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Author Topic: DIY 5.5e of DyD  (Read 1665 times)

GeekyBugle

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« on: June 25, 2020, 08:07:28 pm »
What the tin says, IF you were designing the 5.5e what would you put in/take out/change/twist/etc?

What Frankenstein monster would you create and from where would you borrow, steal take inspiration from?

It doesn't have to be strictly from it's family of games.
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thedungeondelver

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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 08:26:57 pm »
Flip armor classes, add back in different XP tables, collapse magic-users back into a single class, drop some races.
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oggsmash

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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 08:33:20 pm »
Honestly I would make it a pretty different game. Armor blocks damage, massive damage save rules from Conan D20 (mongoose). Tempted to steal Heroic deeds from DCC.  I am tempted to steal the magic system from DCC, shit, I think I would probably just make it DCC and use the defense system from Conan D20 and armor rules.  Probably remove the massive damage in this case, since the crits and crazy magic will make no need of massive damage.

Spinachcat

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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 08:43:50 pm »
First, I'd research 5e forums and discussions from launch to now. That's 6 years of data. Gather every known concern and review all the house rules discussed. This would be significant research and worth every moment. Especially look to where WotC ignores the fanbase.

Second, I'd gather all the playtest versions and see if something cool was left out of the final draft. That was a key disaster with 4e that the final draft went super wonky when good playtest ideas vanished. Interview 5e consultants to find out what ideas got left out, and why they agreed or disagreed with various design choices. I bet some podcasts exist which discuss 5e's design.

Third, I would invest in reading every 5e book with alternate rules. Get a strong sense where other designers have taken the system and why. See whether they fixed problems or just created new ones or just alternates that are patches.

Fourth, I would gather talent to build a kitchen sink setting. People bitch about them, but then buy them over and over. While the core books should be setting-free, the 5.5e launch should have its own setting for people who can't/won't homebrew. And in this vein, research 6 years of forum discussions about adventure paths, etc and see what, where and why can things be improved for actual play. Maybe there's already a series of fantasy novels that would be perfect?

Later in the line, I'd do a Conan, Kull and a John Carter setting book. Why? They're public domain baby! Who doesn't love free IP with movies and novels attached? And we know gamers buy the same damn Conan setting over and over and over!

VisionStorm

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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 09:34:02 pm »
In some ways I'm already on the process of creating a 5e inspired homebrew for a Feat-based d20. Not sure if I'd call this 5.5e, per se, but some of the features may hint towards a 5.5 edition (subject to change):

Race: All characters and creatures have a race. Race is a template applicable to PCs, NPCs and monsters that determines certain basic features, including Size, ability modifiers and special benefits and limitations. For creatures, race is separate from Level (see below), but may provide additional Hit Dice based on their Size (see below), and may modify their effective level for purposes of determining CR.

Levels: All characters and creatures have a level from 1 to 20 designating their overall degree of competence and power. Level 1 is a “training” level or represents children. Most of the adult population is level 2 minimum, 3 for professionals. Level tiers include: 1-2 Trainee, 3-5 Professional, 6-8 Veteran, 9-11 Elite, 12-14 Heroic, 15-17 Legendary, 18-20 Godlike.

Hit Dice: All characters and creatures have 1d6 (4) hit points, plus Constitution modifier, per level. The number of hit points gained per Hit Dice may be increased by +1 per selection of the Toughness feat, to a maximum of +4 per HD.

Size: All characters and creatures have a Size characteristic indicating their size category: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, and Gargantuan. Size is determined by race. Larger creatures get a +4 to Strength and special physical attacks (bulrush, grappling, etc.), +2 to Constitution and +3 HD, but also a -2 to Dexterity, -1 to AC, and -4 to hide, per size category above Medium. Smaller creatures get a +2 to Dexterity, +1 to AC and +4 to hide, but also -2 to Strength and Constitution, per size category below Medium.

Proficiency Modifier: All characters and creatures have a Proficiency Modifier equal to +2, +1 per 2nd character level. This modifier is applicable to all ability checks dealing with tasks or functions they are trained on. They may also gain a cumulative +2 per mastery rank (Expert, Master, Grandmaster) by selecting the Mastery feat.

Untrained Modifier: All characters and creatures have an Untrained Modifier equal to +1 per 5th character level (5, 10, 15 and 20). This modifier indicates general competence, and applies whenever making ability checks dealing with tasks or functions they have no training on. This modifier is replaced by the Proficiency Modifier (see above) for checks in areas where they are trained.

Difficulty Class: There are eight difficulty classes: Very Easy (5), Easy (10), Medium (15), Hard (20), Very Hard (25), Formidable (30), Daunting (35), and Near-Impossible (40).

Feats: All special abilities including traditional class features and ability increases are treated like feats. Feats are divided into six list: General, Skill, Combat, Casting, Specialist, and Extraordinary.

All characters and creatures get the following feats:
  • Background: Two Skill, Ability Increase and one General feat based on their background.
  • Class (ability package/progression path): Two Skill, Ability Increase and two feats from any list based on their class.
  • Level Feats: All characters and creatures get one feat per level from any list (since level 1).
  • Skill Feats (3rd): All characters and creatures get one bonus Skill feat per 3rd level achieved.
  • Ability Increase (4th): All characters and creatures get one bonus Ability Increase feat (from General list) per 4th level achieved.
  • Extraordinary (5th): All characters and creatures get one bonus Extraordinary feat (stuff like Rage, Evasion, Unarmored Defense, etc.) per 5th level achieved.
Progression Paths: Progression Paths are pre-selected feat packages that allow quick progression for players who don't have the patience for individual selections. They also facilitate encounter creation by allowing GMs to simply select a race and path to instantly determine a creature's abilities.

...
Other details are still in development. I also plan on stealing the Pathfinder rule that all characters simply advance in level each 1,000 XP gained (NO leveling tables!). XP from combat will probably be a factor of character vs effective creature level (modified by race package). Most of this assumes a pure feat-based development, but that component could be swapped for classes, taking some of the other elements (like new the Proficiency and Untrained Modifiers, everyone & thing has a level, etc) to build a different edition of a more D&D-esque game.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 09:44:03 pm by VisionStorm »

Steven Mitchell

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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2020, 11:24:41 pm »
Within the spirit of the question (I think), I'd say a 5.5 edition has to be at least somewhat compatible in concept with what came before.  So with a few exceptions, I'd try to refine some of the 5E additions:

- I'd change the classes.  There would be fewer overall classes and more Path choices within the class.  A greater number of paths, and a second or even third choice in what they are.  In return, I'd cut out some of the minor class/path features or roll them up into other features.  Get about the same amount of stuff over 20 levels.  (I'd aim for somewhat lower, but it would probably scope creep into slightly more.)

- Less magic in classes (except for the iconic casters), more magic in some paths.  Don't want to focus on magic, take a different path.  As an example of how this might work, a "paladin" might be a fighter that took a "priest" path and then a "paladin" path.  Or it might be a cleric that took a "warrior" path and then a "paladin" path.  Or both might work for different slants on paladins or you could even have one that skipped the cleric/priest part entirely.

- Most racial abilities and backgrounds replaced with "Culture" choices.  Move the skill choices mostly from classes to culture.  Allow a few choices after 1st level, probably on some of the less impressive even levels once the above items was changed.  Classes would instead give class-specific boosts to certain skills, similar to Rogue expertise.

- Add domain/war/trade rules.  These are sorely missed in 5E.

- Get someone to revisit magic items.  That's an area that's either been rather stolid or failed trying to escape stolid by throwing a lot of magic items against the wall to see what sticks. There's nothing really wrong with 5E items in a traditional D&D sense, but there's nothing really magic about them either.

- Make another pass at the monster customization rules.  They aren't awful, but the presentation sucks.

- Pretty much toss the advice sections entirely and start from scratch.  Read Gygax and various clones of AD&D/BEMCI for inspiration.  Or more likely hire someone with a strong voice to write those sections.

- Set the default game to more Sword and Sorcery, but include options to switch back to the default 5E experience.  In particular, rests/healing would still have the levers present, but the default would be closer to early D&D than the 5E defaults. Nothing wrong with having options built into the game, but help people walk before they run.

- I like escalating hit points and damage by levels while keeping lid on the attack bonuses.  What I don't like is the breadth of the scale of the hit point and damage escalation.  Cut back hit points and damage systematically with firm cap on the upper end.  Start it just a tad bit higher than the current floor to compensate.  (A big problem with the scale is how low the floor is and how that skews the mechanics.  Slightly higher floor, can be much more stingy through the rest of the game to get the same experience with less math.)

I'd want to change in a really bad way but wouldn't:

- Six ability scores to Might, Intelligence, Charisma, Dexterity, Agility, Perception.  That's primary for fighter, wizard, cleric, rogue, respectively, plus 2 that everyone can use.  

- Skills atrophied into more modest boosts to ability score checks in the Culture packages.  You've got only six checks for most everything you do based on the ability scores.  Your class and culture bumps are bonuses to that roll. More bumps, less power with each one, a little more narrow in scope.

- Change the traditional 3 book delivery.  The Monster Manual would stick around.  Break the PHB into at least 2 books--one focused on everything a player needs for levels 1-10, the other for 11-20.  I'd really prefer to have spells in a separate book entirely for better lookup in play, but that's even less economically feasible.  Some of the options from the DMG need to move into the two player books to make room for those domain/war/trade rules and better advice.

Things I don't see a way to fix:

- Fix the handling issues of summoned creatures, animal companions, familiars, henchmen, allies, etc.  I've seen various fixes in other games.  I just don't like any of them.  The only way I can see to do those kind of things right is to simplify the game back into BECMI mechanics.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 11:27:34 pm by Steven Mitchell »

Mistwell

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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2020, 12:19:15 am »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1136345
What the tin says, IF you were designing the 5.5e what would you put in/take out/change/twist/etc?

What Frankenstein monster would you create and from where would you borrow, steal take inspiration from?

It doesn't have to be strictly from it's family of games.

Remove bonus actions, and anything that still needs that just add to an action.

Fix the monk, and ranger.

Go with Treantmonks changes to spells, and feats. Maybe even his changes to classes.

Arnwolf666

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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2020, 12:54:48 am »
These days, I am just playing call of Cthulhu with the magic system from magic world. I use the dark ages supplement for armor. Steal a few spells from Elric and other BRP products and I am happy. Otherwise stick with ad&d with a few modifications from 5E if I choose to play any version of D&D.

VisionStorm

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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2020, 02:29:08 am »
Quote from: Steven Mitchell;1136369
- I'd change the classes.  There would be fewer overall classes and more Path choices within the class.  A greater number of paths, and a second or even third choice in what they are.  In return, I'd cut out some of the minor class/path features or roll them up into other features.  Get about the same amount of stuff over 20 levels.  (I'd aim for somewhat lower, but it would probably scope creep into slightly more.)

- Less magic in classes (except for the iconic casters), more magic in some paths.  Don't want to focus on magic, take a different path.  As an example of how this might work, a "paladin" might be a fighter that took a "priest" path and then a "paladin" path.  Or it might be a cleric that took a "warrior" path and then a "paladin" path.  Or both might work for different slants on paladins or you could even have one that skipped the cleric/priest part entirely.


This is something I've seen brought up before (at least different versions of it from Pundit in a video, and Blankman brought it up in another thread as well) and I tend to agree. I think that the number of classes has gotten out of hand and a lot of them are just variations of the old core classes anyways: Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User and Thief (or Warrior, Priest, Mage and Rogue, in 2e terminology). You don't need fifty hundred variations of those treated as separate classes, you just need the core classes and treat the variants as paths. A Barbarian isn't a fundamentally different class from a Fighter (or Warrior), that's just a fighter from a primitive culture. Treating them as separate just adds bloat to the game and inconsistencies between classes that are fundamentally the same type of thing.

If it were up to me, I'd fold priests and mages into a single caster class as well, and make the core classes just Warrior, Rogue (or Specialist?) and Mystic. Everything else would just be a path that builds on the core classes.

I'm not sure about having multiple paths, though, but if that's your ideal scenario I'll let you have them, since this is your take on D&D anyway (I have my own weird classless, skill/feat-based conceits). I just think they might complicate progression and add to bookkeeping, though, but maybe you can do something cool with them.

QUOTE=Steven Mitchell;1136369]- Set the default game to more Sword and Sorcery, but include options to switch back to the default 5E experience.  In particular, rests/healing would still have the levers present, but the default would be closer to early D&D than the 5E defaults. Nothing wrong with having options built into the game, but help people walk before they run..[/QUOTE]

This is something else I wanted to touch on just to say I strongly agree. I hate the way that rest and health recovery is handled in 5e and would like to go back to something closer to old D&D as the default. The way 5e handles it is just absurd. It's practically like a cartoon--injured characters can just go away, rest up then come back the next day right as new. There's NO genre where that makes sense, other than goofy, inconsequential cartoon land.

I do like the idea of characters not instantly dying at "0" HP, and having to do stabilization checks, but I had already been doing that as a house rule (lifted out of Dragon magazine, IIRC) since the 90s. The way that 5e does it, of course, is over the top, cuz now you can go negative HP equal to your full HP before dying, which is just WAY too much. The way I've always done it is negative HP up to -10 is comatose, and anything beyond that, you're dead.

Quote from: Mistwell;1136374
Remove bonus actions, and anything that still needs that just add to an action.


This is something I've considered as well. I think that multiple actions tend to complicate combat and skew damage, and can cause balance issues. However, there are times where multiple actions might make sense and some people can just move faster in combat than others. So I'm not sure they should be removed completely.

One thing I've considered as well is to just make multiple actions a combat option everyone has access to, but you have to declare them and every action declared gives you a cumulative -2 penalty or something (maybe higher) to all actions. Attempting three actions, for example, would impose a -6 penalty each. That way multiple actions exist, but they are a risk and something only skilled individuals can pull off.

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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 07:21:38 am »
The main weakness I see in 5e is the lack of non-spellcasting PC classes. There should be a lot more options for lower-magic PCs and settings. Non-casting Ranger & Paladin for certain.

I'd also like some classes simple enough to use as both PCs and classed NPCs.

The overall 5e chassis is very robust and functional for playing a certain sort of D&D, I wouldn't mess with it much.
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2020, 08:45:38 am »
I just reject the idea that D&D core rules needs to be revised every 5 years or so, there are too many editions already. I think edition 4 was a mistake and they should have gone back to 3.5. Change for change's sake alone is not good. Fantasy RPGs don't have to change every five to ten years to reflect new realities. After a certain level, further changes just require one to learn new rules without any significant improvements. My problem with 5 is that you have different rules for PCs and NPCs, and only PCs have character classes, and NPCs only show adjustments for ability scores and not the ability scores themselves. The thing I like about 3.5 is that you can see how each monster and npc is put together and their are systematic rules for creating new monsters, with 5th edition, you just wing it. I like games with consistent metrics rather than relying on the DM's judgement. The reason politics creeps into so many settings is that the rpg developers produce fewer detailed rules for DMs to create their own settings rather than those provided by the publishers.

Anselyn

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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2020, 09:36:26 am »
Modularity: was part of the intial discussion but effectively lost from the game as played AFAICT. It's there but squirreled away in the DMG - how magical is your world, how long are short/long rests. etc.

I'd move some of that to a "Session Zero" section in the PHB. Either the DM tells you the decisions made about their world and then you generate characters - or you collectively answer questions as a group to define the world and then you do characters.

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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2020, 09:52:03 am »
If we're talking an actual 5.5, something about as similar to 5e as 3.5 was to 3e or AD&D 2e was to AD&D 1e, I wouldn't change that much. Some tweaks here and there, but mainly the focus would be on changing some of the presentation and incorporating some of the stuff from Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything etc.

On the purely mechanical level, I'd change up a few of the spells, mostly to make them less super-useful. I'd also change around the classes a bit, but mostly tinkering. I wouldn't actually lose any of them if I were trying to make something reasonably close to 5e. I'd change the Ranger a bit, make Circle of the Moon Druid's shapeshifting a bit less powerful at the start, change the ki costs of some Monk abilities, change Fighter's Indomitable to be an automatic success on a save instead of a reroll (more like a legendary save), probably change Warlocks so that Eldritch Blast is a class ability rather than a cantrip they can take but will be hobbles without. Probably put in some more sub-classes for the classes that had only two in the PHB (Barbarian, Bard, Ranger, Sorcerer) and switch some of them up (Beastmaster Ranger needs some fixing). I'd also remove Darkvision from most creatures, both races and monsters. Probably also add in some sort of distinction between Low-Light Vision and Darkvision and give Low-Light vision to some creatures. Make Quarterstaves do less damage than Spears, and probably give Spears reach. Small stuff like this. I'd also add in Morale scores to all creature statblocks and present the Morale rules as a core part of combat. Oh, and remove some Feats (and replace them with others) which grant abilities I feel everyone should have, like being able to totally restrain someone by grappling.

I'd do more on the presentation front. For instance, on races, Instead of putting them in common and uncommon categories, I'd present Humans, as the baseline, and then present the others under Group headings. So Dwarves, Elves and Halflings would end up under "Classic Fantasy" (really Tolkienesque fantasy, but I'm not sure that label can be legally gotten away with), while Aasimar, Genasi and Tieflings end up under "Planar hybrids." Then at the end I'd put in a system for creating mixed blood characters from any of the presented races. So you want a Dwarf-Elf? Ok, here's what you do. Then in the DMG there'd be a discussion about what adding in each race or group will mean for your setting. Similar discussion about classes, about ability score generation (dice, points, array? If dice, in order or distribute by choice, 4D6 drop lowest or straight 3D6 or 3D6 twice and pick highest, etc etc). Basically, talk about what various choices you make for your campaign world in what to include from the PHB options actually mean.

Steven Mitchell

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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 10:57:05 am »
Quote from: Tom Kalbfus;1136433
I just reject the idea that D&D core rules needs to be revised every 5 years or so, there are too many editions already. I think edition 4 was a mistake and they should have gone back to 3.5. Change for change's sake alone is not good. Fantasy RPGs don't have to change every five to ten years to reflect new realities. After a certain level, further changes just require one to learn new rules without any significant improvements...

That's fine, and I even agree with you to a certain extent despite 3.5 being my least favorite edition of D&D ever.  But in the alternate timeline where 4E and 5E aren't produced, the net effect is that I don't need WotC D&D at all.  I've still got the Rules Compendium and other games.  Also, 3.5 was pretty much the poster child of "change for change's sake".  So it seems a strange place to draw the line on that principle.  

Of course, if they keep injecting politics into it, then it's also almost the same effect for me as the alternate timeline:   I stop buying WotC stuff.  The only difference is that my 3E and 5E books are sitting on the shelf when I want to run them.  One of the reasons I'm running 5E right now is that players can get the PHB easy.  When that is no longer true, I'm more likely to run something else.

GeekyBugle

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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2020, 11:49:29 am »
Quote from: Tom Kalbfus;1136433
I just reject the idea that D&D core rules needs to be revised every 5 years or so, there are too many editions already. I think edition 4 was a mistake and they should have gone back to 3.5. Change for change's sake alone is not good. Fantasy RPGs don't have to change every five to ten years to reflect new realities. After a certain level, further changes just require one to learn new rules without any significant improvements. My problem with 5 is that you have different rules for PCs and NPCs, and only PCs have character classes, and NPCs only show adjustments for ability scores and not the ability scores themselves. The thing I like about 3.5 is that you can see how each monster and npc is put together and their are systematic rules for creating new monsters, with 5th edition, you just wing it. I like games with consistent metrics rather than relying on the DM's judgement. The reason politics creeps into so many settings is that the rpg developers produce fewer detailed rules for DMs to create their own settings rather than those provided by the publishers.

But we're not talking about if the rules need to be revised every X amount of years. We're talking of creating your own 5.5 edition a la PF when D&D shat the bed with 4e, either for personal use or for sale.

But IMHO the clock is ticking and the time to start working in such a game is right now.
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