So far, what do you find innovative or promising about 5e?

A lot of people were worried that 5e would go full retro and not bring anything new to D&D. Here are the mechanics that for me are demonstrating the use of a new edition.

-The new ritual system. All I can say is finally! Some spells will see more use just because of this innovation.

-Combat superiority. It is a different approach to giving the fighter options and could be a hit or a miss, but it shows a lot of promise. Who thought about it is brilliant (Monte?), far more interesting than a pool of points to spend, dancing between stances or just making every class at-will, encounter, daily.

-The new staff/wand recharge mechanics. Very simple, yet it gets me excited even if it just affects one small part of the game. Slick move by the designers. 

The advantage system has sparked a number of really cool ideas. Advantage is nothing new but the way they handle it is pretty inspiring.


Fighters do seem to be the big success story of the playtest, don't they? I really like it and I hope they broaden the concept to include more classes *coughROGUEScough*

I don't quite see how the ritual system is new.
I don't quite see how the ritual system is new.



Because it is not like the old ritual system.
I'm going to go the other route, at least to start. I love the fact that Next feels more like previous editions than 4e. Don't get me wrong, I've played 4e and bought just about everything that Wizards has put out for it, since it started. We have a lot of fun playing it. It just didn't feel right to me, and to some other old-schoolers at the table. Next seems to be putting the emphasis back on roleplaying over combat mechanics, and also makes combat feel more intense. There's just something about knowing that your character will be dead if you're not careful, and not get those death saves that can go on for a while as long as you roll high enough. 4e made a lot of things too simple. Next is bringing back some of the complexity without going overboard.

As for new things... I like the way that the sorceror and warlock feel in play. Granted, I'm not loving everything about them yet, but that's because they are in the very early stages of being developed. The idea that magic works in different ways isn't really all that new, but it hasn't been given a lot of room in D&D up to this point. Moreover, I just love the fact that the DM once more has more of their power back. Being able to make decisions and not having to hear "But the rule says" every time is a wonderful thing.
I don't quite see how the ritual system is new.

I think the poster meant the way it now works, as opposed to the entire system.
Promising:
Mostly nothing as they seem to be set on including my least favourite ideas/mechanics (with the exception of race-classes) from previous editions. As it stands now I will explore non D&D options like 13th age and IKRPG, which makes me said because I've been playing one form of D&D or another since I learned english from the red D&D Basic box when I was 9.

Innovative (for D&D):
The advantage system has potential, but as it currently stands it needs polish. there need to be ways for small adv/disadv.



Have fun, be bad...
Thus far, the game appears to be taking a more minimalist approach, which I really appreciate, but I fear it will get bloated pretty quick with spells, magic items, and a billion and one classes.
Main innovations / good points:

- CS system (hopefully this becomes the standard for a melee class system)

- Bouded Accuracy (Actually, in the current playtests, it is not bounded but merely flattened... but that's even better then bounded)

- Dropping the appropriate/required/balanced Gold and Magic items per level. I hope they stick to this point and don't fold to pressure..

- I liked most things about the Magical Items document. It takes the feel of the old versions and makes something new and interesting from it, especially all the minor properties. And I really like the return of the potion mixing table =)

Wrong turns:

- Advantage / Disadvantage is great, but only when combined with flat + - bonuses. Everything shouldn't  be adv/disadv.

- Linear HP scaling... this hurts the 'flattened accuracy' since it is not flat at all. Flatten it out please.

- A separate casting system for every casting class (this is going to make multiclassing a serious pain). At least use a shared resource.
My favorite things about 5e/Next:

- The overall streamlined and simplified rules. I also like that they have dispensed with the dissasociated mechanical style of the previous edition.

- Bounded Accuracy and how it gets rid of most of the things that I hated about levels.

- The increased emphasis on ability scores and ability score saving throws.

- Backgrounds.

- Combat Superiority for Fighters. I was very skeptical that they'd ever come up with something to make fighters mechanically distinct. I'm pleasently surprised, to say the least.

- Lazer clerics. Seriously, I'm glad that one can finally play a cleric that focuses on spellcasting. 

- At-will cantrips (granted, both 4e and Pathfinder did this, but I'm still very glad to see it here).

- Spells that can be cast unprepared from a spellbook as rituals. This combined with at-will cantrips makes vancian casting much more tolerable for me.

- Magic items not being an assumed part of PC stats at a given level. 4e trimmed the christmas tree. 5e might finally chop it down.

- Staffs and wands that recharge. It's about time!

What I'm not liking about 5e/Next:

- Rolling for hit points. Ugh.

- Extremely low starting HP, where a character can easily die in one hit. I realize a 1st level wizard isn't some great hero yet. I get it. But that doesn't mean he should be so fragile that he can die from stubbing his toe.

- Rapidly scaling HP, like in 3rd and 4th edition. They have this great thing going with the bounded accuracy philosphy of their design. But then, they ruin it with HP that greatly inflate with level, leading to the same unrealistic and stupid scenarios of the past where low level characters are very likely to die ine one hit but high level characters can be chopped with an axe dozens of times, fall off a cliff, get dunked in lava, etc. but still go on fighting just fine. Yes, I know, "HP are an "abstraction." Well, I think that abstract HP are stupid, so there. :P If HP started at a more reasonable number and scaled more slowly, it would be much more believable and people wouldn't need to use the "abstraction" excuse to handwave it away. 

- Save-or-suck spells with HP thresholds. I made a post a while back about why this is a horrible mechanic. See here: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

- Spells aren't adding ability scores to damage. I really liked that about 4e and that they're not doing it in the most recent playtest packet really bugs me. I'm also upset that staffs and wands don't function as implements in this edition, which is also something I loved about 4e. A staff or wand serving primarily as a focus for one's spells makes a hell of alot more sense to me than being a spell battery, even if it does remind one of Harry Potter (if it helps, think of Gandalf instead).
Innovative and promising? mmh, non very much, but there is some hope:

What good we already have:

1- Advantage
2- Background/specialities
3- combat superiority
4- Strong role-playing flavor

What good they promised (but I have yet to see):

1- bounded accuracy: very innovative and promising but I cannot say that we actually have it
2- the possibility to choose the casting system
3- a strategic module
No more vancian. No "edition war" for me, thank'you.
- CS Dice : Some other classes need similar things though. *cough* Rogue *cough*

- Combat Speed: Absolutely love how fast the rounds go.

- Bounded Accuracy: Brilliant, but I think PC Damage is too high, Monster attacks are too low, and PC health is too low. Nobody wants to be rolling 20d6... Well except those who do of course. I'll rephrase that. I don't want to be rolling 20d6 sneak attack at 20th level.

-  Sorceror: Finally some wonderful characterising mechanics for the sorceror. Something that really differentiates it from the Wizard. If someone wants to play the old one, grab the wizard and throw the Power Points system on it. 

- Warlock: Looking good. I'd rather see some "straight" pacts rather than named ones... And I really liked in 4e how we ended up with alternate casting abilities. Heck, you could split it nicely by pact. (Charisma for Fey, Constitution for Infernal, Intelligence for Star etc, and this could easily be explained in fluff too)

- Classes: All the others are good, but nothing really innovative.

- Magic Items: As long as they don't become too game-breaky.
 
I like the CS mechanic, and I think it could be extended to other classes.

I like the Origins and Pacts for the Sorcerer and Warlock, respectively. Though I think the Pacts shouldn't be quite so specific -- leave room for world builders to make their own. But maybe we'll see more of that in future packets.

Advantage/Disadvantage is good.

I'm hoping the magic systems will be innovative or promising, but I'll hold comment on those until we see the new material.

The addition of Backgrounds and Specialities is fun. I can see the potential for hundreds of these, both WotC-designed and fan-created.

But the most promising thing of all -- the massive public playtest. That's gotten me and my friends more enthusiastic than anything else.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.