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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PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
All praise for not having active defence.

Well, saving throws. Exist.

You cast fireball, so roll damage

Now I have to make at least 3 (I think one crowded battle it was 15) saving throws which will usually be of different values, then I have to apply Resistances, do the damage, damage for half calculations, apply conditions of failed vs not failed save update each NPC and resolve any deaths.

VTT makes that quite painful.

13th Age, roll vs AC, PD or MD. Apply damage and effects. Apply miss damage and effects. Done.

PCs having active defences is fun, non-major NPCs not so much.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
All praise for not having active defence.
I prefer the PCs always roll,

In my own system I built combat so that enemies, traps, hazards, etc, have a damage value in dice, you roll to decrease the number of dice rolled, armor might increase your Toughness or provide DR for the damage that gets through your defense check, etc. Attacking, you roll attack against a static defense, and deal damage based on how well you rolled.
Since it’s a dice pool system, a given level of success means you can count a certain number of the dice you just rolled to attack and that is the damage you deal.

I’ve considered making it so that you just roll damage and the target rolls to miigate.
 



Had a really long response composed, but what it boils down to is that I think 3E failed far more spectacularly in the meta-department than in the gritty details of the mechanics. Most of the issues with the mechanics are addressable, and I think E6 did fantastically along those lines, most especially with getting magic under control. But there are still underlying concepts of design philosophy (or lack thereof) that are better examples of 3E having missed the point, mostly having to do with still supporting the DM to keep a firm, sensible control over the game, while pandering to the players and selling them an endless 2e-like bloat of races, classes, prestige classes, feats, etc.
 


GMMichael

Guide of Modos
You cast fireball, so roll damage

Now I (as DM) have to make at least 3 (I think one crowded battle it was 15) saving throws which will usually be of different values, then I have to apply Resistances, do the damage, damage for half calculations, apply conditions of failed vs not failed save update each NPC and resolve any deaths.
Active defense hints at the solution to this, as does the Monster Bible (as I'm now tempted to call the ADD2e Monster Manual):

Monster Bible: NPCs aren't PCs. They have different rules and character sheets. So the fireball victims don't need to follow the same procedure in the event of a fireball as the PCs would.

Active Defense: NPCs need an Attack Class for this, and the PCs do the rolling. Why doesn't the magic-user make a Spell Attack too? And save the GM another 2.8 seconds by saying something like "the fireball does 26 damage, 13 half?"

This isn't a missed opportunity to fix D&D so much as a potential breaking of D&D; maybe NPCs were just fine with their own rules. But there was an opportunity to do something about having 15 NPCs, each with its own hit points, having different reactions to one PC action. This is where Remove Hit Points would be a good call. Instead of the DM looking for each victim's Current Hit Points (not Total) to see if the damage exceeded that amount or start doing some subtraction, the DM would just add the Damage to the NPC's Damage and compare that number to the NPC's Max Damage. That would be in line with the design philosophy of numbers-should-go-up (re: removal of descending ACs and subtraction from THAC0).

So, was Monte Cook saving PCs-Make-All-the-Rolls for Numenera? 3e could have used it too, and fixed D&D.
 

Voadam

Legend
divine casters know all spells on their list

Spell levels not matching class levels.

All praise for not having active defence.

This made me rethink things. I would also get rid of spell slots.

BAB built into character level and not class level.

Active Defense: NPCs need an Attack Class for this, and the PCs do the rolling. Why doesn't the magic-user make a Spell Attack too? And save the GM another 2.8 seconds by saying something like "the fireball does 26 damage, 13 half?"
It is nice to see so much love for 4e. :)
 

Voadam

Legend
Separating alignment from morality.

Turning alignment into descriptors that mechanically interacted so that a lawful alignment character who picked up an anarchic weapon got a negative level was fantastic.

I wish they had gone farther that direction and just cut out all the actual vague morality stuff open to DM oversight like paladins falling for not really defined non-descriptor evil actions and just stuck to the descriptor mechanics.

Undisciplined drunken master monks, barbarians with codes of honor, extremist paladins, etc. are all good D&D concepts.
 

Teemu

Hero
I wish they had gotten rid of static speeds and made Speed a more variable stat. Nearly all humans have identical speeds in D&D for example, and it's always been weird to make opposed speed checks with Dex or other similar skills -- when those attributes don't correlate with combat speed in any way! It could've been a great opportunity to add Speed as an attribute that you can roll and make checks with. Physical strength is an ability score and you can make rolls with it to see how well you perform in various stressful situations, and the same applies to all manner of mental abilities, and your toughness and your agility -- yet not your ability to run.
 

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