D&D 5E The 5E* Wishlist


Limit Break Dancing
*Yes, I know that it is not yet decided whether the next iteration of the game will be called "5th Edition." I'm just using this as shorthand.


So the developers are hard at work, crafting what we hope will be a perfect version/edition/rendition of our beloved tabletop RPG. Some of us are excited, some are nervous, some are apprehensive...and I'm a bit of all three. There are good bits in every edition of the game, in my opinion, and I hope that these gems make it into this new development.

What aspects of prior editions would you like to see in this new edition? What would you like to see changed?

For me:

Alignment: I was happy to read that "Alignment" was one of the top considerations of the new version. I like the way that alignment worked in 3.x, with the dual axis system (Good vs. Evil, Law vs. Chaos). I hope that this format sticks around in the new edition.

Deities: I also liked the way that gods were handled in 3.x Edition...each deity had a good amount of flavor elements, as well as crunch (domains, favored weapons, all that.) I like clerics, and I like it when the cleric's choice of deity actually matters.

Spells: I never quite cared for the "Vancian" magic system, mostly because it wrecks my willful suspension of disbelief when playing. "Whaddaya mean Merlin can't cast more than one fireball per day!? I guess Merlin will see you back at the inn." Vancian magic is balanced enough, and it makes sense for a lot of people, but it just always stuck in my craw for some reason. I would much rather see a point-based system for magic, magical abilities, and other "supernatural" effects of the game.

Condensed Skills: For all of its faults, I really like how 4E handled non-combat skills. I hope they continue down this path in the next development, and resist the urge to regress back to the multi-layered complexity of 3.x.

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I liked 3.x alignment as well. No opinion on deities. Vancian magic works for me, but I'm open to new systems (such as spell points). Definitely agree on condensed skills. I think there should be a cap on skills of around 15-20 skills in all for the game.


IMO, 4e did exactly the wrong thing with alignment. Either it should have been kept around and remained meaningful, or they should have dropped it completely.

IMO, both alignments and deities should be handled in an "if you want" kind of a way - the Starter Set and Core Rulebook should omit these almost entirely. However, there should later be an "Alignment Supplement" that details the alignments. If a PC chooses to dedicate himself to an alignment, this then allows him to take alignment-specific powers, use alignment-specific magic items, and so on.

Likewise, the deities should probably be strictly setting-specific. If PCs in the setting dedicate themselves to the gods, they get to choose deity-specific powers. (Obviously, 'divine' classes would have a greater range of such powers... but shouldn't necessarily have a monopoly on them.)

As for my own 5e wishlist:

- A really good Starter Set. This is probably the single most important in-print product.

- A single Core Rulebook containing all you need to play the game. This should be no bigger than the 4e "Rules Compendium" - if this can't be done, the game is too complex, IMO. (For extra credit, the Starter Set should include the same Core Rulebook as everyone else uses.

- The core should present the simplest version of the game. Supplements can then add complexity - but it's nigh-impossible for supplements to remove complexity, so this should be avoided.

- A vastly reduced importance for ability scores. It has become vital to have the 'right' stats, which means that rolling ability scores is no longer a valid approach (granted, BECMI may have been the last time is was valid). But rolling stats is vastly preferable for new players, so...

- Some really good adventure support, and preferably not just rehashes of the same old classics. You can do "Ravenloft", since that's existed for all editions, but that's it! Give us something new!

There's more, but I think those are really the important ones.



I'd like to see alignment returned to the Good/Evil - Law/Chaos - Neutrality model, like it was for 30+ years.

A "skill package" system. Gary worked on Skill Bundles in LEJENDARY ADVENTURES and I think at least the option to do that in D&D would be nice. I never cared for d20 D&D's all pervasive skill system.

At least the option to granulate saving throws.

An easily flippable A/C system - this is more for me as a DM than for the world at large. It is just simpler to count down.

Differentiated XP charts. I've said time and again that a monolithic XP chart doesn't make sense, and why I feel that way, so...

Multi-classing (for everyone) that actually makes multi-classing a thing again, not just "take a level of this, take a level of that".

Keep class/daily/at-will powers but put Vancian-style magic back at the forefront - and I'll tell you why. Despite the disassociated mechanics of the whole daily/encounter/at-will power scheme of the most recent edition it didn't stick in my craw that much...

In AD&D, a Cleric can turn undead...at will

In AD&D a Paladin has a lay on hands ability...daily. Or can create a circle (10' or 1") of protection from evil - per encounter.

Now that the 4e team stacked a whole bunch of disassociated powers into those categories...well, that's their own problem. But the reasoning stands: doing stuff either at will, every encounter, or daily and the specificity of those things is and has been an inherent part of D&D from the get-go. I'd like to see a serious pruning back on silly things that got shoehorned into those categories, or at the very least some toggle switches so I can shut them off.

The person responsible for "DRAGONLANCE and FORGOTTEN REALMS WERE THE 1RST CAMPAIGNS EVAR!!!!ONEONE" to be fired. Hopefully that's the same person who decided to copy-paste pages out of 30 YEARS OF ADVENTURE: A HISTORY OF DUNGEONS & DRAGONS into the rulebook because yeah, that person too.

Everything else I've to say about this upcoming new edition of D&D I've said here


First Post
I went back to 1st AD&D after 4th came back, and these are the things that would make me consider actually playing a new version:

1. Make combat resolve in far less time. Like 1/4 the time it takes in 4th edition.
2. Put all of the weird non-traditional stuff like tieflings and dragonborns in supplements rather than the core material.
3. Make it easy to play without miniatures.

As a bonus:

4. Get rid of the unified power/ability/spell system for different classes and make them more diverse. It makes it feel like it doesn't matter what class you play, because they are all pretty much the same with different names tacked on to roughly the same set of powers. Essentials helped a little with this, admittedly, but I think it should go further.

  • Alignment: Good-Evil and Lawful-Chaos
  • Warlord: And other non-divine, non-cleric classes that can heal
  • Stat Deflation: Make 11 the human average and 18 something special.
  • Stat Definition: No more attacks using Charisma (how does that make any sense conceptionally). Strength is used for making melee attacks, Dex for ranged attacks.
  • Hit Point Deflation: 1st level characters should have between 4-10 hit points
  • Vancian Magic: DnD uses vancian magic. Include rules for non-vancian magic if you'd like (or if the power source suggests it), but you must have rules for vancian magic.
  • Power Sources are Different: If you keep the concept of a power source (and I think it's a sound concept), make sure each power source feels different. Arcane should feel and play nothing like Martial. All classes of a similar power source should have access to the same spell / attack list (Warlock, Wizard, Swordmage, and Bard should have access to any Arcane Spell. Ranger, Fighter, Rogue, Warlord should have access to any Martial Power. Paladin, Cleric should have access to all divine prayers).
  • Combat Speed: I should be able to run 3-4 combats in a session with plenty of time for roleplaying and exploration.
  • Don't Assume Combat: Don't assume that combat is the perferred way to resolve problems in the game. Combat is a possible answer, it shouldn't be the default.
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Re 4E Alignment: I like the 4E approach to alignment, primarily since most players I DM'ed or played with played CN and CE the same, LE and NE as the same, NG and CG as the same, etc. But one of the most ingenious things 4E innovated about the alignment system: unaligned.


First Post
Different Art: I genuinely dislike Fourth Edition art. Not only does it seem like it tries to hard to be "current" and "modern", but it isn't even all that good. Characters are often horribly disproportionate, and the colours are too bright and glaring.

Well-Designed Adventures: Since Third Edition, adventures have been rather uninspired. Other companies - like Goodman Games and Paizo - have managed to make ones that are significantly better. This needs to be changed if I am to buy D&D adventures again. Consider ditching your seemingly defective adventure design staff, and hiring some little known fantasy authors, as well as some writers from Goodman.

The Realms or Greyhawk as the Default Setting: I never found the Nentir vale particularly engaging. It has always seemed like every other genaric fantasy setting, only with less fluff, and stupider character races.


Limit Break Dancing
3. Make it easy to play without miniatures.
4. Get rid of the unified power/ability/spell system for different classes and make them more diverse. It makes it feel like it doesn't matter what class you play, because they are all pretty much the same with different names tacked on to roughly the same set of powers. Essentials helped a little with this, admittedly, but I think it should go further.
Absolutely. I cannot agree more.


Re 4E Alignment: I like the 4E approach to alignment, primarily since most players I DM'ed or played with played CN and CE the same, LE and NE as the same, NG and CG as the same, etc. But one of the most ingenious things 4E innovated about the alignment system: unaligned.

I agree in the sense that alignment should not overly restrict the moral choices that a PC can make. But if the player wants to make alignment a big deal then there should be rules for that which may give mechanical abilities or powers.


First Post
Alignment - Bring back the Law-Chaos, Good-Evil axis. It was just more fun, though "True Neutral" should probably be describes more like Unaligned.

Classes - Reach back to AD&D for the Original Super-Classes (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue), and then give each one a classical default Sub-Class with a traditional role and 2 alternative Sub-Classes with alternative roles.

For example:
Super-Class: Fighter
Sub Class Default: Slayer (Striker)
Sub Class Alt. 1: Knight (Defender)
Sub Class Alt. 2: Warlord (Leader)

Doing that would give you 12 Classes, with great variety.

Feats For Customization - Use Feats to really allow people to differentiate what tricks their build has up their sleeve. Want a Barbarian? Take your Slayer and start him down a path of "Primal" and "Rage" feats. Also, Feat-based Multi-classing needs to be revisited from 4E and made more viable.

Move Daily Powers (and Vancian Magic) into an Optional Rules Module

The game really paces, scales, and plays differently when your character's abilities (rather than their stamina and health) diminish over a day. When this option is chosen, ALL CLASSES have properly balance and scaling Daily Abilities they can use and manage. In the core rules, however, everything is either At-Will or Encounter based except for Healing Surges.

Rename the "Healing Surge"

"Heroic Reserves" sounds better. The idea of using Surges as a commodity has cropped up in 4E products recently, and it makes good sense. Give "Squishy" characters more ways of burning their surges other than throwing themselves in front of buses or have bad front-line fighters. ;)

Keep Monsters and Characters Separate

4E Had this right. Monsters are mostly one-shots, props, plot-devices, and villains. Characters are for keeps. Don't put them on the same scale.

Improved Skill Development

3E was much too fine-grain both in terms of how many skills their were and how many levels you could advance in them. 4E was pretty close to the mark in terms of Skill Categories, but way too ham-fisted in terms of Skill Levels: Untrained (+0), Trained (+5), and Expert (+8)? We need something in between, and with options as to whether to continue advancing in one field or acquire another. Just because I used to Intimidate in my callow youth doesn't mean that by Epic Tier my Intimidate skill is nigh-god-like but I've never had a chance to learn Tracking or something similar.

Save or Die Failed It's Save - Let It Stay Dead

I don't want to see Baleful Polymorph or Finger of Death type effects being dropped on PCs. Maybe if they only targeted bloodied monsters and had reduced effects (HP damage and stun / daze) vs. elite / solo monsters they'd be appropriate Character abilities for mopping up otherwise dragging combat.

Nobody is Obsolete

Swiss-army-knife Magic is the bane of skill-based characters everywhere. Magic has to walk a fine line between pulling the proverbial rat out of your hat at the dramatic moment and making a skill-monkey just a sack of HP that's largely redundant up against a good spell-book.

Grids are Optional

I like minis and map-based tactics, but some people don't. Figure out a way to present basic ideas like "Flanking" and "Opportunity Attacks" into environments that don't rely on grid-lines.

- Marty Lund


1. Healing: minor action, small heals. Allowing a healer to do something rather than heal. (standard actions are fine for Large heals, or mass heals)
Non-Cleric Healers! warlord, bard and druid with enough healing to serve the role.

2. NPC and PCs are different. This decreased my workload/brain damage.
Even in late 3.5 I had a table of expected attack bonus, defenses, hp and damage. I pre-made most monsters, using this rather than the Attack bonus based on type/stats that the system actually used. Why fill space with dozens of spell-like powers, when monsters only get about 1-4 actions?

3. Rituals. I like the division of combat/noncombat spells. Cost and time need to be reduced, (such as in late 4e articles)

4. Less Errata. I want the book to actually be useful after I have owned it a year.

Separate Systems (not wanted, but here are a few that could be added late) after the initial bugs were worked out. Most of these I still consider necessary, just not crucial to the game when first published.

A: epic tier
B: Psionics
C: Complicated clerics (by diety)
D: Martial Arts (beyond punch/Grab)
E: Caster Specialization. (elementalists, demonolgists, necromancers, hedge mages, etc.)


A basic list that will at least get me to take a step inside the tent...

1. A core rulebook (or books) with about 120 pages, that isn't crippleware. In other words, a relatively slim, concise set of rules that I can run an entire campaign with. If the basic entry products are either three 300-page volumes or a starter box-set that gives you two or three levels of rules, I'm going to pass.

2. Basic character creation that takes 15 minutes or less. I don't mean 15 minutes or less after I've spent half a year getting familiar with the rule set. I mean 15 minutes after I've opened the book/box for the first time. Character creation and doing my taxes shouldn't give me the same sensation.

3. Exploration based play should be supported in the core rules as either the default or an easily inserted option. Resource management should be - or easily be made into - a big part of game-play.

4. I do not want grid-based combat which requires minis or counters to be the default method combat. I don't want to have to set up the table for every minor skirmish. I want to be able to play with just books, pencil, paper, and dice.

5. I want the majority of my time in prep concentrating on scenarios, setting, mapping, and keying. I don't want to spend much time at all statting up my npcs and monsters.

6. I don't want magic item acquisition to be tied to the pcs' level or wealth. I want magic items to be something pcs quest for, something that they take from monsters, something they find in the dungeon.
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My random thoughts on things-

Toolkitting/Modularity is a fantastic idea. Keep that at the core of the game. So each GM can use it to play the game he (and his players) want to play.

Balance should be more in the hands of the GM than in the hands of the system. Keep the balance between classes better than in early editions, but not so lockstep as 4E... - leave that to GM. If one group's 4th level party is twice as powerful than a different group's that is okay. Yeah this will make adventures sort of tough to right, but have a general "This module is written for this level Attack Bonus, and this amount of hit points/AC" instead of level.

Similarly If the PCs take a wrong turn, go into the wrong cave and run into stuff 10 levels over their level; great. It's a learning experience that not all encounters in the world are balanced for their level.

Mmagic items not part of the calculation of standard power level (this ties in to the non-lockstep level powerlevel above). This means that a party without Magic items can adventure one way, and a party with a lot can hit the same adventure at an earlier level. Fine. No problems. Things do not have to be exactly the same across all tables. Standardizing that takes away some of the "magic" of magic items or some special abilities.

In relation to the above ideas, have a "Suggested design" per level with an average of what spell level, attack bonus, hits, AC, saves are - but don't enforce that suggested design. That is for new GMs who don't understand balance, or for GMs who don't want to spent time thinking about it (instead thinking of tactics, roleplaying or worldbuilding) to not have to worry about it.

While not full support, the ability of single player gaming. Most of the early editions you could run a group through a module with only 2 PCs without much adjustement. Maybe an extra magic item, and a level or two higher than the module would assume. 4E doesn't do that well. Bring that back.

Lots and Lots (and lots) of options for customization in game, and in characterization. 3rd had about the level of customization I liked :) - or the old dragon article that had a system for building you own race/class for BECMI. Of course dials there so if a group doesn't want to get that detailed they do not have to.

If a GM can choose different modules for different styles of game, have the modules speak to each other, especially upwardly. Say you play a game that has BECMI or 1st AD&D style combat for most of the combat, but go full tactical/miniature for the boss fight (2 separate fighting modules) have the stats in the more detailed version have all the info for the lesser version - so that all could be done in a single night. Instead of just for different games.

Use the same rules for player and Monster/NPC generation, but (and this is a big one) sliding scale as above. GM wants to generate a bunch of toss off monster for the evening - he can use the simple chargen system that takes 5 minutes to generate that NPC - but if the NPC is going to be a campaign level NPC where details are important, then this person is built with the full detailed rules.

As to specifics, I like the daily/encounter/at will - but that isn't the only powers and abilities the characters have. Perhaps the magical type is a merge of 3rd Mage and Sorcerer - some spontaneous other prepared spells. And some minor ones that never run out (so they can hit with basic damage in their flavor (magic, weapons etc) all the time - no "Out of spells, have to pull out the sling"

Spontaneous casting for all diving classes - they don't prepare spells or learn powers - they call on their God for what they need right then. Nice seprationi from arcane Magic.

Allow decent multiclassing (as noted in the flexibility above). 3rd gimped a Fighter/Mage multiclass, and previous editions made them much more powerful than a single of either class. Tall order I know.

Open ended advancement - no actual level cap. Although if the rules change at a certain point (like losing auto advancement in Saves/attack etc after 20th) is fine. Just have something that allows a character to keep going - I ran a 1st ed game for my wife for 14 years - she was 35th level (with extras) when we stopped. Long term play is nice, and a little support for it would be welcome. Not a lot, but enough to allow it.

Support for and balance of mid and high level play.


First Post
I want to see more digital integration with the new D&D. With the purchase of every book, give us a free digital copy of that book. I remember what a fiasco it was when Wizards released pdfs of 4e books, so DRM the hell out of it if you feel the need, it's still free. Make a proprietary app to view these books, and make this app available on iOS and Android. Make the character builder, compendium, and Dungeon and Dragon magazines easily accessible on iOS and Android as well. I want my tablet to be the ultimate D&D accessory. And outsource all of this to a company that can actually deliver on its promises.

Epic Threats

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