Not looking easy for beginners?

Perhaps it's the playtest layout that is heavily influencing me, but after seeing the class features that are built into the fighter (I know, I know it was too boring before), and after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer, this doesn't really seem like a system that is going to any easier for beginners to grasp than previous editions--perhaps excluding 3.5. What are your thoughts, does the layout just need to be cleaned up or is a lot of the modularity coming in pre-baked?
You think this is complex? You should read the rules on combat and magic for 3.5/Pathfinder, it is a rules cragmire.
That being said The topics you mentioned will probably be better defined in  the final version of D&D.
When I have new players I just have them tell me (describe) what their character is doing, they don't need to know all the rules like you do. The rules knowledge can come later.
The problem is, when the designers say “simpler”, they dont actually mean simpler. It is just a euphamism when they really mean “more like 1e”.

Therefore it is actually impossible the designers would meaningfully simplify rules, such as eliminating scores and just using modifiers. Or even using defenses rather than saves. 1e has some crazy convoluted rules. And so on.

It is what it is. I hope the goal to reunify the D&D fanbase succeeds. Worst comes to worst, we will have an interesting edition.
Anyone saying that the current rules look -anything- like 1E is just talking hyperbole...or knows nothing about 1E.  Probably both.

Yes, 1E had a -lot- of fiddly arcane rules.  There was a reason for (almost) all of them, but much of that reasoning has been lost to the minutae of hobby wargaming.  The current packet has -nothing- on 1E.  It has a small (and shrinking) bit on 2E, which actually -did- simplify the rules.

Removing stats is not simplifying the rules, it's removing numbers.  That you don't like those numbers is irrelevant to whether or not it is simplification.

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

...after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer...



May I ask where these rules were found? They're not part of the packet, yeah?

...after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer...



May I ask where these rules were found? They're not part of the packet, yeah?



The packet was updated with an adventure and the lock/sorc.  Redownload and enjoy.

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

I will say they got WAY too fluff heavy with the Warlock. Even the fighter manages to fill only three pages to the Warlock's four despite having more mechanics to cover, while the Sorcerer at least has the excuse of having several extra lists in their class section.
Perhaps it's the playtest layout that is heavily influencing me, but after seeing the class features that are built into the fighter (I know, I know it was too boring before), and after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer, this doesn't really seem like a system that is going to any easier for beginners to grasp than previous editions--perhaps excluding 3.5. What are your thoughts, does the layout just need to be cleaned up or is a lot of the modularity coming in pre-baked?



They're actually quite simple, not sure where the complexity your seeing is.  The weapon classes are all fairly straightforward, "go hit enemy, go hit enemy".  The fighter gets a couple maneuvers to do like tripping and such that are straightforward, and the combat superiority bonus die is all pretty simple.  The rogue basically with spend a round getting CA, then use sneak attack, spend a round get CA, then use sneak attack for the most part.  As for the new sorcerer & warlock their abilities are clear as day and straightforward, it's a cake walk.
I've gone back and looked and I agree with those that are disagreeing with me. I think the layout is just really throwing me off.
I've gone back and looked and I agree with those that are disagreeing with me. I think the layout is just really throwing me off.


This is really the thing when it comes to new payers - presentation. The playtest is basic and functional, but not a lot of effort has gone into the presntation. That will come later (probably much later, given Mike's "two years of playtesting" comment last night).

I think there's a lot of simplification that can be done.

Attack bonuses should only exist for classes that are above average: I dont' really see why every class has a separate attack bonus, when there's a minimum AB of +2 to all classes anyway. Why not just lower all ACs by 2 and that way have one less modifier. It's fine if the fighter gets a +1 bonus to hit or whatever, because that's his special thing, but wizards getting an attack bonus? Just rules bloat if you ask me, like the 4E proficiency bonuses that always confused people.

Ability scores should go away, and the bonuses should just be the score: I know it's a sacred cow, but the 3-18 range for abiltiy scores is just plain stupid and confusing. It's just another layer of abstraction that makes the game more confusing to newbies, having a strength score and a strength bonus. Why? In prior editions it might have made sense since your strength score gave youa  different attack bonus and a different damage bonus along with a variety of values you got from a table, but that's no longer the case. Now your strength might as well just be your bonus. Lets just be able to say: d20 + strength without confusing people.

The core rules themselves are pretty simple, but we should try to get down as much as possible to "Roll your strength agianst X" or "Roll your charisma against X" and make it that simple. Having too many modifiers at low level just makes it complicated for newbies. At 1st level, You should be adding at most two things. A class bonus and an ability bonus and the class bonus should only be if you happen to be a fighter.
The formatting isn't easy to quickly absorb. I find myself rereading things to be sure I didn't miss a particular phrasing.

Personally, I love the warlock's heavy fluff emphasis. It's what I want in that class.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
It took me longrr than I would have liked to make my first character, but that might be a function of having to go back and forth between umpteen different pdf files among other things. Overall I don't think it's a bad chargen experience, considering the alpha presentation quality.
Children believe what we tell them, they have complete faith in us. I ask of you a little of this childlike simplicity, and to bring us luck, let me speak four truly magic words: "A long time ago...." (Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast) Winner of You Build the Character #12, YbtC #22, YbtC #24, YbtC #28 and YbtC #35 Winner of You Make the... Contest #8
While DDN is not very complex, it also has zero guidelines on how to play D&D and was said several times that it is aimed for people who know what D&D is.

Taken that the finished product will be very different from the Playtest material, i am not worried.  
Perhaps it's the playtest layout that is heavily influencing me, but after seeing the class features that are built into the fighter (I know, I know it was too boring before), and after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer, this doesn't really seem like a system that is going to any easier for beginners to grasp than previous editions--perhaps excluding 3.5. What are your thoughts, does the layout just need to be cleaned up or is a lot of the modularity coming in pre-baked?

Not to mention casters in general.  Yeah, the 2nd itteration of the playtest looks very 3e-like in presentation and complexity.  I /liked/ the level of complexity and option-richness of 3e, but it wasn't the most newbie-friendly version of the game ever.  Even the classic wisdom of 'start with a fighter, they're easy,' could get you into some trouble.  Add to that the way some edition warriors are ready to fight over core, and it's pretty ugly.

IMHO, core should be kept very simple.  Not rules-lite, because that's not simple to run, but straightforward, fairly intuitive, and not requiring a whole lot of choices to build a first character on the player side, nor a lot of intervention on the DM side.  The first playtest was too rules-light, the second was too choice-heavy, maybe the third will be just right?  ;)     



 

 

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Perhaps it's the playtest layout that is heavily influencing me, but after seeing the class features that are built into the fighter (I know, I know it was too boring before), and after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer, this doesn't really seem like a system that is going to any easier for beginners to grasp than previous editions--perhaps excluding 3.5. What are your thoughts, does the layout just need to be cleaned up or is a lot of the modularity coming in pre-baked?

Not to mention casters in general.  Yeah, the 2nd itteration of the playtest looks very 3e-like in presentation and complexity.  I /liked/ the level of complexity and option-richness of 3e, but it wasn't the most newbie-friendly version of the game ever.  Even the classic wisdom of 'start with a fighter, they're easy,' could get you into some trouble.  Add to that the way some edition warriors are ready to fight over core, and it's pretty ugly.



Who would be mean spirited enough to recommend a Fighter to a new 3.5 player?

Barbarian is the new kid class. Fighter is for experts who know what they're in for.
This seems a lot easier than 3e to me. Choosing a background is far simpler than buying skills, there are  way fewer specialties to choose from than 3e feats, there are fewer spells to choose from, and there are fewer mechanically different weapons. And that ignores the fact that you really wanted to plan out things like multiclassing and PrCs when you were choosing ability scores, feats, and skills.

There are new choices about subraces and subclasses, but no more than two so far. I don't see that coming close to undoing the simplicity in other areas.

That's so far, of course. I'm sure there will be more choices everywhere in the final product, and really, I like complexity. I hope that they can keep everyone happy by giving simple and good default builds for each class that people can use if they don't want to make so many choices.
I think there's a lot of simplification that can be done.

Attack bonuses should only exist for classes that are above average: I dont' really see why every class has a separate attack bonus, when there's a minimum AB of +2 to all classes anyway. Why not just lower all ACs by 2 and that way have one less modifier. It's fine if the fighter gets a +1 bonus to hit or whatever, because that's his special thing, but wizards getting an attack bonus? Just rules bloat if you ask me, like the 4E proficiency bonuses that always confused people.

Ability scores should go away, and the bonuses should just be the score: I know it's a sacred cow, but the 3-18 range for abiltiy scores is just plain stupid and confusing. It's just another layer of abstraction that makes the game more confusing to newbies, having a strength score and a strength bonus. Why? In prior editions it might have made sense since your strength score gave youa  different attack bonus and a different damage bonus along with a variety of values you got from a table, but that's no longer the case. Now your strength might as well just be your bonus. Lets just be able to say: d20 + strength without confusing people.

The core rules themselves are pretty simple, but we should try to get down as much as possible to "Roll your strength agianst X" or "Roll your charisma against X" and make it that simple. Having too many modifiers at low level just makes it complicated for newbies. At 1st level, You should be adding at most two things. A class bonus and an ability bonus and the class bonus should only be if you happen to be a fighter.



I do that in the game in my signature, it simplifies everything a whole lot...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Playtest material never has the final "trade dress" as to how the books will look. The documents are always a bit chaotic and sloppy.

Plus, the playtest is more for people who already know how to play the game. You can bet there will be a "what is roleplaying?" and other how-to instructions in the final books.
Show
Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
The presentation is on par with 4E Skill challenges.

The actual rules are fairly simple, but have a quality of minutae and dissimilarity that someone who has only played 4E might find convoluted/irksome/enraging/strange.
Especially with now having 3 magic systems,  whereas before we had about 1.5-2
Unless you throw Psionics into the mix... no, wait, they would have been a .5 in 3X and a seperate 1 in previous editions, which lacked the Sorceror (or later Warlock) to fill the other .5s 

In short, it's presentation and variance makes it similar to if Essentials had it's wicked way with AD&D 2nd, and this was their kid. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
The presentation is on par with 4E Skill challenges.

The actual rules are fairly simple, but have a quality of minutae and dissimilarity that someone who has only played 4E might find convoluted/irksome/enraging/strange.
Especially with now having 3 magic systems,  whereas before we had about 1.5-2
Unless you throw Psionics into the mix... no, wait, they would have been a .5 in 3X and a seperate 1 in previous editions, which lacked the Sorceror (or later Warlock) to fill the other .5s 

In short, it's presentation and variance makes it similar to if Essentials had it's wicked way with AD&D 2nd, and this was their kid. 

That's awesome!
a simple sugestion on how to make it a bit easyer for begining players.

the classes asume a standard background and specialty.
should these also be listed with the class in adition into the background and specialty sections.
so starting players have everything they need to play a character of that class with no further need to learn and look at the background and specialty sections at that point ?
 
a simple sugestion on how to make it a bit easyer for begining players.

the classes asume a standard background and specialty.
should these also be listed with the class in adition into the background and specialty sections.
so starting players have everything they need to play a character of that class with no further need to learn and look at the background and specialty sections at that point ?
 


You mean the actual rules should be listed there, so they don't have to go look it up? I think that would be too much repetition.
The new rules use a lot a words and Text.
I feel it is a way to mark their opposition from the "power style" of 4ed.
But it's long and hard to get an information. For examples in the warlock rules I have been force to read a lot of text to find "Your patron grants you two favors."

It is nice if they want to encourage  the "story telling" , but rules description is not "rules telling".
the classes asume a standard background and specialty.
should these also be listed with the class in adition into the background and specialty sections.
so starting players have everything they need to play a character of that class with no further need to learn and look at the background and specialty sections at that point ? 

The third editions listed default skill and feat selections for each class.  I can't imagine DDN would go out of their way to avoid that.

The metagame is not the game.

I think there's a lot of simplification that can be done.

Ability scores should go away, and the bonuses should just be the score: I know it's a sacred cow, but the 3-18 range for abiltiy scores is just plain stupid and confusing. It's just another layer of abstraction that makes the game more confusing to newbies, having a strength score and a strength bonus. Why? In prior editions it might have made sense since your strength score gave youa  different attack bonus and a different damage bonus along with a variety of values you got from a table, but that's no longer the case. Now your strength might as well just be your bonus. Lets just be able to say: d20 + strength without confusing people.

The core rules themselves are pretty simple, but we should try to get down as much as possible to "Roll your strength agianst X" or "Roll your charisma against X" and make it that simple. Having too many modifiers at low level just makes it complicated for newbies. At 1st level, You should be adding at most two things. A class bonus and an ability bonus and the class bonus should only be if you happen to be a fighter.



Please get rid of Ability Scores! Well, make the modifier the score like you suggest. Less confusion for new players. I would like to introduce my wife and other non-gamers to the game but it need to be simple so she doesn't lose interest in character creation before the game even starts. I understand that the scores are rolled for (4d6 drop lowest is currently the rule) but I've never had a good experience with that method. Take the base stats (15, 14, 13, 12, 10 8) or a point system are better. The game can be balanced with the modifier being the score...if that makes sense. I have played several 4E campaigns with new players and they are always confused by pointless rules such as this. I like the idea of modularizing aspects of the game such as the tactical aspect where you can use a grid and miniatures but don't have to.
As for ability scores nearly all RPGs have them.  I remember FATE not having them but then they have Aspects and other concepts that may be too frightening for new players too I guess.

I have come to see your point about Ability Scores but I find it can't possibly be that confusing.  I think a lot of people prefer the point buy system and having just the final bonus could work there.  However DnD has always been a game about chance and rolling dice.  For people that still want to roll there stats I think the scores are going to have to stay in the double digets.  Having to roll a d4 only for your skill would be really bad.  You'd be looking at people with a score 75% better than yours not 5% (I know the math is wrong just take the point I'm making here)

I wrote the below first and realized I was a bit off the track for this thread.  Other threads have complained about difficulty in other ways and I jumped the gun here.  Still I'll leave it as my personal opinion.

My suggestion to your family is to teach as you play so they get the fun of the game while they are learning.  As them what char from a movie or book they want to be like and then use your knowledge ofthe game to help create the char for them.  Then let them learn rules as you go.  Once they are ready to make their own char then start a new game or something.

The whole concept of confusing people confuses me.  There is a big difference between a new player learning how to play the game and the char they create vs a new player grasping everything needed to run a game on there own.  I've played since I was ten years old and I had to teach myself from the little red box.  Since then people have friends or internet or their DM to ask questions.

Are you saying everyone that glances over the rules should instantly understand everything or are you saying they will never be able to figure out such complex rules?  To me anyone that really believes their friend could never learn this game has just insulted them.  I taught my six year step daughter how to play.  Sure she needed help building the char and knowing things at first but she caught on.  It's that simple.  Don't take away a certain expected level of choice and rules that experienced players enjoy.  Instead take the time to TEACH people.
I think it would really, really help if they made ability checks based on the actual ability score, instead of making everything based off of the modifier.  As it stands, ability scores are just an unnecessary intermediary step for determining modifiers (in which odd numbers stand out as meaningless).  

By making ability checks (and skill checks) based on the actual scores, it would allow for a meaningful difference between Strength 8 and Strength 15 (instead of a piddly -3 difference) and it should also help make the system easier to understand for new players since their ability scores will actually mean something.

The metagame is not the game.

I think it would really, really help if they made ability checks based on the actual ability score, instead of making everything based off of the modifier.  As it stands, ability scores are just an unnecessary intermediary step for determining modifiers (in which odd numbers stand out as meaningless).  

By making ability checks (and skill checks) based on the actual scores, it would allow for a meaningful difference between Strength 8 and Strength 15 (instead of a piddly -3 difference) and it should also help make the system easier to understand for new players since their ability scores will actually mean something.


I am reminded of AD&D 2nd proficiencies. In editions before 3rd, the stat actually matters significantly. In 3rd, as it can be messed with by magic and poison it sorta matters, but other than the count down to zero, and whether you have a point of wiggle room is about all an individual point matters.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Perhaps it's the playtest layout that is heavily influencing me, but after seeing the class features that are built into the fighter (I know, I know it was too boring before), and after reading the Warlock and Sorcerer, this doesn't really seem like a system that is going to any easier for beginners to grasp than previous editions--perhaps excluding 3.5. What are your thoughts, does the layout just need to be cleaned up or is a lot of the modularity coming in pre-baked?

Last session we spent our time creating characters. A couple players new to D&D put together their characters while more veteran players put together their characters. No one person seemed to stand out of the crowd as 'super fast' or 'super slow'.

Maybe their experience in other RPGs helped, I don't know.
They should really drop the scores and go with bonuses. The scores themselves mattered in 3.xE for ability damage and in 4E for con being hit points, but in 5E it doesn't matter at all.

In fact in the game I'm designing (in my signature) I've done just this. You just add the ability score to whatever you do.

It only takes  a few minutes to explain how my game works to new players. I can see 5E taking up to an hour with the needless complexity in its subsystems...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I think what we are seeing here is the natural expansion and contraction of a rules set. There need to be some core mechanics that make logical sense for the basis of the game, then explore puting layer upon layer of rules modules, classes, combat styles and other things on top of it.  I imagine that the basic red box set of D&D Next is going to be quite a bit more simplistic than all of the things that have been released so far and talked about.  My favourite starter set, the gold boxed 3.0 set, was a VERY simplistic but highly understandable introduction to Dungeons and Dragons based on the very ruls heavy 3.0 edition.

Once we get the actual rules clarified, discussed, dissected and fine tuned, the developers can then formulate the best way to get their hooks into the newbies.  So far, I believe Next will be pretty accessible when it is distilled BACK to is rawest formula, which will be a much later step than we ae seeing now.

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