D&D 5E How Far Could D&D Change--And STILL Be D&D?

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Well, that's sort of circular - if I change something and it is no longer considered D&D, isn't that based on what I think D&D "is"?
It isn't circular at all, though.

We are currently in 5E D&D. How much can you change in 5E, and still consider it D&D?
 

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It isn't circular at all, though.

We are currently in 5E D&D. How much can you change in 5E, and still consider it D&D?
"You" personally or "you" as in "a person who is in charge of DnD?"

Personal opinions are individual. But market opinions are just the aggregate of personal opinions.

For what it's worth, my post above is what I think the market will bear, but it's just a guess.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
What you would imagine this "you":
"you" as in "a person who is in charge of DnD?"

So, what changes could whoever is designing a version of D&D (assuming either WotC or someone who has approval to use the D&D brand) make and have the receiving public/target audience still consider it D&D.

For example, your first point was "races". If the next iteration of D&D didn't include races, you (as part of the target audience) could no longer consider it D&D, right?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
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:


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... ;)
It goes back to the familiar legacy aspects of the game. AC, hp, six stats, race, class, level, etc. Lose those and you lose the D&D feel.

It also needs to be designed to feel like an RPG. Not a skirmish game with RP elements. Not a storygame with a few hold-over mechanics from wargames. For me 4E feels more like D&D than 5E. But 4E feels less like D&D than the TSR editions.

As I’m sure it’s already been mentioned, I’ll say low hit points, deadly combat, combat as war, slow healing, and other staples of TSR-era D&D are what make it feel like D&D. So any changes to 5E that bring those back is good. Something like Gritty Realism as the default. Drop death saves. Decrease PC hp and damage by about 1/3. Remove cantrips. Cap hp gains at ninth level. Bring back the assumed focus change based on levels, dungeon, wilderness, region, domain, armies, path to immortality, immortality, etc. Do all that and 5E will start to feel like D&D again.
 
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toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
How much could you change D&D (5E as the current version) and still feel like it is D&D?
Mechanically, you'd have to keep:
  1. The 6 ability scores.
  2. A d20 for attacks and saving throws.
  3. Four basic roles with scaling abilities (warrior, arcane, divine, skill monkey).
Beyond that, you can change weapon damage, how you handle initiative, healing, resting, going to 0hp, abilities of each class as they go up, and so on, and it'd still be D&D because ALL of these were modified between AD&D and 5E and it still plays the same.
 

Even though Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition wasn't designed and written up by WoTC (it was designed and written up by En Publishing), it still has that 5th edition D&D feel to it. What makes it different from 5e D&D is that it has a lot more crunch to it, more ways to customize your character with regards to the three pillars (combat, exploration and social).
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
For me, it would no longer be D&D once the different species become nothing more than skins that you can add a random group of abilities to.

It will no longer be D&D when combat takes an official back seat to RP.

It will no longer be D&D when every other monster encountered is a fey...oh wait.... :D;)
 

Mechanically, you'd have to keep:
  1. The 6 ability scores.
  2. A d20 for attacks and saving throws.
  3. Four basic roles with scaling abilities (warrior, arcane, divine, skill monkey).
Beyond that, you can change weapon damage, how you handle initiative, healing, resting, going to 0hp, abilities of each class as they go up, and so on, and it'd still be D&D because ALL of these were modified between AD&D and 5E and it still plays the same.
what if I added two more ability scores would the game be truly different?
 

It's hard to discuss some of this because it's all personal perspective
yup and it is super engranded in a lot of us to edition war
and I don't want to get into edition wars. Whether you liked 4E, thought it was a good game or not (I thought it had some good ideas but it was badly rushed), it didn't "feel" like D&D to a lot of people. I am not saying this was a universal feeling.
right... so lets try to be constructive (and I appertiate you are)
Yes, we still had things like ability scores, HP, AC. The labels were the same. We still rolled D20s and whatnot.
I think that is pretty much the answer... 6 ability scores something called a save, something called AC some variant of Hp and it mostly using d20s is about it... anything with that and the D&D fluff around it is D&D
So fighters had something like this random 1st level encounter power:
Cleave​
fighter attack 1​
Melee Weapon​
Target: one creature​
Attack: Strength vs. AC​
Hit: "1[W] + Strength modifier damage, and an enemy adjacent to you other than the target takes damage equal to your Strength modifier.​
"Increase damage to 2[W] + Strength modifier at 21st level.​
man I miss martial characters just 'getting things they could use'
You had other powers that could impose conditions like stun, force movement and so on.
that I think is a better example... I doubt many people had an issue with cleave.

artful dodger rogues moving targets around the field and warlords removing conditions or letting someone spend HD are normally the more major issues... but damage on a miss was big too... but it all started with this low level issue

At-WillMartial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee Or Ranged Weapon
Requirement: wielding crossbow, light blade, or sling
Target: one creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: "1[W] + Dexterity modifier + Charisma modifier damage.
"Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier + Charisma modifier at 21st level

edit: the biggest thing I heard was that even with such a simple concept "How can you add charisma to damage, isn't that just a spell" that drove some away...

there was also a rogue daily that if slide a target 5ft, but if you were an artful dodger subclass instead moved you 5xcha mod ft and people freaked out about how a rogue could force an enemy to move 15-20ft
The advantage of this is that everything you could do was right there. The disadvantage was that everything you could do was right there. This led too often in my experience to people not thinking outside of the (power) box.
The thing is over 30ish years I have seen this in every edition... and I have seen creative uses of powers in 4e (it even had rules in the DMG on HOW to rule that sort of thing.


overall look at the middle earth 5e book, the classes are different, there are different rules, and ideas (shadow, journey, and audience) but it is just D&D

if you go back to 3e and the D20 system you will find WW2 D&D superhero D&D and Cowboy D&D all with very different rules but all D&D non the less (Stargate D&D was the best)
 
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