Expertise Dice: Another Idea
Here is an idea I've been toying with recently to make dice tricks much simpler, but also give all classes the opportunity to have fun and be balanced at similar levels. I'm not a game designer, but from my playtesting experience I've found that MMD makes fighters and rogues much more fun to play than spellcasters, so this would be a way to spread the love.
I think WoTC should collapse all dice tricks (Combat Expertise and Skill Dice) into one extra dice system for all classes, but depending on class, the PC picks from maneuvers (including actions and reactions), skill tricks (actions and reactions), or spell tricks (actions, metamagic or reactions). Then they can allow all PCs to use the same mechanic, but make each class special by defining what they can learn as they level up. I know many people may not like a universal mechanic, but it just seems to make sense so that the dice trick mechanic is simpler and more balanced for all classes. It would also help for multi-classing eventually.
If all classes use the same dice for dice tricks, spellcasters would have the ability to add dice for making spells more difficult to resist, or to add damage, or cast without movement or sound, or extend, enlarge, or quicken spell, etc. WoTC could also create a really cool way to use the dice to engage in magic duels with other spellcasters. There are a ton of possibilities to make the classes feel different but still use the same mechanic, and there are a ton of ways to give abilities to the classes so that no two rogues or no two wizards, or no two fighters would have to be the same. This could be awesome.
For spellcasters, to add damage to a single target spell, the spellcaster would use dice the same way a martial PC would. To add damage to an area effect spell, the wizard would have to first use 1 die to prime it and then he could use the rest of his dice to add to damage. For example, a 9th level wizard could use 1 die to prime his spell and then add 2d6 to the damage of the spell.
Levels 1-4 gain 1d6
Levels 5-8 gain 2d6
Levels 9-12 gain 3d6
Levels 13-16 gain 4d6
Levels 17-20 gain 5d6
If they do this, spells could be written to deal less damage, and they would not have to be scaled. Each individual player could decide if he wanted to scale it or save expertise dice for other maneuvers, reactions or metamagic skills. Even cantrips like magic missle, ray of frost, lance of faith, etc. could be boosted so they would probably begin with base damage of 1d4, or something like that.
There may be other rules for using other metamagic skills to limit their abuse too.
Clerics could use extra dice for maneuvers, skills and metamagic, or they could use them to augment turning undead, or add to a healing spell, or other cool things.
What do you all think about this direction? Just throwing it out there.