My 6e Wishlist – Dungeon Master’s Guide

When they announced One D&D, the next edition that is beyond editions, I was skeptical. I started calling it 5.5e, because it was supposed to be “backward compatible.” However, now seeing the playtests, and the directions they are wanting it to go, it already does not seem to be backwards compatible, because of the different bonuses from races, backgrounds, how abilities work, etc. In that case, let’s just make the game the Sixth Edition, and be willing to change more.

This is the second part, just the Dungeon Master’s Guide, with the Player’s Handbook already out, and the Monster Manual coming soon.

Right now the books are designed in part for someone to look something up, and I want to change them to help you create something from scratch. Instead of being from Waterdeep in Faerun, I want characters to be from NewCity in CustomWorld. Then, if you are running the game from something prewritten, you can still use the Index for an alphabetized list.

Running the Game

First of all, it’s time to move away from the binary Pass/Fail results of die rolls, and move to multiple success/fail states. Lets say you attempt to jump the pit trap in a dungeon, and the DC is 13.

  • Nat1 – You fall directly onto a spike, taking the maximum damage from the pit trap.
  • 7 – You fail to jump across, falling into the pit trap.
  • 10 – You jump across and grab the ledge. You drop a random item determined by the DM. DC13 Athletics check to pull yourself up.
  • 13 – You barely jump over, falling prone on the other side.
  • 16 – You jump over successfully, ready to continue
  • Nat20 – You jump over, and turn around, able to Help an ally, granting them Advantage

This is something that many DMs just do, but to codify it, showing different examples in a variety of situations can do a lot to help newer DMs to make games more dynamic.

Creating Adventures and Campaigns

We need to make factions and organizations a bigger part of the game, and not just “This is how the Adventurer’s League does it.” Every adventure should have the option of having different groups with different agendas that are interreacting. That is what a Faction is. In the DMG, under Factions, it’s really explaining Adventuring Guilds, which is a type of faction, but not the only type.

One of the Fourth Edition concepts that was wonderful, is the Skill Challenge. This game isn’t really designed to do complex things outside of combat. If you have a complex task in roleplay or exploration, a Skill Challenge was a great way to make you use a variety of your skills to accomplish these complex tasks.

Fifth Edition as a brand didn’t really like to focus on small adventures for the majority of it’s lifetime. Most of their published works were at least 10 levels, meant to be played as a long-form campaign

  • Tyranny of Dragons: Levels 1-15
  • Lost Mine of Phandelver: Levels 1-5
  • Princes of the Apocalypse: Levels 1-15
  • Out of the Abyss: Levels 1-15
  • Curse of Strahd: Levels 1-10
  • Tomb of Annihilation: Levels 1-11
  • Storm King’s Thunder: Levels 1-11
  • Tales of the Yawning Portal: Levels 1-15
  • Waterdeep Dragon Heist: Levels 1-5
  • Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage: Levels 5-20
  • Ghosts of Saltmarsh: Levels 1-12
  • Acquisitions Incorporated: Levels 1-6
  • Dragons of Icespire Peak: Levels 1-7
  • Descent into Avernus: Levels 1-13
  • Rime of the Frostmaiden: Levels 1-12
  • Candlekeep Mysteries: Levels 1-16
  • The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: Levels 1-8
  • Strixhaven: Levels 3-12
  • Call of the Netherdeep: Levels 3-12
  • Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel: Levels 1-14
  • Spelljammer: Levels 5-8

Out of all of those, there’s really only 4 (bolded) that could be split up into smaller adventures. Personally, I really enjoy a book of independent adventures, that don’t rely on each other, but have a similar theme, like those four above. As a DM, I don’t want to run a single long-form campaign, but a series of adventures that all begin to link together, using some light homebrew.

Treasure and Rewards

Give magic items a set price! Or a clear way to determine price, even something rollable! Saying that Common items have a 2x range, Uncommon have a 5x range, and Rare and Very Rare have a 10x range is too vague to be helpful. Make it make sense. In my Eberron campaign, I had a complex system, that I’ll put the “Uncommon” rank below:

  • 1d6 X 100g = Base price
  • Multiply by use amount
    • Single use items=0.5
    • Charged items=0.75
    • Attuned=1.5
  • DC10 Persuasion or Investigation (represents haggling or searching a cheaper seller) where each result above 10, you get 5% off, so a 20 means it’s 50% off.

If you want to list the magic items again here, you can without all the info, and list it by category, then rarity, THEN alphabetically.

A World of Your Own

Homebrew settings should really be the last part of the book, because you don’t want new DMs thinking that’s a requirement to run the game. Also, we don’t need 25 pages about making a custom multiverse in the main book. That’s some DMG2 nonsense.

First time DMs do not need to be thinking about this 57 pages into an instructional textbook.

Dungeon Master’s Workshop

Alternate rules should not be sitting in the back of the book! These should be scattered throughout the book, in each section that it’s offering an alternate for. Put Epic Heroism and Gritty Realism in the Adventure Environments section. Put Lingering Injuries in the Creating Encounters section. Don’t put the coolest stuff at the end.

What do you want to see in the 6e DMG? Let me know in the comments below!

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