D&D Next Packet Analysis

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Introduction
There are already a significant enough number of threads on the matter -- this entire forums is about discussions on the packets anyway -- but here is my view on the manner.  Note that I will be using 4E terms primarily, mostly because I've played and DMed that edition.

The Good



  • Advantage/Disadvantage.  This is so far the biggest praise I have for the playtest (and I'm considering houseruling my 4E games to use this as well).  With only cover, superior cover and dodge as the static modifiers, everything else is either "roll twice and get the better" and "roll twice and get the worse".  Simple, effective.

  • Finesse Weapons.  A simple solution to a long-standing issue regarding basic attacks.  Effectively removes feat tax (for some).

  • At-Will Cantrips.  They at least took a hint from 4E on this one.

  • Action Simplification.  Keeping it simple.  I like this.

  • Fighter is decent.  Not as good as the 4E Fighter (pre-Essentials and post-Essentials), but still tolerable.




The Bad



  • Hit Dice.  The main thing that saves this from going to "the ugly" section is the fact that we're looking at Hit Dice + Constitution modifier per HD, allowing an 18 CON Wizard to regain 5-8 HP per Hit Dice (a level 1 Wizard with 18 CON would have 19-22 HP).  Otherwise, I actually prefer 4E surges in that it's a bit more realistic that more damage taken = more effort to recover hit points, as opposed to "I luckily roll and remove all the damage I can take with one hit die".

  • Missing mechanics.   Apparently weapon training and skill training is +3.  To be expected from a playtest module though, so it's only at "bad".

  • Only three magical power sources.  Arcane, Divine, Psionics (to be introduced later).  Arcane (and to some extent, Divine) really should have been broken down and properly distributed between the Primal, Elemental, Shadow, Martial, etc. sources.  It's an appeal to pre-4E people though, so it's only bad and not ugly.




The Ugly



  • Hit Point Progression.  Hit point bloat still exists.  Assuming a 14 CON Fighter, we're looking at an HP range of 16-26 at level 1, and 54-254 HP at level 20 (playtest sheets show averages, "how to play" has the HP rules).

  • Vancian Magic in general.  Not only is it back to classical Vancian, but flat out blocking wizards from casting spells when using armor?  Seriously, not even encounter spells, which is closer to Vance's magic?


    • Messy spells.  While 4E's mechanics seem to be there in the rules, it's only with the INT vs. AC attacks.  Everything else is just, well, out of whack, simply put: some spells grant ability saves, some don't grant any resistance, some grant variable resistance.

    • Buried mechanics.  The fact that everything is in paragraph form is aesthetically appealing to some, but the only thing saving you from the burden of having to pore through the entire wall of text just to look for (and use) the mechanical effects is the fact that all the text is relatively short.  However, Grease, Hold Person, Mirror Image, and Turn Undead have questionable lengths especially in re-readability.

    • Magic still trumps everything else.  It's not as bad as 3.5, but seriously, Grease?  Sleep?


  • Monster system.  It is absolutely horrible.  Do the monster traits really have to be separated from the rest of the monster block?  Do spellcaster monsters HAVE to use PC spells?  Honestly, in spite of the complexity and challenge in creating monsters in 4E, at least they had the freedom to be anything the DM wants (on the fly).

  • Wall of Text.  As in buried mechanics for spells, but with the sheer amount of fluff text even within the mechanics, I fear that I can't even start running the playtest in my group, who are turned off by the archaic nature of the whole thing.




Conclusion
Simply put: not enough pros, and the devs still a lot to work on before I can actually run it with my group.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging

Yes, after reflection, d&d5 is a perfect 1980's rpg. They forgived all the good ideas of DND4, take the worst of dd3 and take nothing from dd2.5 (raaah lovely  skills and powers! a lot of good idea and the base of dnd4!)

First of all, thank you for a thorough but concise summary of your likes and dislikes about the rules we have seen so far. It's a refreshing improvement from all the threads complaning about stuff that for all we know isn't even an actual problem, we just haven't seen the full system yet. Now, onto your comments! (I'm going to skip "the good" because I agree on all points, and there's no point preaching to the choir.)

- Hit dice and power source categorization can be easily fixed with quick house rules. For example, "gain half of your maximum HD roll when you level up." (Interestingly, this seems to be how they handled the HP progression for the premade characters.) Or when druids come out, simply saying "druid spells have the primal power source." etc.

- The missing mechanics were clearly left out intentionally, either because the math hasn't been nailed down quite yet, or because they didn't want us worrying about the specifics of where all our bonuses are coming from before we've given it a thurough playtest (if that's the case, serious backfire on that particular goal.)

- Sadly, vancian magic is probably not going to go away, it's just one of those things where they can't make everyone happy. Unfortunately for us 4E fans, we represent a smaller demographic than the combined fandoms of every other edition (all of which used vancian magic.) Oh well, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, and with any luck there might eventually be a module for modifying the magic system. I doubt it, but I can dream.

- As for hit point bloat, unclear wording and mechanics buried in gygaxian prose, and somewhat clunky monster stat blocks (hey, at least they're better than 3.5 monsters, right?) we can only hope they will take our concerns to heart and adress these issues. Though I'm doubtful about the writing style getting much better, to be honest.
First of all, thank you for a thorough but concise summary of your likes and dislikes about the rules we have seen so far. It's a refreshing improvement from all the threads complaning about stuff that for all we know isn't even an actual problem, we just haven't seen the full system yet. Now, onto your comments! (I'm going to skip "the good" because I agree on all points, and there's no point preaching to the choir.)

- Hit dice and power source categorization can be easily fixed with quick house rules. For example, "gain half of your maximum HD roll when you level up." (Interestingly, this seems to be how they handled the HP progression for the premade characters.) Or when druids come out, simply saying "druid spells have the primal power source." etc.



The Oberoni fallacy makes this part invalid.

- The missing mechanics were clearly left out intentionally, either because the math hasn't been nailed down quite yet, or because they didn't want us worrying about the specifics of where all our bonuses are coming from before we've given it a thurough playtest (if that's the case, serious backfire on that particular goal.)



Regardless of the reasons people have already reverse engineered it, so the point is moot.

- Sadly, vancian magic is probably not going to go away, it's just one of those things where they can't make everyone happy. Unfortunately for us 4E fans, we represent a smaller demographic than the combined fandoms of every other edition (all of which used vancian magic.) Oh well, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, and with any luck there might eventually be a module for modifying the magic system. I doubt it, but I can dream.



I agree here...

- As for hit point bloat, unclear wording and mechanics buried in gygaxian prose, and somewhat clunky monster stat blocks (hey, at least they're better than 3.5 monsters, right?) we can only hope they will take our concerns to heart and adress these issues. Though I'm doubtful about the writing style getting much better, to be honest.



I'm with you on this one...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
First of all, thank you for a thorough but concise summary of your likes and dislikes about the rules we have seen so far. It's a refreshing improvement from all the threads complaning about stuff that for all we know isn't even an actual problem, we just haven't seen the full system yet. Now, onto your comments! (I'm going to skip "the good" because I agree on all points, and there's no point preaching to the choir.)

- Hit dice and power source categorization can be easily fixed with quick house rules. For example, "gain half of your maximum HD roll when you level up." (Interestingly, this seems to be how they handled the HP progression for the premade characters.) Or when druids come out, simply saying "druid spells have the primal power source." etc.



The Oberoni fallacy makes this part invalid.


That wasn't really my point. Some people like rolling hit dice. These rules are for them. Those of us who don't like rolling hit dice shouldn't need to follow those rules, but there's no reason that the people who do like rolling them should be forced to play the way we like to play, any more than we should be forced to play the way they like to. It's easier for us to just say "in my game, we take maximum hit dice" than it is for them to take a static system apart and try to build a balanced randomly generated HP systm that fits within the framework of rules that weren't built that way.

- The missing mechanics were clearly left out intentionally, either because the math hasn't been nailed down quite yet, or because they didn't want us worrying about the specifics of where all our bonuses are coming from before we've given it a thurough playtest (if that's the case, serious backfire on that particular goal.)



Regardless of the reasons people have already reverse engineered it, so the point is moot.


No, it's not. WotC doesn't care if we've reverse engineered it, that's not the feedback they're looking for, so any effort discussing it is wasted effort, because I can garuntee you they're going to ignore all of it. When (and if) they want feedback on that, they will tell us so, and show us the rules. Until then, don't waste your energy.
Not sure I'm seeing the hit point situation as bloat.

At first glance, PCs might seem to have a lot of HP, but they also seem to get a lot less in-encounter healing.

An Orc Chieftain has 45 hp. The level 1 slayer doing minimum hit damage can beat that in (45/9) 5 rounds solo. If he is eating the minimum 5 damage each round in return, he's gonna be down by round 4. 

Cure Light Wounds (d8+4) and a Orc Chieftain attack (+6; d8+4) are basically offsets if the healer rolls better than the attack.

If you consider the fighter vs an orc (+3; d8+1), he can kill in the orc in 2 rounds max (1 round very likely) and potentially take up to 45% of his hp in a single strike, 75% with a charge.

This doesn't seem like padded sumo fighting to me.

"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
Not sure I'm seeing the hit point situation as bloat.

At first glance, PCs might seem to have a lot of HP, but they also seem to get a lot less in-encounter healing.

An Orc Chieftain has 45 hp. The level 1 slayer doing minimum hit damage can beat that in (45/9) 5 rounds solo. If he is eating the minimum 5 damage each round in return, he's gonna be down by round 4. 

Cure Light Wounds (d8+4) and a Orc Chieftain attack (+6; d8+4) are basically offsets if the healer rolls better than the attack.

If you consider the fighter vs an orc (+3; d8+1), he can kill in the orc in 2 rounds max (1 round very likely) and potentially take up to 45% of his hp in a single strike, 75% with a charge.

This doesn't seem like padded sumo fighting to me.



And that works great at low levels, but if the fighter is gaining an average of 6 HP every level, he's going to reach a very high HP total very quickly.
Granted, but isn't the design one that high level characters can go through more battles? With all the variable healing and the lack of second wind, characters are going to be taking a lot more punishment and need the extra padding up-front. At least that's how I read it.

 
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
Granted, but isn't the design one that high level characters can go through more battles? With all the variable healing and the lack of second wind, characters are going to be taking a lot more punishment and need the extra padding up-front. At least that's how I read it.


Fair point. And on top of that, you should be dealing more damage at higher levels as well (fighters apparently get additional attacks, rogues get more sneak attack dice, wizards and clerics get higher level spell slots...) so maybe it'll all balance out. But at that point, why scale both up when you could just give it the same flattening treatment as AC and BAB? ...I guess at that point you wouldn't actually be gaining anything when you level up lol.

On a related note, I am so happy that they flattened AC and BAB, I always thought it was weird that everyone would get a +1 to AC and a +1 to their BAB at about the same rate. I'm not a fan of non-value-added work lol.
Granted, but isn't the design one that high level characters can go through more battles? With all the variable healing and the lack of second wind, characters are going to be taking a lot more punishment and need the extra padding up-front. At least that's how I read it.

 

Isn't one of the complaints about just about every edition of D&D (4E more than ever) was the amount of hit points that PCs had?  They're fragile for the first few levels yes, but at high levels assuming average HP rolls and compared to monster capabilities?
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Some thoughts:

- Where are the tower shields? And the attacks of oportunity? And power attack!
- At will and rituals looks like awesome ideas. Just be careful with the power. And by the way, gp cost for rituals... Not sure about this. Maybe increase the time, maybe use specific roleplay items. Money is a mess. IMHO.
- Ray of frost: Fixed version: Ranged attack, DC to avoid/resist. If pass, -10 speed.
- I miss some kind of "add strength to composite bows"
- I dont want that a Dex based fighters is the same that a Str based fighter, with the only difference being the stat. Maybe dex add only half damage and or avoid reduce damage reduction?
- Intoxicated need a -2 to AC, or something .
- Cleric AC has to be low than Fighter AC
- I like the Divine Smite
- Channel Divinity need to scale
- I love the Guardian background and how it level up.
- By the way, I love the possibilities of combining background, race, class and theme
- I dont want "powers" for the warrior. I want him to be flexible, to have options based in his training and strength. He is not magic.  

That for now... I think 
146518563 wrote:
And then Martial was a new exciting new source of power, its practitioners manipulating the energies emanating from the plane of oiled-up burly weightlifters.
Not sure I'm seeing the hit point situation as bloat.

At first glance, PCs might seem to have a lot of HP, but they also seem to get a lot less in-encounter healing.

An Orc Chieftain has 45 hp. The level 1 slayer doing minimum hit damage can beat that in (45/9) 5 rounds solo. If he is eating the minimum 5 damage each round in return, he's gonna be down by round 4. 

Cure Light Wounds (d8+4) and a Orc Chieftain attack (+6; d8+4) are basically offsets if the healer rolls better than the attack.

If you consider the fighter vs an orc (+3; d8+1), he can kill in the orc in 2 rounds max (1 round very likely) and potentially take up to 45% of his hp in a single strike, 75% with a charge.

This doesn't seem like padded sumo fighting to me.



And that works great at low levels, but if the fighter is gaining an average of 6 HP every level, he's going to reach a very high HP total very quickly.



I'm not sure hp bloat will be as big an issue with this iteration as it was with 4e simply because combat rounds seem to move more quickly and if PCs (like rogues) gain extra damage on sneak attacks or other situations (perhaps "quarry" or other abilities for other classes) the big targets may go down very quickly.


A Brave Knight of WTF

When I read HP bloat in the context of 4e, I'm thinking primarily of Kobold Quickblades with 29 hp and Orc Raiders with 46 hp.

I've certainly never complained about high level PCs being harder to kill. That seems like a core mechanic (as opposed to other games where your ability to take damage is more constant).

"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
Personally I am loving the classic elements brought back into the game, and I am sure given time they will seek to appease the 4E bratlings as they are, after all, the future generation of gamers when we old-schoolers vanish. 
As said before, the rolled hit points (which I personally love the randomness) are easily handled in granting a set amount per level according to your hit dice, making it near identical to 4E.  
To adress the "out of whack" spells. The variety to me was refreshing. 4E took alot of way from spells in my opinion, being a fan of wizards from day one. Everything became a bit cookie-cutter and perhaps a bit over simplified.  One of the greatest pleasures of being a mage is the ability to throw unpredictible and explosive effects on people and watch your fellow players turn green with envy when you bowled down a small army. In 4E's focus on balancing every class for combat, they really took that away from mages in my opinion. So again it is nice to see some of that classic element that made the game fun for me. 
I can see where the monster system has room for work but it would be unfair to lable it "horrible", especially so early on. It was simple and easy to understand to me. But this is from an old-schooler point of view. Keep in mind I often refer to 4E as "DnD for dummies" and prefer the more in depth mechanics over the oversimplified pre-stamped characters. 
Based on what I've seen so far, I feel they are going back they are going back to the roots and keeping more true to what DnD is / was. 4E stepped away from the heart of the game for me - that being said I still play it, and do like some elements of it and as far as Next I cant wait to see what comes out in future packets. 

To adress the "out of whack" spells. The variety to me was refreshing. 4E took alot of way from spells in my opinion, being a fan of wizards from day one. Everything became a bit cookie-cutter and perhaps a bit over simplified.  One of the greatest pleasures of being a mage is the ability to throw unpredictible and explosive effects on people and watch your fellow players turn green with envy when you bowled down a small army. In 4E's focus on balancing every class for combat, they really took that away from mages in my opinion. So again it is nice to see some of that classic element that made the game fun for me.



It is a shame that they couldn't just let non-casters in on the fun without weakening casters as well. That's what I'm most looking forward to as we start to see new materials, is everyone getting the chance to do awesome stuff, and each class having a different kind of awesome.

To clarify, I don't consider "hitting really hard" to fall under the category of awesome stuff. If someone wants to play a dude that just does damage and doesn't get into a lot of complex decision-making, that's cool, they should have that option regardless of what class they play. A friend of mine refuses to play anything but casters because she likes the idea of being able to do magic, but actively shies away from anything that resembles choices. Simple wizards should be a thing you can do, just as much as complex fighters should be.

That said, I didn't care for 4e's approach to that. I loved the mechanical elegance of powers, I just wish every class hadn't had the exact same power progression, and that there had been more benefits to leveling up besides new powers and feats. Class features are good things! 
Some thoughts:

- Where are the tower shields? And the attacks of oportunity? And power attack!



No tower shields, no attacks of opportunity (out of turn actions is restricted to reactions), power attack might be available later on.


- Ray of frost: Fixed version: Ranged attack, DC to avoid/resist. If pass, -10 speed.



Most opponents don't have that much speed in the first place, right?

- I dont want that a Dex based fighters is the same that a Str based fighter, with the only difference being the stat. Maybe dex add only half damage and or avoid reduce damage reduction?

The most powerful Finesse weapon is 1d8 (two handed).  The most powerful Strength-based weapon is 1d12 melee, 1d10 ranged.  So Strength-based Fighters do get to do more damage in the long run.


- Intoxicated need a -2 to AC, or something .



I'd rather that Intoxicated grant disadvantage to the target and advantage to creatures that attack the target.

- Cleric AC has to be low than Fighter AC


The Fighter and the Cleric are supposed to have the same AC, the Cleric just so happens to be using a heavy shield.
- Channel Divinity need to scale



It'll probably scale at higher levels.


- I dont want "powers" for the warrior. I want him to be flexible, to have options based in his training and strength. He is not magic.  

That for now... I think 


I prefer the powers format.  Options can appear regardless of format, but between reading paragraphs and trying to decipher what its actual mechanics are, and a small text box with adequate enough fluff + the exact meaning of the fluff mechanics-wise, I prefer the latter to the former. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Reposted from ENWorld for wizards:


the packets seem to represent possible books:

MM = Bestiary (why have this otherwise, we have monster stats in the adventure)
PHB = How To Play
DMG = DM Guidelines

5 PC Sheets = Character Sheet support product
Caves of Chaos = Adventure product


First Impressions:

This a work in progress. Given the amount of development and editing these documents have likely seen in the last 6+ months, there's a lot of thought behind everything.

It's confusing. Not the formatting, which I wouldn't expect a final draft of. There are definitely rules in place here that really only support specific play styles, from old to millennial to contemporary. There is a lot of 4e school of thought here, but when I go looking a whole lot of it is 3.x too. Shake that up with so much of the old school stuff that doesn't quite know why it's there and the whole comes off as confused. Again, a work in progress.

Many schema in place just aren't necessary. I mentioned breaking the texts into book clumps before, I don't think you need to do that. I'm not seeing the rationale for having equipment in relation to exploration (or anything else). The three tiers of play look like skills, skills, and combat. Let's think outside the box here.

The adventure is going to be difficult to run. It looks a little bland and way overpriced XP-wise for 3 levels. It's appears to be combats all the way through. I like the format and the do-it-yourself attitude with advice in the front, but it needs fleshing out with examples for that. We can place our own monsters too (unless I missed a hidden scheme for that), but it could definitely use some "What they know, what happened before, and what will happen if left unengaged" and stuff like that.

Best thing so far: the beginning. Those first two paragraphs in How to Play. That blended well the old school and new school philosophies and phraseology. I would lead with that and definitely trim down the packet size of this thing. In no way do we need all this info for the first, short-term phase of a long play testing. Let's get focused. It scares me that this looks like everything otherwise as it is a heap o' work.

- I dont want that a Dex based fighters is the same that a Str based fighter, with the only difference being the stat. Maybe dex add only half damage and or avoid reduce damage reduction?

The most powerful Finesse weapon is 1d8 (two handed).  The most powerful Strength-based weapon is 1d12 melee, 1d10 ranged.  So Strength-based Fighters do get to do more damage in the long run.


This is the way it should be, in my honest opinion. If you're stronger, you should be able to hit harder. Especially when you consider that a dex based fighter is likely to have a higher AC, since he can wear light armor, which under these rules will end up giving you better AC than heavy armor if you've got a decent dex bonus. Which I also think is appropriate, someone who's more agile and less weighed down should be harder to hit, your hits just shouldn't be as effective on the guy in the heavy armor. Which is normally the case, since the fighter will normally be the heavy armor guy, but sacrificing a bit of damage for a bit of AC also seems reasonable to me.
Some thoughts:

- Where are the tower shields? And the attacks of oportunity? And power attack!




No tower shields, no attacks of opportunity (out of turn actions is restricted to reactions), power attack might be available later on.



Yeah, I see that.. but why? It was such a big problem the rules from the tower shield? I would give him something like cover and disadvantage. In another topic, I enjoy to see shields to be more useful. Atacks of opportunity are needed, only, they need to be simplified.



- Ray of frost: Fixed version: Ranged attack, DC to avoid/resist. If pass, -10 speed.



Most opponents don't have that much speed in the first place, right?



Good point. But this way at least they have a opportunity to minimize the damage


- I dont want that a Dex based fighters is the same that a Str based fighter, with the only difference being the stat. Maybe dex add only half damage and or avoid reduce damage reduction?

The most powerful Finesse weapon is 1d8 (two handed).  The most powerful Strength-based weapon is 1d12 melee, 1d10 ranged.  So Strength-based Fighters do get to do more damage in the long run.



Good point. As always, 2H, 2TW and S&B are difficult to compensate



- Intoxicated need a -2 to AC, or something .



I'd rather that Intoxicated grant disadvantage to the target and advantage to creatures that attack the target.



Good enough


- Cleric AC has to be low than Fighter AC



The Fighter and the Cleric are supposed to have the same AC, the Cleric just so happens to be using a heavy shield.



Why? I have said other times, the fighter musn´t have the same AC as a cleric. A cleric has his spells, let the Fighter (and maybe, the paladin), have the best armour.




146518563 wrote:
And then Martial was a new exciting new source of power, its practitioners manipulating the energies emanating from the plane of oiled-up burly weightlifters.
By the way, why a crossbow have to attack with the strength? Do you hit in the head with it? Sealed

Edit: Shortsword, under this rules, strictly better than rapier. The same as Club and hammer (well, the club is cheaper). And the mace. Supposing that  "Light" doesnt have malus.
146518563 wrote:
And then Martial was a new exciting new source of power, its practitioners manipulating the energies emanating from the plane of oiled-up burly weightlifters.

I can see where the monster system has room for work but it would be unfair to lable it "horrible", especially so early on. It was simple and easy to understand to me. But this is from an old-schooler point of view.


I really wish I could remember where I read this now, but somewhere the developers commented on how they hadn't really started working on the monsters yet. In fact, the article mentioned how the PCs for this playtest had higher HP than they were looking for in the final version because the monsters were hitting harder than they would be in the final version. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the way the monsters look or act in the playtest because it sounds like they've got a major overhaul coming once the feedback for PC builds is out of the way.
...- Hit dice and power source categorization can be easily fixed with quick house rules. For example, "gain half of your maximum HD roll when you level up." (Interestingly, this seems to be how they handled the HP progression for the premade characters.) Or when druids come out, simply saying "druid spells have the primal power source." etc.




The only hitch is that in DDN your Con modifier is the minimum you can get on your hit die roll when determining your hit points as you level up. So simply saying "gain half of your maximum HD when you level up" is actually giving short shrift to the characters who have a high Con modifier because half of the HD is below what they'd roll on average using their Con as the minimum result. For example, a wizard with Con 14 (+2) in DDN normally gets 2.75 hit points on average when he levels up compared to 2.5 if he had no Con bonus. If you give the wizard a flat 3 hit points per level, though, the high Con wizard and the low Con wizard end up getting the same hit points per level, negating most of the hit point benefit of having high Con.


I'm not saying you couldn't come up with a houserule that mathematically takes Con into account when determining static hit points (in fact it wouldn't be that hard). I'm just saying that you should be a little careful when coming up with that kind of houserule lest you accidentally mess up how Con works in your setting.
 
Concur with the hard-to-read spells.  Requires an attack roll, or allows a save?  I want it in a stat block.  Range, target(s), area of effect.  Stat block.  Cast as anything other than a standard action, or allow you to take another action in addition?  Absolutely belongs in a stat block.

Disagree with power sources.  They were basically fluff anyway.  Chuck 'em. 

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

The only hitch is that in DDN your Con modifier is the minimum you can get on your hit die roll when determining your hit points as you level up. So simply saying "gain half of your maximum HD when you level up" is actually giving short shrift to the characters who have a high Con modifier because half of the HD is below what they'd roll on average using their Con as the minimum result. For example, a wizard with Con 14 (+2) in DDN normally gets 2.75 hit points on average when he levels up compared to 2.5 if he had no Con bonus. If you give the wizard a flat 3 hit points per level, though, the high Con wizard and the low Con wizard end up getting the same hit points per level, negating most of the hit point benefit of having high Con.


I'm not saying you couldn't come up with a houserule that mathematically takes Con into account when determining static hit points (in fact it wouldn't be that hard). I'm just saying that you should be a little careful when coming up with that kind of houserule lest you accidentally mess up how Con works in your setting.
 



I assume that he meant to include con modifier in the final result.  E.g. 1d8 hit die(avg of 4.5), with con 14(+2), would equal 6 or 7 hp per level.
...- Hit dice and power source categorization can be easily fixed with quick house rules. For example, "gain half of your maximum HD roll when you level up." (Interestingly, this seems to be how they handled the HP progression for the premade characters.) Or when druids come out, simply saying "druid spells have the primal power source." etc.




The only hitch is that in DDN your Con modifier is the minimum you can get on your hit die roll when determining your hit points as you level up. So simply saying "gain half of your maximum HD when you level up" is actually giving short shrift to the characters who have a high Con modifier because half of the HD is below what they'd roll on average using their Con as the minimum result. For example, a wizard with Con 14 (+2) in DDN normally gets 2.75 hit points on average when he levels up compared to 2.5 if he had no Con bonus. If you give the wizard a flat 3 hit points per level, though, the high Con wizard and the low Con wizard end up getting the same hit points per level, negating most of the hit point benefit of having high Con.


I'm not saying you couldn't come up with a houserule that mathematically takes Con into account when determining static hit points (in fact it wouldn't be that hard). I'm just saying that you should be a little careful when coming up with that kind of houserule lest you accidentally mess up how Con works in your setting.
 


Oh yeah, it was an off the top of my head example. But I think it still works if you keep the rule that your Con mod is the minimum. In other words, a wizard (who would actually get a flat 2 hit points per level, since the HD is 1d4... at least that's what the premade wizard's HD is) had a +3 con mod, they would gain a flat 3 per level, because the minimum is higher than the average roll. So you take the minimum. Really wizards would be the only class this would even matter for, because really how many 18 con rogues do you see? It totally takes the con mod minimum into account, it just assumes that you roll higher than your con mod. So your the benefit you're gaining from con is adding your con score to your HP at first level.

Yeah, I see that.. but why? It was such a big problem the rules from the tower shield? I would give him something like cover and disadvantage. In another topic, I enjoy to see shields to be more useful. Atacks of opportunity are needed, only, they need to be simplified.


I'm guessing it's an aim for simplicity; instead of a hundred different types of spears, longswords and stuff, and instead of different types of light and heavy shields, they went for just the smaller numbers.  Given how D&D Next basically requires houseruling as part of its design philosophy, feel free to do whatever you want on that.

Why are attacks of opportunity needed?  Mike Mearls has already stated several times his general dislike for them, and they're one of the biggest sources of slow-down (aside from 3E/4E interrupt/reaction abilities), so the game has restricted out of turn actions to just "reaction".  Feel free to add them, but don't expect them to be in the core rules.


Good point. But this way at least they have a opportunity to minimize the damage



What damage?  I'd say it should've been "The target must make a Dexterity saving throw to avoid being hit.  Upon failing to make his Dexterity save, the target's movement is reduced to ten feet.  If its hit points is below 10, the target would have to make an additional Constitution saving throw.  Upon failing to make his Constitution save, the target is paralyzed until your next turn.  If the target's hit points are reduced to zero by this spell, it is encased in ice."


Why? I have said other times, the fighter musn´t have the same AC as a cleric. A cleric has his spells, let the Fighter (and maybe, the paladin), have the best armour.


Actually, when you look at the class armor proficiencies, the Cleric shouldn't be able to use a Heavy Shield at all: Clerics of Moradin have no Shield proficiencies at all.

Plus, they sorta screwed the Fighter too: instead of Chain Shirt + Heavy Shield (17 AC), they just gave him Chainmail (15 AC), even though the former would save him 10gp at the very least.

Oh, and Nosfecatu has been kind enough to help me with the analysis, here's what he found (translated to English):


  • He feels Next is designed to encourage at least some houseruling.

  • In the case of hp, page 4 of How to play directly contradictory char sheet info. He thinks this reflects two different hp gains/level that may be adopted.

  • The d4 HD for wizards, d12 for fighters is too big a discrepancy. According to hiim, d6/d10 might be a good replacement, as was discussed in that hit point article.

  • The fighter pregen is getting a lot of flak. But he personally likes it, particularly its level 2 feature. With spring-attack like movement for everybody, he can move to target, attack, move to rogue, use the ability to give the rogue advantage by declaring help. Even with just a basic attack, there are ways to be creative with him.

  • The weapon attacks on the pregens are wonky. Or at the very least, it's inconsistent with the how to play packet. Among the offenders:


    • Warhammer deals 1d10 on the pregen, 1d8 on the packet.

    • Greataxe is 2d6 on the pregen, 1d12 on the packet.

    • The fighter's weapon focus is +2, but if you read the weapon entries on the pregen it looks like a +4.


      • Greataxe is +7, crossbow is +5.


    • Daggers are 1d6 on the rpegen, 1d4 on the packet.


  • Quarterstaves are finesse weapons in the packet, but the same is not reflected in the cleric and the wizard.


    • His opinion is that it shouldn't be finesse - otherwise they can match the cleric holding a warhammer.


  •  The attack rolls for weapons take into account a weapon training bonus (which apply with proficiency?), but the value of the bonus is never mentioned. As it stands, it looks like it's +3 for fighters, +2 for everyone else.


    • This is on par with the stated +2 magic bonus.


  • It's not a big issue - the current round of playtest should focus on the core mechanics anyway instead of the weapon nuances. Plus, the char sheet values work. But inevitably, one of his characters will want to pick up an opponent's weapon. In which case, he needs to understand the logic behind attack and damage for each class.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Disagree with power sources.  They were basically fluff anyway.  Chuck 'em. 


If this was the case, why not just chuck out the pretense, chuck the cleric with the wizard, and call their power source "Magic"?

The non-Divine, non-Arcane, non-Psionic power sources are important in particular settings and particular classes.  Why should Druids be accessing Divine magic if they attune themselves to nature and not gods?  Why should Witches be accessing Arcane magic if they attune themselves to a magic that's older than the study of arcana?  Why should Warlocks be accessing Arcane magic if they are primarily acquiring power through corrupted magic (dark pacts, infernal pacts, far realm/celestial pacts, gloom pacts, etc.)?  Why should Sorcerers be accessing Arcane magic if they themselves are a font of raw magical power?  Why should shugenja or wu jen be Divine classes when they are practitioners of arts that, at most, are relegated to the worship of natural spirits?  Why should runepriests be Divine classes only when the only thing going with their being "Divine" is the fact that they use the same power source as the gods themselves (Words of Creation)?

One of the primary goals of D&D Next is apparently in terms of presentation, and a return to "anything that isn't mind-powered or god-powered or mundane is automatically arcane" is a very big turn-off for me, as it is very fluff-restricted, basically stating that there are only four sources of power in the game (the gods, the mind, the arcane arts, or normal).

While I can houserule all this, if making stuff up is harder than removing stuff, then adding power sources and ensuring that the power source has a more unique twist than divine or arcane under a different name (possibly including creating an entire subsystem as part of this effort) is well beyond the scope of my normal gaming habits as a DM.

Not Related to D&D Next

Personally I would've gone out of my way and changed the power sources of the following classes, if I really had set my heart to it:


  • Warlock - Shadow

  • Hexblade - Shadow

  • Binder - Shadow

  • Sorcerer - Elemental

  • Runepriest - Arcane, Divine, Primal

  • Seeker - Arcane

  • Elementalist - Elemental

  • Sha'ir - Elemental

  • Witch - Primal

  • Monk - Psionic, Martial

  • Paladin - Divine, Martial

  • Cavalier - Divine, Martial (only because of the celestial steed actually)

  • Blackguard - Martial


 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Disagree with power sources.  They were basically fluff anyway.  Chuck 'em. 


If this was the case, why not just chuck out the pretense, chuck the cleric with the wizard, and call their power source "Magic"?

The non-Divine, non-Arcane, non-Psionic power sources are important in particular settings and particular classes.  Why should Druids be accessing Divine magic if they attune themselves to nature and not gods?  Why should Witches be accessing Arcane magic if they attune themselves to a magic that's older than the study of arcana?  Why should Warlocks be accessing Arcane magic if they are primarily acquiring power through corrupted magic (dark pacts, infernal pacts, far realm/celestial pacts, gloom pacts, etc.)?  Why should Sorcerers be accessing Arcane magic if they themselves are a font of raw magical power?  Why should shugenja or wu jen be Divine classes when they are practitioners of arts that, at most, are relegated to the worship of natural spirits?  Why should runepriests be Divine classes only when the only thing going with their being "Divine" is the fact that they use the same power source as the gods themselves (Words of Creation)?



I would assume it works something like
Divine = derived power, regardless of that source
Arcane =  manipulating existing energy, regardless of that source
Psionic = Internally generated

I guess there could be others... I'm not sure the specific words matter all that much, call them wnatever you like... 
Actually, when you look at the class armor proficiencies, the Cleric shouldn't be able to use a Heavy Shield at all: Clerics of Moradin have no Shield proficiencies at all.



Given the first ability of the Defender Theme I think it may give Sheild proficency, although I also think Clerics should get Sheild proficecy as standard.
I would assume it works something like
Divine = derived power, regardless of that source
Arcane =  manipulating existing energy, regardless of that source
Psionic = Internally generated

I guess there could be others... I'm not sure the specific words matter all that much, call them wnatever you like...


And we have pre-4E people complaining how Prone -- a specific word -- affects gelatinous cubes (when they were immune to Trip, not Prone), even though the effect was pretty generic anyway (combat advantage, had to spend a move action to end it or have both -2 to hit and move at half speed only [can't shift]).

By the way, by your wording Warlocks should be Divine because they derive their powers from otherworldly beings (not deities, but still), and Sorcerers should be Psionic because their very definition in D&D -- fonts of raw mystical power -- means that their power is internally generated. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
As has been said in other threads there's no point in critiquing the PC's because we don't know what unknown character creation extras went into making up their stats.  

The feedback is more about the playtest of the core rules - advantage/disadvantage, spells, movement, how do the rules facilitate role playing, etc.

TBH I wish WOTC would give more guidance about what they want from us for this release.

eg:  Hi playtesters please let us know what your group thinks about the following based on actual gameplay:

advantage/disadvantage
critical hits
healing
if the rules or the adventure facilitates or inhibits role play
etc
etc
 
TBH I wish WOTC would give more guidance about what they want from us for this release.

eg:  Hi playtesters please let us know what your group thinks about the following based on actual gameplay:



That information is in the pack, the scenario and intro letter.
The cover letter mentions the playtest surveys, I am thinking it would be helpful to know what the questions are going to be on the surveys so we can pay attention to those aspects.
 
As has been said in other threads there's no point in critiquing the PC's because we don't know what unknown character creation extras went into making up their stats.  

The feedback is more about the playtest of the core rules - advantage/disadvantage, spells, movement, how do the rules facilitate role playing, etc.

TBH I wish WOTC would give more guidance about what they want from us for this release.

eg:  Hi playtesters please let us know what your group thinks about the following based on actual gameplay:

advantage/disadvantage
critical hits
healing
if the rules or the adventure facilitates or inhibits role play
etc
etc
 


Actually, given how the core rules would include attacks of opportunity, spell-character interactions, and other things that require input from the PCs and players, even if the character creation rules don't exist yet, the very fact that you have
1. Discrepancies between character pre-gen information and "how to play" information (HP generation, weapon damage in particular, as both would help determine how quick combat is [too much HP and too little damage would result in too slow and grindy combat, too little HP and too much damage would result in too fast and swingy combat])
2. The desire to give nod to previous editions, yet lack basic components that are considered "core" to every edition (including alignment, attacks of opportunity, and other seemingly "basic" features)

does affect the reviews of the playtest.  You have to note that the main objective of D&D Next is to bring together all edition players by giving them a system that will grant them the same feel and appearance as their favorite edition, at least up to a certain point where compromise has to be made in order to appease as many sides as possible.

That said, if I was to give a particularly biased opinion and analysis of the playtest, it is simply as thus: until the system's rules actually help me as a DM -- as opposed to "here's the barebones system, fudge it up as you go" -- I might actually be tempted to say "I'm glad I didn't run anything pre-4E".  But even as a 4venger, I shall keep my final judgement on the system until I see it completed, and instead provide the following suggestions:

1. Core rules should provide options, not restrictions.  Ability scores could be point buy, array or 4d6 drop lowest.  Hit points and hit dice could be average, maxed or rolled.  Opportunity attacks should be presented as an optional system.  Long rests could either grant only hit dice, or also hit points.
2. Spells should be easier to run, not just easier to read.  Power cards and spell blocks were easier to understand and faster to run.
3. Rules overall should make DMing an easier job.  I don't want to require finding "good DMs" to play D&D, even "average DMs" should suffice, which means the tools given to the DM by the system developers should minimize or remove rules and fluff debates on the game table.
4. Save or die has to be dealt with IMMEDIATELY.  Like in 1 and 3, the rules should provide options, because while "good DMs" can easily houserule and fix things, "average DMs" will likely stick to the rules mostly because they would likely be uncomfortable without either a veteran group nudging them or the rules helping them.  So for example, you could give the medusa a +2 cone attack that deals 1d8 damage and activates the "stone glare" effect, with stone glare having options, like "creatures affected by stone glare will be petrified at a rate determined by the DM; some DMs may opt for a single Dexterity save to avoid the gaze, while others may opt for an additional Constitution save to steel the target against the petrification should the target fail his Dexterity save.  At the DM's discretion, only targets with hit points above 20 might be granted the Constitution save."

Personally I would rather return to the "encounter" rather than the "daily" setup, in part because I would rather avoid a system where either DM vs. Player is heavily tolerated, or "DM fixes everything" is the norm.  Not everybody has the time or interest in spending hours trying to set up adventures that take only a fraction of that time to complete, I thoroughly dislike playing games-on-rails (I'd rather leave that to computer games), and I would rather that the game caters to, and encourages, on-the-fly/impromptu play, especially when you consider that whenever players do something completely out of what the DM has prepared, teaching DMs to encourage that with their players and guiding them on how to deal with those situations is, at least in my opinion, a far better way to run D&D than "no that doesn't happen".

[ And for the record, I would like to say that of all the philosophies mentioned by Mike Mearls with regards to D&D Next, the one that I disliked the most goes something like "it's alright for one class to dominate a particular encounter, other classes can dominate later on".  I don't mind players and PCs shining from time to time, but I'd rather that the story the PCs make would make them shine, as opposed to the classes that the players chose would make them shine.  Especially since just about every citation Mike Mearls had on his L&L regarding wizard dominating one encounter, rogue dominating another, etc. was primarily story stuff, and not rules stuff... so why chain rules to the story? ]
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
A little update: I may be moving "Advantage/Disadvantage" from "Good" to "Neutral" (probably even "Bad" if playtest results point to such), because while the representation is good with normal single attacks, multiple saves or attacks with advantage/disadvantage can cause a far more significant delay in combat resolution than expected, as you double the number of rolls per attack.

For area attacks, might I suggest something from Star Wars: Saga Edition?  Instead of multiple different attack rolls, just have one attack roll or saving throw roll and compare to the relevant DEX/CON modifiers.

And frankly I prefer the use of 4E minion rules.  Even if their stats wouldn't scale in this itineration of D&D, the fact that they only have one die roll (attack) instead of two (attack and damage) means that 40 kobold minions would be rolling 80 dice when they have advantage, not 120 dice. PLUS, if they're meant to die in one hit from the fighter anyway, why overcomplicate things?
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I thought your basic rundown was not bad. I'll reserve judgment on advantage/disadvantage, but I think one good thing about it is that it is a steep bonus/penalty (roughly +/- 4). This allows for things like a bunch of weaker monsters jumping a party and representing a threat right off while they have advantage and then being dismissed pretty quickly (due to being generally outclassed) and not requiring slogging through the debacle as much (this would happen in 4e generally because a weak group of monsters could NEVER really be a threat, even with surprise, not even on round one, so you'd need to use at least an at-level group, which takes time to work through and minions just don't cut it there).  The potentially excessive dice rolling could be a downside though. A straight up +/- 4 might work out better in the long run.  Honestly I think 4e's tendency to just give each basic monster one attack and have the damage scale is generally preferable to multi-attacks anyway. Maybe we'll see some experimentation in that direction.

I'd point out that a similar thing goes for monster healing. I noticed at least one boss monster that has CLW. It would be again better to just build this kind of healing into the monsters initial hit points and have monster leader powers all focus on buffs or debuffs (they can be of the 'one shot' or 'command an attack' variety to keep them simple to use).  Making the DM make complex trade-off choices like "do I heal or attack" every round is also less than ideal really. Monster choices should be kept real simple whenever possible.

Which brings me to the observation that you didn't make. Clerical healing is WAY too good. This is the inevitable consequence of depriving everyone else of healing options. The healbot is back, in spades. This could change of course, and at least theoretically other classes could match this, but it isn't a good sign. I think cheap freely available healing potions is also a big negative for the sort of tone I like to set in my games at least.

I'm very much not fond of either the monster statblock or the spellblock formats either as they stand. These need some real work to escape the 'ugly' category, but that's at least something that can easily be addressed further along. I don't expect they spent a ton of time on making their stuff pretty.

A lot of the core rules stuff is good though, as far as it goes. We actually lack any kind of explanation of how to conduct combat beyond turn sequence, but I kind of suspect they're avoiding the minefield inherent in that right now and maybe hoping to see what people come up with. There are clearly a lot of potential rules to be added in there anyway (some of which are hinted at in the bestiary, like the charge rule). You could play out combat using basically using a 4e style grid or not I guess as it stands now, so presumably playtesters will try various things.

The other observation is that some of the spells, for all that they are level 1 and 2 have some rather absolute effects. Command "jump off the cliff" and Charm Person particularly. This is problematic because of the number of spells casters get right off. A level 1 wizard can cast 3 charms a day. Given there's nothing in between at-will and daily the design space is pretty constrained. I think we need to see some adjustments in spell level at least, or else there needs to be some real scale this by slot level stuff so that the more absolute effects are at least pushed back to less abundant slots.
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It's late local time so this post might be a bit messy, but I want to say that, like the OP, I strongly dislike magic being completely Vancian.  I personally prefer the at-will/ encounter / daily system of 4e (and I'm glad at-wills are back for casters, and although I worry about scaling issues I assume that part of the game isn't done yet).  I don't enjoy trying to shepard scare resources (i.e. spells) around an unknown number of encounters - I want some real, powerful abilities that I can just unleash every fight.

Going back to combat and non-combat spells drawing from the same resource pool is also a mistake.  Again, picking between a spell with an obvious combat usage and a spell with an out-of-combat use that you might get to use isn't fun, it's just bookkeeping and guessing at which sort of power you want to trade off.

My off-the-top-of-my-head solution would be rituals being prepared from a seperate pool.  You get x combat spells per day and y rituals.

Did I mention how much I like powers you can use once an encounter?  They really help shape the flow of the game in 4e, letting a party stretch their resouces some to avoid the "15 minute workday" of high-level casters in earlier editions while limiting party power in each individual fight so fights were still challenging.
A straight up +/- 4 might work out better in the long run.  Honestly I think 4e's tendency to just give each basic monster one attack and have the damage scale is generally preferable to multi-attacks anyway. Maybe we'll see some experimentation in that direction.


I prefer that everyone and everything just be given one attack and one damage roll (with multi-target attacks being really hard to acquire, and mostly just being a modified area attack (see previous post on my preferred area mechanic)).  But yeah, modifying advantage/disadvantage to static modifiers seem like a better option than multi-rolls.

I'd also suggest that they bring back swarm rules and just add the straggler options as well; swarm rules allowed you to have thousands of kobolds in the map without the overcomplication of rolling thousands of attack rolls.

I'd point out that a similar thing goes for monster healing. I noticed at least one boss monster that has CLW. It would be again better to just build this kind of healing into the monsters initial hit points and have monster leader powers all focus on buffs or debuffs (they can be of the 'one shot' or 'command an attack' variety to keep them simple to use).  Making the DM make complex trade-off choices like "do I heal or attack" every round is also less than ideal really. Monster choices should be kept real simple whenever possible.



I'd rather that the bosses be given "Healing Word" (heal + attack) than "Cure Light Wounds" (just heal) and that monsters in general should be more than just bags of hit points.

Ironic, given how 4E monsters and PCs are often called out for being huge bags of hit points, that D&D Next has only casters being more than fundamentally bags of hit points.  Seriously, if removing options was easier than adding options, then they should've presented the complex fighter with options to make him simple.

Which brings me to the observation that you didn't make. Clerical healing is WAY too good. This is the inevitable consequence of depriving everyone else of healing options. The healbot is back, in spades. This could change of course, and at least theoretically other classes could match this, but it isn't a good sign. I think cheap freely available healing potions is also a big negative for the sort of tone I like to set in my games at least.


Noted.  I'd put that in "Ugly" as a subsection of "Hit Point Progression", as it effectively blows up the party's HP to insane proportions.  Even if the cleric class was made optional by introducing other "divine" or even "arcane" or "psionic" classes, magical healing is still nowhere near optional in this system, should the DM end up running a particularly strong encounter.

I'm very much not fond of either the monster statblock or the spellblock formats either as they stand. These need some real work to escape the 'ugly' category, but that's at least something that can easily be addressed further along. I don't expect they spent a ton of time on making their stuff pretty.


They seemed to have spent too much time making the Vancian spells and Fighter abilities look pretty, at least.
A lot of the core rules stuff is good though, as far as it goes. We actually lack any kind of explanation of how to conduct combat beyond turn sequence, but I kind of suspect they're avoiding the minefield inherent in that right now and maybe hoping to see what people come up with. There are clearly a lot of potential rules to be added in there anyway (some of which are hinted at in the bestiary, like the charge rule). You could play out combat using basically using a 4e style grid or not I guess as it stands now, so presumably playtesters will try various things.


Combat is actually laid out in "How to Play".  You determine surprise, you determine initiative (surprised combatants get -20 to their initiative), then go though the rounds until combat is completely resolved.  A turn is simply one action, with the option to move as part of your action.  Pick one of the appropriate actions -- attack, cast a spell, coup de grace, dodge, help, hide, hustle, improvise, ready an action, search, use an item -- and that's it (almost reminds me of Final Fantasy series, actually).

4E can be run without a grid (although without a map it'll be much harder), as you can easily say that 1 square = 5 feet = 1.5 meters = 1 inch or any other form of measurement, so a creature moving 5 squares will always move 5 inches regardless where exactly his character will end up in, although the charge option does have to be clarified, because initially there's no real need to stand next to any opponent, and in fact it'll be difficult to actually protect the guys at the back because the enemy can simply hustle towards the caster, and the whole game might end up as a marathon instead of a fight.

The other observation is that some of the spells, for all that they are level 1 and 2 have some rather absolute effects. Command "jump off the cliff" and Charm Person particularly. This is problematic because of the number of spells casters get right off. A level 1 wizard can cast 3 charms a day. Given there's nothing in between at-will and daily the design space is pretty constrained. I think we need to see some adjustments in spell level at least, or else there needs to be some real scale this by slot level stuff so that the more absolute effects are at least pushed back to less abundant slots.


Definitely falls under "Messy Spells" and "Magic still trumps everything else".

Frankly I wouldn't mind wizards being executed in this fashion (assuming 20 level gameplay):

Class Level - Cantrips / Level 1 spell slots / Level 2 Spell Slots / Level 3 Spell Slots / Level 4 Spell Slots / Level 5 Spell Slots / Level 6 Spell Slots / Level 7 Spell Slots / Level 8 Spell slots / Level 9 Spell Slots

1 - 2
2 - 2 / 1
3 - 2 / 1
4 - 2 / 1 / 1
5 - 2 / 1 / 1
6 - 3 / 1 / 1 / 1
7 - 3 / 1 / 1 / 1
8 - 3 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
9 - 3 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
10 - 3 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
11 - 4 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
12 - 4 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
13 - 4 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
14 - 4 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1
15 - 4 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
16 - 5 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
17 - 5 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
18 - 5 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
19 - 5 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
20 - 5 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1

That's five cantrips, four level 1 spells, three level 2 to level 4 spells, two level 5 to level 7 spells, and one level 8 & level 9 & level 10 spells.  At worst that's 27 spells to choose from, at best that's 15 spells to choose from.  Given how 4E gives everyone (except humans and specific builds) 2 at-wills, 5 encounter powers (with themes), 4 dailies, and 5 utilities [a total of 16 powers, maybe going as high as 27 when certain builds and items are taken into account], this should bring it down to more manageable levels.

Although frankly I'd rather restrict the whole thing to 5 cantrips, 1 level 1 spell 4x a day, 1 level 2 spell 3x a day, and so on.
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Going back to combat and non-combat spells drawing from the same resource pool is also a mistake.  Again, picking between a spell with an obvious combat usage and a spell with an out-of-combat use that you might get to use isn't fun, it's just bookkeeping and guessing at which sort of power you want to trade off.

My off-the-top-of-my-head solution would be rituals being prepared from a seperate pool.  You get x combat spells per day and y rituals.


I agree.  One of the things I liked the most about 4E is that you did not have to choose to be effective in any of the three classic pillars of an RPG or what not (even though the numbers made it seem as such).  The "DM's Best Friend" as written in DMG p.42 is explicitly stated to be a guideline, and nothing says that a background bonus should be limited to just +2, and it's only a sample *optional* houserule that says you auto-fail skill checks on a 1.  Thus, I simply rule out the need to roll dice when success or failure is inevitable (as it's a logical conclusion anyway), and only require rolls when there is a point of contention to be resolved.

I'm glad that D&D Next made this explicit in their DM Guidelines, but the fact that the rules make just about everything except spells the DM's job makes the whole thing rather annoying, as it just throws the work back at the DM to ensure that the spellcasters don't trump the non-casters (as pointed out in "Magic still trumps everything else").

I want magic to be an alternative, not the go-to.  I want it to be powerful, but not the first thing PCs go for and certainly not the headache of the DM.  But to have Charm, Command, Grease, Sleep and other clearly questionable and excessively open-ended spells?

If anything, it's certaintly testing my patience as DM.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging

- Sadly, vancian magic is probably not going to go away, it's just one of those things where they can't make everyone happy. Unfortunately for us 4E fans, we represent a smaller demographic than the combined fandoms of every other edition (all of which used vancian magic.) Oh well, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, and with any luck there might eventually be a module for modifying the magic system. I doubt it, but I can dream.



I've already stated this in another area of the Wizards Community, but didn't get a response.

Basically, what i personally propose is that IF D&D 5E will include Wizards AND Sorcerers, that a better representation of Sorcerers would be the Powers system of 4E OR a Spell Point system that is smoothed out and well integrated. In the meantime, Wizards would remain as they were before 4E, using the Vancian system.

It would be no large issue to go in and simply attribute a simple Spell Point cost to each spell. Wizards would ignore that, and Sorcerers would ignore Spell Slots.

Just as with DDO, Sorcerers would obtain a smaller available spell list but with more frequent casting ability, while Wizards obtain the entire Arcane spell list, which must be learned, memorized, prepared, fired, and forgotten.

I think this caters to both the Vancian crowd and the anti-Vancian crowd, while further differenciating between the flavors of spell casters and making the inclusion of a Sorcerer class make sense. Clerics have their deities, Druids have their forces of nature, Wizards have their spellbooks, and Sorcerers have their innate ability to use limited magic whenever they want. 

 Furthermore, i like the ability to use rituals for spells not already prepared, and cantrips for small effects that won't take away from a spell caster's combat utility.

Since i'm here, i might as well chime in on Fighters. I thought it was cool that every class got a power or three to use in combat that made it interesting. I know the major complaint was that everyone ended up feeling samey, and that is a problem for some (or most) players, but i think that in moderation, Fighters could do with a decent skill set of their own. Maybe nothing as extensive as the spell lists, after all, one of the nice things about fighters is their simplicity. Roll your character, grab some equipment, and start whacking goblins! It's nice, it's fun, it's easy to start with. So, maybe Level 1 Fighters wouldn't get any special skills, but later on they could get some skills to add flavor to combat.

Bull Rushes, Cleaves, Wall Jumps, Rolling Strikes, Shield Breaking Blows,  Fear Inducing War Cries, Courage Inducing Mottoes, Dual Wielding Mastery vs Multiple Opponents with a single attack. 

Make the Fighter worth playing with a swashbuckling, center stage, flare again!

Watch Val Kilmer in Willow. That's what i'm talking about. I want to play a Madmartigan style Fighter who is capable of pulling some crazy stunts, but doesn't instantly become the superhero of the campaign. People complained when magic users made fighters useless, so we don't need to swing to the other extreme either.
It's late local time so this post might be a bit messy, but I want to say that, like the OP, I strongly dislike magic being completely Vancian.  I personally prefer the at-will/ encounter / daily system of 4e (and I'm glad at-wills are back for casters, and although I worry about scaling issues I assume that part of the game isn't done yet).  I don't enjoy trying to shepard scare resources (i.e. spells) around an unknown number of encounters - I want some real, powerful abilities that I can just unleash every fight.

Going back to combat and non-combat spells drawing from the same resource pool is also a mistake.  Again, picking between a spell with an obvious combat usage and a spell with an out-of-combat use that you might get to use isn't fun, it's just bookkeeping and guessing at which sort of power you want to trade off.

My off-the-top-of-my-head solution would be rituals being prepared from a seperate pool.  You get x combat spells per day and y rituals.

Did I mention how much I like powers you can use once an encounter?  They really help shape the flow of the game in 4e, letting a party stretch their resouces some to avoid the "15 minute workday" of high-level casters in earlier editions while limiting party power in each individual fight so fights were still challenging.



I think many people against the encounter powers wasn't so much taking the Wizard off his 15 minute workday, so much as putting everybody else on a 15 minute workday.

That said, a lot of people myself included don't mind resource management being a method of creating a tense situation. While having some powers that are weak be 'at will', basically giving the wizard something to do even if he blows all his spells in one sitting, and even the occasional 'per encounter' spell or feat, having the majority of powers reset every 5 minutes really made the game feel, to some, to be more like a console or computer game than a 'role playing simulation' sort of game. Vancian magic or 'Spell Points' does that a lot better, even though Spell Points is a lot more math and it seems few 'camps' want that.

The 'simulation' crowd though is never going to be happy with encounter powers that aren't magical or easily dismissably explainable in some way, so I hope that they don't, as core at least, bring back the "Fighter now is on a 15 minute work day too".

But, hey, maybe mods will fix that. And the game is meant to be modular. What they should do for playtesting next is break out 3 very simple mods for this same adventure module, one for AD&D 2nd flavor, one for 3.X flavor and one for 4E flavor. And allow GMs and players see how they fit together at all, if they can. So each crowd can see how the game fits into their flavor, and also allow us to see how compatable a mix of 2 or 3 or more eras can 'fit' in one gaming table.

See how a game in the Caverns of Chaos can roll if the fighter's suddenly closer to 4E and the Wizard is suddenly closer to 3.5, or vice versa, and what not.

The core game has to be as simple as it can be, while providing a few options, so it's going to seem 'way too simple' in a lot of areas. The 4E people who want a lot of powers and 'abilities' for classes like fighter are never going to be happy until they see some 4E flavored mods to this game, same as the AD&D people aren't going to be as happy until they see more ways to remove things like 'Theme' and replace them with something else.

I think it's too early for people to make too many baseline decisions like "There's not enough Fighter Powers", yet. I am a bit optimistic though because while I do see a lot of people having concerns and some complaints, I do see a lot from all eras of the game liking a lot of the same stuff. There's a lot more overlap than I honestly expected.