After Greg and Shelly welcome you to the show, D&D Game Designer Dan Dillon joins us for another edition of Meet Your Monsters. This week, we discuss Helmed Horrors. Our special interview this week is with award...
Take the latest Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game survey and read about the feedback from the last survey on kits.
In this week’s survey, we start with some general questions about D&D, and then cover the material released in the Awakened Mystic Unearthed Arcana article.
D&D Survey Results: Kits of Old
A couple of months back, we published a set of new character options based on character kits from AD&D. It turns out that overall, you’re really excited to see some of those classic options make a comeback. Let’s take a look at what you had to say.
- The College of Swords for the bard received very high ratings, enough across the board that I’d say it needs only a few tweaks to be ready for addition to the game. The warrior-bard has long been a key character in D&D, but it looks like folks prefer a more swashbuckling take on it.
- The College of Satire and the cavalier and scout fighter archetypes all scored at about the same level. There are individual elements that need some attention, but nothing scored negatively and comments indicate that each piece needs a review and tweaks based on playtesting.
In some ways, while this survey update might be fairly dull it is good news for me as a game designer. As I write this it’s been about 20 months since the launch of fifth edition D&D. I feel that at this point, we’ve learned a good deal about what works from a design standpoint and what gaps exist in the game. UA has expanded every class except the druid, and we’ve collected a lot of information on what you like, what you hate, and what you’re looking forward to.
At this stage, we’ve begun considering what the first, major mechanical expansion to the game might look like. As we consider this project, we’re taking a number of factors into consideration.
- To start with, we want to make sure that any content we add to the game fills in a gap. If you want to play a type of character and the rules don’t support that, we want to fill it in.
- Sometimes, a gap might not exist until we try to fill it. We might see a concept that we want to take a chance on, like presenting a new, artificer-based character class. In that case, we rely on playtesting to tell us if the new concept fills a genuine need.
- DMs and the difficulty in running a game comes next. When we add new material, we have to keep in mind how much harder it is to run the game. Fifth edition has been very successful so far, and in part I think that’s because the typical DM feels comfortable with the variety and volume of character options to manage. A major new expansion must be sure to avoid upsetting that situation.
How do we do that? It starts by keeping mechanics simple, direct, and evocative. It also means developing some guidelines DMs can use to manage options in their campaigns. As an example, in various interviews we’ve talked about how we expect a single campaign should use the PHB and one other book as resources for players. Beginning DMs should stick to only the PHB.
As you add more material, it becomes much harder for the DM to keep a handle on everything. When we do a major mechanical expansion, the product will be designed to integrate seamlessly with the Player’s Handbook and to remain manageable for a DM with a campaign or two under her belt.
Finally, any new expansion must undergo rigorous playtesting and validation by the community of players and DMs. That approach worked out well of the core rulebooks, so there’s no reason to stray from it.
With all that in mind, this month’s survey focuses on how and where you’d like us to expand the game. Give us a piece of your mind as we begin to consider the next few years for D&D.