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5.5E Blast from the past

Professor Murder

Adventurer
So instead of speaking about existing systems that should be altered or removed, how about this question.

For the upcoming rules refresh/revamp, what rule or system would you like to see return that didn't either appear in 5th ed at all, or is just a shadow of it's former self.

My vote: 4th ed's skill challenges. Probably still needs some work, but the potential is there.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Off the top of my head...

4E skill challenges.

4E monster design.

4E monster types: minions, standard, elite, solo; monster roles: skirmisher, brute, soldier, etc; and the bloodied condition.

4E monster lore checks listed with the monsters.

4E encounter design.

4E classes like the warlord and the swordmage.

AD&D2E monster ecology and more interesting descriptions, lore, etc for monsters.

AD&D2E spell acquisition for clerics and wizards.

AD&D natural healing instead of the superhero-style overnight regeneration of 5E.

AD&D level and stat drains.

B/X 2d6 reaction rolls.

B/X 1d6 side-based initiative.

B/X 2d6 morale checks.
 




Return to a finite number of allowable spells per day (i.e. remove spammable cantrips).

Go back to different progressions (attacks, saving throws, etc.) for different classes (i.e. remove the "one proficiency bonus to rule them all" paradigm)
Agree with both. The more I play/DM 5e the more I dont like it. I agree it needs an overhaul but at 3 years out I think 5E needs to go and just create a new edition, because we all know the backwards compatible claim is B.S. A good portion of their announcement revealed next to nothing AFAICT. The slip case comes out late January and then Mordenkainens book late 2022? Why if this is included in the slip case will it not be available separately immediately? Then theres campaign settings coming in 2022 & 2023 in new and exciting formats, what the hell does this even mean, in the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks? Just come out and say what you are potentially planning with the caveat it may change, they probably wasted an hour or two dropping hints but revealing nothing Sunday. I'm not liking the way it seems things are heading at WotC so I have little faith in their next rule iteration and have been considering sticking to what rulebooks I have and be done. I'll see as things progress and make that decision when the books come out.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I am still not a fan of skill challenges.

They reduce storytelling to dice rolling, and often resulted in weird 'fits' like where a group of PCs without a high intelligence PC attempted to research a solution in a library by a.) Moving shelves to get at the good books, b.) Climbing the shelves to get to the books too high to reach, c.) Spotting a book title that looked to be on topic, and d.) flirting with the librarian to see if she knew where the right book might be. When that happened, and the DM started to say, "ok, you won the skill check" and I pointed out that we had not yet opened a book .... well, it was reason for me to take the skill check structure out of play and go back to just role playing it out like I did in prior editions (and have since after the first year of 4E).

There are situations where they work well - but in my experience, just role playing it out works just as well in each of those situations. They're a nice crutch for new DMs, but should be phased out.

As for what I want to see returned from older editions:

* Levels 21 to 30. It would be fun to kick the dust off some PCs that retired after hitting 20 and run them up a bit more.

* Psionics.

* More magic items that do not require attunement.
 


Agree with both. The more I play/DM 5e the more I dont like it. I agree it needs an overhaul but at 3 years out I think 5E needs to go and just create a new edition, because we all know the backwards compatible claim is B.S. A good portion of their announcement revealed next to nothing AFAICT. The slip case comes out late January and then Mordenkainens book late 2022? Why if this is included in the slip case will it not be available separately immediately? Then theres campaign settings coming in 2022 & 2023 in new and exciting formats, what the hell does this even mean, in the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks? Just come out and say what you are potentially planning with the caveat it may change, they probably wasted an hour or two dropping hints but revealing nothing Sunday. I'm not liking the way it seems things are heading at WotC so I have little faith in their next rule iteration and have been considering sticking to what rulebooks I have and be done. I'll see as things progress and make that decision when the books come out.

I do wish they'd show greater transparency with road maps like MtG does, I mean I know exactly what products are coming in 2022 and some of 2023, except the none Warhammer Commander Decks, and that is not hard to guess.
 


aco175

Legend
I like 3e attack progression where fighters get better each level and others ad a slower pace. I also like that eventually everyone gets a 2nd attack, or more. It would need to be curtailed somewhat to better fit with what we have now. It just stuck me as odd that a fighter and mage improved equally in attacking between level 1 and 5 for your proficiency bonus to improve.
 

Lidgar

Hero
  • Retro Healing
  • Retro Cantrips
  • Retro Skills/Backgrounds (I could post more on this - suffice to say, less is more)
  • Retro gp expenditures for leveling up/training (not time it takes, just gp cost)
  • Retro attacks progression (per @aco175)
 


I do wish they'd show greater transparency with road maps like MtG does, I mean I know exactly what products are coming in 2022 and some of 2023, except the none Warhammer Commander Decks, and that is not hard to guess.
I understand the teasing an upcoming adventure for a month or two but with these upcoming changes I agree there should 100% transparency regarding the rest of 5E and their plans on the 2024 edition.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Scarier undead. Not necessarily level drain (because that's a pain in the behind bookkeeping wise), but something that makes them scary again. Same with medusa and other other creatures.

black and white lineart (not everything has to be color)

Monster ecologies (like in the old Dragon magazines). Fluff and flavor matter IMO. Not everything is a statblock.
 



Dausuul

Legend
The return of the 5-minute short rest. My group has house ruled short rests to be 5 minutes, usable twice per day. It does wonders to keep short-rest and long-rest classes in balance.

I would also love to see the return of the "name level" and domain rulership concepts from the TSR era. Not the mechanics themselves, most of those mechanics were... poorly thought out... but the idea remains exciting and I'd love to see it resurrected for 5E.

My vote: 4th ed's skill challenges. Probably still needs some work, but the potential is there.
Ow, that's one I really don't want to see return. Not unless it gets a whole lot of work. It was a noble idea, and I'm sure in the hands of a sufficiently skilled DM it could be good; but my experience (across three different DMs) is that the DM announces "Skill challenge!" and then my job is to find new ways to describe "I'm still trying to do the thing" and roll d20s until the challenge is over. It blows my immersion straight to hell and is also very boring.

Properly presented, they allow you to turn storytelling into die rolls, instead of into GM fiats.
That assumes the DM has put work into learning how to present skill challenges. If the DM has not put work into that, and most haven't, I'll take DM fiat over a skill challenge any day of the week.

Skill challenges are presented as analogous to combat--but they don't come with any of the mechanical tools that D&D uses to create variety and choices in combat. So every skill challenge is the equivalent of basic attacks against a bag of hit points. It is possible for a DM to build an exciting narrative with meaningful choices on top of that skeleton... but it's a lot harder than it is with the full array of combat options, and far fewer DMs are up to the job.
 


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