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Thread: Dear Mike & Monte
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 08:31 PM #41
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Here's my top-ten wish list:
1) Stick to older races, at least in core. I'm not personally fond of tieflings, dragonborn, etc. There's room for them in supplements.
2) Vancian magic. I like it. I like the resource management aspect of it. I like that it works completely differently to, say, a fighter - the player actively has to do different things. I like that each spell is it's own little rules system in itself. My only criticism of it is that the spells are all too familiar. I would like to see a little at-will magic rather than a crossbow, though.
3) Just go back to regular old hit points. I prefer them to healing surges. Keep the numbers lower.
4) Make each class feel different. When you're playing each class, the player should actually be having to do different things. If one class spends most of its time moving, rolling to hit, rolling damage, then another class should be doing something entirely different (links to my Vancian magic point above). Go so far as to make the actual ability structure of each class different. Give fighters maneuvers, but don't make them even vaguely resemble or feel like spells.
5) Allow monsters to keep exception based design. This is the very best thing that came out of 4E for me. I don't subscribe to the "well, if the dragon can do that, then I should be able to, too" school of thought.
6) Flavour-wise, I'd like the grittiness level to be around 1E level. More LotR, less anime.
7) Art - my preferred art style came from the Dragonlance era. Not "dungeon-punk". No spikes.
8) Don't include a default setting. Instead, encourage DMs to make their own setting.
9) Miniatures can be great, but I'd rather they not be required. This probably means reducing the exact tactical positioning elements of the game, and abstracting a little more. I still feel that the best battlemap will always be the one the players imagine in their head. Miniatures can be useful at times, though, so don't rule them out.
10) Decrease reliance no magical items even further. Sure, allow the DM to have a magicness dial if you like, for those who like their magic items. 4E is an improvement on 3E in that regard (it's more a Christmas shrub than a Christmas tree) but didn't go quite far enough. Make every magic item distinct and interesting (see spells, above).
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Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 08:36 PM #42
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
I would say that, first, whatever was done for 4e PR-wise - do the exact opposite.
Second - use the OGL or some other license that will ensure good will from business partners (i.e. any 3rd party publishers) and the customer.
Finally - game-wise, I'd do the following:
1. Ditch the idea of daily, encounter, at-will powers that forms the basis of 4e. The concept is completely at odds with every prior version of D&D - even if the prior versions had the same stuff going on under the hood. What I mean by this is do we really need to rigidly define when something can be used or done? The pieces-parts of each character class should be there for the player and DM to collectively decide when using it is appropriate. Give the players and DM enough rope to hang themselves with.
2. Ditch the idea of character classes as being so rigid. Give us a tackle box of abilities inherent to each character class and let us pick and choose which ones we want. Pathfinder's archetypes are a simplified example of this.
3. Completely get away from the idea of class levels as conferring specific abilities or powers at set intervals or levels. Make D&D an almost 100% skill-based system so that players can then decide how they want to customize their character. For example - maybe I want a cat burglar type of rogue character. So - I'll pick and choose abilities from the "rogue" list and as I gain levels, I improve only the abilities I want to. Even combat and magic should be skill-based. I can envision a system where I use skill points to learn fire-based spells and pick abilities that allow me to use metamagic on the spells I can cast. Or, where my fighter is really really good with an axe but relies on his training via use of skill points being put into a parry/dodge/feint skill instead of using armor to avoid being struck in combat.
4. Allow various options for a hit point system that can be completely abstract (baseline D&D as it is now) to one in which combat is quick and deadly. Go take a look at how Twilight:2013's hit point system works and just copy it wholesale.
5. Ditto for either TW:2013, Traveller or the old Darklands CRPG for character design (while avoiding Traveller's notorious "death as the last step of character creation) - allow for both a planned and a random character background (I make do with the 3e Hero Builder's Guide right now when coming up with a character's background and backstory).
Now - how to keep 5e self-sustaining:
1. Start selling pdfs of all prior editions.
2. Resurrect Greyhawk in all its glory as the default campaign setting and go the route of the Mystara Gazetteers for specific Greyhawk supplements for those who want them, but keep the basic campaign setting to a lower level of detail.
3. Adopt the adventure path concept while developing adventures, but design them to allow the use of branching paths to join different adventure paths. This gives the DM the ability to minimize railroading and boredom that could occur when you are 3 adventures in to a 6-adventure path.
4. Adventures or supplements? Adventures every time - you can always introduce some new stuff as part of the adventure. Lots of stuff that made its way into the original MM2 or other hardback books in 1e was first published as part of an adventure first.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 08:46 PM #43
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 09:08 PM #44
GURPS-style approach will capture greater market share. Offer both gritty LoTR and high fantasy/anime class options. System makes it abundantly clear that nothing must be core; pick and choose the PC classes, races and powers that best flavors any one campaign. If need be, separate into low/traditional fantasy and high fantasy bundles, with a simple core or beginner/quickstart rules.
OTOH, can offer a default setting for the traditional fantasy PC option and traditional art, and a different setting(s) for the high fantasy/anime PC option and corresponding art.7) Art - my preferred art style came from the Dragonlance era. Not "dungeon-punk". No spikes.
8) Don't include a default setting. Instead, encourage DMs to make their own setting.
Last edited by LurkAway; Tuesday, 27th December, 2011 at 09:12 PM.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 09:09 PM #45
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Since we've now devolved into talking about mechanics. My preference is for a system that has multiple elements or subsystems that run independently of other aspects of the game, so that you can remove something without a significant mechanical impact. Magical items are a good example - the loss of them doesn't effect the rules in any other way.
On Magic Items
I'll start this by quoting @TheFindus
That reiterates my feelings on getting The Core Math down. And I also feel that magical items should be easily removed - magical items are a part of the system, but they should not be crucial to it. They should be special.I wish for mechanics that can do without certain +x items built into the system. I would like to see magic items with special powers, yes. But my Battlemind should not need a +5 armor or a certain +x-to-attack-feat at a certain level just to be able to compete with a monster.
Here is my suggestion on making magical items "magical":
All items would have thematically linked multiple effects. PCs would only have 1-3 items at any one time - not for mechanical reasons, but so that the items feel special. One important point is that items have some traits which aren't directly relating to combat but are thematic, such as freezing and walking on water.Cleaver of Glaciers (Level 6)
Trait: The wielder gains Ice-walk. Dipping this blade into water will freeze the surface enough to permit the wielder to walk across. This ice is difficult terrain for others.
Encounter (use after hitting a target):An enemy loses -2 to their AC for the encounter, as the hit freezes a portion of the enemy's armor/body and it shatters.
Daily: Create a wall of ice x long and y high. The wielder can pass through this wall as though he had phasing.
While i personally would prefer bonuses be removed from magical items, I know that +1 sword are too sacred to lose their bonuses.
Initially non-combat powers were siloed into Utilities, but Utilities soon became non-offensive combat powers competing with non-combat powers. Furthermore, classes had combat roles, but then out of combat they had skills that are customary to the class.
Instead, I would like to see the idea of how a class is created become something more modular. The class has 3 parts that are plug-and-play:
A) Class features. This is often what really separates one class from another. The difference between the Avenger's mechanics from the Ranger's, the Cleric from the Bard. The one place that is missing is controllers having features that make them feel like a controller - the Protector druid is going in the right directio here.
B) The Combat role. 4e operates just fine here.
C) The Non-Combat Role. Detach skills into thematic packages such as the Athlete (Athletics, Acrobatics, Endurance), the Socialite (Diplomacy, Intimidate, Bluff), the Sneak (Bluff, Sstealth, Thievery), the Scout (Stealth, Nature, Perception), the Scholar (Arcana, Religion, One Misc Knowledge SKill), The Tough Guy (Intimidate, Endurance, Athletics), the Explorer (Athletics, Nature, Dungeoneering), The Peacemaker (Diplomacy, Heal, Religion).
Non-combat utilities (sort of like skill powers) would then silo through the non-combat role.
The point is that all of these are independent of one another, allowing you to mix and match. Ideally, you can have a Wizard who is (Class Feature X + Controller + Tough Guy) and a Fighter who is (Class Feature R + Striker powers + Scholar). Obviously they have to be balanced so that one isn't the "best" option.
Creating classes then is simply introducing more class features and providing more powers for each combat and non-combat role.
I like themes personally. You could easily turn Power Source into themes, or have specific things relating to it, rather than it merely being a flavor distinction.
On Social Skills
Personally I would prefer it if "Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff vs. DC" went away, and it was more like social combat or at least a subsystem. Where someone has X number of Resistance points and you need ot wear them down.
I absolutely love 4e's monsters and don't want them to change at all.
Plan an Unearthed Arcana style book for variant rules. Here you can tuck in your subsystems or diferent ways to do things.
Fewer fiddly bits. From tracking conditions, to too many situational modifiers via feats or class features. These fiddly bits are easily forgotten, or slow things down.
Put crafting skills in there. So people will stop complaining.
Last edited by Rechan; Tuesday, 27th December, 2011 at 09:17 PM.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 09:26 PM #46
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
I did not then, nor do I now, feel that WotC hates me. I do feel that I am not their target demographic at this time, which is a shame. I would like D&D 5e to include me as part of their target demographic, but I do not feel that is likely to occur.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 09:39 PM #47
I only have a single wish: Think very, very carefully before you decide to release 5e.
I'd hate to see a(nother) rushed release. Pretty much all of the (arguably few) design mistakes in 4e could have been spotted and corrected before it was released. Make sure to playtest the game at all levels _before_ it is sent to the printers.
Also make very, very sure that a new edition is really required. Imho, 4e's design space is far from being completely explored. 5e only makes sense if it so different from 4e that no amount of rules updates could achieve the same thing. If it's only the presentation and minor details you'd like to change, stick with 4e and call it "4e Fundamentals" or whatever.
Don't try to make me buy something I already have - and this includes every previous edition of the game!
In a sense, the D&D game has no rules, only rule suggestions. - Tom Moldvay
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 09:42 PM #48
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Oh I forgot to add.
OGL, PDF and test test test in public. Lots of public testing. I would even get a DDI account again if it meant I could get access to test material and have some influence over design. But don't just test at your site or just on DDI. Come here ot ENWorld and look for feedback and post test material.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 10:04 PM #49
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
1) I'd like to see the addition of a third building block to basic character creation. Not only would I like to pick race and tactical combat role. I'd also like to pick an out-of-combat role. You see, in combat I like to be a mobile lightly armored range attacker but out of combat I enjoy playing the learned thinker. In most games today I need to choose between playing rogue or wizard when in fact I'd like to play a guy with a bow and a book. (Multiclassing does not work for me as it adds skills I don't even care for).
I see the following out-of-combat roles:
The social character, for players who enjoy talking to NPCs.
The explorer, for players who likes to map, search and tinker.
The vigilant character, for players who wants to be the first to spot.
The sage, for players who like to have all the facts.
The athlete, for players who enjoy moving about.
The artisan, for industrious players.
The loose cannon, for the troublemakers.
2) Please keep all the old words and game terms. Don't inject new words. E.g. Move Silently was a perfectly good name for the sneak skill. Stealth is shorter and more succinct but it's too new. In D&D we already have a term for it. Paralyze, poison, death magic is a mouthful but Fortitude isn't traditional D&D.
3) Don't forget about the DM. The player characters often try to find something out and they get powers to reveal whatever they are looking for. However, often the DM does not have an actual answer to reveal. The DM is trying to move the story forward without having to cover up plot holes as he goes along. Certainly the characters should have information gathering skills but the players should not be made to feel entitled to answers just due to successful checks. If the players ask the right question or look in the correct drawer the DM is more than willing to provide answers, regardless of what a spell or die reads.
Tuesday, 27th December, 2011, 10:09 PM #50
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Dear Mike & Monte,Hope 2: Dial it Up (and Down) - Basic & Advanced
...don't just tease us with this sexy "complexity dial" idea--make it happen! I want a simple, core game, one that is playable in and of itself with minimal Fiddly Bits. Think Castles & Crusades but 4E-style, or True20, or Talislanta...that sort of simple (in other words, "rules light-to-medium"), or even simpler at the very core (ala Fabled Lands).
After that, go hog wild. Provide options, modular options that we can pick and choose from. This is an extension of the Toolbox Approach. You build the parts, we'll put it together.
Absolutely Yes to this...but along with a "Complexity Dial", have a "Realism Dial".
Request #1: Get away from the "Keep the Crunch, change the Fluff" default, and go with a default of the "Crunch" supporting a realistic model, but with the ability to dial up the seperation of crunch from fluff. In other words, variable complexity, but also variable playstyle support (dial between narrativist, simulationist, and gamist).
Request #2: Make DDI inclusive for all editions with equal support for all. Your business model for continued financial success is the subscription service. No matter how "perfect" you make 5E, the likely expectation is that 5E will not re-unite your fan and customer bases. If you want all of them as customers, then DDI has to provide something for all of them. (like electronic downloads of all edition books, character/monster/encounter builders for all editions, and a VTT with support for all editions).
Mark "El Mahdi" Armstrong
Retired NCO, Grognard Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary
Semper Operor Verus