Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

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Thorf
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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by Thorf » Sun May 06, 2018 9:48 am

shesheyan wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 8:08 pm
Finally, we are to blame, for the backlash by fans whenever they write something new for an old setting. Players say «they didn't respect this or that, the cannon description is wrong or incoherent, they changed the flavor of the setting, they did the timeline advancement all wrong, etc, etc... »

If I was a designer at WOTC I too would avoid old setting tinkering. Best not wake the dragon and get burned ! :lol: :lol: :lol:
I totally agree with this. It's actually the number one thing that drives me away from my Mystara projects — burnout from dealing with the huge conflicting body of works, and trying to please as many people as possible (including myself) in how I deal with it in the Atlas. And I get off exceedingly lightly, as there are generally no people with pitchforks demonstrating against my heinous actions. ;)

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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by Havard » Sun May 06, 2018 11:06 am

Thorf wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 9:48 am
shesheyan wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 8:08 pm
Finally, we are to blame, for the backlash by fans whenever they write something new for an old setting. Players say «they didn't respect this or that, the cannon description is wrong or incoherent, they changed the flavor of the setting, they did the timeline advancement all wrong, etc, etc... »

If I was a designer at WOTC I too would avoid old setting tinkering. Best not wake the dragon and get burned ! :lol: :lol: :lol:
I totally agree with this. It's actually the number one thing that drives me away from my Mystara projects — burnout from dealing with the huge conflicting body of works, and trying to please as many people as possible (including myself) in how I deal with it in the Atlas. And I get off exceedingly lightly, as there are generally no people with pitchforks demonstrating against my heinous actions. ;)
I think it should be relatively easy to avoid pitchfork crowds. Sure, this is the age of the Internet and it seems like that does generate tons of negativity because you can just go there and complain.

However,
I think many of the biggest backlashes when it comes to settings over the years should have been very easy to avoid. Major backlashes came not because they made minor tweaks or misinterpretations of certain setting elements but because they:
  • Killed off lots of popular characters.
  • Created major setting changes, often in seemingly
  • Made clumsy justifications for introducing new races.
  • Made changes simply to convince people to switch to a new edition or buy more stuff.
The easiest way to avoid this in the future is just not to make the type of changes above. However, I also think you can make dramatic changes, but you have to be more clever about it. Be aware that people are not going to be happy when you kill off a character they love. You can still kill him, but give him a proper sendoff. If you need to make massive changes to a setting, make sure that you have a good in game justification for it. Sure, economic motive will aways be there, but there should be ways to do this without being so extremely obvious about it.

One thing that is often thrown around is that companies don't care about older fans. They just want to attract new ones. I don't know if that has any truth to it, but frankly I think that is a very bad idea. If you are in the business of making money, you don't want to appeal to just one segment of the market. You want everyone to love your product.

Finally, don't take away the DM's agency. Time jumps to a setting can be interesting, but how about offering advice on how each DM can incorporate his own campaign events into the new setting if he has been playing before the Time jump event?

-Havard

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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by shesheyan » Sun May 06, 2018 12:32 pm

timemrick wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 6:37 am
Despite wanting more D&D 5E content, I'm just as happy that WOTC is not trying to flood the market with thinner, softcover splatbooks, like they did in 3E. Those smaller releases tend to result in a lot of rules bloat (too much content spread across too many titles for anyone to reasonably keep track of) and power creep (because they're not as rigorously balanced against the core rules).

From interviews with the 5E designers that I've seen (and Mike Mearls' weekly Twitch stream), their design philosophy pretty much demands the kind of conservative pacing that WOTC has had for its releases so far. They are invested in getting player feedback to refine their work, and keeping all new material balanced against the core rules. They also never assume that players own more than the Player's Handbook, because they don't want new players to think they have to buy even more books just to have a viable character. As someone who invested heavily in 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder, I very much appreciate not having to buy a ton of books to "keep up with" the game.
Agreed. I was very much into D20 Modern during the 3E era. Several of the later books were softcover splatbooks, felt like rushed jobs and were disappointing. I really like the Players Handbook + one other book philosophy of D&D 5 edition.
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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by shesheyan » Sun May 06, 2018 1:12 pm

Havard wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 11:06 am
Finally, don't take away the DM's agency. Time jumps to a setting can be interesting, but how about offering advice on how each DM can incorporate his own campaign events into the new setting if he has been playing before the Time jump event?

-Havard
How about ignoring the changes and time jump until your campaign as ended? Its possibility the best and only advice you need. I never switch between editions (or setting book) inside a single campaign. I end the campaign then start a new one with the new rules.

I feel its a catch-22 situation. If they don't change enough in a new version of a setting part of the crowd will cry foul play and claim they are paying for nothing new. If they change too much stuff the other part of the crowd tears off their shirts. Its a tricky proposition. How much is too much and how much is too little? And its probably why we are not seeing new version of setting books - yet. It takes time (and fact checking) to get it right. Probably far more time they were given to write the 3E version of Forgotten Realms.
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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by Havard » Sun May 06, 2018 6:06 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:12 pm
How about ignoring the changes and time jump until your campaign as ended? Its possibility the best and only advice you need. I never switch between editions (or setting book) inside a single campaign. I end the campaign then start a new one with the new rules.
There are plenty of ways for a DM to solve this. My point is that the authors usually don't take the time to adress this issue. I think a single paragraph could have helped alot in appeasing DM's who are upset by this type of project.

I feel its a catch-22 situation. If they don't change enough in a new version of a setting part of the crowd will cry foul play and claim they are paying for nothing new. If they change too much stuff the other part of the crowd tears off their shirts. Its a tricky proposition. How much is too much and how much is too little? And its probably why we are not seeing new version of setting books - yet. It takes time (and fact checking) to get it right. Probably far more time they were given to write the 3E version of Forgotten Realms.
I disagree. There are certainly some individuals who will never be happy. But I don't think it is as difficult as some people make it up to me. The biggest complaints aren't about minor factoids being wrong. They are about major changes that are added with too little thought behind them.

And if you want to forward the timeline, why not write books that can be useful for people wanting to run games in the previous era as well? Why not just include a single page about "how to use this book if you want to run the latest edition rules in the era used as default by the previous edition"?

I don't think fans are that unreasonable.

-Havard

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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by zontoxira » Sun May 06, 2018 9:13 pm

I can say SCAG attempted to tackle this transition between time (and editions), albeit in a limited way.
Certainly, those fans more invested to the setting would be disappointed by the scarce and vague information, however, it's an excellent resource book to have an overview of the Realms. What's more interesting is the developers being hesitant to present FR as a whole setting, but focus on a few key areas each time (mainly the Sword Coast, but AL series have also dipped into the Moonsea, and recently we had a new region, Chult).
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Re: Some of my complaints about D&D 5E

Post by shesheyan » Sun May 06, 2018 9:34 pm

Havard wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 6:06 pm
I don't think fans are that unreasonable.

-Havard
I never said the community is unreasonable. I said we are divided and its hard to please everyone. But which community are we talking about? I enjoyed the changes in FR 3E setting book. They felt like an opportunity to explore new avenues for GMs and players. I'm pretty sure that is how the designers felt about their design decisions.

I don't think a single paragraph or one page would appease those who want things to remain the same from one edition to the other. They would laugh at this and call it a very lame attempt to buy the peace. Also, companies do not under cut a product with another very similar product. It doesn't make sense economically. They would never produce a FR book especially for those who don't accept the change of the new timeline. It would be a logistical and marketing nightmare. Imagine how confused a new player would be. Again, don't change systems if you don't want to change setting versions. I believe each edition is a self-enclosed finished product and backward compatibility is not required.

Let's agree to disagree on this.
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