D&D General What are the coolest/most innovative mechanics D&D could take from other games?

dave2008

Legend
Personally, I consider Shadow of the Demon Lord's Boons and Banes to be a better take on advantage/disadvantage. Blades in the Dark's clocks are an elegant evolution of the skill challenge mechanic (which I can't understand why 5e dropped after years of iteration and improvement), and 4e making all spells use attack rolls while saving throws were specifically to end ongoing effects was brilliant.

What about you?
@Haplo781 Thanks for this, best thread on this forum in a few weeks. It is getting my creative juices flowing again!
 

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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I go back and forth on this and though I have heard mostly positive things, I have heard some negative ones as well. Like most things, depends on the group.

From a design point I mostly love it (I don't like that it doesn't include reactions), but I also love having the independent move action in 5e. I also don't really like the complexity of reducing efficiency with more actions, but then that is the incentive for not just standing there and waking away. I am actively work on some house rules and this rule, or a version of it, is one I am currently struggling with. So, @payn: what do you like about it.
I like that it allows enough options in a single turn from level 1. Summoning, spells, iterative attacks, mobility. Every class can be built around using it. What's not to like?
 

Haplo781

Legend
Haven't played it, what are Boons and Banes? Adv/Dis is fairly elegant because of how quick and easy it is, how it doesn't make things possible/impossible that weren't before, and how it ends up changing based on if you were likely, balanced, or unlikely to make the roll in the first place. So I'm really excited by a better take on that much goodness.
Boons cancel Banes out 1:1, so you can't ever have both. You can, however, stack them with themselves.

A Boon or Bane adds or subtracts 1d6 to/from your d20 roll. If you have multiple then you take the highest roll and use that. So 3 Boons rolling 2, 4, and 5 would add 5 to your d20 roll.
 

dave2008

Legend
I like that it allows enough options in a single turn from level 1. Summoning, spells, iterative attacks, mobility.
Every class can be built around using it. What's not to like?
Well that for one (bold part).

Also, mobility is built into the 5e action economy as well without a trade-off. The thing I fear, and I witnessed in 4e, and I've heard about in PF2, is decision paralysis about what to do with your actions. I.e. trying to maximize your actions. This can slow the game done for no real benefit IME.
 

I like PF2's three action economy.
I really love it, with the caveat that I don't think you should forget how to walk after taking another action, and I think you should be able to interact with more than one thing if you spend an action to interact.
Sounds a bit like 4e where you had encounter powers that were cooler than your basic powers.
The At-Wills in 4E were generally more interesting than the At-Wills in 5E.
 
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There's a lot I like from Cypher but crits (its damage mechanics in general) and resting times would be a nice change for dnd.

General Skills vs Advanced Skills found in Coriolis (~Arabian Nights Sci-Fi). The game has the following skills:
  • General Skills: Dexterity, Force, Infiltration, Manipulation, Melee Combat, Onservation, Ranged Combat, Survival
  • Advanced Skills: Command, Culture, Data Djinn (hacking), Medicurgy (medicine), Mystic Powers, Pilot, Science, and Technology
The game lets anyone roll for general skills, but only lets you roll advanced skills if you have put skill points into them. I wouldn't suggest such a harsh cut-off for D&D. A d20 for general and d10 for non-prof advanced skills perhaps.

Dread's Jenga tower for when time or creeping danger is an issue.

Old School Hack's arenas granting benefits to different weapon types:
  • Tight arenas benefit light weapons
  • Hazardous arenas benefit reach weapons
  • Open arenas benefit ranged weapons
  • Dense arenas benefit heavy or very heavy weapons
  • Neutral arenas grant no benefits
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Well that for one (bold part).

Also, mobility is built into the 5e action economy as well without a trade-off. The thing I fear, and I witnessed in 4e, and I've heard about in PF2, is decision paralysis about what to do with your actions. I.e. trying to maximize your actions. This can slow the game done for no real benefit IME.
Well, I look at it this way, once they figure out how to play a character (and each class uses the 3 actions differently which is great and avoids homogeneity) it wont change much between level 1 and 20. They might get a few extra abilities along the way to drop into one of those actions, but the paradigm doesn't change. In 3E/PF1 and 5E to some extent, you have two actions and then, free, reaction, swift, bonus, surge, etc... I find that way more confusing and variable than the 3 action economy of PF2. YMMV.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if folks had analysis paralysis in many games if PF2 causes it. If you think 5E is easier, I think its likely the person just has more experience with it. YMMV.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
A mechanic that recently caught my eye is Fabula Ultima's ability checks (which I believe are originally from Ryutama).

Essentially, your ability scores are a die between d6 and d12. When rolling a check, it's based on two ability scores (or you can use the die from the same stat twice if only one applies, such as a task that is purely based on brute strength).

For example, trying to lift a heavy statue would be [MIGHT + MIGHT].
Playing poker (assuming you aren't cheating) would likely be [INSIGHT+ WILLPOWER].

You crit if you roll doubles that are 6+, and fumble if you roll snake eyes. Therefore, a larger die not only improves your odds of success, but also increases your chances of a crit while reducing your chance to fumble.

Moreover, it allows for an interesting design space where different abilities and weapons leverage different combinations of ability scores. For example, weapons that only use one ability score have slightly weaker properties compared to weapons that use two ability scores, since needing only one high stat is an advantage in and of itself.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
You crit if you roll doubles that are 6+, and fumble if you roll snake eyes. Therefore, a larger die not only improves your odds of success, but also increases your chances of a crit while reducing your chance to fumble.

That feels a little fiddly, but it's also pretty cool.

I also really like using two ability scores, and have thought about designs that do exactly that. For everything. Imagine a rock-paper-scissors combat system where every round you pick two from Int, Str, Dex.
 

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