Legends & Lore: Playtest Update

Legends & Lore 
Playtest Update

By Mike Mearls

In August, we released a pair of updates to the playtest packet. The first one revised the core classes and made some modifications to the core system. The second update, released to coincide with Gen Con, unleashed the sorcerer and warlock upon the world. Over 85,000 people have taken part in the playtest, and it’s great to have so many people looking at the game. We’re thrilled at the continuing interest in the playtest. So, how are we doing?

Talk about this column here.

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"Ease of DMing: This is an area where we saw some regression. It’s not completely clear what’s going on, but I suspect that with the new monsters, the rules for opportunity attacks, and the opportunity to create adventures, the game feels like a little too much to manage at the table. A majority of DMs felt that the game ran well, but enough people felt that it was too complex that we’re examining things across the aboard."

This makes me sad.
I just don't get it. I don't see the "complexity" anywhere.
Oh good.  Moving away from discrete subsystems for each class is a good thing.
And, um, what's so bad about Turn Undead as a spell?
Hmm - I agreed for the most part with his assessment of where the improvements and problems were - but on the whole I was less happy, not more happy.   I guess it is a matter of weighting the importance of those improvements and problems.


Now we just need to see what the solutions they come up with for the problems are.

(And the real problem with hit points isn't that they are too low.  It is that the gap between the lowest and the highest becomes too extreme, especially if hit point caps are used in spells, when ConMod is added to hit points.)


Carl
(And the real problem with hit points isn't that they are too low.  It is that the gap between the lowest and the highest becomes too extreme, especially if hit point caps are used in spells, when ConMod is added to hit points.)

Moving Rogue up to d8 and Wizard to d6 was a great idea.  I wonder why it has apparently been abandoned.

Who were these people complaining that Eldritch Blast is overpowered, Wizards have too little hit die and that the game is too complex to DM? 
"...I’d like to create a simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues..."

 Sigh...you did...it's called healing surges and surge value...we have been using for the last 4-5 years, it works extremly well...Did Mearls hitted his head and had amnesia and forgot the last 6 years of his career? 
There is one final issue to touch on that I think does a good job of showcasing how we work with playtest feedback: Players consistently feel that their characters don’t have enough hit points. The feedback about number of hit points was overwhelmingly clear for the wizard.

Except that people are happier with the game than before.

And people consistently rated the monsters as being too weak.

It would be easy to simply raise hit points if monsters were rated as being too powerful and people were less happy with the game, but you don’t always have the luxury of a giant, glowing arrow pointing out your next move. Something more subtle and interesting is going on here.

In the case of hit points, we aren’t going to do anything other than give the wizard a boost (the wizard far and away came up the most in the data and in comments). Personally, I think the issue relates more to how much healing the characters have, how dangerous the monsters feel, and the overall level of tension in the game.

The real trick to figuring this situation out also relies on how the game plays. Of course players want more hit points. More hit points means less risk of a character’s death. On the other hand, risk is what drives excitement in the game. Some of the most memorable moments in D&D come about when you clutch that last hit point and pull off a brilliant idea or a ridiculous set of rolls to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.




This is the only part of the article that really struck a nerve with me. Even though he admits that people overwhelmingly had a problem with the low number of hit points, he assumes that because people liked this packet more than the last, that he should just ignore that feedback, except in the case of the wizard.

I am hoping that Mr. Mearls is reading this thread, because I just want to make something clear. Yes, I liked this packet *overall* more than the last, but that doesn't mean I liked *everything.* And I most certainly did NOT like the reduction in starting hit points. Single digit hp for starting characters is something I have loathed in every edition of the game prior to 4th, and the result was that I never wanted to play the game at any level before 3rd. I'm certainly not alone in this. I know of many people who felt the same way. The game should be fun and playable at all levels. If the first few levels of the game are something that alot of people don't want to play, then something is seriously wrong.

The last paragraph seemed like he was saying players greedily want more hit points and just don't appreciate the need for danger and excitement for the game to be fun. That comment just struck me as really condescending, even though I'm sure wasn't intended that way. Believe me, I want there to be danger and excitement and the possibility of character death to be in the game. But there's a big difference between danger and having so few hit points that your character can easily die in one hit!

This is something that has always bothered me about D&D. Because of the way hit points scale, low levels are far, far more dangerous to characters than high levels of play are, even though the players are fighting much more powerful threats. Why should that be the case? I'd much rather see a game where a 1st level character fighting a 1st level threat is about equally in danger as a 20th level character fighting a 20th level threat. But that just isn't the way it is in 5e. A high level character can survive several blows even from an epic monster. A 1st level character is lucky to even survive one hit from an orc. That is just NOT FUN.

So please, Mr. Mearls. Take some time to reconsider this. 
"...I’d like to create a simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues..."

 Sigh...you did...it's called healing surges and surge value...we have been using for the last 4-5 years, it works extremly well...Did Mearls hitted his head and had amnesia and forgot the last 6 years of his career? 



Healing Surges had it's problems too. I'm currently playing with a bard that has 17 healing surges a day. Last time he jumped down a 50 ft drop because he knew he could just use a healing surge or two and it wouldn't matter.
Looks like they are acknowledging their idea that the Wizard MUST be Vancian was a giant mistake.  Perhaps through the Tradition system they can make an AEDU Wizard, a Spell Point Wizard, and a full Vancian Wizard.     
"...I’d like to create a simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues..."

 Sigh...you did...it's called healing surges and surge value...we have been using for the last 4-5 years, it works extremly well...Did Mearls hitted his head and had amnesia and forgot the last 6 years of his career? 



Healing Surges had it's problems too. I'm currently playing with a bard that has 17 healing surges a day. Last time he jumped down a 50 ft drop because he knew he could just use a healing surge or two and it wouldn't matter.



I bard with 17 surges...i call BS on that one, a bard have a base of 6 surges per day, that means you get 11 from where? and at what level? epic tier?
level 3 characters all. And sorry you're right, 11 not 17. still though, he basically has never been bloodied.
Who were these people complaining that Eldritch Blast is overpowered, Wizards have too little hit die and that the game is too complex to DM? 



Eldritch Blast - I've seem many people complain about.   I think it needs to be part of the general round of damage reduction they spoke of - but at present it is (by about 1 point) the second highest consistent at-will damage in the game- and it's ranged.  When combined with the other class features (including an area effect spell) it seems to be one of the stronger classes.


Personally- I'd probably suggest something like cutting back on the damage, but adding a minor effect to compensate.  Perhaps it pushes one (not out of line for a force attack) but the damage drops to 3d6. 

But I really didn't have a problem with its damage when compared to fighter damage and rogue damage.

All three are too high.


Carl        
        
warlock’s eldritch blast is too powerful,  skill mastery mechanic draining the tension out of the game, and sneak attack being so good,   monsters felt a little too easy to people. Specifically, their accuracy seemed too low and the characters’ damage was enough to easily crush them  

These are things i am glad to hear being acknowledged. 
I posted a comment in reply to the article.

In it, I identified the important aspect of 4E healing surges as being "this healing power heals, as a baseline, X% of the recipient's max HP".

The fact that the large majority of healing powers have the same baseline, and that the number of such healings a character can receive per day is a recipient resource rather than a healer resource, are acceptable but optional components. 

And as for a bard not having been bloodied... I don't see a problem with that, except for a Valorous bard. Same with any other non-melee leader-class character. My cunning bard was only bloodied a few times; my archer warlord only once; my shaman not once so far.
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I agree with much of his comments and it's interesting to see their thoughts on development.  I'm worried about the stubborn refusal to weight PC hit points at level 1.  Healing is an issue but the ludicrously low starting hp has been a problem since D&D first debuted, offset only because you didn't need much xp to reach level 2.  Adding the Con mod to hit points every level is also a bad idea.  They understood this in 1e so the max con bonus for most was capped at +2 and ceased at name level (9-11).  3e broke with that tradition and it was a disaster as far as non-con PCs were concerned - I really don't get why they think returning to the 3e model is an improvement.

Personally I'm quite happy with wizards at d4 hit points if they get some front loaded hit points.  Maybe adding half your con score instead of all of it would be a better compromise but the hp in the first packet felt more fun to me, especially if they are increasing monster accuracy and reducing PC damage.
I agree with much of his comments and it's interesting to see theit thoughts on development.  I'm worried about his stuborn refusal to weight PC hit points at level 1.  Healing is an issue but the ludicrously low starting hp has been a problem since D&D first debuted, offset only because you didn't need much xp to reach level 2.  Adding the Con mod to hit points every level is also a bad idea.  They understood this in 1e so the max con bonus for most was capped at +2 and ceased at name level (9-11).  3e broke with that tradition and it was a disaster as far as non-con PCs were concerned.

Personally I'm quite happy with wizards at d4 hit points if they get some front loaded hit points.  Maybe adding half your con score instead of all of it would be a better compromise but the hp in the first packet felt more fun to me, especially if they are increasing monster accuracy and reducing PC damage.



As I've posted elsewhere - I am old school gamer who, although I enjoyed playing 3.x and 4E, always felt that AD&D did many things right (although it fell far short in PC customization).  So you would expect me to like something akin to AD&D hit points.  But....


I think that the hit points in the last packet was the way to go.  Start everyone off relatively solid - and then let them gain hit points on a relatively flat curve. 

And yes - if you focus on L1 this looks like you are making them much more powerful.  But it doesn't take long at all before the current approach passes that hit-point system - and then leaves it in the dust.  The hit points may be higher at L1, but by level three or four most PCs have more hit points (when depending upon class and CON and they only go up from there.  For most levels  - the current approach makes the PCs far more powerful.  Too powerful, imho.
 
An  alternative approach I suggested was to use ConScore hit points as a backup.  You roll your hit points (even at L1) and if your max hit points are ever lower than your ConScore, you have ConScore hit points; otherwise your hit points are your rolled hit points.  This has the advantages of starting with ConScore hit points, but it means characters like Hill Dwarf Surivors may have higher hit points to start with if they roll well.   
  
(Oh, and btw:  If you don't roll and get the benefit of the static hit point addition - that should be a ROUNDED DOWN value, not a rounded up value.  If you have d10s for hit points, you should get 5 hit points per level if you don't roll, not 6.  For two reasons.  One - the rules of the game very clearly state "Always round down," and second - otherwise you penalize those who want to roll.  "Hmm - I can roll, take the risk of a crappy roll, and end up with an average that is lower than I would have if I played it safe?  Why roll?")


Regardless - to get back on point:  Both a higher starting point and a flatter curve are important.  By starting them out with ConScore hit points, you eliminate the 'one lucky shot kills you' effect at first level.  Sure - that was 'a thing' back in AD&D.  But it wasn't anyone's favorite thing.  But by keeping the hit point progression flat you a) keep the gap from the lowest to the highest PC smaller (which makes balancing attacks easier because you don't end up with creatures whose damage is a scratch to one and slices the other in  half) and b) you avoid number inflation n general  - which makes their 'low level monsters remain a threat' idea work that much better.


Carl
I'm very, very glad to see that the Fighter was well recieved, because hopefully that means CS is here to stay. I do think they're a bit overstating the case on how finished it is - dice pool vs. dice size is still an issue, refreshing at the end of your turn, there's quite a few abilities that need to scale effectively, etc. Yes, Glancing Blow needs fixing, but so does Knockdown and Push and Tumble. 

I'm glad they're paying attention to the Rogue, and I'd just put in a plug for the Rogue to get Blackjack/Sap (for sneaky non-assassiny Rogues) and some kind of Distracting Flourish-type attack for swashbuckly Rogues. 

And I think Skills are the elephant in the room in terms of the non-combat pillars being really unfinished atm.  
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I'm very, very glad to see that the Fighter was well recieved, because hopefully that means CS is here to stay. I do think they're a bit overstating the case on how finished it is - dice pool vs. dice size is still an issue, refreshing at the end of your turn, there's quite a few abilities that need to scale effectively, etc. Yes, Glancing Blow needs fixing, but so does Knockdown and Push and Tumble. 

I'm glad they're paying attention to the Rogue, and I'd just put in a plug for the Rogue to get Blackjack/Sap (for sneaky non-assassiny Rogues) and some kind of Distracting Flourish-type attack for swashbuckly Rogues. 

And I think Skills are the elephant in the room in terms of the non-combat pillars being really unfinished atm.  



I think expertise is far from finished.  I really like the idea  - but I see lots of room for improvement.  Major improvement.


I think it tested well because it was such an improvement over what we had before.  Not because it is a finished product.  I predict a gradual slide in its approval over the next packet or two unless they improve it to make it a bit more robust.

(And I think skills took a step backwards in this packet and need to be de-emphasized with more attention paid to ability score checks and less to skills as an interface with the environment.  Skills should be a modifier to the ability score, not the ability score a modifier to the skill.)

  

Carl
The reason sneak attack is 'overpowered' is because it's about all Rogues can do in a fight.
It's forty years of weak HP and awful combat math perniciously influencing each new rogue design.

Really, Thieves should have been on par with Cleric in combat the whole time.
The reason sneak attack is 'overpowered' is because it's about all Rogues can do in a fight.
It's forty years of weak HP and awful combat math perniciously influencing each new rogue design.

Really, Thieves should have been on par with Cleric in combat the whole time.



I'll agree with that.


So far, my suggestion comes down to my proposed fix for skill mastery (which boils down to advantage outside of melee, useing a skill as a WYTAA action in melee as long as they aren't making an attack).  This still forces them into the 'skill monkey' box - but it gives them a lot more flexibility to load crossbows, loot corpses, pick locks, open doors, etc. while still satisfying the requirement that they hide. 

Still limited, but not quite as boring.  

Giving them alternative status effects is nice - but its effectiveness really depends on what they do with mosnter hit ponts (since the rogue can one shot most things and two shot the rest - a status effect isn't much use as present).    But if we assume that PC damage will go down or monster HP will go up  -= they might become useful.


So my question is this:   Past editions have had feats which would allow the rogue to trade some of their sneak attack damage to apply status effects.   What do the CharOp masters think of this approach.  Is doing that actually seen as worthwhile or were those feats seen as useless/subpar?     How many hit points does a creature have to have (as a multiple of the sneak attack damage) before it is worthwhile giving up some or all of the sneak attack damage to apply these effects?  To put that another way - if the party can do fifty points of damage a round, how many hit points does the monster need to have before it's worth slowing its demise just to apply that status effect?  And, finally, how good does that status effect have to be to make it worth delaying the death of the creature by a round (and thus allowing an extra round of attacks on the party either by that target - or by another target who also lives longer because of the extra time spent killing the first one).  


If the rogue can only affect one target - the rogue will usually be best off damaging that target.  The only exception I can see would be if the rogue is acting as a controller and can take target B out of action while the party focuses on target A.  So it may be the case that only effects that actually shut down a creature completely are likely to be worthwhile.   


Or at least - those are the obstacles I see to this approach.


Carl
Personally I think the "skill monkey" gimmick for rogues is crap. I'd like to see more interesting things they can do in or out of combat, like running across ropes, bounding off walls, throwing enemies off balance. You know, basic Swashbuckler ****. and not using CS or sneak attack dice. In fact i'd be fine if  Sneak Attack/Backstab just went away forever. Just because someone can't see you doesn't make thier innards any easier to hit.
Personally I think the "skill monkey" gimmick for rogues is crap. I'd like to see more interesting things they can do in or out of combat, like running across ropes, bounding off walls, throwing enemies off balance. You know, basic Swashbuckler ****. and not using CS or sneak attack dice. In fact i'd be fine if  Sneak Attack/Backstab just went away forever. Just because someone can't see you doesn't make thier innards any easier to hit.



Hmm - those sound likes skills (or ability checks) to me.

It sounds like you just gave some examples of how my approach could be applied.  Running across ropes - Dexterity check; Bounding off walls - Dexterity check; Throwing enemies off balance - Bluff perhaps, depending on how they did it. 


You say you don't want him to be a skill monkey - and then you give examples of a rogue using skills. 


However - you raise a good point.  My proposed system needs to be revised to "use a skill or ability check" not just "use a skill" as a WYTAA action.



Carl      
I think the whole master of skills thing for the rogue needs to go. Skills are something that everyone has, and I see no good reason why a rogue should be better at skills in general than anyone else. Skills cover too broad of ground for that. A wizard is typically the master of lore. Clerics are often great diplomats. Rogues are good at sneaking and picking pockets. Traditionally, every class has had certain skill areas that they are good at. Rogues don't need a special mechanic to give them an advantage when it comes to general skill use. The whole "take 10 and ignore your low ability modifiers" thing is not only overpowered, its BORING. As someone who likes playing rogues, I don't want that. I want cool tricks, not take 10's and rerolls.

I'm glad, however, that he mentioned Sneak Attack potentially becoming optional. Thank the gods. Not all rogues should be shoehorned into being backstabbing assassin types. Hearing that makes me hopeful for the rogue class.

On a different subject, I'm surprised he didn't bring up warlocks. He mentioned that people didn't like the sorcerer, but other than saying people thought Eldritch Blast was overpowered, the warlock wasn't mentioned. Did people like it as it is?

I kind of feel hamstrung responding to the post because monsters are so damn weak.


Like rogues do need some options; my favourite suggestion is to give them a modified version of combat superiority, but it's easy to see them dropping sneak attack dice to do cool things because everything is so ridiculously easy to kill that nobody actually needs any of their extra damage dice.


Hit points... it's kind of a weird situation, also because the monsters are so weak. My cleric character is a friggin' brick house but if he gets hit at all I find myself backpedaling fast; he just doesn't get hit.



Why is it bad to have turn undead as a spell, exactly? I liked the funky turn undead mechanics you could use with feats and all that fun stuff but channel divinity seems to me like it could fill that niche.


Healing Surges had it's problems too. I'm currently playing with a bard that has 17 healing surges a day. Last time he jumped down a 50 ft drop because he knew he could just use a healing surge or two and it wouldn't matter.



Thats called hit points... 

Healing surges dont do anything to exacerbate that...in fact the characters can be killed with more terrestrial levels of damage (of whatever form) while still having more long term durability should they survive ... is hs.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

So from my Expert/Crook/Trickster/Shirmisher grid, it seems Mearls is said the playtest rogue is too much Expert and Skirmisher and not enough Trickster.

As for the HP stuff. The problem is that HP values are all over the place and makes combat unpredictable and anticlimatic. Currently Itt plays like Nightmare Diablo where everyone dies in one hit, ally and foe. And if you can't one hit someone, you feel too weeak and if you can survive a hit, you feel too strong.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

So from my Expert/Crook/Trickster/Shirmisher grid, it seems Mearls is said the playtest rogue is too much Expert and Skirmisher and not enough Trickster.

As for the HP stuff. The problem is that HP values are all over the place and makes combat unpredictable and anticlimatic. Currently Itt plays like Nightmare Diablo where everyone dies in one hit, ally and foe. And if you can't one hit someone, you feel too weeak and if you can survive a hit, you feel too strong.

That's more a function of level than the overall mechanic though. Once you hit level 3 it doesn't feel that way to me anymore.

I think he makes some very good points about not adjusting the hp except for the Wizard.  There are too many variables and you need a control group to narrow down the problem and then the sollution. 
I will grant that until we get the monsters into a form that can actually be used to test combat we can't really judge the hit points in 5E.  Well - anyone who has had a L1 character one-shotted by a goblin can judge its effect.  But the effect on a longer combat can't be measured till they fix the monsters.


But my objection to ConMod isn't based on just 5E.  It is based on seeing how ConMod hit point modifiers have affected the other editions of which it has been a part.   As someone else noted - the idea comes from AD&D - but in AD&D the modifiers are smaller and capped for most classes.   The only characters in AD&D1st witha hit die modifier higher than +2 were fighters with a 17 Con or better.   Fighters with a 16 Con and all other classes had at best a +2 modifier - and you had to have a 15Con to have any modifier at all.  So the majority of characters did not in fact increase their hit points due to a Con Modifier - because the majority of characters had less than a 15 Constitution.


Adding ConMod grossly inflate the hit points and creates a huge gap between the highest and lowest hit point characters.  And anything which creates a large gap between the highest and lowest among the PCs makes creating balanced creatures and encounters a problem.


So I know how I'm going to feel about that as a separate issue from the starting hit points issue.



See you guys in a couple of months to revisit that issue once your characters start to get towards L10.   


Carl      
"we have a lot of feedback that the sorcerer has strayed too far from its identity in the game. People like the concept behind both classes, but they aren’t sure the sorcerer is actually a sorcerer."

Did a lot of people not like the sorcerer build? Both of the playtest groups I played in really liked the sorcerous origins concept and the available build. Our general comment was that it is hard to compare the Dragon sorcerer to the wizard, because the dragon sorcerer is a fighter/mage not a pure caster. However, I was really excited to see a base class that did fighter/mage well. I just would also like to see a weak hp, focused on ranged sorcerer to get a better comparison between wizard and sorcerer.

Also, I complete agree with all of the commentary on HD+Con mod being a bad choice for the hit point system. I liked the first packets hp system significantly more. The non-rolling option should round down, because otherwise the risk greaterly outweights the reward of rolling hp. 

But my objection to ConMod isn't based on just 5E.  It is based on seeing how ConMod hit point modifiers have affected the other editions of which it has been a part.   As someone else noted - the idea comes from AD&D - but in AD&D the modifiers are smaller and capped for most classes.   The only characters in AD&D1st witha hit die modifier higher than +2 were fighters with a 17 Con or better.   Fighters with a 16 Con and all other classes had at best a +2 modifier - and you had to have a 15Con to have any modifier at all.  So the majority of characters did not in fact increase their hit points due to a Con Modifier - because the majority of characters had less than a 15 Constitution.



I agree that the pressure for a high con is huge, but I guess the question then is if con doesn't do hp, what does it do? No classes key off con so apart from a save value it's pretty much a dead stat. There could be an argument for wrapping con up into str at that point.


Maybe con could increase the hit die instead of a flat bonus to hp? Say 10-12 is base HD, 14-16 is 1 step up, 16-18 is 2? It'd reduce the hp bloat a bit, I think.

Actually - I liked what it did in the last packet.  It worked like "brutal' for 4E.


If you had a +3 Con Mod - any die roll of less than 3 resulted in a "3" for that die.  For a slightly higher average you could reroll (exactly like 'brutal') a roll of less than 3.

It prevented crappy low rolls as opposed to creating high values.

Carl
Yeah my group narrows the range by having everyone take the top half of the die.
On the sorcerer: I don't think many hated the dragon sorcerer, they just expected the first playtest sorcerer to be a pure blaster caster and the mage warrior through them for a loop.

Hey Design team, when you give us the playtest version of the class... give or the Traditional option with the newer ones. You can give us the feylock without the infernalock. You can't give us the warrior sorcerer without the caster warrior. You can't give us the archer or caster paladin without the melee paladin. Your can't give us the staff monk without the fist monk.

It really really seems the rogue is going trickster over skirmisher or expert in the next packet.

As for HP, I think the best option is to make think of HP per level as tiers. If you have less than 5 HP/level, you are squishy. More than 7 istough.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

On the sorcerer: I don't think many hated the dragon sorcerer, they just expected the first playtest sorcerer to be a pure blaster caster and the mage warrior through them for a loop.

Hey Design team, when you give us the playtest version of the class... give or the Traditional option with the newer ones. You can give us the feylock without the infernalock. You can't give us the warrior sorcerer without the caster warrior. You can't give us the archer or caster paladin without the melee paladin. Your can't give us the staff monk without the fist monk.

It really really seems the rogue is going trickster over skirmisher or expert in the next packet.

As for HP, I think the best option is to make think of HP per level as tiers. If you have less than 5 HP/level, you are squishy. More than 7 istough.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

On HP: give each race a base HP total to represent, if you will, a 0th level individual of that race. Add max HD and Con mod at first level, and first level only. A Wizard could survive one good hit from a kobold or goblin, but wouldn't want to suffer two. A Fighter could take two or three, but 4 might be pushing it.

On Healing Surges: Limiting how far you can push yourself in a single day is fine. Magical healing should supercede this, rather than consume that resource.

On Sneak Attack: get rid of the entire concept of dealing extra damage for advantage. Instead let the Rogue use skills to gain advantage as often as possible, with additional damage and effects as options.

On Skill Mastery: A Rogue's abilities should matter, so get rid of the +3 or bust. Taking 10 is dull. Let them instead roll again if they fail, for an escalated outcome if they fail again - risk-taking! At least make it a choice whether you are an expert or trickster.

On Combat Superiority: Like many mechanics, making anything class-unique will only cause headaches later. Why can't there be a unified physical combat model?

On Spellcasting: You'll never make it work if classes keep all their old low-level spells, and across 9 levels, is that necessary any more?

Step back. Forbid yourself from looking at any edition for two weeks. See what you come up with. 
Rogues in D&D are more rewarded in combat by taking high risks for high return.
I don't think it should be the case for a class named rogue.
They shouldn't have abilities that tags them as light fighters, this should be left to rangers or fighters.

The actual sneak attack feature could replaced by a special feature directly determined by the Rogue Scheme.
Examples I see are :
• Assassin: sneak attack strictly requiring stealth (not advantage) coupled with an evasion feature to go away and create a condition to hide again.
• Trouble maker: Targets a foe and enables an adjacent ally to attack it, or trick a foe adjacent to it into attacking the target with a specific check.
• Engineer: Use alchemical bombs and instant complex mechanical traps to control or damage foes.
• Acrobat : special acrobatic moves without skill checks and a special dodge check against any attack, with a melee retaliatory strike when the attackers are adjacent.

Swashbucklers and other high/high reward options should be fighter or ranger options IMO.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Rogues in D&D are more rewarded in combat by taking high risks for high return.
I don't think it should be the case for a class named rogue.
They shouldn't have abilities that tags them as light fighters, this should be left to rangers or fighters.

The actual sneak attack feature could replaced by a special feature directly determined by the Rogue Scheme.
Examples I see are :
• Assassin: sneak attack strictly requiring stealth (not advantage) coupled with an evasion feature to go away and create a condition to hide again.
• Trouble maker: Targets a foe and enables an adjacent ally to attack it, or trick a foe adjacent to it into attacking the target with a specific check.
• Engineer: Use alchemical bombs and instant complex mechanical traps to control or damage foes.
• Acrobat : special acrobatic moves without skill checks and a special dodge check against any attack, with a melee retaliatory strike when the attackers are adjacent.

Swashbucklers and other high/high reward options should be fighter or ranger options IMO.




What high risk?  Hide around a corner, step out, shoot, step back.


Carl  
What high risk?  Hide around a corner, step out, shoot, step back.


Carl  




The risk of pissing off the DM and being summarily executed (preferably by being hit by a falling space shuttle) for sneak attack cheese?

"we have a lot of feedback that the sorcerer has strayed too far from its identity in the game. People like the concept behind both classes, but they aren’t sure the sorcerer is actually a sorcerer."

Did a lot of people not like the sorcerer build? Both of the playtest groups I played in really liked the sorcerous origins concept and the available build. Our general comment was that it is hard to compare the Dragon sorcerer to the wizard, because the dragon sorcerer is a fighter/mage not a pure caster. However, I was really excited to see a base class that did fighter/mage well. I just would also like to see a weak hp, focused on ranged sorcerer to get a better comparison between wizard and sorcerer.

Also, I complete agree with all of the commentary on HD+Con mod being a bad choice for the hit point system. I liked the first packets hp system significantly more. The non-rolling option should round down, because otherwise the risk greaterly outweights the reward of rolling hp.

I am not a lot of people by myself, but I can express a sorcerer hater opinion Wink
Of course, the fact that I don't like the so easy to track daily ressources does not help.

When I look at the sorcerer I see two classes only linked by a pool of points.
It will be a nightmare from a multiclass point of view.
It's a natural spellcaster who cast heavy formated wizard spells.
These formated spells are attack/defense spells without any relation to the heritage element.
If the 3rd edition sorcerer is the base inspiration, then the result is even more catastrophic : no utility and no "on the fly flexibility".

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I don't dislike the sorcerer class - but certainly a plate wearing caster is not what I thought of when I thought of the class. I just seems like it would have been better as, say, the third heritage intended to break us out of our preconceptions and show us what else can be done with the Sorcerer class - but not the first example of the type.


For the first example of the type I would have expected more of a traditional caster - maybe light armor wearing. 


I do think that there are serious balance issues with allowing spell point classes access to area effect spells.  But that wasn't an issue with that specific flavor of Sorcerer.  

Carl
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