5E UA and depth of complexity
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  1. #1

    UA and depth of complexity

    I get it, Unearthed Arcana has mostly been about providing more character archetypes. Diversity. I call this breadth of complexity. And it's fine.

    But what about more crunch for existing characters?

    Both as in existing character archetypes, and as in actual characters you have built and play. I mean, publishing the Path of the Zealot does nothing for your existing Path of the Berserker Barbarian. And finding out that Bladesinging has been published in SCAG doesn't provide any new options for the Wizard player that just has chosen to play a Diviner, say.

    And neither Barbarian nor Wizard can make use of the existence of a new class, such as the UA Artificer.

    No, those are all either-or propositions. (Sure there's multiclassing, but still)

    Instead I'm thinking of depth of complexity, crunch that actually adds decision points to existing character archetypes and your current player character.

    The obvious example is the feat subsystem. It adds crunch opportunities to every character.

    ---

    What do you think will be the next UA that addresses depth (and not breadth) of complexity?

    I'm thinking back on previous editions, and trying to come up with possible candidates.

    Kits? Specialities? Prestige classes? Feat chains?

    One area that could be mined for possibilities is existing subsystems that currently are hardcoded to a single class only.

    I'm thinking mainly about maneuvers and metamagic. Both could be decoupled from the Battlemaster and Sorcerer, respectively, and then offered to every character instead.

    What are your ideas for how the next UA could add crunch for existing character archetypes instead of merely adding more of them?

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    If it's crunch for a new character I roll up, yeah!

    If it's crunch for a character I have? Um.. Geoff? Nah.

    Got enough and AOK thanks!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    What do you think will be the next UA that addresses depth (and not breadth) of complexity?

    I'm thinking back on previous editions, and trying to come up with possible candidates.

    Kits? Specialities? Prestige classes? Feat chains?
    I think that all of those are unlikely. Kits and specialities are already covered by subclasses I think. They have already introduced prestige classes, but I'm not sure whether the concept was received enthusiastically enough for them to make more.
    I doubt that feat chains will be a thing either: you just don't get many feats. Potential synergies between feats are already around, but I don't see a feat that would require having another feat as a prerequisite as likely to come out. Bear in mind that there are a number of feats that are similar to what used to be feat chains in 3.5, but in a single feat that grants more as the character levels up rather than requiring additional feats.

    One area that could be mined for possibilities is existing subsystems that currently are hardcoded to a single class only.

    I'm thinking mainly about maneuvers and metamagic. Both could be decoupled from the Battlemaster and Sorcerer, respectively, and then offered to every character instead.
    I do not see this as likely other than by systems similar to what is in play already such as feats.
    Decoupling maneuvers from the Fighter or Matamagic from the Sorceror other than in a limited fashion such as the martial adept feat would step on too many toes I think. Making them freely available to existing classes would require coming up with a different special mechanic for the BM and Sorceror to preserve those classes' uniqueness. - At which point why not just let them keep their current mechanics and make the special new mechanics the thing that you're giving to the other classes?

    So: I could see a feat that only grants a few sorcery points per long rest and a couple of metamagic options, in the same vein as the martial adept feat. I don't see them becoming more available than that though.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Kobold View Post
    Making them freely available to existing classes would require coming up with a different special mechanic for the BM and Sorceror to preserve those classes' uniqueness.
    Ideally, yes of course.

    But TBH I would be prepared to sacrifice the Battlemaster and the Sorcerer if that adds a whole new layer of crunch to all characters.
    The Battlemaster seems to lay a wet blanket on possible non-magical martial classes, design space wise. And besides, its unstructured approach to maneuvers is not sophisticated enough.
    The Sorcerer simply has stolen metamagic from other spellcasters. I simply don't like that. I honestly don't see enough value in this edition's Sorcerer incarnation, as a stark contrast of the great value the 3E sorcerer added to the d20 system.

    So you could argue cannibalizing them would be actually good for the game.


    So, ideally, yes. But if the alternative is to do nothing since we can't come up with any new schtick of BMs and Sorcerers, that is to me the lesser option.

    The thing that got me thinking was "why are my feelings towards most of the new UA subclasses so lukewarm?". Then it hit me, it is because all it does is adding new options that are mutually exclusive with the one's the PHB has aldready given us: or "breadth" of complexity in other words.

    I believe I would be much more excited by an UA that added depth of complexity, hence this subject

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    We have already seen a pass at prestige classes. I think we may see another go at them down the road. I also think we will eventually see more feats. But I am with Cap'n Kobold, I don't think we will see metamagic or maneuvers extend to all classes. For better or worse, they don't want to revise existing classes. Even an eventually Ranger revision will be an addition and not a replacement.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    We have already seen a pass at prestige classes. I think we may see another go at them down the road. I also think we will eventually see more feats. But I am with Cap'n Kobold, I don't think we will see metamagic or maneuvers extend to all classes. For better or worse, they don't want to revise existing classes. Even an eventually Ranger revision will be an addition and not a replacement.

    Prestige classes got shot down hard in the survey: the concept, not the specific implementation. They've said that one is DOA for the forseeable future.

    Feat chains are also a no go, on their basic design principles. Metamagic will remains Sorcerer schtick, for sure.

    I can forsee UA with more feats, and more spells.

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    I think the obvious question is being overlooked in threads like this: Do they even want more complexity?

    We need to look at the design goals of 5e, and I think it's clear that they are taking a more simple, streamlined approach where they want WE as the players to create additional tools that we like*, as opposed to a splat train of ever increasing complexity and options coming from them directly.

    I think 5e has an identity, one that they are careful to adhere to, and expecting it to be different from that identity will result in you waiting a long, long time.


    *With guidelines on how to create classes and subclasses, feats, etc, and especially with the creation of the DM's Guild seems to point to this intent strongly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    I think the obvious question is being overlooked in threads like this: Do they even want more complexity?
    'Complexity' is often spat out like a condemnation. And, really, no one wants needless complexity (unless it's needless complexity with decades of D&D tradition behind it, of course). But, new content and expanded options carry a price in complexity. Those who want them will have to pay that price (or trim the game of existing options they don't value as highly), while those who don't want them or are unwilling to accept that added complexity will not.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Thursday, 26th January, 2017 at 10:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    I think the obvious question is being overlooked in threads like this: Do they even want more complexity?

    We need to look at the design goals of 5e, and I think it's clear that they are taking a more simple, streamlined approach where they want WE as the players to create additional tools that we like*, as opposed to a splat train of ever increasing complexity and options coming from them directly.

    I think 5e has an identity, one that they are careful to adhere to, and expecting it to be different from that identity will result in you waiting a long, long time.


    *With guidelines on how to create classes and subclasses, feats, etc, and especially with the creation of the DM's Guild seems to point to this intent strongly.
    Need I remind you that 5th edition D&D was sold on the back of a "plug and play" strategy where one could have as much simplicity as they wanted or as much complexity as they wanted.

    If you want to keep "your" games simple then stick to what you have, but those of us who want more complexity should be able to go to those extra options and just plug those right into our games. You know, like all options that have been a part of every edition? You choose what you want to use and discard the rest.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    I think the obvious question is being overlooked in threads like this: Do they even want more complexity?
    No, you may assume, for the purposes of this thread, that the answer is "yes".

    If you want to discuss why you don't want to see more complexity in the game, or why you believe there will be no more complexity in the game, feel free to start a new thread.

    This thread was created to discuss the subject of what forms more complexity could take

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