My evaluation of the second iteration of public playtesting

Character Generation

The first thing I notice is no point buy for stats. That's probably just omitted for now, but it's definitely a bad thing.

 Classes
Fighters look good. I'm somewhat surprised, actually, I hadn't been optimistic. I haven't yet tested enough to know how good they really are, especially defensively, but at least things seem to be nice in principle.

Rogues have fun and interesting abilities.

Races 
Overall, I like the emphasis on culture that the race descriptions have.

Subraces are a good concept, but the presented subraces are bland, much more could be done here.

Humans are still boring, and appear to still be overpowered as well.

Backgrounds 
A magnificent concept, and the implementation seems spot on as well. Some seem more narratively powerful than others - one could see how a party including a noble might quickly amount to "a noble and his enterage" - but mechanically they seem pretty sound inasmuch as they even have mechanics.

Specialties 
I'm really not feeling these. What benefit do they have over a freeform feat system? It seems like they're just railroaded feat advancement. What's worse, they all seem very specific, they fit with only the blandest of characters and often are best (or only useful at all) with a single class. The specialties as they appeared in the last playtest looked like they might be a promising feature, but they don't look that way now.

Equipment 
Armor has been buffed very little, thus it is clearly still too weak. I don't know why this is the case, it was already obvious as of the last playtest that it needs to be substantially improved.
A lot the stuff has weights that aren't historically accurate, but some of the weights seem fine. Some ahistorical item types too, besides the obvious fantasy ones - studded leather was never a type of armor, the notion that it was arises from people misunderstanding what they were seeing when looking at brigandine.
IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/2.jpg)
Backgrounds and Specialties combined allow for some very, very, interesting characters. Quite the opposite of bland.
Character Generation

The first thing I notice is no point buy for stats. That's probably just omitted for now, but it's definitely a bad thing.

 Classes
Fighters look good. I'm somewhat surprised, actually, I hadn't been optimistic. I haven't yet tested enough to know how good they really are, especially defensively, but at least things seem to be nice in principle.

Rogues have fun and interesting abilities.

Races 
Overall, I like the emphasis on culture that the race descriptions have.

Subraces are a good concept, but the presented subraces are bland, much more could be done here.

Humans are still boring, and appear to still be overpowered as well.

Backgrounds 
A magnificent concept, and the implementation seems spot on as well. Some seem more narratively powerful than others - one could see how a party including a noble might quickly amount to "a noble and his enterage" - but mechanically they seem pretty sound inasmuch as they even have mechanics.

Specialties 
I'm really not feeling these. What benefit do they have over a freeform feat system? It seems like they're just railroaded feat advancement. What's worse, they all seem very specific, they fit with only the blandest of characters and often are best (or only useful at all) with a single class. The specialties as they appeared in the last playtest looked like they might be a promising feature, but they don't look that way now.

Equipment 
Armor has been buffed very little, thus it is clearly still too weak. I don't know why this is the case, it was already obvious as of the last playtest that it needs to be substantially improved.
 

I love the specialities

so glad all spell damage  is set

and casting spells in melee has a clever mechanic now, and i may tryand adapt it for my PF game

few more +1's and such adding in here and there, and its a shame they panicked and added back in AOO
Character Generation

The first thing I notice is no point buy for stats. That's probably just omitted for now, but it's definitely a bad thing.

 Classes
Fighters look good. I'm somewhat surprised, actually, I hadn't been optimistic. I haven't yet tested enough to know how good they really are, especially defensively, but at least things seem to be nice in principle.

Rogues have fun and interesting abilities.

Races 
Overall, I like the emphasis on culture that the race descriptions have.

Subraces are a good concept, but the presented subraces are bland, much more could be done here.

Humans are still boring, and appear to still be overpowered as well.

Backgrounds 
A magnificent concept, and the implementation seems spot on as well. Some seem more narratively powerful than others - one could see how a party including a noble might quickly amount to "a noble and his enterage" - but mechanically they seem pretty sound inasmuch as they even have mechanics.

Specialties 
I'm really not feeling these. What benefit do they have over a freeform feat system? It seems like they're just railroaded feat advancement. What's worse, they all seem very specific, they fit with only the blandest of characters and often are best (or only useful at all) with a single class. The specialties as they appeared in the last playtest looked like they might be a promising feature, but they don't look that way now.

Equipment 
Armor has been buffed very little, thus it is clearly still too weak. I don't know why this is the case, it was already obvious as of the last playtest that it needs to be substantially improved.
 

The specialities are too limited. I think that feats should be selected more freely, not just chosen for you by the rules. The feat system for 4e was a little overwhelming, but it allowed characters to choose what they wanted without imposing restrictions. Also, the human ability score bonuses are too high...
Things I have noticed early -

Races: Humans may not be overpowered (though I think so).  They are mathematically flawed.  Elves are supposed to be graceful and dwarves are supposed to be tough.  In truth, they are below average.  Follow me a minute.  All PCs generate their stats in the same manner meaning all PCs will have say an average dex of 12.  Elves get +1 dex, but humans get +1 to everything including dex so elves are just breaking even.  Now SOME humans will take the +2 dex option raising their average slightly.  Elves are now less than average in dexterity and even more less than average everywhere else.  Now expand that idea to dwarven constitution and so on.  A more accurate description in races would be "Elves are not as clumsy as other demihumans, and are almost as graceful as humans."  

Classes: 
1. I like specialties and backgrounds, but would prefer to choose my own abilities a la carte.  Could these ideas be expanded to the point of creating paladins, rangers, and other sub classes from previous editions? Is that the intended direction?  This would make for immense customizations. 
2. It looks like each class is using a different mechanic to acquire their unique abilities.  Fighters have expertise dice, Clerics have channel divinity and so on.  Could this possibly by simplified to a single system?  Each class gets points/traits/whatever every level and those points can be spent to translate into the abilities we are seeing.  This would make the game easier to learn without removing abilities.  It would also open up options in multi-classing and hybrid classes because you could apply those same points to any class.
3. I am not a fan of playing evil characters, but why can't evil clerics heal themselves?  That doesn't seem very wise.  I could understand if a deity forbid healing others (though even evil needs to recruit, and what about gently luring astray - "Yes, I can help you heal your dying love--if you ask me to, but you're going to owe me something in return")

Equipment[
1. Why can spears and polearm type weapons be used in melee, but a lance can only be used while mounted?  It has a sharp point on it.  It an be used to hurt people.  I would rather see the lance and other similar weapons do more damage while mounted (add horse str mod?)
2. I like the useful information included (like DC to break/misuse and Hit points)

 
Backgrounds and Specialties combined allow for some very, very, interesting characters. Quite the opposite of bland.

How do specialties allow for more interesting characters than freeform feats? How do they allow for more interesting characters than if they were less class-specific and designed to be interchangeable in practice rather than just in theory?

Things I have noticed early -
Equipment 
1. Why can spears and polearm type weapons be used in melee, but a lance can only be used while mounted?  It has a sharp point on it.  It an be used to hurt people.  I would rather see the lance and other similar weapons do more damage while mounted (add horse str mod?)

Have you ever even held a lance? They're not good weapons in a melee. I think treating it as an improvised weapon in that situation is perfectly accurate.
IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/2.jpg)
Backgrounds and Specialties combined allow for some very, very, interesting characters. Quite the opposite of bland.

How do specialties allow for more interesting characters than freeform feats? How do they allow for more interesting characters than if they were less class-specific and designed to be interchangeable in practice rather than just in theory?

As far as i'm aware, the intent is to allow custom specialites, which is basicly free form feat selection.  (and it say's "the DM may provide others" which i hope get's expanded a bit).

They just don't want to overwhelm people with too many choices to make.  Race,  Class (+stats), Background, and Specialty is at the upper limit of some people's ability.

5e houserules and tweaks.

Celestial Link Evoking Radiance into Creation

A Party Without Music is Lame: A Bard

Level Dip Guide

 

4e stuff

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I just posted this in a different thread regarding Themes, but feel it's relevant here:

The major problem I had with Themes in this packet, is that they seem like class abilities that were cut from their respective classes (magic themes from caster classes, martial themes from martial classes, ...). Combined with prerequisites, it felt like you were forced to pick the themes that reinforced what you already did, and penalized if you want to pick one that went against the grain of what your class selection was.
"Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!"
I just posted this in a different thread regarding Themes, but feel it's relevant here:

The major problem I had with Themes in this packet, is that they seem like class abilities that were cut from their respective classes (magic themes from caster classes, martial themes from martial classes, ...). Combined with prerequisites, it felt like you were forced to pick the themes that reinforced what you already did, and penalized if you want to pick one that went against the grain of what your class selection was.


Yeah, this nicely sums up my biggest problem with the Specialties too.
IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/2.jpg)
I liked it better when specialities were separate minor benifites you got at level one. I would rather have a feat system on top of that. And it needs to be made clear that it is always an option to forgo the specialities provided and just pick whatever feat you want.
What I would love to see is that a specialty is just a package to give you "bonus feats" and let a lot of the other feats add flavor and fun minor stuff. These specialties will be like class features and stuff but the feats will round out the edges.

Backgrounds... Love them so far!

The coolest thing I've found so far is that I can make a Paladin from the fighter. Sure it isn't the pathetic 3.5 paladin or the badass 2.e paladin but it is a great start to customization. Although I'm sure the Paladin will be a class eventually... I like what I see so far :p
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