Review: Elminster’s Forgotten Realms

WotC and Me

I have not purchased a Wizards of the Coast product for several years. Recently they have found a way to get me to pry the dollars from my wallet to fork over to them. First it was the 1st Edition reprints. I actually wasn’t going to buy them, but while at Gen Con I found the trio of books at a price that bettered even Amazon’s price. I couldn’t resist.

Then Ed Greenwood’s Elminster’s Forgotten Realms book caught my attention. This book is an edition neutral book full of fluff written by Ed Greenwood about the Forgotten Realms. This book made my pre-order list at Amazon. I am not sure if I have ever actually pre-ordered a D&D book, even in my 3.x days.

The Book

Elminster’s Forgotten Realms is a hardcover book coming in at 192 pages. The book retails for $39.95. The book is described as providing an insight into the Forgotten Realms world from the creator of the setting, Ed Greenwood. The book is system-less in nature, so whether you play any number of D&D editions or have converted the Realms to another fantasy RPG system there should be something in this book for you.

Ed Greenwood wrote the book with cover art by Jesper Ejsing. Interior art comes from a variety of artists including Ed Greenwood, Wayne England, Tyler Jacobsoon, Beth Trott, and more.

The book has six major sections covering all matters of Realmslore. These sections do not include the foreword, introduction, or afterword.

First up we have Life in the Realms which covers an array of topics. A brief portion covers viewpoints on the Realms from a racial perspective. Along the way we learn common Realms terms for common expressions. This chapter continues with information on events and festivals, theater in the realms, medicine, illness and medicines, drugs, poisons, and current news and rumors.

The next chapter discusses Laws and Orders. This chapter is a discussion of class and nobility, justice, property law, trade laws, handling the guilty, who enforces the laws, pacts and alliances, and more information on the infamous Zhentarim.

The book takes a closer look at where people in the Realms live. Not as in region, but what are their actual homes like, the local Inns and Taverns, food, drinks, and even fashion.

Money drives any society and this is where the next chapter takes us. This chapter covers work, day jobs for adventurers, guilds, trade and merchant princes, coinage by region, trade goods, and information about the slave trade within the Realms.

The next chapter is the longest in the book, with a look at Gods and Followers. The early parts of the chapter address how people in the Realms worship, why evil is allowed to exist when good deities have a known presence, charity, temple income, and priesthoods of the Realms. The priesthoods section is the longest and covers many of the major deities within the Realms.

The final chapter is in regards to The Art, or magic within the Realms. The prevalence of magic is covered, information on bloodlines, alchemy, bardic magic, elven music, spellsong, and more.

Amidst all of the chapters are images of notes written by Ed Greenwood regarding the Realms and submitted to editors over the years. These are a very interesting look into how the Realms grew over time.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed my read through of this book. The book’s style is probably the closest I will ever get to sitting down at a table with Ed Greenwood in a tavern and listening to him spin his tales about the Realms. The tone of the book seemed very conversational to me.

The book is edition-less, so fans of 1e, 2e, 3.x, or 4e D&D who are fans of the Forgotten Realms are sure to find this a fun read. However, if you prefer books heavy on crunch, this may not be the book for you. There is not a single stat block, spell block, feat, or anything at all resembling a game statistic in the book. I find that a good thing, but if you buy books for crunch only, you will likely want to pass on this one.

The artwork in the book was decent and had its up and downs. Only a few pieces felt particular evocative to me. Art is such a subjective area of critique though, that I am sure there are others that feel differently from me. It wasn’t that the art was bad, just the majority of it did not strike a chord with me.

The primary highlight in this book for me were the pages that showed Ed Greenwood’s old notes. I could just imagine him with stacks of notes in his house that he typed up into some presentable format and sending them off. Over and over and over. The depth of the Realms and the campaigns Ed ran for his group just astound me.

One has to wonder why the Realms is steeped in such lore. The typed page from Ed on page 85 of the book provides insight for this I believe. The note for the page from Ed notes that for players that have read every book, module and more for D&D tend to turn the game into a wealth of metagame knowledge. He notes that drowning them in so much Realmslore that one cannot possible track it all the DM has brought things back into real roleplaying. I found that an interesting way to combat the metagame knowledge of players.

While I enjoyed the entire book, a couple of sections did stand out to me.  From the Laws and Orders chapter there is a section on becoming a noble in Waterdeep. It was an interesting section. The detailing of how the Phull and Zulpair rose to power in Waterdeep was particular insightful.

In the same chapter I also found The Secret History of the Zhentarim a good read. I have tended to use Zhentarim in several of my Forgotten Realms campaigns in the past making this section stand out to me. The included typed diagram from Ed in this section was wonderful!

The book is full of nuggets of information to help a DM run a Forgotten Realms campaign. Even if you do not run the Realms for your campaign, there are many ideas that can be stolen for your own world.

Summary

I had been looking forward to the release of this book. It did not let me down and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and getting an even better feel for the Realms as Ed Greenwood wrote it. If you are a Realms fan I highly recommend adding this book to your collection. From the conversational style, to the intricacies of the Realm the reader can learn about, it is a very strong offering from WotC for Realms fans!

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15 Minute Work Day

A frequent complaint one hears about D&D (and Pathfinder to a degree) is the 15 minute work day. The 15 minute work day is the potential for a party to want to rest after they use all of their big resources. This is often at the behest of the Wizard or Cleric of the party after they have used their more powerful spells.

This problem generally lines people up on two sides, both of which can be rather vocal about the issue. One side says this is a problem in nearly every D&D game they have played in and the other says they have never seen it in their games. These arguments usually fall between “it is a systemic problem it isn’t our fault” to “you are playing the game wrong, there is not a problem with the system”. This debate has been going on for a long time, occasionally resurfacing on various forums or twitter feeds.

Why bring it up today at The Iron Tavern? Conan. Conan and The People of the Black Circle actually.

Let me back up just a step though before I get into Conan and the 15 minute work day. I obviously have an opinion on the 15 minute work day, I think everyone does. I fall into the group of people that really has not seen the issue that often.

As a player our groups nearly always push onwards and our wizards tend to be conservative with their spells and manage their resources. That does not mean we adventure on until our resources are completely depleted, but we typically carry on for a good number of encounters before seeking out a place of rest. This has been the case for my local group, for the many organized play games I have participated in, a multitude of play-by-posts, and games I have played online in. Do the casters sometimes announce that they are running low on prepared spells? Yes. But the group as a whole typically pushed onwards.

From the GM perspective I have similar experiences. Players I GM for also tend to push onwards in adventures I run. Sometimes to the point where I actually think it might be best for them to rest up a bit before continuing. This experience is from many varied mediums as my play experience has been.

Given the number of different groups and situations I have a really hard time thinking this is a systemic problem as many like to state. To me a systemic problem would be widespread enough that I would have run into the problem in my playing of the game. I can see room for abuse by a 15 minute work day, but I don’t see it as being a systemic problem in the rules.

There has been one campaign where I found myself facing 15 minute work day scenarios. Kingmaker. The way the exploration portion of Kingmaker works the group will very often find themselves facing every fight at full resources. Now this is an example a systemic problem. As the Kingmaker Adventure Path is written, the PCs are only ever going to face one, two, maybe three encounters in a day during the exploration phases of the campaign.

Back to Conan. I recently started reading People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard. As I read that book a distinct thought tumbling around in the back of my mind was if GMs ran their games like that story, the 15 minute work day would never be an issue. The heroes (and even the enemy for that matter) have several moments during the story where they have no choice but to continue on regardless of the status of their resources or how depleted their forces were.

Conan and his companions cannot stop to wait or rest, even as they watch a good number of their forces perish. The girl must be rescued! To wait and recoup health, forces, or arrows is sure to meet with the untimely death or worse for the girl.

The defenders are heavy users of sorcery and at one point in the book are shown using various spells to defend themselves. As the battle unfolds Conan even remarks that they must have lost their capacity for magic as they further retreat. But those sorcerers cannot simply stop and rest! They have a fierce barbarian and his dwindling horde knocking at their doorstep!

Pacing as shown by example in People of the Black Circle is what GMs should strive to obtain. This puts the PCs in an exciting adventure with stakes that mean something to the characters. It paints that sense of urgency that will keep things moving forward and not a series of fight, sleep, fight, sleep and so on. The type of magic system simply will not matter, because it is irrelevant. The PCs must go on to be the heroes, to do otherwise simply ends in devastating failure.

D&D Next: Playtest 2

I have not talked much about D&D Next at The Iron Tavern, but I have been keeping an eye on it along the way. I liked the direction the first playtest was headed, save for a couple of small things that could easily be fixed – either through modifying the core rule or a “module”. I was eager to download the second playtest packet earlier this week when it was released.

Before I get into this post too far, let me advise that my comments here are based solely on a read through and not an actual playtest.  I am also aware that the playtest docs are trying to get the tester to play the game with these rules. In the future these rules could easily be a module and possibly not even a core assumption of the game.  While I may not like some of the rules in this second playtest packet, that could be remedied by the final product by seeing the core rules simplified and other portions being moved to modules.

This post is looking at certain rules from the playtest that grabbed my attention and is not intended to be a thorough review of each rule or the playtest.

Character Creation

We have character creation rules this time! It is broken down into a fairly simple process. Ability scores are generated by random dice rolls. The totals are assigned later in the character creation process. For those that do not like such randomness a standard array of numbers to assign is also included. Point buy is obviously lacking, but I suspect this will make its way into a final release of the rules and the provided mechanisms of ability score generation are more to keep things constrained for playtesting.

Character race and class are chosen next with nothing too outside of standard choices for the playtest. Two optional rules at this point allow a player to choose a background and a specialty for their character. Background helps give you a default set of skills and a specialty provides feats and helps provide some focus for the character class you chose.

The rest of the process is calculating your various modifiers for attack, initiative, saves, etc. This portion is clear as well. The player moves on to choosing equipment, describing your character and choosing alignment. The traditional 9 alignments players of the D&D genre are included as well as an unaligned category for creatures that it simply does not make sense to have an alignment, think something like a plant.

Character creation is laid out cleanly in the playtest. It is easy to follow and walks you through the whole process in an orderly manner. As noted the playtest rules do lack a point-buy option that many players and groups like. I strongly suspect it will have an appearance in the final rules though, so I am not too worried about the lack of that option being spelled out.

I am not a big fan of Backgrounds or Specialties, but I will go over that in a section dedicated to those options. It is worth noting even in the playtest both of those selections are noted as optional.

Backgrounds and Specialties

Backgrounds and specialties appear to act as packages for skills, traits and feats. Backgrounds are where your character came from prior to their adventuring life and Specialties are further refining the character’s class. Backgrounds bring a bundle of skills to the table, Specialties bring a bundle of feats to the table.

While there are several of these packages to choose from, I grow hesitant with a defined template of skills or feats to choose from. Admittedly it might make a new person’s entry to the game a little easier, it strikes me as stifling creativity by needing to fit into one of these templates. New backgrounds and specialties could be created, either as officially released material or by DMs in their home campaigns, but there is still something about them that I do not like.

Backgrounds are essentially introducing a full skill list again instead of relying as much on lesser defined ability checks. Specialties are similar appearing to be adding feats again as well. By having these introduced one could likely choose skills and feats a la carte to better emulate a character truly customizing their character background or class specialty.

Classes

The major classes are represented in this playtest.

The cleric has rather weak magic and weapon attack progression and does have access to several domains that come with suggested equipment lists, grants additional weapon and armor proficiencies in some cases and other domain features.

I fear the cleric is being delegated back to a healing only type class. Perhaps some the classes spells can make up for it, but at this moment I am not seeing anything that makes me really want to play a cleric.

The fighter comes with the combat superiority feature. I like how this one starts. You get a die, a d6 at first level. This die can be used for combat maneuvers which can be gained by spending the die, i.e. trading it for a maneuver, or rolled as part of maneuver to add damage or some other effect.

I liked the premise when I first read about this from the Wizard’s site. Unfortunately I think they will make this mechanic overly complex and I can see the beginnings of this already in this playtest packet. The framework being attached to this mechanic of only being able to use combat maneuvers you have unlocked and trading dice versus just rolling the dice. I think the overhead is too great and is going to hurt what could potentially be a really fun mechanic.

In comparison I present Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Mighty Deed of Arms mechanic. Here too we get an extra die to roll during the attack. This die grows in size as our character levels. The results of this die get added to attack and damage and if you exceed a 3 on the damage die you can be creative as a player and perform a special move or call it a combat maneuver. The big difference is that the player can be creative! We aren’t restricted to a set of combat maneuvers that are well-defined or that the character might not have access to yet.

The rogue’s sneak attack escalates pretty quickly in the playtest packet. Some think too quickly. I have not looked at it long enough to make a call one way or the other. There is also some attempts to make the rogue truly skillful through Skill Mastery. I am one that thinks rogues should be very good at skills, it is their bread and butter. I think the rogue is one I would need to get some play time in to make better comments on.

The Wizard class is fairly typical. Certainly more Vancian magic oriented which I like to see. A nice low hit die which I am sure will make some upset. In my initial glance I do not see too much that I dislike about the wizard, though I withhold comments about spell power at this point in time.

Opportunity Attacks

I am glad to see these back in. I found the game played funny when there were not opportunity attacks. Even just bringing them in for moving out of a threatened square is a move in the right direction for me.

Long Rests

They have added a couple of variants to the amount of healing one gets for a long rest, but I am still not entirely happy with that offering either. First, the core assumption being all hit dice and hit points back after a long rest seems to be at the high end of the scale. I would rather it become an option, but maintain an assumption for more a middle ground.

The variants still seem to miss what I would consider the sweet spot for me. I would like to see a long rest for the core assumption to mean you get to roll all your hit dice and regain those as hit points and get all of your hit dice back. For example, if I have 5d8 hit dice, after a long rest I roll 5d8 and add that back to my hit point total and start the day with 5 hit dice to roll during the course of the day if I wish.

Wrap Up

I have only looked at some of the highlights from this most recent playtest packet. Frankly I need to take a closer look at the spells and bestiary before commenting on any of those. At the moment I prefer the first playtest packet to this second as some of these additions are not for the better. I will provide more in-depth commentary on the packet as a whole once I have reviewed the spells and bestiary and spent some more time looking at, and hopefully playing, with the rules as they are in this set.

My DM Gave Me Homework!

As regular readers know I have been playing in an online Google+ Hangouts game of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG being run by Carl Bussler. We are only a couple of sessions in, but we have all been having a great time with the game.

Frequently, once a session is over for the night several of us will hangout and chat a bit before logging off for the evening. During our last session we started talking about the large Appendix N influence on DCC RPG. By the end of this discussion the we had all received a homework assignment! By the next gaming session we were to have read one work from Appendix N. We of course graciously accepted the homework assignment!

What exactly is Appendix N? Appendix N was included in the Dungeon Masters Guide written by Gary Gygax in 1979. Page 224 of the book included an appendix called Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading. This list included many of the influential works to the game of Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is also heavily influenced by Appendix N and attempts to marry that feel with more modern mechanics. Many believe it has successfully done so.

Enough Appendix N background. With the holiday this week, we actually had two weeks to complete this homework assignment. I started looking to see which books from the list were available on the Kindle or some other electronic format. It did not take long to decide that a trip to Half Price Books was in order.

It took three trips to Half Price Books to finally find a time they were not closed due to power outages from the recent storms that passed through Ohio. I had my list with me and started the assignment by looking for any books by the following authors:

  • L. Sprague de Camp & Pratt
  • R. E. Howard
  • Fritz Leiber
  • Jack Vance
  • H. P. Lovecraft
  • A. A. Merritt

I chose these as these authors are listed as having the most influence. Given how few of them I had actually read I wanted to start with the ones being noted for having the most influence.

I had pretty good luck at finding several books and left the store with the following five books:

  • The Complete Compleat Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt
  • The Enchanter Reborn by L. Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff
  • The Goblin Tower by L. Sprague de Camp
  • Swords in the Mist by Fritz Leiber
  • The Knight and Knaves of Swords by Fritz Leiber

I decided to start with The Complete Compleat Enchanter for the homework assignment.

The read has been quite enjoyable so far. Already I can see the influence of random magic in DCC RPG as the enchanters cast various spells and frequently get less than desired results as they learn the laws of magic.

While our homework assignment was to read one book, I am looking forward to reading many of the titles from the Appendix N list. It is sort of amazing that I have been playing these games as long as I have and not read very many of the authors on the list. This homework was just what I needed to get started with reading more items off of this list.

Others in my group have been busy picking up their reading assignments as well. I have seen several photos popping up on Google+ from the other people in our group. It has been interesting to see their finds as well as they get them posted.

Has your DM ever given you homework that was not directly related to the game? Did you find it homework that was fun to do? Homework that contributed to your gaming experience?

New Version of D&D?

As everyone knows by now, Wizards of the Coast announced yesterday that they are indeed working on the next version of D&D (links to EN World, as the stunt NY Times pulled releasing the news early was playing dirty). This really does not come as a surprise to me, especially in light of recent events such as hiring Monte Cook and the feel of the Legends and Lore articles.

The Internet is abuzz with talk either on your favorite RPG forum, Facebook, Twitter or any number of other outlets. Several bloggers have written open letters to Wizards about what they would like to see and such as well. I feel I would be remiss if I did not at least put my two coppers in here at The Iron Tavern.

Regular readers will know that I tend towards the Pathfinder game for my fantasy gaming fix. I never really found 4e that attractive. Maybe I wrote it off too soon, but from the reading I did and the reading I still do there were just several parts of 4e that did not fit my wants in a fantasy RPG game. With that said, I have nothing against the people that do like to play 4e. I am glad there are plenty of games for people to enjoy and do not disparage one system over another.

This recent announcement of a new D&D version does have my interest, much more so than the release of 4e did. 4e was not the game for me, so seeing a rework of D&D as released by Wizards is welcome. Coupled with some of the talent they have on the design team, Monte Cook and Mike Mearls weighing in strongly in my opinion. I have also found myself agreeing more with the Legends and Lore articles than disagreeing with them, which I take to be a positive sign.

So at the very least they have my attention. While everyone that has played early iterations of the game are under NDAs to not talk about it, I do have some show stoppers in how likely I am to adopt the game that aren’t wholly related to the rules themselves.

First up, DDI. I do not like the concept of the DDI subscription with 4e and I would not like it with the next version either. Don’t get me wrong, I like electronically distributed content, but I like it to be in a form I can continue to use with a one time fee, not something I have to pay a monthly fee for continued access.

I want PDFs I can read on my iPad. PDFs allow me to read them when I am offline and I retain ownership of them should I not wish to pay a subscription. I like choices in character builders and I like character builders that I do not have to pay for on a monthly basis. Note that I did not say I don’t want to pay for a character builder, I just want to own it after I pay my money, not rent it.

So if 5e makes heavy use of DDI in the same manner 4e does I don’t see myself making any substantial moves to the new D&D version.

Another aspect that I have some concern about is the licensing of the next D&D version. I consider the GSL that 4e was released under subpar compared to the OGL that 3.x was released under. I really enjoyed the third party supplements that came out during that era of D&D. Was there content released that was not stellar during that era? Certainly. But there were some real gems out there. The more open license also allowed for better electronic tool support from third parties as well. I valued these things and the open license helped facilitate these things. A restrictive license with the new D&D version will likely also turn me away from the release.

Despite these reservations I am remaining cautiously optimistic about the next version of D&D. Hopefully good things come of it. If nothing else it will certainly be an interesting year watching how the next version of D&D evolves through play testing!

D&D and Rules and Skills. Oh My!

How did we get here?

How the rules affect the game of D&D and the related Pathfinder, have been a popular topic across various gaming blogs and twitter. Throw a dash of the skill resolution system in with these discussions as well and we have quite the melting pot for discussion!

A good amount of this discussion has been sparked by the weekly Legends and Lore column at the Wizards of the Coast site, first by Mike Mearls and more recently by Monte Cook. These columns have been talking about various areas of the rules and their effect on the game. Skills frequently are used as an example in these discussions – from climb checks to perception checks. 

Rules

The most recent Legends and Lore column talked about how the rules can encourage or discourage good game play. Monte goes as far to say that the rules are actually a form of saying “no” to a DM due to the possible restriction they put on the DM. 

I have seen several people shocked by that, but I agree with Monte Cook. That is not to say that the rules are a bad thing, they are certainly needed to provide some form of base expectations when you gather around the table. The realization that rules also restrict by defining this framework is an important one though.  When you make a rule during game design you need to also consider the fact you are limiting what the DM can do in that particular situation by the very nature of defining it. I believe good game design needs to keep this in mind.

For me once the initial ground work rules have been established for a game – combat, skill resolution, abilities, character generation, saving throws or defenses, etc. the rest of the rules should work in more of a guideline fashion. By writing them in the style of a guideline they simply build upon a core mechanic and serve to aide the DM from there on how to set difficulties and such as opposed to defining specific difficulties. Guidelines are more about being an example instead of a definition.

This is best demonstrated by skill resolution systems.

Skills

The difference between rules and guidelines always seems most evident to me in how a game handles skill resolution. The example in the Legends and Lore article also fell back to using skills and the rules surrounding them in demonstrating the various ways rules can be written and the impact on the game they have. 

I am most familiar with the 3.x/Pathfinder skill systems, but I believe these thoughts can apply equally as well to the 4e system. With that said, I am one of those that actually like the skill resolution system brought forth with the 3.x version of D&D. I think that is in a large part though because I treat them as guidelines, not as set in stone DCs. 

I also have no issue adjusting DCs on the fly in relation to other factors. These factors could be environmental or rewards for creative ideas the players come up with to circumvent some obstacle – whether it be figuring out how to climb some north face of a mountain to talking their way past the castle guards.  If the party comes up with something particular creative I will reward it. And if a snow storm is hitting that north face when the party reaches it, that task just became much tougher!

I think my willingness to take the DCs and modifiers written in the rule books and use them as guidelines in this manner as opposed to written in stone is a large factor as to why I find the skill resolution systems in 3.x/Pathfinder/4e very flexible and adaptable to many different situations.

I believe people that do not hold this same fondness of the skill systems find themselves more restricted by following the DCs exactly as written in the rule books. Or feeling uncomfortable applying modifiers as appropriate for various skill checks. Using the guidelines in the rule books as black and white rules is more restricting than simply using them as the guidelines they should be to aid the DM. 

Bringing It All Back Together

Finding the line where the rules of a game establish the framework for the game without undo restriction on the DM is a difficult line to find. I believe it is an important line for game designers to keep in mind for each rule they write.

If one subscribes to the rules can be restrictive line of thought, then great care must be taken in the wording of rules to be sure they are seen as guidelines and not rigid, unmoving statements. Even with the rules as written today we see various interpretations – from my interpretation of the skill system as guidelines to another’s interpretation of the skill section being much more rigid. Conveying to players of the game that the rules are there as an aid, not a restriction is an important consideration for game designers.

Monte Cook Back at Wizards?

Monte at WotC - Good or Bad?Twitter was afire yesterday with the announcement Mike Mearls made stating that Monte Cook was brought on board at Wizards of the Coast to work with R&D in “making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen”. In addition he will also be taking over the Legends and Lore column that Mike has been writing weekly for the past eight months.

There appear to be several different camps and a lot of speculation about what this means for D&D. Some camps I agree with, some of the speculation out there makes sense and some not so much!

My thoughts? I am actually excited to see what Monte will bring to D&D. I was not a big fan of 4e as it just did not seem to match what I feel D&D should be for me. Because of that I spent most of my time playing 3.5 or Pathfinder and only paid cursory attention to what was going on in the D&D world. Don’t get me wrong though, I fully understand that many people do enjoy 4e and I don’t begrudge them that one bit. I am sure the game I prefer might not match the game they prefer.

But with this announcement? I plan to at least become a regular reader of the Legends and Lore column. Now my curiosity is piqued! What is in store for D&D? Will 4e just be modified with changes Monte might bring to the table? Or is this the beginning of a new edition? For someone that hasn’t followed D&D in its 4e iteration very closely, Wizards seems to have succeeded in at least getting some of former customer to pay closer attention again.

I am still not sure D&D can pull me back in just yet, but for the first time in a long time that possibility is there. I have been quite happy with my Pathfinder and other systems and the entertainment they have provided me. It would take some major changes to draw me back to the D&D brand.

My hopes with this addition of Monte Cook to the R&D staff? It is hard to put my finger on exactly what I want to see, but I hope that he helps bring back some of the 3e feel to the game again while retaining the ease of DMing the 4e system that every lauds. Maybe something with newer mechanics but retains the “old school feel”.

Regardless of how this plays out, it does indeed seem that there are exciting times ahead for D&D! I am looking forward to watching things unfold in the coming months ahead.