Interview: Mike Mearls on the Playtesting Process of D&D Next

On June 15th, we conducted an interview over Skype with Mike Mearls, head of Research & Design of D&D at Wizards of the Coast. Also during that day, Mike was participating in an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit, so some of the answers make reference to that. This interview has been transcribed, paraphrased, and edited by us from the call. We chose to mainly focus on the process of playtesting and design for D&D Next for this interview.

Zen and the Art of Dungeon Mastering #2: Know your DMing Style

In which Chatty maintains momentum in his new series aimed at new/returning GMs and explores what motivates Dungeon Masters to run RPGs and how uncannily familiar these motivators will be for some.

First Impressions Preview: “13th Age”

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Describing itself as a “love letter to D&D”, 13th Age has quite the pedigree behind it. 13th Age is designed by two accomplished and notable game designers, Jonathan Tweet (Everway, multiple editions of D&D, much more) and Rob Heinsoo (Feng Shui, D&D 4e, much more), and is published by Pelgrane Press, whose design on their GUMSHOE and other lines show that their production values are top notch and often eclipse products put out by bigger companies.

Zen and the Art of Dungeon Mastering #1: What’s in it for me?

In Chatty’s first posts of his new series, he tackles what you can expect to gain from being a DM and, as importantly, what you need to stop expecting if you want to have the best possible start in your DMing career.

Free RPG Day 2012: The Price of Free-dom

Coming soon to a game store near you is Free RPG Day—on June 16th, you can find a wealth of RPG material free for the taking. Free RPG Day has been occurring annually since 2007, and has included material from some of the largest and most prestigious RPG companies in the industry today, including Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro, Fantasy Flight Games, White Wolf, and Paizo Publishing.

D&D: Advantage vs. Flat Bonuses

There are a lot of people talking about the D&D Next open playtest, and one of the subjects I hear about a lot is the way Advantage/Disadvantage are currently working. The general opinion I’ve heard is that it is overpowered when compared to the +2/-2 bonus we’re used to from previous editions of D&D. My gut reaction to hearing that something is overpowered isn’t to jump into the mob and swing my nerf-bat around, it’s to look at as much data as I can and figure out if I agree or not. So that’s what I’m going to do!

Collateral Damage #3: The Avengers Initiative Part 1: Training Day, Prise Deux

Collateral Damage is back, our cheating, barely heroic characters try to complete Avengers training… of course, they’re not going to do it by the book… that would be boring.

Torg: A Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Hack (Storm Knight Datafiles)

Today, I’m publishing six datafiles that I’ve worked on so far for my Torg hack. Since the World Laws of the various cosms show up in the datafiles, I will briefly discuss them as well, although not every datafile will include every World Law.

What Classes Should be in D&D?

For me, choosing a class has always been one of the most fun and important decisions to make while playing Dungeons & Dragons. I can still remember the feeling of pure excitement I had when I first cracked open the 3rd Edition Player’s Handbook and saw that Monk was a core class. I also remember our friends all having multiple discussions about what exactly the Sorcerer class was and how it was different from the Wizard. With the next edition of D&D now in open playtest, I felt it was a good time to discuss the varying levels of class distinction in D&D.

Playtest “D&D Next” Like A Pro

With the open playtest of the new iteration of D&D coming tomorrow, I wanted to offer some of my advice on playtesting and giving feedback.