Home > 5e, DnD, Lore, News, RPGs > Core DnD – True Essentials

Core DnD – True Essentials

January 24, 2012

Art for DCCRPG by Jeff Easley

Rule of Three took their regular three questions mined from various sources, but this week the questions were about DnDnext. One of the stated goals of the next edition is to create a common core DnD that has all the main ingredients that make DnD what it is, what it was, and what it shall be:

“One of the primary goals of the game will be to take the best elements from all editions and find ways to unify them around a tight, central core of a game aimed at providing the essential aspects of Dungeons & Dragons.”

So what unifies all the editions? As you look at character sheets of all the different editions, what would feel weird if it were missing? Here are a few things that I feel have to be included to the base core for it to feel like Dungeons and Dragons. Everything else is negotiable.

1. The six stats. DnD would not be DnD without Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Mess with the holy six, and thou shall incur such nerd rage the servers shall run red with developers blood tears. Well, maybe not, but to me nothing is more integral to the DnD experience than our old familiar stats; preferably with values 3-18.

2. Armor Class. All other defenses are negotiable. Do you roll a save, or does an enemy target your Will defense? Doesn’t matter. But without AC, you aren’t playing DnD.

3. Hit Points. These terms transcend edition. If you go to anyone who has played any version of DnD, and pretty much any RPG video game, they’ll know what hit points are. Don’t go getting creative with this one, guys.

4. Class. I may not be in the majority here, but I don’t mind the super-old-school notion of race-classes like the classic dwarves, elves, and halflings. That being said, you can’t have DnD without classes. Races are optional to me, but will likely cause a nerd-uproar with the majority of DnD players. I feel like the core classes will and should be the old standbys: Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Wizard. I feel like Ranger is pretty iconic too, but not absolutely core.

Now that I look at this list, it may just be a big ad for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG. It has all of these elements, and once it comes out, will probably be what I’m playing while we wait for 5e. If you haven’t downloaded the beta, do yourself a favor and get it here. It will certainly give you something to think about while us commoners wait to be invited to the 5e beta.

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  1. Scott
    January 24, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Something about D&Dnext that is a bit disappointing is that a lot of great indie and retro systems were starting to come out of the woodwork. Games like dungeon crawl classics. I think D&D Next will have a suppresive vapor ware effect on all systems this coming year, even if only slightly.

    • January 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I think a lot of the retro-clones were developed from a sense of dissatisfaction regarding where DnD mechanics were headed. I certainly think the announcement of DnDnext will limit sales of 4e supplements like “Heroes of the Elemental Chaos” or whatever, and would certainly put any of the few 3rd party 4e works on the chopping block, but we’ve got to have something to play until 2013! The DCCRPG beta also does a great job with distilling core DnD elements, but with a few new twists. I can’t wait to see what they come out with.

  2. January 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I came up with basically the same list, and also added attack and damage modifiers. Rolling dice and doing math are fundamental to the D&D experience. Can’t imagine D&D without it. I wrote about what I thought an “absolutely, absolutely basic” D&D character sheet would look like and put it up on my wordpress blog, Ex Cathedra – http://excathedrablog.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/the-absolute-absolute-basics-of-dd/

    Amazingly enough, this fits on a 4×6 index card and leaves plenty of room for player scribbles and doodles which, along with cheetos stains, are also a central part of the D&D experience!

    • January 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Nice! Good points!

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