Yet Another Playtest Report

It was a relatively short session, but I figured I'd write this up as a walkthrough, highlighting any issues/comments as they arose.


We had four players, playing: wizard, fighter, rogue, cleric (pelor).  Spent some time going over the character sheets.  In particular, sorting out the rogue's sneak attack mechanics.


Discussion - how will rogues without the Lurker theme or Ambusher feat be able to sneak attack in melee?   Hopefully other themes will provide these methods (e.g. a 'vexing flanker theme' who gains advantage when flanking, a 'beguiler theme' who gains advantage by feinting/bluffing).  Still, at this point it looks like the rogue's damage output will be about half of the fighter's (since half his turns will be spent hiding or he'll spend all his turns without sneak attack).


Read the intro text, and hit the canyon.  (I even busted out my own copy of the B2 map from my D&D Gazeteer...!)  Immediately called for a spot check to determine which cave openings they could see.  High roll meant they had spied everything, even the openings behind bushes and trees.


The party decided that the opening hidden behind the biggest bushes must be the most important/lucrative, and so headed for cave G.


After reading the description, the Wizard asked to try to identify the stench, and succeeded on an Intelligence/lore check.  He knows his stinks.  They continued into the cave, now knowing that the smell was of rotting flesh.  They spent long enough at the cave entrance (area 32) that I rolled for a random encounter, but came up dry.


Discussion -  what mechanical impact does low/dim light have?  After hunting around for a bit, we decided it really only means you have more opportunities to hide (as you'll be obscured more often), and has no obvious penalty.


The party continued on to the murky pool (area 33), and again, an eagle-eyed PC spotted the oozes lurking in the pool.  Rolled for initiative.


Combat #1 (party vs. three gray oozes) highlights



  • Rogue never had advantage, didn't sneak attack once.

  • The party's tactics really shifted once weapon and armor damage started -- everyone switched to ranged weapons / spells.

  • Ray of frost was crucial for crowd-control.

  • Really noticed the lack of tactical combat rules -- in particular no stated movement cost for diagonals (which I quickly house-ruled to 3.5 one-then-two squares) and no opporunity attacks (which we left stand as was).


After the fight, everyone spent their Hit Die and moved on to the other end of the cavern (area 34) where they heard something that was awakened by their battle.


Combat #2 (party vs. owlbear) highlights



  • Rogue finally used sneak attack, one time.

  • Ray of frost trivialized the encounter.  However, the one time it didn't hit, the fighter got one-shotted by the owlbear. 

  • This time, everyone switched to ranged weapons when they saw the fighter get mauled.

  • Treasure included a scroll for a spell not included in the playtest materials (protection from undead).  I assumed it was a level 1 spell for purposes of resale.

  • They decided to skin the owlbear, assuming its parts had some intrinsic value.  (Intelligence check by the Wizard highlighted what was worth saving.)


It was a long, grindy fight, with the only tension coming from the wizard's turn: will ray of frost hit or will someone die?


After that, they dragged their wounded carcasses back to the (unmentioned) Keep to repair and recouperate.  That's when they realised they didn't have nearly enough money to repair all the acid damage from the oozes.


Consensus was it had a very old-school feel to it, and we can't wait for the next batch of material (hopefully with a few more of these lauded optional rules modules highlighted).

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

I assume the Ray of Frost was crucual becuase locking down individual tough monsters by freexing their movement kept the party alive.

I'm not sure if the cantrip is balanced, personally. It does nearly nothing to archers and casters, but melee characters are up the creek if they get hit.

What were your observations based on the events of the session? What was it like DMing the game? 
DM'ing was pretty smooth.  Kind of hard to tell precisely how much of the burden has been lifted since it was level 1 play (which is uniformly simple to DM across editions).  Players were able to pick up the character sheets and play within 5 minutes, so that says something I guess.

The encounters they did were tough, but my bad rolls certainly helped.  (Three consecutive attacks on the wizard missed.  Missed AC 11!)  

The biggest thing I found lacking was the tactical rules (which I know we've been promised later).  Still, we made it work on the grid.  For example, I had to fudge the map slightly to give the (size Large) owlbear some elbow room (not that it mattered, since he was ultimately locked down for the fight).

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Ook!  One more thing -- critical hits were totally lackluster.  Max damage just doesn't have the oomph.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Ook!  One more thing -- critical hits were totally lackluster.  Max damage just doesn't have the oomph.

What would you prefer from critical hits - double damage, or an additional secondary effect added on?

I'm tempted to go with double damage, and let players choose a Module that lets them trade the extra damage form a critical hit in order to inflict a penalty on their opponent. Say, breaking their arm for -2 damage, or hitting them in the head for -1 AC. Rolled randomly on a table by the DM, of course. 
Basically, max damage didn't scratch the itch.  Didn't feel "critical".  Double damage, extra effects... something.

At one point didn't they suggest each class would have a different "critical hit die" to roll for extra damage?  (Which could be as simple as co-opting the Hit Die mechanic they've introduced.)


Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Basically, max damage didn't scratch the itch.  Didn't feel "critical".  Double damage, extra effects... something.

At one point didn't they suggest each class would have a different "critical hit die" to roll for extra damage?  (Which could be as simple as co-opting the Hit Die mechanic they've introduced.)



That's a good idea, actually. What kind of dice do you feel would be appropriate for each class?

Clerics feel like they would have the lowest die type (d4), with Wizard having one step higher (d6), Fighters having a die two steps higher than the Wizard (d10), and the Rogues having the highest critical hit die (d12). After all, they are specialists with precision damage.

So max damage plus critical die. Perhaps there could be a critical hit table, with values 1 through 12, with the best effects having a higher value. So instead of rolling damage, you roll your Critical  die and inflict that status effect.

How does that sound? 
Basically, max damage didn't scratch the itch.  Didn't feel "critical".  Double damage, extra effects... something.

At one point didn't they suggest each class would have a different "critical hit die" to roll for extra damage?  (Which could be as simple as co-opting the Hit Die mechanic they've introduced.)



That's a good idea, actually. What kind of dice do you feel would be appropriate for each class?

Clerics feel like they would have the lowest die type (d4), with Wizard having one step higher (d6), Fighters having a die two steps higher than the Wizard (d10), and the Rogues having the highest critical hit die (d12). After all, they are specialists with precision damage.

So max damage plus critical die. Perhaps there could be a critical hit table, with values 1 through 12, with the best effects having a higher value. So instead of rolling damage, you roll your Critical  die and inflict that status effect.

How does that sound? 


Never was fond of the crit tables, but I know some people were.

As for extra damage, the class healing Hit Dice seem pretty much in line (and thus saves some space/confusion).  Rogues get a d6 because their "precision expertise" is already captured with sneak attack; Fighters with their martial training earn a d10; Clerics get some divine oomph for a d8; Wizards get a d4 because it's magic (shrug). 

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

I'd still go with a different sequence. The precision fighter only getting an extra 1d6 damage on a critical hit seems wrong.

Also fighters have d12 hit dice apparently. According to the playtest. 
Re: extra damage -- I'm of the opinion that the lucky shots (i.e. critical hits) and precise shots (i.e. sneak attack) need to stay separate; one's a general mechanic that everyone can do, and the other is limited by class features.  But I also agree it might be a tough sell.  

Re: d12 -- well I'll be.  (Too busy DM'ing to read the pesky details on all the character sheets.   )

 

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Basically, max damage didn't scratch the itch.  Didn't feel "critical".  Double damage, extra effects... something.

At one point didn't they suggest each class would have a different "critical hit die" to roll for extra damage?  (Which could be as simple as co-opting the Hit Die mechanic they've introduced.)



That's a good idea, actually. What kind of dice do you feel would be appropriate for each class?

Clerics feel like they would have the lowest die type (d4), with Wizard having one step higher (d6), Fighters having a die two steps higher than the Wizard (d10), and the Rogues having the highest critical hit die (d12). After all, they are specialists with precision damage.

So max damage plus critical die. Perhaps there could be a critical hit table, with values 1 through 12, with the best effects having a higher value. So instead of rolling damage, you roll your Critical  die and inflict that status effect.

How does that sound? 


Never was fond of the crit tables, but I know some people were.

As for extra damage, the class healing Hit Dice seem pretty much in line (and thus saves some space/confusion).  Rogues get a d6 because their "precision expertise" is already captured with sneak attack; Fighters with their martial training earn a d10; Clerics get some divine oomph for a d8; Wizards get a d4 because it's magic (shrug). 



I like where you're going with that, but suppose we take it a step further?  What if each class got a bonus depending on the type of attack they were doing?

Yeah, I can see Wizards getting +1d4 on their attacks with a Quarterstaff.  However, they are practiced in their magic - it is their ART.  Their LIFE.  Suppose they got a +1d6 for criticals with magic instead?  We could even take it one step further and assume they're going to release backgrounds/themes that allow for Wizards to specialize.  Maybe their crit die with their specialty increase by one step?

Clerics would get a little trickier to handle in that way.  Maybe since they're not supposed to be as aggressive with their magic they only get a +1d4 to their spells and a +1d6 on their weapon attacks, then their diety/background/theme could potentially increase crit die?

Fighters would be simple:  Start them with a higher crit die, like +1d10, and give them a step higher for specialties granted by whatever options are granted.

Rouges already kind of get this with sneak attack stuffs.  Maybe a crit die of +1d6, step it up if they are doing whatever qualifies them for sneak attack damage?  Might be a little much, though.  :/  Rouges have never really been my strong suit - I normally play/cast NPCs in support roles since the entire party thinks Strikers and the heavy damage dealers are awesome and don't need support. [/rant]
Custom Races
Kt'Lahn (Last Update: Oct 22, 2010)
Noble tiger people who will do almost anything to maintain honor.

Custom Classes
Soulforged (Last Update: Jul 23, 2010)
Incarnum Defender

PEACH if you would.

I am Red/White
I am Red/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

Sign In to post comments