Postmortem: 10 Ideas in 5e that didn't quite work...

Remathilis

Legend
With 5th edition winding down and 1D&D ascending, I'd like to look at some ideas presented during the game's lifespan that didn't quite work out as desired. Some will be removed, some will be changed, and some may yet live to see 5.5. In no paricular order

1.) Backgrounds

Yeah, the kinda exist in the packet as predefined options, but the current background is dead. It started life in D&D next as a kind of mixture of 4e Themes along with 3e-style feat trees before morphing into a collection of non-weapon proficiencies and role-playing aids. It helped define your character as more than just as fighter or a sorcerer, but as a soldier, an outlander, or a sailor. And lots of supplements (Official and 3pp) added more of them to fit every possible origin. However, they maintained a few flaws in their design: most players viewed them as inflexible options for skills and proficiencies despite "customizing your background" being an option. Most of the Features were heavily DM and campaign dependent (and often amounted to little more than "free room and board" or "NPC will cut you some slack". Easily forgotten by both DM and player. They also had a cascading effect as we'll see below. While I genuinely liked the ideas of backgrounds, I don't think they did what WotC wanted in terms of role-playing.

2.) Bonds/Ideas/Flaws/Traits

Alongside Backgrounds were lists of personality traits, written in first person sentences to foster deeper role-playing options by having PCs define their personality, beliefs, and shortcomings. Like the backgrounds they were attached to, they were supposed to offer suggestions, but more than a few PCs took them as the only options for playing your acolytes or urchins. Others picked them at character creation, wrote them down and promptly forgot them, or didn't bother to write them down at all. While BIFTS may exist in some fashion in 5.5, they aren't attached to background and I suspect won't appear as some rollable table of suggestions, though I feel they will probably remain for NPCs in modules.

3.) Trinkets.

Ah trinkets. Little curiosities you rolled for at chargen, wrote-down in your equipment and were ignored afterwards. Sometimes interesting, rarely useful, often forgotten.

4.) Multi-classing

5e brought back 3e style multiclassing, with some adjustments to fix the problems inherent to such a system. Spell slots (but not spells known) were dependent on all caster classes, proficiency bonus and cantrips were a function of character level, not class level, and starting proficiencies were staggered to avoid dipping for free saves and weapons/armors. Despite all this, the system was still primarily used to dip one class into another to pull some low-level features from one class and add it to another. In particular, the Charisma classes (Warlock, Sorcerer, and Paladin) synergized almost too well with each other. Eventually, subclasses and feats became more popular ways to poach from one class and into another, and I wager that multiclassing with get another revision (if it remains at all) to curb abuses and discourage 1-2 level dips.

5.) Inspiration.

Designed as a reward for good role-play (remember those BIFTS?) Inspiration didn't quite work as they wanted. It was hard or inconsistent to get, easily forgotten, and didn't connect to the rest of the system. I see why WotC has opted to make it more widely and consistently useful.

6.) Modular Rules

Ah what sweet summer children we were! The notion that 5e would be rules-modular was partially true: It's a remarkably easy system to house rule. But the dream of Alternative skill systems, advanced combat options, new spell systems, mass combat, alternative ability scores, and other ideas hinted at in the DMG but never expanded on or fleshed out quickly faded. An alternative "Greyhawk" initiative based on weapon/spell speed was UA'd but that was the only attempt at any sort of alternative rule modules we saw from WotC.

7.) Psionics.

Another bit of vaporware: true psionic rules seemed like a necessity and WotC honestly tried to make the Mystic a thing, but it never gelled and eventually collapsed into the vaguely psychic subclass options we have today.

8.) Short Rests

The short rests were designed to resemble the encounter recharge mechanic in 4e: a way to recharge certain abilities more often than a long rest as well as to heal between encounters. But the long duration needed to use one made it hard to do in most situations (if you were safe enough to take a lunch break, you probably weren't in the kind of place you needed to recharge those abilities in) and the fact certain classes and races (warlock, monk, fighter, dragonborn) needed them far more than others lead to a lot of tension in using them. They still exist in some fashion, but I wager the change from short-rest recharge to prof/day will make their usefulness dimmish further.

9.) Hit Dice

Speaking of, they were great for short rests to heal hp without magic, but as short rests were skipped either due to the inability to safely rest for an hour or skipped instead for a long-rest, HD rarely had a chance to shine. It seems a few more options to use them to heal 4e style (spending them in combat or via a spell) might bring them more use beyond low level.

10. Pact Magic

I'm going to get some flack for this. Pact Magic is the Warlock method of casting spells; a few spell slots recharged over a short rest and always cast at max efficiency seemed like an interesting alterative to spellcasting on paper, but warlock magic was very finicky. It was a very hard concept for new players to wrap their heads around always casting at max level (no, you use your 5th level spell slot to cast your 1st level spell as if it was 5th level), was wholly dependent on frequent short rests, and was an absolute nightmare with multiclassing. Further, the spell list went up to 9th level, but levels 6-9 were part of a different class feature (mystic arcanum) and didn't use spell slots at all to cast. The system looked cool, but maybe (if WotC is open to more radical adjustment to the class system) it would be better to have warlocks be a regular spell slot caster akin to sorcerer or bard rather than their own weird spell system that doesn't play nice with the rest of the game.

That's my list. Got one to add? Disagree? Let me have it!
 
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You got a like from me for generating an interesting discussion!

I will add more detail tomorrow. I agree in some areas but not backgrounds or pact magic! I will say more when I have more time. But backgrounds helped to get me in the right frame of mind and remember those bits.

We always did backgrounds back to 1e—but these little pithy bits helped focus me!

Conversely, in generally made my own using the suggestions as..suggestions!

The proble her is the player. They take an advantageous skill set but lose the baggage: It’s on us as individuals and groups to keep it!

That said never once have we used inspiration for playing your character. It’s a reward in itself even for this heavy combat swashbuckling group of mine!
 



I disagree about traits/ideals/bonds/flaws, as I've always found them useful as a player and DM. My biggest issue was trying to tie them to backgrounds, instead of being their own section (like alignment). The provide a simple framework for the player and DM to tie the character into the world and guide roleplay.

Your issues with short rests aren't universal. I've heard lots of complaints about them, but I've not experienced many issues. The frequency of short rests in our group depends on the party composition (more short rest classes means more short rests) and level (since you get more use out of multiple rests at higher level).
 


TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Mostly right on the list.

Modular rules, and that this was already supposed to be 1D&D, was very hyped in Next and then faded very fast. And it was sad. Part of the Next One seems to be locking down and narrowing things even more.

As for Warlock, so close to such a good class. They really should not blow it up. We will see.
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
This is an interesting list. I agree with you on 2, 3, 5, 6 -- none of them produced better play at the table.

1. Backgrounds. I think Backgrounds were great, and better even than the designers realized in terms of supporting new and interesting builds. I won't speak for "most players", but consistently at the tables I was at, backgrounds were key to character formation. And I loved that customization of backgrounds was presented as an possibility (not even an "optional rule") out the gate. I used custom origins a lot, and appreciated that it urged us to have a hook for creative play intersecting with mechanics.

4. Multi-classing works fine. Dips can be a problem in white-room design discussions, but I have not seen them as a problem when characters are actually levelling up.

7. They had a few options for Psionics: (a) don't have them; (b) have a new core class; (c) psionic subclasses for existing classes; (d) pisonics just as feats. Everyone has a preference, and despite starting with (a), they eventually went with (c) and (d). Some people will have wanted other things (they tried (b) in a UA and were attacked, despite it being clever and original), and in the end they'be made a reasonable choice that some people like, and I think it allows some fine builds.

8./9. We've seen that they are moving away from short rests to proficiency times per long rest. I think the "need to win" made players of some classes based on long rests antsy -- short rests helped some classes more than others. Players look to their own sheet first. You're right that these didn't work as intended at most tables.

10. I don't think Pact Magic is as complex as you make out, but it's a new system, and it blended with the invocations. levelled spells were less important than invocations and cantrips, unlike other casting classes. Just that meant they worked as intended, I feel.
 

delericho

Legend
Most of the Features were heavily DM and campaign dependent (and often amounted to little more than "free room and board" or "NPC will cut you some slack". Easily forgotten by both DM and player. They also had a cascading effect as we'll see below. While I genuinely liked the ideas of backgrounds, I don't think they did what WotC wanted in terms of role-playing.

I actually thought this was a good thing about Backgrounds. Who you were before you started really should be one of the least interesting parts of the character. Plus, making the benefits from the background trivial also meant it was something of a "free hit" - no need to pick your background to optimize synergy with your preferred class.

3.) Trinkets.

Ah trinkets. Little curiosities you rolled for at chargen, wrote-down in your equipment and were ignored afterwards. Sometimes interesting, rarely useful, often forgotten.

Likewise, these were working as intended, I think - they provided some marginal interest at character creation, but otherwise could be completely ignored.

One I would like to add:

Lair Actions: These were fine, and a good idea, but they were also too rare, and too restricted to high-CR foes. Which meant, given that the vast majority of play is in levels 1-10, they very rarely ever came into play.

Fortunately the fix for these is pretty simple: give more monsters lair actions earlier.
 

Er
What??
Not sure how you played but bonds, backgrounds and trinkets were a massive part.
Gutted Spelljammer doesn't have a new trinket table. A trinket has saved the day many a time.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
I would add (with 11 as Lair actions, above):

12. Ranger. I think we know the Ranger didn't work out as intended. But they've made lots of changes, and the result (with Tasha's optional abilities) is pretty solid -- unique abilities and not overpowered. And they have a mechanism for Beastmaster that they've replicated for other core classes to (Firewarden druid, artificer).

13. Wizard specialties. Apart from the Diviner's Portent, very few of the ways to specialize as a wizard given in the PHB were fun: getting a reduction on spell transcription costs is like a coupon you never use.

14. Gish. This is not an archetype I play, and so I admit I don't fully understand it. The PHB had Abjurer Wizards and Eldritch Knights, neither of which satisfied. Xanathar gave us War Magic, which didn't fly. Tasha adds Bladesinging, and doesn't limit it to Elves. Hexblade Warlock, Valor Bards, Sword Bard, Hexadin, Sorcadin. The list goes on. There are so many ways to be a melee wizard, and people are always unhappy. I think Bladesinging is the closest to the archetype as I understand it, but this more than anything seems to point to a type of play they have struggled to meet.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
That's my list. Got one to add? Disagree? Let me have it!

I think you're making a big mistake.

Most of the stuff you mention effectively work as options. Instead of trying to frame an "intended use" for each one of them, you should ask yourself in how many different ways the gaming groups have used them.

For instance, Backgrounds can be used by some gaming groups just to give a bit of narrative backup to characters of a certain class picking proficiencies usually of another class. This could have been a cut-and-dry rule such as "pick two skills from the whole list", instead the idea of Background is "pick a background to narrate why you have those two skills". OTOH Backgrounds can be used by another group to create a placement for a PC in the setting: PC1 is the town sage, PC2 is a noble in the local court and PC3 is in the prison guards. If you run a campaign where the PCs don't live their lives behind and become full-time travelling adventurers, these (and the related features) will be handy and will be used. Yet another gaming group might instead focus on their chosen background just as a source of roleplaying suggestions. All of these are fine ways to use backgrounds.

Same goes with Inspiration, Short Rests, Multiclassing... these ARE modular in some sense, or "dialable". The fact that some of these rules are inconsistent is a strength exactly because it allows them to be used differently by different groups. They fact that some don't even connect is also a strength because then a group is even able to completely ignore them if they aren't interested. I can understand wanting more connection for something that you like, but for example 3e was burdensome because too many things connected too much, and didn't give much freedom to individual groups (if you tried to change something, you had to work on how it affected several other things).

All in all, these made 5e work more as a toolbox than a rigid system, and this was very much intended when designers repeatedly stated that the purpose was to allow for as many different playstyle as possible.

Now the 1D&D revision sound like the designers have grown more opinionated about how everyone should play the game (a trend seen in much stronger tones 15 years ago): everybody should use feats, everybody should use inspiration, everybody should make a big deal of backgrounds... This is actually quite surprising, considering that in the more narrative/roleplaying areas of the game they've gone a long way towards more inclusivity. So why are they moving towards less inclusivity of playstyles?
 

FireLance

Legend
8.) Short Rests

The short rests were designed to resemble the encounter recharge mechanic in 4e: a way to recharge certain abilities more often than a long rest as well as to heal between encounters. But the long duration needed to use one made it hard to do in most situations (if you were safe enough to take a lunch break, you probably weren't in the kind of place you needed to recharge those abilities in) and the fact certain classes and races (warlock, monk, fighter, dragonborn) needed them far more than others lead to a lot of tension in using them. They still exist in some fashion, but I wager the change from short-rest recharge to prof/day will make their usefulness dimmish further.
Actually, the only thing that 5E changed about short rests was to increase the time required from 5 minutes to 1 hour. In 4E, you had to take a short rest to get your encounter powers back. It would be truly ironic if some people say that they prefer 5E to 4E because they think that you got your encounter powers back whenever you started a new encounter in 4E, when it is actually 5E which had features such as Relentless and Perfect Self that gave Battlemasters and Monks superiority dice and ki whenever they rolled initiative and didn't have any.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I have never once thought that psionics were a necessity in D&D. In fact I think they feel incredibly out-of-place in a fantasy setting.

But here's the deal. Some people agree with me, and some people agree with you, but most people are going to fall somewhere in between. And that entire field between those two goalposts is the reason why creating cohesive, balanced, and fun rules for a psionics mechanic, in D&D, is always going to be a challenge. Psionics means too many different things, in differing amounts, to different people...try as they may, there will likely never be a consensus on what "psionics" needs to look like in D&D. The doomed Mystic was not the first failed attempt, nor will it be the last.

The closest approximation I've seen to the classic AD&D Psion in 5th Edition is the Aberrant Mind sorcerer, using the optional rule for Spell Points in the DMG. It's close, but no psi-cigar.
 
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With 5th edition winding down and 1D&D ascending, I'd like to look at some ideas presented during the game's lifespan that didn't quite work out as desired. Some will be removed, some will be changed, and some may yet live to see 5.5. In no paricular order

1.) Backgrounds

Yeah, the kinda exist in the packet as predefined options, but the current background is dead. It started life in D&D next as a kind of mixture of 4e Themes along with 3e-style feat trees before morphing into a collection of non-weapon proficiencies and role-playing aids. It helped define your character as more than just as fighter or a sorcerer, but as a soldier, an outlander, or a sailor. And lots of supplements (Official and 3pp) added more of them to fit every possible origin. However, they maintained a few flaws in their design: most players viewed them as inflexible options for skills and proficiencies despite "customizing your background" being an option. Most of the Features were heavily DM and campaign dependent (and often amounted to little more than "free room and board" or "NPC will cut you some slack". Easily forgotten by both DM and player. They also had a cascading effect as we'll see below. While I genuinely liked the ideas of backgrounds, I don't think they did what WotC wanted in terms of role-playing.

2.) Bonds/Ideas/Flaws/Traits

Alongside Backgrounds were lists of personality traits, written in first person sentences to foster deeper role-playing options by having PCs define their personality, beliefs, and shortcomings. Like the backgrounds they were attached to, they were supposed to offer suggestions, but more than a few PCs took them as the only options for playing your acolytes or urchins. Others picked them at character creation, wrote them down and promptly forgot them, or didn't bother to write them down at all. While BIFTS may exist in some fashion in 5.5, they aren't attached to background and I suspect won't appear as some rollable table of suggestions, though I feel they will probably remain for NPCs in modules.

3.) Trinkets.

Ah trinkets. Little curiosities you rolled for at chargen, wrote-down in your equipment and were ignored afterwards. Sometimes interesting, rarely useful, often forgotten.

4.) Multi-classing

5e brought back 3e style multiclassing, with some adjustments to fix the problems inherent to such a system. Spell slots (but not spells known) were dependent on all caster classes, proficiency bonus and cantrips were a function of character level, not class level, and starting proficiencies were staggered to avoid dipping for free saves and weapons/armors. Despite all this, the system was still primarily used to dip one class into another to pull some low-level features from one class and add it to another. In particular, the Charisma classes (Warlock, Sorcerer, and Paladin) synergized almost too well with each other. Eventually, subclasses and feats became more popular ways to poach from one class and into another, and I wager that multiclassing with get another revision (if it remains at all) to curb abuses and discourage 1-2 level dips.

5.) Inspiration.

Designed as a reward for good role-play (remember those BIFTS?) Inspiration didn't quite work as they wanted. It was hard or inconsistent to get, easily forgotten, and didn't connect to the rest of the system. I see why WotC has opted to make it more widely and consistently useful.

6.) Modular Rules

Ah what sweet summer children we were! The notion that 5e would be rules-modular was partially true: It's a remarkably easy system to house rule. But the dream of Alternative skill systems, advanced combat options, new spell systems, mass combat, alternative ability scores, and other ideas hinted at in the DMG but never expanded on or fleshed out quickly faded. An alternative "Greyhawk" initiative based on weapon/spell speed was UA'd but that was the only attempt at any sort of alternative rule modules we saw from WotC.

7.) Psionics.

Another bit of vaporware: true psionic rules seemed like a necessity and WotC honestly tried to make the Mystic a thing, but it never gelled and eventually collapsed into the vaguely psychic subclass options we have today.

8.) Short Rests

The short rests were designed to resemble the encounter recharge mechanic in 4e: a way to recharge certain abilities more often than a long rest as well as to heal between encounters. But the long duration needed to use one made it hard to do in most situations (if you were safe enough to take a lunch break, you probably weren't in the kind of place you needed to recharge those abilities in) and the fact certain classes and races (warlock, monk, fighter, dragonborn) needed them far more than others lead to a lot of tension in using them. They still exist in some fashion, but I wager the change from short-rest recharge to prof/day will make their usefulness dimmish further.

9.) Hit Dice

Speaking of, they were great for short rests to heal hp without magic, but as short rests were skipped either due to the inability to safely rest for an hour or skipped instead for a long-rest, HD rarely had a chance to shine. It seems a few more options to use them to heal 4e style (spending them in combat or via a spell) might bring them more use beyond low level.

10. Pact Magic

I'm going to get some flack for this. Pact Magic is the Warlock method of casting spells; a few spell slots recharged over a short rest and always cast at max efficiency seemed like an interesting alterative to spellcasting on paper, but warlock magic was very finicky. It was a very hard concept for new players to wrap their heads around always casting at max level (no, you use your 5th level spell slot to cast your 1st level spell as if it was 5th level), was wholly dependent on frequent short rests, and was an absolute nightmare with multiclassing. Further, the spell list went up to 9th level, but levels 6-9 were part of a different class feature (mystic arcanum) and didn't use spell slots at all to cast. The system looked cool, but maybe (if WotC is open to more radical adjustment to the class system) it would be better to have warlocks be a regular spell slot caster akin to sorcerer or bard rather than their own weird spell system that doesn't play nice with the rest of the game.

That's my list. Got one to add? Disagree? Let me have it!
Agree with all except Pact Magic. I see where you're coming from, but the real issue is it being Short Rest-dependent. Other than that it functions really well. My experience differs from yours re: new players understanding it - I saw the opposite. New players were confused as hell by the main spellcasting system, but not by Pact Magic. I don't think making Warlocks into "Arcane Full Cast Number 4!" makes any sense at all lol. But I could see changing Pact Magic to be even more obvious and limiting it to specific spells, all of which scale.
 

I have never once thought that psionics were a necessity in D&D. In fact I think they feel incredibly out-of-place in a fantasy setting.

But here's the deal. Some people agree with me, and some people agree with you, but most people are going to fall somewhere in between. And that entire field between those two goalposts is the reason why creating cohesive, balanced, and fun rules for a psionics mechanic, in D&D, is always going to be a challenge. The doomed Mystic was not the first failed attempt, nor will it be the last.

The closest approximation I've seen to the classic AD&D Psion in 5th Edition is the Aberrant Mind sorcerer, using the optional rule for Spell Points in the DMG. It's close, but no psi-cigar.
psionics in fantasy has some pedigree and it seems to no longer really stand up all that well in sci-fi anymore outside of throwbacks, I see it more in occult-themed works honestly.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I have never once thought that psionics were a necessity in D&D. In fact I think they feel incredibly out-of-place in a fantasy setting.

But here's the deal. Some people agree with me, and some people agree with you, but most people are going to fall somewhere in between. And that entire field between those two goalposts is the reason why creating cohesive, balanced, and fun rules for a psionics mechanic, in D&D, is always going to be a challenge. The doomed Mystic was not the first failed attempt, nor will it be the last.

The closest approximation I've seen to the classic AD&D Psion in 5th Edition is the Aberrant Mind sorcerer, using the optional rule for Spell Points in the DMG. It's close, but no psi-cigar.
I feel like WotC is spending so much time trying to reinvent the wheel and make everyone happy with the Psion while missing a fairly easy method. Just make a Psion that uses spells, spell slots/points, and give them abilities that modify those spells, something closer to the 3.5 psionic system. Test that before trying anything else new and whacky. People may want something like 1e/2e psionics, but they have yet to really try out something that integrates a little more cohesively in the existing paradigm.

Agree completely. I use it all the time in Call of Cthulhu...but D&D, not so much.
It's pretty common in romantic fantasy, hence its inclusion in Blue Rose.
 

I have never once thought that psionics were a necessity in D&D. In fact I think they feel incredibly out-of-place in a fantasy setting.

But here's the deal. Some people agree with me, and some people agree with you, but most people are going to fall somewhere in between. And that entire field between those two goalposts is the reason why creating cohesive, balanced, and fun rules for a psionics mechanic, in D&D, is always going to be a challenge. The doomed Mystic was not the first failed attempt, nor will it be the last.
I think the issue with Psionics is, you can't design it for people who "don't want Psionics".

It's like, you can't design Artificers for people who are fundamentally against the idea (me according to some people lol!).

Equally, you can't design Fighters or Wizards for people who, fundamentally/conceptually don't like to play those things.

You have to design classes for the people who do like the basic concept.

The Mystic wasn't doomed by its design, it was doomed by requiring 70% approval in an environment when, well, probably less than 70% of people even want significant Psionics in D&D. As I've said many times, any Full Caster-type class, let alone with a new system, would be doomed if subjected to 70% approval. It's notable that Artificer wasn't subjected to the approval process (as in, there was no possibility of saying no to Artificers period), and frankly, even as a Half-Caster, it wouldn't have passed. I mean, can you imagine though, if 5E launched without Bards or Warlocks, and then tried to add them via the 70% approval process? There absolutely NO possibility either would have got through. It's harder to imagine re: Wizards/Clerics/Sorcerers, but if we imagine a D&D where Sorcerer was the main Arcane caster, and Wizard was added as an entirely new class, subject to the 70% approval, there's no way. People would just say it was a "boring and overpowered" version of the Sorcerer.

psionics in fantasy has some pedigree and it seems to no longer really stand up all that well in sci-fi anymore outside of throwbacks, I see it more in occult-themed works honestly.
There's also just an absolute TON of stuff in fantasy literature which is called "magic" (or something that's not "magic" or "psionics" - it's pretty much never called that), but that in terms of what it does and how it works, is obviously much closer to Psionics than D&D's fire-and-forget-type magic. Good examples would be, like virtually all "Romantic Fantasy" (i.e. the stuff Blue Rose covers), which was historically a huge chunk of the market, where the good guys tend to use psychic powers and the badguys D&D-style magic, Robin Hobb's "Assassin" books (the entire setting there are what, like 19 books or something now?), where The Wit and The Skill are pretty much both forms of Psionics, tons of the modern equivalent of Romantic Fantasy, which is basically the (extremely successful and rarely discussed) "Teenage Assassin Girl" genre, and so on.

I will say that books where magic looks like Psionics are disproportionately written by female authors, and where magic looks like D&D-style magic disproportionately written by male authors, so I think there's a bit of sexism in the claims that "fantasy doesn't have psionics in it", and a bit of entirely-unconscious sexism in the opposition to psionics as part of D&D (i.e. "at all", rather than in a specific game).

I think if they'd just renamed it to something that wasn't psionics or psychic powers or the like we'd immediately see like a massive increase in its acceptance though.

14. Gish. This is not an archetype I play, and so I admit I don't fully understand it. The PHB had Abjurer Wizards and Eldritch Knights, neither of which satisfied. Xanathar gave us War Magic, which didn't fly. Tasha adds Bladesinging, and doesn't limit it to Elves. Hexblade Warlock, Valor Bards, Sword Bard, Hexadin, Sorcadin. The list goes on. There are so many ways to be a melee wizard, and people are always unhappy. I think Bladesinging is the closest to the archetype as I understand it, but this more than anything seems to point to a type of play they have struggled to meet.
This definitely fits the list for "didn't quite work", yeah.

The issue is that a lot of people don't want just a half-caster with a sword (available already as an Artificer Battle Smith), they want something like the Swordmage of 4E, where the magic is fully integrated into their combat, where they're not just sometimes casting spells. Or at least the Magus of PF2 (not PF1).

Bladesinging fits well for an OD&D/AD&D-style Gish i.e. "Fighter/Mage", but less well for what a lot of people want.
 

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