D&D 5E What 5th edition needs to achieve IMO


What 5th edition needs to achieve IMO:

WotC's stated intent is to allow all gamers, regardless of their play styles or system preferences, to enjoy the new game and make it their own.

I have one recipe that might be a winner towards that goal.

I believe the OD&D (1974) format was a winning idea that came to be pretty much by accident at the time (lack of budget, different settings between Gygax and Arneson, etc): the game itself, simple, which sparked your imagination to play the game without much strings attached, and then the Supplements, which each had their own takes on the game, adding this or that element of play, that you could use separately, or in combination to each other, or just as inspiration to your own private 'supplement', so you could take the game in the directions you wanted.

What I think could work is first, a simple, loose core game that you can play like B/X D&D, create characters in 5-10 minutes tops, that includes the focus on exploration and adventure, advice on building the dungeon and the wilderness, how to come up with your own environments and so on, that you can expand on on your own and provides the tools to do so, that is NOT bound to tactical miniatures and grids or any particular play style.

Format would ideally be a box with three little booklets inside that you can easily handle at the game table, sheets of reference and dice. This would be a game first, not a series of huge, scary-looking tomes like has been the case since AD&D's days up to now.

THEN would come the supplements, adding selected elements to the basic frame of the game which you can use separately or in combination with each other to create your own game experience catering to your specific needs and play style. One supplement to add tactical mini combat to the game. One supplement adding layers of character descriptions and customization via rules like feats, expanded codified class abilities and the like. One supplement that focuses on building grand epics and changing the game into a storytelling exercise. One supplement about open universes and the sandbox playstyle. And so on, so forth. Maybe these could have different colors for their covers, or boxes, that people could associate with Mentzer D&D.

What we would be looking at would be a Swiss Army knife/D&D game, with the core being basically B/X or similar in spirit and execution, and the supplements adding a tool to the basic knife frame so YOU can make the game what you really want it to be for you and your friends at the game table. That could be a winning recipe with most fans of the game.

And one last thought: get off the supplement and editions treadmill, WotC. Create this simple core, and then you can reinvent the supplements ad nauseam to create an infinity of game play experiences. Stay on the treadmill, and see your fan base disintegrate ever further into oblivion.

Next move is yours.

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Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
And one last thought: get off the supplement and editions treadmill, WotC. Create this simple core, and then you can reinvent the supplements ad nauseam to create an infinity of game play experiences. Stay on the treadmill, and see your fan base disintegrate ever further into oblivion.

Leave the majority of supplements to 3PP through the OGL and the treadmill for WotC is avoided, IMO.


I am a fervent believer in the OGL as well. I think this format could be used by third-party publishers in really inventive ways, and by all sorts of fans to share their own vision of the game based on the core frame.

We could see OD&D supplement styles booklets with "Men & Magic", "Monsters & Treasure" and "Underworld & Wilderness Adventures" sections again.

We could have splat books expanding on this or that area of the rules or supplements which include the elements the fans want to push further.

We could have adventures, campaign boxed sets, even board games, miniatures combat titles, and card games based on the original premise of the simple core set. The core set in this sense would be the hub, the quintessence of the game that then can be declined in a zillion different ways.


An idea to solve the "I don't want to bring 36 supplements to the table" that format could generate. They could do print on demand: "select the rules you use on the D&DI. We print it for you in the number of volumes you want." Win.


First Post
Any system that does not have a legitimate revenue stream for Hasbro, will fail, no matter how much we love it. IF they abandon the frequent book releases and incorporate a more open OGL, how does WOTC make money.

Then it hit me, especially since I work for a company that does this with educational college text books.

WOTC needs to finally deliver on the e-tools format of the future. Create a piece of software that is unique to the DND experience. I do not need digital maps and such. But an enhanced form of a reader, that can snag all NPCs, maybe even add images on them. Make the DM process easier. It doesnt need a map function, (which would be fine as an add on but you don't want customers to choose between digital maps, minis and the human brain imagination.

Whereas everything would be OGL, this specific tool would only house WOTC books, thus making it valuable to buy the WOTC book addons for hte tool. Cloud computing allows a much safer environment from Piracy.

3rd party people can still make books and stuff, and pay WOTC a fee to convert their titles to the DND reader. The books can still be available in PDF format or hard copy. Thus WOTC still maintains a product that is exlcusive to thier own while presenting cooperation with the gaming community.

Game wise, steal from the enhancements Pathfinder introduced. Reduced number of skills, a simple system for combat maneuvers (this was originally mearls idea in Iron Heroes) and capitalize on where it failed. Take away spells per day, spells known. It is confusing for new gamers. Incorporate a spell point system with variation and flexiability (a variation of Ptolus perhaps).

5e can not do anything wierd. NO tieflings and half-dragons in the main races. Just give me humans, elves, dwarves and little people.

As for classes, I'm old school. I said this 5 years ago. Only release 4 to 6 classes EVER. Warrior, Priest, Thief, Wizard. From there, create an advanced class system or use a feat mechanic to alter abilities. The system needs to be simple enough where a alchemist wizard works like a elementist wizard but the powers are distinct.

Also, get rid of Skills (gasp). Associate the main abilities with general things you can do with them (charisma for diplomacy etc). And then use that feat system to add bonuses to those roles for certain actions. Thus, you let characters only choose
1. race, 2 class, 3 feats.
Everything is based off of that. You have a few blank lines on the side of the character sheet for skill bonuses (which again are rolled up in the feat you chose). So Say i choose cleave, it's rolled into acrobatics, and i get a +2 to it. from it.

Then imput a rule, you can not have a bonus higher than your level. That will stop the min/maxers.

Oh, and get rid of rolling for ability scores. Just use a simple array. And allow rolling to be an advanced class generation.
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The EN World kitten
I'm honestly somewhat uncertain of how much should be read into their stated goal of making D&D a game for everyone.

If they're serious about that, I think the only way to seriously achieve something like that is to come up with a set of meta-rules, which can be modularly implemented to allow for a level of customized complexity - that you can add or delete various sub-systems, and the game will work regardless of what rules are or are not used.

The problem with this approach? Ever since the release of Third Edition, we've heard how bad it was that D&D was a mish-mash of unrelated sub-systems; that a unifying mechanic was what the game needed. So now, with a stated policy that seems to fly in the face of a "unified mechanic" game, I'm nervous if maybe the decisions of the last twelve years are being back-tracked.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it; maybe it's just rhetoric, and D&D 5E will be no more or less modular than any previous edition. But I worry that trying to make a game that pleases everyone by having it be a collection of modular rules could very well end up pleasing no one.


Games like Mutants and Masterminds, GURPS, and CHAMPIONS use such meta-rules and unified mechanics to let you build the game you want to run with the characters the players want to play.

The problem is the amount of effort that needs to be invested to get the game up and running increases dramatically.


The EN World kitten
Games like Mutants and Masterminds, GURPS, and CHAMPIONS use such meta-rules and unified mechanics to let you build the game you want to run with the characters the players want to play.

I'll confess that I'm not very familiar (or, really, familiar at all) with the mechanics of the games you mentioned. Having said that, I wonder if I should clarify by what I meant when I said "meta-rules."

In my mind, meta-rules are entire sections of rules - not implementations of rules, but the actual rules themselves - that can be kept or eschewed without breaking the game.

As an example: If Third Edition treated both feats and skills as (two instances of) meta-rules, then you'd be able to choose to run a 3E game whose characters (be they PCs, NPCs, monsters, etc.) were entirely without feats and/or skills. This would be problematic in 3E, because it'd affect prestige classes (prerequisites), magic items (skill boosting items), class abilities (bonus feats), racial abilities (skill bonuses), etc.

Third Edition didn't treat those parts of the game as meta-rules, because they weren't designed with an eye towards making the game playable if they were removed - all of the aforementioned problem areas come up. If 5E can design a game where entire sets of rules can be added or removed without things falling apart, all the while still keeping a unified mechanic, then I'll be impressed.

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