DM David Playtest Report

Party of 4 PCs: Both clerics, rogue, wizard

Our observations:

Insufficient Mundane Healing
There is simply not enough; evident even after the first fight. Our Moradin cleric took 13 damage (lucky rolls), Palor cleric took 3. Palor cleric only had one cure light wounds left after the fight, plus the 1 HD healing kit... now Moradin cleric is still 4 HP down and has no more HD for mundane healing, Palor cleric is 3 HP down and is out of spells.

This is after the first fight! Yes, Moradin cleric has a couple healing word spells, but then what? Use our single healing potion? We certainly understand these are 1st level characters, and expect a healthy amount of healing limitations early on, but even with 2 clerics, we're feeling the pinch after a single fight.

To be fair, the limited healing resources caused the group started to think ahead for better strategies (rogue recon, Moradin cleric use "dodge" action while drawing them out so wizard could burning hands). Regardless, the mundane healing feels light.

Showing No Injuries, But Can't Heal
Page 12 (how to play) points out at/above half max HP, you have no signs of injury. At less than half, you have a few cuts and bruises. Only at 0 or less do you get a bleeding injury. Yes, I completely understand that HP is an abstraction. But, these descriptions simply do not mesh with the mundane healing presented in "short rest" on page 13. Let's say you've already used your 1 HD via a healing kit to heal up to full. You now have a fight that lasts literally 1 round (6 seconds and not at all fatiguing), and take a tiny bit of damage, dropping you to 3/4 of max HP. According to them, you have no signs on injury, yet you cannot use a healing kit or rest up to recover the lost HP. It's just goofy.

Our current thoughts on solutions are:
1) allow PCs to share HD as a group for short rest healing via kits (wizard can lend his unspent HD to cleric as a "Thank you for taking the damage for me in that fight"), or
2) allow a PCs daily pool to be HD + Constitution modifier (giving our Moradin cleric 1 more use of healing kit per day), or
3) allow PCs that take a short rest to make a DC 10 Con check to heal back HP = Con mod x character level (treat this as the new version of second wind, essentially letting PCs catch their breath and reduce fatigue)

Surprise
Should be +20 initiative to those who are aware/surprising instead. Same result, but quicker to compute and avoids weird factor of negative initiatives.

Rogue / Night Vision
(1) This should be acquired at level one, even if you have to move other cool things (like skill mastery) to level 2. It's crippling to be the halfling rogue in the darkness of the caves and unable to see. Can't see, move at half speed and disadvantage on attacks negating his rogue feature of advantage when hidden.
(2) How does this power interact with a race like elf that already has low-light vision? In our opinion, it would be neat to see it step up one level, and treat darkness as normal light.

Kobold / Light Sensitivity
Presumedly the light hurts their eyes, which is why they have a disadvantage to attacks. If so, they should also have disadvantage on checks based on sight (such as spot, search).

Kobold / Strength in Numbers
4 PCs and 8 Kobolds at start. PC sleeps 5 of the kobolds, leaving only 3 awake. Does their strength in numbers feature still function, since all 8 are still alive? We ruled no, since it seemed like a morale thing of seeing their buddies swarm foes together. However, the kobolds are stupid enough, that you could argue they would be amused by the loud snoring of their buddies, but still feel that they outnumber the PCs.

Coup de Grace & Spiritual Hammer
Can you use a spiritual hammer spell to deliver a coup de grace? The hammer is adjancent to the foe, but the caster is not.

Unconscious & Dex
Kobolds were knocked unconscious due to sleep spell. Kobold is wearing leather, which grants full Dex to AC, even when unconscious. Very odd! Especially considering they auto fail Dex saves when unconscious. Coup de grace attempt missed the foe's AC, even with advantage, but would have hit if the foe was denied Dex to AC.

Sleep Spell
When a foe gets woken up, when do they get to act? Immediately?

Casting in Silence
Page 23 (how to play) says if you are silenced, you cannot cast a spell. For clarity, it should say that you cannot cast spells while silenced unless the silencing effects specifies otherwise. For example, the Silence spell says you can make a DC 15 Int check to cast in the silenced area, which contradicts the page 23 rule.

Spell Attack Stat
Page 24 (how to play) says you "seldom" use Str or Dex for attack spells, which implies that sometimes you do. To be absolutely clear, it should say that you always use your magical ability stat unless the power says otherwise. Spiritual hammer says make a melee attack. We assume the cleric uses Wisdom, but it was still initially a moment of confusion.

Rogue Perception
Your rogue pregen had a Perception -1. Perhaps this was on purpose. But to make him an effective scout (which we usually consider a rogue to be), he would have to choose the soldier background (+3, and trained to kick in skill mastery), and even possibly consider an elf race for the advantage on those checks. This feels a little bit like "background tax" (like feat tax). I'm hopeful that there are other rogue class feature choices that we're simply not seeing in the pregen that allow for the class to grant scouting abilities, rather than having to resort to cherry picking race/background to cover it. I.E., I'd like to still be a commoner background rogue, but be good at preception checks.

Healing Word
It's fine that this power heals less than cure light wounds, but the fact that you can roll a 1 is painful. Spells are a powerful resource, and we believe this spell should be reworked to be 1d4+2 or 1d4+half casting stat mod or to result in a better minimum.

[edit/added]

Checks for Common Tasks (Examples of Skills)
Page 6 (DM Guidlines) lists common tasks, also known as the former skills. This kind of thing should really be listed in the "how to play" for players. I ended up making a list of these for them for quick reference. We understand the new move to checks being based on stats, and thus, no longer needing a formal list of skills on the character sheet. But, it also has the side effect of making players take pause, and wonder, "What else can I do?" Even if you don't list tasks/checks/skills on the character sheet, I believe the player's info packet should have a nice large list of examples (larger than those listed in the DM Guidelines even) to ignite their imagination.

Check Totals on Character Sheet
At a bare minimum, there should be a place on the character sheet for key skills and their totals. Take the rogue sheet. It has a background with skill bonuses. It also has a rogue scheme/thief class feature with skill bonuses. The lists are in different places too. I ended up hand-writing totals, such as stealth +6, perception -1, and so on. I also pointed out which skills were trained with an asterik (and thus, qualified for skill mastery).

Special Manuevers
Until we hear otherwise, we plan on using "contests" (opposed checks from DM Guidelines) for things like Trip, Disarm, Sunder, Grapple, Overrun, etc. For Charge, we are considering it granting enemies advantage on their attacks against you for a turn (rather than disadvantage on your charge attack), as you give up some of your defensive posture to race across the battlefield.
This is good stuff!  I'm mainly posting so I can refer back to this after we play next week.
Nice info here!  I'll be sure to keep some of these observations in mind while I get a session going with some friends later on.
Thank you. Overall, we thought Wizards was "on to something" good here. These were just the first things that jumped out to us as requiring some refinement.
Thank you. Overall, we thought Wizards was "on to something" good here. These were just the first things that jumped out to us as requiring some refinement.


Yeah, from what I can tell, a lot of the sentiment regarding core mechanics seem to be at least relatively positive.  I really want to jump in and try it out myself, so I can get a feel for some of these elements, but reading other DM's accounts really helps. 
Another interest tidbit. I know they haven't released all the tactical play rules yet, but what we have now does not make reference to things like Trip, Bull Rush, Disarm, Overrun, etc.

For our game, we plan to toss in a "contest" (the opposed check listed in the DM Guidelines) for most of that. I'm guessing it will work fine.

Also, players were initially suspect of the concept that 10 disadvantages can be negated by a single advantage. But I think in actual play, that kind of situation will be rare. So when you step back, and examine the adv/disadv system "over time" so to speak, I would imagine it smooths out to being a good enough representation of handling circumstantial/situational modifiers. Plus, it's fast and easy as compared to the former tallying up of +/- modifiers from 15 sources to figure out your final modifier on a roll.

Added more info above to original post.
Healing Word
It's fine that this power heals less than cure light wounds, but the fact that you can roll a 1 is painful. Spells are a powerful resource, and we believe this spell should be reworked to be 1d4+2 or 1d4+half casting stat mod or to result in a better minimum.



My initial though when I saw healing word was, how about it healing magic ability bonus or magic ability bonus +1. I hadn't the chance of seeing it action, however (I have yet to make my players sign up). What would you think of that after actualy playing?


Healing Word
It's fine that this power heals less than cure light wounds, but the fact that you can roll a 1 is painful. Spells are a powerful resource, and we believe this spell should be reworked to be 1d4+2 or 1d4+half casting stat mod or to result in a better minimum.

[edit/added]




I think the easy fix here is either caster's magic modifier added or the healed party member's con score added. The former feels more 'magical,' while the latter feels more intuitive when considering how hit dice healing works. Since CLW adds your magic mod, that probably would be more likely. I think they felt this balanced the fact that you can attack after using it AND that it is ranged where CLW is not. Funny enough, I'd actually prefer HW on the Pelor Cleric and CLW on the Moradin Cleric. Healing at 50 feet and then casting Radiant Lance or a prepared spell just sounds wonderful (or casting a different healing spell!). Healing at 50 feet and hitting it with your hammer is still nice, though.


Special Manuevers
Until we hear otherwise, we plan on using "contests" (opposed checks from DM Guidelines) for things like Trip, Disarm, Sunder, Grapple, Overrun, etc. For Charge, we are considering it granting enemies advantage on their attacks against you for a turn (rather than disadvantage on your charge attack), as you give up some of your defensive posture to race across the battlefield.



I felt contests made the most sense for these kinds of actions as well. The only thing I hadn't decided is if some actions will take up your turn, take your move away or take your action away. I'm probably going to do this on the fly and maybe dependent on the result of the rolls (an overwhelming success for a contest should allow you to attack or move as well, etc). The advantage on charge makes sense as that is what the Orc (I think) has for their ability and it should take your move away for the turn (well, more correctly, you are required to move adjacent to the creature first).
I haven't got to play yet, but I agree the -20 for surprise is just dumb.  I see what they are trying to do but it would be a lot easier to say if your not surprised add +20 to your init.
I wonder if the -20 isn't to keep characters from acting that round. So, the surprisers could theoretically act twice before the surprised. That is assuming that iniative < 1 means you don't act that round.
I agree with you.  I understand what they are trying to do here, but for the playtest, this is not clear and it's hard to give feed back on this one topic.  Im not saying good or bad, just cant really give feed back on it.
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