Feeds

back to article Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Dungeons & Dragons is BAAAACK – and it's brought a freemium business model with it. The venerable game was re-released yesterday, with a new Starter Pack reaching retailers and offering a rulebook for players, an “adventure book” for dungeon masters plus a handful of dice to get things going. The $19.99 kit is not, however, …

Silver badge

I wish when people release digital documents they would release an epub version. Saves on paper at least.

3
0
TRT
Silver badge

Make your own.

3
0

There's just no satisfying some folk.

2
1
Silver badge

I did that with 6th edition 40k (typed up all the rules into an epub) and then they release an epub version of their own.

Tried automated conversion with Necromundia years ago (pdf to epub). Results were not pretty. Though the converters might have gotten better since then.

2
0
Silver badge

PDF?

Kindle DX is your friend.

Also a Ghostscript powered PDF virtual printer to change margins etc.

Assuming you can't export the PDF as text and use Mobi Creator or Calibre to make a real eBook that works on little eBook readers and phones.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Absolutely. PDFs are terrible and do not repaginate for smaller mobile devices properly especially dedicated eInk devices like Kindles.

epub/mobi that you can read on eInk readers would be a real help to a lot of people. This goes for IT white papers and manuals.

6
1

Or use Calibre

I thought all e-readers had PDF support anyway. I download all my uni lectures as PDF and they work fine

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Or use Calibre

If a pdf has a complex layout with graphical borders, titles for pictures etc etc it can be a complete mess.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Or use Calibre

If the pdf was designed for A6 sized paper, it will be fine. If it was designed for anything bigger than that, then it might not be fine.

0
0

Paper shortages

"The freebie is 110 pages long, which may explain any unusual paper shortages in your office over recent days."

I would hope that El Reg readers have discovered better systems than D&D by now. The Traveller you mentioned is one such. I personally prefer Alternity; the rules system is far better.

1
5
Silver badge

Re: Paper shortages

"The Traveller you mentioned is one such."

Hoho. The rules system so primitive that there was no such thing as 'XP'?

0
2
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

I'm just wondering what it's better than, as in which edition of the D&D rules? And in what way?

I've been running a 4th ed session for some co-workers recently, but there's likely to be a few leaving and some fresh blood joining so I am seeing if I can get more opinions on the options before I splash another couple of hundred on a pile of books.

The criteria are:

Dragons are a must.

The rules have to be reasonably simple in the basics.

The dice have to be within the normal set (4,6,8,10,12,20)

Suitable for groups between 4 and 8 people.

Any suggestions?

1
0

Re: Paper shortages

I would suggest checking out Pathfinder. Basically an OGL rewrite of 3.5ed, objectively the best D&D ruleset.

You can read most of the material over at http://paizo.com/prd/

5
0

Re: Paper shortages

Shadowrun 3rd Edition. never quite got on with 4th, and not tried 5th Edition Shadowrun yet.

Third Ed is my fave.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Paper shortages

Earthdawn?

2
0

Re: Paper shortages

I'm all about the Gumshoe system and rules light systems nowdays.

Games like rolemaster are great from a "system engineering" point of view but always pigs to ref (same with stuff like Anima)

Love the old tristat system to and ofcourse the wod system is nice and lightweight.

Technically speaking the core part of D&D has been free for some time (under the OGL) just without any of the setting. But I've always hated D20 with a burning passion and it only got more hateful.

There are lots of nice systems out there - I really enjoyed Ingenium from a classic fantasy side of things as character gen took 5 minutes for 4 players. Need a certain kind of seat of your pants fluff stuff ref though http://www.rpgnow.com/product/86469/Ingenium

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

And the amazing character generation system that sometimes killed your character before he was finished.

Still one of the greatest RPGs ever written though.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Paper shortages

Traveller / XP

Not sure about the original but in later editions there were ways to improve skills (normally based on rolling all sixes or some such and another bunch of points you could earn) but the idea was you were a fully qualified professional whose done most of their learning already. But I'm pretty sure every group ends up with all its own special inhouse rules that make a good gaming group so much fun.

2
1

Re: Paper shortages

"I would suggest checking out Pathfinder"

I second this. I greatly enjoyed 3.5ed despite a few quirks, and discovering Pathfinder re-ignited my interest in paper RPGs. Works great with minimal rules, but has as much detail as you could possibly want if you crave it - it's good for kids and adults alike. I played a simple, somewhat Monty Haul-ish game with my wife and son for years - it was more about fun than gritty realism.

NPCs had a terrible survival rate.

4ed seems too influenced by online gaming. I loved the concept, but it didn't seem to execute well. I'll take a look at 5ed, but I'm not impressed with WotC's stewardship of the D&D name. I'm more likely dust off my PF and give it a whirl.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

Wow.

It doesn't matter what level of nerd-dom I manage to discover, there will be a nerd-based argument about how some sub-strata of it is better.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a nerd too, just for slightly different things.

(The best boardgame I ever played was Advanced Space Crusade, but never got into RPG's even with a brother mad on WH40K, several trials of DnD and no shortage of nerd-friends to play against. Sadly, even ASC is consigned to the scrapheap so that people can sell the plastic models in it for a fortune and you can never get a "full box" of it ever again, but it was a great, simple game without all the hassle of the DnD rules and having to deal with ridiculous amounts of non-rule situations.)

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

quote: "I would hope that El Reg readers have discovered better systems than D&D by now. The Traveller you mentioned is one such. I personally prefer Alternity; the rules system is far better."

"Better" is such a subjective term when talking about gaming systems. Some players prefer simplicity, some players prefer complexity (or a related preference for an exhaustive ruleset, which are complex by nature), some players only like sci-fi settings, some low fantasy, some prefer roleplay heavy campaigns, some prefer action oriented campaigns.

I've played 2nd, 3rd, 3.5 and 4th ed DnD and enjoyed them. I've also played 4th ed Shadowrun, Runequest, Call of Cthulu, GURPS, Pathfinder (although that's just a reskinned DnD 3.5 with some tweaks) and Feng Shui, and enjoyed them too. If the object of playing them is to have fun, and I have had fun using all of those systems, then I can only surmise that they are all good ^^;

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "then I can only surmise that they are all good"

Of course. But your list isn't comprehensive enough - if only you'd have played using my custom system, you'd see that it was even more fun than those others you tried :-) ...

... unless your own custom system was even better, naturally.

8
0

Re: Paper shortages

I'd have to go for Space Hulk or Robo Rally

... or maybe Ghost Party ;)

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "then I can only surmise that they are all good"

Our old group started with D&D 3.5 and stuck with it for ages. We modified the heck out of it with house rulings for bits we weren't overly fond of / felt didn't work. However that eventually started to crumble around us and made it difficult to add new people.

Then we moved to Pathfinder which fixed most of the issues we had with D&D. Never did D&D4.0 none of us were overly enamoured with it.

We had a stint for a year or so with WoD which was great from a roleplaying perspective ,but more difficult from a combat one we found.

Right now we're looking at a few different systems to try, mainly GURPS which I believe is also a freemium system, and FATE which caught my interest.

Since playing D&D 3.5 however I've been slowly building my own system that I'd like to try some day, but building a balanced system is hard, especially when I'm trying not to rip people off too much. Turns out the system I was putting together has a lot of similarities with GURPS. Thing is I keep getting to a certain point and then forgetting about i t/ losing the documents. That point is normally magic.. I'm no re-writing it all again, this time omitting magic entirely (for now) although I did have an idea of how I could implement magic in the future.

I know there's no need for my own system, and it'll probably do more harm than good for our group but it's something that's been stuck in my mind on and off for way too long now.

0
0

Re: Paper shortages

No XP was/is a design improvement.

0
2
Silver badge

Re: Paper shortages

"Any suggestions?"

Give 5th Ed. a look?

It's supposed to be quite good, and modular - so you can use what bits you like to get the game-feel you like.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Paper shortages

"No XP was/is a design improvement."

For you, maybe. For me its the antithesis of a good game, as I want character growth and to see numbers getting bigger.

1
1

Re: Paper shortages

"For you, maybe. For me its the antithesis of a good game, as I want character growth and to see numbers getting bigger."

Absolutely, bigger numbers never equalled growth. The "Bigger number" philosophy is also probably responsible for the bulk of poor computer RPG game design till the present day ;)

0
2
Silver badge

Re: WotC's stewardship of the D&D name.

D&D under WotC has become a Warhammer clone. If you want to play classic D&D you have to use the Pathfinder system. Or maybe Hackmaster if you can find the books.

I haven't played regularly since AD&D, but I have friends who do. D&D is much like Churchill's assessment of Democracy. I've played both simpler and more complicated systems, more realistic and more heroic. For me D&D always hit the sweet spot: complicated enough to be interesting and challenging, not so complex you were more bogged down in bookkeeping than playing.

I've played a system that I think works much better, but it's an unpublished system from a friend. It had stats, a skill matrix based on the stats, and skill costs. After that you rolled straight percentages for success or failure. He had a modifier system for how difficult it was (easy you would succeed at double your skill level, up to exceptionally hard which was 1/4 of your skill level). You'd have to build the skill matrix for the world though.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Give 5th Ed. a look?

My most game oriented geek friend reviewed a pre-release two weeks ago. He said it looks pretty much like a light re-skinning of the old game so not worth the money. His advice was to stick to whatever you're currently using. If you're just getting started he figures it would be OK.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Any suggestions

Savage Worlds might be worth a look.

I'm fond of a few of the non-High Fantasy SW settings as a GM (Solomon Kane, Space 1889 and Deadlands:Reloaded) but will readily concede that the magic system lacks the sheer heroic oomph of Pathfinder's, a fact that becomes apparent in those settings where Weird Scientists keep inventing the same four devices.

Also Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but that may be too "Old School" and randomly deadly for many.

I reckon for the average RPGer wanting to adventure in a high fantasy/Sword and Sorcery setting, Pathfinder is probably the best bang for everyone's buck. The starter box is phenomenal value for money.

0
0

Re: Any suggestions

Hang on, what was that rpg with all the clones, and some kind of repeating "The Google is your friend" motif..?

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

"Okay, roll a new character."

"Doing that now"

"You're an ensign in the Space Corpse it seems"

"Hmm, I'll stay in three more years"

"Oh, look Admiral of the Fleet"

The original Traveller was great but flawed. The MegaTraveller sorted out a lot of the issues but by far the best was Snapshot, the Traveller add on close combat game.

Anyway, I prefered Runequest.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Tunnels and Trolls

Played this for years, only requires a bucket of 6 sided die. Rules have recently been re-released (a kickstarter project of course). A pretty simple system, with the bottom line being 'go with what makes sense for your group'.

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_%26_Trolls

Publisher page:

http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/tandt.htm

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Any suggestions

That would be "Paranoia" .. fabulous game, we'd often be dead before leaving the starting room!

6
0
Bronze badge

Re: Any suggestions

5th ed looks good to me, my players say no though, we did the play test and they weren't impressed.

Pathfinder, on the radar, but I was never a fan of 3rd ed (didn't play 3.5). Shadowrun, I used to play and enjoy, wouldn't mind seeing what my players think of that.

Paranoia is my business trip game (we send nerds to all corners of the world!) :)

Maybe later in the year I'll run a pile of one shots, see what people think. All these suggestions are appreciated, thanks.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Paper shortages

"....Any suggestions?" Advanced D&D, 2nd Edition.

3
1
Bronze badge

Re: Any suggestions

The "basic rules" version of 5th Ed looks like "back to basics" in many ways. Back to the 9 alignments, 4 base classes, no mention of multiclassing - although I'm sure about 800 more classes, each more overpowered than the last, will be offered in the "optional" supplements, due to start appearing any second now priced around $50 each.

I gave up on D&D after 2nd edition - 3.x was overpowered, particularly once the aforementioned supplements started appearing, and I never got to try 4 at all. I recommend Hackmaster.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Paper shortages

No XP rules...

That's in the premium pack?

0
0

Re: Paper shortages

It was developed with collaboration by player testers, giving feedback periodically (my D&D group did this). It was fun to be part of the development.

The basic rules are pretty simple, the pace of play is much faster, combat is much faster, the dice are the same, it is suitable for groups but I think your group dynamics will dictate the numbers.

Characters have backgrounds which give extra skills & round things out, making it a more flexible system if you want to use your imagination. You can have a thief who used to be an artisan, a barbarian who used to be a mason.

All character classes are interesting up through the levels. In the previous versions magic users got more interesting as they leveled up but other classes kind of hit a plateau. Now with paths & skills each class gets some funky new abilities as they progress.

I played basic D&D in the 70s as a kid, then came back to it a few years ago at 4E, the first playtests were very much like winding back the clock to simpler days, but as it progressed it became more rounded but not more complicated. I think they have done a great job.

We'll be playing it tonight in Akihabara with the new rules, very happy to have helped develop them.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: "I'd have to go for Space Hulk"

I found Space Hulk to be a great way to alienate my friends: set up board (quite slow), explain rules (quite slow, will need revisiting in-game), they pick Space Marines (decent rationale: they have firearms and armour), game starts, Genestealers quickly massacre the Marines, game is put away.

By the time I knew more people inclined to such pursuits, Magic: The Gathering was the big thing, and I wasn't tragic enough to be playing that.

1
0

"Good" varies widely - whaddaya like?

My kids, grandkids, and I actually added so many in-house rules that we finally just wrote and published our own manual from scratch on Amazon (called it "Elven Fire"), because it was cheaper to print a whole new book than addenda on a laser printer. Published it under CC, of course, to ensure my GREAT-grandchildren-to-be and friends can make their own variants if they like. Really, this is a great time to be alive!

Fun for us includes using bizarre dice - in addition to 5-, 7-, 14-, and 30-sided, we've also used backgammon doubling dice and nested double-dice and 3D printed dice and special rules on max and doubles rolls to provide exponential probability distributions. (One friend who played with us drily commented, "You guys like math, don't you?" :-D )

But in the end, the rules you adopt matter much less than the right players. We fall out of our chairs sometimes laughing at the predicaments into which we thrust out avatars sometimes, and that's what matters to us!

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

Most pple who still play that I know play Pathfinder...

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Paper shortages

Rolemaster rocks. I played MANY long campaigns using it,

The problem is.. we ran out of players. We just have 2 qualified players.. the usual GM an me (the backup or short campaign GM). The rest of them either don't want to learn the rules or don't have time with the kids, etc.

So no RM for me.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: Paper shortages

>I would suggest checking out Pathfinder.

Seconded, thirded and fourthed. Been playing D&D (and Traveller, Call of Cthulu, GURPS etc etc) since the mid-80's and Pathfinder is one of the better ones I've played).

My other favourite was Rolemaster but it kind of lost its way.

0
0

Re: Any suggestions

Paranoia / Call of C'Thulu mashup games are great. Will you die before you go insane?

0
0

Re: Any suggestions

Got to do a play through of Firefly RPG a couple of weeks ago. It's running Cortex 2 rules, tweaked to make a game seem like a television episode. Basically, no matter what you have planned, trouble will pop up and improvising will be required. Comes with a bunch of base characters as well as the tv show characters so you can drop people into a game with minimal fuss. Looking forward to getting my printed copy, one day...

0
0
TRT
Silver badge

I'm firmly...

AD&D.

Huge pile of manuals, a stock of modules, but... no players. Mainly because I'm 45 and have a job. I find I've now outgrown it.

9
1
Happy

Re: I'm firmly...

but... no players

Sounds like you've not outgrown it, you're just resting...

18
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm firmly...

That for most gamers is the biggest problem, no damn players, I had a rather solid group of players sadly one passed away from cancer, one literally went crazy and gaming with just a ref and one player is a bit dull.

3
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon