The Obvious (Which Everyone Should Like) Martial classes would be closer to the essentials style. Basic attacks, stances, you get some really good roleplay out of that, more than from the at-will powers, I think.
Not everyone. There's a modest contingent of us who hate, loathe and dispise what Essentials did to the martial classes. It's a travesty in terms of game galance, and an insult to anyone who wishes to play a martial archetype.
While anyone who wishes to sift far enough back can find Tony and my 'disagreement' on that front (I love my Scouts, Thieves, Slayers, and Knights) he is actually correct.
Hey Tony, I did sort of kind of figure out a way to balance like our last discussion was about. It would require certain daily long buff effects like the Sentinel Druid's Bear's strength but I think a good enough system hacker could do it.
... what do you think is wrong with it? What things don't work, what would you have changed? Let's for a moment play with the idea, that D&DN was based on the 4E framework. What things would you do away with, what do you find lacking and would like to add to its next iteration? Note, this is meant for people who genuinely like and prefer the fourth edition, so no need to post "no powers, less mmo" - kind of stuff, thank you.
Less bloat. Have fewer feats, but maybe with "options" build in them (like : +1 damage with an energy type of your choice,etc). Fewer Powers, but rules for building balanced new powers.
Reduce the accumulation of powers - high level means better powers, not great number of them. A solution would have been to give each power multiple possible effects (like Runepriest powers, for instance : same power, two or more possible outcomes = adaptable power)
Reduce math bloat. Rather thna having lots of +s cming from every where, have three or four "bonus stages" : one source of bonus = +2, another source - >+3, and so on, bonus source after fourth don't count ?
Unplussed magic items - no need to count them in the math. Just give them interesting abilities, like a new power, or the possibility to change damage type, etc.
Less magic items. Have the characters only have a few, but make them interesting. Keep the "boons and favors" non item equivalent.
More out-of-combat "rules" or at least speak more about it. Rework skill challenges and build on them. It was completely neglected in the rules, but is what many DM need help with.
Build ressource management (powers, HPs) around "story" event rather than "time". No "dailies", but "powers that work once by chapter" or "powers that are only regained after victory in a hard difficulty enounter or after the end of the adventure". Makes it easier to build stories and encounters around what the story needs, rather than building stories around what the encounter needs.
Ritual magic : make it easier, flexible, seductive. Have the magic users be able to do real magical things unrelated to combat.
Explain how character creation realy works : imagine a character concept, then chose class according to which specific mechanics and powers you want to have, rather than their name or fluff, and fluff it all.
More generally : forget about dungeon crawling. It is not the point of the game, just something that can happen in it, so don't build the game around dungeon crawling balance.
Grid : keep it, but give advices and rules for not using it. There are times when it doesn't add anything to "grid" a fight - provide alternatives.
For the sake of staisfying all customers : provide different "balance points" for hit points and healing, with their own rules for keeping balance between characters and monsters.
There are many other things, but I think these are the main points for me.
I really prefer 4e to the older editions, character generation and the strategic part of combat, but at the same time there are a couple of things that irritate me a little bit.
(1) Combat is bit too predictable, or more precisely, fun combat is. It is easy to make an easy fight, but due to the absense of any risks, hardly any resources costs and it still cost a rather large amount of real life game time it is rarely worth the efford. It is easy to make a lethal fight, but it either is over-the-top lethal, or ends up as a grind. Making a challenging, potential lethal fight that is fun requires a lot of design time from the DM, and always costs a lot of game time. => Right now I am experimenting with using lower-level monsters with the damage output and attack rolls of higher level monsters.
(2) Reduce the skill dependency of the game even more, or change the skill challenge mechanic to give it a more natural feel. When the same players in 2e wanted to steal something from a rival temple, they spend hours planning. Now they check their sheets, realize they lack Bluff and Stealth and hence decide attacking is the only option. Skill challenge are definitely a step in the right direction, but apparently it is still lacking since players have trouble assuming that one PC can make the Bluff check for the whole group... Mind you, a great part of this attitude is with the players, but I have noted that it is rather prevelent both in my two home campaigns (with completely different group of players) and the various convention games and Organized Play games I have played/run.
(3) Add something that rewards players to explore more. I dislike the guess-what-the-DM-is-thinking way of gaming that was rather prevelent in 2e (and I assume 1e). There is something frustrating about being surprised by green slime because you forgot to mention you scanned the ceiling before entering the room or loosing out treasure because you forgot to ask for a rooms description and hence never looked into the barrel with muddy water. At the same time though, I am missing something when the PCs rush through a dungeon, are happy enough with a one-line description and assume that a passive Perception includes all odd stuff.
Personally I really like 4th Edition, and of course there are things that could be improved, however the real problem has been WotC strategic mistakes when they launched 4th Edition - Stopping the open game licence - Sacking Paizo from doing Dungeon and Dragon magazines - No pdf book sales
If they had not done these 3 things we would have had super cool adventure paths from Paizo and others on the 4th Edition systems. Paizo wouldn't have created the Pathfinder continuation of the 3.5 edition, dividing the community - there would have been no need for them. We could buy easy pdf reprints of the core bocks with all the updates included (as well as ordering new prints of the core books but with all errata gone)
I am not sure Paizo is going to jump onto the 5th Edition even if they are invited by a good OGL this time, it is to late. They are making enough money on their own products and have created a strong brand, more likely they create their own next step of Pathfinder with great adventures backing it.
I think it will be hard for WotC to get back into the drivers seat.
Chris Perkins DM AI: Create an AI based on Chris Perkins brain and give us a copy with each purchase of the DMG so that he can run our games for us. I keep asking and WotC keeps failing to make it happen. I would finaly be able to play instead of having to DM all the time.
but seriously...for 4e, I loved most of the game and would only make a few changes if I was making 4e the framework for 5e:
1. Convert the skills over to the 5e format of the skill being a bonus, but not latched to a specific ability score...describe what you want to do, and the DM decides which skill and ability score combo makes sense according to what you say you want to do. This is also how Skill Challenges should have been run, although many DMs present the PCs with the options and framework instead...
2. Grouping of powers across the power sources is an okay suggestion I saw. If you put many of the martial powers together, but with little Special sections like is already there by build, to indicate how different classes might gain advantaes on specific powers, it could work well.
3. More concise feats. There are double duty feats out there, one that gives a +1 to a weapon, another gives a +1 to a weapon and an implement, and another that gives a +1 to a weapon group...roll them into one feat and cut the space.
4. For flavor, like with the Psionic classes not having Encounter powers (except the monk) but having PP, Martial classes that aren't based around an actual "Power" in their Power-source should change to At-Will, Follow-Up and Finishing-Move structure, where a successful use of an At-Will, or maybe success by a certain margin/Crit unlocks a Follow-up power, which, if successful in the same vein, opens up a Finishing-Move power. This would give the Martial classes that non-Power feel that so many want. Write the Follow-Up and Finishing-Moves in such a way that they can express their Requirements, similar to Triggered actions.
5. Non-Magic healing doesn't start at Zero and go up...I already run it that if the healing is non-magical in nature, then it starts wherever they are negative and works from there.
6. More out of combat type feats...unlike some, I don't want out of combat to be a separate resource, I like the give and take, I just want to see more out of combat options for those who want to build up their character in another pillar. One of the best things about 4e was that they heavily ruled combat but left the out of combat rules light, but that doesn't mean I want it to be options light...
7. Rituals need to be more defined, what is needed as components to cast, not just a residuum/component pouch cost, so that players can seek out the components instead of just paying to use them. More rituals should be available in the game. Finally, a mechanic could be added that allowed you to "Memorize" a ritual in the place of taking a Utility Power for your class, and that would make said ritual "Free" of component cost, and fast enough to use as a Standard Action in combat...what rituals can be used this way can of course be restricted, some might not make sense.
8. Expand on the Multi-classing and Hybrid rules... Many of the Hybrid combinations lost their class flavor without heavy feat reinforcement (and even with in some cases) and the Cross-class feats didn't give enough of the multi-class feel.
9. Rework the entire Magic Item way of things...handling an item for a few minutes should not identify it, bring back identify as a ritual...make magic items special, and sometimes dangerous again. Cursed items were a major DM tool that was taken out of his repetoire.
10. Re-organize the presentation of the game back to the 1 PHB, 1 MM, 1 Campaign Source release a year format...Additional other books like Adventurers' Vaults, Open Graves, and such can be put into the schedule, but keep to the basis of Classes/Races only being released either in a PHB or a Campaign Source (and don't automatically classify Campaign Source information as Core, its Settings Core, not game Core)
Finally, in bold letters inside the cover of every single D&D published book, reprint the first and most important rule: Every rule in this game is optional, it is up to the DM as to what he/she wishes to use or discard, and it can be freely modified as they see fit. Its their game, run it how they see fit!
... what do you think is wrong with it? What things don't work, what would you have changed?
The system works fine as written for us. The biggest drawback however is long fights with lots of condition tracking. A happy medium between the lengths of non-combat and combat would be nice. We enjoy both.
Let's for a moment play with the idea, that D&DN was based on the 4E framework. What things would you do away with, what do you find lacking and would like to add to its next iteration?
One thing I really appreciate about DDE is that the designers were able to take the 4e system and work with it so that it appeals to different kinds of players. Half of us prefer the AEDU approach and the others like the Essentials approach. So, we mix-n-match original 4e and DDE in our games.
I was expecting to see a formalized hybrid of 4e/DDE as the base of the playtest. Since the approach has worked so well for our group, and since I really like the 4e system in general, that's what I would've done.
I have no knack for game design unfortunately. I can take the designs of someone else however and make sure they work for our table. I'm a hobbyist . So, I'll wait-n-see what they do with DDN. It won't be 4e but I'm sure it'll be fun.