[D&D Next] It’s Okay To Have Different Kinds of Fun

Posted: May 30, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Advice, Articles, Dungeons & Dragons, Roleplaying Games

We’re better than this… right? Right?

The D&D Next Playtest Packet has been out for a few days now, and already interesting (and heated) discussions are starting to come out. Today, I’m looking at the vocal population of those who decry the state of the basic Fighter as it is currently presented as “Lame” and otherwise terrible.

I’m not here to tell you that you guys are wrong in wanting to get a Fighter than can do all sorts of Wuxia-inspired wire-fu stunts and crazy attacks that can take down hordes like a scythe cutting wheat. In fact, I think that’s pretty cool.

All I’m hoping for is a little bit of understanding that some people actually enjoy characters that can’t do all that.

I’ll let that sink in a bit first.

I enjoy playing simple, unoptimized characters. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a head for numbers, and that probably has something to do with the fact that my eyes glaze over when I look at complicated laundry lists of powers and spells. Sure, I won’t one-shot an Elite monster, or be able to match the Spellcasters in terms of pure efficiency, you know what? That’s okay because I’m still having fun.

A while back, I wrote an article on Metagame Rewards, or the Different Kinds of Fun, and I find that going back to it now and then helps a lot in accepting that people game for very different reasons, and sometimes we just have to accept that other people have fun in their own ways.

Personally, I find myself enjoying Alea (the thrill of taking risks), Catharsis (the feeling of release after an intense experience) and Fiero (the thrill of overcoming adversity and challenge) when I play Fighters. This is perhaps the reason why I don’t see a problem in relying completely on sheer improvisation to win or survive a fight regardless of whether or not my Spellcaster teammates are having an easier time of it.

In a nutshell, what I’m trying to say is that we could all use a little bit of patience and understanding when looking at how others react to the Playtest rules. We’re at the earliest stages of an open playtest that will last months, and from what I understood of what D&D Next is supposed to be, they’ll be releasing more complexity as rules modules over the coming month as development proceeds.

Somewhere down the line, I can imagine that they’ll be releasing subsystems that beef up the Fighter to operate on a Powers system similar to 4e. With that, you can run it the way you like, and I’m certainly not going to complain about it.

  1. greywulf says:


    The feedback I had from one of the players in my game was that she really enjoyed playing the Fighter and felt she had plenty to freedom to run him exactly as she wanted. I would like to see simpler (as well as more complex) options for each character class. Choice is good, and gives us freedom to play the game how we want.

  2. Nosfecatu says:

    Of course, you know from my previous comments that I’m cool with the simple fighter. 😉

    Now, one other thing that I am concerned about is the possibility that the simple fighter becomes outclassed by the spellcasting classes at higher levels. If the barebones fighter is outclassed at fighting itself, as was the case in high level 3.5E, then it results in the reduction of enjoyment for the fighter player.

    So far, the Next fighter is the most capable combatant (2d6 + 7 damage on hit, 3 damage on a miss is hard to beat), although I do see things that concern me. Most notably, the cleric’s spiritual hammer is an effective extra attack 1/round starting from the turn after it was cast, so that’s 1d10 + 2 plus 1d8 potential damage.

    Still, it’s a minor issue at this point, since it requires two attack rolls to even get close to fighter damage. I hope it stays that way even at the higher levels.

  3. Siskoid says:

    It’s funny how other blogs are decrying how the playtest characters are TOO powerful. I guess you can’t please everyone.

    My own players almost universally want to play defective characters, i.e. they start with the weaknesses first and then balance up the character with my help. So no matter how powerful a game will allow characters to be, my group will always find a way to min/max them DOWN.

    Who’s fighting for THEM in this playtest? 😉

  4. anarkeith says:

    Good points to remember. I repeatedly reminded the group I played with last night that current Next rules are for testing, and that the system is intended to be modular. This is just the core.

  5. Philo Pharynx says:

    @Siskoid, I don’t see that as a problem. Every game system I’ve seen allows people to make defective characters. But if they need help, why not have them roll stats using 3d4?

  6. Siskoid says:

    It’s really NOT a problem, haha. Like I said, just because a game has higher powered character options doesn’t mean my players can’t make their flawed flawed characters. It’s not about the number of hit points, believe me. It’s all character-driven.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s