*Edit: list below has been updated to reflect feedback from the thread*
We have a lot of ‘holy war’ threads on these boards, about the many aspects of D&D we do not agree upon. But lately it looks like each side is realizing they cannot expect to have their way at the expense of the others.
So it may be interesting to focus on what we do generally agree upon (or at least we can live with), to see if this helps outline some kind of minimal common denominator.
I have no illusion there will be 100% consensus on anything, but if we can get most of the community to agree on some principles that may be start.
Note that this is aimed specifically to identify CORE features. There may be plenty of variations and options available through modules then.
I’ll try and make a start. People can then provide contributions in their posts and let’s see where we go.
General consesus (meaning most people are ok to have these among CORE features):
- 6 abilities (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha)
- Classes as fantasy archetypes
- All races have access to all classes (unless stated otherwise for narrative reasons specific to each campaign)
- Progression through levels
- Progression (experience) not necessarily linked to kills, treasures or quantitative stats
- Opportunities for characters customization and variety without creating major unbalance
- Standard resolution method is d20+mods vs target value
- Math balanced across all levels: attacks, defenses, saving throws…
- Classes are roughly balanced with each other at all levels across the pillars
- All classes are able to contribute meaningfully to the party at all levels
- No class is indispensable
- Grid is not required but can be used if desired
- Effective ‘at-will’ resources available for all classes (this may include basic attacks)
- Some form of long term (across encounters) resources available
- Magical healing not mandatory
- No ‘feat taxes’
- Defined list of standard condition effects
- Combat by default shouldn’t take too long (TBD)
- Improvisation and re-fluffing allowed and encouraged (with guidelines)
- DM 'minimal requirement' preparation job is lean
- Little book-keeping needed during play
- Rules are simple and clear, minimizing interpretations and debates during play
- System mastery and optimization don’t make characters dramatically more effective
Controversial (potentially suitable for MODULES):
- Save or Die mechanics
- Self-healing capabilities for all classes
- +X magic items
- Alignment mechanics
- Scope of magic
- 'Gritty' vs 'High Fantasy' style
Note: this doesn't mean the above cover all core features and all modules that may be included. It's just a stab to highlight some recurring topics and the general feeling about them.