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5E Where to Now?

Mercurius

Legend
Riffing off my MCU-style phases above, what if WotC planned a 20-year edition style in line with the 20 levels and tiers of game play? I don't think they actually did, especially because they can't have possibly planned for that long without a re-boot, but let's play make-believe...

Phase-Tier Zero (2013, "session zero"/character creation): Next playtesting, Dragonspire/Icewind Dale.
Phase-Tier One (2014-17, levels 1-4): Core rules, establishing the focus on story arcs. Apprentice adventurers becoming local heroes--and the rise of D&D's popularity.
Phase-Tier Two (2018-23, levels 5-10): Expanding to settings. This is considered the sweet-spot by many players--as adventurers make a name for themselves and become national or regional heroes, and could also be the golden years of 5E as the core line is fleshed out more fully, while still focusing on classic D&D game play.
Phase-Tier Three (2024-29, levels 11-16): This is where we'd see revised "5.2" books, that form the basis for more experimental options and styles. More emphasis on planar adventures and world-shaking events, alternate approaches to the game (kingdom-building, other genres, etc). "Continental heroes."
Phase-Tier Four (2030-33, levels 17-20): Wild and woolly--extra-planar, immortal game play, apocalyptic events, the multiverse, etc. "World heroes." Completion of the cycle.

Again, I don't see this as WotC's plan, or how they look at it now, but it is a fun thought experiment. At the least, phase-tiers 0 to 2 seem relatively accurate, with 3-4 just being rather speculative.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
All but one of the subclasses only have wildshape as a ribbon ability and focus on other things.
Yes, the subclasses are the differentiation. The class itself, the part they all share, is focused on Wildshape plus Nature Casting. You can't play a Druid without Wildshape. Anyway, this isn't a criticism, just an observation that the concept space for the class is restricted somewhat by the class abilities. The design space taken up by wildshape is what could have been occupied by greater summoning or greater control type abilities.
 

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.
Wait a second, let's be clear what the data is saying: the druid is still fully half as popular as the most popular class (Fighter), and 2/3 as popular as all except Fighter and Rogue. That does not mean "people don't want to play" it. I actually find it pretty surprising that the distribution is as even as it is.

I started typing "I bet if you look at almost anything else, such as ice cream, you would find that it the distribution falls off much faster..." but I stopped and looked it up. The first result I found with numbers was this:

 

Minigiant

Legend
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.
Of course. The point is the Ranger was based on a nature guide who stabbed up the viliains and beasts that he could not talk down or avoid.

To me there are 6 different wilderness warriors in D&D.
  1. The Ranger
  2. The Scout
  3. The Warden
  4. The Wilderness Warrior
  5. The Seeker
  6. The Green Knight
Along with a shaman and witchdoctor class, thats why I think a wilderness book would be awesome.
 

Eltab

Hero
I preferred the 4e Druid. Because you (the player) did not have to carry around a notebook describing all the possible animals you could wildshape into, with their stats / powers / abilities. Rather, you kept your man-form capabilities.

YMMV (almost certainly Y M does V)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Of course. The point is the Ranger was based on a nature guide who stabbed up the viliains and beasts that he could not talk down or avoid.

To me there are 6 different wilderness warriors in D&D.
  1. The Ranger
  2. The Scout
  3. The Warden
  4. The Wilderness Warrior
  5. The Seeker
  6. The Green Knight
Along with a shaman and witchdoctor class, thats why I think a wilderness book would be awesome.
Can you describe those to me in such terms that it's obvious there is no overlap?

Ranger, the nature-magic skirmisher, and Scout, the response when people wanted a spell-less Ranger. Where do the rest fit in the streamlined class paradigm of 5e?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I preferred the 4e Druid. Because you (the player) did not have to carry around a notebook describing all the possible animals you could wildshape into, with their stats / powers / abilities.
Every single druid except a single subclass, that books is called the PHB since the forms are listed in Appendix D. The same book you are already carrying around for your spells.
 

atanakar

Hero
I really don't want WoTC to try to make a «toolbox system» out of D&D5e. It was not build for that. Look at other systems, like Fantasy AGE, if that is what you want. It was designed for that in mind.

Where to from now for D&D5e? They should just keep doing what they are doing. I'm not nostalgic of old settings. The vast majority of old the books are available on DMGuild for new DMs who are curious about these old settings. Anything B/X and Advanced is very easy to port to 5e.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Can you describe those to me in such terms that it's obvious there is no overlap?

Ranger, the nature-magic skirmisher, and Scout, the response when people wanted a spell-less Ranger. Where do the rest fit in the streamlined class paradigm of 5e?
The easiest way to describe them is to describe their purpose.

The Ranger is a guide, hunter, tracker, and/or wilderness liaison. The ranger is a job. A ranger has a job to do and thus acquires skills, techniques, and magic to do the job. The job requires a combination of abilities. The ranger could be a skirmisher but they don't have to. A ranger of the grasslands might wield a lance and shield on horseback. An arctic ranger might dual wield axes with medium armor under her cold weather clothes as a swirl of snow protects her from missiles as she charges. The job dictates the skills.

The Wilderness Warrior, the Scout, and the Green/Ancients Knight on the other hand as primarily about their base skills. The Wilderness Warrior is a Fighter. The Scout is a Rogue. The green/ancients knight is a paladin They fight like their classes. They just get along with nature better. One might ride a giant lion as a mount. Another might be an expert at using primitive weapons and handling animals. Another might be good at ambushing. But they are their base class primarily.

The Warden and the Seeker are two halves of the same coin. They are warriors imbued with natural mystical powers. They enhance their weapons and armor with natural primal power for some purpose. The Seeker focuses on enchanting their ranged weapons and ammunition. The Warden focuses on enchanting themselves and everthing they touch. In 5, they easily could be two subclasses of the same primal warrior class.

There's no need to toolbox 5e. There's plenty to missing stuff from the past for D&D 5e to make.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Of course. The point is the Ranger was based on a nature guide who stabbed up the viliains and beasts that he could not talk down or avoid.

To me there are 6 different wilderness warriors in D&D.
  1. The Ranger
  2. The Scout
  3. The Warden
  4. The Wilderness Warrior
  5. The Seeker
  6. The Green Knight
Along with a shaman and witchdoctor class, thats why I think a wilderness book would be awesome.
You should check out Into the Wyrd and Wild. I just finished reading it and it's awesome. There are some great mechanics for wilderness survival, along with a ton of great monsters and spells and other stuff. It's got some horror around the edges, and I think it would do a great job making the journey just as exciting as the destination. It's usefully presented as a toolbox, so you can pick and choose what bits to use, and it also has a nifty little primer on designing 'outdoor dungeons'.
 

Undrave

Hero
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.
I think this was basically an unfortunate side effect of there just be no other way for the Ranger to do 'Cool Shit' back in the days. 4e showed you could do a cool Ranger without spells at its core, even if it still felt a bit muddled by the whole Twin-Weapon obsession.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
If the exploration pillar were more sturdily supported in D&D I think it would be far easier to make a better Ranger. There just aren't a lot of knobs and dials there. As it is the Ranger takes an already under-served pillar of play and makes it, essentially, an exercise in handwaving. I think WotC can do better.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
Yes, the subclasses are the differentiation. The class itself, the part they all share, is focused on Wildshape plus Nature Casting. You can't play a Druid without Wildshape. Anyway, this isn't a criticism, just an observation that the concept space for the class is restricted somewhat by the class abilities. The design space taken up by wildshape is what could have been occupied by greater summoning or greater control type abilities.
That's why I use a 3pp Druid that took out Wildshape. Gives space for weapon using druids, animal companion druids, etc.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
I preferred the 4e Druid. Because you (the player) did not have to carry around a notebook describing all the possible animals you could wildshape into, with their stats / powers / abilities. Rather, you kept your man-form capabilities.

YMMV (almost certainly Y M does V)
I've gone both ways. Currently I prefer template-based wildshaping over monster stat block based wildshaping, but I'm sympathetic to arguments for the latter. Both have strengths and weaknesses.
 





ZeshinX

Explorer
If the exploration pillar were more sturdily supported in D&D I think it would be far easier to make a better Ranger. There just aren't a lot of knobs and dials there. As it is the Ranger takes an already under-served pillar of play and makes it, essentially, an exercise in handwaving. I think WotC can do better.
I mean to each their own, but it's more than just handwaving for my group. It's turning minutae into something palatable. Naturally every table and game has its own preferences, focuses and what brings it and its individuals fun and joy, but we find that particular aspect of the game ("pillar" if you must have a buzzword in there) monotonous. We're not looking for simulation, or a means to act out what is otherwise (to us) a far more mundane part of the fantasy at large. At best for us, it's a descriptive part of the game that requires very little mechanical or other focus. We let our imaginations do the heavy lifting there. We treat it like we treat encumbrance rules...we don't ignore it, but so long as you're not toting about a ridiculous amount of crap (and you can show your character has that innocuous nothing item that's perfect for the situation at hand on your character sheet), we just don't worry much about it or spend much time on it.

Would we if there was more published material for that pillar, or if it was more innately tied to the game as a whole? No. Because we find it monotonous no matter how good it looks in that suit, because previous editions have provided support for that pillar...and it was (mostly) boring as hell for us then too(1e-3e). We enjoy describing what our characters would be doing in those instances, factored in the skills and concepts for our characters, and if something more interesting happens (random hostile encounter, interesting hermit, discovery of a previously unknown ruin/cave, etc)....we move off of that pillar and into something far more interesting. If nothing more interesting happens, we still move out of that pillar again to something more interesting (i.e. arriving at our intended destination).

I can see where more specific rules for that pillar can be enormously fun for a lot of people, and perhaps even my own group. We're not so closed-minded we would always handwave it away. Say if the campaign itself was centered around the concept of the party being explorers, or paid trailblazers, seeking to open a new traderoute to a distant land or something akin to that....then I could see having those rules be useful. Even in that context though, we'd still find ourselves handwaving a LOT. We simply just don't find playing out, long form, the fun in hunting tonight's dinner....or making sure the wagon avoids that large divvit in the road...or how to navigate that narrow mountain path...or how to weather that thunder and hail storm. Some find that the best part of course, and power to them. I wouldn't complain about more rules to support that pillar and those who truly enjoy them, but they'd find little use at our table.
 
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the Jester

Legend
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).
Yuck. I really hope not. Don't try to sell me a new version of the game until it's necessary to roll out a new edition. I have no interest, and active disdain, for the notion of a "here's a new PH, mostly like the old one but with juuuuuuust enough different that your old game will be obsolete!" product line. 5e isn't like 3e, with significant issues that need fixing, at least to my mind.
 

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