|3 people marked this as a favorite.|
Ignoring things that are easy to houserule (which probably aren't worth the hassle of a new edition) and things that would just be clarifications (which don't require a new anything at all), while still having something Pathfindery, I'd want the following. Note that my perspective is heavily tainted by being someone who teaches people to play on the reg:
- A simple(ish), resonant spellcaster class in core, or probably two. I don't care if Vancian and pseudo-vancian spellcasters are also around, but they're both very complicated and they don't work remotely like how anybody thinks of magic as working. I get that they're part of the game and stuff, and that's why I'm okay with them remaining - but I think that there should be options that are easier to hand to somebody that's totally new to the game, and options that better model how people think of spellcasting as working if they haven't been playing D&D forever. This would also make it way easier to make NPC spellcasters (I basically never make NPC spellcasters 'properly' any more, since it's too much of a hassle for what it gets you.)
- Monster design that focuses on making monster combat encounters more unique and distinct from each other. This is something where GMs can pick up the slack, but it'd be nice if the system met us halfway.
- Monster design that focuses more on foregrounding cool, iconic abilities of creatures. PF already does this some of the time, but many of the most iconic baddies, like dragons and powerful demons, have a big muddle of different abilities that aren't that iconic. The ability to make a dragon that's a sorcerer is important, but the fact that a dragon is by default a sorcerer shouldn't be the most important thing about every single dragon.
- Multiclassing that's more consistently not a complete trap. I think that PF is much, much better than 3.5 in this regard, since 3.5 had the property that you were almost always either an idiot to multiclass or an idiot not to multiclass. PF does that less, but it'd be nice to do it even more less.
- Do something about martial mobility in general.
- Do something about the fact that archetypally mobile character archetypes, like the agile TWF guy, are the least mobile characters in the game.
- A 'best of' core, in terms of what feats and spells are core.
- Pull some of the fiddliness off of races. Races are one of the first things that players see, and it's annoying that iconic things like elves and dwarves have so much fiddly stuff on them. Move that stuff to (powerful) racial feats if you have to, or replace it with more straightforward things.
- Unify common trait types (+1 to a save, +1 to a skill and it's a class skill, etc.), then stop making near-clones of those. Traits are far and away the part of the system that's the biggest mess at the moment; sure there's a lot of feats, but there aren't ten feats that all do almost the same thing.
- Either redesign the druid class to make it qualitatively complete at level one or two, or make a shapeshifter class core or near-core. IME, the promise of being able to turn into an animal is what draws many people to the class, and shunting that ability so late (and limiting it heavily until later) is a bit annoying. In the real world, level four represents a lot of play time.
- Cast a critical eye on whether a lot of rules systems are really pulling their weight. If you've been playing forever, you know that the spell components line in a spell is basically 100% ignorable and that everyone ignores it, but that's not obvious to a new player.
- Generally avoid "anyone can do this, but you're a total nincompoop at it unless you take a feat" design. Archery and combat maneuvers suffer from this. "You suck at everything you didn't specifically specialize in, going all the way back to when you picked your stats" really discourages players from trying interesting things.
- Have some idea going in how good different classes are supposed to be at different things with different levels of investment, and design them so that that's actually the case.
- Smooth out the [level one]/[rest of the game] discontinuity a little bit.
- Better guidance in core, and better transparency. In an ideal world, crossbows shouldn't be made to suck intentionally, but if they are, be forthright about that. IME, people tend to assume that the game isn't trying to trick them into sucking.
- Greater willingness to spell out RAI.
- Less of things that seem like they should work really being things where you have to pick out every character option in the system that improves them in order to make them work.
- No 'half measures' archetypes that point you in a direction but don't give you nearly enough support to actually make the direction work on the level of the rest of the system. Firearms-oriented archetypes do this constantly.
- Higher standards for how cool and generally useful a feat has to be before it gets printed. That doesn't mean that feats have to be more powerful, but the best way to fight system bloat is to not print feats that nobody will ever, ever, ever take.
- Overall balance pass, but especially focus on making options that aren't combat-related better. Even in relatively combat-light campaigns, non-combat options are generally underpitched. (They're probably fine in EXTREMELY combat-light campaigns, but I don't consider Pathfinder to be a system I'd pick if I was trying to run a game with almost no combat in it. The 3.5 chassis simply isn't optimized for that.)