Concepts & Mechanics - How 5E might avoid 4E’s mistakes

The tragedy of 4E is not just that the developers unnecessarily changed some of the game’s fundamental MECHANICS, but that they abandoned so many of the core CONCEPTS that had long been established in D&D.

Most people would probably agree that there were some mechanical issues with 3.5E that could have used improvement.  Thus, it is understandable that during the development of 4E the devs made some changes in that regard, but what remains a complete mystery is why they changed so many of the fundamental concepts upon which the previous editions were based.  These drastic conceptual changes turned many people away from the game right from the start, regardless of whether those people agreed with the mechanical changes or not.  I will touch on some of the mechanical issues of 4E, but in particular I will highlight 4E's annihilation of many of the core concepts that made D&D what it once was…

Problems with 4E:

- no Bards, Druids, or Monks in the core rulebook. This angered a lot of players and GMs from the very moment they opened the book, as many of us have been playing for decades and have always had those classes in our campaigns.  By removing these classes, the devs made not only conversion impossible in many cases, but they violated the very canon of the universe in which some of us have been playing since the 80's and early 90's (like those of us that bought EVERYTHING that D&D released for years… until 4E came out).  In short, this move made no logical sense whatsoever, and if 4E's game system is so drastically altered so as not to support the iconic classes we've known and loved for decades, then why in the world would we want to play it?  Perhaps these problems were fixed with a later rulebook addition, but by then it was obviously too little, too late, especially considering 4E's many other problems.

- no multiclassing, despite many of the established characters in the D&D world always having been multiclassed.  This also sparked a tremendous amount of anger from the players right from the get-go, as we instantly had a plethora of specialty priests and whatnot that could simply no longer be built (as well as many other types of characters).  Couldn't the devs have instead found a way to better balance multiclassing, instead of eliminating it?

- a complete sea-change to these new, cheesy archetypes (striker, defender, leader, etc.) that made absolutely no sense in the context of the D&D world.  What the heck was that silliness all about?  I have no idea, and I hope I never hear a word of it again.

- the total homogenization of the class powers, such that all the classes in 4E end up feeling about the same, just with different names for things.  This is an unforgivable blunder, as it truly makes the game seem like an extremely dumbed-down version of its former self.  If I want to play a card game, or a video game, then I will just go do that.  A pen-and-paper game NEEDS to offer a lot more unique detail with respect to class abilities and powers, as that's what makes a pen-and-paper game a different kind of experience from a card game or a video game (and a more rewarding experience for many of us).

- the destruction of the alignment system, despite there being no need whatsoever to destroy it.  In the previous editions, there were a host of clearly-established individuals that followed each of the nine alignments, and each of the nine alignments made sense.  Following a particular deity, for example, one might need to adhere to a particular moral or ethical path, and if one strayed too far from that path, their particular deity would abandon them (i.e. stop granting them powers).  That made perfect sense, and there was no need whatsoever to change it.  But then 4E came along and just chucked all of that out the window, overly-simplifying and therefore cheapening the moral/ethical aspect of the game.  Again, there was simply no need to do this.  If a given player or GM chooses to ignore alignment (like for a merc who just doesn’t give a hoot about moral or ethical matters), then they can do so, but why take such a fundamental aspect of the game away from the rest of us?

- the destruction of Forgotten Realms by moving it way too far into the future and killing off two of the most popular deities.  This was completely insane.  Could the devs not have foreseen the disappointment that this would create, especially considering that FR had always been their most popular setting?


The bottom line is that the transition from the early editions through 3.5E was always consistent CONCEPTUALLY.  Sure, the devs made mechanical changes along the way, but the core concepts of the D&D world always remained intact.  4E, on the other hand, simply abandoned many of those concepts for no logical reason whatsoever.  It’s basically the corporate philosophy of "if-it-ain't-broke-then-fix-it-anyway", a philosophy that only serves to alienate the game's long-time fans, exactly as 4E has done.


 

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.

So, what can be done with 5E that can resurrect D&D?

1.  For starters, we do NOT need an overly-complicated combat system.  Things like attacks of opportunity, for example, just slow down gameplay and only take away from the role-playing and story-telling elements of the game.  My players would much rather have that extra attention to detail focused on the characters themselves and their abilities, allowing them to select from a myriad of unique abilities/talents/powers during encounters.  And for those who prefer just sticking with the basics in terms of character creation/development, there should be sufficient material in the core rulebook to do so easily, but without being overly generic like it is in 4E.  In other words, the base classes should all be clearly distinct from one another, and there should be various abilities/talents/powers that are unique to each class.  This forms the foundation upon which the players can create their own custom characters, both conceptually AND mechanically.  That's the key to any good RPG – diversity of choice when it comes to concepts and mechanics.



2.  Use the talent/feat system just as it is in Star Wars SAGA d20.  This allows for a HUGE amount of individual customization for any given character, and it completely eliminates "dead" levels for the character classes.  Also, with each subsequent sourcebook there should be additional talents and feats to choose from, providing even more custom options for the players/GMs who desire to invest in these materials.  This extra material shouldn't be necessary, however, allowing players to make truly unique character builds with just the core rulebook (exactly like SAGA).



3. The ability to multiclass is absolutely necessary.  Not only does it provide a ton of potential customization for a given character, but it is essential in order to represent the iconic types of figures that have long existed in the D&D world.  For example, my Nightcloak in Forgotten Realms has always been a Cleric/Rogue and will always be a Cleric/Rogue… this is a well-established aspect of the Forgotten Realms universe, and preventing multiclassing simply destroys the experience.



4. Provide prestige classes for those players/GMs who wish to use them (just like in SAGA).  Simply put, they allow characters to access exclusive talents/abilities by investing in levels of a specific prestige class.  So using my previous example, only Nightcloaks can have the True Lies ability – a unique ability granted by Shar to her most loyal followers – and thus it should obviously be a talent in the Nightcloak talent tree (a higher-level talent, requiring several levels of the Nightcloak PrC before it can be accessed).  This kind of  prestige class/talent tree system is the only way to truly achieve this kind of specialized mechanic, and it has the added benefit of retaining every bit of the conceptual flavor and nuance of classic D&D.  It's simple, and it provides the needed customization for whatever kind of character a player wants to make.  The only limit is in the number of prestige classes made available by the devs, but with some simple mechanical guidelines, GMs should be able to create their own unique prestige classes for their campaigns.



5. Make spellcasting a SEPARATE mechanic from other types of abilities/talents/powers – just like Force Powers are handled in SAGA – and make Magic a type of skill.  This makes so much sense that I would be shocked if WotC didn't do it.  You would simply get a number of spells on your list based on how many Magic Training feats you've taken, and you can only use a spell on your list once per encounter (unless you've selected the same spell for more than one slot on your list).  In order to re-use a spell at a later time, you have to rest first.  This mirrors the classic spells/day concept fairly closely, yet it doesn't make you have to wait an entire day before resuming your activities.  And this kind of system also ensures that spells are indeed a separate mechanic from other types of character abilities/talents/etc., just as they always were in classic D&D.  Furthermore, the "magnitude" of a given spell could simply be based on your relative Magic skill score + your d20 roll, and you could "re-train" a spell in a given slot on your list by taking the necessary time to study Tomes of Magic (similar to holocrons in Star Wars).



6. The skill system should follow the SAGA model for the most part, except perhaps with a modification of the mathematical progression that it uses (that's one of SAGA's only real flaws, although it is primarily only an issue during the earlier levels).



7. The defenses should be Fort, Ref, and Will, and all attacks/powers/spells should target one of those three defenses.  Having a separate "Armor Class" is not necessary.  Again, this is the SAGA model.  It works perfectly, and if it ain't broke…



8. Do NOT move the campaign settings hundreds of years into the future, and do NOT kill off some of the most popular deities within those settings.  You see, it's kinda hard to make some of our favorite specialty priests if their respective gods are dead and no longer granting spells/powers.  That's a problem.



9. Retain the classic six ability scores, and the ways in which the classes draw from them with respect to their abilities.  This is an absolute must(!).  The classic six-score system has become so iconic that even many video games have adopted it, and for good reasons: it is not only extremely elegant, but it makes perfect sense.  And quite honestly the idea of D&D abandoning the classic ability score system would be about the stupidest thing I can possibly imagine.  At that point, D&D would officially be destroyed for good.



10. Retain the classic nine alignments, and the classes/specialty priests/deities/etc. that correspond with those alignments.  Just like with the classic ability score system, the classic alignment system is not only easy to work with, but it is sufficiently elegant to provide a great deal of character diversity to the player and GM.  And just like with the classic ability scores, the game simply isn't the same without the various alignments.



11. Retain all of the classic races… humans, orcs, dwarves, gnomes, the various types of elves, half-elves, etc.  Again, there was never any problem with the classic plethora of races available, and they are all well-ingrained in the D&D universe, so eliminating any of those options is basically nonsensical.



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In other words, do NOT get rid of any of the conceptual features of 3E/3.5E, and instead just make the necessary mechanical changes to facilitate better gameplay.

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Flame war begins, in three... two... one....

Most people would probably agree that there were some mechanical issues with 3.5E that could have used improvement.  Thus, it is understandable that during the development of 4E the devs made some changes in that regard, but what remains a complete mystery is why they changed so many of the fundamental concepts upon which the previous editions were based.  These drastic conceptual changes turned many people away from the game right from the start, regardless of whether those people agreed with the mechanical changes or not.  I will touch on some of the mechanical issues of 4E, but in particular I will highlight 4E's annihilation of many of the core concepts that made D&D what it once was…
 



Speaking as a 3.5-o-phile, there are many issues in previous editions that 4.0 really did try to fix.  Magic is horrifically broken in all earlier versions of D&D.  As much as us old-timers love "the old ways", memorization has always been a clumsy hack of a mechanic and spells run ramshod over all other elements of the game.  Magic absolutely must be fixed in 5e, again, but differently if they want any older players back.



- no multiclassing, despite many of the established characters in the D&D world always having been multiclassed.  This also sparked a tremendous amount of anger from the players right from the get-go, as we instantly had a plethora of specialty priests and whatnot that could simply no longer be built (as well as many other types of characters).  Couldn't the devs have instead found a way to better balance multiclassing, instead of eliminating it?




Amen brother! Preach it!  Multiclassing = win.  Games like D20 Modern and Saga gain extensive and consistent class difference with just a few core classes.  Magic again broke multiclassing in 3.5, but there are better ways to fix this than 4e, IMHO. (how about a Base Caster Level, which determines spells you can cast?  Every class level adds either +1 or +0, just like BAB)



- a complete sea-change to these new, cheesy archetypes (striker, defender, leader, etc.) that made absolutely no sense in the context of the D&D world.  What the heck was that silliness all about?  I have no idea, and I hope I never hear a word of it again.




Again, not a 4e fan, but categorizing the roles is a win, not a fail.  We've always had strikers/defenders/leader, etc, we just didn't know how to discuss it.  I agree the names are somewhat cheesy, but gaining a vocabulary to discuss game elements is a good thing.



- the total homogenization of the class powers, such that all the classes in 4E end up feeling about the ...


- the destruction of the alignment system, despite there being no need whatsoever to destroy it.  In aspect of the game.  Again, there was simply no need to do this.  If a given player or GM chooses to ignore alignment (like for a merc who just doesn’t give a hoot about moral or ethical matters), then


they can do so, but why take such a fundamental aspect of the game away from the rest of us?




While I agree with the homogenization of the classes, Kudos to the D&D team for finally trying to fix magic.  I know it's a sacred cow, but it needs fixing in 3.5.  I feel bad not liking magic in 4e, but I don't.


Alignment has always been house-ruley anyway, so I don't really care what D&D says about it.  There will always be 9 ALs for me, though we will continue to argue what they mean until the end of time.



The bottom line is that the transition from the early editions through 3.5E was always consistent CONCEPTUALLY.  Sure, the devs made mechanical changes along the way, but the core concepts of the D&D world always remained intact.  4E, on the other hand, simply abandoned many of those concepts for no logical reason whatsoever.  It’s basically the corporate philosophy of "if-it-ain't-broke-then-fix-it-anyway", a philosophy that only serves to alienate the game's long-time fans, exactly as 4E has done.

 



Again, some things have to be fixed in 1-3rd ed.  I'm glad Wizards tried, but let's try something new.  There will always be previous editions for us holdouts.
Amen brother! Preach it!  Multiclassing = win.  Games like D20 Modern and Saga gain extensive and consistent class difference with just a few core classes.  Magic again broke multiclassing in 3.5, but there are better ways to fix this than 4e, IMHO. (how about a Base Caster Level, which determines spells you can cast?  Every class level adds either +1 or +0, just like BAB)



That's definitely a possibility.

Again, not a 4e fan, but categorizing the roles is a win, not a fail.  We've always had strikers/defenders/leader, etc, we just didn't know how to discuss it.  I agree the names are somewhat cheesy, but gaining a vocabulary to discuss game elements is a good thing.



Firstly, we already had warriors, spellcasters, healers, rogue-types, etc., so why on earth do we need a separate way to categorize the classes?  We never needed it before, and we don't need it now.

Secondly, it's just weird to force the archetypes of striker, leader, defender, etc. onto the existing classes. My fighter is NOT a "defender", nor is my cleric a "leader".  They just sound like goofy names from writers who couldn't come up with any decent ideas.

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.

Speaking as a 3.5-o-phile, there are many issues in previous editions that 4.0 really did try to fix.  Magic is horrifically broken in all earlier versions of D&D.  As much as us old-timers love "the old ways", memorization has always been a clumsy hack of a mechanic and spells run ramshod over all other elements of the game.  Magic absolutely must be fixed in 5e, again, but differently if they want any older players back.




In this respect the thing that 3rd absolutely broke was removing all negative aspects of spells. The concept of risk reward of a spellcaster dealing with powerful arcana suddenly went when the risk was removed.

And OP, like SAGA much? tbh I agree with you, it's one of the best D20 systems I've seen. Not overly complex, not overly dumbed down. Simply a very good system, I was actually surprised that they didn't follow up on it more closely with 4th ed.


Firstly, we already had warriors, spellcasters, healers, rogue-types, etc., so why on earth do we need a separate way to categorize the classes?  We never needed it before, and we don't need it now.

Secondly, it's just weird to force the archetypes of striker, leader, defender, etc. onto the existing classes. My fighter is NOT a "defender", nor is my cleric a "leader".  They just sound like goofy names from writers who couldn't come up with any decent ideas.




The reason for roles is that classes are archetypes of powers, not roles in a party.  As a (3.x, Pathfinder) fighter, I could be a striker, defender or controller (especially with some of the new Pathfinder feats).  Class is closely tied to role in 4e, but that is a design choice.  In other editions the mage can satisfy most of the roles within the one class.
In this respect the thing that 3rd absolutely broke was removing all negative aspects of spells. The concept of risk reward of a spellcaster dealing with powerful arcana suddenly went when the risk was removed.

And OP, like SAGA much? tbh I agree with you, it's one of the best D20 systems I've seen. Not overly complex, not overly dumbed down. Simply a very good system, I was actually surprised that they didn't follow up on it more closely with 4th ed.



Really?  What were the negative aspects of spells in 1-2e?  In 3e, they introduced a detailed mechanic (weak as it is) spell disruption and xp cost for wish and similar spells.  But I don't remember anything in any earlier edition of D&D where there was a consequence to casting magic other than components.

If you want to see negative consequences for spellcasting, look up the D20 games for Wheel of Time (overchanneling!) and Call of Chthulu (san loss!).  D&D softballs the mage.
Speaking from someone who plays a lot of 4E and really enjoys it:

First off, you should probably talk about 4E as it is now, instead of as it was released. Saying "THERE'S NO BARDS!!!!11!" is uh, now incorrect. Very, very incorrect. Like, for years now. Should they have been more clear about when Bards were going to arrive? Yes, definitely. Wizards of the Coast definitely needs to work on its customer communication, service and support. But this idea that they totally forgot about it when it came out in PHB2 isn't really valid. It's obvious they wanted to give it its full due without going bankrupt in the process. Again, they didn't make this clear, and that's on them.
  
Skills in 4E, contrary to what some of you may believe, work almost exactly like the SAGA skills. The difference is that SAGA still had those retarded "knowledge" skills that, in practice, were useless the majority of the time and they changed it so that your knowledge of any given subject was the same as your proficiency in that subject. Which, to me, is a good enough abstraction of skills/knowledge that they should definitely keep it.

As for multiclassing, my feelings are mixed. I'm pretty sure you can multiclass in 4E at first level, if you pick that as your first level feat. Also, there are hybrid classes. Is this the best way to do it? There's some argument here for needing multiclassing to do more, but the notion that it doesn't exist isn't really valid. It definitely needs work though, as it's not very robust at the moment. Also, it probably shouldn't be done through feats, since feats are so rare. The Hybrid classes ... I think you kind of have to plan those out from the beginning, so they're a lot less spontaneous (I don't think you can switch to a hybrid class at level X, for instance.)

But as for the general argument ... look, the thing that turned me off from paper and pencil RPGs for years was game imbalance. Whenever I would try to get into this style of games, it was always "Well this is basically the best thing" or "this class is better than the rest" or "If you aren't a giant robot you won't do any damage" ... Okay so that last one was for RIFTS, but my point is, Wizards very purposefully tried to create a system where class balance was possible. And this is great because it allows you to create the character you want, without feeling useless.

To this end, they needed to create limits, and they needed to create a design language.

If you think either of these things are bad that simply means, I'm sorry, that you're not very good at designing games. You need these things. Your fighter is a "defender" if his ability to abosrb damage is better than his ability to put out damage. Maybe you don't think that's the case for this specific character, and that's fine. The "role" is a metagame attribute ANYWAY. It's not meant to be a title you append to your character's name. These words are made so that gamers can know what role they are expected to fill. Sure, make your fighter stay as far back as possible and only attack with range. I guess you could do that. But you can know from its role that your powers probably won't support that. And you can know that there is no reason for you to pick "Fighter" as a class except that you like the name. But that's not how you design a game. If you want to be someone who stays back and attacks at range, maybe you should make a Ranger instead, because there needed to be a class that was good at doing that, and that became the Ranger. 

Only by clearly delineating what each class does, what its role is, what the expectations are, and what its limits are can you make a well designed, well balanced game.

You guys are decrying that 4E put limits on the classes - that's the thing that I like the MOST about 4E, and I think the thing that Wizards is least likely to change.

Should there be better options for people who don't know what they want? Maybe. But I think if you're coming to the table and saying, "I want to create a guy, I have no idea what I want to be doing at level 5" then ... that's something you and your DM should work out. Because it's almost impossible to design a game that will work for that, and still be fun for the other people.
In this respect the thing that 3rd absolutely broke was removing all negative aspects of spells. The concept of risk reward of a spellcaster dealing with powerful arcana suddenly went when the risk was removed.

And OP, like SAGA much? tbh I agree with you, it's one of the best D20 systems I've seen. Not overly complex, not overly dumbed down. Simply a very good system, I was actually surprised that they didn't follow up on it more closely with 4th ed.



Really?  What were the negative aspects of spells in 1-2e?  In 3e, they introduced a detailed mechanic (weak as it is) spell disruption and xp cost for wish and similar spells.  But I don't remember anything in any earlier edition of D&D where there was a consequence to casting magic other than components.

If you want to see negative consequences for spellcasting, look up the D20 games for Wheel of Time (overchanneling!) and Call of Chthulu (san loss!).  D&D softballs the mage.

Haste = age your character 1 year
Wish = loose a level or (some such) in XP.
raise dead = loose 1 con

Are a few of the top of my head

In addition to some spells having very expensive consumed components made it so wizards were more restricted from the epic power spiral they enjoyed in 3rd and 3.5 because all negative effects just got removed.

I think it (restrictions and negative effects) works for a Conan style swords in sorc game, but the flavour of D&D has changed and evolved since then.


First off, you should probably talk about 4E as it is now, instead of as it was released. Saying "THERE'S NO BARDS!!!!11!" is uh, now incorrect. Very, very incorrect. Like, for years now. Should they have been more clear about when Bards were going to arrive? Yes, definitely. Wizards of the Coast definitely needs to work on its customer communication, service and support. But this idea that they totally forgot about it when it came out in PHB2 isn't really valid. It's obvious they wanted to give it its full due without going bankrupt in the process. Again, they didn't make this clear, and that's on them.



Ok, but did you even read the rest of what I said?  I said that if they did eventually release the Bard, Druid, and Monk classes in a later book that it was too little, too late, especially considering all of the other ways in which they butchered D&D with 4E.  Our players were already fed up.

Skills in 4E, contrary to what some of you may believe, work almost exactly like the SAGA skills.



The simplified skill system (compared to previous editions) was one of the only things about 4E that I did NOT criticize.

As for multiclassing, my feelings are mixed. I'm pretty sure you can multiclass in 4E at first level, if you pick that as your first level feat. Also, there are hybrid classes. Is this the best way to do it? There's some argument here for needing multiclassing to do more, but the notion that it doesn't exist isn't really valid. It definitely needs work though, as it's not very robust at the moment. Also, it probably shouldn't be done through feats, since feats are so rare. The Hybrid classes ... I think you kind of have to plan those out from the beginning, so they're a lot less spontaneous (I don't think you can switch to a hybrid class at level X, for instance.)



Yeah, well that's a problem. I don't see any logical reason why you shouldn't be able to multiclass at any point.  Multiclassing can provide great diversity in character creation/development, and the trade-off is that you can't get as far in specific talent trees as you could if you were focused solely on one class.  If done well, then it can be easily balanced and will create zero problems.

But as for the general argument ... look, the thing that turned me off from paper and pencil RPGs for years was game imbalance. Whenever I would try to get into this style of games, it was always "Well this is basically the best thing" or "this class is better than the rest" or "If you aren't a giant robot you won't do any damage" ... Okay so that last one was for RIFTS, but my point is, Wizards very purposefully tried to create a system where class balance was possible. And this is great because it allows you to create the character you want, without feeling useless.



Well, not all of us are min-max players. Our group of over 10 years has never, EVER played that way, as we have way more fun developing character concepts than abusing the system to do the most possible damage or whatever.  It sounds like you have more of a problem with specific gamers than the actual game, because these kinds of things that you mentioned are easily avoided with mature players.  Besides, SAGA is an example of a well-balanced system that avoids nearly all of the conceptual and mechanical disasters that 4E forces on the player.  All they had to do was make 4E just like SAGA, and we would have loved it.

 Your fighter is a "defender" if his ability to abosrb damage is better than his ability to put out damage. Maybe you don't think that's the case for this specific character, and that's fine. The "role" is a metagame attribute ANYWAY. It's not meant to be a title you append to your character's name. These words are made so that gamers can know what role they are expected to fill.



But our characters are NOT expected to fill those prescribed roles, not by a long shot.  Maybe WotC expects that, but that's just their way of pigeonholing character types when there was absolutely no need for them to do that.

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Sure, make your fighter stay as far back as possible and only attack with range. I guess you could do that. But you can know from its role that your powers probably won't support that. And you can know that there is no reason for you to pick "Fighter" as a class except that you like the name.



So you don't think it makes sense to have a fighter who specializes at ranged combat? Seriously? What planet are you living on?

I guess our legions of longbowmen who are clearly fighters in every conceiveable way are now... what? Rangers, despite having never set foot in the woods?  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.  Gotta love these weird rationalizations that accompany 4E.  Makes me despise it even more.

If you want to be someone who stays back and attacks at range, maybe you should make a Ranger instead, because there needed to be a class that was good at doing that, and that became the Ranger.



Sorry, but a Ranger has always been a warrior-type class with some kind of affinity for the wilderness.  Ranged combat has never been required at all.

Only by clearly delineating what each class does, what its role is, what the expectations are, and what its limits are can you make a well designed, well balanced game.



4E is clearly not a well-designed game by a long shot, and all of this extremely narrow pigeonholing that you seem to love for some reason has proven to be a total failure.  I have never seen so many gamers so angry about any role-playing game in my entire life.  4E takes the cake in that regard.

Should there be better options for people who don't know what they want? Maybe. But I think if you're coming to the table and saying, "I want to create a guy, I have no idea what I want to be doing at level 5" then ... that's something you and your DM should work out. Because it's almost impossible to design a game that will work for that, and still be fun for the other people.



I have no idea what you are talking about here.  As a player (and as a GM), I personally plan my characters' abilities out in advance, simply because I really enjoy doing so.  But one of the most fundamental concepts of any role-playing game is that the player and the character are not the same thing.  A given character has no idea that he or she will eventually fall to the Dark Side, or become indoctrinated into a cult of Bane, or end up at a Bard's College.

That's called role-playing, and without multiclassing that kind of flexibility is impossible.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.

But our characters are NOT expected to fill those prescribed roles, not by a long shot.  Maybe WotC expects that, but that's just their way of pigeonholing character types when there was absolutely no need for them to do that.



The insane list of powers available to most of the classes, backgrounds, themes, feats, and skill powers says to me that claiming 4E is pigeonholing comes from someone who doesn't know the system very well. 

As for the fighter issue - it's an abstraction, not a "weird rationalization." Abstractions are what make it a game, because it's not just "role playing" it's a "role playing game" ... but I don't think you care haha.

Regardless, your suggestions are completely contrary to the system itself, but you don't care about the system, so why bother learning about it? So I guess agree to disagree about 4E.

SAGA was pretty awesome though.  I wish the Condition Track was something that had made it into 4E. But I wish AC had made it into SAGA. Oh my giant heavy armor ... increases my ... reflex? Huh. So I dodge better in it. Huh. 
JacobSinger- dude you keep bashing 4E in every thread is doing nothing but making people not read anything you write. You have a axe to grind and it shows in every post you make. 

My sugestion to you is that you either dial it back or get ready for some pretty hardcore flamming. Being rude and insulting about others peoples favorite edition is getting you nothing but the wrong sort of attention.   
To the OP Jacob, I do agree with just about everything you have said in not only this thread but others. However you are hating pretty hard here, you are starting to alienate the very people you are trying to convince. I to did not like 4th ed, but you have to realise that most of the people on the boards are now 4th ed players so try to tone it down a bit. (Until us old editon players rise again Tongue Out )

On another note I would suggest that everyone here read the 3.5 DM Guide 2. It outlines very important things about roles, and is in fact the origin of such a concept. In the DMG 2 roles are given only by/to the GM so he can make better adventures for the players. If your party has a bunch of outliers then party cooperation is not going to work, a bunch of lurkers and you need a vibrant story with fun players and characters. The idea here is that D&D is not about analyzing how your characters fit together but rather how you as people fit together. This is the esential job of the DM, to look at the people around the table and wonder one simple question, "why are they still here." The answer is not going to be because the fighter loves to be a defender but rather because he, the player, loves being a supercool. A supercool is defined by wanting to be the biggest bad ass on the planet. If the Dm realizes this then it is easy to cater to the characters by catering to their players, and by doing this you will get an awsome game and meet awsome people.
In 4th ed they got this confused with roles thinking that every person who playes a fighter wants to be a defender or a striker, when that is simply not true. I know very few wizards that want to be a battlefield controller, but in 4th ed that is the only viable option available to them. So the player ends up feeling alienated, and leaves.
The idea of roles should be left solely in the domain of the GM, not the players. Otherwise it leads to metagaming that many people just don't want. I'm not going on a WOW raid, I'm here to play with friends.

You have to realize this simple fact or you will never understand why so many people disliked D&D 4th ed. I realise that you 4th ed fans are still surprised that 4th ed has failed, that Wizards is going a different course. But, to some of us, who realise the base desire behind so many D&D fans, this was not a surprise, only a matter of time. Welcome to the new world order, it is different.
Im sorry but ADEU is a French word for goodbye, not a combat system. You say, "Encounter Power" and I stop listening to you. [spoiler Have Played/Run] D&D 1st ed D&D 3.5 ed D&D 4th ed Shadowrun Star Wars SAGA Cyberpunk Interlock Unlimited Run.Net [/spoiler] I know my games, don't try to argue about them. [spoiler Alignment Explained] This is a very simple problem and I will outline it below. Their are two types of people Type 1: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "I am lawful good thus I must play lawful good" Type 2: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "My previous actions have made people and the gods view me as lawful good. The difference is subtle but it is the source of the misunderstanding. Alignment does not dictate how you play your character. All it does is tell you, the player, how the rest of the world views you, and your previous actions. Any future actions will be judged by their own merits. Say you're a baby eating pyromaniac. You are most likely chaotic evil. But one day you decide, "Hey all I really need is love." So you get a wife, have a kid, and get a kitten named Mr. Snook'ems. You become a member of the PTA and help build houses for the homeless. You are no longer chaotic evil. And just because you were once chaotic evil it does not mean that you have to stay chaotic evil. Alignment never dictates what you can do, it only says what you have done. Now that is cleared up here is a simple test. What is the alignment of... A Police officer: The average Citizen: A Vigilante: The answer is simple. The Police officer is lawful good. He uses the laws of the country and city to arrest people and make them pay their debt to society. The Citizen is Neutral good. He wants to live is a place that is Good and follows moral and ethical principle, but he sometimes finds the laws impedes him, and he wonders why we spend so much on poor people. The Vigilante is Chaotic Good. He wants to uphold the morals and ethics of society but finds that the bad guys often slip through the cracks in the law. He takes it upon himself to protect the people from these criminals. That is the basic breakdown of the good alignment axis. What needs to be remembered is that any one of these people can change alignments, easily. The Police officer could be bought off by a local gang, and suddenly he drops to lawful neutral. The average citizen might find that his neighbors dog is annoying, barking at night and keeping him up. So he poisons its food, now he is no longer good, he is stepping towards true neutral. Maybe the citizen really goes crazy also kills the neighbor, hello neutral evil. It is possible that the Vigilante realizes that the cops are actually doing a pretty good job and decides to become an officer himself, leaving his masked crime fighting days behind him. Now he is Lawful good. Your alignment is not carved in stone, it is malleable and will change to reflect your actions.[/spoiler]
JacobSinger- dude you keep bashing 4E in every thread is doing nothing but making people not read anything you write.



So my well-articulated suggestions in this thread aren't going to be read because I made posts on some other threads that were critical of 4E?  Yeah, whatever.

The insane list of powers available to most of the classes, backgrounds, themes, feats, and skill powers says to me that claiming 4E is pigeonholing comes from someone who doesn't know the system very well.



Or you didn't read my post very well?

I didn't say anything whatsoever about a lack in the number of abilities/powers for characters in 4E.  You know very well that my "pigeonholing" comments were in reference to the new archetypes that were introduced in 4E, and the myopic view of classes that you were espousing (ranged warriors cannot be Fighters and must now be Rangers, even if they have never even been in the wilderness).  And then you people wonder why so many of us long-time fans gave up on D&D when 4E came out.  

As for the fighter issue - it's an abstraction, not a "weird rationalization." Abstractions are what make it a game, because it's not just "role playing" it's a "role playing game" ... but I don't think you care haha.



I don't care for weird excuses as to why Fighters and Rangers have completely changed with respect to their basic concepts that have been set for decades.  Call them abstractions if you like, but they sound an awful lot like really weak rationalizations to me.  Nobody is buying it, and you shouldn't be selling it.

Regardless, your suggestions are completely contrary to the system itself, but you don't care about the system, so why bother learning about it?



You mean learning how to make excuses for it, don't you?

We had literally dozens of characters that we were very excited about converting to the system when 4E was about to come out, until we actually opened the books and tried to do so.  Then we realized that the changes were so drastic that we could not convert any of our characters, and that the game was barely even recognizable as D&D.

Regardless, this forum is not for praising 4E.  If you have a problem with those of us who desire something better than 4E (and you clearly seem to), then this probably isn't the thread for you.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Jacob, I am right there with you on the conversion issue. I have been running the same campaign world since 1st edition. When second came out I took all that material and updated it. The same for 3.0 and 3.5. NPCs and monsters that had been interacting with my players in some cases for decades could be reworked and left in place. The same with long term high level PCs. Adventures originally written for 1st or 2nd could be updated. In short, though it was a lot of work, the world my players and I loved could still be used. Then 4.0, no way to update existing PCs, NPCs, or adventures. It was not the cost of buying new books, I could have scraped for those, It was the loss of 20 years worth of collaborative effort between myself and my players. That is why the new edition has to be backward compatible.
To the OP Jacob, I do agree with just about everything you have said in not only this thread but others. However you are hating pretty hard here, you are starting to alienate the very people you are trying to convince. I to did not like 4th ed, but you have to realise that most of the people on the boards are now 4th ed players so try to tone it down a bit. (Until us old editon players rise again  )



Well, if my bashing of 4E turns someone off from reading the specifics of what I've actually written here, then trying to convince them is probably pointless anyway.  This particular thread and forum are for discussing how to resurrect the game from the embarrassing death it suffered with 4E, and in that context 4E should serve as an example of primarily what not to do.  If the current players can't accept that, then 5E will be doomed just as 4E was, mark my words.

I have a suspicion that when it comes to the devs supposedly "listening" to player ideas for 5E, most of the good suggestions will probably be drowned out in a sea of bad ones anyway, like some of the absurd ones I've read about getting rid of ability scores or classes altogether.  Hey, let's also get rid of characters too, while we're at it!

I'm glad you liked my suggestions, regardless, and I'd be interested to hear more of your suggestions as well.

In 4th ed they got this confused with roles thinking that every person who playes a fighter wants to be a defender or a striker, when that is simply not true. I know very few wizards that want to be a battlefield controller, but in 4th ed that is the only viable option available to them. So the player ends up feeling alienated, and leaves.
...
I realise that you 4th ed fans are still surprised that 4th ed has failed, that Wizards is going a different course. But, to some of us, who realise the base desire behind so many D&D fans, this was not a surprise, only a matter of time.



They have to realize that the key to a good RPG is customization of your character.  Yes, you need logical and practical game machanics, but ultimately the most important thing for a role-playing game is the role-playing, not the roll-playing.

And when 4E only gives us fewer options than before, and restricts our characters much more than before, it is obviously going to disappoint a lot of people.  If we want a more limited intellectual experience then we will just go play a video game, and as a point of fact I've seen the exact same thing happen with some video games that has happened to 4E: the designers try to appeal to a wider audience by dumbing-down the sequel compared to the original game, and the sequel ends up less popular than the original.  Welcome to the corporate least-common-denominator mindset that is taking over almost everything these days.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Jacob, I am right there with you on the conversion issue. I have been running the same campaign world since 1st edition. When second came out I took all that material and updated it. The same for 3.0 and 3.5. NPCs and monsters that had been interacting with my players in some cases for decades could be reworked and left in place. The same with long term high level PCs. Adventures originally written for 1st or 2nd could be updated. In short, though it was a lot of work, the world my players and I loved could still be used. Then 4.0, no way to update existing PCs, NPCs, or adventures. It was not the cost of buying new books, I could have scraped for those, It was the loss of 20 years worth of collaborative effort between myself and my players. That is why the new edition has to be backward compatible.



Exactly.

I agree with every single point you made, and it's good to see that so many of us old-school players are on the same page with this stuff.  We never wanted a complete overhaul of the entire system.  If they were planning to do that, then they should have just called it a different name, and not replaced D&D with something that is almost completely unrecognizable.

I am just like you in that I didn't mind the transitions from one edition to another, up through 3.5.  So the mechanics changed each time, but it never prevented my players from feeling like they were still in the same game universe.  But when 4E came along, it was simply no longer the same game at all conceptually, and no amount of tweaking could fix it.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
I agree with the OP on many of the things he mentioned.  There is, however, one item I would like to question another I don't agree with quite as vehemently and a third I would ammend.  Oh, I liked SAGA to, by the way.

Ref, Fort and Will w/o AC...it worked in SAGA...but D&D definitly has armor playing a bigger part.  How would you reconcile that?  Armor as DR?  You wouldn't really want it to improve Ref...would you?

Roles in 4E are too restrictive...they shouldn't be attached to a class.  Defining them, however, is not a bad move.  I wouldn't mind if they were used in build descriptions and a a tag for powers/spells.

One thing I did enjoy about 4E was the At-Will powers...well some of them...specifically it was nice not to have to reply on a crossbow as a Wizard...I liked being able to do something magical every round.  So, while i generally agree with your take on Force Powers = better spell system...I hope there is a little more to it then what SAGA had.

In fact...I think SAGA is a good base but if they present it now as 5E D&D I would be far less impressed then you it seems.

I agree with the OP on many of the things he mentioned.  There is, however, one item I would like to question another I don't agree with quite as vehemently and a third I would ammend.  Oh, I liked SAGA to, by the way.

Ref, Fort and Will w/o AC...it worked in SAGA...but D&D definitly has armor playing a bigger part.  How would you reconcile that?  Armor as DR?  You wouldn't really want it to improve Ref...would you?



Well, armor in SAGA affects Ref to some degree, and Fort to some degree, and then there is also the DR element...

But I could live with a separate AC if it is seen as important to a lot of old-school players in order to revive D&D.  It's certainly much more palatable than some of the suggestions I've read from the "New Coke" 4E crowd.  If they get their way, then our classic tried-and-true flavor is gone for good, and Pathfinder will be all that's left of real D&D.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Yes. Armor and Nat Armor become DR. Like in the AGoT book by Guardians of Order. I use a variant house rules, (posted in the HP thread, so I won't repost them here), and it pretty much balances all of that stuff. My gaming group is one of those that take the class, and build characters that would make most people cringe. I've seen a Paladin who stood behind her Crypt thing Guardian, loosing Arrows from her holy Avenger Longbow. I've seen a Dwarf Wiz/Rog drop a Fireball at his feet, to try to kill the creatures that had surrounded him. I've seen an enourmous amount of magical item creation. I've even seen the party (I was DM) become entrepeneurs and selling icecream from their ice cream wagon, and also refridgerators. I've had a party leader being Only NPC classes, but in charge of a Paladin, a couple of Clerics, Fighters, and more, because the customization makes that possible in 3.5/3.75(pathfinder). In the end, it's about whether you want to have odd characters, that are memorable, or do you want to recreate your WOW character.

As far as the MAgic being uber in 3.5, I believe that that's just a lack of creativity on the part of the Party and DM. Remember, a spellcaster in 3.5 is normally not as great at level 1, but by the time you get to level 15ish, and definitely by level 20, the spellcaster is a powerhouse. But the other characters in the party should be uplifted by this powerhouse, not deminished. What 4E did, in my opinion, (as everything posted by myself is), was take the party customizations out of the Players. I played a game of 4E, and the classes felt too similar. I also didn't like the I'm level one and have a butt ton of healing charges, to use on myself, to similate how MMO's regen. And as far as being simpler, yes. It is simpler. It is easier to understand, but I believe that the skill system is too simple. I like how Pathfinder did it. My problem with Pathfinder, is, well, Gnomes being insane brightness creatures of sugary experiences, and the Level normalizing of the races. 

I Like the no more THAC0, but I don't like REF/FORT/WILL as variant forms of AC. R/F/W really cleaned up the AD&D's various types of magical defenses, and I don't see any reason to change it from 3.5, but I'm not necessarily against it, either. 

I haven't played SAGA, as it was too similar to 4E, which we had found after we stopped playing 4E. So after 4E, we went and pulled out AD&D and played some more of that. I did meet an Israeli, who loved the 4E, and he said his group preferred it, because they didn't have to use mechanics to RP. I'd much prefer the mechanics to be in place to support RP, than to be not there at all. This is so that if you are not as intelligent a player, or very sociable, you can still paly those characters. But when you start using Charisma to swing your Maul at an enemy, that's no longer P&P, it's now MMORPG. 

As far as magic, I think it should be a but more modular, than what was in 3.5. Like having you select various elements and effects, and being able to combine them(so a fire will speed someone up, while frost slows them, or acid arrow, compared to lightning bolt). it wouldn't be too difficult to do, and the only bad part is newbies wouldn't be able to play spellcaster effectively, but oh, wait, they can't do that anyway with 3.5. And Wizards are just adepts in 4E.
Alignments are Fluid, meaning that they are based off of your actions, not your actions being based of the alignment.
Why does everybody keep capitalizing "saga?"

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

I did because the other guys have done it, and because it seperates it as a NAME, instead of a word. And Star Wars Script is All Caps only. Or atleast the title is.
Alignments are Fluid, meaning that they are based off of your actions, not your actions being based of the alignment.
I really like the (old) ideas of negative affects, like casting a dark magic spell is a gamble of losing your, i don't know, soul :P

I also would like, if all the races / classes have negative aspects of them. And also roleplay aspect. Sourceres cannot love for example :P Barbars cannot read :P Elves cannot laugh :P

About defences - there should be:
def - ability to parry the attack
ref - ability to dodge
will - mental defence

Now AC (armor class) IS NOT DEFENCE! How are you able to defend better, when having heavy armor - no! Armor helps you, when you failed to defend. That should be the point of armor.
So, basically, you hate 4e, and you really just want 3.5 to be reprinted with some addentum to the rules.

Why are you even bothering to "contribute" your ideas towards 5th Edition, when you so clearly just should be playing 3.5, Pathfinder, or some other variant?

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I've had a party leader being Only NPC classes, but in charge of a Paladin, a couple of Clerics, Fighters, and more, because the customization makes that possible in 3.5/3.75(pathfinder). In the end, it's about whether you want to have odd characters, that are memorable, or do you want to recreate your WOW character.


That about sums it up.

As far as the MAgic being uber in 3.5, I believe that that's just a lack of creativity on the part of the Party and DM. Remember, a spellcaster in 3.5 is normally not as great at level 1, but by the time you get to level 15ish, and definitely by level 20, the spellcaster is a powerhouse. But the other characters in the party should be uplifted by this powerhouse, not deminished.


Yeah, I never had too much of a problem with this. I've never cared much for Wizard characters anyway (except for one ornery gnome I had). So what if Wizards were mathematically more powerful? I always preferred making Rogue-types, specialty priests, and even Rangers instead. But that's just me... I am a role-player, not a power gamer. If I wanted to power-game, I'd just go play an MMO or something else.

What 4E did, in my opinion, (as everything posted by myself is), was take the party customizations out of the Players. I played a game of 4E, and the classes felt too similar. I also didn't like the I'm level one and have a butt ton of healing charges, to use on myself, to similate how MMO's regen.


Agreed on all points.

I haven't played SAGA, as it was too similar to 4E


Now this I have to disagree with. What are their similarities besides the simplified skill system? And to that point, having fewer skills is something that most people seem to be pretty cool with anyway (i.e. Move silently and Hide being combined into the Stealth skill; Listen and Spot being combined into the Perception skill). I don't know about you, but I can certainly live with that.

Otherwise, SAGA diverges from 4E quite a bit in that it allows total freedom to the player in terms of character customization, with a well-balanced multiclassing system (the best I've ever seen), base classes that are not only logical but also quite flexible, a wide variety of talent trees that can be accessed in various ways (e.g. prestige classes), a fun Force Power system, etc., etc., etc.  Also, another huge difference between SAGA and 4E is that SAGA does a fantastic job of staying true to the universe in which it is set, whereas 4E takes a massive, wet dump on the D&D universe and makes it almost completely unrecognizable.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Magic has always been an issue for me in D&D.  Personally I would like to see mana pools or spell points.  This would give us a better facsimile of things we've seen in books. Basically put Wizards and Sorcerers can store a finite amount of might before they've exahusted their stores.  It must rexcharge over time.  Let's look at as simple mechanic of spells X points.  Then the more points you pour into spell the more you can do with spell. Now here is the tricky part as you rise in eperience you earn more points, which of course expands your power, but you only renew a small amount a night. Perhaps just your con mod per night of rest. 


For divine casters you have Faith or piety score which denotes the power of your divine powers. But the power of channeling divine power through one's self can be taxing.  So a time for rejuvenation must be spent weaker effects are less taxing than more powerful effects and thus regeneratio takes less time. This could even be coool if a character wanted to enact a divine sacrifice to save the party or soemthing with a grand magical effect
Now this I have to disagree with. What are their similarities besides the simplified skill system? And to that point, having fewer skills is something that most people seem to be pretty cool with anyway (i.e. Move silently and Hide being combined into the Stealth skill; Listen and Spot being combined into the Perception skill). I don't know about you, but I can certainly live with that.


Otherwise, SAGA diverges from 4E quite a bit in that it allows total freedom to the player in terms of character customization, with a well-balanced multiclassing system (the best I've ever seen), base classes that are not only logical but also quite flexible, a wide variety of talent trees that can be accessed in various ways (e.g. prestige classes), a fun Force Power system, etc., etc., etc.  Also, another huge difference between SAGA and 4E is that SAGA does a fantastic job of staying true to the universe in which it is set, whereas 4E takes a massive, wet dump on the D&D universe and makes it almost completely unrecognizable.


I didn't read them myself, I made the mistake of following the info I got from my buddy who did look at it.  And it looked to be too much like 4E, for us to bother trying it, especially since we would have to buy even more books, when we were happy with the 2nd ed. of STARWARS. And we were thinking at the time of pulling out the old WEG books. Not that we ever did.

So, basically, you hate 4e, and you really just want 3.5 to be reprinted with some addentum to the rules. 

Why are you even bothering to "contribute" your ideas towards 5th Edition, when you so clearly just should be playing 3.5, Pathfinder, or some other variant?


I'd like to point to a great, solid, system, known to all as the Hero System. They are in their 6th Ed., and my gaming group uses books from 3rd to 5th, to play our Hero System games, because the Editions are that similar. Printing a new edition should be backwards compatible, approx. 90% so. 4E you can't do that. They destroyed too many classes. I don't mind decimation, but I do mind devastation. Pathfinder Decimated 3.5, 4E devastated it. Mechanickily speaking.

 
Magic has always been an issue for me in D&D.  Personally I would like to see mana pools or spell points.  This would give us a better facsimile of things we've seen in books. Basically put Wizards and Sorcerers can store a finite amount of might before they've exahusted their stores.  It must rexcharge over time.  Let's look at as simple mechanic of spells X points.  Then the more points you pour into spell the more you can do with spell. Now here is the tricky part as you rise in eperience you earn more points, which of course expands your power, but you only renew a small amount a night. Perhaps just your con mod per night of rest.  


For divine casters you have Faith or piety score which denotes the power of your divine powers. But the power of channeling divine power through one's self can be taxing.  So a time for rejuvenation must be spent weaker effects are less taxing than more powerful effects and thus regeneratio takes less time. This could even be coool if a character wanted to enact a divine sacrifice to save the party or soemthing with a grand magical effect


Magic is weird in D&D, I agree. I'm trying to build a Magic System myself that is completely fluid, but it insane to build a magic system from the ground up. But D&D doesn't have to do that. They can simply take the spells they have, and give, say a spellcaster a number of Spell Points, equal to the level of each spell slot multiplied by the number of spell slots in that level, and that's what the caster gets. And the spellcaster can then spend those spell Points each morning towards building his/her usable spells that day. The only problem with this, is, like the problem with the Psionic classes of AD&D, 3E, and 3.5, is that the magic system is now even more powerful. Because they can drop 3 1st level spells, for another fireball. But magic is supposed to be powerful.
Alignments are Fluid, meaning that they are based off of your actions, not your actions being based of the alignment.
Haste = age your character 1 year
Wish = loose a level or (some such) in XP.
raise dead = loose 1 con

Are a few of the top of my head

In addition to some spells having very expensive consumed components made it so wizards were more restricted from the epic power spiral they enjoyed in 3rd and 3.5 because all negative effects just got removed.

I think it (restrictions and negative effects) works for a Conan style swords in sorc game, but the flavour of D&D has changed and evolved since then.



Oh.  Those were a few.  But I don't remember that being a common thread in spells (most evocations, conjurations, etc.)  Wish needs dramatic cost to keep it in line and raise dead had its cost mechanic changed to gold cost.

So I would argue that there are more spell limitations in 3.x, but they are less horribly onerous.  Did anyone actually LIKE getting aged for Haste or losing levels?  I think 3.5 didn't go far enough - get rid of level draining, anything that "costs" xp or what have you. Spending character points on things that can be lost is a fail (IMHO).

Having said that, I'd say casting in 3.5 is more limited than older editions.  Remember Clone, Stasis and Contingency to create an invincible mage?  That is much more challenging to do in 3.5.  You could **** the rules with 2nd ed magic.  At least 3.5 put monetary costs to things and nerfed some of the really egregious stuff.

Magic has always been an issue for me in D&D.

+1
Vancian magic has been lousy for me since 1st ed.  So when I cast a spell, I forget it?  I like the ideas of fatigue as spell limitation like in some other games (Lord of the Rings, I believe).  Have magic be limited by a resource, not by some arbitrary, heavy-handed game balance rule (memorization).  You can still balance magic, just don't do it through crude "because you can't" mechanics.

"Pathfinder decimated..."

So I ask again, why aren't you just playing Pathfinder, instead of trying to get 5e to be just a redux of a game printed 10 years ago?

Maybe you don't like the idea of a game moving forward, progressing, accomplshing things in a new way, but that is what 5e needs to do. Not just be a rehash of 3.5 or 4e. If i wanted to play an old edition, I'd dig out my old books. If somebody else wants to play an old edition, they can search Ebay. 

What about people that want a 5th edition of D&D? 

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

"Pathfinder decimated..."

So I ask again, why aren't you just playing Pathfinder, instead of trying to get 5e to be just a redux of a game printed 10 years ago?

Maybe you don't like the idea of a game moving forward, progressing, accomplshing things in a new way, but that is what 5e needs to do. Not just be a rehash of 3.5 or 4e. If i wanted to play an old edition, I'd dig out my old books. If somebody else wants to play an old edition, they can search Ebay. 

What about people that want a 5th edition of D&D? 


I think I can speak for that poster and say that we do not want a rehash of 3E or Pathfinder (and certainly not 4E). No one is calling for that, and I don't know why you keep suggesting it. We want the mechanical issues from previous editions fixed/streamlined/altered to make gameplay more fun and efficient, but we also want to retain all of the core concepts that have always been established as existing in the D&D universe.  It's not that hard to understand, really.

The problem with 4E is that the devs completely butchered many of the core concepts (making conversion and backwards compatibility impossible), and over-simplified the mechanics to make playing any one individual class feel pretty much just like all the rest.  And yet, the gameplay was just as clunky as ever.  It failed on literally every level.

It's like each previous edition was the game of basketball. Sure, the rules changed over time... they added a three-point line, changed the time-out system, etc....

BUT IT WAS STILL BASKETBALL(!)  with each successive edition up to 3.5. The game remained recognizable, and our characters still fit into that game world, even if we had to make some adjustments with each edition to account for the mechanical changes.

Then 4E came along and it was not basketball at all anymore. It was golf. Now maybe some people like golf, but you can't make a game that is golf and call it basketball without pissing a lot of people off. Hence, the fanbase almost disappeared, and the game was a colossal business failure.

We just want 5E to resemble the D&D world that we had always known before 4E came along, with the understanding that some serious mechanical changes are going to be necessary. Is that so much to ask?

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Saying that 3rd edtion was backward compatible with 2nd edition is laughable. 3rd edition killed plenty of holy cattle when it came out; there were plenty of people disgruntled and screaming "it's just like diablo" and complaining about how there were too many options and no thac0 and all manner of foolishness.

What you're saying is that you want 5e to be backwards compatible (which is a joke in a TTRPG; there is no need for it, because there is no need for the mechanical systems to be alike in any way; anything can be translated if it is an idea, not a facet of the mechanics). 

What you are saying is that you want 5e to have the core mechanics of 3.5 (or others are calling for 2e, or even OD&D) so that there is compatibility there? That the holy cows of 3.5 (which I dare you to type out) need to be kept in the game, so that there is an eye towards "tradition"? 

This is just another way of saying "I want 5e to be more or less like 3.5, but maybe with a few more rules for this or that." Try to tell me that is not what you are saying, when you are directly making remarks like "4e  changed too much" and "4e wasn't basketball, it was golf". 

The truth of the matter is that it doesn't need to be basketball when the goal of the game is to have rules and mechanics for telling a story set in a fantasy realm. If 5e needs to be "enough like 3.5 so that it is backwards compatible and recognizable as a direct decendant from that game" then it's a game that doesn't need to be made - piazo already did it.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."


- a complete sea-change to these new, cheesy archetypes (striker, defender, leader, etc.) that made absolutely no sense in the context of the D&D world.  What the heck was that silliness all about?  I have no idea, and I hope I never hear a word of it again.

- the total homogenization of the class powers, such that all the classes in 4E end up feeling about the same, just with different names for things.  This is an unforgivable blunder, as it truly makes the game seem like an extremely dumbed-down version of its former self.  If I want to play a card game, or a video game, then I will just go do that.  A pen-and-paper game NEEDS to offer a lot more unique detail with respect to class abilities and powers, as that's what makes a pen-and-paper game a different kind of experience from a card game or a video game (and a more rewarding experience for many of us).




The combat roles are not meant to make sense in the context of the D&D world. They are merely helpful terms for players to make a functioning party. That may be hard for 3.x players to understand since they are used to wizards being the whole party.

The second complaint is likewise nonsense. No one who has actually played 4e can say that the classes are similar. It is just the standardization of the power descriptions that makes it superficially seem so. Furthermore, 4e is not dumbed down. On the contrary, now characters other than spellcasters can also make interesting decisions in combat instead of the boring full attack routine.

I hope WotC pays no heed to such ignorant complaints as yours.

The tragedy of 4E is not just that the developers unnecessarily changed some of the game’s fundamental MECHANICS, but that they abandoned so many of the core CONCEPTS that had long been established in D&D.

Most people would probably agree that there were some mechanical issues with 3.5E that could have used improvement.  Thus, it is understandable that during the development of 4E the devs made some changes in that regard, but what remains a complete mystery is why they changed so many of the fundamental concepts upon which the previous editions were based.  These drastic conceptual changes turned many people away from the game right from the start, regardless of whether those people agreed with the mechanical changes or not.  I will touch on some of the mechanical issues of 4E, but in particular I will highlight 4E's annihilation of many of the core concepts that made D&D what it once was…

Problems with 4E:

- no Bards, Druids, or Monks in the core rulebook. This angered a lot of players and GMs from the very moment they opened the book, as many of us have been playing for decades and have always had those classes in our campaigns.  By removing these classes, the devs made not only conversion impossible in many cases, but they violated the very canon of the universe in which some of us have been playing since the 80's and early 90's (like those of us that bought EVERYTHING that D&D released for years… until 4E came out).  In short, this move made no logical sense whatsoever, and if 4E's game system is so drastically altered so as not to support the iconic classes we've known and loved for decades, then why in the world would we want to play it?  Perhaps these problems were fixed with a later rulebook addition, but by then it was obviously too little, too late, especially considering 4E's many other problems.


Bard weren't so iconic as a base class before AD&D 2nd edition, and then they were like the rogues : weak. Weak inside and outside combat, sometimes near useless for the rogues. And where were the "iconic" monks in AD&D 2nd edition ?

- no multiclassing, despite many of the established characters in the D&D world always having been multiclassed.  This also sparked a tremendous amount of anger from the players right from the get-go, as we instantly had a plethora of specialty priests and whatnot that could simply no longer be built (as well as many other types of characters).  Couldn't the devs have instead found a way to better balance multiclassing, instead of eliminating it?

Multiclassing is clearly bad in the current edition, but I can't remember my tremendous amount of anger... Some people can think the AD&D 2 multiclassing systems (plural, races weren't multiclassing the same way) were perfect, I do not, with a tremendous amount of not. D&D 3rd ed. multiclassing was interesting but could rapidly become out of control, for good or bad.

- a complete sea-change to these new, cheesy archetypes (striker, defender, leader, etc.) that made absolutely no sense in the context of the D&D world.  What the heck was that silliness all about?  I have no idea, and I hope I never hear a word of it again.

Fighters were having to protect casters if the wanted to see a spell effect during a combat in the old editions. That matches perfectly with the idea of a defender. The other roles sound like design reasons, but I didn't see silliness in this idea.

- the total homogenization of the class powers, such that all the classes in 4E end up feeling about the same, just with different names for things.  This is an unforgivable blunder, as it truly makes the game seem like an extremely dumbed-down version of its former self.  If I want to play a card game, or a video game, then I will just go do that.  A pen-and-paper game NEEDS to offer a lot more unique detail with respect to class abilities and powers, as that's what makes a pen-and-paper game a different kind of experience from a card game or a video game (and a more rewarding experience for many of us).

I played MMORPGs. There's an agro system at the base of any combat, I didn't see agro rules in D&D. The video game is more dynamic and less forgiving with wrong decision, there's no friend to stop you and tell you what you missed before taking your decision, and there are visual and sound effects. Imagination is not required in MMORPGs combat, just some discipline and knowledge of the enemy. How people can compare two systems so different in play is still a mystery for me.
I agree that many classes do not give a good "feeling" of it. Warlock is one of the exceptions.

- the destruction of the alignment system, despite there being no need whatsoever to destroy it.  In the previous editions, there were a host of clearly-established individuals that followed each of the nine alignments, and each of the nine alignments made sense.  Following a particular deity, for example, one might need to adhere to a particular moral or ethical path, and if one strayed too far from that path, their particular deity would abandon them (i.e. stop granting them powers).  That made perfect sense, and there was no need whatsoever to change it.  But then 4E came along and just chucked all of that out the window, overly-simplifying and therefore cheapening the moral/ethical aspect of the game.  Again, there was simply no need to do this.  If a given player or GM chooses to ignore alignment (like for a merc who just doesn’t give a hoot about moral or ethical matters), then they can do so, but why take such a fundamental aspect of the game away from the rest of us?

Druids forced to be neutral regarding choas and law was an example of stupid alignment restriction. True neutral explanations were a source of endless jokes, people changing sides during combat to keep a balance, seriously ?
The current system cover the alignments that deserve to be specified. Chaotic  good or lawful evil characters doesn't notably impact a society as much as lawful good and chaotic evil ones. Lawful good actively promote civilization, chaotic evil destroycivilizations. Other alignments will profit from civilized environment and won't want to destroy it. Except maybe the true neutral druid that changes side during combat .
In the end, I think they abandonned the old alignement system because there was not enough paper in the world to cover all the cases that could be labelled true neutral...

- the destruction of Forgotten Realms by moving it way too far into the future and killing off two of the most popular deities.  This was completely insane.  Could the devs not have foreseen the disappointment that this would create, especially considering that FR had always been their most popular setting?

I was so happy to see the Forgotten realms statu quo ending, no more Elminster pop up across the world, no more wall of the faithless for the people rendered sick by gods actions. They haven't put the decapitated head of drizzt at baldur's gate, but hey, we can't have all we want !

The bottom line is that the transition from the early editions through 3.5E was always consistent CONCEPTUALLY.  Sure, the devs made mechanical changes along the way, but the core concepts of the D&D world always remained intact.  4E, on the other hand, simply abandoned many of those concepts for no logical reason whatsoever.  It’s basically the corporate philosophy of "if-it-ain't-broke-then-fix-it-anyway", a philosophy that only serves to alienate the game's long-time fans, exactly as 4E has done.

Transition from AD&D 2nd ed. and D&D 3rd ed. wasn't flawless, I remember having problem with the art. Since 3rd edition, we have a lot of characters with clearly wrong proportions or too static. The art varies from very good to plain bad. I think they should have less color art of better quality, and favor black and white art that can be of high quality but is faster to create.

I didn't recognize D&D in the 3rd ed books, the art didn't match at all. transition was easier for me from 3rd to 4th ed. than from AD&D 2nd to D&D 3rd ed.

You are referring to core concepts without being precise but being very agressive, so the discussion will automatically be limited.


I played AD&D and following editions, and my point of view seems to be very different.
In AD&D 2nd ed. Rogues and bard were near useless and frustrating most of the time. Magic has always been a complete mess, overshadowing other players. Wizards and clerics were already completly overpowering other classes except psionicist. Monks were not there.

3rd edition has done a lot to fix things, but it was too closse to the precedent edition.
4th edition fixed a lot more things, but was too different.

I hated vancian spellcasting from the start.

I do not like or understand Sci-fi psionic when psychic abilities are common place in a lot of shamanic traditions, including witch or norse seidkona (no shaman is generally not a spirit enslaver).

I like to see non-magical classes shine in the current edition, but arcane magic is not enough "magic" for me, now.

I do not miss stupid save or die rolls.

I still don't like daily powers/spells. Why once per day ? Just because you can't use it twice... except if you have some feats, epic abilities, or items...

Class roles in the current editions are too much, but the idea to guarantee each player a place in the sun wasn't bad, but should have been extended outside combat. Non-magical classes really needed it, even if I'm not convinced that the striker role is needed or if spellcasters really need to be so damage focused. But I remember a lot of players making their first attempt at a class in the other editions for pityful results, and this doesn't happen now.

 There hasn't been a perfect edition and it will never exist.
I have no nostalgy, no passion that could make me being agressive with people not agreing with me. Because some of these people, like me, have seen more than one editions, and some others only played the 4th edition, and none of their feelings is better than another.

5th edition has to learn from the other editions mistakes, like the other editions before it.
I welcome the idea of a new edition, and each time I played an older edition, it never lasted more than one evening, and nobody has asked to play it again after that.

I can't wait the day when I will read in the forum someone upset that WotC has abandonned the perfect new refreshing concept of the 4th edition. It will happens. It happens every time Wink

I am not sure if this was specifically stated in this post but I was thinking about the OPs love of SAGA and using it as a template for 5e.  There is one other item that I liked about 4e that I would like to see in 5e.  It doesn't come up with every class but with classes that are hybridized (magic users and weapon users).  The Swordmage, for instance, uses INT to hit regardless of him using his sword to hit something physically or causing lightning to arc out of its tip at an enemy.  I don't want to make something like a Paladin and have him have trouble using his limited spells because he invests in STR so he can hit with a sword.  I also don't love BABs as an item to balance classes.
The combat roles are not meant to make sense in the context of the D&D world. They are merely helpful terms for players to make a functioning party. That may be hard for 3.x players to understand since they are used to wizards being the whole party.


That kind of weird generalization indicates that you are not understanding that many of us are role-players, and the idea of making only wizards just because they were more powerful makes people like me cringe. I rarely made wizards, as I just didn't care much for them. Again, I am a role-player, not a power-gamer.

The second point is that you shouldn't need to fill certain "roles" to make a "functioning party" anyway, as your description of 4E suggests. We never felt like we needed such roles before, we certainly have never needed them in SAGA, and we don't need them in 5E. Take your cookie-cutter roles and put them in some other game, just don't get them anywhere near our D&D.

Saying that 3rd edtion was backward compatible with 2nd edition is laughable. 3rd edition killed plenty of holy cattle when it came out; there were plenty of people disgruntled and screaming "it's just like diablo" and complaining about how there were too many options and no thac0 and all manner of foolishness.


I have made clear that I am talking about the CONCEPTS being consistent. Sure the mechanics changed from 2E to 3.5E, and each time we made adjustments accordingly. But I could still make a Cleric/Rogue Nightcloak, or a Gnome Rogue/Illusionist, or whatever.  So what if the numbers were different. That's almost completely irrelevant to role-playing my characters.

I mean, did you even read my post?

What you're saying is that you want 5e to be backwards compatible (which is a joke in a TTRPG; there is no need for it, because there is no need for the mechanical systems to be alike in any way; anything can be translated if it is an idea, not a facet of the mechanics).


Again, we WANT mechanical changes, just not conceptual ones. Why are you not understanding this? I've made it ridiculously clear.

What you are saying is that you want 5e to have the core mechanics of 3.5


No, and I've said absolutely nothing to that effect.


Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Bard weren't so iconic as a base class before AD&D 2nd edition, and then they were like the rogues : weak. Weak inside and outside combat, sometimes near useless for the rogues.


Weak is a relative term. Power-gamers might not have liked them at all, but I've always loved role-playing Rogues and Bards. Along with specialty priests, they are my favorites.

5E needs to just balance them better mechanically, which is what I've been saying.

Multiclassing is clearly bad in the current edition, but I can't remember my tremendous amount of anger... Some people can think the AD&D 2 multiclassing systems (plural, races weren't multiclassing the same way) were perfect, I do not, with a tremendous amount of not. D&D 3rd ed. multiclassing was interesting but could rapidly become out of control, for good or bad.


Of course, and that's why most of us fully support mechanical changes for that kind of stuff. If you read my proposed solutions, you'd see that I used the SAGA example for how to handle multiclassing, as it works incredibly well, it is very well-balanced, and it keeps everyone happy.

 Fighters were having to protect casters if the wanted to see a spell effect during a combat in the old editions. That matches perfectly with the idea of a defender.


Who says that you have to have spellcasters in your party, and who says that fighters have to defend them?

If certain players want to set up roles within their party like that, then they can certainly do so, but establishing these cookie-cutter roles as part of the game is simply counter-productive. This silly defender/striker/controller stuff absolutely has to be done away with, period.

True neutral explanations were a source of endless jokes, people changing sides during combat to keep a balance, seriously ?


Yeah, that was a ridiculous way to look at it, but of course no one has interpreted it that way for years. In the 3E PHB it states explicitly that a Neutral character "doesn't feel strongly one way or another when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos."

So I just don't see the value of pretending that it is so strict, when it hasn't been that way for a very long time. Nice red herring, though.

The current system cover the alignments that deserve to be specified. Chaotic  good or lawful evil characters doesn't notably impact a society as much as lawful good and chaotic evil ones.


That's just completley wrong. I don't have to tell you about a certain culture in Europe from about 70 years ago that was clearly Lawful Evil, and that clearly impacted society.

Tha fact is that omitting LE or CG (or LN) is just downright irrational.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
That's just completley wrong. I don't have to tell you about a certain culture in Europe from about 70 years ago that was clearly Lawful Evil, and that clearly impacted society.


Tha fact is that omitting LE or CG (or LN) is just downright irrational.


My country have been deeply impacted by this "certain culture" action. But the fact is that culture is european, and that circomstances counts. this culture is not lawful evil, it's the same today as it was then. It was a sort mega lynch mob that followed a cycle of humiliation, it was really not a simple situation.

And even if my family suffered of this war two generations ago, I can tell something : it has clearly not impacted the western civilization, and the "lawful evil civilization" is now the more sorry about what happens and make a great work to keep memory for this to never happen again.
The impact is zero, people still turn to racism and extreme side of religion and politic in time of crisis, they are ready to abandon liberty for security. It can happen again, and it may not be an european country this time.

In the end, after all this, the society in this country, and societies in the conquered countries around are still here. A Chaotic evil force would have left no society behind.

And now that you have verified the godwin rule, I will wander on other threads and pass on things that I would have discussed here, as discussion is visibly not the aim of this thread.

That's just completley wrong. I don't have to tell you about a certain culture in Europe from about 70 years ago that was clearly Lawful Evil, and that clearly impacted society.


Tha fact is that omitting LE or CG (or LN) is just downright irrational.


My country have been deeply impacted by this "certain culture" action. But the fact is that culture is european, and that circomstances counts. this culture is not lawful evil, it's the same today as it was then. It was a sort mega lynch mob that followed a cycle of humiliation, it was really not a simple situation.

And even if my family suffered of this war two generations ago, I can tell something : it has clearly not impacted the western civilization, and the "lawful evil civilization" is now the more sorry about what happens and make a great work to keep memory for this to never happen again.
The impact is zero, people still turn to racism and extreme side of religion and politic in time of crisis, they are ready to abandon liberty for security. It can happen again, and it may not be an european country this time.

In the end, after all this, the society in this country, and societies in the conquered countries around are still here. A Chaotic evil force would have left no society behind.

And now that you have verified the godwin rule, I will wander on other threads and pass on things that I would have discussed here, as discussion is visibly not the aim of this thread.




Um,  the effects of that Lawful Evil culture affect all of humanity,  and technically speaking will reverberate for the rest of history.

From the changing of the gene pool,  to the potential things they could have discovered,  to the things their great great great great grandchildren that will never exist could have discovered.  The changes in global politics,  America was relatively isolationist prior to the event,  etc,  etc.

That Lawful Evil culture drastically altered the course of humanity and technically speaking,  the Universe,  forever.

If you want,  I can probably also find an example where Chaotic Good does the same.