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The immutable sacred commandments of D&D are...
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:55 am    Post subject: The immutable sacred commandments of D&D are... Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So what are the elements of D&D that must be in a new edition, lest the fans revolt? I figure it's...

* 6 stats
* hit point system
* Rolling a d20 vs target number for basic attacks
* Stat dependent magic (Wizards use INT, Druids use WIS, etc.) as the starting point (expansions that add ways to use other stats can be accepted though)
* 1d4 daggers, 1d6 short swords, 1d8 longwords and so on


Last edited by OgreBattle on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

* Divine AND arcane magic.
* Classes and Levels.
* XP and loot per monster killed.
* A vorpal sword.
* A holy avenger.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dogbert wrote:

* Classes and Levels.


RACES and Classes and Levels.
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:19 pm    Post subject: Re: The immutable sacred commandments of D&D are... Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
)
* 1d4 daggers, 1d6 short swords, 1d8 longwords and so on


I think fans are going to revolt if you don't have weapon damage scaling, but I don't think it needs to be that exact formula.

D&D4e would have done itself some minor good if it had doubled weapon damage dice and I think that change would have been accepted if they'd just printed it in the book. They got people to accept a radically different number of starting HP, after all, and while there was some negative feedback it wasn't a revolt.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prior to the Greyhawk supplement there was no weapon damage scaling, so it's plainly not an immutable sacred cow. You could distinguish weapons in other ways.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
Prior to the Greyhawk supplement there was no weapon damage scaling, so it's plainly not an immutable sacred cow. You could distinguish weapons in other ways.


That's a bad argument. There's been no iteration of the game since the Greyhawk supplement that weapon damage didn't use funny shaped dice.

Just like there's been no iteration of D&D since the introduction of the Thief that hasn't required a Thief for disarming traps.
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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The problem with this thread is that it assumes a mythical "fan" that will care about some aspect of the game but not others. 4e presented a radically different vision of the game and it had fans. So you could have people who legit identify as "D&D fans" that could feel insulted if a new D&D game doesn't have daily and encounter powers, minions or paragon paths.

For me, the minimum requirements for a fantasy game to feel like D&D is vancian casting and some idiosyncratic spells (invisibility that ends when the user makes an attack, for example).
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
Just like there's been no iteration of D&D since the introduction of the Thief that hasn't required a Thief for disarming traps.

Is this like how there have been no Highlander sequels? Because 3e eliminated the Thief class and allowed anyone with Disable Device to disarm simple traps.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:

Is this like how there have been no Highlander sequels? Because 3e eliminated the Thief class and allowed anyone with Disable Device to disarm simple traps.



If you can't find a trap without magic or setting it off first, then you haven't eliminated the Thief class at all.

Simple Traps have a Search DC of 20. CR 1 Traps have a DC of at least 20. The only traps that non-thieves can disarm aren't even CR1. Only Thieves can find traps with a Search DC of 20 or more.


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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
If you can't find a trap without magic or setting it off first, then you haven't eliminated the Thief class at all.

Simple Traps have a Search DC of 20. CR 1 Traps have a DC of at least 20. The only traps that non-thieves can disarm aren't even CR1. Only Thieves can find traps with a Search DC of 20 or more.


First off, Thieves can't find traps with a search DC of 20 or more, because Thieves don't have Trapfinding, because Thief isn't a class in 3e. Nor is it a class in 4e (although it is a sub-class) nor in 5e. The class was eliminated by cold not being printed.

Second off:
Quote:
Fusillade of Darts

CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d4+1, dart); multiple targets (fires 1d4 darts at each target in two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 14; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 500 gp.

If you have any more up-is-down assertions to make, I'd appreciate you not doing so.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
First off, Thieves can't find traps with a search DC of 20 or more, because Thieves don't have Trapfinding, because Thief isn't a class in 3e. Nor is it a class in 4e (although it is a sub-class) nor in 5e. The class was eliminated by cold not being printed.


The point is D&D has a dedicated trap finding/disarming class. It's effectively a D&D Commandment regardless what they name it and it has been this way since the inclusion of the Thief class in the LBB.

Quote:

Fusillade of Darts


Missed one. This single exception in the SRD illustrates the problem.


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erik
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Almost all these things are negotiable for me to still consider something as D&D in a new game edition. Only the legacy/branded items really hail an RPG as D&D for me. Magic Missile and Fireball. Beholders and Displacer Beasts.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
Quote:
Fusillade of Darts

Missed one. This single exception in the SRD illustrates the problem.


...Yeah, 'single.'
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
(Spoilered for length.)

As a tip, if you do research at all, you embarrass yourself less.

edit:
Harshax wrote:
The point is D&D has a dedicated trap finding/disarming class. It's effectively a D&D Commandment regardless what they name it and it has been this way since the inclusion of the Thief class in the LBB.

I didn't notice this was also very wrong. Neither 4e nor 5e have dedicated anti-trap classes.
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"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"


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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:

...Yeah, 'single.'


It doesn't get said often enough on the internet - thanks for putting that out clearly. I'm sure that it took a fair bit of time to copy/paste and format everything, and it certainly is a comprehensive refutation of the earlier point.

I also don't consider a 'trap-finding class' to be a sacred cow in D&D. In fact, I don't think any class is necessarily 'sacred'. Even 'Fighter' had Cavalier as an 'upgrade' and if you have a bunch of 'martial' classes that don't include Fighter, I'd think of it as D&D.

If you look at the D&D cartoon, there are classes there that you don't usually see (Acrobat), so having classes is a sacred cow - what they're named and what they do...not so much.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh_Kablack wrote:
Dogbert wrote:

* Classes and Levels.


RACES and Classes and Levels.


In BEMI, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling are Classes. If you're not a racial class, then you're a human.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Most early D&D variants played with the number of stats. Dexterity has split off Agility more than once, and various attempts have been made to float a Size or Comeliness stat.

-Frank
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Something having been mutable at one time doesn't necessarily mean it's not set in stone now. I don't like the six D&D stats, but they may in fact be something that fans will revolt over. Bear in mind, 4e changed an awful lot of basic assumptions about the game, and it was also a catastrophic failure. 5e wasn't all that better designed, but it was a lot more familiar, and it did much better. I don't think it's only more reverence for sacred cows that made 5e more popular (I think the main lesson to take away from 5e is that nothing else is more important to an RPG than being easy to learn - you can screw up literally everything else, and if you nail that, you will be the most popular RPG on the market), but I think it helped. I expect that messing with the six stats would probably be unwise, even though they are awful.

I think you need to have four classes that are recognizably the Fighter/Thief/Wizard/Cleric set, but you can name those classes whatever you want and they only need to have passing resemblance to the original classes. We renamed Thief to Rogue and no one cared. If you swapped out the Fighter for a Tome Knight it'd probably be fine, you could split the Wizard up into a few different classes and have the blastiest one be part of your main four and it'd probably be fine, you can replace the Cleric with a Healer class that's lightly armored and exclusively dedicated to heals and buffs and it would probably be fine so long as they cast from WIS.

I don't think XP and loot per monster killed are necessary. Having XP and loot at all is important, but I think you could switch to a quest based XP system and no one would care.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
I expect that messing with the six stats would probably be unwise, even though they are awful.


What, specifically, do you think is better?
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You need to be prepared to churn out monsters and port over a bunch of all-stars. D&D has survived a lot of monsters fading into obscurity over the years but you still don't want to cross over that murky tipping point where fans stop patiently waiting for the next fiend folio and start grinding their axes instead.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:


What, specifically, do you think is better?


Even just renaming some of the ones we already have would help. Rename Dexterity to Agility. Rename Wisdom to Perception and Charisma to Will, then have Will be the casting stat for Clerics and Druids and have Perception add to ranged attack bonuses. You might have to add some more benefits to Agility to make up for losing the ranged attack bonus, but it already covers Reflex saves and a bunch of helpful skills, so that should be fine.

Then you can go about reducing the number of stats altogether. Do Strength and Constitution really need to be separate? How often does someone want to make a strong but fragile character, or a tough but weak one? Those are such weird concepts that they're probably better served as the domain of a specific class rather than being built directly into the system. Likewise, combining Intelligence and Perception together would be fine now that divine magic has been shuffled over to Will.

I believe there was a system in barebones state somewhere here on the Den that had four stats, but I forget what they actually were. Certainly having fewer stats makes it much easier to make all classes SAD.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
I believe there was a system in barebones state somewhere here on the Den that had four stats, but I forget what they actually were. Certainly having fewer stats makes it much easier to make all classes SAD.

Are you thinking of SAME?

On topic, I think that one thing that is necessary (but not sufficient) for a game to be D&D is a framework in which the player characters continuously gain power over time as a result of adventuring and this power is used both to overcome progressively greater challenges and to crush utterly obstacles that were once challenging.


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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
deaddmwalking wrote:


What, specifically, do you think is better?


Even just renaming some of the ones we already have would help...


Thanks. I thought you had something that was a more radical departure in mind. In our home-brew we use 5 stats and they are broken up a little differently (Intelligence affects ranged attacks, for instance) but I was curious if you were advocating a more substantial change.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Honestly, 4e had the largest pre-release sales figures of any edition. People stopped playing and stopped buying because it was crap, not because it slayed sacred cows.

The biggest prerelease revolt of 4e was the cutting of the Druid, Bard, and Gnome. That caused a significant but small faction of potential players to hold off on checking out the game until expansion material came out. But of course bad word of mouth meant those people never joined the fold.

-Frank
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Hiram McDaniels
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You know there's at least one guy out there who took a look at 2e and was like: "dexterity before intelligence and wisdom? No strength penalty for chicks???? This isn't d&d!"

The immutable commandments of d&d are different from player to player. I know one guy who noped out of 4e sight unseen because they made succubi devils instead of demons.

I think the standard six ability scores are shitty, and I would be happy to see that officially changed whenever 6e comes around, but that would send a lot of grognards into apoplectic fits of rage.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Things that made D&D what it is, are pretty simple.

It does what it says on the tin.

Wall of Stone is a wall, made of stone. Which works just like other walls made of stone work. Even if the words are a bit Victorian at times, Nahal's Reckless Dweomer is a reckless dweomer.


There are six stats.

Fighting-Men stronk, Magic-Users learned, Clerics wise, Thieves sneaky, and Paladins ever so shiny, plus Constitution. What those classes or stats do barely even matters, the numbers can be wildly different, so long as your Fighters and Wizards have predictably different stat sets. Then you can have dozens of variant classes, or not even Paladins.

But Conan is Strong, and the Wizards he meets mostly are not.


You might be an Elf, or a Dwarf, or a Hobbit

Maybe another humanoid. No one cares if your Elfs are all mages and fighters at the same time, or can be clerics at all. They can be 4' tall frail things or 6'6" superhumans, don't care, need Elf. Six different Elves is OK too. Maybe also Robots or Vampires or Lizards or Kenku or whatever else is in fashion.


There must be monsters.

The PCs are nominally good, and they fight monsters that are nominally bad. You can (and should) subvert that all the time, but it's still a rule. How grimdark you make that doesn't matter, Darksun ex-slaves dying for lack of water and Spelljammer miniature giant space hamsters both work.


It has short cycles and you get massively better at them over time.

You go into the dungeon, as a party, and you explore, have a few fights, lasting a few hours of real time, maybe resting a bit along the way, and then you gather your rewards and rest for reals (often by going home, but maybe not).

Then, after doing that a few times, it gets way easier, you plough through the little guys, and into the things that used to scare the shit out of you. If you stick at it, those guys get to be smashed too, even Giants and stuff, slaughter them, make dragons into your pets. But big demons, demi-liches, not much else, a few things are always nasty. In some editions, also big dragons are, because the designers forgot you needed an end game where you were better than the iconic monster and rule the world. Which was sad.

The mechanics should support that steamroller feel. Spells that wipe lesser encounters all at once, A Fighter that can hold a bridge against 100 Trolls with his flaming sword. 3e lost that for Fighters, 4e lost it for everyone else.


It's kitchen-sink fantasy.

There are never too many spells, or too many monster types, or too many realms on the outer planes, or too many genres for stealing class ideas from. If there's another idea, add it in. Add a whole book of it.

The art of world-building, or nation-building, is then limiting what you make common, and what you make almost unique when a player drags one in as a PC.

--

Mechanically, I don't think anyone cares if Giants have 21 Strength, or 38, or 16 with Gigantic Size mods, the game is super flexible about the numbers and where they come from (stats or class or weapons or proficiencies or feats), or what they do, but it does like armour class, a hit roll, a damage roll, saving throws, hit points that you stop fighting for realz when you run out of, with those less-lethal effects that seem to do what they say they do, in a way that makes you go "yeah, OK".

Preferably quite simple mechanics, with usually a flat or nearly-flat RNG. Very little open-ending the dice or anything. Hit, damage, save, apply, done, next player.
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