This is a LONG post, but it will be worth the read.
First, let me say I have been playing DnD for almost 30 years. My first experience with D&D was when they weren’t even book they where 5 x 8 pamphlets. I have played every edition and enjoyed them all some better than others. I am someone that didn’t like 4e as much. I think it did some things that were AWESOME! I love the abilities and making characters have unique powers, I didn’t like the over healing, and thought the tactical combat was too much of a focus, and skill challenges where a horrible decision. Home brew games were great, convention living games were horrible for the most part. I have also designed from the ground up 3 (none published table top games), and been a profession (paid for work several years ago) senior game tester for Lucas Arts.
So how do we make compromises and make the best of the best… well here are some of my ideas;
1) Hit Die (Hit Points)
I don’t like the current system at ALL. Rolling for hit points is SO CRITICAL, people get angry and then as a GM you let them re-roll anyway. SO having a mechanic like this broken imho. Also, has many others have stated the con modifier to the minimum really favors people rolling D4 or D6 over the fighter rolling d10.
So, here is the fix. Your Constitution modifier adds to the number of die you roll taking the highest roll (minimum of 1 die rolled). So my Wizard with a Constitution of 12 (+1) would roll 2d4 taking the highest roll. My Fighter with a 16 Constitution would roll 4d10 taking the highest one. I think this is a great compromise and makes Constitution more useful and players would feel better about the rolling and keep the same “spirit” of what you are trying to do.
2) Health and Healing:
There needs to be a new system. I personally like Wounds and Vitality (you can still call them Hit points) Wounds equal your Constitution and heal either by magic (healing spells would need new math) or natural healing of 1 per day. Hit Points (Vitality) represent combat endurance and heal to full after a short rest.
Once you run out of Hit Points, you start taking Wound damage. This would increased survivability, maked Constitution a more valuable stat, and it's a pretty good compromise.
3) Critical Hits
I personally like max damage, because rolling 4 on a critical hit roll sucks! However, if you implement #1 Critical hits can still be max damage or an option rule would place a critical hit as normal damage directly to WOUNDS… OUCH!
My favorite option would be Max damage + weapon die roll (since we roll hit die and damage die at same time). It just depends on how deadly you want combat to be.
4) Spell casting.
Well this is a tough one. I personally really like what they have done with the mix of at-wills and resource casting. I really think it’s hard to tell how it will really play out until we can test level 5 – 10. However, at 3rd level 4e you have at-wills, 2 encounter, 1 utility, & 1 daily: In 5e you have at-wills and 6 dailies, so you max in 5e is 3 encounters before you are empty and in 4E you would still have 2 encounter powers.
I’m really on the fence on this topic, BUT I would increase the casting to:
1st Level: 4
2nd level: 5
3rd Level: 5 and 3
I don’t get the uproar over Heavy as much as some people. Most of my fighter/tank have never had more than 12 Dexterity so Plate Mail is always better than Medium armor. However, I think it is time the reworked the armor.. so here goes:
Armor & Shields
Light: + Full Dexterity
Leather: AC 11
Studded Leather: AC 12
Chain Shirt: AC 13
Mithril Chain: AC 14
Medium + 1/2 Dexterity
Ringmail: AC 13
Scale: AC 14
Splint: AC 15
Dragon Scale: AC 16
Heavy + 0 Dexterity
Chainmail: AC 16
Banded: AC 17
Plate: AC 18
Adamantine: AC 19
Light: AC +1 (No penalty)
Heavy: AC +3 (Eliminates any Dexterity bonus to your AC)
6) Dexterity the Super stat
Ok, so this is RADICAL! We have always done it this way needs to change on this topic. So, here goes. Remove damage bonus from Dexterity from Finesses weapons and use Strength (like it was in 3e). Use Wisdom as your initiative modifier. WHAT?!?
I know crazy… here’s why; sometimes game balance has to take precedence over realism. Also, Wisdom is perception so I could argue that if I can’t perceive anything I can’t reacted to it. I could be the fastest gun in the west but if I’m shot in the back playing cards all that speed doesn’t help me.
7) Charisma the dump stat.
But Charisma does so much! Well, not really. So, how can we fix it. I LOVE action points. This makes NO LOGICAL sense from a reality stand point, but again game balance. Use the Charisma modifier as you action point value. 0 – 13 = 1 action point, 14 – 15 = 2, etc.
8) AoO and movement
I like the feel of the free movement. However, having orcs run by 4 characters to kill the wizard in the back isn’t fun or add to game balance. Yes the Guardian theme can stop ONE person, so 3 go by…still not fun.
There have been suggestions about giving disadvantage to people disengaging or moving through threaten areas (squares). I don’t like this because I think it will just mean people will go for the crazy super action since they can only get one disadvantage penalty (they don’t stack). Another solution could be a disengage roll. However, that adds more rolls.
I would simply say if you have been hit in melee combat on that round you cannot disengage unless you take a FULL ROUND action (hustle action) directly AWAY from the combatant. So, no additional rolls, and anyone can block by Readying an Action and if they hit it stops movement.
9) Surprise Round (removed after further discussion)
That’s all for now.