Friday, 2 August 2013

A fresh look at D&D.

I've been playing D&D since the Basic Red Box was released in the UK thanks to my brother Allan.
When 1st Edition Advanced D&D came out I jumped onto that and never looked back.
2nd Edition Advanced D&D never really clicked with me or my players but I did buy into it, albeit minimally.
3rd Edition D&D I picked up at the UK Gen Con which was held in Manchester.  Well I picked up the Player's Handbook there anyway.  It and the 3.5 revamp were versions of D&D that I never really played as the 3rd Edition books came out during a gaming drought for me.  That was at least until I found ORC Edinburgh and the first rediscovery of my hobby happened.  At ORC I launched headlong into my homebrewed "Kilranthia" campaign using 3.5 and I never looked back.
When 4th Edition D&D came out in 2008 I knew I was going to like it as I felt it offered a number of simplifications over the previous versions.  The main challenge was convincing players and others that the game could be played without miniatures/grid-based combat.

When the 1st Chapter closed I looked at D&D given how it's been a constant throughout my hobby and decided that I didn't want to start playing it again.  At least not in it's current format anyway.

With the announcement of D&D Next (5th Edition in everything but name) I was initially reluctant to take a good look at it as I was still in the throws of ending that 1st Chapter.  Now though I have a different view.

Having reviewed the most recent playtest version of the D&D Next rules I have to admit I'm really liking the approach taken. 4th Edition in many respects was a "roots up rebuild" of D&D but one of the things that polarized it from fans of earlier editions was that it was too different.
D&D Next is also a roots up rebuild of a game but it re-uses a number of elements from earlier editions and seems to blend them with the perceived simplicity of 4th Edition.
How does it play?  Well at the time of writing I haven't ran any sessions yet but that's due to change shortly. I've gone through the rules and have created some characters to test the mechanics out but until I've actually ran a game it's not going to be clear how it performs.

Given that the game isn't due to be released formally until 2014 I know that the development of the rules will continue at least until Jan/Feb 2014 to give Wizards Of The Coast time to get the books ready for printing. It will be interesting to watch how the playtesting helps to shape that.  I look forward to seeing the finished product and to see the reaction of the RPG player base as a whole.

If you're interested in seeing the playtest rules then go here - D&D Next Playtest - and let me know what you think.