This week, Design Manager Ed Stark singles out some of the top features of the new rules package and gives us a sneak peek into one of the elemental planes.
Q: What's the single biggest change?
A: The size of the books. Each book is going up to 320 pages.
Q: What's the single most important change?
A: That depends on what you care about. The fact that we went through the Monster Manual and tightened up the CRs is pretty important to me. (I DM a lot.) I also play a druid, and I really like the changes that were made to the druid's spell lists and wild shape ability. I think the most important overall change to the game isn't just one change, it's all the changes that make the D&D game more like what people expect it to be -- rules that support fun and interesting fantasy roleplaying.
Q: What change do you think will have the biggest impact and why?
A: Again, this really depends on what you care about. As a most-of-the-time-DM, I think the changes to the monsters will have the largest positive impact on the game. We worked hard to make monsters easier for DMs to play, modify, and create. We made the monsters fit their CRs better (or moved their CRs to where they do fit), and we really tried hard to fill in the gaps where monsters had obvious problems everyone was noticing and complaining about.
Q: What's the one improvement that is your personal favorite, the one that as a player or as a DM you most welcome?
A: That's tough. I like a lot of things, both as a player and as a DM. I really like the retooling we've done with the damage reduction system. It's an interesting and meaningful thing, now, which is what it was intended to be all along. I like the tweaks made to the classes. We had places in 3.0 where classes missed what players wanted them to be and 3.5 addresses those problems. As both a player and a DM, I like it when characters can follow the rules and still come out just the way players want. We're getting closer to that goal with 3.5.
Q: What's really hot?
A: The Elemental Plane of Fire, as drawn by Raven Mimura! Have a look at this new illustration from the Dungeon Master's Guide.