Twice a month I play in a Savage Worlds Rippers Campaign. I rarely play Role-Playing Games (RPGs) outside of D&D so this is a pretty new experience. (For the curious I play a Victorian Banker by Day and monster fighter by night named Silas Barclay.) What makes it work is the DM (who I’ve spoken about before) a good group of players and lots of imagination.
After a good night of role-playing (the only fight we had was with an animated feather, seriously). We discussed the latest news, rumors and innuendo about DND Next (i.e. the next edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game). You can search the web for all the juicy bits, but the point of the discussion is what we want from the next release. As I sit here as a MidLife Geek with two kids, a wife, church commitments, work commitments and a whole bunch of other stuff going on, what I want is simplicity and support.
So what does that mean exactly? Well, for me, what I’d like to see is a fairly simple rule set and play. Right now I run a game for a group of friends. We get together once a month to play for about 6 hours. During that time we get to play maybe 4 encounters. Why? The pace of the battles is just slow. Lot of powers, lots of effects and lots of decisions drags things out. Is it fun? Absolutely. Do I wish we could do more? Absolutely. From what I’ve read, the designers of the next edition share my goal for simplicity and straightforward play. I really hope so. My players get more battles and role play opportunity. They level faster (maybe?). And they get to do a lot more in the brief time we have together each month.
Beyond simplicity, what else do I want? I want content. As much as I want to create worlds and adventures I just don’t have time. So what I need to enjoy the game from my side of the screen is content. And by content, I mean adventures. It seems to me (and I really came on with 4e) that Wizards has generated tons of content that is useless to me. As a DM, what I want is the ability to plug and play. I want adventures, encounters, maps and minis all packaged up and ready for me to go. I’d pay willingly for this stuff. I can customize and what I need from a pre-established base but give me a world and things to do in it.
We also discussed something which I think is very important for Wizards of the Coast (owner of Dungeons and Dragons for the uninitiated). Once you get D&D Next released, stop making new editions and rule sets. Seriously, just stop. I get that you have a business that requires a new product to be released to generate profits. But after D&D next you have at least 5 editions of the game out there. Why don’t you build your business around generating content for those editions? You can grow your market by reducing the barriers to entry for the new player and new. Make it fast and easy to jump in at any point with any group. Develop more content; envision the worlds that not all of us can. Develop tools to make it easier and quicker to DM and play. That’s how you open things up. I think a lot of people just get turned off by the level of work they need to do to prepare.
It’s just my two cents, but it’s the two cents of a guy who desperately wants to play within the confines of a life that doesn’t allow for it.