Monday, June 16, 2014

D&D Basic PDF, a move in the right direction?

I've read the rpg pundit's article on Prophecies on the Impact of the Basic D&D PDF with great interest. It seems like D&D is finally coming around to making a compact and easier to use version. One that will be easier to pickup and start playing and may also be more prone to extending and building on top of it by creating interesting content and not just more and more rules.

Back in 2012 I mentioned that WotC should make D&D more like its flagship product: Magic The Gathering. No, not by turning D&D into a card game. Instead of building what looked like a complex system at the time they should build a slim and compact rule set. Externalize all the other stuff to additional books and modules. In the same way MTG has very simple and long lasting rules and simple easy to understand cards, but put together the rules and the multitude of cards make for a very interesting game to play. I enumerated the following points:

  • Make D&D a game with long lasting rules.
  • Make D&D a game with simple rules.  The complexity in Magic appears in the cards not the rules.
  • Make D&D a profitable game. 
I mentioned that instead of the immense complexity that D&D seemed to be building at the time WotC should be focusing on:

  • Reduce D&D to no more than 10 rules or so.  Make it fit into 20 to 30 pages.  Like the basic edition.
  • Open up a zillion classes and powers.  Magic has the white cards, and the black ones, and the green ones, and the blue ones, and red ones, and probably more I don't know or recall.  It has creatures, and spells, and artifacts, and also more I don't know or recall.  Can't D&D do some equivalent to character class, skills, power, spells, etc.  with that?
  • Place the "modular" part on the "cards" (read: classes, spells, skills, powers) not on the rules.  Sell "modules" with ideas, thoughts, inspiration and all that which gets the campaign going.  Do what Magic does and "sell cards" or the equivalent you come up with for D&D.

It's clear from the pundit's article that the first point is coming to be. The Basic (and free) version will be a fully functional and compact book. A starter deck so to speak. Points two and three require a different focus on WotC's part and also a strong community as the pundit mentions. If they manage to ignite that I'd say we are quite possibly looking at some interesting times. Only time will tell. 

Thoughts? Do you think D&D Next offers new ways to put out new content? Can a community be built around this and can WotC make a business on this instead of rolling out more and more rules?

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