Firstly - Incarna wont die - as a site or idea.
The plan is to take a lot of the things we like best about the Incarna system mechanics and story elements and adapt them to the framework within D20 DnD 5th Edition as a "Variant".
Let me categorically state that I still prefer the Incarna mechanics - its just too much for me to upkeep.
I know its a lot of years and work... but I dont have 40 extra hours a week any more. And when you see a version of DnD as well balanced as this, its hard not to adopt. Even a +1 is significant in this version of DnD - the attack/defense balance is near perfect... in some ways its more lethal than any other version because it was expected for you to have +2/+3 weapons and armor by the time you are 6th level in previous ones - playing the "gritty realism" perspective did not work well previously. The latest edition compresses the range to a more mature and realistic one.
A ran through a lot of agonizing scenarios in this one. Some relevant notes are...
- I still don't like hit points that go by level, but I can kill a powerful creature with clever low level work.
- You can improve abilities, no one is limited by class, its NOT 4th ed endless pluses - in fact its harder than 3rd edition to gain lots of bonuses - its about damage and tactics, not having super characters (5th ed are very underpowered - more like 1st edition). The DMG offers some work around on leveling and using the class based system.
- Theres also still durability of goods in general and AC, which i think is THE weakest point of the game. Armor does not make you harder to hit, it just protects you from damage. I already have ideas around that without adding too much complexity.
- Its almost not a class based system and more of a group skill buy. If all you consider classes as are a bunch of related skills at X level of relative competence then you have 5th ed. The old days of not getting improvements over long level hauls is pretty much gone. Its rebalanced REALLY well. Thats said, its still leveling and at higher levels you can go a long time with no change. I am working on some ideas for minor point buy systems based on the idea of a group mechanic and minor abilities.
- The DMG is rife with Incarna like approaches. It adds sanity and other key elements as core variants. Its actually worth the money to buy now. There's not a focus on insane items (there is a few) as commonplace.
- The races and some things still don't make any sense and I would be fixing that. The Monster Manual is VERY well done though and provides lots of good options.
- Everything is so well balanced and easily categorized into concepts that cross player, monster, and effect - this framework is nicely put together.
- The impact of not advancing each session is mitigated by a larger emphasis on story and not creating uber characters. And it can be mitigated using some home brew... but really, the emphasis has swung back towards story telling and imagination.
- Resolution is simple like Incarna, and they have adapted quality/success into a single optional mechanic (using an "average" result mechanism), but its not insane like Krendel or some others where you have to stop and think for 5 minutes to maximize your result. Its really well balanced. Its EASY for new players to approach and learn.
- The worst part is buying the books - but only one of us in a group need do that, i have players guide on PDF. Published books people still pay for, and the RPG industry does not seem to be moving away soon.
See The "Incarna" flavor/variant of DnD 5th Edition.
Leaving me to do what I do best
I would focus on world building, character customization, and adventure writing - the heart of story telling. TSR just did it better, learning from their fans and with a huge staff to work on it, looking at sites like Incarna and listening to players. Mechanics cannot make money online - web content is generally expected to be free - like it or leave it.
- Character Development - all aspects; making the races logical, adding Incarna concepts for adaptations and abilities + adopting 5e DMG variants that reflect a lot of Incrna/Krendel/other independent system approaches
- Essence - KEY missing element should get added in, includes idea of sparks
- Leadership/Lackey/Group dynamic - Also key, should get added in
- Item durability and Armor Class; AC has to stay, but armor should have an emphasis on stopping damage and be a $ sink in its upkeep.
- Lethality - Can use both increase and decrease depending on situation
- Improvements between levels - slow pace of advancement/sense of waiting for ever at mid-high levels... character stays static the whole time, this is frustrating
- World building - portraying the world (characters/races) in way compatible with 5e mechanics
- Cohesive party - faith
- Spirits and Spark (primal)
The Incarna web site's Future
The base older Incarna rules I can easily make available, but it would stop developing the mechanics. Incarna becomes a wordpress site (where you guys can help me collaborate still), and is where all the previous work goes and with a new focus on being a home brew extension of 5th ed. the Steel Realms and other worlds, and a bunch of conceptual materials gets moved over.
- I can put ads on the site and maybe make enough to pay for hosting - DnD has a huge product derivative and user base that ads would appeal to.
- Also appeal to wider audience due to easier integration into their existing campaigns.