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3E/3.5 Twenty Years On. Modern 3E?

Zardnaar

Legend
Assuming Pathfinder 2 or 4E had gone in a different direction what would you like in a new 3.X?

What would you take from 4E, 5E, and Pathfinder 1/2. What would you cut?

Here's some things I would do.

1. Unified BAB/proficiency bonus.

There's a reason all the modern D&D's. Rather than 5E +6 by level 20 I think I would use +10 a'la 4E or +15. ACs would top out around 30. Bit more variety and range.

2. Overhauled feats. More 5E super fears broken up into micro feats. Better designed feats. Merge crap feats, remove broken ones.

3. Strip out easy to create magic items. Back to 2E spells and magic item creation. But you don't lose a con point.

4. Feats divided up into various types a'la Pathfinder 2. Non combat feats won't be competing with combat feats. Probably not as excessive as PF2 system.

5. Floating ability score. Get away from the pigeonholed races. Thanks PF2 for this idea.

6. Eliminate most of the small bonuses. +2/+5 a'la 4E or +2/advantage.

7. 4E or 5E round structure.

8. Multiple attacks suffer no penalties.

9. Retain fort/ref/will saves. All saves scale a'la PF2 and OSR.

10. Cap ability score at 20.

11. ASI are freebies.

12. 5E spell DCs.

13. Overhaul the spells. If you can't fix the broken spells remove them. Nerfbat for more than a few.

14. Damage dealing speljs would scale but be capped. Fireball would deal 5-10d6 damage.

15. Less higher level spell slots.
 

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Orius

Adventurer
I don't really understand 5e's proficiency bonus at all. To me a fighter is supposed to have a better base attack than a wizard. I can't wrap my head around 5e's approach. It's mostly unfamiliarity with the system and a lack of desire to run it.

Definitely improve feats somehow. They're supposed to be where the fighter is strong, yet the fighter ends up being one of the weakest base classes instead. Sure, I prefer wizards, but it still feels wrong.

I'm considering dropping penalties for multiple attacks at least for the fighter.

Some bounded accuracy, but an ability cap of 20 might be too low for 3e. 25 might be a better limit.

I'm wondering how things would work if I shifted to Epic Save Progresions at level 11.

Magic item creation can be a little too easy, but I want to be careful how I nerf it. I think I want to continue with 3e as written as the base, but require formulas like 5e to control how much can be created, and to bring back some DM control over the process. 2e's approach makes it too hard for the player and makes too much work for the DM.

I'd stick with a base of 3.0, add the 3.5 errata that were actually necessary, then add stuff on a case-by-case basis. I don't buy the "3.5 is always better" line at all because it added a ton of broken crap, worsened some of the problems instead fixing them, and started going with more flavor I don't like. Some of the fixes make sense though, and are worth using.

I also would not use most of the base classes not in core, and have sharp limits on PrCs.

Spell access would be restricted somewhat too, players would only be able to choose from the core spells, while anything outside is under my control to add to the campaign. This is not a new approach though. It's based on the spell rarities from 2e's spell compendiums which was a rule that I never dropped in my game, just adapted things to serve new spells that were added.
 

Assuming Pathfinder 2 or 4E had gone in a different direction what would you like in a new 3.X?
The one thing that always mildly irked me about D&D and still does is the dice modifiers, +1 here, +3 there, etc. 5E was on the right track with advantage/disadvantage but didnt quite hit the mark for me. I think its safe to say that Alternity was the prototype for D&D 3E and the one thing I wish that they had kept was was the control and situation die mechanic and ported it over to D&D. Thats definitely the one thing I would want to see in either another edition of 3.x or even the next iteration of the rules for 5.x or 6E. Anything to eliminate the need for players and DMs to have to deal with fiddly math and speed up play would be welcome at my table.
 

One big thing that I would change, is to make it easier to uplevel monsters and to calculate their challenge rating. At higher levels it is a mess to find proper monsters for high level characters, and leveling up low CR monsters to the appropriate level is way too complicated in 3.X.

I would probably borrow 5E's legendary actions and lair actions for monsters. It is simply a really good rule to create boss monsters and works just fine in 3.X.

I would get rid of several feat requirements to take other feats. While it makes sense to have progressively stronger feats (like taking Cleave before you can take Great Cleave), some feats are absolute garbage and are only included as a requirement for better feats.

Get rid of spell components entirely. Who even bothers with those?

Get rid of class-specific special abilities that add just another use of an already weak ability. I don't think I've ever used Remove Disease as a Paladin, so getting more uses of them as I level up is like someone wrapped up a brick for xmas and handed it to me. Thanks... I guess?

I would make some variant rules from the class-specific books core rules, such as the ability to choose between Turn Undead and Destroy Undead.

I would also balance the saves of monsters better in regards to spells and abilities, such as Turn Undead, so they don't become useless at higher levels. Monsters at higher levels always save against some of these, rendering them useless.

I think a first level spell should still remain useful at higher levels, without having to waste a feat on it just to up the DC. All spells should scale with your level, so that your choices of useful spells only increases per level.

Get rid of feats that provide a +2 to a skill. They are all garbage.

Get rid of class-skills. It is a mess having to remember which skills are not core to your class, and require double skillpoint investments. Plus as a DM I have no way to check if my players are following this rule at all. It leads to situations where some of my players have ludicrous bonusses to their Spot, when Spot is not a core skill for their class. Which raises a lot of eyebrows.

Keep the +1 and +2 bonusses, but tone down the amount of spells and abilities that provide such bonusses. I don't want my players to keep having to remind their fellow players about their aura. I like that effects can stack in 3.X, but there is just too much of it.

Every core class should get an interesting new special ability every 2 levels or so. No class should have a bunch of blank spaces where their special ability should be, and they should be diverse. So not just a bunch of Favored Enemies in a row. Those do not make me excited to progress my class.

Multiple attacks suffer no penalties. I think this is a good suggestion, so I'll borrow it. Why make calculating your attack bonus to complicated?

Put some hard limits on wishes and all wish related spells and abilities.

Make all experience points party-wide. This may be controversial, but I have never understood why you would want individual exp. This is a game where you don't want players competing with each other.

Crafting a magic item should not cost experience points. The last thing a DM wants, is for their players to be on unequal levels (see above). If anything, it should require the completion of a quest to obtain a rare ingredient. The whole point of crafting a magic item is to become stronger, not weaker at the same time.
 
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Get rid of spell components entirely. Who even bothers with those?
I don't really use them unless its a powerful high level spell that I dont want thrown around at will or secondly even low level spells if a player just decides to cast a spell in the middle of the kings court room and expects to get away with it. Yeah, cause no one noticed you dig through your belt pouch, strike a pose and shout abracadabra for no reason? Even then I just acknowledge the fact the spell has components not whether the player has them. Regardless if they were removed from the game entirely I wouldn't care.
 

I don't really use them unless its a powerful high level spell that I dont want thrown around at will or secondly even low level spells if a player just decides to cast a spell in the middle of the kings court room and expects to get away with it. Yeah, cause no one noticed you dig through your belt pouch, strike a pose and shout abracadabra for no reason? Even then I just acknowledge the fact the spell has components not whether the player has them. Regardless if they were removed from the game entirely I wouldn't care.
I think in most people's campaigns they have always been more fluff than actual rule. Otherwise a spellcaster would constantly need to maintain a shopping list. Shopping for spell components also bogs down the game, plus it allows the DM to arbitrarily make some spell components unavailable, which would be unfair to the player. Plus no DM is going to check if a player actually has the required components for a spell. What it is, is unnecessary busy work. It has always been a bad rule, in EVERY edition of D&D.
 

I think in most people's campaigns they have always been more fluff than actual rule. Otherwise a spellcaster would constantly need to maintain a shopping list. Shopping for spell components also bogs down the game, plus it allows the DM to arbitrarily make some spell components unavailable, which would be unfair to the player. Plus no DM is going to check if a player actually has the required components for a spell. What it is, is unnecessary busy work. It has always been a bad rule, in EVERY edition of D&D.
I was a player in a 2E campaign that took place in the North of the Forgotten Realms. This was around the time of Players Options Spells & Magic. That book had a table(s) which gave the percentage chance of finding and buying components. The DM actually did make me keep track of my spell components. On one hand it was annoying but on the other hand it really portrayed the North as being dangerous and isolated while travelling in winter. It made me give careful consideration to what spells I used and when. It was cool for that point in my life when we played alot, and it was pretty cut and dry whether certain components were available but Id never play that detailed now.
 




ccs

40th lv DM
I think in most people's campaigns they have always been more fluff than actual rule. Otherwise a spellcaster would constantly need to maintain a shopping list. Shopping for spell components also bogs down the game, plus it allows the DM to arbitrarily make some spell components unavailable, which would be unfair to the player. Plus no DM is going to check if a player actually has the required components for a spell. What it is, is unnecessary busy work. It has always been a bad rule, in EVERY edition of D&D.
And here boys & girls we see a prime example of how the casters, particularly the Wizard achieves their supposed superiority.
They convince the DM that tracking a vital supply is "unnecessary busy work".
Never mind that some spell components are rare & valuable things for a reason.

Yet they'll track their GP & XP in order to buy/craft as much *&^% as possible.... And they constantly have a shopping list anyways.

This DM tracks your spell components with a pencil. But its 2020 & I'm sure I could find an app for it.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
I'm paraphrasing but didnt WotC say during D&D Next that the next edition (5E) would contain most things from previous editions. It was supposed to be a modular system that you could tailor to suit your tables game? I don't think they succeeded in either.
People took them to literally.

The archetypes are based off previous editions.
 

I'm paraphrasing but didnt WotC say during D&D Next that the next edition (5E) would contain most things from previous editions. It was supposed to be a modular system that you could tailor to suit your tables game? I don't think they succeeded in either.
They definitely didn't.

5 years later and there's still no psionics system, no system for Epic Levels, and a LOT of character concepts that you could make with earlier editions do NOT work in 5e.

5e works well for doing a basic, plain-vanilla 1-20 campaign. . .but if players want more unusual character concepts, psionics, taking the game to epic levels, playing in settings outside the baseline, the game doesn't really support that well.

When I've complained on here about these shortcomings, I've been told they aren't shortcomings at all, and that WotC instead doesn't want to publish D&D materials for 5e unless they'll be used by a majority of the player base, so anything that won't have 51%+ of gaming tables adopting it won't get written. . .which ultimately just creates a sort of enforced orthodoxy of D&D.
 

People took them to literally.

The archetypes are based off previous editions.
Youre most likely right and its been so long I dont remember much than it was earlier in the NEXT playtest and after awhile I stopped paying attention and just waited until it came out.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Youre most likely right and its been so long I dont remember much than it was earlier in the NEXT playtest and after awhile I stopped paying attention and just waited until it came out.
This is what they meant by modular. Inspired by probably more accurate.

Basic. We'll get the basic set.

Hunter ranger yeah old D&D, beastmadter 3E.

Champion. Simple fighter, Battlemaster 4E inspired.

Land Druid AD&D (forest)1E, land druid (any) 2E, moon druid 3E.

Etc.

Throw in optional rules.
Nuance online though people heard what they wanted to hear.
 

They definitely didn't.

5 years later and there's still no psionics system, no system for Epic Levels, and a LOT of character concepts that you could make with earlier editions do NOT work in 5e.

5e works well for doing a basic, plain-vanilla 1-20 campaign. . .but if players want more unusual character concepts, psionics, taking the game to epic levels, playing in settings outside the baseline, the game doesn't really support that well.

When I've complained on here about these shortcomings, I've been told they aren't shortcomings at all, and that WotC instead doesn't want to publish D&D materials for 5e unless they'll be used by a majority of the player base, so anything that won't have 51%+ of gaming tables adopting it won't get written. . .which ultimately just creates a sort of enforced orthodoxy of D&D.
I suppose early in the playtest I was envisioning smaller strictly mechanical supplements outside of the core, such as, heres a Dark Sun conversion, heres a book on how to convert 2E kits, etc. As Zardnaar perhaps I took it too literally.
 

I will say that I could get behind a game that is a blend of 5e and 3.x. I do appreciate some elements of 5e, certainly it generally has better designed classes, and I do like how it made combat faster.

I prefer the triad of Fortitude/Reflex/Will saves, I prefer a lot of 3e-isms though. I prefer 3e's magic item creation.

I think there's overall a lot of parts and pieces between 3.x (and other OGL works) and 5e to make the perfect edition of D&D and improve on 3.5e with some elements of 5e.
 

I suppose early in the playtest I was envisioning smaller strictly mechanical supplements outside of the core, such as, heres a Dark Sun conversion, heres a book on how to convert 2E kits, etc. As Zardnaar perhaps I took it too literally.
I don't think you took it too literally, I think you took it as intended, then WotC backpedaled on it.

While I didn't follow the 5e development process super-closely, the talk about returning to elements of previous editions, of walking away from 4e's renunciation of D&D's heritage, of trying to make the game more compatible with older materials and D&D's legacy was something I remember too, and assumed (like you did) that would mean that most campaign settings (especially popular ones like Dark Sun) and most popular subsystems like psionics and epic levels would have a place in the game.
 

...and assumed (like you did) that would mean that most campaign settings (especially popular ones like Dark Sun) and most popular subsystems like psionics and epic levels would have a place in the game.
I'm just surprised that with the DMs Guild and all the legacy material available there that WotC hasnt released smaller supplements. I dont think that every time they re-do a campaign setting or an old supplement it necessarily needs a $50 hardcover.
 

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