D&D Beyond: Jeremy Explaining Unearthed Arcana: Class Feature Variants

Krachek

Adventurer
Nice interview.
everybody is ok with character customization, but are we ready with game customization? That is all about.
he state that all these rules if they come official one day will be Variant, and the Dm will add them at will, by hand pick, and not as a balance package.
nice point of view about the game.
 
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Kurotowa

Adventurer
everybody is ok with character customization, but are we ready with game customization? That is all about.
he state that all these rules if they come official one day will be Variant, and the Dm will add them at will, by hand pick, and not as a balance package.
This is different... how?

It's been 28 years since I first starting playing. In that entire stretch of time I don't think I've even once played a game the was straight RAW D&D. Even when the DM wasn't adding new house rules they were subtracting rules like encumbrance or morale they didn't feel were important to their game. Even now the DMG is just full of optional or specialized rules pieces that the DM will use or ignore at their own whim, making every table or every campaign slightly different.

The only difference with this pack is that they're more directly player facing in their impact. That might motivate players to actively ask the DM if they'll be allowed, but that's about it.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
This is different... how?
True. Even at the end of 2e era the Skills & Powers were called Player's Options. They weren't part of the base ruleset.

In the 3.x era it was always up to a DM which books, etc they would allow too, so not much has changed in that regard.

I think the problem arises when options are officially published, there are a lot of players who feel entitled to those options. That then puts the DM in a position of having to say "no" and that can be either uncomfortable or contentious.

I don't have enough time or games to play all the different options they already have out there for us in 5e, so while I love many of these UA options, I don't know how much of an impact they will have on my games if/when they are published.
 
This is different... how?

It's been 28 years since I first starting playing. In that entire stretch of time I don't think I've even once played a game the was straight RAW D&D.
RaW was a 3.x era/PF-offshoot obsession.
Especially on-line.
3e made so many changes in the favor of players, especially players into builds & system mastery, that the impetus to insist everyone always use the Rules As Written was almost monolithic. And "RAW" was pretty debatable, so there was, well, a lot of debate about how the OneTrueRAW was necessarily the one that enabled this or that rock'n build.

You still see hints of it, when someone will respond to a reasonable ruling with "...but that would be a house rule!"

And, of course, the whole 5e warcry of "Rulings not Rules!" in the cause of DM Empowerment is a reaction against it.

Crawford is big on the exception based design of 5E
Is 5e still Exception-Based Design? 4e was very explicit about being Exception Based, and was rife with keywords, jargon, and precise phrasing that read like a technical manual, as a result.
I don't really think 5e is that into it, though I guess it might still be an aspect, because well, OT1H, they more emphasized 'Modular' (which they also didn't deliver, but which is subtly different), and OTOH, and more to the point, exception-based design is a very rules-centric, even tight, design philosophy, while 5e is DM-centric and natural-language, so more loose.
The rules are a starting point, the DM picks & chooses options, authors variants, and makes rulings. He needn't parse rules & exceptions to rules & exceptions to exceptions, except in exceptional circumstances... he just makes a ruling.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
RaW was a 3.x era/PF-offshoot obsession.
Especially on-line.
3e made so many changes in the favor of players, especially players into builds & system mastery, that the impetus to insist everyone always use the Rules As Written was almost monolithic. And "RAW" was pretty debatable, so there was, well, a lot of debate about how the OneTrueRAW was necessarily the one that enabled this or that rock'n build.

You still see hints of it, when someone will respond to a reasonable ruling with "...but that would be a house rule!"

And, of course, the whole 5e warcry of "Rulings not Rules!" in the cause of DM Empowerment is a reaction against it.

Is 5e still Exception-Based Design? 4e was very explicit about being Exception Based, and was rife with keywords, jargon, and precise phrasing that read like a technical manual, as a result.
I don't really think 5e is that into it, though I guess it might still be an aspect, because well, OT1H, they more emphasized 'Modular' (which they also didn't deliver, but which is subtly different), and OTOH, and more to the point, exception-based design is a very rules-centric, even tight, design philosophy, while 5e is DM-centric and natural-language, so more loose.
The rules are a starting point, the DM picks & chooses options, authors variants, and makes rulings. He needn't parse rules & exceptions to rules & exceptions to exceptions, except in exceptional circumstances... he just makes a ruling.
It remains exception based in that particular rules do what they say, and aren't something to be generalized into a laws of physics in the Gameworld.
 
It remains exception based in that particular rules do what they say, and aren't something to be generalized into a laws of physics in the Gameworld.
Ironically, about like 3e, then "Specific beats general."
Except, DM beats specific, general, and nominally exception-based, thankyouverymuch.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Ironically, about like 3e, then "Specific beats general."
Except, DM beats specific, general, and nominally exception-based, thankyouverymuch.
Sure. What Crawford means by this, when he uses the phrase all the time, is that people coming along trying to make everything work the same way all the time aren't looking at it right. Rogue Expertise and the Champion Athletic feature both double Proficiency in a Skill, but they are not the same thing that can be made into broadly applicable laws. They are different rules, that do what they say, and nothing more. Rules as Civil Law, where the DM works in the rules and their view of the facts rather than precedent.
 
Sure. What Crawford means by this, when he uses the phrase all the time, is that people coming along trying to make everything work the same way all the time aren't looking at it right.
Not how it's been used before, at all - if a game uses exception based design, and is written in a clear & consistent enough way, everything will work the same way, because there won't be six ways to parse each thing. ;)
But, hey, he gets paid to do this stuff, so if he wants to use it differently, whatever, it's his business, quite literally.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Not how it's been used before, at all - if a game uses exception based design, and is written in a clear & consistent enough way, everything will work the same way, because there won't be six ways to parse each thing. ;)
But, hey, he gets paid to do this stuff, so if he wants to use it differently, whatever, it's his business, quite literally.
What it means for 5E us that specific Trump's general. The general rules are extremely compact, they fit in a very small booklets printed with the Essentials Kit or Starter Set. Any particular Monster or PC might have abilities that defyor extend the basic rules as an exception.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
This is different... how?

It's been 28 years since I first starting playing. In that entire stretch of time I don't think I've even once played a game the was straight RAW D&D. Even when the DM wasn't adding new house rules they were subtracting rules like encumbrance or morale they didn't feel were important to their game. Even now the DMG is just full of optional or specialized rules pieces that the DM will use or ignore at their own whim, making every table or every campaign slightly different.

The only difference with this pack is that they're more directly player facing in their impact. That might motivate players to actively ask the DM if they'll be allowed, but that's about it.
I know house ruling has always been a part of DnD.
but these days some post let think that the posters hope for a perfect game that they don’t have to adjust. It also remind me some post about SS and GWM and one of the active poster admit that he didn’t yet have change these feats that bug him so much.
Maybe because dm may be more constested and compare today than 30 years ago? At this time the dm was the absolute ruler, today people go search for faq, errata, sage advice and thus some dm may hesitate more to apply their house rules?
 

pemerton

Legend
The design ethos of 4E was "Everything is Core,"
But 4e is also (as far as I know) the only version of D&D to have featured a published supplement (Nerverwinter) that holds the mechanics constant while changing some key features of the accompanying fiction - in the Neverwinter book, the fictional range of heroic through paragon is compressed, on the GM side, into the mechanics of the heroic range. So we see (eg) an 8th level mindflayer, whereas in the core MM the lowest level mindflayer is 14th.

Dark Sun is a bit less explicit about it but I think is best viewed as doing the same thing in reverse - the fictional range of heroic through paragon is expanded, so that the mechaincally epic-tier villains of the setting (eg sorcerer-kings) are (in ficitonal terms) paragon tier.

4e on the player side is built around consistent core mechanics, but as these examples show can be very flexible on the GM side when it comes to correlating those mechanics to the broader feeling of the fiction.

I get the impression that 5e is heading in broadly the opposite direction - maintaining a more-or-less constant fiction but using different mechanical options. I thikn @Tony Vargas is right to say that this fits with a very strong expectation about the role of the GM in curating the game experience.
 

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