Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
If this happens, then Clerics should just get channel divinity, and drop spellcasting completely.

I see no reason why Clerics need two separate sets of resources, when we're having to fight tooth and nail to get a single resource for half the classes.
Whether clerics need two sets of resources when spells are already plenty variable, and whether they'll end up getting two sets of resources because printing new Channel Divinity options is easy, are two entirely separate issues.

Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
Well, some options are already present, both the sun and war domain get some kind of alteration to their channel divinity ability, which will be a great way to help make different types of clerics seem different. I hope they don't make a lot of other abilities use channel divinity uses other than the domain however, for the reason Seerow stated.
I meant new options on top of those--my guess is that they're going to go the every-god-gets-a-new-Channel-Divinity-use route since that's simpler and more modular than a PrC here and a feat there and specialty over there to differentiate clerics of different faiths--whether we want them or not and whether they're a good idea or not. WotC needs to sell splatbooks, after all, and what better (and easier to write) module to release than a Complete Champion equivalent?

In Next, they seem to have a design goal that, for spellcasters at least, they would rather make a spell that does something or put rules for some kind of effect in a spell rather than make a new general rule or class ability, for example, see the counterspell spell. I kind of like this, it helps with the idea that you get to choose your own complexity(by class, feat, and ability selection), it also makes there less generic rules to learn. A shining example of this is the Turn Undead spell. Clerics cans till turn undead, but it's not a whole new ability with it's own rules. If a cleric is going to get some new function or ability, it should be a spell(or a domain). If you can't fit the ability in one of those camps, you probably should make a new class.
While folding things into spells is a good idea for controlling complexity, it's not a good idea for the modularity they've been touting and have yet to show us on a large scale. Separating out a resource means you have "hooks" you can built onto, and more resources means more things you can swap out. 2e had spells that affected other spells, while 3e had metamagic feats, and having a [metamagic] feat descriptor in 3e allowed for metamagic that behaved differently from spells (affecting spells during preparation, for instance), which may be something desirable. Similarly, having Turn Undead as a separate ability meant that there was a reserved ability slot for ACFs to swap out, [divine] feats to build on, and so forth.

Also, some abilities might not be best relegated to the spell list. There's a big thematic difference between having counterspell be a spell you can learn ("It is possible to counter enemy spells if you learn to do so") and having counterspelling be a basic magic option ("Casting the same spell as another caster does will interfere with and counter their casting"), and the same holds for "All clerics can turn undead [or even just turn a particular creature type" vs. "All clerics can potentially learn how to turn undead." Whether you want all members of a class to have it or not is debatable (I personally am in favor of making Turn Undead a spell like any other), but it is something to be considered before just throwing everything into the spell list.

Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
I think this is somewhat by design. The stated goal is that all checks are ability checks, and skills are really supposed to represent specializations in an area that provide a fixed bonus to that check. To that end, I think they're doing a poor job of conveying that idea, but it may also explain the abundance of knowledge skills, to reduce the idea that if you don't have the "swim" skill, you can't swim.
As I said before, if there aren't going to be any guidelines as to what sorts of knowledge are common or rare, what tangible benefits knowing things has, and so forth, it would be better in my opinion to have Knowledge traits that just let you know stuff rather than having lots of skills cluttering up the design space. When it comes to swimming or seeing things or other straightforward tasks, you can reasonably judge how hard it is for a strong guy to swim in a storm, for an elf to see someone through fog in the dark, and so forth...but figuring out whether a character would know things about red dragons, for instance, is a lot more vague, based on how common they are in your game, how common they are where the character grew up, whether there are legends about them and how accurate those legends are, and so forth.

D&D has never really done knowledge NWPs/skills well, and 3e in particular had lots of wonky rules interactions or vagueness (farmers not being able to identify their cows, a dragon-slayer who grew up in a desert being able to identify fish but not dragons, determining what "a piece of useful information" about a creature means, etc.). Far better to say "If it relates to history, this guy knows it, with a few exceptions for plot-relevant mysteries when the DM would try to prevent you knowing it anyway" than to try to figure out how hard it would be to identify who the queen was in the neighboring kingdom 300 years ago.