Monday, 21 July 2014

7 Must-Have DCC Accessories

The Dungeon Crawl Classics role-playing game has some of the best adventures on the market. It is almost impossible to go wrong when selecting a DCC adventure. But DCC has a lot of non-adventure material as well, and in this post I am going to highlight some of it. Below are my Top Seven picks for non-adventure DCC materials.

I am excluding materials that I wrote, or otherwise played a significant role in the production of (although I am mentioned in or contributed artwork to some of these).  I have tried to rank these in terms of their general usefulness to the average DCC judge and players, but depending upon your campaign style and interests, YMMV considerably. I also decided to exclude any items that are not explicitly DCC, which is why James Raggi’s excellent Random Esoteric Creature Generator is not on the list (although you should own a copy!).

Please note also that, although some items did not make it onto this list, that by no means indicates that they are below par! I didn’t include Crawling Under a Broken Moon, for example, although I quite like it and think everyone should get it. On another day, it might have made the list.  This is a snapshot of what I am thinking makes the cut today.

Without further ado:

7.  Tales From the Fallen Empire (Chapter 13 Press)

This product offers a setting for DCC campaigns to take place in, new monsters, new classes, new patrons, and new spells.  It has very good rules for magic item creation and good rules for maritime adventuring.  Expanded equipment lists, ritual casting rules, and the rules for lucidity are also a real bonus, and could be used by a judge or players to great effect.

6.  Transylvanian Adventures (Land of Phantoms)

This product takes the DCC RPG and places it smack dab in the middle of a Hammer Horror film or a gothic novel, and then dials everything up to 11. The most obvious house rule that judges may steal from this to use in their non-Transylvanian DCC setting, but there are good rules here for character building and investigation as well. The Adversary Die is a rule well worth stealing, if you are working on an adventure that is not simply a dungeon crawl. Two more books are planned for this setting, and when they become available, I will be snagging them as well. Fantastic stuff! 

Also, critical and fumble tables for firearms.

5.  Critters, Creatures, & Denizens (Cognitions Pressworks)

This product offers a good range of monsters, including stats for the various animals that your PCs might acquire through their occupations, making it a valuable resource.  There is a lot of information here about the various creatures listed that most judges will never need, but there is also a very good discussion of how the creature statblocks were derived for those interested in creating their own. There is a good section on travel that the wily judge can use to her advantage. There are also some strange and fun creatures hidden on these pages – I have often glanced through the book and discovered something I had forgotten, which is a hallmark of a good resource.  The book also contains a critical hit table exclusive to Fey creatures, which I have recommended in my FT Series modules.

Finally, Critters, Creatures, & Denizens has an explicit permission allowing you to use a few CCD creatures in your published DCC adventures. This permission is modeled after the permission appearing in Angels, Daemons & Beings Between as a direct result of this author talking to that author. I, personally, would like to see more of this sort of thing in DCC products.

4.  Crawljammer #3 (Moon Dice Games)

Although I am a fan of all of the DCC zines, not every zine or every issue can make it to the “top seven” list. Even if we exclude the “adventure issues” of Crawl!, we would have seven Crawl!s, three Crawljammers, two Crawling Under a Broken Moon, and one Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad. All of these are good, but Crawljammer #3 has the Psychic Knight, and deals with psionics. Many a DCC campaign can benefit from a cogent treatment of psionics.

(CrawlingUnder a Broken Moon #2  deals with mutants and mutations, and The Wizardarium of Calabraxis has some good alternative psionics rules, but the Wizardarium was excluded because it is an adventure, and I haven’t finished reading through the mutations in CUaBM #2, or it might have made this list.  There are also two “technology wizard” types available; one in Crawljammer #2 and the other in Crawling Under a Broken Moon #1. They are different enough that both might exist within the same game milieu.)

3.  Crawl! #8 (Straycouches Press)

The Firearms Issue. From Wheelock pistols to laser blasters, Crawl! has you covered.  But that is not all, because Rev. Dak Ultimak makes sure that you have some handy tables to use these weapons in your game, in the form of invaders from another world! Whether those invaders are aliens from a distant star, modern humans, or some Revolutionary Era American soldiers, you will be ready.  This issue includes some firearms rules from Transylvanian Adventures, but not all of them. It is definitely a handy at-table reference when you decide that you want the PCs to emulate the majority of Appendix N protagonists – for every Conan who may not have had a pistol, there are two Solomon Kanes who certainly did! – or when you want your PCs to head out into the wastelands of Stephen King’s Gunslinger novels.

If you are running Crawljammer or Crawling Under a Broken Moon, you will find that Crawl! #8 is your friend.

2.  Crawl #2 (Straycouches Press)

The Loot Issue contains additional equipment lists that are referred to at my table all of the time.  If my copy of Crawl! #2 isn’t available, and the PCs have reached some safe location to recover and gain new supplies, dirty looks are shot in my direction.

There are some other cool things in this issue as well – articles on random treasure, lucky and legendary items, converting OSR treasure hoards, a personality from the Sunken City by Jon Marr, new weapons, and new rules for shields and helmets. But it is Colin Chapman’s extended equipment list that my players dive into again and again.

And the most used resource at my table, apart from the Core Rules themselves?

1.  Alternate Occupations (IDD Company)

Ever since it came out, every time a character is rolled up, this reference is requested.  First off, it extends the occupation lists considerably.  Secondly, it offers some definitions for the more esoteric occupations which have long since fallen by the wayside (or never existed in some cases). Finally, if you are making higher-level characters, if offers tables that link appropriate occupations to the desired class. This is useful both to players (when, say, creating higher-level PCs to die horrible deaths kick serious ass in some higher-level DCC module, or when bringing a new PC into a higher-level party), and the harried judge when creating NPCs.

Yes, yes, I know, NPCs are different. But sometimes, when you foresee the likelihood of serious ass kicking horrible deaths, you want a ready NPC or two to become PCs as needed.

And for $2.00, it’s a hell of a bargain.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Voting is Now Open

Voting is now open in the 2014 Ennie Awards.

Please consider voting for Prince Charming, Reanimator.

I would love to see Monsters of Porphyria and The Other Side win as well.

Related note: As happy as I am to see my writing nominated, reviews like this one really bring home how much the care and effort Purple Duck Games puts into packaging their products (illustrations, maps, layout, bookmarks, etc.), and how big of an impact that has on the final product.

If Prince Charming does not win, I am sure that whatever does will be excellent, and I will be happy to congratulate the winner! If Prince Charming does win, that is as much due to the efforts of Mark GedakLuigi CatellaniKristian Richards, Perry Fehr, and Jon Marr as it is due to mine.  Not to mention Joseph Goodman and the rest of the crew at Goodman Games for putting out such an inspiring product!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pocket Sized Encounters

I have been remiss in not mentioning the Iron Tavern's Pocket-Sized Encounter series, even though I have bought them all. So, this is my attempt to make up for it.

Disclaimer: Jeffrey Tadlock at The Iron Tavern has reviewed a number of my project favourably, and I like both the Tavern and its owner.

The Pocket-Sized Encounter series is written for Swords & Wizardry, but translating them in to Dungeon Crawl Classics is relatively simple to do. If you have any experience in conversions, you should be able to do this even while running the adventures. These adventures are designed to be "side quests" that can be played in a single session, allowing them to be used when the PCs go "off the map", or as a part of initial world building when devising the game milieu.

Swords & Wizardry is not as "gonzo" as Dungeon Crawl Classics, but these adventures are interesting for Swords & Wizardry, which means that you can easily use them with DCC.

Kajak's Kave:  Livestock disappearing from their pastures, children discovering large humanoid footprints along the creek, rumored sightings of a lumbering giant, and Shaerie the Huntress’ disappearance several weeks ago leave only one conclusion. An ogre has taken up residence too close to town! Are you the brave adventurers to help rid the town of this threat and discover the whereabouts of Shaerie?

The Hive:  Lord Oakensun was fascinated by insects, spending hours cataloging and classifying his collection. Discontent led the man to experiment with forces he did not fully comprehend. Now farms outside the village have been found abandoned. Lord Oakensun’s daughter is missing, last seen near rocky hills a short distance away. A local thief reports his partner was snatched away in the dark amidst sounds of buzzing and chittering. Has Lord Oakensun’s experiment gone wrong? What is behind the rash of disappearances from the village?

Skull Cave: Centuries ago nomads found a cave and felt drawn to perform their death rites to dark gods within its confines. Years of ritualistic offerings to malevolent forces has fed demons deep below the cave. The nomads have long since disappeared, but a recent earth tremor has freed the demon spawn from their prison deep below the surface. Seeking blood of victims to fuel their infernal fires they have moved closer to the surface and begun their hunt.

Zedkiel's Chapel:  Two brave adventurers rescued Zedkiel the scholar on his way home from the tavern. A large bat-like creature had attacked the man and certainly would have slain him had Ulad and Frango not intervened. A month later reports of another large bat-like creature surfaced as several townsfolk were killed one night under a full moon. Ulad and Frango grew suspicious and discovered something horrid had happened to Zedkiel. The man eluded them until the pair of adventurers discovered the strange abandoned chapel Zedkiel was using as a hideout. The characters have a choice to make - seek out and destroy Zedkiel or aid him against the vigilante townsfolk.

Check them out here!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Why it Matters

As you are aware, my adventure, FT 0: Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores: Prince Charming, Reanimator, was nominated for an Ennie as “Best Electronic Book”.  (

Now, I will grant you that I have been critical of EN World in the past (and still am, as the decisions I find offensive still remain in place), but I will also admit that I am pleased by the nomination. But whether or not I am pleased doesn’t matter. What matters is that any time anything wins an award – be it an Oscar, a Grammy, or an Ennie – its profile is boosted. This translates to more sales for the publisher (Purple Duck Games), and this translates to more interest in the system (Dungeon Crawl Classics).

Re: Purple Duck Games

Take a minute and look over all the PDG products for DCC. There are a lot of them. I wrote most of them. In the case of Prince Charming, Reanimator, the product is PWYW to support a kickstarter from Eggplant Productions ( that would provide quality fantasy literature for adults and children alike.

The product has been a success – it has paid for itself and then some – but when Mark Gedak at PDG agreed to take it on, he was paying out of his own pocket for cartography and art to help me help a third party which was not even rpg related. I can’t put into words how many kinds of awesome that is.

I hope you will consider investing in Purple Duck Games with your vote, not only for Prince Charming, Reanimator, but also for Monsters of Porphyra in the Best Monster/Adversary category.  I have been discussing with Mark the possibility of converting Porphyra materials to DCC (their Pathfinder versions would still be around!), and PDG doing well in the Ennies would encourage Mark to consider that route.

(I did the official conversions of Harley Stroh’s Well of the Worm and Tower of the Black Pearl for Goodman Games, as well as the DCC conversion for the upcoming edition of GM Gems, so I have some experience in doing this kind of work.)

Re: Dungeon Crawl Classics

I took a look at past Ennie winners, and with the exception of the phenomenal Crawlers’ Companion by Purple Sorcerer (surely the most deserving award winner of all time), I couldn’t find a single DCC product. Not one adventure. Not one.

I have absolute faith that Joseph Goodman’s business plan is not contingent on recognition from EN World.

But. Not. One.

How can The One Who Watches From Below, Bride of the Black Manse, Sailors on the Starless Sea, or Frozen in Time not be recognized?  Really?  How can they not be at least nominated? What about all the excellent third party products for DCC, like Jon Marr’s A Gathering of the Marked or Stephen Newton’s The Haunting of Larvik Island? Did I just miss them?

Friends, this has got to change. Not only does Purple Duck deserve a higher profile for its work with DCC, but Dungeon Crawl Classics itself needs a higher profile in the Ennies. And in any other fan-based award out there.

Re: Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores

The FT Series is intended as a series of 7 adventures, running from a 0-level funnel (Prince Charming, Reanimator) to a 6th level finale. This is not an “Adventure Path” – the nature of gaining levels in DCC ( means that the PCs will need to have other quests in and among the FT Series adventures.  Once you get past FT 2, which I am currently working on, you will likely need to include another adventure to reach the suggested level for FT 3. Likewise, another two adventures before you are ready for FT 4, etc.

Some of the CE Series modules will be usable in this regard – I am actually working on one with two goblin classes that is intended to potentially tie into the FT Series as well as any other campaign milieu. If I can get permission from their publishers, each FT Series module from FT 3 onward will list suggested adventures, and how to adapt them to the FT milieu.

FT 2 was originally going to be named The Little Mermaid of Innsmouth, and is now being called The Portsmouth Mermaid. Dagon, Cthulhu, and Hans Christian Anderson meet for an adventure within the town of Portsmouth. Needless to say, all is not sweetness and light. I hope to give someone nightmares with my version of the Sea Witch.

In just two modules, the FT Series has already given you two fully described patrons and a new character class, as well as the strangeness and danger that you expect. As the series goes on, the amount of world-building material will only increase. You have been warned.

The FT Series will eventually take you up the beanstalk and into the lands of the Desert Faerie. It may seem hard to ramp up adventures when is already dialed to “11” and you face a dragon at the start.  Don’t worry.  With six adventures in the series, FT 6 won’t be dialed to “17”; I am shooting for at least “20”!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Without Bothering to do the Math

Which you are welcome to do, if you want.

A troop of 800 orcs with a statistically average array of hit points attacks another group of orcs which is identical. Let us say that each orc in the melee has a 50% chance of hitting each round and each successful strike does an average of 4 hp damage each round.

The battle lasts 9 rounds.  At the end of the battle, how many orcs remain with 1 hp? How many remain with 8 hp? For the sake of clarity, these are 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons orcs armed with spears.

Alexis argues that he knows the answer, and that if you do not agree with him, you are really, really fucking stupid.

Well, Alexis' numbers look okay to me, I suppose, if we assume that the orcs all form a line and whack at each other until the weakest fall. But, then, what happens if the weaker orcs on both sides cower in the rear while the alpha males duke it out?  Do we have any reason to imagine that weaker orcs are shirkers who hang near the rear? Only the source material, where Frodo and Sam are mistaken for orc shirkers in Mordor.

For all of that math to be relevant, it has to accurately model the variables of the scenario. Do you think that it does?

Okay, then, consider the possibilities of 1st level party consisting of a magic-user and 20 fighters. For fun, let's give them all maximum hit points per die, with no bonuses for Constitution. Which one of these fine PCs is going to die first? Should there ever be a 4 hp magic-user in a party? If we applied Alexis' math, and assumed that all 21 stood up toe-to-toe in a line with 21 equally NPCs, reason suggests that only the fighters remain. Of course, that's because PCs do not all stand up toe-to-toe in a line when fighting. Not if they want to live.

Likewise, I guess, we should consider thieves to be exceedingly rare in the campaign milieu. Monks, well, I can understand their rarity in a predominantly Western milieu, but they are another class that some players have managed to do quite well with despite their meagre hit points.

Wait! you say, that magic-user has spells! We must take that into account!

Sure. For one encounter. Then he is just a fighter without armour, with sub-optimal weapons and hit points.

There is nothing objectively "wrong" with Alexis' model, and you should use it if it feels "right" to you.  But if it does not feel "right" to you, there is no reason to agree with Rumson just because "he knows".

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Okay, some interesting (or not-so-interesting) things have happened recently.

(1) Goodman Games’ Perils of the Purple Planet kickstarter funded within 24 hours, and is now working on its stretch goals! Having been lucky enough to do some work on this product, I am confident in saying that people will not be disappointed. 

Harley Stroh’s work is always good, and this is an adventure that really delivers the goods.

(2) The Ennie Award nominations are out, and FT 0: Prince Charming, Reanimator, has been nominated. As some of you may know, I have been critical of some policy decisions at EN World in the past, so this came as a real surprise to me.  To those of those responsible for the nominations, and to those of you who have already sent their congratulations and well-wishes, thank you very much.

If you haven’t had a chance to read or play Prince Charming, Reanimator, you can get it on a “Pay What You Want” basis here. In addition, Purple Duck Games has graciously put CE 5 (Silent Nightfall) on sale for $2, HT 1 (The Perils of Cinder Claws) for $3, and FT 1 (Creeping Beauties of the Wood) for $4

Creeping Beauties does a lot of world-building for the Grimmswood, and includes a new character class (faerie animals) in keeping with the setting. As a bonus, there is a new patron as well as a more complete Doctor Chapman. Finally, as FT 1 details a good portion of the Grimmswood, if your PCs decide to bugger off during FT 0 and live their lives as outlaws in the woods, you can simply ignore the information on the Brides and have a ready-made starter sandbox to set your ongoing adventures in. All off these sales expire on the 21st of July.

If you feel like voting, I would appreciate it. Moreover, I know that Mark Gedak at Purple Duck Games would appreciate it, and he really does deserve a lot of credit for taking risk after risk with my material. Although not the only great guy in this business, Mark is among the best.

I am sure that he would not mind it if you also considered voting for Monsters of Porphyra!

(3) Alexis Smolensk’s book, How to Run: an Advanced Guide to Managing Role-playing Games, is now out in both physical and electronic format. (Strangely, both formats seem to have the same price.) 

If you happen to purchase it, I would be interested in your serious critique. I have said it before, many times, but I will say it again: Although I do not always agree with Alexis, and I will take him to task when I think that he is both wrong and it is important or interesting enough to do so, he often does have good insights into the game.

I know that Alexis often brings it upon himself, but I will have to echo him here: I am only interested in serious critiques or links to the same. This is not an invitation to YDIS or other forms of mockery. At the same time, “serious critiques” means both good and bad here, and that is not an offer you will get on Tao.

I broke my own rule and wished him well in his blog comments, but as that is apparently not getting through his filter, I’ll repeat it here:  Good luck with your book, Alexis!

Upcoming blog posts will look at the Iron Tavern Press’ Pocket-Sized Adventures, as well as reviewing the “Must-Haves” for DCC, both adventures and non-adventure products.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Perils of the Purple Planet!

Goodman Games'  Perils of the Purple Planet kickstarter is live!

Send your fantasy adventurers to face alien perils in Harley Stroh’s long-awaited sword-and-planet epic! Having been one of the lucky few to be able to contribute, I've had a chance to take a look at the work in question, and it is well up to Harley's already high standards!

Summary of Kickstarter:

  • A Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure module of planetary scope – at level 4. The adventure flings your characters to adventures on a distant world dying slowly under a weirdling sun.
  • The basic pledge funds print+PDF copy of a boxed set containing Harley Stroh’s 32-page adventure module, plus a second 32-page campaign booklet – and possibly more depending on stretch goals.
  • The first softcover book is the adventure module Peril on the Purple Planet, which has two built-in special features. First, the cover art is oversized, and spreads across front and back cover in addition to wrapping around to front and back flaps. The flaps also double as player handouts when folded out to face the table. Second, the adventure map is a three-page-wide hex crawl, which folds out of the module center as a three-panel gatefold. Additionally, the adventure includes a number of B/W interior handouts to show the players what they face on the Purple Planet.
  • The second softcover book is a campaign booklet to expand your journey on the Purple Planet. At the basic pledge level, before any stretch goals, it includes three chapters: Lost Tombs of the Ancients, Bestiary of the Purple Planet, and Lost Tech of the Purple Planet, with contributions from Daniel J. Bishop, Tim Callahan, Edgar Johnson, and Terry Olson.
  • You can support this Kickstarter by adding on other adventure modules from the Dungeon Crawl Classics line, most of which are on sale for 25% off as part of this Kickstarter. You can also add on Purple Planet Player Guides at $5 each.
  • Stretch goals for this project will put even more items into the boxed set! These include the possibility of an ecology book, additional encounters, a book of handouts, a book of magic, a custom GM screen, and a guide to the Purple Underplanet!
  • The basic adventure module is complete and ready to print. All writing, art, and layout is complete. The additional writing for the campaign booklet is also complete. Art and layout for the campaign booklet will begin when this Kickstarter funds.
  • We expect PDF copy of the module to be available shortly before Gen Con, and print copy to be available at Gen Con or shipped soon after (depending on backer preference). If we have extra copies remaining at Gen Con after all Kickstarter pickups, they will be offered to the general public. 
Even if you don't support the kickstarter, you should drop by to see Doug Kovacs' amazing art!

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Tao of Hit Points

Doctor Strangeorc
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Orcs

I should be an adult about this, and just look away, but....From this blog post we see
I'm sure some of the readers (particularly those who have sworn never, ever, to read this blog again, despite their knowledge of all its contents) would come up for wild justifications for why a 1st level orc fighter has 2 hit points while an ordinary grunt has 5, but it always bothered me
And in the comments section we learn exactly who might come up with such a "wild justification":
Two different 180 pound humanoids can have considerably different measures of health; the construction of their bodies will be different. The 260 lb. boxer with a 'glass jaw' for instance. Thus, while weight gives an approximate variable (d8 vs d6) the random element includes the possibility of not having been structured as compactly or healthily.
This is from the same blog post that concludes that a giant centipede cannot possibly have 2 hp because it lacks the body mass. As though nobody has ever stepped on an ordinary-sized centipede (or cockroach, for that matter) only to see it escape, injured but not slain.

I think any discussion of hit points needs to take Gary Gygax, in the original DMG, page 82, into account:
It is quite unreasonable to assume that as a character gains levels of ability in his or her class that a corresponding gain in actual ability to sustain physical damage takes place. It is preposterous to state such an assumption, for if we are to assume that a man is killed by a sword thrust which does 4 hit points of damage, we must similarly assume that a hero could, on the average, withstand five such thrusts before being slain!
Gary continues to describe other factors that hit points take into account - skill, a "sixth sense", sheer luck, and magical/divine protections.  As always, the DMG is worthwhile for inspiration and understanding. All things that people have attempted to point out in this discussion.

Now, we get to the meat of the issue. Ignore for a moment that Alexis likes to portray anyone who disagrees with him as irrational, a shark, or worse.  As I understand his post, Alexis proposes an allocation of hit points for mass, and an allocation of hit points for training. Alexis says,
Thus, a 2nd level orc fighter with a 15 constitution would have 5-8 hit points from mass, 2-20 hit points from habits developed through training and an additional 2 hit points gained from improved fitness.  I don't have to make a story about where the points come from.  They originate in the same way for every orc, in a quantifiable manner.
This reduces the odds of the ordinary grunt orc from having more hit points than the 1st level orc fighter (by this scheme the grunt could have 8 hp and the soldier 7, but it won't happen very often), so this is a good method to reach Alexis' stated goals. The problem is not that this system would not work - it manifestly would - but in the implication that it is necessary.

In AD&D 1st Edition, an ordinary orc has 1d8 hit points. You don't have to make a story about where the points came from. You can if you wish, just as Alexis has made a story about where the hit points in his method come from (mass, training, and improved fitness), and they are applied to every ordinary orc in the same way. Likewise, under both systems, you can adjust orcs by making them fighters, more powerful, or whathaveyou.

Nobody else was fretting over justifying that 1 hp orc; they exampled how it could be done to counter an argument that a 1 hp orc makes no sense or is not justifiable. Or, if you prefer, to counter a claim that orc hit points following a normal distribution from 1d8 is not justifiable. That's not a big enough change in the claim that it requires a substantially different response. "One in eight orcs has lived a very rough life, malnourished and often sick."  There. Done. No "wild justifications" are needed.

That the DM/GM/Judge can determine why a certain monster has lower (or higher) than average hit points does not mean that, in normal play, this needs to be done. Consider that the average sword strike does 5 hp damage (rounded up), the orc with but 1 hp and the orcs with 2, 3, 4, and 5 hp usually look the same to the players during game play. The orc with 8 hp might get chopped down in a single blow, and no player knows that the orc had 8 hp rather than 1 hp.

What 1d8 hit points means, in this context is simply "They could be chopped down in a single blow, but some might require two, or even three blows" - and that actually does a good job of describing the orcs encountered in the source material (JRRT's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). Likewise, 2 hp for a giant centipede means only "It will probably be killed in a single blow, but there is an outside chance that it may survive."

You can add up hit points according to mass, constitution, class levels (training), and Toughness, if that is what floats your boat. I tried that way. It was called 3rd Edition. The desire to originate every creature in the same, supposedly fair, quantifiable manner, turned out (for me, at least) to be far more effort than the meagre benefit created justified. To each his own, though.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say, Better to Say Nothing


Right now, with the advent of 5e, there is a lot of negativity on the Internet.

Actually, I've noticed a lot less negativity than when 4e came out. That doesn't surprise me; 5e is a much better game than 4e (IMHO), and is the best version of WotC-D&D to date (again, IMHO). There are some real problems with the free Basic PDF, though, in terms of what I want from a game. I would find these easy to fix, if other games did not make that unnecessary. Why, for the love of Crom, does WotC feel the need to spread two lines of information into a quarter-page stat block?

But please, please, please do not feel the need to "talk down" about the new edition because that is your "side".  And please, please, please, please do not feel the need to "talk up" (or be silent) about the new edition because some people don't want anything bad to be said. If you are going to review the new edition, please just try to be honest in your review. That's it.

I, for one, am interested in both what people like, and what people do not like, about the new well as about other games. I would bet good money that WotC is as interested in what people dislike as they are in what people like, too. If they were not, 5e would have looked a hell of a lot more like 4e.

I am not saying, "Yay! What we need is another Edition War!"

I am saying that, if all those people who were told to shut up when they criticised 4e had actually shut up, we wouldn't have this version of 5e. We would have had 4e Part III.

WotC has shown that they are listening. It is my understanding that they have declared that 5e is going to be a "living edition" that will continue to change and grow because WotC will continue to listen. So, yeah, if you think D&D needs hit points as a strategic resource that takes time to recover, bloody well beat your drum.

If anyone tells you to shut up, or that WotC isn't listening, point to the free 5e PDF and let them know that WotC certainly is.  And, WotC? You might want to consider saying the same, because it would do you a world of good with the nay-sayers.

Now, about that licensing........