A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons
Comparing D&D Lite to D&D Next
June 18, 2013Posted by on
D&D Next is the play test version of the next (v5) version of D&D. It addresses many of the issues I have with v3.5 (I never cared for v4).
D&D Lite is a set of “House Rules” that I have published here, that are intended to simplify and speed up play of v3.5 D&D.
D&D Lite was designed to meet the following criteria:
1. “Character creation and promotion should be simple, fast and easy.” – D&D Next does this, and also provides a lot of customization options at character creation for those who want it.
2. “The rule set should be fully compatible with other v3.5 stuff (adventures, sourcebooks, etc).” – D&D Next is not fully compatible. It feels a lot like a streamlined and improved version of v3.5. It should be very easy to convert adventures or other game materials from 3rd edition D&D to D&D Next.
3. “Complicated rules should be simplified to the point where you can play 90% of the time without having to look up a rule.” – D&D Next nails this. The rules are much simpler than 3rd edition D&D.
Below are some D&D Lite rules followed by comments on how D&D Next addresses these issues.
D&D Lite: No Multiclass characters.
D&D Next: Multiclass characters are optional. By frontloading the character creation you can get pretty much any type of character you want to play without multiclassing.
My thoughts: I had to restrict multiclassing in order to eliminate feats. D&D Next accomplishes what I was after without restricting character development. I like it.
D&D Lite: No Feats.
D&D Next: Feats are optional. If you do use them, you get to choose one feat at level 1, 3, 6, and 9 for a total of 4 feats.
My thoughts: My problem with feats is that there were too many of them and they over complicated the game. I can live with characters having 4 feats.
D&D Lite: No selection and distribution of Skill Points.
D&D Next: No skill points. Your character starts with four skills of your choice, from a much shorter list of skills. At levels 7, 12 and 17 you can add one more skill or improve one you already have. All skill checks are ability checks. If you happen to have the skill involved, you add 1d6 to your d20 die roll.
My thoughts: I wanted to get rid of skill points, but I couldn’t do it and still use 3.5 rules. This new way of dealing with skills addresses all of the issues I had with them. I like it.
D&D Lite: No Armor or Weapon Proficiencies.
D&D Next: Your character is proficient with certain weapons and armor depending on his class. Using weapons he is not proficient with is done at a disadvantage.
My thoughts: While not as simple as my system, it is much simpler than the 3.5 system, and the weapons are either simple or martial. This is very workable, fast and easy. I like it.
D&D Lite: No separate rules for Bull rush, Disarm, Overrun, Sunder, Grapple or Trip. To accomplish any of these you use a “heroic action”.
D&D Next: You can attempt any of these as an improvised action. Some classes are especially good at Bull rush, Disarm, and Trip. The rules for grapple have been greatly simplified.
My thoughts: D&D Next “improvised actions” are almost identical to D&D Lite’s “heroic actions”. How could I complain about that? I like it.
D&D Lite: No Attacks of Opportunity.
D&D Next: Attacks of Opportunity are almost eliminated. D&D Next reduces them to only be used if a hostile creature that you can see moves out of our reach.
Mt thoughts: To get rid of attacks of opportunity I had to require a heroic action to do anything that would provoke one. Dropping them altogether and still not allowing you to simply run past the guards with impunity is a good move. I like it.
D&D Lite: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.
D&D Next: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.
Mt thoughts: I tried to keep the results about the same as standard 3.5 rules. D&D Next just came up with a much simpler solution. I like it.
D&D Lite: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.
D&D Next: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.
My thoughts: D&D Next’s solution is simpler than D&D Lite’s solution. I like it.
D&D Lite: Character alignment is optional. There are no alignment related game rules or effects.
D&D Next: Character alignment is an important aspect of the game.
My thoughts: This was one of the hardest changes to implement in D&D Lite. I made this change primarily because of some unbalanced spells, such as “detect evil”, but the concept of good vs. evil and chaotic vs. lawful is so ingrained into D&D I was considering changing this. D&D Next corrects this at the source, by re-writing the spells so “detect evil”, for example, becomes “detect good or evil” and instead of allowing you to “sense the presence of evil” you “perceive a strong concentration of good or evil as well as creatures formed by them”. This is a subtle but important difference. I like it.
D&D Lite: Each of the classes has specific abilities (like feats) that they receive at pre-determined class levels, thus eliminating the need for feats.
D&D Next: Does the same thing, but offers more options in the form of backgrounds and sub-classes.
My thoughts: Thisallows the player to customize his character more than allowed in D&D Lite. I like it.
Conclusion: If they don’t mess it up, D&D v5 should be the game that I was hoping v4 would have been. I will quit using D&D Lite and whole heartedly endorse v5.