What Improvements Would You Want with 6E?

GreenTengu

Explorer
I understand that most are fairly happy with 5E, but at the same time 6E is fairly inevitable. Several years in, what improvements would you like to see with 6E?

A few I have.

* Actively work to make sure there are no utter god stats or dump stats. No stat should utterly be able to functionally substitute for another in 90% of situations the way Dexterity does for Strength or be the stat that is used for most of the common skill rolls AND initiative AND ranged attacks AND AC AND the most commonly used save as Dexterity is currently. On the other hand, don't let any stat be so utterly worthless that one has to wonder why anyone playing a class whose class abilities to not directly derive from it would ever sink a single point into it like Intelligence is in the current edition. Even if it takes changing the ancient sacred cow of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma from which to derive characters for a new set of attributes that the designers find it possible to make equally viable-- all characters from all classes ought to be able to functionally benefit from each of the attributes in a way that would be meaningful and rewarding. That could mean that Fighters with high Intelligence can execute battle tactics or Wizards with high strength can channel that strength into ranged force attacks, but actively work to see that any range of stats matched up with any class could result in something good but different.

* Make sure all classes in the core rulebook are viable, even (or maybe especially) if it means giving a lot of classes similar mechanics or the number of functional "classes" gets reduced and former classes become aspects or paths within other classes. For example, Warlock and Sorcerer could easily become types of Wizards who come by their power by different means which may have a number of different alternations to the class, but still ultimately draw from the same base pool of abilities.

* Give characters more options for customization even if it means their character could mechanically become similar to a character of another class/race or a lot of the customization options are rather situational. In the current edition it seems rare that any real choices are made when leveling up.

* Have a general template of how races function when launching the edition. The current edition has some base races that clearly a lot of consideration has gone into while later additions feel like little or no care has gone into their design and functionality rendering them almost functionally unplayable-- or alternatively, playable exclusively as classes that their description suggests they would virtually never specialize as. Just as much care should go into making sure that one can play and contribute and have fun as an Orc, Hobgoblin, Lizardfolk or Kobold as one can playing an Elf, Dwarf or Halfling. In fact-- in general-- write the whole game with the understanding that sentient, breeding, free-willed humanoids of all sorts are simply races in the world even if they are antagonistic 90% of the time. And allow for the traditional races to also take the antagonistic role (where are the unique stat blocks for when I fight against a group of evil Dwarfs or evil Elves in the Monster Manual?!)

* Have the animals included in the monster manual make even the slightest bit of sense. Don't have a house cat that is very capable of killing a level 1 PC and don't make hyenas way weaker than wolves simply because you are too unimaginative to think of a ranger taking anything but a wolf as a companion and thus designed the wolves specifically to be way stronger than any other similarly sized animal specifically to be the singular functional animal companion choice while utterly neglecting how they sized up to every other animal you put in the book.

* Don't put any weapon that functionally breaks the entire game balance on the standard weapons table like has done with the rapier in 5E. By all means, include flintlock, black powder weapons as options-- but don't let any weapon be so good that the very inclusion of the weapon the game allows a non-standard build of a class to be insanely more powerful than the standard build as in the current edition.

* At the same time, shields should not be nothing but an AC boost. Shields absolutely can and should be used offensively without necessitating any sort of feat or drawing an attack of opportunity or anything of the sort. Dual-wielding and great weapons should not be the only two viable combat options in the game, especially since they were never the ideal ways to fight historically. And somewhat similarly, spears should not be trash next to swords as they have been in basically every edition-- spears have won far more fights in history than swords ever have and are far better except when it comes to drawings/readying them and close quarters. Warhammers and other heavy, blunt weapons should also be much more viable, particularly against armored opponents. Perhaps instead of determining damage die by weapon, it should be determined by the class and just posit that a Fighter is generally going to be able to use the same weapon more effectively than a Cleric and a Thief can absolutely sneak attack someone with a club to the back of the head as they can a dagger to the kidney and they shouldn't be at a massive penalty for using a weapon not on the preapproved list. Should a Wizard really be fighting at a massive penalty because they are attacking with a sword instead of a "simple weapon" instead of simply doing the same damage as they would have if they were using a 1-handed "simple weapon"?


I am sure there are many other bugs with 5E that I am sure people would like to see fixed in another edition.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I would mostly like to see classes each have a role. I know 5e has kind of done away with roles, but I like to see each class fill a role or be half as powerful, but fill more than one role. Another thread going on now talks about the bard and how it can be as powerful as all the others classes and more. To me, no class should be more powerful in their role as the main 4.

6e could go in another route with only one class and pick packages that give abilities that mimic current powers and spells. Each player could pick a new power each level and 'multiclass' every PC. That may be ok since you could stack powers and get more advanced powers as you level.
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
1
When was the last time you saw a +1 rapier?
Whenever the DM feels like rewarding a weapon that the players will actually use. Although a Short Sword +1 is still a +1 to hit bonus over a standard rapier for any character relying on a rapier.
Reallly-- in the same vein, one could claim that a Great Weapon Specialist Fighter (the only strength build that can keep up with, if not outdo, the Dex build) is balanced with the other options because it is conceivable that the DM will never grant a +1 Great Weapon.

Most of these aren't just bugs with 5e, they've been "bugs" with D&D since the beginning.
What is the point of each edition if not fixing some of the bugs from the previous one?
I mean, besides getting everyone to buy a new set of books.
2nd edition improved on 1st, 3rd edition built on 2nd, 3.5 edition built on 3rd.

Regardless of whether something has been a system flaw since the 1970s, there is no reason not to fix it if it is at all possible without making the system too complicated and unwieldy that it slows the game down
 
I understand that most are fairly happy with 5E, but at the same time 6E is fairly inevitable.
I'm not convinced that it is. It depends on how the market treats 5e going forward. If it plateaus, and even if it doesn't keep growing, settles into fairly stable sales - that is, if it "has come back, and is here to stay, baby!" it can continue indefinitely, with only cosmetic new 'editions' now and then for marketing tie-ins, anniversaries, and the like.
If it runs its course and suddenly drops off like it did back in the days, then the comeback followed by flop could provoke a new edition that's actually new - and different - in the hopes of re-booting the franchise.
I'd hate to have to want the game I love to fail, commercially, in order to even have a shot at some day improving, especially since, the last time it took a shot at improving, it was nearly fatal. So, mostly, I'm hoping for the first scenario, even though it means I'll likely wander away from D&D again, like I did in the 90s...

Several years in, what improvements would you like to see with 6E?
Very hypothetically, and not worrying about market considerations like the above, I can agree with the following:
  • make sure there are no utter god stats or dump stats.
  • Make sure all classes in the core rulebook are viable.
  • Give characters more options for customization.
  • By all means, include flintlock, black powder weapons as options-- but don't let any weapon be so good that the very inclusion of the weapon <breaks the game>.
  • At the same time, shields should not be nothing but an AC boost.
  • spears should not be trash next to swords
plus...
* instead of determining damage die by weapon, it should be determined by the class and just posit that a Fighter is generally going to be able to use the same weapon more effectively
13th Age does something like this, each class has some weapon options, how effective they are is mainly a function of the class, not the weapon, and the same weapon can perform differently for different classes. Works nicely.
 

dave2008

Hero
Several ideas of the top of my head (most of which will never happen):
  1. separate tracks of HP and wound points (we call it bloodied hit points)
  2. more options during character advancement (not a lot more, but a choice every level is good)
  3. All class features are also feats.
  4. Two or 3 classes max (Martial and Arcane or Martial, Arcane, and Divine).
  5. Other "classes" are just selecting the right feats to create whatever character you want.
  6. Higher level monsters that hit harder. I don't like that a bugbear is deadly at low levels, but an ancient dragon is a cake walk at high levels.
  7. Monsters with a bit more tactics built in (not overboard, but a bit more - similar to what has been published since the MM)
  8. Monster level or CR = player level (1 player = 1 monster of equal level)
  9. Armor with a damage reduction component (DR only comes into effect when wound points do)
  10. More Mechanical Support for Exploration: Optional rules for exploration tactics (similar to PF2e)
  11. More Mechanical support for Social encounters: optional rules for "social combat"
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Top level goal: Grow the hobby by retaining existing customers and welcoming new ones.

Breakout: It must be recognizably D&D to the vast majority of existing players, and new players can jump into a game with their own level 1 character with minimal reading and time invested.

6E goals to help with this:
Power Sources
Bring back the concept of Power Sources, and affiliate them with ability scores (or multiple ability scores).

Ability scores
An issue both existing and new players have, for different reasons, is how some ability scores are vital and some aren't. For veteran players, there are concepts that just are sub optimal. A high INT tactical fighter should be reasonable, but the mechanics don't reward the INT and since it comes at an opportunity cost of other ability scores it leads to poor characters. For new players the ability score to class rubric hasn't been burnt into their brains, and their concept may be a high STR, low WIS druid. That won't serve them well at the table alongside more conventionally built characters.

There are a bunch of ways to improve this.
  • Balancing ability scores so they all have flavorful things that will add to all characters.
  • Allowing classes to be based off various ability scores might be interesting. Is your bard an INT-based loremaster or a CHR-based performer?
  • Make chassis classes like "unarmored caster", "warrior/caster", "skirmish/invoker", "caster/invoker" that then pick a power source, which determines the ability scores for their magical aspect. ("Invoker" was a shorthand for a more warlock invocation type.)

Race/Class matchups
Because of ability scores mods from races, and needed ability scores for classes (though lessened from the first issue), take a page from 13th Age (it's d20 OGL) and have the races give out a +2 from a selection of race-appropriate abilities, and class give +2 from a selection of class-appropriate abilities, and they can't be the same. Heck, have background do the same - I'd love to see it become more of an integral part of a character.

Powerful Races
The 5e races don't have a lot that impacts mechanically (outside of ability scores). Make race choice more meaningful by having more features, including some that don't come online until later levels or activated by feat.

This increased design space will allow more powerful races then currently allowed, such as large races and flying races - and being so will have a real opportunity cost in not picking one of the other races.

Multiclassing
I'm a fan of 5e multiclassing, but a lot don't. It also is really easy for a new player to shoot themselves in the foot. So take away multiclassing and replacing it with feats that allow substitution of features from another class (so a "mostly one with a bit of another') as well as some hybrid classes (much like the paladin is now).

Will classes allowing Power Sources, you can have the skirmisher/caster picking Arcane for a INT based arcane trickster type goodness, or Primal (druid) for WIS based ranger-like goodness, etc.

Since there is no more need to caster levels to be able to add in some ways like in 5e (sadness - I like that design space), you can also step away from the "spellification" of classes and give back special abilities to classes without making them spells.

Customization
Existing players want customization, new player need a low-barrier-to-entry which does not include reading through a lot of customization options and making irrevocable choices based on theoretical knowledge.
A solution is to add in a lot of customization later in play, with 1st level giving strong foundation instead. (No more subclasses that grant foundational things at 3rd level.) What customization is granted at 1st should have options that get retrained. (Not saying everything can be retrained, but perhaps 1st level options can be trained when you gain 2nd or 3rd.)

So a new player picks race (who you were born as), background (who were were raised as) and class + Power Source (who you are now), plus arranges ability scores and picks skills.

Customization comes in for everyone at 2nd and onward, and at a "character level" point of view, not just for your class.

Recovery
Better balance between at-will and other resource recovery/management models, with more knobs for the DM to tweak depending on their game style.

Keep
Concentration, Upcasting, Bounded Accuracy
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
As a former player of GURPS It does amuse me that eveytime these ‘make a better DnD’ threads comes out class customisation is always the big feature. I came back over to 3e because I liked the use of Feats and agree that having class features be Feats would be great but then why have Classes at all?

Is fixed Character Class the core feature that makes DnD?
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
No critiques, just questions expanding my understanding.

All class features are also feats.
How do you picture class features to scale?

For example, right now we have Martial Adept as a Battlemaster class feature. It gives less and does not scale.

Would an Sneak Attack feat be a set +1d6 per turn?

Or do you expect them to scale over time, just not as fast as the primary class?

In other words, does one feat taken at 12th give you all the sneak attack, or is that several feats worth so someone else might have a little sneak attack and a little rage. (Classic Conan from the books.)

Two or 3 classes max (Martial and Arcane or Martial, Arcane, and Divine).
Other "classes" are just selecting the right feats to create whatever character you want.
Are you picturing any multiclassing? For example is a paladin a Martial with feats, or multiclassing Martial and Divine?
(Can we add Primal for druids? And for the feats that could make a ranger.)

You mention Martial, are you envisioning one class that covers rogues, barbarians, knights, and archers? Would there be a benefit for more than one type of Martial class?
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
The only major issue I see with 5e from a design perspective is with some of the rest and recovery mechanics.

Fighter, Warlock, and Monk all heavily rely on short rests much more than the other classes. They need short rests to operate effectively in every combat. That requirement forces encounter design to increase the number of encounters per day so that short rests become more valuable, but to do that you've got to reduce the overall difficulty of encounters. Now you're running into a wall that makes the game feel less flexible to run as a DM.

If your game table likes 2-3 Deadly to Deadly+ encounters all the time, then Fighter, Warlock, and Monk begin to lag behind the other classes. This is an issue of game flexibility that hasn't been an issue before. The game should be able to accommodate that. In the past, the limitation on combat adventuring was always how much healing you had. It doesn't matter how fast or how slow it was, eventually you had to hole up and heal up and recover all your abilities. Now they've done two things: reduce how many abilities some classes get and link those classes' abilities to short resting. Now you've got natural conflict about how often to rest and what type of rest to take. I've seen tables argue about it. The Fighter wants to stop and rest because he has nothing cool to do for the rest of the day, while everyone else says, "the Cleric can heal you; let's keep going." It's like going on a car ride with 3 men and 1 pregnant woman: there's going to be an argument about stopping to pee.

It also means, somewhat paradoxically, that Fighters, Warlocks, and Monks are terrible at long chases or sustained time pressures! If you're in a situation where you're going to face a long series of encounters and you can't short rest due to time, those three classes are much more limited. Since short rests take so long and long rests are unavoidable due to exhaustion, these three classes have a significant disadvantage that isn't clear from first glance. Since one of those classes -- namely, Fighter -- is the most popular class in the game it's kind of a significant design issue. Fortunately, martial classes are very potent in 5e in relative terms, and Warlocks have the highest damage cantrip in the game, so it's a little easier to get past.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
Make every class TAD (two attribute dependent), maybe even the class is based on 1 attribute, but each subclass is based on another. Then if you think one attribute is too good, don't match it up with the second best one (sorry dex classes don't get wis subclasses).
 
Fighter, Warlock, and Monk all heavily rely on short rests much more than the other classes.
Well, BM fighter, particularly, with short-rest CS dice. EK has added daily resources. Champion at-will.

If your game table likes 2-3 Deadly to Deadly+ encounters all the time, then Fighter, Warlock, and Monk begin to lag behind the other classes. This is an issue of game flexibility that hasn't been an issue before.
Sure it has. It's a perennial issue, only slightly perturbed for a couple of years c2009. It's just in the past the it was between Vancian and all-at-will classes, rather than a three-way between Daily, short-rest, and long-rest. (Though, there were further complications in 3e, as there were both daily classes that needed rests, an daily classes that just dinged at a certain time each day.)

The game should be able to accommodate that.
In theory. In practice it's virtually never done so.

It also means, somewhat paradoxically, that Fighters, Warlocks, and Monks are terrible at long chases or sustained time pressures! If you're in a situation where you're going to face a long series of encounters and you can't short rest due to time, those three classes are much more limited. Since short rests take so long and long rests are unavoidable due to exhaustion,
Ouch. Yeah, you've got a point there. The 1hr "short" rest is problematic, it's just not that short, it doesn't fit narratively into many circumstances, and when it does, it's probably as practical - and more beneficial - to take a long rest.
these three classes have a significant disadvantage that isn't clear from first glance. Since one of those classes -- namely, Fighter -- is the most popular class in the game it's kind of a significant design issue.
There's no point making a trap that no one will ever walk into, now is there?
 

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