General Review: Healing Bad, Advantage Good, Movement Great,

Since the playtest packet didn't include any character creation options, or even a good explanation of the attack bonuses listed, my response is going to focus on the actual gameplay. We just played with 1st level characters, so advancing might address some of the issues discussed below. When I looked at the advancements to level three, however, it seemed like most of these issues would still exist.


1: The out-of-combat healing is insufficient:
After each extended encounter the front line was down over half their health. A lot of time was spent convincing party members with half their health to continue the days adventures. Part of this was being used to 4th edition's healing surges which allow for going into the next encounter better prepared. The other part was the knowledge that one or two hits in the next fight would drop an already wounded character.


2: Randomly rolled out-of-combat healing stinks:
In the same vein as point 1, the fighter can vary from restoring 3/20 to 15/20 outside of combat. That is one hell of a range, and it's really unlikely that everyone who is wounded will heal back to a sufficient amount that they're willing to continue exploring. The 1/4 hit points of the healing surge is a good pre-defined solution, though I like including the constitution modifier. Maybe a surge would be 1/4 + conmod or 1/5 + conmod. Either way a fixed amount is good.


3 : Not enough In Combat Healing Options:
We're back to the cleric will spend most of their spell slots healing the party, and the healing doesn't scale with level and is not sufficient to compare to the damage the monsters are dishing out. At first level, the cleric didn't really explore the other spell options and went for two castings of cure-light-wounds. At 1d8+4 hit / casting, the cleric felt that her healing was weak. On a personal opinion note: I've always been annoyed how healing lost efficacy as the characters level. A spell that at first level would restore potentially half the health of a fighter, would only heal the barest of scratches at high level. I really appreciated healing word in 4th edition restoring 1/4 + 1d6 hp of health.


4 : The Advantage / Disadvantage system is simple and fast:
We really enjoyed the advantage / disadvantage system. It's quickly apparent that disadvantage really means it. The ranged characters did their best to avoid being adjacent to the monsters, even without opportunity attacks. We really liked that assisting granted advantage. It finally felt like assisting was worth the effort. The static +2 from 4th edition rarely makes the effort worth while. It flowed well, and didn't require much in the way of explaining.


5 : The pacing was very good:
This might have been a factor of the module and how things were laid out, but combats were quick. I think the biggest reduction was the removal of the plethora of interrupting actions.


6 : Good Riddance to Attacks of Opportunity:
The party can run away! Monsters can flee! Maneuvering around the opponents no longer feels like you're dragging your feet. The opportunity attack slowed down combat, and really made fights feel like they had to be fights to the death.


7 : Moved by movement:
We all really liked the new, simplified movement rules. The ability to split your move before and after the attack was lauded by the ranged characters. Being knocked prone is no longer one of the worst affects that can happen to you. No longer can you knock an enemy prone and shift away, preventing the enemy from hitting you the next turn.


8 : The party endurance was very bad:
With the healing points mentioned earlier, the adventuring "day" was 15 mins long, in game. Even if you exaggerated travel times, and time spent searching the bodies etc. it would at best be a single hour. It very much felt like the heroes only got to scratch the surface of the dungeons when they were obligated to retreat for the day.

 We really enjoyed the chance to test the next edition, and are looking forward to test again. Thanks for providing the opportunity to provide feedback

You should post this in one of the actual feedback forums, not in "general discussion." It's a good feedback post.
You should post this in one of the actual feedback forums, not in "general discussion." It's a good feedback post.

Hah, I came into this forum top-down so I didn't notice the actual feedback forum. I posted a copy there.
Very nice review nghtsngr, I'm glad that so much of the game worked well. I won't be able to playtest the game until next weekend so it's good to hear other's experiences.

The healing bit is a sore spot for me though but I'm not sure about the best way to address the issue. For me, the idea that a significant amount of hit points can be regained within the same day without the use of magic in some form smacks as being really unbelievable.

I would much rather have the whole surge idea thrown out and replaced by putting more focus on acquiring magical things which can cure you like a potion, a magical item, a scroll, or a cleric. Potions and Scrolls become commodities to be used with the group for trading and so forth, and the Cleric and or a secondary healer becomes significantly more important to the party.

So in the case of the playtest I wonder how it would play if each of the characters started off with a few potions, and or found a few potions along the way as loot? Would that accomplish the same thing?

Perhaps a roll playing solution could be used. As a DM I might allow one of the Clerics to make some grand request of their patron deity for an extra party heal at the expense of requiring the cleric to go on a quest, probably requiring the rest of the party to agree to undertake it as well.

The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
Good write. I have to say though the healing issue is really a mind set adjustment. In early send play and other not 4e game I remember moving on with 1 hit point. People seem to have a different mind set now, but most table top games don't let you heal to full between encounters.
I agree with you on most points. However, I liked that out of combat healing wasn't very reliable. It forced my PC's fighter to reconsider how he'd proceed in future fights (after playing 4e for a long time). However, I could see the HD+Con Mod not being enough with how hard enemies hit. HD+Con Mod+Level might be sufficient. Also, the cleric of Pelor's healing gets totally rad at level 3. He can maximize the party's out of combat HD rolls, and his potions always heal 8.

Just... surviving there is dicey.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
I agree with you on most points. However, I liked that out of combat healing wasn't very reliable. It forced my PC's fighter to reconsider how he'd proceed in future fights (after playing 4e for a long time). However, I could see the HD+Con Mod not being enough with how hard enemies hit. HD+Con Mod+Level might be sufficient. Also, the cleric of Pelor's healing gets totally rad at level 3. He can maximize the party's out of combat HD rolls, and his potions always heal 8.

Just... surviving there is dicey.


That's actually something I don't understand, design-wise. Introducing that ability for the Cleric at level 3 suggests that WoTC already knows that healing at levels 1 and 2 will be really rough. So why not just make it less rough? I don't want to go back to a game where everyone just starts at level 3.
Nice post!

I wanted to point out, though, in an "old-school" style game session, where the point isn't to fight everything you see, many of these are features, not bugs.

1. Out of combat healing.  If it's too easy to heal up between encounters, there's no reason to avoid taking damage.

2. Randomly rolled healing.  See #1.

3. Combat healing options.  See #1.  Also, excessive "in combat" healing just drags fights out.

4. Advantage / Disadvantage.  Yes!

8. Party endurance.  See #1,2,3

Just some insight.  Not a judgement.
I agree with you on most points. However, I liked that out of combat healing wasn't very reliable. It forced my PC's fighter to reconsider how he'd proceed in future fights (after playing 4e for a long time). However, I could see the HD+Con Mod not being enough with how hard enemies hit. HD+Con Mod+Level might be sufficient. Also, the cleric of Pelor's healing gets totally rad at level 3. He can maximize the party's out of combat HD rolls, and his potions always heal 8.

Just... surviving there is dicey.


That's actually something I don't understand, design-wise. Introducing that ability for the Cleric at level 3 suggests that WoTC already knows that healing at levels 1 and 2 will be really rough. So why not just make it less rough? I don't want to go back to a game where everyone just starts at level 3.



Some people apparently find ease of use morally offensive.



I agree with you on most points. However, I liked that out of combat healing wasn't very reliable. It forced my PC's fighter to reconsider how he'd proceed in future fights (after playing 4e for a long time). However, I could see the HD+Con Mod not being enough with how hard enemies hit. HD+Con Mod+Level might be sufficient. Also, the cleric of Pelor's healing gets totally rad at level 3. He can maximize the party's out of combat HD rolls, and his potions always heal 8.

Just... surviving there is dicey.


That's actually something I don't understand, design-wise. Introducing that ability for the Cleric at level 3 suggests that WoTC already knows that healing at levels 1 and 2 will be really rough. So why not just make it less rough? I don't want to go back to a game where everyone just starts at level 3.

That is... in turn a very good point. I think all of my 3.x games started at level 3 (or higher) because level 1 wasn't very fun anymore.

I think the game is designed to be more lethal (than 4e). The rad healing might just be a reward for making it that far alive. Also, that rad healing doesn't necessarily apply to higher level cleric spells. It might just maximize healing up to a certain level/quality in order to make low level healing spells viable for higher levels.

However, I think if a DM notices his group is taking an unusually high amount of punishment, then handing out a few extra healing potions (or making them do sidequests to earn them) might mitigate issues. I'd guess it depends on the group and attachment to characters.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls

That's actually something I don't understand, design-wise. Introducing that ability for the Cleric at level 3 suggests that WoTC already knows that healing at levels 1 and 2 will be really rough. So why not just make it less rough? I don't want to go back to a game where everyone just starts at level 3.



I fully agree with this point. We all noticed the cleric really jazzes things up at level 3, but I really don't like optional feats that are actually required. If this was a class ability, or a theme ability that would make a lot more sense. And we all also noted that with 75gp, the cleric could make 3 healing potions. This also rocks, even after looting the Kobolds completely, the party only had some 50 odd GP worth of coins. 


I think the game is designed to be more lethal (than 4e). The rad healing might just be a reward for making it that far alive. Also, that rad healing doesn't necessarily apply to higher level cleric spells. It might just maximize healing up to a certain level/quality in order to make low level healing spells viable for higher levels.

However, I think if a DM notices his group is taking an unusually high amount of punishment, then handing out a few extra healing potions (or making them do sidequests to earn them) might mitigate issues. I'd guess it depends on the group and attachment to characters.



While it's always down on the DM to mitigate the encounters when the party has had a run of bad luck, it seems that the system is designed to require that. 

As for notes that the party shouldn't just focus on the fighting, and should do more role-playing I generally agree, but there are always going to be times when the party has to fight through several smaller battles leading up to a major fight. If the party is nearly wiped out by the time they've gone through two fights, they're unlikely to survive a decent boss-fight.

If healing becomes to difficult I suggest this quick and easy fix. Split the HP pool in two, one for fatigue one for body. Fatigue represents physical and mental trauma but not necessarily any wounds more than scrapes and bruises. As such it fully recovers during a short rest. HD can be used in combat to recover fatigue or out of combat with a first aid kit to heal body. You do not fully heal after an extended rest but must use your HD to recover lost body.
If healing becomes to difficult I suggest this quick and easy fix. Split the HP pool in two, one for fatigue one for body. Fatigue represents physical and mental trauma but not necessarily any wounds more than scrapes and bruises. As such it fully recovers during a short rest. HD can be used in combat to recover fatigue or out of combat with a first aid kit to heal body. You do not fully heal after an extended rest but must use your HD to recover lost body.



The idea sounds neat, but it's not really an elegant solution to make damage more complicated.
If healing becomes to difficult I suggest this quick and easy fix. Split the HP pool in two, one for fatigue one for body. Fatigue represents physical and mental trauma but not necessarily any wounds more than scrapes and bruises. As such it fully recovers during a short rest. HD can be used in combat to recover fatigue or out of combat with a first aid kit to heal body. You do not fully heal after an extended rest but must use your HD to recover lost body.


This is interesting. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that (essentially) a Fighter with 20 HP would become a Fighter with 10 HP and 10 Temporary HP, and that Temps would refresh with a short rest, but HP wouldn't. That may have potential.


2: Randomly rolled out-of-combat healing stinks:
In the same vein as point 1, the fighter can vary from restoring 3/20 to 15/20 outside of combat. That is one hell of a range, and it's really unlikely that everyone who is wounded will heal back to a sufficient amount that they're willing to continue exploring. The 1/4 hit points of the healing surge is a good pre-defined solution, though I like including the constitution modifier. Maybe a surge would be 1/4 + conmod or 1/5 + conmod. Either way a fixed amount is good.





If you are already basing healing off HP total and CON affects HP total then CON already affects healing. Your suggestion at the end would double punish people who don't have good con scores. 

Just a note from a balance perspective  
Yep, that is how our DM ran castles and crusades evacuee he got sick of us runnin to town ad waking for a week after every fight
Damn smart phone making no sense...
Does anyone else find it odd that no one is even considering a role playing solution to the problem of healing between combat situations?

Or is it just me . . . all alone . . . chirp chirp.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
Does anyone else find it odd that no one is even considering a role playing solution to the problem of healing between combat situations?

Or is it just me . . . all alone . . . chirp chirp.

Like I said above, while role-playing solutions are fine and good, what happens if there's no one to talk to (hordes of mindless undead), or they don't share a common language (most of the module), or the individuals are crazed fanatics?

Role playing is an important part of the game, and my group on sundays spends as much or more time talking, and exploring as they do fighting, but sometimes you have to raid a crypt or fight past the dragon's minions to corner it in its lair. The lack of healing is a mechanical problem with the system, not a "you guys just are too hack-n-slash".

I did read an interesting idea elswhere that makes a level-appropriate healing spell a chanel divinity ability (4/day) of cleric, which helps. 
For years me and my group have used a Vitality Point/Wound point system that is similar to this.  We found it in a Star Wars rpg. 

Essentially you have a Wound point pool that equals your constitution, and a Vitality Point pool which varies by class (determined in the same way HP were in 3rd/3.5.  So a fighter with a Constitution of 16 would have 16 wound points, and 1d10+3 vitality points) 

Vitality points came back after a brief rest, and represented rolling with a punch, dumb luck, or merely physical fatigue.  Wound points healed MUCH slower, and usually required bedrest and the like. 

The thing i really loved about this system was criticam hits.  Instead of doing more damage, or max damage, or rolling extra dice, etc, etc, Critical hits were applied directly to wound points.  This negated the immersion breaking moments of 3.5 that always ticked me off as a DM

("your fighter, having just stolen the king's crown, is running through the streets of the city, looking for a way over the wall.  Suddenly, as he rounds a corner, he is met with 6 guards.  They all lower crossbows at you, and the captain calls out "Come with us or die, thief!".  at this point the fighter player looks at his character sheet.  does some simple math in his head (what if they all hit, and did max damage....40 something damage?  Bah, i can take that) And chooses to simply ignore them.)

I know I am ranting, and i know that They would never use this system for DnD (especially not in an edition where they are trying to bring all editions together.  dropping HP would be seen as horrid heresy).  Just my 2 cents
For years me and my group have used a Vitality Point/Wound point system that is similar to this.  We found it in a Star Wars rpg. 

Essentially you have a Wound point pool that equals your constitution, and a Vitality Point pool which varies by class (determined in the same way HP were in 3rd/3.5.  So a fighter with a Constitution of 16 would have 16 wound points, and 1d10+3 vitality points) 

Vitality points came back after a brief rest, and represented rolling with a punch, dumb luck, or merely physical fatigue.  Wound points healed MUCH slower, and usually required bedrest and the like.

 

This idea is interesting but the D&D designers have always resisted using anything more complicated than a simple hit point system, and probably for good reason. Still, I wouldn't mind see a playtest version that included something like this, where the abstraction was split between real physical damage and fatigue.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
The thing i really loved about this system was criticam hits.  Instead of doing more damage, or max damage, or rolling extra dice, etc, etc, Critical hits were applied directly to wound points.  This negated the immersion breaking moments of 3.5 that always ticked me off as a DM



This was back from OCR/RCR d20 Star Wars, and it oftentimes sucked. This was back in the days of confirming criticals, if I recall correctly, so criticals were a little more rare than 1/20. I think OCR/RCR also had strict limits on extended critical threat ranges.

The vitality/wound system was great, but had some serious drawbacks. Since it was based on CON and didn't scale with level, CON became the most important stat on a charater. Further, even with the confirming criticals thing, characters still had a ~1/400 chance of automatically taking wound damage. Given the damage ranges in Star Wars (3d8 standard), an average roll would knock anyone with ~14 wound points down to 0. Given that criticals happen on every 20 now, and that fighters are rolling 2d6+7 damage at first level (avg. 14 damage), the OCR/RCR system needed some major reworking.

I liked the system in concept, but the math proved unworkable. It would need some major tweaking to scale better and to not leave a 1/20 chance of dead characters.
For years me and my group have used a Vitality Point/Wound point system that is similar to this.  We found it in a Star Wars rpg. 



I found the same system in the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana variant rule sourcebook. Used it for an Eberron game and loved it, up until the PCs killed the last boss on the first round with a lucky crit.

Roark also brings up a good point that the system wouldn't work without an adjustment for the lack of confirming criticals.

As for healing in the playtest, I find it pretty disappointing. If there was one idea from healing in 4e that they should've taken, it wasn't mundane healing between encounters. It should have been the ability for the party healer to heal while doing something else.

Healing spells should not take an action in D&D Next, and they should not draw from the healers other resources. Do we really want to go back to the days of people being "stuck" with playing the healer? Do we really want to rely on the rare players that are happy with doing nothing but healing? Or should we maintain the 4e philosophy that healing is a necessity to a party and you shouldn't penalize the player assigned with that role by forcing him or her to have to choose between what's necessary and what he or she may rather be doing (fighting monsters)?


Planes Wanderer
Does anyone else find it odd that no one is even considering a role playing solution to the problem of healing between combat situations?

Or is it just me . . . all alone . . . chirp chirp.



What would you have in mind?

EDIT: Went back and read your earlier post. Now feel a fool.

I think the cleric prayers might work for some groups, but I think it might not fix the system for everyone's tables... or... at least enough of them? I could be wrong. And if your group digs it, that's awesome. I love improvised solutions - esp. for magic.

 
Also, I do like that the battle cleric's healing word functions like 4e's healing word (allowing him to make an attack as well, etc.).
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Agreed on all points made by the OP. 
("your fighter, having just stolen the king's crown, is running through the streets of the city, looking for a way over the wall.  Suddenly, as he rounds a corner, he is met with 6 guards.  They all lower crossbows at you, and the captain calls out "Come with us or die, thief!".  at this point the fighter player looks at his character sheet.  does some simple math in his head (what if they all hit, and did max damage....40 something damage?  Bah, i can take that) And chooses to simply ignore them.)



I love that we have completely different views of HP. For some games I want that low HP/possibly dying with a lethal hit aspect. But, usually in games I run not so much. In 3.x, I viewed 10 damage as a seriously heavy hit. The fighter in your example would be surviving roughly 4 (or more) arrow wounds which would kill a normal man. For me, it's not about simulating reality so much as simulating a fantasy (although when these wounds happen I usually add "...as you realize the amount of blood leaving your body, you momentarily lose your balance. If you don't get magical healing soon, you know you will die."). Which... I guess is why I'm okay w/ the DDN lethality level. It fits almost perfectly into my mental model. A heroic wizard should lose consciousness after a greatsword swing (~10 hp), but a level 1 fighter could take about 2 heavy hits (~20) before he goes down. As these heroes move on from being nobodies, they begin to be able to survive truly epic situations.

However, I realize that other groups found the healing/hp insufficient. I am well aware that my viewpoint might be anomalous and hope that some solution which works for others' tables can be found.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
What are you guys talking about exactly? When we did the orc stuff, our rouge took out four dudes by himself without getting a scratch on him while the rest of the party got ambushed by another four and defeated them without getting hit! They fought 10 more orcs at once with only one PC hit, and routed the first cheiftain with READIED ACTIONS. After they chased him down they beat both cheiftains and their "battletested" entorages AT ONCE without getting hit more than twice. They then stormed through some more guards and forced the last guy to surrender and to tell all the other orcs (who were unconcious, not dead, since they had used nonlethal damage the whole time) to clear out or they'd come back with more lethal intentions. Overall hitpoints loss for the whole party was around 10 hp, mostly on the dwarves. HP they got back by sitting around in the woods for ten minutes before taking on the next cave. If anything the enemies need to be more brutal! The bosses, though they didn't seem like it on paper, were as weak as the mooks, just took a little longer to deal with. As far as I can tell the PCs are pretty much unkillable by conventional means. But I will try harder, oh so much harder. Fourty orcs, here week come!

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