D&D General What do you NOT want systems for?

Thomas Shey

I don't have much I want no system for, though there's an issue of some things probably not justifying the space they'd take up, and others I don't need a lot of mechanics for--but still want some. I absolutely want some mechanics for social and intellectual tasks, for example, but depending on what the game is about, I don't necessarily need it to be extensive.

Edit: There are some specific mechanics I generically avoid, but since this is in the D&D group I'll leave those out.
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Doing the best imitation of myself
My take in general is that I don't want rules for things the game tells me it doesn't care about. It seems like there are always some rules for the environment or gear that get in the way of a game that tells me it's about over the top adventure. Now if I'm playing a gritty, survival sim, I want those rules.

The only kind of rule I absolutely don't want, are rules that keep a particular type of player with engaging with a part of the game. Yes, this is most commonly about social situations, but I don't want to keep different types of gamers from being able to fully be in the game. I started playing in the 70s, and really for the first couple decades, we had a lot of people in gaming who were neurodivergent without really knowing what that meant.

I gamed with a bunch of people who, if I could get into a time machine, I would have had a lot more fun with if I understood more about how they saw the world differently. I remember in the 80s I instituted the "intent and method" rule for a player who was amazing, but just couldn't engage with the game socially. At the time, it was a controversial thing to do (if you can believe that!) I can't emphasize enough that you should meet your players where they are or where they can get to.
Last edited:


If there's something I'd like to see streamline/cut back on, I think @Gorck nailed it when they said multiclassing. I think the sort of "cut and paste" multiclassing is the bane of good design and forces the early levels to be worse because devs don't want to have classes that are all about quick dips. I'd rather see very limited multiclassing (4E's version wouldn't be bad) and more classes that cover more niches instead of "Well, I take two levels from here, another from here, then 4 levels from here..."

I could do without multicasting altogether and just a lot more classes, or as an intentional, forced mechanic, where classes are much shorter and you must pick a new one from the level appropriate lost after finishing the last one.
Last edited:


Let's see!
  • The combat rules should go. They are unrealistic and boring. Whiffed rolls are a waste of time. Whittling down hit points is dullsville. Now, rules are needed for combat—but the ones that are there should be removed.
  • The whole spell system can go. I've never liked it, in any edition. Nearly every spell just succeeds, or at worst does nothing (that is, whiffs) without unexpected side effects or surprises—boring. The pseudo-Vancian system is a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping. There are no systems or even guidelines for improvising or devising new spells. As with combat, some rules for magic/spellcasting/other mystic stuff are needed. Just not these ones, please.
  • The skill system being whiffable too can just go away, as can essentially arbitrary DCs.
  • Ability scores, and skills being based on particular ability scores. Overly complicated and restrictive of character build ideas. Ditch 'em.
  • Classes. There isn't a single class in D&D that's ever matched what I actually want to play (possibly due to the above though!), and trying to shoehorn, multiclass, or homebrew something to fit gets so tedious. Ditch classes and let me just pick the abilities and features I want for my character.
Hm, maybe you should have specified which rules can't be gotten rid of. There seems to be nothing left of the D&D rules. 😉
Last edited:

No to "social combat" or social interaction rules, with very rare exceptions.

No to rules that don't pass the common-sense smell test (falling damage, front and center please; ban on magic item buying-selling, you too).

No to rules that tell me how to play my character with no good in-fiction support (e.g. being made to play a Cleric to its alignment is fine as in the fiction that's how the Cleric would be expected to act, but being made to play a Good or heroic character "just because" is a no-go).

No to rules that add complexity seemingly for the sake of adding complexity (1e initiative, step forward), and even more so if there's a clearly simpler way to achieve the same thing. That said, if a complex rule has a purpose and no simpler method has yet suggested itself (e.g. encumbrance) then I'm generally fine with it.

No to overly-tight or overly-unified systems that can't be kitbashed.


Yes to random tables. Yes to pregnancy and childbirth rules. Yes to lingering injury or wound rules. Yes to discrete modular subsystems. And above all yes to rules that ground the game in some form of reality, and thus make it relatable to us puny humans. :)
I don't want systems 'for' anything. Most of the RPGs I play have one resolution system, or maybe a basic core mechanic and some way of managing its application. The ideal IMHO is something like Apocalypse World where there is really just one mechanic, plus a few tools you can use to manage its application.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads