A suggestion for "theoretical" playtesters

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Hello there folks!

Like most here, I'm a fellow playtester of Dungeons & Dragons Next. I don't usually post much, but I lurk a lot around these forums. Recently, I've been reading some things that I think should be debated by the community.

I'm talking about "theoretical" playtesters - playtesters who don't play the packages, but are reading and providing feedback all the same.

First of all, contrary to some opinions, I think such feedback can be as valid as any other. There are a lot of areas where people need not experience first hand to state that they like or do not like. In fact, many aspects of the game are entirely outside the area of "personal experience" and in the area of "personal preferences".

However, as in any "theory", there's always a "grey area" between it and practical experience. Many aspects of the game can only be revealed by playing it, and many aspects may be hard to perceive by merely reading the rules. As much as "theory" can help, "practical experience" is another thing entirely, and can often challenge perceptions based solely on theorical thoughts.

So, while I do not think the feedback theoretical playstesters should be dismissed as insignificant, such playtesters would do well to inform their designers that their experience may not be based in actual play.

My suggestion thus is that any "theoretical" playtester do his best at informing the designers that some or all of their opinions are not based in actual experience in the game.

The recent polls have been more inclusive of this kind of playtest - they ask whether you want to provide feedback in some areas, and allow answering "do not know, is not certain" to many important questions. I suggest that when answering a poll, such playtesters try their best to write texts where they make clear wich areas of the game they haven't actually experienced in "practice".

I know that there are some people so disheartned with the packages that they rather drop it altogether. However, this won't help neither Dungeons & Dragons nor 5e edition. If you care about Dungeons & Dragons, the best thing to do is to keep providing feedback, be it through their polls, be it through these forums or other sites; but let's make sure the designers are well informed about experiences, in order to help them make informed decisions.
Are you threatening me master jedi? Dungeons & Dragons 4e Classic - The Dark Edition
i actually believe that 'theoretical playtesting' is much more objective and unbiased than how you might feel after sitting down to a session of 'actual playtesting'

the people who post their theoretical feedback on these boards aren't your average gamers. we're people who can look at a rule or option and immediately get an idea of how good it is.

when you sit down to play a session with some friends. you open your opinions to the subjectifying nature of around the table play.

Much to my dismay, I am one of those theoretical playtesters. (Well, I did do a little play by post. Good for some rules, like the old rapid shot, but not quite there for feel.) And I do mention that in surveys. When it comes to things such as spell balance or monsters, I flat out raise my hands and say, "don't know, I can't determine this without playing and I haven't."

When you're into game design you can predict a lot of things based on past experiences and intuition. You should also be able to know exactly when you can not predict something unless you play, and even more importantly, you should know when your personal emotions would get in the way. Like crying about the number of spell slots cuz you know you liked the number you got in 3.5. I knew right away I couldn't judge that by my first reaction. I didn't actually have a bad first reaction, but I knew I still had to sit on it for a few days just cuz.

Keep in mind that the conceptors ARE DOING theoretical stuff as they calculate everything on sheets of paper (mostly a computer these days, but meh!). 

So I say this : any theoretical playtesters are welcome to comment but they need to back their stuff up with numbers and thoughts, not only giving an opinion.
 
Having been one of the people who brought it up elsewhere, I want to elaborate a bit on my original concern.

I wasn't necessarily taking issue with someone offering feedback without actually playing. There is value there. If its objective and thought out. Rather, I was noting that some people who continue to post, and respond to the surveys, could very well be disgruntled, agenda-driven grousers whose tantrums carry the same weight as someone genuinely trying to improve the game through the process as intended.

Especially compounded by the fact that I get the distinct impression some people don't get the process. They seem to think that the "changes" made between packets are somehow a direction the game is purposefully heading in. That's just absurd. The devs have made it clear that they are attempting to find breaking points or boundaries along the way. That the best method is to push the corners of game and see what happens. Swinging starting HPs from one extreme to the other, for example.

When someone bemoans, "Ugh! The changes to this new packet are taking the game I love in a terrible direction. I can't believe they are ruining this game! The horror! I refuse to stand for this! I'm out!", they miss the point completely.
i actually believe that 'theoretical playtesting' is much more objective and unbiased than how you might feel after sitting down to a session of 'actual playtesting'

Subjective. In some cases, yes. In others, no.

the people who post their theoretical feedback on these boards aren't your average gamers.

Some are. Some aren't. Some are less than average. But, based on the next line, I get the sense you are speaking more personally than "the people" would imply.

we're people who can look at a rule or option and immediately get an idea of how good it is.

And when someone else, of equal or greater experience, disagrees with your untested opinion? What happens to your clearly high self-worth, then?

when you sit down to play a session with some friends. you open your opinions to the subjectifying nature of around the table play.

So by virtue of sitting down to play, I cannot be objective? Your valuation of others is clearly dwarfed by your sense of self.

Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...

Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...



This is not the first time I see this argument and each and every time I see it, I can't think of nothing but this : Those kind of people will still enjoy the game if the calculator is right, so it is barely an argument.

I do not mean to cause any harm, neither do I want to sound offensive. This is simply not an argument against those who want the game to be mathematically "perfect" simply because you will still enjoy the game if it's being "fixed".

Heck! I'm not even a math person and I could say that I am between the optimized and RP players! Therefore I should agree with you, but I still can't think of this as being an argument for not doing it right.
Nobody likes to be marginalized, including those who consider the game to be so far off the mark as to be unplayable.  I'm also afraid that mathematical concerns might not be given full weight if they cannot be re-produced consistently during what limited playtyime is available.

Hypothetically, imagine that I consider the Dis/Advantage mechanic to be so horrendous as to make the game unplayable.  (Which it is, because I've dealt with it in the past and I would never do that to my players again, but let's keep it hypothetical for now.)  My options, in that case, are between not playtesting at all, or house-ruling to make it playable.  Which feedback is more valuable:

"Dis/Advantage is such a terrible game mechanic that I cannot fairly judge the rest of the system."

or

"Dis/Advantage is such a terrible game mechanic that we had to house-rule it in order to make the system playable, and thus our playtest experience does not reflect the game rules."

?
The metagame is not the game.
Having been one of the people who brought it up elsewhere, I want to elaborate a bit on my original concern.

I wasn't necessarily taking issue with someone offering feedback without actually playing. There is value there. If its objective and thought out. Rather, I was noting that some people who continue to post, and respond to the surveys, could very well be disgruntled, agenda-driven grousers whose tantrums carry the same weight as someone genuinely trying to improve the game through the process as intended.

Especially compounded by the fact that I get the distinct impression some people don't get the process. They seem to think that the "changes" made between packets are somehow a direction the game is purposefully heading in. That's just absurd. The devs have made it clear that they are attempting to find breaking points or boundaries along the way. That the best method is to push the corners of game and see what happens. Swinging starting HPs from one extreme to the other, for example.

When someone bemoans, "Ugh! The changes to this new packet are taking the game I love in a terrible direction. I can't believe they are ruining this game! The horror! I refuse to stand for this! I'm out!", they miss the point completely.



It would have been very VERY important that the developers mention this in the actual playtest packets, not spread all over the wizards website and tossed in randomly in videos. The very fact that we learned that TWF was suppose to be the untrained version shoudl have been mentioned from day one not weeks later. Almost gives the hint like the designers actually thought it would work for a trained version and then had to come up with a reason. (Not saying that was the case). Thing is Wizards lost a lot of face with 4th edition and are paying for it now as many people don't trust anything they do or say or for them to actually realize a horrible mistake. If we were playtesting 4th edition I'm sure a lot more people would be willing to give WotC the benefit of the doubt, the problem is that we are playtesting 5th edition and have already gone down the route of 4th edition. To my knowledge in reality the people working on 5th by and large had nothing to with 4th so this is a clear result of looking at the company as one individual instead of the many individuals it is composed of. But given this environment, the designers need to be more clear about things they are doing and why.
Disadvantage is one of those things that is clearly unplayable without actually playing the game. This is provable as everyone objected to TWF...why? because you got disadvantage. Was there anyone on the board that actually liked TWF? I honestly don't remember anyone. Disadvantage has mathematical issues, this is a fact. These issues are largely negated by the fact you get bonuses in D&D, so for minor things or for things that you really should fail at Disadvantage can work to a point. 

SKill Mastery is another one. The potential to get +10 to a skill makes skill checks for the rogue virtually uneeded, he might as well always suceed. Rolling 3d10 and taking the highest result will almost always give you an 8 or higher. Once again you don't have to actually play the game to know that one character getting +8 to a skill while everyone else doesn't is going to be an issue.

The fighters starting bonus of +3 to attack is a huge problem with bounded acuracy. It makes no sense to start at +3 in a game that has a limit as to how high it goes. Same for skills.

Monsters are another thing that is easy to look at and know they aren't going to work. I've played games where monsters hit hard, and I simply don't like it. I don't have to playtest Next to know this, I've already played the idea a thousand times before. The real issue is when the monsters actually win initiative and actually hit on the first round. This could send anyone out of the game besides the fighter.

The fighters use of parry is problematic. This is knowable from previous D&D games with damage reduction given to a player character. Further if the Player holds back his expertise dice to use parry, am I as a DM now obligated to attack the fighter or let the player have wasted his Expertise dice for the round? What if I want to attack the wizard now instead? 30 Damage Reduction is far to high in a game where most of the current monsters don't do that much damage. I think this is another place where it is clear you don't have to play to know there is going to be issues.

So maybe the issue is for people who have only ever played D&D. Personally I've played 3.0, 3.5, 4th, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Big Eyes Small Mouth, Vampire, Rifts, Palladim's super heroes game, D20 Modern (various encarnations), StarWars D20 (The game where jedi are so powerful everyone wants to play a jedi!) and i have many other game systems that I haven't played. I've also been playing RPGs and Magic the Gathering for a good amount of time. I've taken statistics classes and calculus classes. I think I am qualified to give my opinion without actually playing the game, as there is hardly anything new in the game.
 
Disadvantage is one of those things that is clearly unplayable without actually playing the game. This is provable as everyone objected to TWF...why? because you got disadvantage. Was there anyone on the board that actually liked TWF? I honestly don't remember anyone. Disadvantage has mathematical issues, this is a fact. These issues are largely negated by the fact you get bonuses in D&D, so for minor things or for things that you really should fail at Disadvantage can work to a point. 

SKill Mastery is another one. The potential to get +10 to a skill makes skill checks for the rogue virtually uneeded, he might as well always suceed. Rolling 3d10 and taking the highest result will almost always give you an 8 or higher. Once again you don't have to actually play the game to know that one character getting +8 to a skill while everyone else doesn't is going to be an issue.

The fighters starting bonus of +3 to attack is a huge problem with bounded acuracy. It makes no sense to start at +3 in a game that has a limit as to how high it goes. Same for skills.

Monsters are another thing that is easy to look at and know they aren't going to work. I've played games where monsters hit hard, and I simply don't like it. I don't have to playtest Next to know this, I've already played the idea a thousand times before. The real issue is when the monsters actually win initiative and actually hit on the first round. This could send anyone out of the game besides the fighter.

The fighters use of parry is problematic. This is knowable from previous D&D games with damage reduction given to a player character. Further if the Player holds back his expertise dice to use parry, am I as a DM now obligated to attack the fighter or let the player have wasted his Expertise dice for the round? What if I want to attack the wizard now instead? 30 Damage Reduction is far to high in a game where most of the current monsters don't do that much damage. I think this is another place where it is clear you don't have to play to know there is going to be issues.

So maybe the issue is for people who have only ever played D&D. Personally I've played 3.0, 3.5, 4th, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Big Eyes Small Mouth, Vampire, Rifts, Palladim's super heroes game, D20 Modern (various encarnations), StarWars D20 (The game where jedi are so powerful everyone wants to play a jedi!) and i have many other game systems that I haven't played. I've also been playing RPGs and Magic the Gathering for a good amount of time. I've taken statistics classes and calculus classes. I think I am qualified to give my opinion without actually playing the game, as there is hardly anything new in the game.

+1 to all of this.  Every RPG I've run across, including such fringe games as Lace & Steel, Mythus, DBZ, Bubblegum Crisis, and Armageddon, I've created a character for.  In this way I've built up my NPC reserves, and gotten a rough idea for how the game plays as a system overall.  In a way, I've specialized in theorycrafting RPGs based on their character creation.  I don't have to playtest certain things to know that mathematically they are unworkable, or to discover socially they are untenable.  I've played with enough players to know I will come across someone who will be completely turned off of the system the first time their success is "robbed" due to disadvantage.
Further if the Player holds back his expertise dice to use parry, am I as a DM now obligated to attack the fighter or let the player have wasted his Expertise dice for the round?

This actually cannot happen, as Expertise Dice are refreshed at the end of a character's turn. Between turns, a character will always have their full allotment of Expertice Dice.
Or do you mean this from a couple of playtest packets ago before they changed that?

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Further if the Player holds back his expertise dice to use parry, am I as a DM now obligated to attack the fighter or let the player have wasted his Expertise dice for the round?

This actually cannot happen, as Expertise Dice are refreshed at the end of a character's turn. Between turns, a character will always have their full allotment of Expertice Dice.
Or do you mean this from a couple of playtest packets ago before they changed that?


You would actually be correct, I missed the change. 
You would actually be correct, I missed the change. 

Small changes like that are very easy to miss. You don't really feel the need to reread that stuff and they didn't mention that change in the Class Changes section. It wasn't until I was looking up exact wording for condition effects that I noticed Frightened had been changed. You only have disadvantage on rolls when the thing you're afraid of is in sight, as opposed to being forced to run away. BIG awesome change IMO.
Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...



This is not the first time I see this argument and each and every time I see it, I can't think of nothing but this : Those kind of people will still enjoy the game if the calculator is right, so it is barely an argument.

I do not mean to cause any harm, neither do I want to sound offensive. This is simply not an argument against those who want the game to be mathematically "perfect" simply because you will still enjoy the game if it's being "fixed".

Heck! I'm not even a math person and I could say that I am between the optimized and RP players! Therefore I should agree with you, but I still can't think of this as being an argument for not doing it right.

Advantage/Disadvantage says hi
Worse math, more fun.
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.

I like math to have a throughline because I tend to make the game up as I go and I do it by knowing how the math will work.


However, I don't think you can paint an accurate picture of the game without playing it. If people are struggling to get their players to playtest it, that's a really important bit of feedback that needs to be given to the designers on the survey. I don't think people who sit down and number crunch without playing are in the best position to give feedback for how stuff plays out. Maybe they can say "hmm the numbers are totally weird here" and give that feedback, but they can't then go on to say "this ability is better than that one" because sometimes you run the numbers and the actual game experience says you're wrong.


Stuff doesn't go by the numbers all the time; I've had my fingers burned more than once for making assumptions without any actual gameplay.

Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...



This is not the first time I see this argument and each and every time I see it, I can't think of nothing but this : Those kind of people will still enjoy the game if the calculator is right, so it is barely an argument.

I do not mean to cause any harm, neither do I want to sound offensive. This is simply not an argument against those who want the game to be mathematically "perfect" simply because you will still enjoy the game if it's being "fixed".

Heck! I'm not even a math person and I could say that I am between the optimized and RP players! Therefore I should agree with you, but I still can't think of this as being an argument for not doing it right.

Advantage/Disadvantage says hi
Worse math, more fun.

I'm sorry but I do not understand what you mean. Is it that you agree with me that the bad maths can be a problem to those who like them, but that the good or bad math won't affect those who "just play"?

Or maybe you disagree?

I'm confused! :S 
Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...



This is not the first time I see this argument and each and every time I see it, I can't think of nothing but this : Those kind of people will still enjoy the game if the calculator is right, so it is barely an argument.

I do not mean to cause any harm, neither do I want to sound offensive. This is simply not an argument against those who want the game to be mathematically "perfect" simply because you will still enjoy the game if it's being "fixed".

Heck! I'm not even a math person and I could say that I am between the optimized and RP players! Therefore I should agree with you, but I still can't think of this as being an argument for not doing it right.

Advantage/Disadvantage says hi
Worse math, more fun.

I'm sorry but I do not understand what you mean. Is it that you agree with me that the bad maths can be a problem to those who like them, but that the good or bad math won't affect those who "just play"?

Or maybe you disagree?

I'm confused! :S 


I'm saying that sometimes adherence good math can make the game less enjoyable, which is certainly something that people who "just play" perceive.
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.
Disadvantage is one of those things that is clearly unplayable without actually playing the game. This is provable as everyone objected to TWF...why? because you got disadvantage. Was there anyone on the board that actually liked TWF? I honestly don't remember anyone. Disadvantage has mathematical issues, this is a fact. These issues are largely negated by the fact you get bonuses in D&D, so for minor things or for things that you really should fail at Disadvantage can work to a point. 


I disagree, it is not unplayable at all, it does not make it an auto win or an auto lose. I've had characters that hit every round despite it - or fail every round with advantage. So, to me at least, it works very well in play. Our players love it and their only real qualm is that it is non scalable... 
As for TWF. Untrained version, meaning there will be a Specialty to make it better. Which makes perfect sense. Once again, I don't mind this version at all.


SKill Mastery is another one. The potential to get +10 to a skill makes skill checks for the rogue virtually uneeded, he might as well always suceed. Rolling 3d10 and taking the highest result will almost always give you an 8 or higher. Once again you don't have to actually play the game to know that one character getting +8 to a skill while everyone else doesn't is going to be an issue.


I would agree with you there... I imagine they will change the Rogue XD progression, but that said, at the lower levels, this didn't seem all powerful at all (2d6 XD we were at) - it felt right. So something that needs working on, but its not game breaky bad at the moment - at least in the first 8 levels.


The fighters starting bonus of +3 to attack is a huge problem with bounded acuracy. It makes no sense to start at +3 in a game that has a limit as to how high it goes. Same for skills.


This seems reasonable enough to me... Possibly one too high. It means the Fighter hits a plate armoured figure on about even chance - if he has maxed out his Str/Dex. Less than average if it is lower. Once again, our Fighter did miss a reasonable amount in testing - it didnt seem all powerful. Same with the Skills, which are more Proficiencies. Its only a 15% chance increase - which seems about right for a trained skill... Well, really I'd hope a Chef has more than an extra 15% chance of cooking a good meal than me.
Also, you have missed the point of bounded accuracy. It doesn't mean values wont be high. It means that modifiers don't blow up really quickly with levels.. Like the BAB or Skills in 3.5, or the 1/2 level in 4e.


Monsters are another thing that is easy to look at and know they aren't going to work. I've played games where monsters hit hard, and I simply don't like it. I don't have to playtest Next to know this, I've already played the idea a thousand times before. The real issue is when the monsters actually win initiative and actually hit on the first round. This could send anyone out of the game besides the fighter.

 
Umm, everyone else is complaining that the monsters don't hit enough... Just saying.
So you want to lower their damage for the low level creatures... How? Change the broadsword to a d6? Give the monster a -1 Str modifier? Even when that doesnt make sense within fluff.


The fighters use of parry is problematic. This is knowable from previous D&D games with damage reduction given to a player character. Further if the Player holds back his expertise dice to use parry, am I as a DM now obligated to attack the fighter or let the player have wasted his Expertise dice for the round? What if I want to attack the wizard now instead? 30 Damage Reduction is far to high in a game where most of the current monsters don't do that much damage. I think this is another place where it is clear you don't have to play to know there is going to be issues.


Once again, you've picked the highest possible roll for the XD... Note that the average would be 15 DR, and there are a heck of a lot of monsters that can deal more than that. The other thing is, you are comparing the level 10 fighter, to 10 or under monsters, meaning you are seeing it at its strongest.
And then, you can attack the fighter with multiple creatures... And then you attack the fighter with ranged attacks, or burst attacks. And then, the fighter wont have any dice to go on the offensive with... This became rather clear playtesting.


So maybe the issue is for people who have only ever played D&D. Personally I've played 3.0, 3.5, 4th, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Big Eyes Small Mouth, Vampire, Rifts, Palladim's super heroes game, D20 Modern (various encarnations), StarWars D20 (The game where jedi are so powerful everyone wants to play a jedi!) and i have many other game systems that I haven't played. I've also been playing RPGs and Magic the Gathering for a good amount of time. I've taken statistics classes and calculus classes. I think I am qualified to give my opinion without actually playing the game, as there is hardly anything new in the game.


Sure. But I think you have missed the feel of everything up there. Most of these mechanics work very well in practice. Sure they need some tweaking I will agree with that - but NONE of them make the game unplayable.

Youngy  I stated that the issues with disadvantage is largely negated by the fact that you get bonuses in D&D. This means that a fighter can actually negate disadvantage on attack roles at first level, making TWF for him to not be a bad choice give the monsters low AC. For low bonus characters however an option with disadvantage is not a real option.

While it is true I used the highest level at level 10 I also assumed the monsters would hit at max. damage. If monsters hit at average damage and you take average Damage Reduction, you still end up with an attack that is mostly not going to do damage. It really doesn't matter at what level you choose to look at it as long as you assume the fighter Parrys the same precentage as the monsters deal damage.

Yes it is true that monsters barely hit. The problem is when they do they can potentionally kill a character right out. If this occurs in round one when the monsters have initiative, this is where the problem comes in.  
My apologies, I missunderstood your statement about fighters and disadvantage. I do still however disagree with your TWF statement. Not because I think the current rules are good, but because I think the current rules are a good base - to add improvements on through specialties. 
So the fighter is passably ok at TWF without the feats... Well, that seems reasonable enough, considering he is a speciallist of fighting. However, when they fix the monsters, he will become less so (I hope) 


Yes it is true that monsters barely hit. The problem is when they do they can potentionally kill a character right out. If this occurs in round one when the monsters have initiative, this is where the problem comes in.  


So what I guess you are suggesting overall is that, increase base HP for characters, increase Attack Roll for monsters, decrease the 'BAB' for each of the classes so that they hit monsters less reliably. 


While it is true I used the highest level at level 10 I also assumed the monsters would hit at max. damage. If monsters hit at average damage and you take average Damage Reduction, you still end up with an attack that is mostly not going to do damage. It really doesn't matter at what level you choose to look at it as long as you assume the fighter Parrys the same precentage as the monsters deal damage. 


I think that seems reasonable. If the fighter can fend off a single monster of his level... That seems reasonable, attack him with a group instead. And yet again with the ranged attacks and area attacks. That said, yes the XD progression needs some work.


Overall, your biggest concern is system math, not system feel, I gather then. I'm starting to understand what you are saying - its just I didn't consider it such a big thing at this point. I've pushed it aside as something which can be dealt with later - once they have the feel of things right. Don't get me wrong, the maths will need to work in the end - and they do have a way to go with it... But its something that will change as the playtest progresses. 

(Being a Mathematician, yeah, it would have been one of the first things that I pinned down, but I don't expect everyone to be like that, and I am sure that they will deal with it later) 
Currently I am running and playing in 5E games.  As a DM I like the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic as a tool for both things that come up that aren't covered in the rules and as a means to encourage roleplaying creative solutions.  I'm not sure what people mean when they say it's bad math, especially when it's an optional rule.  As far as expertise dice go I love them in the three classes that have them, though I'm only playing the rogue and the monk.  Parry's has not been a big deal in the game I'm running.  The player playing the fighter (well everyone also) has one reaction, if he parries well then he parries.  He's usually not fighting only one monster at a time.  Further until I started playing Next I thought monsters were weak.  Noe that I"ve played my opinion is that some need some tweaking but not by much.  My players end up losing substantial hps and in one or two encounters per session at least one will hit zero hps.  Now I run most encounters as average or tough, about evenly divided, but I haven't actually found monsters to be weak.  Maybe the encounter design rules are off kilter, I don't know, but in my opinion some things do need to be played.  People who haven't played can comment if they want, and claim system mastery, etcetera, and that's fine.  But some things need to be played in order to see how they work.  Especially given the amount of bias exhibited by certain members in these forums.  
Advantage/Disadvantage is not optional at this point as the rogue's sneak attack requires advantage and no alternative has been presented. Also there are several threads detailing the math. Basically if you get +0 to hit a DC 10 Advantage will give you a 10% increased chance to hit. Disadvantage gives you a 30% less chance to hit. A DC above 16 is impossible to ever hit. [I made 30 rolls with two sets of dice to get my numbers other people have done the actual stat formulas.] what essentially happens is that as your bonus goes up Advantage becomes unimportant increasing your success by less than 10%. Disadvantage will go down as well. So a fighter with +8 to attack would at level one negate disadvantage. He never has the need to take trained twf as disadvantage means nothing to him.
Youngy I dont think PCs need more hit points just a first level monster shouldnt have a weapon that deals above 1d6. This is where an optional scaling section to monsters could be useful. Level One Goblin uses a dagger of sorts (Needs a fancy name though besides dagger) To make hin harder you give him a d6. Since AC is largely set in stone (unless you lower the 10 starting point which would be a great idea) monsters do need to have a higher attack bonus. As I recall a human/Dwarf can have a starting AC of 17 or 18. With the low monster hit points a monster is currently more likely to die long before getting a hit in.
As for the weak monsters no one needs to play the game to figure this out. What is actually happening is a class of different play styles. I say monsters are weak because they barely hit and wont last long enough to do damage unless they get lucky. I believe a monster should not with one hit at max damage should kill any PC. On the other hand you claim monsters are good because when they hit they really hit hard. Those of us who prefer monsters hit more frequently but with less damage view monsters as too weak.
My biggest criticism to the system is based on diferent facts, grantedis kinda hard to playtest on an actual session, because is hard to found people interested on that one...as they consider it a waste of time.

I will say this, i have said this several times and nobody seem to care, and this is one of my critisism of the game...for such simple things you can do on the game (wish is bare bones in my opinion)...the game is crawling very slowly.  Adventage/Disadventage make things on the table ALOT slower, and now that everything we scale is more dices (deadly strike, sneak attack, flurry of blows) it make things even slower.  My problem with the game is the lack of procedure optimization of how to accomplish something inside the game mechanics and calculation.
i actually believe that 'theoretical playtesting' is much more objective and unbiased than how you might feel after sitting down to a session of 'actual playtesting'

the people who post their theoretical feedback on these boards aren't your average gamers. we're people who can look at a rule or option and immediately get an idea of how good it is.

when you sit down to play a session with some friends. you open your opinions to the subjectifying nature of around the table play.




True. Sitting at the table creates associations with things happening in the game and how fun the vibe is between the people at the table, and that muddies the water.

Advantage/disadvantage seemed much better the first time we used it than it did after I'd gone a few weeks without playing and then come back and really examined the rules. For two people in my group, ad/dis seemed terrible in that first playtest session. One of them got hosed by it, one had the session made trivially easy by it. In both cases, the "uber swing" as they described it made the game noticeably less fun for them.

Had I read through the packet more thoroughly and spent some time examining it before play, I probably would have predicted that outcome.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
i actually believe that 'theoretical playtesting' is much more objective and unbiased than how you might feel after sitting down to a session of 'actual playtesting'

the people who post their theoretical feedback on these boards aren't your average gamers. we're people who can look at a rule or option and immediately get an idea of how good it is.

when you sit down to play a session with some friends. you open your opinions to the subjectifying nature of around the table play.




This.  The truth is, when you actually play the game, you might have fun because you're hanging out with your friends, eating junk food, laughing, getting in character, all that stuff.  And that's great.  But if the rules didn't help you get there, then "I had fun playing with your rules" is actually quite misleading.  In the extreme, it's entirely possible that really terrible rules dramaticaly reduced the amount of fun you would otherwise have had, but you still had fun because you were hanging out with your friends laughing (you just would have had a lot more fun with good rules, but you don't know that because you didn't have good rules).  More likely, a marginally bad rule negatively impacted your fun in a way you didn't even notice, like the fighter hogged the spotlight in combat while the rogue hogged it in interaction.  Or a bad rule didn't impact your fun at all, because it didn't occur to you that you can snap the system in two by having a high-con sword and board fighter use dodge and parry to become utterly invincible while his buddies shoot everyone from range, or because the DM silently house-ruled around it (which is fine, I'm all in favor of house rules, but it doesn't change the fact that the published rule should be a good one).  Or because you just plain forgot that one bad rule caused an annoying hang up, because you enjoyed yourself the rest of the night and filled out the response two weeks later.  On some level, the fact that you enjoyed the game is more important than that there was a bad rule in there somewhere.  But on another level, why not fix the bad rule?

Sure, running the numbers is not a perfect substitute for real play experience.  It's a simplification, and necessarily that produces errors.  But there are plenty of things producing (or obscuring) errors in real play, too. Both are necessary, and I'm not at all convinced it matters what the source is.  Suppose T runs the numbers on a defensive fighter, and comes out with numbers suggesting it's broken awesome.  Then R plays a fighter and doesn't go defensive, because it's boring as heck, and R says that he found the fighter's durability to be about right.  That doesn't mean T's numbers were wrong, it doesn't mean that T should be ignored because "real life players don't find this to be a problem."  It means they need to tweak parry and dodge instead of the fighter's HP.  It doesn't matter that one experience was "real" and the other "theoretical," they aren't in conflict.  But if the designers here that T's experience was theoretical and R's was real, they'll ignore T because they think real trumps and R didn't go into enough detail to explain that he built an offensive fighter.  If R played a fighter and went defensive, but consistently rolled crappy parries while the DM's dice were hot, that also doesn't mean T should be ignored even though R's subjective impression was that the fighter wasn't durable enough.   If the designers hear only that T's experience was theoretical and R's was "real," they will ignore T.  If the designers heard the whole truth (which they won't because R may not ever have known the DM's dice were hot and he's certainly forgotten how crap his were), they would ignore as a statistical anomaly.  I think there responses to the feedback will actually be more accurate if they have no idea whose responses are "real" and whose "theoretical," because then they'll consider both sides without prejudice and decide as their rational minds dictate.  We all have biases and prejudices, and we automatically and inescapably overweight evidence that supports the conclusion we want and underweight evidence that does not.  There's substantial literature about this in psychology.  I think throwing more fuel onto that fire is a bad idea.
Equally, I could argue: When you break out your spreadsheet, and do your number-crunching in a vacuum, you sometimes forget that people don't play this game on a calculator...



This is not the first time I see this argument and each and every time I see it, I can't think of nothing but this : Those kind of people will still enjoy the game if the calculator is right, so it is barely an argument.

I do not mean to cause any harm, neither do I want to sound offensive. This is simply not an argument against those who want the game to be mathematically "perfect" simply because you will still enjoy the game if it's being "fixed".

Heck! I'm not even a math person and I could say that I am between the optimized and RP players! Therefore I should agree with you, but I still can't think of this as being an argument for not doing it right.

Advantage/Disadvantage says hi
Worse math, more fun.



Methematically dis/advantage is a +1 to a +5 depending on the target roll on the dice. So its not super game breaking. Its where they use it that it falls apart. TWF is completely worthless even as a baseline because until you hit level 5 or so as a Fighter you will always be getting the equivalent of two chances for auto failure and -3 to -5 on every attack.

Dis/advantage would work great if they kept it to those times where success is almost assured or failure is inevitable. They don't though, they throw it around left and right like it is supposed to replace little fiddling +1's and +2's everywhere. If we didn't have bounded accuracy it would work fine. If we didn't have dis/advantage then bounded accuracy would work fine. Together they are a nightmare.

I like math to have a throughline because I tend to make the game up as I go and I do it by knowing how the math will work.


However, I don't think you can paint an accurate picture of the game without playing it. If people are struggling to get their players to playtest it, that's a really important bit of feedback that needs to be given to the designers on the survey. I don't think people who sit down and number crunch without playing are in the best position to give feedback for how stuff plays out. Maybe they can say "hmm the numbers are totally weird here" and give that feedback, but they can't then go on to say "this ability is better than that one" because sometimes you run the numbers and the actual game experience says you're wrong.


Stuff doesn't go by the numbers all the time; I've had my fingers burned more than once for making assumptions without any actual gameplay.




Someone made a thread around here that showed how an 8th level fighter could take on a 9th level green dragon by themselves and win without too much trouble with a lot of math. Then later on a bunch of people posted that they had experienced that when they played. I'm pretty sure that math can prove anything. I think that's the basis of science.
Youngy  I stated that the issues with disadvantage is largely negated by the fact that you get bonuses in D&D. This means that a fighter can actually negate disadvantage on attack roles at first level, making TWF for him to not be a bad choice give the monsters low AC. For low bonus characters however an option with disadvantage is not a real option.

While it is true I used the highest level at level 10 I also assumed the monsters would hit at max. damage. If monsters hit at average damage and you take average Damage Reduction, you still end up with an attack that is mostly not going to do damage. It really doesn't matter at what level you choose to look at it as long as you assume the fighter Parrys the same precentage as the monsters deal damage.

Yes it is true that monsters barely hit. The problem is when they do they can potentionally kill a character right out. If this occurs in round one when the monsters have initiative, this is where the problem comes in.  



"I have disadvantage this round right? Ok, well in addition to my long sword, I'm going to pull out my short sword and TWF, run, get drunk, and a lot of other things until I lose disadvantage."
My apologies, I missunderstood your statement about fighters and disadvantage. I do still however disagree with your TWF statement. Not because I think the current rules are good, but because I think the current rules are a good base - to add improvements on through specialties. 
So the fighter is passably ok at TWF without the feats... Well, that seems reasonable enough, considering he is a speciallist of fighting. However, when they fix the monsters, he will become less so (I hope) 


Yes it is true that monsters barely hit. The problem is when they do they can potentionally kill a character right out. If this occurs in round one when the monsters have initiative, this is where the problem comes in.  


So what I guess you are suggesting overall is that, increase base HP for characters, increase Attack Roll for monsters, decrease the 'BAB' for each of the classes so that they hit monsters less reliably. 


While it is true I used the highest level at level 10 I also assumed the monsters would hit at max. damage. If monsters hit at average damage and you take average Damage Reduction, you still end up with an attack that is mostly not going to do damage. It really doesn't matter at what level you choose to look at it as long as you assume the fighter Parrys the same precentage as the monsters deal damage. 


I think that seems reasonable. If the fighter can fend off a single monster of his level... That seems reasonable, attack him with a group instead. And yet again with the ranged attacks and area attacks. That said, yes the XD progression needs some work.


Overall, your biggest concern is system math, not system feel, I gather then. I'm starting to understand what you are saying - its just I didn't consider it such a big thing at this point. I've pushed it aside as something which can be dealt with later - once they have the feel of things right. Don't get me wrong, the maths will need to work in the end - and they do have a way to go with it... But its something that will change as the playtest progresses. 

(Being a Mathematician, yeah, it would have been one of the first things that I pinned down, but I don't expect everyone to be like that, and I am sure that they will deal with it later) 



Yeah... WotC are not good with "soon". Its stopped being a valid excuse about half-way through 4E. Now it would be different if they had a bug list like software developers where we could add bugs and problems and they could categorize them and would put out little blurbs saying "Ok, we'll fix that in a few weeks."

They aren't doing anything of the sort, so we don't know what they are doing and we have lost all trust due to the way they treated us during the 4E era. That's why everyone is jumping at shadows and when people say "soon" they get ignored or worse attacked as a WotC fan person.
Currently I am running and playing in 5E games.  As a DM I like the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic as a tool for both things that come up that aren't covered in the rules and as a means to encourage roleplaying creative solutions.  I'm not sure what people mean when they say it's bad math, especially when it's an optional rule.  As far as expertise dice go I love them in the three classes that have them, though I'm only playing the rogue and the monk.  Parry's has not been a big deal in the game I'm running.  The player playing the fighter (well everyone also) has one reaction, if he parries well then he parries.  He's usually not fighting only one monster at a time.  Further until I started playing Next I thought monsters were weak.  Noe that I"ve played my opinion is that some need some tweaking but not by much.  My players end up losing substantial hps and in one or two encounters per session at least one will hit zero hps.  Now I run most encounters as average or tough, about evenly divided, but I haven't actually found monsters to be weak.  Maybe the encounter design rules are off kilter, I don't know, but in my opinion some things do need to be played.  People who haven't played can comment if they want, and claim system mastery, etcetera, and that's fine.  But some things need to be played in order to see how they work.  Especially given the amount of bias exhibited by certain members in these forums.  



The fact of the matter is many of us HAVE played with these mechanics in the past and know exactly what they bring to the game. It turns out they aren't that great.
Advantage/Disadvantage is not optional at this point as the rogue's sneak attack requires advantage and no alternative has been presented. Also there are several threads detailing the math. Basically if you get +0 to hit a DC 10 Advantage will give you a 10% increased chance to hit. Disadvantage gives you a 30% less chance to hit. A DC above 16 is impossible to ever hit. [I made 30 rolls with two sets of dice to get my numbers other people have done the actual stat formulas.] what essentially happens is that as your bonus goes up Advantage becomes unimportant increasing your success by less than 10%. Disadvantage will go down as well. So a fighter with +8 to attack would at level one negate disadvantage. He never has the need to take trained twf as disadvantage means nothing to him.


I am not certain, but I think you've got it slightly wrong again. At a half chance of hitting 10+ advantage is a +5 bonus (25%) and disadvantage is a -5 (-25%). It can never go above or below this. They have to be even in this regard there is no way that disadvantage could cause further swing than advantage on an even chance. As you move away from this 'average hit' the increase in probability decreases.

Vegetakiller, so you'd like to see the developers give us a list of the things that they need to 'fix' to show us that they are thinking about it? They have said, more than a few times, that they are working on the maths for the system...

Also, I dont think that you can get drunk in one round or draw a sword and attack or run. You make the attack, the DM says you have disadvantage, and you roll it. I think for the most part, the examples you have chosen are wrong, even if I agree with the sentiment that it is not scalable enough. 
Advantage/Disadvantage is not optional at this point as the rogue's sneak attack requires advantage and no alternative has been presented. Also there are several threads detailing the math. Basically if you get +0 to hit a DC 10 Advantage will give you a 10% increased chance to hit. Disadvantage gives you a 30% less chance to hit. A DC above 16 is impossible to ever hit. [I made 30 rolls with two sets of dice to get my numbers other people have done the actual stat formulas.] what essentially happens is that as your bonus goes up Advantage becomes unimportant increasing your success by less than 10%. Disadvantage will go down as well. So a fighter with +8 to attack would at level one negate disadvantage. He never has the need to take trained twf as disadvantage means nothing to him.



Um you are off a little bit.

Depending on the target roll needed on the dice your chance goes up or down based on whether you are using advantage or disadvantage.

Here are the actual numbers:

Advantage
Dice       Percent
Roll        Chance
Target
1           100
2           99.75
3           99
4           97.75
5           96
6           93.75
7           91
8           87.75
9           84
10         79.75
11         75
12         69.75
13         64
14         57.75
15         51
16         43.75
17         36
18         27.75
19         19
20         9.75

Disadvantage
Dice       Percent
Roll        Chance
Target
1           100
2           90.25
3           81
4           72.25
5           64
6           56.25
7           49
8           42.25
9           36
10         30.25
11         25
12         20.25
13         16
14         12.25
15         9
16         6.25
17         4
18         2.25
19         1
20         0.25

Normal
Dice       Percent
Roll        Chance
Target
1           100
2           95
3           90
4           85
5           80
6           75
7           70
8           65
9           60
10         55
11         50
12         45
13         40
14         35
15         30
16         25
17         20
18         15
19         10
20         5

As you can see here advantage is overwhelmingly good, and disadvantage is overwhelmingly bad. The higher the dice roll the less advantage matters, and the lower the dice roll the less disadvantage affects it.

Not to mention that without stacking players can take advantage of having disadvantage and do 10 things that give disadvantage and literally get an in game advantage pun intended.
Someone made a thread around here that showed how an 8th level fighter could take on a 9th level green dragon by themselves and win without too much trouble with a lot of math. Then later on a bunch of people posted that they had experienced that when they played. I'm pretty sure that math can prove anything. I think that's the basis of science.



Actually the basis of science is to form a hypothesis (mathcraft a system), test that hypothesis (use in a session), evaluate the results against your hypothesis (survey), revise that hypothesis (new packet) and repeat.


You can't be scientific without actual experimentation; you need to play the game to get a true picture of what's going on.


The theory is good and people can and should crunch numbers and even give feedback based on those numbers, but whether you actually played with those numbers is an important distinction.

You can't be scientific without actual experimentation


Theoretical physicists would disagree with you.  Their role is absolutely critical - they indicate the most likely pathways for the experimentation to take.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Advantage/Disadvantage is not optional at this point as the rogue's sneak attack requires advantage and no alternative has been presented. Also there are several threads detailing the math. Basically if you get +0 to hit a DC 10 Advantage will give you a 10% increased chance to hit. Disadvantage gives you a 30% less chance to hit. A DC above 16 is impossible to ever hit. [I made 30 rolls with two sets of dice to get my numbers other people have done the actual stat formulas.] what essentially happens is that as your bonus goes up Advantage becomes unimportant increasing your success by less than 10%. Disadvantage will go down as well. So a fighter with +8 to attack would at level one negate disadvantage. He never has the need to take trained twf as disadvantage means nothing to him.


I am not certain, but I think you've got it slightly wrong again. At a half chance of hitting 10+ advantage is a +5 bonus (25%) and disadvantage is a -5 (-25%). It can never go above or below this. They have to be even in this regard there is no way that disadvantage could cause further swing than advantage on an even chance. As you move away from this 'average hit' the increase in probability decreases.

Vegetakiller, so you'd like to see the developers give us a list of the things that they need to 'fix' to show us that they are thinking about it? They have said, more than a few times, that they are working on the maths for the system...

Also, I dont think that you can get drunk in one round or draw a sword and attack or run. You make the attack, the DM says you have disadvantage, and you roll it. I think for the most part, the examples you have chosen are wrong, even if I agree with the sentiment that it is not scalable enough. 



I posted the math in another post above this one.

I want them to set up a bug tracking system and allow people to point out bugs. It works great for software and it would probably work wonders for streamlining this process. You can actually run and you can draw weapons as part of your attack. They moved most of the minor actions into 'as part of your action' actions. You are right about run and drunk though. However if you play a TWF then being drunk all the time is no detriment, and everything else that gives you disadvantage has no negative effects so you can be Blinded, Frightened, attacking invisible targets, Intoxicated, Prone (so ranged attackers get disadvantage against you), Restrained, Encumbered, and Unarmed Disarm.

So if you know you are going up against say displacer beasts, its actually in your best interest to get drunk. If you have disadvantage for whatever reason, then dropping prone to make it harder on ranged attackers is actually advantageous. If you are going up against a dragon soon, getting drunk is actually a good option.

Most fights with TWF being drunk and prone and encumbered would give you a significant advantage.
You can't be scientific without actual experimentation


Theoretical physicists would disagree with you.  Their role is absolutely critical - they indicate the most likely pathways for the experimentation to take.



Actually they would agree that their theories are merely a first step. An important one, to be sure, but until they actually can run the experiment their theories are just that.


The actual products of physics are the results of empirical evidence based on experimentation. The theory does indeed provide a marker, but it cannot draw any firm conclusions on its own.

You can't be scientific without actual experimentation


Theoretical physicists would disagree with you.  Their role is absolutely critical - they indicate the most likely pathways for the experimentation to take.



Actually they would agree that their theories are merely a first step. An important one, to be sure, but until they actually can run the experiment their theories are just that.


The actual products of physics are the results of empirical evidence based on experimentation. The theory does indeed provide a marker, but it cannot draw any firm conclusions on its own.




Just to pick nits, theories are part of the scientific process, so theories are scientific which is where Mand disagreed with you.  You CAN be scientific without experimentation ;)
Just to pick nits, theories are part of the scientific process, so theories are scientific which is where Mand disagreed with you.  You CAN be scientific without experimentation ;)



oh FINE ;)


Still, you get my point.