January 16, 2012

D&DNext Wish List

The announcement for the upcoming new version of Dungeons & Dragons positions it as an Ecumenical Council for tabletop roleplaying's flagship title. Reuniting the disparate partisans of the dread Edition Wars under a single new banner is a tough brief. The Mearls-Cook-Cordell-Schwalb team comprises a formidable brain trust--one well-wired into the sometimes paradoxical demands of the gamer tribe. So I'm very curious to see what they draw from each past version as they assemble this Uber-edition. Given my past freelancing for the line, the possibility exists that I might get to see what they're up to—and thus be unable to talk about it. So, before that happens, here's my list, untainted by actual information, of what I'd hope to see swept into the new iteration.

Of course the vastness of the challenge is that everybody will have a different list.


Concise, manageable, easy-to-design creature stat blocks

On-line tools add ease of play

Alignment simplified and detached from mechanics


Open license as focus of community excitement

2nd Edition

Emphasis on setting (though this is a double-edged sword, as splitting the line into multiple settings started the great D&D diaspora)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

baseline tropes of the D&D feel (whatever that is, leaving out the dysfunctional ones)

prose style brimming with idiosyncratic personality

serves as introduction to the fantasy canon

Blue Box Introductory Set

fast combat

feeling of being a kid again


Comments that ignore the above conceit to simply stake out a prior position in the Edition Wars are permissible, but will be silently judged.