Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Jul. 9th
Dungeons & Dragons is the granddaddy of Role Playing Games, having sparked the imaginations of more than one generation of game designer. That makes a new edition of D&D news, and the 5th edition of the game is making its way towards stores even as I write this.
Fast Company has a good look at the collaborative process that went into reinventing D&D, which in the last edition tried so had to woo the fans of video games like World of Warcraft that it drove long time fans into the arms of its competitors. This time around the game’s makers, Wizards of the Coast, have their eye on a different kind of digital product: apps.
Wizards announced it is working with Trapdoor Technologies on a computer application codenamed “Morningstar.”
The program will have features to help Dungeon Masters create adventures before gaming sessions start, features to help run a game while everyone is playing, and then features to help keep track of an overall campaign as the players travel across a world and defeat their enemies. “By putting some of the mechanics in the hands of an application the people can focus on the player interactions and storytelling happening at the table and not worry about how much damage your great axe deals,” says Stewart.
While Morningstar is still in development the basic rules of the game are available right now for free. That’s another lesson that D&D is taking from modern gaming: ye olde free to play gambit. The major elements of the game system will be published over the remaining months of the year, in time for all the components to be wrapped up and placed under a Yule tree.
If you’re curious as to how the rules have changed from the universally panned 4th Edition, Polygon walks through the differences. The short version: don’t worry about investing in miniatures, this one’s designed to play out in player’s heads. That’s music to this 7th level Bard/4th level Paladin’s ears.
The increased emphasis on imagination and narrative–including direct language about character sexuality not being limited to strict binaries and game mechanics that won’t penalize players for making those choices–indicates that a very progressive vein is alive in the most mainstream of RPGs. Well, as mainstream as RPGs can get, anyway.
So… who’s up for a game?