D&D 5E D&D Next playtest post mortem by Mike Mearls and Rodney Thompson. From seven years ago.

The core game of 5e already gives you guidelines for using other Ability Score modifiers to apply to skill rolls when appropriate. As we've seen in the playtest for D&D One, attack rolls and skill rolls are both going to be considered "Tests" with the same rules. Why not apply this to your game right now - especially when it allows a player to make the character they envision and everyone has more fun?
I've always been fond of that particular rule variant - '...want to show off your slick breakdancing skills? Give me a dexterity plus performance check!' - but it's never done anything but confuse the heck out of my players.
 

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So it's either grin and bear it, adapt it to what you want, or find another system.
Saying this in the middle of an edition change, where feedback is being requested, is really pretty wild! We'll be able to say whether you're right or wrong when 6E/1D&D actually comes out. But what a time to claim that.

Everything that's wrong with 5E's Fighter is fixable, frankly. It's just not been done so far. I'll be very interested to see what 1D&D does.
Jeremy Crawford isn't going to come to your table to stop you.
Sure, but digital tools won't work for you, for example, and imho they and the general level of support are some of the main reason to run D&D. Even with the powerful building options in Beyond (which are hard work to use), you can't do what you're suggesting. But I'm not asking for anything as extreme as "charisma-based Fighter", I'm just suggesting the next edition of D&D needs to learn from 5E's mistakes (this is a post-mortem of the previous playtest after all), and particularly avoid the "apology edition" stuff which is clearly no longer needed.
The DM certainly has responsibility if they choose to run 5e to make it the game the group wants. Otherwise, it's yelling at clouds.
This is such a fundamentally unfair claim that it goes past insulting/demeaning and into just amusing. The idea that because a DM doesn't make wild house rules and basically re-write the game in a way incompatible with existing material, they're "yelling at clouds" to voice concerns is just truly out there.
 

I've always been fond of that particular rule variant - '...want to show off your slick breakdancing skills? Give me a dexterity plus performance check!' - but it's never done anything but confuse the heck out of my players.
Same but I think part of the problem is it's a contradiction. The game wildly out of its way to hard-link certain stats and skills. Aren't there even a couple of subclass features which allow you to use a skill with a non-standard stat?

They should have never done that. They should from the start said it's stat mod + skill prof, ask you DM which combo to run, here are the defaults. But was never the approach and the optional approach in the DMG was clearly not seriously considered.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
don't see why. Charisma to attack can represent catching an opponent off-guard or distracting them with flourishes and fake-outs.

The core game of 5e already gives you guidelines for using other Ability Score modifiers to apply to skill rolls when appropriate. As we've seen in the playtest for D&D One, attack rolls and skill rolls are both going to be considered "Tests" with the same rules. Why not apply this to your game right now - especially when it allows a player to make the character they envision and everyone has more fun?
After all, the only people who will be complaining are the dead NPCs.
Allowing to attack with Charisma is a large mechanical boost in strength for Fighters over other builds. It is not expected by most players that a DM would allow it without massive cost.

There was an expectation the DMs would houserule subclasses and feats for players that way. But it never materialized in the community.
 

Same but I think part of the problem is it's a contradiction. The game wildly out of its way to hard-link certain stats and skills. Aren't there even a couple of subclass features which allow you to use a skill with a non-standard stat?

They should have never done that. They should from the start said it's stat mod + skill prof, ask you DM which combo to run, here are the defaults. But was never the approach and the optional approach in the DMG was clearly not seriously considered.
Agreed. I kind of think it feels natural to me - and weird to even my grognard players - because it was normalized to me in WoD games, which no one at either of my tables got into. Rolling appearance plus academics to blend in as a student on campus? Totally normal in my mind, but alien to my players.
 

James Gasik

Legend
That's because D&D has always emphasized one path to being good at something. Let's say you want to be the master of, oh, I don't know, climbing. You go "aha, obviously Dexterity is the most important thing here!"

But if your DM happens to be a free climber, and they say "well actually, you need Strength to be a good climber", you're going to feel put out.

And if, over the course of a game, you're asked to make Intelligence + Athletics to plan out a climb, Wisdom + Athletics to find handholds or jumps you can make, Strength + Athletics to make leaps of faith, etc. etc., you're going to question if your character is really all that good at climbing in the first place!

Because D&D is a game that rewards specialization over generalization, and you simply can't have all your ability scores be good. Something will pretty much always be inferior.

Now, in the long run, proficiency matters more than ability, but in most levels of play, proficiency is a small bonus, and you get more from your talent (ie, ability scores) than you do from your experience.
 

Retreater

Legend
Saying this in the middle of an edition change, where feedback is being requested, is really pretty wild! We'll be able to say whether you're right or wrong when 6E/1D&D actually comes out. But what a time to claim that.
This is exactly the time to say it, because 5.0e is going to be dead in 2024. You're not going to be changing 5.0e (the 2014 edition).
Certainly you can have a say in the development of 6E/1D&D. That is not the same as what was published in 2014 - and the most recent complete edition of D&D we currently have.
Sure, but digital tools won't work for you, for example, and imho they and the general level of support are some of the main reason to run D&D. Even with the powerful building options in Beyond (which are hard work to use), you can't do what you're suggesting.
I know that you can make an attack come off of whatever ability score you want with Roll20's character sheet.
If not, there are ways around it. If you want attacks to be based off of proficiency and Intelligence, then just have the character hit the button for Arcana and you're good to go. It's the same modifiers.
But yeah, if you're going to be fiddling with the rules don't be surprised when the code doesn't work 100%. But finding a quick fix isn't difficult.
This is such a fundamentally unfair claim that it goes past insulting/demeaning and into just amusing. The idea that because a DM doesn't make wild house rules and basically re-write the game in a way incompatible with existing material, they're "yelling at clouds" to voice concerns is just truly out there.
If you don't like something, figure out how to fix it or avoid it (play something else). Life's too short to play games you don't like. I dunno, that's all I can say.
 

Imaro

Legend
I don't see why. Charisma to attack can represent catching an opponent off-guard or distracting them with flourishes and fake-outs.

The core game of 5e already gives you guidelines for using other Ability Score modifiers to apply to skill rolls when appropriate. As we've seen in the playtest for D&D One, attack rolls and skill rolls are both going to be considered "Tests" with the same rules. Why not apply this to your game right now - especially when it allows a player to make the character they envision and everyone has more fun?
After all, the only people who will be complaining are the dead NPCs.

I do not want D&D to go in this as a general direction at all. As a special ability, perhaps for fighters only, because their understanding of combat is just that nuanced and complete it would be great however.
 

And if, over the course of a game, you're asked to make Intelligence + Athletics to plan out a climb, Wisdom + Athletics to find handholds or jumps you can make, Strength + Athletics to make leaps of faith, etc. etc., you're going to question if your character is really all that good at climbing in the first place!
You wouldn't question that if the skill was the majority of the modifier to the point where the stat wasn't a huge deal.

Which is true in plenty of games, including at the very least 3E D&D.

A lot of the problem is, as you point out, at lower levels, Proficiency ain't much. If Proficiency was larger, I don't think this issue would be as severe.
 

Oofta

Legend
Saying this in the middle of an edition change, where feedback is being requested, is really pretty wild! We'll be able to say whether you're right or wrong when 6E/1D&D actually comes out. But what a time to claim that.

Everything that's wrong with 5E's Fighter is fixable, frankly. It's just not been done so far. I'll be very interested to see what 1D&D does.

Sure, but digital tools won't work for you, for example, and imho they and the general level of support are some of the main reason to run D&D. Even with the powerful building options in Beyond (which are hard work to use), you can't do what you're suggesting. But I'm not asking for anything as extreme as "charisma-based Fighter", I'm just suggesting the next edition of D&D needs to learn from 5E's mistakes (this is a post-mortem of the previous playtest after all), and particularly avoid the "apology edition" stuff which is clearly no longer needed.

This is such a fundamentally unfair claim that it goes past insulting/demeaning and into just amusing. The idea that because a DM doesn't make wild house rules and basically re-write the game in a way incompatible with existing material, they're "yelling at clouds" to voice concerns is just truly out there.

I have very few house rules, but I also accept the game for what it is. Yelling at the clouds - or more specifically - yelling on forums isn't going to change the game. The video pointed out several aspects of that. The forums don't reflect general opinion very well, there's no way that any edition can be the favorite edition of everyone and sometimes all you can hope for as a designer is that the game is good enough for people to enjoy. If it's not, there are other editions and other games.

That's not telling people that they can't be dissatisfied or voice their opinion (just like I'm going to voice my opinion even if it happens to be in support of the current rules), it's just acknowledging reality. Or as the saying goes "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change that which I can and the wisdom to know the difference." I accept that I cannot change the core rules with anything I say on these forums*. I can make minor tweaks and how I run the game. I can add house rules to to make the game fun for me and my players. I also accept that I'm not the right DM for every player.

So right now we have an opportunity to help shape the next version of the game. I'm going to thoroughly read the playtest materials for the next release and provide feedback, that's about all I can do to change the direction of the core game. Until then I'll do the best I can with what I have and if I ever decide it no longer works for me and my group I'll investigate a different edition, 3PP materials (there's a ton), or a different game.
 

Yelling at the clouds - or more specifically - yelling on forums isn't going to change the game.
Whilst I mostly agree with your post, I find discussing stuff on messageboards massively sharpens up my ideas about what's actually wrong. I feel like, even for a relatively intelligent (at least not outright thick) person with a huge amount of RPG experience and mechanical knowledge like me, without discussing it with others, it's very hard to really reliably get right what is wrong, you know what I mean?

Like, often my or other people's ideas about what's wrong with a system are superficial or miss the point, and arguing it can often reveal the real issue.

That's why I find hand-wave-y stuff like "just completely ignore the rules and make up incompatible ones" or "go play another game, loser!" to be extremely unhelpful. What I want is a counter-argument that actually flows from how the game works, and often I get that, and that's actually useful. Hell sometimes a system seems bad and it isn't, and the counter-argument can show that.

Once you actually know what's wrong, then it's good to ask for change. Speaking very broadly here, but outside of climate change (where solutions are clear but ignored), a lot of the world's issues, large and small, stem from people knowing something is wrong, but being unwilling or unable to look at exactly what/why those things are wrong often because looking at the real underlying problem is unpopular. At least with RPGs there's a decent avenue to work on that.

I know that with 1D&D I won't be asking for the same things I'd have been asking for say, 5 years ago, and a lot of that is because I understand 5E's issues much, much better now, thanks in large part to people on this board (including you!), both arguing with me and pointing out when I actually have a point.
 

Retreater

Legend
I do not want D&D to go in this as a general direction at all. As a special ability, perhaps for fighters only, because their understanding of combat is just that nuanced and complete it would be great however.
This doesn't have to be a general direction. My suggestion was for a specific (albeit theoretical) player who is not happy with a Str- or Dex-Based fighter who also doesn't want to play a different class or subclass.
My general suggestion is to work with your players and compromise to give them the best experience you can. Take the best ideas from every game you play - if you want to add weapon qualities or combat maneuvers, do it.
 

That's because D&D has always emphasized one path to being good at something. Let's say you want to be the master of, oh, I don't know, climbing. You go "aha, obviously Dexterity is the most important thing here!"

But if your DM happens to be a free climber, and they say "well actually, you need Strength to be a good climber", you're going to feel put out.
I mean, this is real game development territory, and pokes at my biggest problem with 5e. You're 100% correct that the game is a model of a 'lived world', and a necessarily simplified one - as someone with a passing interest in archery, the idea that attacking with a longbow doesn't involve your strength is wild to me. However, all ranged attacks relying on your dexterity 'feels right' to me, and makes for a more 'gamey' game - forcing a tradeoff between melee and ranged combat skill.

I guess the real question is, 'how does one model being good at something?' My dissatisfaction with 5e is that the answer is so often autosuccess / 'because you cast a spell'. Want to be good at living off the land? Take the 'outlander' background and you can automatically find food for you and your companions. Be a druid and cast goodberry. At least to me, that doesn't feel like I'm good at surviving in the wild, it feels like I don't need to play that part of the game anymore in a handwave-y sort of way.

I dunno. I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of articulating my argument, but I think you've hit on a pretty fundamental topic.
 

Retreater

Legend
That's why I find hand-wave-y stuff like "just completely ignore the rules and make up incompatible ones" or "go play another game, loser!" to be extremely unhelpful.
I hope you haven't interpreted any of my ideas as calling you a "loser." If so, that wasn't my intent at all.
Normally my posts on here are complaining and pessimistic about the future of the hobby - so much that I've gotten "red text" about them.
I'm consciously making an effort to be more positive and to look for realistic solutions in all aspects of my life. I apologize if I'm doing a bad job at that - I'm still learning.
I don't think a Charisma-based fighter is any more incompatible than a fighter based on Dexterity. In fact, Dexterity is a far more powerful ability score than Charisma, since it's tied to common Dex saves, skills like Stealth and Acrobatics, etc. Having a high Charisma opposed to Strength or Dexterity is already a penalty (in my mind).
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Same but I think part of the problem is it's a contradiction. The game wildly out of its way to hard-link certain stats and skills. Aren't there even a couple of subclass features which allow you to use a skill with a non-standard stat?

They should have never done that. They should from the start said it's stat mod + skill prof, ask you DM which combo to run, here are the defaults. But was never the approach and the optional approach in the DMG was clearly not seriously considered.
Yeah, I wish they'd occasionally asked for something like "make a Strength (Athletics or Performance) check" (or whatever combination works for the situation). I can understand that the ability itself is hardwired in characters abilities and published adventures, but odd (or not-standard?) combinations with skills could have been encouraged or at least demonstrated. Some skills like Acrobatics (which could have existed simply as a Dexterity-Athletics pairing) almost discourage unconventional pairing of ability-skill.

Then perhaps we'd see something else than the five typical checks...
 
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Oofta

Legend
Yeah, I wish they'd occasionally asked for something like "make a Strength (Athletics or Performance) check" (or whatever combination works for the situation). I can understand that the ability itself is hardwired in characters abilities and published adventures, but odd (or not-standard?) combinations with skills could have been encouraged or at least demonstrated. Some skills like Acrobatics (which could have existed simply as a Dexterity-Athletics pairing) almost discourage unconventional pairing of ability-skill.

Then perhaps we'd see something else than the five typical checks...

I occasionally ask for alternatives, but usually describe it as "you can". For example in my last game I asked for a performance check and told the player they could use wisdom if they wanted. That way it's not a performance/wisdom check, it just gives them the option to choose. This is also my attempt to let them know they can volunteer the info if they want.

I understand why they did the whole [ability] / [proficiency] thing, but I think it does more harm than good. If I always think dexterity/acrobatics it seems like people are less likely to ask if they can analyze the situation quickly to do an intelligence/acrobatics check instead. The first thing you ask for is generally what people focus on, not the qualifier. That, and I still think "give me a strength check adding your athletics proficiency modifier" is just too danged clunky - people will start to zone out after they hear "give me a strength check". That, and all the character sheets I've seen or used have the proficiencies listed alphabetically, it's just a lot easier to ask for an investigation check and have them glance at their sheet.

It's one of the things I hope they ask for feedback in one of the upcoming playtests.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
That, and I still think "give me a strength check adding your athletics proficiency modifier" is just too danged clunky - people will start to zone out after they hear "give me a strength check". That, and all the character sheets I've seen or used have the proficiencies listed alphabetically, it's just a lot easier to ask for an investigation check and have them glance at their sheet.
Yep, I actively tried to switch over, used a bunch of different language to say it, and nothing ever felt smooth enough that I didn't trip over something.

Now, what I have tried, to more success, is a character sheet that doesn't have all skills listed, just blank spots to write in what you are proficient in. It does feel like it helped, at least a little, get away from scanning the list to find the "right" option for every problem, and instead encouraged "Well, how can I see my skills being relevant here?"
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think there are two factors at play here.

One is that satisfied people are generally quiet. I work in customer service, and it's rather uncommon to get a call or an e-mail saying "Thank you for excellent work." When people get in touch with me, it's because something has gone wrong. Forums tend to be the same: a thread about something people like and that isn't controversial isn't going to get very many posts, whereas a thread on fighter complexity, well...

The other is a saying that people complaining are almost always right about something being wrong. They are rarely right about how to solve that problem. For example, say that you get a common complaint that martials, particularly fighters, have little to do outside combat, and that the players want more non-combat abilities in their class. But perhaps the better solution would be a more robust skill system, and changing social/exploration spells to interact more with the skill system instead (note: I'm not trying to put this up for a debate, just using it as an example that perhaps the solution is not what the user/player thinks it should be).
I am not so sure about that second part. If it was common to see people complaining on message boards about X, and then to find survey satisfaction was at 95% with X, it probably was not that the complaints were right. They only used the forum complaints if those complaints also matched with dissatisfaction with the surveys. Then they felt the forum complaints were in the ball park and were useful to begin the diagnosis for what was at issue, which might be a larger issue than the specific forum complaint.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I occasionally ask for alternatives, but usually describe it as "you can". For example in my last game I asked for a performance check and told the player they could use wisdom if they wanted. That way it's not a performance/wisdom check, it just gives them the option to choose. This is also my attempt to let them know they can volunteer the info if they want.

I understand why they did the whole [ability] / [proficiency] thing, but I think it does more harm than good. If I always think dexterity/acrobatics it seems like people are less likely to ask if they can analyze the situation quickly to do an intelligence/acrobatics check instead. The first thing you ask for is generally what people focus on, not the qualifier. That, and I still think "give me a strength check adding your athletics proficiency modifier" is just too danged clunky - people will start to zone out after they hear "give me a strength check". That, and all the character sheets I've seen or used have the proficiencies listed alphabetically, it's just a lot easier to ask for an investigation check and have them glance at their sheet.

It's one of the things I hope they ask for feedback in one of the upcoming playtests.
That's why I've added more skills and advocated adding more skills to D&D. Instead of "Strength check and add your proficiency mod if you have Intimidate", it's "give me a Browbeat check".

But ideas that don't get 90% Satisfaction don't get added.
 

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