Playtest Report: With Summation and Number Crunching

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

There's a report on a playtest sessions.

As a DM, there's a few things that really jumped out at me:
1) Sleep is still very strong at low levels.
2) Good Initiative makes a huge difference. 
3) Parry seems to avoid more damage than our Healer actually cures.
4) Our Wizard likes to seek cover and use magic missile to avoid notice, when he's not trying to catch a bunch of weaker creatures in sleep.
5) Fighters seem dominate as damage dealers at the moment.
6) Not counting the effects of sleep, the wizard was easily the lowest damage dealer.  Maybe he likes magic missile too much?  He rolled a lot of 1s on it.

I am really tired.... but that's some quick thoughts after tonight's gaming session.
I don't know, the wizard did a lot of work and didn't really need to use any of his other abilities during combat, so sleep seemed the most efficent way of "dealing damage" at the time. Since he managed to take out half of the bandits with it, and again with the fire bettles. That isn't a bad preformance, assuming he isn't forfilling other duties. I would count sleep, if only because it made dealing with encounters easier.

The fighters do seem pretty epic at the moment, though the caster may come back into his own in later levels. Just as said everything seemed to go well for your party.
Hey ShadeRaven, nice report.   Hopefully I'll get a chance to run my game tomorrow night.  Here's something I've been thinking about.  Let me know what you think.

Although the PCs have lower hit points in this playtest package (and slightly lower AC as well), the monsters to hit bonuses are really tiny compared to the PCs' hit bounus  (Monsters avg...about +2 -- PCs' avg....about +6).  How does this play out?   Do the players feel vulnerable?  Do the monsters hit enough?

I wonder what feels better in the game....low hit points, not getting hit as often, or higher hit points and getting hit more often?   

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

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

 

 

Nice report

As to your specific points:
1. I like the way sleep is written but the HP range effected might need tweaked. If they are trying for a classic D&D feel, Sleep should be among the best spells for a 1st level wizard.
2. The lower HP totals have that effect, getting that first strike in is critical at 1st and 2nd level where you are likely to drop a foe per hit.
3. I suspect your right, parry might be too good at low level where the extra damage dosn't matter much.
4&6 That sounds about right for a 1st level wizard. Unless he is breaking out a daily his impact on combat should be less then other characters, that is the trade off for dailys that can cripple groups of enemies and sometimes end fights outright.
5. Yep, possibly a bit too much.

I like the fighter combat abilities, but they might be too good right now. The ability to save dice for parry against groups of weak foes and switch to more damage against tough ones make Fighters powerful and versitile right now. The other classes don't seem to have been tweaked enough to balance. I'm not sure how this will play out at higher levels, but switching fighters to 1d4 rather then 1d6 at 1st/2nd level might be good.

Thanks, guys.

@Wystenv2: Agreed. The very flashy Burning Hands is often used as the Wizard does so much damage poster child, but Sleep has more effectiveness against creatures vulnverable to it (at low levels), "appears" less threatening (I am not sure that, other than creatures who would understand casting mechanics, that a non Magical Lore creature would understand what just happened), and can be done much more safely.

@Rhenny: This is definetly part of it.  Players "feel" vulnerable, but soon forget that as they are cutting down enemies at a rapid pace.  Combat is quick, bloody, and decisive - almost always in the PC's favor (unless, of course, you use wargaming tactics against them or the die just fall unkind that night).

But I will say that, as a general rule of thumb, HPs are a very comfortable safety blanket.  A character could start with 20 AC, tremendous powers, and features to diminish damage, but if she had 5 HPs, all she would see was "one-shot!" "one-shot!" possibilities screaming at her off her sheet.

Look at 4E.  Characters generally started with 20-35 HPs.... and let me tell you, they got pummeled and characters died in that game... but not once did anyone say to me, "it's the HPs fault."  Enemies hit more, hit a lot harder, and could lay on characters some nasty effects.  Creatures in 4E were much more balanced in comparison to PCs than what we see in Next.  Battles I've run constantly in Next would annihilate PCs in 4E.

@JayM: First strike, Alpha Strike, definitely have a great advantage in Next/5E - you are 100% right.  It's probably one of the reasons I play "soft" (as some would say). When Goblins see that Dwarven Warrior crash into their room, they shout "Bree-Yark!" and react to that first threat, trying to smack him down.  I don't have them pause, look to see who he's with, determine who's the weakest link with the most power or value, and then go first strike crazy at the vulnerability.

Maybe I should.  Certainly would be the "smart" way to play.  The winning move.  But I let players choose Party Formation for a reason... so that it has some effect on the game and lets them feel a level of self-determination.

I love the new Fighter.  Really do.  Simple yet effective.  Don't quite get all the concern some are having with them being vanilla again. 
When Goblins see that Dwarven Warrior crash into their room, they shout "Bree-Yark!" and react to that first threat, trying to smack him down.  I don't have them pause, look to see who he's with, determine who's the weakest link with the most power or value, and then go first strike crazy at the vulnerability.

Maybe I should.  Certainly would be the "smart" way to play.  The winning move.  But I let players choose Party Formation for a reason... so that it has some effect on the game and lets them feel a level of self-determination.

When I'm DMing I try to play monsters in accordance with their intelligence and how much planning they did. Simply having them charge the first enemy they see short changes the smarter ones, but at the same time the monsters don't have the DMs information about the party. Particularly if they didn't plan for a fight, they shouldn't have a complex strategy, it should mostly be about attacking the closest threat, most obvious threat or the easy targets.

As for the people who think the Fighter is too vanilla, I think some people are too hung up on special powers and ad-libbed combat. They want every action in combat to be dramatic and unique. That idea itself is good on it's own, but in practice it needs to be balanced against speed and playability.

When I'm DMing I try to play monsters in accordance with their intelligence and how much planning they did. Simply having them charge the first enemy they see short changes the smarter ones, but at the same time the monsters don't have the DMs information about the party. Particularly if they didn't plan for a fight, they shouldn't have a complex strategy, it should mostly be about attacking the closest threat, most obvious threat or the easy targets.

Yeah.

Let's face it, adventurers aren't a common threat.  Other "monster" types are.  They also don't see spellcasters all that often and it would be very rare indeed for a monster to have Magical Lore to recognize the signs of spellcasting.

99% of the time, the kobolds, orcs, and goblins of the Caves of Chaos would be worrying about each other and other "monstrous" threats they are constantly under threat from.

So why, in the 1 second they have to react, would they instantly recognize weak links, etc., in a party.

Yes, I could find ways to argue how they could.  I could ignore party formation.  Etc etc.

Say I am Peter Jackson filming the Hobbit.  I decide to film a scene about a hobbit stumbling on trolls. Do I narrate a story or do I go for blood?

Yes, I could have the trolls kill this poor little hobbit right off the bat.  They are big, strong, and mean.  Smash.  Movie over.

Or I could weave an interesting story and film that instead.  "Roleplay" out something other than the obvious action - kill the little guy.

With great power comes great responsibility.  I guess it just comes down to what your aims are as a DM.