Yesterday I had 8 players show for a playtest game. Rather than try and run the standard adventure I pulled up the bestiary and pulled out the stats for all 3 Goblinoids. My idea was to make the game vomit up some useful data, so my overall intent was to test Bounded Accuracy. With so many players at the table I didn’t keep numbered notes, but here are the facts: 2 fighters, 2 rogues, 1 of everything else, at least one of each sub-race and a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties. The location was a ghost town, the baddies came in 3 waves (10 Goblins, then 10 Hobgoblins, then 4 Bugbears) Here are my observations.
Players hit most of the time on Goblins and Hobgoblins. This was GOOD. It let the players feel like they were doing something productive. In the later rounds it also gave them the confidence to try more ‘risky’ maneuvers rather than stack advantage.
Goblins were useless. They didn’t hit often, but when they did it felt right for a first level monster.
Players took a lot of damage from Hobgoblins and Bugbears. Their chance to hit was better, and when they hit it was devastating. Only two PCs went down, and that was strictly from really bad tactics.
Bugbears died easily. Their HP was quite low compared to PC (and their own) damage. They are supposed to be level 6 monsters, but they sure didn’t feel like it at the table.
We did have a couple of meta-gamers. A rogue who constantly asked other players to endanger themselves so he could get advantage, and a fighter who expected limitless heals from the War Cleric.
I think the players enjoyed their characters more, and because of Backgrounds they didn’t feel like all they could do was combat. Many of the players climbed onto roofs, used skills and other improvisations all in character. This was very nice to see.
What needs to be fixed: Less PC damage overall, More monster HP and ‘to hit.’