D&D 5E DMs/GMs: Polling Your Players About D&D Next


First Post
This is to all the DMs out there.

I figure it's pretty easy for all of us here to go and come up with what we want in the next iteration of D&D - it's easy to get inside of our own heads, after all. However, since D&D is about more than just our own preferences and many of us are DMs or GMs running our own games right now, I thought it would be a useful exercise to look into what the people we play with day in and day out want from the game.

I encourage other DMs to go out and do the same thing: it can be enlightening, I think, and potentially more useful as a source of discussion than what we want. After all, D&D is about all of the players, not just what we here on ENWorld have to say.

So today, when I went out and ran my game that I've been running for a few years now, I went ahead and asked my players what they wanted from the next version of D&D. Bear in the mind that this is probably not the average D&D party (if there is such a thing) but there are a diverse set of views and perspectives here.

My Players:

  1. Dwarven cleric. They first played D&D during 1e AD&D and then came back to briefly DM 3e before joining 4e.
  2. Tiefling warlock. First played for a few years during 3e, now is playing 4e.
  3. Gnomish paladin/warlord hybrid. First played 3e for several years, pretty familiar with the rules, now playing 4e.
  4. Halfling assassin. Originally played an elven ranger before the character left for story reasons. Never played D&D before 4e but is an enthusiast now well-familiar with rules and considering DMing.
  5. Shadar-kai swordmage. Joined later in the game. Never played D&D before 4e.

My Questions, Their Answers:

What races would you be sad to see absent in D&D Next?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Elves, humans, dwarves.
  • Tiefling Warlock: Warforged
  • Gnomish Paladin: Gnomes, goliaths
  • Halfling Assassin: Elves, dwarves, (both of which I doubt would be removed), devas, don't know all the rest
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: Shadar-kai

What classes would you be sad to see absent in D&D Next?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Fighter, mage, cleric
  • Tiefling Warlock: Don't know enough, but I sympathize with fans of all
  • Gnomish Paladin: Warlords, rogues
  • Halfling Assassin: Assassins, rangers, invokers, wizards, stealth-heavy classes in general
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: Swordmage

How important do you think skills should be?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Minor
  • Tiefling Warlock: A little less than they are
  • Gnomish Paladin: Middle-ly
  • Halfling Assassin: Like skills a lot but make it more fun than just "I succeed or I fail." This applies to combat also: give the game a sense of strategy.
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: Very

Which do you prefer: combat, exploration, or roleplay?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Exploration > combat > roleplay
  • Tiefling Warlock: Exploration
  • Gnomish Paladin: Combat
  • Halfling Assassin: I like a combination of all three; D&D wouldn't be the same without any. But my favorite is combat, but I also like roleplaying a lot, although I'm not very good at it.
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: I prefer a mix of all three but combat has proven to be the most straightforward

Do you prefer alignment that affects gameplay, alignment that is solely there for flavor, or no alignment?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Alignment for flavor
  • Tiefling Warlock: Flavor
  • Gnomish Paladin: Gameplay-affecting alignment
  • Halfling Assassin: I like when it affects the gameplay; it means that you have an interesting personality depending on the alignment you play.
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: Alignment should affect only the roleplaying aspect of gameplay

Do you think your character is too powerful, underpowered, or just right?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Mine is just right but a few of the other characters i nthe party are too powerful
  • Tiefling Warlock: Underpowered
  • Gnomish Paladin: A bit overpowered
  • Halfling Assassin: Sometimes I feel alternately overpowered or underpowered. Overall, though, I feel that my character's just right.
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: By himself, my standard character is fine but with my allies, he's ridiculously powerful.

Would you prefer the core rules in one book, two books, or three?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Two: One for players, one for DMs
  • Tiefling Warlock: One
  • Gnomish Paladin: Don't care
  • Halfling Assassin: Doesn't really matter to me
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: Number doesn't matter, just sell them in a boxed set

Any suggested rule changes?
  • Dwarven Cleric: More straightforward, less complex spells
  • Tiefling Warlock: Don't know enough
  • Gnomish Paladin: None
  • Halfling Assassin: Not really. Maybe a few here and there (can't think of any right now) but overall I like fourth edition.
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: None

What do you think is the most important part of D&D (ex: tactical combat, classes, elves, etc.)?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Group interaction and improvisation
  • Tiefling Warlock: Exploration, strange loot
  • Gnomish Paladin: Sandbox gameplay (I can blow up doors!)
  • Halfling Assassin: I really like tactical combat, but without classes it wouldn't be fun
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: World and backstory

What do you think is the least important part of D&D?
  • Dwarven Cleric: Exotic and complex campaign settings
  • Tiefling Warlock: Rolling dice and leveling
  • Gnomish Paladin: Massive backstories
  • Halfling Assassin: I can't think of anything that, if removed, wouldn't impact D&D negatively
  • Shadar-kai Swordmage: No opinion

Other thoughts
  • Dwarven Cleric: Pre-written dungeons should primarily be stand-alone adventures, not campaigns. Not fond of politics.

Anyhow, in summation, that's how my players feel about D&D and where it should be going. As you can see, there's a diversity of opinions right within my own group, so I think it's fair to imagine that the opinions among other players will be quite different. I don't agree with my own players on everything, but I generally think all of them have good points to make.

If nothing else, this is a pretty good indication of how WotC is right to pursue a flexible system that allows many different playstyles, even if that's a difficult route to go.

So, I ask you, what do your players want from the game?

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