To those who understand 5e

Could anyone help me out?

I have really tried to keep up with what is going on with the 5e development. I really wanted to be fairly involved. But It has proven harder than I thought. I have downloaded the playtest documents, answered the surveys, regularly read Legends & Lore, Rule of Three and other realted articles and Wizards blog posts. I have tried to participate in the forums, but many on here are evidently able to keep up with things better than I am.

My main concern now is that I really don't have an idea where 5e is going. I'm not downing anything here, except humbly admitting my own shortcomings. I thought I knew kind of what was going on, but I'm less confident than ever now. I've been rereading the articles above to maybe start over at square one, but I don't really get the big picture.

So, here's what I see so far as the core game concept. The basic concept of the game is of course still a class based fantasy game, but it seems that more than ever before PC customization will be paramount.

This customization seems to be centered in themes and backgrounds, with the possible exception now of the fighter who progresses instead through the new mechanic of Combat Superiority.

Advancement in the game no longer relates to being able to hit things better, but to be able to do and take more damage.

Another feature of advancement is that players will pick and choose "paths" (my word) through various themes and backgrounds or combat superiority to better define their PC and advanced in ability.

The core mechanic of the game is now the ability check against a DC. This covers just about everthing a PC would do in the game. Some class abilities mayallow modifiers to certain class based abilities. As has been mentioned about some thief abilities. 

I'm confused on how hit points work and the new hit die concept. One of the things that has hurt my ability to grasp things is my preconcieved notions from previous editions. And I don't think 5e HD are like previous notions of Hit Die.

I understand spell casters are still basically Vancian, but that they willl have at wills spells of some sort.

It seems like healing is still being worked out, but that the Devs are kind of leaning to a recharge typr of healing, but that may change.


I know there's more to the core game, and if you have additions that might help me I'd really appreciate it. I also understand the idea of modularity, and that more advanced options of all sorts and kinds will be added as we go.

Last thing: the PC generation playtest rules are what they are saying will be out next sometime this month hopefully, is this right?

My only agenda for this thread is to understand where 5e stands so far--what the core concepts of the game are. 

Thanks so much for all of your help.
"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." --Gary Gygax
That's actually a question that isn't as easy to answer as you'd think imo.  The biggest problem is this: other than the generic 'direction' posts, most of what they're actually after is still up in the air.  Most of the rest of what we 'know' is deduced (and not always accurately) from the aformentioned articles, and the occasional Twitter post.  We know every class is going to have -some- kind of 'fun mechanic'.  We know that Themes are basically packages of feats and...some other assorted stuff (like the Slayer autodamage-on-miss from the playtest packet).  Ostensibly you'd be able to mix and match some of the abilities, but whether that ever gets 'official' support is kinna in the air and open to guessing.  We know that at one time, there is supposed to be 'every class from a PHB1'.  Now, how far back that goes is open to interpretation (and makes the statement unreliable imo).  Assassin may be a class, but I -highly- doubt its -anything- like 1e's assassin -- they pulled that one for a reason, and that reason hasn't vanished yet (yay Moral Majority).  The main 'goals' are to bring everyone to the table and make modular options, sorta like a 'dial' of 'choose your complexity' ranging from OldSchool to OMGWTFSOMANYOPTIONS!.  Again, though...that's just a goal and, like any goal in a playtest, is completely subject to change.  But it's one I think they'll focus on pretty well as much as they can.

Wizards are Vancian, but other casting classes (like warlock, or sorceror) will use other casting styles.  What styles they are and how they look...we don't know yet.

The new HD and the old HD are only similar in the fact that your number is HD is equal to your level.  Unlike before, however, you can 'spend' HD for healing with the assistance of a healing kit.  This is to help relieve the pressure of MUST HAVE CLERIC.  Presently, it's a random roll for each hit die and there's a lot of contention about that, so we'll have to see how it evolves in the future.  But for now, that's what it is.  So if you're level 3, you have 3 HD (just like before), and you have 3 dice of daily out-of-combat self-applied healing with a healer's kit.  The healing paradigm is still -very- much in the air.

Bounded Accuracy is a goal.  I can't explain it well, but it's basically 'limiting numbers to a small range'.  As an OS player, you'd recognize the old AC values as Bounded (10 to -10).  This means things like 'the fighter wont get a higher chance to hit (a lower Thac0 in OS terms) every level'.  How it bears out in practice...again, we'll just have to see.

Character customization, I'm afraid, is here to stay and is only going to get more and more involved.  I don't see that trend changing for a while.  To go with that, unique mechanics will be more and more prevalent...in theory.

And finally, a new playtest packet is to come out at GenCon, and no doubt on the web shortly thereafter (if not that day).  Hope that helps some!

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Hit die are what are used for out of combat healing mostly.  Characters get more hit points as they lvl (but this is defined my class and not rolling.  When you are not in combat someone trained in using a heal kit can use one use of the kit to allow you to roll a hit dice and heal that much. 

It actually sounds like you have everything else down.  Cleric's and Wizards will probably be the only magic classes to use Vancian and Clerics are spontanious casters meaning when they cast a spell they just mark off that lvl or a higher lvl spell per day slot off but they can cast any spell they have prepared as many times as they have slots available.
The game is supposed to be rules basic with the ability to add rules as modules.  Not sure I saw that in the OP.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

IMO, the developers don't even know what direction to take with the game, part of them seems to want to try new stuff, but are so afraid of people that just want the old stuff all over again.

Designer A: Why not? It's clever, it's unexpected.
Designer B: But that's not why people play D&D. Clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared. D&D players don't want anything original. They wanna see the play the same thing they've played a thousand times before.

This is a problem, potential new players aren't intersted on D&D at all, they see it as a old outdated game that is generic and boring, former D&D players want to play the exact same game that they played for the last 30 years...


 


Hit die are what are used for out of combat healing mostly.  Characters get more hit points as they lvl (but this is defined my class and not rolling.  When you are not in combat someone trained in using a heal kit can use one use of the kit to allow you to roll a hit dice and heal that much. 

It actually sounds like you have everything else down.  Cleric's and Wizards will probably be the only magic classes to use Vancian and Clerics are spontanious casters meaning when they cast a spell they just mark off that lvl or a higher lvl spell per day slot off but they can cast any spell they have prepared as many times as they have slots available.


Actually, at each level gain, you roll your Hit Die and add the result to your max HP (or add your CON Mod, if it is greater than your Hit Die roll result).


Designer A: Why not? It's clever, it's unexpected.
Designer B: But that's not why people play D&D. Clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared. D&D players don't want anything original. They wanna see the play the same thing they've played a thousand times before.

Attention, McNeal. Your unexpected marriage plan scares us. You stole our hearts as a single female lawyer, and so shall you remain -- or else!

This is a problem, potential new players aren't intersted on D&D at all, they see it as a old outdated game that is generic and boring, former D&D players want to play the exact same game that they played for the last 30 years...


How do you know that potential players see it as being "old" and "outdated"? D&D is still by far the best known RPG around and people who haven't played it likely haven't played any RPG and thus have absolutely no frame of reference at all. I started playing two years ago and at that time didn't realize how old it was it or know how many iterations there had been or what the differences between them were. I also couldn't name a single alternative game. So I find it very hard to believe that most people who haven't played D&D would have any strong opinion about how "old" its mechanics are.

As long as it has nice, colorful production values like 4E I don't think noobies will have a problem giving it a fair shake. The Players Handbook is going to be anyone's first impression and if it looks new and modern people will be very comfortable treating the game as such; that was certainly the case for me when I first looked through 4E's PHB. As for the mechanics, the key will be that they are quick and easy to learn, not how original they are because new players will have no clue what is original and what has been around for decades.
The most important thing to remember after all the the different answers you will likely recieve is that this is a playtest. The public has only seen one release, plus a fighter update. The core of the game has been tweaked based off of feedback from the open group and friends and family. As a member of both, I am excited about the future direction of the game. Noone will ever agree on the perfect game, but with enough opinion from he public, and a patient playtest, I think this game can be great again.
Thanks everyone, it's comforting to know that some of my confusion isn't self imposed, but due to alot still being uncertain. Which is fine as we're really still early in the development process--I just don't want to make foolish assumptions.

So, I think I understand the "idea" behind HD a little better. Though I am still unclear if a PC will roll hit points per level, or it will be assigned by class. In other words each class will gain a set number of HP per level. But the new concept with HD is related to healing (which right now is limited based on available healing kits, though I heard that might change).

And I appreciate the clarification on spellcasting choices. Spellcasting will basically vary by either class or choice, maybe by theme or background--no? But the basic core Wizard is designed to be vancian and clerics  kind of slot based vancian as mentioned above.

I'm still not too clear on bounded accuracy and it's implications though. Do we know if as mentioned above the traditional d20 combat system still holds? In other words, if it isn't harder to hit say an well armored orc than a dragon, but that the dragon has more hp then AC may not exceed a certain point, right? And I can't quite get my head around everyone being able to hit something as well as everybody else--with the exception now of the combat superiority of the fighter. So if there are no assumptions that you get better at hitting things as you level then clerics, hit as well as MUs as well as thieves. Right?
"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." --Gary Gygax
Thanks everyone, it's comforting to know that some of my confusion isn't self imposed, but due to alot still being uncertain. Which is fine as we're really still early in the development process--I just don't want to make foolish assumptions.

So, I think I understand the "idea" behind HD a little better. Though I am still unclear if a PC will roll hit points per level, or it will be assigned by class. In other words each class will gain a set number of HP per level. But the new concept with HD is related to healing (which right now is limited based on available healing kits, though I heard that might change).

And I appreciate the clarification on spellcasting choices. Spellcasting will basically vary by either class or choice, maybe by theme or background--no? But the basic core Wizard is designed to be vancian and clerics  kind of slot based vancian as mentioned above.

I'm still not too clear on bounded accuracy and it's implications though. Do we know if as mentioned above the traditional d20 combat system still holds? In other words, if it isn't harder to hit say an well armored orc than a dragon, but that the dragon has more hp then AC may not exceed a certain point, right? And I can't quite get my head around everyone being able to hit something as well as everybody else--with the exception now of the combat superiority of the fighter. So if there are no assumptions that you get better at hitting things as you level then clerics, hit as well as MUs as well as thieves. Right?



With bounded accuracy you just won't automatically get better at hitting with leveling.  The fighter in the playtest does appear to have a +1 to hit that the other classes don't have. 
Look to 1e for an idea of monster AC.  Tiamat had AC0 I think.  3e generally retained the lower level AC numbers as 1e but broke down how those numbers were calculated.  They've said that natural armour and mundane armour won't stack as well.  We don't know how PC attack rolls will go up yet (and they will ahve to go up slightly) and it looks like magical boinuses of up to +5 might be a bit too high, especially if magic bonuses to shields are back in.  We'll know more in a couple of weeks.
So, I think I understand the "idea" behind HD a little better. Though I am still unclear if a PC will roll hit points per level, or it will be assigned by class.

When you gain a level, you roll your class hit die and add the result to your total maximum HP.  (If you roll very low, like less-than-your-CON-modifier low, then you can gain max HP equal to your CON mod instead of the die roll.)  From what I can tell, most groups are going to use a house rule that you get the average result of the die instead of just rolling, or maybe just "halfway between average for your hit die and the minimum from your CON mod".
And I appreciate the clarification on spellcasting choices. Spellcasting will basically vary by either class or choice, maybe by theme or background--no? But the basic core Wizard is designed to be vancian and clerics  kind of slot based vancian as mentioned above.

It would really help if I knew your background and experience with 3E.  If you are familiar with 3E, then themes are exactly like feat-chains (from what I understand); just like you would previously pick two-weapon fighting and then two-weapon defense and improved two-weapon fighting and two-weapon rend (or whatever), now you just say you're picking the two-weapon theme and it auto-selects the appropriate feats for you.

Backgrounds are just your skills.  Instead of saying that you have three ranks in pick lock and five ranks in stealth, you just have a background in stealth and picking locks so you get a bonus to your attribute check when you use those skills.  Skill ranks are gone (as of my last understanding), and your bonus to such checks does not really improve over time.

Whether a class is Vancian, or encounter-based, or point-based, or whatever other core mechanic like that is supposed to be purely based on your class.  A wizard is a Vancian arcane caster, and that's the only definition of what a wizard is - if you want to be not Vancian, then you want to be a different class.  (Flavor comes entirely from themes, so you could be a bookish sorcerer or a bookish warlock or whatever by taking the appropriate scholarly theme for the class in question.)  

On top of Vancian or point-based or whatever spellcasting, though, some themes are going to offer at-will spells.  Anyone taking the appropriate theme gets at-will magic missile for example.  If you're familiar with late 3.5, you may remember that they basically started doing that anyone: there would be a feat that lets you cast a tiny fireball or diminutive lightning bolt as an at-will ability, and they were equally available to wizards or sorcerers or clerics.
I'm still not too clear on bounded accuracy and it's implications though. Do we know if as mentioned above the traditional d20 combat system still holds?

Traditional d20 combat still applies.  The only thing that bounded accuracy changes is that nobody progresses with to-hit.  Just imagine everyone stays at first level and doesn't improve.  In 3E, at least, a fighter was +1 to hit over a rogue or cleric or wizard at first level, but then the fighter would continue to get +1 to hit every level and the wizard would only gain +1 to hit every other level, so eventually the fighter ended up +20 to hit and the wizard is only +10 to hit.

At least under the current version, it looks more like the fighter is at +3 to hit and the cleric/rogue are at +2 to hit, while the wizard is only +1 to hit.  At level 10 or 20, the fighter will still be at +3 to hit and the cleric/rogue will still be at +2 to hit and the wizard will still only be at +1 to hit.  (The exact numbers don't matter right now, so this is just for illustration.  Your STR or DEX is also going to be a factor, but that won't increase much with level either, so it's still a flat bonus to hit regardless of level.)

Likewise, AC isn't going to go up a whole heck of a lot - a kobold wearing plate armor is going to have the same AC as an ogre wearing plate armor or a dragon with scales as hard as plate armor, or possibly better since the kobold has higher DEX.  You'll never* have to worry about something being so weak that you don't even need to roll to hit, or something that's so far out of your league that you can only hit on a 20.

But yeah, the dragon is going to have so many more HP than the ogre or the kobold that it doesn't need AC to be tough.  By the time you can fight an ogre reasonably well, you'll be one-shotting orcs left and right (due to your damage increasing with level), and by the time you're fighting the big dragons you'll be able to one-shot the ogres too.

The metagame is not the game.

In the 4e Monster Vault, the Bear (Level 5) has an AC of 17, while the Dire Bear (Level 11) has an AC of 23.

Without taking level into account, there is no reason why the Dire Bear's AC should be so much higher than the Bear's. They're both beasts with hide. Of course, the Dire Bear's AC is elevated in 4e because the PCs who face it have gained a high bonus to hit compared to when they faced the Bear, and its AC needs to keep pace to ensure a reasonable fight.

Under a bounded accuracy system, the Bear and Dire Bear's AC will be very similar. The Dire Bear might gain +1 AC for extra thickness and toughness, but that's it. Creatures who fit into the "normal beast with hide" will correlate to a specific AC range - say, 12 to 14 - regardless of level. Other forms of protection will be relatable to different AC ranges. See a humanoid in plate mail and shield, and you can expect AC 18-20 throughout your PC's career. A monster's levels alone don't boost its AC or to-hit bonuses.

Your PC will get fewer numerical boosts, but without the "Red Queen" effect of monster to-hits and AC going up alongside your PC's accumulated bonuses, each bonus you do get is a true advantage.
If you are familiar with 3E, then themes are exactly like feat-chains (from what I understand); just like you would previously pick two-weapon fighting and then two-weapon defense and improved two-weapon fighting and two-weapon rend (or whatever), now you just say you're picking the two-weapon theme and it auto-selects the appropriate feats for you.

Backgrounds are just your skills.  Instead of saying that you have three ranks in pick lock and five ranks in stealth, you just have a background in stealth and picking locks so you get a bonus to your attribute check when you use those skills.  Skill ranks are gone (as of my last understanding), and your bonus to such checks does not really improve over time.

On top of Vancian or point-based or whatever spellcasting, though, some themes are going to offer at-will spells.  Anyone taking the appropriate theme gets at-will magic missile for example.  If you're familiar with late 3.5, you may remember that they basically started doing that anyone: there would be a feat that lets you cast a tiny fireball or diminutive lightning bolt as an at-will ability, and they were equally available to wizards or sorcerers or clerics.



Backgrounds don't just involve skills but also some appropriate benefits dependent on the flavour of the background.  This might include helpful npcs, bonuses in certain situations etc.

It isn't clear if themes are purely feats with some fluff for flavour or if the bundles will have synergistic bonuses similar to your background benefits.

I also don't think that there will be no level-based attack bonuses at all unless they are keeping AC in a very tight band and magical armour bonuses suggest that maybe they're not.  They will want higher level PCs to be able to hit ACs that are very tough at lower levels but without making them easy to hit at high levels.  This will either be done with feats that provide attack bonuses with gravy or limited level bonuses, maybe +1 every 5 levels.


Okay, this has been very, very helpful. It has also put a lot of my fears to rest. For example, I spent some time in another thread arguing against combat superiority, not understanding the idea of bounded accuracy. Now that I have a better grasp on it, I am much more at home with the idea. In fact I quite like it.

So in terms of iconic abilities:

The Fighter gets combat superiority
The Wizard gets vancian magic with cantrips
The Cleric gets divine magic, channel divinity, orisons
The Thief gets skill mastery and sneak attack.

Others will get others, but the classic four are pretty much as above, no? And I heard that the thief may be changing some too.

Oh, and yes, the allusions to 3 and 3.5 feat chains helped immensely. I had kind of imagined themes that way, but wasn't sure. 
"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." --Gary Gygax

Actually, at each level gain, you roll your Hit Die and add the result to your max HP (or add your CON Mod, if it is greater than your Hit Die roll result).



Did I miss this in the playtest packet?  Source please ;)
Could anyone help me out?

I have really tried to keep up with what is going on with the 5e development. I really wanted to be fairly involved. But It has proven harder than I thought. I have downloaded the playtest documents, answered the surveys, regularly read Legends & Lore, Rule of Three and other realted articles and Wizards blog posts. I have tried to participate in the forums, but many on here are evidently able to keep up with things better than I am.

....



But have you actually played the game?

Actually, at each level gain, you roll your Hit Die and add the result to your max HP (or add your CON Mod, if it is greater than your Hit Die roll result).



Did I miss this in the playtest packet?  Source please ;)



Its on the Constitution section of the How to Play pdf, I missed it too, and its right there...
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