Results of playtest (freeform)

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4 players:  Pregen (P.G) Dwarf Fighter, P.G. Human Cleric, P.G. Elf Wizard, cusom Elf Fighter (sniper specialist)

What we played:  First couple of rooms/encounters from Eberron's "Queen with Burning Eyes" module, swapping out monsters in the Bestiary for stuff that didn't exist.  Attempted to be true to the CR ratings for easy/avg/tough.



Combat: 10 Cave Rats, 3 dire rats, 1 rat nest (rat cubs).

Results: Wizard had sleep prepared, but thankfully the Dire Rats hadn't shown up, so there was still some combat.  Players were surprized with how easy the rats were to hit (felt 12 was a bit too easy for how little damage they did)  Left one rat alive, named him Mr. Rabies, and decided to call themselves the Band of the Dire Rat.

Combat: 3 Human Beserkers, 6 Human commoners.

Result: They felt threatened by the beserkers, but were glad they could take them down easy.  Felt the commoners were a threat until they could get them out of the way.  Attempts at making Mr. Rabies an attack rat fail.

Combat: 8 Zombies

Result: Players were surprized by the Con save survival technique of zombies, but liked it a lot.  Fight was threatening, as all zombies completely resisted the turn undead spell.

Combat: 8 Kobolds,  1 Kobold Trap lord.

Result: Kobolds with advantage brought down wizard in first round, both fighters had to work for it.  Nearly everyone dies when Trap Lord thows his Fire Bomb in a suicidal manner.  Mr. Rabies gets singed, judges.

Combat: 5 goblins, 1 Hobgoblin leader, 1 Bugbear.
Wizard's sleep takes out the goblins, and Hobgoblin impales cleric before they use the wand of Binding to trap him (paralyzing him).  Bugbear gives everyone a run for their money, nearly killing dwarf fighter before wizard can plink with magic missile and save the day.


Combat opinions:  I felt Sleep was a bit overpowered, I think maybe 3d6 might be a bit better, or the monsters need more minimum hit points.  For example, the rats and kobolds only have 2-3 hit points, so sleep was DEVASTATING on them when he rolled 14 and 12 damage, respectively (7 rats out of combat, 4 kobolds).  Maybe area is too big?  Dunno.

Fighters felt like they had "spells" without having spells.  Aiming, parrying, etc, made them feel like they had valid ways to contribute, and weren't just "swinging".  Everyone at the table liked it.

Cleric, however... without the 4e minor action thing, clerics literally become relegated to "if someone is hurt, I loose choice on my turn".  Saw that healing word allows for a ranged heal with an attack, so that might have been a better spell choice for the player.   The cleric player also mentioned she was reminded as to why she didn't like being a 3.5 cleric: spell slots.  Not being able to adjust on the fly seemed odd to her.  Also noted the lack of any really ranged heal besides healing word; would have liked a more powerful spell that healed without needing to dedicate BOTH a movement AND a heal if someone got wounded while away.


I felt the monsters should have more minimum hit points; 3-4 should be the smallest amount.  With how much damage the players could dish, why ask them to roll damage if I know they hit the rat?  Equal-level monsters should have enough hit points that it is work asking what they rolled for damage if they hit.  Also, this would (I feel) balance how Sleep works.

I was able to quickly run the monsters, and they had enough stuff to feel interesting and unique, but without bogging me down with rules.

Regarding Magic:

Players liked the "I roll on tables" portion.  I would have, too, if I had something besides "They found an uncommon, now I have to decide WHICH uncommon." I HOPE that Next will have a full on table path (Roll for magic->Uncommon->Armor-Glamoured Armor) similar to 3.5; it would even be MORE awesome if they had an online/downloadable tool where I could say "use items from these books" and it auto-generates a chart, and then I roll for loot with the tables.  If they don't, I assume some fan will make one, but I don't want someone sued for something that will give the DM more time to DM.  Players LOVED the fact that items were not important to game math, and I used the tables to make their Glamored armor really spiffy (Elemental->Water, made by merfolk, obviously given as a gift, quirk mistaken by Merfolk as a legendary hero)
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Cleric : "if someone is hurt, I loose choice on my turn".

Nicely put. Yeah I prefer 4Es options for clerics as well.
I really think clerics should be able to heal at range, period.  I think the "touch cure light wounds" just simply needs to die.  There were multiple situations where the player of the cleric got frustrated:


1.  Standing next to fighter.  Wizard, 8 squares back, gets clonked with an arrow.  Cleric must spend action to withdraw, then spend entire move action to get to wizard (1 turn lost).  Then, cleric must spend action to heal him, then an entire movement to get within 10 feet of fighter, who was at 2 hp (another turn lost).  Next turn, finish move to get to fighter, spend final action to heal.

Granted, maybe healing potions could have closed the gap on this, but if we assume a game of no magical items, the Cleric literally is just running around touching his buddies... but then has an at-will radiant attack that is bigger than the table I play on?

I'm not sure if it's just that the cleric is low-level, but it seems very much as something players would have the DM play, because it didn't seem fun to anybody at the table that the healer was unable to participate in combat because of the removal of minor-action heals.

Here's what I think would be better:

An Orison that allows healing at range, expends the targets hit-die, and can be cast in the place of a move action, but only once per turn.  Now, Cleric can be both a front-line or back line contributor: he can attack from range or be in melee, but isn't OBLIGATED to move next to his buddy that got hit.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Return of "Close wounds" as a reaction could be the answer!
Oddly I don't like being able to heal and then attack. Seems cheap. And I don't think a cleric should have an at will ability either. Just seems wrong. A cleric isn't made to normally attack with magic but to heal and boost the party with magic.

I do think the cleric should have a healing spell slot in addition to other spells. OR gain channeling like pathfinder with a similar number of uses.

I don't think it makes sense to be able to heal then cast a spell. It doesn't feel right to me. When ever I play a cleric I know my job is to heal the party. If u wanted to just attack I'd play something else.
When ever I play a cleric I know my job is to heal the party. If u wanted to just attack I'd play something else.

Reverting Cleric to Healbot just means every party needs one, but nobody wants to get stuck playing it.

I see where the "healbot" concerns are coming from, but I have to disagree. At level 1, a cleric can only use Cure Light Wounds twice per day. Using Channel Divinity increases the number of healing spells to three per day... but a far cry from having to "give up" their turn every round.

It seems to me that having fewer number of spells per day increases the "cool" factor when using them. A cleric has to choose wisely when to heal... can the fighter survive another round before I have use my spell slot? Can we take out this last foe before he acts, so that our Rogue can use his healing kit during a short rest?

I like the hit-die healing mechanic during short rests, though it may not be optimized yet. It feels so much cleaner and less abstract than the whole "healing surge" concept of 4th.

Giving the Cleric at-will healing abilities would dilute the "cool" factor and then it really would become something along the lines of "Oh my turn again, ok I can heal one person again who is it going to be.... YAWN."

I think the current diversity of cleric builds is great and should satisfy everyone. You don't need to have a healer in your party, and you can make a bunch of awesome clerics that don't heal at all.

I see where the "healbot" concerns are coming from, but I have to disagree. At level 1, a cleric can only use Cure Light Wounds twice per day. Using Channel Divinity increases the number of healing spells to three per day... but a far cry from having to "give up" their turn every round. It seems to me that having fewer number of spells per day increases the "cool" factor when using them. A cleric has to choose wisely when to heal... can the fighter survive another round before I have use my spell slot? Can we take out this last foe before he acts, so that our Rogue can use his healing kit during a short rest? I like the hit-die healing mechanic during short rests, though it may not be optimized yet. It feels so much cleaner and less abstract than the whole "healing surge" concept of 4th. Giving the Cleric at-will healing abilities would dilute the "cool" factor and then it really would become something along the lines of "Oh my turn again, ok I can heal one person again who is it going to be.... YAWN."


Maybe in your playtests, but in mine, the person who was playing the cleric felt obligated to MOVE to the person who was injured and touch them if they were, say, below 3 hit points.  Taking the entire move AND action essentially made it "I loose my turn, because otherwise I'm a complete jerk who didn't heal the party when I'm the only person who can do it in combat, as the person who has the healing potion on them is the one that is unconcious."

Believe me, I get where you're coming from, but there were quite a few times in my playtest where the person playing the cleric was pretty much "stuck" with healing.  This player HATED 3.5 clerics because of the "healbot" mentality.  4e changed that.

However, now that the new playtest docs are out (2 days after my playtest, natch), it seems that they have addressed this: Power Words on Cleric spells allow for a heal and an action, there is an at-will healing spell for "Don't you die on me!" and all healing spells can now be done at range.

Now, the Cleric is fee to do things that AREN'T healing.
 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
No one in my group is even willing to touch the Cleric since the begining of the playtest and are really suffering for it in game. The idea that someone NEEDING to be a healbot for the party whether it is easy to do or not does not sit well with me.
If you don't want to be a heal bot then don't play a cleric. Every time I have played a cleric I know my place in the party is a heal bot
I really like domains and hope they make that the core of cleric spell lists and it creates diversity in the class.  You could easily have a Cleric of Trickery that has very little along the lines of healing (though some), but has spell options that control combat and augment a more "sneaky priest" mentality.

Healbots: There's some truth to this but.. honestly.. is it any different than any other class?  When the Fighter doesn't protect and take the abuse, then suddenly they aren't playing right either?  Does a rogue who doesn't sneak and skill as expect invalid, too?  Etc.

If players see Cleric as Healbots, it boils down to one of two things... either they are lacking imagination (and I don't mean this harshly, just that some people see stereotype only - every Cleric is a Healbot... every Wizard is Gandalf... every Fighter is a Tank.. etc) or the DM is failing to let players roleplay.

I have run 6 short-lived playtest campaigns so far for NEXT (not to mention all the other D&D style campaigns over the years using) - and there's never been a requirement for any group composition or class inclusion.  One of the current campaigns and one of the previous packet campaigns had no cleric.  Similarly, two of the six had no "protector" fighter.  It certainly didn't make for any better or worse experiences with D&D because of it.

There are literally hundreds of ways to make a group work without a "healbot" or a "tank" or a whatever.... and I have one player already talking about giving a Priestess of Trickery a shot in the next test session and making her all about finesse and stealth instead of healing and muscle-bound melee.  I bet they have a lot of fun with it.

The DM should remind the gal who's playing that "Healbot" Cleric that she's only restricting herself and forgetting that D&D is about roleplaying, first.  She should be able to play her cleric however she feels (including sans healing completely!).  It takes minimal effort on the DMs part to make it work.