D&D General When 3e Fixed D&D - Almost

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I was paging through my PHB (c)2000, enjoying the PowerPlays - from the Pages of Dragon Magazine (how did Dragon Magazine have min-maxing ideas before the game had been published?) - when it occurred to me that a sacred cow died in that book. They had removed the THAC0 mechanism. And I ask myself: what are the other ways that WotC could have fixed D&D back then, but didn't? Some ideas:

  • Remove Hit Points. Back then, there were Total Hit Points, Current Hit Points, and for some reason, a Hit Points box for Subdual Damage. Hit Points are like THAC0 (RIP): they help you count something in the opposite direction, in this case, Damage. If each character had a Max Damage rating, then you'd only need to count Damage. But what if your Damage equals your Max Damage? Are you dead then or after? Well...
  • Remove "Equals or Exceeds." That's just confusing. If your attack roll (more on that later) exceeds your opponent's AC, you hit. Done. If your Damage exceeds your Max Damage, you die. Done.
  • Create the Attack Skill. This finally happened in 5e, (maybe 4? I didn't bother with that one...) though they still won't call it a skill. Now, character class tables are neater.
  • Omit Attacks of Opportunity. I'm pretty sure these ranked right up there with Polymorph and Wild Shape as rusty nails, and you can put lipstick on your Turn-Based-Combat but we all know what it is. "But what if an enemy runs past me?" Extend the Passing-Through rule(s) to include the space(s) around a character. "But what if an enemy hits me and runs away?" What, your turn wasn't good enough? In 3e you couldn't break up your move. So if you stick-and-move, your enemy will have to move-and-stick. But without AoOs, won't rounds get boring? Well...
  • Active Defense. Why did WotC revamp saving throws (another sacred cow?) but not Armor Class? PCs would have a bit more to do between turns if they had to roll their AC.
This thread is set to Question type, so upvote your favorite missed opportunities (no pun) from 2000 CE!
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And I ask myself: what are the other ways that WotC could have fixed D&D back then, but didn't? Some ideas:

  • Remove Hit Points. Back then, there were Total Hit Points, Current Hit Points, and for some reason, a Hit Points box for Subdual Damage. Hit Points are like THAC0 (RIP): they help you count something in the opposite direction, in this case, Damage. If each character had a Max Damage rating, then you'd only need to count Damage. But what if your Damage equals your Max Damage? Are you dead then or after? Well...
  • Remove "Equals or Exceeds." That's just confusing. If your attack roll (more on that later) exceeds your opponent's AC, you hit. Done. If your Damage exceeds your Max Damage, you die. Done.
What they could have done, but didn't, was put in a decent unconsciousness or down-for-the-count mechanism to fit between the binary states of fully-functional and dead, thus fixing a problem that had been there since 1974. 5e's death saves are a vague nod in this direction but still don't get it done, because...

...at the same time they could (and IMO should) have added a Body-Fatigue or Wound-Vitality system to make serious - i.e. Wound or Body - damage or injury harder to cure and-or recover from than ordinary day-to-day Fatigue/Vitality nicks and bruises. (yes, I'd keep hit points: I've no sympathy for those who can't do basic subtraction)

Add fog-of-war effects by a) allowing simultaneous initiative and b) re-rolling init. each round. This would mean not using a d20 for initiative but something smaller - a d6 or d8, say - as going through 20+ segments in a round just takes too long. This gets away from cyclical turn-based all-too-predictable combat. Not doing this, when they were redoing initiative from the ground up anyway, was a big miss.

Oh, and Dexterity shouldn't - and IMO should never have - modify initiatives.
 


ichabod

Legned
  • Hit points vs. damage is just counting in different directions. I don't see one having value over another.
  • I think "exceeds" is actually more confusing than "equals or exceeds." People are going to want to know "What is the number I need to roll?" That is "equals or exceeds."
  • I like attacks of opportunity.
  • Rolling for AC adds more rolls and more math, slowing down the slowest part of the game. Having gone from 3rd to 5th to PF2E and back to 5th, I find I really like the simplification of 5th. Also, like most probability, it's not as intuitive as you might think. If you have a +7 to hit and they have a 20 AC, you need a 13 to hit, which is a 40% chance. But if you have a +7 to hit and they have a +10 to defense, you have a 38.25% chance to hit. Why? Imagine they roll a 10 on defense, for a 20 total defense. Now you have that same 40% chance to hit. But they can roll 9 numbers less than ten (which makes them easier to hit) and 10 numbers greater than 10 (which makes them harder to hit). I think having the one roll makes the probabilities easier to understand, which is a good thing.
I think the only sacred cow I would want to get rid of is the narrow pigeon-holing of some of the classes. "Rangers and druids do outdoors stuff" and "fighters aren't magical and just beat things up." Open that up more or deemphasize classes so that all the classes can reasonably contribute to all the pillars of play.
 




cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I remember reading somewhere, I think in a dragon magazine, that the only reason 2e had thac0 was to make it more easily compatible with 1e, otherwise they were planning in ascending AC/to hit bonuses.

I'm honestly not sure what sacred cow could be slain for dnd, there might be something but it seems that for me, the game is in a good spot mechanically. I wouldn't mind classes having a defence bonus with armour providing damage reduction, but that's probably adding in more complications.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Kill the Classes.

Just buy “starting packages” of abilities, and all additional abilities (extra attack, extra spell, etc.) Ala Carte items with level and/or prerequisites. You can then say goodbye to multiclassing and level dips.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Kill the Classes.

Just buy “starting packages” of abilities, and all additional abilities (extra attack, extra spell, etc.) Ala Carte items with level and/or prerequisites. You can then say goodbye to multiclassing and level dips.
I'm just the opposite: reinforce the classes with hard niche protection, and ban multiclassing outright. No more jacks-of-all-trades; instead, every class has lots of weaknesses and a few very great strengths. Further, you can't paper over the weaknesses, you have to accept them in order to gain the strengths.

If you want to play a fighter-wizard or a bard-cleric then play two characters - one of each.
 

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