Ok, Ok! I’m one of the eighty-five thousand plus people that have downloaded the DnD Next Playtest material, according to Mike Mearls himself (who should know…)
Thing is, I have to admit that I haven’t actually played it!
And the real truth is, I don’t think I’ll be playing it anytime soon.
This is nothing to do with the playtest materials themselves, or in fact any negative views about the next edition of the game. Quite the contrary, I’ve been interested in the downloads up until now; have quite liked what I see, and have been reading all the updates and comments. I’ll admit I haven’t been hugely impressed with the adventures that have been chosen to accompany the materials. Although they are clearly based on classics, and seem to have been chosen to test the early ‘Basic D&D’ feel the design team are clearly striving for, the free-form nature doesn’t seem to me best suited to the requirements of a playtest. But that’s a minor complaint overall.
I have tried to get enthused about starting a DnD Next Playtest several times, and even started re-doing the maps of the Caves of Chaos. But it hasn’t happenned. I think there are two main reasons for this:
1) All of my D&D play is with my kids. Although the DnD Next rules look like they’ll be great for this eventually, at the moment there’s a bit too much flux for a kids’ campaign I think. They’ve embraced 4E, especially the races such as dragonborn and eladrin which may not even exist in DnD Next, and they’re both playing Beastmaster Rangers. The ‘powers’ structure of 4E is pretty familiar to them, and seems to work well for our game. I don’t really want to pitch them into another set of classes and rules temporarily.
2) Realistically, we don’t get nearly enough time to play D&D anyway, given the school, sports, work etc commitments that a typical family with 2 near-teen kids seems to have! So when we do get time, I want to play, not playtest, and there is so much 4E material available to use, right at the moment, I don’t want to be putting the effort into trying to run DnD Next adventures with a relatively small amount of material (or at least a significant amount of re-skinning).
So that’s where I’m at, which also means for the forseeable future, this blog will remain firmly concentrating on 4E matters. To me, there is a huge amount more life in the current edition – one day I’m sure DnD Next will be ready, and I’ll still contribute where I can to the process – but in meantime I intend to keep on creating, DMing and playing as much as possible with what I’ve got :)