log in or register to remove this ad

 

6E Mike Mearls “…it’s now obvious how to live without Bonus Actions”' And 6th Edition When Players Ask

With all due respect to Mike Mearls, he is wrong. The action economy in 5th Edition is beautifully designed, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
 

dagger

Explorer
Mike Mearls, following up on his comments on how he would change initiative, is talking more about how he would change bonus actions in D&D 5E. He says that "Bonus actions are fairly hacky, and with 3+ years running the final game under my belt it's now obvious how to live without them." In the same conversation, he also brings up the concept of a new edition, implying that 5E is not necessarily an evergreen edition and that WotC will produce a 6th Edition "when players and DMs ask for it". This is the second time he's recently seeded ideas of core rule changes out there, so something's in the air!


Mike-Mearls-headshot.jpg


"I love Star Frontiers, but my I have to admit that if I did this it would be like 40% to do a 5e-driven game w/o bonus actions. Bonus actions are fairly hacky, and with 3+ years running the final game under my belt it's now obvious how to live without them.

You just need to glue the appropriate actions together - for instance, Two-Weapon Fighting is just a special attack action. Instead of there being an Attack action, you'd have Attack as a category with new class-exclusive options added to it. Cleaner design.

With all that said, nothing that requires a new edition. We'll do that when players and DMs ask for it. No where near that now."


 

Attachments

  • Mike-Mearls-headshot.jpg
    Mike-Mearls-headshot.jpg
    824.5 KB · Views: 13,864
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad


Bonus actions in 5E ARE hacky and too decoupled from the fictional world. There's a lot of places in 5E where you get to do something "as a bonus action" but no consideration is given to what you are actually DOING. Bardic Inspiration is a poster child for this kind of ugliness. If bonus actions didn't exist, presumably the bard would have some kind of ability like "When you cast a spell through song, you can weave your words in such a way that [the ally gets bardic inspiration]." That would make it clear that (1) yes, Bardic Inspiration is compatible with spells that have verbal components; (2) you can't inspire others while gagged (even though you can cast spells while gagged, e.g. Hypnotic Pattern, because it has no Verbal components); (3) it would make it clear you can't inspire others with song while you are busy drinking a potion (Action: drink a potion) because your mouth is busy. The ability could be written in such a way as to be compatible or not compatible with other actions like hiding, attacking, or extra object manipulation as desired. The designer would be encouraged to consider in advance what the ability is really doing from a fictional perspective instead of just lazily slapping gamist "bonus action" jargon on the ability and ignoring the fiction, leaving it all for the DM to fix during gameplay.

Also, bonus actions have weird interactions with other rules like Readying actions: technically, you cannot ready Bardic Inspiration or a Misty Step, although it isn't at all clear from a fictional perspective why that should be the case.

I agree with Mearls that bonus actions in 5E are poorly designed. I might not agree with him on a given proposed solution, but he's right about the problem. They encourage lazy and poor design.
 

Thurmas

Explorer
I'd have to see a UA on it to get a better feel for it, but I think so many things benefit from bonus actions. Specifically, actions that certain classes turn into bonus actions, such as the Rogue and Dash, or spells that allow you to do continuing effects or cast as bonus actions, like Bigby's Hand or Smites. I agree that some things don't work as well, such as the Two Weapon Fighting example, but overall, I like the concept of having the ability to do mini-actions during a turn that shouldn't take a full action. I would prefer to keep them, but just clean them up.
 





Valetudo

Explorer
These things he says makes me hope mearls isnt around for 6th edition. I like bonus actions, can they see some improvements? Sure, but mearls definately wants adifferent game than I do at this point.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
With all due respect to Mike Mearls, he is wrong. The action economy in 5th Edition is beautifully designed, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

I also respect Mike Mearls, and agree with [MENTION=6855149]Prakriti[/MENTION] that Mike is wrong on this issue.

Bonus actions are fine. You only have one if something gives it to you, so in effect, its already "attached".
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Bonus actions are fun! They are intrinsic to 5e.

That being said hemlock is correct when he said:
Bonus actions in 5E ARE .... too decoupled from the fictional world.

But it's too late to fix it now!

I would love to see a 6th edition of the game under Mearl's direction. He's a genius, second only to GG himself.

I am sure his corporate masters are looking at the sales figures from the 5e PHB and saying, let's do that again, that was fun!
 

darjr

I crit!
I'm not convinced either. If you had a category and then every bonus action would be a complicated thing that says (hey you can do this while you do another action, except this one, oh and that one, oh and that new one, at the same time).

Bonus action may be a hack, but it's a freaking brilliant one.
 

James Mullen

First Post
There is no need for a new edition, it's part of the appeal of this version that it can incorporate elements from all previous editions pretty well. There is room for a decent Unearthed Arcana book with variant or optional rules. There are things that could be expanded, like feats, but most of the game structure is beautiful for its efficiency as is. I'd like to see some options for bonus actions, but there's no need for a wholesale revamping or discarding of that system, and they work nicely as they are.
 

Bonus actions in 5E ARE hacky and too decoupled from the fictional world. There's a lot of places in 5E where you get to do something "as a bonus action" but no consideration is given to what you are actually DOING. Bardic Inspiration is a poster child for this kind of ugliness. If bonus actions didn't exist, presumably the bard would have some kind of ability like "When you cast a spell through song, you can weave your words in such a way that [the ally gets bardic inspiration]." That would make it clear that (1) yes, Bardic Inspiration is compatible with spells that have verbal components; (2) you can't inspire others while gagged (even though you can cast spells while gagged, e.g. Hypnotic Pattern, because it has no Verbal components); (3) it would make it clear you can't inspire others with song while you are busy drinking a potion (Action: drink a potion) because your mouth is busy. The ability could be written in such a way as to be compatible or not compatible with other actions like hiding, attacking, or extra object manipulation as desired. The designer would be encouraged to consider in advance what the ability is really doing from a fictional perspective instead of just lazily slapping gamist "bonus action" jargon on the ability and ignoring the fiction, leaving it all for the DM to fix during gameplay.
When you write the effect that way, you're still "leaving it all for the DM to fix during gameplay". You say your wording makes it "clear" that you can't inspire while drinking a potion, but that's not actually what the words say: it's an interpretation which you're assuming the DM will make based on your notion of what constitutes common sense. And if we're assuming common sense, why can't we just say that it's common sense to figure out "what you are actually DOING" when you use this ability?

But set that aside -- let's grant for the sake of argument that your wording is as clear as you claim. I can improve on it and get the best of both worlds simply by appending "As a bonus action on your turn..." to the beginning. The ability is still spelling out what-you're-actually-doing to precisely the same extent, but now it's also keeping straight the timing and the action economy and providing all the other conveniences of the bonus action mechanic. Bonus actions mean DMs don't have to figure out for themselves whether a bard/rogue can cast a spell and inspire and dash all in the same turn.

Look at the history here. The 5E team, including one Mike Mearls, tried really hard in the playtest to design an edition without what were then called "minor actions". The results were circumlocutious and awful. In the end, as you can see, bonus actions made their way back into the design. They are simply the cleanest and simplest way yet discovered to handle a wide variety of effects. Now, Mearls is saying he's figured out a better way, but I'll believe that when I see it.

I'm not going to deny that bonus actions could be better integrated into rules like readying, etc. But it's wildly overkill to burn down the whole concept of the bonus action just because it's not clear that you can ready an inspiration. The rules simply need to make explicit that a bonus action -- being, y'know, an action -- can be performed any time a regular action can. That's how it worked in 4E, after all.

In short, I don't think your complaint is really about bonus actions at all. I think it's about the vague way in which bardic inspiration (and perhaps some other abilities you may have in mind) are written. You can improve the writing there without ditching bonus actions. You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

After all, if we really took your logic seriously, it would also seem to imply that we ought to get rid of actions.
 
Last edited by a moderator:


Bonus actions are very much a child of swift actions and minor actions. They're okay but definitely a little kludge. They pretty much only exist because, late in the playtest, they wanted a way to limit extra attacks granted by various classes.
They snuck back into the edition that way and got used for a whole bunch of extra stuff in the process.

It might have worked just as well to tie bonus action abilities to things like making an attack or casting a spell or moving. Or just having some be non-actions taken once per turn. Using bardic inspiration or raging or making an off-hand attack all don't really require a "bonus action" limitation.

The point of bonus actions was to remove the "standard, move, minor" turn, where you look for something to do with each type of action. The idea being since bonus actions only appeared when you had a power that granted one, they were less in play and not as much of something to worry about "spending" or wasting.
But with so much that uses a bonus action, that desire not to waste your bonus action pops up again...
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I do agree that bonus actions are 'hacky' and they are unintuitive. Probably because they don't directly relate to things that you are doing.

Players at my table often have trouble differentiating between bonus actions and reactions. This was a particular problem for a bard who had bardic inspiration, cutting words, and healing word. The bonus action spell thing with only allowing a follow up cantrip was probably the worst of it. It's fast enough that you can do an action on your turn too, except that 1 action, even though in all other circumstances that action is the same amount of effort as all other actions.

Now that these are the rules we have I'm fine with them. I'm skeptical about Mearls' ideas for removing them but I am curious. He is a great designer, I just suspect inertia will keep me using the current rules.
 

Vampyr3

Explorer
seems like a broken record here on Enworld, but can we get a source on this? as Just posting this does mean anyhting without some source for the words he said, sigh...
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
seems like a broken record here on Enworld, but can we get a source on this? as Just posting this does mean anyhting without some source for the words he said, sigh...

It does mean something.

It gives us stuff to talk about and discuss.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement1

Latest threads

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top