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Monero

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I just don't know why they would take such a beloved setting like Spelljammer, which has scores of detailed and awesome sourcebooks from the past, only to give it such a watered down introduction into 5e.

The only positive I can say about this release is that the art is pretty good.

At this point I think if anyone wants to play real Spelljammer they'll be forced to play 2e or just convert to 5e. Luickly since 5e has zero complexity to it the conversion process from 2e to 5e shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
 

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I'd rather have a concise, playable material. I love old Spelljammer but 2e tended to go overboard with excessive detail in a lot of the setting releases. The Rock of Bral supplement is the best SJ release but I'd rather that be presented in a better format these days.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is the 2e Spelljammer box set sold like a fifth as much Forgotten Realms. They must have lost money on many of the supplements. Given that, it's no surprise that they reworked the focus into content which was easier to use directly.

I feel like they made good use of the 192 pages available and covered all the bases. They can't cover everything in that page count.


Here's setting core set sales I stole from ENWorld which were originally from Benjamin Riggs.
63094cdc-316e-476e-a569-ecf2db836b8c-jpeg.253811
 
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Shipyard Locked

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Here's setting core set sales I stole from ENWorld which were originally from Benjamin Riggs.

I'm surprised Greyhawk did that well, given the... mismanagement it experienced and the fact that the Forgotten Realms covered so much of its thematic territory.
 

Monero

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One thing to keep in mind is the 2e Spelljammer box set sold like a fifth as much Forgotten Realms. They must have lost money on many of the supplements. Given that, it's no surprise that they reworked the focus into content which was easier to use directly.

I feel like they made good use of the 192 pages available and covered all the bases. They can't cover everything in that page count.


Here's setting core set sales I stole from ENWorld which were originally from Benjamin Riggs.
63094cdc-316e-476e-a569-ecf2db836b8c-jpeg.253811
Unfortunately its graphs like that which drive WotC and not organic creative expression and integrity. The new SJ born in an excel spreadsheet, not the passion of talented creatives.
 

Stan

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Hey, don't knock Excel; that's how I make most of my tables.

You have to have both or you get the cycle of companies making a couple of things and dying from business incompetence. So, what's wrong with making things that people like? If they were going purely by sales numbers, they never would have revisited Spelljammer.
 

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If you want products that push the envelope of creativity, you aren’t going to get them from Wizards. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing for business. What they have done with fifth edition works for them but not everyone is going to be a fan. I think they would be foolish to ever release a sixth edition. Just continue to make small incremental improvements that don’t invalidate old products and produce new printings of the current edition with the latest trade dress of their choice.
 

Stan

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If you want products that push the envelope of creativity, you aren’t going to get them from Wizards.
This is especially true for mechanical creativity - they seem to like total cross compatibility of everything published. I totally get why they do it but it causes everything to feel kinda the same. If you want to see how much effect a few tweaks can achieve, look at things like Adventures in Middle Earth, Beowulf, and Brancalonia.
 

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I'm surprised Greyhawk did that well, given the... mismanagement it experienced and the fact that the Forgotten Realms covered so much of its thematic territory.
Those Greyhawk sales are almost all from the 80s, when the D&D fad boom was still going and the Forgotten Realms set hasn’t been published yet. The Greyhawk sets in the 90s didn’t sell nearly as well.
 

Andrew J. Luther

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I bought the original Starjammer campaign set and some other books for it when it was first released and never managed to find a single player who was interested in giving it a try. Dark Sun and FR (original grey box era) were the only settings anyone I knew would play.

Even now, all my game group (we’re a bunch of guys in our fifties) are entirely “meh” on Starjammer. However, my son and his friends, 16-18 years old, have been excited about this since it was announced.

So no, WotC isn’t going to be out-there creative, but they know how to make products that appeal to gamers, especially the next generation, and that is what will keep D&D alive over the long term.
 

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If you want products that push the envelope of creativity, you aren’t going to get them from Wizards. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing for business. What they have done with fifth edition works for them but not everyone is going to be a fan. I think they would be foolish to ever release a sixth edition. Just continue to make small incremental improvements that don’t invalidate old products and produce new printings of the current edition with the latest trade dress of their choice.
Well they did get badly burned with the significant creative leap that was 4e, so I guess that sends them back.

I think you are probably right about 5e keeping evergreen, though there is talk of 6e - maybe it will be what 2 was to 1, some tweaks and new artwork.
 

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Of course if the goal was to be creative it would hardly make sense to bring something back from the 1990s.
 

Telok

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Well they did get badly burned with the significant creative leap that was 4e, so I guess that sends them back.
I always felt what sank 4e was screwing the pooch on noncombat & hp bloat math, not having enough real variety in the powers, and the terrible hideous dumpster fire of making so many powers so damn similar. Plus presentation, but they could have fixed that pretty fast with lots of decent explanations & talking.

Really they could have done a simple "build you own baseline power" mechanic with variations for each class and cut half the power lists off, making them managable and possibly even indexable or something.
 

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I always felt what sank 4e was screwing the pooch on noncombat & hp bloat math, not having enough real variety in the powers, and the terrible hideous dumpster fire of making so many powers so damn similar. Plus presentation, but they could have fixed that pretty fast with lots of decent explanations & talking.

Really they could have done a simple "build you own baseline power" mechanic with variations for each class and cut half the power lists off, making them managable and possibly even indexable or something.
It's worse than that. Because it was an exception-based design they could have turned out book after book with new sets of powers for the class and make it feel like a completely different system. Much like various expansion sets for MtG that create new types of cards requiring different strategies to play.

For example a Dark-Sun 4e could have powersets that evokes the feel of Athas as opposed to the default feel of fantasy superheroics 24/7. They even could have done a Game of Thrones or Middle Earth take using the system. Of course, those settings would require most of the powers to be roleplaying oriented rather than combat oriented.

Plus they would have a market advantage in that it is a lot of work to come up with a completely new set of abilities and powers for a exception-based design.
 

Monero

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4E got screwed over by the era it was made in, players that for some reason suddenly couldn't roleplay if combat was better codified, and the lack of sepia/parchment backgrounds in the rulebooks.

Im convinced that if wotc released 4E today with 5e formatting and ACTUAL digital support, it would outsell 5e by a mile. It's combat rules are incredible and everyone gets to have equal participation instead of casters dominating the battlefields.

And for some reason D&D players just HATE knowing that they're playing a game. It's like some form of faux intellectualism like they're roleplaying ,not playing a game. As a result, we're now stuck with the milquetoast, cowardly, inoffensive 5e that is essentially the RPG version of the Black Eyed Peas(or whatever the modern equivalent would be) where it's safe to have playing in the background of Planet Fitness while obese soccer moms lazily walk on a treadmill and discuss which McDonald's breakfast they're going to get after the gym.

4E had balls and wasn't afraid to admit it was a game and fully embraced the fact that most of the rulebooks we buy now are strictly for combat so no need to beat around the bush.
 

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4E got screwed over by the era it was made in, players that for some reason suddenly couldn't roleplay if combat was better codified, and the lack of sepia/parchment backgrounds in the rulebooks.

Im convinced that if wotc released 4E today with 5e formatting and ACTUAL digital support, it would outsell 5e by a mile. It's combat rules are incredible and everyone gets to have equal participation instead of casters dominating the battlefields.
The issues are

  • It is a one note wonder of fantasy superheroics
  • Combat takes as long as GURPS to resolve. You would be lucky to squeeze in two combat encounters interspersed with roleplaying over four hours of play.
  • Doing stuff outside of combat and spellcasting has minimal mechanical support. Just a step beyond what OD&D does. The result is that a good 4e referee is required to master a fairly detailed set of combat rules and abilities, and also master improvisational ruling for things outside of combat. The problem isn't a talent one but rather a problem of interest. People who like the details want details both in and out of combat. People who don't the details would like both to be equally minimal.
All of these factors work against 4e being the market leader. The sole reason it lasted as long as it did as the leader was because of D&D branding. Then collapsed into a much smaller but still substantial niche. Where it could have continued if Wizards hadn't taken the ball and went home with it. But that is the risk when folks put their time and energy into a system without open content.

Just to be clear about my points, I played a fair amount of 4e in the late 2000s along side the GURPS campaigns and OD&D campaigns I was running at the time.


But it would remain in the top tier for the reasons you mentioned.
And for some reason D&D players just HATE knowing that they're playing a game. It's like some form of faux intellectualism like they're roleplaying ,not playing a game.
Because the point of tabletop roleplaying is not to play a game but to pretend to be characters having interesting adventures in a setting. The game is just the aide to make it happen. Nothing wrong was preferring a specific game or style of game to run campaigns but if it becomes the main focus then you are wargaming not roleplaying. Wargaming is not how most roleplaying folks want to spend their hobby time.


4E had balls and wasn't afraid to admit it was a game and fully embraced the fact that most of the rulebooks we buy now are strictly for combat so no need to beat around the bush.
4e's sin that it was boring over the long haul. For the reasons I gave above. There are many examples in the wargaming world (Warhammer, Battletech,, etc.) of how to keep a game-oriented approach interesting over the long haul. D&D 4e did not do this part well. Also didn't help their marketing was beyond idiotic and alienated interested hobbyists.

A link just in case I need to establish my 4e creds :grin:

1660756589070.png
 

Brock Savage

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4E had balls and wasn't afraid to admit it was a game and fully embraced the fact that most of the rulebooks we buy now are strictly for combat so no need to beat around the bush.
When you're a creative that means swinging for the fences and sometimes whiffing. 4e was a good system for a boardgame or miniatures skirmish gamed. It was a poor fit for traditional B/X style wilderness exploration and dungeon delves but it was ALSO a poor fit for more social games.
 

Monero

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The issues are

  • It is a one note wonder of fantasy superheroics
  • Combat takes as long as GURPS to resolve. You would be lucky to squeeze in two combat encounters interspersed with roleplaying over four hours of play.
  • Doing stuff outside of combat and spellcasting has minimal mechanical support. Just a step beyond what OD&D does. The result is that a good 4e referee is required to master a fairly detailed set of combat rules and abilities, and also master improvisational ruling for things outside of combat. The problem isn't a talent one but rather a problem of interest. People who like the details want details both in and out of combat. People who don't the details would like both to be equally minimal.
All of these factors work against 4e being the market leader. The sole reason it lasted as long as it did as the leader was because of D&D branding. Then collapsed into a much smaller but still substantial niche. Where it could have continued if Wizards hadn't taken the ball and went home with it. But that is the risk when folks put their time and energy into a system without open content.

Just to be clear about my points, I played a fair amount of 4e in the late 2000s along side the GURPS campaigns and OD&D campaigns I was running at the time.


But it would remain in the top tier for the reasons you mentioned.

Because the point of tabletop roleplaying is not to play a game but to pretend to be characters having interesting adventures in a setting. The game is just the aide to make it happen. Nothing wrong was preferring a specific game or style of game to run campaigns but if it becomes the main focus then you are wargaming not roleplaying. Wargaming is not how most roleplaying folks want to spend their hobby time.



4e's sin that it was boring over the long haul. For the reasons I gave above. There are many examples in the wargaming world (Warhammer, Battletech,, etc.) of how to keep a game-oriented approach interesting over the long haul. D&D 4e did not do this part well. Also didn't help their marketing was beyond idiotic and alienated interested hobbyists.

A link just in case I need to establish my 4e creds :grin:

View attachment 48743
What rules does 5E have for non-combat encounters that 4E doesn't have in equal amount? Both have skills which are equal in application for non-combat encounters. Both allow for players to use their abilities to creatively overcome obstacles.

However, 4E has one MASSIVE advantage for non-combat encounters that 5E has no answer to in the form of Skill Challenges.

If you can't roleplay in 4e, that's a personal limitation, not an indictment of the system.

And how many combat encounters are people doing in 5E per session? If the complaint about 4e is that it lacks roleplaying, I find it odd that a "strength" of 5E is that apparently you can pack more combat per session?

Also, 4E combat got much faster with the new monster math that was implemented in the Essentials line. And of course, 4E was a big creative risk and wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and should've been iterated upon instead of wholly abandoned.
 

Monero

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When you're a creative that means swinging for the fences and sometimes whiffing. 4e was a good system for a boardgame or miniatures skirmish gamed. It was a poor fit for traditional B/X style wilderness exploration and dungeon delves but it was ALSO a poor fit for more social games.
How? How does 4e codified combat rules interfere with roleplaying with other players? 5E offers nothing for wilderness exploration and social games that 4E doesn't also offer but 4e also has Skill Challenges which 5E has no answer to.
 

Endless Flight

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Of all the editions, 3e provided the most support for non-combat options and it had the most customization options for characters, which can be both good and bad depending on your point of view.
 

Monero

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As a side note, it's ironic to me that we are on the cusp of Spelljammer being released which by all accounts appears to be very lackluster, especially in regards to ship combat....and had 5E not abandoned 4E and kept things like Skill Challenges, there would've been a ready made elagent solution for Ship Combat that would've involved everyone at the table and made them feel like a real crew of a Spelljammer vessel.
 

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How? How does 4e codified combat rules interfere with roleplaying with other players? 5E offers nothing for wilderness exploration and social games that 4E doesn't also offer but 4e also has Skill Challenges which 5E has no answer to.
The overlong combats made it difficult to execute D&D's satisfying and popular game loop of combat and action followed by exploration and exposition; 4e provided a ton of tools to make combat interesting which was awesome but the combat encounters tended to squeeze all other content out. The long combats were better suited for a miniatures skirmish game IMHO and this is coming from someone who likes combat and hates pointless "chit-chat" or "filler" roleplay.
 

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had 5E not abandoned 4E and kept things like Skill Challenges, there would've been a ready made elagent solution for Ship Combat that would've involved everyone at the table and made them feel like a real crew of a Spelljammer vessel.
Does 4E have a solid Ship Combat set of rules? I may need to check that out.
 

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I've seen the concept of 4e's Skill Challenges used in other games (mostly in adventure modules).

The system is so simple that I'm really surprised that it wasn't included in 5e more officially (beyond Death Saves, kind of).

It's kind of ironic that one of the greatest legacy ideas from 4e was one of its simplest (ie having little if anything to do with their thorough combat rules and abilities per encounter/day).
 

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What rules does 5E have for non-combat encounters that 4E doesn't have in equal amount?
D&D 5e has more spells and abilities related to doing things outside of combat than 4e. In terms of the skills system, both are equivalent in level of detail. But it is not just about skills it is about how the system as a whole handles things outside of combat.


Both have skills which are equal in application for non-combat encounters. Both allow for players to use their abilities to creatively overcome obstacles.
Except one is chained to a combat system that takes as long as GURPS to resolve encounters and the other is not. We are not talking white room analysis here, we are talking about tens of thousands of hobbyists voting with their feet.

However, 4E has one MASSIVE advantage for non-combat encounters that 5E has no answer to in the form of Skill Challenges.
It is a mechanical gimmick, neither good nor bad but not a game changer in the history of task resolution systems.
If you can't roleplay in 4e, that's a personal limitation, not an indictment of the system.
4e's issue is not about roleplaying. The problem all lies in its combat system and how characters are defined.

And I called it 2008.

And how many combat encounters are people doing in 5E per session? If the complaint about 4e is that it lacks roleplaying, I find it odd that a "strength" of 5E is that apparently you can pack more combat per session?
In my experience double what 4e can handle. About one every hour on average compared to one every two hours for 4e.

Also, 4E combat got much faster with the new monster math that was implemented in the Essentials line. And of course, 4E was a big creative risk and wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and should've been iterated upon instead of wholly abandoned.
And doesn't address the other issues that 4e had namely, fantasy superheroics 24/7 doesn't have legs and people bore of it quickly. I stress again, 4e didn't have to disappear. It was well designed and could have supported its own smaller niche. Your passion for the system isn't the first time I hear about this in regards to 4e. The only reason we are having this conversation is that Wizards didn't open up 4e so that the fans could support it own their own.
 

robertsconley

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The system is so simple that I'm really surprised that it wasn't included in 5e more officially (beyond Death Saves, kind of).

This didn't originate in 4e but I use a similar mechanic that I call levels of success.
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As well as why
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An example

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1660763666960.png
 

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Sorry folks, really did not mean to kick off an edition war. FWIW I really liked 4e, and felt it was a big and distinctive improvement on 3e. I feel 5e is kind of a fixed 3e (with some ideas from 4e) and is easier to play with theatre of the mind.

I simply wanted to counter the idea that Wiazards are being intrinsically non creative with D&D. Both 3e and 4e were big innovations of the game.
 
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robertsconley

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Again the reason is that the length of time it takes to resolve combat vastly overshadowed the time it took to resolve non-combat activity. This is not a D&D 4e thing, a lot of mechanically detailed systems suffer from this like GURPS. Nor it because it was badly designed, or hard to understand, or hard to use. D&D 4e excelled at all of these. It was solely a result of how the mechanics function in actual play.

For GURPS the primary factor was the "whiff" results created by using defense rolls. For D&D 4e it was a copious amount of healing that allowed hit points totals to go up and down like a yo-yo until one side dipped too low and cratered. There were other factors but those two mechanics make GURPS and D&D 4e way longer to resolve.
 

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Honestly at this point I've seen so many people play 5e exactly like 4e that I've pretty much come to the conclusion it was just too involved for most players.

People say 4e is like a board game, but really most of the dungeon crawl type boardgames I've played seem a lot more like 5e in terms of tactical involvement so I suspect that's what most people want - lots of easy options and dice rolling with the occasional tactical decision rather than making a tactical decision every round.
 

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To be fair, some of those settings weren't around as long as others to make sales, and no Planescape or Birthright.
 

Telok

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This didn't originate in 4e but I use a similar mechanic that I call levels of success.
One style I've used is dc& totals. Started it in Dungeons the Dragoning for a big stuck airlock door, dc 20 & 100 points to get it open enough to get people through before the cyberzombies got to them. That's an open ended dice pool system though, it would be trickier with 5e & the d20. But it gives more effect to those with more bonus, sort of like combat & weapons do to mitigate the high d20 variance.
 

Voros

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As a side note, it's ironic to me that we are on the cusp of Spelljammer being released which by all accounts appears to be very lackluster, especially in regards to ship combat....and had 5E not abandoned 4E and kept things like Skill Challenges, there would've been a ready made elagent solution for Ship Combat that would've involved everyone at the table and made them feel like a real crew of a Spelljammer vessel.

Wait, so you haven't even read it and you're complaining about it? :trigger:

Anyway, regarding 4e, it isn't to my taste but I do like most of the 4e mechanics they imported into 5e.
 

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Honestly at this point I've seen so many people play 5e exactly like 4e that I've pretty much come to the conclusion it was just too involved for most players.

People say 4e is like a board game, but really most of the dungeon crawl type boardgames I've played seem a lot more like 5e in terms of tactical involvement so I suspect that's what most people want - lots of easy options and dice rolling with the occasional tactical decision rather than making a tactical decision every round.
Thats an interesting take and probably correct. I had a lot of success with a 4e campaign for mostly magic the gathering players, who loved the synergy and interactions you could get from well combined powers - echoing their first game of choice.
 

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Wait, so you haven't even read it and you're complaining about it? :trigger:

Anyway, regarding 4e, it isn't to my taste but I do like most of the 4e mechanics they imported into 5e.
For all the hate that 4e got, a lot of it's features got imported into it's successors, PF2e and 5e, and folk seem to be loving them there now that they're presented differently. It certainly wasn't perfect, but that's not a real problem, products can still be highly influential even without that.
 
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