Kind of a BECMI/BX design with a 4e mentality and 5e maths.
The post by @vincegetorix got me thinking about D&D and all the iterations/house-rules I've done since I started playing 5E to make it into the D&D experience I really want to enjoy.
When I asked for further details on the above post, this was the response:
Just an idea, top of my head and all that, so bear with me:
Low HP: So we go back to Basic (or 1st AD&D) with HP die being small (1d4 wizards, frex) and capping after some levels (So lvl 10 rogue would closer to 35 ish hp than 70). BUT...the party is considered to go back relatively close to full hp after an encounter through Breathers and recovery features.
I think I'd keep Death Saves (maybe Wound Saves?), but they disappears after a Recovery in a Haven, not a long rest. Greater Restoration may remove one failed Death Save and Regenerate may remove 1 per 10 minutes for the duration of the spells, Heal may restore all HP and remove a Death save, etc. The other spells arent called ''healing'' or refer to ''wounds'' they are Invigorate, Instill Vigor, etc. Instant death or death effect may kill without Death saves (Power Word Kill. ) or give a failed Death Save (Enervation, Negative Energy Burst, Horrid Wilting, Death Cloud) on a failed save.
Poisons can drain the already low Max HP of the PC. Diseases may increase the DC to beat the Death Save.
Damage: We used the 5e maths, so we have the same way of doing modifier, same damage rolls, bounded accuracy. Damage and ''Healing'' (or other mitigation) should be able to keep up with each other, at a cost. PC cant endure 2-3 rounds of sustained damage, so resource-based mitigating features could be able to ''undo'' most of the damage on a PC in that round. A high damage feature or spells or critical hit will surpass the mitigation capacity of a target that round.
A creature with 1 accrued failed Death Save is considered Bloodied (which may trigger other effects). A monster is considered bloodied 1)when it reaches half-HP 2) the round after it is hit with a Critical Hit.
4e role design: Damage is mitigated with spells and features, either by giving THP, reducing incoming damage, boosting AC or simply by using recovery items or features. Some class have built-in recovery (fighter's Second Wind) and other are support classes helping the rest of the group with damage mitigation. Support is not a dirty word and it is not a chore, it must feel valuable and gratifying.
Recovery: The PC can spend HD to recover HP during Breathers and when prompted by a recovery spell or feature or item. A PC regains half its max HD on a long rest.
Just throwing some stuff here.
Now, a while ago I explored the idea of fewer hp but you get them all (or most of them) back after each encounter. My reason then was because out of combat healing was so abundant each new encounter the PCs typically had 85-100+% of their hp. It got me thinking: why not just cut out the middle man (healing after the battle) and restore PCs to full hp after each encounter?
Not surprisingly, some people then commented: sounds a lot like healing surges and such from 4E (which I never played...). This must (at least in part) be the 4E mentality @vincegetorix mentioned.
Thinking about this more and more, and returning to prior ideas I've had (generated from other games), did get me wondering:
How much could you change D&D (5E as the current version) and still feel like it is D&D?
UPDATE: Given some of the responses... My question is focused on 5E, and changes to it, that would make the next iteration NOT feel like D&D? (So, references about prior versions isn't really the intended thrust.)
I realize this is a very broad question, and somewhat rhetorically honestly as I am just voicing my thoughts, but if anyone cares to weigh in and share your thoughts, please do and thanks for reading.
FWIW, I'm sure I'll be back with further thoughts...