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D&D 5E What Single Thing Would You Add


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why do people always call it a swordmage?

got a new idea to add as well a player sized aberration race.
Because the 4e swordmage is the best version of the class thus far.

Incidentally, I'm still convinced the 4e swordmage is good by accident: the nature of the gme prevented the designers form saying "just use wizard spells," which forced them to make actual swordmage spells. Enough for full class, and designed for that specific class. Therefore, it works well.

The issue with most existing gish options is you're either better off using your spells like a non-gish (ie, the best use for your turn as a sword bard or bladesinger is often "cast a ranged control spell"), or not using spells at all (EK, paladin). A dedicated class with it's own spell list almost has to solve this.
 

Reynard

Legend
Not a pure addition, but a replacement: Lose feats and replace them with boons.

PCs would not gain feats in place of an ASI, but instead would be granted boons by powers for their part in completing epic stories. It might be granted by a God, an Archfiend, an Archfey, a Genie, etc... or the product of self development - but the key difference would be that it would be more like found treasure - picked by the DM - than feats selected by the player. As a storytelling tool, and as a hook for adventures, giving boons is really cool. I do it now. Making it replace the role of feats would also help DMs balance the party power levels a bit more to help share the spotlight. If Bob makes an optimized combat PC and Doug makes a 'face of the party' PC with limited combat ability, this would allow the DM to limit how much Bob is able to keep focusing on combat, or Doug is able to focus on manipulating NPCs, and encouraging breadth of capabilities to allow PCs to participate in a wider range of activites in D&D.
1) Why not both?

2) Why would you want to actively stop your player from being able to develop their character the way they wanted to?
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Because the 4e swordmage is the best version of the class thus far.

Incidentally, I'm still convinced the 4e swordmage is good by accident: the nature of the gme prevented the designers form saying "just use wizard spells," which forced them to make actual swordmage spells. Enough for full class, and designed for that specific class. Therefore, it works well.

The issue with most existing gish options is you're either better off using your spells like a non-gish (ie, the best use for your turn as a sword bard or bladesinger is often "cast a ranged control spell"), or not using spells at all (EK, paladin). A dedicated class with it's own spell list almost has to solve this.

I might guess about 75%-89% of the class based "problems" of D&D is reusing the same spells for every class instead of tailoring a spell list of unique spells or other non spell system for every class

Sure it's a lot more work for designers, but it fixes a lot. Gishes, bards, rangers, paladins, druid, sorcerers, artificers, warlocks should have a lot more unique spells. And it gives WOTC more spells and things to sell for the trouble.

So to update my one single thing: If would be to add a "Book of Spells" and a "Book of Fantasy Mundane Stuff" to the core 3 of PHB, DMG, and MM
  1. Player's Handbook (How to create and play a PC)
  2. Dungeon Master's Guide (How to create a game and be a DM)
  3. Monster Manual (Lists of monsters)
  4. Spell Compendium (Lists of spells, magic items and other magical things)
  5. "Battle Catalog" (Lists of weapons, armor, manevers, and other fantasy nonmagical combat elements)
 

Give Humans subraces. The core human can have the +1 to two stats, a language, and a skill. The subraces can then branch out into things like personality, unique characteristics, geography, bloodline/clan, destiny, etc. We've got an elf for every biome, enough tiefling options to make Dr. Moreau blush, but only two boring (imo) options for humans.

Eberron provides 5 such "subrace" options for Humans: Marks of Finding, Handling, Making, Passage, and Sentinel.
 

DeviousQuail

Explorer
Eberron provides 5 such "subrace" options for Humans: Marks of Finding, Handling, Making, Passage, and Sentinel.
Having almost no experience with Eberron I was mistaken in thinking all those marks were just feats with racial prereqs. Turns out the dragonmarks can be gained as feats while the other marks are variants or subraces. The more you know.

It still feels a bit weird that for most races the marks act as a subrace while for humans and half-orcs they are your entire thing with the exception of age, alignment, size, and speed. Not quite what I was hoping for but nonetheless they are options for humans. Thanks, Swarmkeeper.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Mine: an effects based magic system. You can keep all the magic "flavor" but I would add a system not unlike Hero or M&M where you build spells based on effects and variables and the end result point cost determines the spell level. So fireball is fire damage, ranged, area of effect, increased damage -- or some such.
Mine: This ^^ but for magic items. (It implies some sort of magic item ranking system that is more useful than rarity.)
 

Here's a big change: a system for players to build 'signature items' for their character.

For example: a fighter's primary weapon is a big part of the character - often telling you about their personality, history, and approach to life. It's an important symbol of who they are, and changing one's weapon is a major metaphor for a character undergoing a major change in themselves. That means that a narratively good choice of weapon need to flow from, and build onto, the character's core concept. I'd like to be able to capture that in DnD, but the current rules do not support it at all.

Having the dm pick what items you get creates a significant fail point - a weapon that's described in a way that clashes with you're own vision of the character can deflate what could have been a cool moment. Randomizing the item creates a lottery of usefulness - a technically good weapon that you don't have the specializations for (ie giving a greatweapon polearm master a magic shortsword) can be a half-reward: it's nice, but it's not something you'll actually get excited about. And needing to replace your weapon to get any improvement takes away any narrative weight to the gear - you shouldn't be relegating you're fathers' sword to a backup weapon (which is really just a cosmetic accessory in most games) after three levels, if the whole reason for adventuring was to get revenge on the man who killed your father - and any sort of 'upgrade your weapon' rules are homebrew or obscure (I think SKT has some runes that kinda do this, but that's a half-system.)

All of these reasons are reasons why getting a magic weapon might be a "meh" moment, in a story-driven game. Magic items shouldn't be meh. What I'd like to see is a is a system where players can build a signature item that grows as the pc does, while fitting within some sort of balance structure.

A good system wouldn't be limited to weapons, of course: a wizard's staff, a warlock's tome, a clerics armor, even a rogue's cloak should be an option - and not class-limited.
 

As a companion to the other thread: What would you add to 5E. Difficulty: it can only be one thing.

Mine: an effects based magic system. You can keep all the magic "flavor" but I would add a system not unlike Hero or M&M where you build spells based on effects and variables and the end result point cost determines the spell level. So fireball is fire damage, ranged, area of effect, increased damage -- or some such.
Keeping with this theme, I would add a magic system that chains, or builds on itself, as the spell user casts. So, it might slowly become uncontrollable, fizzle out, or (highest percentage), keep chaining and becoming stronger with each passing round.

So a wizard starts by casting magic missile, and then next round, needs to cast it again. The spell might add an extra missile, might blow up in his face, or fizzle. The spells would start out weaker than normal, but would have the capability to increase more than the norm as well.

Maybe add in the fact that the mishaps and fizzles could be countered by adding to the die roll using HP as a conduit. This would make the higher level wizards better able to manage the chains.
 


Mind of tempest

Adventurer
It's astonishing to me that we're nearly seven years into 5E (with indications that an overhaul may be on the way) but we still don't have basic fantasy stuff like elemental casters.
true but I suspect it would be more just a flavour thing or what spells you picked than full subclasses as they tend to be a bit one note.

what even is a blood mage?
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
true but I suspect it would be more just a flavour thing or what spells you picked than full subclasses as they tend to be a bit one note.

what even is a blood mage?
Mechanically? A caster that uses lifeforce to drive their spells in the form of HP. So, it may require extracting the blood from your enemies or it could require using your own HP. The "blood" could be used to enhance the already known spell or to make an entirely new spell.

A 5e example is a spellcaster class that can add additional damage to their AoE spells equal to a certain number of expended hit dice which the spellcaster takes half of. Or a powerful spell that requires 50gp worth of a vial of human blood to cast.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
Mechanically? A caster that uses lifeforce to drive their spells in the form of HP. So, it may require extracting the blood from your enemies or it could require using your own HP. The "blood" could be used to enhance the already known spell or to make an entirely new spell.

A 5e example is a spellcaster class that can add additional damage to their AoE spells equal to a certain number of expended hit dice which the spellcaster takes half of. Or a powerful spell that requires 50gp worth of a vial of human blood to cast.
it would also need lots of blood themed spells, I would put money on it ending up the edgy caster.
 



Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Because random or procedurally generated character growth can also be fun.
For some people perhaps. It's not my cup of tea.

If you want random I'd suggest a system that lets some people randomize while others can plan out. Whether that's having the option to do feats or boons (that are more-or-less balance out in the long run) or in character generation with the option to use point buy or a couple dozen random arrays based on point buy numbers.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
For some people perhaps. It's not my cup of tea.

If you want random I'd suggest a system that lets some people randomize while others can plan out. Whether that's having the option to do feats or boons (that are more-or-less balance out in the long run) or in character generation with the option to use point buy or a couple dozen random arrays based on point buy numbers.
Well, I'm working on a 5e hack that incorporates bits of both. I'm trying to get more of a board game/Talisman feel like into character growth, where the reward loop isn't getting your next character feature but earning magic items and other boons in play.
 

Reynard

Legend
Because random or procedurally generated character growth can also be fun.
I think one of the "sacred" features of the RPG is that the players have agency over their characters, both within the fiction of play and the mechanics of play, including character generation and development. That doesn't mean there are limited choices or that players shouldn't be cognizant of tone and other table elements, as well as the basic rules of the game in question, but within that broader context it is up to the player. The bit I was specifically challenging was the intimation that the GM gets to force players to make suboptimal choices because roleplaying or something.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I think one of the "sacred" features of the RPG is that the players have agency over their characters, both within the fiction of play and the mechanics of play, including character generation and development. That doesn't mean there are limited choices or that players shouldn't be cognizant of tone and other table elements, as well as the basic rules of the game in question, but within that broader context it is up to the player. The bit I was specifically challenging was the intimation that the GM gets to force players to make suboptimal choices because roleplaying or something.
Yea, but I read @jgsugden's post as advocating for getting a specifically GM-chosen boon in place of feats, based on the narrative of the game. Personally, I love that idea; it moves character growth out of the metagame and into the narrative space, which I think is very rewarding.
 

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