Rules that were fun (or not)

First two sessions of DM with a bunch of guys who hadn't played D&D for a while. They usually play more complicated RPGs or tabletop wargaming. We had a blast, and everyone agreed that the rules were straightforward, yet realistic enough for our taste. I could focus on the story.

Rules that were just right


The Advantage/Disadvantage system: I was sceptical at first when I read the rules, but in practice it worked nicely. Also, I saw the players change their actions based on Advantage/Disadvantage, whereas players don't change their actions for a + or – 3 bonus.


Skill System: the best new part of the 5th edition. Simple, easy to use in different situations. Intuitive for both DM and PCs. 


Both types of Clerics were fun to play and seemed balanced.


The rogue was very interesting in combat.


As most people pointed out, combat was fast. Also, it was nice not to have to use a battle grid/miniatures (if you don't want to). Since the rules are simple, it was easy to improvise during combat (which I tend to do). 

Monster design: I like a nice simple layout, one or two abilities per monster. Same thing for the spells: they were presented in a simple format. 



Rules I don't like


Extended Action: how to you go about a task that is not a pass or fail test, but that is a more progressive. You could do it with multiple Skill Checks, but I don't like it so much...


Characters helping each other: Regardless of your Skills/Ability Scores, you always grant an Advantage to another Character. That doesn't seem right, especially when you look at a character with no skill training and average Attribute compared to a skilled character with above average Attribute.


Looking forward to test other class/higher levels with the PCs! 

Another thing: I hate Attacks of Opportunity. They don't work well when you don't use a battle grid.

I had no problem with "movement fluidity" and tanking in our fights. If they are in a small corridors and there not enough room to pass, the monsters could not pass. On the other hand, if they are standing in a big room and the "tankers" are overwhelmed  with two or three attackers each, I don't mind the monsters going straight for the mage/healing cleric. It seemed realistic and the players did not complain. 
The tanks still felt that they were doing their job.

On one occassion, they were some space, but not that much. I call for a contested Strength test on both sides to see if the monster could force his way through. Nice and simple. 
How was the rogue interesting in combat?  It seemed like they were largely worse than the fighter to me.

Hmm, I'd note that a halfing Rogue might have tremendous advantages being able to hide behind party members.  As far as getting SA dice.

I do think that the final rules need to have something for +/- X to rolls in addition to the advantage/disadvantage.  That or allowing even more dice to be rolled (but I think that gets unideal quickly).  +/- should be much more specific rule-wise, I think, with advantage/disadvantage used for general problems.  At least that's my thought.


Hmm, I am also not entirely certain about the hatred of skill challenges.  Overall I thought they worked fairly well in 4th and would work even better in 5th.
I do have to agree that the rogue worked fairly well because he is so small. 

We had a fight inside an inn and the rogue had plenty of place to hide, although it would not work so well with human-sized character.

Overall, the rogue did not do as much damage as the fighter, but his actions were more varied: hiding in his surrounding, hiding behind the big guys, flanking his opponent (I gave Advantage for Flanking), etc. 
The player had a lot of fun with the rogue in combat and did not complain of being slightly less powerful (he actually loved to hide to avoid being targetted by attacks...) 
I do have to agree that the rogue worked fairly well because he is so small. 

We had a fight inside an inn and the rogue had plenty of place to hide, although it would not work so well with human-sized character.

Overall, the rogue did not do as much damage as the fighter, but his actions were more varied: hiding in his surrounding, hiding behind the big guys, flanking his opponent (I gave Advantage for Flanking), etc. 
The player had a lot of fun with the rogue in combat and did not complain of being slightly less powerful (he actually loved to hide to avoid being targetted by attacks...) 


It should probably be noted that a human rogue would maybe have a different theme and background and thus be interesting in a different way.
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.
In the campaign in general, I agree that a rogue with a different background could be fun. 

 However, for combat, I find that the Theme Lurker is essential to the rogue. Sneak attack is at least as important when you level up (1d6 Level 1, 2d6 Level 2, 3d6 Level 3, Level 4 ???)
So far, there is not that many situations that grant Advantage in combat... 
Anyway, so far the Dev Team has done a wonderful job for 5th edition, so they will probably figure out other interesting and balanced Theme. (Maybe some theme that grants Advantage through Feinting? Advantage after a successful Dodge?) 
In the campaign in general, I agree that a rogue with a different background could be fun. 

 However, for combat, I find that the Theme Lurker is essential to the rogue. Sneak attack is at least as important when you level up (1d6 Level 1, 2d6 Level 2, 3d6 Level 3, Level 4 ???)
So far, there is not that many situations that grant Advantage in combat... 
Anyway, so far the Dev Team has done a wonderful job for 5th edition, so they will probably figure out other interesting and balanced Theme. (Maybe some theme that grants Advantage through Feinting? Advantage after a successful Dodge?) 



I already do Advantage through Feinting. I call it improvisation (I also let them make an attack as part of it, but on a miss, they waste the action, because no one objects, and the player felt the attack every two rounds was not fun).
Player: I want to flip my dagger between my hands, and fake an attack with my left hand, and go in with my right.
Me: Alright, give me a Dex check
Player: *Dex check* Score, I got an 18!
Me: *opposed Wis roll* Alright, you get advantage; now make your attack. 

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.

Avric_Tholomyes, for Feinting, does it take one turn or two turns to do it?




  1. Feinting and Attacking in the same turn




or




  1. Feinting in the 1st turn, and Attacking with Advantage in the second turn




I would expect it takes two turns, but you ask for a Dex check, than an opposed Wits Check, so maybe it is only one turn.



I can see the rogue gaining Advantage through 3 types of Action:


1) standard Combat action that the rogue uses frequently


Example : Hide for Lurker


Feinting


Tumbling and/or Dodging (special Theme Opportunist/Athletic: gain Advantage against an opponent if you Dodge and he misses you)


Flanking maybe



2) special “Environmental” situation: jumping from a tree unto the back of an unaware owlbear (Dex check for climbing)


These special situations would probably not happen very often.


Another example: defeating from behind a barricade. The rogue would technically gets an Advantage, although I don't see why he should get a sneak attack...



3) Advantage gained through synergy with other Pcs


The Wizard uses a spell that knocks a target on the ground, the fighter bull rushes an opponent and you use that opportunity to stab him in the leg while he is tumbling...



I am really looking forward to see the other Theme they are going to come up for the Rogue (bard might become a Theme or Background...)  

Our group LOVED the Advantage / Disadvantage rules, even though we were very skeptical before we got to the table.  We very quickly and intuitively adapted these rules into a reward for good roleplaying by offering Advantage to well described actions, or as roleplaying based hinderances by offering Disadvantage on rolls made against them.   I was also offering Advantage to rolls based on character description.  For example, the party was looking through some books for a certain piece of information.  I gave the Wizard Advantage on the roll due to their Lore training.

As an example of a roleplaying based Disadvantage against the players with these rules, we decided that a character took a really bad hit to the torso from an axe that dropped him below 0 HP.  Now and then, I would force Disadvantage on him if he did anything that aggravated the wound, such as climbing a wall or stretching to reach for something.  

This was all intuitive and made sense in the situation, without a need for rules referencing.  It allowed us to simulate the sensibilities of our story without having to look up obscure rules or bother taking the time to calculate some math formulas.  Roll 2 dice when you roll.  Take the better or lower.  Next.  Absolutely brilliant and elegant.  Best of all, it more often than not created a situation where things that should happen did, and things that should not happen did not, without the muss or fuss of calculations and flipping pages that would have slowed down the story.

We also loved the speed and simplicity of the new rules.  Again, this was something we were skeptical about.  However, these rules were so simple that they quickly became background for the story we were creating.  This might be the greatest strength of the new rules.  I sincerely hope they don't add a bunch of exceptions and additional steps to the way it is now.  If they do, they will destroy what they have going.

Combine these two factors and we had a game system that was story driven, as opposed to mechanics driven.  It fueled and encouraged our creativity, as opposed to stifling and channeling it.  These rules are the exact opposite of the MMO direction they had been taking, as they promote using human judgment and storytelling above all else.

We really liked the removal of the Powers and need for miniatutes, but were glad to see that they kept some good ideas from 4th edition, like Short Rests and Long Rests, especially Hit Points as an abstract pool of resources to AVOID injury rather than a measure of the ability to take it.  We liked this a lot, as it encouraged flexibility in how damage avoidance was described, and as mentioned above, if a player was especially creative in describing their defense, I hit their attackers with Disadvantage.  It was a double encouragement to roleplaying.

We also liked the ability to switch prepared Spells easily.  This removed the locked feeling that the previous editions had, and created an acceptable amount of versatility.  "I had prepared a bunch of ice spells for today, but now that I see we're going into a cave full of ice giants, I will be switching to fire spells.  I just need to study for about 15 minutes."  This let the casters feel like they were in more control of their own destiny.

We also noticed that these rules felt like they held a lot of the original (1980 and 1981) boxed set rules in high regard.  Also a selling point in our opinions.

We were very glad to see that the 9 Alignments are back!

Something else that was mentioned was that we liked that it looks like most of the classes have many different build approaches available to them.  Each class doesn't have a defined 'role'.  Most importantly, the way we were playing, 'roles' were less important and apparent than the characters themselves, especially once the players started thinking 'outside the box' and as if they were their characters in the situations that were being described.  

There wasn't much our group didn't like.

However, we saw some potential issues.

At later levels, Rogues might end up doing too much damage too quickly, and the Healer Cleric has an ability that maximizes healing, which will quickly become Feat Tax if it isn't dealt with.   Both of these seemed like they could become unbalancing.

Groups that are not especially creative might not have as much fun with these rules, as the 'fun' relies on player innovation, roleplaying, and interaction with the game world.  These rules don't provide the 'button pushing reaction' playstyle that some players have become accustomed to.  Personally, this is a selling point for us.  We want rules to help us tell our story, not to tell our story for us.

However, these are minor exceptions to balance and tweak. The base mechanics are just plain awesome.  If the published rules provide a fair degree of customization, this will likely be the best version of D&D to date, and no one at our tables were expecting that after looking the rules over. 
Noice.  Love the usage of RP as a determiner of advantage.  Coooool.
Noice.  Love the usage of RP as a determiner of advantage.  Coooool.



It seemed like this was the intention of the rule for Advantage and Disadvantage to be applied situationally and intuitively, as far as we could tell from the verbage, so that's how we applied it in our playtests.  

If that's the case, then it's absolutely brilliant because it encourages players to roleplay every chance they get in order to earn Advantage, or get out of Disadvantage.  This totally changed the D&D experience for our group from a game of looking up rules and calculating mechanics to tell our story for us, into a fluid storytelling session that barely paused to roll dice.

If I'm wrong, then I'd highly suggest that the developers make this the case.  Our table thrived because of this interpretation.  

If I'm right, then I'd suggest the developers clarify this a little better in the next handouts.
Yeah I am just really excited about that.

I allow players to vote when another player does something they think is cool.  If more than half the group agrees (they vote with a chip) then they get a special chip, worth XP.   Ther XP it is worth is equal to how much fun *I* had as a DM.  So for example if you have three "cool chips" by nights end, and I had a great time, each one is worth 10 bonus XP.  If I had an "okay" time, 7 and do on.

Well in the new DnD... I could let them bank chips for advantage or to negate disadvantage instead of doing XP!

This idea excited me a lot.


This was all intuitive and made sense in the situation, without a need for rules referencing.  It allowed us to simulate the sensibilities of our story without having to look up obscure rules or bother taking the time to calculate some math formulas.  Roll 2 dice when you roll.  Take the better or lower.  Next.  Absolutely brilliant and elegant.  Best of all, it more often than not created a situation where things that should happen did, and things that should not happen did not, without the muss or fuss of calculations and flipping pages that would have slowed down the story.

Combine these two factors and we had a game system that was story driven, as opposed to mechanics driven.  It fueled and encouraged our creativity, as opposed to stifling and channeling it.  These rules are the exact opposite of the MMO direction they had been taking, as they promote using human judgment and storytelling above all else.

However, these are minor exceptions to balance and tweak. The base mechanics are just plain awesome.  If the published rules provide a fair degree of customization, this will likely be the best version of D&D to date, and no one at our tables were expecting that after looking the rules over.

It seemed like this was the intention of the rule for Advantage and Disadvantage to be applied situationally and intuitively, as far as we could tell from the verbage, so that's how we applied it in our playtests.  
 



Totally agree with you!

I like the Advantage/Disadvantage because it is so simple. I play with people who live in different cities, so we don't play often. I need rules that are simple and intuitive because some players forget the mechanics.


Also, in our last session, Advantage/Disadvantage was something the PCs considered to be a significant bonus/penalty. In the past, when I gave a + or – 2 to a roll, players did not seem to care. It could become bothersome when there were too many bonuses at the same time.


The PCs were taking a long rest (sleeping), but the character who was taking the first watch did not see the ambushers. I gave the attackers an Advantage for the first turn: because of this, most PCs decided to Dodge. If I had given them -2 to -4, I think most of them would have tried attacking...


Advantage/Disadvantage is fast (not time-consuming), a significant bonus and intuive. Also, it's a nice system that works well outside combat.





...

We also liked the ability to switch prepared Spells easily.  This removed the locked feeling that the previous editions had, and created an acceptable amount of versatility.  "I had prepared a bunch of ice spells for today, but now that I see we're going into a cave full of ice giants, I will be switching to fire spells.  I just need to study for about 15 minutes."  This let the casters feel like they were in more control of their own destiny.
...




I wasn't finding this pointed out in the rules. I love the idea, but where in the Playtest pack does it talk about that?

Thanks a ton!

Radagar

Avric_Tholomyes, for Feinting, does it take one turn or two turns to do it?

It depends on what his Description was. The intent was to prevent the hiding and attacking from taking 2 turns to do what the fighter could do in one, but if he said something simple, like doing some simple feinting trick with his blade, it'd be in the same turn. But that wasn't something he could do over and over, because enemies would quickly get wise to that trick. If he tried to do some sort of acrobatic leap over the back of the enemy, before stabbing them in the back, that would take 2 actions, but I'd reduce the check difficulty a bit, because I value that type of improvisational thinking more than the hide-attack 2 turn repetition.

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.


...

We also liked the ability to switch prepared Spells easily.  This removed the locked feeling that the previous editions had, and created an acceptable amount of versatility.  "I had prepared a bunch of ice spells for today, but now that I see we're going into a cave full of ice giants, I will be switching to fire spells.  I just need to study for about 15 minutes."  This let the casters feel like they were in more control of their own destiny.
...




I wasn't finding this pointed out in the rules. I love the idea, but where in the Playtest pack does it talk about that?



The rules are pretty clear on one thing.  Minor spells and orisons don't need any prep and can be cast at will, all day if necessary.  

The confusing thing is that the issue of spell preparation isn't that clear in the To Play guide - it just says "some classes" need to prepare.  So you have to look at your character sheet, since there's no other discussion of which classes need to prepare spells.

On the wizard's and clerics' sheets, it has a paragraph on spell preparation.  It's clear that you have to have a long rest first, and after the rest you can prepare your spells.  The time is one minute per spell level per spell, so potentially this is a very quick job.

What it doesn't say is whether you can only prepare spells on awaking, or whether you can do it later in the day.  And if not, why not?  And what if you've already memorised spells - do they make your brain sticky so you can't learn some different ones in their place, or what?  I wouldn't have interpreted the rules as Guest has, but I can definitely see some legitimacy in that interpretation.

I think the intention is that wizards and clerics can only prepare spells once a day, right after they wake up from a restful sleep, presumably 8 uninterrupted hours.  It also seems that the intention is that slots per day = spells used per day = spells memorised per day with no exceptions, i.e. no spell replacement.  If so, this needs to be clear, and it should probably be in the To Play guide. 
I would expect it takes two turns, but you ask for a Dex check, than an opposed Wits Check, so maybe it is only one turn.



Unfortunately, givng up an entire attack to feint and gain advantage on the following attack is worse in every way than attacking twice without advantage.

If you feint and attack later then in essence you have two chances to hit for one potential damage roll.

If you attack two turns in a row, you still have two chances to hit, but for two potential damage rolls.

I like the idea of the opposed check, with the loss of the subsequent attack if the "defender" wins the check. I don't actually agree with defaulting it to Wis for the contest though. Characters and monsters that have high martial skill (as opposed to magical aptitudes) tend to have lower wisdom (other than the monk) thus making them easier to fake out. In my mind, a skilled combatant would be much HARDER to fake out in a combat situation than say, a healer.

My thought for that (and for most opposed checks) isn't to roll against a specific attribute based on the skill in use, but instead to roll against whatever attribute applies it's bonus for the task at hand. It's odd to think of opposing a Dex bluff check with Str, but it makes sense in the paradigm for D&D where Str also represents skill in combat for many classes. In a social situation though, they might need wisdom to oppose a similar check, or if a very learned person says something that sounds credible but isn't true, they might have to oppose with Int.

...

We also liked the ability to switch prepared Spells easily.  This removed the locked feeling that the previous editions had, and created an acceptable amount of versatility.  "I had prepared a bunch of ice spells for today, but now that I see we're going into a cave full of ice giants, I will be switching to fire spells.  I just need to study for about 15 minutes."  This let the casters feel like they were in more control of their own destiny.
...




I wasn't finding this pointed out in the rules. I love the idea, but where in the Playtest pack does it talk about that?



The rules are pretty clear on one thing.  Minor spells and orisons don't need any prep and can be cast at will, all day if necessary.  

The confusing thing is that the issue of spell preparation isn't that clear in the To Play guide - it just says "some classes" need to prepare.  So you have to look at your character sheet, since there's no other discussion of which classes need to prepare spells.

On the wizard's and clerics' sheets, it has a paragraph on spell preparation.  It's clear that you have to have a long rest first, and after the rest you can prepare your spells.  The time is one minute per spell level per spell, so potentially this is a very quick job.

What it doesn't say is whether you can only prepare spells on awaking, or whether you can do it later in the day.  And if not, why not?  And what if you've already memorised spells - do they make your brain sticky so you can't learn some different ones in their place, or what?  I wouldn't have interpreted the rules as Guest has, but I can definitely see some legitimacy in that interpretation.

I think the intention is that wizards and clerics can only prepare spells once a day, right after they wake up from a restful sleep, presumably 8 uninterrupted hours.  It also seems that the intention is that slots per day = spells used per day = spells memorised per day with no exceptions, i.e. no spell replacement.  If so, this needs to be clear, and it should probably be in the To Play guide. 



Thanks. I interpreted it as you did, but I see where the other interpretation could be possible as well.
 Unfortunately, givng up an entire attack to feint and gain advantage on the following attack is worse in every way than attacking twice without advantage.



Unless you are a rogue.

Take a 3rd level rogue: he could attack twice to deal 1d6 + 3 each time.
Or he could hide/feint/whatever to attack once with Advantage and deal : 1d6 + 3 +3d6 sneak damage.  

* * *

Should hiding always give the Advantage, even if you don't have the Theme Lurker?
In which case the Theme Lurker could allow you to hide during combat (which shouldn't that easy anyway)

* * *

About Wizard and Priest preparing spell, we had the impression that the Priest doesn't not have to prepare specific spells. He just "learn" them all after a Long Rest and when spellcasting, he can use a slot of the appropriate level to cast that spell. 

Anybody else who reads it like that?
So you're reading it that the Priest doesn't have slots, just a maximum number of spells cast per day?  No, we'd interpreted it that the priest has to choose which ones to learn each day.  I'd be interested to hear about other interpretations.

The Rogue point is interesting - to be honest, we haven't really worked out the hiding / sneaking thing, so we've ignored it.  It sounds as though any attack with advantage results in this extra damage, but that sounds excessive, and also not quite right as not all advantage will have anything to do with sneaking.  And we haven't used the hiding thing because, apart from avoiding being hit, we didn't see that this necessarily resulted in automatic advantage.  Again, I'd be interested to hear other interpretations. 
About Wizard and Priest preparing spell, we had the impression that the Priest doesn't not have to prepare specific spells. He just "learn" them all after a Long Rest and when spellcasting, he can use a slot of the appropriate level to cast that spell.



So you're reading it that the Priest doesn't have slots, just a maximum number of spells cast per day?  No, we'd interpreted it that the priest has to choose which ones to learn each day.



I believe one of the dev's said that Divine casters function much like 3e sorcerers. They still have spell levels and slots, but any slot can be used for any spell of that level or below. Lower slots can't be used on higher level spells though. Unlike the wizard however, they don't have a variable list to select each day. When a new spell becomes available, they make a permanent selection from the list and can't change it later. That way their casting is more tactically flexible, but less strategically flexible than the wizard.
Unless you are a rogue.

Take a 3rd level rogue: he could attack twice to deal 1d6 + 3 each time.
Or he could hide/feint/whatever to attack once with Advantage and deal : 1d6 + 3 +3d6 sneak damage. 



Good point. Still a mechanic of questionable value if it only benefits one class in one situation.

Honestly, my thought is that if you're behind somebody you should probably have Advantage anyway. I mean, what's more advantageous (and dirty) than stabbing somebody in the back? On the other hand, the scaling on Sneak Attack seems a little crazy at the moment.
I discarded attacks of opportunity (I don't like them), and instead give disadvantage to any player that moves more than a 5-foot step on their next attack they make. I found out it was easier this way, and it also discourages people from just running away from a monster with -2 bonus on their melee attacks, then just running away and only being able to hit him with a 20 anyway...
I discarded attacks of opportunity (I don't like them), and instead give disadvantage to any player that moves more than a 5-foot step on their next attack they make. I found out it was easier this way, and it also discourages people from just running away from a monster with -2 bonus on their melee attacks, then just running away and only being able to hit him with a 20 anyway...



Maybe I'm being obtuse, but I'm not sure I follow the part of your statment I highlighted. I'm guessing you're saying that it wasn't enough of a danger to deter the player from breaking from melee because the monster in question had a -2 penalty and the player had 18+ AC requiring the moster to get a natural 20?

I do find myself thinking that if the monster already needed an 18+ to land a hit, then there might have been a problem with the encounter... that's really neither here nor there, however.

How do you handle Charge, with the Disadvantage on moves over 5ft? Just exempt it from the penalty, or some other mechanic?

I'd be worried about making combat too stationary and defensive with that mechanic. In most cases, Disadvantage is going to represent around a 30% average damage reduction, which is pretty huge. Enough that it'll typically dissuade any player who recognizes the actual statistical significance of the penalty from entering combat in any way that garners Disadvantage. If they don't realize how potent it is, then they're likely to attempt things they shouldn't while under Disad. That will often lead to miserable failure, and sometimes dangerous consequences for the character, which can in turn lead to unhappy players.

Mind you, I'm ok with that personally, but I like to make sure players and GM's realize how potent Advantage/Disadvantage is. The +/-30% is a pretty broad generalization based on the average character's +hit, and the range of AC most of the humanoid monsters in the bestiary have, so it's by no means comprehensive, but it should be relatively accurate in most encounters.

If you'd like to see some more definitive numbers, here ya go...
community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...


No, the point is AoO are just annoying to keep track off, and they either screw people over, or have no consequence on the player at all. In this case, every player knows what the flaw is on running from enemies and this is also applied to enemies that move around past players, making it disavantageous for multiple monsters to move around the fighter/paladin cleric who holds them off as a defending role.

 The Rogue point is interesting - to be honest, we haven't really worked out the hiding / sneaking thing, so we've ignored it.  It sounds as though any attack with advantage results in this extra damage, but that sounds excessive, and also not quite right as not all advantage will have anything to do with sneaking.  And we haven't used the hiding thing because, apart from avoiding being hit, we didn't see that this necessarily resulted in automatic advantage.  Again, I'd be interested to hear other interpretations. 



First of all, I don't think sneak attack damage are excessive. Most of the time you waste one turn to "set up" your attack, so you only attack once every two turns. 

I also like the broad generalisation that Advantage grants you sneak. There is a few instances where it doesn't make sense (Advantage from a Blessing Spell...), but most of the time it makes sense.

You have to think of the extra damage as more vicious and dirty attacks when the opponent is vulnerable, than "sneaking" per say. So if a creature is laying on the ground, I have no trouble seeing the rogue stabbing it in the neck. Or if fighting a giant/ogre in a forest, the halfling rogue lay low next to a fallen tree trunk. As the ogre/giant passes by, the rogue slashes the creature behind the knee (aka extra "sneak" damage).  

In combat, we didn't think of "hiding" as literraly hiding. It was more like you get out of sight for a few seconds and while your opponent is busy with another fighter, you jump right in the fight while he is not expecting you. 



We really liked the removal of the Powers and need for miniatutes, but were glad to see that they kept some good ideas from 4th edition, like Short Rests and Long Rests, especially Hit Points as an abstract pool of resources to AVOID injury rather than a measure of the ability to take it.  We liked this a lot, as it encouraged flexibility in how damage avoidance was described, and as mentioned above, if a player was especially creative in describing their defense, I hit their attackers with Disadvantage.  It was a double encouragement to roleplaying.

We also liked the ability to switch prepared Spells easily.  This removed the locked feeling that the previous editions had, and created an acceptable amount of versatility.  "I had prepared a bunch of ice spells for today, but now that I see we're going into a cave full of ice giants, I will be switching to fire spells.  I just need to study for about 15 minutes."  This let the casters feel like they were in more control of their own destiny. 



I think your use of rp with the advantage/disadvantage is awesome!

What is interesting to me is that my group disliked some of the things your group seemed to like the most. For example, the ability to switch spells so easily almost made it pointless to memorize them in the first place. My players really liked the ability to cast some spells straight from the book, but it seemed like switching spells was so easy, it negated any sense of reward or value a player might feel by choosing the right spells for the day.

The other thing they didn't like was the short rest/long rest mechanic. While I can see this benefiting a party without a Cleric by providing them with an opportunity to heal, it seemed to devalue the Cleric quite a bit who was then forced more into a fighter's role. Also, on the Cleric, spells like healing word need to be dealt with.

Compare Cure Light Wounds with Healing Word. Both are first level spells. CLW requires the Cleric to touch the target to heal 1d8 hp while Healing Word can heal up to 50' away and only heals 1d6 hp. This makes sense, but throw in the fact that Healing Word also allows the Cleric to take another action and the spell becomes completely unbalanced. Who would ever memorize CLW when you can have Healing Word to heal at a range AND still fight in melee? I understand that people want their Cleric to fight and heal simultaneously, but it messes with game balance in a big way. With the combination of the Cleric's superior, ranged healing while also still fighting and the ability to take a short rest to heal significant damage, the party had so much healing at their fingertips that the threat of failure or death was totally negated.   
I discarded attacks of opportunity (I don't like them), and instead give disadvantage to any player that moves more than a 5-foot step on their next attack they make. I found out it was easier this way, and it also discourages people from just running away from a monster with -2 bonus on their melee attacks, then just running away and only being able to hit him with a 20 anyway...



I didn't even find attacks of opportunity in the rules...which page were they on? I wonder how I missed that.....
I discarded attacks of opportunity (I don't like them), and instead give disadvantage to any player that moves more than a 5-foot step on their next attack they make. I found out it was easier this way, and it also discourages people from just running away from a monster with -2 bonus on their melee attacks, then just running away and only being able to hit him with a 20 anyway...



I didn't even find attacks of opportunity in the rules...which page were they on? I wonder how I missed that.....



You didn't miss it. This iteration has no mechanic for them. The rules so far make reference TO the mechanic that will handle them, but they don't actually explain it fully in the packet. The Dev's have explained it in further detail in interviews and posts though. Basically, each character has a single Reaction that they can make each round, out of phase (on somebody else's turn). You won't always have the chance to React to anything, but one of the potential reactions you can take would be in the form of an attack if an opponent gives you the chance.

Next packet will have full explanations on it, I'm sure, since AoO's have been one of the hottest topics.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />What is interesting to me is that my group disliked some of the things your group seemed to like the most. For example, the ability to switch spells so easily almost made it pointless to memorize them in the first place. My players really liked the ability to cast some spells straight from the book, but it seemed like switching spells was so easy, it negated any sense of reward or value a player might feel by choosing the right spells for the day.

Compare Cure Light Wounds with Healing Word. Both are first level spells. CLW requires the Cleric to touch the target to heal 1d8 hp while Healing Word can heal up to 50' away and only heals 1d6 hp. This makes sense, but throw in the fact that Healing Word also allows the Cleric to take another action and the spell becomes completely unbalanced. Who would ever memorize CLW when you can have Healing Word to heal at a range AND still fight in melee? I understand that people want their Cleric to fight and heal simultaneously, but it messes with game balance in a big way. With the combination of the Cleric's superior, ranged healing while also still fighting and the ability to take a short rest to heal significant damage, the party had so much healing at their fingertips that the threat of failure or death was totally negated.   



Revising spells keeps the game moving.  Once the PC gets to higher levels the number of spells they can choose balloons.  Limiting the number of spells by revising just a few will help but deciding whether to use a high level slot for a low level spell could tke some time.

However, it's also likely that each cleric will get a general spell list and a deity specific spell list, so hopefully the number of overall spell options will be limited.  I hope that domains have more choice per level than 3e and that the basic list consists only of the 'classic' cleric spells like those that existed in 1e so that each cleric can be built differently.

They are divorcing healing from spelss so hopefully they can tone down the attack spells and add healing in addition.


First of all, I don't think sneak attack damage are excessive. Most of the time you waste one turn to "set up" your attack, so you only attack once every two turns. 

I also like the broad generalisation that Advantage grants you sneak. There is a few instances where it doesn't make sense (Advantage from a Blessing Spell...), but most of the time it makes sense.

You have to think of the extra damage as more vicious and dirty attacks when the opponent is vulnerable, than "sneaking" per say. .....  



Ah, I hadn't appreciated the point about set up.  Is this in the rules somewhere?  How do you set up the attack?

I like your interpretation of "sneak".  We've discussed this today and decided to rename it "cunning attack" so it makes more sense to us and covers more things that the rogue might be doing.  We are not an experienced group, and have only played 1e, so it's taking a while to get the hang of things that those who've played 3/4 seem to find very easy to understand!

I’ll chime and concur that the advantage/disadvantage rule makes things pretty sweet.  Likewise, from a RP standpoint, we all enjoy the idea that what the player says has an effect on how it can be advantageous/disadvantageous to how convincingly the character says it.  Also, while my players loved the return of the 9 alignment system, I actually prefer the 4E alignments myself, particularly “unaligned.”


 


From a DM standpoint, I find myself missing the “X level (type)” approach to monster design.  It was a quick and easy way to gauge what was an appropriate challenge to the players.  And for the love of Salma Hayek, please bring back minions!!!  Pretty please?


 


Regarding treasure, I didn’t particularly care for creatures having a random number of coins each.  Just say each creature carries a set amount, and call it good.  Similarly, x percent of monster carries y or z weapon is needless record-keeping.  


 


Also, for future playtests, is it possible to include more than 5 characters?  For groups with more than 5 players (like ours) it prevents players from being left out, and for groups with 5 or fewer players, it gives them options regarding what to playtest.


 


As it pertains to adventure layout, I prefer self-contained stats.  That is to say, I prefer it if ALL the monster information is right there with the encounter, rather than having one place for the “thumbnail,” and needing to look elsewhere for the complete stats.


Ah, I hadn't appreciated the point about set up.  Is this in the rules somewhere?  How do you set up the attack?




For us, “setting up” for an attack was merely trying to hide during combat. There is a section in the rule about hiding during combat. The rogue thus looses one turn to hide (need to succeed his Hide check). In the following turn, he gets the Advantage on attack, therefore he gains sneak (or cunning) attack.


For us, it made sense tactically: if he succeeds at his hide check, he cannot be attacked on that turn (which the rogue liked a lot). Also, he deals more damage that way.


It also made sense from a storytelling point of view: I don't expect to rogue to stand in front of his opponent. I expect him to get away from danger (aka hide), than backstabbing his opponent


As other people pointed out, there are other ways to “set up an attack”, like Feinting, climbing a tree to drop on your opponent, and so on. However, there are no official rules for these other manoeuvres.


Regarding the wording of “sneak” vs cunning, I agree with you. However, I'm sure they are not going to change it because it is a “classic” D&D term.


In a different thread, we had the same issue about Wisdom. It seems strange that Wisdom represents both your perception and your connection to the Divine. However, they cannot change or add an Ability score because Wisdom is a “classic” ability.






Also, for future playtests, is it possible to include more than 5 characters?  For groups with more than 5 players (like ours) it prevents players from being left out, and for groups with 5 or fewer players, it gives them options regarding what to playtest.




I read somewhere that they plan for us to playtest character creation rules, so you will soon have the opportunity to test a wide range of characters. Maybe not all classes and races, but quite a few.


Regarding revising spells, we haven't played that way. However, it could make sense after you take a Short Rest.