D&D General How would you redo 4e?

Atomoctba

Adventurer
I saw some people in this forum asking for 4e be released as a SRD to Creative Commons like 5e (and possibly 3.5e). Do not get me wrong, I liked 4e, but I think it was very combat oriented and did a bad service to other game pillars. And most powers were, quite frankly, more of the same. Even so, I think many of its flaws could be reworked, specially now we have many good ideas we could port from 5e backwards.

So, if you are not a 4e hater, how would you rework it? My personal takes would be:

  • Bounded Accuracy. I would remove the +half level to everything and the +3 bonus to skill proficiency would be remade in a proficiency bonus linked to level (as 5e)
  • More like Essentials. Different classes, different power progressions. Not really needed the same AEDU thing to everyone. Fighters would get lots of ways to change Basic Attacks rather than different powers, for example.
  • Spell Lists. Even if we keep spells as powers, no need a power list to every caster class. Wizards and warlocks, for example, could both take "spells from the arcane power list". Perhaps same idea to martials, like A5e maneuver schools.
  • Exploration and Social Powers. New powers to cover exploration and social pillars. In addition to other powers your class gives, not take in place of them.
  • Subclasses earlier. Not wait to level 11 to take a subclass/paragon path/whatever. Like 5e, around 3rd level is a good start.

Of course, lots of mine suggestion would need rework lots of the game moving parts, specially to keep math working both in combat and outside it. But the above would be my initial blueprint. Now, curious to know how you would redo it.
 

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aco175

Legend
I could see keeping a lot of 5e, but go back to 4e for the powers and healing surges. I find D&D as a whole if more combat facing, so I do not have a big problem. Some of the levels had utility powers the PCs received and they could be options for exploration and roleplay. Skill challenges were ok when they worked, but I kept finding the fighter would try to use the same skill all the time.

I could see some of the casters getting more spells to have, but still limited to the number of castings per day or encounter.

Not sure there is a way to make OK PCs worth having. It seems like everyone needs to have a specialized character for one thing, like DPR or such. Make being OK in all the pillars worth something. This would need to change the types of encounters on the DM level. If your DM only sends combats at your group, they all build combat PCs.
 


I wrote an entire adventure path for 4e. I adored a lot of it.

I agree, bounded accuracy needs to be implemented so the numbers are smaller. "Gear builds" are awful. Clearly the game suffered from being designed to be run with an online system that never materialized (due to tragic reasons).

The presentation of characters could keep the same sort of pacing, but use a less obviously systemic framing. Fewer "bland boxes with solid blocks of color and formulaic text that reads like a card game"

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More 5e-style natural language, even if it's wordier.

e.g., 'At level 1, your fighter starts with two rudimentary combat maneuvers they can use at will, and one rank 1 combat maneuver that requires they expend their focus. The fighting style you choose determines how you can gain your focus. At higher levels, you'll learn additional combat maneuvers and fighting styles."

Monster statblocks likewise should have been more like 5e's natural language, even if they kept the same basic design philosophy.

Instead of standard, move, minor action, give characters movement speed (which is use or lose it; you can't downgrade it) and two actions, but no more than one action can cause damage. You'd usually use your other action to apply a condition, heal, dash, or otherwise modulate the parameters of the encounter.
 

If I were going even more in depth to try to fix the system?

Give PCs a fungible Power Point pool. Each class would give you different ways to acquire PP and spend it. If you leveled in a single class, you'd get cooler ways to gain and use PP related to your class's schtick, but you could also multiclass, so you'd end up with a wide variety of options, but with somewhat shallow uses.

For instance, by default everyone would get a few PP at the end of each short rest, and that amount would go up as you gained levels. But fighters would have a fighting style that would let them earn more PP mid-combat. If you're a defender, then using a reaction to redirect an attack from someone else to you would get you PP. If a swashbuckler, if you'd done something acrobatic or witty, you'd get PP that you could spend that turn.

Sorcerers could spend an action to gather power, which would do some minor magical effect - make the ground around you icy (frost sorcerer), impose a penalty on an already bloodied foe (death sorcerer), set the ground on fire (fire sorcerer) - which wouldn't do much if any damage, but it'd be flashy, and would give you PP.

You'd generally set up the 'daily' powers so you couldn't just spam them at the start of an encounter; they'd cost extra PP, so you'd have to work your way up to them as cool finishing moves.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'd go with Essentials + Bounded accuracy
  • No feat, but gain Skill (or Racial) powers in addition to Utility powers instead
  • Feat taxes or math fixes built in character creation.
  • Less +1s, use Advantage/Disadvantage instead
  • Remove the +X from Magic items but in the rare cases
  • Go easy on the Interrupt (though Essentials did make much use of it).

and that's it. In short, just reduce the numbers, if you roll +16 to something, you went too far.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
  • Bounded Accuracy. I would remove the +half level to everything and the +3 bonus to skill proficiency would be remade in a proficiency bonus linked to level (as 5e)
I would slot it to +third level. You get a sense of progression but the numbers don'tincrease too fast. Profiecncy would still be +3. I'd allow for Mastery to be +6

More like Essentials. Different classes, different power progressions. Not really needed the same AEDU thing to everyone. Fighters would get lots of ways to change Basic Attacks rather than different powers, for example.
I'd do it something in the middle. Powers of different Power Sources and Recovery would have different names. Martial Powers would be Strikes, Exploits, and Rages. Divine would have Orisons/Litanies, Smites, and Prayers. Arcane would have Cantrips, Sorceries/Hexes, and Spells.

Classes would get makes sense to them but have the option to take other types of powers via feats. A
Subclasses earlier. Not wait to level 11 to take a subclass/paragon path/whatever. Like 5e, around 3rd level is a good start.

Fighter would have only at-will Strike and encounter Exploits. The Slayer would have Strikes, Exploits, and Rages

Spell Lists. Even if we keep spells as powers, no need a power list to every caster class. Wizards and warlocks, for example, could both take "spells from the arcane power list". Perhaps same idea to martials, like A5e maneuver schools.
Agreed.

Differentiation would be one power access. Warlocks would not have Daily Spells but would be able to get the same Daily spells as a Wizard via MCing or feats.

Subclasses earlier. Not wait to level 11 to take a subclass/paragon path/whatever. Like 5e, around 3rd level is a good start.
Paragon paths aren't subclasses. But I'd allow for feature swaps at level 1.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I'd remove the half level to everything, but I don't think I'd bother adding anything to replace it with anything, instead relying on feats and ability boosts to keep up. Might remove enhancement bonuses to weapons as well (would need to further alter the math for monsters).

I'd merge power lists so that if you learn arcane powers, it doesn't matter if you are a wizard or a sorcerer, you can both learn fireball. I'd remove higher level versions of powers too, just make the lower level ones rank up. Classes would be where the changes to powers happen, a warlord would do something leader-like while a fighter would do something defenderish with the same power.

I'd keep essentials as the main class design, I felt it's design was superior to original 4e class design.
 

I've always been a proponent of rewriting all of 4E into Gygaxian prose.
I wrote an entire adventure path for 4e. I adored a lot of it.

I agree, bounded accuracy needs to be implemented so the numbers are smaller. "Gear builds" are awful. Clearly the game suffered from being designed to be run with an online system that never materialized (due to tragic reasons).

The presentation of characters could keep the same sort of pacing, but use a less obviously systemic framing. Fewer "bland boxes with solid blocks of color and formulaic text that reads like a card game"

View attachment 276324

More 5e-style natural language, even if it's wordier.

e.g., 'At level 1, your fighter starts with two rudimentary combat maneuvers they can use at will, and one rank 1 combat maneuver that requires they expend their focus. The fighting style you choose determines how you can gain your focus. At higher levels, you'll learn additional combat maneuvers and fighting styles."

Monster statblocks likewise should have been more like 5e's natural language, even if they kept the same basic design philosophy.

Instead of standard, move, minor action, give characters movement speed (which is use or lose it; you can't downgrade it) and two actions, but no more than one action can cause damage. You'd usually use your other action to apply a condition, heal, dash, or otherwise modulate the parameters of the encounter.
 


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