers and beholders. I was in about a dozen campaigns which fizzled out around 8th level and rarely even saw a drow, but that doesn't mean paragon or "apprentice" tier should go by quickly. My fondest roleplaying memories are of growing and learning along with characters new to their world, and I'm glad there will be options for spending months as a tavern entertainer, guarding caravans and/or plying a craft ... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (2/7/2014 9:42:13 PM)


Anyone else seeing the system saying you rated things you didn't rate? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (2/6/2014 12:21:37 PM)


Might be your OS. You might also want to try or (I will probably have to type this URL in 2 parts):
Posted By: RadperT (2/7/2014 10:17:10 AM)


If, when faced with encounters/challenges equal to your level, you always leveled at the same rate, the rate of progression could be easily controlled by the DM by changing the challenges to cater to the group, but the trend of leveling faster at lower levels and slower at higher levels could naturally exist in a self-consistent setting because being low-level, many challenges will be higher level than you, and being higher-level, many will be below you.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (2/6/2014 2:57:55 AM)


Seems like a lot of people are missing the point of "tiers" being mentioned in the rules at all:

"But really, most of this takes the form of advice to the DM... We're not looking at any rules tied to the tiers, like paragon paths and epic destinies in 4th Edition."

Note that it says no rules are tied to tiers, they are purely descriptive frame of reference to help DM's plan adventures. Of course, these can be broken at any time by having level 1 pcs engage in an extra planer adventure or high level pcs take on a role playing quest that really, any level party could do, for example.

I also feel like this distinction of tiers has always existed in every edition of DnD to a greater or lesser extent. So really, the design team is just explicating a feature of all editions of DnD in order to help DMs understand how the types of adventures characters have might progress as they gain level and power. I am glad the design team is aware of t... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (2/6/2014 12:42:40 AM)


For leveling, why not just have 2-3 versions for the DM to choose. One assumes a fixed rate model of experience gain, while the other makes it geometric but with the same end totals. Thus, one would allow people to spend equal time at each level, and the other would allow expedient play at low levels with upper-tier play lengthening. You could also invert that so that 1st level takes the longest with levels getting faster as you go on to a climax. Finally, you could provide some advice on leveling via narrative (with recommendations for 'feeling' the pacing of a story, player's engagement, etc.). These 2-3 could all exist on less about as many pages in the DMG.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (2/6/2014 12:42:25 AM)


Since you start at 3rd level, the first tier should be from 3rd level to say 7th. This should feature the slowest adventure gains, because the changes in relative power are the biggest from each of these levels to the next and because many groups consider these levels to be the best and they miss when they get much higher. Higher level play, say 8th level and up, should introduce some new types of adventures and monsters. I'd keep things to one tier now, though, that is, abandon all tier structure. You have nerfed spell-casters again, and milestones like the old at 5th level come 3rd level spells are meaningless.
Posted By: SirAntoine (2/5/2014 11:36:58 PM)


Anyone else answer “keep the demons away” for every question about adventures? Why shouldn't low-level characters be faced with big problems? For that matter, why shouldn't high-level characters be faced with little problems? There is plenty of fun to be had asking the party's archmage to clear out a cellar of rats; he might use a Fireball and burn the place down – leading to plenty of amusing roleplaying - or he might get serious and use Wish - and cause further calamities because that's how Wishes should work. You could spend a whole 20 levels keeping demons from overrunning the world, especially if you fail a few times to increase the drama, or you could do it in the first level by finding the right artifact and doing the right thing with it.

And I have sort of the same thought about the rate of leveling questions. Why should any tier naturally level at a faster or slower rate than baseline? Some people want to zip through the early levels and take the later levels slow, ... (see all)
Posted By: Cobrateen (2/5/2014 10:10:26 PM)


(can't reply, as usual)

Exactly, Blue23.
I really dislike it when the game is being defined by what casters can and cannot do. I've been saying all through the play tests that non-casters need extra damage dice, and extra attacks, and 'cool moves' (powers, stances, maneuvers, etc.)as they level up. 4e got that so right. Everyone through all 30 levels of play was equally good in and out of combat. And, everyone was different, tactically.

After all; combat rules are the most important...Anything outside of combat is either total at the table role playing, or a few simple DM adjudicated ability or skill rolls.

I want my mid-level/high-level barbarian to be able to sweep his 2-handed axe or maul and hit every monster in a 270 degree arc in front of him. Or hit one monster for a massive blow: 4W+ damage, for example. I want my high level ranger to fire a storm of arrows, I want my rogue to stab out both eyes (permanently blinding) or cut the achilles... (see all)
Posted By: seti (2/5/2014 9:53:02 PM)


If you're defining tiers in terms of what new capabilities spellcasters bring to the table, MAKE SURE that non-spellcasters bring EQUALLY game-changing capabilities to the table at those levels as well.

(And make sure that multiclass characters aren't "worthless", such as having lots of Apprentice-level abilities while everyone else is solidly having Expert abilities.)
Posted By: Blue23 (2/5/2014 8:57:26 PM)


I think this is is a dangerous and destructive idea. This excludes players who want a more extended levelling process from the game design. Reducing the 0-30+ experience to a 1-20 experience with no alternatives is hardly "big tent" design.
Posted By: Chakravant (2/5/2014 7:25:08 PM)


agreed. The program of them not being able to understand a mechanic of spell progression and power annoys me. I use the same list of spells 0-9 lvl all through 0-100 lvls of my home game. Their power is set by each players unique core mechanics and progress with them throughout each teir of play. In addition the standard spell list is ditched for a more unique way of spells known and spells readied that allows two same class players to really shine in uniqueness all in the same game same table. I am really happy with my mechanics on this. Funny thing is Unearthed Arcana 3.5 and several other books touched on this subject in several ways but failed to combine the mechanics in the appropriate sequence. I even ditched the limit on spells per day and made each caster unique to be able to cast spells that they can "physically and mentally" handle and utilized hp and stats in a very unique way. It is an awesome system I designed.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:20:59 PM)


I believe there is no hard limit to the number of levels anyone can progress. I remember when my uncle dmed when I was 10 we played several years through 800th lvl and were building cosmos and destroying other worlds it was awesome. In the books they really set the limit on 100 when they put hard levels on deities and their powers/realms. If the cap of 10 realms were lifted the gods could surpass 100th level. The mechanics of the deities is what I reverse engineered as a basis for determining how the game as a whole should be run. I now play 0-100th level where players can even become gods themselves. 10 teirs , 10 levels per, 10 adventures per, 10 encounters per adventure. It is a flawless core progression as it could be managed by dm to an amount of play progression they are comfortable with. maybe do 8 or 5 its totally flexible. I like 10. Its what every mechanic in the game revolves around.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:27:00 PM)


SPYKES: I was referencing things in 4th edition that had been changed due to player feedback and disgust. The healing powers were added to the Druid list when the Sentinel came out because their version of the druid was so unpopular. Magic Missile was changed to auto-hit for the same reason. I suggest you read Shelly Mazzanoble's column about it; it was excellent and I don't feel like taking the time to educate you. The entire Forgotten Realms is being fixed from a plan Salvatore and Greenwood came up with when they predicted its big flopping rejection by the vast MAJORITY of players. Not really talking about what I like about the realms when the whole Spellplague Abeir Toril crossover is being thrown out because it was a flop, are we? I would suggest you do some research before you answer a post pedantically. You are right about one thing: it's going to be okay because I will not spend a dime on 5th edition. Not until they offer up something to the disenfranchised fans of 4th edition.
Posted By: TeacherSainted (2/5/2014 6:53:52 PM)


It is funny you should mention the constant direction changes. I noticed that awhile back. These people are really genius minds in the realm of fantasy but they are limiting themselves by not stepping outside their bounds and really blowing this thing wide open. There is a mechanic to it... its called common sense. People can think into things so much the solution or course of action really is right in front of them. We all play our own game. So give us that. Let us decide what we want to do with it. Don't limit us to what "you" think is what "we" want.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:31:16 PM)


Those tiers were pretty much the way I always viewed 3.5 (and I believe one of the developers said as much, to the point of naming each tier - 17-20 was even called Superheroic) just made explicit.
Posted By: serendipity (2/5/2014 5:49:00 PM)


10 levels per teir. I like that progression. I run 10 teirs in my game. I want to be able to kick a god in the balls and take its power and live to tell the tale. I want to be able to reshape the cosmos how I see fit. I want to rain divine power down on the worlds of my choosing or rip them apart as far grander scheme as the sundering.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:33:31 PM)


I would have loved some examples of differentiating Adventuring Tiers that's didn't involve killing monsters of increasing power.
Posted By: aaronil (2/5/2014 5:43:13 PM)


There were examples, albeit roundabout, in the spells. Once you can move instantly anywhere and know the correct answer to any question it occurs to you to ask, the game changes quite a bit. Higher PC levels means the real-world challenges faced by the DM ramp up. Every plot hook potentially undermines itself. Suppose your plot hook is, "who killed the count, and why?" At a certain level, the answer is, "search the room for clues, send the rogue to gather information on the street, interrogate people who knew him, and piece together clues." At a higher level, the answer is "speak with the dead and ask him (and maybe animate the chair for a second witness), get a description of the assailant, petition a god for an answer as to who that is and what his motives where, scry him, teleport to his location without error, and catch him."

The DM has to anticipate this, so he has to know that his assassin can't be seen by anyone (even the victim), he has... (see all)
Posted By: longwinded (2/5/2014 6:46:40 PM)


I have run whole adventures that involved the players in absolutely no deaths of any kind. Sometimes roll play isn't about critical hits and epic fails.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:36:31 PM)


Its only a quibble over a single level, but keep the symmetry. Each tier is 5 levels.

Apprentice Tier
Level 0 (optional)
Levels 1 to 4

Adventurer Tier
Levels 5 to 9

Master Tier
Levels 10 to 14

Legacy Tier
Levels 15 to 19

Epic Tier
Level 20

Then, Level 10, becomes the ‘name level’, that begins the Master tier. (Master, Knight, etcetera.) Give Level 10 a special capstone feature, that defines ‘mastery’.

Give Level 20 a capstone feature to become a ‘legend’.
Posted By: Haldrik (2/5/2014 5:20:55 PM)


Actually for tier names, I prefer the following:

• Apprentice
• Expert
• Master
• Paragon

Reserve the name ‘Epic’ or ‘Legendary’ for later, if an Advanced module adds levels 21 to 29.
Posted By: Haldrik (2/5/2014 5:25:45 PM)


On thinking about it, the following tiers might be useful.

1-4 Apprentice (Student, Page) - Spell Level 1
5-8 Expert (Journeyer, Squire, Professional) - Spell Level 3
9-12 Master (Master, Knight, Lord/Lady, Doctor) - Spell Level 5
13-16 Paragon (Archon, Arch, Great, Grand) - Spell Level 7
17-20 Epic (Legend, Legacy) - Spell Level 9
Posted By: Haldrik (2/6/2014 1:23:58 AM)


In my home game 10 teirs o progression 10 levels each the progression is as such.....
0 lvl
1-10 heroic
11-20 paragon
21-30 epic
31-40 legendary
41-50 mythos
51-60 immortal
61-70 demi god
71-80 ascention
81-90 godhood
91-100 deity
each telling a story of a characters life as it progresses to the highest title bestowed to anyone in the game deity
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:40:45 PM)


Personally, I am fond of the decimal approach (and orders of magnitude) for gauging amounts of power. It is clear, consistent, useful, and multipurpose. If other players can deal with it, I can too.
Posted By: Haldrik (2/6/2014 1:20:43 AM)


Apprentice is a horrible title for any character above first level, especially in that it resonates terribly with the text of any Background. I suggest the name gallant.
Posted By: RadperT (2/7/2014 10:51:35 AM)


"It's good to know that you've finally come out and admitted that only Full Spellcasters are actually people in this edition. I applaud this brief lapse into honesty."

Really? That's what you got from that article? Calling James a liar. I hope you're experiencing only a brief lapse into rudeness.

Here's what I got from the article that is pertient to your statement.

When comparing DDN to older editions, spellcasters got the most obvious and clearly dileneated game-changing abilities in the form of their progressing spell levels. Rather than discard those expectations that have been ingrained in players for 40 years, they want to recognize them as natural milestones for tiers that educate class design for all other classes. Tiers are a useful way to talk about how character capabilities change as they advance in levels, and how their adventures might need to change as well. Certain abilities are better suited for higher lev... (see all)
Posted By: Wyckedemus (2/5/2014 4:53:57 PM)


It's good to know that you've finally come out and admitted that only Full Spellcasters are actually people in this edition.

I applaud this brief lapse into honesty.
Posted By: ShadowWhispers (2/5/2014 4:25:14 PM)


I can handle the "tier" concept but there needs to be a barrier for entry. A lot of this will come from the DM but examples would be required.
For moving from an apprentice (level 1-4) into expert (level 5-10) there should be an examination or a graduation mission or some show of proof that you have mastered the lower levels and can now join the ranks and privileges of a graduated "insert class name here".
This should occur at all "tier" breaks. Unless you go through this barrier condition you cannot continue gaining levels. This gives the DM something extra in his toolkit to reward play styles. The graduation mission will have certain ways to pass, stray to far from those method and you fail to prove your skill for that class. You would then have to train a bit more and try again later.
Having a feature like this you can effectively reset experience once you pass the marker. What serves as being worthy of XP in apprentice levels would fail ... (see all)
Posted By: Rartemass (2/5/2014 4:24:19 PM)


Until you figure out what a paragon or epic tier fighter or rogue can do which is FUNDAMENTALLY different from what they can do at low level, the same way as is true for wizards, your game design is broken and needs fixing.
Posted By: Seroster (2/5/2014 3:51:46 PM)


I agree that a higher level rogue/fighter/ranger/etc should clearly be better than a lower level one in a similar manner as how the wizard is described. That however comes down to the role each class has in a party.
Wizards are flashy in what they do, tossing fire around, making everyone fly, ripping open a portal to hell.
A rogue is more secretive. If you see a stealth rogue then the character has failed. If you can't be convinced by a talky rogue then he has failed.
A fighter tackles bigger and stronger opponents. At epic level he should have abilities to compensate for his medium statue and still cause a great wyrm to question engaging him in combat.
So while I think WotC need to address the situation, I don't see it as being broken just yet.
Posted By: Rartemass (2/5/2014 4:06:35 PM)


I'd like (and really probably will, regardless of what's in the books) run any kind of adventure for my players regardless of level or (blech) Tier. The best thing about 4e was the toolkit for restatting monsters to fit any level of play--because, see, the great thing about DnD is how big it is--there's hundreds of monsters with their own cultures and agendas and I love that. Once you're stuck with the idea of Tier, much of that vast and amazing world gets taped off--sorry the Underdark's for more experienced characters, the planes? Best forget the planes and get back to the rats in the innkeeper's barn. I like the idea that I can throw mind flayers at 1st level characters, not because I'm a PC killing sadist, but because they're interesting and fit nicely into the mood of my story. Maybe a dragon might show up. There might even be a portal to the planes--right at first level. Or, as the PCs get further along, maybe they run into an orc cleric of the god of disease, looking to spread p... (see all)
Posted By: Grimcleaver (2/5/2014 3:28:04 PM)


@ longwinded

There you go brining business sense into it again. '-)
Posted By: TheGimper (2/5/2014 3:18:05 PM)


Should it be a point of concern that the frame of reference for these breakpoints between tiers is spell access? It strikes me as a potential issue that certain classes (and only certain classes) exert so much force within the system that you have to design campaign progression around their *(and, again, only their) abilities.
Posted By: RadioKen (2/5/2014 2:50:01 PM)


Ugh. Supposed to be a reply to a comment below (about continuing to support 4e). - John
Posted By: Seanchai (2/5/2014 1:51:58 PM)


(Oddly, I can reply to this comment, but not your comment below :\ This system has some quirks.)

The premium reprints seem more like putting out feelers to see who's still interested in AD&D. They're collectible,they're tied to a charity, and I'd be surprised if they aren't smaller runs. Eventually you'll sell them all (or rather, you'll sell most of them to gaming shops that will eventually sell them all). But if they sell out quickly, you know the AD&D market is still surprisingly strong, and they need to keep that in mind when they design Next. There was one new module as part of Against the Slave Lords, but that's a long way from steady support.

They are also "reprinting" a lot of the older material as PDFs, but most of the work there is getting high quality scans of older books. For the 3e era, everything was already sent to the printers as PDF in the first place. It just makes sense to get out things you've already made for no per-unit cost... (see all)
Posted By: longwinded (2/5/2014 7:19:01 PM)


It was also a way of having a chance at a profit margin during this lull in new products.
Posted By: LameGamer (2/5/2014 11:36:11 PM)


Longwinded wrote: "They can't because it's a terrible business decision."

But that's the decision they made with all the recent ADnD reprints. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (2/5/2014 1:49:11 PM)


Isn't claiming that 3rd ed only had 20 levels a bit false? I mean, there was the Epic Level handbook, if I remember, which covered what 4E called the epic tier of play... levels 21+.
Posted By: JoeyLast (2/5/2014 1:09:16 PM)


@CommanderCrud--At this point, I'm beginning to think all knowledge of BECMI has been systematically wiped from the design team's minds.
Posted By: Matthew_L._Martin (2/5/2014 12:18:03 PM)


I really hope the paragon tier monsters get get beefed up. As it stands there isn't much variety above 10th level.

I'd like to see some of the humanoids like orcs or gnolls get bumped in level too, so they aren't all apprentice tier fodder. I planned on running Scourge of the Sword Coast as a direct sequal to Ghosts of Dragopnspear Castle... as it stands I'd have to swap all the humanoids for true giants to make it a challenge for 10th level characters.
Posted By: Osgood (2/5/2014 11:04:17 AM)


I think that 5 tiers of 4 levels will work, especially in organized play:

apprentice: 1-4
expert: 5-8
master: 9-12
paragon: 13-16
epic: 17-20

This way modules can be created by tier and any PC of that tier can play in it.
Posted By: Neptune0923 (2/5/2014 10:43:34 AM)


Organized play is a whole other ball of wax I hope they will devote some significant thought to. If everything is modular, whatever they decide as the "default" set of rules will need to be good enough to bring new players in while keeping veterans happy, since that's what we'll be forced to use at Encounters and LFR tables. Here's hoping they think long and hard about that.
Posted By: JoeyLast (2/5/2014 1:42:45 PM)


Why not stretch the game to 30 levels? 5 tiers of 6 levels. A level can be 8 encounter instead of 10-12.

I like the ideas of tiers - i dont think it has to be a mechanically heavy device - but they seem to be packing a lot of stuff into a very small set of numbers.
Posted By: SJS70 (2/5/2014 5:52:47 PM)


I am pro-apprentice levels, but 4 is too much. 1 is perfect, 2 I could live with, but 4? What does that mean, you were an apprentice wizard and now you are an apprentice enchanter?
Posted By: Mechagamera (2/5/2014 10:23:49 AM)


I like the concept of Tiers of Play as a framework to guide the DM. While the more structured Tier System was appropriate to 4e, I'm hoping the Next will be less structured, more flexible.

I don't really understand the resistance to the 'Apprentice Level' concept. It helps both the players and the DM understand their character's roles in the overall campaign. If a group of players wants more challenge, then they understand that they need to start their characters at Level 5 or better. And the DM can plan to skip the intro scenarios.
Posted By: Kazadvorn (2/5/2014 10:07:06 AM)


Speaking for myself, my only real concern about apprentice levels is the potential lack of choices available to players. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (2/5/2014 1:45:26 PM)


If it takes a player 4 levels to figure out his role, the game has far larger problems that need to be addressed.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/6/2014 4:18:47 AM)



Look fellas, I wasn't so sure about level one being an "apprentice level" but when I saw where you were going with it. When levels 1 AND 2 became apprentice levels, I still defended the idea because it jived with the way the game has worked before and because I liked the idea of exploring the world before growing into your powers.

Calling levels 1-4 Apprentice-Levels is too much. So, so many games peter out because new players or old players expect to feel like heroes from books or movies and they end up chasing giant rats, and being really disappointed when a lucky orc knocks them out of the fight.
Even if the mechanics don't change at all, simply calling levels 3 and 4 Apprentice Levels feels like players still need the training wheels. Boo on that.
Posted By: RC-0775 (2/5/2014 9:21:39 AM)


[quote]When characters get 9th-level spells,...[/quote]

Don't you mean "get their 9th level spell,..." ? The upper levels for spellcasters need the same amount of spell progression as the lower levels. The level of spell used by spellcasters should always grow with the caster and limiting the higher levels to 1 per means that casters are stuck with the same spells they had during their first levels for everything except the last boss fight. It should be more like the high level caster casts high level spells in combat and uses the low level spells for utility.
Posted By: ZaranBlack (2/5/2014 8:58:41 AM)


That's terrible! To be 17th level and only have 18 spells per day in addition to that one terrible 9th level spell slot.
Posted By: Ramzour (2/5/2014 4:17:21 PM)



Actually, Clerics and Wizards have the potential to access *all* of their 9th level spells. Every game-changing one of them. Sure they are limited to 1 per day for 6th through 9th level spells, but these are encounter-ending, story-changing spells. I have no problem with a 20th level Wizard having 15 spells per day of 5th level or lower, along with 10 additional spell levels from Arcane recovery, plus the 7 to 10 spells for each fully charged wand or staff that they have. With all that under their belt, I am fine with them having access to only 4 really high level spells. If a DM wants them to have more spells, he can import an older edition's spell-progression table. There is no rules impact. Just a balance impact.
Posted By: Wyckedemus (2/5/2014 4:32:59 PM)


Personally, I'm reading that as one slot, plus whatever additional spells-per-level capability might be granted by class features, plus the ability to jizz a third- or fifth-level spell into that ninth-level slot & rain thermonuclear destruction down onto a large number of monsters. Which is the closest we've gotten to discussing monsters, in Wandering Monsters?
Posted By: RadperT (2/7/2014 11:04:00 AM)


In response to the survey results on leveling. Did anyone else notice that the math does not add up right for the majority votes? With the majority of the vote for leveling up every 3-5 sessions at one session per week and higher levels requiring more, the How long should it take to hit level 20 question is way off, since the majority stated one year. With a session a week and averaging at 5 sessions to advance a level you would be only level 10 in one years time.

Perhaps a more specific survey? One that specifically states something along the lines of: How many sessions should it take to level assuming that the players play once a week? Choice should be things that specifically state sessions and length of campaign in one.

Ex. Leveling up after 3 sessions and reaching level 20 after 50 weeks of play.
Leveling up after 5 sessions and reaching level 10 after 50 weeks of play.

Someone needs to get it together so your surveys have purpose other than s... (see all)
Posted By: LostLegolas (2/5/2014 8:35:43 AM)


Glad to see someone else noticed that. It would also be nice if the poll questions didn't so often railroad the answers, or make assumptions like that combat and Goblins as XP currency should be the default state of the game.
Posted By: Fuzzypaws (2/5/2014 11:50:00 AM)


When in doubt, follow BECMI's example.
Posted By: CommanderCrud (2/5/2014 8:30:11 AM)


I would really like to see a) some new spells (i have been using these spells for 30 years - please develop some new ideas) and b) dont be afraid to change the levels of some spells (I think fly should be a bit higher for instance to make terrain more important in mid level games).
Posted By: SJS70 (2/5/2014 6:36:47 AM)


I would respectfully disagree with you. I like the same spells I've been using for 30 years and for new ideas... I use my own. I also would prefer if the spells remained at the "tried and true" levels and whoever wanted them different, can change them. I.e. In many of my campaigns I limit fly at 1rd/lvl or have it as a 5th lvl spell. I -still- prefer to see it as a 3rd lvl spell in the books though. It depends on the campaign I play.
Posted By: alhoon2 (2/5/2014 2:00:16 PM)


I am a fan of a systematic mechanical level progression. I like a realistic gameplay progression that displays a characters gameplay progression of skill and power. I like characters to gain levels and really have something to show for it. I do not think spells and magic should limit the game. I have always thought the spell and casting progression mechanics and core were flawed. So I created a new system that uses the core spells as base and allows a more uniqueness of spells known spells readied per character. I designed a total game that progresses from 0lvl-100th lvl and still utilizes ALL published works since 1980-Future products from all d20 publishers. It is fully gametested and been played for years. Since 2003 as it sits actually. I developed the mechanics fixes and full 10lvl 10teir progressions and streamlined core mechanics. I developed charts for nearly everything in 0-100 lvl progression. Nothing published was left out nor was it forgotten. All inclusive. Period.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 5:33:54 AM)


10 teirs, 10 campaign arcs, 10 adventures per teir, 10 encounters per adventure (except 0-3lvl) , up to any managible number of players, utilizes powers system as a buff, itilizes both 3.5 and 4th edition mechanics for a 10 point stat bump per teir, utilizes all spell levels 0-9 with new mechanics making them both unique and easier to run at all lvls, spells gain power and are unique to each caster, stats determine character power and progress that power mechanically, every class utilizes a d20 for any task to include casting/combat/skill/interaction/ and advantage/dissadvantage. All core dice are utilized. Each player is limited by their own unique builds and stats/skills, but each character has a spotlight. No set class needed per group to be successful, meaning all casters or all fighters still can do what is necessary to succeed. DC level progression based on 10 dc progression and 10BAB progressions from non combatant to deity. It can be done. I did it. I am just one person. Using ... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 5:54:36 AM)


That sounds a little sterile to me. Inflating the math doesn't make the game any more fun at higher levels. It seems to formulaic for those of us that play DnD for the story aspect and those rules seem like they would be hard to make "invisible."

This is why I was so excited about DnD Next's idea to compress the math and use rules to facilitate roleplaying.
Posted By: RC-0775 (2/5/2014 9:33:08 AM)


That's the whole concept behind it. Its all about story. You play a mage lets say. And someone else plays a mage. Mechanically the class is the same sterile flow. In my system of how the core is used its totally the opposite. How you play and what you play creates the experience the core ghosts into the background running smoothly allowing endless combinations and possibilities. It creates uniqueness and buildson that as you progress. Its epic all the way. You adventure from a lowely should I or shouldn't I adventurer all the way up to fighting alongside the gods against massive armies or singular massive creatures altering the cosmos absorbing divine power until you too become gods yourselves and battle for supremacy in the pantheon. Its totally story. Every adventures moves and responds to player actions allowing for quicker adventuure prep and in game alterations with little to no lag time. The story transpires as a group as it unfolds one decision one dice roll at a time. It is far... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 2:34:58 PM)


In addition when you say what you say in context you are against progressing past 1st lvl at all. The entire games based on mathematics and progression static or sterile as a character adventures to gain wealth, power, loyalty, renoun, and status all the while rolling a numbered die against a sterile or static dc progression that measures success or failure for anything possible that players or dms minds can come up with. Without mathematics or core progressions were just telling stories instead of rolling and fabricating lasting gameworld memories and epic adventures. It just wouldn't seem like dnd.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 3:14:28 PM)


The funny thing is the math doesn't need to be inflated. It can be broken down to base just as quickly as I inflated it. Seconds really. I can swap using feats in or out. I can swap in skills or take them out. I can swap in powers or take them out. I can swap the magic levels up or down or even remove it completely. I can make the game run as only epic or even godhood. I can use just one teir of game play or all 10. In reality i set its limit to 100 lvls. logically based off the games current published works 100 was the number, but it is actually an infinite mechanic. The story truly never ends...
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 7:31:35 PM)


At the game table I have newbies playing 4th edition, i have old school 1st and 2nd edition players, I have metagamers using 3.5 (my base) and pathfinder so as to add the detail and options they love. All at the same table. All playing at the same time. Each turn you wouldn't know it. Each round they all harmoniously roll, chat, and cheer their way through 2-4 hours of gameplay building epic stories. The smiles, laughter, standing roll ovations and thank you's is enough for me. This system has bridged years of game development before my time and I have made a system in that system that will last for eternity. Endless.
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 7:36:17 PM)


Got a link on where we can see this system of yours? I'm sure I'm not the only one that wants to compare it to other systems.
Posted By: Rartemass (2/5/2014 4:11:15 PM)


I'll tell you what. Contact me and I'll walk you through creating your version and mine. I'll explain why it works and answer questions that do not involve any mechanics I have done outside open game content. contact me at whatsyourd20adventure(at)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/8/2014 8:46:22 AM)


I have everything from charts to classes to blank forms for ease of use. I have character sheets, class sheets, monster encounter sheets, campaign sheets etc. etc. etc. I spent 9 straight months worth of time going through every step of this game we all call dnd. I went through many other company systems and many many other resources all the way back to products that gygax himself tagged. Gary left a legacy, I found it. I developed the mechanics for it, used his guidance to bridge it and many other great minds notes and trials and errors to put all the pieces of the game in the right sequence to finally have what I call... all inclusive. There were errors, there were setbacks, there were countless hours spent foraging the blogs and listening to other concerns and what others wanted in the game or out of it. It is my creation, but it is much more than that. It is another piece to the legacy left by a great man. I am proud to call it my own, but even happier when those that play it see w... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 7:22:59 PM)


A link would do you no good. As is there is none. It is my homegame or local game shops that enjoy it every sat every month. The local shop since last year and the home game for 11 yrs now. You can't see what i've done on paper and do it justice nor can you just simply look at the mechanics and know what to do with them. I know when I see it. My players know because they use them every week. They have to be presented in presentation verbally, walked through hands on, visually referenced and then put to one on one creating a step by step. Only in this will you fully understand what has been done. I will not give my mechanics out as they are the largest solve all to the system of systems and literally bridge every d20 based product out there. I will however gladly help anyone who feels that wizards has dropped the ball here and help you start playing your game you so long to play that i fear you will never see come to frution. I promise you this, I will give you two things. I will give y... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 7:14:15 PM)


They (wizards) have still not corrected the system mechanic of casters. They are basing the entirety of the game on spells , their progression , and their power , how its gained and when to determine the rules to a game they seem to not understand. Harsh. Hardly. The other reason is monster mechanics. They cannot seem to balance monster power to player power. In 4th edition their "teir" program showed this best when players in stead of gaining power at each teir peak/transition were instead loosing power because monsters were instead progressing as the mechanics of the core game. The mechanics of 4th were designed to eliminate class progressions and replace it with class theme and feel. Allowing faster play time with less choices for new players and less hard class progression mechanics. Instead simplifying classes and allowing players "powers" as a way to customize class without deviating too much into the older 3.5 massive options. In reality 4th edition was 2 thi... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/5/2014 8:08:05 PM)


Basing the game on a flawed mechanic, limiting yourself and the game because you can't make the mechanics work, hurts everyone. The mechanics are there if you just use the system differently. If someone at wizards would recognize what I have, and unbiased listens and gives me credit I would share this solve all mechanic and everyone who plays a caster would have a unique, epic play system where magic is magi. Every caster would be unique with every spell unique to their character. All using the same mechanic and the same spells for as many levels as the player or dm decides. It is so easy its crazy ridiculous why it was ever any other way. Every caster would know what a spell does in seconds, how it plays, its dc, its caster lvl, its dmg / effects, everything. Its a manner of the perspective and some unique mechanics flips I designed to work in unison. No more spells per day base progression, no more base spell progressions known, no more forgetting spells as its described in the books... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/8/2014 9:03:09 AM)


I would really have liked to see the levels expanded from the 30 level model of 4e to a 40 level model. Basically, keep the 4e tiers as they were, but add levels 31-40 as the "Legendary" tier. At the very least, it would have been nice to keep the 30 level model. Having the "Apprentice" levels from 1-4 with really fast progressions just doesn't "feel" right, at least to me. The discussion of being able to change the rate of progression to suit your group from a couple weeks ago, however, leads me to think that it won't be a big deal only having 20.
Posted By: Tulloch (2/5/2014 4:10:14 AM)


While spells are a good measure of what a character could do at what level. I felt the current playtest rules to be limiting in terms of high level spells with how little slots there were. Yes 4 slots of each spell level past 5th may be too much, but 1 of each spell level past 5th is too little.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (2/5/2014 1:54:12 AM)


Have you actually tried playtesting a high level caster? If you do, you might find that you already have enough spells. At high levels a Mage has enough spells/day that he can cast at least one every encounter. Do you really need to spam cloudkill or meteor swarm? I bet judicious use of your low level spells, plus casting low level spells at higher spell slots, will get you by just fine. (not to mention abilities like Arcane Recovery)
Posted By: Ramzour (2/5/2014 4:07:47 AM)


Mr. Wyatt, the entire discussion of tiers centered on spells and casters. I'd have liked to hear more about things that aren't spells.
Posted By: bawylie (2/5/2014 1:24:02 AM)


Agreed. One thing that particularly troubles me here is the notion that epic-tier characters are only "almost super-human." By that point, when you're challenging demon lords if not the gods themselves, I should hope your abilities would be well BEYOND super-human. In fact, super-human strength I should hope should come at the very latest by paragon tier, if not sometime in expert tier. Heroes are special.
Posted By: Marandahir (2/5/2014 1:53:26 AM)


Agreed Bawylie. I was hoping to get some insight on high level play for non-casters. I guess that would upset the community too much, though. Some people get VERY upset by the idea that a Heroic Fantasy Warrior might have an ability that's "supernatural". So you have one camp that says "don't let casters rule the high levels" and the other camp that says "martial characters should obey the laws of realism in the real world...despite the fact that 75% of the classes cast spells (which is inherently unrealistic)."
Posted By: Ramzour (2/5/2014 4:03:34 AM)


Tuning high-level play is something Wizards has failed miserably at every single time they've attempted it. They keep trying to extrapolate what it will look like based on low- and mid-level play, rather than actually finding out what it DOES look like. They made the mistake in 3rd, didn't fix it in 3.5, then made the mistake again in 4th, then didn't fix it in Essentials. There's no reason to believe this trend will change now.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/5/2014 4:07:48 AM)


Have you not read the way the magic system works in the playtest? Because they have actually taken a LOT of steps towards reducing the overpowered tendencies of magic. Fewer spell slots. Non-scaling spells. Removing save-or-die effects (mostly). Offering a chance to re-save as an Action. A lowered spell save DC. Concentration spells prevent abusive spell stacking.

So yeah, there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn't expect this problem in DnDNext.
Posted By: Ramzour (2/5/2014 4:18:54 AM)


I shouldn't have expected it in 3.5, or 4e, or 4eE, either. And yet, there it was.

In fact, I expect it to be WORSE in Next than it was in 4e, because they're reintroduced many of the things that caused it in 3/3.5.

They can futz with the numbers all they like; the issue is the systems themselves, not the variables within those systems.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/6/2014 4:16:15 AM)


Except, you know. Power Word: Kill. That's a spell I will never allow. Totally preposterous.
Posted By: RC-0775 (2/5/2014 9:34:26 AM)


Yeah I would like to know what a high level fighter can do. A high level wizard seems to be able to do in DDN what high wizards have done in virtually all of the previous editions - just a little fewer times. No surprises there! What is the vision for fighters, rangers etc?
Posted By: SJS70 (2/5/2014 6:31:24 AM)


Move. Hit thing with sword. Move. Hit other thing with sword. Wait for the Wizard to win the fight.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/6/2014 4:13:40 AM)


And when you realize you have made another bone-headed move like not making Druids able to heal, or ruining what everyone loves about the forgotten realms, or not making Magic Missile an auto-hit spell, you will produce errata and recton things. You will finally realize that you just have just another edition of the game with an even further fractured community, and a group of 4th edition players who are so peeved about their edition being botched to begin with and dropped like a hot potato that they watch 5th Edition crumble like a castle of cards. Start making restitution to your cast off players, and show some class before you crash and burn.
Posted By: TeacherSainted (2/5/2014 12:28:53 AM)


Here's the thing though, by making it modular they can accommodate the editions if they get the basics right. If you want Druids that heal? Use module A. Want auto-hit Magic Missiles? Use module B. Want to play any edition of D&D the way it's supposed to be? Just use the number one rule in the books, make it up yourself and just enjoy the game.
Posted By: LameGamer (2/5/2014 12:53:09 AM)


Confused by this post...
Druids CAN heal
What YOU love about FR, doesn't necessarily represent what "everyone" loves.
Magic Missile IS an auto hit spell
5e is hardly a crumbling castle of cards.

I would advise some calm and maybe a re-read of the current playtest rules. It's going to be OK.
Posted By: Spykes (2/5/2014 1:46:14 AM)


@LameGamer (broken reply button)

No, they can't. There's too strong of a disconnect between the dissociative-narritivist bent of 4e and the associative-simulationist trend of Next. The game is too deeply rooted in the latter (as was 3.x) to serve the function of the former. The two extremes are effectively irreconcilable: the aspects that proponents of one style consider essential to the game are precisely the same ones that proponents of the other style consider anathema to it. You CANNOT please both groups with a single game.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/5/2014 4:04:22 AM)


The big difference I felt between 3.5 and 4e was in heroic feel. In 3.5, I felt like I had to go through lots of dull slogging before I felt like my character mattered or could survive a decent combat or could call himself a "hero". In 4e, I felt like a hero from my first game. In 3.5, I kept looking for other classes to take a level of to make my character interesting, while in 4e I felt like there were more than enough variant options for each class that I didn't need to multiclass (and I appreciated how limited multiclassing was), though there were Paragon multiclassing and (eventually) hybrid options if I really wanted to go down that road. The non-AC defenses in 4e felt like a natural progress from 3.5's saves, and they made sense.

NEXT feels to me like a journey away from those options, away from the instant feeling of being a capable hero, away from defenses that make sense for the type of attack coming at them... and towards some vague idea of what is ... (see all)
Posted By: JoeyLast (2/5/2014 1:39:32 PM)



>"I think you have those backwards."

No, I don't.

>"Anyway, you CAN please all sorts of players with one game, but only if the player is willing to compromise."

If I'm compromising, I'm not happy.

>"DnDNext (as well as most editions of the game) offers a way to play whichever style you want."

No, it doesn't.
Posted By: Kalranya (2/6/2014 4:10:58 AM)


If I understand you correctly, you're saying that 4e was focused on narrative and Next is simulationist? I think you have those backwards.

Anyway, you CAN please all sorts of players with one game, but only if the player is willing to compromise. And suggesting that compromise is unacceptable is basically giving the middle finger to every house rule that every existed.

DnDNext (as well as most editions of the game) offers a way to play whichever style you want. Different rule modules, expansion books, pre-made adventures, magazine content, and (most importantly) your own imagination....all of these let you customize the game to your liking. And since DnDNext is taking a very unobtrusive stance on the system's rules, you can very easily adapt it to your preferred style of play, no matter which camp you fall into.
Posted By: Ramzour (2/5/2014 4:14:48 AM)


4e is sufficiently different from any other RPG out there that I STILL can't understand why WotC can't continue to support 4th and Next. I love 4e and 2nd. I also like Golf and Skiing. I don't insist that Golf be played in the snow with boards strapped to my feet and I don't feel that Skiing should involve hitting small balls into round holes.
Posted By: Kazadvorn (2/5/2014 10:18:42 AM)


WotC can't continue to support 4e because 5e is a response to the edition war, and the edition war was never about OSR or 3.x fans getting the game they wanted. They already had them in the form of Pathfinder, older editions, and retro-clones. It was about taking 4e away from the fans who like it. It doesn't matter how much support for other editions WotC produces, they can't win back the fans they want while any support for 4e remains. Because those fans are motivated primarily by spite.
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (2/7/2014 2:45:52 PM)


The audience is already fragmented. What you're suggesting is like saying that Ford shouldn't produce trucks because they might compete with Ford SUV's. People who like 4e will continue to play 4e. Someone will continue to produce adventures for the system. Look at all the retro-clones out there. Why should WotC give away another product line, like they did when they gave the 3.5 customers to Paizo?
Posted By: Kazadvorn (2/5/2014 1:31:49 PM)


I think they can and should. They don't necessarily need to continue publishing new 4e books, as that system is relatively complete. But it costs them nothing to keep taking our DDI money so we can use the char builder/compendium/monster builder. It'd be a relatively cheap endeavor to allow maybe one 4e article per Dragon magazine... they have open writing periods all the time, and some of those folks are going to want to write 4e stuff. I even know plenty of folks (myself included) who'd be happy to volunteer time to bring the discordant parts of 4e (Essentials vs PHB stuff) into alignment. I don't see how this'd be any different than when they simultaneously put out 4e and Gamma World, or when they promote DnD and the board game line and also Magic: The Gathering. Many of us will consume more than one product from WotC, and that won't decrease from the enjoyment or sales of any of those products.
Posted By: JoeyLast (2/5/2014 1:14:35 PM)


They can't because it's a terrible business decision. It's a non-starter.

Supporting a game has costs. You have to pay people to write, illustrate, and God willing play-test. That's true even of web-only publishing. For real books you have to schedule time with your printer and tie up a lot of cash into paper, ink, transportation, and storage for something that had better sell.

And then when you consider that you're publishing two different fantasy adventure RPGs, you are certainly splitting your audience into two camps, assuring that that neither product will be dominant, and that overhead on both lines will be higher than necessary. In a business you have to fight your competition; you should never arrange it so you have to fight yourself. You want one product that you can throw all of your weight behind, that captures as large a segment of the market as a single product possibly can. And as sad as it is, it's probably a lot better to offend and lose a smaller ... (see all)
Posted By: longwinded (2/5/2014 12:36:12 PM)