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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: ZetaRidley on June 23, 2020, 10:33:43 am

Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 23, 2020, 10:33:43 am
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?
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Zalman on June 23, 2020, 10:38:16 am
Hm, well whatever it is, I'm certainly not waiting around for WoTC to publish it! As for style, I like something with the complexity and layout around B/X levels, with most of the content-based conceits from 1e represented in some form.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: oggsmash on June 23, 2020, 10:42:55 am
Honestly, Like DCC.  It seems quite a few concepts were taken from DCC.  I am not familiar with every alternate rule or add on (especially in 4th and 2nd edition, the first did not look at all, and 2nd edition came out just before time in the military and then all my time being taken up working after) in all editions, so I guess DCC could have been derived from stuff that was circling D&D.   But in many ways, DCC was more D&D than D&D to me.  At least a most definitely gygax influenced D&D.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Scrivener of Doom on June 23, 2020, 10:52:23 am
Post-MM3 4E.

I'm easily pleased.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Chris24601 on June 23, 2020, 10:55:50 am
Since I'm nearly done writing my own system that's, let's call it D&D adjacent, my ideal 6e would be that Hasbro pays me for my system and implements it as 6e.

If that can't happen then my choice is that 6e be a slightly cleaned up 5e mechanically, but go full retard on the wokeness. The combo of stuff that makes anyone outside of CHAZ/CHOP uncomfortable and offering nothing new to those who might buy it for the crunch alone should allow anyone with an ounce of innovation and not drowning in SJW kool-ade to compete in the market.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 23, 2020, 10:56:58 am
Quote from: Scrivener of Doom;1135803
Post-MM3 4E.

I'm easily pleased.

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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Opaopajr on June 23, 2020, 11:03:14 am
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
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: insubordinate polyhedral on June 23, 2020, 11:07:51 am
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

Do you use the 2e core books for this, or something else? I finally got a chance to try to use my 2e Player's Guide and man is that thing rough.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Opaopajr on June 23, 2020, 11:15:52 am
The 2e Player's Handbook is pretty easy to grasp if you understand it is once-removed from High Gygaxian with a bit of Mere Mortal Vulgate rules organization. :D That and like most of the book is optional content, even down to the spells if you want. However that rambling conversational tone is surprisingly useful as Best Practices GM Discussion. Read like a novel first, then return to it with a highlighter or pencil for marginalia notes -- I got way more out of it upon returning to it as an adult than just using it as a reference manual as a teen. :)
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on June 23, 2020, 11:31:28 am
This is a difficult question for me to answer directly because I long ago came to terms with the fact that the way I'd do D&D if it were left up to me wouldn't fly as D&D.  And since I have the sense the know that, what I'd end up doing would be a compromise with what is necessary to fly as D&D, and thus I'm entirely the wrong person to do it.  For one thing, I'd probably develop ulcers.  That major caveat aside, here are some general things that I prefer:

- A unified vision. Or mostly unified vision.  AD&D 1E has it.  DCC has it. Some other derivatives have it.  WotC products don't.  The closest they came to a unified vision was 4E and even there they had multiple personality disorder running  wild in their text.  Follow through matters, of course, but with a committee calling the shots you put a fairly low ceiling on the big picture quality no matter how hard you work on the development and fine tuning.

- Ability scores that match the rules.  If it were me, I'd change the ability scores to match the way it is played (Exhibit #1, your honor, on why I don't get the job.)  But it also works to make it play with the traditional six.  Either keep the  tradition and work with it or not, but be consistent.

- Don't mix class and skill.  It's either class-based or it is skill-based.  If it is class-based, then maybe rethink the exact niche of "class" to something more like the original--the package of things that you signed up to play that has everything bundled in.  But build the classes from the ground up with a set of abilities that makes them easier to customize for the campaign.  In this view, there are two steps:  1.) The GM (perhaps in consultation with some of the players that are so inclined) builds the classes for the campaign.  2.)  Then once play starts, you use what is in the class, same as it was in, say, Basic/Expert sets.  I personally prefer skills-based in most games, but I think D&D should be the exception there (for too many reasons to list).

- In the course of labeling abilities, there might be some things that are akin to "skills" even in a class-based game.  Calling them "skills" is a bad idea, because it skews people's perception of what should be in the list and how they should work.  I'm not wild about "proficiency" as a name, but even it is better than skills.  I don't have a good answer for exactly how to handle this part, though.  My personal drift is to make "classes" somewhat more narrow but build multi-classing into the base engine.  For example, in that view, "wizards" class levels don't give any fighting ability at all, but the default multi-class structure is such that most "adventurers" will at least dabble a little.  I'm not unaware that such a design has its own issues, and pushes rather forcefully up to the edge of "Not D&D" territory. (You'll note that in order for this to work, multi-classing would be closer to the AD&D model than the 3E model, but neither is a good fit as is.)

- I'd make a similar argument for race/culture/background, though in a truly flexible class-based game where the classes changed by campaign, I'm not sure it matters as much.

- Make the abstraction levels at least somewhat consistent.  For example, if there aren't going to be that many difference in weapon properties, then a list of weapons similar to Basic D&D is not only fine but better than a longer list.  If equipment in general is simplified, then you need that shorter equipment list.  Likewise, if you are going to have more details in equipment, then probably some plausible encumbrance system, economic system, etc. is needed to go along with it.  Ideally, there would be some ability for each group to shift the abstraction a little, but it would be presented in a handful of coherent rules packages.  You don't care about all those details?  Here's your short equipment list, some guidelines on GM eyeballing encumbrance and wealth, now Go!  You do care about that, here's a more detailed way to handle all that stuff.  You'll get the occasional person who cares enough to mix and match and work it out, but I'd rather have 2-4 reasonable sets of rules that work well together within each set, than a system of disparate parts with several options per part and the (inevitably mistaken) claim that they all work together.

- I only have a handful of negative preferences on D&D art.   If it were up to me, I'd turn that over to a talent art team with the direction to "surprise us" as long as it doesn't look like (my personal short list of artists that are way over used).  My dream art package would have a subtle nod to the Impressionists with a fantastical slant, but somehow I don't think that is a popular direction. :D
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: RandyB on June 23, 2020, 11:38:48 am
1e, using the following books:

PHB
DMG
MM
FF
MMII
DDG

Aside from that, it's a matter of what rules to use to model "magic is not safe to use".


Edit to add: plus a heaping helping of content from Dragon #1-100 or so.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: insubordinate polyhedral on June 23, 2020, 11:40:53 am
Quote from: Opaopajr;1135813
The 2e Player's Handbook is pretty easy to grasp if you understand it is once-removed from High Gygaxian with a bit of Mere Mortal Vulgate rules organization. :D That and like most of the book is optional content, even down to the spells if you want. However that rambling conversational tone is surprisingly useful as Best Practices GM Discussion. Read like a novel first, then return to it with a highlighter or pencil for marginalia notes -- I got way more out of it upon returning to it as an adult than just using it as a reference manual as a teen. :)

Maybe it's my defectively super-literal streak, but I find it waaaaaaaaaay less coherent than my 1e books and other Gygax works I own, and the broken references and stuff and bizarre organizational choices irritate me and hamper usability for me significantly. Trying to do the same things out of the 2e manual that I've done elsewhere took me 1.5x-2x the time. I guess this is all to say that I admire your patience and dedication. :D If there were a beautifully restated version somewhere I'd be all-in. I guess the closest is still Castles & Crusades, kinda. (I read/used C&C before 2e, which might be what affected my impression.)
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: S'mon on June 23, 2020, 11:46:40 am
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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Graewulf on June 23, 2020, 12:01:23 pm
2e, with the Player's Option books, but with DC skill checks, keep the big skill list, add damage mitigation for armor, make saves stat-based, and change to ascending AC (ThAC0 is clunky and annoying; nostalgia isn't worth it).
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Omega on June 23, 2020, 12:05:17 pm
Something between BX D&D and AD&D. 2e just didnt grab me for some reason despite being 90% AD&D. I think it was the lack of DM tools AD&D had that nudge my outlook that way.

5e I rather like despite the flaws in resting and failure to carry over the complete AD&D falling rules just so they can mock it. 2e as well failed on that count. But 5e brings back some of the missing DM tools.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Ghostmaker 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Blankman 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Ratman_tf 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Steven Mitchell 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".
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Chris24601 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).
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Razor 007 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Scrivener of Doom 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....
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm 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:

Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Scrivener of Doom 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Tom Kalbfus 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: trechriron on June 23, 2020, 04:42:30 pm
Here's my ideal version;



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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Rhedyn 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: jeff37923 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.
WotC lost me/fired me as a customer years ago.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: GeekyBugle on June 23, 2020, 05:22:18 pm
Basic Fantasy and White Box and I'm good.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Shasarak 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.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: GeekyBugle on June 23, 2020, 05:35:22 pm
Quote from: Shasarak;1135881
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.

Which one would you say is more gonzo?
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: SavageSchemer on June 23, 2020, 06:22:32 pm
Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures comes so very close to being my ideal for me. Rules lite. Three core classes all other concepts are built from. An alternate spell system. Ascending AC. I don't even really need / care for the gimmicky "playbooks" but I don't resent them either. So, yeah. Give me a sword and sorcery version of that and I'm pretty much done.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Armchair Gamer on June 23, 2020, 07:14:31 pm
My ideal monstrosity has the skeleton of Castles & Crusades, the heart of 2nd Edition, and flesh drawn from 2E, BECMI, 4E, and Star Wars Saga Edition, festooned with lots of dials and switches.

Now, where's the lightning storm? :)
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Shasarak on June 23, 2020, 07:14:37 pm
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1135882
Which one would you say is more gonzo?

2e is much more gonzo then anything done by WotC or Paizo.

It is like TSR had a million monkeys at a million typewriters.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm on June 23, 2020, 07:24:18 pm
Quote from: trechriron;1135861
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.

I'm not sure on the limits on "mastery" between magic and martial characters, cuz part of me would rather let feat availability sort that out on its own, by indirectly limiting how many feats you have available to pump into either area, and still have enough for other stuff to begin with. But I could see how unfettered access to both might potentially be a problem. But other than that, most of this is more or less the direction I'm going for.

I already started talking notes earlier this weekend on what sort of things I would like for such a system and already had the idea of "progression paths" planned out for once I'm done defining every feat and core component (which is still pending process). The basic idea is that everyone, including characters and creatures, would have some core components, including a race and background, character level, 1d6 (maybe 1d8, but IDK) Hit Dice per level, a Proficiency modifier and a certain number of feats per level. And feats are used to build on top of those elements. Extra hit points (beyond a 1d6 HD) would be based on the selection of a Toughness feat, which would grant +1 HP per HD per selection (+4 per HD max).

But "progression paths" would be used for people who don't have the patience for so many selections, as well as to facilitate encounter creation for GMs. All creatures would basically have a character level, just like PCs, and their Size (based on their "race") would grant additional Hit Dice and other modifiers based on their size category. So GMs just have to pick a "race" template, strap in a "progression path", and presto! Readymade encounter to go!

I'm also thinking of using 1d6 as base damage for all weapons (including natural), but modify that die type based on the weapon's properties: Light, Heavy, Martial, Two-Handed, Firearm, etc. Most properties (other than Light) will cumulatively increase weapon damage by one die type, but add some sort of caveat (requires two-hands, special training, etc.). Light weapons are reduced by one damage die type (1d6 to 1d4), but may be used off-hand without penalty and are treated as finesse weapons. Weapons for size categories larger than Medium also increase by +2 die types per category (Large +2, Huge +4, Gargantuan +6), and smaller weapons are reduced by -1 die type for Small or -2 for Tiny.

Die types world include: 1 HP, 1d2, 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 2d6, 2d8, 3d6, and +1d6 per type beyond.

All of this is still a work in progress, though, and subject to change depending on feedback or other stuff that occurs to me.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm on June 23, 2020, 07:33:49 pm
Quote from: Shasarak;1135905
2e is much more gonzo then anything done by WotC or Paizo.

It is like TSR had a million monkeys at a million typewriters.


I started checking out PF 2e recently, and it looks as if D&D 3e and 5e had an incestuous kid, and that kid was a powergamer with ADHD. Classes are too bloated for my taste, but it has some interesting ideas.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Shasarak on June 23, 2020, 08:11:14 pm
Quote from: VisionStorm;1135911
I started checking out PF 2e recently, and it looks as if D&D 3e and 5e had an incestuous kid, and that kid was a powergamer with ADHD. Classes are too bloated for my taste, but it has some interesting ideas.

Yes and no.  They do try and cover three or four different archetypes with each class so at first glance it can appear to be bloated but when you are leveling up from first level then it is usually pretty straightforward.  Choose a level 1 feat from a list of four, then choose a level 4 feat from a list of four adds upto around ten pages to cover 20 levels.

Now the real problem starts when you want to find where a particular rule is within the book.  Honestly I dont know who their editor was but it makes the ADnD Dungeon Master Guide look well organised in comparison.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Spinachcat on June 23, 2020, 09:12:23 pm
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1135799
What would you like to see?


We already have D&D Nirvana. It's called the OSR and 3PP clones.

Whatever flavor of D&D you want, somebody is selling it on DriveThruRPG. There's exactly ZERO reasons to feel stuck with whatever WotC is trying to ram down our throat because we live in the Golden Age of RPG options.

Here's a list of retroclones. It's not even current and there's dozens to check out.
https://retroroleplaying.com/retro-clones/

Anybody have a link to a current list? I'm sure there are 5e clones by now.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: David Johansen on June 23, 2020, 10:06:00 pm
At present Dark Passages (http://www3.telus.net/public/uncouths/DarkPass.pdf)

I keep fiddling with a leaner version with more of a wargames focus but it's been years.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Razor 007 on June 24, 2020, 12:29:43 am
It has 6 Ability Scores, 4 Core Classes in the Core Rulebook, Armor as Damage Reduction until it is destroyed / but it can be mended prior to being destroyed, and uses a 2d6 success mechanic with small Ability Score  modifiers.  Skills are UTEML based at -2, +0, +1, +2, +3.  These small modifiers work in hand with the 2d6 mechanic.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: thedungeondelver on June 24, 2020, 12:42:20 am
1e AD&D, mostly stopping at Unearthed Arcana (cherry picking a few things out of it).  Nothing else, really.  Perfect setting is Greyhawk, natch...
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Omega on June 24, 2020, 07:01:25 am
One of the problems with these sorts of discussions is that some people just want something that isnt D&D with the D&D label slapped on. 4e out the gate was pretty much that.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Zalman on June 24, 2020, 08:31:44 am
Quote from: S'mon;1135821
1e Adnd with ascending AC and to-hit, the S&W single save, and maybe 5e's advantage mechanic.

Yep, count me in. That's very close to what I run.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Zalman on June 24, 2020, 08:34:07 am
Quote from: VisionStorm;1135911
I started checking out PF 2e recently ... it has some interesting ideas.

Like what? Kick down!
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Weru on June 24, 2020, 09:01:02 am
Moldvay/Cook B/X as the base then throw in the Feind Folio and the fun classes, spells, monsters, and treasure from AD&D. Finally some of the Judges guild stuff to flesh out wilderness exploration.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 24, 2020, 09:29:40 am
Quote from: Spinachcat;1135924
We already have D&D Nirvana. It's called the OSR and 3PP clones.

Whatever flavor of D&D you want, somebody is selling it on DriveThruRPG. There's exactly ZERO reasons to feel stuck with whatever WotC is trying to ram down our throat because we live in the Golden Age of RPG options.

Here's a list of retroclones. It's not even current and there's dozens to check out.
https://retroroleplaying.com/retro-clones/

Anybody have a link to a current list? I'm sure there are 5e clones by now.

That would be nice. It's interesting because we had a session last night and after playing fifth edition for for nine months everybody agreed that it wasn't really resonating. The problem is we're also not really OSR guys. Back in the day we mostly played modified Palladium and third edition. Kind of thinking about going back to Pathfinder first edition or some other game I checked out 13th age and eh. Pathfinder second edition looks yeah. Worse.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: spon on June 24, 2020, 10:13:54 am
Probably mostly 5E - pared back to 1st ed sensibilities. Specifically, I like the class progression in 5E although I'd take out the magic subclasses in non-magic classes. Use the 1st ed spell system, but allow cantrips (at, say 1 cantrip per level per short rest). Keep deity-specific stuff for clerics and mage schools.  
Short rests are 1/day, long rests are "sleep" and there are no "hit dice" to heal. You'd get 1hp/level per night of full rest (at a hotel for instance - not camping in the woods). Don't care whether AC goes up or down.
I'd have to think up a way to nerf the "insta-food/rest/heal" spells.
I Kind of like actions but happy to fix initiative and spell-casting interactions.
Save or die would come back. And level/ability drain would be permanent (until fixed magically - with a suitably high level spell).

I'm sure there's more, but that's what stands out.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: KingCheops on June 24, 2020, 12:04:18 pm
Earthdawn - RedBrick limited Classic Edition (the big red books)
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm on June 24, 2020, 01:08:01 pm
Quote from: Shasarak;1135917
Yes and no.  They do try and cover three or four different archetypes with each class so at first glance it can appear to be bloated but when you are leveling up from first level then it is usually pretty straightforward.  Choose a level 1 feat from a list of four, then choose a level 4 feat from a list of four adds upto around ten pages to cover 20 levels.

Now the real problem starts when you want to find where a particular rule is within the book.  Honestly I dont know who their editor was but it makes the ADnD Dungeon Master Guide look well organised in comparison.


Yeah, I went back to glance at the classes and can see what you mean. The archetypes add extra padding to the class descriptions, plus each class seems to have their own unique feats with entries right in the class descriptions, which extends things considerably per class section. And the book's organization, with more than 600 freaking pages and no detailed table of contents (just start of chapter page, and that's it!) doesn't help.

But even then, I would say that classes are too "bloated" for my preference. Each class seems to get multiple special features, often on the same level--much more than 5e--and I already consider 5e to be too bloated for me. Though, I can see how from a player point of view just selecting one feat here or there per level might not be too much, but from a more macro level--specially from a GM point of view--when it comes to tracking and remembering what each class gets, and what each of its seemingly endless list of specialized feats does, it's too much.

I remember back in the day playing 2e, things were so simple I could remember what each class got without even looking at the books. If I wanted to improvise an encounter with class levels I could do it at the drop of a hat. Now every class comes packed with minor, seemingly random features at odd level intervals that are hard to keep track of.

I compare them to old D&D, with its simpler and more straightforward class structure, and easy to remember features, and wish I just had old school classes, but with periodic extra feats for customization, rather than every single level packed with odd features that break the rules in minor ways, provide some innocuous conditional benefit, or even stuff I would normally consider just standard combat options available to anyone, like a lot of the 5e Fighter/Battlemaster's "maneuvers" (disarm, trip, etc.).

Quote from: Omega;1135972
One of the problems with these sorts of discussions is that some people just want something that isnt D&D with the D&D label slapped on. 4e out the gate was pretty much that.


Yeah, but the thread title ask what does YOUR perfect edition of D&D look like, not "limit yourself to some fixed preconception of what D&D is". So the topic already opens itself to flights of fancy, and it's not like WotC is gonna scout this thread for the next edition of D&D. Plus like I mentioned in my first post, I'm not sure what "D&D" even is anymore, given how much it's changed between editions. What is even the standard if we were just gonna limit ourselves to just "pure" D&D?

Quote from: Zalman;1135980
Like what? Kick down!


I haven't gotten too deep yet, but some of the stuff I liked was adding multiple ranks to Proficiencies (trained, expert, master or legendary), allowing you to improve your skills, and all ability scores starting at 10 by default, then improving in increments of 2 throughout character creation based on your Ancestry (race), Background, and Class selections, as well as a handful of extra improvements of your choice at the end (rolling scores is optional).

All Ancestries and Classes are also packed with specialized Feats, which are a bit too much for my tastes, like I mentioned above, but I can see the appeal for them and some of them can be interesting nonetheless. You also get extra Ancestry feats at fixed level intervals (every 5 levels IIRC) so you can also customize and improve your character based on their race. Characters also get Skill specific feats at certain levels to ensure skill development, so you can make some skill improvements without sacrificing your regular feats, which you could use for class abilities or other benefits instead.

And there's probably more stuff hidden in this gigantic 642 page tome I haven't gone through yet.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: LiferGamer on June 24, 2020, 02:27:12 pm
Quote from: spon;1135987
Probably mostly 5E - pared back to 1st ed sensibilities. Specifically, I like the class progression in 5E although I'd take out the magic subclasses in non-magic classes. Use the 1st ed spell system, but allow cantrips (at, say 1 cantrip per level per short rest). Keep deity-specific stuff for clerics and mage schools.  
Short rests are 1/day, long rests are "sleep" and there are no "hit dice" to heal. You'd get 1hp/level per night of full rest (at a hotel for instance - not camping in the woods). Don't care whether AC goes up or down.
I'd have to think up a way to nerf the "insta-food/rest/heal" spells.
I Kind of like actions but happy to fix initiative and spell-casting interactions.
Save or die would come back. And level/ability drain would be permanent (until fixed magically - with a suitably high level spell).

I'm sure there's more, but that's what stands out.


spon's tastes align with mine, I kinda like 5e's advantage/disadvantage mechanism and slight preference to AC going up.
Would love the addition of backing off on skill checks for everything, or at least shrinking the list of skills/reducing checks.  

Skill based games are great.  Level based games are great.  Skill-heavy level based games draaaaaag.  

I've grown away from skill based games in general...
If its not the Palladium problems of a skill for everything, have fun updating your sheet, it's GURPS, yeah, well too bad you're experienced soldier doesn't know certain things because you forgot to grab it.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm on June 24, 2020, 03:43:43 pm
Quote from: LiferGamer;1136040
spon's tastes align with mine, I kinda like 5e's advantage/disadvantage mechanism and slight preference to AC going up.
Would love the addition of backing off on skill checks for everything, or at least shrinking the list of skills/reducing checks.  

Skill based games are great.  Level based games are great.  Skill-heavy level based games draaaaaag.  

I've grown away from skill based games in general...
If its not the Palladium problems of a skill for everything, have fun updating your sheet, it's GURPS, yeah, well too bad you're experienced soldier doesn't know certain things because you forgot to grab it.


This is an issue with skill-based systems in general, partly because they tend to focus on specialized tasks rather than core functions (like combat, academic knowledge, interaction, stealth, general awareness, etc.), and leaving the specifics to specializations or special traits, like feats. So you end up having to choose between different variations of the same thing, then leveling them individually, which complicates character creation and spreads your resources. You could probably reduce skill functions to just Athletics, Combat, Crafting, Evasion (Dex saves and maybe AC), Fortitude (Str/Con saves), Interaction, Lore, Medicine, Perception, Piloting, Technology, Stealth and Willpower.

If you want to draw distinctions you could split Combat into melee and ranged. Casting could also be added to the list, if you want to spells through skill checks, but it could just be folded as a function of Lore (wizard spell casting) or Willpower (priest and sorcerer spells or powers, like Psionics) for purposes of making ability checks, which would be my preference.

Another issue is character creation systems that fail to incorporate character background into the process. Which is a common issue with point-buy systems that just give you a bunch of points and expect you to build everything from scratch and remember to sacrifice points from your limited number to buy background stuff as well. I remember every time we played modern Earth-based settings back in the 90's someone in the group always had to have a Japanese character, and forget to pick english as a staring language. This sort of stuff should just be specified as part of character creation through background selections and such, similar to how 5e does it now, then let players spend any excess points however they want.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: LiferGamer on June 24, 2020, 04:12:50 pm
Quote
This sort of stuff should just be specified as part of character creation through background selections and such, similar to how 5e does it now, then let players spend any excess points however they want.
ot
Every time I go back to GURPS, like your comment on 5e backgrounds, I make partial Point packages, here's your skills for being a Native of X culture in campaign year, then by the boot camp package, then buy your specialty package and spend the rest.

I've also been known to use the GURPS rules where it's one skill Science! And lump skills together which I would prefer to use in a D&D type system.  Skills could be Fieldcraft, Subterfuge, Religion, Arcane and a handful of others.  You get one for your class and can buy into another one, kind of like a refined version of proficiencies from earlier Editions.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: RandyB on June 24, 2020, 04:43:03 pm
Quote from: LiferGamer;1136056
ot
Every time I go back to GURPS, like your comment on 5e backgrounds, I make partial Point packages, here's your skills for being a Native of X culture in campaign year, then by the boot camp package, then buy your specialty package and spend the rest.

I've also been known to use the GURPS rules where it's one skill Science! And lump skills together which I would prefer to use in a D&D type system.  Skills could be Fieldcraft, Subterfuge, Religion, Arcane and a handful of others.  You get one for your class and can buy into another one, kind of like a refined version of proficiencies from earlier Editions.

Excellent example of how a good GM uses the toolkit of any game to get the result they want.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Crusader X on June 24, 2020, 07:35:34 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.


Yes please.  Somebody should make this game.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: GeekEclectic on June 24, 2020, 11:22:59 pm
Honestly, probably something like Fantasy Craft. To me, it just worked. I'd definitely make one change, though. HP and save DCs would get an i to x progression like everything else on the NPC sheet. That they didn't do this in the first place will forever baffle me. Other than that, it's mostly familiar; it has dragons, giant tree people, and flying characters as PC options without destroying all semblance of balance; and the math underpinning it isn't absolute shit, so that's a plus.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 25, 2020, 11:33:19 am
Quote from: GeekEclectic;1136156
Honestly, probably something like Fantasy Craft. To me, it just worked. I'd definitely make one change, though. HP and save DCs would get an i to x progression like everything else on the NPC sheet. That they didn't do this in the first place will forever baffle me. Other than that, it's mostly familiar; it has dragons, giant tree people, and flying characters as PC options without destroying all semblance of balance; and the math underpinning it isn't absolute shit, so that's a plus.

I think I just found the game I want to use for fantasy campaigns with my group. Thanks.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Arnwolf666 on June 25, 2020, 11:35:43 am
2E rules with some 5E options. 5E is the best rogue ever in my opinion. Use 13th age healing. A few more options for the fighter. And paladin smiting. This and I am happy. Dial back the cleric damage spells and stop making the Druid a shapechanger class.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 25, 2020, 11:44:39 am
I love FC.

My D&D would look like... a three-tiered edition where each tier would stand on its own, OR could be used in succession.

Tenbones Nu-Basic D&D
2e-like chassis
10-lvl progression class design - The assumption being at 10th level you're a hero. So each level would mean something in terms of abilities. XP progression would be *slow*.
Magic: Vancian, Spell Points, and Skill-based systems in play simultaneously. I'd use them to make distinctions between Arcane (Magic Users), Divine, and "hybrids" like Bards and Rangers (for those that want spellcasting Rangers).
Defense value based on combat skills
Armor mitigates damage
HP - revamped to include wound-states. Damage output would require a retooling of weapon/spell/monster damage values. Lower numbers would be encouraged to ease math-curve.
Feats - Fill in abilities that would flesh out styles of combat/magic/non-combat related abilities (Stealth, Survival, Social stuff) that directly impacts play. They would be meaty, and require commitment to acquire and engage in.

Tenbones Nu-Advanced D&D
Levels 11-15
Super-human progression of TBBasicD&D.
Would extrapolate on bringing all the classes and spells, and Feats from Basic into the clearly super-human/cinematic zone.

Tenbones Immortal Rules
Levels 16-20
Demi-god play - Establishing/reinforcing the will of super-powers within the game. Crazy epic over-the-top, Clash of the Titans type stuff. Think Primal Order kinda stuff.

Supplemental material
Mass Combat Rules
Domain play - would extend from small organizations to village, city, nation-state level play.

Everything else would be setting specific.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 25, 2020, 12:31:59 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136230
I love FC.

My D&D would look like... a three-tiered edition where each tier would stand on its own, OR could be used in succession.

Tenbones Nu-Basic D&D
2e-like chassis
10-lvl progression class design - The assumption being at 10th level you're a hero. So each level would mean something in terms of abilities. XP progression would be *slow*.
Magic: Vancian, Spell Points, and Skill-based systems in play simultaneously. I'd use them to make distinctions between Arcane (Magic Users), Divine, and "hybrids" like Bards and Rangers (for those that want spellcasting Rangers).
Defense value based on combat skills
Armor mitigates damage
HP - revamped to include wound-states. Damage output would require a retooling of weapon/spell/monster damage values. Lower numbers would be encouraged to ease math-curve.
Feats - Fill in abilities that would flesh out styles of combat/magic/non-combat related abilities (Stealth, Survival, Social stuff) that directly impacts play. They would be meaty, and require commitment to acquire and engage in.

Tenbones Nu-Advanced D&D
Levels 11-15
Super-human progression of TBBasicD&D.
Would extrapolate on bringing all the classes and spells, and Feats from Basic into the clearly super-human/cinematic zone.

Tenbones Immortal Rules
Levels 16-20
Demi-god play - Establishing/reinforcing the will of super-powers within the game. Crazy epic over-the-top, Clash of the Titans type stuff. Think Primal Order kinda stuff.

Supplemental material
Mass Combat Rules
Domain play - would extend from small organizations to village, city, nation-state level play.

Everything else would be setting specific.

I could dig it. So basically a modular magical system?
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Omega on June 25, 2020, 04:20:01 pm
Port in the modular "magic" system from d20 Gamma World. They may call it naotech. But it functions as magic really.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 26, 2020, 01:40:22 am
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1136247
I could dig it. So basically a modular magical system?

Basically. But I'd also make it scaleable within each tier as well as having options for each type to mix-and-match for different conceits. I'd make it as plug-and-play as possible.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Mishihari on June 26, 2020, 02:11:20 am
2E Rules and organization, with a bit of further cleanup, written In Gary's purple prose.

My actual favorite game is the one I'm writing right now, but while it is fantasy, it's definitely not D&D.  If I'm limited to D&D, then what I want is the above.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 26, 2020, 02:01:49 pm
Quote from: Mishihari;1136394
2E Rules and organization, with a bit of further cleanup, written In Gary's purple prose.

My actual favorite game is the one I'm writing right now, but while it is fantasy, it's definitely not D&D.  If I'm limited to D&D, then what I want is the above.


Interesting. Any details?
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Mishihari on June 27, 2020, 05:18:28 pm
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1136522
Interesting. Any details?


Sure.  I don't know if it's particularly interesting at the level of detail I can provide in a few minutes, but I don't mind sharing.

I'm writing it for my 11 year old son and his friends, which means I want it to be fast to play, easy to learn, simple in its math, forgiving to beginners, and emphasize modes of play they enjoy in their video games, like stealth and sniping.  They're smart kids, but I don't see any real benefit in using the level of complexity found in many games.  I also want to include meaningful mechanical athletic, chase, and investigative challenges and indulge my personal prejudices as to how a game should work.

There are character "talents" which are similar to D&D ability scores but based on what you do with them rather than personal description like "strength."  They are Attack(physical), Defense(all), Perception(investigative, combat, and technical like medical), Deception (stealth, disguise, sleight of hand), Athletics, and Magic.  It's a skill rather than class based game.  There are no limits on what skills you can take, but the nature of the talents encourage the same type of specialization and division of labor you see in class based games.

As much as I dislike hit points, I included a similar mechanic because they make the game forgiving.  To make the math fractionally quicker though, I reversed it.  A PC has "health" and the player tracks "damage."  If damage exceeds health they become "wounded" (you can't die from a single attack) which is pretty disabled.  Further events can cause PC death.

"Control zones" in combat are pretty important.  In a fight you can prevent other characters from moving through the space around you.  Various mechanics are built around defeating or reinforcing this mechanic.

"Stamina" and "fatigue" work like health and damage, but fatigue is accumulated from athletic actions and special combat maneuvers.  If fatigue exceeds stamina, you become "exhausted" and take a penalty on these actions and any further fatigue is counted as damage.  This lets me create meaningful athletic challenges.  Yes you can climb that cliff, but there are various routes, and you should make some good decisions or you're going to be too tired to use "furious attack" when you get to the top.  And becoming exhausted halfway up is bad too.  The penalties are bad enough that you could fall.  I spent a lot of time trying to make activities like travel, swimming, and mounted combat both realistic and fun.  I was surprised by how hard this was.

"Magic" and "power" work like stamina and fatigue.  I'm currently working on the spell list, but spells will probably come in three flavors, those based on modern beliefs about paranormal activities, shamanistic abilities, and Avatar based elemental spells.  (We all like Avatar the Last Airbender)

Actions are resolved by skill checks, talent+skill+d6+mods, with a catch-up mechanic.  Any time you roll a natural 1 you get a luck point that can be added to any later roll.  Defense in combat is active, with a choice of how to defend and a roll.  The mods for activities like stealth can get pretty complicated to allow depth of play, but can be ignored if you're not into that.

The setting is still pretty nebulous, but I'm leaning towards combining the Powder Mage series, Wrede's Frontier Magic, Jurassic Park, and post-bioapocolypse.

I think that covers the high points.  I'll probably share it here in toto someday for feedback and to see if anyone is willing to playtest it.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on June 27, 2020, 06:21:01 pm
Mishihari,

I'd probably be interested in play testing that.  There is a lot of similar design points with my system, though mine is d100 not D&D derived and perhaps more complex around the edges.  I've got roll under skill, but overall skill is talent+skill+mods+a few other of those additional complexities for example.  I've also got a 3 track hit point replacement, that distinguishes accumulating damage compared against the various "vital" thresholds.  My goals are similar too, except I am going for something that sounds a bit more fantastical in the basics.  Magic is completely different, though. :)

I've spent a lot of time integrating craft skills into the core system.  I was also surprised by hard this was. :D
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Mishihari on June 29, 2020, 04:30:11 am
Thanks, Steven.  I'll plan to get in touch once the game is ready for an initial play by others.  If you have similar goals and wouldn't mind, I might want to look at yours for ideas as well.

And I found it educational that for some aspects of game design it was challenging to find mechanics that even satisfied myself.  It's so much easier to complain about a game's "obviously" broken mechanics than it is to do it yourself and get it right.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on June 29, 2020, 09:13:53 am
Quote from: Mishihari;1136908
Thanks, Steven.  I'll plan to get in touch once the game is ready for an initial play by others.  If you have similar goals and wouldn't mind, I might want to look at yours for ideas as well.

And I found it educational that for some aspects of game design it was challenging to find mechanics that even satisfied myself.  It's so much easier to complain about a game's "obviously" broken mechanics than it is to do it yourself and get it right.

I can usually find a mechanic that satisfies me, though there a handful of cases that are exactly as you say.  My big design issue is the way every good mechanic closes off a piece of the design space, such that some other aspect of the game is now effectively off the table.  This is part of what I mean when I say my early insurmountable problem in my design was that I was trying to design three different, incompatible games as one game.  When I stopped doing that and picked a design, it got much easier. :D
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 29, 2020, 10:04:35 am
See? This is the "problem". When someone says "What is your favorite version of D&D?"...

I've said this before - "What IS D&D?"

 For me, it is:

1) a flavor of mechanics that describes a style of play
2) an emergent genre of fantasy that is unique to itself *because* the genre is ultimately informed by the mechanics underpinning a variety of inspirations from other fantasy/historical/gaming system mechanics (war gaming) references.

Which brings me back to - "what are we trying to describe by D&D"?

So my response is trying to resolve #1. Because #2 is an emergent phenomenon that can be emulated with any system (which will produce their own emergent differences *because* the mechanics are different in varying ways.

If we're willing to toss #1 out of the window and "rebuild D&D"... then I'd say we're not really talking about D&D and we're talking about emulating the emergent qualities of D&D-settings or D&D-style play (Casters, Warriors, Healers, Thieves - doing those things , in D&D-conflated engagement set-pieces like Dungeons, Mazes, filled with monsters, etc.) Because this cat is skinned in a LOT of different ways and is done so routinely the moment we play in any fantasy-game that isn't D&D specifically.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: David Johansen on June 29, 2020, 10:41:13 am
Well, yeah, exactly, the reason I wrote Dark Passages in the first place was to define what I saw as the core elements that make a game D&D thanks to an argument that happened on the rpg site once upon a time.  I'm thinking about using a version of it as the acceptable format / middle ground for a Dragon style gaming magazine which would aim to be 50% D&D compatible content.  I think that there's a real need for that kind of central house organ, it's been tried repeatedly but nobody's managed to really pull it off.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Rhedyn on June 29, 2020, 02:12:03 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136929
See? This is the "problem". When someone says "What is your favorite version of D&D?"...

I've said this before - "What IS D&D?"

 For me, it is:

1) a flavor of mechanics that describes a style of play
2) an emergent genre of fantasy that is unique to itself *because* the genre is ultimately informed by the mechanics underpinning a variety of inspirations from other fantasy/historical/gaming system mechanics (war gaming) references.

Which brings me back to - "what are we trying to describe by D&D"?

So my response is trying to resolve #1. Because #2 is an emergent phenomenon that can be emulated with any system (which will produce their own emergent differences *because* the mechanics are different in varying ways.

If we're willing to toss #1 out of the window and "rebuild D&D"... then I'd say we're not really talking about D&D and we're talking about emulating the emergent qualities of D&D-settings or D&D-style play (Casters, Warriors, Healers, Thieves - doing those things , in D&D-conflated engagement set-pieces like Dungeons, Mazes, filled with monsters, etc.) Because this cat is skinned in a LOT of different ways and is done so routinely the moment we play in any fantasy-game that isn't D&D specifically.

For me D&D has attributes, classes, HP, and the d20. It implies limited mathematical swing and a certain "steady" quality to the gameplay, for lack of a better word.

If you toss out what is mechanically D&D, then the question becomes: "What is you favorite RPG?"
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 29, 2020, 03:22:49 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136929
See? This is the "problem". When someone says "What is your favorite version of D&D?"...

I've said this before - "What IS D&D?"

 For me, it is:

1) a flavor of mechanics that describes a style of play
2) an emergent genre of fantasy that is unique to itself *because* the genre is ultimately informed by the mechanics underpinning a variety of inspirations from other fantasy/historical/gaming system mechanics (war gaming) references.

Which brings me back to - "what are we trying to describe by D&D"?

So my response is trying to resolve #1. Because #2 is an emergent phenomenon that can be emulated with any system (which will produce their own emergent differences *because* the mechanics are different in varying ways.

If we're willing to toss #1 out of the window and "rebuild D&D"... then I'd say we're not really talking about D&D and we're talking about emulating the emergent qualities of D&D-settings or D&D-style play (Casters, Warriors, Healers, Thieves - doing those things , in D&D-conflated engagement set-pieces like Dungeons, Mazes, filled with monsters, etc.) Because this cat is skinned in a LOT of different ways and is done so routinely the moment we play in any fantasy-game that isn't D&D specifically.

This is a good way of putting it. See, I've been kicking around just making my own game since 5th edition isn't really working out, 3rd my group is kinda leary of having spent most of our teenage years on it, and 1st and 2nd isn't really our thing. The guys are big on skill systems and developing characters using them, its kinda hard to describe.

To me, D&D is more of a vibe and shared lore. When I think D&D, I think of the artwork across the editions (except for 5th really) and the lore. I think of the planes and settings like Greyhawk, Planescape, Darksun, Forgotten Realms, etc. I think of Drow and the Underdark, Red Wizards, and the Pantheon. Tiamat and the Gods. I guess for me its more of the feeling, lore and vibe. Mechanics, mostly I think of the d20. I guess we grew up playing mostly Palladium games and 3rd edition, so I'm used to really cruchy games. It really depends on the era that you started playing I think, theres slight differences that change things, thats pretty obvious in the differences between a 2nd edition game and a 3rd or 5th. But I'm more into the lore and harvesting ideas for my own games above all, regardless of edition. I have my preferred, obviously.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 29, 2020, 03:38:38 pm
Quote from: ZetaRidley;1136979
This is a good way of putting it. See, I've been kicking around just making my own game since 5th edition isn't really working out, 3rd my group is kinda leary of having spent most of our teenage years on it, and 1st and 2nd isn't really our thing. The guys are big on skill systems and developing characters using them, its kinda hard to describe.

To me, D&D is more of a vibe and shared lore. When I think D&D, I think of the artwork across the editions (except for 5th really) and the lore. I think of the planes and settings like Greyhawk, Planescape, Darksun, Forgotten Realms, etc. I think of Drow and the Underdark, Red Wizards, and the Pantheon. Tiamat and the Gods. I guess for me its more of the feeling, lore and vibe. Mechanics, mostly I think of the d20. I guess we grew up playing mostly Palladium games and 3rd edition, so I'm used to really cruchy games. It really depends on the era that you started playing I think, theres slight differences that change things, thats pretty obvious in the differences between a 2nd edition game and a 3rd or 5th. But I'm more into the lore and harvesting ideas for my own games above all, regardless of edition. I have my preferred, obviously.

Then I say welcome to your Great Liberation.

That moment when you intrinsically know what you *LOVE* dearly about what the D&D game has given you - and you begin to realize that those ideas transcend the rules of any Edition. But that realization brings with it the responsibility of curating those experiences and replicating them in new ways, maybe with new systems, where you'll hopefully learn more about what you really loved about what you believe D&D is... and finally make it your own. Not what others demand of your engagement.

Even better - you've discovered RPGsite and are engaging with your fellow travelers on this road that literally represent nearly every possible way to exploring "D&D" - even via methods you may not have ever considered (or even like!) Every edition has its fans here. Plus you have your OSR Wonks here, syncretic weirdos that take what we can agree is "D&D" and translated via the lens other games with results that might surprise (or disgust) you.

Me personally, I'm with you. I love the lore, and I've long made it my own. My Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim, and everything else is tweaked to my own needs. And these days, I use Savage Worlds, and I've never looked back. And I'm confident in the hands of a competent GM, *any* system worth its salt can "do D&D". You've already started by naming the things you love. All you gotta do now is pick the mechanics that represent those elements best at your table!

You got this!
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 29, 2020, 03:50:41 pm
Quote from: Rhedyn;1136967
For me D&D has attributes, classes, HP, and the d20. It implies limited mathematical swing and a certain "steady" quality to the gameplay, for lack of a better word.

If you toss out what is mechanically D&D, then the question becomes: "What is you favorite RPG?"


I disagree. I know what you're saying, and I'm down with that.

But case in point - I use Savage Worlds to run D&D. It has literally *none* of those things you cite... yet it does "D&D"... but in a different flavor. But that's because I enforce the setting conceits on the rules - not the other way around.

Feels like D&D, plays a little faster, slicker, more "cinematic", but we dungeon-crawl, hex-crawl, fight hordes of evil, daring-do, swashbuckle, etc. just like always. Only now a lot of the class stuff is merely social-stuff. And it works. At no point have I had any desire to run any other edition of D&D. Despite my deep love of 1e/2e in particular. Subjective? Sure. But my point is that any GM with a verve for a set of mechanics can replicate what they love about D&D without being forced to use D&D. I mean... I've heard of people doing Rolemaster Greyhawk... which is mind-boggling to me because of my lack of system-mastery (but I'd play the hell out of it).

TL/DR - The GM makes the magic happen. "D&D" is nothing more than the expression of some ideas abstracted by mechanics. And you can concoct alternate mechanics to do the same abstractions at will. The key is making it fun at the table. That's where the sauce is.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: ZetaRidley on June 29, 2020, 03:57:58 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136983
Then I say welcome to your Great Liberation.

That moment when you intrinsically know what you *LOVE* dearly about what the D&D game has given you - and you begin to realize that those ideas transcend the rules of any Edition. But that realization brings with it the responsibility of curating those experiences and replicating them in new ways, maybe with new systems, where you'll hopefully learn more about what you really loved about what you believe D&D is... and finally make it your own. Not what others demand of your engagement.

Even better - you've discovered RPGsite and are engaging with your fellow travelers on this road that literally represent nearly every possible way to exploring "D&D" - even via methods you may not have ever considered (or even like!) Every edition has its fans here. Plus you have your OSR Wonks here, syncretic weirdos that take what we can agree is "D&D" and translated via the lens other games with results that might surprise (or disgust) you.

Me personally, I'm with you. I love the lore, and I've long made it my own. My Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim, and everything else is tweaked to my own needs. And these days, I use Savage Worlds, and I've never looked back. And I'm confident in the hands of a competent GM, *any* system worth its salt can "do D&D". You've already started by naming the things you love. All you gotta do now is pick the mechanics that represent those elements best at your table!

You got this!

Ha, thanks. Probably what I'm going with is my Palladium System rewrite. Percentile Skills, Strike, parry and dodge for combat stuff. Number of actions on your turn. All characters start with 2 action "points." If you want to react when its not your turn, parry or dodge an incoming attack, you have to have saved an action point from your previous turn. Saving one action allows you two reacitons when its not your turn. Spell casting and psionics still based on points. Saving throws brought down to just 3 core ones. It was pretty fun when we played it last year, did a Rifts game and made a "players handbook" for Rifts that is all kinds of copy right infrigment, so. Probably do the same for a fantasy game, maybe steal some spells and stuff from D&D. Palladium Fantasy had a major lack of a real "cleric" kinda thing, so thats def needed. I took a leaflet from 3rd and 5th edition and had a class advancement table with increasing values, Good abilities cap at +10, mid tier cap at +7, low at +5 and class abilities per level and will probably continue with that. Class abilities were also earned per level, but in palladium fashion basically all of them were received by level 3-5, with increasing potency as levels were gained, levels capped at 15. Here is a couple of captures to get an idea. https://imgur.com/a/JogEDXf

I've thought about savage worlds, I might have to give it a whirl some day. It didn't click with me the last time I read it, but I can see the appeal. I thought about Fantasy Craft, its close to what I was looking for, but when you have players that already like a system, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Rhedyn on June 29, 2020, 05:23:37 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136986
I disagree. I know what you're saying, and I'm down with that.

But case in point - I use Savage Worlds to run D&D. It has literally *none* of those things you cite... yet it does "D&D"... but in a different flavor. But that's because I enforce the setting conceits on the rules - not the other way around.

Feels like D&D, plays a little faster, slicker, more "cinematic", but we dungeon-crawl, hex-crawl, fight hordes of evil, daring-do, swashbuckle, etc. just like always. Only now a lot of the class stuff is merely social-stuff. And it works. At no point have I had any desire to run any other edition of D&D. Despite my deep love of 1e/2e in particular. Subjective? Sure. But my point is that any GM with a verve for a set of mechanics can replicate what they love about D&D without being forced to use D&D. I mean... I've heard of people doing Rolemaster Greyhawk... which is mind-boggling to me because of my lack of system-mastery (but I'd play the hell out of it).

TL/DR - The GM makes the magic happen. "D&D" is nothing more than the expression of some ideas abstracted by mechanics. And you can concoct alternate mechanics to do the same abstractions at will. The key is making it fun at the table. That's where the sauce is.


To me that is playing in a fantasy setting with a traditional RPG. I love Savage Worlds for fantasy and even, as some people call it, the "D&D fantasy" sub genre. But, people also do that with GURPS or FUDGE. I wouldn't call any of those my favorite version of D&D. Hell my favorite "D&D" games are not even fantasy RPGs.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: tenbones on June 29, 2020, 05:46:54 pm
Quote from: Rhedyn;1137004
To me that is playing in a fantasy setting with a traditional RPG. I love Savage Worlds for fantasy and even, as some people call it, the "D&D fantasy" sub genre. But, people also do that with GURPS or FUDGE. I wouldn't call any of those my favorite version of D&D. Hell my favorite "D&D" games are not even fantasy RPGs.

Yep I hear you. I'm down with that too.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: VisionStorm on June 29, 2020, 05:59:29 pm
Quote from: tenbones;1136986
I disagree. I know what you're saying, and I'm down with that.

But case in point - I use Savage Worlds to run D&D. It has literally *none* of those things you cite... yet it does "D&D"... but in a different flavor. But that's because I enforce the setting conceits on the rules - not the other way around.

Feels like D&D, plays a little faster, slicker, more "cinematic", but we dungeon-crawl, hex-crawl, fight hordes of evil, daring-do, swashbuckle, etc. just like always. Only now a lot of the class stuff is merely social-stuff. And it works. At no point have I had any desire to run any other edition of D&D. Despite my deep love of 1e/2e in particular. Subjective? Sure. But my point is that any GM with a verve for a set of mechanics can replicate what they love about D&D without being forced to use D&D. I mean... I've heard of people doing Rolemaster Greyhawk... which is mind-boggling to me because of my lack of system-mastery (but I'd play the hell out of it).

TL/DR - The GM makes the magic happen. "D&D" is nothing more than the expression of some ideas abstracted by mechanics. And you can concoct alternate mechanics to do the same abstractions at will. The key is making it fun at the table. That's where the sauce is.


I get where you're coming from but I partly disagree. I think system and setting are two separate things. I mostly associate D&D with the system components (Ability Scores, d20 HP, Saves) and maybe a certain type of aesthetic or tropes (Human, Dwarves, Elves), but I think of D&D settings as transcending D&D itself--specially some of the more original ones, like Dark Sun, Planescape and Spelljammer. But even Forgotten Realms has enough self-identity and overlap with fantasy in general to stand on its own and not rely on D&D to tell it what it is.

Granted, some of those settings might be informed by D&D as a system, in terms of available classes and races, or even uniquely D&D creatures, like drow (as opposed to non-D&D dark elves), beholders and mindflayers. But D&D itself is informed by fantasy as a genre, and some of those components--like warriors, wizards, dwarves and elves--are basically universal in fantasy (specially Tolkienesque fantasy, in the case of dwarves and elves). And warriors in particular pretty much exist in every world. So none of those things are uniquely "D&D".

D&D novels hardly even follow D&D system conceits. I can't even tell which class specifically Drizzt is just by following the novels, since they give him elements of fighters (his starting class and scimitar specialization), rangers (what he supposedly is, but doesn't officially become till he reaches the surface decades later), barbarian (he learned how to rage while living alone in the Underdark after being cast out) and even mage (he wrote an amateur summoning circle and summoned a demon in one of the books, using magic knowledge he acquired during his formal education as a kid).

Dark Sun novels also do their own thing, with Sadira eventually becoming some type of Sun-Mage thing that doesn't even exist in the books, halflings being wizards and a bunch of richness and details in the use of Psionics and psychic combat that hardly translates to the rules (where psionics are basically useless outside a handful of powers that cause you to run out of PSP fast). Point being that these worlds don't rely on D&D as a system in order to populate the world of fantasy as a genre, and are mostly "D&D" in terms of branding, rather than essence.

Though, I still struggle with the question "what is D&D?" in terms of system, because D&D has changed so much throughout editions, I don't even know which ruleset should take precedence. And each edition has its pros and cons, with significant deviation following the last few editions, but also significant clean up, unification and streamlining. The only constants are the 6 Ability Scores, d20, HP, AC and Saves (which have changed in labeling between editions, but always remained similar in concept).
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: lordmalachdrim on June 29, 2020, 06:33:21 pm
Perfect version of D&D? Maybe something like a cleaned up version of HackMaster "4th Edition"
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Iron_Rain on July 03, 2020, 01:29:23 am
Quote from: Omega;1135972
One of the problems with these sorts of discussions is that some people just want something that isnt D&D with the D&D label slapped on. 4e out the gate was pretty much that.

I've noticed this over the years. Some people aren't RPG players, they are D&D players. They want non D&D things out of D&D, but don't want to stop playing D&D.

My ideal version of D&D has:

1. Quick combat resolution -
2. Quick character construction
3. Easily explainable to non RPG players
4. Widgets and options to build enough complexity to keep me interested.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Blankman on July 03, 2020, 03:59:47 pm
I feel like "what is D&D" would have been a lot easier to answer 20 years ago, as all the TSR editions are basically the same game with various rule tweaks, like almost every other game that has different editions. WotC editions on the other hand are so different from both the TSR editions and each other that it opens up a lot more space in answering the "what is D&D" question.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: lordmalachdrim on July 04, 2020, 07:36:32 am
I'm still of the (outdated I've been told opinion) that a new edition should be an update of the existing version (like we saw with TSR's D&Ds, FASAs Shandowruns, and pretty much every RPG), and that if you decide to dump it and go with something very different/new it was a new game and not a new edition.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on July 04, 2020, 09:19:12 am
Quote from: lordmalachdrim;1137878
I'm still of the (outdated I've been told opinion) that a new edition should be an update of the existing version (like we saw with TSR's D&Ds, FASAs Shandowruns, and pretty much every RPG), and that if you decide to dump it and go with something very different/new it was a new game and not a new edition.

As a game, that is true.  As a brand, it may not be.  With D&D, since the brand is arguably the more valuable part of owning it, we get the new games.
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: Slipshot762 on July 05, 2020, 10:56:42 am
I can never go back to hitpoints. I cannot play or run a game with hitpoints. I'm D6 system forever. I feel like star treks Q interacting with mere humans when I try to play a game with hitpoints. D6, fast and loose, is zen. When I tell people "we're going to play D&D" I mean we are going to play a game that in all respects except mechanical is what you know as D&D, but we are going to use the D6 system because we have evolved beyond hitpoints.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]4633[/ATTACH]

I loathe hit points. Say hit points and its like "NIAGRA FALLS!! SLOWLY I TURNED, STEP BY STEP..."
Title: Current WoTC aside, what does your perfect D&D edition look like?
Post by: David Johansen on July 05, 2020, 11:41:09 am
Quote from: lordmalachdrim;1137878
I'm still of the (outdated I've been told opinion) that a new edition should be an update of the existing version (like we saw with TSR's D&Ds, FASAs Shandowruns, and pretty much every RPG), and that if you decide to dump it and go with something very different/new it was a new game and not a new edition.

This!