D&D (2024) Things You Think Would Improve the Game That We WON'T See

This sort of proliferation of class options has an upside and a downside. One of the trends I've seen toward an edition's lifecycle is that there's a sort of "Design Rules Funnel" where the bandwidth that the designers have within which to introduce genuinely NEW ideas/rules into classes gets narrower and narrower.

The rules framework laid out for 5e's classes is already pretty narrow in the grand scheme. You can see that in the design language for the few non-combat-focused abilities.

To use a really bad analogy (but it least it's a clear one), if we commit to a design principle of "each power is one letter of the English alphabet", eventually we run out of letters.
I've always found that making up new letters is a fine direction to take, if you put in serious effort to each letter.

But also, we don't have to talk in maximilist terms. We don't need 30 classes; we could still cap at 12, or even a softer cap at 16-20 classes, with most classes being Subclass-based, a handful Sidekick, and a slightly bigger handful Menu. Furthermore, this design opens up homebrew and 3PP a lot in terms of what can be created, and allows the base system to be adopted on an even wider basis for a greater pool of supplementary material to draw on. IMO, from the standpoint of trying to continuously become the biggest and best game in the scene, it'd make sense for WotC to create this type of framework just to maximize their indirect influence via 3PP. But also selfishly, it'd help all of us who do 3PP too!

But even beyond that, 16-20 classes that use this supported framework and that theoretically being ALL YOU CAN USE still creates a more robust first party D&D that better fits the reality of players having different mechanical proficiencies as players. There's really no significant downsides worth talking about when it comes to a moderate expansion of this size, but there certainly are if we assume first party alone is responsible for expanding the game.
 

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mellored

Legend
I don't mind prime-stat ability scores slowly increasing as you level up, as a side effect of lots of practice and training at doing what you do, but this advancement IMO shouldn't be nearly as predictable as the WotC editions have it.

1e's Unearthed Arcana introduced the Cavalier class. Unremarkable in itself, it brought with it a wonderful mechanic for unpredictable but reasonably consistent ability score advancement by level called "percentile increments". This system can easily be tacked on to all classes in any edition.

How it works, in short:

--- At 1st level your prime stat gets a d% roll attached; thus a Mage with starting Int of 15 who rolls 87% has that Int become 15.87.
--- Each time that class levels up, some dice* are rolled and added to the percent number. If, say, the dice roll is 9 then that 15.87 becomes 15.96. If the dice roll, however, is 16 then that 15.87 becomes 15.103, which becomes 16.03: the stat advances.
--- Repeat each level. Next level that 16.03 might add 12 and become 16.15. That's it. Simple as pie.

The huge benefit of this in my eyes is the unpredictability of it - one character might advance a stat right away while another might wait several levels or more to advance a stat; but the law of averages pretty much dictates everyone will advance a point over a certain amount of levels. You can (and we have) expand this to a player-chosen secondary stat as well, which advances more slowly by rolling a smaller set of increment dice per level.

* - the incremental dice can vary from campaign to campaign depending how often the DM wants the characters, on average, to advance their prime stats. I used to use 2d10 per level but found it a bit too slow, now I use 3d8 per level which seems to work OK. To match WotC's advance speeds (a point per four levels), it would probably have to be more like 6d6 per level, or 4d6+8, or something similar.

For secondary stats I use 2d6 per level and they tend not to advance very often. :)
A simpler version IMO.

Roll a d20. If you rolled higher than your stat, it increases by 1.

I.e.
If you have a 15 Int, you need to roll a 16 or higher to increase it.
If you have a 18 Int, you need to roll an 19 or higher.

Still luck bases, makes it easier to catch up, and caps at 20.

I'm not much of a fan of luck based stats, but that gives a nice curve.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Heh... I might quibble on the claim that they'd be "loved" in 6E... but I do agree that trying to shoehorn them into 5E was unnecessary.

Some will hate it. However if classes were grouped, you could fix many of the complaints people have with 5e classes in another edition.

Like you could solve many of the issues with Multiclassing and Feats by stating X from classes from a Group stack but Y from a Group doesn't stack.

A Fighter5, a Fighter 3/Barbarian2, and a Fighter2/Ranger3 all get Extra Attack (1) because Fighters and Barbarians are Warriors and Ranger count as Warriors for Attacks and Feats. But a Fighter4/Cleric1 only has 1 attack because Clerics aren't Warriors unless they take the War domain.

You could make magic items that have effects that only manifest for members of a certain Group.

3PPs could create content with Groups in mind. "The young dragon's hoard has 5 sections: 1 Warrior weapon, 1d6+2 minor Expert potions, 2 Priest items, 1 Mage scroll, and 2d6 healing potions. You can substitute any section for any other to match the party's makeup"
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I suspect that rolling for stats, with some variants will be in the DMG at the very least as an alternate character creation method. It seems like it's too engrained in the system's DNA to remove entirely.
 

mellored

Legend
I mean, I agree with you. I don't personally see what is gained by only playing Core Four.
The advantage is that you reduce choice overload for new players. Instead of asking "what does that do" 12 times, you only ask it 4 times.

Then, presumably, you get 4 more choices next level, and 4 after that.

A series of small choices is usually better than having a bucket full all at once.
 

Removing ability scores. Having 14 mean +2 is unnecessarily confusing.

Changing the attack and damage into one roll. 1d20+2d6+Str - 20 AC or something like that would speed up the game.

We won't see them because backwards compatibility.
I think backwards compatibility has little to do with why we won’t see these changes. Me and many others would hate them is probably more the reason.
 

mellored

Legend
I suspect that rolling for stats, with some variants will be in the DMG at the very least as an alternate character creation method. It seems like it's too engrained in the system's DNA to remove entirely.
I would be more willing to use rolling for stats if less things where based on stats.

Like if your to-hit and DC was just proficiency bonus, Str was only added to damage, and Int only added to spells you could prepare.

Or maybe if there was some way to balance it out. Like if you rolled below an 8, you got a random feat.

But as is, if you roll low, you're significantly behind someone who rolled high.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Some will hate it. However if classes were grouped, you could fix many of the complaints people have with 5e classes in another edition.

Like you could solve many of the issues with Multiclassing and Feats by stating X from classes from a Group stack but Y from a Group doesn't stack.

A Fighter5, a Fighter 3/Barbarian2, and a Fighter2/Ranger3 all get Extra Attack (1) because Fighters and Barbarians are Warriors and Ranger count as Warriors for Attacks and Feats. But a Fighter4/Cleric1 only has 1 attack because Clerics aren't Warriors unless they take the War domain.

You could make magic items that have effects that only manifest for members of a certain Group.

3PPs could create content with Groups in mind. "The young dragon's hoard has 5 sections: 1 Warrior weapon, 1d6+2 minor Expert potions, 2 Priest items, 1 Mage scroll, and 2d6 healing potions. You can substitute any section for any other to match the party's makeup"
I understand conceptually what you are going for... but when you use the example of Warriors getting Extra Attack but you then have to add Rangers to the Warrior group temporarily in order to give them Extra Attack too (and presumably add Paladins too)... I just can't help think it's just as easy to just list the classes that get Extra Attack rather than create a "group" and then have to include a whole bunch of exceptions in addition to it. What exactly is that Group designation saving us? And Arcane magic? Well, you either strip the Bard of Arcane magic and turn it into something else, or else you have to keep saying "the Arcane Group AND Bard", which is just as many words as listing "Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer and Bard", so again, what's the benefit?

And while 3PP could create content with Groups in mind... they could just as easily create content that lists specific classes too. I mean look at all the exceptions would would need to make-- magical plate mail? Can't say "For the Warrior group" because Monks and Barbarians ain't going to use it and Paladins would... which means you end up just having to list the classes anyway. And there will be plenty of time you'd want to give things to all the nature classes-- Rangers, Barbarians, and Druids-- which would preclude any Group and you'd end up just listing classes again.

Now that being said... yes I agree with you that a whole new edition would in fact be the best time and place to work on it because you could strip everything back down the foundations and try to build them back up so that Groups could be a thing. I just don't know why it would be all that useful even if you could. But I won't dismiss the premise out of hand... maybe when WotC decides to make 6E whenever that is, they'd be able to convince me otherwise? I will fully accept the possibility.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The advantage is that you reduce choice overload for new players. Instead of asking "what does that do" 12 times, you only ask it 4 times.

Then, presumably, you get 4 more choices next level, and 4 after that.

A series of small choices is usually better than having a bucket full all at once.
And then once they do that the first time or two they no longer are new players and they become experienced players... at which point you could hand them 12 classes for them to choose from and it wouldn't be a problem.

But what's better? A book that includes 12 classes that a DM who knows they are teaching the game to new players can choose to hand out a series of pre-gens that only cover 4 of them for the new players to learn... and then they can move on to the other 8 once they have the game under their belt...

Or a book that only includes 4 classes total... which is great for new players to learn from, but then they have nowhere else to go once they've learned the game?

I agree with you that it is easier for a new player to learn from a smaller set of choices. But that's why a specific DM can make those choices for the new players themselves, rather than ask the book designers to do it but thus removing options for the other 99.99% of the playerbase.
 

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