Dungeons & Dragons 2024 - New core books, new evolution

I agree. I think 5th Edition has been great, and more importantly, I think Wizards learned a lot of hard lessons after the 4th Edition blowout about engaging with their fans in a digital age.

That said, Pathfinder 2E had some terrific stuff in it.

Amusingly, you both are talking about the same thing. 4th Ed’s per-encounter/per-day mechanic was a very on-the-nose predecessor version of the somewhat looser x-per-short-rest/y-per-long-rest type stuff that some classes get in 5E. 4E was also much more concerned with an extremely tight and predictable numerical progression up to Very Big Numbers, and each class needed to ensure that their to-hit, damage/turn, AC, and saves kept up with the critters appropriate to the party’s level, so there was def some of that “everything is same-y” feel to it.

Personally, I thought that 4E was a fabulous tactical mini combat game. Which, like, I never want to play such a game ever again so long as my life because I find tactical combat in TTRPGs to be dreadfully boring, but also, I think 4E did very well at it.

5E loosens things back up to a nearly AD&D 2E level in many respects, while incorporating a lot of the smarter game design elements WotC learned through 3/3.5 and 4E. It’s got its own internal balance, too, but a much simpler one than 4E’s rocket-powered escalator: banded accuracy means that no one’s AC or to-hit is ever gonna reach statospheric levels, so even the lowliest goblin can get lucky sometimes and sneak a hit on an expert fighter. . . he just probably won’t do nearly enough harm to cause an issue. Now, 50 goblins, on the other hand. . .

I don’t really like 5E much at all these days, but that’s more due to how agonizingly burnt out I am on high fantasy d20-powered combat-fests masquerading as collaborative storytelling. Give me Fate or PbtA or FitD or NDNM or give me death!

This is me as well - My kids and GF love it as well, because they can play it, without having to read 5000 rulebooks and understand some obscure ruleset.
Its easy to understand, but can get gritty enough once you gain a few levels.

I also firmly believe, that if the hobby has to gain wider success, it has to become more popular, and to become more popular, it has to be become more mainstream and easy to understand. This is what 5E is to me, and why I think it has had such a huge amount of success here in Coronatimes - its fairly easy to sit down and play, and just have fun with.

Yeah, I think some of the character creation stuff is really smart with how you logically arrive at your stats. RIP fudging your rolls for straight 18s, though!

I do wonder, given the current climate, how much they are thinking about optimizing the gameplay systems for streaming/podcasts…

Matt Colville has been preaching this for a while.

And it makes sense. 99% of the stuff in the monster manual is something you’re going to fight and kill. Having to look up what all the spells do is a pain and rarely even matters.

Look at Pathfinder for example.

Does it really matter that a Shadow Demon can cast Magic Jar once per day? Probably not.
Odds are really good it’s going to die in that encounter, but the DM has to look up all it’s spells to see which ones might be relevant to that combat it dies in.

On one hand, I like that versimiltude. On the other, if you’re making encounters, it’s just pain more than anything having to look up what spells do constantly.

Our first hint at how that transition will be navigated is an upcoming book titled Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse , a confusing name for a confusing product that will be sold in a confusing way and — at least initially — at a conspicuously high price point.

“We are working as we speak on revisions of the core rulebooks that will be backward-compatible,” said Jeremy Crawford, principal rules designer for D&D, during a press preview event last week. “That was in our mind as we worked on Monsters of the Multiverse . […] So this book will be not only ready to go, but will be able to keep going for years to come.”

So what does backward compatibility mean in D&D? For Monsters of the Multiverse , it means tinkering with some of the math under the hood, and enshrining subtle changes that have been made since 2014 to adapt the game for a modern, increasingly more progressive, and now thoroughly mainstream audience.

Monsters of the Multiverse , Crawford explained, is divided into two parts. The first half of the book includes 33 previously released player character races that have, until now, never been collected together into a single volume. Each of those races will be presented in a revised format, first seen in [ Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (2020), that formally separates ability score increases (Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, etc.) from character race.

“We really wanted to reinforce that all of the game’s races are just as flexible as humans when it comes to the range of culture and personality,” Crawford said.

The second half of the book is a collection of more than 250 monsters, some of which are entirely new. But all of these monsters are being presented in a brand new way.

First, they’re no longer defined solely as residents of a particular plane of the D&D multiverse. Instead, they’re presented as much more vanilla types. Alignments — chaotic evil, true neutral, lawful good — have been filed off in some places as yet another nod to removing racial essentialism from the game.

The race is on! Who will win? BG3 or D&D 5.5?

They want people like me, who used to purchase all their books, but stopped immediatly upon their announcement of the new edition, to get back to buying their books.

It makes sense financially, but I am quite certain it will lead to a mess. Backwards compatability with something that isn’t released yet? Recipe for disaster in my opinion!

A couple of gamer sins I want to confess on the most recently remarked upon D&D thread I can find;

  1. I really like Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse
  2. I LOVE Mage Hand Press’ Valda’s Spire of Secrets, which is currently only (legally) available as a .pdf via a late pledge on their fully-funded-and-finished Kickstarter (if you pay extra, you can get a hardcopy delivered or a VTT module for either D20 or Foundry - LATER, these extras are not yet available).

For those who haven’t seen it, the book is 380ish pages of really fun character options, spells, and some occasional Fourth Wall winking. I highly recommend it for groups who are:

  • more than a little irreverent (eg - a Paladin of Heresy)
  • enjoy a bit of humor (eg - the D&D sport, Siegeball)
  • are dying to have Pathfinder-esque classes (eg - The Witch, done in a way that really nicely differentiates from Warlocks)
  • or are interested in something truly unique (eg - The Warmage, a light-armored caster who ONLY uses cantrips but can highly modify/empower them).

10 new base classes (with subclasses)
Each already-existing class class gets 4 new subclasses
130+ spells
5 new races (with variants)
A few new mechanics easily introduced if wanted or ignored if not
. . . and I have to confess, I absolutely love the art style:

It should be noted that some of the stuff is covered in previous publications by Mage Hand Press, but it’s all been refined/streamlined/improved upon.

As for the cost; $30 for a .pdf? Yeah, that’s steep. But honestly totally worth it, at least for my group. I’m sure it can be found online if you want to peek into it before you buy; just please give them your money if you wind up “keeping” it.

Not sure why this is a sin! It’s a solid book. And Spire of Secrets looks super interesting, thanks for sharing it! I think my 5E playing Pathfinder-fan friends might find it particularly compelling for them, based on your description, so we’ll definitely give it a look.

Covid totally killed D&D for me. I was playing weekly up until Feb 2020. I did a few online games in the interim and my passion for the hobby was totally ruined. I put in so much work as a DM and people on Zoom just don’t care, plus you can’t really use your props or maps and minis like we used to.

I thought maybe it was my group, so I tried DMing for a new group of acquaintances. One of them took me aside after a few games. She gave me feedback about all the great things Matt Mercer does on Critical Role and how I should really listen to that and prepare more for sessions. My reaction was “Yeah, no.”

If this is the D&D thread now, I figured I’d lament here. The hobby has left me behind. Kids today all want to make catgirls and turtlefolk and half-angel vampires and bird people that can’t talk and I’m like, “what happened to the half-elf fighter?” IDK. Maybe I’m too old for this shit. Bird people are monsters.

It’s no secret I’m a huge Souls fan, and those are the kinds of D&D games I used to run and play in. The world is terrifying, the dungeons are dark and dangerous, your characters can die. My 1st 5e game was at PAX, in a public beta test, and Chris Perkins was there overseeing the tables. It was awesome and we all died. The dungeon was batshit crazy. My first 5e session, my players arrogantly thought they could hit a kobold lair and it was a TPK. Their next party rolled up on that same lair weeks later to see their previous characters rotting heads on spears outside the entrance.

Weird, unasked for personal thoughtdump here, but man, I have always felt the weirdest, completely unjustified aversion to third party D&D content.

I think it’s something like, “I want to approach the game on its own merits and play it as the designers intended,” or something in that thematic ballpark, except:

A) D&D was written from the beginning to be tweaked and adjusted and modified,
B) No one actually plays RAW, anyway,
C) The actual designers obviously have no idea what to do with their own ruleset, anyway, hence the constant parade of errata over the years, so why would a third party designer’s ideas be any less valid?
and, most importantly,
D) I don’t like completely played-straight D&D that much, anyway, so why would I want to make myself play it that way???

Reflecting on this recently, I came to the kind of funny-but-sad conclusion that I think my “try real hard to play D&D RAW” quasi-ethos was basically a subconscious self-sabotage to reinforce the fact that D&D “wasn’t really for me.”

Well, it’s that, or maybe flashbacks to the parade of hilariously overpowered, horribly written third party supplements my players were always trying to drag into the old Pathfinder 1E campaign I ran for a few years.

In any case, that book looks super neat; thanks for sharing it here :)

Online play sucks and blows and I hate it with the fury of a thousand suns. I endured it for a year and a half, because RPGs are a primary social connection mechanism with a bunch of close friends here in Raleigh (and was one of the few shared activities we enjoyed that could move online at all), but the second enough of us were vaccinated to feel safe gathering, I moved everything back in person as much as possible. The public games I run for our local Meetup group are still online for now, and every session I do for that serves as reinforcement of my thoughts on online play.

My whole GMing style is all about energetic improvisation and riffing off what other people are saying and doing and feasting on their energy like the fucked up extrovert vampire that I am, bopping from person to person and dragging them in with hand gestures and eye contact and wild voices, encouraging intra-party conversation and gags, and sticking everyone into tiny webinar boxes just completely saps the energy out of what I do in games.

Some RPG Youtuber recently had a video about how “the Matt Mercer effect is a lie!” and I can’t help but think that dude must not actually, like, interact with real human people in the wider gaming community or something, because what you experienced there is absolutely real and happens a weird amount. That said, hey, it was also a game problem that someone actually solved with conversation, which never seems to happen. “I have this expectation for the fun I want to have.” “I have a completely different expectation, cool, have a good life.” 98% of the threads on /r/rpg could be solved if people could just do that, hah.

Sounds like you need to go dive into the vibrant OSR community to me, man. That style of gaming is, like, 5000% not-for-me, but there’s a TON of people out there fiending for that kinda content. And, IIRC, you live in a big enough metro area that you wouldn’t be stuck looking online for players who’d love that shit.

Mind, it’d mean playing with relative strangers at first, but likeminded strangers, at least.

Hope you can find your way back to the kind of gaming you enjoy, dude!

I had started a campaign for our group here and the online factor kind of ruined it for me too. People definitely aren’t as committed to the moment online as they are in person. It’s definitely easier to meet up though, since we have kids and the other players do not.

Yeah. I play TTRPGs to meet and be with people. It’s a social thing. No online option carries the same feeling as sitting around a table, rolling physical dice, sharing snacks, and conversing with people. It’s just not the same at all. It’s like the difference between online classes and in-person school for kids. Something is lost in the translation.

Our DnD group survived on life support for about a year and a half after the pandemic started. My twins were the proverbial pillow over its face in its sleep. I’d be eager to get back to it in a couple of years.

Our group was kind of anomalous, though, in that most of us really preferred all of the quality of life stuff that Roll20 brought. Between that and the fact that we had an entire campaign’s worth of baggage stuck on the platform, we actually still used it on laptops even when we were able to meet in person.

My weird aside about cat girls was triggered by the anime art posted above. I’m not a furry. If you are it’s fine… That’s just not my thing! (I know it wasn’t furry art but the vibe of D&D has been going more anime and less Caldwell/Elmore as years have passed)

One of my favorite games I ran was Dungeon Crawl Classics. But the rule set was too arcane or we just didn’t have the patience for it. Which is why when Goodman Games started making 5e content I pounced on it. Hence the kobold lair tpk session I mentioned!

I don’t actually live in Boston anymore. I moved an hour out. I could still find a group I’m sure but my parenting schedule will make a regular commitment combined with a commute impossible.

EDIT: I don’t hate the 5e art! In fact, it has some of the best art in the history of the genre. This picture is absolutely amazing and I would hang this on my wall

My group also came from Pathfinder and were persuaded in part by the stuff contained here.
I’ll also say I really prefer how they did the Witch and Alchemist in this book over the Pathfinder approach.

I was of the exact same mind, and honestly some 3rd party stuff just isn’t high quality. Then I started thinking of D&D almost as Skyrim, which I would never play a second time through without mods. Well, this book is now my favorite, indispensable “mod” for 5E.

In my deep dive into YouTube 5E content I endured a lot of crap, but man, this entire series is PURE GOLD

I can really relate to your experience @Wallapuctus! I was mostly playing OSR games before 5e came out, switched to 5e happily, but it’s definitely moved away from what I liked, so I’m back to OSR stuff. I think Old School Essentials is pretty great for everything but character creation. Its overland procedures, dungeon procedures, random encounter procedures, combat procedures, and late game castle building stuff is all fantastic. For character creation, I like Whitehack (for experienced role-players) or a heavily modified version of Knave (for new role-players). Dungeon Crawl Classics is super cool! I’m jealous you got to play it, a bit too rules heavy for my groups I think. I want to get a group to try Into the Odd at some point as well, but I’m already at my limit with two games.

For me, the easiest way to get an OSR group has been getting friends into TTRPGs for the first time. Everything in OSR feels even more like what you’d expect from D&D than 5e, so it’s got the cultural familiarity going for it. The rules I run are a lot simpler than 5e. We focus more on discovering who your character is during play, with 15 minute random-tables based character creation, which feels much easier for new role-players. (If players don’t like their character after a session, they roll up a new one.)

We enjoy online play as well. Discord, whiteboard shared for maps or whatever and I just let the players roll or I roll if tis a secret. Then again, we’re not a group of randos, nor recruited/formed via a VTT.