Monday, March 19, 2012

The One Hour Adventure

Mike Mearls has a great column up this morning, one which I think is probably the best design focus they've described to date for Dungeons & Dragons Next, not the least of which because it manages to simplify the design philosophy in a manner which of necessity encompasses many other core design features by virtue of this simple goal. The idea of a ruleset that can run a complete adventure in an hour or two is nothing unusual to some games (Tunnels & Trolls is a great example of pick-up-and-play fantasy gaming at its finest, as was the old classic B/X D&D rules), and its actually a design focus that would really, truly make D&D competitive with other media that tends to siphon off players due to ease-of-access (video games). In fact, it might even make it somewhat more competitive with MMOs, which to be fair these days have turned into a major pain if you're not willing to slog through endless hours to get to the "endgame" component most MMOs dangle in front of you like a distant carrot.

Anyway, if they pull this off then I'll be a hearty supporter of D&D Next. This column brought back some old memories for me: of running quick games between classes in college when we had a couple hours to kill, or of running short one-shots at odd moments back in my 1E & 2E days whenever we had some time, opportunity, dice and books. It kind of hit home a major play element of D&D that's been more or less completely absent since 2000, and one I really do miss.

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