D&D Next Throwback Ideas that Should be Thrown Back

I know the designers have decided to bring old fans back rather than focus on creating new ones.  And I'll agree that there are some genuine good game design bits and pieces to be mined from older editions (shorter combat for the win!).  But some are just real stinkers, and they're smelling up D&D Next.  These are the worst offenders:


  1. Non-proportional healing.  4e showed us how a 10th level fighter and a 1st level fighter who were both just bloodied can both be healed to full by the same exact character.  This is both realistic and good game design, and it boggles the mind that we would throw away this innovation.  It is even more crucial in D&D Next, where HP is shouldering ALL Of the weight of a character's skill in avoiding damage.  If I ask if my 10th level fighter has learned a thing about blocking in all those adventures, you'd tell me its ALL in the HP.  Then why does it take a small army of clerics to heal him up, if that damage represents all kinds of skillful blocking and dodging?

  2. Saving throws instead of attacks.  If you want a streamlined system, just roll attacks.  In the end, there's a bonus on one end and a bonus on the other, with a random element.  The math works out the same.  Why are we introducing this confusing mix of attacks and saves just to make the grognards happy?

  3. AC and a pile of saving throws.  We're really going to adandon the Fort, Refl, Will trio that 3e and 4e used and were much loved?  We're already seeing that some abilities are too good, and the rest are either key to class or neglected (like in the old days).  It's not interesting to have 6 possible vulnerabilities with no feasible way to account for them all.  Even worse if 3 of them are often used, and the other 3 come up once in a blue moon just to annoy.

  4. Unbalanced attack bonus progression.  I couldn't believe it when I first saw that the progression rate was at 3 different rates.  I know the idea of Bounded Accuracy is that if bonuses are small, screwy bits like this won't break the game.  But why mess with it?  Fighters get more melee damage and stuff from leveling up!  It's not about accuracy in D&D Next!  And as some have already pointed out, when you add stat bonuses, magic weapons, and accuracy bonues, the accuracy differential will grow large by the humble level of 10.  EDIT: I'm not saying there can't be flat class bonuses to accuracy, just that the gaps should stay flat.


Let me just add that they're doing some great things, most of which are not throwbacks (bounded accuracy and interesting options for martial characters).  That's why I want to provide feedback: I want the cool new stuff without the old bad stuff!
Just a quick comment, your second point is easily addressed.  Just have the defenders always "take 10" on their roll.  In the 3e DMG, they mentioned that the assumed 10 in AC could be replaced with a d20 roll.  This is just the inverse of that.  While I agree with you in that I like rolling against a static number (Palladium turned me off of the whole rolling for both offense and defense thing), it's eminently easy to add back in.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Sounds like a bunch o' opinions to me
My two copper.
Just a quick comment, your second point is easily addressed.  Just have the defenders always "take 10" on their roll.  In the 3e DMG, they mentioned that the assumed 10 in AC could be replaced with a d20 roll.  This is just the inverse of that.  While I agree with you in that I like rolling against a static number (Palladium turned me off of the whole rolling for both offense and defense thing), it's eminently easy to add back in.



Some people are doing this in the playtest apparently.  It still does not get around martial attacks against non AC defenses.

I think static defenses and non AC defenses are great design on a lot of fronts. I loved the rogue at will that targetted reflex rather than AC - it is just so flavourful, realistic, tactical and fun - it is sad to see innovations like this being forgotten in DDN. What a waste of a good idea.
Just to throw a spanner in here - i like all the things the OP refers to - i prefer them to the 4e equivalents.

- I prefer non-proportional healing. I think its more "realistic" (IMO - i know it can be argued otherwise)
- SAving throws create variety and move things away from "damage is king"
- Different attack progression is a great way to differentiate between classes and balance them.

Agree with 1 though I doubt wotc’s ability to implement. 2 and 3 I must be misreading. Seems like a contradiction. 4 is trivial though im adamantly against having damage outweigh accuracy by a significant measure.

I know the designers have decided to bring old fans back rather than focus on creating new ones.  And I'll agree that there are some genuine good game design bits and pieces to be mined from older editions (shorter combat for the win!).  But some are just real stinkers, and they're smelling up D&D Next.  These are the worst offenders:


  1. Non-proportional healing.  4e showed us how a 10th level fighter and a 1st level fighter who were both just bloodied can both be healed to full by the same exact character.  This is both realistic and good game design, and it boggles the mind that we would throw away this innovation.  It is even more crucial in D&D Next, where HP is shouldering ALL Of the weight of a character's skill in avoiding damage.  If I ask if my 10th level fighter has learned a thing about blocking in all those adventures, you'd tell me its ALL in the HP.  Then why does it take a small army of clerics to heal him up, if that damage represents all kinds of skillful blocking and dodging?

  2. Saving throws instead of attacks.  If you want a streamlined system, just roll attacks.  In the end, there's a bonus on one end and a bonus on the other, with a random element.  The math works out the same.  Why are we introducing this confusing mix of attacks and saves just to make the grognards happy?

  3. AC and a pile of saving throws.  We're really going to adandon the Fort, Refl, Will trio that 3e and 4e used and were much loved?  We're already seeing that some abilities are too good, and the rest are either key to class or neglected (like in the old days).  It's not interesting to have 6 possible vulnerabilities with no feasible way to account for them all.  Even worse if 3 of them are often used, and the other 3 come up once in a blue moon just to annoy.

  4. Unbalanced attack bonus progression.  I couldn't believe it when I first saw that the progression rate was at 3 different rates.  I know the idea of Bounded Accuracy is that if bonuses are small, screwy bits like this won't break the game.  But why mess with it?  Fighters get more melee damage and stuff from leveling up!  It's not about accuracy in D&D Next!  And as some have already pointed out, when you add stat bonuses, magic weapons, and accuracy bonues, the accuracy differential will grow large by the humble level of 10.


Let me just add that they're doing some great things, most of which are not throwbacks (bounded accuracy and interesting options for martial characters).  That's why I want to provide feedback: I want the cool new stuff without the old bad stuff!



I agree with all of this 100%.  Take non-propotional healing. Compared to a 1st level fighter, a 10th level fighter-- whose massive hp is supposedly mostly luck, skill and guts-- takes many times the effort to heal magically from being brought to zero hit points. To me, that makes zero sense.

And of course "attacker always rolls" is simpler.

However, the designers of Next seem most concerned about "making the grognards happy' (as you put it) above all else. If new(er) fans (or fans of newer design) also like Next, great, but it seems that is not a priority. So, for instance, your favorite 4E class will become a build of a class that is in Pathfinder.

I, too, hope that the designers make some major changes. That is also why I remain to provide feedback.


I think static defenses and non AC defenses are great design on a lot of fronts. I loved the rogue at will that targetted reflex rather than AC - it is just so flavourful, realistic, tactical and fun - it is sad to see innovations like this being forgotten in DDN. What a waste of a good idea.



I have a battlemind with an attack that does that (targets Reflex)-- I flavor his as making his weapon able to cut through anything(though the text say you give your weapon phasing).

Indeed, sad to see stuff like that left behind.

It is funny that I would actually like things thrown forward for a modular approach. Like gong back to the days of 1E and saving throws tables and translating that to attacks/saves against all the attributes; including martial abilities or attacks that require saves (reflex being the obvious one). Then they could add on modules to further define that list to include 3 type of defenses/saves for 3e/4e (fort, ref, will) and then finally add in just defenses for 4e. That is what I consider a modular approach with the mechanisms to allow it in the standard game as one represenation, but with a path to move forward.

The same thing could be done for multiple attribute dependency for class in reference to attacks or saves. Make all classes MAD first, then primary/secondary, and then add a module to choose you preference, i.e. martials are mad and casters are primary.
1.  Easily rectified.  Cure Light Wounds: Roll one HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Cure Moderate Wounds: Roll 2 HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Etc.

2.  DM: You see a veritable army of goblins blocking the way you want to go.  Wizard, what do you do?
    Wizard:  Can I get them all with my fireball?
  
DM:  They're guarding the mouth of the pass, so, yes, they're close enough together.
    Wizard:  Then I drop a fireball on them.  *rolls d20*
    DM:  Yep, that hits, and since they all have the same reflex save, they're all dead.  Your way is clear.
   Fighter to Barbarian:  Why are we here, again?
   Barbarian to Fighter:  Ug smash goblins.
   Fighter to Barbarian:  Not so, my friend.  Our finger-wiggler burned them all to ash.
   Barbarian: *dejected* Ug want smash goblins...

3.  Hopefully, this will be addressed further.  My group has already house-ruled that finesse weapons still use STR mod for damage, not DEX, to decrease the importance of DEX somewhat.

4.  I'm still torn on this.  One would assume that the wizard would not be as good with weapons as any of the martial classes, even with the same attack bonus from class, just because of stat placement.  However, I don't feel the rogue should be quite as good as the fighter, and with finesse weapons, the rogue can be much better.  Meanwhile, maybe the cleric who focuses on weapon combat should be as good as the fighter.  So I don't know if it would be better to give them all the same progression, or drop the rogue's to what the cleric has.

Overall, though, it seems that the systems the developers are using in DDN are the ones that appear in the most editions of D&D.

So, yes, it appears they are just trying to cater to grognards like me, with no regard to the newer, better editions.
1.  Easily rectified.  Cure Light Wounds: Roll one HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Cure Moderate Wounds: Roll 2 HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Etc.

2.  DM: You see a veritable army of goblins blocking the way you want to go.  Wizard, what do you do?
    Wizard:  Can I get them all with my fireball?
  
DM:  They're guarding the mouth of the pass, so, yes, they're close enough together.
    Wizard:  Then I drop a fireball on them.  *rolls d20*
    DM:  Yep, that hits, and since they all have the same reflex save, they're all dead.  Your way is clear.
   Fighter to Barbarian:  Why are we here, again?
   Barbarian to Fighter:  Ug smash goblins.
   Fighter to Barbarian:  Not so, my friend.  Our finger-wiggler burned them all to ash.
   Barbarian: *dejected* Ug want smash goblins...

3.  Hopefully, this will be addressed further.  My group has already house-ruled that finesse weapons still use STR mod for damage, not DEX, to decrease the importance of DEX somewhat.

4.  I'm still torn on this.  One would assume that the wizard would not be as good with weapons as any of the martial classes, even with the same attack bonus from class, just because of stat placement.  However, I don't feel the rogue should be quite as good as the fighter, and with finesse weapons, the rogue can be much better.  Meanwhile, maybe the cleric who focuses on weapon combat should be as good as the fighter.  So I don't know if it would be better to give them all the same progression, or drop the rogue's to what the cleric has.

Overall, though, it seems that the systems the developers are using in DDN are the ones that appear in the most editions of D&D.

So, yes, it appears they are just trying to cater to grognards like me, with no regard to the newer, better editions.



For 2, if it worked like 4e, you'd still have to roll to attack each and every goblin. The only thing that is done with a single roll is damage for the ones that you hit.
I expect to see most of these points addressed with the Advanced rules modules. Currently what is being playtested is the Basic game.

1. Healing Surges and proportional healing was a new aspect introduced for 4e, for much of D&D's existance healing has been non-proportional so it makes sense to me to make 4e healing a module.

2. and 3. are closely tied together and as with 1. are newer design elements. To me this again says that they should be available in a module. It is not difficult to convert the current system to the 4e equivalent. 
Fortitude = 10 + max of Str mod or Con mod
Reflex = 10 + max of Dex mod or Int mod
Will = 10 + max of Wis mod or Cha mod.
Where a spell states that the target must make x save you instead make a magic attack against the appropriate defence.

4.  Unbalanced attack progression. This is where I think the current rules are fine and shouldn't be changed. The Wizard is all about his/her magic, why should they have an attack bonus progression for weapon attacks? How can you get better at something when you don't practice it?
The primary weapon using classes all have attack bonuses that progress at the same rate and the Cleric has a third rate of progression, which IMO is fine as the Cleric is part spellcaster/part warrior but focuses on spellcasting first.
When the Paladin and Ranger are released in the next packet I expect to see them with the same attack progression as the Fighter/Rogue/Monk/Barbarian and then have a spellcasting bonus starting at level 6 as these are warriors first and spellcasters second.  


As to your point about putting these back in to satisfy the grognards, well that just makes good business sense at the moment. The RPG industry is having a hard time at the moment, sales are significantly depressed and it is hard to entice new players into the hobby.

On the otherside of the coin, D&D has a large fan-base, many of whom were put off by the changes made in 4e. If they are happy with the older editions and unhapy with the latest then they will not buy the latest edition.
The solution is to provide a basic ruleset that satisfies the older edition players that they buy Next when it releases and to add in options that allows fans of newer editions to replicate the systems they enjoy.
Concerning #4: I've edited the original post and should have been this clear to begin with: I'm fine with flat differences between class accuracy.  It's just the divergent progression that I really thought we grew out of.  Though honestly, I've been so wooed by Bounded Accuracy, I'd really like to see as few bonuses to accuracy as possible and have most of the action live in damage.  If they wanted to take class AND ability bonuses out of accuracy completely, I'd be down with that.  But that's no big deal.  The big deal to me is the progression.  It's progressiony stuff like that that created the notorious "sweet spot" of pre-4e. 
I know the designers have decided to bring old fans back rather than focus on creating new ones.  And I'll agree that there are some genuine good game design bits and pieces to be mined from older editions (shorter combat for the win!).  But some are just real stinkers, and they're smelling up D&D Next.  These are the worst offenders:


  1. Non-proportional healing.  4e showed us how a 10th level fighter and a 1st level fighter who were both just bloodied can both be healed to full by the same exact character.  This is both realistic and good game design, and it boggles the mind that we would throw away this innovation.  It is even more crucial in D&D Next, where HP is shouldering ALL Of the weight of a character's skill in avoiding damage.  If I ask if my 10th level fighter has learned a thing about blocking in all those adventures, you'd tell me its ALL in the HP.  Then why does it take a small army of clerics to heal him up, if that damage represents all kinds of skillful blocking and dodging?



Nothing says that clerical healing is purely physical. It's just as abtract as any other hit point mechanic.  I can easily see a cleric healing you for 40 points, broken down as 5 points physical, 25 points invigoration, and 10 points divine inspiration......or any other combination you would like to see.

   

Saving throws instead of attacks.  If you want a streamlined system, just roll attacks.  In the end, there's a bonus on one end and a bonus on the other, with a random element.  The math works out the same.  Why are we introducing this confusing mix of attacks and saves just to make the grognards happy?



because happy sells.  They're after money, not making you happy at the expense of a lot of other people.   

Unbalanced attack bonus progression.  I couldn't believe it when I first saw that the progression rate was at 3 different rates.  I know the idea of Bounded Accuracy is that if bonuses are small, screwy bits like this won't break the game.  But why mess with it?  Fighters get more melee damage and stuff from leveling up!  It's not about accuracy in D&D Next!  And as some have already pointed out, when you add stat bonuses, magic weapons, and accuracy bonues, the accuracy differential will grow large by the humble level of 10.  EDIT: I'm not saying there can't be flat class bonuses to accuracy, just that the gaps should stay flat.



Sameness = boring.  It's why 4e made $0 off of me.  5e is getting it right so far. 


I expect to see most of these points addressed with the Advanced rules modules. Currently what is being playtested is the Basic game.

1. Healing Surges and proportional healing was a new aspect introduced for 4e, for much of D&D's existance healing has been non-proportional so it makes sense to me to make 4e healing a module.


Good point.  The thing is, with Bounded Accuracy, HP now represent much more than they have ever done.  So it's more important than ever that that the skill/luck/divine favor/mystical component of HP be considered for healing.  Those things mean that the lost HP represent a lot of hits that could have been much worse, meaning that a high level character at half hit points is only as beat up as a low level character at half hit points.  Thus the same spell should patch them both up equally.  

Here's the definition of HP for reference:
"Your hit points represent a combination of several factors. They include your physical durability and overall health, your speed and agility to avoid harm, and your overall level of energy. They also account for luck, divine favor, and other mystic phenomena. In short, hit points are an abstraction."


1.  Easily rectified.  Cure Light Wounds: Roll one HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Cure Moderate Wounds: Roll 2 HD and add CON mod; regain that many HP.  Etc.


I agree that the Hit Dice mechanic is a step in the right direction and I'd certainly rather it be used than the same die roll for all.  But it is not proportional healing with regard to max hit points.  It is only RELATIVE healing with regard to how beefy your character is versus other characters.  You'll still need a pile of Cure Light Wounds to get back to full when you're high level, even though you supposedly are now much better at dodging and blocking (or have great luck, divine favor, or mysticalyness, etc.).  See the definition above.

There are, of course, modules that you can use instead. Use the "rapid healing" module, where just sitting for 5 minutes regains hp up to bloodied or full, and as an action you can heal more.
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
Non-proportional healing.  4e showed us how a 10th level fighter and a 1st level fighter who were both just bloodied can both be healed to full by the same exact character.  This is both realistic and good game design, and it boggles the mind that we would throw away this innovation.  It is even more crucial in D&D Next, where HP is shouldering ALL Of the weight of a character's skill in avoiding damage.  If I ask if my 10th level fighter has learned a thing about blocking in all those adventures, you'd tell me its ALL in the HP.  Then why does it take a small army of clerics to heal him up, if that damage represents all kinds of skillful blocking and dodging?

Because the high level character was fighting a lot more than the low level character.  In other words, he has learned A LOT about avoiding damage.  The 1st level fighter lost half his health fighting a single orc.  The 10th level fighter would barely get a scratch against a single orc.  To get down to half his health, the 10th level fighter would need a whole gaggle of orcs (or perhaps a fire giant).  A cure light wounds isn't going to cut it.

Also, comparing to 4E isn't fair, because the systems have different assumptions.  In 4E, the assumption was that every character would be at full health at the start of an encounter.  After the fight, surges can be spent to return to full.  You rest when everyone is running low on surges.  Thus health resources are split into two pools: hit points as an encounter resource, and surges as a daily resource.  Hit points are really just a tracker for battle, while surges represent the daily attrition.

In Next, the assumption is that HP will slowly dwindle throughout the day.  You rest when everyone is low on HP.  You will not begin every battle at full HP.

Proportional vs. Non-Proportional healing is based on opinion, not objective fact.  As long as both options are presented, I don't see a problem. 

Saving throws instead of attacks.  If you want a streamlined system, just roll attacks.  In the end, there's a bonus on one end and a bonus on the other, with a random element.  The math works out the same.  Why are we introducing this confusing mix of attacks and saves just to make the grognards happy?

It isn't "to make the grognards happy".  Don't define anything you don't like as something done just to please other people that you describe in an insulting way.  It only hurts your argument, which is sad because you make a good point: it is simpler to have everything work the same way.

That said, there is a good reason to use saving throws: Players like to roll.  When the dragon breathes fire, many players feel that they should get to "Roll to dodge", which is what the saving throw is.  It doesn't matter that it is the same thing, some players just feel better getting to roll themselves.


But this has an easy solution that could either be implemented in the base game or included as a module.  Instead of save DCs, Players would roll magical attacks.  Monsters would have a flat defense number for each stat that would be used instead of rolling a saving throw (12 + Stat mod).


For example, take a 1st level Wizard with an Intelligence of 16.  When he casts burning hands, the Dexterity save DC is 14.  A goblin has a Dex of 13 (+1 bonus), and so will save on a roll of 13+ (40%), and thus fail 60% of the time.


In the alternate system, the wizard would roll a magic attack with a +4 bonus.  We want the wizard to hit 60% of the time, which would be on a roll of 9+.  So the goblin has a Dex Save value of 13.


You could use this just for monsters (in which case Players would roll most rolls), or use it for PCs too.


AC and a pile of saving throws.  We're really going to adandon the Fort, Refl, Will trio that 3e and 4e used and were much loved?  We're already seeing that some abilities are too good, and the rest are either key to class or neglected (like in the old days).  It's not interesting to have 6 possible vulnerabilities with no feasible way to account for them all.  Even worse if 3 of them are often used, and the other 3 come up once in a blue moon just to annoy.

First of all, I think 4E is awesome.  I currently still play it with my friends.  That said, I don't think the 3 defenses are the greatest thing.  At first glance they seemed great: getting to pick between Intelligence and Dexterity was awesome (for example).  But after having played for 4+ years I see a downside: stat distribution.  Because of the way your defenses work, characters that have high stats in both parts of the pair (Str and Con, for example), are losing out.  You already can't keep all three defenses on par with monster attacks as you gain levels (without using feats to patch up your weak point) due to only gaining 2 stat increases every 4 levels.  Combining your two high stats into the same defense means the other two will suffer.  So Rogues, for example, don't have any incentive for having a high Intelligence.  I don't really like this, and thus I don't consider the 3 defenses as one of 4E strong points.

The fact that some abilities are better than others is a separate issue, and one that can be fixed.  Similarly, the fact that some abilities are used far more often for saves is a separate issue (again, one that can be fixed).  I brought this up in my very first feedback (and have repeated it each time), and I hope that it will be addressed.


Unbalanced attack bonus progression.  I couldn't believe it when I first saw that the progression rate was at 3 different rates.  I know the idea of Bounded Accuracy is that if bonuses are small, screwy bits like this won't break the game.  But why mess with it?  Fighters get more melee damage and stuff from leveling up!  It's not about accuracy in D&D Next!  And as some have already pointed out, when you add stat bonuses, magic weapons, and accuracy bonues, the accuracy differential will grow large by the humble level of 10.  EDIT: I'm not saying there can't be flat class bonuses to accuracy, just that the gaps should stay flat.

I'm actually torn with this one.  I know there are people who balk at the idea of characters not gaining any increase to accuracy over the 20 levels, and some people think that the Fighter should gain more than the Wizard.

I think some increase in accuracy is a good thing.  Sure, a high level fighter deals more damage than a low level fighter.  This works great when the monsters you fight get tougher.  A 1st level fighter can take on an orc, and a 20th level fighter takes on a Balor.  But what about when the 20th level fighter takes on 20 orcs?  Now his extra damage is useless, because he can kill a single orc using way less than max damage.  And if he can't hit those orcs any more often than the 1st level fighter, the battle seems a bit strange.


I don't know if there is an easy solution here other than play the game and see what it is like over all levels.  If feedback from groups playing at high levels typically mentions that the Fighter has too high of an attack bonus with weapons compared to the Wizard and Cleric, something needs to change.  On the other hand, if people don't say it is an issue, then it is fine.


The more I think about it (especially when I think about how 4E handled this), the more I think it isn't a problem.  While it is true that every class in 4E got the same basic increase to accuracy (1/2 level bonus), this didn't mean every class was equally skilled in weapon attacks.


Compare the wizard and the fighter.  The fighter will start with a much higher Strength, and the gap will increase as the two characters gain levels (unless they are non-standard builds, which I am assuming they are not).  It is not uncommon to see a Wizard with a Strength of 8 and a Fighter with a Strength of 18 (or even 20).  So even at level 1, that is a difference in +5 or 6 to hit!  On top of that, the fighter has actual powers to use with weapons, while the wizard must use a basic attack.  By level 30, the fighter has gained 8 points of Strength (+4) and possibly 2 more from epic destiny (bringing the total attack difference to +9 to +11).  And throughout those levels, the fighter gains better and better attacks (to deal more damage and better effects), while the wizard is still stuck with a basic attack.

I really hate attacks vs ref, will, and fort.       It just seems backwards.      As a DM I like to tell the character to roll a saving throw.    I like the fault of the roll to be on them not on me, especially for life and death situations.       When I played 4e I really had to tell the player to make a save vs his ref at +X.    

As for the Ref, Will, and fort stats I couldn't care less or them.    having a save for each stat is ideal and I'm really glad 5e when in that direction.    It's actualy the same thing that C&C did with it's d20 based ruleset.  

 


I really hate attacks vs ref, will, and fort.       It just seems backwards.      As a DM I like to tell the character to roll a saving throw.    I like the fault of the roll to be on them not on me, especially for life and death situations.       When I played 4e I really had to tell the player to make a save vs his ref at +X.    

As for the Ref, Will, and fort stats I couldn't care less or them.    having a save for each stat is ideal and I'm really glad 5e when in that direction.    It's actualy the same thing that C&C did with it's d20 based ruleset.  

 



Me too, and as a player, I like the fate of my PC to be in my hands with a saving throw.  I also like the anticipation of finding out if I succeed or fail at a spell via the DM rolling saves for his creatures/NPCs.  Saves are just a lot more fun all around.
Whether you roll a save as a player, or attack a defense, the fate of the character is still in the DMs hand. The DM lets you know the result of the roll, i.e. you hit, or you saved. And from a DM perspective rolling attacks against defenses is easier then rolling saves, because there is a set amount of players at the table. But is doesn't matter at this point, since saves are in.
dmgorgon and Maxperson; if you like your fate to be in your hands, then why not roll AC as well and just have an attack DC? Why are these things different?

I feel either everyone should roll the same thing (roll attacks, or roll defenses), or only the players should roll anything (players roll their attacks vs. enemy defenses, players roll saves, including an armor save, against enemy DCs).

Please, explain how you feel differently between spells and attacks? Why are they different? 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

This is why I disagree with each and every one of your points.

1. Non-proportional healing.  4e showed us how a 10th level fighter and a 1st level fighter who were both just bloodied can both be healed to full by the same exact character.  This is both realistic and good game design, and it boggles the mind that we would throw away this innovation.  It is even more crucial in D&D Next, where HP is shouldering ALL Of the weight of a character's skill in avoiding damage.  If I ask if my 10th level fighter has learned a thing about blocking in all those adventures, you'd tell me its ALL in the HP.  Then why does it take a small army of clerics to heal him up, if that damage represents all kinds of skillful blocking and dodging?



Mearls explained in his last podcast why healing isn't proportional to your total hit points and it makes sense. Your arguments also make sense. That's why I think healing should be proportional to your level and not your total hit points.


2. Saving throws instead of attacks.  If you want a streamlined system, just roll attacks.  In the end, there's a bonus on one end and a bonus on the other, with a random element.  The math works out the same.  Why are we introducing this confusing mix of attacks and saves just to make the grognards happy?



This again... It's just personal preference. It doesn't change the math of the game. The game designers realized that Fort/Will/Reflex was not good enough so you have two choices: 6 extra defenses (Strength defense, Dexterity defense, etc...) or no extra boxes to fill on your character sheet (you use your ability modifier) and saving throws.

In your point 3 you seem to think that fewer boxes to fill on your character sheet is better. The game designers seem to agree with you. Hence saving throws.

Also note that 4th edition's model also had saving throws (the 10+ thing). These were included in the game to modalize a character getting rid of a crappy condition during his turn. They were included to avoid having either off-turn attacks (the offender rolls and tries to beat your defense) and to simplify the saving throw mechanics. But this system is very unsatisfying from an immersion stand-point. Why is a low-strength character just as good at avoiding a web spell than a high level one? So once again, you have the choice between ability-based saving throws or an abstract game mechanic that was not accepted by all D&D fans.

Remember that 4th edition was a very abstract game and many of the abstractions were very upsetting for a lot of people, not just the old grognars.

I personally wouldn't mind having 6 passive defenses and 6 saving throws. But 4th edition's model, certainly not.


3. AC and a pile of saving throws.  We're really going to adandon the Fort, Refl, Will trio that 3e and 4e used and were much loved?  We're already seeing that some abilities are too good, and the rest are either key to class or neglected (like in the old days).  It's not interesting to have 6 possible vulnerabilities with no feasible way to account for them all.  Even worse if 3 of them are often used, and the other 3 come up once in a blue moon just to annoy.



This has the merit of being streamlined. You're using the same ability modifier. And the 3 defenses are just terrible. Either you use 4th edition's system with each defense tied to 2 abilities and you end up with silly "I flex my muscle to resist poison", either you use 3rd edition's version and you have these wierd opposed strength checks to handle bull rushes and instead of strength-based saving throws.


Unbalanced attack bonus progression.  I couldn't believe it when I first saw that the progression rate was at 3 different rates.  I know the idea of Bounded Accuracy is that if bonuses are small, screwy bits like this won't break the game.  But why mess with it?  Fighters get more melee damage and stuff from leveling up!  It's not about accuracy in D&D Next!  And as some have already pointed out, when you add stat bonuses, magic weapons, and accuracy bonues, the accuracy differential will grow large by the humble level of 10.  EDIT: I'm not saying there can't be flat class bonuses to accuracy, just that the gaps should stay flat.



That's because you're seeing base attack bonus when you should see a real increase in accuracy. When a fighter gets a +2 bonus to hit, his accuracy is going from 65% to 75%. These were added to avoid feat taxes like in 4th edition to increase your accuracy. If every single melee guy is taking weapon expertise and weapon focus, why not just include it in the class progression?
 Bounded accuracy can be thrown back and I prefer fort/ref/will and are not to worried if it is a defense/save but probably slightly prefer the later.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I agree on proportional healing and am neutral on class-based attack bonuses, but I disagree on the other two, especially fort/ref/will.
Attack & save matrixes, to THAC0, to d20 attacks/saves/checks, to d20 attacks instead of saves, was progress.  Each was clearer, more consistent and more functional than what came before.

If that progress had continued, 5e might have done away with contested checks and fixed-DC-saves-as-durration, making all resolution handled by the player making a d20 roll vs a DC.

 

 

 

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Basically I disagree on most accounts and find the opinion on what is "good design" unfounded.

1)while I agree that proportional elements in healing  has some promise but totally proportional healing is not necessarily better or more realistic. More hit points can also mean that a person can go deeper and postpone some consequences of damage until later or take punishment and still function beyond the point where others would have quit or died.

2) For magic, poison, breath weapon etc. saving throws are very thematic. It's where the attaker does nog have titel control and presision over it's attack but "opens the floodgates", after the release of the energy or poison it's op top the receiver to resist it. Having attack rolls for all attack makes the systeem very samey hand band, it also leads to uninspired mirrored bonus giving items/feats etc. like if there are weapon that give +1 to attack there should be an equivalent item for magic attacks.

3)  Making all attributes their own saving throw is more a step forward, it's not only closer to the later edition idea (not counting the passive vs active part) but very streamlined to.

 4) I see no problem in some classes increase accuracy while others increase, well, other stuff like the amount of times or the size of floodgates opened or accuracy in non-combat stuff.

Parts of the "streamlined new good design" of the last years or so was the equivalent of tarmacking your garden to get rid of your weeds. 
I agree there were alot of flys and weeds from previous editions. I expect they will continue. Because one persons weed is federal offense to another.
I really hate attacks vs ref, will, and fort.       It just seems backwards.      As a DM I like to tell the character to roll a saving throw.    I like the fault of the roll to be on them not on me, especially for life and death situations.       When I played 4e I really had to tell the player to make a save vs his ref at +X.    

As for the Ref, Will, and fort stats I couldn't care less or them.    having a save for each stat is ideal and I'm really glad 5e when in that direction.    It's actualy the same thing that C&C did with it's d20 based ruleset.  

 



What about life or death melee attacks, do you let the player roll then?

I dont understand having one system for magic attacks and another for melee attacks. Saving throws have never made a whole lot of the sense to me even when I started playing 30 years ago.  Why get a save versus lightning bolt but not an arrow?

I like the idea of a single action resolution system based on the simple principle of: the actor who makes the decision always rolls the dice.

Ninjaed by Xeviat-DM
They maybe trying to get old fans back but their failing, that is a simple fact.
As far as getting new fans, people into days age is not the brightest group to find gamers from. They need to do with Next what they did with 3rd/3.5/4. Dumb it down, right all the details out to make it look advanced but in reality they assume you are dumb and put everything in there you need, they don't assume you will think for yourself(they been correct). Some may bitch but they are not going to make a advance game for people that don't have the mind to play such.



Wow, this might be the most arrogant and elitist post I've seen in a long time. Wanting something more user friendly does not make it dumb.
Whether you roll a save as a player, or attack a defense, the fate of the character is still in the DMs hand. The DM lets you know the result of the roll, i.e. you hit, or you saved. And from a DM perspective rolling attacks against defenses is easier then rolling saves, because there is a set amount of players at the table. But is doesn't matter at this point, since saves are in.



It's not the same.  I would rather roll a save for that chance at a natural 20 or other successful save.  Don't even try to tell me that a successful save againt the medusa stoning is the DM controlling my fate.  That would be all me.  It doesn't matter if the DM is the one to describe the successful save, because he isn't given the option to fail me at that point.  At least not without some legitimate reason behind the change.
dmgorgon and Maxperson; if you like your fate to be in your hands, then why not roll AC as well and just have an attack DC? Why are these things different?



Because saves almost always have greater impact than a single hit.  You are also hit a LOT more often than you are put in a situation where you have to save.  If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.
I have edited content in this thread.

Please keep your posts friendly, respectful and on-topic.
If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."

 

 

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i guess all the newer edition players want is a cleaned up version of 4th and everyone else are just bystandards. i am happy to see saves come back, what people failed to mention about saves are that they are diffrent for every class so mages get better saves vs magic and fighters get better saves vs poision and dragonbreath. i dont like the evolution of the game where ability scores now are all extremely high, there is just a basic bonus from each score and things like max spells known per level and max spell level usable were removed thus causing huge imbalances in the game which prompted silly balancing systems which wouldnt have been needed before.
If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."




You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.
If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."




You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.



IF a DM is that worried about that information being in their players' hands (I, for one, am not) you can just ask for the individual rolls and say pass or fail.

You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.



I disagree. If one of the Orcs is performing better than the others (from previous experience or magical weapons) then the players should be able to notice that. I can see the argument that it should not be immediately apparent, and the players should pick up on it from noting increased performance rather than the DM saying the attack number, but that is easily resolved. Don't resolve the Orcs as a single group, but have each one attack on it's own - which is typically how combat is handled anyway. You don't need to tell the player what the numerical value of the attack is. "An Orc attacks you, roll your defense" followed by telling them if they dodge the blow or are hit should be sufficient.

If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."




You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.



IF a DM is that worried about that information being in their players' hands (I, for one, am not) you can just ask for the individual rolls and say pass or fail.



That slows things down.  I typically roll all the dice at once and select a particular color or colors to represent the abberational critters.  If I have to stop and have the player roll quite often five dice or more individually, it will slow down the game a lot. 
If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."




You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.



Oh really?

But having the players know the Save DC of a medusa is ok?

Or giving the players knowledge that Wizard villain X has a save DC of 14 in his illusion spells?

In the "traditional" D&D, players already have more information than they should had, if you approach things from this perspective you're defending here.

That kind of "metagaming" is already in your game Maxperson. This is not an argument against it.

---

I have yet to see a good argument for mixing attacks and saves that isn't related to "because it's traditional" or "because it would please the old-schoolers" :P.
Are you threatening me master jedi? Dungeons & Dragons 4e Classic - The Dark Edition
dmgorgon and Maxperson; if you like your fate to be in your hands, then why not roll AC as well and just have an attack DC? Why are these things different?



Because saves almost always have greater impact than a single hit.  You are also hit a LOT more often than you are put in a situation where you have to save.  If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.




I agree,  I also don't like making attack rolls for objects like an ice floor or poison gas.  It's just not intuitive.  

Just look at the definition of a saving throw in 2e.  

"The saving throw is a die roll that gives a chance, however slim, that the character or creature finds some way to save himself from certain destruction (or at least lessen the damage of a successful attack).

More often than not, the saving throw represents an instinctive act on the part of the character--diving to the ground just as a fireball scorches the group, blanking the mind just as a mental battle begins, blocking the worst of an acid spray with a shield. The exact action is not important--DMs and players can think of lively and colorful explanations of why a saving throw succeeded or failed. Explanations tailored to the events of the moment enhance the excitement of the game." 

 It clearly is not the same thing as an attack.   The character making the saving throw is performing a heroic action to avoid destruction.     Rolling the die is the way the player relates to the heroic action.    Having the DM tell the player that the lich hit him and then energy drained his life away just isn't fair.   Sure the lich might need to roll to hit, but resisting the energy drain (which in 5e is draining max hit points) is a great situation that the player can be envolved in.   



If they made it so that you have to "save" against swings, the game would seriously bog down.

Not if the DM didn't have to roll those swings...

"You are attacked by three orcs, Attack Class 13, roll your defense."  "Crap, my highest was 11, even with my +6 from chainmail"  "Take 21 damage."




You're rignt.  There is however a very important reason not to do that with attack rolls.  What if one of those three orcs was a tiny bit better or had a +1 sword?  Giving the players the knowledge that one of them had an Attack Class of 14 is information that should not be in their hands at that point.



Oh really?

But having the players know the Save DC of a medusa is ok?

Or giving the players knowledge that Wizard villain X has a save DC of 14 in his illusion spells?

In the "traditional" D&D, players already have more information than they should had, if you approach things from this perspective you're defending here.

That kind of "metagaming" is already in your game Maxperson. This is not an argument against it.

---

I have yet to see a good argument for mixing attacks and saves that isn't related to "because it's traditional" or "because it would please the old-schoolers" :P.




And now you know why 2e never had DCs.       The DM only had to say,"roll a saving throw vs petrification"     

Still, if you want to hide a DC from the players then you need to ask them what DC they saved against.  


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