On meaningless restrictions

So I was thinking today. What restrictions in the game could we remove because they aren't really adding anything but instead just restricting choice for no good reason.

Take for example class skills. Why not open up every character to picking any skills. What harm does that do? It certainty helps with character concept.

Take for example saving throws. Why can't a player just choose 1 major (dex, con, wis) and 1 minor (str, int, cha) to be proficient in? What does that hurt? It certainly can help with character concept IMO.

Thoughts?
 

atanakar

Adventurer
You can do that at your table. That is the beauty of 5e. It doesn't enforce a single type of play across all groups. The main idea behind 5e is to speed up character creation to make the game accessible to more players. With 5e, D&D is an entry level game. Adding more choices makes the creation process longer. Also, restrictions are in place to block and reduce the number of abusive builds.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Take for example class skills. Why not open up every character to picking any skills. What harm does that do? It certainty helps with character concept.
I agree with this.
Take for example saving throws. Why can't a player just choose 1 major (dex, con, wis) and 1 minor (str, int, cha) to be proficient in? What does that hurt? It certainly can help with character concept IMO.
Remove the dependency on Con for concentration saves (so every caster doesn't automatically pick Con), and I'd be down with this too.

Here's another one: Weapon proficiencies. I can't think of anything that would be broken by allowing all classes to have proficiency with simple and martial weapons. Weapon-using clerics would get slightly better, but they needed the buff anyway.
 
You can do that at your table. That is the beauty of 5e. It doesn't enforce a single type of play across all groups. The main idea behind 5e is to speed up character creation to make the game accessible to more players. With 5e, D&D is an entry level game. Adding more choices makes the creation process longer. Also, restrictions are in place to block and reduce the number of abusive builds.
What abusive builds do you forsee if the restrictions I mentioned are removed?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What abusive builds do you forsee if the restrictions I mentioned are removed?
I’m generally in favor of lessening class restrictions, but to endorse Mephistopheles just a bit, I think it’s less about preventing abusive builds and more about keeping class identities separate (or “niche protection” if you prefer). YMMV on how much that matters, but I would say there comes a point where you might as well just do away with classes all together.
 
I'm happy with players taking any skill for their character and consider class and background skills just to be suggestions.

The way 5e handles saving throws just seems "off" to me. I liked the idea of them being attached to individual ability scores, but having "proficiency" in saving throws and how those bonuses and lack-thereof end up playing out in higher level play doesn't seem right to me. I've pondered alternatives: 1) making saving throws straight ability checks, 2) making it based on proficiency bonuses only, 3) returning to Fortitude/Reflex/Will or making it skill based and reintroducing concentration and endurance skills. Nothing quite works right for me, but the current system doesn't either
 

HarbingerX

Rob Of The North
Ultimately, restrictions are what give the game its shape and feel. If you have no restrictions, then it’s up to the individual table to decide what exists, what doesn’t, and how it all inter-relates. For example - does your world have chainmail wearing spellcasters? It is the things that are restricted that determine what exists.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I'm pretty flexible with some restrictions, but I'm pretty rigid with others. I imagine everyone behind the DM screen feels the same way.

If you want your sorcerer to be proficient with chainmail armor and thieves' tools, go for it. Tell me all about how you learned to use these things in your origin story and background, and I'll work with you.

If you want to switch out one class feature for another so that you can circumvent a particular penalty, and then combine it with a non-core Whatever to create an exploit to let you do something that normally isn't allowed, or to let you always get Advantage on etc., I've already stopped listening. The answer is going to be "No."

So I guess it depends on what you consider "meaningless."
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Take for example class skills. Why not open up every character to picking any skills. What harm does that do? It certainty helps with character concept.
Hm. We'd want to think of this, in terms of what might happen with Expertise. You could certainly see some issues of niche protection, in which the party Rogue outdoes some other character within their own niche.
 
I was talking in general terms. From a design point of view. ;)
And I asked a specific question about removing a few specific restrictions. Instead of responding by telling me what you were talking about (and then having me do the same and going back and forth repeatedly ad nauseum), why not just answer the question?
 
Hm. We'd want to think of this, in terms of what might happen with Expertise. You could certainly see some issues of niche protection, in which the party Rogue outdoes some other character within their own niche.
Backgrounds rules allow you to become proficient in virtually any skill
There are races that get an extra skill of your choice
There is a feat that allows you to take any 3 skills you want
There is also a feat that allows for expertise

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the rogue can already be better than anyone else at whatever skill he wants.
 
  • Druids and metal armor. Just say medium armor
  • Arcane tricksters and EK limitation to component pouches and not a spell focus
  • Racial restrictions on subclasses
  • Alignment restrictions on any magical item that's not a relic or artifact. Even then if the magical item in question has a sentience it picks wielder.
 
Ultimately, restrictions are what give the game its shape and feel. If you have no restrictions, then it’s up to the individual table to decide what exists, what doesn’t, and how it all inter-relates. For example - does your world have chainmail wearing spellcasters? It is the things that are restricted that determine what exists.
It seems to me that you are conflating restrictions in the general sense with "meaningless restrictions" spoken of in the OP.

You aren't attempting to argue that all restrictions give the game it's shape and feel such that not one could be removed without the game losing it's shape and feel? Are you?
 
I agree with this.

Remove the dependency on Con for concentration saves (so every caster doesn't automatically pick Con), and I'd be down with this too.

Here's another one: Weapon proficiencies. I can't think of anything that would be broken by allowing all classes to have proficiency with simple and martial weapons. Weapon-using clerics would get slightly better, but they needed the buff anyway.
Great post.

Thinking about that, I think casters should probably just automatically have proficiency in concentration checks. It makes relatively little sense that they don't.

I'm a little more concerned with weapon proficiencies. That one removes alot of flavor. For example giving wizards heavy crossbows flat out makes the crossbow outshine their cantrip attacks in heroic tier. That to me reveals a purpose for not granting proficiency in weapons to everyone.
 

FaerieGodfather

Born in the Soul of Misery
One thing I can give 4e/5e credit for is removing the incomprehensibly asinine alignment restrictions on non-divine classes-- Paladins and Clerics, of course, could be legitimately argued, but most of the other classes had no excuse for it.

Did PF2 finally break down and do this, too? I remember getting into a number of nasty fights on the Paizo forums over it.

I do not like the multiclassing system in any form of WotC D&D, but at least Humans have access to it now.

Racial level limits weren't "meaningless", but they were certainly poorly designed and I'm glad they're gone.

I am actually at a point with most flavors of D&D where I think a bunch of meaningless restrictions need to be lifted... right now, it's more a case of very important restrictions needing to be restored.
 

Lylandra

Explorer
So I was thinking today. What restrictions in the game could we remove because they aren't really adding anything but instead just restricting choice for no good reason.

Take for example class skills. Why not open up every character to picking any skills. What harm does that do? It certainty helps with character concept.

Take for example saving throws. Why can't a player just choose 1 major (dex, con, wis) and 1 minor (str, int, cha) to be proficient in? What does that hurt? It certainly can help with character concept IMO.

Thoughts?
I guess it depends on your group and their affinity for min/maxing. Regarding skills, guess what most people will choose first once skills are FFA? Perception.

Saving throws might work well, I suppose. I guess the classes all got 1 major/minor and 1 mental 1 physical, but yeah...

I also don't see any reason why cleric spontaneous spellcasting should be alignment-based
 

atanakar

Adventurer
And I asked a specific question about removing a few specific restrictions. Instead of responding by telling me what you were talking about (and then having me do the same and going back and forth repeatedly ad nauseum), why not just answer the question?
I answered you. Restrictions are not meaningless from my point of view. I would not do any of the changes you propose. But go ahead and do what you want at your table.
 

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