Unearthed Arcana An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes

clearstream

(He, Him)
In play over the last couple of years my group has hit a lot of relatively minor "bugs" in the game mechanics. Examples for me include druid nature skill (intelligence? expertise in nature based on Druid levels could make sense) or warlock repelling blast (either limiting to one repel per foe, or giving a save against the push). Another is the dual wielder feat (should obviate the bonus action tax on TWF). Possibles include sharp shooter (either once per turn, or the power-attack could require a heavy weapon). GWM might well benefit from a look at, as well as trap feats like savage attacker (which at least should benefit sneak attacks!)

Not everyone will agree on the list or the fixes: which is why an Unearthed Arcana for this could be a good idea. They've introduced a lot of ideas for new mechanics: I'd love to see their ideas for debugging existing mechanics*. Because those are what I most use. Does this resonate for other posters?



*I'm conscious the WotC design team have put forward "fixes" in a sense for Ranger and Encounters. I'm talking more here about the smaller tweaks they might now make with experience and hindsight, right across the system.
 

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They won’t.
You will have to rely on your own house rule.
Create a thread “Sane feat fixes” our “Sane house rule fixes”.
Maybe you will receive other interesting rules fixes.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Wait... I'm confused. Unearthed Arcana is not official content. It is essentially a bunch of house rules the designers put out there asking people to try out. But if you are desiring of a bunch of house rules to fix things in your game... what's wrong with just you adopting your own house rules to fix the stuff you don't like?

House rules that WotC makes are no more official than house rules that a player makes. They're are still just house rules.

What would be better for everyone is if we finally get over the idea once and for all that "house rules" are worse than rules in the books and thus we need WotC to officially change them for us. They aren't. Using house rules is no worse or no better than just using the rules you find in the books. Rules are rules, regardless of who makes them. If it works for your house, then the rule is good.
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
I've never once had an issue with two-weapon fighting, since the game came out. I don't understand why people don't like how it works...
 




jgsugden

Legend
They tweak the rules as they see necessary in their errata. See the recent changes to animal companions, for example. However, they don't think the rules need substantial changes. Nor do I. I would have designed a few things a bit differently, but that does not mean the same thing as them needing to change...

The game is designed so that efficient, but not optimized, PCs can succeed against the suggested challenges. All of the classes can be efficient with a wide variety of reasonable builds. Not all o them can be optimized to a high degree - but that is not what the goal is for the game. None of the things you mentioned are problematic - they're just not ideal for all PCs.

Also, in my experience, popular opinions about what is overpowered do not match up with the reality. For example, people complain about GWM because of the increased DPR (average damage per round), ignoring that using the feats can increase the chance of PC DEATH *despite increasing DPR*. However, that has been argued a thousand times over and we won't make any progress revisitng the case.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Wait... I'm confused. Unearthed Arcana is not official content. It is essentially a bunch of house rules the designers put out there asking people to try out. But if you are desiring of a bunch of house rules to fix things in your game... what's wrong with just you adopting your own house rules to fix the stuff you don't like?

House rules that WotC makes are no more official than house rules that a player makes. They're are still just house rules.

What would be better for everyone is if we finally get over the idea once and for all that "house rules" are worse than rules in the books and thus we need WotC to officially change them for us. They aren't. Using house rules is no worse or no better than just using the rules you find in the books. Rules are rules, regardless of who makes them. If it works for your house, then the rule is good.
I value their expertise as designers specialising in D&D-style RPGs, and their access to design resources such as salient data sets, time and playtesting. That's an important part of why I part with money for their game rulebooks.

Expertise and access to resources means that their house rules are likely to be more streamlined and resilient than mine. Not because I'm incapable of making good house rules. After circulating Unearthed Arcana they also conduct surveys, which could allow them to refine the rules a cycle further than I would have be able to. It also means that down the line, such rules might appear in a high-quality, polished state as official material. Which I would also value.

I would very much value seeing what the WotC team of professionals could have tightened up, given 20/20 hindsight from several years of experience seeing the edition played. I believe that often there is a focus on shiny new stuff and major revs - partially for commercial reasons - whereas it can deliver value to a community of users to show how to make what they have more robust. 5th edition is a great rule set, and it contains bugs. That's no hard criticism: it's simply in the nature of extensive game systems.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Interviewer: What is best in life, Mike Mearls?

MM: To crush the powergamers, to see them driven before me, and to hear their lamentations of their inability to use more than one bonus action. Gygax! I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if I was a good designer or a bad one. Why we fought over the action economy, or why we died in edition wars.

All that matters is that today, two weapon fighting requires a bonus action. That's what's important! Rules fidelity and resource usage pleases you, Gygax; so grant me one request. Grant me schadenfreude that my own dislike of bonus actions at least makes others suffer more! And if you do not listen, then to hell with you!

The funny part is that Mearls has decided he likes bonus actions, but doesn't like two weapon fighting using bonus actions.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Also, in my experience, popular opinions about what is overpowered do not match up with the reality. For example, people complain about GWM because of the increased DPR (average damage per round), ignoring that using the feats can increase the chance of PC DEATH *despite increasing DPR*. However, that has been argued a thousand times over and we won't make any progress revisiting the case.
I wouldn't make any special argument about power, per se. I'm thinking more about mechanical oversights, lapses or bugs, and about places where some strategies overshadow others or warp the narrative around them. Also about options that while perhaps offering a mild degree of diversity, can represent traps for new players.

For me, GWM does a good job of defining one boundary for damage. I mean, something has to deliver the most melee weapon damage! I feel like it is also important to respect what is exciting about it. +10 for -5. One possibly doesn't want to mess around with perhaps more accurately balanced numbers that feel less exciting.

But this thread isn't really about that. Everyone's lists will differ. On the other hand, some things come up again and again on these forums. I have more than 50 documents of Unearthed Arcana. Almost all of that is dedicated to shiny new things. Could be I'm the only poster who would value seeing some debugging for what they already have, from the designers of this edition.

However, they don't think the rules need substantial changes.
Exactly! Not substantial changes. A look at bugs and oversights that have revealed themselves by now.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
So in truth you don't actually want Unearthed Arcana, you wanted a fully-edited 5.5E. The UA is just the first step to getting there. Okay, that makes a little more sense at least.

Now granted you probably have quite a number of years to wait before anything like that happens though. Because quite frankly, all those minor little "bugs" you said needed to be fixed? You've already shown us all your required fixes in your own post. WotC's so-called "expertise" doesn't appear to be all that necessary. Repelling Blast should require a save against the push? Then give it to them. What else then does WotC need to do? Just rubber-stamp your edit as if to say "Good job!"? You seem to be fully capable of making the corrections you feel are necessary for a better game for yourself-- WotC's thumbs-up on it, or no.

If/when WotC makes a full-on edit of 5E (whether we call it 5.5E or 6E or whatever designation we gamers give it), it'll happen, as they have said, only when the game has become so unwieldy and fixes to so many things so necessary that enough people overall are telling them that printing a new set of books is really the best thing to do. But just based on the attitudes we see... I don't foresee that overwhelming demand for a fully re-edited set of book happening any time soon. Everyone is just making their own edits to the various bits and bobs they come across as they do.
 

Wrich

Villager
I value their expertise as designers specialising in D&D-style RPGs, and their access to design resources such as salient data sets, time and playtesting. That's an important part of why I part with money for their game rulebooks

THIS. As somewhat of an aside, I think the above hits on one of the problems with the "just houserule it" response that is frequently given to comments like those expressed in this thread's opening post. Yes, I CAN houserule it, but I am not a professional game designer, I have a full time plus job, a family, other hobbies, etc. As the above post recognizes, given my life's circumstances, a game design company and professional game designer can bring many more resources -- both in terms of actual resources (time, more extensive playtesting, surveys) as well as in knowledge and experience -- than I can. Yes, I know I can "just do it myself" but, as the above post indicates, I pay WoTC for their expertise and resources, if I have to do it myself, why am I paying them?

To me, on some level, the response of "just houserule it", is like telling someone who wants to go out to eat for a gourmet meal "just cook it yourself". Yes, the average person is capable of cooking something, but they go out to eat and pay a professional chef because that professional chef has more time to devote preparing a meal, has cultivated special expertise and knowledge related to cooking, and has access to more resources (for example, more high quality or unusual ingredients) than your average person. A professional gourmet chef working in a gourmet restaurant will almost always produce a better meal than your average person whose job is not cooking preparing something at home. That is why "we" (as a society) have and pay gourmet chefs and why people can have the job of gourmet chef.

"Just houserule it" does not address the point of this thread. Ultimately, I can just "make up a game myself", but I have chosen to pay others who have more time and expertise than myself to do that for me.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If nothing else, I'd love to see a collated list of what are generally considered to be "proud nails" within the system, and the response rate of the community's desire to see them addressed.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
So in truth you don't actually want Unearthed Arcana, you wanted a fully-edited 5.5E. The UA is just the first step to getting there. Okay, that makes a little more sense at least.

Now granted you probably have quite a number of years to wait before anything like that happens though. Because quite frankly, all those minor little "bugs" you said needed to be fixed? You've already shown us all your required fixes in your own post. WotC's so-called "expertise" doesn't appear to be all that necessary. Repelling Blast should require a save against the push? Then give it to them. What else then does WotC need to do? Just rubber-stamp your edit as if to say "Good job!"? You seem to be fully capable of making the corrections you feel are necessary for a better game for yourself-- WotC's thumbs-up on it, or no.

If/when WotC makes a full-on edit of 5E (whether we call it 5.5E or 6E or whatever designation we gamers give it), it'll happen, as they have said, only when the game has become so unwieldy and fixes to so many things so necessary that enough people overall are telling them that printing a new set of books is really the best thing to do. But just based on the attitudes we see... I don't foresee that overwhelming demand for a fully re-edited set of book happening any time soon. Everyone is just making their own edits to the various bits and bobs they come across as they do.
After writing I realised I should have just listed what I saw as possible exemplary issues, e.g. repelling blast is pretty unique in pushing things of any size with no save - should it really be like that? - and avoided doing so by way of solutions. All too often one jumps to describing a problem through describing a solution to that problem! What I intended was only to give examples of possible bugs.
 


Inchoroi

Adventurer
I think they lament using their bonus action for something else.

Meh. I see it as working fine; the only thing that might need a massage is the free interaction to draw a weapon, to make it easier for a dual-wielder to draw two weapons instead of just one. The feat does just that, but feats are optional, technically. Probably just add the ability to draw two weapons into the Two-Weapon Fighting style for fighters and call it a day.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I have a family, and a job, and nowhere near the time I used to- so, no more sitting around creating entire worlds, and new monsters, and brand new rules for psionic. But I change small things, here and there, as needed. The idea that the "official" publishers of D&D, beyond the bare baseline, are better, or more privileged, to understand and assist my game than I am, or than a good 3PP is, is ludicrous to me.
Speaking ironically, must I suppose at this point you have cast aside their books, nay torn them to pieces, and proceed armed only with a tuning fork and a sharp knife?

Sorry, not to pick on this comment (I, too, have to many commitments and enjoy a well-published piece), but we should never, ever, ever think that the D&D rules are akin to a restaurant that is so fancy we can't even ask for substitutions.
Of course :) I don't think anything I'm saying here goes against the product serving us, or asking for substitutions. More it questions whether the expert chef - having made everything on the menu a thousand times - might not like to tweak a few dishes that she has noticed, with hindsight, could be improved? I would love to have those tweaks fall, winsomely, upon my palate.

I might even prefer that, to say, the introduction of a new dish, comprising pulped snail meat in a Stilton roux.

this is exactly the type of thing most likely to be house ruled, and least likely to ever be addressed by publication until there is a new edition, which will introduce new "bugs"*.
I'm possibly then in a minority who valued 3.5ed as an update to 3ed... and 5th for continuing in that vein. Would it be fighting talk to say I wouldn't mind a 5.5 (even were it called 6th)?!

:p
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
Yes, it would be fighting talk. You might have enjoyed 3.5e, but it ended up causing something of a schism in the rest of the D&D community (PF, d20 etc.).
My experience, at least in the UK, was that the schism was caused by 4th edition.

Because there is a difference between adding new material (a la XGTE) and amending the core rules. Once you start amending the core rules (beyond very basic errata) you begin to split the player base.
I didn't see any split around 3rd to 3.5...

And you need a MUCH BETTER reason to do that than "Yo, Clearstream can't be bothered to cook meals at home."
Hmm. So if that is what you think I am saying, then I can see why you are opposed to it. But it is not what I am saying.
 

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