5.5E I think we are on the cusp of a sea change.

If they were ambitious, they would add elements to make the game modular, since people want to adapt it for every style of rpg anyway. The "DMs workshop" section of the dmg could be expanded into a full book that provides optional rules for each pillar of play and also advice on slimming the game down into something more rules lite and deadly. They could also provide optional rules for adapting the game to different genres.
In the past I think they've been wary of that for reaons of preserving a sense of brand identity and shared experiences of play.

I don't know if they still feel that way.
 

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If they were ambitious, they would add elements to make the game modular, since people want to adapt it for every style of rpg anyway. The "DMs workshop" section of the dmg could be expanded into a full book that provides optional rules for each pillar of play and also advice on slimming the game down into something more rules lite and deadly. They could also provide optional rules for adapting the game to different genres.
Sadly, I don't think the D&D team has this kind of ambition anymore. They tried some ambitious things in the early Next playtest, not a single one of which made it to the final product (oh, Playtest Sorcerer, how I grieve thy loss).
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Ask 5 different people on this forum and you will probably get 5 different answers, many of them conflicting.

Personally? A few spells could use tweaking and clarification. There's a bit of wording here and there, like half orcs living in slums that should probably go. I think the MM should go back to the percentage qualifier and clarify that the entries don't necessarily represent the entire population (it's there but buried now). I think dex is overpowered in this edition, but honestly I'm not sure how to fix it. I assume there will be some variation of flexible racial builds ala Tasha's, I hope they keep a default just for flavor.

No game is perfect but I'm not sure how much they can change without really pissing people off and causing a backlash.
To my surprise, splitting up the abilities to eight, by adding Perception and Athletics as separate abilities, works really well to make each of the eight balanced and discrete.

Then it is easy for old school to assign the same score to both Strength and Athletics, and to both Wisdom and Perception.
 

To my surprise, splitting up the abilities to eight, by adding Perception and Athletics as separate abilities, works really well to make each of the eight balanced and discrete.

Then it is easy for old school to assign the same score to both Strength and Athletics, and to both Wisdom and Perception.
Why Athletics as a seperate ability score?

My gut feeling would probably incline to something like

Might (STr/Con)
Coordination (Ranged Attacks/Finesse attacks - possibly all melee - part of Dex)
Reflex (Initiative Armor Class part of Dex)
Education (Knowledge aspects of Intelligence)
Perception (part of Wis)
Willpower (other part of Wis)
Self (Charisma)
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Why Athletics as a seperate ability score?

My gut feeling would probably incline to something like

Might (STr/Con)
Coordination (Ranged Attacks/Finesse attacks - possibly all melee - part of Dex)
Reflex (Initiative Armor Class part of Dex)
Education (Knowledge aspects of Intelligence)
Perception (part of Wis)
Willpower (other part of Wis)
Self (Charisma)
Athletics works better as its own thing.

D&D discourages swashbuckling themes by splitting up the athletics − run, jump, fall, climb, balance, tumble, etcetera − between both Strength and Dexterity.

Athletics covers every body stunt and mobility. As a separate ability, it works perfect.

Then Strength handles tests of brute Strength (and extra damage), and Dexterity handles cautious precision and manual dexterity, like aiming a bow and stealth.

A separate Athletics also makes sense of small creatures that comparatively lack strength but are extremely athletic and mobile.



The most important thing is to ensure that the abilities are defined bottom-up: things that players actually roll for − perception, hiding, hitting, dodging − rather than vague abstractions that practically never happen during gameplay. (Looking at you, "good memory" "book knowledge" Intelligence. I have never rolled to see if my character "remembers" something. But even if it happens via a lore check, it would need to happen in almost every encounter to be worthy of an ability.)
 
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Athletics works better as its own thing.

D&D discourages swashbuckling themes by splitting up the athletics − run, jump, fall, climb, balance, tumble, etcetera − between both Strength and Dexterity.

Athletics covers every body stunt. As a separate ability, it works perfect.

Then Strength is handles tests of Strength (and extra damage), and Dexterity handles cautious precision and manual dexterity, like aiming a bow and stealth.
Hmmm...

Really you could replace Strength with Athletics (it sort of already is that in terms of skills). Rolls to do things like lift heavy objects aren't really all that common, that they need a whole ability score to determine them.

I could see basically renaming Strength as Atheltics and using that as an excuse to switch some things around and take acrobatics out of Dex.

But I wouldn't want to have Athletics and Strength as that makes Strength even less useful than it is now. If you were to merge the remainder of Strength into Con it could work I guess.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
If they were ambitious, they would add elements to make the game modular, since people want to adapt it for every style of rpg anyway. The "DMs workshop" section of the dmg could be expanded into a full book that provides optional rules for each pillar of play and also advice on slimming the game down into something more rules lite and deadly. They could also provide optional rules for adapting the game to different genres.
This is what they were supposed to do when 5e was playtesting but once it came out the "crunchy" options never really developed.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Hmmm...

Really you could replace Strength with Athletics (it sort of already is that in terms of skills). Rolls to do things like lift heavy objects aren't really all that common, that they need a whole ability score to determine them.

I could see basically renaming Strength as Atheltics and using that as an excuse to switch some things around and take acrobatics out of Dex.

But I wouldn't want to have Athletics and Strength as that makes Strength even less useful than it is now. If you were to merge the remainder of Strength into Con it could work I guess.
The thing is: whichever ability gets the athletic agile dodging mobility, should also get the AC bonus. So it means Strength improves AC, not Dexterity.

Separating Athletics out makes the shift more neutral.

Also, a creature with high Strength and low Athletics would feel like a lumbering brute. Vice versa, low Strength and high Athletics might feel like a cat.

The two dont necessarily correlate.



I figure Strength as in brute muscle will always add the damage bonus, so it will always have its fans. Also, Strength allows heavier armor and heavier weapons.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
This is what they were supposed to do when 5e was playtesting but once it came out the "crunchy" options never really developed.
If I were to name the greatest failing of 5e is that it was pretty much playtested and designed with the assumption of variant rules to modify the base experience and no only did very few of those rules come, it moved forward as if some of those variant rues were base and if future variant rules would not to be added.

Like there could and should have been official rules for Herioc, Mythical. Cinematic, Gritty, or Wuxia combat that used WOTC's resources and the large community base for playtesting.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Even if it didn't make the base book, it could have been introduced through settings, including each his own specific "knobs and dials" to meet the feel of the game. I think it's too late to embrace this approach.
 

Staffan

Legend
Like there could and should have been official rules for Herioc, Mythical. Cinematic, Gritty, or Wuxia combat that used WOTC's resources and the large community base for playtesting.

Even if it didn't make the base book, it could have been introduced through settings, including each his own specific "knobs and dials" to meet the feel of the game. I think it's too late to embrace this approach.
I get the feeling that there was a plan to do this originally, but they kind of pivoted away from that. I remember Mearls mentioning how they looked at additional settings not just as lore (geography, history, politics, etc.) but also as a way to tune the game differently. The example he used was how Greyhawk would be done with more old-school sensibilities and rules, like grittier healing and things like that. You can see the embryo of that in the DMG, where they discuss different "sub-genres" of fantasy and use various settings as examples.
 

I get the feeling that there was a plan to do this originally, but they kind of pivoted away from that. I remember Mearls mentioning how they looked at additional settings not just as lore (geography, history, politics, etc.) but also as a way to tune the game differently. The example he used was how Greyhawk would be done with more old-school sensibilities and rules, like grittier healing and things like that. You can see the embryo of that in the DMG, where they discuss different "sub-genres" of fantasy and use various settings as examples.

Its not hard to cynically see this as a bone thrown at that point to various groups the core game wasn't going to serve well to minimize outcry, then figuring out later once the game was established that said groups could, functionally, go pound sand because they weren't going to have any meaningful impact on the success of the game. I doubt it was deliberate, but I'm not sure, in practice, that wasn't how it played out.
 

Oofta

Legend
As far as I know, Mearls was the only one that talked about a modular game early on, and then in only one interview. Seems like people took a molehill and turned it into a mountain.

You can already change the lóok and feel of the game with a few tweaks and minor house rules. But you can only build in so much flexibility before complexity skyrockets.
 

IME even when the game was saying "It's OK to kill these guys, they're Always Chaotic Evil", most players would be very reluctant to attack on sight, and are inclined to seek assurance their PC actions are morally justified.
That's been my experience too. Players are less inherently psychopathic than a lot of adventure writers seem to assume (even most quasi-murderhobos). However, adventure writers consistently underestimate just how much an NPC who is even a mild wanker towards the PCs will turn the players against that NPC, but that's a separate issue lol.
 

Eh, it's a perennial rumor among the fanbase, but I don't believe anyone connected with the developers has ever officially stated that they were thinking about it. And after quieting down the central war for a while, they reignited it HARD in 2018 with the next-to-latest expansion, to the point where players have been at each others' throats in a not-fun way ever since.
It's absolutely true it was a "just a rumour" for a long time (literally since Vanilla), but they've literally openly discussed it multiple times in the last 3-4 years. If I wasn't feeling so lazy and it wasn't 1am I might dig up some quotes lol. But I assure, they devs have discussed it openly ever since BfA, and particularly in the Shadowlands era. Not in a "we will do this" way, but in a "we're considering do this and looking if it's technically feasible" way.
 

As far as I know, Mearls was the only one that talked about a modular game early on, and then in only one interview. Seems like people took a molehill and turned it into a mountain.

You can already change the lóok and feel of the game with a few tweaks and minor house rules. But you can only build in so much flexibility before complexity skyrockets.
I actually think there was an honest intention to make 5E more modular than it eventually ended up, but that the modular elements ended up being very half-baked or simply not included because of deadlines. There are several things you can "tweak" in 5E - but most of them are not very well implemented, some outright badly implemented (not really a diss on 5E, it's fine without them). In general 5E has probably the most half-baked optional rules I've seen in any edition, and given how they seem it really looks like time pressure.
 

As far as I know, Mearls was the only one that talked about a modular game early on, and then in only one interview. Seems like people took a molehill and turned it into a mountain.

You can already change the lóok and feel of the game with a few tweaks and minor house rules. But you can only build in so much flexibility before complexity skyrockets.

I'm going to again say a game with as much exception based design as D&D has had from day one (even the simplest versions had it in terms of spell lists) is not going to be able to say it couldn't have more flexibility if it wanted it without significantly increasing complexity, especially since the flexible components can be dutifully ignored by anyone who doesn't want to use them, and a such supply no meaningful cognitive load.
 

I'm going to again say a game with as much exception based design as D&D has had from day one (even the simplest versions had it in terms of spell lists) is not going to be able to say it couldn't have more flexibility if it wanted it without significantly increasing complexity, especially since the flexible components can be dutifully ignored by anyone who doesn't want to use them, and a such supply no meaningful cognitive load.
Just the addition of magic to the game already adds complexity to the base system.

Base system - the only pluses and minuses are advantage/disadvantage. Add in spells and we have, Guidance, Bless, Bane etc.
 

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