Storm Over Baldur’s Gate to be dual format?

This is pure wishful thinking and speculation on my part, but what if Storm Over Baldur’s Gate is released with both Fourth Edition and D&D Next statblocks and rules?

SOBG is the first adventure in the Forgotten Realms Sundering series scheduled for launch on August 20 2013 according to the listing at Amazon, but it gives no hints as to which system it is designed for – just a vague reference to a “32-page adventure book”. It could be that this is going to be entirely system neutral and lack any rules information at all. That would be great for the 64-page Baldur’s Gate setting book as I’m all for that being full of glorious FR fluff and information – but I do like a fair amount of crunch in my adventures.

The alternative is having loads of books open at the table during play and much page turning during encounters, and that will never do. Of course, we could prep a sheet with the required statblocks beforehand, but if you have to prep like this before running an adventure, what’s the point of using a purchased adventure? Unless you’re running a conversion from one Edition to another, I believe that published adventures should provide everything you need to play right out of the box (whether it comes in a box or not).

So here’s my thought. What if you can run SOBG either in 4e or D&D Next, with full stats and notes for both systems? It could be that the upcoming Encounters series is a trial run for that format as this will have conversion notes for D&D Next available for download. I would rather they provide dual-format statblocks on the same page, but I guess the Playtest Agreement requirement makes that impractical for now. In a published adventure that could well be waived or folded into the terms of use.

Providing both 4e and D&D Next information and stats opens up not two, but three possibilities – running the game using Fourth Edition, running it using D&D Next, or switching over from 4e to ‘Next part way through.

The name of the game in the Sundering series is change, and what better way to mark that change and the impact it has on the Realms than to recreate your character in a new Edition as the adventure progresses? Your hero would actually feel the changes to the world as they gain new abilities, lose others and perhaps even change race or class as a result of the Sundering. Not that we quite know what the Sundering is yet, but I’m sure looking forward to finding out.

What do you think?

Do you reckon this will be system neutral, dual format or one system only? Would you run it in 4e, D&D Next or use it to mark the shift in the Realms by switching system mid-game?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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8 Responses

  1. symatt says:

    You know what. Enthusiasm for #4e has dropped. No longer do I want to make characters for #4e. I do not want to print out anymore character sheets or look up stat blocks for something that for me has died in the cold. No one really wants anything to do with it.

    Yes of course few websites try and breath life into it.
    You can see them leaning over the corpse trying to get the life breath back in to it. Be it blogs or print demand books.

    There are people out there that will be a die hard #4e fan never say die that’s their Moto.

    The thing is it is time to let it go. Turn off life support.
    WotC have Done that already.

    Now to #next.
    Its like Dr Who, it’s going through a transition from one encarnation to the next. We should let it happen.
    Yes yes I hear you say.
    “we like the old Dr no way am I going to like the new Dr” you know its what you think every time it happens.

    #5e is that New Dr.
    Robin. The idea of having an Encounters campaign that lets players and GMs play through the change is a brilliant idea and I see that as the next step.
    Move on. embrace.

    • blindgeekuk says:

      Bull…

      I’m still playing 4e, and at the moment, I’m enjoying it more than any session of Next i’ve played. Next was a fun distraction, a chance to revisit an earlier style of roleplaying, but that is all it was for me. It has nothing innovative to make it stand out, instead it has a mismatch of nearly 40 years of rules pandering to the grognards and vocal minorities online.

      While official, and even fan support for 4e is winding down, Next is in no fit state to become the de facto standard. Each week, via L&L and twitter, we see Mike Mearls umm’ing and arr’ing about expertise dice and martial classes… This is a game system that is effectively 2 years into its development cycle… And then haven’t nailed down the core classes and their mechanics…

      Then theres the modules, that were discussed when Next was announced. Beyond a very rough and unusable draft on the Next community group (that seems to have died off), modules haven’t been discussed or seen. Not too much of a surprise really, given core mechanics like expertise dice, spell use, skills, healing, weapon proficiency are not yet sorted. To me, Next’s success relies on these modules being able to change its play style, and lift it out of a pandering retro clone into something I actually would want to play.

      The February date for Encounters gives them a goal to head for for a half decent version of the Next rules, while the Sundering adventures date of Gencon 2013 plays their hand, and if it truly is dual system (which I doubt, I expect fairly system neutral crunch with a conversion guide online – with guidelines for 1e, 3e, 4e, Next) shows us when they expect to have the first ‘beta’ draft of the Next rules out by. Taking into account xmas, easter and gencon prep, that gives them 7 months to finish the core rules.

      • Symatt says:

        of course #5e is in no fit state to have anything ready Now. but it will you know it will. The minority of #4e fan Is even now reducing. you yourself are becoming a grognard of #4e.

        for me #4e was everything but i am waning big time. no players nearby has not helped but that is my problem. so that is why i travelled the country to play the game that was and is still awesome. and still incredibly enjoyable.

        I have has great times with #4e and i would hope i will again be it a one shot (as most of the games i run or play have always been).
        I put in the effort. i when above and beyond to call #4e my home. but you know. im ready for new horizons. i am coming of age.
        All the bits from the past editions mean very little to me. all of #5e is new and i find that exciting.
        It was the way they made me feel about #4e.
        Thats what i want that is what i need.

  2. vobeskhan says:

    As a D7D Encounters DM and DnDNext playtester, I have mixed feelings on this and the coming season of Encounters.

    I know that only one of our regular players has actually signed up for the playtest but hasnt played any of it to date and that the remaining players are still quite happy to play 4e.

    I have actually sent each player a message to ask them which format they would want to play next season (no replies as yet – didnt send message till this morning).

    As far as printing information for both systems in the one book, I think this is essential. As you say theres nothing more infuriating than having to hunt through several books to get stats for the combatants in a single encounter while at the table. If its a preprinted adventure it should contain all the information required to run it (core rules of PHB/DMG not withstanding).

  3. I want to adventures to be system neutral. Being system neutral permits a group to use it for the game of their preference.

  4. G says:

    They buggered the realms with 4e and now they are trying to patch it up with sticks and bandaids. No thank you!

  5. callin says:

    I would like to see the book be system neutral (or choose one rule set to use) and then I would like another rule set posted on their website. So release it as neutral or for 5E but then put up the 4E statblocks on the internet.

    And right now we are still playing 4E. We are in the middle of the campaign and will stick with 4E until it is done, which is likely to be sometime after 5E. After that we will most likely move to 5E…or play Shadowrun or some other system.

  6. GX.Sigma says:

    That would be pretty difficult, since the D&D Next rules aren’t finished yet. (Monsters in particular are far from finished.)

    Conversion notes in the playtest packet? That would be cool. On the printed page? Not doable.

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