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Uniting the Editions, Part 3
Legends and Lore
Monte Cook

O ver the last couple of weeks, I've written about why we want to try to unify the editions, and how we're going to pull it off. Here are some more miscellaneous thoughts about the process that are worth discussing as well.


Stuff to Leave Behind

Although we don't currently see universal consensus on this, it seems likely that there are a handful of things from prior editions that we don't want to bring forward into a new iteration of D&D. Not everything about every version of the game was absolutely golden.

For example, it would be difficult to imagine that THAC0 would make a comeback. Armor Class values going down to represent them getting better. System shock rolls. Racial level limits. Gender-based ability score maximums. Lots of bonus types. And so on. But here's the thing: if I'm wrong about that, get involved in the open playtest when it starts and let us know. If you would like to see things like that be a part of the core rules set, or if you would use rules like that as optional modules, that's the kind of information we are looking for in order to make this a game you want to play.

Further, there's stuff that is kind of on the fence in this regard. What about a system that resembled the weapons versus armor table in 1st Edition? Could we make that work as a part of a simulationist rules module? Maybe. Racial class restrictions? Sure (but why?). Are these good ideas? Bad ideas?

New Material

We don't want a new iteration of the game to be only a "best of" of the prior editions. If we did, there would be no reason to play it. It needs to achieve the goal of not only giving you the play experience that you want, but also giving you that play experience in a way that's better than what you've had in the past. Faster, better, smarter.

But how much new material is too much? That's the question. How can we capture the feel and tone of your favorite edition if we add in mechanics or material that's never been in a prior edition? And yet, how can we convince anyone to play a game that is just a rehash of what's come before?

One way is simply through the customization of the rules modules that I wrote about last week. That is to say, although you can recreate the feel of 2nd Edition using them, you can also recreate the feel of 2nd Edition with a few options from 3rd or 4th as well. You wouldn't have to choose a past edition. You'd customize the game to make it yours. Imagine a game with Basic D&D's simplicity but with the powers of 4th Edition. Or a game that has the character customization abilities of 3rd Edition without all the tactical rules. Or any other combination you desire. We believe it's perfectly possible.

We are experimenting, however, with some material that is truly and entirely new. Class abilities that capture the core feel of a class, for example, even though they've never been presented in any version of the class. For example, we might take the idea of a ranger's favored enemy but express that idea in a completely different way.

We are also experimenting with variations on task resolution. What if, for example, something that used to give you a bonus or a penalty instead modified the dice you roll? A bonus to your attack roll might be the ability to roll 2d20 and take the best roll, for example. Or maybe instead of having a flat bonus, you got a bonus die to roll and add (or, in the case of a penalty, subtract)? Would these brand-new mechanics be fun and add something new to the game? And most importantly, would they feel like D&D?

That's what lots of playtesting and player feedback will let us discover.

For a revised version of today's poll, visit our follow-up article here

Last Week's Polls

Playing the game the way I want to play
1 73 1.4%
2 162 3.1%
3 723 14.0%
4 1716 33.3%
5 2480 48.1%
Total 5154 100.0%

Professional game designers providing what they think works best
1 389 7.6%
2 784 15.3%
3 1989 38.8%
4 1431 27.9%
5 529 10.3%
Total 5122 100.0%

DMs having a say in character options
1 212 4.2%
2 436 8.5%
3 1213 23.8%
4 1760 34.5%
5 1483 29.1%
Total 5104 100.0%

Players having a say in the campaign and game overall
1 112 2.1%
2 375 6.9%
3 1330 24.5%
4 2055 37.9%
5 1546 28.5%
Total 5418 100.0%

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