The Three Most Important Changes for a Future Edition

As WotC begins to think about how they want the new D&D to look, here are my observations and suggestions for the three most important things about 4E that I would change:

1) Base hit rate needs to be much higher.  I'm pretty sure most players would agree with me here.  I don't know how the designers arrived at the conclusion that missing the target 50% of the time would be considered fun or heroic by the player base, but it's just plain wrong.  You don't read stories or see movies where the epically gifted swordsman or archer strikes true ... meh, about half the time.  Missing makes the player feel rotten, it drags out every combat much longer than needed, and it just plain sucks the air out of the room.

A basic hit rate of 75% would be just about right.  It would leave room for improvement through feats, powers, and items, but the player would not feel gimped without those things -- or at least you'd need a lot less of them.  For example, you would feel okay about skipping Expertise if you have some sort of encounter power that can turn a miss into a hit, or at least grant a reroll.

Also, widening the accuracy gap at higher levels is not really a good idea.  In fact, I'd make monster defenses fairly consistent across all levels -- with a maximum variance of plus or minus 5 or so -- and at the same time remove the level-based component of the players' attack roll.  This is not a number that should change based on level, so why make it so?  Make monsters (and players) tougher by giving them more hit points and deadlier attacks, NOT by making them impossible to hit.  A thick-skinned troll can have a higher AC than a goblin, but a level 15 troll's AC should not be much different from a level 5 troll's.  (The level 15 troll should have more HP, better regeneration, and stronger attacks.)


2) Treat magic items as what they are: an aspect of character advancement.  In previous editions, it cost a wizard XP to create magic items.  There was a solid reason behind that: magic items make your character better by giving you extra powers.  I propose that in the next edition, this should be addressed.  Once you acknowledge the truth of what I just said, several options become available, and all can be presented for a DM to choose from as he or she designs a campaign.

A) Create a separate "bank" of XP that players can use as they see fit to "find" magic items in lairs.  Basically, whenever you hand out normal XP, you also hand out an allotment of item points.  At certain points during the adventure, you mention that magical treasure might be present.  At that point, a player who has saved up enough item points can use a sort of narrative fiat to announce, "I look in the chest and find ... Acrobat Boots!"  The point value of Acrobat Boots is deducted from the player's item point total, and she walks away happy.  Alternatively, you could use this same sort of fiat to turn mundane items into magic ones or improve existing magic items through heroic effort: "A divine light shines upon my flail, and it is filled with the power of my herioc deeds!"  Obviously, this option is for DMs who want their players to control their own item-based character development.

B) As above, but the DM keeps track of the item points and places treasure as normal.  The main difference between this and the current (4E) system is the separation of item points vs. gold value.  This is because money is used for things that do NOT improve your character's combat ability -- paying for mundane goods and services, mounts, real estate, hiring retainers, etc.  In this option, the DM controls what items appear in the campaign and when, but it acknowledges that those items do not fill the same role as money -- they are a form of character advancement.

These methods are two ends of a spectrum -- a mix or blend of the two can be used to suit the style and tone of your campaign.


3) Better integration of rituals.  I like the basic idea of rituals -- it was a good move, separating them from combat abilities.  However, for some reason, I feel like they are now too separate.  Too many classes and subclasses don't have automatic access to them.  The component thing is a little forced and a pain to track.  The ritual book rules are a little unwieldy.

I would continue the trend I've seen recently of making the caster use healing surges.  Remove components entirely, except in certain rare cases.  Give all caster-type classes automatic access, and don't let other people use them (i.e., eliminate the feat).  Allow some rituals to have a lasting minor combat effect.  (This is okay because you are using healing surges to cast them.)  Allow party members to donate healing surges to the casting cost.


Anyway, those are my Big Three.  I'm sure other players have other things they care about just as much or more, but I'm betting the accuracy thing is probably up there for a LOT of people, and I hope it gets addressed.  I really do see it as 4E's biggest flaw.


***
Here's a bit I've moved to the end because it's less about rules and could easily be implemented right now.

Bonus Advice (not rules based): Improve the quality and usefulness of accessory products.
  Enough with the dungeon tiles.  They are difficult to store and organize and a pain to use.  I would much rather buy a pack of 4 to 6 double-sided maps than add to a collection of tiles.  Most of the time my group doesn't even bother searching for tiles with the right "look" anymore; we just plop down some rooms of approximately the right shape and go.  What would be ideal would be map packs as mentioned above, plus (sold separately) small 1- to 4-square tiles (or even models) for things like furniture, barrels, and difficult terrain.

On a similar note, it would probably be wise of you to bring the quality of your painted minis up to par with those of a certain other company.  I know in my heart that this is a "path" you want to "find."


If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
P.S.!

Obviously, everything I said about monster defenses should apply to player characters -- in particular, no level-based component.  Just bonuses based on the type of armor you wear and/or your dexterity.

As an added benefit to adjusting monster defenses, a +1 sword becomes a lot more valuable, to characters of all levels!  In fact, I would probably have pluses on weapons apply to damage only, and then create an additional, much rarer enchantment ("accurate" or some such) that can add to the attack roll, with +3 attack being super-rare, and +5 attack being some sort of deific artifact.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
For me, the three things that need to change are:

1- make sure that there is full integration with online tools. CB, VTT, AT. This is crucial. I have been waiting since the beginning of 4e to use these completely and properly together.  

On the tools topic, I would like to see the tools not sandboxed into silver light. Use HTML 5! And other ccross browser standards. I also don't need to make custom items or monsters. That's something that can be added after everything works.

2- l love the idea of skill challenges, but always have a hard time implementing them. Hopefully this can be fixed. 

3- Make the tools more open, and usable for the community. An API would be awesome, so we can make cool applications to access info, etc. 
Considering the only thing gold is normally spent on in a campaign is magic items, I don't see all that much difference between 2) a) and what we have now, aside from a relabelling of terms. Unless I'm misunderstanding and characters are choosing to put XP into either magic items or their class as they get it.

For magic items, what I'd like to see is the bonuses removed from them, so they are no longer essential to keep up with the monsters, and just add broader options (some of which will be more powerful than others, but should not be necessary just to hit anything, and very powerful ones should be severely limited), so that DMs can more easily run a low magic campaign without nerfing their players. The rules are probably best kept assuming a relatively high magic campaign however, since it is probably easier to keep balance by adjusting PC stats upwards to compensate in a low magic setting than making up enough items to keep them happy in a high magic setting.
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
Considering the only thing gold is normally spent on in a campaign is magic items, I don't see all that much difference between 2) a) and what we have now, aside from a relabelling of terms.

I somewhat agree, and that is actually the core of the problem.  Player characters SHOULD have reasons to spend money on things other than magic items, and I think it's very unfortunate that the game has evolved to its current state.

The insanely high prices of high-level magic items in 4E are just plain crazy.  They totally eclipse any other possible monetary transaction you could make in the game.  So hand-in-hand with my above idea, I would also greatly reduce the amount of monetary treasure spewing forth from those monster-piñatas.

Have another look at the list of things I mentioned that players could be spending money on.  Mounts, real estate, retainers, goods and services.  Add to that things like temples, laboratories, libraries, smithies, training grounds, etc.  These are all things that can have a great impact on characters' lives, but without directly making them better in combat.  I feel that characters need something to aspire to other than being better at fighting, and these are some goals that could be a LOT more attractive to players if they were not always saving up for the next tier of magic items.

Even ritual components -- people in my campaigns hardly ever use rituals because they'd rather spend the money on magic items.  Now, I personally think I should add a #4 to my list of Big Three -- Rethink Rituals.  However, I have a feeling rituals would actually be a much bigger part of the game if players didn't have to dip into their character advancement fund in order to use them.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
> Mounts, real estate, retainers, goods and services. Add to that things like
> temples, laboratories, libraries, smithies, training grounds, etc.

I don't know. Far too many DMs see those sorts of things as toys they can smash (or threaten to smash) to 'get at' the PCs in question, to the point that it's often better to avoid becoming entangled with them.

--

On the subject of items themselves, I'm at the point of feeling that "+X weapon/armor/etc" stuff ought to be ditched entirely. As long as you have things that directly affect math scaling they'll continue to create math scaling issues.
I want magic items closer to what they were in 3.5 thematically, not mechanically, a tool that you could fall back on when you were in a tight spot or a trick that could suprise your opponent, but not something you had to have in order to succeed, with the exception of the obvious, you are about to take on flying enemies so having equipment that enabled you to fly or ranged weapons kind of thing.

I want wizards to cast more like a mage or shaman in Shadowrun, once you learn a spell, you can cast it at any time, you just have to roll to cast and then roll to deal with the drain that the spell put on your body, if you tried a high level spell too often then you would take some serious punishment and pass out, but you could cast any spell you know at any time.
My apologies to the OP, but I don't honestly believe those are THE most important changes.  Don't get me wrong, there are definitely good points in the original three and I can see those being important avenues of investigation.  That said, making those changes doesn't seem like something that would please everyone or move the next edition into the future.  Essentially what I'm saying is while I may agree with some of the above, I think the most fundamental changes need to be less about the rule specifics and more about their integration with the community.


For me, the three things that need to change are:

1- make sure that there is full integration with online tools. CB, VTT, AT. This is crucial. I have been waiting since the beginning of 4e to use these completely and properly together.  

On the tools topic, I would like to see the tools not sandboxed into silver light. Use HTML 5! And other ccross browser standards. I also don't need to make custom items or monsters. That's something that can be added after everything works.

...

3- Make the tools more open, and usable for the community. An API would be awesome, so we can make cool applications to access info, etc. 



These on the other hand, to me, are fundamental changes that would benefit everyone regardless of the rule-types used.  A comprehensive suite of HTML5 online tools would be a great boon to everyone playing.  Now tablets can have a greater hand at the gaming table.  House Rules in the CB would be great!  More online applications!  I mean, honestly I pay for DDI mostly because it gives me access to the Online Tools and Compendium, and right now they're not AMAZING just good.

So, anyways... my #1 Suggestion isn't going to be rules-based:
1) Look at the internet tools players have made over the last several years and do them BETTER.  Make a GREAT character builder, integrate it with the other programs.  Include custom monsters and house rules, let us design power cards (if they're still going to be used, that is), use HTML5 so we can all use it on all our devices, and keep the tools up to date.

2) My second suggestion is more a recommendation on what not to do:  Don't embark on a HUGE project such as the Virtual Tabletop without engaging the community about its viability and payment plans.  Especially if you aren't going to truly put 100% of the support it needs to be viable.  It wastes your money and worse results in a backlash from the community.  If you work on smaller projects (i.e. the CB) and make it truly glorious, we'll love you for it.

3)  I know you've made at least as much off of me for my DDI subscription as you do from most peeps from books.  With the addition of the Compendium as well (as above, one of the main reasons I keep paying) I'd look into the viability of Electronic book copies.  There's more profit from sold product since there's minimal printing/ shipping costs, and Errata can be added into the books in a much more elegant way.  Pirating, frankly, is already an issue whether there are pdf's available or not so I'm not sure that's a valid argument against the idea.  Anyways... just a thought.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to what you'll do with another edition!  I'll be buying it anyways, but if you keep me really interested I'll keep shelling out money for the DDI too ;)

~DD
My most important change:

1. Separate the combat feats from non-combat/story/RP feats and ensure that characters are built using both. The problem now is that 95% of my players only pick up combat feats because they fear they will "fall behind" some power curve that is decided on as optimal by the min maxers.

That's what I want. Pretty simple. A player shouldn't have to choose between combat or non-combat. There's room in D&D for both.

My apologies to the OP, but I don't honestly believe those are THE most important changes.
No offense, Duck, but your suggestions have nothing to do with the game itself.  They are about the marketing of the game, and they can (and I agree, SHOULD) be implemented as part the the business strategy immediately, regardless of the edition.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
For magic items, what I'd like to see is the bonuses removed from them


Yes.  Magic items should be cool and fun and important, not because you need them in order to function properly but because they help define your character.  A fighter who can't beat up a bad guy because his sword isn't magic enough is really lame.
My most important change:

1. Separate the combat feats from non-combat/story/RP feats and ensure that characters are built using both. The problem now is that 95% of my players only pick up combat feats because they fear they will "fall behind" some power curve that is decided on as optimal by the min maxers.

That's what I want. Pretty simple. A player shouldn't have to choose between combat or non-combat. There's room in D&D for both.


Right.  In my experience your character is either good at combat but otherwise unengaging, or quirky and fun but slightly less than useful.

I'd also like to see characters who can contribute to combat in unique ways.  I understand that strikers are the crowd favorite; however, not every class needs to be an off-striker.  The pacifist cleric was a step in the right direction, but I'd like to have the option to build a healer who doesn't make attack rolls.  Someone who can buff their allies without needing to hit the enemy first.
Seconded.  I feel this same way - I like the RP part of the game but I hate the idea of falling behind in combat by forgoing a combat related feat.  Seperating would be great.

My most important change:

1. Separate the combat feats from non-combat/story/RP feats and ensure that characters are built using both. The problem now is that 95% of my players only pick up combat feats because they fear they will "fall behind" some power curve that is decided on as optimal by the min maxers.

That's what I want. Pretty simple. A player shouldn't have to choose between combat or non-combat. There's room in D&D for both.



My most important change:

1. Separate the combat feats from non-combat/story/RP feats and ensure that characters are built using both. The problem now is that 95% of my players only pick up combat feats because they fear they will "fall behind" some power curve that is decided on as optimal by the min maxers.

That's what I want. Pretty simple. A player shouldn't have to choose between combat or non-combat. There's room in D&D for both.



The feat tax problem pretty much disappears when the accuracy problem is addressed.  But I agree, there's no reason not to have a separate list of optional perks (don't even call them feats) that flesh out your character outside of combat.  Say, you gain a perk every odd level.  I don't know that it's necessary to put such a thing in the core rules, but it's very good supplement material.

For things like languages etc., you could leave it as is for those who don't use the optional rule (i.e., those who don't want to buy the extra book), but also allow it as part of the perks menu for those who do.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
> Mounts, real estate, retainers, goods and services. Add to that things like > temples, laboratories, libraries, smithies, training grounds, etc. I don't know. Far too many DMs see those sorts of things as toys they can smash (or threaten to smash) to 'get at' the PCs in question, to the point that it's often better to avoid becoming entangled with them.

That is a DM problem, not a rules problem.

On the subject of items themselves, I'm at the point of feeling that "+X weapon/armor/etc" stuff ought to be ditched entirely. As long as you have things that directly affect math scaling they'll continue to create math scaling issues.

I mostly agree.  When I mentioned +attack weapons, I said they should be super duper rare, and I meant it.  The lesser versions should cost TONS of resources to make (or "find"), and the more powerful ones should be artifact-level, not obtainable by normal means.

Obviously, +defense items should be similarly limited.

If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
Oh, and let's consolidate classes.  There's a lot of complaining about seekers and runepriests not getting enough support.  Had they just been new subclasses within the ranger and cleric class, respectively, they would have come into being with a lot of pre-existing support.

Honestly - and I know this is a little radical - would it be so bad to make classes a little more abstract in general in order to cut down on bloat?  For example, instead of class powers, they could have pools of powers based on power sources, maybe with riders based on class.  The fighter has his pick of everything in the martial pool, and gets defendery bonuses.  The barbarian chooses from martial as well, and also has access to the primal power pool but can only choose powers with the weapon keyword.
Oh, and let's consolidate classes.  There's a lot of complaining about seekers and runepriests not getting enough support.  Had they just been new subclasses within the ranger and cleric class, respectively, they would have come into being with a lot of pre-existing support.

Honestly - and I know this is a little radical - would it be so bad to make classes a little more abstract in general in order to cut down on bloat?  For example, instead of class powers, they could have pools of powers based on power sources, maybe with riders based on class.  The fighter has his pick of everything in the martial pool, and gets defendery bonuses.  The barbarian chooses from martial as well, and also has access to the primal power pool but can only choose powers with the weapon keyword.

I love this.  General powers with class-based riders.  Or, similarly, everything works off of basic attacks, and use a stance-based approach like some of the essentials classes.  In that case, I'd add a basic attack for implement users...

If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
Oh, and let's consolidate classes.  There's a lot of complaining about seekers and runepriests not getting enough support.  Had they just been new subclasses within the ranger and cleric class, respectively, they would have come into being with a lot of pre-existing support.

Honestly - and I know this is a little radical - would it be so bad to make classes a little more abstract in general in order to cut down on bloat?  For example, instead of class powers, they could have pools of powers based on power sources, maybe with riders based on class.  The fighter has his pick of everything in the martial pool, and gets defendery bonuses.  The barbarian chooses from martial as well, and also has access to the primal power pool but can only choose powers with the weapon keyword.

I love this.  General powers with class-based riders.  Or, similarly, everything works off of basic attacks, and use a stance-based approach like some of the essentials classes.  In that case, I'd add a basic attack for implement users...




should the powers themselves be made more general too?

so like a martial power like :

Melee, martial
target 1 enemy
to hit str,dex or con to hit.
damage 2W
imposes one of the folowing conditions ( 3 about equaly powerfull conditions to chose from).
untill the end on your next turn


You don't want to get too general, or you risk losing flavor.  As long as there's a place somewhere in the process for flavor text to give the power its unique feel, we're probably good.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
For magic items, what I'd like to see is the bonuses removed from them


Yes.  Magic items should be cool and fun and important, not because you need them in order to function properly but because they help define your character.  A fighter who can't beat up a bad guy because his sword isn't magic enough is really lame.
My most important change:

1. Separate the combat feats from non-combat/story/RP feats and ensure that characters are built using both. The problem now is that 95% of my players only pick up combat feats because they fear they will "fall behind" some power curve that is decided on as optimal by the min maxers.

That's what I want. Pretty simple. A player shouldn't have to choose between combat or non-combat. There's room in D&D for both.


Right.  In my experience your character is either good at combat but otherwise unengaging, or quirky and fun but slightly less than useful.

I'd also like to see characters who can contribute to combat in unique ways.  I understand that strikers are the crowd favorite; however, not every class needs to be an off-striker.  The pacifist cleric was a step in the right direction, but I'd like to have the option to build a healer who doesn't make attack rolls.  Someone who can buff their allies without needing to hit the enemy first.

50% hit rate is plenty. 75% is overkill, given you'd only miss on a 5 or less at base. With flanking, charging, and ally buffs, that's essentially only missing on a 1.

For me, my 3 are as follows

1) If they are going to try and emphasize that martial and casting classes play differently, I would prefer something similar to how power points work for the non-casters. Your fighter has so much oomph, he can spend it how he wants it. The spell users have specific encounter slots, but the martial classes have more flexibility.

What I dont want is for 5th edition martials to follow the crappy essentials button masher build (assuming no one else does). 

2) Give off-action, out of turn, and multi-attack abilities a stronger opportunity cost. One of the reasons high level 4E can be rocket tag, is due to people taking minor action and immediate interrupts, to blast out as many attacks as fast as they can. Being able to act outside your turn, or take an extra  action, should pay a damage premium. The guy who takes 2 standard action damage powers should deal more damage than the guy who takes 2 minor action ones.

Note - I DO think that off action powers are a good idea. They add variety and break up the initiative order.

3) Separate combat and non-combatr resources. Damage boosts and extra languages shouldnt occupy the same resource slot. Damage dealing/healing shouldnt take the same resource as social/exploration.

Minor pet peeve: If you retain power sources, make sure each one feels different in play in the same role. I should be able to look at a power, and go, yep, thats a divine control power, not an arcane one. Give each source something its good at.  
As WotC begins to think about how they want the new D&D to look, here are my observations and suggestions for the three most important things about 4E that I would change:

1) Base hit rate needs to be much higher.  


2) Treat magic items as what they are: an aspect of character advancement.  





another thing you could do is not take the +X to hit from magic items in account in the base math.

so you would start out with  about 50% to hit
at LVL 30 you would still be at 50 % to hit if you don't have magical items,
if you do have magical items your to hit would be more then 50 %

as it is now the game assumes you have magical items of apropriate level +6 at level 30 
so your at 50% hit at level 30 with a +6 item 
1. Get rid of extended rests and daily powers. Make all powers at-will or encounter, or use an action point kind of system to boost spell power.

2. Make all features, whether they are powers, feats, paths, items, whatever, a good choice. There should be no bad builds or rubbish items, and player's shouldn't have to pick combat features just to keep up.

3. Magic items should be rare and special, not required.
1) Base hit rate needs to be much higher.



Omg, I so agree with everything in this section. missing at 50% is so frustrating in almost every way. <3.

My thoughts on power usage (if they end up somewhat similar to the way it works now), which also helps to differntiate power sources (disclaimer: no attempt made to balance examples)

Arcane power sourced characters would be AED(U) (U in brackets, because I think utility powers are a good idea for all classes), they have some spells that can be used contantly, some that take a bit of time to reprepare, and some that are powerful enough to scorch the very memory of them from the caster, requiring them to be relearnt overnight.

Psionics can stay as they are, though with some fixes to the number of power points to prevent spamming of max augs of low level powers, and removing the dailies.

Martials would be at will + stance based, the stance will provide a modifier to all attacks (+ accuracy, + damage, cleave, increased mark punishment, increased mobility), and the at will powers will have their own benefits, with riders for some stances  for example:
Defender stance: When you hit an enemy with your (mark punishment), they take an extra -3 to the triggering attack roll

Hamstring strike:
melee
damage + slow
Defender stance: the target is immobilised instead of slowed

Divine characters would be AE only, but would be able to spend points to buff up their encounters to daily level, with these points gained at milestones (representing gaining favour from their patron, obviously DM discretion on when they get them if they are doing somethng their god would especially approve of, or disapprove of). As an example:
Temple of Light
Close burst 2
enemies in burst
(encounter level) radiant damage, and the target is blind until EONT
Faith(i.e. spending a point): The burst creates a zone of pervasive light, enemies that start their turn in the zone are vulnerable 5 radiant until the end of their next turn.

I can't really come up with something unique for primals at the moment.

Shadow can go crawl back from whence it came.

Obviously some classes would mix it up a bit, Sorcerors may work more similarly to psionic classes in some respects, having a pool of points (per day) that can be used to cast what would be encounter or daily spells for a wizard, wheras warlocks would borrow some elements from divine classes (gaining points at short rests by casting the rituals which siphon their patrons power, and being able to spend these to get extra bonuses on their at will/encounter powers, but having less powerful daily spells), but these would be broad guidelines. I see this working with each class having its own set of powers, but it could also function with there being a shared set for each power source, with each class having extra features to differentiate them (which would synergise better with some powers than others, but still leave them all up for grabs), and rules for how non-standard classes (such as the sorceror and warlock detailed above) interact with them (the sorceror would have a points cost defined for encounter and daily spells of each level, not entirely sure how the warlock would work)

The major problem I can see with this kind of approach is that it would make hybridising/multiclassing a horrendous mess... But I'm sure there are ways to resolve that.





I would say base hit rate should only be raised 10% or so (to hitting on an 8 or 9), since you can eke out +1 from stat reshuffling/picking a race which gives the appropriate bonus, +2 from CA, and there needs to be some room for leader buffs/magic items (if ones in the new system do not have a generic +x, only properties, which I would support) without hitting the "only miss on a 1" barrier too early
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
3. Magic items should be rare and special, not required.

My thoughts as well. Game should be playable even without them. They should not be mandatory.
The only major change I want is:

Make leveling a power mechanic again.  Right now it's a pacing mechanic where you get the illusion of becoming more powerful, but you actually don't.  Your skills go up by half a level?  that's nice-- DCs scale up the exact same rate.  Defenses go up at around a point a level between half level bonuses, feats and magic items?  That's nice, monster "to hit" bonuses go up at the same rate.  Got more HP when you level up?  That's nice.  Monsters now do that percentage more damage.

What you actually get when you level up is more options to choose.  Another feat to pick.  Another power to pick.  A paragon path to pick.  That sort of thing.

As much as it pains me to admit it after arguing against it, the power level framework approach of all the previous editions is actually better.  At first I thought the 4E way of doing it was better because of balance and whatnot, but now I've come to realize that 4E's power level system is one of not having one at all, but instead an illusion/obfuscation of the system math to make it seem like things are changing when they are not.
Something random:

Replace class abilities by level with Skill Trees.
Everyone of [class] being pretty much identical to anyone else of [class] has plagued the system since the 1970's.  Proficienices, Skills, Feats, Abilities, etc. have just been band-aids over the problem.

Go steal the relevant bits from Saga Edition, and maybe even improve on it.  4E tried to do so, but it needed to try harder.

3. Magic items should be rare and special, not required.


Magic items should be as "rare and special" or as "ubiquitous and mundane" as the DM desires.  Grueling though a meatgrinder dungeon for a Sword +1, or simply handing the players a "Sears Catalog" over an adventure downtime are both equally valid.

The only major change I want is:

Make leveling a power mechanic again.  Right now it's a pacing mechanic where you get the illusion of becoming more powerful, but you actually don't.  Your skills go up by half a level?  that's nice-- DCs scale up the exact same rate.  Defenses go up at around a point a level between half level bonuses, feats and magic items?  That's nice, monster "to hit" bonuses go up at the same rate.  Got more HP when you level up?  That's nice.  Monsters now do that percentage more damage.

What you actually get when you level up is more options to choose.  Another feat to pick.  Another power to pick.  A paragon path to pick.  That sort of thing.

As much as it pains me to admit it after arguing against it, the power level framework approach of all the previous editions is actually better.  At first I thought the 4E way of doing it was better because of balance and whatnot, but now I've come to realize that 4E's power level system is one of not having one at all, but instead an illusion/obfuscation of the system math to make it seem like things are changing when they are not.



I think this is more a product of DMs using mostly at-level encounters (or +- 4/6), without letting you see the higher stuff until you can fight it. In a long running campaign, where the Rakshasa sitting on his throne casually sees through your attempts at deception, and sends you running like mice at a threat, though you manage to take his guards out in skirmishes to free someone from the dungeons, you're definitely going to feel more powerful 5 levels later when he is fooled by your cunning disguises, slips into your trap, and you cut through his guards like ribbons as you make your way to an evenly matched fight against him and his elite bodyguard.

Sure, you're evenly matched against that at-level monster, but it used to be a snivelling kobold, and it's now a ferocious demon from some unspeakable realm.

"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
Indeed, 'level' is one way of saying "this creature is more powerful than this other creature". Creatures/players of equal level should be roughly evenly matched.
Indeed, 'level' is one way of saying "this creature is more powerful than this other creature". Creatures/players of equal level should be roughly evenly matched.



As any true D&D fan knows, level is a way of saying "this player has this much experience in this class (but a different amount if it was any other class)", "this spell is more powerful than that other spell", "this monster is more powerful than that monster", and "this part of the dungeon is lower down than that part", along with 5-6 other meanings :P
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
    I'd like to see an economy in the game that actually made sense.   Why make a character who can make potions when there is no savings to doing so?    Why make a character who can make magic items when you loose money with every sale?   If you don't want to allow characters to do these things, then just don't allow player classes to do them, don't make them economically nonsensical.  In pretty much any game I've played in, RPGA or home, people simply buy what they want in big towns, even people with the skill to make them, rather than take the time in the adventure to make magic items.

    Also, I'd like to see them get rid of Magic Item Daily powers and just have encounter or at will powers.    This should also get rid of the "The player can only use X daily powers off of items a day" argument that always comes up.

                                                                   Boojum the brown bunny
Indeed, 'level' is one way of saying "this creature is more powerful than this other creature". Creatures/players of equal level should be roughly evenly matched.



As any true D&D fan knows, level is a way of saying "this player has this much experience in this class (but a different amount if it was any other class)", "this spell is more powerful than that other spell", "this monster is more powerful than that monster", and "this part of the dungeon is lower down than that part", along with 5-6 other meanings :P



If 5E reconnects "level" with "this part of the dungeon is lower down than that part" I will be a very, very happy camper.  And if it reconnects "level" with all the other ways it has been used in pre-3.x D&D, I'll be even happier still.

Till then, I'll play Dark Dungeons and help out with the 5E playtest as I can.
 Also, I'd like to see them get rid of Magic Item Daily powers and just have encounter or at will powers.


Yeah, I'd like to see just more cool static or at-will properties on magic items. Powers on items is just another thing for the players to remember- there's enough on their character sheets already.

    I'd like to see an economy in the game that actually made sense.



YES!

I definitley want to see any sign of GPs as a form of XPs that you spend go away.

They should just base everything off of a silver piece being a minimum wage labourer's pay per day like it was historically and go from there.

Part of the charm of earlier editions is that you could spend your GPs on building a castle or a temple or a fleet of ships or something and have that be an actual part of the game rather than in 4E where if you did that, it drains power away from your character because you didn't spend the money on magic items.

Also, if they can speed up combat and make the majority of XPs not come from killing monsters, and then return wandering monsters to the game...

We'll see.Cool
As WotC begins to think about how they want the new D&D to look, here are my observations and suggestions for the three most important things about 4E that I would change:

1) Base hit rate needs to be much higher.


2) Treat magic items as what they are: an aspect of character advancement.


3) Better integration of rituals.  I like the basic idea of rituals -- it was a good move, separating them from combat abilities.  However, for some reason, I feel like they are now too separate.  Too many classes and subclasses don't have automatic access to them.  The component thing is a little forced and a pain to track.  The ritual book rules are a little unwieldy.

I would continue the trend I've seen recently of making the caster use healing surges.  Remove components entirely, except in certain rare cases.  Give all caster-type classes automatic access, and don't let other people use them (i.e., eliminate the feat).  Allow some rituals to have a lasting minor combat effect.  (This is okay because you are using healing surges to cast them.)  Allow party members to donate healing surges to the casting cost.


Anyway, those are my Big Three.  I'm sure other players have other things they care about just as much or more, but I'm betting the accuracy thing is probably up there for a LOT of people, and I hope it gets addressed.  I really do see it as 4E's biggest flaw.





Agree almost entirely. The part that I bolded is the only exception. Instead, I would like to see rituals accessable to all classes, but have specific rituals tied to power source and/or class. The rogue can't cast Raise Dead, but he can learn an exploration ritual, for instance.

That, include martial practices, and fix them a bit, or some combination. There's no good reason my rogue arcane dabbler can represent his dabbling with one wizard spell and the abillity to cast some rituals.

There could be feats that allow limited access to power source specific rituals, but class specific ones would require a feat after multi-classing into that class, perhaps. Something along those lines.

I would keep scrolls as something that anyone can use theoretically, but have it be harder for someone with no skill in that type of ritual/from the wrong class, and expensive(for the important rituals. scrolls for fun rituals that are low impact could be cheap) to create, and thus to purchase.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
    I'd like to see an economy in the game that actually made sense.   Why make a character who can make potions when there is no savings to doing so?    Why make a character who can make magic items when you loose money with every sale?   If you don't want to allow characters to do these things, then just don't allow player classes to do them, don't make them economically nonsensical.  In pretty much any game I've played in, RPGA or home, people simply buy what they want in big towns, even people with the skill to make them, rather than take the time in the adventure to make magic items.

    Also, I'd like to see them get rid of Magic Item Daily powers and just have encounter or at will powers.    This should also get rid of the "The player can only use X daily powers off of items a day" argument that always comes up.

                                                                   Boojum the brown bunny



I agree that a character, such as an Artificer, should be able to craft things that are worth crafting. As is, it's all a trap option to do so. Being able to craft something worthwhile and maybe even sell it later should be part of the character's abilties. It shouldn't allow the character to gain items that are beyond its normal reach to acquire, but it should at least allow them to craft somethign that is appropriate for the level at a slight discount. It can't be a huge discount or you may screw up power balance (even the slight discount might be too much).

If daily powers remain, dailiy item powers should remain. They have their purposes if the system remains as AEDU or similar.
Indeed, 'level' is one way of saying "this creature is more powerful than this other creature". Creatures/players of equal level should be roughly evenly matched.

 

As any true D&D fan knows, level is a way of saying "this player has this much experience in this class (but a different amount if it was any other class)", "this spell is more powerful than that other spell", "this monster is more powerful than that monster", and "this part of the dungeon is lower down than that part", along with 5-6 other meanings :P

 

If 5E reconnects "level" with "this part of the dungeon is lower down than that part" I will be a very, very happy camper.  And if it reconnects "level" with all the other ways it has been used in pre-3.x D&D, I'll be even happier still.

Till then, I'll play Dark Dungeons and help out with the 5E playtest as I can.



The problem is conversations like the following:

"That spell looks awesome! what level is it?"
"9"
"Hey, I'm level 9, I should learn it!"
"no, you can't learn level 9 spells until you're level 16"
"oh... well anyway, where are we off to next?"
"to level 20 of the Dreadmines"
"level 20? isn't that a bit high?"
"no, the monsters are only level 4"
"Surely that will be too easy?"
"not at all, level 4 monsters are about right for a level 9 party, using level 3 spells, on level 20 of the dungeon and I've gone cross eyed..."
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
1. Hit rate should be around 70%
 I could have sworn I saw some research early on in 4e showing that happiness from a game is maximized when success rate is around 70%. I can't find it now, but it makes sense. You hit often enough to be satisfied, but not so often that it feels trivial.

2. Kill +1-6 magic items.
If you're going to stick with the common/uncommon/rare items, it's probably ok to allow a +1 hit, or +1 damage as a *rare* enchantment, and limit rare items to 1 per character. 

3. Decouple combat from ability scores.
This one is a longshot, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to reinvent the wheel, but this makes the math a lot simpler. Ability scores should stick around for skill checks and feat prerequisites.  
As WotC begins to think about how they want the new D&D to look, here are my observations and suggestions for the three most important things about 4E that I would change:

1) Base hit rate needs to be much higher.


2) Treat magic items as what they are: an aspect of character advancement.


3) Better integration of rituals.  I like the basic idea of rituals -- it was a good move, separating them from combat abilities.  However, for some reason, I feel like they are now too separate.  Too many classes and subclasses don't have automatic access to them.  The component thing is a little forced and a pain to track.  The ritual book rules are a little unwieldy.

I would continue the trend I've seen recently of making the caster use healing surges.  Remove components entirely, except in certain rare cases.  Give all caster-type classes automatic access, and don't let other people use them (i.e., eliminate the feat).  Allow some rituals to have a lasting minor combat effect.  (This is okay because you are using healing surges to cast them.)  Allow party members to donate healing surges to the casting cost.


Anyway, those are my Big Three.  I'm sure other players have other things they care about just as much or more, but I'm betting the accuracy thing is probably up there for a LOT of people, and I hope it gets addressed.  I really do see it as 4E's biggest flaw.





Agree almost entirely. The part that I bolded is the only exception. Instead, I would like to see rituals accessable to all classes, but have specific rituals tied to power source and/or class. The rogue can't cast Raise Dead, but he can learn an exploration ritual, for instance.

That, include martial practices, and fix them a bit, or some combination. There's no good reason my rogue arcane dabbler can represent his dabbling with one wizard spell and the abillity to cast some rituals.

There could be feats that allow limited access to power source specific rituals, but class specific ones would require a feat after multi-classing into that class, perhaps. Something along those lines.

I would keep scrolls as something that anyone can use theoretically, but have it be harder for someone with no skill in that type of ritual/from the wrong class, and expensive(for the important rituals. scrolls for fun rituals that are low impact could be cheap) to create, and thus to purchase.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Considering the only thing gold is normally spent on in a campaign is magic items, I don't see all that much difference between 2) a) and what we have now, aside from a relabelling of terms. Unless I'm misunderstanding and characters are choosing to put XP into either magic items or their class as they get it.

For magic items, what I'd like to see is the bonuses removed from them, so they are no longer essential to keep up with the monsters, and just add broader options (some of which will be more powerful than others, but should not be necessary just to hit anything, and very powerful ones should be severely limited), so that DMs can more easily run a low magic campaign without nerfing their players. The rules are probably best kept assuming a relatively high magic campaign however, since it is probably easier to keep balance by adjusting PC stats upwards to compensate in a low magic setting than making up enough items to keep them happy in a high magic setting.



I like the idea of making gold more versatile in potential use, so you can spend it on all the things Andrelai listed. Sounds good to me.

ANd I agree with you about items, and what the default campaign type should be, so long as the other end is fully supported. This is one of the few things where I'm with the recent L&L trend of sliding scale design philosophy.

Let a +1 sword always be valuable. If that's a plus one to damage, ok. If it is, instead, a +1 to both, with very few other ways to get such a bonus, that works too. The +1 item property should be something that could show up on an item of just about any level, that way. A flaming sword is a cool item because it gives a small typed (item) bonus to damage, and makes attacks deal fire damage, and has an attached fire related power. Maybe a burst of flame on an attack, or a gout of flame you can make shoot out of it once an encounter or day or whatever.



3. Magic items should be rare and special, not required.


Magic items should be as "rare and special" or as "ubiquitous and mundane" as the DM desires.  Grueling though a meatgrinder dungeon for a Sword +1, or simply handing the players a "Sears Catalog" over an adventure downtime are both equally valid.




THIS.


-------------------

Whoever said Shadow can go back into it's hole, or whatever: No. You may not be interested in it, but it is an important part of the genre. People want to play Shadow Heroes. Get over it.



Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
3. Decouple combat from ability scores.
This one is a longshot, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to reinvent the wheel, but this makes the math a lot simpler. Ability scores should stick around for skill checks and feat prerequisites.  



No! No ability score feat pre-reqs. 4th edition stupidly kept them, and worse, tied certain weapons to abilities.


No ability score feat pre-reqs.

If only...