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Author Topic: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?  (Read 3248 times)

Ghostmaker

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2020, 12:05:19 pm »
Spawn of Fashan.

But seriously, I'd like to take 3E and tighten it down a few notches, insert ideas from 2E into it and see how it goes.

Blankman

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2020, 12:16:20 pm »
I like a lot of stuff about 5e, but not everything. So in an ideal edition, I would keep the ascending AC and the general tightness of the number range from 5e (maybe open it out a bit more). I'd also keep Backgrounds, but drop Skills. So if you're doing something that relates to your background and need to roll for it, you get your Proficiency bonus. Also make it very clear that adventurers are supposed to be competent and that nobody needs to roll anything to climb a tree, spot something in plain sight, jump over a small pit, light a campfire etc. Lose the conceit that everyone is about equally good at combat. Fighters, Barbarians, Paladins, those guys should be carving swathes of destruction across the battlefield, while Rogues should be the sneaky sneaks and spellcasters should stay back unless they have a spell to contribute with. I really like cantrips, but would be fine with getting rid of the combat cantrips, leaving the Wizards of the world able to pull rabbits out of hats, dazzle children with small tricks and similar, but not toss fire forever.

When it comes to classes, I feel trims could be made. The Ranger is really not necessary if you're running with Backgrounds. "I'm a woodsman Fighter" or "I'm a Woodsman Rogue" . There we go, Ranger. Similary, if we run with subclasses like in 5e, a Barbarian should just be a type of Fighter, the Berserker subclass, and maybe another for totem warriors and such. Get rid of Clerics and for that matter Wizards. Having servants of the divine as the main sources of healing really messes with the possibilities for worldbuilding. And Wizards are usually a bit too generalist. Make Wizards choose a specialty and then that's what they do. A Necromancer isn't going to be slinging fireballs, an invoker isn't going to be charming people and an enchanter isn't going to be raising the dead. So make all spellcasters more like the Illusionist in AD&D 1, much more focused. If we do want divine spellcasters, make them more like the specialist priests of AD&D 2e. The God of War should be fine with his servants carrying swords and axes, while the goddess of Peace and Healing is probably going to tend a lot more toward the pacifist side.

Bring back weapon type vs armor modifiers from AD&D (and 2e), and let different weapons be different. A war hammer then becomes better against someone in armor than a sword, while a sword is better against someone without armor. Maybe have the different damage ranges for different creature sizes as well. Also, for god's sake, put Arming Sword in as the standard sword, rather than Long sword.

In keeping with a smaller range of numbers, probably use the ability modifiers from B/X rather than the WotC editions. I never liked percentile strength or the way stat modifiers worked completely differently for every stat in AD&D.

Make Morale a part of every stat block and a vital rule again. Make reaction rolls a thing as well. This is a place where the right background can come in handy. Someone with a criminal background may well get a better reaction from a gang of rogues than a noble paladin, even if the paladin has a higher Charisma. And a noble-born fighter is probably getting a better reaction at court than a charming rogue, even if the Rogue has a higher Charisma.

Lose all non-human races as standard. Then have some discussion of creating non-humans for specific settings and include some worked examples. Maybe go the way of Adventurer, Conqueror, King and have specific racial classes as well. If you want to put out setting books then, which races you put in, which priest types you have (if any) etc is going to be highly variable.

To emphasize the differences in approach between classes, put in something similar to the Individual experience awards in AD&D 2e. So Fighters get XP for defeating enemies in combat, Rogues get XP for finding treasure, Wizards get XP for casting spells, Priests get XP for furthering the goals of their deity or religion, hybrid classes (Bards, Paladins, others) get less XP but from more than one source.

Ratman_tf

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2020, 12:24:00 pm »
Quote from: Opaopajr;1135807
It is mostly already published: 2e with plenty of 1e & OSR content mixed in like a salad, DIY/Optional sub-systems as dressing to taste. :) I am done and content. The past is a better place than the future or the present, apotheosis achieved. :p


I've got a few pages of houserules for 2nd edition but I can run it straight if necessary. Mostly a quick conversion to ascending AC, and putting thief skills under the skill/proficiency system instead of percentile.
But yes, 2nd edition is my personal favorite.
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Steven Mitchell

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2020, 12:48:49 pm »
Quote from: Blankman;1135826
I like a lot of stuff about 5e, but not everything. So in an ideal edition, I would keep the ascending AC and the general tightness of the number range from 5e (maybe open it out a bit more). I'd also keep Backgrounds, but drop Skills. So if you're doing something that relates to your background and need to roll for it, you get your Proficiency bonus. Also make it very clear that adventurers are supposed to be competent and that nobody needs to roll anything to climb a tree, spot something in plain sight, jump over a small pit, light a campfire etc. Lose the conceit that everyone is about equally good at combat. Fighters, Barbarians, Paladins, those guys should be carving swathes of destruction across the battlefield, while Rogues should be the sneaky sneaks and spellcasters should stay back unless they have a spell to contribute with. I really like cantrips, but would be fine with getting rid of the combat cantrips, leaving the Wizards of the world able to pull rabbits out of hats, dazzle children with small tricks and similar, but not toss fire forever.

I wouldn't mind a similar approach, splitting the difference between BECMI and 5E. Though I'd substitute feats for skills instead of backgrounds.  The scaling proficiency really opened up a lot of design room that they didn't fully exploit.  Add a section of feats that give proficiency bonus to ability checks for a subset of things, e.g. "Sneak" feat that gives proficiency bonus to Dex checks when sneaking.  I'm not wild about feats, but one of the reasons is that there are too many elements total.  Cut down on the number of elements, and feats as "way you can customize" by getting one every few levels is not the worst approach imaginable.  For one thing, since there would be more legitimately useful choices in the feat design space, the temptation to put in filler would be reduced.  For another, getting a few feats at start up (to mimic what starting skills do now) would be more flexible in other ways, too.

Then the backgrounds can build off of that, if you want, though I'd think it would work better if the cultural aspects of races were moved to the new "background" too, and then rename it to something else to show that it isn't just in the past.  Though I agree with you that a lot of classes should go away or get rolled up into the "background".

Chris24601

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2020, 12:56:13 pm »
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1135806
Interesting opinion. Why specifically 4e? I had the books after the launch, wasn't the biggest fan but didn't out and out hate it either.
Not the OP of this thought, but the critical data-point in the suggestion is "Post MM3 4E."

Every edition is a little wonky at launch, but tends to get course corrected over the course of the first year or two. 3e was so wonky they decided to sell the changes as 3.5e and they were sufficient enough that people actually re-bought the books.

4E was launched about a year ahead of schedule (one of the reasons that certain classes didn't appear until the PHB2 even though they were mentioned in the Races & Classes preview was they literally hadn't figured out how to design them yet, but Hasbro is a harsh mistress and the push was for D&D to become a major brand (i.e. $50+ million in annual sales) so 4E was wonkier than most.

It then had a massive release schedule of at least a hardback book and an adventure (plus articles for Dragon and Dungeon magazines) every month for the first two years much of which was built on the initial assumptions rather than the necessary feedback they needed. This glut without any indication of a course correction drove people away (By contrast, 5e's slow release let them course correct any problems from practically the very next book released after Core).

But by two years in with Dark Sun and the Monster Manual 3, they'd finally started to implement the changes the edition needed. Monsters were streamlined with their damage increased and hit points reduced and, most importantly, they finally grokked how to build a Solo monster like a dragon to make it an actual threat. They also figured out the third rung of building a PC in the form of themes and the later powers better worked with the paradigm (it also meant a lot of the later ones got poorer ratings by the Charop players because they often lacked the hard control that earlier powers did... because hard control made a lot of things very problematic).

Of course by then it was too late because a large enough chunk of the players had already jumped ship and the course corrections didn't appeal much to the people who were still left. Essentials was a failed authorial saving throw by bringing back even more of the old school feel, but those who'd left didn't return and pissed off those who liked 4E as it was previously.

The fact remains though that Essentials 4E was an extremely well built game that had finally done a lot of things right... but almost no one ever played it for all the reasons given above. Also 4E Dark Sun is by far the best version of that setting ever in terms of rules matching the setting; 4E's Big Damned Heroes + inherent bonuses + warlord and primal classes allowed you to play the setting with its lack of gods, metal and magic items right out of the box instead of needing special rules (by contrast in 2e you had special stat-rolling rules, recommended starting at 3rd level and had to add elemental priests to handle the lack of gods in the setting).

Razor 007

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2020, 01:02:06 pm »
Quote from: S'mon;1135821
1e Adnd with ascending AC and to-hit, the S&W single save, and maybe 5e's advantage mechanic.

Really loving running 1e again currently but it is a bit clunky in places. Castles and Crusades didn't work for me but OSRIC with a couple tweaks would.

Yes.  That first sentence, would be just fine.   Go ahead and publish that.  Send it to the printer.
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Scrivener of Doom

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2020, 03:28:23 pm »
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1135806
Interesting opinion. Why specifically 4e? I had the books after the launch, wasn't the biggest fan but didn't out and out hate it either.


It's great to run as a DM. It has plenty of electronic tools to make character creation and DMing easier. And it's the edition that delivered the big damn heroes and cinematic style that we had been wanting from when we first started running and playing D&D in the early 80s. (More than half of us started in 1981.)

Of course, I also understand why people don't like it. It works for us - IME, YMMV etc....
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VisionStorm

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2020, 03:31:57 pm »
At this time it's hard to tell, cuz I'm not even sure which edition of D&D I prefer anymore, and I tend to prefer skill-based over classes anyways. But they all have things I like and things I absolutely HATE, and I'm not sure which I'd pick and choose since they all play very differently and are essentially different games. I'm not even sure what's "D&D" is anymore!

5e feels completely different from 3e, which was significantly different from 2e, which are the editions I've played the most. And 4e was something else entirely. B/X was also very different as well, but not so different from AD&D than from what came later.

I would keep the d20+Modifier mechanic, though--I'll even use it in non-D&D games--that's the one thing I can tell you with stone cold certainty. And I would make everything a skill (the way it should be!) if it where up to me, as well. Attacks, saves, activities you can do--EVERYTHING would be a skill. Much like 5e already handles it now.

I also like the way that 5e handles skill progression by automatically advancing based on your level. Though, individual skill progression (3e style) can be good as well, depending on the system and the type of feel you're aiming for, but it can also be tedious as hell. And most people are gonna max everything out anyways.

But I don't like the way that in 5e you either have Proficiency or you don't, with nothing in between. And expertise just doubles your modifier, which is too simplistic and can produce too much difference between the haves and have-nots. I prefer the way that PF 2e handles it with multiple proficiency ranks: Untrained, Trained, Expert, Master and Legendary. And each rank above Untrained basically gives you an incremental +2 bonus. I don't like the way that PF 2e adds the entire character's level to as a base proficiency modifier, though, and would probably just make it half level (since 5e modifier is kinda low as is, but full level just adds to power creep and ridiculous modifiers). I would also go with old D&D terminology for the proficiency ranks: Skilled, Expert, Master, and Grandmaster.

One thing I DO NOT like about editions 3e onwards is how character classes tend to be a bloat of features, and how tiny conditional benefits that are situational and don't do much have become the norm. I DO NOT like keep track of dozens of minor abilities that do not add anything substantial to the character's capabilities and just add to a bunch of bookkeeping. I hate bookkeeping and it just detracts from the game. Sometimes it might be necessary but we shouldn't pile on it with gimmicky class features that exist mostly to pad class levels and kinda sorta match them up to casters and more solid classes without giving them too much.

I would also like to break all class features down into Feats, and just handle every special benefit or ability as a type of feat (focusing primarily on stuff that's substantial and worthwhile, rather than gimmicky minor stuff).

Even spell casting should be broken down into feats to access Spell Levels and Spell Lists (or equivalent power lists, like Psionics). Assuming I keep the current 9 level progression (which I don't like, but fixing would be a separate issue), levels 0-3 would be one feat, 4-6 a second feat, and 7-9 a third feat. Spell Lists would be divided into Minor (Paladin, Ranger) and Major (Mage, Priest) lists, with major lists further broken down into schools or equivalent (psionics disciplines, etc.). Minor spell lists might be one feat, and major lists would be broken into two-school selections per feat (school equivalents that offer broader access that schools would count as two school selections).

So my ideal edition of D&D right now would probably have something like:

  • d20+Mod action resolution
  • Everything is a "Skill"
  • All special benefits including traditional "class" features is are "Feats".
  • Proficiency modifier is +1 per 2nd level, +2 per rank above Untrained (0 for untrained characters)
  • Proficiency ranks are: Untrained, Skilled (+2), Expert (+4), Master (+6), and Grandmaster (+8).
  • Less bloat and bookkeeping.

Scrivener of Doom

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2020, 03:38:30 pm »
Quote from: Chris24601;1135837
Not the OP of this thought, but the critical data-point in the suggestion is "Post MM3 4E."

Every edition is a little wonky at launch, but tends to get course corrected over the course of the first year or two. 3e was so wonky they decided to sell the changes as 3.5e and they were sufficient enough that people actually re-bought the books.

4E was launched about a year ahead of schedule (one of the reasons that certain classes didn't appear until the PHB2 even though they were mentioned in the Races & Classes preview was they literally hadn't figured out how to design them yet, but Hasbro is a harsh mistress and the push was for D&D to become a major brand (i.e. $50+ million in annual sales) so 4E was wonkier than most.

It then had a massive release schedule of at least a hardback book and an adventure (plus articles for Dragon and Dungeon magazines) every month for the first two years much of which was built on the initial assumptions rather than the necessary feedback they needed. This glut without any indication of a course correction drove people away (By contrast, 5e's slow release let them course correct any problems from practically the very next book released after Core).

But by two years in with Dark Sun and the Monster Manual 3, they'd finally started to implement the changes the edition needed. Monsters were streamlined with their damage increased and hit points reduced and, most importantly, they finally grokked how to build a Solo monster like a dragon to make it an actual threat. They also figured out the third rung of building a PC in the form of themes and the later powers better worked with the paradigm (it also meant a lot of the later ones got poorer ratings by the Charop players because they often lacked the hard control that earlier powers did... because hard control made a lot of things very problematic).

Of course by then it was too late because a large enough chunk of the players had already jumped ship and the course corrections didn't appeal much to the people who were still left. Essentials was a failed authorial saving throw by bringing back even more of the old school feel, but those who'd left didn't return and pissed off those who liked 4E as it was previously.

The fact remains though that Essentials 4E was an extremely well built game that had finally done a lot of things right... but almost no one ever played it for all the reasons given above. Also 4E Dark Sun is by far the best version of that setting ever in terms of rules matching the setting; 4E's Big Damned Heroes + inherent bonuses + warlord and primal classes allowed you to play the setting with its lack of gods, metal and magic items right out of the box instead of needing special rules (by contrast in 2e you had special stat-rolling rules, recommended starting at 3rd level and had to add elemental priests to handle the lack of gods in the setting).


Yep, as the OP I have to agree with all of your points.

I also came to 4E more than a year, maybe 18 months, after its launch. The edition wars had become so toxic that I did not go to RPG sites for about a year and I kept running a very house-ruled 3.5E game. When I did return online, I got interested in 4E after reading Piratecat's actual play reports on ENWorld and realised that, despite all the crap online, there was clearly a solid game in there. Plus, I'm a big believer that a loud majority never has a worthwhile opinion.

I never actually used the published monsters because I saw the name Mearls as lead designer of MM so knew the complaints about crappy stat blocks would be accurate. Instead, I built monsters using the rules in the DMG and ended up with monsters that were infinitely better than the Mearls-led design team produced - and that was before MM3 and Dark Sun. It's interesting how the DMG had pretty solid rules for monster design which the MM designers had clearly ignored. Obviously, they got better again after MM3 and Dark Sun.

Again, I do understand why people don't like 4E but it works for me. YMMV and all that.
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Tom Kalbfus

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2020, 04:09:35 pm »
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1135799
Title says it all. I think most people are unhappy with how WoTC is handling current political situations, but all that aside its likely we'll see an new edition in a few years.

I think I've played just about every edition of D&D, including BECMI. Personally, I would like to see THAC0 make a come back in some form. And 3rd editions skill system. And some art in the style of 2nd and 4th edition. But that's just me. I know there are a lot of definitions as to what D&D is, and it differs for many people.

What would you like to see?

You want to invert the armor classes again? Why?

I have edition fatigue, seems to me that 3.5 can't be greatly improved upon. I think we could use some tools for playing the game, maybe a dice roller app and built in editable character sheets for smart phones and tablets. I would also like a virtual table top with virtual poseable minatures, not a complete game but a substitute for dice pencil and paper. People should also be able to play the pen and paper game online with virtual access to all the rulebooks and published adventures. That is what I want.

Oh and 3d walk through dungeons, I would love that. I want to see the floors, walls, ceilings, and doors just as a character would see them. I would want the ability to build 3d dungeons similar to Minecraft only less square and blocky. I don't want blockhead characters and monsters but to have the realistically rendered.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 04:14:51 pm by Tom Kalbfus »

trechriron

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2020, 04:42:30 pm »
Here's my ideal version;

  • Ascending AC, to hit
  • Skills Based
  • Feats for all special abilities including "class" abilities
  • Some feats preclude others. You can't have "master spell caster" and "master martial combatant" at the same time.
  • Spell casting for all supernatural abilities
  • Roles vs. Classes. Roles are templates with guidance.
  • Unified XP advancement for all characters
  • Basic combat with optional advanced rules for those who like 'em. Advanced is compatible with basic.
  • Spell / Ability creation system. All supernatural spells and abilities are created from this system.
  • Spell system should be modifiable. Both in creating spells and for casters to tweak upon casting (range, duration, power, etc.)
  • Creature - Monster - Foe generator upfront to create custom enemies. All monsters in the MM are built from this system.
  • Equipment - Item - Vehicle generator (simple). All things are built from this system.
  • Options for regular adjustments to AC, to hit, abilities, etc. built into the level system. Then you can flavor as you want vs. requiring magic item acquisition.


I would start with Pathfinder 2e and Fantasy Craft as inspirations. I think Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, ACKS, and Radiance d20 would have some influence. Then sprinkle in guidance on how to customize my "generic" D&D to flavor for high fantasy, gritty fantasy, science fantasy, or traditional OSR game play.
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Rhedyn

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2020, 04:43:17 pm »
Worlds Without Number is currently being worked on. Until then I have things like Stars Without Number, The Black Hack 2e, and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells to keep me sated.

Oh sorry, my preferred version of D&D already exists. Make AI copies of Kevin Crawford and have them crank out setting books/bestiaries for his existing games and that would be perfect. Because man, the beautiful bestiaries and the sheer effort that goes into D&D lines is the only thing I miss in non-D&D products.

jeff37923

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2020, 05:06:08 pm »
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1135799
Title says it all. I think most people are unhappy with how WoTC is handling current political situations, but all that aside its likely we'll see an new edition in a few years.

I think I've played just about every edition of D&D, including BECMI. Personally, I would like to see THAC0 make a come back in some form. And 3rd editions skill system. And some art in the style of 2nd and 4th edition. But that's just me. I know there are a lot of definitions as to what D&D is, and it differs for many people.

What would you like to see?


Advanced Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy.
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GeekyBugle

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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2020, 05:22:18 pm »
Basic Fantasy and White Box and I'm good.
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Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2020, 05:28:19 pm »
Maybe some kind of unholy amalgamation of 2e, 3e and Pathfinder 2e.

That little bit of gonzo, mixed with a little bit of balance and a whole lot of duct tape.
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