Hopes for future D&D products...

Author: Andrew /

I was rollin' some ideas around in my head and I thought "You know, why not put these down on 'paper'?" These are just some products that I think would be extremely useful to DM's / Players and could fit in very well with the stream of books being put out by Wizards.

"The Customization Guide" - We all know we do it, or at least we all know we want to do it. D&D is touted as being a game where the rules take a back seat when the game can be better without them, or by changing them. Ironically, I think that's what makes D&D great; that it doesn't force players (DM's included) to go "Well, this isn't fun but the rules say we have to do it so lets just get it overwith." Instead it encourages the user to customize their experience and tweak it so that it fits just right. This book would contain a few different chapters. It would contain one on maintaining balance and how to engineer feats and powers for various levels and still maintain the balance of the game. It would contain another chapter on custom rules, with many examples of custom rules provided by Wizards that could be inserted into a campaign (a la Dungeon Delve) to alter the flavor or play style of the game. Another chapter would be on custom equipment and how to maintain balance when creating your own magic items. An offshoot of that would be ways to create custom artifacts and items with personalities.

"The D&D Guide to Role Playing" - So many players, from what I've seen, don't actually role play or when they do they do it in such a way that they still revert to thinking as the player, not the character. I would love to see a book just thick with ideas on good role playing. The first chapter could be on creating interesting characters and how to take a bland or broad concept and flesh it out and add things on to make it a more three-dimensional character. The second chapter would be an intro to role playing. It would contain a definition of what role playing is as well as a few "script-style" examples of play dialogue between players, showing what role-playing is and what it isn't (This could even lend itself to creating characters for the book that could reoccur throughout the book in different examples. That would be a lot of fun!). The thrid chapter of the book would be on role playing specifics and tips to achieve certain depictions. "If you're going for an evil character, you may want to think about themes like: treachery, deception, selfishness, superiority, etc" and "If you're going for a good character, you may want to think about themes like: benevolence, selflessness, justice, integrity, etc." There could also be examples for character motives and underlying motives that wouldn't be as aparant as those on the surface. Chapter four would be on character interaction and what different ways you can go about effective role playing with other people. A sub section of this chapter could also be devoted to blending role play with combat, instead of keeping the two separate or allowing one to overtake the other in a combat situation. There could also be a chapter for DM's with some ideas on how to take role play situations and different traits that the characters posess, and turn them into mechanics that could influence skill challenges and combat. Certain relationships and personality traits are there that could have the potential to alter many challenging situations. Perhaps lovers could get a +1 to defenses when defending eachother. Perhaps the druid with wanderlust gets a bonus when traveling? Things of that nature. The final chapter could be a chapter of inspiration. This chapter could contain a wealth of all sorts of different illustrations (There could even be a contest where players could send in drawings and the first 40 or 50 could get picked!) and character write-ups and ideas that other players could read over to help them jump-start their imaginations. I believe this book could be a MASSIVE hit and would be brimming over with great stuff for players to use.

"World, Campaign and Adventure Creation" - This book would contain formulaic advice and examples on how to craft worlds, campigns and adventures. It would have different examples of how to go about creating these things and a "step-by-step" procedure that a new DM could follow if they chose to. Chapter one would contain descriptions of what the main three things are and how they differed. It would then go into the core elements of those things (e.g. - A world contains some sort of environment(s), it is populated by beings, it may have a cosmology or a pantheon of deities, etc). These things would all, then, be detailed in Chapter 2, 3 and 4 (World, Campaign, Adventure, respectively). Chapter 5 would be about crafting environments. Chapter 6 would be about crafting cities, settlements, and populations. Chapter 7 would detail cosmology. Chapter 8 would detail how to create a campaign story arc and how to best put different types together (These are some key elements of an intrigue story, these are elements of an espionage story, these are elements of an action story, etc). Players could then look at these and immediately be getting ideas as to how they could create their own stories and have them be well thought out, planned, and organized.

Those are three products that I would love to see. There are more in my head for sure, but I think I'll save those for another time. In the meantime, check these out, think about them and let me know what you think! Thanks again for reading, all!



silent stone said...

I agree that all three of these hypothetical products would be brilliant. These sorts of products have been attempted before: Unearthed Arcana was essentially a book of house rules, and Troll Lord Games published a series of books called Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds, which covered in extreme detail the topics of world-building (I own a copy of volume IV, the Extraordinary Book of Names, which was my go-to book for naming until I found Sherrilyn Kenyon's Character Naming Sourcebook).

Still, new versions of these written with 4E specifically in mind would be great. And I maintain that a book of pre-made skill challenges for every conceivable situation would be a huge asset.

Andrew said...

Yeah, a friend mentioned to me that the first book I mentioned was a lot like Unearthed Arcana. It had things like point buy systems as well as a spell point system (which ROCKED!). I also agree that the book of Skill Challenges would be amazing. I'd buy them all. I need to look up those books you mentioned Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds, as well as Sherrilyn Kenyon's book. Has she written others? It sounds like if she made a book like that, she's gotta have others, yes?

silent stone said...

Kenyon's Character Naming Sourcebook is just basically a book of lists of real-world names: Finnish names, Hungarian names, Scandinavian names, Maori names, et cetera. For most, she gives the name's meaning, or at least it's origins.

Still, even though they're real names, it's an easy place to find inspiration for fantasy names...just corrupt the spelling, switch a few syllables around, drop a letter or two, add the errant apostrophe or hyphen, and you're set.

Kenyon is a fantasy novelist; her only other "resource" type work that I know of is the Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference, which she contributed to (but I've never read it).

Andrew said...

Hmm, sounds interesting. Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds sounds more useful though, I must say. Either way, a compilation would be really nice all the same.

Magus Stragus said...

Andrew... What are you waiting for joining the lines of WotC and create such books? Hurry! I want to read them!

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