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5E Where to Now?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
Much to my disappointment, as this was for me by far the biggest thing playtest-era 5e was promising: that I could easily convert my own system and in effect play 1e within 5e's framework.

What was released as 5e would take so much work to convert to what I want that it's just not worth bothering.

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.
Yes, you can add things in; but what if your goal is to subtract things out?

The chassis as it exists is already too complex: too many classes and sub-classes, too many options, etc. for what should be the bare-bones simpler-than-0e D&D framework.

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.
My main problem with the DMGuild is that if I can't buy it in my FLGS (once such things return) it might as well not exist.
 
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Ath-kethin

Adventurer
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.
There's a book of diseases on DMSGuild that is one of the very few Adamantine sellers on the site; it is enormously popular and white useful. The same group also headlined a book of make-your-own diseases and a book for adventure based on the diseases (I was a contributor to that last one).

I don't know how the pandemic has affected sales of the first two but the adventure collection still sells 20-30 copies per month.

The first book can be found here:

 

Mistwell

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.
There is nothing poor in the design of the Druid, it's a fantastic class. It's just an unpopular concept. You can't "fix" the concept. People just don't like that nature-themed caster. I suspect it was the Hobbit movies that damaged the concept. Seeing Radagast with bird poop all of his head just smacked the remaining reputation right out of the Druid concept. Tweaking the mechanics won't help because it's not the mechanics that is the issue - the mechanics are excellent and a tad overpowered.
 

Regarding the Druid, I would have liked shapechanging to have been confined to one subclass. That would have opened up more design space.

(Same thing with Rangers and spellcasting.)

But, as for it being "unpopular", isn't that ok? I don't think it's an indication of a class being "bad" if it isn't popular. I kind of like that some concepts are more rare than others.
 

Much to my disappointment, as this was for me by far the biggest thing playtest-era 5e was promising: that I could easily convert my own system and in effect play 1e within 5e's framework.

What was released as 5e would take so much work to convert to what I want that it's just not worth bothering.
Heh. I was designing my own edition of 5E during the playtest, using the ideas that I liked from the playtest and other ideas I had of my own. I did this because after 4E, which my group grew to despise, we didn't have much faith in WotC turning out a good product. Fortunately, we were quite wrong!

Yes, you can add things in; but what if your goal is to subtract things out?

The chassis as it exists is already too complex: too many classes and sub-classes, too many options, etc. for what should be the bare-bones simpler-than-0e D&D framework.
Most aspects of the game can be removed, but there are parts that can't be simply removed without impacting other things. For example, if you don't like a class/sub-class/race/feat/whatever, there's nothing stopping the DM from simply saying "no." The base game is super simple, with 4 races, 4 classes with sub-class each, no feats or multi-classing. Options are minimal, and non-existent after character creation.

Somethings are harder to change without upsetting the balance. One great example that was a massive flame war on the WotC forums about non-magical healing. Second Wind is harder to remove (if you hate non-magical healing) without weakening the class, but in this case changing it to Temp HP works fairly well. If you don't like spell slots, you can try to remove it to convert to a Spell Point system, but obviously that can have balance changes too (which is why they never made said module IMO).

My main problem with the DMGuild is that if I can't buy it in my FLGS (once such things return) it might as well not exist.
Care to explain? Do you primarily do Organized Play?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Most aspects of the game can be removed, but there are parts that can't be simply removed without impacting other things. For example, if you don't like a class/sub-class/race/feat/whatever, there's nothing stopping the DM from simply saying "no." The base game is super simple, with 4 races, 4 classes with sub-class each, no feats or multi-classing. Options are minimal, and non-existent after character creation.
I realize feats are optional, and that most classes can be made so.

Somethings are harder to change without upsetting the balance. One great example that was a massive flame war on the WotC forums about non-magical healing. Second Wind is harder to remove (if you hate non-magical healing) without weakening the class, but in this case changing it to Temp HP works fairly well. If you don't like spell slots, you can try to remove it to convert to a Spell Point system, but obviously that can have balance changes too (which is why they never made said module IMO).
Yeah, I'd want to take out non-magical healing, completely re-do how resting works such that nothing recharges on a short rest except a very few h.p., re-do how spells are cast by going to a 1e-2e model using casting times, and go to a non-additive multiclassing system where each class advances independently.

And that's just the start.

Care to explain? Do you primarily do Organized Play?
Gads, no! :) It's just than when I buy something I want a physical copy handed to me to take home, and I'd prefer my money go to a local store keeping local people in jobs.
 

jsaving

Adventurer
There is nothing poor in the design of the Druid, it's a fantastic class. It's just an unpopular concept.
Druids haven't always been among the game's least popular classes but they are in 5th edition D&D. That provides pretty conclusive evidence that the 5e druid is hobbled more by poor design than an inherently unpopular concept, though I'm glad you personally find it to be better than most people do.
But, as for it being "unpopular", isn't that ok? I don't think it's an indication of a class being "bad" if it isn't popular. I kind of like that some concepts are more rare than others.
If people don't want to play a class, that is totally fine, but then it doesn't belong among the 12 classes printed in the Player's Handbook for general use by everyone. That "real estate" is very limited and there are plenty of other classes that came close to making the PH cut and could have been of more use to more players.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I don't think the Druid is badly designed at all. It is, however, specifically designed. The class centers on Wildshape, so if your idea for a Druid-y character doesn't involve shape change it's going to be a poor fit. I also find that the Druid, moreso than any other class, suffers from a little too much nicey-nice in the class write up. There's not a lot of bad-assery to be found there, and rather too much Sierra Club for my tastes. The night is dark and full of terrors after all. I also think the Druid has had some of the least interesting expansion of concept via new subclasses, which is a shame, although 3PP material expands this enormously. Legendary Games, for example, has the Circle of Shapeless and Primal Terror, in their Fey and Forest Classes supplement. That, my friend, is a cool concept for a Druid.

The class certainly has a place in the PHB though, and lots of people play Druids.
 

Minigiant

Legend
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).
I was thought the ranger was primarily a exploration class. It's signature thing since OD&D was tracking. The whole gimmick was that the ranger was the person who hunted the savage humaniods who would not conform to peaceful relations and to convince the animals/plants to not kill random townsfolk as sustenance. The D&D Ranger is a Aragorn clone but a specific one: the guide with mystical gifts. That'swhy the Aragornesge plantand divination magic makes sense along with the animal magic. A sane person would bring magic

The pure guerilla/ambush ranger is from war gaming and video gaming. Places where tracking and wilderness survival aren't used. You could make the mystical guide and the grounded ambusher into the same class but it would not be elegant.

I don't think the Druid is badly designed at all. It is, however, specifically designed. The class centers on Wildshape, so if your idea for a Druid-y character doesn't involve shape change it's going to be a poor fit. I also find that the Druid, moreso than any other class, suffers from a little too much nicey-nice in the class write up. There's not a lot of bad-assery to be found there, and rather too much Sierra Club for my tastes. The night is dark and full of terrors after all. I also think the Druid has had some of the least interesting expansion of concept via new subclasses, which is a shame, although 3PP material expands this enormously. Legendary Games, for example, has the Circle of Shapeless and Primal Terror, in their Fey and Forest Classes supplement. That, my friend, is a cool concept for a Druid.

The class certainly has a place in the PHB though, and lots of people play Druids.
I agree the druid is specifically designed for a certain image. It's ultra specific and filled with toomuch ideas. Even the designers say it is the biggest source of rule problems. It's the biggest headache.

It would be best for WOTC to create a new book with a whole new class for other wilderness casters.
Maybe a whole Wilderness book with a shaman class, new druid and ranger spells, wilderness subclasses for fighter, bard, barbarian and rogue, and rules for more wilderness hazards.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Druids haven't always been among the game's least popular classes but they are in 5th edition D&D. That provides pretty conclusive evidence that the 5e druid is hobbled more by poor design than an inherently unpopular concept, though I'm glad you personally find it to be better than most people do.
It was always in the lower portion of popularity, and I gave the reason for it's drop for 5e - the Hobbit movies.

You cut the part that addresses your point from my post. An odd cut.

There is nothing about the 5e design that is poor. It's designed slightly better than the 3e and 4e design in my opinion. 3e had terrible trouble with wildeshape, and 4e it was often considered lost among the many classes, competing for concept space with classes like the Warden. Power-wise it's definitely on the more powerful side for 5e, and has more niche protection.

However, people's desire for a nature caster has dropped as a concept over time. This is a low ebb for desire for that concept I believe. No amount of tinkering with mechanics can address that.

The bard is similarly suffering from concept dislike - despite it also being one of the best designed and powerful classes in this edition.
 
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jsaving

Adventurer
I disagree completely on pretty much all counts and actually haven't previously heard the claim that 5e's bard and druid are among the edition's "best designed" classes. But I'm glad you find them useful.
 

Yeah, I'd want to take out non-magical healing, completely re-do how resting works such that nothing recharges on a short rest except a very few h.p., re-do how spells are cast by going to a 1e-2e model using casting times, and go to a non-additive multiclassing system where each class advances independently.
As I said, 5E is flexible, but flexibility does have its limits. More often than not, I've found the question to become "is it worth trying to implement this?" Sadly, the answer is usually no. Hopefully you can find or make what you need!

Gads, no! :) It's just than when I buy something I want a physical copy handed to me to take home, and I'd prefer my money go to a local store keeping local people in jobs.
Understood. I buy from the FLGS rather than online, but they also try to keep their prices low enough to be competitive with Amazon and the like. They pretty much only stay in business by selling crack... I mean Magic and other CCG ;)
 

Stormdale

Explorer
Druids haven't always been among the game's least popular classes but they are in 5th edition D&D. That provides pretty conclusive evidence that the 5e druid is hobbled more by poor design than an inherently unpopular concept, though I'm glad you personally find it to be better than most people do.

If people don't want to play a class, that is totally fine, but then it doesn't belong among the 12 classes printed in the Player's Handbook for general use by everyone. That "real estate" is very limited and there are plenty of other classes that came close to making the PH cut and could have been of more use to more players.
The druid has been one of the most effective classes in our last 3-4 campaigns and at our table is far more popular than clerics. As both a DM and a player I find it one of the most versatile classes in the game. Now if you were talking about the badly designed abomination that is the 5E warlock we'd be in agreement, but druids? Nah, leave em alone I say

Stromdale
 

Do you think WotC could agree a partnership with any 3PPs for a paper-printed version of the adamatine best-sellers of DM Guild? And does DM Guild allow freelance artists to sell the own arts based in D&D? For example Dark Sun, or a reboot of Jakandor with a new tribal-punk look, or Heroes of Dragonlance with a Disney style.

Could Paramount Pictures allow a smash-up of Star Treck franchise set in Spelljammer? At least a comic miniserie.

Has got Paramount the exclusive rights about D&D adaptations, or can other companies? For example a videogame by Capcom set in Mystara. Or DC publishing the TTRPG of "Pirates of the Dark Waters". Disney could get the rights to produce an adaptation of the adventures of Gord the Rogue.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I was thought the ranger was primarily a exploration class. It's signature thing since OD&D was tracking. The whole gimmick was that the ranger was the person who hunted the savage humaniods who would not conform to peaceful relations and to convince the animals/plants to not kill random townsfolk as sustenance.
And to do this the Ranger also had to be a hella good and tough warrior, hence it's original placing as a sub-class of Fighter.

The whole spindly two-weapon Dexterity-based Drizz't-style Ranger is to me an abomination; even more so if it's expected to have a pet following it around all the time.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It was always in the lower portion of popularity,
I disagree with the "always" there; it's popularity has risen and fallen over the years and - as you note below - is currently at a bit of a low point.
and I gave the reason for it's drop for 5e - the Hobbit movies.
Yeah, that didn't help - even though Radagast is in theory supposed to be a nature-Wizard rather than a nature-Cleric (which is how I see Druids), portraying him as a bumbling bit of comic relief didn't exactly help the cause of nature-casters of any kind. :)

However, people's desire for a nature caster has dropped as a concept over time. This is a low ebb for desire for that concept I believe. No amount of tinkering with mechanics can address that.

The bard is similarly suffering from concept dislike - despite it also being one of the best designed and powerful classes in this edition.
I've also found even within our own gaming crew that certain archetypal concepts kinda come and go over the years.

Time was, 20 years ago, nobody would even think about playing a Part-Orc of any class. Times change. Now, relatively speaking, we're buried in them.

About every ten years for some reason we see a big influx of Hobbits, then they slowly disappear as players get tired of them; and ten years later there's suddenly another wave of 'em because for some reason they're the 'in thing' again.
 

wingsandsword

Adventurer
Well, two obvious places the rules can go are psionics and epic-level rules.

Both of which are well-established parts of D&D, to the point of being pretty integral to official D&D settings (Dark Sun and Eberron are pretty intrinsically psionic, Forgotten Realms is crawling with Epic-level characters and the first dedicated epic-level book for D&D was setting-specific to Dark Sun), that 5e has avoided or only vaguely touched on.

I know they're controversial topics, judging by other threads on them, but you'd think that "hey, let's make a psionics supplement for the new D&D edition" wouldn't be THAT controversial since 2e, 3e, 3.5e and 4e all had them, and how there were two epic-level rulebooks for 2e, an epic-level sourcebook for 3e, and epic-level rules in the core rules of 3.5 and 4e. They're both established enough concepts in D&D that 5e will always be somewhat incomplete without some official treatment of the subjects that does the subject matter justice (the vague epic boons of the 5e DMG aren't really a substitute for actual epic-level rules)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As long as they stay away from the churn of earlier editions, like putting out book for each class. Keep player content slow and steady, introducing new thing only in the concrete service of a new setting. So Dark Sun and Psionics rule plus some other race/subclass options sort of thing.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I don't think the Druid is badly designed at all. It is, however, specifically designed. The class centers on Wildshape, so if your idea for a Druid-y character doesn't involve shape change it's going to be a poor fit.
All but one of the subclasses only have wildshape as a ribbon ability and focus on other things.
 

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