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

payn

Legend
Well no. It makes them closer to being equally important when building your character, but obviously not in play. And even then, you ran into issues-

Str gives you carry capacity. Con gives you healing surges and a few more hit points.

Dex gives you initiative. Int does not.

Cha gives you social skills. Wis gives you...Perception and Insight.

But I don't think any edition has ever managed to make all 6 ability scores equally viable. I mean, when I started playing in AD&D, Charisma didn't really do a lot by itself. Sure, it came up more at level 9 and up, when you're doing the base building thing (IF your game was doing that), and presumably it would matter if people were using the NPC reaction rules (which I never saw anyone use, but that's my own experience).

And it really hasn't gotten much better, other than, now there's incentive to have high Charisma for a few classes (technically Paladins and 2e Bards wanted Charisma, as well as a couple of specialty Wizards, but that was just a prerequisite, it didn't actually fuel any features).

Proficiency bonus matters more than ability bonuses even now, so it doesn't take much to be a face other than proficiency in Persuasion (and there's a few ways to get expertise on top of it).

To truly make all six ability scores equally useful, the game would have to use derived secondary characteristics, which is a layer of complexity I don't think the majority of D&D players want.
They most certainly dont and its a damn shame.
 

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Your main stat is mandatory so it should have your highest score, but then the other stats aren't equally secondary because Dex/Con/Wis feed into saves (and AC+Init/hitpoints/perception are always useful for everyone to have). Which notably leaves Str/Int/Cha as the ones that do nothing unless they are already your primary stat. Which means we can predict people's stats with extreme precision.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
I think it's pretty clear that WoTC intends to phase out short rests.

I'm concerned how this may impact the warlock that relies on it. I suspect that they may tie the warlocks spell slots to their proficiency bonus per long rest - which would seriously nerf them.

Now, before anyone misinterprets what I'm saying and tells me that if I don't like the warlock I shouldn't play one - The fact is that I love the warlock, and I want to see it improved.
 

They'll keep short rests (just to have something to call the hitdice-spending period), but they are constantly divorcing resource recovery from them... so they will hopefully just say they are 10 minutes of quick recovery.

At least normalizing resources around the long rest would help standardize play (since there are apparently all these tables where short rests are not allowed). And it would still make it easier to impose other limits on long resting, without having to consider whether those same limits make short rests impossible.

GM: 'you are invading a castle, no time to rest for the night'
martials: 'but, uhh, we need to rest an hour to get any hitpoints back... or half of our class abilities...'
GM: 'uhh... okay, maybe you can rest for an hour while people are running about...'
Wizard: 'if we can rest for an hour, why cannot we rest for 8 hours? waaaaa'
 

glass

(he, him)
Actually, the only thing that 5E changed about short rests was to increase the time required from 5 minutes to 1 hour.
That may be the only change, but it is a vast change. IME it is the difference between short rests happening and....not happening.

I have never once thought that psionics were a necessity in D&D.
Obviously not. Nothing is "necessary".

In fact I think they feel incredibly out-of-place in a fantasy setting.
And so you want to keep them away from those who like them?

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.
True, but it would do it while making finesse weapons largely useless. I could see "Dex bonus to damage, but strength penalty (if any) also applies."

Oh yeah and don't have theory-crafting either.
Even if that was desirable, I do not see how it is possible. Are you proposing a rule in the book saying "thou shalt not theorycraft"? EDIT (in the right place this time): Or were you being sarcastic and I missed it?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
With the push towards point buy as a "balanced" (heh) method of determining ability scores, while still pushing players to have high ability scores in things important to their class, you're going to have dump stats. Taking steps to make that less damning to the player was then kind of necessary.

I've seen players who tried to not dump things with point buy, and ended up with 14's in everything. And then struggled as a result, failing when other characters succeeded. Even if, mathematically, it was only failing another 5-10% of the time, the moments when their lower scores let them down outweighed the moments when their non-dump stats mattered, and they were miserable as a result.

D&D has always been a game where specialization is rewarded more than generalization, after all.
And so it should be, because without specialization and corresponding weaknesses there's much less (or no?) interdependence among the party where the strengths of one cover off the weaknesses of another, leading to more in-character impetus to just go it alone.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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).
I love the concept of TIBF, but find the concept flawed. At the very least, if someone has to track 5 unique things about a PC, make it the player of that PC. The idea that a DM can or should track them on top of everything else they are doing is unworkable when expected across all tables.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I love the concept of TIBF, but find the concept flawed. At the very least, if someone has to track 5 unique things about a PC, make it the player of that PC. The idea that a DM can or should track them on top of everything else they are doing is unworkable when expected across all tables.
I think Mearls wanted something like Drives in PbtA games or aspects in Fate games but made something needlessly complex and monstrous from it that failed to understand why they work in PbtA or Fate games.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think Mearls wanted something like Drives in PbtA games or aspects in Fate games but made something needlessly complex and monstrous from it that failed to understand why they work in PbtA or Fate games.
I completely agree with you. Aspects in Fate are core to what the character is, and get used all the time mechanically, without also class and such. And are most often refeerence and used by player, which will lead to familiarity. This, where it's 25 statements (assuming 5 person party) that the DM has to memorize and catch in use (as opposed to intentionally calling out) is just a flawed implementation. But I love the concept and hope they don't give it up. Back in the 90s Vampire had RP prompts (an overt nature and a hidden nature) that RPing to would recharge Willpower, a very important aspect. D&D is really behind the ball in terms of mechanical support for RP.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Versatile is for small sized characters, basically. Not defending it, but that's basically what it's for. A halfling can use a longsword in both hands to get a d10 without disadvantage.
Still doesn't work. Small characters are normally better off dual-wielding non-heavy weapons than using a versatile weapon two-handed.
 


Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Eh? Isn't dual wielding terrible?
Kinda. It depends on the class. Sometimes it's worth it (mainly for Rogues, in my experience). It increases your damage per turn by about 3.5 damage (or 4.5 if you have the Dual Wielder feat), while wielding a versatile weapon with two hands only increases your DPR by 1 per attack.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
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.
First of all, my head just 🤯 the idea of everything disparate, instead of connected.

Now, it feels like where the PHB missed was being explicit in calling each of these things options, and laying out the book in a way of "hey - here's a bunch of options, that you can connect in this way, or not."

They could also say "here's what we call the 'default' that we're going to enforce in Adventurer's League; but we'll support all the other options listed in this book on our virtual tabletop and D&D beyond, since they are 'Official Options'".
 

I think Mearls wanted something like Drives in PbtA games or aspects in Fate games but made something needlessly complex and monstrous from it that failed to understand why they work in PbtA or Fate games.
That tracks. Which is a shame, because I love any random tables RPGs provide as inspiration. They really should've just used the background tables to form the parts of some kind of a high concept line, so the GM might remember that one line per character...
'rambunctuous hermit who wants to get back into The Council'
'ambitious necromancer's apprentice who ran with the wrong crowd'
'curious cook with a lot of family drama'
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I completely agree with you. Aspects in Fate are core to what the character is, and get used all the time mechanically, without also class and such. And are most often refeerence and used by player, which will lead to familiarity. This, where it's 25 statements (assuming 5 person party) that the DM has to memorize and catch in use (as opposed to intentionally calling out) is just a flawed implementation. But I love the concept and hope they don't give it up. Back in the 90s Vampire had RP prompts (an overt nature and a hidden nature) that RPing to would recharge Willpower, a very important aspect. D&D is really behind the ball in terms of mechanical support for RP.
I think BIFTs should have powered Inspiration. Also Inspiration should have been 1 per PC, but a pool of Inspiration for the party would have been cool
 

Isn't dual wielding terrible?
It is if you have other stuff you could be using your bonus action on. If you don't, might as well. Rogues are a special case in that they have other uses for bonus actions, but also really want that extra off-hand opportunity to land that Sneak Attack. Oh, and 5e had to make drawing both weapons weird...
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Kinda. It depends on the class. Sometimes it's worth it (mainly for Rogues, in my experience). It increases your damage per turn by about 3.5 damage (or 4.5 if you have the Dual Wielder feat), while wielding a versatile weapon with two hands only increases your DPR by 1 per attack.
Personally, I prefer to play my Rogues as ranged attackers, as I find they're a touch fragile for melee. I wouldn't be using a versatile weapon on a Rogue anyways. I mean, I get it, if you have a free hand and nothing better to do with a bonus action, it's generally better to dual wield.

So I guess Monks are the only ones who care about versatile after all, since what Small sized character really needs a weapon damage die or the ability to wield a weapon in two hands?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think BIFTs should have powered Inspiration. Also Inspiration should have been 1 per PC, but a pool of Inspiration for the party would have been cool
BIFTs did grant Inspiration, can you unpack a little on what you mean by "powered inspiration"? I'm not sure I'm understanding your point.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I completely agree with you. Aspects in Fate are core to what the character is, and get used all the time mechanically, without also class and such. And are most often refeerence and used by player, which will lead to familiarity. This, where it's 25 statements (assuming 5 person party) that the DM has to memorize and catch in use (as opposed to intentionally calling out) is just a flawed implementation. But I love the concept and hope they don't give it up. Back in the 90s Vampire had RP prompts (an overt nature and a hidden nature) that RPing to would recharge Willpower, a very important aspect. D&D is really behind the ball in terms of mechanical support for RP.
If so, I would go something closer with Drives that are in Homebrew World (a Dungeon World hack). The player may be given four different drives to choose from based on their class, and they would choose one. These are connected to XP in Homebrew World, but these could be connected to Inspiration.

Fighter
 Challenge
Enter a fight that you aren’t sure you can win
 Glory
Show off in front of NPCs who can go on to tell your tale
 Peace
Settle a conflict or dispute without bloodshed
 Pride
Put someone in their place for disrespecting you

Wizard
 Curiosity
Cause trouble by touching, opening, or tinkering with something
 Cunning
Set up a ploy and then take advantage of it
 Eccentricity
Alienate another with your strange behavior
 Mystery
Deflect or evade an inquiry into your doings

Choosing one makes it easier for the players and GM to track. Tying it to class makes it about leaning into some potential archetypes and such.

OR ALTERNATIVELY

If WotC wanted to, they could make a similar list that was not Class-based, but rather Alignment-based. So a player may have a list of four different drives to choose from Good or Chaos or Law, etc.
 

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