Hi ! I'm a playtester master and here are my reports.
I play ded in a five member group with different experiences in ded world. Someone, like me, played ded since 2th edition and someone else has only played one adventure.
This is my group: human rogue charlatan/skill specialist (own scheme), human mage noble/arcane specialist (battle magic) , dwarf warrior soldier/survival specialist (protector), human cleric priest/herbalist (lightbringer).
Before sending this report I wanted to master three sessions to take a better look at ded next as we followed all the rules without any personal fix. Also we didn't adopt any pregenerated adventure and character. In the beginning I gave a "searching mission" focused on exploration and combat in open spaces and secondly an "investigation mission" focused on social skills and dungeon fights. Thirdly I gave a "saving mission" to test the different mechanisms and possibilities of ded next.
Here‘s fights progression:
-Dire rat x2 + rat x2 -> very easy fight
-goblin x2 + wolf x2 -> same here
-Gnoll + Kobold dragonshield + kobold traplord ->crit oneshotted the boss, easy
-kobold x2 + crab x2 -> very easy fight
-kobold npc rogue lv 1 + lizard -> same here
-goblin leader + wolf x2 + goblin x6-> even this one was simple… and I created it for a lv 2
-Human chief + human witch + human warrior x5 -> very easy fight
-Zombie npc cleric lv 1 x3 + zombie npc cleric lv 3 ->finally a hard fight, a bit boring due to the “zombie fortitude” ability, but was epic as a boss fight must be.
Group lv 3
-Ape, carnivorous x2-> easy fight
-Ghoul x3 + snake-> same here
-Dark priest + hell hound x2 + dark adept-> hard fight… and it wasn’t supposed to be. Wrong chars tactic made it hard but in the end they won anyway
Group lv 4
-vrock + npc war lv 4-> medium-hard fight with good pc’s tactic. They deserved to win
-ankilosaurus x2 + dire wolf x5 -> smartly skipped
-Orc x6 + orc leader + orc npc rogue lv 4-> easy fight due to spell web
These are all personals opinions that I figured out:
-D&D next is easy to play. Rules are simple and easy to remind.
-Combats are short, even with many mobs. I could put many fights and players enjoyed it.
-Short rest and healing by hit dice it's a good idea. Players can do more things in a day without long stop and rest.
-For now (we tested first five levels without monk) classes in combat are balanced... Rogue does less damage then a warrior but without a "charge" mechanism his ranged abilities balance him well (yes, dex focused warrior would be op, but we have a solid dwarf tank and we couldn't test it). Mage does good aoe damage (but maybe too few spells) and the cleric finally don't have to heal only.
-First and more important point: it’s too simple to win. Encounter ,DC, skills ,checks. A player deserve to win when he has well roleplayed, adopted good tactics or took smart decisions, not just because his skills are overpowered and the mobs are weak. Low level Rogue can easily bluff wise and high level npcs, warriors can kill a boss with one critical hit. No, we don’t want it.
-I don't see any link between monster’s hp, ability and hit or a similar scheme behind mobs. I need it to downlevel or upgrade mobs.
Example: bugbear 4hd str15 -> +2 melee hit
Hobgoblin 2hd str11 -> +2 melee hit... Why?
Also, their hit is low but their damage is too high compared to char’s life... Few good rolls can ruin a fight... For me it's better a stable damage per round than some 0 damage rounds followed by panic damage rounds.
-Combats are too static without a disengage as movement and a charge mechanism. Mobs and players can't focus well and mobs without ranged attack are kited too easy.
-Races are unbalanced. Human, especially for the mage class, is too powerful, and not only for the players. npc humans encounter is too more performant then other races; if I make an encounter with, for an example, four halfling npcs I can give them the rogue class, that they fit well, but four rogue are weaker than a well composed group, and the other classes fit the halflings badly (wrong bonus to weapons, wrong bonus to abilities) so humans group is better... Debuff the humans, maybe with more "characterized" skills and less +1 to all... Why a human could have more con than a dwarf?
-Some spell are unbalanced. A npc mage with magic missiles oneshot a mage or rogue player and in two round even a cleric or warrior player. A cleric with cure minor wounds can revive every turn a dying person, and hard fights become boring if no mob can kill a player. Maybe fix it changing the rule that below 0hp any heal spell heals from 0hp (too op).
-Last (but not least) crits are too powerful. Too damage on one strike, and why a mob can't crit? Even with a weapon?
Low the d6 bonus...
Definitely you did a good job, but with some problems to solve.