While it is clear I shall have to remain near my toilet for such things, I shall remember in the future that when I am at a loss for something to say, I can go read something Mike Mearls wrote.
How baffling it is that this so-called writer of things D&D seems to have had his head firmly up his butt, particularly when he writes with apparent new-found wonder of the original game of D&D. The Research & Development Group Manager for D&D didn't know this until last week? That the core rules are easy to use, apparently, was a "milestone" for him and his little table of minions. What wonderful research skills this man has - to have written all he has to date and not to have known this until playing last week.
Oh, I know, some of you will say that this is just a clever way of writing, something to appeal to the noob and to help sell the concept - but wow. Just wow.
I have this ridiculous opinion that someone who is "developing" D&D should actually sound like he knows what he's talking about, and not like some rube falling off a turnip truck. After three-years in a Colombian prison, apparently.
Is it really okay that some monsters can be complex? I don't know how, exactly, I'm going to run a "big brawl" without getting a little complex. Apparently our R&D expert hasn't run a big brawl in his whole fucking life, or he'd know that managing a combat with eight players at the table against 70 bugbears ain't no motherfucking picnic.
I love this little 45 minute schedule he describes. An "entire" party (that sounds like SO many but apparently was just three people), a ruined keep, SIX rooms explored and TWO battles. Whaddya say - let's just break that down some. Mearls says the one character took 5 to 10 minutes, so we'll say 7.5 on the average - so that accounts for half our 45 minutes. That gives us an average of 3 minutes and 45 seconds to explore each room - assuming we don't waste even as much as 1 second describing the ruined keep we've only just appeared beside. Oh, wait, that gives us no time to have the combats! Oh well, it only takes 1 second to roll a die and watch it bounce on the table, and another die to roll damage, so that's only 2 seconds a combat, right? Well, 4 seconds if the other side even got a chance to swing. That sounds about right. ALL my combats take 4 seconds, maybe 8 seconds tops, if someone misses, to play out. I guess I can't fault Mearls timekeeping there.
Yep, says right here: "the fights were brief but sharp" They sure fucking were. Never mind getting up and using the can, if you took a drink from your pop and scarfed a handful of cheetoes, you'd have missed the brief and sharp combats. No wonder Mearl's monsters get "sprinkled" like the everlovin' rain.
For my part, I'm so glad Mearls doesn't want us all to give up the way we play. You know, the way DMs have to answer a couple hundred questions during a session (like what the ruined keep looks like, for one thing), squeeze in 5 or 8 seconds of laughter while rocket launching from room to room, or giving the players time to actually talk out their next fucking move without holding a stop watch at them and screaming "18 SECONDS TICK TOCK!!!"
Which isn't to say that Mearls flash-forward rooms and combat mechanics aren't wonderfully "flexible." They obviously are. In Mearls' twisted sense of reality, TIME itself is flexible enough that any length of it can be described as "45 minutes."
Including the additional 8 seconds it takes for any and every party in the gameplaying universe to divide up treasure.