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5E Where to Now?

the Jester

Legend
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 feel like the champion vs. battlemaster fighter paths are actually a great example of a successful version of this, it's just not laid out explicitly.
 

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Mercurius

Legend
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.
Yeah, that's not what I'm talking about. For one, I think it is clear that they see 5E as the "perennial edition," at least for the foreseeable future, so any changes or revisions would be minor and backwards compatible (thus '5.1' or '5.2').

But 2024 is a full ten years from the original core rulebooks. There is no reason they couldn't publish "errata plus" core books, which would likely be well-received by the vast majority of fans. The "plus" being a few cleaned up parts (e.g. tweaking of monsters stats), a few new bells and whistles (e.g. warlord), and some new visuals.

My sense is that you are assuming that it wouldn't be 5.1/2, but 5.5. I wouldn't assume that. The ponit would be a book that people want to buy, but don't feel they have to.
 

Minigiant

Legend
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.
It aren't many ways to do cool stuff now. A lot of cool stuff that is iconic for the ranger likeanimal messengers, talking to plants and animals, passing without trace, gaining supernatural enhancement require descriptions too big without being or refering to magic of taking up tons of book space. Many a spell-less rangers are terrible rangers.

---
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)
Wildshape is a text drag unless you define each shape and chop it up into several subclasses. Same with companions.

But I could tolerate a book with a druid variant that offers only 4-5 shapes.
 

the Jester

Legend
Yeah, that's not what I'm talking about. For one, I think it is clear that they see 5E as the "perennial edition," at least for the foreseeable future, so any changes or revisions would be minor and backwards compatible (thus '5.1' or '5.2').

But 2024 is a full ten years from the original core rulebooks. There is no reason they couldn't publish "errata plus" core books, which would likely be well-received by the vast majority of fans. The "plus" being a few cleaned up parts (e.g. tweaking of monsters stats), a few new bells and whistles (e.g. warlord), and some new visuals.

My sense is that you are assuming that it wouldn't be 5.1/2, but 5.5. I wouldn't assume that. The ponit would be a book that people want to buy, but don't feel they have to.
No, I find the notion of a 5.1 or 5.2 just as distasteful as a 5.5. Perhaps even more so. Again- I absolutely don't want to feel pressure to buy new books just to get a few twiddles in my game. Not at all. My desire level for that is well below zero.

WotC has repeatedly made plain that they don't want to publish books for niche parts of the market. They've explicitly stated that they want to write and publish material that almost everyone wants. I don't want what you describe, and my sense is that my attitude is, if not prevalent, at least common enough that such a book wouldn't sell well enough to justify writing.

The thing is, the core books are core. You need them to have a complete game. And I have them. I actually own two copies of each- one for my place, one for my gf's house. I had no problem buying an extra copy of them. But I wasn't forced or pressured to; it was a choice I made to make it more convenient to run games from multiple places. A PH Revised is a different beast entirely- if you don't get it, your game is no longer current, but if the changes are minor, fiddly, errata-based stuff, why not just keep doing what they're doing and simply incorporate those changes into new printings while making them (errata) freely available online? OTOH if they're significant, then we really are looking at a revised edition, in which case, unless the changes really improve the game without invalidating older material (and that's a very tall order indeed), I'm not interested.

I would much rather see a full on new edition than a 5.1 or 5.5. And I see no need for a full on new edition at this point- 5e is working fine (at least for my groups).
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
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.
The word I'm going to pick out there is monotonous. I completely agree. Played right out of the box there's not a lot to recommend it, and I think a lot of groups play just like you do. That's a perfectly acceptable way to play. You can see, however, the negative impact that has on a class that specializes in that same phase of the game though? If wilderness travel is already treated as you describe, the Ranger loses a lot of hero moments (that not a critique of your play style at all, just a sad truth). In order for the Ranger to really shine, the phase itself would have to be not monotonous, and have at least enough mechanics in it that the Ranger could have some legitimate impact.

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).
This may very well be true. However, if all you've done is treat it narratively, and maybe roll some wandering monster rolls, you haven't really seen what the phase can contain if it's worked harder. Anyway, it's entirely ;possible that even with cool mechanics and a host of super-cool encounters and whatnot, that your table would still be disinterested. That's also quite ok. Each table has its own tastes. Can you feel the however coming? However... lots of tables would make great use of better exploration mechanics, so tying a revamped ranger in still makes sense. But what also makes sense is to make those rules more modular, so that your table doesn't need to use them if the don't want to.

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.
I actually just finished reading a 3PP book that's specifically about making the exploration phase more interesting, more tense, and just generally more of an adventure. It's not doing any of the things you describe though, which all amount to just adding rolls and boring narration to common everyday events. That's goofy, no one wants that. If you want any part of the game to be more engaging, there need to be clear decision points with consequences for failure and mechanics that support that in an interesting way. To that should be added a generous dose of creative encounter design, and a certain flair for description, but those last two things aren't nearly enough by themselves to make a whole phase of the game interesting.

Anyway, my main point stands - better exploration mechanics would make it easier to re-do the Ranger in a really interesting way.
 

Mercurius

Legend
No, I find the notion of a 5.1 or 5.2 just as distasteful as a 5.5. Perhaps even more so. Again- I absolutely don't want to feel pressure to buy new books just to get a few twiddles in my game. Not at all. My desire level for that is well below zero.

WotC has repeatedly made plain that they don't want to publish books for niche parts of the market. They've explicitly stated that they want to write and publish material that almost everyone wants. I don't want what you describe, and my sense is that my attitude is, if not prevalent, at least common enough that such a book wouldn't sell well enough to justify writing.

The thing is, the core books are core. You need them to have a complete game. And I have them. I actually own two copies of each- one for my place, one for my gf's house. I had no problem buying an extra copy of them. But I wasn't forced or pressured to; it was a choice I made to make it more convenient to run games from multiple places. A PH Revised is a different beast entirely- if you don't get it, your game is no longer current, but if the changes are minor, fiddly, errata-based stuff, why not just keep doing what they're doing and simply incorporate those changes into new printings while making them (errata) freely available online? OTOH if they're significant, then we really are looking at a revised edition, in which case, unless the changes really improve the game without invalidating older material (and that's a very tall order indeed), I'm not interested.

I would much rather see a full on new edition than a 5.1 or 5.5. And I see no need for a full on new edition at this point- 5e is working fine (at least for my groups).
It seems that you are in the vocal minority. But as far as 5.1/2 goes, I would guess that it is a very small one. As the number goes up to 5.5, it gets larger (and louder).

But as you said, WotC wants to publish books that "almost everyone wants." Let's emphasize almost, because there is simply no pleasing everyone. Whatever WotC publishes, they're going to upset someone--even if they publish or re-publish every possible configuration of the game.

I cannot disagree with your opinion for you, but I disagree that it extends beyond a small group that isn't in the "almost everyone." In my mind it is not only reasonable, but preferable, that they update the core rulebooks every decade or so, if only as a re-skinning and errata. I mean, if only because a physical book gets used a lot in ten years of gaming, and it might be nice to spend money on a copy with errata, some new art, and a few new bells and whistles.

Here's a question: Let's say they do what I think they will and should do, and publish a 50th anniversary set that includes errata, a few tweaks and clarifications to stuff like monster stats, spells and magic items, and maybe a new class or two, and some new art and resources. No significant mechanical changes, so fully backwards compatible, the only choices to be made are stuff like: do you want to used the clarified wish spell or not, which version of the ranger or death knight, do you include the warlord in your campaign or not? Etc...meaning, nothing other than what we're already doing with Xanathar's and Unearthed Arcana.

But here's the kicker, or addition to my previous scenario: For the additions (e.g. new or altered classes) they offer free PDFs, so you don't have to buy the new books to use them. Would that bother you?
 

the Jester

Legend
Here's a question: Let's say they do what I think they will and should do, and publish a 50th anniversary set that includes errata, a few tweaks and clarifications to stuff like monster stats, spells and magic items, and maybe a new class or two, and some new art and resources. No significant mechanical changes, so fully backwards compatible, the only choices to be made are stuff like: do you want to used the clarified wish spell or not, which version of the ranger or death knight, do you include the warlord in your campaign or not? Etc...meaning, nothing other than what we're already doing with Xanathar's and Unearthed Arcana.

But here's the kicker, or addition to my previous scenario: For the additions (e.g. new or altered classes) they offer free PDFs, so you don't have to buy the new books to use them. Would that bother you?
No, it wouldn't. I'm fine with "here's a new and prettier version of the book you own, but don't feel obligated to buy it" scenarios. In fact, that's basically what the black cover reissued 2e core books were... and I never bought them. But they didn't bother me- I just wasn't a good target audience for them.

I'd be much more inclined to buy a book in the style of 3e's Unearthed Arcana, that was crammed full of cool alternate takes on all kinds of rules that you could stick in your game if you wanted to- something that adds new stuff, that gives us the dials and customization that a lot of D&D Next's design goals ended up having to put aside. I think that's a better choice than a 5.1 version of the PH, personally.
 

Mercurius

Legend
No, it wouldn't. I'm fine with "here's a new and prettier version of the book you own, but don't feel obligated to buy it" scenarios. In fact, that's basically what the black cover reissued 2e core books were... and I never bought them. But they didn't bother me- I just wasn't a good target audience for them.

I'd be much more inclined to buy a book in the style of 3e's Unearthed Arcana, that was crammed full of cool alternate takes on all kinds of rules that you could stick in your game if you wanted to- something that adds new stuff, that gives us the dials and customization that a lot of D&D Next's design goals ended up having to put aside. I think that's a better choice than a 5.1 version of the PH, personally.
Fair enough. Where we agree is that it would be foolish of WotC to do a 5.5, but we seem to differ somewhere between,err, re-printed/skinned 5.0 books and revised 5.1 books.

That said, considering how well 5E is doing and the fact that WotC wants to nourish it as the perennial edition, I don't think they will risk alienating or fractioning the fan-base by revising it too heavily. It may be more than to your liking, but I feel confidence that whatever they do, it won't be a strong-arm towards making people feel obligated to buy the new set. They'll want to make books that people want to buy because they're pretty, and they add to what already was published, not significantly changes it.

Worst-case scenario, imo, and you may have to photo-copy a friends revised ranger class, or download a few PDFs. That sort of thing.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Personally I think classes like the ranger, druid, sorcerer,and thelike could be fixed with a few new spells, a few fighting styles, a few tailored class feats, and a few more detailed rulings for certian skills, actions, obstacles, and hazards. Maybe a class feature replacement for each class.

No need to go to a 5.1e or 5.5e officially. The base system's numbers and rules not completely off by a lot like some older editions were. Just need a tweek.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Personally I think classes like the ranger, druid, sorcerer,and thelike could be fixed with a few new spells, a few fighting styles, a few tailored class feats, and a few more detailed rulings for certian skills, actions, obstacles, and hazards. Maybe a class feature replacement for each class.

No need to go to a 5.1e or 5.5e officially. The base system's numbers and rules not completely off by a lot like some older editions were. Just need a tweek.
Well, that's what I'd call "5.1" or "5.2"--minor tweaking that doesn't impact backwards compatibility. I would never suggest that this would be an official name change...that would be quite counter-productive and confusing to some. WotC de-emphasizes use of "5E" as it is. My guess is that even if new core books were akin to a 5.2, they wouldn't even call it "revised"--maybe with a 50th Anniversary seal or logo (assuming it was in 2024).

When I use the terms 5.x and such, I only use it as a way of differentiating it from the rules of 5E. Something like so:

5.1 Errata, a few clarifications and minor tweaks (e.g. revised ranger), maybe some new art
5.2 As above, but with more minor tweaks, and some new additions (e.g. warlord)
5.3 As above, but a lot of minor tweaks and a few significant ones
5.4 As above, but with more major tweaks and maybe even a few minor-to-moderate structural changes
5.5. Significant revision, tweaks, rules adjustments

If they do publish a new set of rulebooks at some point, I would guess it would be in the 5.1 to 5.2 range. 5.3 is possible, but unlikely--and only if they could do it in a way that it would still be backwards compatible. I would be surprised at anything above that.

Meaning, 5.1 and 5.2 would be fully backwards compatible, and the new books unnecessary unless you want shiny new stuff and/or whatever they add. 5.3 starts down the slippery slope, which becomes quite pronounced by the time you get to 5.5.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
WOAH. That's a massive narrowing of the ranger, one that does not match with existing crunch, existing fluff, nor with the fact that they get nature related spells.

Sorry, I am not accepting that limiting of scope. First, we already have a wider scope in play, we can't "put it back into the box". Second, 5e is designed with wide base classes and more specialized subclasses. Narrowing a base class like that is against the design philosophy.

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.
Got it. Wilderness Warrior is a fighter with the outlander background - fighter with nature skills. Scout is the rogue subclass. Green/Ancients Knight is the Oath of Ancients Paladin.

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.
Seeker seems to fall under the existing Ranger. Warden doesn't seem to be described in any way connected to nature except describing a pwoer source so I'm not sure where to go from there.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
That's why I use a 3pp Druid that took out Wildshape. Gives space for weapon using druids, animal companion druids, etc.
For non-Moon druids, wildshape gets non-combat minor forms. There's not enough design space there to do worthwhile animal companions in the base class just taking out wildshape. I can't see how they'd add that and remain balanced.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I'm pretty sure PHBs for 5e printed after errata are defined include the update errata text. I know the PHBs and other core books in last year's gift set with the alternate covers included errata corrections.

I'd like to see something awesome in 2024, and a new edition probably isn't it (although a lot of water can fall in 4 years).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Well, that's what I'd call "5.1" or "5.2"--minor tweaking that doesn't impact backwards compatibility. I would never suggest that this would be an official name change...that would be quite counter-productive and confusing to some. WotC de-emphasizes use of "5E" as it is. My guess is that even if new core books were akin to a 5.2, they wouldn't even call it "revised"--maybe with a 50th Anniversary seal or logo (assuming it was in 2024).

When I use the terms 5.x and such, I only use it as a way of differentiating it from the rules of 5E. Something like so:

5.1 Errata, a few clarifications and minor tweaks (e.g. revised ranger), maybe some new art
5.2 As above, but with more minor tweaks, and some new additions (e.g. warlord)
5.3 As above, but a lot of minor tweaks and a few significant ones
5.4 As above, but with more major tweaks and maybe even a few minor-to-moderate structural changes
5.5. Significant revision, tweaks, rules adjustments

If they do publish a new set of rulebooks at some point, I would guess it would be in the 5.1 to 5.2 range. 5.3 is possible, but unlikely--and only if they could do it in a way that it would still be backwards compatible. I would be surprised at anything above that.

Meaning, 5.1 and 5.2 would be fully backwards compatible, and the new books unnecessary unless you want shiny new stuff and/or whatever they add. 5.3 starts down the slippery slope, which becomes quite pronounced by the time you get to 5.5.
I don't even thin we should go to 5.1. Many in the community callfor errata and revisions but few can point down and agree with what they want. The safest and best route is to add more of the stuff that go on lists and limit actually changes. At most,the changes would be for stuff that is universrsally hated and cannot be fixes with more spells, sublaclasses, items, downtime activities, and optional modular rules.

Going to even 5.1 is likely too far for at least 6+ more years..
WOAH. That's a massive narrowing of the ranger, one that does not match with existing crunch, existing fluff, nor with the fact that they get nature related spells.

Sorry, I am not accepting that limiting of scope. First, we already have a wider scope in play, we can't "put it back into the box". Second, 5e is designed with wide base classes and more specialized subclasses. Narrowing a base class like that is against the design philosophy.
It's not narrow at all

I described a
  1. guide
  2. hunter
  3. tracker
  4. wilderness liaison
That's 4 things. That's not included other jobs like animal handler, beast master, herbalist, border patrolman, pathfinder, trailblazer, and other occupations.

The point is that the ranger who is a tracker is a tracker who learns combat and magic. The ranger is not a warrior who learns tracking. That's why the ranger spell list is a mix of druidic and wizard spells. The spell augement the process of doing the job. The combat skill is for defence of self and possible escorts and companions.

The issue with is ranger is other setting could have other skills they need to have and it doesn't line up with the typical D&D settings. And not until 4e was rangery things not so hard or soft locked away from other classes.

That's why I'm against a revised rangerfora new book. Many people don't actually want rangery things in their ranger.They want a wilderness fighter or a scout. This isbecause they only played ranger when didn't exist or were not allowed at the time they played before.
 

darjr

I crit!
If they come out with an unearthed arcana book the debate about it being 5.1 is 5.5 will rage on, regardless of it matters or not.

It would be cool if it was called Xagyg’s Unearthed Arcana and had Greyhawk in it.
 

Mercurius

Legend
If they come out with an unearthed arcana book the debate about it being 5.1 is 5.5 will rage on, regardless of it matters or not.

It would be cool if it was called Xagyg’s Unearthed Arcana and had Greyhawk in it.
I'd love to see Xagyg on a book cover, and Xagyg's Unearthed Arcana is so perfect--also as an homage to Gygax--that it makes me think you have inside info.

Hmm.

Edit: Actually, it would be a great 50th anniversary commemorative book or box, assembling a kind of "best of" Gygaxiana, updated for 5E.
 

darjr

I crit!
I'd love to see Xagyg on a book cover, and Xagyg's Unearthed Arcana is so perfect--also as an homage to Gygax--that it makes me think you have inside info.

Hmm.

Edit: Actually, it would be a great 50th anniversary commemorative book or box, assembling a kind of "best of" Gygaxiana, updated for 5E.
Ha! All the book titles have surprised me.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
For non-Moon druids, wildshape gets non-combat minor forms. There's not enough design space there to do worthwhile animal companions in the base class just taking out wildshape. I can't see how they'd add that and remain balanced.
I wouldn't say it's balance neutral with the PHB druid, but I'd hardly hold up the PHB druid as a particularly balanced example anyway. Whether maintaining balance neutrality with PHB options is worthwhile is something I'd classify as user specific.
 

Maybe WotC should talk with the main 3PPs about an Unearthed Arcana with optional rules, for example a different list of abilities scores, racial traits replaced with an optional list of racial feats, or how to create archetypes(version Pathfinder) or variant classes.
 


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