D&D Next: Dos and Don'ts

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First, keep the base system simple, lightweight and intuitive.


D&D is the flagship game of the entire hobby, and will most likely be the first rpg experience that many potential gamers have.


Furthermore, the vast majority of players aren't here on the forums...they're out doing whatever it is they do when it's not game night. Most barely even bother to look at a rulebook when they're not at the table.


Newer and more casual players should be at the forefront of the designers minds when they are finalizing details of the new game. Avoid writing deliberately obtuse mechanics and needlessly complex, esoteric rules when a simpler system will do.


There are plenty of other games out there designed to be an impenetrable dedicated hobbyist stronghold...D&D shouldn't be that game.


DO make the game fun and easy to run.


If one of the goals for D&D Next is to attract new players, then one of the best way to do that is to create more DM's. In that regard, the game should be as DM friendly as possible. An easy, user-friendly and intuitive system allows DM's to make quick, fair and consistent rulings on the fly, without cluttering up the page space with rules for every single corner case scenario.



Though I'm not a huge 4E guy, there are a few advancements that the game made that should stick around for the newest iteration:

Keep the 1-30 level span and Heroic, Paragon and Epic tiers. It is a lot easier to design for 3 tiers than it is for 3rd edition's 4 tiers.

Keep 4E's attack resolution. For example, a Wizard wants to shoot a drow in the face with a lightning bolt. She rolls an attack against the Drow's Reflex defense...if it meets or exceeds this value, damage is rolled and status conditions are applied to the target, if not then the spell misses it's target. This is quicker and easier than rolling against the Drow's spell resistance and then waiting to see if the drow makes its saving throw.

4E's attack resolution is clearly more efficient than previous systems. When faced with two different systems, I can see no good reason to revert to a less efficient and intuitive system.

Keep 4E's 1/2 level progression. Some argue that a 30 level Wizard shouldn't be able to beat a 1st level Fighter in an arm wrestling contest, but I say bollocks. These cases are a by product of experience levels themselves, levels being one of the defining traits that makes D&D what it is. Plus, if a Wizard has spent 30 levels surviving (mostly) fights with demons, devils, angels, dragons, elementals, etc. then they damn well should be able to beat a 1st level fighter at any sort of toughness contest.

Also, this makes creating high level characters easier and makes multiclassing more teneble, since players no longer have to choose what their characters suck at each level.

Keep binary savings throws as a duration tracking mechanic. This just works really well...and giving tougher monsters a static save bonus, you eliminate the need for clunkier subsystems like spell resistance.

Keep PC roles, but make them mutable. A Fighter should be able to act as a tank, a commando, a leader, etc. depending on what options the player wants to take. People have complained about the wargame-ish feel of 4E, but honestly giving people a job to do in combat (out of combat roll usually falls into the province of the skill system) helps keep niches protected, which in turn helps balance the various player options. You don't even have to restrict these to Defender/Controller/Striker/Leader...you could, in theory, open this up to include monster roles like Brutes, Skirmishers, Artillery, etc.

On that note, keep 4E monster design. It was, in my mind, the best evolution fo the game so far. Giving monsters "classes" like Brute, Lurker, Controller, etc.  means that I can design a city full of goblins that don't all have identical stats and tactics. Also, I don't want to have to futz around with Hit Dice, Challenge Rating, Skill ranks, Feats, Wealth by Level, etc. The experience budget is just far superior to older systems in regards to encounter design, and the modular approach to monster design is a breeze.

Keep 4E's easy DM prep. Becuase some of us like running games, but hate excessive bookkeeping. Those who want excessive bookkeeping can spend the extra prep time playing Sudoku, or doing their taxes.

Don't:

Call it D&D Next
Make every class use the same system
Make players roll for HP

Do:

Call it D&D 5e
Allow the option for more lethal spells/abilities/powers/etc like SoDs
Allow retraining
Make OTTerfolk, Hags, Squirrels, Trolls and Roosterfolk core races

EDIT: The League pwns. 
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I don't know, Bobbum_Man. I disagree with almost everything in your second post. I respect your opinion, and we're here to discuss this sort of thing, but these kinds of threads make me wonder more than ever whether WotC can pull off their stated goal of enticing fans of all editions to play.

Most everything you raise as a "do" would make me less likely to adopt 5e, as my game. And of course there are plenty of people who will agree with your "do" list. So where does that leave the designers? 
What NOT to do:

Purge magic item enhancement bonuses from the game. I know that +1 longswords are something of a sacred cow to some people, but the game math shouldn't EXPECT PC's to have X enhancement at Y level in order to keep pace with monster advancement. Just give magic items properties and powers that expand a characters repetoire of options, rather than increasing their numbers. This way, DM's can include as much or as little enchanted gear in their campaigns as they like, without fear of curbstomping the system.

Don't wedge in a bunch of disparate subsystems. I don't want to see resolution mechanics that range from roll over, to % roll, to roll under on a d6, to THAC0,etc. Just keep it simple and unified. I know that dialable complexity is one of the goals of D&D Next, but that doesn't mean that you have to include stupid rules for mere sake of tradition. Jettison what doesn't work and keep only what does.

Don't put Timmy Cards into the game. 3rd edition as a rules mastery arms race that rewarded people more for decisions made alone in a basement than it did decisions made around the table at the actual game. All this does, is create an exclusionary and abtruse culture around what is supposed to be a social game. Make all options viable and useful throughout a characters career, and DON'T make character generation feellike building a magic card deck.

Don't include redundant spells/powers/sfx. It is the case in earlier editions spells, and in 4E's powers that many higher level examples are a slightly "upgraded" version of lower level examples. This redundancy is just useless clutter that takes up page space that could go to another race, or class, or stronghold building rules, etc.

Trim down the spell/power list to a handful of options that can be levelled up at like Paragon Tier and again at Epic. Or if you go with a level 1-20 progression, at levels 6, 11 and 16. I don't want to see a bloated spell list that is full of progressively more powerful versions of 1st level spells. This will save page space, and from a design stand point will create clearer decision points for players and DM's. Better for all parties involved.

I don't know, Bobbum_Man. I disagree with almost everything in your second post. I respect your opinion, and we're here to discuss this sort of thing, but these kinds of threads make me wonder more than ever whether WotC can pull off their stated goal of enticing fans of all editions to play.

Most everything you raise as a "do" would make me less likely to adopt 5e, as my game. And of course there are plenty of people who will agree with your "do" list. So where does that leave the designers? 



That leaves the designers in the position of analyzing playtest data in order to decide what makes it into the game and what doesn't.

In all instances, they should be choosing whatever works better for actual tableplay, rather than what ideas conform to the ideological motives behind the games various traditions.

The way to gather players spread out amongst the various iterations of the game under the umbrealla of one universal edition is to craft a simple base upon which to apply modular rules options. Like having basic and advanced D&D without separate game lines. This is difficult not only because gamers are notoriously clique-ish and venomous, but also because most don't actually KNOW what they want out of a game.

Case in point:

Players want less character mortality, however in my experience they are never more invested, immersed and excited then when they think they are going to die.

People want the game to emulate stories wherein the odds are stacked against the heroes, who eventually manage to eke out a miraculous victory. However, the game itself is based around probability, the laws of which dictate that if the odds are stacked against you, then you likely won't win.

People want fighters to be able to wrestle dragons and punch cthulhu in the junk...but want them to be ostensibly mundane while doing it.

Now if we look at 4E's skeletal structure as a generic base for a system, and strip out all of the class powers, healing surges, action points, feats, and other exceptions and instead gave it a more traditional class structure...do you think that people would have had nearly as much of a problem with it? Do you really think that people are so adamantly and vehemently dedicated to percentage miss chances that they would spit on the new edition before giving it a shot? If the new game manages to do everything that AD&D does, but in a much easier way, do you think that people will reject it on principle simply for being new?

So when faced with two rules options..one being cumbersome and extrinsic, while another is elegant and intuitive...then I have to wonder at the motivations of the person who deliberately chooses the more unwieldy option.





oh I'll likely get flamed for this but...


DO


ballence classes appropriately to the area the class specializes in IE magic users should not have the hp or melee abilities of fighters... ever...

get rid of non-magical abilities and feats as "powers" and make them "manuvers" that anyone can attempt with a propper ability check instead.

bring back the 9 alignments 

Bring back the 4 main classes, and go back to expanded kits with additional XP costs for specialization.
 
Market the game and write the core books assuming the audience is young adult or teen (PG 13), not grammer school (10 and up) 

make magic items and magical abilities rare and special (lower the inherrent ammount of magic in and availible within the game, its fine to have high magic worlds as expansions but I would prefer a core game where if you get to 5th level and have a single +2 magic item your on par with most other players)  
  

Do not

give players a die roll to to resolve role playing encounters.

restrict the actions of the players or DM so that a bad game is preventable.
  
have healing surges and healing abilities for all classes unless this is released as a suppliment 

make magic items actually limited use abilities, do not base the game on the assumption that a specific level of magic items will be given out. 

keep game mechanics that limit player ability or indenuity IE allow players to move or shift their enemies with the use of manuvers rather than the use of level aquired class or race abilities.    

allow players too many initial choices in race, skills, starting magic items, uncommon abilities, etc. without some form of direct DM approval (lets try and minimize the min-maxers)

I could probably go for hours on this subject...                  
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax

Bobbum_Man: Good stuff. I don't really have any questions, as those fairly reflect my opinions. I do have a question though:


Is that La Fin du Monde in your avatar?

Though I'm not a huge 4E guy...

You do a very good job of faking it, then.  Everything you said was good was straight out of 4e.  Everything you said was bad was from older editions.  Let's at least call a spade a spade, shall we?

DO:
Offer versatility and balance from the PHB on

DON'T:
Shove every class into a specific "role" it should play.  If I want a Blaster/Face, it shouldn't be that difficult
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88534793 wrote:
Punctuation exists for a reason, and your neglect of the shift key is to the point where Social Services should be involved.
You do a very good job of faking it, then.  Everything you said was good was straight out of 4e.  Everything you said was bad was from older editions.  Let's at least call a spade a spade, shall we?



I think that the skeleton upon which 4E was built is solid. I just don't like the exceptions.


Is that La Fin du Monde in your avatar?




Oui. Absolutement.

Though I chose the avatar because I was looking for something that said: "Creepy, perverted hobo" more than anything else.

.

In all instances, they should be choosing whatever works better for actual tableplay, rather than what ideas conform to the ideological motives behind the games various traditions.




Yeah, but we all have differing view about what works best based on the ideologies we bring to the table, and since the designers are trying to attract players from all of the various ideologies, then it stands to reason that they will have to take those motives into consideration when designing 5e. 

If as you say they can design a game that really does what the older editions did, but in an easier way, so that they re-attract those players, while at the same time keeping 4e players onboard, I think people will go for it. I don't know any gamers who reject something simply because it is new; rather, it comes down to whether they like it when they're sitting at the table to game.

But I do think there are some areas where it becomes hard to reconcile the various groups of players. For me, for example, the only real deal breaker I can think of is the "powers" system of 4e. Not that it isn't designed well, or well-balanced, but because I simply have no interest in playing a game with that sort of structure. I particularly have no interest in a game where martial classes are designed in that way, and I don't like it even for non-martial classes.

OK, well that's me. You may or may not like the 4e powers system, and I know there are plenty of people who do like it far better than what came before. How do you reconcile this aspect of the game so that both groups are pleased? Can you reconcile the two groups? To do it, it seems like you'd have to come up with a new, third way of doing it that both groups like, but in so doing you increase the risk that neither group will like it. 
Do:
Have things like the slayer and the 3X wizard, and balance them properly.
have 4e style classes that have powers and stuff, but with more and exiting class features and talents.
Have feats that are cool both flavor-wise and crunch-wise
Have other types of bonuses to give just a little extra customization to your character.
have healing surges and self healing
Have magic items be as important as you want. Ie, high or low level magic game.
Have a multi class system in between 4e's and 3e's, like a feat to gain an actual, unmodded class feature from another class.
Have hybrids
Have roles, but not how we think of them now.
Keep 4e's NADs system
Have saves akin to 3e instead of current save ends
Turn current save ends into something like an after affect or encounter power worthy thing.
Have PPs and EDs.
Be able to have specialized levels for a class (similar to Prestige classes)
Have one single exploitable combo like pun pun or the cheesewizard.
Don't
Make casters uberbosses without others also being uberbosses.
Have required feat taxes
Make trap options (via ivory tower or bad design)
Have all classes have exactly the same advancement structure.
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You can't please everyone, but you can please me. I DO NOT WANT A FREAKING 4E REPEAT. I DO NOT WANT A MODULE THAT MIMICS MY FAVORITE EDITION. I WANT MODULES THAT MIMIC A PLAYSTYLE AND CAN BE INTERCHANGED TO COMPLETELY CHANGE THE FEEL, BUT NOT THE THEME, OF D&D. A perfect example would be an espionage module, or desert survival. A BAD EXAMPLE IS HEALING SURGES. WE HAVE 4E FOR THOSE! A good example is a way to combine a mundane and self healing module, a high-survival-rate module, and a separate pool of healing resource module.
But I do think there are some areas where it becomes hard to reconcile the various groups of players. For me, for example, the only real deal breaker I can think of is the "powers" system of 4e. Not that it isn't designed well, or well-balanced, but because I simply have no interest in playing a game with that sort of structure. I particularly have no interest in a game where martial classes are designed in that way, and I don't like it even for non-martial classes.

OK, well that's me. You may or may not like the 4e powers system, and I know there are plenty of people who do like it far better than what came before. How do you reconcile this aspect of the game so that both groups are pleased? Can you reconcile the two groups? To do it, it seems like you'd have to come up with a new, third way of doing it that both groups like, but in so doing you increase the risk that neither group will like it. 


I...don't understand this. Other Editions of DnD had Powers; they were called Spells, and the only difference is the presentation. Rather than have them all selectable in a Character Builder, they simply took up one to two hundred pages in the back of the book, though each one was clearly designed as something you could have printed in card form.

I have a DnD Journal thingy I use to take notes and keep track of things when I play; it's leather-back and looks like it could be an actual in-game item, so I like to write in it from the PC's perspective, especially the main PC I used to play, as he was very studious. He was a Warmage, and all of his Spells and a summary of what they do are written in there. Other Editions had Powers; just not everyone got to use them.

EDIT: Oops, sorry! Forgot to mention; though I may disagree with some things, this is an excellent Thread.
Resident Logic Cannon
Do keep *surges*.  Walking Band Aids should remain a thing of D&D Past.

Don't include Epic in the core rules.  It deserves its own space, where it can be properly expanded upon. 
/\ Art
Do keep *surges*.  Walking Band Aids should remain a thing of D&D Past.

Don't include Epic in the core rules.  It deserves its own space, where it can be properly expanded upon. 



Agreed (though in latter case, for me it'd be more of 'its own space, where I can ignore it).
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I mostly agree with Bobbum_Man, and I AM a 4E guy.
Though I'm not a huge 4E guy, there are a few advancements that the game made that should stick around for the newest iteration:

Keep the 1-30 level span and Heroic, Paragon and Epic tiers. It is a lot easier to design for 3 tiers than it is for 3rd edition's 4 tiers.

Keep 4E's attack resolution. For example, a Wizard wants to shoot a drow in the face with a lightning bolt. She rolls an attack against the Drow's Reflex defense...if it meets or exceeds this value, damage is rolled and status conditions are applied to the target, if not then the spell misses it's target. This is quicker and easier than rolling against the Drow's spell resistance and then waiting to see if the drow makes its saving throw.



This is one of my bigger problems with 4E.  How exactly does someone dodge a lightning bolt?  How do they manage to come out of it unscathed despite the fact that a lightning bolt near you is absolutely going to be painful.  Save for half damage,  and spell resistance,  make a heck'uva lot more sense than people dodging the undodgable.

Keep 4E's 1/2 level progression. Some argue that a 30 level Wizard shouldn't be able to beat a 1st level Fighter in an arm wrestling contest, but I say bollocks. These cases are a by product of experience levels themselves, levels being one of the defining traits that makes D&D what it is. Plus, if a Wizard has spent 30 levels surviving (mostly) fights with demons, devils, angels, dragons, elementals, etc. then they damn well should be able to beat a 1st level fighter at any sort of toughness contest.



One of the defining traits of D&D is that wizards are not tough,  that's the price for the power,  it's rock-paper-scissors. 

Keep binary savings throws as a duration tracking mechanic. This just works really well...and giving tougher monsters a static save bonus, you eliminate the need for clunkier subsystems like spell resistance.



Except spell resistance isn't a "Clunky" system,  it's creatures that are immune to magic,  just like damage resistance.  It's another check and balance. 

Also,  the earlier editions saving throws were a great deal better than 4e.   

Keep PC roles, but make them mutable. A Fighter should be able to act as a tank, a commando, a leader, etc. depending on what options the player wants to take. People have complained about the wargame-ish feel of 4E, but honestly giving people a job to do in combat (out of combat roll usually falls into the province of the skill system) helps keep niches protected, which in turn helps balance the various player options. You don't even have to restrict these to Defender/Controller/Striker/Leader...you could, in theory, open this up to include monster roles like Brutes, Skirmishers, Artillery, etc.



Gamebreaker for me.  This is an MMO feature.  If I want a "Role" I'll define it by what feats I choose,  and if I don't want a "Role" then I won't. 

On that note, keep 4E monster design. It was, in my mind, the best evolution fo the game so far. Giving monsters "classes" like Brute, Lurker, Controller, etc.  means that I can design a city full of goblins that don't all have identical stats and tactics. Also, I don't want to have to futz around with Hit Dice, Challenge Rating, Skill ranks, Feats, Wealth by Level, etc. The experience budget is just far superior to older systems in regards to encounter design, and the modular approach to monster design is a breeze.



Near-gamebreaker for me.  I do not want MMO "Kill the red orc at level 10",  "Kill the blue orc at level 20" gameplay.  It's pretty silly in an MMO,  it's unforgivable in a PnP RPG. 

Keep 4E's easy DM prep. Becuase some of us like running games, but hate excessive bookkeeping. Those who want excessive bookkeeping can spend the extra prep time playing Sudoku, or doing their taxes.



That's what premade modules exist for.  Running a campaign is not trivial,  and if you're not intrested in generating a world with a story and other facets,  you shouldn't be running your own campaign.  Buy the modules,  or harvest them from players sharing their own custom campaigns.

No need to turn this into a PnP video game.   
DO:
Offer versatility and balance from the PHB on

DON'T:
Shove every class into a specific "role" it should play.  If I want a Blaster/Face, it shouldn't be that difficult


Based on this you might like the idea I have for a classless(and therefore non-specific role) system based within the 4e advancement(because frankly i actually like that class advancement table).  Up to you how you interpret this. And this idea that I have is still in its infancy so no big details to give out other than what I have specified.

Do:
Provide players with options for their character.
Keep it simple:Overcomplicating things make running the game and characters slow.
Provide the DM with enough tools to run a game without making it a stack of books(or huge file of PDF's).
Keep Powers: just try to open them up to more than a single class without multiclassing or hybrid.

Don't:
Lock players into specific roles based on class: on the choices they make on behalf of their character and in game as their character should really be what determines their role in the game.

I'll tell ya if I think of more Do's & Don'ts 

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This is one of my bigger problems with 4E.  How exactly does someone dodge a lightning bolt?  How do they manage to come out of it unscathed despite the fact that a lightning bolt near you is absolutely going to be painful.  Save for half damage,  and spell resistance,  make a heck'uva lot more sense than people dodging the undodgable.
 



You can feel the ions building up before the discharge occurs honest.

The entire point of dodging an attack that is faster than you are is dodging the aim of the attacker not the movement of the bullet.... ie your reflexes measure the quality of you making yourself a piss poor target ... and its abstract your heros hit points mean you are probably only ever being narrowly missed.

Heck lightning is bloody eratic in the path it takes I stabbed my sword in the ground for a moment just before it hit and the lightning diverted down it while I wrapped my cape around myself and I got lucky it decided the weapon was the better target ;p, we let the players describe there characters defenses it makes for vivid play.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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This is one of my bigger problems with 4E.  How exactly does someone dodge a lightning bolt?  How do they manage to come out of it unscathed despite the fact that a lightning bolt near you is absolutely going to be painful.  Save for half damage,  and spell resistance,  make a heck'uva lot more sense than people dodging the undodgable.

Evasion much??? o.O

One of the defining traits of D&D is that wizards are not tough,  that's the price for the power,  it's rock-paper-scissors.

Then go play Rock-Paper-Scissors. I don't want to spend time developing my Character and the Story and then suddenly fight the last boss...only to have everyone say, "Okay, 123SHOOT!" and it's over. That just sucks.

Except spell resistance isn't a "Clunky" system,  it's creatures that are immune to magic,  just like damage resistance.  It's another check and balance.

Yes, yes it is. It's arbitrary and another aspect of, "Roll to see if you get to play this Encounter;" a version of Antimagic Field that you might be able to overcome is not good Game Design.

Near-gamebreaker for me.  I do not want MMO "Kill the red orc at level 10",  "Kill the blue orc at level 20" gameplay.  It's pretty silly in an MMO,  it's unforgivable in a PnP RPG.

4E was never like that, or at least, if it was, it was no more egregrious than previous Editions.
Resident Logic Cannon

This is one of my bigger problems with 4E.  How exactly does someone dodge a lightning bolt?  How do they manage to come out of it unscathed despite the fact that a lightning bolt near you is absolutely going to be painful.  Save for half damage,  and spell resistance,  make a heck'uva lot more sense than people dodging the undodgable.



There is a metric crap ton of things in D&D that don't make sense when looked at from a real world perspective. Is this REALLY where you draw a line in the sand? Really? I mean, really?

What you propose is deliberately sacrificing a slimmer, more elegant and more user-freindly mechanic for one that is more cumbersome, simply because you can't wrap your mind around the idea of someone lunging out of the path of a lightning bolt.

There's simply no rational excuse for this.


One of the defining traits of D&D is that wizards are not tough,  that's the price for the power,  it's rock-paper-scissors.



One of the defining traits of D&D is that characters get tougher with experience. Even wizards. It's one of the byproducts of having levels.

They're still not as physically tough as a Fighter or Barbarian of equivalent level. Take solace in that.


Except spell resistance isn't a "Clunky" system,  it's creatures that are immune to magic,  just like damage resistance.  It's another check and balance. 

Also,  the earlier editions saving throws were a great deal better than 4e. 



Having the caster roll against spell resistance, and then having the target make a savings throw against the spell effects is two separate mechanical steps where only one is needed is the very definition of "clunky" rules.

Also, saving throws in 4E are a duration tracker...not a defensive mechanic. This works way better than counting rounds for spell durations.  


Gamebreaker for me.  This is an MMO feature.  If I want a "Role" I'll define it by what feats I choose,  and if I don't want a "Role" then I won't.



I said make them mutable. Let the player define what role they want their fighter, or wizard, or cleric to fall into.


Near-gamebreaker for me.  I do not want MMO "Kill the red orc at level 10",  "Kill the blue orc at level 20" gameplay.  It's pretty silly in an MMO,  it's unforgivable in a PnP RPG.



Why shouldn't monsters have their own classes? Especially if it makes them easier to design on the fly? 


That's what premade modules exist for.  Running a campaign is not trivial,  and if you're not intrested in generating a world with a story and other facets,  you shouldn't be running your own campaign.  Buy the modules,  or harvest them from players sharing their own custom campaigns.

No need to turn this into a PnP video game.   



So wait...you DON'T want the DM's prep time to be quick and painless? Like...you will actually choose NOT to play a game by virtue of it taking you less than an hour to plan a session?


OK, well that's me. You may or may not like the 4e powers system, and I know there are plenty of people who do like it far better than what came before. How do you reconcile this aspect of the game so that both groups are pleased? Can you reconcile the two groups? To do it, it seems like you'd have to come up with a new, third way of doing it that both groups like, but in so doing you increase the risk that neither group will like it. 



I think that team 5E's plan is to let the players choose their own mode of resource management. I'm not sure if this will work though.

Gamers are asshats. We just are. We are quite possibly the worst fan base any product could ever hope for. One reason is that we tend to worry about the fun that other tables are having as much as we worry about our own.

Let me put it this way...if you are a player at someone else's table, and your character is a vancian-style Wizard...are you going to be happy playing next to someone with an AEDU fighter? Honestly? I know I won't.

I think you're right about coming up with an all new system, and running the risk of turning off ALL players though.



I played D&D in various forms from the original rules, to AD&D 1st and 2nd, D&D 3.X and even (shh!) Pathfinder. I never played 4th edition, and didn't want to after reading the 4th edition PHB. My own DOs and DON'Ts are less about game mechanics than the rest of the posts in this thread, so bear with me:

DO:


  • Make combat easy to run. I shouldn't need a graphing calculator and $500 in minis to run an encounter

  • Bring back skills. They help make characters unique

  • Focus on more than just combat. That seemed to be all 4th edition cared about

  • Bring back the 9 alignments. They worked just fine and 4th edition's attempts to simplify them just ended up being more confusing



  • Bring back feats. Like skills, they were a great way to individualize a character. Just make sure not fall into the power creep trap of the late 3.5 era

  • Bring back the traditional flavor/backdrop. "Crunch" changes do NOT require "fluff" changes. Make gnomes gnomes again. Give dragons their magical abilities back. Make tieflings the descendents of demons/devils again. Lose the whole "devils are corrupted angels/demons are corrupted elementals" silliness. Give monks their ki back instead of making them psionicists. Bring back the Great Wheel, the Ethereal and Elemental Planes, and make the Shadow Plane connect to all the various campaign settings again.


DON'T:



  • Make multiple Core books. Three Player's Handbooks is milking it. If you can't fit it all in one PHB, you're doing something wrong. (Monster books don't count, because you can never have enough monsters Wink)

  • Put silly races like dragonborn in the core rules. They're fine as an optional race, but I don't want to see them everywhere.

  • Don't make it so your character's epic destiny is established when you make the character. This should be determined as the campaign progresses. If you know it all when you make the character, then why bother even playing at all?

  • Don't "sanitize" things. Tieflings went from being the descendents of fiends to people who made a dark pact, because otherwise it might imply something "bad" may have happened in the past. Same with Half-Orcs. This is ridiculous and insulting. I don't need you to shield me from "bad stuff" WotC. They were fine the way they were.