D&D 5E Attack of the Clones: What would you want in your not-quite-5e?

Mercurius

Legend
I want a version of D&D that has a "basic" mode that is much more simple (more like C&C, or even simpler), and can be played as such, and an "advanced" mode that has all the bells and whistles you want.

I want my complexity dial, gods of all the planes damn it!

Basic mode: very simple. Takes 15 minutes or less to make characters, no need to reference the rule book(s) or consult lists of any kind (e.g. conditions). You pretty much roll d20, add a single modifier against a target number (DC). Done.

Advanced mode: customizable, with modular options. "In this campaign we're going to use M, U, and Z modules." Pretty much everything is in the tool box, and each campaign decides which tools to use - anything from sub-classes to different racial variations, feats, encumbrance, conditions, etc.

For bonus points, I'd like it if "basic" and "advanced" characters can be used in the same campaign...but that might be too much to ask for.
 

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edosan

Explorer
What I'd want is what I originally thought the fiftieth anniversary version was going to be - a retuned 5e with all the errata in place and all the feats, skills, classes, and spells rebalanced. With all the decade or so of clarifications and revisions incorporated into the new PHB.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I want systems that interact with each other. Everything is disconnected in 5e and while that makes it very approachable, it makes it so the rules don't really support much more than the basics.
The key is to fix problems like this without creating a huge list of rules and subsystems that need to be remembered.

  • "OK, your opponent is grappled. His movement speed is 0. But he wouldn't have moved anyway because then you would have gotten a free attack. So he attacks you. Which he would have done anyway. Next time maybe don't waste your turn grappling."
Grappling has notoriously been complicated in RPGs. Do we let everyone disengage for free/a bonus action so this guy wouldn't have moved away? Because your example opponent could have disengaged, but not attack unless he had cunning action or the like.

  • "The touch of the ghost ages you 10 years. You are now 10 years older." "What does that mean?" "Nothing."
The ghost thing is mostly RP. Not everything needs to have mechanics behind it.

  • "The octopus pulls you under the water and you can't breathe!" "How long do I have?" "3 minutes. And then 12 more seconds after that." "OK I kill the octopus in 18 seconds."
Perhaps a rule saying that unless you choose to go underwater, you must make a Con check to see if you can even get a lungful of air before you go under. Or another rule that says that grappling/restraining forces the air from your lungs (perhaps unless you make a Con check). But then this increases the number of rules and subsystems needed to play the game.

  • "There's a 15' pit ahead of you." "My strength is 16 so I jump over it."
This should really require an Acrobatics check.

  • "I stab the skeleton with my dagger." "He has no flesh or blood, that's not going to accomplish--" "I deal 8 damage." "--the skeleton dies."
To be fair, a skeleton could have a nexus of necromantic energies pulsing in its ribcage that gets disrupted by a dagger. But this could be easily accomplished by giving it resistance to piercing and slashing again.

  • "You're in a narrow hallway, you have to squeeze so you have disadvantage thrusting with your dagger." "You're in a narrow hallway, you have to squeeze so you have disadvantage swinging your massive halberd."
Honestly, if you're actually squeezing, then your arms are going to be pinned and you're probably not going to be able to extend them fully.

  • "Your airship crash lands in the middle of a huge, unexplored jungle. The canopy blocks any chance of navigating by the stars, and you didn't have much opportunity to orient yourself while you spun out of control. The journey is the adventure." "I'm a ranger. I navigate us out of the forest without ever touching a die, and I scavenge all the food for the party at the same time, and if somehow I can't find food for three days in a row I'll cast goodberry. Can you just quick summarize the journey and we get where we're going?" (OK, they tried to fix this one a little, eventually).
Level Up does a nice job with expanding exploration.
 

Ayeffkay

Villager
The key is to fix problems like this without creating a huge list of rules and subsystems that need to be remembered.
[...]
Level Up does a nice job with expanding exploration.
I agree, making it too complicated makes the system unapproachable. But not having any wrinkles built in puts it all on the shoulders of the DM to make the game mechanically interesting. If I am paying for a complete game, I shouldn't have to make up rules for everything. Tweaking something here or there is one thing, but 5e just doesn't handle things at all.

I can house rule that running away is possible despite not being mechanically supported RAW.
I can house rule penalties for aging, or leave it up to roleplay (and then what, do I reward players with inspiration for getting aged by a ghost, making it mechanically advantageous?)
I can house rule a system to deal with suddenly losing access to air (I did)
I can house rule jumping as an ability check (I did)
I can house rule that damage type matters sometimes (I did)
I can house rule that you can only use light weapons while squeezing, or something (I did one time restrict a player using a glaive in a cramped tomb and it soured the whole session)
I can adopt a game product that expands exploration... (I did buy A5E, but haven't switched at this time)
...
...I can adopt a game product that handles different situations with more nuance than "you gain disadvantage"
I can adopt a game product that considers damage type.
I can adopt a game product that ... and so on.

That's the question asked by this thread, what do I want in my not-quite-5e. I want a game system has some interplay between systems, where the best weapon most of the time is the worst weapon sometimes and vice versa, where players can try and fail to jump over a hole, not just measure it and determine that they either cannot succeed or cannot fail, where things get difficult as the adventure continues rather than resetting to normal the next day.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
For the core, make it as close to generic D&D as possible but minus the intentional bad balance (Fireball, etc.)., and expose the math. Skip stuff that adds complications, like favored enemies or alignment. Let the derived settings handle those elements if they choose to.
 

So far it seems like, to the extent that there is a kernal of something that would make many people (but far from everyone) happy, it's if the core rules were made a bit simpler, with modular options for adding complexity, and that a substantial number of cloners built their various products around such an agreed upon reworked core rules.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I agree, making it too complicated makes the system unapproachable. But not having any wrinkles built in puts it all on the shoulders of the DM to make the game mechanically interesting. If I am paying for a complete game, I shouldn't have to make up rules for everything. Tweaking something here or there is one thing, but 5e just doesn't handle things at all.

I can house rule that running away is possible despite not being mechanically supported RAW.
I can house rule penalties for aging, or leave it up to roleplay (and then what, do I reward players with inspiration for getting aged by a ghost, making it mechanically advantageous?)
I can house rule a system to deal with suddenly losing access to air (I did)
I can house rule jumping as an ability check (I did)
I can house rule that damage type matters sometimes (I did)
I can house rule that you can only use light weapons while squeezing, or something (I did one time restrict a player using a glaive in a cramped tomb and it soured the whole session)
I can adopt a game product that expands exploration... (I did buy A5E, but haven't switched at this time)
...
...I can adopt a game product that handles different situations with more nuance than "you gain disadvantage"
I can adopt a game product that considers damage type.
I can adopt a game product that ... and so on.

That's the question asked by this thread, what do I want in my not-quite-5e. I want a game system has some interplay between systems, where the best weapon most of the time is the worst weapon sometimes and vice versa, where players can try and fail to jump over a hole, not just measure it and determine that they either cannot succeed or cannot fail, where things get difficult as the adventure continues rather than resetting to normal the next day.
Sure, I mean, I agree with you completely. I personally am not sure how to do this without either making a million rules or making no rules and telling GMs to figure it out for themselves.

Although the bit about rewarding inspiration to someone who RPs aging well, you reward it once. You don't have to reward it every time or or every player.
 

Gonna have to sit with the CC mechanics as a kernel for a bit. I have a vague sense that 5e classes could be…smaller? Idk. Have 12 levels replicating the “sweet spot”?
I'm probably going to try something with 12 level classes to start out as well. I picked the number because I was working on making a d12 system with lots of 12s everywhere, but gimmick aside I think it was basically the point at which someone crossed into epic level 5e, and that a levels 1-12 campaign on something like the 5e chassis is a lot more achievable than the pie-in-the-sky levels 1-20 campaign that almost nobody actually plays.

What I'd want is what I originally thought the fiftieth anniversary version was going to be - a retuned 5e with all the errata in place and all the feats, skills, classes, and spells rebalanced. With all the decade or so of clarifications and revisions incorporated into the new PHB.
That's one hundred percent what I actually wanted from the 50th anniversary as well. Sadly, the full 5e rules slightly recodified and cleaned up, is basically the one product that doesn't exist that only WotC can legally create and they have no interest in doing so. Maybe they'll do it as a nostalgia grab in 10 or 20 years. Or a hail mary back-peddle in 2025 if OneD&D is somehow the worst selling edition of all time.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I want a version of D&D that has a "basic" mode that is much more simple (more like C&C, or even simpler), and can be played as such, and an "advanced" mode that has all the bells and whistles you want.

I want my complexity dial, gods of all the planes damn it!

Basic mode: very simple. Takes 15 minutes or less to make characters, no need to reference the rule book(s) or consult lists of any kind (e.g. conditions). You pretty much roll d20, add a single modifier against a target number (DC). Done.

Advanced mode: customizable, with modular options. "In this campaign we're going to use M, U, and Z modules." Pretty much everything is in the tool box, and each campaign decides which tools to use - anything from sub-classes to different racial variations, feats, encumbrance, conditions, etc.

For bonus points, I'd like it if "basic" and "advanced" characters can be used in the same campaign...but that might be too much to ask for.

This but in 3 modes Basic Advanced and Hardcore modes. And for character options, monster options, and dungeon options.

Hardcore mode would be character options with powerful game breaking strengths but debilitating and unfair weaknesses.

For example the Arcanist would be the Basic Mage. You only get cantrips and your canrips just get stronger. The Wizard would be an Advanced Mage where you have to manage spell slots and a spell book. The Pyromancer would be the Hardcore Mage with more fireballs and resistance beating fireballs but with d4 HD, old school Vancian magic, a scarred face, and charred fingers.

Same with Monsters. The Orc Grunt and Orc Raider are the Basic Orcs. The Grunt is a minion. And the Raider is a 2 HD "Me attack with Axe" foe. The Orc Berserker, Orc Shaman. and Orc Reaver are the Advanced Orcs. The Berserker has rages. The Shaman has spells. The Reaver has maneuvers. The Eye of Grummush, Orog Veteran, and Orc Chieftian are the Hardcore Orcs. They have Save or Die effects but have racial weaknesses.
 


CrashFiend82

Explorer
The only thing I want from a 5e clone is simple, rewarding mechanisms for non-combat. 5e is not perfect but it gets combat close enough, though simpler would be better. What it lacks is any tools for non-combat, ie skill based resolutions using group checks, real incentives for roleplay over roll-play, combat adjacent rules like chases, complex traps or sound exploration rules. I would happily have them modular but would love them to be mechanically supported by class features or spells.

Think of it this way could I run and my players enjoy your game if combat was never an option. Not that I would run it that way but that is the support I want. Bonus points if it can fulfill non-medieval fantasy.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm probably going to try something with 12 level classes to start out as well. I picked the number because I was working on making a d12 system with lots of 12s everywhere, but gimmick aside I think it was basically the point at which someone crossed into epic level 5e, and that a levels 1-12 campaign on something like the 5e chassis is a lot more achievable than the pie-in-the-sky levels 1-20 campaign that almost nobody actually plays.
Nice.

I was thinking about a similar gimic around either 9 levels or 13 levels.

I am also thinking about ditching long spell lists in exchange for magic skills, where "spells" are complex uses of those skills that you have trained in enough to use them more efficiently than you can when improvising.

The key thing to figure out is, how much do I want to port things from my own existing non-dnd system.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I would simplify. Remove the races/whatever as a concept. If you want to be an elf, then roleplay an elf. If you need support for it, choose a feat that reflects your vision of elfiness, but it is just not a layer. Backgrounds would still serve a purpose I guess. And take the chance to get rid of wizard and cleric and replace them with more popular culture and folklore equivalents. Probably center on making a mundane healer as default, more diverse "martials" -isntead of shoving them all on basically the fighter-, and add more forms of unarmed combat. Oh, and no more ranged and easy healing.

With more time I'd also work on reducing the gigantic HP inflation. There are better ways to make enemies powerful and dangerous than just bigger numbers.
 

Somebody should totally do a massive survey with tens of thousands of participants and then make a new version of DnD based on the results.

Wait....
I think that would be a great approach if whomever did it started by asking what sort of things people actually wanted before going right into designing, didn't construct survey questions to avoid getting feedback on design decisions they didn't want to touch, and actually shared the results so that multiple publishers could create multiple versions of D&D to satisfy the different niche audiences that built around different game preferences. I don't think anybody's tried that yet.
 

And take the chance to get rid of wizard and cleric and replace them with more popular culture and folklore equivalents. Probably center on making a mundane healer as default,
I actually had just had an epiphany earlier today for my low magic system with several basic classes that there should just be a class called "Healer". Not necessarily mundane, per se, but more of a folk healer whose healing isn't all so explicitly magical. I really never liked the D&D Cleric, since it is just so purely a D&Dism. I mean having the option of a holy person whose god gives them healing and other magical powers is awesome, but making a typical core member of every adventuring party a cleric just never jived all that well if you were trying to evoke almost any fantasy that wasn't D&D or D&D-derivative. The pre-D&D folkloric, historic, and literary basis for the class was negligible.
 

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