Most of the RPG bloggerati is convinced that DnD5e is in development. Posts from Monte Cook are scoured for hints as to what DnD5e will be like. People have put up wish lists of their hopes for the next edition of the 800-pound gorilla of the industry.
Hell, I might as well put out my own wish list. You listening Monte?
- Ditch Armor Class. This was a bad game mechanic from its inception. For a miniatures game, which may be where it came from, it’s fine. For a role-playing game, it’s outdated. There are a dozen different ways to handle to-hit and damage resolution.
Give up on the hubris — admit there might be a more elegant solution to depicting armor in combat.
- Stop Obsessing About Game Balance. 4th Edtion DnD is a game where everyone is some sort of mystic warrior. Everyone has powers. They do different things, yes, but a fighter seem to me to be a mage who casts his spells through his sword. How about different advancement paths for different classes?
- Lose the Grind. Epic battle don’t have to be really long battles. Instead of giving Orcus 1500 hit points, how about making that final fight fast and deadly? There is a pervasive belief that the Epic Tier of 4th Edition is not as much fun as the Heroic Tier. This is a result of the power level creep of the system. Higher to-hit targets and more hit points inevitably leads to longer combats.
Long combats are boring. Especially when the party has tipped the scales toward inevitability.
- Can We Go Back to a Flexible Magic System? Yeah, I know there’s a bunch of rituals in the back of the book, but I’ve never seen anyone use them. Let’s meld spell-thrower powers back into the spell list! Let’s write the spells so more of them can be an option in combat. Let’s have those mages with an intelligence score of 20 to actually use their noodle and come up with interesting ways to use that spell list during combat.
- Consider — just Consider — Ditching the Class System. I know, I’m crazy. But might there be a better, more flexible way to make the character I want to play, rather than whatever character I can assemble from your race, class and alignment modules? Seriously. I wanna play a mage who uses flails — and I don’t want a splat book that includes the Flail Mage class. No. I want to be able to build that character myself.
I’m on record as being the kind of role-player who’ll try anything before playing DnD. And the fact is, there’s a reason for this. Just because Gygax and Arneson made certain decisions with regards to game mechanics doesn’t make those decisions sacrosanct.
Over the past 30+ years, many brilliant game-designing minds have come up with much better ways of doing things. WotC should consider learning from some of that innovation.