Modular Structured 5E - smaller, focused *booklets* instead of the current format

What I would want to see is an even more modular structure. Take the PHB and break it down to:
(a) core rules booklet (movement, combat, etc..)
(b) booklet per race
(c) booklet per class
(d) ..

Each booklet should be in smaller format (A5?), hard cover.

This way if I want to play my human wizard I should buy 3-4 booklets instead of the entire PHB. Pricing should be refactored naturally.
I can then bundle these smaller (both in size and thickness) booklets to my game. I'm thinking on a nice looking special edition leather binder/bag ;)

I've been playing D&D for 25 years, WoTC: make my dream core true
Modular is one thing, but you're going to have to have /something/ in the core book.  If you break out races, you'll at least have to have humans.  If you break out classes...?



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Not necessarily. The core booklet will be just the framework. If you choose to play a human, buy the core booklet and the human booklet. If you choose to play a human wizard, add the wizard booklet and you'll end-up with three booklets that together form your own custom rule-set. Well.. that's my vision, for what its worth

Why not have the core races in one booklet, and add more as are necessary?  After all, the PHBs didn't have more than a page or two on each race, and a page on each paragon path.

I can see each class having it's own booklet, what with spells and stances and all, but there should also be a core rulebook that has the centralized stuff (movement, actions, feats, skills, etc).  Sure, the class booklets could have more feats in them that are class specific, but races would probably have to be grouped into a booklet of it's own, or as part of the core rulebook.
I had that same idea but... eh.. I'm a completionist. I'd want to own every combination.

What happens if I want to get the dwarf book, but it's so popular, it's always sold out? And the shelf at the store is filled with hundreds of elf books?

I have here the Players Handbook Races: Dragonborn. It's 32 pages. Should all books be that big? 8 races would give you 256 pages, and the PHB with ALL the character info is about 320 pages.

Now consider the cost. That 32 pages is $9.99. To get 8 races, you're looking at $79.92! That's without class info! Or rules!

The other issue is wait time for everything to come out. They all can't come out on day one.
Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
the class booklets could have more feats in them that are class specific.

If there will even be Feats, they still haven't nailed that puppy down.
I think this idea spilts the hairs too finely.  

Firstly, I don't want a booklet to tell me how to play a human, unless its going to have some insights on how to improve my real life.  I've been playing human for near 40 years and doing an okay job.

The core book should be just that, the core.  I've always liked the idea that all you need for DnD is the core three.  So for the phb I would put your core elf, dwarf, etc etc.  Then the elf book should include the other flavors of elf, plus elf centric weapons, elfland centric monsters, maybe an elf centric class or build.  Similar to something we saw in 2nd. (if going this route)

But you do not want to essentially hold a few starting classes and races hostage either by requiring extra cash or even waiting for their turn in the printing schedule. 
How about this:

Men & Magic (Vol. 1) details what characters can be played, potentials, limitations, and various magical spells.

Monsters & Treasure (Vol. II) describes the beasts and creatures which will be encountered, as well as the kind and amount of treasure they are likely to guard, including magical items.

Finally, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures (Vol. Ill) tells how to set up and actually play the campaign. It is presented last in order to allow the reader to gain the perspective necessary — the understanding of the two preceeding booklets. Read through the entire work in the order presented before you attempt to play.
@Austinwulf, @iqwinn, @Webster - Makes sense, but I'm a minimalist so having a bunch of races and classes I don't relate to is just a waste of pages and flipping time..  the notion building my own custom phb is very appealing.
Now I do agree that the release should be synchronized. Again, this is not saying we get that much more content. Just breaking it down to smaller booklets. Also, pricing should be well thought-of to allow good cost/value balance for the average player. 

Also, I would appreciate a smaller-form-factor. I always found the books a bit over-sized. I want something I can hold more comfortably and that spares some desk real-estate.

@imperialus - What about the women? ;) Nice concept though, but not modular enough for me..

@imperialus - What about the women? ;) Nice concept though, but not modular enough for me...

My post was a little tounge and cheek, that is actually a quote from the book Men and Magic from the 1974 edition of OD&D.

That said I do agree with your premice.  the OD&D format wouldn't work in a 'modern' edition of D&D simply due to system bloat.  I mean Monsters and Treasure is what became the Monsterous Manual but in OD&D it was right around 40 pages with between 4 and 7 monsters on a page.  Their stat blocks fit on a single line.
Generally, the D&D CORE PHB is roughly 315 pages (3.x and 4e) while the PHB equivalent for Pathfinder (Core Rulebook) is close to 600 pages (includes campaign development).  Since we are starting from scratch, does the PHB need to be the same as every other one done? 

For example:  Add as many races as possibly that exist today, and increase the number of pages and price. Or even maybe create a PHB 3-pack that includes separate books for:

  • races and associated feats, 

  • classes (associated feats) and advancement (levels, heroic, paragon, epic), and 

  • game mechanics with deities, items, etc (with associated feats).  The third book would be the primary book most players would carry around to sessions.   

Its an opportunity to change us from a “Here we go again” format.

Who says a CORE PHB cannot offer players (new and seasoned veterans alike) more variety?  Doesn’t this promote more than any other game system?  What’s the WOW (no, not WoW) factor? 

what would you cut from the PHB?

 I want a system where players don't have to pick between mechanics and roleplaying. I hope 5E fails asap so a better system can be made asap.

I can't believe what they did to the forums and website. The sterile lack of color is rather depressing and navigation is hard.

I can be contacted here.



Add races and classes was always a draw, I felt, to buying the next new book.  Remember how much buzz lead up to phb2 and phb3 while we waited to see what race and class we would get, and then to see what their mechanics would be?

As much as I like the idea of front loading as much as you can from the start, I think it hurts the products ability to sell more books later.  Maybe in a smaller, cheaper to print format, new races books(or pdfs) would be more apealing and keep the product line flowing.

And they have to sell pdfs.  Its 2012.  Yes, people will pirate.  However, those who would wouldn't pay for your product anyway.  I'd be happy to pay a reasonable amount for something that rather than fill a book shelf I could store on a laptop or eventually a tablet I could take to games.

And if dnd 5 doesn't have a table ap for running things, they had best not even bother with the game imho.

That strayed a bit.
The sizes of the current books are fine, with good sized print for those with bad eyes like me.  It also gives more room for artwork.  The smaller size (A5 was suggested) will be sufficient, so long as the print size does not force older guys like me to have to get magnifying glasses, even if they get a little thicker.

I like the idea that the core rulebook should cover the basic races (dwarf, elf, half-elf, halfling, human).  It should also cover weapons and armor, preferably with detailed info on the weapons as well as drawings.  The basic feats should also be covered (again, assuming that there will be feats).  It should also cover the basic classes:  cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard.  Additional races and classes can be covered in Core Rulebook 2.  Each race and class can then get a thinner booklet that would expand upon the appropriate subject.  Naturally, there would be some repitition (ie, a feat that benefits a human fighter would be covered in the Human expansion book as well as the Fighter expansion book).

Another thing that I hope for, as I may have already stated elsewhere, is to have the 5e Character Builder available in online AND offline editions.  I really liked having the offline edition, esp. when I'm visiting relatives who have no internet connections.  It's part of the package for which I pay my dues.
The first three books must contain enough information to play the game in a meaningful way. 

All books should be hard cover. (I am 40 years old. I have no time for cheap materials), but I would also like to buy e-books for my ipad.

Expansion books such as "complete cleric" and "complete dwarf" should focus on adding new classes and new feats and optional rules.
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
What I would want to see is an even more modular structure. Take the PHB and break it down to:

(c) booklet per class

Each booklet should be in smaller format (A5?), hard cover.

this could work if each class was a self contained unit.
meaning the book introduces thae class with all it's options and builds. ( including paragorn paths/epic destenies class feats)

there would be no more books adding options to classes (splat books), just more and more books each containing 1 full class with all it's options

but that goes right in against the posibility of more character costomization many people on these boards seem to want.

would some one "problem" i have seen in multiple editons being .
when combining class x with option z from splat book a and option Y from splat book e.
results in breaking the game and needs to be errata'd

the only way you might get access to options from another class book would be multiclass.
and only errata would be option X from the class book is not availeble to multiclass characters.
@edwin_su - exactly! - 1 core booklet and 1 booklet/book for each class.

Another idea:

Let me build my own PHB. Let me choose which parts I want in my PHB and send me a printed version (similar to the digital album production tools out there).. 

But I do prefer the booklets concept better.. having smaller, targeted content based on my gaming preferences.. @halvgrim - hard-cover of-course
My wishlist:

  1. Digital Books (updatable with erratta - either pdf (as Piazo) or as epub (can be sold onsite)

  2. Electronic Support Tools - character builder (online & off-line), iPad support (ie: not silverlight)

  3. Virtual Table - for use locally as well as for remote use

  4. Physical Books - essentials/text book size but hard cover or available inboth hardcover & paperback

To quote a wise old Troll "I am a very, very old troll. Old trolls have many lessons to teach, provided you're sturdy enough not to be offended by a gruff, blunt manner." -Mr_Miscellany
I like the idea of having 8.5x11 hardcovers for the core books (PHB, DMG, MM, maybe RC to start) and Essentials-sized paperbacks for add-on modules (Complete Fighter, 300+ pages of Fighter options for those who want 3.5/4E-style customization.)
Wishlist: -Alternate ability bonuses for pre-PHB3 races -Lots more superior implements or an official customization rule -Monk multiclass feat that grants Unarmed Combatant

The whole point of making the game modular is to get everyone to buy the same books regardless of taste. The point is to make the brand profitable despite the massive division of taste present in this fanbase. I expect each product to have a number of modules geared towards different types of play. I expect you to have to purchase some modules you don't like to get the modules you do. I expect add-on modules to be grouped by common theme, and each theme to present a number of variations designed to appeal to groups with different tastes. From the point of view of business, that is the only way to make all of this work. Otherwise WotC will be producing products that compete against themselves. 

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