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D&D General What elements does D&D need to keep?

Which of the following elements should D&D keep in future editions?

  • Using multiple types of dice

    Votes: 110 84.6%
  • Ability scores (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha)

    Votes: 115 88.5%
  • Distinct character races/lineages

    Votes: 97 74.6%
  • Distinct character classes

    Votes: 124 95.4%
  • Alignment

    Votes: 45 34.6%
  • Backgrounds

    Votes: 49 37.7%
  • Multiclassing

    Votes: 59 45.4%
  • Feats

    Votes: 55 42.3%
  • Proficiencies

    Votes: 59 45.4%
  • Levels

    Votes: 121 93.1%
  • Experience points

    Votes: 56 43.1%
  • Hit points

    Votes: 113 86.9%
  • Hit dice

    Votes: 52 40.0%
  • Armor Class

    Votes: 104 80.0%
  • Lists of specific equipment

    Votes: 59 45.4%
  • Saving throws

    Votes: 100 76.9%
  • Surprise

    Votes: 40 30.8%
  • Initiative

    Votes: 87 66.9%
  • Damage types

    Votes: 63 48.5%
  • Lists of specific spells

    Votes: 91 70.0%
  • Conditions

    Votes: 57 43.8%
  • Deities

    Votes: 39 30.0%
  • Great Wheel cosmology

    Votes: 26 20.0%
  • World Axis cosmology

    Votes: 11 8.5%
  • Creature types

    Votes: 57 43.8%
  • Challenge ratings

    Votes: 26 20.0%
  • Lists of specific magic items

    Votes: 75 57.7%
  • Advantage/disadvantage

    Votes: 64 49.2%
  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 4 3.1%

  • Total voters
    130
  • Poll closed .

JEB

Hero
Following from this poll, and as suggested by @Charlaquin in this follow-up thread...

The previous poll asked, "what makes D&D feel like D&D"? This poll takes the same general elements from that poll, but asks a different question - what elements should D&D carry forward into future editions? Vote only for things that you definitely want to see stay in the game; don't vote for the things you could live without, don't care about, or actively want to go away. And remember that this is your opinion; don't vote for what you think will stay, but what you think should stay.

As with the previous poll, you are welcome to elaborate, but please refrain from arguing. Everyone should feel free to share here without criticism.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
Voted but it's a lot.

Voted first 6 options, multiclassing, levels through to saving throws.

Initiative plus lists of specific spells.

Probably needs some form of great wheel as core but not in specific world's eg Darksun, Eberron, Mystara, Nerath etc.
 

Uta-napishti

Explorer
I think D&D could get by with 3 Character Classes, Mystic, Martial and Expert being focused on Magic, Fighting and Skills respectively. Or INT/WIS, STR/CON, and DEX,CHA more loosely. Combined concepts, half casters, holy warriors, etc would be all just created by Multiclassing a level or two to pick up your artificer tech, or your magical smites for instance. Let's call it "Low Class D&D". I also think spell slots should definitely be replaced with more flexible spell points (simply 1 per spell level, not the WoTC spell points tables), and spell preparation should ultimately be replaced by your familiarity with the spell that would set a DC for a Spellcasting check.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think D&D could get by with 3 Character Classes, Mystic, Martial and Expert being focused on Magic, Fighting and Skills respectively. Or INT/WIS, STR/CON, and DEX,CHA more loosely. Combined concepts, half casters, holy warriors, etc would be all just created by Multiclassing. Let's call it "Low Class D&D". I also think spell slots should definitely be replaced with more flexible spell points (just 1 per level, not the WoTC spell points scheme), and spell preparation should ultimately be replaced by your familiarity with the spell that would set a DC for a Spellcasting check.

If you were starting from scratch I think you could reduce the classes to 3 and feats or pick your own class feature and multiclassing.

But it's not gonna happen.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
None of this is likely to happen, have you read the thread concept?

I agreed with you.

If I designed D&D tomorrow 3 classes, 3 saves, 10 levels, fireball deals 6d6 damage and meteor Swarm is something like 4 meteors at 4d6 and monsters have a lot less hit points.

But if I wanted to sell D&D 12 classes, 20 levels etc.
 

MarkB

Legend
I voted "other" because there wasn't a "none" option. I expect a future version of D&D to keep a smattering of these features, but there's no single item on that list which, if it were dropped or changed, would trigger my "that's not D&D!" reaction.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My "other" vote is that there's one more thing it needs to keep - or more accurately, return to - that being a sense of open-endedness: that the game/campaign can and-or will last as long as people want to play in it and the DM wants to keep running it. 3e-4e-5e kinda killed this in two ways: by introducing upper level limits (20-30-20 respectively), and by building in more of an expectation that campaigns would not only get to those capstone levels but get there rather quickly.

Let other games limit themselves with capstone levels. D&D goes on forever. :)
 



TwoSix

Unserious gamer
As usual, questions of what's important to D&D bring out the calls for reductionism uber alles.

Just once it'd be nice if people didn't immediately leap from "what do you think is important" to "tell us exactly how all the stuff at least some people like should be removed because it's totally unnecessary."

You'd think more people would appreciate The Obsolete Man.
Well, I do think there's just a legitimate divide in the player base here. Should the D&D base game be a sleek toolkit, with just enough guidance to let individual tables create the elements they want for their game? Or should it be a more sprawling toolbox, with built-out options for all the most popular D&D tropes?
 



I think D&D could get by with 3 Character Classes, Mystic, Martial and Expert being focused on Magic, Fighting and Skills respectively. Or INT/WIS, STR/CON, and DEX,CHA more loosely. Combined concepts, half casters, holy warriors, etc would be all just created by Multiclassing a level or two to pick up your artificer tech, or your magical smites for instance. Let's call it "Low Class D&D". I also think spell slots should definitely be replaced with more flexible spell points (simply 1 per spell level, not the WoTC spell points tables), and spell preparation should ultimately be replaced by your familiarity with the spell that would set a DC for a Spellcasting check.
You could make a game that way, and it would work, but I'm not sure it would work better.

If all the spellcaster archetypes (wizard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, bard, warlock, artificer, psion) were lumped into one class, you'd still need sub-archetypes to further differentiate at least some of these (cleric, sorcerer, bard, warlock) and the rest would need either sub-archetypes or new archetypes to cover the whole theme (necromancer, illusionist, mesmer, caster-monk, alchemist)... But I really don't think anyone would call their character a Life Cleric Mystic. They'd say Life Cleric and leave the 'class' out, because it's not necessary to explain what you mean.

In other words: you've added a level of taxonomy. I don't see how that helps any design goal.

Also: with only four possible combinations, I'm not sure multiclassing is worth the effort either. On the other hand, I would like to see spell limits get simplified for most classes, though I think I'd leave spell slots/preparation for wizards (which would then definitely need their own class.)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
My votes for this one were pretty much the same as my votes for the last one, with the exception of retaining Advantage/Disadvantage because I think that was the best new universal mechanic 5E adopted and I want to make sure we keep it rather than return to the olden times of stacking piles of modifiers. ;)

The one thing I do note is that D&D is most assuredly it's own thing and has so many things that are specific to this game that there's no reason NOT to retain them... even if there might be something "better" elsewhere. Because those things that we might say are "better" already have other RPGs that can give us those things. So if we want those things that badly... I am a proponent of just pushing people towards those other RPGs rather than try and jerry-rig D&D into becoming those other things.

Too often it feels like some people are playing D&D because it's the "Granddaddy Of Them All"... when case in point their desires for what they want in an RPG would be much better served playing something else. And yet people instead keep trying to push this square D&D peg into every round RPG hole. I just want to assure those people that No, you don't need D&D to get you what you want... there are so many other wonderful games out there for you that would work better. Please don't be afraid of trying them out.

***

This is where I think the OGL and the d20 System ended up doing a disservice to many game-players in the last 20 years. Because it inspired so many designers and companies to create or adapt old and new games alike using this one specific D&D / d20 / style of design for all kinds of styles and genres which do not lend themselves to being their best selves. Call of Cthulu doesn't get better by making it a d20 game and having characters level up and become more powerful. In fact it's almost the antithesis of that game's raison d'etre. Likewise, the change of 7th Sea to Swashbuckling Adventures took away so much of its quirkiness and authenticity of design towards the specific aesthetic that game was going for. And I doubt there are many people who think WotC's d20 Star Wars game is better than the original West End Games d6 version. Because in all these cases... the better version was designed specifically for ALL the parts of what the game was trying to emulate in its genre and story. Rather than trying to take the various mechanics of the d20 system and hammer them into all weird shapes in an effort to do the same.

And what this ended up teaching us unfortunately was this idea that with a lot of elbow grease... you can make ANY game a D&D / d20 game. Even when it really shouldn't. And thus rather than looking outside of D&D to find what we want, we'll just keep smashing D&D to pieces and gluing it back together into these Frankenstein monsters to "get what we want". And I think a lot of the gaming populace just has it in their head that this is what we have to do. When really it's the last thing we should be doing because the Frankenstein sum is NEVER greater than its parts.

Except for Mutants & Masterminds. That's the one exception that proves the rule. ;)
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
This is where I think the OGL and the d20 System ended up doing a disservice to many game-players in the last 20 years. Because it inspired so many designers and companies to create or adapt old and new games alike using this one specific D&D / d20 / style of design for all kinds of styles and genres which do not lend themselves to being their best selves. Call of Cthulu doesn't get better by making it a d20 game and having characters level up and become more powerful. In fact it's almost the antithesis of that game's raison d'etre. Likewise, the change of 7th Sea to Swashbuckling Adventures took away so much of its quirkiness and authenticity of design towards the specific aesthetic that game was going for. And I doubt there are many people who think WotC's d20 Star Wars game is better than the original West End Games d6 version. Because in all these cases... the better version was designed specifically for ALL the parts of what the game was trying to emulate in its genre and story. Rather than trying to take the various mechanics of the d20 system and hammer them into all weird shapes in an effort to do the same.

And what this ended up teaching us unfortunately was this idea that with a lot of elbow grease... you can make ANY game a D&D / d20 game. Even when it really shouldn't. And thus rather than looking outside of D&D to find what we want, we'll just keep smashing D&D to pieces and gluing it back together into these Frankenstein monsters to "get what we want". And I think a lot of the gaming populace just has it in their head that this is what we have to do. When really it's the last thing we should be doing because the Frankenstein sum is NEVER greater than its parts.

Except for Mutants & Masterminds. That's the one exception that proves the rule. ;)
I don’t disagree, but I will point out that one thing the d20 System and its conversions of various other games did was expose those games to a wider audience. I would probably never have learned of Call of Cthulhu had it not been for the d20 conversion, and while the d20 System didn’t do the tone of CoC any favors, it did make the game more approachable to folks who were familiar with D&D but not eager to learn a new system (which at the time was me).

Also, the sample adventures in that book were awesome.
 


Greg K

Hero
While I prefer other systems for fantasy, I keep up with D&D just in case I have players that want me to run it. Any way, my thoughts

Multiple dice: Personally, I don't feel multiple dice are necessary. OD&D with Chainmail used only d6s before multiple dice were used. I might actually prefer Chainmail's 2d6 rather than d20 roll to hit.

Ability Scores: Keep it. Personally, I would prefer moving to using specific traits similar to Tinyd6 Traits or Asset as in Cortex Plus Smallville. What I am referring to is a strong character taking a trait of Strong modifying any size related traits due to race (e.g. Large, Small, Tiny), an agile character taking Acrobatic and/or evasion traits, a manually dextrous taking Sleight of Hand, Lock Picker, and/or any other trait indicating fine hand/eye coordination, an Intelligent character could have certain traits. Then have a trait grant advantage or modify difficulty on appropriate tasks. Alternately, taking skills could serve the same function. However, since this will not happen, I guess keeping ability scores for tradition sake or fine.

Keeping the current Ability Score method, i would make the folloiwng changes:
Strength and Dex to hit bonuses: I can't recall if this was offical for 0E or Gary's house rule for 0E (circa 2005), but i would implement that Strength does not modify the to-hit roll and Dex does not modify the to-hit roll with missile weapons.

Distinct races/lineages: I am for keeping it, but I would label subraces and half races as lineages or ancestries. Also, I would remove cultural elements out to an additional choice of culture(e.g. Nomad (Hunter/Gatherer), Nomad (Pastoral) Horticulture, Agrarian (choice of Rural, Urban, Special)).
Certain cultures might choose from long or narrow list of specific environmental subtypes (e.g. Arctic, Aquatic, Coastal, Desert, Forest, Grasslands, Hill, Mountain, Jungle, Marsh/Swamp). The culture would grant certain proficiencies or abilities and, may even, determine which background choices are available to the character.

Distinct classes: Another keeper. However, I want even more base classes, class variants, and archetypes/subclasses at level 1. I also want more customization choices at certain level for certain classes- especially for the monk.

Alignment: only for supernatural creatures and divine/infernal powered PCs.

Backgrounds: This is one of my favorite additions from 5e. I think it should stay.

Multi-classing: Yes, if it remains an optional rule. As a DM, I hate making players jump through multi-classing hoops to create common fantasy archetypes which is why I prefer more classes, class variants, and archetypes/subclassess at first level.

Feats: Yes, if they remain optional.

Proficiencies: Since D&D will not move to a trait system similar to Tinyd6 or Smallville's Assets, I am for keeping 5e proficiencies, but there should also include an optional 3e type skill point variant

Levels: Yes, but slow down the leveling

Experience Points: Yes, as long as milestone leveling is an option and there are other options for exp besides killing things

Hit Points: I don't think it would be D&D without hit points. I am also open to alternate methods for determing hit points and for reducing them at higher level. In OD&D, everyone orignally used d6. Later editions, prior to 3e didn't, use hit dice to determine hit after certain levels.

Hit DIce: I am fine with hit dice for healing if this is the reference

Armor Class: Yes, but include an optional Armor as DR variant)

Lists of specific equipment: Yes. However, I would like to see a list of equipment broken down into appropriate eras. Also, move "fantasy" armor (e.g. studded leather) to an optional rule/sidebar and replace with historical armor.

Saving Throws: Yes, keep the three saves. Also, I like the base DC starting at 8 in 5e rather than 10 before modifiers.

Damage Types: Keep. It helps differentiate weapons, spells, and certain monsters.

Conditions: Definitely Keep. I like having different effects as they make combat interesting and lend to creating "story"

List of Spells: I am fine with spell lists. However, I would drop from a future core rule book most of the spells that first appeared beginning in 1e Unearthed Arcana or later editions/supplements. Also, I would create a smaller base list of "shared" cleric spells and add more domain spells to round out a cleric's list.

Deities: Keep deities and pantheons both unique to their specific worlds (although Greyhawk should use Gary's Oerth Deities not Lakofka's Suel Pantheon as default) and as examples that both new or time limited DMs can grab if they choose

Great Wheel Cosmology: Use as an example and as a default for Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms. However, keep it away from Dark Sun and specific other pre-published settings.

World Axis cosmology: Use as an example of cosmology and as a default for Nentir Vale. Keep away from other pre-published settings

Creature types: Definitely keep, but I would replace Fey with Spirit and make Fey a Spirit subtype. Why? Because many cultures have their own versions of Spirits and not all spirits are Fey, exist in the Feywild, or follow the Fey hierarchy. Many of these spirits also have their own abilities and weaknesses.

Challenge ratings: Keep. I personally ignore them, but many DMs find them useful

List of specific magic items: 5e's list or a list in general? Ready made items are always useful

Advantage/disadvantage: In my opinion, this is another of 5e's best additions to D&D. I am for keeping it.

Other: I have already listed a few things from earlier editions that I would like to see (even if as optional rules). I would also keep both Bounded Accuracy and Inspiration.
 

Greg K

Hero
Except for Mutants & Masterminds. That's the one exception that proves the rule. ;)
And why was M&M different? It was due to Steve tearing down the game to the chasis and building back up rather than trying to squeeze a different genre into the traditional D&D mechanics of Class, Level, hit die per level, level based to hit and save bonuses), Armor class, etc.
 

Faolyn

Hero
You could make a game that way, and it would work, but I'm not sure it would work better.

If all the spellcaster archetypes (wizard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, bard, warlock, artificer, psion) were lumped into one class, you'd still need sub-archetypes to further differentiate at least some of these (cleric, sorcerer, bard, warlock) and the rest would need either sub-archetypes or new archetypes to cover the whole theme (necromancer, illusionist, mesmer, caster-monk, alchemist)... But I really don't think anyone would call their character a Life Cleric Mystic. They'd say Life Cleric and leave the 'class' out, because it's not necessary to explain what you mean.
Not saying I'd go for this, but a possibility might be:

1. Mystic class
A. Archetype: Wizard. Choose one of the following abilities.​
i. Ability that gives bonuses to certain types of spells (one for each school of magic)​
ii. Ability that gives bonuses to understanding/countering/manipulating magic​
iii. Etc.​
B. Archetype: Cleric. Choose one of the following abilities.​
i. Ability that gives healing abilities.​
ii. Ability that gives supernatural smiting abilities.​
iii. Ability that gives bonuses to certain types of spells (one for each domain of spells--harkening back to the idea of cleric spheres, perhaps)​
iv. Etc.​
C. Archetype: Etc.​

With "ability" being a single ability that increases in power and range as you increase in level.

Plus feats that would allow you to take additional abilities within your archetype, from another archetype within your class, or to take an ability from another class, but at the cost of not spending that feat on something else that could be useful.

Would it work? I don't know. But I don't think it would be too complicated.
 

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