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D&D General Less is More: Why You Can't Get What You Want in D&D

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Learning of the term "shelfware" just hit me deeply because it can be applied to 99% of my TTRPG books. I'd think that's more about the user (me) than the product, though..
I still maintain that one day I'm going to put these thousands of supplements to good use. Yes, someday I will use this...

<random search through the hard drive>

...supplement about fruit-themed (affiliate link) PC class options!
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think for 5e at least Quantity is too over emphasized where Quality and Subject matter is ignored or made excuses for.

TCOE has a noticeable amount of content that is stealth patches for bad base design (alternate class features, beastmaster, extra fighting styles). Hence why a bunch of Tasha's is being put in the 2014 PH The Giant barbarian subclass in Bigby's also reads like a patch.

3e was worse. A lot was because you needed a whole new class, prestige, or feat tree to do anything with that restrictive ruleset.
 
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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I’m in this weird middle ground where I think 5e has enough crunch but everyone keeps adding in subclasses, feats and spells that are all some variation of gives advantage/disadvantage and think that really gets boring.
It may not be that exciting to read, but it means rolling more dice at the table, and I'm there for that. The clacky sound is so satisfying. :D
 

Starfox

Hero
It's probably true of mine too, but I made the decision at some point that I was going to buy things partly with the aim of supporting the creators and not guilt myself if I didn't actually use them.
This is admirable. I find I rarely buy new products, it always takes time to learn which products I'm likely to like, and I don't read as fast or easy as I used to. So less shelfware than many here speak of, but it feels sad to walk trough the game stores at a game convention and finding nothing I want to buy. :(
 

Starfox

Hero
I’m in this weird middle ground where I think 5e has enough crunch but everyone keeps adding in subclasses, feats and spells that are all some variation of gives advantage/disadvantage and think that really gets boring.
I feel that classes and subclasses don't really weigh the system down, as they only get into play if someone selects them. All classes and subclasses not chosen are effectively out of the game table.

Yes, a DM may occasionally pick a class or subclass ability and add it to an NPC, but barely counts.

What does weigh the system down are new spells and feats, rules everyone must consider.
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
I feel that classes and subclasses don't really weigh the system down, as they only get into play if someone selects them. All classes and subclasses not chosen are effectively out of the game table.

Yes, a DM may occasionally pick a class or subclass ability and add it to an NPC, but barely counts.

What does weigh the system down are new spells and feats, rules everyone must consider.
Fair point, though I notice players gravitate towards whatever’s new so you end up with PCs stacked towards the newest stuff, which also usually happens to be the more unbalanced stuff on the whole.
 

Kaiyanwang

Adventurer
Humans being humans tend to be upset when things are taken away from them, but happen when they get new neat toys. It's easier to add than subtract, not that subtracting is all that hard.
Is not subtract, is choose. You have a toolbox, sometimes you need an hammer, sometimes a screwdriver with that specific tip. I prefer to buy books with a lot of tools because even if occasionally I have to ignore or alter something, I have a framework for it instead of being 100% sure I am going to do the job I am paying the designers to do. At least, supposedly. For 5e, this is particularly egregious for the skill system.

Also edited to address Minigiant
3e was worse. A lot was because you needed a whole new class, prestige, or feat tree to do anything with that restrictive ruleset.
That's not really what happened in my experience, at least with classes. A new class in 3e was sometimes a whole new system, like what happened with Psionics or Tome of Battle.
What 3e needed was to be less restrictive in other aspects like combat, with a wider breath of actions unlocked by classes and feats, but they went in the opposite direction with ToB and then 4e.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I feel that classes and subclasses don't really weigh the system down, as they only get into play if someone selects them. All classes and subclasses not chosen are effectively out of the game table.

Yes, a DM may occasionally pick a class or subclass ability and add it to an NPC, but barely counts.

What does weigh the system down are new spells and feats, rules everyone must consider.
It's more mechanics that inject themselves in the common area bogs the game down. Weapon variants. Skill variants. New spells. Feats that gate off common actions.

Classes and subclasses that offer new options and ways to play? Well if the people want it...it's all positive.
 

Kaiyanwang

Adventurer
It's more mechanics that inject themselves in the common area bogs the game down. Weapon variants. Skill variants. New spells. Feats that gate off common actions.

Classes and subclasses that offer new options and ways to play? Well if the people want it...it's all positive.
I think those things are not all the same.
Weapon variants are an overall great thing, it adds to the warrior's toolset. If you are worried (very justifiably) it dilutes weapon specific feats, just use weapon groups as in the SRD, or even without restrictions.
New spells are overall a good thing, a lot of good effects and tricks can be found there. Many caveats intrinsic to magic though - like at which level a given spell should be available without trivializing exploration. I would have preferred a stricter ruling about not adding spells to spell lists, but swapping them. It's weakly suggested as a possibility in a few 3e splats, but not vehemently enough.

Skill variants, I don't know what you mean.

"Feats that gate off common actions" is debatable. Are you referring to maneuver feats as an example? Those are ok if limited to 1. The issue is chains not designed as an actual chain but as mere improvements that should be automatic (in this 4e was correct, I say this as a non-fan). Probably the best idea is also also add feats that give you alternative routes, like the Dirty Fighter pathfinder feat. Ironic, because Pathfinder split up maneuver feats which was a massive mistake.
What else is gated off? Stuff like Spring Attack? Miself, I find 5e movement too "free" (I am aware I am in a strict minority) but I think it works only if many monsters and possibily PCs are played in a suboptimal, especially at low levels.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Weapon variants are an overall great thing, it adds to the warrior's toolset. If you are worried (very justifiably) it dilutes weapon specific feats, just use weapon groups as in the SRD, or even without restrictions.
I mean things like weapon speed variants. Weapons reach variants. Attack matrices. Etc.

5e was designed overly simply so that a DM can inject their own crazy rules seemlessly. But these same rules usually drag the game down, imbalance characters and lock out options

New spells are overall a good thing, a lot of good effects and tricks can be found there. Many caveats intrinsic to magic though - like at which level a given spell should be available without trivializing exploration. I would have preferred a stricter ruling about not adding spells to spell lists, but swapping them. It's weakly suggested as a possibility in a few 3e splats, but not vehemently enough.
The lack of restraint on spell list IS the problem.
Skill variants, I don't know what you mean.
Skill points
Class only skills



Feats that gate off common actions" is debatable. Are you referring to maneuver feats as an example? Those are ok if limited to 1. The issue is chains not designed as an actual chain but as mere improvements that should be automatic (in this 4e was correct, I say this as a non-fan). Probably the best idea is also also add feats that give you alternative routes, like the Dirty Fighter pathfinder feat. Ironic, because Pathfinder split up maneuver feats which was a massive mistake.
What else is gated off? Stuff like Spring Attack? Miself, I find 5e movement too "free" (I am aware I am in a strict minority) but I think it works only if many monsters and possibily PCs are played in a suboptimal, especially at low levels.
I mean...

Can't disarm well without the Imp Disarm feat.
Can't craft basic healing potions without Brew Potion
Can't use rituals without Ritual Caster.
Can't Charge without Charger
 

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