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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 .

MGibster

Legend
One thing I didn't see on the list was the divide between divine and arcane magic. i.e. Gotta make sure Wizards can't cast healing spells. I don't know if D&D was the first work of fiction to distinguish magic in that manner but I consider it a quintessential D&Dism.
 

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One thing I didn't see on the list was the divide between divine and arcane magic. i.e. Gotta make sure Wizards can't cast healing spells. I don't know if D&D was the first work of fiction to distinguish magic in that manner but I consider it a quintessential D&Dism.
Except then you have Bards, who do cast arcane magic and can heal (even without stealing spells via Magical Secrets), and at least in 5e Favored Soul Sorcerers and Celestial Warlocks.

Just about the only inherently arcane-caster class that can't heal at all is Wizard. And even that was a boundary they tested with UA (school of Theurgy). 5e has put arcane magic more in the position of "it doesn't innately heal" rather than "it cannot heal," usually requiring a celestial or divine boost to get there but, as noted with Bard, not always.
 

MGibster

Legend
xcept then you have Bards, who do cast arcane magic and can heal (even without stealing spells via Magical Secrets), and at least in 5e Favored Soul Sorcerers and Celestial Warlocks.
Of course I knew about Bard but they're a jack-of-all-trades class with their fingers in a lot of pies. I thought about mentioning them but didn't think it was necessary. And given the fluff text of the Celestial Warlock, with the pact that "allows you to experience the barest touch of the holy light that illuminates the multiverse," I consider them divine casters though the description says they channel celestial energy to cure wounds. Maybe celestial energy isn't divine in D&D.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Fireball is The game's first real room clearer.

100 hip points pulls you out of Power Word Kill range.
I keep forgetting that 5e has converted what should be straight save-or-die into boring hit point damage.

Put another way, no matter how many h.p. you have Power Word Kill should still be a serious threat to you.
And two attacks a turn doubles your damage or major targets in combat.
Both I and original 1e smooth out this progression by inserting a 3/2 step between 1/1 and 2/1. I also smooth out the progression of 1e weapon specialization so the bonuses arrive incrementally by level rather than all at once. It's easy enough to do things like this.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Except then you have Bards, who do cast arcane magic and can heal (even without stealing spells via Magical Secrets), and at least in 5e Favored Soul Sorcerers and Celestial Warlocks.
Thing is, the 5e Bard probably isn't a good example of anything except of how to make Bards not be nearly as cool and interesting as they could be.

To work properly, IMO, Bards need to be divorced from the casting mechanics of any other class and have their own unique system, completely based on sound and sonic energy and with most of their abilities - which may or may not vaguely resemble other class' spells - on a modified at-will basis rather than using slots.

And they shouldn't be able to heal. :)
 

Minigiant

Legend
I keep forgetting that 5e has converted what should be straight save-or-die into boring hit point damage.

Put another way, no matter how many h.p. you have Power Word Kill should still be a serious threat to you.
PWK has been SoD unless you are over 100 HP for several editions.

Both I and original 1e smooth out this progression by inserting a 3/2 step between 1/1 and 2/1. I also smooth out the progression of 1e weapon specialization so the bonuses arrive incrementally by level rather than all at once. It's easy enough to do things like this.
3/2 still is a big jump in offence over 1/1. Especially if your DM allows te double attack first round or second. It's still a big jump in tier. +50% APR.

It smooths stuff out though but I remember our fighter forgetting whether he was on the 2 attack round or not.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Thing is, the 5e Bard probably isn't a good example of anything except of how to make Bards not be nearly as cool and interesting as they could be.

To work properly, IMO, Bards need to be divorced from the casting mechanics of any other class and have their own unique system, completely based on sound and sonic energy and with most of their abilities - which may or may not vaguely resemble other class' spells - on a modified at-will basis rather than using slots.

And they shouldn't be able to heal. :)
They should be like warlocks, then, with something akin to Invocations.

Personally, I think rangers should be like that as well--skip the spells, just give them bits of ranger knowledge which are structured like Invocations in how they're laid out.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
If there's no endcap for levels, then you have to keep coming up with new XP totals for every level from 1 to infinity--because there will be some table that manages to get their PCs up to 1,000th level.
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Remathilis

Legend
Agreed on classes and levels (though there shouldn't be a capstone level, leave it open-ended).


I don't see a value in this from a practical standpoint. Sure, you can theoretically level forever, but the game isn't (nor ever was); built to handle that. Spell levels cap at 9th, with no reasonable effects more powerful than wish. Most attack bonuses have long since reached the level of auto-hit all but a God's AC, and gaining more spell slots just further makes it impossible to challenge PCs. Eventually, you'd level past elder dragons and demon lords and they only thing you can do is open Deities and Demigods and start using it as you monster manual, pantheon by pantheon.

Basic capped advancement at 36th level before forcing the PCs to retire or begin the path to immortality. 4e capped at 30 with Epic Destinies that did similar concepts. AD&D had a soft cap of 29 in the PHB, and the less said about the Epic Level Handbook (or DMO: High Level Campaigns) the better. Eventually, high level play is just numbers-bloat and face-rolling demon lords. I really don't see a point.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't see a value in this from a practical standpoint. Sure, you can theoretically level forever, but the game isn't (nor ever was); built to handle that.
I agree, which means there's three parts to what I'm saying (one of which I probably left unsaid):

1. Make it open-ended i.e. no hard capstone
2. Slow down the advancement.
3. (as yet unsaid) Adjust the mechanics and-or opposition such that extremely-high-level characters can still find viable threats...or make it that the focus of play slowly morphs along the way from dealing with threats to dealing with powers and politics.
Spell levels cap at 9th, with no reasonable effects more powerful than wish. Most attack bonuses have long since reached the level of auto-hit all but a God's AC, and gaining more spell slots just further makes it impossible to challenge PCs. Eventually, you'd level past elder dragons and demon lords and they only thing you can do is open Deities and Demigods and start using it as you monster manual, pantheon by pantheon.
Or have the PCs have to deal with the deities non-viloently. In my worlds PCs aren't immortal but deities are, so no PC with a shred of brains is going to try and kill a deity outright. Thus dealing with them becomes a matter of bargaining, favour-exchanges, politics, alliances, betrayals, and so forth - talky rather than fighty, most of the time; and all the while in knowledge that you're still dealing with bigger fish than yourselves.
Basic capped advancement at 36th level before forcing the PCs to retire or begin the path to immortality. 4e capped at 30 with Epic Destinies that did similar concepts. AD&D had a soft cap of 29 in the PHB, and the less said about the Epic Level Handbook (or DMO: High Level Campaigns) the better. Eventually, high level play is just numbers-bloat and face-rolling demon lords. I really don't see a point.
It can get that way, and various systems do tend to go off the rails. That said, it's more than possible to make things appear and play as open-ended by slowing PC advancement such that reaching 10th level becomes a Really Big Deal and getting to 12th level is almost unheard of, even though the game design allows for 20.
 

ART!

Hero
Remove the specialist and you can't play the everymade many want to RP as. :devilish:

My blacksmith can't be an adventurer anymore. :eek:

Because there is not class for them to be.

The blacksmith doesn't know spells nor how to fight at a high proficiency.

So if your blacksmith's or farmer's village is burned down by a dragon, there is no class for him to take for revenge if all the specialists are gone.

Adventurers by definition are one (or more) of the classes. The blacksmith can head out with some arms and armor they've made, as a fighter, or with righteous vengeance as a paladin, etc.
 

One thing I didn't see on the list was the divide between divine and arcane magic. i.e. Gotta make sure Wizards can't cast healing spells. I don't know if D&D was the first work of fiction to distinguish magic in that manner but I consider it a quintessential D&Dism.
I'd rephrase this as "there are different kinds of magic," which is a strong DnD-ism.

Although it's not explicit, (outside of 4e) the rules have always implied that different kinds of spellcasters are doing different things when they cast: a cleric and a wizard casting detect magic aren't performing the same action; they're using two different tools to do the same job. The result is the same, but the process is different. DnD introduced this idea when the cleric class go added, and until 5th each edition expanded on it.

Most fantasy settings go the other way: magic is magic, and different casters are only different in style or focus, but they're all doing the same thing. TV tropes calls this "Magic A is Magic A," and it's common writing advice. But I would call it bad advice for designing a broad fantasy game.
 

They should be like warlocks, then, with something akin to Invocations.

Personally, I think rangers should be like that as well--skip the spells, just give them bits of ranger knowledge which are structured like Invocations in how they're laid out.
The only class that really shouldn't be like this is wizards (and non-casters).
 

ART!

Hero
Mutilclassing, like feats, deities, and cosmologies are more like core options. Not default in D&D for the feel but should be official supported by D&D.
I agree with all that. I like multiclassing and feats, a lot, but they definitely aren't essential. I couldn't care less about the cosmological stuff - unless our table decides it's important for the setting, adventure, or whatever.
I'd rephrase this as "there are different kinds of magic," which is a strong DnD-ism.

Although it's not explicit, (outside of 4e) the rules have always implied that different kinds of spellcasters are doing different things when they cast: a cleric and a wizard casting detect magic aren't performing the same action; they're using two different tools to do the same job. The result is the same, but the process is different. DnD introduced this idea when the cleric class go added, and until 5th each edition expanded on it.

Most fantasy settings go the other way: magic is magic, and different casters are only different in style or focus, but they're all doing the same thing. TV tropes calls this "Magic A is Magic A," and it's common writing advice. But I would call it bad advice for designing a broad fantasy game.
I really want divine magic to be as different as possible from arcane magic. There would be exceptions - like when you get into warlock patrons, certain sorcerous origins, and probably some specific spells. I guess it depends on how deities work in the setting. Are they just really powerful users of arcane magic, are they their own source of power, etc.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Adventurers by definition are one (or more) of the classes. The blacksmith can head out with some arms and armor they've made, as a fighter, or with righteous vengeance as a paladin, etc.
I don't think d&d assumed easy entrance into a class.

A blacksmith can't just become a fighter. He has to train for years to learn to.

If it were so easy then wizards could learn learn swordsmanship with ease or multiclassing would be core.

Part of D&D is that you have some sort of training in a class before level 2.

D&D is not a skills based game where anyone can just become anything. For a blacksmith to be a cleric, he needs to join the church or have some deity bless him directly. He can't go "You killed my daddy. I'm a cleric of the forge now. Rawr!".

A blacksmith cannot pick up a sword and have equal or better weapon stats than a level 1 fighter who squired under a knight for 5 years.
 


ART!

Hero
I don't think d&d assumed easy entrance into a class.

A blacksmith can't just become a fighter. He has to train for years to learn to.

If it were so easy then wizards could learn learn swordsmanship with ease or multiclassing would be core.

Part of D&D is that you have some sort of training in a class before level 2.

D&D is not a skills based game where anyone can just become anything. For a blacksmith to be a cleric, he needs to join the church or have some deity bless him directly. He can't go "You killed my daddy. I'm a cleric of the forge now. Rawr!".

A blacksmith cannot pick up a sword and have equal or better weapon stats than a level 1 fighter who squired under a knight for 5 years.
I think this is much less of a thing that it has been. My most recent character was a cleric who had no formal training at all, but Tymora had just really taken a liking to him - because he was a person who lived his life moment-to-moment, trusting luck completely, etc. - and granted him cleric features, insight into how prayers/spells work, etc. There's any number of similar origins one could come up with.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I'm not talking about godless clerics.

I'm talking about normal folk simply becoming fighters, wizards, and clerics with no training.
The presumption is pretty much an ex post facto explanation - if the blacksmith has taken off to a life of adventure as a fighter, he's had some training that's appropriate. Multiclass later in your adventuring career, the assumption is that the PC has picked up some exposure to the new class in the meantime. It's ideal if they explicitly play that out some, but without it, we make the assumption.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I think this is much less of a thing that it has been. My most recent character was a cleric who had no formal training at all, but Tymora had just really taken a liking to him - because he was a person who lived his life moment-to-moment, trusting luck completely, etc. - and granted him cleric features, insight into how prayers/spells work, etc. There's any number of similar origins one could come up with.
That idea is more of an exception than the rule.

It's why the whole "strip the classes down to 3 or 4" idea rarely pans out for long. It's very limiting on possible PCs types unless the DM adds classes or house rules OR allows players to all run unicorns.

The presumption is pretty much an ex post facto explanation - if the blacksmith has taken off to a life of adventure as a fighter, he's had some training that's appropriate. Multiclass later in your adventuring career, the assumption is that the PC has picked up some exposure to the new class in the meantime. It's ideal if they explicitly play that out some, but without it, we make the assumption.

Indeed, the assumption is the blacksmith took some training. The issue is the off the streets rough adventurer.

There is a mild controversy over whether all PCs are trained professionals or are many lucky normal folk who apply their background knowledge to the adventuring party.

Saying a limited roster of classes is essential to the feel of D&D limits the available backgrounds of common adventurers.
 

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