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


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Yunru

Banned
Banned
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.
But apparently not enough to consider that they might feel these "issues" aren't really issues?
 

ccs

41st lv DM
"Quote Originally Posted by clearstream View Post
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.

Sigh....
Re-quoted for the umpteenth time is the best advice to ever to be given by the game designers. It's from page B3, Part 1: Introduction, 2nd column 3rd paragraph, of my copy of the 1981 BASIC rulebook. I assume it's written by Tom Moldvay.
Bolded parts theirs, not mine.

"While the material in this booklet is referred to as rules, that is not really correct. Anything in this booklet (and other D&D booklets) should be thought of as changeable - anything, that is, that the Dungeon Master or referee thinks should be changed. This is not to say that everything in this booklet should be discarded! All of this material has been carefully thought out and playtested. However, if, after playing the rules as written for a while, you or your referee (the Dungeon Master) think something should be changed, first think about how the changes will affect the game, and then go ahead. The purpose of these "rules" is to provide guidelines that enable you to play and have fun, so don't feel absolutely bound by them."

Gygax wrote similar advice in the 1e books.

For those of you wanting WoTC to address your very minor problems, you should take into account that:
1) These things might be working exactly as they intended.... Didn't think of that, did you?
2) These things don't register as being important enough to waste their time tweaking.
3) Despite the vast quantity & quality of material that's come along since I first opened that BASIC book nearly 40 years ago, you're STILL involved in a very "do it yourself hobby". So get busy & modify those rules in whatever way your games need.
4) Stop trying to claim your too busy to change a rule you don't like.
You've already thought about it - in the shower, during your commute, while you're slacking off at work/school, during that block of time you've already set aside to play the game....
You've also wasted time posting about what you dislike & how you wish WoTC would spoon feed you alt rules. In some cases you've even posted exactly WHAT you want them to feed you.
You've already invested the time, so go implement your ideas in the only environment that matters - your game.
5) Stop thinking the designers are better at this than you are.
 

Why would WotC spend time doing this when they know most tables are going to make house rules anyway? It's not worth their time. And I guarantee that if they did make changes, a good portion of us wouldn't care for the changes made and stick to the original rules or the house rule.

I'm going to say something that a lot of people on this forum might not like: 5e is such a well made game that the majority of the complaints about it sound like picking pepper out of fly sh*t.
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
We had a mechanical fix; they scrapped it and instead decided to just make more powerful subclasses and ignore the issue.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
You don't need a house rule for skills per se. I'm sure they already state that you can use the most appropriate ability modifier. Throw the guy against the wall to use Strength to intimidate. Use your innate connection to the land to use Wisdom for Nature. Intelligence is simply the default.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
1) These things might be working exactly as they intended.... Didn't think of that, did you?
I did think of that. It's part of why I'm interested in what they might list.

2) These things don't register as being important enough to waste their time tweaking.
This could come to feel like an argument between disposable and endurable cultural artifacts.

3) Despite the vast quantity & quality of material that's come along since I first opened that BASIC book nearly 40 years ago, you're STILL involved in a very "do it yourself hobby". So get busy & modify those rules in whatever way your games need.
This doesn't seem like a sound argument. Partly because it makes it hard to understand why anyone ever bought any of the D&D books. What were they looking for, if it was all "do it yourself"?

4) Stop trying to claim your too busy to change a rule you don't like.
One of the vexing things for game designers is getting respect for their expertise. It's one of those "everyone can do it" crafts. Except they can't. It takes time, training, experience, access to playtesting resources, access to data, access to analytics. It's a real profession. I will stand up for my colleagues in the games industry against anyone denigrating their craft as a... nothing. I feel that is unfairly dismissive. I have a deep admiration for the WotC design team and absolutely believe they bring more to the table than "DIY".

5) Stop thinking the designers are better at this than you are.
I think hair dressers are better at hair dressing than I am, I think teachers are better at teaching. I will goddamn 100% of the time tell you that game designers are better at game design than people who are not trained and experienced in that craft.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
They do... in the DMG... under Variant Rules.Which is dumb.
No on p239 it confirms that under certain circumstances you can decide that a different ability check is appropriate. Isn't that what we're talking about?The rules don't state without ambiguity that Wisdom always applies to Druid nature checks but then there might be occasions when intelligence is the right ability (such as remembering facts about a beast) as opposed to say predicting the weather.
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
But apparently not enough to consider that they might feel these "issues" aren't really issues?
Well, I'd like to see something from them about that. Part of what it means to be a "professional" is ability to critique ones own work. I think they are professionals, and therefore I suppose that they are conscious of things here and there that didn't pan out as well as they hoped. Mike Mearls has hinted as much from time to time in his videos.

It's great to have shiny new material. One of the really interesting transformations in computer gaming has been the ability to patch the mechanics post-release. It's really tough to get everything right up front. That is clearly harder to do in paper, and were I criticising my own proposal I think I would make that argument (rather than these forays into denigrating game design as a profession!) One might argue that paper publication favours setting in stone: once it's out it's done. Yet... 3.5... and FTM the wonderful 3/3.5 Rules Compendium. I think they showed that one could "patch" paper rules.

I'm mooting that the value of another shiny archetype that will never see play could be lower than debugging rules that are in flight.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.

Most DMs aren’t a team of game designers who literally do this for a living, all day, every day, with a couple dozen or more playtesters for any idea they want to put out.
 

Staffan

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

It's mostly an issue for rangers, who often want to use their bonus action for hunter's mark. Having a core spell like that compete with dual-wielding for the use of the bonus action is a bit sad, particularly since hunter's mark is one of the few ways of making dual-wielding competitive.

It is also somewhat of an issue for rogues who often want to use their bonus action for Cunning Action, but for them I feel that it's a more interesting choice, particularly since a second hit for a rogue generally doesn't deal all that much extra damage (most of their damage comes from sneak attack which is limted to once per turn, so dual-wielding mainly gives the rogue an extra chance to deliver the sneak attack, but if they already hit it doesn't do much).
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
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.

THIS.

I actually think a lot of the "problems" people have with the 5e rules are really "things that bug them personally" and not actually problems during play. When 5e came out, I house-ruled a bunch of stuff. But after playing and DMing a semi-open table at a gaming store for a few years, I found that explaining the house rules to new players actually sucked a lot more than just following the RAW and dealing with the "problems." Because it turns out that most of the "problems" just didn't matter in game play; the game worked just fine and people had plenty of fun. So over time, my house-rules list has shrunk to the point where now I have just one house-rule, a variant Inspiration system. (To be fair, many of my house rules were involved downtime activities, which got a substantial revision in Xanathar's -- so maybe there was a real problem there.) That's just my experience, and it's possible that I'm projecting my own flaws onto others, but I think I'm not alone in mistaking perceived "problems" for actual ones.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I sympathize with the original post.

I see it as something like a quasi-official compilation of ‘variant’ rules that are fixes for certain troublesome mechanics.

It is a gaming resource. Players might discover a certain mechanic turns out to be problematic for their play style. So they can look up the variant rules and see if there are any fixes for it that they might want to use instead.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
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?

Well you're literally the only person in 4-5 years I've seen complain about it, it's not listed on anyone else's lists that I know of as overpowered or broken in any way, I've seen it in play and it's not a particularly powerful ability, and on various guides it doesn't even rank as "good". It's not unique (there are plenty of spells that do it, like thunderwave...they might require a save, but repelling blast requires a to hit roll, which is just a different kind of hit on a DC). I really don't know what you're seeing in your game that makes you think it's a problem.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I did think of that. It's part of why I'm interested in what they might list.


This could come to feel like an argument between disposable and endurable cultural artifacts.


This doesn't seem like a sound argument. Partly because it makes it hard to understand why anyone ever bought any of the D&D books. What were they looking for, if it was all "do it yourself"?


One of the vexing things for game designers is getting respect for their expertise. It's one of those "everyone can do it" crafts. Except they can't. It takes time, training, experience, access to playtesting resources, access to data, access to analytics. It's a real profession. I will stand up for my colleagues in the games industry against anyone denigrating their craft as a... nothing. I feel that is unfairly dismissive. I have a deep admiration for the WotC design team and absolutely believe they bring more to the table than "DIY".


I think hair dressers are better at hair dressing than I am, I think teachers are better at teaching. I will goddamn 100% of the time tell you that game designers are better at game design than people who are not trained and experienced in that craft.

Seriously. I can’t even fathom what could make a person think otherwise.

People whose entire life is doing a thing, professionally and as a hobby, for decades, who built the thing in question, with access to a team of about 2 dozen other such individuals, and mountains of data reviewed by data analytics professionals, over decades, and dozens of closed playtesters, and millions of open playtesters, are objectively better at the thing than the amateur. Full stop.

It’s a skill, you guys.

Maybe some of you have been making your own dnd stuff for 40 years, every day, as a major part of your life. Great! I applaud you!

The vast, overwhelming, absolutely staggering to the point of absurdity, majority of DMs, haven’t.

Just because some of y’all are basically professional chefs, doesn’t mean most home cooks are.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Seriously. I can’t even fathom what could make a person think otherwise.

People whose entire life is doing a thing, professionally and as a hobby, for decades, who built the thing in question, with access to a team of about 2 dozen other such individuals, and mountains of data reviewed by data analytics professionals, over decades, and dozens of closed playtesters, and millions of open playtesters, are objectively better at the thing than the amateur. Full stop.

It’s a skill, you guys.

Maybe some of you have been making your own dnd stuff for 40 years, every day, as a major part of your life. Great! I applaud you!

The vast, overwhelming, absolutely staggering to the point of absurdity, majority of DMs, haven’t.

Just because some of y’all are basically professional chefs, doesn’t mean most home cooks are.

It may be a skill, but it's simply not possible for them to know my game better than I do, so I'm the one who should be creating the house rules for it, not them. My skill at my game exceeds their skill at general game creation.

I don't like the one reaction a round, but I'm giving it more time before I change it. I MAY(I'm mulling it over) decide to give 2 reactions, no two of which can be the same kind of reaction, so not two opportunity attacks or no two spell reactions. I don't need a designer to come up with that. Nor do I need their expertise or playtesting to see how it affects my game.
 

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