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

I mean, technically it's a subgenre, but yeah there are definitely enough fantasy novels about teenage girl assassins for it to be considered a genre at this point, I'd suggest. They're also an extremely common character in fantasy novels generally, at this point.

Like here's a 2018 reddit post that lists a bunch (and more are in the comments):
(NB most of the leads in the books are teenagers or early 20s)

Some of these are pretty obscure, but some sell hugely more copies than books which are much "bigger" names in the male-dominated TT RPG world. You see Mistborn on the list for example (which less on-genre than most), that's known to a huge number of fantasy fans on this board, and has sold 1.5m copies across all three books - whereas likely very few people here have read or even heard of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series, and that's sold 7m copies! And if anything Throne of Glass is closer to D&D than Mistborn is, thematically/setting-wise.

We saw the same pattern with Romantic Fantasy in the 1980s and 1990s. It outsold a lot of more male-oriented fantasy, and fantasy by male authors, but somehow, hardly anyone who played TTRPGs seemed to have read it, even when they'd read obscure-as-hell extruded paste fantasy by male authors. Only when Blue Rose came out did it really get recognised at all, and a lot of the bizarre hate some people had for Blue Rose was simply that it represented a different paradigm of fantasy, and one that some men felt very threatened by.

Is any of it good or innovative? Hmmm. Some of it is? I mean, mostly it's just different? Like, the 90% rule applies here as with all fantasy (and most genres in fact). I read the first Throne of Glass book. I wouldn't call it good, but it have stuff in it that a lot of fantasy just doesn't - like the main character actually has a menstrual cycle and it impacts their life/feelings, etc., for example, and indeed, doing hard exercise isn't some cool thing that just makes you stronger like most fantasy, but the character gets lactic acid build up (they don't know it's called that, obviously), and pukes all over the place. Indeed this kind of slightly "closer to the real" in terms of bodies and behaviour/feelings deal is fairly common in the subgenre (Mistborn is a notable reversal, where it's completely unrealistic about both - but Sanderson himself has discussed how he sees that as a failing on his part), rather than power-trip "pain is just weakness leaving the body" stuff seen in a lot of fantasy. I think my only real criticism-criticism of Throne of Glass would be that it's about an assassin but the assassin never actually assassinates anyone, she continually manages to subvert having to actually do it and it's not terribly believable and sort of weakens the tension of the book. Most of my other "criticisms" would be a genre-reader mismatch issue, rather than actual failings. I'd have read the sequel if the last damn scene in the book wasn't yet another "Psych!!! I didn't actually kill them lol!" deal.
well, it sounds fine but not really useful for expanding dnd at present does it have stuff that is more stealable?
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
My big problem with pact magic is

1. Being tied to short rests makes their spell regain unreliable, and the majority of the early game is hoarding two spell slots if you don't think a short rest is going to be available.
2. The fact you have your highest spell slot creates incentive to use your highest level spell and ignore lower level ones, save for bread and butter ones like hex.
3. The system breaks down at 10th level, ergo mystic arcanum and the confusion "why warlocks have 6th level spells but the table only goes up to 5th".
4. It doesn't play well with multi-classing, it doesn't add to other classes the way every other class does, and it can synergize too well with others (I've lost track of what the latest Sage Advice is on paladin smite and pact magic).

I'm not saying the warlock is unfun or not flavorful, and invocations are brilliant. I just think the pact magic system needs a revision because it didn't hit design goals of being simple and intuitive.
I disagree with all of that (well… except multiclassing, but I don’t really care about that one.) Again, if you don’t like the warlock don’t play one. But let us warlock fans have our one cool thing.
 


Backgrounds, traits and flaws etc work very well with casual/new players in my experience. They've never played rpgs or really dig deep into them so having these to pick from was great. Also it gives me, the DM, lots of ideas on how to tie the characters into the world. They don't feel like they are only there to crawl dungeons for no reason. I also feel that forcing a new player to make up their own background is a big ask. I mean this as a brand new players perspective. They aren't going to know how big or little of an impact it will have on their character, so giving them something to choose from helps move things along. This is all from my personal experience. I don't have the luxury to play with hard-core D&D players, they are all casual or brand new. I really don't want WotC to lose sight of this aspect by making character Gen complicated for the sake of being complicated, example being forced feats.
 

payn

Legend
Backgrounds, traits and flaws etc work very well with casual/new players in my experience. They've never played rpgs or really dig deep into them so having these to pick from was great. Also it gives me, the DM, lots of ideas on how to tie the characters into the world. They don't feel like they are only there to crawl dungeons for no reason. I also feel that forcing a new player to make up their own background is a big ask. I mean this as a brand new players perspective. They aren't going to know how big or little of an impact it will have on their character, so giving them something to choose from helps move things along. This is all from my personal experience. I don't have the luxury to play with hard-core D&D players, they are all casual or brand new. I really don't want WotC to lose sight of this aspect by making character Gen complicated for the sake of being complicated, example being forced feats.
I dont get why there cant be basic packages for causal players and more nuanced and custom for the initiated? Quick and easy made backgrounds for the grab and go newbie. A custom system for those who want to make up their own.
 

I dont get why there cant be basic packages for causal players and more nuanced and custom for the initiated? Quick and easy made backgrounds for the grab and go newbie. A custom system for those who want to make up their own.
I actually find it's the absolute newbies who gravitate the most to custom backgrounds when there is an experienced person helping them. A lot of people get overwhelmed by the prewritten ones.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
There is no way I would play a sorcerer if I could play a warlock instead.
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The mix and match proficiency with ability score that is an optional rule for skills and the official way to use tools and other such proficiencies was a very clever idea undermined by the set up of official character sheets (as well as by the fact that few skills made sense to use multiple ability scores with on a regular basis).

To me this join Backgrounds, Traits/Ideals/Bonds/Flaws, Trinkets, and Inspiration in the category of "game design ideas that I genuinely like and consider rather inspired, but that mostly never quite achieved what they should have in actual play."
 

If they are doing away with short rests for anything but healing, then the warlock will have to change in some way. It wouldn't be popular, but I wonder about a warlock class that had no spell slots, and instead only had invocations, but with an increased invocation list that let you cast particular spells. I'm playing a warlock now with mask of many faces and I love that I can just cast it at will. Also some invocations could have patron-specific prerequisites, so as to lean into the flavor of the patron. I've seen warlocks of many different patrons, but mechanically it ends up being a lot of eldritch blast+hex.
 

I actually find it's the absolute newbies who gravitate the most to custom backgrounds when there is an experienced person helping them. A lot of people get overwhelmed by the prewritten ones.
Interesting because I have the exact opposite experience. Granted my experience is probably extremely more limited than yours. My experience stems from talking my friends and family into playing. I've personally been playing the game since 2e, attempted 3e/PF (I didn't like it, neither did my players but it wasnt horrible), attempted again with 4e (my players absolutely bounced off it, couldn't get into it and building characters was a chore on its own), and once again with 5e. With 5e it stuck, they love it enough to keep playing it. Touching on experience again, I don't play with random people because my area doesn't have a game shop. I feel like I'm not seeing the whole picture of what is and isn't popular within 5e. In my circle extra options are largely ignored.

Edit to add: I wish I could play (not just DM) with more people. I don't think it would be such a system shock with this playtest. I mean I just bought Tasha's over the weekend. It seems I have fell behind.
 
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Interesting because I have the exact opposite experience. Granted my experience is probably extremely more limited than yours. My experience stems from talking my friends and family into playing. I've personally been playing the game since 2e, attempted 3e/PF (I didn't like it, neither did my players but it wasnt horrible), attempted again with 4e (my players absolutely bounced off it, couldn't get into it and building characters was a chore on its own), and once again with 5e. With 5e it stuck, they love it enough to keep playing it. Touching on experience again, I don't play with random people because my area doesn't have a game shop. I feel like I'm not seeing the whole picture of what is and isn't popular within 5e. In my circle extra options are largely ignored.
It partly depends on the situation in which characters are being made, I think. At one extreme: If a new player is handed a PHB and told to have a character in 2 days I would imagine they would pick a prewritten background 90% of the time or more. At the other extreme: If a new player arrives at a game and needs to make a character on the spot and someone is walking them through the process and making it clear that they can just make up a background I think the majority find it easiest to just say what they want to be rather than read through backgrounds weighing which one appeals to them most.
 

Reynard

Legend
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).
For as often as people online complain about the ranger, I have NEVER had someone in a real game complain and I almost always have at least one in the party. It's a meme, not a real problem.
 




ReshiIRE

Adventurer
I personally think that finesse weapons should use Dex to hit, but still use Str for damage. That would go a long way to making Str more useful.
This is what Pathfinder 2e, though they go further and make it so that most ranged weapons don't add bonuses to damage from STR automatically, and it takes either feats or specific weapons to do that iirc.

However, it should be noted that Pathfinder 2e's ability score system is very different. Essentially every ability score boost level gives you four different +2 boosts that you can give to any stat (though you only add +1 if the stat in question is 18 or over). That means that the damage modifier gap by following this rule would be much larger in 5e if implementing this rule, especially since weapons in 5e do not have a way to increase their damage built into the game, meaning melee characters rely on multiple attacks.

And the difference in damage over multiple attacks per round and over multiple rounds would be quite noticiable for Dex based characters in the current system and your purposed change.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
For as often as people online complain about the ranger, I have NEVER had someone in a real game complain and I almost always have at least one in the party. It's a meme, not a real problem.
Well, no. They are getting enough feedback to keep tinkering over 8 years. It’s a real issue.

It’s good to remember that your experience isn’t representative of the broader community of millions of people.
 

For as often as people online complain about the ranger, I have NEVER had someone in a real game complain and I almost always have at least one in the party. It's a meme, not a real problem.
Agreed. It's the ruddy 5e memes that need to not be carried forward!!
The 5e bard are just so stupid and untrue.
Oh yeah and don't have theory-crafting either.
 

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