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5E Where to Now?

Eubani

Adventurer
We have crossed the 5 year line, the rules are stable so where to now? My thought would be to revisit an undelivered goal from the beginning modularity. The recent UA that provided alternate class features showed that modular rule packs can be used to alter the game system without undue damage to the game. Th DMG with it's scattered modules of varied value was not enough for many and there are several attempts in it that could use polishing. Books with this sort of idea could be set by theme and carry both GM an player materials which is something the designers stated early on is there preference so each book would have a wider audience. Examples could be a book that goes into damage and healing. Detailing various systems for taking and healing damage. Alternate class features for healing. Extensions to medicine skill as well as healers kits and herbalist kits. Diseases and poisons could be made more prominent in game. Then of course some spells and feats. many have clamoured for Naval matters to be looked at and Ghosts of Saltmarsh didn't scratch the itch. Some want some strongly the planar themed rules/abilities. There are so many things in 5e that have only been lightly touched or left alone and I believe we are at the point in 5e that the designers can be more explorative with mechanics and the material. Thoughts?
 

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darjr

I crit!
UA, yea. That's also tricky. they don't wan't to invalidate the PHB, or if they do they don't wan't it to damage the edition or brand.

The deer in the headlights thing wasn't a joke early on 5e's release. The sales were not just a surprise they were a shock, they almost didn't believe them, and they litterally scrambled to get more PHB's printed to fill demand.

And then it didn't let up. People forget that CR was like a booster rocket AFTER the initial take off.

So they are aproaching things very carefully. At least that's what they've said.
 



Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
They should just release a variant Ranger in an AP or something that fixes the issues, but doesn't 'replace' the PHB version. They don't have to replace the original if they don't want to. I know, that's some pretty fancy fence straddling. :p
 

Mercurius

Legend
I've shared my thoughts in other threads, but it is a fun topic and I enjoy speculating, so...

First, re: modular options. Frankly, I don't think they'll ever deliver on the initial Next concepts (remember the "complexity dial?"). We'll see more options and sub-systems (e.g. psionics) but the complexity dial will always simply be what you choose to include in your campaign. If anything, we might eventually see an even more simple and stream-lined version of the game marketed to younger kids. Any "advanced modules" will be possible options for the core game.

Going forward I expect that the game will continue to be centered on stories and worlds, meaning adventure books and campaign settings. They'll sprinkle in a rules supplement every two or three years, such as more monster books and another Xanathar-like book, but the focus will be on stories and worlds.

I think the plan is to continue as-is until the 50th Anniversary in 2024. We'll see around 4 hardbacks a year, maybe expanded to 5, with 1-2 adventure books, 2-3 setting books and 0-1 splats, or something like 14-17 more books for the rest of 2020 through 2023.

In the next few years we will almost certainly see a Manual of the Planes in some form or fashion, perhaps with options for Planescape, Spelljammer and planewalking. We'll almost certainly see more Magic settings (probably one every two years, with Zendikar or Innistrad up next, possibly Dominaria et al at some point). Psionics will either be in a Xanathar 2 (with a different name) type book, and/or attached to Dark Sun, which I think will be the next legacy setting, probably in 2021-22. Other legacy settings like Greyhawk or Dragonlance are possible but less likely and may have to wait until after (or with) the anniversary. We may or may not see a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book.

New classes that we might see are the psion/mystic, warlord, maybe shaman. I could also see more focus on epic tier and beyond, although this might be later on. We'll also see another compilation adventure book and more story arcs set in the Forgotten Realms. We might see a story arc set in another world, and a surprise or two along the way.

In 2024, we'll see revised core books--not new editions, but something like "errata plus," or akin to a 5.1 or 5.2: errata, minor tweaks here and there (e.g. re-buffing a few monsters, a new ranger, etc), and new art, possibly including classic pieces from older editions (e.g. Emirikol the Chaotic belongs back in the DMG). I think we could also see some kind of deluxe anniversary box set that either re-formats the rulebooks in box-set form, covers the classic Greyhawk setting, or something else, like my pipe-dream product: a "Classic Worlds of D&D" box that includes short overviews of every D&D world.

After that, who knows--lots of unknown factors, both small (how D&D is doing) and large (how humanity is doing). I could see the game continuing as-is, possibly expanding to other genres (e.g. science fiction or superheroes). We won't see a truly new edition unless 5E tanks and/or is sold, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Or to put it in another framework, we could imagine it like the MCU phases, with each new one adding a new element but enfolding the previous ones:

Phase One (2014-17): Core books, establishing focus on story arcs.
Phase Two (2018-20): Expanding to include (new) worlds.
Phase Three (2021-23): Filling out the line with planes, psionics, and maybe epic.
Phase Four (2024-?): 50th Anniversary--revised core, etc.

Note that after the first year, Phase One saw three new hardcovers a year, while Two saw four; this could mean that Three will see five. I could also see Two extending through 2021, and Three including the anniversary, with Four beginning in 2025.
 

jsaving

Adventurer
First priority in my view is to perform major surgery on the druid and sorcerer, which char-gen sites and D&D Beyond consistently show to be the game's least popular classes. Makes no difference to me whether WotC officially eliminates the original versions, just as it didn't matter to me whether the 3.0 ranger stuck around alongside their 3.5 counterpart, but when a portion of the PH is poorly designed then those failures shouldn't be treated as untouchable canon just because they were once printed.
 

Mercurius

Legend
First priority in my view is to perform major surgery on the druid and sorcerer, which char-gen sites and D&D Beyond consistently show to be the game's least popular classes. Makes no difference to me whether WotC officially eliminates the original versions, just as it didn't matter to me whether the 3.0 ranger stuck around alongside their 3.5 counterpart, but when a portion of the PH is poorly designed then those failures shouldn't be treated as untouchable canon just because they were once printed.
All of which can be tested in Unearthed Arcana, and officially published in either the hypothetical Xanathar 2 or the equally hypothetical anniversary revised core rulebooks.

So the class list would be:

  • revised/alt ranger
  • revised/alt sorcerer
  • revised/alt druid
  • psion/mystic
  • warlord
  • shaman (maybe, or as druid sub-class)
 

Eltab

Hero
Having just gotten an IRL example of disease on the largest possible scale, enhanced Medicine / disease rules are either going to be 'coming soon' -or- 'not touching that with a 10-foot pole'. Depending on if you think the buying audience will want their characters to be able to help -or- want no such reminders; we play D&D to set aside our troubles for a few hours.
 

ZeshinX

Explorer
They should just release a variant Ranger in an AP or something that fixes the issues, but doesn't 'replace' the PHB version. They don't have to replace the original if they don't want to. I know, that's some pretty fancy fence straddling. :p
Oh I don't care if it replaces it or not. I mean I already ignore the Ranger in the PHB as it is lol. Honestly, I've already found a far superior concept of what I think the Ranger is than the PHB Ranger anyway....the Rogue with the Scout subclass. Not perfect, but I've always seen the Ranger as the ambush/guerilla-style type anyway (as far as their approach to combat is concerned, since a hefty helping of their class abilities through the editions I played, 1e/2e/3e/PF, supported that approach).

I mean sure, they've had spells since 1e, but they always felt very much tacked on and have always felt remarkably out of place on the ranger (to me anyway). Their approach to the spell-less ranger a while back was also eye-rollingly silly....they just replaced the spells with brewing potions that did many of the same things the spells did. They seem determined to ignore the fact the ranger has far more in common with a rogue than with a druid as far as the overall feel of the class suggests (granted that is exceptionally and entirely subject to one's own perspectives).
 



darjr

I crit!
I think they might do something very different. On the level of Volos or Mordenkainens. A different kind of but book. Though I’m not sure what.

I don’t think they’ll touch the core. I think they were afraid of messing things up.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
DMG has more than 40 rules modules and dials already but people either aren't looking at them or don't like them. They would do the same for a supplement book of modular rules, after all we already had 2 UA about mass combat and 4 (or more, I lost count) about psionics and people have rejected or ridiculize them.
 

We have crossed the 5 year line, the rules are stable so where to now? My thought would be to revisit an undelivered goal from the beginning modularity. The recent UA that provided alternate class features showed that modular rule packs can be used to alter the game system without undue damage to the game. Th DMG with it's scattered modules of varied value was not enough for many and there are several attempts in it that could use polishing.
Something to note, the original "modularity" concept was a delusional fantasy. Our very experienced group (who all participated in the playtest) discussed it at length, and couldn't come up with a method that would work the way they claimed they could provide (characters using different rules at the same table). I think this is why the original modularity option never arose.

As for an actual modular setup... it already exists. 5E is by far the easiest edition to homebrew (except maybe OD&D), where you can add a lot of cool things onto the existing chassis. The latest UA showed that some class modularity could work, allowing a potential "fix" to classes that people don't currently enjoy. A book that added to some of that would be a good option for the next player book, with perhaps a few modular options on the DM side (as XGtE did for traps, downtime, magic items, etc.).

Books with this sort of idea could be set by theme and carry both GM an player materials which is something the designers stated early on is there preference so each book would have a wider audience. Examples could be a book that goes into damage and healing. Detailing various systems for taking and healing damage. Alternate class features for healing. Extensions to medicine skill as well as healers kits and herbalist kits. Diseases and poisons could be made more prominent in game. Then of course some spells and feats. many have clamoured for Naval matters to be looked at and Ghosts of Saltmarsh didn't scratch the itch. Some want some strongly the planar themed rules/abilities. There are so many things in 5e that have only been lightly touched or left alone and I believe we are at the point in 5e that the designers can be more explorative with mechanics and the material. Thoughts?
This is where you lose me. One of the great successes of 5E has been its simplicity. Having some modular options is one thing, but it's also very easy to go too far the other way into the splatbook territory. I don't expect anything naval related again from WotC, since the necessary rules were already provided. I suspect that planar themed things will exist when/if they ever make a Manual of the Planes or Sigil campaign/AP. Same with psionics with Dark Sun (assuming they ever figure out how they want it to work). Almost everything else is likely going to be regaled to the DMGuild, which is its purpose after all.

Side note: totally agree on Medicine. I removed the Healer's Kit ability and made the stabilization check have disadvantage if a kit wasn't used. This has made Medicine a more useful skill and Spare the Dying worth taking.
 

Hasbro thinks about D&D as a multimedia brand. This means they worry more about future D&D videogames or action-live productions than the printed-paper TTRPG books. Maybe the future cartoons could affect the gameplay forcing WotC to create lots of spells with no-lethal damage (grease, hold person, web, sleeping) for parents who would rather a family-friendly style to play with their little children

I was a Hasbro CEO I would try to create the ultimate d20 system to can be used for all genres (space opera, sword & planet, far west, survival horror, XX century warfare, superheroes), with simple rules, right balance power and enough flexible to be used by 3PPs.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Oh I don't care if it replaces it or not. I mean I already ignore the Ranger in the PHB as it is lol. Honestly, I've already found a far superior concept of what I think the Ranger is than the PHB Ranger anyway....the Rogue with the Scout subclass. Not perfect, but I've always seen the Ranger as the ambush/guerilla-style type anyway (as far as their approach to combat is concerned, since a hefty helping of their class abilities through the editions I played, 1e/2e/3e/PF, supported that approach).

I mean sure, they've had spells since 1e, but they always felt very much tacked on and have always felt remarkably out of place on the ranger (to me anyway). Their approach to the spell-less ranger a while back was also eye-rollingly silly....they just replaced the spells with brewing potions that did many of the same things the spells did. They seem determined to ignore the fact the ranger has far more in common with a rogue than with a druid as far as the overall feel of the class suggests (granted that is exceptionally and entirely subject to one's own perspectives).
I've always saw the D&Das a gobetween between nature and civilization. Therefore they wouldneed magic to future that relationship and hunt/kill those who wont submit. You need magic to talk to animals and plants and to hunt invisible/flying/swimming monsters.

That's why I really hope for a book with more unique and exclusive spells for Bards, Rangers, Paladins, and Warlocks to emphasize their base role.
 

ZeshinX

Explorer
I've always saw the D&D as a go between between nature and civilization. Therefore they would need magic to future that relationship and hunt/kill those who wont submit. You need magic to talk to animals and plants and to hunt invisible/flying/swimming monsters.

That's why I really hope for a book with more unique and exclusive spells for Bards, Rangers, Paladins, and Warlocks to emphasize their base role.
Well the beauty is, both of our visions (and that of others) can be expressed quite simply via subclasses in a redesigned Ranger. Yoink the spellcasting from the base class and include it as part of a subclass (or subclasses if more than one fits with spells). One subclass can represent the intermediary between nature and civilization, spells et al and abilities that support that view of the Ranger. Another subclass can represent the ambush/guerilla-style wilderness warrior, without the spells but include other features that would support that particular aspect. Sky's the limit really. They've already done that exact thing with the Paladin in 5e, as it is no longer limited to being strictly the white knight in shining armor that is a paragon of all that is lawful and good....and its subclasses, via oaths, represent varying views of a Paladin.

I find the Ranger, as is, has far too many passive base abilities and not nearly enough active ones. In 30+ years of playing D&D, I can count on one hand how often those particular abilities would have been actively useful and enjoyable to use (and still have fingers left over). In almost every group I've played with or run, across 1e, 2e, 3e, and PF, that kind of minutae of gameplay was almost always the one hand-waved away...because it's minutae (or in the case of my regular group...a walking, eating and resting simulator). It boiled down to having to travel...okay, is there a Ranger and/or Druid in the party? Yes? Okay, chances of a random hostile encounter just went down by X%. Rough terrain? Okay, with a Ranger and/or Druid, it takes 6 hours to get there...without one, 8 hours. Done.

I do like they've taken the approach that not all abilities should be about combat, or necessarily useful in combat. That's cool....but...a Ranger is a combat class. Has been since Day 1 of the Ranger class....so offering magic as their main combat aspect is frankly not good enough (since that seems to have been their answer for any particular class issue this edition...uh, just give it spellcasting, done).
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
We have crossed the 5 year line, the rules are stable so where to now? My thought would be to revisit an undelivered goal from the beginning modularity.
OK, you have my complete attention. :)

The recent UA that provided alternate class features showed that modular rule packs can be used to alter the game system without undue damage to the game. Th DMG with it's scattered modules of varied value was not enough for many and there are several attempts in it that could use polishing. Books with this sort of idea could be set by theme and carry both GM an player materials which is something the designers stated early on is there preference so each book would have a wider audience. Examples could be a book that goes into damage and healing. Detailing various systems for taking and healing damage. Alternate class features for healing. Extensions to medicine skill as well as healers kits and herbalist kits. Diseases and poisons could be made more prominent in game. Then of course some spells and feats. many have clamoured for Naval matters to be looked at and Ghosts of Saltmarsh didn't scratch the itch. Some want some strongly the planar themed rules/abilities. There are so many things in 5e that have only been lightly touched or left alone and I believe we are at the point in 5e that the designers can be more explorative with mechanics and the material. Thoughts?
They don't have to be entire books, for one thing. They could be more like old-school adventure modules in size - you could have a 32-page booklet on damage and healing, another on psionics, another on planar-themed stuff (maybe that one would have to go to 48 pages!), another on initiative and combat-timing variants, and so forth.

Cheaper to produce than full hardcovers, and probably more profitable per unit.
 

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