General design requests for D&D 5e

I am curious to see what will come in the next edition.  If Wizards is as keen as taking player input as they say there are, I'd like to have my voice heard.  I started playing D&D with the 3.0 rules.  At the time me and my friends had fun doing adventures and it was a regular event.  The system works really well at the lower levels and with a relatively minimum amount of rules materials (that is, keeping it to the core rules).  As time wore on I read more about some of the supplemental material introduced.  We converted over the 3.5, and we transitioned onwards to mid-level adventures.  This is where the game started to wear on me.  Battles with hit point racing would take longer and longer.  Some battles were over instantly because the monster(s) failed its save.  I kept strict to core-material only because I've read enough about 100 AC characters and super-kobold psions.  But even then planning adventures for mid level characters became difficult.  4E has it's own problems and I'm sure Wizards is well aware of them, thus the new edition.

My recommendations: Keep the power scale low.  Make heroic characters about player understanding of tactics, planning, as well as just having the daring to take on that dragon where no one else will, rather than about big numbers.  A great example of a rule system I have fallen in love with is Savage Worlds.  Key features of this system is that traits (stats and skills, including fighting) dange from d4 to d12, so the power scale difference in new characters and high level characters is fairly low.  Also, using dice means there's a finite chance of failure even among heroic characters.  This doesn't mean they're incompetent, but rather some times they have to improvise and try a different solution.  It helps to keep the game interesting instead of bypassing a bunch of details with, "I take 10".  This also keeps power inflation from jumping to insane levels where the GM has to start inventing new threats to keep the players challenged.  Eberron for example seems to be a more appealing world because most of the world is below 10th level.  This helps keep the players the star of the show instead of leaving them to wonder why Elminster can't just teleport in, disentegrate the beholder, teleport out, and otherwise do everything the adventurers could do with a lot less effort.

Put the emphasis on flavor, not rules.  We don't need 20 different classes that are all about dealing physical damage.  Using feats and skills alone, it should be possible to build a knight, a swashbuckler, a raging barbarian, an archer, and a pugilist all out of the same "fighter" class.  This helps make the system appealing as players don't have to languish about not having the books or material to do what they want, and lets them play the character exactly as they like, by using a bit of imagination to fill in the details instead of etching every bit of flavor into the rules.

Focus on content.  Eberron for example is a very interesting world and there's a lot of potential here.  There's some books for it already, but I'm still often asking myself questions about characters and locations.  And more important, where the future may lead.   It's one thing for the adventurers to have a hand in the world, but I want them to feel like they're in a world and that events will transpire while they're off adventuring.  Material that shows me where the big movers are likely to head without interference helps save me time and provide a deeper experience.  In line with content, how about producing some meta-plot heavy material?  A setting with particular start and a particular end.  This doesn't have to be all of the content, just some stuff to keep players occupied other than selling constant rules books.

Experienced gamer. D&D 3.x, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Dark Heresy, GURPS, various WW games, and more. Currently running Savage Worlds set in Eberron.
NO ATTACK ROLLS!!!
It would speed thing up ALOT, and HP is already nicely abstracted....

AC/Fort/Ref/Will will all be resists...
Fireball would just do 5d6 damage...
Stoneskin would add resist 4 for a turn...
1-weapon MBA would do 1d8+Str...
2-weapon MBA would do 1d12+Str...
Shields would give (stackable) resist 1/2...
Heavy armor would absorb X damage per battle...
Dex/Int would let you avoid any damage below your mod..
Effects are applied if you take a certain amount of damage (i.e. if you take 10+ damage from dazing strike you are dazed, 20+ and you are stunned).

(obviosuly these number's need some adjustment).

Otherwise, i like where 4e was going with the multiple levels of complexity and stuff.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I completely agree there are too many classes and races at the moment. They should be more unique and have playstyles that feel different to other classes. 4e homogenised the classes quite a lot. For example perhaps the wizard would be one of only a couple of classes that could immobilise, or fighters the only ones that can slide targets around. As it stands, pretty much any class can pick abilities that another class can do.

All character choices should be decent, balanced choices. There shouldn't be any bad options because the numbers are too low. Perhaps have separate combat and non-combat catagories for choices so that players don't have to sacrafice RP abilities for combat powers.

Extended rests and daily powers are pointless and just headaches in managing them. They don't fit well with gameplay and have to be shoe-horned in. A spell point augmentation system would be much nicer.

Magic items should be a rare treasured reward and not required to be upgraded every 5 levels.

Minor point, but currency is messed up in 4e. What's the point in copper and silver, when players get gold from level 1?
NO ATTACK ROLLS!!!
It would speed thing up ALOT, and HP is already nicely abstracted....

AC/Fort/Ref/Will will all be resists...
Fireball would just do 5d6 damage...
Stoneskin would add resist 4 for a turn...
1-weapon MBA would do 1d8+Str...
2-weapon MBA would do 1d12+Str...
Shields would give (stackable) resist 1/2...
Heavy armor would absorb X damage per battle...
Dex/Int would let you avoid any damage below your mod..
Effects are applied if you take a certain amount of damage (i.e. if you take 10+ damage from dazing strike you are dazed, 20+ and you are stunned).

(obviosuly these number's need some adjustment).

Otherwise, i like where 4e was going with the multiple levels of complexity and stuff.



i would suggest the other way around no damage rolls
damage from powers and weapons becomes static so a longsword would do 5 damage also all damage bonuses would be static.

so longsword attack 5 damage longsword 4 damage from ability score 2 damage from feats, 2 damage from magic
total 13 damage
you roll a to hit roll and each point you roll above the targets fefence gets added to damage

so the above atack against a ac 20 creature.
if your attack roll with modefyers is 28

you do 13+8 =21 damage 



My incomplete wishlist:

1. No OGL
2. No 3E-style multiclassing
3. No god wizards and meathead fighters
4. Clerics are more than healbots, and not the only good healer in the game.
...whatever
i would suggest the other way around no damage rolls
damage from powers and weapons becomes static so a longsword would do 5 damage also all damage bonuses would be static.

so longsword attack 5 damage longsword 4 damage from ability score 2 damage from feats, 2 damage from magic
total 13 damage
you roll a to hit roll and each point you roll above the targets fefence gets added to damage

so the above atack against a ac 20 creature.
if your attack roll with modefyers is 28

you do 13+8 =21 damage


Yup. d20 is core to D&D. You can't not use it.

This static damage system would work for a basic system.

i would suggest the other way around no damage rolls
damage from powers and weapons becomes static so a longsword would do 5 damage also all damage bonuses would be static.

so longsword attack 5 damage longsword 4 damage from ability score 2 damage from feats, 2 damage from magic
total 13 damage
you roll a to hit roll and each point you roll above the targets fefence gets added to damage

so the above atack against a ac 20 creature.
if your attack roll with modefyers is 28

you do 13+8 =21 damage

Yup. d20 is core to D&D. You can't not use it.

This static damage system would work for a basic system.

You can still use it, for skills and such.
Just not for "to-hit" stuff.

Or mabey fireball will do 1d20+5d6 damage.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

"Magic items should be a rare treasured reward and not required to be upgraded every 5 levels."

No. There should be a choice, at least, between having low magic and high magic play. And magic items should be balanced so that high magic play isn't rediculous.


Many of us want our cool magic items, and want them to be impactful, but not overwhelming in importance. We are no less a part of the game/community than you. I speak as both a player and a DM.
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
"Magic items should be a rare treasured reward and not required to be upgraded every 5 levels."

No. There should be a choice, at least, between having low magic and high magic play. And magic items should be balanced so that high magic play isn't rediculous.


Many of us want our cool magic items, and want them to be impactful, but not overwhelming in importance. We are no less a part of the game/community than you. I speak as both a player and a DM.



I like high magic campaigns, but needing a new item just to upgrade a number on it for the math fixes doesnt speak of high magic to me. Let magic items be things that add options, add power, and add flavour, but put the math fixes in the system to begin with (of course, a low magic campaign will still need some rebalancing vs a high magic campaign). Let me feel like the magic item merchant is finally letting me into the back room where he keeps the items too powerful for those he doesn not trust (and who don't have the gold to pay for them), rather than sucking his teeth and saying "well, that flaming sword you had might have been good enough for those kobolds you were hunting, but it's gonna be pretty useless against them orcs, you need this slightly sharper, but otherwise indistingushable sword instead!"
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
Many of us want our cool magic items, and want them to be impactful, but not overwhelming in importance. We are no less a part of the game/community than you. I speak as both a player and a DM.


I gave my personal opinion, I did not state other's aren't valid, and I'm sure if any designers at WotC read this (which I doubt) they will take everyone's opinion on board (I would hope!)
Woah, this thread went everywhere!

I come from a very diverse gaming background.  As such I prefer class-less systems altogether.  But most of them are bogged down by cumbersome point-based systems or giant lists of skills/feats.  I can live with classes staying in the game, but devising 5 different classes that are slight variations on the same concept is silly, when a couple of feat or perhaps more over-arching options (power sets?) could do the same job.

In another thread: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

The poster states that the accuracy gap at levels needs to go away, and to this extent I agree.  If anything it sounds like they're advocating reducing the power growth of the game a lot, which is something I can get behind.
Experienced gamer. D&D 3.x, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Dark Heresy, GURPS, various WW games, and more. Currently running Savage Worlds set in Eberron.
New edition for the diehard gamers, I am excited to see where it goes. My suggestions are as follows:


  1. Stick with the classes that built the game. I.E. Fighter or Fighting-man, Magic-User, Priest or Cleric, and the Thief (not rogue THIEF). After all, the game started with these four CORE classes. 

  2. Stop with the outlandish races as playable races. Keep monsters as monsters. The core races have always been Dwarf, Human, Elf, and Halfling. Maybe keep the Gnome and Half-elf.

  3. Revamp the combat system though. Defense should be changed to fit, what I call, "the makes sense" rules. When you are being attacked, armor doesn't stop the blow, it absorbs damage from the blow. So AC should be broken in two. Have one score for defense, which could be reflected through the Reflex defense or save. Then one have armor be Damage Reduction. 

  4. The whole fourth edition powers thing should be taken out. It was cute, but come on, it was just a way for people who couldn't imagine to be able see what their characters are doing. Fighters attack, that is it plain and simple, but what else do they need to do? They don't need special attacks. The thief is a hidden backstabber. Keep it that way, don't let him look you in the face and then backstab from the front? The priest should be able to do more than heal, everyone knows that. Wizards should be able to cast more magic, true? But the whole powers thing is useless when magic worked before. One or two changes and the magic system is fine as far as they are concerned..which leads me to

  5. Revamp the wizard to include magic missle as a cantrip, we all know there isn't a mage in the game that can't cast it all the time. That will solve their problems, let them use it all the time kinda like the blast that third edition warlocks had. 

  6. The monsters should have customizable stat blocks, we don't need to see five kinds of goblins. Just one stat block that can be changed and customized. 

  7. Make the skills are larger part of the game and do away with that stupid skill challenge stuff, I for one didn't ever use it in my games. To me it was a waste of time. 

  8. This one isn't really a change but an observation of my game group. I have always been asked.."How do I know if I am the better swordsman than him." Which is a valid point, in D&D you don't know, the only way to answer is: He has the higher attack so he is the better swordsman. I have recently been forsaking most D20 games for more open game systems. Ones that are classe-less and that the mechanics of the game set to be more realistic. Do i think this is best for everyone, no. But, it is a nice look at what games can become. 


So, do I think these ideas are best for everyone, no. I think everyone has customized the rules of D&D, because everyones group is different. Some prefer the 4E rules for the simplicity while others prefer the crunchy rules of 2nd Edition. I for one have always like 2nd Edition and every other edition of D&D. The game has always been great. I feel that 4th was a step in the wrong direction though. It took the game away from the imaginations of the players and dm and put it on the table as a board game. There is nothing better, that i remember, than sitting at the table, DM screen up and staring over it at the excited faces of my brave game group. Who, as it were, are sitting there with dice, pencil and a piece of loose leaf paper that has been turned into a character sheet. Notes dot the margins and old scores are replaced by new ones to form a muddied figure eight look from the multitude of numbers that had filled the space. For some of them, on the back of the paper, is a list of spells for their character. THAT my friends is D&D. Together, at the table, minds open and imaginations running wild. Thank you for listening to my speech and now on with your feedback. 
Now, come on, return to AD&D days? NEVER. It was bad and wonky. 3,X MAX. 

Rogue is a better class name than Thief, as it implies more thank just stealing and stuff.
2. It is time fantasy go beyond more and more beyond Tolkionisms, MORE alien races like science-fiction does so well. Peoples are tired of tolkienisms only, and crave for more, as Eberron and Exalted shown well.

4. Keep powers, you do not get what they are maybe. 
New edition for the diehard gamers, I am excited to see where it goes. My suggestions are as follows:


  1. Stick with the classes that built the game. I.E. Fighter or Fighting-man, Magic-User, Priest or Cleric, and the Thief (not rogue THIEF). After all, the game started with these four CORE classes. 

  2. Stop with the outlandish races as playable races. Keep monsters as monsters. The core races have always been Dwarf, Human, Elf, and Halfling. Maybe keep the Gnome and Half-elf.

  3. Revamp the combat system though. Defense should be changed to fit, what I call, "the makes sense" rules. When you are being attacked, armor doesn't stop the blow, it absorbs damage from the blow. So AC should be broken in two. Have one score for defense, which could be reflected through the Reflex defense or save. Then one have armor be Damage Reduction. 

  4. The whole fourth edition powers thing should be taken out. It was cute, but come on, it was just a way for people who couldn't imagine to be able see what their characters are doing. Fighters attack, that is it plain and simple, but what else do they need to do? They don't need special attacks. The thief is a hidden backstabber. Keep it that way, don't let him look you in the face and then backstab from the front? The priest should be able to do more than heal, everyone knows that. Wizards should be able to cast more magic, true? But the whole powers thing is useless when magic worked before. One or two changes and the magic system is fine as far as they are concerned..which leads me to

  5. Revamp the wizard to include magic missle as a cantrip, we all know there isn't a mage in the game that can't cast it all the time. That will solve their problems, let them use it all the time kinda like the blast that third edition warlocks had. 

  6. The monsters should have customizable stat blocks, we don't need to see five kinds of goblins. Just one stat block that can be changed and customized. 

  7. Make the skills are larger part of the game and do away with that stupid skill challenge stuff, I for one didn't ever use it in my games. To me it was a waste of time. 

  8. This one isn't really a change but an observation of my game group. I have always been asked.."How do I know if I am the better swordsman than him." Which is a valid point, in D&D you don't know, the only way to answer is: He has the higher attack so he is the better swordsman. I have recently been forsaking most D20 games for more open game systems. Ones that are classe-less and that the mechanics of the game set to be more realistic. Do i think this is best for everyone, no. But, it is a nice look at what games can become. 




1974 called, they don't want their ideas back.  Even they think they were trite, cliche', and lame.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Well I do agree with killing the skill challenges and giving all Wizards Magic Missile for free, but other than that, yeah, totally lame list.
Well I do agree with killing the skill challenges and giving all Wizards Magic Missile for free, but other than that, yeah, totally lame list.



Pardon the crude phrasing, but ... what is with the hardon people seem to have for Magic Missile?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
My only wish is that the next edition be compatable with 4E even if only slightly. I'm sure I'd like whatever comes out but I'd hate to have to sell all of my 4E stuff just so I could afford to stay current. Especially with the elemental book comming out which I really want to buy.
So at this point at least, I don't really have a dog in this fight.  I'm perfectly happy playing my retroclones and I see no reason to switch.  That said I wish WoTC every success in the world in this endeavour so I hope you'll put up with me blathering on a bit while I yammer about what D&D would look like in my 'perfect world'

First off, I think they should take a good hard look at Labyrinth Lord and mine it for some ideas.

For example in LL you have the core rulebook which is basically a clone of the B/X edition of D&D, race=class, and all that jazz.  If you want though you can buy the Advanced Edition Compendium, which expands your options to include the race/class combos from AD&D.  You can also buy the Original Edition characters, which lets you play Fighting Men, Magic Users and the other classes from the original LBB's.

The key thing though is that all of the different 'editions' are cross compatible, even within the same gaming table.  In my LL group for example we have a Dwarf, and Elf, a Human Wizard, a Human Illusionist, two thieves and a pair of Human Fighters.  We have also at various points had a Druid and a Paladin in the party.  We were able to do this because the XP tables all made sense for everyone across the board and the system doesn't break when you add the "advanced" characters to it. 

In my perfect world the next edition would be a game that you buy digitally (or subscribe to DDI for) and it gains you access to the complete ruleset in digital format, it doesn't have to be PDF's necessarily, but some way for the reader to see the different subsystems and be able to compare them to see what suits them best.  Then you can enter into a form where you build your game a-la carte with varying levels of complexity as suits your desires.  Then you go through and tick off the boxes that you want for 'your' D&D.  It totals up the price based on what you chose, gets printed on demand and shipped.  This would also let players who have been gaming for years skip the ever-present intro chapter that tells you "Roleplaying games exist in your imagination!" and "We use funny dice!" or other advice type things that they don't necessarily need or want a hard copy of but still make it available to new players who might want it.

For example say the "Character Creation" chapter runs the gambit from having a very simple retroclone style chargen where there are no "skills" there are no "powers" or "feats".  You have your race, your class, hit points, attributes, and a modifier to your attack roll... that's it.

The next level of complexity allows the player to pick feats and some form of skill system.

Another level allows the player to pick various combat powers.

One thing that would make this extremely newbie friendly is that it would be entirely possible for WoTC to come up with 3 or 4 various predefined 'packages' that could be sold in stores.  The basic edition would be very simple, and maybe, just maybe allow them to recapture the magic of the redbox where you had a complete game, in a small package that could be sold for a reasonable price.  Then you could have the "regular D&D" edition with added complexity, and finally "Advanced D&D" with further complexity.

A second possibility would be to scale the introduction of complex materials in the "Core Edition".  I think that BECMI did this fairly well with the different books adding different rulesets that slowly increased the complexity of the game starting with a character who could easily fit onto an index card, all the way up until players were running around with demi-gods who could alter reality.
Well I do agree with killing the skill challenges and giving all Wizards Magic Missile for free, but other than that, yeah, totally lame list.



Pardon the crude phrasing, but ... what is with the hardon people seem to have for Magic Missile?



The main thing I like about it is its free, so I only like it when its free, obviously.
The only other thing I like about it is its simple.
Keep the classes/roles balanced so that a player considers not just their own character, but what roles the group needs to be successful. Beyond that I would say that the key to making a new edition successful is to abaondon printed products. Take the entire thing digital, with online tools to streamline prep.

The only real products to sell are the gaming accessories: dice, miniatures, maps, dry erase mats, etc.

The business focus has to change from products to service.

First of all, WotC will never make any money on printed material because pirated PDF copies are so easy to obtain. The material is useless until you actually decide to play a game, and that is where there is the greatest opportunity.

WotC will make this a successful edition through top notch online software tools. Access to every update, addition, revision or correction from ANY official source in one central location. Everyone is always up to date. Maybe a free subscription gets only material and character builder from the core products, but paid account gives you everything for CB, DM tools, etc.

As a player and DM of 4e the past year I love the Character Builder. So much more efficient than a pile of books, pen and paper. I want more tools like this to make gameplay easier. I want to play at a table with miniatures, maps and dice, but I want my laptop open to help me keep track of stuff.  My most wanted tool is a good initiative/hp/status tracker, not necessarily where everyone is, after all we have the maps and minis for that, but help remind us who's turn is it, is anyone blind, bloodied, slowed, marked, used their action point, etc. Another tool should be 'quick reference'. Type in a question "how do you break a hold?" and  instantly get your answer.

I would also like a complete software package to walk DM through adventure creation. Step by Step, maps to choose from or customize, add some monsters, add a skill challenge, etc. Flexible to make things more complicated or just keep easy. (would be great if you could maybe even load in player characters to get a specific level of difficulty estimation)

The goal should be that a group of 3-4 people with their laptops can sit down and in less than 15 minutes can create characters AND a simple custom adventure and be ready to roll some dice.

Lastly, In addition to selling boxes of minis in store, let us do online orders for specific miniatures. If I am planning a game for next week and for $4.50 I can actually get that Remorhaz figure to make my encounter that much more awesome I might do it. Right now I bought a few boxes of figures and have lots of stuff I will never use. I dont buy more boxes hoping for the stuff I want, I just substitute everything. It's lame when we keep using the same figures to represent every monster.
I don't envy the designers of 5e, they have an impossible task.  For the first time with 4e an edition was less evolution and more reaction.  Before that each changeover, even the half steps, seemed to focus on refining what came before.  Which brings me to my first point.

1) Make 5e an evolution of D&D, not a revolution.  All but newest player is a grognard, change for the sake of change isn't going to attract new people in droves.  5e being built from 4e or the older series doesn't matter on the whole, what does matter is connecting with what came before.

2) Write off one group of players.  Its impossible to please both 4e and 3e players.  Focus on pleasing one group and making them ecstatic.    This isn't to say ignore what ideas the other game has to offer, rather to ignore the sensibilities of that edition.
To throw a bone to the other group, consider continuing support for the older edition on a small scale rather than contorting 5e to try and entice both groups.  Dungeon & Dragons Classics has a nice sound.

3) Too much balance is boring.  Don't be afraid to let some characters be  somewhat more powerful than others, imbalance is a big part of what sets the various classes apart.

4) Make the math work.  If the players say the math isn't working, listen.  Fix it in the core rules, not with patches.  If that means the charts don't follow a nice neat pattern, suffer with it.  Its ok for +5 swords to go away if that makes the math work out well.  We can make do with magic items doing other things than inflating numbers.  (I wear a Helmet of Brilliance now.  Helmets of Brilliance are cool.)

5) Listen to the players.  Feedback was ignored in earlier edition play tests much to the detriment of the games.  Don't make that same mistake.  Asking for feedback is only part of the process, but it is a very important one.  Good job!

6) Make it fun.  There will be complaining, take the good and let the bad be forgotten.  As long as the basics of 5e work well, DMs can always house rule away their pet peeves.

May the gods of gaming smile on this endeavor.
My preliminary suggestion for the design and development team:

Find a copy of the 1993 TSR Catalog.

Open it to Steve Winter's essay "Why I Play the AD&D Game."

Read it. Keep reading it until you understand it.

You don't have to agree with it, but it reflects a mindset different from the ones behind 3E and 4E, and if you want to reunify the fans, you should probably take it into account.

(I don't agree with it entirely myself--I think it sometimes makes bugs into features--but it's definitely worth paying careful attention to.)
My preliminary suggestion for the design and development team:

Find a copy of the 1993 TSR Catalog.

Open it to Steve Winter's essay "Why I Play the AD&D Game."

Read it. Keep reading it until you understand it.

You don't have to agree with it, but it reflects a mindset different from the ones behind 3E and 4E, and if you want to reunify the fans, you should probably take it into account.

(I don't agree with it entirely myself--I think it sometimes makes bugs into features--but it's definitely worth paying careful attention to.)

But... why?

Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?

It may not even work, and PISS OFF or be ignored by BOTH sides.

In life at times, you have to choose X OR Y - you can NOT have both.

There is the retroclones for those guys. 
Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?

If this is Hasbro's motivation, it's going to backfire spectacularly.

Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?

If this is Hasbro's motivation, it's going to backfire spectacularly.


My very point - again in life, there times where you can have one or the other things, but NOT both.

hasbro have eitheir to go retro, or progress. You can NOT have both, clearly, it will NOT work.

Myself, I would NEVERgo back to AD&Desque stuff. Ever. 
The issue is to fix 4E you'd need to scrap the power system and you'd need to scrap skill challenges.

So what are you really left with? The core d20 mechanic and that's about it.

Yet if they scrap all that they screw over all the people who've invested in 4th edition. But if they don't do something radically different nobody is going to bother as they'll either stay with 4E or with Paizo who has already outsold 4E on a meagre marketting budget.

Frankly unless they pull something pretty amazing out of their deck of many things they're ****ed. 
The issue is to fix 4E you'd need to scrap the power system and you'd need to scrap skill challenges.

So what are you really left with? The core d20 mechanic and that's about it.

Yet if they scrap all that they screw over all the people who've invested in 4th edition. But if they don't do something radically different nobody is going to bother as they'll either stay with 4E or with Paizo who has already outsold 4E on a meagre marketting budget.

Frankly unless they pull something pretty amazing out of their deck of many things they're ****ed. 

No prooves solid of the sales of both, this argument is not useable. We can not find who outsold who.
But... why?

Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?

It may not even work, and PISS OFF or be ignored by BOTH sides.

In life at times, you have to choose X OR Y - you can NOT have both.

There is the retroclones for those guys. 



   Ah, but have you read the article?

  In it, Winter makes three points about what attracts him to AD&D--simplicity, flexibility, and the feeling of high adventure.

  Simplicity in that there are only three key variables you really have to worry about--race, class and level. Most mechanics are simple, self-contained, and modular.

  Flexibility in that since the mechanics have those features, they "can be bent in numerous ways without breaking."

  The final point . . . well, I've managed to track down the exact text of that part, so I'll let Winter speak for himself:

[T]he simplicity and abstractness of the AD&D game's combat and magic rules work to reinforce rather than weaken the player's imaginations. In an ultra-tactical game with pieces and playing maps and movement points and combat turns measured in seconds, the player's attention is focused on the map. Instead of imagining his character facing the towering ogre, instead of smelling its matted hide and hearing its lumbering step, the player sees his inch-tall miniature figure standing next to an inch-and-a-half tall ogre figure. How much more frightening is a dark, web-filled, musty, dripping corridor when it is conjured in the player's mind than when it is reduced to a few paper hexes?
The AD&D game is tailored to be purely imaginary. There are no complex movement rules, no detailed battle options. The heroic feats of the player characters and the images they create in the players' minds are the most important elements.



  It's too dismissive of miniatures-oriented play (I prefer the model of play it describes, but that doesn't mean I can't take issue with its tone), but I think the general principles of what appeals about the game should be taken into account--and really, if you streamlined the combat system and took away the focus on the grid, much of its philosophy could be applied to 4E without too much sweating.

  Where it differs from 3E, and to a lesser extent 4E, is the way that the newer system tried to make everything integrated and uniform across all play tables--and not only am I not sure it was an unqualified success, it appears that WotC themselves are moving away from that level of comprehensive, unified, 'rules for everything' play, judging from what we've heard so far.
Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?



What do you think WotC/Hasbro will choose: money or a good set of rules?


You can walk and chew bubblegum in life. 
Oh boy, a Design wish list! A lot of this post could easily be stabbing the d20 System, but rather than doing that, I will give my honest feedback, except not so honest since I don't want to stab d20 too much, just enough to make a point.

1. Make Hit Points less abstract please. Implement a system that makes Hit Points measure a character's health while also not being the only means to kill a character. Rely less on Hit Points to measure how close a character is to death. There are ways, don't look at me with that confused stare.

2. Keep the original classes and races, but expand the options for each in the Core rulebook so that a fighter is not just a fighter, he can also be a gladiator, a mercenary, a soldier, a knight, etc. Emphasize the differences between these options. My druid of the tundra is significantly different from a druid of the desert, the mechanics should play out to emphasize this difference. As such, my elf from the city is different from the elf from the woods.

3. Remove powers. Bring back god wizards, skill monkeys, and meat shield-y fighters. Remove static roles. Keep in mind that any class should have the option to play similarly to other 'roles', they simply don't do it as well because they are somewhat stuck in their main role. As such, every character with the same race and class should have options to keep them completely different from each other.

4. Remove the rating system for enemies. I know, this is difficult, but there are ways to 'centralize', so to speak, encounter challenges to work with any group, regardless of level. The d20 system is more flexible than one would think. Why remove the rating system? It's rather uneven anyways and really restricts the creativity that could go into monsters. By developing monsters as they would appear in any given game of DnD, not just specific challenges that the players would fight, the idea that combat should be used for any given situation is virtually eliminated and promotes the idea that players should be creative when dealing with monsters.

5. In response to number 4, eliminate the necessity of combat. I get it, DnD has been kill the dragon and steal the treasure, but logically, characters will come into contact with monsters that are far too powerful for them to deal with. Promoting the idea that they are in fact mortal, not super heroes, makes the game more exciting.

6. Streamline character creation, NOT the rules. It's surprising how simple a game becomes when you lay out character creation in a manner that makes it seem less complicated.

7. Make success and failure more abstract. Failing your Jump check shouldn't mean 'you fall and die', simply they didn't do it as well as they should. Also, DC's shouldn't be so specific. If a jump is difficult, it's difficult. The GM can give a specific description if they like, but this description shouldn't be so strict as to affect the DC.

8. NIT-PICKY STUFF: Simplify the combat system (dear god, especially grapple), make every weapon and armor unique, bring back the hefty tome of spells from past ediitions, rely less on mechanics and more on fluff, and don't make intricate rules for EVERYTHING EVER
Why reunificating the fandom, at the risk of dropping positive changes and evolution in designs, is important?



What do you think WotC/Hasbro will choose: money or a good set of rules?


You can walk and chew bubblegum in life. 



Yup, but 4e didn't meet sells expectations and Paizo seems to be doing fine.

Hmmmm. I wonder where WotC/Hasbro thinks the cash is... I know! Another completely new gaming system that has nothing to do with the not successful 4e and the successful 3.PF! It is so crazy...

In life also, the two sides can spin.

Don't buy the Paizzo cool aid, they are the CAQ of RPGdom. 
To be realistic, I own all of the RPGs that I will ever play already.  I never buy 4th edition.  I followed 3.5 and Eberron until it was killed.  I would support and buy additional Eberron material, but nothing else. 
Well people want DnD to fail...



It's too big to fail! The goberments gotta bail it out!
1.  A GURPS-like approach so you can customize your character to be your character.  Make a handful of class Archetypes (e.g. Fighter, Rogue, Mage, Cleric) with the ability to select powers, feats, proficiencies to specialize my character.   A rogue can become an assassin, ninja or acrobat.  A mage can be a pyromancer, necromancer, illusionist, etc.  A fighter can be a knight in plate, dual-wielder, armsmaster, or barbarian.  A cleric could be a paladin, druid, shaman and so on.

2. If you're going to promote D&D via novels featuring parties of with non-traditional party composition, make the game so that it doesn't require much, if any, encounter customization for non-traditional parties to just walk in and start playing.  Is it really necessary to push the game towards a pre-determined number of characters filling specific party roles (Healer, Tank, Striker, Controller)?

3.  If you're going to continue to sell an online application for the game, how about it working well before the follow-on edition of the game is released?  In other words, why is it that there are multiple free gaming apps yet the Virtual Table is still in beta and arguably has fewer features though I've been paying for the application for over a year?

4. Don't play the silly inflation game (later books with stronger pwers/feats) to try and sucker people into buying more books.  That only works with CCGs.  Your fan base is not buying more books to "keep up," they're buying them for the variety.

5.  4E isn't bad.  Take the time to rebaseline, refine, and balance the game.  Hopefully you were keeping a list of lessons learned while developing it.  If not, pay someone to do it this time.

6.  Think outside the box.  In a previous post someone commented on the D20 being a core to the game.  Does it really have to be?  If its not intuitive what interactions the dice are representing, perhaps the dice are unnecessary or perhaps a more intuitive mechanic could be used with the dice.

7.  Lose the "lets incorporate the latest teen trend as an aspect of the game."  I'm not playing Twilight The Roleplaying Game so I don't need monsters (Lycanthropes and Vampires) as characters.  I'd really hate to see D&D evolve into Harry Potter or someone else's fantasy world.

8.  Another comment on classes.  It seems that many, not necessarily all but probably a majority, enjoy dealing large damage.  Make it so each role, assuming you're going to emphasize roles, can deal significant damage and play their role.  I would eliminate strikers in that case and only have Tanks, Healers, and Controllers.  Each one would have strong attack powers with secondary effects (heal, tank--grab aggro, and control).  This allows everyone to be a striker.  To retain traditional roles for those who want them, allow feats that let them lessen their striker power in favor of additional "role-specific" bonuses ala a Pacifist Cleric.

9. Explain character mechanics more clearly in the Players Handbook by providing a sample character build and how it'd operate in combat.  This would eliminate the "need" for essentials classes.  I.e. "Here's what a sample Cleric would look.  See how we focused his stats on X and Y.  Since those were his primary abilities we chose race N because it provided bonuses to those ability scores.  We chose equipment A to serve as his implement which is necessary for power F.  Also, we selected feat Q to provide a bonus to power F."  Now you wouldn't have to spell everythign out but explaining explicity the special mechanics for a class such as a Ranger's Hunter's Quarry or a Warlock's Curse would help ease people into a game.  Explain basic strategy but leave advanced strategies to be discovered in game sessions.
Now that 5e looks like it's approaching on the horizon, I'll take the time to brainstorm some ideas on how classes should be handled in the new edition.

1. Powers are now tied to power source instead of class. Each class now has access to a certain number of power pools - whether they be Martial combat styles, Arcane schools, or Divine domains. For example, a Fighter would gain access to two-handed, sword-and-shield, and two-weapon fighting styles, while a Ranger would gain access to two-weapon fighting and archery styles (given more flavorful names than that, of course).

Some classes might have access to multiple power sources, such as a Paladin that can use both certain martial styles and divine domains. The Essentials-style 4E has dabbled with some of these ideas, but is hampered by a lack of choices (which might be a deliberate design choice). These power pools would be a lot broader to allow for meaningful choices within their themes.

2. If hard-coded roles are kept (Defender, Striker, et al), then classes should be able to choose more than one role (such as a Fighter choosing to be a Defender or a Striker, or a Wizard choosing to be a Striker or Controller). Given the high number of Strikers in 4e, maybe the Striker role could be broken up further into a Striker (high single-target damage and mobility) and Blaster (heavy damage to multiple enemies). For instance, an Evoker Wizard would be a Blaster, while a Rogue would be a Striker.

Any thoughts?
Those of you suggesting powers be tied to power source:

I think this is an excellent idea for the most part. At the same time, I think there has to be limitations. An attack that takes a bit of acrobatics to do should require a dexterous character, while an attack that requires immense brain power should require a good intelligence. It could make for an interesting system. I'm honestly not against leaving the power system the way it is at all. I like it. It just needs more balance.

The potential problem I see with the system suggested is that instead of characters in a particular class always taking a particular power, every character in a particular power source will take a particular power, and if you're in a particular power source you're always going to want so much of a particular ability score to make sure you can take such and such power.
"6. Streamline character creation, NOT the rules. It's surprising how simple a game becomes when you lay out character creation in a manner that makes it seem less complicated."

I would argue that if you make a huge "chinese menu" of balanced feats and powers, one could make the class/character they want rather quickly.  The reason this would work is because a character would not need to focus on what they NEED to be successful but they could select what they WANT to represent the character they'd prefer to play and dare I say roleplay.

A dual-wielder should be as equally powerful as a two-hand wielder with separate feats/powers for each.  A person trying to design a monk-like character who wants to be a defender would select the feat that ups defenses in cloth while the "knight" would select the feat for plate armor for equal defenses without having to agonize and "do the math" to see what one would work "best."

There would be no optimizers and cheesers (yes, I'm guilty of both and enjoy them) and we could return to role-playing with no loss to the roll-playing.  We wouldn't be stuck with do I make the character I want to (role-)play or the one that's gonna get the job done?

It'd be nice to design a character with a lot of "unique powers" (when compared to the guy next to me") knowing that I didn't make the character I want to play only to learn he won't hold up his end of the bargain or only does so with difficulty.
1. Powers are now tied to power source instead of class. Each class now has access to a certain number of power pools - whether they be Martial combat styles, Arcane schools, or Divine domains. For example, a Fighter would gain access to two-handed, sword-and-shield, and two-weapon fighting styles, while a Ranger would gain access to two-weapon fighting and archery styles (given more flavorful names than that, of course).


I would like some sort of differentiation between power sources other than fluff alone. It could be done as you suggest. I would settle for each class still having powers, but having some powers (maybe just utilities, that seems like it might be the easiest) that are available to any class of a given power source, as well as some minor cantrip-style powers that are mainly for RP usage and are given to every character that has a specific power source. That way, power source actually means something, but at the same time you could refluff a class to a different power source (make a paladin arcane and call him a mageknight) without creating balance issues.

Some classes might have access to multiple power sources, such as a Paladin that can use both certain martial styles and divine domains. The Essentials-style 4E has dabbled with some of these ideas, but is hampered by a lack of choices (which might be a deliberate design choice). These power pools would be a lot broader to allow for meaningful choices within their themes.


The danger there is making giving some classes more than others. Like, if Paladins and Fighters are both defenders and get defender abilities, but Fighters only have access to Martial domains, and Paladins have access to Martial and Divine domains, why play a fighter?


2. If hard-coded roles are kept (Defender, Striker, et al), then classes should be able to choose more than one role (such as a Fighter choosing to be a Defender or a Striker, or a Wizard choosing to be a Striker or Controller). Given the high number of Strikers in 4e, maybe the Striker role could be broken up further into a Striker (high single-target damage and mobility) and Blaster (heavy damage to multiple enemies). For instance, an Evoker Wizard would be a Blaster, while a Rogue would be a Striker.


I think giving each class at least one (and possibly two) strong secondary role that they can play up with the right powers and feats would be good enough, especially when you combine that with hybrid and MC features. As far as differentiating types of strikers, I guess you could, there's nothing really wrong with it, but I'm not sure if it's necessary. Roles are just broad guidelines as to how a class is designed to fit into a party; they can't account for every possible build or variation within that role. Besides, keep it simple. No reason to complicate something that has no real mechanical effect.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I see powers tied to power source working out decently for Martial, but not so much Arcane. Like there isn't necessarily a "Rogue" type of way to fight vs. a "Fighter" type of way to fight. On the other hand, there are definitely hard distinctions between Wizard and Bard spells.
I would like some sort of differentiation between power sources other than fluff alone.

Simple solution:
Roll back to 2E's concept of magic "schools", merge Arcane and Divine into a pile, then separate all the spells back into appropriate schools (based on function) with the 'cleric' stuff tending towards specific schools and the 'wizard' stuff tending towards other schools with substantial overlap between the two.

Then for everyone else, just describe abilities by the end result is going to be, and then catagorizing them by function (again, with substantial overlap).

Thus, build classes out of those categories (and schools, which are just fluffy categories).  The end result is probably going to be a fighter-type randomly hucking a fireball (or rather, a number of d-somethings dealing damage in a circular/spherical shape), or a Wizard with lay-on-hands (or rather, restore some HP to an adjacent guy), but that's what fluff is meant to handwave.
"6. Streamline character creation, NOT the rules. It's surprising how simple a game becomes when you lay out character creation in a manner that makes it seem less complicated."

I would argue that if you make a huge "chinese menu" of balanced feats and powers, one could make the class/character they want rather quickly.  The reason this would work is because a character would not need to focus on what they NEED to be successful but they could select what they WANT to represent the character they'd prefer to play and dare I say roleplay.



I've had a lot of experience teaching new players the game and I find that the "chinese menu" philosophy tends to be intimidating if they had no character concept in mind in the first place. So intimidating, they will be put-off by the game, because they don't know how to play it. And if a game is about win/loss and not characters of one's own design, they WILL pick what they need to be successful, NOT what they want.

For example, I ran a Pathfinder for a group once. One player, who liked to forum RP and wanted to convert some of her fantasy characters into Pathfinder, found it difficult to play because she made choices for her characters that fit their concept, not ones that were effective. More often than not, I would try to push the players towards making choices that both fit their characters AND were effective, but if they wanted to achieve something specific, it often made the game unenjoyable because they weren't playing an effective character.

Every time I run a game for new players, I have to point out what is most efficient for a specific class because systems based on DnD tend to be about what fits a viable build rather than a specific concept. Therefore, creating a streamlined character creation system that gives a lot of options for any given class tend to be more effective than a giant menu that is not connected logically to their class (and most of the time, also their concept). Yes, there IS a way to do this while allowing for a diversity of characters.