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

dave2008

Legend
Oh, I dont see any benefit in that. I'd have to see a write up and think it would have massive implications across all the classes and abilities. Doable, but I dont think an improvement. Tho, I cant knock it in anything but theory until I rock it.
Well you would have to completely rework 5e to add the 3 action economy anyway so I don't think making it a 4 action economy is much of a difference.

Now, why I want something like this is mostly design aesthetic and a bit verisimilitude. It just bothers me that reactions are hanging out there doing there own thing and don't have an impact on the rest of the action economy. I also like the idea you could take 4 reactions if you want.
 

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Vael

Legend
As much as I kinda like the ubiquity of Aspects in Fate, I don't know if they'd work too well.

Anything to improve the non combat pillars of DnD would be nice, tbh.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Well you would have to completely rework 5e to add the 3 action economy anyway so I don't think making it a 4 action economy is much of a difference.

Now, why I want something like this is mostly design aesthetic and a bit verisimilitude. It just bothers me that reactions are hanging out there doing there own thing and don't have an impact on the rest of the action economy. I also like the idea you could take 4 reactions if you want.
Why is 4 better than 3? Wouldn't it add to the analysis paralysis?
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
My contribution would be from various games in the OSR space: I want to get rid of skills.

In 2000, skills were hot stuff, but "roll a d20 to succeed at this narrow application of an ability score" is a snoozer. We also wind up with certain ultra-significant skills (PERCEPTION) and some fairly worthless skills that relies on a DM to make them useful (like most INT skills).

I'd rather replace them with traits that just....give you benefits. Rather than a Religion skill, your character is "Religious" and they can invoke it just to know things about religion instead of having to roll. Rather than a Perception skill, your character is "Perceptive" and immune to Surprise or something. Now, I don't need to pump my Dex just to have a good stealth roll; I can just be "Stealthy."

Correct. The Escalation Die exists as an elegant solution to the dominance of the "alpha strike."

I'm fond of escalation mechanics, and I don't like how an alpha strike can just ruin what could be a fun encounter, but fights in D&D are typically three rounds, and I like it that way. I want my fights to be quick and uncomplicated, to get out of the way fast so I can get back to the storytelling. Could be something to bring in for Legendary monsters or something, though, where a longer fight might be nice...but long fights take up a lot of table time, too.

The At-Wills in 4E were generally more interesting than the At-Wills in 5E.
One relatively easy thing that could be added to 5e today is 4e-style at-wills based on your weapon.

The idea is that cantrips and martial weapons are largely mechanically equal and similar in design space. Cantrips just tend to have more interesting wrinkles than weapons. So give martial weapons some neat sauce. Bows can ignore cover. Greatswords can do a green flame blade style "cleave" effect. The "light" property is already kind of this (because it enables two weapon fighting).

While not a "bell curve", it is centralized more around the mean, making the typical result more common and the extremes less likely.
I think changing D&D to make the typical result more common just destroys the heroic appeal of the d20 mechanic. The d20's swinginess is good, actually, and I will die on that hill, hahaha.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Advantage/Disadvantage was once an innovative mechanic. D&D somehow survived its inclusion. It really depends on the mechanic and the stress points. Not every innovative mechanic destroys the fabric of D&D. The Usage Die popularized by Black Hack would probably fit in fine in D&D. Or things like Cypher System's Recovery Roll mechanic.
Unfortunately, while it survived the inclusion of Ad/Dis, it was not improved by the inclusion. Because, exactly as I predicted back during the D&D Next playtest, they hand out Advantage like it's candy. It served the at least notionally laudable goal of cleaning up an excess of disparate modifiers, but it did so by collapsing the entire structure, not by making something sleek and streamlined from it. The weapon of first resort is also the weapon of last resort--if the DM wants to give a benefit to someone who already has advantage....they're stuck, there's nothing they can add.

And then they went in and added things like Elven Accuracy, which completely defeated the goal of cleaning up excess modifiers by enabling more modifiers again, just fiddlier and more complex to implement.
 

I just read a German roleplaying system that was incredibly simple. The only way to level a skill, was to roll a 4 on a 1d4 when using said skill.

Say for example, you were trying to do an athletics check. Roll a 1d4, and on a 4, your athletics check improves, and you may now roll 2d4. Next time you roll a 4 on both dice, you level that skill again. Of course the more dice are added, the harder it becomes to level that skill further. But it means you can only improve a skill by using it.

I appreciate the simplicity of this system, even if d4's are kinda crap to roll with.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I just read a German roleplaying system that was incredibly simple. The only way to level a skill, was to roll a 4 on a 1d4 when using said skill.

Say for example, you were trying to do an athletics check. Roll a 1d4, and on a 4, your athletics check improves, and you may now roll 2d4. Next time you roll a 4 on both dice, you level that skill again. Of course the more dice are added, the harder it becomes to level that skill further. But it means you can only improve a skill by using it.

I appreciate the simplicity of this system, even if d4's are kinda crap to roll with.
Could use d6 instead, and say the first level requires 6, while every level thereafter requires 5 or 6. Things will level slightly faster after that initial hump, but that really only makes it about 1 level faster for most achievable levels due to the exponential nature of the difficulty curve, e.g. 3^4 is roughly comparable to 4^3, and 3^5 is actually not far off from 4^4. Anything past that is largely not going to be worth seeking, since 3^6 is 729 and 4^5 is 1024. You probably won't roll enough skill rolls to level it up any further, either way.
 

dave2008

Legend
Why is 4 better than 3? Wouldn't it add to the analysis paralysis?
Three would work too, if you include reactions in those three.

To be clear, I am separating what I like from a design perspective and a play perspective. As I said before, I generally like the design of the 3 action economy, but I fear (from experience) how it will play with my group.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I think changing D&D to make the typical result more common just destroys the heroic appeal of the d20 mechanic. The d20's swinginess is good, actually, and I will die on that hill, hahaha.
For combat is okay, where the multitude of rolls reduces the impact, but for single roll results, no, which is why a number of groups use 2d10 or 3d6 for ability checks and even saves sometimes.

It isn't the swinginess of the d20 that makes things heroic, it is the strength of the modifiers you apply to it. If my PC has a +10 bonus (near the max without expertise, so minimum 13th level) and I am attempted a DC 15 "Moderate" task, having a 20% failure rate doesn't feel "heroic" at all. However, using 3d20 take middle, the chance of failing drops to less than 6%, which at least is more reasonable. :)

The hill is over that way 👉... ;)
 

dave2008

Legend
For combat is okay, where the multitude of rolls reduces the impact, but for single roll results, no, which is why a number of groups use 2d10 or 3d6 for ability checks and even saves sometimes.

It isn't the swinginess of the d20 that makes things heroic, it is the strength of the modifiers you apply to it. If my PC has a +10 bonus (near the max without expertise, so minimum 13th level) and I am attempted a DC 15 "Moderate" task, having a 20% failure rate doesn't feel "heroic" at all. However, using 3d20 take middle, the chance of failing drops to less than 6%, which at least is more reasonable. :)

The hill is over that way 👉... ;)
I'm with @I'm A Banana on this one. Math, as you describe it, is not heroic. It is not about having a 15% better chance at succeeding, it is about succeed when you should fail. Rolling the 20 when that is the only thing that can save your ass - is heroic.

Now, from a design perspective I agree with you. Roll 3d30 pick the middle or 2d10 or other options is better from a point of view. However, I'm not sure it is more heroic or better in play if that type of excitement is what you are going for. Some people just find consistency, which is what you proposal provides, less exciting.
 

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