Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DnD News

The latest update for the DnD tools was pushed yesterday (announcement here). There isn't much new information to be included in the updated Character Builder (CB) this month, but the list of corrections (here) seemed pretty healthy. Some of these corrections seem pretty esoteric, so if you do come across anything that looks hinky I would say go ahead and submit a bug report as I feel pretty confidant that it will get looked at. I was working up a 15th level Bard a few weeks ago and came across one of the power cards that was obviously missing to-hit and damage information ... but then I neglected to save the character so I didn't forward the problem.

The DnDNext announcement a few weeks ago had really provided a spark to the general RPG blogger and twitter universe. Over the past year or so things had gotten pretty moribund and even many of the haters had finally began to fade away. There's nothing like a new version of the flagship of the RPG market to get things stirred up again.

The first wave included general discussion about the announcement. Over this past week the next wave of discussion has moved into the "what would an all-encompassing version of DnD look like" area, including ideas on what should go and what should stay. Many of the bloggers and twitterers I follow either currently work for Wizards or formerly did, plus there are many others who work for other RPG companies. This would therefore be a group that has spent a lot of time thinking about game design issues, so you can imagine this kind of new-release tease would really be blood in the water for them. I don't contribute much of anything to these discussions beyond my own lonely blog posts, but it is interesting to read what the pro's think.

The first official playtest sessions are still scheduled for the end of the month at DDXP and I expect that this will serve as the fodder for the next level of discussion, especially since some set of rules will have to be set on paper for everyone to use and play with. At this point the overall discussion will have something specific to talk about, even if the rules would clearly still in an alpha state. The general thought is that Wizards wants to use this year to playtest and collect customer feedback, with periodic releases of the updated material that will likely correspond with major gaming conventions across the country throughout the year, with an unofficial target of the official release at Gencon in 2013.

You can sign up to be part of the playtest team (here) and I assume that you will periodically receive an updated "rules manual" directly for use in your at-home group. I haven't seen anything official yet but I am also assuming there will be a special local game store game day event to get people to come in and do a one shot introduction and playtest as well. I expect we will hear plenty about this over the upcoming year, so buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

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