Am I viewing the playtest the wrong way?

I'm not as 'plugged in' as many people here, so maybe I'm looking at the playtest rules in the wrong way. I say this because of the number of posts I've seen that basically say "Well, that's it, I'm out."

My understanding of the first playtest is that the rules are meant to present a very basic framework, and that this framework will be expanded upon, including with rulesets that are more likely to appeal to 4e players. So I'm going at it from that perspective. There are some things I don't like in what is here, and other things that I do like, but I feel like it is too early to render any kind of judgment on what D&D Next will be. All we can really do is make a determination about the playtest materials as a starting point.

Personally, I can see this framework working for the kind of games I like (I am more of an old-school player; those are the types of games that appeal to me). But when the starting point is very basic, as it appears to be, I can also see the ability to customize it into something that 4e fans might like.

In other words, based on what I've seen so far, I do think there can be developed modular rule sets that players can adopt for an old-school game, and modular rulesets they can adopt for a 4e-style game. If in fact the developers pull it off, I think that would be pretty freaking cool, personally.

I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game. 

In any event, maybe that's not what these first playtest rules were supposed to be, but that was my sense of them based on what WotC has said. I think the important thing at this point is for fans of all editions to provide feedback so that as the more devleoped rulesets come into being we've got the flexibility for a wide range of players to play what they like best.
I took away the exact same feel.  This is the most sound core mechanic I've ever seen, keeping a nice qualify balance of Talent:Training in mind.  Skills/checks in combat are simplified, no action economy annoyance, etc.

You hit the nail on the head with its intent, as best I can figure.  The spells have already taken a 4e turn, with preset durations in example.  All in all, its a solid core mechanic that has been proven previously (see the dragonage core system). 
I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game.


Actually, a majority of 4e fans cared a great deal for the older editions when those were the only editions, but after the pretty much top-to-bottom change of 4e, came to prefer the new system and wouldn't choose to go back. And honestly, that is a big reason why 4e fans have a hard time with Next: it is pretty unequivocally going back, with this promise that there will be a rules module that lets it run like 4e. And based on what we've seen so far, the question left unanswered is why exactly Next + 4e rules module will be better than just holding onto your 4e books.
Actually, a majority of 4e fans cared a great deal for the older editions when those were the only editions, but after the pretty much top-to-bottom change of 4e, came to prefer the new system and wouldn't choose to go back. And honestly, that is a big reason why 4e fans have a hard time with Next: it is pretty unequivocally going back, with this promise that there will be a rules module that lets it run like 4e. And based on what we've seen so far, the question left unanswered is why exactly Next + 4e rules module will be better than just holding onto your 4e books.



Indeed. And also why exactly Next itself will be better than just holding onto your 2e/3e books. 

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

That question is answered quickly and easily for our group:  This core mechanic gives the versatility of as many different playstyles as you feel like.  This isn't an insult toward 4e, but our group personally felt it was too wargame (and we already play Warhammer), so it didn't fill our needs well.  This is shaping up to be a perfect culmination between them.  Of course, that only answers the question for -us-, and I can clearly see why it may not for others =)
The people who like pre-4th editions have proof that their playstyle is being supported. THe people who like 4th have promises that their playstyle will be supported. Someday. In the furture.  So its easier for the people who are already seeing what they want to tell the people who aren't to be patient.

I look at this playtest and their design goals and all I see are the mechanics I hated when I was playing 3rd edition. It is simply disheartening.
Yes, the question of why not just play 1e, 2e, 3e, or 4e, depending on what you like, is a big one. Of these, I guess only 3.X players will be guaranteed to have an actively developed game (at least to any large extent). So I suppose the allure for 1e, 2e, and 4e fans would be to be part of a game system that is being actively developed and supported by WotC. Fans who like 3e above all other systems are probably just as well off with Pathfinder or other OGL games.

But I still think it is too early to say the sky is falling, even if you are a 4e fan. I mean, it 'might' be falling, but we don't know yet. 
Honestly the biggest issue I have with the core system is that it isn't just a stripped down barebones system. Why? Because we have a full on casting resource system packaged in with the core rules.

Right from the get go, non-casters are stuck with a flawed non-scaling ability check system, while casters get full spellcasting and all the advantages that traditionally come from that. That dissonance between martials and casters is a huge indication that they're walking down the same paths we've seen before that lead to a caster dominated game at higher levels. That's nothing I'm interested in playing.

If casters were told "Here have a cantrip and improvise the rest" like the Fighter or Rogue are told "Here have a weapon and improvise the rest" they'd at least be starting on equal footing and I could deal with it. But what I am seeing is a clear indication of favoring magical classes because grognards can't stand the idea of any person doing something they couldn't do themselves without magic to help them.
Honestly the biggest issue I have with the core system is that it isn't just a stripped down barebones system. Why? Because we have a full on casting resource system packaged in with the core rules.

Right from the get go, non-casters are stuck with a flawed non-scaling ability check system, while casters get full spellcasting and all the advantages that traditionally come from that. That dissonance between martials and casters is a huge indication that they're walking down the same paths we've seen before that lead to a caster dominated game at higher levels. That's nothing I'm interested in playing.

If casters were told "Here have a cantrip and improvise the rest" like the Fighter or Rogue are told "Here have a weapon and improvise the rest" they'd at least be starting on equal footing and I could deal with it. But what I am seeing is a clear indication of favoring magical classes because grognards can't stand the idea of any person doing something they couldn't do themselves without magic to help them.



I see alot of comments about the balance between melee / non-magic people and magic users.

The problem is that you either have to allow the martial to not just border on, but surpass the believable, and enter into the realm of magic itself..

OR you have magic that can't really do any more than is possible in the physical world.

Soo... Martial Magic... or Magic = not so magical...  that is the only way to really have balance. 
Honestly the biggest issue I have with the core system is that it isn't just a stripped down barebones system. Why? Because we have a full on casting resource system packaged in with the core rules.

Right from the get go, non-casters are stuck with a flawed non-scaling ability check system, while casters get full spellcasting and all the advantages that traditionally come from that. That dissonance between martials and casters is a huge indication that they're walking down the same paths we've seen before that lead to a caster dominated game at higher levels. That's nothing I'm interested in playing.

If casters were told "Here have a cantrip and improvise the rest" like the Fighter or Rogue are told "Here have a weapon and improvise the rest" they'd at least be starting on equal footing and I could deal with it. But what I am seeing is a clear indication of favoring magical classes because grognards can't stand the idea of any person doing something they couldn't do themselves without magic to help them.



I see alot of comments about the balance between melee / non-magic people and magic users.

The problem is that you either have to allow the martial to not just border on, but surpass the believable, and enter into the realm of magic itself..

OR you have magic that can't really do any more than is possible in the physical world.

Soo... Martial Magic... or Magic = not so magical...  that is the only way to really have balance. 




You're right. And either one of those options is better than all-powerful magic with gritty realistic martial characters.

The best way to make everyone happy would be to use the tiers from 4e, and have Heroic Tier with weak magic and realistic fighters, while Paragon/Epic tier has more impressive magic and supernatural fighters. People who don't want to play with supernatural fighters can stick in Heroic tier, people who want powerful magic can play in the higher tiers. And people who want martial characters to suck can tell the group "Sorry no martial character can go beyond heroic tier"

Yes it means a martial character will suck in that game, but at least it is in a way that is obvious and honest. If someone still chooses to play a realistic mundane in a game where wizards are doing all sorts of crazy universe warping stuff, then that is their choice they can make. At least the game system isn't fooling them into believe it is an equal option when it is not.


I see alot of comments about the balance between melee / non-magic people and magic users.

The problem is that you either have to allow the martial to not just border on, but surpass the believable, and enter into the realm of magic itself..

OR you have magic that can't really do any more than is possible in the physical world.

Soo... Martial Magic... or Magic = not so magical...  that is the only way to really have balance. 



Can you substantiate this claim, or provide an example of why fighters have to wield magic in order to be the equals of wizards? 

Or you could explain why martial types have to bound by the believable in a fantasy world based on completely unbelievable myths and legends. 

On the other hand if "Magic = not so magical" means that magic can't solve every problem, why is that a bad thing? 
At the end of the day, what each group decides to play is up to them. There is no "right" and "wrong" way to game. I can understand if a group that loves 4E is not excited by Next. That's for them to decide. Most groups I've been with, the players just play whatever the GM chooses to run. But if a group of 4E gamers choose to go grognard, there is nothing wrong with them. 

But if you like Next and want to use the Next/4E modules, that's up to you.  

Dale McCoy

President of Jon Brazer Enterprises

Read my D&D 5E Blog and sign up for our D&D 5E Newsletter



I see alot of comments about the balance between melee / non-magic people and magic users.

The problem is that you either have to allow the martial to not just border on, but surpass the believable, and enter into the realm of magic itself..

OR you have magic that can't really do any more than is possible in the physical world.

Soo... Martial Magic... or Magic = not so magical...  that is the only way to really have balance. 



Can you substantiate this claim, or provide an example of why fighters have to wield magic in order to be the equals of wizards? 

Or you could explain why martial types have to bound by the believable in a fantasy world based on completely unbelievable myths and legends. 

On the other hand if "Magic = not so magical" means that magic can't solve every problem, why is that a bad thing? 




We are going on assumptions of the past, and if we are trying to maintain the flavor (except maybe 4e, didn't play it much)

Martial abilities have always toed the line of realism, will they continue to do so?

D&D hasn't ever had martial characters that could just straight up take a wizard.  Head to head, toe to toe, you were probably going to be left standing under the thrall of a spell, while being taunted... or just killed outright by save or die.

Most fantasy, if the hero is non-magical, they have to search out a way to take out a magical type baddy.  You either need to find x item or x weapon, cut off the source of their power, or have a companion with x abilities to counter the baddy.. 

Now, I don't think that DNDNext necessarily has to continue in these old traditions, however people are often presenting the problem, without really giving a solid solution.

And some of it may come down to playstyle.. some like their martial characters to be realistic, while others might be okay with them being more super-hero (ish).



Except that you don't really answer the question.

The claim that martial characters have always been anywhere close to believable is fairly ridiculous. If we assume, as past editions have, that a commoner is level 0 or 1, then a high-level fighter could destroy a small town of commoners, even if they had a low-level militia to protect them. That's without magic items. To say that toes the line of realism is to say that Invasion USA is a gritty, hard-hitting documentary, second only in its impact to the Rambo trilogy.
The problem is: people like to think that martial characters are "realistic." The truth is: they never have been. Compared to the wizard, there is a higher level of realism. Once you pass a certain point in the game, though, the realism flees the scene like a cheesy serial villain with a bad moustache.
Part of the issue comes from the many different contradictory assumptions of the game, and the lack of a clear focus on how the entire game world works together. Unfortunately, the game world doesn't really make any realistic sense.
We, as players, need to get past the need for realism, and move more towards "movie realism." The game will work alot better in a "movie realism" type world where protagonists can do unbelievable things, because a) they are protagonists and b) it looks cool.
If you want realism in your fantasy game, I suggest you switch from fantasy to historical wargaming.

I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game. 


Simple answer ? Competitors.
Why should I be interested in a system that is not what I want my system to be, and patiently wait for potential futures changes making it more fit for me, when there are already, or soon, other games on the market that fit my bill better ? Why wait for months for the correct module, and spend money on it AND core rules, when you can have something more fitting right now, in one book ?
D&D is an important name, a game that, even if it always had many many flaws, left good memories. So many players, or at least me, would like D&D to be fit to the kind of gamers they are now, not the kind they were 30 years ago. A game that would use the concepts and ideas that the industry developed in three decades, not one regurgitating the same old, boring and inneffective rules and ideas.
As if "old scoolers" would not be able to find D&D back with a newer take on the system...
And I doubt many would be ready to spend money on a D&D iteration that doesn't fit them just because they don't want the name to die.

In fact the problem is not with rules, easily corrected by producing rule changing modules, it is about the ideas, philosophies, concepts, behind the design choices that are made - and modules won't change these concepts, or they would have to change everything in the core. DDN is built for some ways to play, not all ways.
"Magic is the exception, not the rule for defining difficulties", "heroes are normal people, not exceptional ones","exploration is using 10' poles in a dungeon in creative ways","role playing is purple-prosing the way you fight","rules are the ennemies of imagination" and so on - all these are choices that have already been made, and the game rules are built on this foundation.
What I see in the playtest is not a generic game, built for modularity - in fact this playtest as nothing in term of modularity. It should be what we are testing : here are the simple fighter rules for those think it is good, here are the moderately advanced fighters rules - test both to see if modularity works. Have both at the same table, and tell us if it plays well.
Instead we are testing "AD&D:  it is back !"

Subjective opinion ? Yes, no doubt. But if you want to sell me a product, show me why I should buy it, don't just hope my "loyalty to the brand" will have me buy it and hope in the future. In other words : have us test modularity, show us that you really thought on other rules and possibilites. Or go to TSR hell with your old decrepit take on role playing games.
Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
Except that you don't really answer the question. The claim that martial characters have always been anywhere close to believable is fairly ridiculous. If we assume, as past editions have, that a commoner is level 0 or 1, then a high-level fighter could destroy a small town of commoners, even if they had a low-level militia to protect them. That's without magic items. To say that toes the line of realism is to say that Invasion USA is a gritty, hard-hitting documentary, second only in its impact to the Rambo trilogy. The problem is: people like to think that martial characters are "realistic." The truth is: they never have been. Compared to the wizard, there is a higher level of realism. Once you pass a certain point in the game, though, the realism flees the scene like a cheesy serial villain with a bad moustache. Part of the issue comes from the many different contradictory assumptions of the game, and the lack of a clear focus on how the entire game world works together. Unfortunately, the game world doesn't really make any realistic sense. We, as players, need to get past the need for realism, and move more towards "movie realism." The game will work alot better in a "movie realism" type world where protagonists can do unbelievable things, because a) they are protagonists and b) it looks cool. If you want realism in your fantasy game, I suggest you switch from fantasy to historical wargaming.



They are much more believable than the magic wielding wizard who can point at you and say "Die!"

You speak of Movie Realism, which is where I think the martial characters already live.  But even in those movies, your martial characters don't generally just go toe to toe with magic, do they?  They usually have some sort of quest that needs to be fulfilled.. finding a magic weapon or an artifact that is anathema to the bad guy.  Destroying the source of power for the villian, or having friends that can counter the magic while you kick his teeth in.

Your example is even exactly what happens in Movies like Commando, Rambo...ect.. One good guy beats the snot out of a whole village worth of bad guys, and then has an epic boss fight.

I guess at the end of the day, I just find it a little crazy that people expect that the fighter and a wizard should match up line by line, skill by skill, damage point by damage point..

I don't think we ever had someone feel useless or like they were there to just carry the wizards gear.

The only REAL issue we ever had between the classes was low level magic users feeling like they didn't have much to do, and it looks like that is being addressed.

Now, that isn't to say that because I never experienced it, it doesn't exist at some tables. 

I'm not as 'plugged in' as many people here, so maybe I'm looking at the playtest rules in the wrong way. I say this because of the number of posts I've seen that basically say "Well, that's it, I'm out."

My understanding of the first playtest is that the rules are meant to present a very basic framework, and that this framework will be expanded upon, including with rulesets that are more likely to appeal to 4e players. So I'm going at it from that perspective. There are some things I don't like in what is here, and other things that I do like, but I feel like it is too early to render any kind of judgment on what D&D Next will be. All we can really do is make a determination about the playtest materials as a starting point.

Personally, I can see this framework working for the kind of games I like (I am more of an old-school player; those are the types of games that appeal to me). But when the starting point is very basic, as it appears to be, I can also see the ability to customize it into something that 4e fans might like.

In other words, based on what I've seen so far, I do think there can be developed modular rule sets that players can adopt for an old-school game, and modular rulesets they can adopt for a 4e-style game. If in fact the developers pull it off, I think that would be pretty freaking cool, personally.

I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game. 

In any event, maybe that's not what these first playtest rules were supposed to be, but that was my sense of them based on what WotC has said. I think the important thing at this point is for fans of all editions to provide feedback so that as the more devleoped rulesets come into being we've got the flexibility for a wide range of players to play what they like best.

I am just gonna go out and say it, you hit the nail on the head. i was having a lot of trouble getting my group to even play the test out, but after a lot  of hooplah, they all cam to the table. the ability to deal a consistant, yet no broken ammount of damage to enemies, the ability to keep not only you but your allies alive with your armor, the simplified talent and skills format. This has to be the most solid core that i have found as well.  Total party whipe due to a gelatinus cube that got off a few good rolls, but the sceme of everything, the lvl of comradere that the game gave us, we were all happy and looking forward to the next game . . . . hopefully we can get some notes of the mechanics this time round.
Just letting you know that if nothing else you were 5 by 5 on your assumption.
I think they are focused on calling back the old school gamers that they lost over the years.     It's unlikely WoTC will spend a great deal of time creating a rules module for the 4e playstyle when 4e is still rather fresh.   Even if they do I wouldn't expect such a thing on release of 5e.    The books might contain a few suggestions for that particular play style, but I doubt it will be fully flushed out.   

It's not like the fans have any place to run.   They are only going to continue playing 4e.  I don't think there is any competition that will take those fans away from WoTC.     It's not like the 4e fans are all going to run to pathfinder.   


What I see in the playtest is not a generic game, built for modularity - in fact this playtest as nothing in term of modularity. It should be what we are testing : here are the simple fighter rules for those think it is good, here are the moderately advanced fighters rules - test both to see if modularity works. Have both at the same table, and tell us if it plays well.
Instead we are testing "AD&D:  it is back !"



I think the point of this thread was to reinforce the notion that the playtest as-seen is not the entire playtest.  There will be more materials presented as part of the playtest.  What you see now, therefore, is inadequate to form an impression of the full game with.  Down the line, we will likely be given the opportunity to, as you say, see how the simple and advanced fighter play together at the same table.  I guess what I'm saying - and what I believe the OP is saying as well - is that commentary like this is frustrating because, it seems, people don't understand what exactly the playtest materials they've seen represent - which, for clarity, is a tiny part of what we'll be given to test overall.  In short, relax.  We'll be given more.  We'll get to see more.  We aren't really testing anything yet.  Give it some time.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I'm not as 'plugged in' as many people here, so maybe I'm looking at the playtest rules in the wrong way. I say this because of the number of posts I've seen that basically say "Well, that's it, I'm out."

My understanding of the first playtest is that the rules are meant to present a very basic framework, and that this framework will be expanded upon, including with rulesets that are more likely to appeal to 4e players. So I'm going at it from that perspective. There are some things I don't like in what is here, and other things that I do like, but I feel like it is too early to render any kind of judgment on what D&D Next will be. All we can really do is make a determination about the playtest materials as a starting point.

Personally, I can see this framework working for the kind of games I like (I am more of an old-school player; those are the types of games that appeal to me). But when the starting point is very basic, as it appears to be, I can also see the ability to customize it into something that 4e fans might like.

In other words, based on what I've seen so far, I do think there can be developed modular rule sets that players can adopt for an old-school game, and modular rulesets they can adopt for a 4e-style game. If in fact the developers pull it off, I think that would be pretty freaking cool, personally.

I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game. 

In any event, maybe that's not what these first playtest rules were supposed to be, but that was my sense of them based on what WotC has said. I think the important thing at this point is for fans of all editions to provide feedback so that as the more devleoped rulesets come into being we've got the flexibility for a wide range of players to play what they like best.



The problem for a lot of 4e players is that we can see that it might just not be possible to create a 4e style game using this framework.

We know that tactical modules and non-vancian casting are on their way, but bolting on modules won't make the game 4e, it will just be old-school with add-on modules.

Think of it as an Owlbear. The basic frame is a bear, and adding feathers and a beak can't make a bear fly.

The basic frame of D&D Next is very old-school with imbalanced/specialized classes, loose rules requiring DM interpretation, and a design focus on spotlighting. What 4e players like is balanced classes, tight seemless rules requiring no DM interpretation, and instead of spotlighting a design focus on constant involvement.

Both designs of game are valid, both have their fans, but are mutually exclusive. You can't have classes that are imbalanced and balanced, you can't have rules that are tight and loose, you can't have a design focus on both not spotlighting and spotlighting.

Tactical combat and at-wills are just two examples of how these 4e design ideals found expression in 4e - they are not the end-game but tools to acheive design goals.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />To turn back to our Owlbear analogy, the 4e-ness of the owl was that it is a small flying stealthy thing. The beak (at-wills) and feathers (grid combat) were part of how that design ideal was implemented, but it could have equally been a bat.

An alternate universe 4e might not have had at-wills and instead had periodically renewing spell-points, or could have eschewed grid-based combat in favour of a more warmachine-style combat system. Heck - it could have dumped classes for point-based carear paths. It would still have been 4e, because the underlying design is the same.

It does rather seem that the 5e designers either don't 'get' what 4e players like or were forced to choose from mutually exclusive design philosophies and chose retro over modern.

It isn't impossible that 5e modules might be able to replicate a 4e style game, but to do so means some very radical modules that tightly define rules, create balanced-yet-differentiated classes, and remove the 3-pillars spotlighting design in favor of a constant engagement design. In short - modules that completely change the underlying framework of the game.


Seriously - WotC - if you guys are reading this: we 4e players don't care about at-wills or the grid like you think we do - those are just feathers on our owl. What we want is the owl itself.



I see alot of comments about the balance between melee / non-magic people and magic users.

The problem is that you either have to allow the martial to not just border on, but surpass the believable, and enter into the realm of magic itself..

OR you have magic that can't really do any more than is possible in the physical world.

Soo... Martial Magic... or Magic = not so magical...  that is the only way to really have balance. 



This is exactly right.

The thing that so many people (in my mind) seem to miss, is that fantasy stories just don't have anything like the D&D 3e wizard. 

I would propose that it's because creating an interesting story with such a wizard is incredibly difficult.  The expansion of vancian casting utility just naturally gets completely out of hand.

At the gaming table people envision stories like Lord of the Rings and want to have similar adventures.  But if we make Gandalf a moderatly high level D&D wizard that story becomes boring/useless.

He can just fly or teleport the ring to mordor.  Or make the entire party invisible, or put then in some dimmensional pocket etc. etc.

The imbalance between martial and magic isn't just about class balance, it is about story balance. 

The only stories I can think of with characters like the D&D 3e wizard are stories that are all about wizards.  Like Harry Potter.  Everyone is a wizard, that's the only way to really make it work. 

It's why my solution is to just make everyone a wizard.  At epic levels there just can't be a 'pure' fighter that makes any sense.  I think that something like prestige classes from 3e or PAragon Paths from 4e solve this problem.  When a fighter reaches a certain level he basically has to make choices that give him magicalish powers. 

Or as the quote above says, you have to make magic rather dull, like Gandalf's. 

but now we're just hijacking the OP very nice thread. 
Answers within the quote box

 
They are much more believable than the magic wielding wizard who can point at you and say "Die!"

*True, which is exactly what I said. They are realistic compared to the classes that have absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever.

You speak of Movie Realism, which is where I think the martial characters already live.  But even in those movies, your martial characters don't generally just go toe to toe with magic, do they?  They usually have some sort of quest that needs to be fulfilled.. finding a magic weapon or an artifact that is anathema to the bad guy.  Destroying the source of power for the villian, or having friends that can counter the magic while you kick his teeth in.

*It really depends on the movie, book, whatever. If you are talking about Conan the Barbarian(the original), then yes(the same applies to Conan the Destoyer). If you are talking about the ever cheesy Sword and the Sorcerer movie, then also yes. The Beastmaster? Yes.  

Your example is even exactly what happens in Movies like Commando, Rambo...ect.. One good guy beats the snot out of a whole village worth of bad guys, and then has an epic boss fight.

*Except that, in D&D, you rarely face a whole bunch of commoners. You generally face people that are near your own level. 4E did a good job of trying to emulate the movie idea with minions, but even that isn't quite the same thing. Part of the reason I disagree with your assessment is the fact that the fighter loses effectiveness at high levels in 1-3E. They seem to be at their best in the mid levels.

I guess at the end of the day, I just find it a little crazy that people expect that the fighter and a wizard should match up line by line, skill by skill, damage point by damage point..

* I think this is your perception of what people are saying, rather than what people are really saying. I have seen very few people asking for this sort of thing. It is about the same as the number of people saying that wizards should outclass fighters because they wield magic, and that is that.
The vast majority of people want some level of balance, but not absolute balance. 

I don't think we ever had someone feel useless or like they were there to just carry the wizards gear.

*Personal experience can't trump math, unfortunately. The problem with statements from personal experience is that playstyle varies from table to table. You may play exclusively at low levels, or your DM may hamper spellcasters or boost martial types. He may fudge alot of rolls in the fighter's favor or against the wizard. Who knows. All that can be argued is RAW, and by RAW wizards rule and fighters drool.

The only REAL issue we ever had between the classes was low level magic users feeling like they didn't have much to do, and it looks like that is being addressed.

* I agree that, at lower levels, spellcasters don't have much to do. Unfortunately, fighters and wizards tend to be juxtaposed in this regard. Wizards start weak and end strong. Fighters start strong and end weak. I, too, am glad that it is being addressed on the wizard side. I just hope that it is addressed on the fighter side, too.

Now, that isn't to say that because I never experienced it, it doesn't exist at some tables. 

*Glad you recognize this. Lots of people don't.



Way too many assumptions are made in this post.  I absolutely -love- tactical gameplay and am a rather large Warhammer fan.  That being said, I didn't like 4e at all.  It wasn't tactical enough for me.

I've been playing since ODnD and have always been involved in both relaxed game environments and tactical environments, and have in fact helped with the writing of more tactical detail for house rules since the core rules of 2e released.  We added facing, situational benefits, and many other things before TSR even did it themselves.

I suppose if your definition of tactical is merely playing Texas Holdem, only you get to choose your hand ahead of time, then I am not of your mindset.  However, if it is about the most sound way to have your character behave in combat, resource management, and the ability to impact the flow of an encounter, the edition shouldn't matter in the slightest.

Why do I actually like DnDNext in this regard?  Its a single system that has the capability to appease everyone.  Our fighter got the witty idea to knock people to the ground every chance he got so both he and the rogue would have advantage on the attack rolls on that target.  He traded every other turn for the knockdown, knowing the rogue would shine the brightest and turn the tide of battle; and without that fighter, how much worse would the battles have gone?  In 4e, I would've had to pick a power to do that, and that's not tactical; its nominalized creativity.

That being said, simply liking 4e is one thing - and I absolutely respect anyone's opinion to do so (or to have done so).  But defending it only because you can't see the tactical nature available in a more free-form system is a bit disheartening.

I'd like to illustrate how, except the powers, DnDNext -is- 4e, with more intelligent core design:
1.) If you add 1/2 level to all skills, defenses, AC, and attacks, two equal level creatures are only different in their feat choices, class, and ability scores.  This is exactly true for a system that doesn't add half-level to anything.
2.) Nominalized durations of abilities instead of level-based mechanics.  1 minute, 1 hour, etc.
3.) Using skills in Combat!  This was the -absolute- best part of 4e, and so underutilized =/
4.) Nominalized hit point margains between classes.  In 2e, 3.x, etc, constitution was a by level modification to hit points, meaning fighters focusing on Constitution have exponentially higher HP than the casters.  Now, the ratios are affixed between 1 and 12 (much like 4e).

All that being said, even with my dislike of 3.x and 4e, they've given me what I loved about 2e (open-ended content without overcomplication), no BAB/half-level junk that was absolutely redundant, and power-like spells (and I'm sure soon, power-like powers).  The real issue I'm seeing that the split community is having trouble with, is proof of concept.  Four things come from 4e, and I can only name one from 3.5; Vancian, but everyone wants to say its a rehash of 3.5...                


All that being said, even with my dislike of 3.x and 4e, they've given me what I loved about 2e (open-ended content without overcomplication), no BAB/half-level junk that was absolutely redundant, and power-like spells (and I'm sure soon, power-like powers).  The real issue I'm seeing that the split community is having trouble with, is proof of concept.  Four things come from 4e, and I can only name one from 3.5; Vancian, but everyone wants to say its a rehash of 3.5...                



Actually I think the reason many fans of 4e say it is a relegation to 3.5 is
1) Casters get Vancian powers back. (on top of at -wills so they can be all magic all the time)
2) Everyone else gets crap.

Those are 2 EXTREMELY important things which overshadow your "4 things from 4e" by a large margin.

Cool options should not be limited to those achetypes of Hero that cast spells.  Conan, Fafrd, Gord the Rogue, d'Artagnon, Scaramouche, Captain Blood and so many others should STILL have cool things they can do even if they are paired with Harry Potter, Merlin, Gandalf or Elminster.


edit btw I'd love to have more open ended content without overcomplication as you put it also.  I think my favorite edition so far was 2e with kits as run by my favorite gm (it included a lot of rules/conventions that limited the caster supremacy problem) but even that would not satisfy my completely now that I've been able to play heroic non caster  characters ( can I coin the phrase heroic mundanes?)







My play group has been playing with the playtest and judging it by its own merits and so far having a lot of fun.

So thats a good start.

Member of the Axis of Awesome

Show
Homogenising: Making vanilla in 31 different colours
The thing that so many people (in my mind) seem to miss, is that fantasy stories just don't have anything like the D&D 3e wizard. 

I would propose that it's because creating an interesting story with such a wizard is incredibly difficult.  The expansion of vancian casting utility just naturally gets completely out of hand.

At the gaming table people envision stories like Lord of the Rings and want to have similar adventures.  But if we make Gandalf a moderatly high level D&D wizard that story becomes boring/useless.

He can just fly or teleport the ring to mordor.  Or make the entire party invisible, or put then in some dimmensional pocket etc. etc.

The imbalance between martial and magic isn't just about class balance, it is about story balance.



This is so, so true. I'm actually reading Tolkien right now, and as I've been reading this thread I was thinking about Gandalf and how he compares to D&D wizards. So many of the spells that they can cast are simply god-like, in comparison.
I'm not as 'plugged in' as many people here, so maybe I'm looking at the playtest rules in the wrong way. I say this because of the number of posts I've seen that basically say "Well, that's it, I'm out."

My understanding of the first playtest is that the rules are meant to present a very basic framework, and that this framework will be expanded upon, including with rulesets that are more likely to appeal to 4e players. So I'm going at it from that perspective. There are some things I don't like in what is here, and other things that I do like, but I feel like it is too early to render any kind of judgment on what D&D Next will be. All we can really do is make a determination about the playtest materials as a starting point.

Personally, I can see this framework working for the kind of games I like (I am more of an old-school player; those are the types of games that appeal to me). But when the starting point is very basic, as it appears to be, I can also see the ability to customize it into something that 4e fans might like.

In other words, based on what I've seen so far, I do think there can be developed modular rule sets that players can adopt for an old-school game, and modular rulesets they can adopt for a 4e-style game. If in fact the developers pull it off, I think that would be pretty freaking cool, personally.

I get that if you're a hardcore 4e fan and don't care for older editions, there's not much to like, yet. But what I don't se, yet, is an indication that it will be impossible for there to be rules that let you run a 4e-style game. 

In any event, maybe that's not what these first playtest rules were supposed to be, but that was my sense of them based on what WotC has said. I think the important thing at this point is for fans of all editions to provide feedback so that as the more devleoped rulesets come into being we've got the flexibility for a wide range of players to play what they like best.



The problem with this is that they threw in sorcerer and vancian casting in the game as 'core'. So no it really isn't a simple core that can be built on to get to a 4E style game.

It is however a nice throwback to a fixed up version of 1E and 2E with a lot less rules and subsystem...
"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.
What I see in the playtest is not a generic game, built for modularity - in fact this playtest as nothing in term of modularity. It should be what we are testing : here are the simple fighter rules for those think it is good, here are the moderately advanced fighters rules - test both to see if modularity works. Have both at the same table, and tell us if it plays well.
Instead we are testing "AD&D:  it is back !"



I think the point of this thread was to reinforce the notion that the playtest as-seen is not the entire playtest.  There will be more materials presented as part of the playtest.  What you see now, therefore, is inadequate to form an impression of the full game with.  Down the line, we will likely be given the opportunity to, as you say, see how the simple and advanced fighter play together at the same table.  I guess what I'm saying - and what I believe the OP is saying as well - is that commentary like this is frustrating because, it seems, people don't understand what exactly the playtest materials they've seen represent - which, for clarity, is a tiny part of what we'll be given to test overall.  In short, relax.  We'll be given more.  We'll get to see more.  We aren't really testing anything yet.  Give it some time.



Yeah, except they included sorcerer and vancian casting in the 'core', so that doesn't work. Its an AD&D clone...
"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.

Actually I think the reason many fans of 4e say it is a relegation to 3.5 is
1) Casters get Vancian powers back. (on top of at -wills so they can be all magic all the time)
2) Everyone else gets crap.

Those are 2 EXTREMELY important things which overshadow your "4 things from 4e" by a large margin.

Cool options should not be limited to those achetypes of Hero that cast spells.  Conan, Fafrd, Gord the Rogue, d'Artagnon, Scaramouche, Captain Blood and so many others should STILL have cool things they can do even if they are paired with Harry Potter, Merlin, Gandalf or Elminster.


edit btw I'd love to have more open ended content without overcomplication as you put it also.  I think my favorite edition so far was 2e with kits as run by my favorite gm (it included a lot of rules/conventions that limited the caster supremacy problem) but even that would not satisfy my completely now that I've been able to play heroic non caster  characters ( can I coin the phrase heroic mundanes?)



I think this is mostly due to spells representing prepared, formulaic responses, whereas the melee have to use their mind to make up their powers as they go.  In every session we've had so far (even with cyclic rotation of classes) the Fighter and Moradin Cleric have vastly outshined the more casting oriented types.

I do equate a lot of this to the lack of protection for the Wizard; without mage armor immediately introduced or a good protective spell (shield is ok, not nearly as good as shield of faith) discouraged the more protective casters from entering the fray in more creative ways.

However, I had my dwarves, no matter who played them, doing everything from breaking chairs over creature's heads, to turning tables upright for the wizard to stand behind and attack, and even plowing through lines of swarming kobolds, clearing paths of destruction.

It may seem like the melee have less options, but the open ended content has given them countless options.  And that's just the first playtest - not only do they have all the options their players can think of, but I'm sure powers and maneuvers are soon to come.  I could have sworn I saw the word 'manuevers' mentioned either in the PAX interview or the L&L posts.  I'll go recheck those for detail.

All this is not said to undermine your point or to not even understand it; I do.  When other people get pre-made powers, options, and seemingly all these advantages, one does feel like the other classes get shafted.  Creativity can counteract this, BUT, shouldn't be required.  Thats why I strongly believe melee will be getting more active class features through these playtests (like the defender ability, which I found was -really- cool), and even powers of their own.  I'd actually love to see melee getting Vancian slots for martial maneuvers myself.  It'd be a very fun twist on the old 2e feel. 
Sign In to post comments