102912 Playtest session feedback

So I played with my group with the new set of rules. 

Here is where we were:


  • Player's characters were level 6 with the following makeup:


    • Wood Elf Rogue

    • High Elf Wizard

    • Lightfoot Halfling Fighter

    • Human Cleric


  • My group has a higher emphasis on story then combat, worth noting as a bias when reading their input and my own.

  • That said they started out trapped in a dungeon so there was a fair amount of combat before any real RP happened.




Here are the pluses and minus I saw:

  1. The Wizard



  • The wizard had a really hard time with the increased limit on spell slots. At-will and signature spells became boring very quickly, and the player said something to the effect of if she wanted to use the same options over and over she would have played a different class.

  • On the other hand the increase hitpoints were of huge benefit and she actually went for a few touch style magical attacks without a lot less fear of being chewed up and spit out.

  • The spells removed from the spell list were fairly vrutual. A lot of them seemed to be the highly flexable and fun one (grease). The wizard at one point said something the effect of why would they take my fun spells away.

  • All and all the 'nerfing' was a big put off.



    1. The Cleric



    • The Cleric suffered similarly (and complained similarly) to the wizard with the spell slot reductions. The at-will healing helped to decrease this angst a lot though and he still was able to go on the offensive in either melee or use magic interchangeably. All and all he was a lot less annoyed.



      1. The Rogue



      • This player said he felt like a bad fighter. He went from having the 'never rolls less than 10' power to having just tons of skills. He didn't much care for the trade. He had felt like his class was all about skills and generally being good at everything (a huge benefit in my more roleplay/story driven campaign).  That said, though he complained his skills now cover a much broader canvas and he did like that. saying it felt less like cheating when he wasn't rolling 'untrained skills' and never getting less than a 10.

      • Furthermore, he was a bit annoyed by the annoyance of managing maneuvers at all. He was raised in 4e and had felt like not having to pick something (power or maneuver) and just being able to attack was a breath of fresh air. He said it wasn't nearly as bad but was concerned it would evolve into option paralysis and still grumbled.



        1. The Fighter




          • This player voiced no complaints audibly, but her turn took the longest every time while she tried to pick the proper expertise dice to use and managed 2 attacks. She is a fairly new player, so this is somewhat to be expected, but it was unfortunate to see that. It was one of the things I was liking about 5e so far (and one of the things I hated about 4e). All and all it made it harder to keep the group on task, and frustrated this player more.




        On Maneuvers

        I would still really like to see a simple replacement option for these. I like them and think they should absolutely remain around, because I don't think I would have any trouble managing them. It still remains that some of my players do though. Something like a steady maneuver progression that you repick every time and adds a few more benefits to what you have so the players didn't have to worry about picking which one to use on this turn would be a huge relief on some of the more novice players.

        A simple example of this would be something like this:

        Brutal Striker
        You lean into all your attacks with a bit more energy than others do.
        Effect: You gain +1 on all damage rolls.

        Brutal Striker II
        You have become more adept and finding more vicious spots to strike or striking them harder.
        Prereq: Brutal Striker 
        Effect: You gain +2 on all damage rolls.

        etc.

        This example isn't the best because I am fairly sure it is poorly balanced (if you were to actually do it you would probably want more then +1 a time), but I am sure you get the basic idea. No having to pick manuvers at ever turn or picking and becoming used to a new one of  level up. It will basically always be a trade-off as someone with this will have less flexible combat options, but some people quite simply just don't care and prefer the simplicity.

        On Magic

        My personal feeling is that the spell slot reduction is problematic. At first the spellcasters were just paranoid about it, then they got to the point where they more or less just gave up and the party started resting a lot. I was more or less for this because combat was taking longer than it needed to and the wizard being able to destroy everything kept things short. It was still annoying though because time passing was antithetical to my narrative.

        The limiting of spells slots, and reduction in spells themselves both seems to prove negative to the fun of both casters and non-casters.

        I implemented a house rule that any spell could be cast as a ritual to try to mitigate this. This helped a bit, as from there the players focused on only preparing spells that they really needed to be able to cast right away and the spells they usually reserve for fun story situations where still accessible to them.

        On Material in General

        I have yet to see an example of the much vaunted 'modular' systems. The current 3 pillar approach and its choices seem to be shaping up to be more like a skeletal framework that can have anything put into it. I was excited to hear about an Object Oriented approach being taken to D&D, but the lack of anything happening with it is thus far a bit discouraging.

        It would be quite nice to see at least an experimental module. The much discussed 'magical dial' perhaps that could solve my spellcasters gripes (since that is a recurring grip and argument amongst the community).
        Did you end up using the normal healing rules? I know there's a small amount of modularity there. I think your group's criticisms echo others'.

        For the fighter, I was thinking of houseruling in "stances". These would provide static buffs at the cost of expertise dice not being usable for other things. So, per d6 in a battle striker stance the fighter gains +3 damage. A cleaving stance would work like 4e cleave, but a set damage amount based on the number/kind of dice. This could allow her to set up a usually optimal playstyle and just roll.

        As for the rogue... I think a lot of people are working on their own solutions in these forums.
        "What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
        I haven't playtested this package yet, but I think my group is going to respond very similarly to your group.  The reduced flexibility and variety for the spellcasters seems to be an issue at the moment.  

        Cheers.  

        A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

         

        Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

         

         

        Ya I wrote my post before really reading the others but afterwords I noted that it is nothing suprising really given others feedback. If nothing else it is a +1 I suppose.
        Good report. No one mentioned it so I will; Sneak Attack went from something all Rogues got (that was arguably too powerful) to a Maneuver that only some that get this is WEAK & limited.  It needs to be fixed... I believe this is one reason your player referred to the rogue as a "bad fighter".  A reliable Sneak Attack skill is essential to many rogue builds and IMHO most Rogues should have it as a fall-back skill.  It seems to be gutted now to be perfectly honest.  Sure, in a more role-playing oriented game it won't matter so much.  But even then, you have to have some action to break up the monotony.  Sometimes the heroes have to battle monsters... and a better Sneak Attack skill would seem in order...
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