The Hidden Mechanic

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On David Noonan's most recent blog, he mentions how he is disappointed that he cannot fully explain to people the answers of their questions because there is so much of the mechanics still under wraps. Talking about one thing would only stem off a million other tangents.

I know no one who has not signed an NDA has any idea, but just for fun, lets talk about it:

What do you think WotC has up it's sleeve? An Ace?
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
If there is some kind of big fancy mechanic that has yet to be revealed, I'm betting it's something we've seen in a ton of other games. WotC's been rather burned by their earlier more experimental RPGs (Everway, SAGA), so I doubt they'd risk putting something completely untried or surprising into D&D.

One candidate would be Iron-Heroes-style "charge-up" abilities (Mearls is on the team, after all). I think that would go with the general ethos of 4e, but I'd expect the previews to have already mentioned them while talking about roles, &c.

It could also be a meta-mechanic. That's one thing that hasn't been mentioned but will most likely be in the game in some form. Probably something that tries to be a little more exciting than straight-up Eberron/Modern/UA-style action points but ultimately works in a similar way.

And, of course, if they haven't made mention of the reward system, it might be one of the above tied directly into the experience engine.

Is that the kind of wild speculation you were hoping for?

-- Alex
I am guessing that d20 has become a much more unified concept then the start in 3e.

For example, turn undead has been said to be part of the same basic system. This likely means that you will use a cleric's BAB modified by Wisdom (possibly Cha but I often thought that was a wierd stat match) instead of the current d20+Cha which is compared to a chart which then used to modify your level to find the hit die strength that you turn.

For the Turn Undead, the BAB+Wisdom will likely be compared to one of the Undead's defenses (likely Will since Undead seem to have a good modifier on this stat and Fort is pretty pointless in Undead. Reflex makes no sense at all.).

Grapple checks will likely be BAB against Reflex Defense (Reflex Defense though will include things like size modifers as does BAB).

You can see that this 'new' approach is a very integrated approach which would mean that once you realize that things previously that did not use BAB or skill modifiers now do so makes for why a little information gives away plenty of information.

Again, this is supposition based on the idea that the new mechanics are very integrated and following a SW Saga model.