First impressions with playtesting

Hi there!

Me and my group played a few days ago our first playtesting with the 5th ed materials and I would like to share some of the ideas we had.

I would like to begin saying we liked a lot the new rules. We were completely dissapointed with the 4th ed (we decided months ago stop playing it and return to the 3.5) but we think this new format could make return the game to the good old times  


First I´d like to begin with the complaints. Only one of the players did not like his character, the warrior (Dex based with 2 weapons) said "Ok, a lot of traits and maneuvers, expertise dice... but everything I do can be resumed in: roll 1D8+3 damage"  We miss more strategic movements, for example surrounding rules applying modifiers and not only advantage or disavantage. It would be nice too if the game were more cooperative (ok, the cleric is all that) but we misses something like maneuvers (or the possibility of strategic movements) to help the rogue with the sneak attack, or to grant any kind of bonus to other players (of course that would apply for the monsters We suppose we will have maneuvers as disarm, catch, break arms...


Another thing we did not like was the traits and maneuvers system. The system of backgrounds, specialties, styles... is good but we woud prefer the possibility of choose freely some of the traits. The system is not flexible enough, and if you choose, for example, the archer specialty you are completely useless with a sword. The game would need any chance to choose freely traits or maneuvers.


Otherwise, we liked a lot the monsters. I think is very positive having enemies like the gnolls with something similar to group strategies. I would like if there were more monster traits like that. The Traplord Kobold is very funny too. I would like too more special things about the monsters, for example, the fire beetle´s eyes can be used to make a lamp or to be thrown into a dark area, or the famous shields made with dragon flakes. I think that was one of the great ideas of AD&D to recover (and of course the table of possible effects when you use two potions at the same time


There were more things I could speak about, the levels are obtained too quickly, getting a 20 or a 1 in the dice should be more... radical (double damage or miss the weapon), been totally recovered with a night of sleep is not logical... but there are things you can fix with home made rules with no problem. We only missed the minor actions


Finally, I think we have tested a good game with a couple of good ideas. The advantage is very simple and funny, the spellcasting system for sorcerers is great, the direction taken with the clerics helping the others seems like a good idea, with the skills we miss something like athletics and we think there are too many lores but the system works good. Otherwise, the system is quick and simple for everybody (in 4th ed making and playing with NPCs of certain level was a real hell for the DM) All the rules are clear and there are few exceptions



 We liked it!!!!
Hi there!

Me and my group played a few days ago our first playtesting with the 5th ed materials and I would like to share some of the ideas we had.

I would like to begin saying we liked a lot the new rules. We were completely dissapointed with the 4th ed (we decided months ago stop playing it and return to the 3.5) but we think this new format could make return the game to the good old times  


First I´d like to begin with the complaints. Only one of the players did not like his character, the warrior (Dex based with 2 weapons) said "Ok, a lot of traits and maneuvers, expertise dice... but everything I do can be resumed in: roll 1D8+3 damage"  We miss more strategic movements, for example surrounding rules applying modifiers and not only advantage or disavantage. It would be nice too if the game were more cooperative (ok, the cleric is all that) but we misses something like maneuvers (or the possibility of strategic movements) to help the rogue with the sneak attack, or to grant any kind of bonus to other players (of course that would apply for the monsters We suppose we will have maneuvers as disarm, catch, break arms...


Another thing we did not like was the traits and maneuvers system. The system of backgrounds, specialties, styles... is good but we woud prefer the possibility of choose freely some of the traits. The system is not flexible enough, and if you choose, for example, the archer specialty you are completely useless with a sword. The game would need any chance to choose freely traits or maneuvers.


Otherwise, we liked a lot the monsters. I think is very positive having enemies like the gnolls with something similar to group strategies. I would like if there were more monster traits like that. The Traplord Kobold is very funny too. I would like too more special things about the monsters, for example, the fire beetle´s eyes can be used to make a lamp or to be thrown into a dark area, or the famous shields made with dragon flakes. I think that was one of the great ideas of AD&D to recover (and of course the table of possible effects when you use two potions at the same time


There were more things I could speak about, the levels are obtained too quickly, getting a 20 or a 1 in the dice should be more... radical (double damage or miss the weapon), been totally recovered with a night of sleep is not logical... but there are things you can fix with home made rules with no problem. We only missed the minor actions


Finally, I think we have tested a good game with a couple of good ideas. The advantage is very simple and funny, the spellcasting system for sorcerers is great, the direction taken with the clerics helping the others seems like a good idea, with the skills we miss something like athletics and we think there are too many lores but the system works good. Otherwise, the system is quick and simple for everybody (in 4th ed making and playing with NPCs of certain level was a real hell for the DM) All the rules are clear and there are few exceptions



 We liked it!!!!

I, too miss the potion miscibility table. Sometimes it was silly, but it was a definite way to keep players from drinking 6 gallons of strange magical concoctions before every battle!

And using monster parts was occasionally a good element. When they do dragons, they might wanna think about that. I rarely use dragons, but when I do, the players will harvest it like a whale! The only method I could think of was to say that dead dragons rot quickly. Otherwise the world would become glut with dragonbone this and dragonscale that, dragoneye this, dragontooth that, lol.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I think leveling is so fast because they want everyone to be able to try out all the levels quickly.  Harvesting monster bits can fall under "role playing".  If the DM says it's ok, then do it.  Rough out some rules for how long a fire beetle gland lasts, or what benefit dragon scale armor gives (+1AC compared to Scale Mail, and Resistance to damage of the dragon's breath type?).  The reasons that there aren't tons of dragon part items in most worlds include 1)dragons are hard to kill, 2)making something from dragon parts requires great skill, and 3) there are only so many dragons in the world (otherwise they would eat everyone and run out of food, heh).
This system doesn't have skills like Athletics and Acrobatics because it just assumes everyone can do these things moderately well.  I can imagine a background or specialty that would give a bonus (or Advantage) to a character making a Str or Dex check.  The level 1 feat for an Acrobat specialty might be that they have advantage when making Dex checks.  Perhaps there could be a Laborer or Mine Slave background that grants advantage to Strength Checks as its trait.

I think the Expertise dice are great.  It allows for a lot of options if used correctly.  Need to avoid the powerful blows of that minotaur? Don't use Deadly Strike, save your e.d. Parry.  Slayers have Glancing Blow, in case they miss they can still be doing some damage.  Sharpshooters can use Precise Shot to overcome cover.  As to having the archer also be good with a sword, well he can use it better than any other class, he just doesn't specialize in it the way he does with his bow.  My group has two fighters, one is a slayer with a greatsword the other is an elven sharpshooter.  They both can do great things, but they fight differently. The slayer blocks corridors, and the sharpshooter takes out enemy casters and fleeing foes.  You could build a party of all one class, and no one would have to be the same.  Try it out, make up 6 fighters; choose different fighting styles, different backgrounds, and different specialties.  See what you come up with.

I think the traits will be more flexible when the full rules come out.  I myself have been inventing new backgrounds and specialties, trying to keep them in line with what has been presented, but coming up with different ideas.  They have stated that they will have rules for people who just want to put together their own set of skills, traits, and feats.  But the ready made backgrounds and specialties offer some interesting ideas.

I have some issues with full recovery after a night's rest too.  That might need some tweaking.  I don't miss minor actions; I really think they slowed the game down.  Make it a free action, or make it take the place of a move.  The playtest games move sooo much faster than 4E.  I played a good bit of 4E, and the combats were terrible time sinks.

I think the choices made in character creation in the playtest lead to more options in play.  In 4E, character creation choices felt like they led to limitations.


Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations

They actually have 3 varients in the rules already for slower recovery times if you want a grittier game. I think we can look forward to seeing a lot more variant rules for a lot of different systems in the future.
Well, I´ve spoken about dragons only as an example. And I meant a little more than using the corpses, If I remember well the Ankhegs (I´m not sure about the monster) had the trait of improving cultivation in areas they were living in, because their tunnels help to get some air for the roots. It was great, I remember a mission where a farmer was stealing their neighbours cattle to feed the Ankhegs and improve his apple production. Or missions to get some ingredient from a monster. These little things were great, they gave the D&D world greater levels of realism and depth.


The healing system seems like a videogame to me. I would prefer a system like 3rd ed, where a great injury was a real problem. If you get opened your head by an axe, you need magic or a lot of time and medical care. In this way, the players do not only fear death, they fear fight against any NPC or monster giving a little more of realism to the game. Is not enough interpretation, you have to see your character beaten to believe truly you must not be attacking everything you see. And of course you have variants with the rules, but I think the basic of them should be more reasonable.


About the Athletics skill, if we had a background giving +3, athletism would be an skill or you could get training with the Jack of all Trades Specialty. It looks better than advantage to me Anyway, because advantage is much better than skill training and ability modifyers. I will introduce that as homemade rule, but the idea of a new game would be that the basic rules should cover "almost" all the situations, with not too many variants or homemades  Undecided


About being specialists, there are two ways:

1st     Everybody is good in one thing being able to make more things out of his field
2nd    You are good only in your field, and we play in a cooperative game where are needed different characters to achieve a mission

I think that in the 3rd ed the second choice almost dissapeared. The old basic box was the very best example of the first. I think D&D has to choose any of this two, because any option in the middle is not good for the game´s balance, making some characters better than others.

About the minor action, I know that makes the game a little more complicated,  but things "not considered as an action" is not very well defined in my opinion. It should not fall in DMs decision every time, and of course you can limit the number of free actions but... not considered as an action is not clear enough, and of course getting out a potion from your backpack should be considered as an action
The system is not flexible enough, and if you choose, for example, the archer specialty you are completely useless with a sword.

That's a bit of an exaggeration, and it's not nearly as bad as it was (for example) in 3E. 

Anyone with the archer speciality still gets to add Dex to hit and damage with a shortsword or scimitar (or rapier, dagger, etc); in 3E, the archer would still rely on Strength for damage, and wouldn't even be allowed to use Dex to hit unless she spent a feat on Weapon Finesse!  Since you probably have high Dex if you're an archer, that means you're automatically pretty good with any finesse weapon, even without taking your specialty into consideration.

You also have your class features.  Fighters have Deadly Strike, which lets them add damage to any attack, regardless of the weapon.  Rogues can Sneak Attack whenever they have advantage, regardless of the weapon.  

The metagame is not the game.

With "completely useless" I am repeating (well translating, we are in Spain) the words said by our Rogue. His complaint was because he did not have any chance to get traits to improve other weapons. In 3rd ed you had the possibility to build, for example, an archer. If there were 10 archery traits and 10 heavy weapon traits you could take 9 traits to improve your bow and 1 to improve a great axe, or maybe 8 for one and 2 for the other, whatever. Probably there would not be a good idea choose 5 and 5, but spent one or two of your traits in a secondary weapon always was a good idea. In 5th ed you will only be able to make basic attacks with other kind of weapons.

And if your specialty is Jack of all trades and you are not a warrior you will be never able to make something different to basic attack (or sneak attack if you have the chance). In third edition at least, if you had a wizard, you could choose any weapon or defense trait in case you run out of spells or your components get stealed.
Oh, okay.  I think I get what you're saying.

One thing to take into consideration is that specialties don't really make you better at most things.  Except for Survivor or Healer, the other specialties just give you options and those options aren't always better than just the basic attack.  The Dual-Wield specialty, for example, lets you attack with two weapons... but that's only useful if you have two weak enemies - against one strongy enemy, it's still better to just use a basic attack.

It's a big change from 3E, where there were a lot of feats that all made you stronger (and the ones that didn't make you stronger were the ones that nobody picked.)

The metagame is not the game.

Oh, okay.  I think I get what you're saying.

One thing to take into consideration is that specialties don't really make you better at most thing.  Except for Survivor or Healer, the other specialties just give you options and those options aren't always better than just the basic attack.  The Dual-Wield specialty, for example, lets you attack with two weapons... but that's only useful if you have two weak enemies - against one strongy enemy, it's still better to just use a basic attack.

It's a big change from 3E, where there were a lot of feats that all made you stronger (and the ones that didn't make you stronger were the ones that nobody picked.)


This is very true. Specialties in 5e, at least the low level ones, are more about options than character increase. Feats were a MAJOR part of your character growth in 3e and that made them SOOO important that taking a wrong feat was enough to scrap a character mid game. 4e scaled it back a bit, but there were still feats that were really good for their cost. 5e has scaled this back even further to the point that feats offer no growth at all, just interesting options for your character. Most of the growth has been reserved to, and gain in, the classes. This has been a natural evolution from 3e>4e>5e. More power to the classes, less to the feats. 

My two copper. 
My two copper.
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