My critique of the 102912 packet

My comments, with no particular order or organization:

The item tables are horribly inconsistant with the notion that magic items should be rare and not something easily bought or sold.
The tables with origins and quirks and properties are great.
The new magic items seem kind of boring to me. Maybe it's just presentation, but nothing listed there seems like something I really want my character to have.
I don't like that wands and staffs are back to "hurr free spells!" rather than being used to channel the caster's power as they were in 4e.


At Will spells shouldn't require and use the spells per day system, that's silly and inelegant.
Casters are too versatile. Being able to have so many spells known (indefinite but high number for wizards, all for clerics) makes casters capable of defeating just about anything the DM throws at them with just a good night's sleep. Especially at high level. It's also a big part of what relegated other classes to support roles or irrelevance in 3.x. And it reduces caster customization, since why would you choose to have one thing or another when you could just have everything?


Use of expertise dice is excellent (in particular Sneak Attack integration), but some maneuvers still need polish. Skill check additions are good - especially Mighty Exertion, which addresses the "Hercules could split a mountain!" argument for fighter power nicely. Or it would, if you got rid of the "highest die only" limitation, which needlessly gimps martial characters and shouldn't be in any of these maneuvers.
Whirlwind Attack is outright better than Cleave, which is bad. Glancing Blow is ridiculously bad - you will hardly ever miss with a roll of 10+. Also, only using the highest die result is a pointless gimping of an ability that wouldn't be that impressive even if it was available on every miss. Vault would make more sense if it added feet to a high jump too.


It's redundant and silly for each specialty to end in the word "specialist".
What's now "Arcane Magic Specialist" was better when it could also be applied to non-caster characters to give them a touch of the arcane. The metamagic ruins that. Divine Magic is better off, but the healing feats aren't conceptually versatile and are a bit redundant conceptually with the Healing Specialist.
Both ____ Initiate feats were far better in previous versions.
Feat effects shouldn't have "if you rolled X or lower, treat the die result as if it was at least Y" effects. They're too much hassle to remember. Stealthy Escape's "disadvantage that can't be canceled by advantage" also sets a bad precedent for non-advantageous complexity.


Some skills seem needless. Use Rope? Really? That was never a good idea. And splitting spot/search/listen just needlessly complicates things. Although honestly, that stuff might be better divorced from the skill system entirely.


A lot of equipment numbers are still needlessly unrealistic. A ten pound greatsword? This was acceptable for TSR when they were a tiny company with no budget, but Wizards could pay people to look this up even if looking it up took more than just typing the weapon name into wikipedia, which it doesn't.

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Casters are too versatile. Being able to have so many spells known (indefinite but high number for wizards, all for clerics) makes casters capable of defeating just about anything the DM throws at them with just a good night's sleep. Especially at high level. It's also a big part of what relegated other classes to support roles or irrelevance in 3.x. And it reduces caster customization, since why would you choose to have one thing or another when you could just have everything?




I'm surprised that you would think they're too versatile, considering that with the drastic reductions in spell slots per day they're constrained wizards to the point of "I have to take the most generally optimal spells".  Wizards are supposed to be able to know a lot of spells and choose from those during preparation, but not being able to prepare as many spells prohibits them from experimentation and being creative.  So yes, their spellbooks can be quite versatile, but if you can't cast any of your spells how can they thwart the DM?

Casters are too versatile. Being able to have so many spells known (indefinite but high number for wizards, all for clerics) makes casters capable of defeating just about anything the DM throws at them with just a good night's sleep. Especially at high level. It's also a big part of what relegated other classes to support roles or irrelevance in 3.x. And it reduces caster customization, since why would you choose to have one thing or another when you could just have everything?




I'm surprised that you would think they're too versatile, considering that with the drastic reductions in spell slots per day they're constrained wizards to the point of "I have to take the most generally optimal spells".

Spells per day are fine. They're low at early levels, but they increase steadily as a wizard levels up, and even a first level wizard can get by on his cantrips, since they're mostly at-will now.
Wizards are supposed to be able to know a lot of spells and choose from those during preparation, but not being able to prepare as many spells prohibits them from experimentation and being creative.  So yes, their spellbooks can be quite versatile, but if you can't cast any of your spells how can they thwart the DM?

To clarify, the issue isn't that they can solve everything immediately. It's that they can solve anything after an extended rest. There are too many plots that can be entirely resolved with a single spell. Sure, part of this can be rectified by culling useful spells and making all wizards mediocre across the board, but it would be a lot better to allow players to build wizards which are good at certain things without being gods of everything as they often ended up being in 3.x. The fact that this makes wizard characters more interesting is a pretty enticing bonus as well.
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Personally I dislike the Expertise stuff.   It rings of 4E too much.  This will turn the players who don't like 4E off.

Maneuvers will do the same thing.    It seems that everything is very limiting.
A rogue with only 4 class skills.... thats all they get?
Come on... That is very limiting to the play.

I'm just unhappy with the direction this is going, it looks like we are just going to get 4E with some changes.

Personally I dislike the Expertise stuff.   It rings of 4E too much.  This will turn the players who don't like 4E off.

Similarity to 4e is not inherently bad, but fighters having abilities predates 4e anyway - this stuff is like Cleave and Power Attack.

A rogue with only 4 class skills.... thats all they get?
Come on... That is very limiting to the play.

That's in addition to the four skills from his background, and if you for somwe reason you want more skills than that, you can use the Superior Skill Training feat as many times as you want.

I'm just unhappy with the direction this is going, it looks like we are just going to get 4E with some changes.

Of the last three editions, I'd say 4e is the one that Next takes the least from. 

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Casters are too versatile. Being able to have so many spells known (indefinite but high number for wizards, all for clerics) makes casters capable of defeating just about anything the DM throws at them with just a good night's sleep. Especially at high level. It's also a big part of what relegated other classes to support roles or irrelevance in 3.x. And it reduces caster customization, since why would you choose to have one thing or another when you could just have everything?




I'm surprised that you would think they're too versatile, considering that with the drastic reductions in spell slots per day they're constrained wizards to the point of "I have to take the most generally optimal spells".

Spells per day are fine. They're low at early levels, but they increase steadily as a wizard levels up, and even a first level wizard can get by on his cantrips, since they're mostly at-will now.
Wizards are supposed to be able to know a lot of spells and choose from those during preparation, but not being able to prepare as many spells prohibits them from experimentation and being creative.  So yes, their spellbooks can be quite versatile, but if you can't cast any of your spells how can they thwart the DM?



To clarify, the issue isn't that they can solve everything immediately. It's that they can solve anything after an extended rest. There are too many plots that can be entirely resolved with a single spell. Sure, part of this can be rectified by culling useful spells and making all wizards mediocre across the board, but it would be a lot better to allow players to build wizards which are good at certain things without being gods of everything as they often ended up being in 3.x. The fact that this makes wizard characters more interesting is a pretty enticing bonus as well.



You have two very valid complaints, but neither of these things can be solved by the core rules.

The problems of the 5-Minute Adventuring Day are well known - and there's a thread on this in one of the other Next sub-forums.  There has never been anything in the arcane magic-user class rules in any edition to prevent this problem - and I don't think there's a real way to do this.  It's a problem that has to be solved at the DM level.  Likewise, the plot that can be defeated by a single spell may not be well-written, but it's a problem at the module-writing and the DM levels.

I don't mind them tweaking the finer points of spells to avoid some of this, but you can't kill the essential flavor of how a wizard works to overcome a problem that isn't a class design flaw.

Casters are too versatile. Being able to have so many spells known (indefinite but high number for wizards, all for clerics) makes casters capable of defeating just about anything the DM throws at them with just a good night's sleep. Especially at high level. It's also a big part of what relegated other classes to support roles or irrelevance in 3.x. And it reduces caster customization, since why would you choose to have one thing or another when you could just have everything?




I'm surprised that you would think they're too versatile, considering that with the drastic reductions in spell slots per day they're constrained wizards to the point of "I have to take the most generally optimal spells".

Spells per day are fine. They're low at early levels, but they increase steadily as a wizard levels up, and even a first level wizard can get by on his cantrips, since they're mostly at-will now.
Wizards are supposed to be able to know a lot of spells and choose from those during preparation, but not being able to prepare as many spells prohibits them from experimentation and being creative.  So yes, their spellbooks can be quite versatile, but if you can't cast any of your spells how can they thwart the DM?



To clarify, the issue isn't that they can solve everything immediately. It's that they can solve anything after an extended rest. There are too many plots that can be entirely resolved with a single spell. Sure, part of this can be rectified by culling useful spells and making all wizards mediocre across the board, but it would be a lot better to allow players to build wizards which are good at certain things without being gods of everything as they often ended up being in 3.x. The fact that this makes wizard characters more interesting is a pretty enticing bonus as well.



You have two very valid complaints, but neither of these things can be solved by the core rules.

The problems of the 5-Minute Adventuring Day are well known - and there's a thread on this in one of the other Next sub-forums.  There has never been anything in the arcane magic-user class rules in any edition to prevent this problem - and I don't think there's a real way to do this.  It's a problem that has to be solved at the DM level.  Likewise, the plot that can be defeated by a single spell may not be well-written, but it's a problem at the module-writing and the DM levels.

I don't mind them tweaking the finer points of spells to avoid some of this, but you can't kill the essential flavor of how a wizard works to overcome a problem that isn't a class design flaw.


And that's the exact problem with D&D.  The Magic system.  The classes that cast are fine, it's that each and every spell for all the casters are unique little packets of self-contained rules that break every single other rule the game, and don't ever have to adhere to the system in general.

There needs to be something that can be done with that problem.
Why move back to instant success spells instead of of bonuses to skill checks like in 4e especially as far as ritual spells are concerned?