let's kill some personal favorites :)

A few things I think the game could lose and still be D&D:

- "per day."  I think you can still balance the game around different types of abilities that serve different functions whether in combat or out, whether up-to-the-moment or long-term, whether weak or strong.  But I think we could also do away with arbitrary limiters that put too much focus on time in a timeless setting.  Encounters are what matter:  the number you have during an arbitrary amount of fictional time probably doesn't.

- Developers creating all the content.  Sure, they have to sell us something, but what if the Monster Manual was exactly that:  a manual for how to create monsters?  What if it was a set of really tight, well-crafted core rules that explained how to do it, and then had a bunch of examples of monsters the developers had made (all the iconic or copyrighted stuff) that showed you what could be done.  After that, you logged into a website and all the other monsters were made by players and the best balanced, interesting, fun monsters were elevated somehow (votes, dev points, something).

I'm sure there are more.  What else?  I'm not talking about styles of play / concepts that some people prefer over others, but wholesale new ways to look at the game.  What are some things that have always been associated with D&D that it could lose without losing what makes it D&D?  (Sorry, Cheetos and Mountain Dew are still required.) 


Update:

More ideas:
- magic weapons and armor that give static bonuses (credit: Ratpick).  "I want magical items to feel magical, not like math-fixes."

- backwards compatibility.  If you build a system robust enough, backwards compatibility will always be possible because the rules didn't define a character: the character did.  But, if you try to bend a new system to make sure it can accommodate everything, you will lose sight of what needs to be revolutionized.

- a Tolkien-esque setting.  If you build a great world-builder, people will create whatever world they want!


Thanks to all the others who have had other great ideas.  And thank you to the people who have started to try to define exactly what constitutes a "personal favorite" for proving that us D&D gamers can argue over anything.  ;)
Traditionalist 'that's the way it's always been so I'm not changing' should be killed on the altar of diversity and fun.
Death to Ability Scores!
Let's see...

-No hit points.  Characters use a two-hit system, you're either fine, not fine, or dead.

-No more feats.  Every feat is replaced with Skill Focus (basketweaving).

-No ability scores, instead you have percentile dots whose number you roll.

-No daily abilities.  Everything is on a "per year" basis.

-In fact, no magic.

-No classes.

-No races.

-No dragons, beholders, angels, devils, demons, kobolds, goblins, or orcs.

-Commoners with sickles only.

-Final Destination.
Let's see...

-No hit points.  Characters use a two-hit system, you're either fine, not fine, or dead.

-No more feats.  Every feat is replaced with Skill Focus (basketweaving).

-No ability scores, instead you have percentile dots whose number you roll.

-No daily abilities.  Everything is on a "per year" basis.

-In fact, no magic.

-No classes.

-No races.

-No dragons, beholders, angels, devils, demons, kobolds, goblins, or orcs.

-Commoners with sickles only.

-Final Destination.




And this would not be D&D 

-Final Destination.


-High Items
-Pokeballs Only

I could get behind this
- "per day."  I think you can still balance the game around different types of abilities that serve different functions whether in combat or out, whether up-to-the-moment or long-term, whether weak or strong.  But I think we could also do away with arbitrary limiters that put too much focus on time in a timeless setting.  Encounters are what matter:  the number you have during an arbitrary amount of fictional time probably doesn't.


I agree with this one, to an extent. I think that it would be great for the sake of game balance and pacing if all characters had access to their resources for each encounter. It'd get rid of the five minute workday (which is a problematic concept not only because it's really stupid but also because the rules support it as a valid tactic, with the only solution being adversial DM'ing) and also make designing encounters easier, because you could assume all characters to be able to pull off all of their abilities instead of the DM having to build each encounter with the thought that "Okay, if the PCs have access to all their dailies this encounter, it'll be a cakewalk, but if I make it too hard it'll be a TPK if they don't have access to their dailies..."

However, while nonsensical, daily abilities are an ingrained part of Vancian magic, a system which quite a number of people (myself included) want to see returned. Personally, I'm of the opinion that Vancian magic doesn't need to work on the basis of daily resource management and that an encounter-based spell system can be just as Vancian, but a lot of others may feel differently. Perhaps this could be one of those dials where DMs are allowed to choose whether Vancian magic is encounter or daily-based, provided the rules are actually up front about the implications of both options? (i.e. in an encounter-based system characters will be able to take on significantly harder encounters more reliably, while in a daily-based system characters will be working on a reduced power level if they don't have all of their abilities at hand)

I've been reading Dungeon Crawl Classics recently and I really like how it deals with this: your Wizard has access to all of the spells they prepare for the day and can cast them pretty much at-will, but every time they cast a spell there's a chance of forgetting that spell. A system like that would be ideal to me, provided the spells are in line with the assumed at-will abilities and stunts that other classes can pull off.

The only personal favorite I really want to kill is the game's reliance on magic weapons and armor that give static bonuses. I want magical items to feel magical, not like math-fixes. Magic weapons and armor should instead just have a magical effect (i.e. flaming or holy or something) instead of giving static bonuses. However, this is not a deal-breaker to me, provided the game makes it easy for me to implement some system (i.e. giving characters inherent bonuses at certain levels) to make up for the lack of bonus-granting magic items.
Vancian Magic forgetfullness.  It always seemed ridiculous to me that spell casters were said to "forget" their spells after casting them.  It's silly making genius PC's (Intelligence 18) so forgetful.  Why not just provide the explanation that PC's can only harness or channel a certain amount of magical energies over a particular time period (such as a day or in a 5-minute period).  After that, they need to rest to recover from the fatigue.
Vancian Magic forgetfullness.  It always seemed ridiculous to me that spell casters were said to "forget" their spells after casting them.  It's silly making genius PC's (Intelligence 18) so forgetful.  Why not just provide the explanation that PC's can only harness or channel a certain amount of magical energies over a particular time period (such as a day or in a 5-minute period).  After that, they need to rest to recover from the fatigue.


Do note that Vancian forgetfulness has been a dead horse trope since 3e. In 3e the idea was that spellcasters don't "memorize" and "forget" their spells. Instead, they "prepare" their spells each day. Think about it as going through some magic ritual, but only leaving out the last couple of steps of the ritual, so that when you actually want to cast the spell you fast forward to the end of the ritual and get a magic missile.
I'd be cool if they killed classes, I think.  I mean, the fun I found in 3.5 was largely tied to the insanely optioned character creation process.  Removing the final restriction would be fun, I think.  Of course, they could also offer 'templates' that would effectively be the classes.  A Fighter Template, a Wizard Template, etc, that players could grab for quick play or use as a model to base a slightly modified version off of. 

I'd be incredibly happy if they killed off the newest (edited: Hatespeech) of them all - an all consuming worry over maintained balance.  That would be kewls.

Yeah, they could kill those two things and I'd be down.  They don't have to, but it wouldn't hurt.
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]

The trick is figuring out which (edited: Hatespeech); the number of people who rejected 4e is largely a function of not correctly answering that question. 3e actually slew quite a lot of cows that turned out to not be as sacred as people thought they were.
I'd be cool if they killed classes, I think.  I mean, the fun I found in 3.5 was largely tied to the insanely optioned character creation process.  Removing the final restriction would be fun, I think.  Of course, they could also offer 'templates' that would effectively be the classes.  A Fighter Template, a Wizard Template, etc, that players could grab for quick play or use as a model to base a slightly modified version off of.


Classes are to me too much of a (edited: Hatespeech) in D&D to see them gone altogether. I'd actually be down with this as an optional rule, sort of like a "Player's Option: Build Your Own Class!"

You'd have the classes in the game as a part of the core, with later supplementary rules for allowing for players to build a classless character. Basically it'd be a toolkit for players to build their own character class, probably using some pool of resources at each level to pick class features and abilities.

Such a system would obviously have to be mathematically in line with the base classes, so that players could see that "Hey, this system can be used to build the Fighter class and the Wizard class!" It'd also allow for a neat replacement to multi-classing, because players could just pick a class they liked, look at class features they don't want from that class and replace them with appropriately priced features from another class.

Obviously, such a system would immediately attract the attention of people looking to exploit it, so it'd have to be built in such a way that you can't cherry pick all the best class features and combine them all into one killer class, but other than that I'm down with the idea.
Classes are to me too much of a (edited: Hatespeech) in D&D to see them gone altogether. I'd actually be down with this as an optional rule, sort of like a "Player's Option: Build Your Own Class!"



Yeah, you're not alone, either.  ;)  I actually started a thread a while back asking if people would be kewlio with losing classes.  The overwhelming answer was 'no'.  That would make the game something other than D&D.  And, to be totally honest, I see that argument.  My mention of it here is more a pie in the sky thing than any real hope.  I doubt seriously they'd kill classes - which is a shame to me since that'd be the cow I'd most happily devour.  But hey, classes have served us well for quite some time so it's not like I wouldn't play a 5e that kept them.  I'd just always have it in the back of my mind that it could have been so much better if only ...
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]

Things I consider sacred ( and even why!)

1) stats, feats, and multiclassing (answers what I am)

2) skills (what my character knows and has learned)

3) magic! (why I am playing a fantasy based game in the first place)

4) hit points! (slows down combat, makes it non realistic but keeps it fun, rocket tag not fun)

5) levels! (a quick numerical judge of worth, mine is bigger then yours :p

6) world feel, magic items, and item creation.

Some people consider balance and classes sacred. I see the reason to appreciate both but do not see them as sacred. I consider balance to be a goal but not when it negatively effects fun. I see classes as just a quick shortcut for a longer process.

4e failed to interest me precisely because it overgimped magic (magic should be lessened by focusing rather then nerfing outright), removed multiclassing, and made classes much more of a core concept when I consider them to be the easiest thing to drop away. It did not help that all the classses used the exact same template.

It also failed in removing the magic from magic items, removed talented craftsmen, and generally did a horrible job of keeping the world feel.

They also drastically overdid the slow down the combat thing. Adding max hps per level was not a bad thing but the extra actions and the lowered damage overdid it.
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Over homogenizing balance must be killed on the altar of fun and tradition.




I'd be incredibly happy if they killed off the newest (edited: Hatespeech) of them all - an all consuming worry over maintained balance.  That would be kewls.



Your going about it all wrong. Keep that cow, and bring back the fun cow to the party.

Your going about it all wrong. Keep that cow, and bring back the fun cow to the party.



You know, you're right.  I've said it before, but here goes: I don't really care about balance all that much.  Some people need it, I don't.  Whatever.  The thing is, I think 4e achieved the balance it did in a notsofun way.  Every class operates on the same system.  They have the same backbone and progression and operate exactly the same way (yeah, yeah - different powers work differently, classes play differently, etc - that's not what I'm talking about).  If they give me classes that are fundamentally different and operate in totally distinct ways, I'd be plenty happy even if they were balanced to perfection.  I want a totally different experience when I play a Wizard then when I play a Fighter.  Not how different it is now, I want to learn an entirely new class system when I switch classes.  If they can bring that cow back to the party, I don't care if Balance Cow stays.  Not in the least.
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 agree with the above sentiment about balance and fun: while 4e is balanced, it achieved balance in a way that is simply not fun for many. One of the majors questions that the developers of Next should be asking themselves is "How do we make this thing balance without sacrificing any of the fun?"

I do think that 4e is fun, but I admit that it could be more fun. I don't see balance and fun as mutually exclusive, but I can see why 4e's approach to balance would make the game less fun for some. I think we can all work together towards making the game balanced and fun for all.
Let's see...

-No hit points.  Characters use a two-hit system, you're either fine, not fine, or dead.

-No more feats.  Every feat is replaced with Skill Focus (basketweaving).

-No ability scores, instead you have percentile dots whose number you roll.

-No daily abilities.  Everything is on a "per year" basis.

-In fact, no magic.

-No classes.

-No races.

-No dragons, beholders, angels, devils, demons, kobolds, goblins, or orcs.

-Commoners with sickles only.

-Final Destination.



Oh man, what was that one D&D parody, where you had a 1% chance to be anything other than a peasant, and when you rolled your background, you had very little chance of NOT dying of the plague?
Wishlist: -Alternate ability bonuses for pre-PHB3 races -Lots more superior implements or an official customization rule -Monk multiclass feat that grants Unarmed Combatant
How about slaying all of the cows, and building newer, better bionic cows out of their corpses? In case my metaphor isn't clear (because it probably isn't) I propose we take a look at all those untouchable items, and rather than eliminate them, we tweak the way they work without changing what they look like. E.G. A nine alignment system that doesn't act as a moral straightjacket. Casting that feels vancian, but works in a more balanced way. Ablility scores that don't encourage MinMaxing . Do I know how to do these things necessarily? no. But I'm sure someone who is better at mechanics design than I will ever be can.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

   When the (edited: Hatespeech) concept had its excesses, it was absurd only in the eyes of (edited: Hatespeech).  In fact, it may have been an excellent adaptation to Indian conditions.  [Note here that few saw any problems with the (edited: Hatespeech) being hooked to a plow or otherwise being put to work all day.  The result was that the (edited: Hatespeech) was an extremely valuable resource and the basic system worked well to keep it at its most productive.  While it had its silly side, it was not an irrational system.]
    Our (edited: Hatespeech) have become so from from the same sort of reasons.  They actually did serve needs of ours, some of which we have no idea we have, and thinking we can just junk them is throwing out the baby with the bath water. 
    Before we can think of throwing out these (edited: Hatespeech), we need to find out what needs made them sacred in the first place and then discover better ways to meet those needs.
- "per day."  I think you can still balance the game around different types of abilities that serve different functions whether in combat or out, whether up-to-the-moment or long-term, whether weak or strong.  But I think we could also do away with arbitrary limiters that put too much focus on time in a timeless setting.  Encounters are what matter:  the number you have during an arbitrary amount of fictional time probably doesn't.

I partially disagree with this. If major resources reset at every encounter, you pretty much eliminate longer-term resource management - and therefore every encounter must either threaten to kill people, or be of no consequence and thus not really worth bothering with. I think that would be a horrible loss of flexibility in adventure design. I think we NEED longer-term resource management.

On the other hand, I only partialy disagree. Because the longer term being an arbitrary time unit such as "day", without regard to what the adventurers are doing in that period, dictates the pace at which the campaign MUST face encounters in order for things to balance as intended. The pace that 4E dictates (4-5 at-level combats per day, or equivalent) works okay for temple-clearing and the like, but a huge dungeon crawl could easily run well over that while a political, social, or detective-work campaign might go several days between combats. The fixed "day" doesn't work for a lot of campaigns, and no other fixed period would be better. It must be variable, responding to what the PCs are doing.

tl;dr: Keep longer-term resource management but make it key off what the PCs are doing, not the clock.

- Developers creating all the content.  Sure, they have to sell us something, but what if the Monster Manual was exactly that:  a manual for how to create monsters?  What if it was a set of really tight, well-crafted core rules that explained how to do it, and then had a bunch of examples of monsters the developers had made (all the iconic or copyrighted stuff) that showed you what could be done.

You mean that isn't what it is? Oh wait, I think some of the guidelines for creating monsters are in the DMGs rather than the Monster books.


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
David Argall, you're an island of sanity.  People should understand just what those discarded features of D&D were intended to achieve, both mechanically and narratively, and then decide if they still have value in the new version of the game.

Vancian spell casting, encumbrance, xp for gp, random character generation ... they all had a purpose.  Once you understand the purpose, you can understand the ramifications of dispensing with them, positive and negative.
David Argall, you're an island of sanity.  People should understand just what those discarded features of D&D were intended to achieve, both mechanically and narratively, and then decide if they still have value in the new version of the game.

Vancian spell casting, encumbrance, xp for gp, random character generation ... they all had a purpose.  Once you understand the purpose, you can understand the ramifications of dispensing with them, positive and negative.



A lot of people do not like them though. I'm not saying that they are good or bad cows, but its normal that in a game with a fanbase so large, not everybody will like the same thing.

In theory the ideal way is to create more than a game, each one catering to a different niche, so we can have Standard D&D, Political Intrigue D&D, Investigation D&D, Stabbing you friends D&D, Be A Commoner D&D and much more... Everyone with a totally different system and a similar name for marketing reasons.

I like to think/hope that the new D&D will be like this, but it's almost impossible... 
Really, we're only talking about opinions.  In that case, 'I just don't like it' is a valid answer. 
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]

Sacred Moocasters:  ZOMG! spells (including summoning/alter reality-wish) and features (including companions) aka quadratic/exponential spell casters.

A lot of folks have trouble letting that one go precisely because they wanted a demigod to play.  I can see how that would be fun, since my old 19th level Warforged Psion from 3.5 was a riot.  However, that at the expense of totally eclipsing the usefulness of anyone but a similar spell-caster/summoner, aka basic fighters (Tome of Battle was an attempt to quadratify warriors), is not something I enjoy playing.

Let me think of a few more...

A lot of people do not like them though. I'm not saying that they are good or bad cows, but its normal that in a game with a fanbase so large, not everybody will like the same thing.



That's fine.  But do they know what those features are for? 

I don't like the brake pedal on my car, as it gets in the way of my foot.  But I should probably find out what it does before I remove it.
tl;dr: Keep longer-term resource management but make it key off what the PCs are doing, not the clock.



I agree with this, though with the notable caveat that long-term resource management should ease encounters rather than make or break them.  Dailies in 4E have a tendency to lead to encounter sweeps if the encounter wasn't designed expecting their use, and if the encounter was designed expecting their use failure to use them quickly is oftentimes a short path to a TPK.  Spells in 3E need little explanation on how they're similar in this regard.  My ideal 5E system focuses on rechargable encounter resources, so it eliminates that concept for the most part, but there's a way to bring it back.

Let's take, for instance, the concept 4E had of milestones, and losing/gaining action points based on milestones.  Action points both ease and diversify a battle by allowing characters to boost their action economy, letting them string together longer sets of moves in a crisis, without them pulling entirely new tricks out of their posteriors for it.  Some characters also get abilities that further spice up action points, by paragon everyone does.  Action points make for a good longer-term resource that replenishes over the long-term, but needs to be spent carefully to avoid running out.  This, and the fact that they spice up combat without outright swinging it, makes them a better model for long-term resource management in my mind.

That in mind, I envision something like this:

Action Points

The momentary opening in a foe's guard, the bit of extra mana leftover from a spell that allows another one to be cast, the flash of divine favor - these are moments every hero experiences where they briefly stretch beyond their normal capabilities.  Beyond the powers afforded to them by their race, class features and power schools, each character has access to a pool of "action points" from which they can draw when the need arises, giving them an extra edge.

All characters begin play with 1 action point, and gain an additional point for every two encounters the Dungeon Master deems reasonably challenging.  Once per encounter, or at any time outside of combat, a character may spend an action point to gain one of the following benefits:

-Treat one failed d20 roll as if the character had instead rolled 15.
-Gain an extra standard action on their turn.  If this action is not taken before the character ends his turn, it is lost and the action point is expended as normal.
-Immediately refresh one expended power the character has readied, ignoring their class's usual refresh mechanic.

Class features or other abilities may add additional effects to spending action points, or allow them to be used for different functions entirely.


Notable differences from the existing action points:

-Action points can be used for a wider variety of effects, increasing the temptation to use them.

-Action points do not reset at the end of each day, and are instead tracked over the course of the entire campaign.  Because of this, a low-combat game where fights are occuring on the order of every few days still have the same resource management track as a high-combat game where eight or nine fights might occur in a day, and one cannot burn all their action points and then rest to recover one.
Totally agree that resource management should be an issue; it prevents nova-ing every encounter and gives characters pause to assess their encounters.  I also agree that having powers or effects as "daily" and the ensuing 5 minute day/rest for 23 hours is a problem.  I've been in way too many dungeon crawls where 6+ encounters is not unusual; the only solution was for the PCs to leave the area, go home or or into the woods for a day, and then return...that kills plot momentum and it trounces emersion.  I prefer power points or charges for magical effects; regain points or charges per hour by resting or not using a power or item, same with hit points (you can apply this to healing surges, action points, what-have-you).
Vancian Magic forgetfullness.  It always seemed ridiculous to me that spell casters were said to "forget" their spells after casting them.  It's silly making genius PC's (Intelligence 18) so forgetful.  Why not just provide the explanation that PC's can only harness or channel a certain amount of magical energies over a particular time period (such as a day or in a 5-minute period).  After that, they need to rest to recover from the fatigue.


Do note that Vancian forgetfulness has been a dead horse trope since 3e. In 3e the idea was that spellcasters don't "memorize" and "forget" their spells. Instead, they "prepare" their spells each day. Think about it as going through some magic ritual, but only leaving out the last couple of steps of the ritual, so that when you actually want to cast the spell you fast forward to the end of the ritual and get a magic missile.



Pretty much the way Jack Vance describes it in the Dying Earth stories.

One cow I'd like to lay out and butcher, and this is a (edited: Hatespeech), as in a cow that lives like (edited: real world politics)

Fantasy.

That's right. I want D&D to be a system for every time period or at least a few. I want Modern, I want NearFuture, I want FarFuture, I want full-fledged prehistoric, I want different planet, hell I want SET IN THE WORLD OF THE INTERNET. I want D&D to be a system that encourages clever world building, like Call of Cthulhu: it's not a given that you'll be swinging blades and reading scrolls, maybe you're shooting a gun and using an iPad app or holding a wooden club and using stone etchings/memory or firin' yo lazer and shouting (edited: masking)! I want D&D to be the best system for any setting! WHO IS WITH ME? KILL THE FANTASY COW! RAAAAAAAAGH!
To me, one of these thing is alignment, while arguably a good idea at the time, in the current shape is really outdated...



It works really well in the 3e shape.
What better system has come along to make it outdated?

E.G. A nine alignment system that doesn't act as a moral straightjacket.



You mean one like the one in 1e, 2e, and 3.x ? Your character behaves however you want, and the alignment is chosen, or changed to match that, excluding a few magical effects.
  I can see how that would be fun, since my old 19th level Warforged Psion from 3.5 was a riot.  However, that at the expense of totally eclipsing the usefulness of anyone but a similar spell-caster/summoner, aka basic fighters (Tome of Battle was an attempt to quadratify warriors), is not something I enjoy playing.



You had fun, but you didn't enjoy it?

Why not keep the fun part and fix the not fun parts?

 If they give me classes that are fundamentally different and operate in totally distinct ways, I'd be plenty happy even if they were balanced to perfection.  I want a totally different experience when I play a Wizard then when I play a Fighter.  Not how different it is now, I want to learn an entirely new class system when I switch classes.  If they can bring that cow back to the party, I don't care if Balance Cow stays.  Not in the least.



I agree. The only good think about a class based system is that it can model how each class works in a way that suits that class. 4e essentials took a step back in that direction, and I hope 5e comes back all the way.

One cow I'd like to lay out and butcher, and this is a (edited: Hatespeech), as in a cow that lives like (edited: real world politics).

Fantasy.

That's right. I want D&D to be a system for every time period or at least a few. I want Modern, I want NearFuture, I want FarFuture, I want full-fledged prehistoric, I want different planet, hell I want SET IN THE WORLD OF THE INTERNET. I want D&D to be a system that encourages clever world building, like Call of Cthulhu: it's not a given that you'll be swinging blades and reading scrolls, maybe you're shooting a gun and using an iPad app or holding a wooden club and using stone etchings/memory or firin' yo lazer and shouting (edited: masking)! I want D&D to be the best system for any setting! WHO IS WITH ME? KILL THE FANTASY COW! RAAAAAAAAGH!


Considering that there was modern and sci-fi rules/settings for both 3e and 4e (even if it is a bit more of a niche market) I don't think that's much of a stretch.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
one trait that i tend to find peculiar to D&D is the rate of power accumulation for the PCs. 4e has flattened this considerably relative to its predecessors (e.g., wish, miracle), for which i am quite glad.

but i think that, relative to level 1, a PC in any edition of D&D winds up incredibly powerful in a way that is unique in all RPGdom and consider this a sacred cow to D&D.
To me, one of these thing is alignment, while arguably a good idea at the time, in the current shape is really outdated...



It works really well in the 3e shape.
What better system has come along to make it outdated?




Well, one is the no-system. Simply remove it. Every human being has at least some basic understanding of the concept of morality, there is no need for a game to explain that good is good and bad is bad.
On the other hand, while an human understand the concept of morality, every human has his own different definition of it. A game cannot simply say that if you do something good you are good and if you do something bad you are evil, because everyone has different opinion of "good" and "bad" (often widly different opinions). The alignment system is a bomb ready to explode at any given time.

Also, there is a large documentation of problems and heated discussions tied to the alignment system (and if a rule causes vicious arguments between people, it's a pretty big design mistake, no matter what). There is no documentation (or very little documentation) of players that say "That session was so awesome thanks to the alignments, it would have been impossible otherwise".

Dogs in the Vineyard is a well done game that is extremely focused on the morality, on what is good and what is bad, it does not use alignments and it would not work otherwise. It uses "traits" (similar to the Aspects of the FATE system), that are a way better system to represent the stance of the character on philosophical matters.

A lot of people do not like them though. I'm not saying that they are good or bad cows, but its normal that in a game with a fanbase so large, not everybody will like the same thing.



That's fine.  But do they know what those features are for? 

I don't like the brake pedal on my car, as it gets in the way of my foot.  But I should probably find out what it does before I remove it.




This made me laugh out loud, thank you. 

The only good think about a class based system is that it can model how each class works in a way that suits that class. 4e essentials took a step back in that direction,

Good so far...

and I hope 5e comes back all the way.

I'd prefer two steps forward.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
  I can see how that would be fun, since my old 19th level Warforged Psion from 3.5 was a riot.  However, that at the expense of totally eclipsing the usefulness of anyone but a similar spell-caster/summoner, aka basic fighters (Tome of Battle was an attempt to quadratify warriors), is not something I enjoy playing.



You had fun, but you didn't enjoy it?

Why not keep the fun part and fix the not fun parts?

Because the system was clunky at higher levels.  It was fun on occassion but increasingly complicated, there was a contingency for just about every situation; to be sure our DM would have to resort to antimagic which was then cancelled with Disjunction.  There was no way to easily fix the system so that non-casters could match the casters.  The system had too many extremes: you were absolutely immune or absolutely destroyed (a spell gives you rediculous DR but then there's a spell that totally ignores DR).  I don't enjoy that degree of power missmatch nor that much inconsistency with encounters being either too easy or too deadly.
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