Thoughts after DMing

So I just ran this for a group of people who typically play LFR.

We had 4 people. Ever class but the fighter was represented. Most of the combat was grid based with only ToTM used in a fighting retreat after launching a coin that the mage cast light on into the kobold common area. 

Players thoughts:
Theif - Hated it. He said he might as well just played as the fighter since he didn't do any more damage and had to hide on his turn to gain advantage. He didn't like being a skill monkey.

Wizard - In the first combat he had burning hands prepared and sleep. For the rest of them it was only Sleep as his 3 prepared spells. No spell was better.

Cleric of Pelor - Hated it the least of the bunch. Isn't to bothered by the system as long as he had fun. He missed a lot though so that didn't help. Wasn't as big of a healbot as I had though.

Cleric of Moradin - Hated it. Missed a bunch. Only got to use his guardian theme once. Meat shield of the part. Took tons of damage. Healed himself a lot. Most of the time he only healed himself for 1 hit point. (Short rest healing as well as HD healing)

DM - Was okay. Seemed way to easy for enemies to get advantage while hardly any attacks the player used to get advantage. The monsters stat block should have just been copied into the adventure text since all init and save throws are needed. Had to keep checking between the two.

The trap in the kobold area was also good. Hinderance to the players as well as a boon once they fought around it and opened it from the inside for a big number of kobolds to tumble to their death.

I modified the rats to be similar to a swarm in 4e. Each had 6 hit points and did 6 damage. One hit did 1 damage to the rat and left with with 5 HP/5 damage. 

They did seem to enjoy stripping everything and selling it back in town for much more then they would have gotten just looting kobold gold. 

Most everyone hated the -20 to surprise. Most would change it so the surprisers gain +20, or possibly +10. 

The enemies were quite samey after a while (40+ 2 hp kolbods /yawn)

A few good points were brought up. How would the modularirty change the monsters. As well as how to keep player power levels relatively even. Everyone just delayed for the Wizard to sleep everyone then just mopped up.
The current iteration of the rules does not support grid based fight in my opinion. Next time try focusing more on the ToTM, many of the problems you listed are not present there (especially the part with 40 monsters of the same tipe).
Theif - Hated it. He said he might as well just played as the fighter since he didn't do any more damage and had to hide on his turn to gain advantage. He didn't like being a skill monkey.


I definitely agree. I just posted my game report, and I made this exact point. The rogue is strictly worse than the fighter in combat, because he has to spend an action every other round just to be ALMOST as good as the fighter is all the time.

The monsters stat block should have just been copied into the adventure text since all init and save throws are needed. Had to keep checking between the two.


Also agreed. I keep the bestiary open on my computer while running the game so I can check ability scores.
The enemies were quite samey after a while (40+ 2 hp kolbods /yawn)


I have noticed this as well. Each type of monster seems to have one special ability (goblins gain advantage while they outnumber their enemy, gnolls gain extra damage when attacking someone who has two enemies by them, etc), but not all types of monster have this ability, and I don't know that it's really enough to distinguish them from each other. The monsters are becoming generic bags of AC and hit points.
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The rogue is not worse than the fighter because when he does attack he gains advantage (at least for his sneak attack) and he gains the extra 1d6 of damage.  As he levels, he'll be gaining 1d6 extra sneak attack damage per level.   By 3rd level he'll deal +3d6 sneak attack damage, and presumably by 8th level he'll do +8d6 (They will probably have to slow down the progression or cap it at some point).

Very soon, I'm sure that there will be rules that give attacking from behind (flanking) an advantage.  When this is the case, the rogue will have more attacks from advantage, thus he'll be gaining his sneak attack damage on more attacks.   We played using this house rule - any attack from behind gains advantage.  The rogue was the star of our games!  Our rogue player loved his mix of abilities.

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Very soon, I'm sure that there will be rules that give attacking from behind (flanking) an advantage.  When this is the case, the rogue will have more attacks from advantage, thus he'll be gaining his sneak attack damage on more attacks.   We played using this house rule - any attack from behind gains advantage.  The rogue was the star of our games!  Our rogue player loved his mix of abilities.



I'm sure your rogue did love it when you made him much more powerful than the rules state he is. Who wouldn't? The present posters are playing the game as is, however, and noting that they are lacking.

 

"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

The rogue is not worse than the fighter because when he does attack he gains advantage (at least for his sneak attack) and he gains the extra 1d6 of damage.


Assuming both the rogue and the fighter have advantage at 1st level...

The fighter is attacking with a +6 to attack and 2d6+7 damage on a hit, with 3 damage on a miss.

The rogue is attacking with a +5 to attack, and deals 2d6+3 damage with the dagger, OR 1d8+1d6+3 damage with the sling. As you can see, even considering ideal circumstances, the rogue's numbers don't even reach the fighter's.

Mathematically, the rogue is strictly worse at killing things than the fighter, because the rogue must only attack every OTHER round in order to get this close to the fighter.
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Yeah the problem is some people have given the rogue advantage on flanking, which with the ease of movement is practically every round. Other DMs have just really allowed it when hidden, and pretty easy to hide every other round. And others have made it very tricky for the rogue to hide, so they might get it once a combat.

That leads to a vastly different power level and experience and yet all are probably valid ways to play under the current rules. The rogue more than any other character needs to go back to the drawing board.
Yeah the problem is some people have given the rogue advantage on flanking, which with the ease of movement is practically every round. Other DMs have just really allowed it when hidden, and pretty easy to hide every other round. And others have made it very tricky for the rogue to hide, so they might get it once a combat.

That leads to a vastly different power level and experience and yet all are probably valid ways to play under the current rules. The rogue more than any other character needs to go back to the drawing board.



But if that's the case, then isn't it just working as intended? Aren't the DMs just 'improvise'-ing? 

I'm not saying I'm agreeing with it, mind you. What I am saying is that this may be the way it is intended to work in the 'Theater of the Mind' approach to system rules. I am worried that this is the way the designers actually want it to work! 

 

"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

Good points all around.

This also my be a problem with the rules for Advantage / Improvising.    As DM, I feel that the core rules as written give me the ability to grant Advantage more liberally.  To me, attacking from behind would always grant advantage for anyone.  That needs to be clarified.

There is also a trade off for rogue.  He can't be as good as a fighter because he has other abilities that a fighter doesn't have.  If he is as good as a fighter then the fighter players will complain.

 

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I am worried that this is the way the designers actually want it to work! 



Could well be, I remember I use to enjoy playing a gnome fighter/thief in 2nd, and even with the same DM the chance of getting a sneak attack varied significantly from session to session. It just wasn't a predictable ability. This mirrors that edition pretty well. 
It is also heavily dependant on what you fought.
If Batman and Aquaman always fought on land, Aquaman would be a horrible superhero.

When you fight hordes of rats and hordes of kobolds, the Wizard is going to shine.
Now go fight hobgoblins, or an Ogre and things change.
I think the first level wizard is a bit powerful compared to the Rogue. I've run a session at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and played in a 1st and 2nd level session. It depends on where you fight and how you fight and what you fight for the rogue and wizard. The fighter just hacks through things no matter what. I think WotC has it spot on in that regard.

Finally, the rogue is not the same as the rogue from 4e. If you are falling back on roles, the Moradin cleric is the defender, the Pelor cleric is a leader, the wizard is a beautiful controller, the Fighter is a superb Striker, and the rogue is a mix. Something not covered in 4e. So if you played a rogue in 4e and you are looking for that same striker damage, try a fighter and tell me it isn't dealing damage. But if you want a balanced class, I think the rogue is your best bet.
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Thanks PinkRose. Well reasoned.
The monsters stat block should have just been copied into the adventure text since all init and save throws are needed. Had to keep checking between the two.

Please.  Or at least the initiative and the saving throws.  Initiative is certain to come up in every fight, how could we not have initiative?

I modified the rats to be similar to a swarm in 4e.

I was also tempted to run some thing like 4e for lack of any easy-to-find rule in the playtest materials, but, I thought "then I'll just be playtesting 4e, and we already know it's good."



Yeah the problem is some people have given the rogue advantage on flanking, which with the ease of movement is practically every round. Other DMs have just really allowed it when hidden, and pretty easy to hide every other round. And others have made it very tricky for the rogue to hide, so they might get it once a combat.

That leads to a vastly different power level and experience and yet all are probably valid ways to play under the current rules. The rogue more than any other character needs to go back to the drawing board.

But if that's the case, then isn't it just working as intended? Aren't the DMs just 'improvise'-ing? 

I'm not saying I'm agreeing with it, mind you. What I am saying is that this may be the way it is intended to work in the 'Theater of the Mind' approach to system rules. I am worried that this is the way the designers actually want it to work! 

That's my fear, too.

"A character is never too powerful - nor is he not powerful enough! He is exactly as powerful as the DM intends him to be..."
======= Balesir
It is also heavily dependant on what you fought.
If Batman and Aquaman always fought on land, Aquaman would be a horrible superhero.



Aquaman is a horrible superhero.

If the only thing you are comparing is combat ability...and only at 1st level, then yes the rogue is inferior to the fighter. 

But that's not really a complete comparison. The rogue is a master of exploration, clearly better than the fighter at stealth, trap mitigation, scouting, opening locks. These aren't trivial things. If none of these appeal to a player, then they shouldn't play the rogue with the thief scheme. Other schemes will likely be available in the actual game.

You also need to look at where the rogue goes as it levels. The Sneak Attack power gains 1d6 every level, quickly skyrocketing into a blockbuster power. In order to keep up, the fighter character needs (and gets) extra actions in a round.

All in all, these are fairly well balanced. Each shines in their arena of specialty. 

Equlity for all classes in combat is a false balance, as the entire game isn't played in combat. Characters that shine outside of combat should have a commensurate lowering of power while fighting or else the combat specialty classes end up cheated. 
The rogue is a master of exploration, clearly better than the fighter at stealth, trap mitigation, scouting, opening locks.



I think the fighter is clearly better at spotting traps and scounting, with his better wisdom and Perception skill. Heck technically even the Wizard is better, with the bonus from Wisdom and having advantage on all those checks. Sure the rogue is better at stealth assuming the DM lets him have some cover, and none of the 20+ kobolds happen to roll well to spot him.

I think the fighter is clearly better at spotting traps and scounting, with his better wisdom and Perception skill. Sure the rogue is better at stealth assuming the DM lets him have some cover, and none of the 20+ kobolds happen to roll well to spot him.



Scouting generally includes not being seen. And that's the rogue's perview - especially since he is incapable of rolling less than a 16. I'm not seeing many situations where the rogue would have to be hiding from more than a handful of enemy creatures - though the number of kobolds doesn't make the fighter better than the rogue at stealth. The thief can also hide behind extremely small cover thanks to 'Thief Hiding'. So a chair or cask is quite sufficient.

How is the fighter better at spotting traps? Both the rogue and fighter have the same modifier from stat/skill, but the rogue will never roll less than a 12 thanks to skill mastery. And the fighter is completely incapable of picking locks or disarming traps since he doesn't have the 'Tools of the Trade' class feature.

All of this is fine, since the fighter is a combat specialist rather than an exploration specialist.

But there is a good point here. The fighter can still offer a modest contribution to exploration, just as the rogue can offer a modest contribution to combat.  
@autolycus

We are playing the thief the same way as you - he scouts, comes back to the others who then plan as a team before tackling the next section.  He also the traps and so on - we've used Perception as a more generic skill, so he's better at finding traps and infinitely better at disarming them.  But he doesn't necessarily hear noises off better, because that's more a generic Perception thing and not one of his special skills.  Not sure how we're actually meant to handle these things?  It would be interesting to know - I can't say I've taken in the rules in all their complexity yet.  Still the mastery point has been significant - it makes him very reliable for those skills, and the scout-plan-act approach has been very productive.

I never thought of the thief as a fighter anyway - we've always used them as scouts, sneaks, and people to deal with situations requiring dexterity, lightness, etc - sort of the opposite of the fighter, who has all that armour and weaponry.  But maybe this is a 2/3/4 thing - we're playing very old rules, when thieves and fighters were well differentiated.  I would actually say that if anything, the thief is now less differentiated than I'm used to.  Still, it's okay, he functions reasonably well. 
How is the fighter better at spotting traps? Both the rogue and fighter have the same modifier from stat/skill, but the rogue will never roll less than a 12 thanks to skill mastery.



The fighter has +2 modifier from his stat compared to the -1 the rogue has. So he +3 better than the rogue.

And silly me I've completely forgotten the Cleric of Pelor, who actually autodetects the pit trap the kobolds have set.

His +4 is better than the Rogues +2 to find traps, not as good as the Fighters +5 but still he can autodetect anything with a DC13 or less.
How is the fighter better at spotting traps? Both the rogue and fighter have the same modifier from stat/skill, but the rogue will never roll less than a 12 thanks to skill mastery.



The fighter has +2 modifier from his stat compared to the -1 the rogue has. So he +3 better than the rogue.

And silly me I've completely forgotten the Cleric of Pelor, who actually autodetects the pit trap the kobolds have set.

His +4 is better than the Rogues +2 to find traps, not as good as the Fighters +5 but still he can autodetect anything with a DC13 or less.




If anything, this teaches us not to use Wisdom as dump stat for rogue, or allow rogue to use either Wisdom or Intell to spot/search.

Also, if we make a rogue with a soldier's background, we'll gain the +3 to perception.

Cheers. 

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 


Also, if we make a rogue with a soldier's background, we'll gain the +3 to perception.

Cheers. 



Now would that stack?

Also, if we make a rogue with a soldier's background, we'll gain the +3 to perception.

Cheers. 



Now would that stack?




Good question.  Don't know yet.  I think it just adds on.

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

How is the fighter better at spotting traps? Both the rogue and fighter have the same modifier from stat/skill, but the rogue will never roll less than a 12 thanks to skill mastery.



The fighter has +2 modifier from his stat compared to the -1 the rogue has. So he +3 better than the rogue.

And silly me I've completely forgotten the Cleric of Pelor, who actually autodetects the pit trap the kobolds have set.

His +4 is better than the Rogues +2 to find traps, not as good as the Fighters +5 but still he can autodetect anything with a DC13 or less.



Not sure where the traps auto-detect is coming in. Only the rogue gets a minimum roll of 10 with a find traps roll. The fighter's minimum roll is 6. The cleric of pelor, minimum roll 5. Rogue minimum roll 12.

Both the fighter and the cleric are quite poor at stealth. So unless they want to check for traps while under enemy fire they are out of luck.

Both these clases are decent at some of the aspects of exploration. Just like the rogue is decent at some aspects of combat. But each of them excells at their given role, while being sub-optimal in other roles. This is good balance.
Maybe the reason you're experiencing "problems" is because it was explicity stated that class balance isn't part of the playtest.

"Our goal at this stage is to fine-­‐tune the core rules. We’ll ask for your feedback on character creation,  advancement, and adventure design rules in the coming months." 

My group just figured we'd get more info on the classes as we got more info on the game and focused, instead on the core mechanics. That's what was suggested by Mearls.
Not sure where the traps auto-detect is coming in. Only the rogue gets a minimum roll of 10 with a find traps roll. The fighter's minimum roll is 6. The cleric of pelor, minimum roll 5. Rogue minimum roll 12.



The his Wisdom is 5 above the DC of the Wisdom check for the trap.
See Ability Threshold on page 3 of the DM Guidelines.
If the only thing you are comparing is combat ability...and only at 1st level, then yes the rogue is inferior to the fighter. 

But that's not really a complete comparison. The rogue is a master of exploration, clearly better than the fighter at stealth, trap mitigation, scouting, opening locks. These aren't trivial things. If none of these appeal to a player, then they shouldn't play the rogue with the thief scheme. Other schemes will likely be available in the actual game.

You also need to look at where the rogue goes as it levels. The Sneak Attack power gains 1d6 every level, quickly skyrocketing into a blockbuster power. In order to keep up, the fighter character needs (and gets) extra actions in a round.

All in all, these are fairly well balanced. Each shines in their arena of specialty. 

Equlity for all classes in combat is a false balance, as the entire game isn't played in combat. Characters that shine outside of combat should have a commensurate lowering of power while fighting or else the combat specialty classes end up cheated. 




Exactly.  Why should the Rogue be as good as a fighter in normal combat situations?  The Rogue is not a figher; a fighter is a fighter.  If the Rogue is able to deal as much damage as the fighter and have all the other Rogue abilities, then the fighter is pointless. 

Perhaps this is my lack of substantial play in 4E, but the Rogue (in my games and your mileage may vary), is a sneaky, non-direct-confrontational type who uses skills not generally available to other types to accomplish a goal - typically in an undetected fashion. 



Perhaps this is my lack of substantial play in 4E, but the Rogue (in my games and your mileage may vary), is a sneaky, non-direct-confrontational type who uses skills not generally available to other types to accomplish a goal - typically in an undetected fashion. 




Yup, I think we're running into different expectations based on different editions. 4e's rogue doesn't have the feel of a thief from previous editions, at least during combat. It will be interesting to see what comes out in terms of fighting maneuvers - I predict we'll get more of a 4e feel to the rogue.

It would be cool though if they further differentiated rogues from dexterity-based fighters instead. I'd be willing to try a rogue that has to rely more on skill/ability checks than attack rolls to defeat opponents.


Perhaps this is my lack of substantial play in 4E, but the Rogue (in my games and your mileage may vary), is a sneaky, non-direct-confrontational type who uses skills not generally available to other types to accomplish a goal - typically in an undetected fashion. 




Yup, I think we're running into different expectations based on different editions. 4e's rogue doesn't have the feel of a thief from previous editions, at least during combat. It will be interesting to see what comes out in terms of fighting maneuvers - I predict we'll get more of a 4e feel to the rogue.

It would be cool though if they further differentiated rogues from dexterity-based fighters instead. I'd be willing to try a rogue that has to rely more on skill/ability checks than attack rolls to defeat opponents.




I agree.  Actually, the rogue in 4e seems unbalanced to me.  Our rogue was a swashbuckling maniac who could sneak attack nearly every round doing huge amounts of damage.  This was especially true since he was an Eladrin, soldier rogue who used a longsword, gained the extra damage from the feat, and was able to use the longsword as a light weapon to sneak attack.  He could tumble around, avoid AoO (using tumble and with his high dex and bonus vs. AoO), then strike while flanking.  Flanking rules were too generous.  I think D&DNext needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

It is also heavily dependant on what you fought.
If Batman and Aquaman always fought on land, Aquaman would be a horrible superhero.



Aquaman is a horrible superhero.


I knew that the moment I hit "Submit".
Thanks, DMaple.

But it does prove my point, yes?
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I also prefer the skill-monkey swiss-army-knife rogue to the 4e Striker rogue.
THat's a preference. I know others don't agree, but I would rather leave the fighter as a fighter and the rogue as a every-once-in-awhile damage super nova.
Viva La "what ever version of D&D you are playing right now!"


Perhaps this is my lack of substantial play in 4E, but the Rogue (in my games and your mileage may vary), is a sneaky, non-direct-confrontational type who uses skills not generally available to other types to accomplish a goal - typically in an undetected fashion. 




Yup, I think we're running into different expectations based on different editions. 4e's rogue doesn't have the feel of a thief from previous editions, at least during combat. It will be interesting to see what comes out in terms of fighting maneuvers - I predict we'll get more of a 4e feel to the rogue.

It would be cool though if they further differentiated rogues from dexterity-based fighters instead. I'd be willing to try a rogue that has to rely more on skill/ability checks than attack rolls to defeat opponents.




I agree.  Actually, the rogue in 4e seems unbalanced to me.  Our rogue was a swashbuckling maniac who could sneak attack nearly every round doing huge amounts of damage.  This was especially true since he was an Eladrin, soldier rogue who used a longsword, gained the extra damage from the feat, and was able to use the longsword as a light weapon to sneak attack.  He could tumble around, avoid AoO (using tumble and with his high dex and bonus vs. AoO), then strike while flanking.  Flanking rules were too generous.  I think 4e needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


 



That would be a back-stab, not a flanking attack.

I'm also not a fan of the new Rogue as primary damage dealer mindset.

I like that the rogue is essential to gaining tactical info and good at supporting the assault through measured precise attacks rather than just laying waste to enemies an making the fighter take the role of damage soaker with none of the pre combat importance.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I think D&DNext needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


The problem with this idea is that, built into it, is the requirement of "facing" rules, which is fine when you aren't using minis and a grid, but can become burdensome and clunky when introduced to grid-based combat.
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I think D&DNext needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


The problem with this idea is that, built into it, is the requirement of "facing" rules, which is fine when you aren't using minis and a grid, but can become burdensome and clunky when introduced to grid-based combat.



I don't find it that difficult.  It is logical and makes sense, so if a player says, I want to move in behind the creature, I let him or her, unless there is a reason to deny it. (For example, if the creature is not engaged yet and is guarding, or if the creature can perceive the attacker, or if the creature has its back to a wall or large object or another creature - If it is a matter of detection or tracking the attacker, I let the attacker roll a dex check vs. creature 10+dex/or wis)  This can be done with grid or gridless.

 

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

With regards to the Rogue, why can't both options be viable? We've only seen one Rogue Scheme - Thief. Why couldn't there also be a Brigand, Highwayman or Ruffian scheme that's all about fighting dirty or being an intimdating street tough?

I'll get out one of my current soap boxes and suggest that for D&D Next to be a true evolution of the game it needs to offer plenty of choice and options in character design rather than the approach of "Here's the Rogue, if you don't like it play a different class".

Now, if they'd only add some options to the Fighter . . .  
I think D&DNext needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


The problem with this idea is that, built into it, is the requirement of "facing" rules, which is fine when you aren't using minis and a grid, but can become burdensome and clunky when introduced to grid-based combat.



I don't find it that difficult.  It is logical and makes sense, so if a player says, I want to move in behind the creature, I let him or her, unless there is a reason to deny it. (For example, if the creature is not engaged yet and is guarding, or if the creature can perceive the attacker, or if the creature has its back to a wall or large object or another creature - If it is a matter of detection or tracking the attacker, I let the attacker roll a dex check vs. creature 10+dex/or wis)  This can be done with grid or gridless.


Well, if facing is a rules-defined status (i.e., tracked in the same way as a creature's position), then you develop the problem of "how quickly can a creature change facing?" Can you turn around when it isn't your turn, or do you have to spend an entire round facing only one direction?

One way makes facing irrelevant, since you can turn in reaction to someone getting behind you, and the other way makes characters feel clunky and slow, since they are then many times less maneuverable than real-life combatants. D&D combat's shortest measurement of time is a Round, which is 6 seconds. This makes changing facing become a much more complicated problem than you seem to realize.
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I think D&DNext needs to go back to just giving flanking bonus when attacking from behind only.


The problem with this idea is that, built into it, is the requirement of "facing" rules, which is fine when you aren't using minis and a grid, but can become burdensome and clunky when introduced to grid-based combat.



I don't find it that difficult.  It is logical and makes sense, so if a player says, I want to move in behind the creature, I let him or her, unless there is a reason to deny it. (For example, if the creature is not engaged yet and is guarding, or if the creature can perceive the attacker, or if the creature has its back to a wall or large object or another creature - If it is a matter of detection or tracking the attacker, I let the attacker roll a dex check vs. creature 10+dex/or wis)  This can be done with grid or gridless.


Well, if facing is a rules-defined status (i.e., tracked in the same way as a creature's position), then you develop the problem of "how quickly can a creature change facing?" Can you turn around when it isn't your turn, or do you have to spend an entire round facing only one direction?

One way makes facing irrelevant, since you can turn in reaction to someone getting behind you, and the other way makes characters feel clunky and slow, since they are then many times less maneuverable than real-life combatants. D&D combat's shortest measurement of time is a Round, which is 6 seconds. This makes changing facing become a much more complicated problem than you seem to realize.



Good points, but that's exactly why I just have the player roll dex check.  I assume that the creature is trying to turn/track the attacker.  If the attacker beats the check, he beats the turnaround (facing).  After the attack, the defender can choose to face the attacker regardless of hit or miss.  (Unless the attacker remains undetected...sneak attack...skulker ability, etc.)



A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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Good points, but that's exactly why I just have the player roll dex check.  I assume that the creature is trying to turn/track the attacker.  If the attacker beats the check, he beats the turnaround (facing).  After the attack, the defender can choose to face the attacker regardless of hit or miss.  (Unless the attacker remains undetected...sneak attack...skulker ability, etc.)


At that point, it becomes almost facile for rogues to get in behind an opponent, because their DEX checks are going to be phenomenal. It also goes against the current design model whereby Advantage typically costs an action to gain.

It is the intent of the designers that a rogue only attacks every other round, spending the alternate rounds hiding.
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With regards to the Rogue, why can't both options be viable? We've only seen one Rogue Scheme - Thief. Why couldn't there also be a Brigand, Highwayman or Ruffian scheme that's all about fighting dirty or being an intimdating street tough?

I'll get out one of my current soap boxes and suggest that for D&D Next to be a true evolution of the game it needs to offer plenty of choice and options in character design rather than the approach of "Here's the Rogue, if you don't like it play a different class".

Now, if they'd only add some options to the Fighter . . .  




Because then he/she is not a Rogue anymore.  It is the difference between a class and a theme (or kit, or background, etc.).  If the class of Rogue gives all the rogue abilities and just as good at fighter abilities, what is the point of the fighter?  Anyone can be a "thief" as a theme - all you have to do is steal stuff and any character class can do that.  Just like any character class can be an assassin - all you have to do is kill for money (or some other goal).  In your example, the Brigand, Highwayman and/or Ruffian are fighters as a class.  Because they steal for money, they are theives in theme (at least at the time they are robbing you - perhaps they are trying to feed starving kids, ala Robin Hood   ).     

D&D, being a "class" system is very limited in that regard.  I am afraid what you are looking for is just not D&D.  It has been done, and done quite well, in other systems that do not have classes, but rather your characters abilities are defined by skill selection and point-based abilities.  

In D&D, a class defines a pre-set selection of skills - fighters are already good with a host of weapons and have proficiency in armors - and know how to use them.    Rogues bring to the table a pre-set selection of skills revolving around subterfuge and they can be just as deadly - given the right situation (as backstab has been in the game since 1E), but just not an "every round" kind of lethality.  Otherwise, they are simply fighters with a cool move.  
Good points, but that's exactly why I just have the player roll dex check.  I assume that the creature is trying to turn/track the attacker.  If the attacker beats the check, he beats the turnaround (facing).  After the attack, the defender can choose to face the attacker regardless of hit or miss.  (Unless the attacker remains undetected...sneak attack...skulker ability, etc.)


At that point, it becomes almost facile for rogues to get in behind an opponent, because their DEX checks are going to be phenomenal. It also goes against the current design model whereby Advantage typically costs an action to gain.

It is the intent of the designers that a rogue only attacks every other round, spending the alternate rounds hiding.




This may be true with the core rules that we've seen so far, but we don't know what the tactical options will be in the future.  For all we know, they may just decide that advantage is granted if any creature or PC attacks from behind (or when flanking, or when attacking from high ground).  WotC needs to flesh out the conditions for advantage, or we'll all be granting it whenever we feel like it.

As for the ease in which a rogue can do this maneuver, it won't be so much greater than the others, and since there will be an ability cap, it doesn't seem that the bonuses will escalate.  Dex 18 (+4)....Roll a 9 to make the maneuver vs. DC 13 (the rogue will be able to move behind a foe 60%).   Maybe the 10+bonus of foe check is too low.  Maybe it should be DC 13+bonus.    When I gave the rogue in my game a chance to move behind the Ogre (and I set the DC to 13), he failed...so the Ogre turned with him.  It didn't work so badly.
 

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog