Perfect edition update (kinda + thread)

Some pieces I would add into my game:

  • Better monster design, specifically around
    • more spell-like effects rather than spell so that players can't just shut down everything with counterspell.
    • more templates so that DMs don't feel hamstrung around how a monster is presented but are more open to tweak creatures
    • more action-oriented monsters / legendary-like monsters a la Matt Colville to make boss fights feel more epic
  • Introduce a 'dramatic scene' encounter system that unlock cool new powers that both monsters and players can use for specific encounters that kick things up a notch for encounters/scenes that are meant to be, and feel, epic. Having it as a mechanical effect clues players into what's happening in a blatantly obvious way. Idea adapted from FantasyCraft.
  • I would add more options with hit dice such as spending them for martial effects and giving them to spell casters for slots or spell points in some way (particularly sorcerers since that feels thematically correct to me, as well as some warlocks).
  • I would experiment with doing away with spell slots, at least for wizards, and put limits on how often specific spells can be cast (still requiring a certain class level to cast them). Combine with needing a roll to cast successfully. Upcasting would be banished without expensive spell components -- that's where the energy comes from for upcasting the spell and encourages adventuring for the components and supports the exploration pillar of play. Personally, I like the idea of harvesting monster parts, too, supporting the combat pillar (not that it needs much more support).
  • Add a tiered mechanic (similar to Cypher System) for gaining hit points from hit dice w/o requiring healing or a full short rest:
    • Once per long rest, spend a bonus action and spend 1 hit die to gain that die+CON on hit points to 'catch your breath'
    • Then, same thing, but it costs you a full action (obviously this doesn't apply to 1st level characters)
    • Then, same thing, but it costs you 1 minute (doesn't apply to 1st/2nd level characters)
    • Reset everything after a long rest
  • Make long rests more dangerous: You can keep watch for a 2 hour period during your 8 hour long rest ... but if anything disturbs you during the remaining time you don't get the benefit of the long rest -- this is to encourage those on watch to deal with encounters without just waking the entire party and making it more nail biting/tense. It's the classic movie scene where the one character wanders off to investigate that odd noise.
  • Hardcore mode ... limiting HP, creating vitality points out of constitution ... something optional for campaigns that want to go that route.
 

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Core game: levels 1-10
Additional supplements: levels 11-20 (with prestige classes, more feats, variant class features)

3 subclasses for each core phb class (pare cleric and wizard subclass options especially)

Organize spells into arcane and divine, and then organize by level.

Use the front inside covers as a quick rules reference

cross reference using page numbers

Include a ~40 page running the game section for dms that includes advice on 1. how to run the game, 2. quick-start adventure creation and sample adventure, 3. session 0 and social contract stuff, and 4. some basic magic items for your intro adventure
(the idea of a $50 dmg as a core book has outstayed its welcome, imo. There's no shortage of dm advice out there, and wotc I think has started to make its own online content for dms.)

edit: get rid of bonus actions and counterspell
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Take the 2014 PHB and expand it slightly
  • Make most optional rules from XGtE and TCoE the new standard, leaving the 2014 rules in as optional
  • Add Artificer and several popular sub-classes from XGtE and TCoE
  • Rework Race rules using MMotM standard. Add 3-4 popular races from other books
  • Make Feats standard with ASI and Multiclassing optional
  • Add all spells from XGtE and TCoE
Rework Monster Manual in MMotM style

Rework DMG. 1/3 focused on tips for running modules, 1/3 on magic items, 1/3 on tips for home brewing
 

Warlords and Psions are in
Sorcerers are done up as more of a free form caster where, rather than just casting spells, you spend points for the desired outcome. Can mimic the regular spells with this, but it’s free form and gives sorc its own niche

That’s all I got that so far
 


Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
A usable Index that locates, not conceals, information.

4e-style monster 'job descriptions' (lurker, artillery, &c).

Separate fluff and crunch in spell descriptions. (Class features too.) The crunch should be written to clearly describe how the spell works.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
So there is an update coming in 2024... maybe 5.5 maybe 6e most likely witch ever it is (or how we refer to it) WotC will push it as "50th Anniversary D&D"

overall I can't imagine they will EVER abandon the base d20 system that 3e,3.5,4e,and 5e are built on... but as Star Wars Saga, Mutants and Masterminds, and other systems have shown us (Deadlands d20 and D20 Cthulhu also) you can make BIG changes (again like 3/4/5es) and still use that frame work. However I would bet dollars to donuts the frame work will look MORE like 5e then any of those others...

but we have threads talking about Vitality and wounds, as well as 100+ threads edition waring about fighter and caster discrepancy. But without fighting, without putting down (although still maybe working off each other) what would YOUR perfect 2024 PHB look like?

This isn't for "what's most likely" or "this is what I am thinking it will be" but if you could alter reality so the dev team saw things your way... what would the 2024 PHB look like...

I have this labeled 'kinda +' so please don't tear down others ideas... even if you are going to post the opposite of someone let your ideas stand on there own not as 'better' then others.
Unpopular opinion: I'd breathe a sigh of relief if this much-hyped "50th Anniversary D&D" turns out to be just a 5E reprint of the core rulebooks, but with errata and a leather cover. That is what I'm hoping they do, and I make sure to mention that in every survey they send out.

See, here's the thing. I'm not shopping for a new edition, and I'm not going to switch to something drastically different from what I'm already using and accustomed to. Sure, there's still 2 long years for me to reconsider that stance, but it's going to be a long uphill battle to talk me into buying new books. (Seriously, I looked it up: according to Amazon, my 5E hardcopy library would cost $431 if I were to purchase it today, and according to the Roll20 Marketplace, my digital compendium would cost $450. I don't know what that says about me as a person, but here we are.)

I'm really only interested in an updated set of core rulebooks that combines all of the errata, plus all the materials from Xanathar's, Tasha's, Mordenkainen's, Volo's, Fizban's, etc. into a single three-book set. That's pretty much it: I want a fancy reprint of what I already have...not a new game or a new game edition.

I told you it was an unpopular opinion.

But who knows? Two years is a long time for me to change my mind.
 
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Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
They core rulebooks are setting-agnostic. No listed alignments for the general player races, because what alignment might fit for Toril won't fit for Eberron or Dark Sun. No gods are mentioned unless it specifically says "in the Forgotten Realms/Krynn/Oerth/etc".

More classes work like the Warlock (especially Fighters). You get your Subclass at level 1 (which gives you additional benefits when you level up), Eldritch Invocation-style features at level 2 (getting more at later levels), and a "Pact" at level 3 (So, like the Martial classes getting a Fighting Style, but with a bit more mechanical crunch).

The Artificer becomes a core class and gets as many subclasses in later books as every other class.

The adventuring day is shortened to 2-3 combat encounters every day.

There are Mythic Monsters in the Monster Manual (probably the Tarrasque, Liches/Demiliches, Death Knights, and maybe some high-CR Celestials). Oh, and there are at least two monsters of every Challenge Rating in the Monster Manual. And similar monsters are put together, not all alphabetical (so all Goblinoids are in the "G" section, like how the 4 main Elementals are grouped together in the 5e MM).

The Dungeon Master's Guide gives more advice for beginner DMs to learn why specific parts of the system are designed the way they are. It would explain better how to make a homebrew class/race/weapon of similar power to the PHB ones instead of mainly saying "reflavor something else".
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Basically the same core as 5E, with the Tasha's and Monsters of the Multiverse changes built in, along with the Feat at 1st tied to a Background fir everyone.

Plus...reworking the Classes so that Short Rests aren't assumed, and stripping as much assumed flavor as possible and putting that on Backgrounds (Thieves Can't fir a Criminal Background, not the Rogue Class, no Orientalism or Monasticism for the Martisl Artist, etc.).
 


Horwath

Hero
What I would like to see:

more options for customization.

feat slots at levels; 1,1,2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20.
make all feats equal to current half feats(break some full feats into two feats if need be).
this would give 12 total of "half feats"
With 2 (half) feats at 1st level, it's not a hige impact if some race get the 3rd (half)feat at 1st level

at levels 5,9,13,17 you get +1 ASI, that can be exchanged for a (half)feat.

at levels 3,7,11,15,19 you get additional skill proficiency or combinations of 3 tools,languages or weapons.

10th level spells for full casters at 19th class level. One spell slot only.

"racial" ASIs of +2/+2, or +2/+1/+1/+1, or +1/+1/+1/+1/+1/+1.

Clear definition of "racial" features that are "genetic" and learned.

I.E.
"genetic" would be darkvision, higher or lower base speed, movement mods, proficiency(expertise) in Perception or Athletics, various resistances and/or immunities. Innate spellcasting,
while "learned" features would be various other proficiencies(expertise) or advantages on some checks(mostly "knowledge" checks).

Short rests removed or reduced to 1-5 min duration.

Clear rules on Stealth and penalties for Perception per distance and outside conditions.
Clear DCs on Perception for Verbal/Somatic components.

Return of GP cost of magic items or at least sorting out items in Common, Uncommon, rare, very rare, legendary categories.
Now it't just a mess.

fixing the CR system.

ALL spellcasters get at least 3 cantrips when they gain access to spells.

Balance out weapons. raise damage die category for all non-finesse weapons.

Remove stealth penalty from all medium armors or better yet, remove medium armor category.

have light shield(buckler) with +1 AC tied to light armor proficiency.

Unified rules for mounts/companions/familiars/sidekicks/cohorts/etc...
Bonus action to use their Actions except Dodge/Dash/Disengage.

bound the bounded accuracy:
No item can give more than +1 to attack rolls, DCs, saves, AC.

Remove the "set the ability to X" items.
add +2/+4 items with raising the max score for +2/+4. Rare and Very rare category.
If you want high score with magic, invest in that score naturally first.

Have advantage/disadvantage stack to 3 dice max.
Elven accuracy improves 1st source of advantage to 2 sources to max of 4 dice for advantage.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
My perfect one would incoorate elements vod 3E to 5E with some concepts from OSR. Star Wars Saga as well.

Would probably use the 5E engine but the game would be grittier. Less healing but less encounters expected probably 1-4 vs 6-8.

Hit point bloat would be reined in. Microfeats would come back. Armor would be overhauled along with feats.

Exhaustion or a condition track would be used more. Undead energy drain would cause exhaustion.

Class bloat would also be cut down. Would consider letting martials be proficient in all saves and/or level up faster. They're never gonna be able to balance magic vs mundane at a price worth paying.

Dex to damage would be gone burger aling with the -5/+10 feats.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
please no.

anything from prestige class can be made into feats with little higher level requirement.

I would be open to it but different in implementation.

Limited to one maybe two if they're related eg Jedi Knight into Master. Just an example I know there's no Jedi in D&D.

And a lot less of them and tied to in game organizations.

Everyone gets feats at 1,3,6,7 etc martials get more and 5E type class features.
 


Despite my misgivings about 5e, it is inarguable that (a) it has brought people into the hobby, and (b) familiarity is important.

So, for me, a "perfect" edition upgrade would need to bring back as much as possible of 4e, without compromising the positive things 5e has brought to the table. This would, necessarily, be a tricky thing, navigating a difficult space. But I think it is possible, albeit there would be a fair amount of testing required.

Things that could be translated (not simply copied!) from 4e:
  • Healing surges. Probably the single easiest system to translate over, though I have seen criticisms of how 4e approached things that might warrant meaningful changes in doing the translation. I didn't personally agree with those criticisms, but examining such things is one of the most important parts of testing.
  • "At-will" powers for everyone, not just casters. Again, this should be pretty easy to import.
  • Skill Challenges. Ideally iterated and improved upon, learning from how the community handled them (e.g. the "Obsidian Skill Challenge system.")
  • The 4e perspective on what skills are. I don't know why, but 5e has induced some bizarrely narrow, closed-off interpretations of skills, very contrary to the broad, open-ended way 4e skills were presented, even though the text itself doesn't really support such a narrow reading. Baking such open-endedness explicitly into the text would be a significant improvement.
  • Backgrounds+Themes. 5e BGs are...tolerable. But they could be much better. 4e themes, especially near the end of its run, were really quite good, and present a lot of fun opportunities.
  • Some classes, in particular Warlord, but also Shaman and Avenger. For the latter two, although it would emphatically not be my preference, I could see them working as subclasses of Druid and Rogue respectively, rather than full classes in their own right. I'd very much prefer full classes, but as I said above, this is a compromise, so I can't get everything I'd like.
  • Weapon types and properties. I've already spoken about this elsewhere. I think this would add a great deal of richness (and address some of the lingering wonky/uneven balance in 5e's weapon list) while barely affecting the complexity, because weapon properties and types essentially already exist, they're just danced around with oblique references.
  • Though I know this will be highly controversial....roles. Specifically subclass roles, with the direct, explicit statement that (sub)class roles ARE NOT a limitation on what you're ALLOWED to do, but a clear statement of what you DEFINITELY CAN do. Which...is what 4e roles always were, but people apparently need it called out explicitly and repeatedly in order to find it palatable.
  • Fully decoupling monster stat blocks from PC class/race features. Players don't look at statblocks, DMs do. The vast, vast majority do not need to be constructed as though they were something a player could pick up and use. Where possible, it is of course useful to cut down on unnecessary text by exploiting parallelism and symmetry. But do not put game-design aesthetics ahead of at-the-table functionality. Statblocks must work; if they can also be made to look and feel nice, that is lovely, but their function must always come first.
  • Generally just...actually friggin' TEST the game. Not just ask for qualitative feedback. Do mathematical testing. Get actual survey design people, so you can design surveys that are actually effective at telling you what you need to know, not just push-polls confirming what you already intended to do. (I still remember one of the HORRIBLE polls WotC put up, where one of the questions was straight-up "every answer is yes," but ranging from "enthusiastic yes" to "reluctant yes." It was absolutely infuriating, doubly so because I know for certain that whoever posted that poll had no idea how bad it was.
Things I would simply change, which aren't strictly related to keeping something from either edition:
  • Significant revision of the Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlock classes, particularly the first and last. All of these end up relatively weak in 5e's current design structure, particularly due to their dependence on short rests, or their efforts to be totally rest-independent (looking at you, Champion.) Bringing them up to par or even slightly above par would be a huge improvement.
  • Moderate revisions of the Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard classes. The Wizard doesn't really need any more power, but it desperately yearns for more mechanics to support being a magical researcher. Druid mostly just needs Moon to be smoothed out in power; personally, I'd make a specific list of forms that can be taken, so as to make a more regular, natural progression, but there are some other wrinkles here and there to adjust. Sorcerer is straight-up weaker than it should be; bring back the Next Playtest Sorcerer or fix the one we have. Barbarian is okay-ish, but Berserker needs to be yeeted into the sun or fixed because it SUCKS, and several other paths are much weaker than they should be.
  • Rewrite and simplify unarmed strikes and grappling wherever possible. As usual, unarmed strikes are ridiculously over-complicated for no reason. Just stat it up like an ordinary weapon. Grappling is better than unarmed strikes, but it was even more better in 4e, and I'm sure 5e can come up with its own system (whether 4e-derived or not) that is better.
  • Separate ASIs from feats. Feats become an optional rule toggle, with five options: no feats at all, feats instead of ASIs, feats in addition to ASIs, feats instead of ASIs, and feats acquired at a different rate (presumably based on total character level, not class level). Add more good feats and remove some feats if they simply can't be brought up to par (some of the "armor mastery" feats, for example, just...aren't good.)
  • Bring back minor actions, but call them bonus actions (since that's what people are familiar with now). All the ridiculous verbal gymnastics necessary to keep up the charade grows wearying. "You don't have a Bonus Action, things just let you take a Bonus Action sometimes, but you can only take one Bonus Action per turn, and Bonus Actions are absolutely not Actions. Even though they're actions. And other things can let you take bonus Actions, which are not Bonus Actions, even though both things are actions."
  • 5e's fluid rules regarding movement are clearly a big hit, so keep them--but bring back the move action, which you can spend to have your speed's worth of movement, OR to do some OTHER thing with your movement. That opens a ton of design space without changing anything about how 5e currently works. Technically, if we ABSOLUTELY HAVE to preserve the "it's not an action" thing, there are similar ridiculous circumlocutions we can do, but I just really really dislike calling a spade a "metalflap soil extrication assistance device" when we can call it a goddamn spade.
  • Regularize "ancestry" presentation. In my ideal world, implement my list of ancestry options, where each (other than maybe human) has 4 distinct "lineages" or "clans" within each ancestry. Actually friggin' balance them so we don't get issues like the PHB dragonborn a second time.
Unless contradicted above, keep whatever systems are present in 5e. For example, as much as I dislike neo-Vancian spellcasting, it's obviously here to stay, at least until we get a new edition and can try again at fixing that absolute nightmare of a subsystem. Keeping healing more-or-less the way it is, but dependent either on long-rest-based resources (such as spells) or gated via healing surges. Stuff like that. It would take much too long to list all the specific 5e things being kept, so just...presume it's kept unless otherwise specified.

So...yeah. That's what I'd want for my "perfect" 5.5e. I'm absolutely 100% dead certain I'm going to get maybe at best two or three things from the above list. I've made peace with that fact. I'd rather not discuss that specific side of things (whether or not this is plausible) any further, if it's all the same to others.
 


payn

Legend
  • Though I know this will be highly controversial....roles. Specifically subclass roles, with the direct, explicit statement that (sub)class roles ARE NOT a limitation on what you're ALLOWED to do, but a clear statement of what you DEFINITELY CAN do. Which...is what 4e roles always were, but people apparently need it called out explicitly and repeatedly in order to find it palatable.
I don't think that is a distinction you could ever successfully make. If a sub class is good at striking, it will be seen as only striking. 🤷‍♂️
 

I don't think that is a distinction you could ever successfully make. If a sub class is good at striking, it will be seen as only striking. 🤷‍♂️
I have more hope for people being able to recognize "this tells you a thing you CAN do" than that, but fair enough I guess.
 

payn

Legend
I have more hope for people being able to recognize "this tells you a thing you CAN do" than that, but fair enough I guess.
Maybe, I have a teensy bit of hope too, but I have had many experiences at the table/forums with this kind of thing that slaughtered most of the hope I had.
 

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