What can 5e add that Pathfinder doesn't already cover?


4th Edition

Liberty's Edge

I was thinking about 5e and playtesting. I then got thinking what can 5e bring to the gaming table that Pathfinder and 4e doesn't already? As pointed out Pathfinder is a modified 3.5e. 4e stood out from PF due to the 'powers' mechanic. If 5e keeps the powers mechanic then will 5e really only be 4.5e? If 5e goes back to Vancian casting etc, then what can it do that Paizo hasn't already done?

I think WotC have backed themselves in a corner and will have to really come out fighting to maintain D&D as 'the brand'.

What can 5e do to make Races or Classes any different in function? The d20 mechanics are pretty much well established, and other than tinkering, what can be added?

So 3e's wow factor was the d20 system, 4e's wow factor was the power mechanics, 5e's wow factor ???

Right now PF and 4e give different gaming experiences due to the mechanical differences. If 5e moves away from 4e's structure where could it move? Towards the 3.5e/PF ideas - I don't see the point, Paizo have now had enough experience with 3.5e OGL to 'fix' quite well many of the 3.5e complaints and continue to refine. In short Paizo has shown it can do as good of a job advancing the 3e d20 mechanics as WotC.

So what direction can 5e take?

My take is they need to continue along the path 4e has set them on rather than trying to find 'something new' or 'taking a step back'.

S.


I believe Mearls mention previous editions. They may be intending to cover pre-3rd editions, as well.


4E's WOW factor was ease of DMing and p. 42 table allowing ad-hoc action judication well within the rules. Powers were a major part of the game when it comes to the amount of pages taken, but really the game could have worked without them IMO.


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Stefan Hill wrote:
So 3e's wow factor was the d20 system, 4e's wow factor was the power mechanics, 5e's wow factor ???

I think you are mistaking a symptom for the cause. The power mechanics weren't the 'wow' factor of 4E - the wow factor was the balancing of classes, the simplification of prep for the DM, and the focus on narrative action. Powers and stat-blocks and action points were all specific mechanics that fed into such things, but were never really the end-all and be-all themselves.

For myself, what can 5E bring to the table?

1) The balance the 4E originally aimed for, potentially coupled with a scaling back of overall numerical bloat, which in turn will also return us to a swifter style of play.
2) Customizability in terms of complexity and play style (already seen somewhat with Essentials), but built in from the ground up.
3) Continue honing the math behind the scenes and sharing it with DMs to make monster (and trap/challenge/obstacle) creation and customization an easy, and even on-the-fly, possibility.
4) Find a happy medium behind the power-house effect of older edition items/spells, and the more balanced - but harder to reliably use - rituals and items of 4E.

I think many of these things are elements that they managed to improve upon over the course of 4E, but only by building them in from the start will they be able to get them right. We'll see how much compatibility with previous editions they can actually build into it - that seems a nigh-impossible task, but an amazing one if they can pull it off.

For myself, I'll settle for a game that incorporates the lessons learned from 4E, just as I enjoyed 4E as a game that addressed issues I had with 3.5. There are certainly things I miss from 3.5, and I am eager to see if they can bring them back while avoiding the original difficulties with such things.

In a sense, I suppose I am agreeing with you that what I am hopeful is a further refiniment of 4E. But at the same time, I think they can make a game that is just that, while also including new innovations as well as recapturing old-school elements.

At least, I can see it as possible, albeit not easy. Whether they'll succeed or fail will certainly be interested to see.


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Zmar wrote:
4E's WOW factor was ease of DMing and p. 42 table allowing ad-hoc action judication well within the rules. Powers were a major part of the game when it comes to the amount of pages taken, but really the game could have worked without them IMO.

Even if they only keep the improved language (shift instead of 5ft step, combat advantage instead of dexterity bonus if ... blabla, ... ) and the simple and easy to use monster blocks, it's already a win, and an improvement over both 3.5 and PF.


I believe there will be less focus on combat and more focus on those areas where 4E's rules seem skimpy. The "creativity" Mearls was talking about.


Meh, they lost maneuvers for powers (some honour guard remained with bull rush) and that was a step back IMO.

These things could have been circumvented via the table, but it was hidden rather well and the players instead of being creative were trying to use power everytime. Rules were terribly organized in DMG and the table was tucked away without much explanation. I had a lot of trouble explaining to some people that a simple brick wall should have about the same DC for PC at level 6 and 26 before it was explicitely written in Essentials DM book and not that it would be always a moderate climb check no matter what.


IMO if they were smart they would take some pages from the Dragon Age rpg.

Instead of powers for martial characters have some talents/feats for customization (not the thousands that they have now), but include a stunt system (see the Dragon Age game for how to do this well) to allow for some interesting tactical decisions without needing thousands of powers to do it with.

For spellcasters keep a few at will type abilities, but implement a mana point type system for other spells (instead of spells per level). Make sure those spells are cool and flavourful without being broken as so many of the 3E spells are.

Keep a level of hp closer to 4E, as 3E characters are IMO too fragile at low levels. If I were designing the game, I'd probably take a page from Star Wars Saga. Instead of just having hp, I'd distinguish between wounds points and hit points. Hit points would be very fast and easy to heal from, but wound points would take longer periods of time to recover from (though you would only take wound damage in certain situations- like from crits or certain types of damage). To keep it simple for dms most monsters would still only have hp. Wound points could be an optional feature for groups that want to run a grittier style game.

The numbers for attributes don't really do anything anymore, so I'd pull a page from M&M 3E on that one and make the bonus or penalty the actual attribute score.

Make magic items flavourful and interesting, but not necessary to having a playable and fun character.

Make combat dynamic and fast, and find a way to get rid of square counting on a battle map. Maybe movement rules that are more like a FATE game with zones or the 3E warhammer game with engagements and relative distances (short, medium long etc.).

Liberty's Edge

Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
So 3e's wow factor was the d20 system, 4e's wow factor was the power mechanics, 5e's wow factor ???
I think you are mistaking a symptom for the cause. The power mechanics weren't the 'wow' factor of 4E - the wow factor was the balancing of classes, the simplification of prep for the DM, and the focus on narrative action. Powers and stat-blocks and action points were all specific mechanics that fed into such things, but were never really the end-all and be-all themselves.

That was the wow factor from 1e/2e - even easier than 4e to throw something together. 4e stepped back towards 1e/2e prep, it didn't set the standard, thus I'm not calling prep 4e's wow factor.

Balancing of classes was brought about by the powers - they are what the characters 'do' and were designed quite smartly to be balanced systematically - I mean 'due to the system mechanics' in this sense of the word.

Hence I'll stick with the powers mechanic being the wow of 4e.

S.


Actually they shared certain elements that were in the mathematical base of the system. Moving X sq in certain way, doing dsomething damage, causing conditionX etc. Locked, pre-selected options.

The mathematics and building blocks behind the powers was the actual wow ;)


How they handle Magic is pretty make-or-break IMO. Every 3Eer hates high level spells ruining near every story a DM can come up with, every 3Eer also hates 4E "powers" as the dumbed-down solution. How to offer a simpler magic system to attract newcomers, retaining enough flavor for 3E grognards, AND making high levels playable... solve that and I think they will be on to something that PF lacks. Modularity may be a big part of the answer.


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I think the thread title is the wrong question.
"What can 5th edition discard and streamline that Pathfinder inherited from 3rd Edition".
I play Pathfinder out of neccessity though it's really too complex for my preferences. But 4th edition is too radically different, 2nd edition not that popular anymore, and other RPGs also don't do a better job for what I want.
Having a less complex version of D&D that is not 4th edition is what gets me all exited about this.


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FoxBat_ wrote:
How they handle Magic is pretty make-or-break IMO. Every 3Eer hates high level spells ruining near every story a DM can come up with, every 3Eer also hates 4E "powers" as the dumbed-down solution. How to offer a simpler magic system to attract newcomers, retaining enough flavor for 3E grognards, AND making high levels playable... solve that and I think they will be on to something that PF lacks. Modularity may be a big part of the answer.

Yes. There has to be some sort of medium between the gamey, but fairly balanced nature of 4E magic, and the flavourful but broken mess that is 3E magic. That would certainly have to be a major goal of the system.


That's why I've been playing my D&D lately with the Dragon Age system using the "Dragonhack" houserules, which basically add some D&D class and race elements into the slick and simple DA system. It's not perfect, but I'm liking it over the other any current version of D&D (from retroclones to pathfinder to 4E).

That is also why I'm looking forward to seeing what 5E might offer. Maybe I'll finally get the D&D game I want to play.

Yora wrote:

I think the thread title is the wrong question.

"What can 5th edition discard and streamline that Pathfinder inherited from 3rd Edition".
I play Pathfinder out of neccessity though it's really too complex for my preferences. But 4th edition is too radically different, 2nd edition not that popular anymore, and other RPGs also don't do a better job for what I want.
Having a less complex version of D&D that is not 4th edition is what gets me all exited about this.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
FoxBat_ wrote:
How they handle Magic is pretty make-or-break IMO. Every 3Eer hates high level spells ruining near every story a DM can come up with, every 3Eer also hates 4E "powers" as the dumbed-down solution. How to offer a simpler magic system to attract newcomers, retaining enough flavor for 3E grognards, AND making high levels playable... solve that and I think they will be on to something that PF lacks. Modularity may be a big part of the answer.
Yes. There has to be some sort of medium between the gamey, but fairly balanced nature of 4E magic, and the flavourful but broken mess that is 3E magic. That would certainly have to be a major goal of the system.

I think this will be key, as well.

Liberty's Edge

P.H. Dungeon wrote:

That's why I've been playing my D&D lately with the Dragon Age system using the "Dragonhack" houserules, which basically add some D&D class and race elements into the slick and simple DA system. It's not perfect, but I'm liking it over the other any current version of D&D (from retroclones to pathfinder to 4E).

That is also why I'm looking forward to seeing what 5E might offer. Maybe I'll finally get the D&D game I want to play.

Yora wrote:

I think the thread title is the wrong question.

"What can 5th edition discard and streamline that Pathfinder inherited from 3rd Edition".
I play Pathfinder out of neccessity though it's really too complex for my preferences. But 4th edition is too radically different, 2nd edition not that popular anymore, and other RPGs also don't do a better job for what I want.
Having a less complex version of D&D that is not 4th edition is what gets me all exited about this.

It's because Chris Pramas designed DA - get Chris to do D&D 5e and all other D&D's will be forgotten...


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I know I'm a broken record on this, but I think focusing entirely on game mechanics of 5.0 misses at least half of the equation.

What Pathfinder covers, through their modules and Adventure Paths, is a really high caliber of story-telling and support material.

From Rise of the Runelord to Kingmaker, there were great, pushy experiments in RPG storytelling.

I was a loyal WOTC product buyer, but their modules and series were often really abysmal, and always a big step behind Paizo.

I'd be interested to hear from 4.0 fans whether this improved after they moved on from 3.5.

If not, then they need to do more than just create a good system.

They need to reinvigorate their capacity for helping create shared stories and shared worlds.

--Marsh


Cheers to that. They should hire him and Robin Laws to design 5E. Then we'd have a game.

Stefan Hill wrote:
P.H. Dungeon wrote:

That's why I've been playing my D&D lately with the Dragon Age system using the "Dragonhack" houserules, which basically add some D&D class and race elements into the slick and simple DA system. It's not perfect, but I'm liking it over the other any current version of D&D (from retroclones to pathfinder to 4E).

That is also why I'm looking forward to seeing what 5E might offer. Maybe I'll finally get the D&D game I want to play.

Yora wrote:

I think the thread title is the wrong question.

"What can 5th edition discard and streamline that Pathfinder inherited from 3rd Edition".
I play Pathfinder out of neccessity though it's really too complex for my preferences. But 4th edition is too radically different, 2nd edition not that popular anymore, and other RPGs also don't do a better job for what I want.
Having a less complex version of D&D that is not 4th edition is what gets me all exited about this.

It's because Chris Pramas designed DA - get Chris to do D&D 5e and all other D&D's will be forgotten...


Yeah their modules weren't great. I did use some ideas and material from Revenge of the Giants and Tome of Horrors in my last game, but it was heavily modified. However, I did find it easy to convert Pathfinder material to 4E, as I ran the entire Second Darkness campaign in 4E and it went very smooth. Sure I could have run it with Pathfinder or 3E, but I'd still end up having to rebuild all the encounters as I find that 3E published encounters rarely balance the way the designers seem to think they should against the PCs that my group puts together.

Captain Marsh wrote:

I know I'm a broken record on this, but I think focusing entirely on game mechanics of 5.0 misses at least half of the equation.

What Pathfinder covers, through their modules and Adventure Paths, is a really high caliber of story-telling and support material.

From Rise of the Runelord to Kingmaker, there were great, pushy experiments in RPG storytelling.

I was a loyal WOTC product buyer, but their modules and series were often really abysmal, and always a big step behind Paizo.

I'd be interested to hear from 4.0 fans whether this improved after they moved on from 3.5.

If not, then they need to do more than just create a good system.

They need to reinvigorate their capacity for helping create shared stories and shared worlds.

--Marsh


Captain Marsh wrote:


I was a loyal WOTC product buyer, but their modules and series were often really abysmal, and always a big step behind Paizo.

Easiest way to fix that is a 5E OGL, and just let Paizo do it.


They want to have the money, not to let Paizo have the money ;)


P.H. Dungeon wrote:

Cheers to that. They should hire him and Robin Laws to design 5E. Then we'd have a game.

Stefan Hill wrote:


It's because Chris Pramas designed DA - get Chris to do D&D 5e and all other D&D's will be forgotten...

Add the two Gregs, Stafford and Stolze. The first to design (or at least conceptualise) the magic system, the second to do work on 'domain management' - all the stuff that isn't individual characters.


For me Pathfinder (3.75E D&D) is very close to being THE perfect RPG.
IMO it has only one significant flaw. It's very cumbersome to play, even though I'm a veteran gamer who played through all editions of the game.

As it happens to many fellow gamers, our group can't play at the same rate as we did 25 years ago, when we went to school.
So when we play (once every month or so) I sometimes can't remember the rules. In critical situtations you have to look up the rules, which takes a long time, and disrupts the game flow.

You can argue, that the DM has the final word, etc. But since there IS a rule for almost any situation, we look it up when needed.

2E for example was much faster.

To answer the OP's question: 5E can make the game much more faster.

But Paizo can do that also, by releasing a lightweight fast play ruleset, based on the big game.

To be frank, I fear that the D&D 5E plan is very clever, and Paizo should think of a counterspell quickly, otherwise 5E (if successful) will be a black hole, that will consume everything.


Dragon Age is a good example for a fast-play d20 related game.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

As a person who has every DnD edition from 1st thru 4th, including like 90% of all the extra splat books, I can honestly say that another edition to me now is meh, i dont need it.

I have 4th edition to satisy my board/battlemat urge and I have 0th edition for quick fun and I have multiple copies of Forgotten Realms campaign settings that to be frank, I really only need Pathfinder to satisfy my RPG needs.

So once Wizards swap from 4th product to 5th, I for one will take my spending power to catch up on many pathfinder products instead. I do not intend rebuying campaign settings every 5 years. I now have enough campaign adventure paths with Pathfinder to last me well into the decade and see no need to change yeat again.

I wouldnt be surprised that there are a lot of older players with vast collections like me who will say enough.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

For me I am hoping 5e's Wow factor is modularity - something that Pathfinder can't do.

What to run D&D without Races? Maybe in 5e you can
Want to run without tactical combat and all that entails? Its sounds like in 5e you will be able to.
Want to not bother with skills? Maybe with 5e you can

D&D Next may be able to have lots of layers of rules, and dials and switches that can make it fairly rules light right through to a crunchy minis based game like 3.5 or 4e.

If D&D Next is like this it could be a killer game and potentially do what WotC are hoping to - unite different types of gamers into playing D&D.

Lantern Lodge

FoxBat_ wrote:
How they handle Magic is pretty make-or-break IMO. Every 3Eer hates high level spells ruining near every story a DM can come up with, every 3Eer also hates 4E "powers" as the dumbed-down solution. How to offer a simpler magic system to attract newcomers, retaining enough flavor for 3E grognards, AND making high levels playable... solve that and I think they will be on to something that PF lacks. Modularity may be a big part of the answer.

I totally agree with this. I've played both systems and neither really do it for me. 4e is either damage with short term side effect or no damage with a slightly nastier, slightly longer lasting side effect and little else. all of the 3.X systems including PF have too many "save or it's over type spells". If a GM wanted a long climactic battle, your not going to get it in PF.. you get in 4e but then every battle generally is because Damage output is nearly perfectly scaled against your level vs. the level of the monsters which makes one wonder why play a higher level game... with all of the additional powers... it just slows everything down.

Armed and unarmed combat can be handled with not a lot of issues. It's how do you match up Magic against armed/un-armed combat? In 4e, it's weapon damage with side effect as opposed to energy type damage with side effect but magic needs to be so much more and rituals just seemed to be extremely weak sauce.

Somehow.. someway.. I think 4e & PF need to have a meeting of the minds. This is just a small joke. I'm not suggesting a meeting between Paizo & WOTC.. more like .. is there a way to take the best of the modern systems and make a new system that is even better than what exists now?


I think one of the problems inherent with the 3.x stuff is the incorporation of tactical movement rules. Might be better to construct classes and mechanics without it, then come back and try to work out movement later.
3.x tries to effectively stuff RP stuff into a tactical combat simulator. Maybe we need to divorce these two things?


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Even if the changes listed here were made, and 5ED incorporated everything players asked for into the perfect system, would it be enough for PF players to abandon their games for a new one?

Are there enough fundamental flaws in PF to make people rush out and delve into new DND?

I ask because, I played 2ED and towards the end, the balance issues with Kits broke the game for our group.

I played 3.0 and then through exploitation of the rules the game became broken for our group.

3.5? Same thing, too many prestige classes led to uber characters that broke our game.

4th? Well, we just got bored with the mechanics really quick.

With Pathfinder, our group is happy. Sure, sometimes combat feels cumbersome , however our game hasn't broken down with rules exploitation.

PF's focus on world building and flavor has really made it easy for immersive storytelling.

Now, if by the time new DND is released, Paizo has released a couple big books of PrCs that allow our group to make Fighter 6/Warden of the Apocalypse 10/GodNuke 10 type characters, then maybe our eyes will wander, but until then, I think our group feels safe and secure with Pathfinder.


If WotC adhere to their plans, I'm sure the number of people that buy the new rule books (at least to try it out) will be significant enough to hurt paizo. You can spend your money only once. The D&D brand is the original, Pathfinder is (only) a (very good) derivate of the original game. Paizo was successful on one hand because its a very good company, and on the other hand because WotC failed. At a very, very early stage in during the 4E marketing campaign it was clear, that the new iteration of the game would dissapoint a huge number of gamers. I can't see that now.
The opposite is true. I'm very positive about the new edition, although I really "hated" WotC for taking away my toy.
WotC is still a giant, and compared to the 5E feedback so far (even in the main press), the cool projects of Paizo, like the MMORPG or RPG Superstar, etc look small now.
Don't get me wrong. I love Paizo as much as I hated WotC, but imo, Paizo needs to find an answer to this challenge.
My idea: Make a lightweight, PRPG compatible, fast to play version of the game, because that's the trend. 5E will surley be fast to play.


That seems to be just the wrong move. The best you can do is doing one thing and doing it well. If you just try to chase after a much bigger company, you give up what good things you have, while at the same time trying to compete in a niche where someone else with much more resources is setting up shop.
Paizo doesn't need to imitate Wizards product. They need to be different. If you have the choice between two similar product, the bigger company always wins. As a small company, you stay competitive by catering to people not targeted by the big ones.


Brix wrote:
If WotC adhere to their plans, I'm sure the number of people that buy the new rule books (at least to try it out) will be significant enough to hurt paizo. You can spend your money only once.

By that logic, every time I buy anything other than a Paizo product, I hurt Paizo.

I doubt seriously that Paizo fans will abandon their favorite game. Most will continue to buy Paizo products. The only thing that will convince them not to would be if 5E was compatible with what they want in a game. And that means Paizo's prducts would be compatible. So they'd buy them anyway.

Paizo can't lose in this situation.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pathfinder has everything my group and I like. So 5e doesn't offer much...


I love what Pathfinder did to 3 edition. Pathfinder made the system better and more playable in my eyes. That being said I still am not a fan of tactical/wargame combat. I hope 5 edition can add the light and flexible combat with solid player options.

To the answer the question.

It can be different. It can bring back propietary settings and creatures pathfinder can not. But mostly it will be new. I am intrigued by the possibilities.


Xyll wrote:
It can be different. It can bring back propietary settings and creatures pathfinder can not. But mostly it will be new. I am intrigued by the possibilities.

That's the beauty of Pathfinder, though. If you have 3.5 books that detail proprietary creatures and settings, it only takes a tweak or two to bring them into line with PF.

I think that, more than anything else, is the reason so many people call PF D&D 3.75.


I was thinking more along the lines of Planscape and Dark Sun (Not whatever that was in 4th edition). : ) Also I was thinking if they go back and revise some of the old school adventures for the newer edition.

As it is I will stick to my Pathfinder campaign for now.


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Ah, Dark Sun.

I remember my players found a robe of many items in that game, and pulled off a patch. It was a mule, standing there placidly, while the characters stared at it like they were looking at an alien. When it brayed, they freaked and killed it, then were afraid to eat it.

On the other hand, when they pulled off another patch that turned out to be a 10'x10' iron door, they realized they were fabulously rich, if they could get the thing back to a town!

Good times! :D


Keltoi wrote:
Now, if by the time new DND is released, Paizo has released a couple big books of PrCs that allow our group to make Fighter 6/Warden of the Apocalypse 10/GodNuke 10 type characters, then maybe our eyes will wander, but until then, I think our group feels safe and secure with Pathfinder.

Warden Of The Apocalypse actually sounds like a cool class name.

Sadly, my experience with a GodNuke came when I turned my campaign over to my friend and his PC became a DMPC that basically did everything. After a few sessions of that, I brought in the cliched 'Dream Sequence' brought about by a Dragonorb (Dragonlance fans unite!) trying to win freedom.

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