Spelltesting Cause Fear

Hi all, first of all let me introduce myself. I have been playing D&D since 2. edition, stopped at 4 edition, and had a long break, now we are testing the new system, and to be honest i am very frustrated. In 3.5 and 4 edition we say the tendency of powerplaying among characters, i have no problems with that at all, but it can easely break down the fun of a game. I have played as both player and DM, and i know its very fun to feel powerful. But there is a difference in feeling powerful and be powerful. 

In my playgroup i have now different type of players, some are number breakers, and want to optimize their char, plan every lvl in detail and kinda want to exploit the game. Its simple, i just inform them in advance that if i feel something is broken i fix it, my job is to keep everyone pleased and happy, not having one demi god and rest of them simple adventures. But enough about that. Now i have some questions about D&D next, its been years since i played 3.5 and 4 edition so i am a bit rusty, but hopefully this new edition does take me back as a permanent gm again. I got family and kids, wife play aswell, but i also got less time than before, so i hope this new edition will make things run faster etc.

About the spellcasting i have some questions and one angry player.
If you look at spellcasting, if i havent understood wrong, you cast Ray of frost against AC, that is fine for me, but on some spells it says you cast against wisdom, dex etc, and on some spells it doesnt say anything. It feels like the spell section is not done yet. When it doesnt say anything what you roll against to hit, is it AC ?

If you look at Cause Fear



Cause Fear


1st-level enchantment


Your eyes flow with pale green light, and your visage seems to undergo a horrifying alteration, becoming a supernatural image of dread made manifest.


Effect: Each creature you choose within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until your concentration is broken, but for no longer than 1 minute. On its turn, a creature affected by this spell can take an action to make a Wisdom check against your spell save DC to end the spell. 

A 1 lvl mage with 20 Int has 10+5+1=16 on the DC to resist the spell. To break this spell is very hard and this is at 1 Lvl, and it also says it will continue until your concentration is broken. If we then go and have a look at what it says under Concentration: 





Concentration
Some spells require you to maintain your concentration in order to keep their magic active after they’re cast. If you lose your concentration, such a spell ends, although some spells trigger a mishap when your concentration is broken, as noted in those spells’ descriptions.


A spell that requires concentration tells you that it does in its description. You can freely end your concentration at any time. Normal activity, such as moving and attacking, does not interfere with it. Here are the things that can interfere.


Casting another spell that requires concentration. You lose your concentration on a spell if you cast another spell that requires concentration. You can’t concentrate on two spells as once.


Taking damage. Whenever you take damage while you are concentrating on a spell, you must make a Constitution save to maintain your concentration. The save DC equals half the damage you take. If you take damage from multiple sources, such as an arrow and a dragon’s breath, you must make a saving throw against each source of damage separately.


Losing consciousness. You lose your concentration on a spell if you are stunned or knocked unconscious. By extension, the spell ends if you die.


Suffering severe distractions. You can lose your concentration if something distracts you too much. If an attack or another effect can disrupt your concentration in this way, its description says so. For instance, you might need to make a Constitution save to maintain your concentration while a giant octopus grasps you.


The DM might also decide that certain environmental phenomena, such as a wave crashing over you while you’re on a storm- tossed ship, require you to make a DC 10 Constitution save to maintain concentration on a spell. 







Does this mean the Mage can have Cause Fear active while he cast others spells that doesnt need concentration. How over powered isnt that? Or does he need to concentrate on the spell. It does say if you cast another spell that requires concentration you will end the first effect. Let us say that the mage is lvl 3 and has 21 Hit Points, i need to do 20 DMG in a single hit to make him roll a concentration roll with DC 10 against CON, how stupid is that, i almost oneshit him on dmg, and he has atleast 50% chance to maintain concentration.

For me this seems broken.
Now we take a look at Dragon fear for bestiary. This is the Red dragon LVL 14 encounter





Frightful Presence: A creature that starts its turn within sight of the dragon must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. Failed Save: The target is frightened for 1 minute; while frightened, the target must use its movement to move away from the dragon. As an action, the frightened target can make a DC 14 Wisdom or Charisma check to end this effect. Successful Save: The target is immune to the dragon’s frightful presence for the next 24 hours. This immunity also applies once the effect ends.

Wow a lvl  1 mage has a better DC on his Resistance to not get his fear Broken. Even a Mage with 17 Int, and is 1 lvl has same DC as a LVL 14 encounter that also got DC14, and wow the Dragon Fear has Wisdom or Charisma check, you can choose the best you have, while a simple Cause Fear always have Wisdom check.

There may be something i have missed on this. And my question is, can the Dragon be feared by this spell. If so, 1 lvl 1 Mage fearing a Dragon with DC 16, that means the Dragon need to roll 16 or more to break it from a 1 lvl mage. Ouch

I really hope there is something i have missed and really misunderstood. 
 





 




Does this mean the Mage can have Cause Fear active while he cast others spells that doesnt need concentration.

Yes since you lose your concentration on a spell if you cast another spell that requires concentration.

can the Dragon be feared by this spell.

Yes since Dragons can be frightened by Cause Fear. Dracolich can't be frightened since they are immune though.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Well what do you think about that a 1 lvl mage has a stronger fear than a Dragon when it comes to resisting it. The DC would normally be much harder. I have to say that the rules here need totally to be changed. The Saving Throw for the Dragon should scale with his difficult class or level, and Having a Wis or Charisma roll against a DC of 14 is a joke for resisting the Dragons Fear. What have been done to these legendary Creatures?
I agree there is room for a lot of refinement still. Everything is still in development from monster designs to spell DC so its definitly worth mentioning.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Plaguescarred is correct: Concentration spells end when new spells requiring concentration are cast. Presumably it's "easier" to cast Cone of Cold or Magic Missile than it is to add an effect to what you're already condentrating on.

I think that the problem is different than having high DC's for the Wizard's high INT. That was the standard for all of 3rd edition and it seemed to work fine then. The problem is that the monsters aren't nearly as exciting as they were in earlier editions.

Obviously without flaming any edition, you can see that there is a huge difference with the mosters' complexity. I actually thought that the write-ups for the monsters in the very first packet were the best so far. I don't remember the mechanics, and am too lazy to look them up, so I'm going to assume that they were underwhelming.

IMO, the monsters in 4E were the best in terms of adaptability. I loved the fact that base monsters could be enhanced to greater effect without losing the feel of the monster itself. Goblins are goblin in the Next Ed, but in 4th you could have minion goblins, Boss goblins, shaman goblins, psionic goblins, hunter goblins, manticore-riding psychotic goblins...

Even the templetes of previous editions added something to the mix. AND the best part of it was that it was a ton easier to figure out what the added "value" of a creature was than it is now...

Anyway, I think that if they did a better job with monsters the rest would take care of itself.  I'm hoping that these monsters are "in process" and not the final ones. Having the majority of humanoid critters have only an unflavorful AC of 12 is unrealistic at best. Sure goblins are low AC but maybe higher Dex accounts for that. Lizardfolk might have higher AC due to scaley hide (natural AC bonuses). I donno. just something.
Plaguescarred is correct: Concentration spells end when new spells requiring concentration are cast. Presumably it's "easier" to cast Cone of Cold or Magic Missile than it is to add an effect to what you're already condentrating on.

I think that the problem is different than having high DC's for the Wizard's high INT. That was the standard for all of 3rd edition and it seemed to work fine then. The problem is that the monsters aren't nearly as exciting as they were in earlier editions.

Obviously without flaming any edition, you can see that there is a huge difference with the mosters' complexity. I actually thought that the write-ups for the monsters in the very first packet were the best so far. I don't remember the mechanics, and am too lazy to look them up, so I'm going to assume that they were underwhelming.

IMO, the monsters in 4E were the best in terms of adaptability. I loved the fact that base monsters could be enhanced to greater effect without losing the feel of the monster itself. Goblins are goblin in the Next Ed, but in 4th you could have minion goblins, Boss goblins, shaman goblins, psionic goblins, hunter goblins, manticore-riding psychotic goblins...

Even the templetes of previous editions added something to the mix. AND the best part of it was that it was a ton easier to figure out what the added "value" of a creature was than it is now...

Anyway, I think that if they did a better job with monsters the rest would take care of itself.  I'm hoping that these monsters are "in process" and not the final ones. Having the majority of humanoid critters have only an unflavorful AC of 12 is unrealistic at best. Sure goblins are low AC but maybe higher Dex accounts for that. Lizardfolk might have higher AC due to scaley hide (natural AC bonuses). I donno. just something.



The monsters are definitely works in progress.  The designers have admitted that they really haven't spent much time on them.  First they want to see what is fun to play and works for PCs.   Then they'll tackle the monsters.  I agree with you though.  For us to really play the PCs and decide if it feels right, we eventually need monsters to be more developed and the math to be more solid.


A Brave Knight of WTF

 

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

 

 

I have to say i like the idea that everything is supposed to be easier and faster when it comes to gameplay. I have told my players that we are now beta-testing and that if we see some rules not working we figure it out. But for me it seems like they start a bit wrong, if they are gonna release something, they cant just fix something and leave something else out, like Bestiary, that is prolly one of the most important things. We can easely balance magic items, experience etc to fit, but making joke of the monsters like this i dont like.

I would rather playtest from 1-10 lvl with excellent testing material, than totally unfinished rubbish, just to have something released. But i am not gonna give this up, i have stated we will stick with this testing even if one of those players want to focus on 4. edition. So i will instead try to give my share here and i dunno if people pay attention to what is written here. But for me the feedback from testing here is more or less a joke aswell.

People tell about a party they run, and how they manage a module, they dont look deeper into it, and trying to find out what is wrong, and how to balance it. There will always be very smart players out there finding the flaws, luckely/unfortunaly i have one of those players, but since i have been playing various games for 25 years now, i see them myself, and can take action against it before its to late.

But to be honest with all of you, i have never myself played longer than a multiclass illusionist/thief that was 14/13 lvl, and that was back in 2. edition. But i liked the simpleness and enjoy we had around the table, now players try to optimize and prebuild their characters around the character generator. Stuff like that really ruins the game.
Good points and discussion here.

Ogre, I don't think we are anywhere close to release (at least in what we are seeing in these playtest packets).  Clearly, there's a lot still being tested and a lot that needs refinement, so I wouldn't worry that they are pushing for release and plan to clean up the rubbish thereafter.

I completely agree on the Bestiary though.  The DCs are just not scaling well for creatures.  Nor do the secondary effects off of said powers in many cases.

I am also with you on having the mechanics define the character, ogre.  Ideally, the balance and fun should be innate to all classes leaving only the simple decision of "what do I want to play?" left to the player.  In this day and age, though, I don't know if D&D (or any RPG) can survive as a "Roleplaying Game."  Without the heavy rules mechanics, CharOp feat manipulation, and "Best DPS/DPR" builds, it may be quite possible that they'd lose too many current gamers.  Like it or not, Damage Meters, CharOp, and finding break-the-game builds has become a favorite mode for a lot of players.  Roleplaying a Ranger isn't interesting to them, finding a AoE Greatbow build that pwns the damage meters does.
first and foremost DDN is a game, it is not a simulation.  However, we all have very clear perception in our minds of how 'powerful' certain things should be.  But it also must be looked at from a game balance perspective (not an encounter balance). 

If a PC suffers from fear that player is effectively removed from the game.  It takes control of the player away, their actions are forced, and they might not be able to return for several rounds (due to needed to run back after regaining control).  Effectively removing an entire person from being able to participate in the game itself is a very severe action.  MORE IMPORTANTLY, it is not very fun.  It removes the fun for one person.  So it is made unlikely. 

In the reverse, the player causing fear on a single enemy, effectively defeats that enemy in combat (also missing from you post is the effect of 'fear' - I don't have the rule packet with me at the moment - but I'm assuming it cases fleeing, as with the dragon's fear).  At first glance this spell seems pretty darn powerful, but it has a short range, and it doesn't kill the enemy, the enemy flees to return to fight another day.  Within the context of the game, what effect does this have? does the villain flee to scheme revenge? do a few minions run from an encounter making it marginally easier?

The point I'm making is how do these two effects change the GAME.  It might seem offputing that the lvl 1 wizard is 'scarier' than the big dragon, but these effects are about balancing the enjoyment of the game at the table. 

I could certainly see cause fear needing tweaks (as many low level effect inducing spells often do - see sleep), but for me the way to make that argument is to say "we were playing a session and ____ happened, which was bad because of ____."  I'm not really concerned that the dragon isn't as scary as a low spelled designed to scare. 
also remember, this is a wizard at the PINNACLE of human intelligence
Gebell its ok to look at things like you do, from a role perspective about a monster getting feared to come back to fight another day, you can roleplay weak rules all the much you want, but it still doesnt fix the game. That is what is the problem each time a discussion like this occur. Experienced DM like us write a nice quote and try to do the positive about this, trying to look from a roleplaying perspective. But it still doesnt help much.

But anyway the basic for this playtesting package gives me as a DM great power, making things easy, but it seems like i have to do a lot of house rules and steal something from old editions and mix it in. looking forward anyway
I guess I just mean, with DDN we are doing a lot of theorycrafting by necessity.  But, I'm not willing to declare something a bad mechanic because it results in something my view of the D&D world says is silly (such as a lvl 1 spell causing more effective fear than the presence of a dragon).  I *am* willing to declare something a bad mechanic if it has a negative impact of the game being played at my table (or most/many tables). 

You seem to decide that this is bad because dragons should be more frightening than a first level spell (as cast by one of the smartest humans in the world).  but to me, that's really a world view problem, and not a gameplay problem.  How scare are dragons? are they scarier than hydras? or giant spiders? Bilbo wasn't compelled to run screaming from the room when he met Smaug, maybe I think dragons shouldn't cause fear at all. . .

I'm just saying that the comparison doesn't do anything.  now, if cause fear starts ruining combats in and of itself (which I could see it doing, just as some version of sleep have done in the past) - *then* I would agree that the spell is broken.  But because it broke the game being played, not because it compares with some other type of fear generated in the game world. 
I guess I just mean, with DDN we are doing a lot of theorycrafting by necessity.  But, I'm not willing to declare something a bad mechanic because it results in something my view of the D&D world says is silly (such as a lvl 1 spell causing more effective fear than the presence of a dragon).  I *am* willing to declare something a bad mechanic if it has a negative impact of the game being played at my table (or most/many tables). 

You seem to decide that this is bad because dragons should be more frightening than a first level spell (as cast by one of the smartest humans in the world).  but to me, that's really a world view problem, and not a gameplay problem.  How scare are dragons? are they scarier than hydras? or giant spiders? Bilbo wasn't compelled to run screaming from the room when he met Smaug, maybe I think dragons shouldn't cause fear at all. . .

I'm just saying that the comparison doesn't do anything.  now, if cause fear starts ruining combats in and of itself (which I could see it doing, just as some version of sleep have done in the past) - *then* I would agree that the spell is broken.  But because it broke the game being played, not because it compares with some other type of fear generated in the game world. 



you know, if anything, the dragons should cause intimidation :P
Well problem Gebell with you is that you have to defend this issue at any cost. I would have totally understand that a Fear spell could be scarier than a dragon if it was cast by a high lvl wizard, and if the spell was at higher lvl. But this is stuff that totally ****s up a good debate. Its like those forum trolls. they need to have something to say just to make a debate.

I do understand that beta testing this is very difficult for those that have to rewrite the rules and changes. Cause the feedback they get is from a story telling view and where people glorify the actions of their group, but they dont provide much quality information on what can be done better. It all comes down to how the DM handles the module and monsters. I have been looking a lot at the rules, and the monsters, and i have found a lot that needs to be done. But for me now i am using this beta testing as an excellent guide how to form the rules how i want. Cause there aint much clear stuff, it allows me as a DM to get the power back to be a DM, instead of having those rule trolls. That alwatys have to say, it says so in the rules.

And the players have agreed that we can tweak the rules, as we want to have it work for us.

It is quite fun to see a 2. lvl group that consist of a Trickster Priest, 2 Warriors and a Mage defeating a Vampire. One of the Warriors was Charmed from round one, an was set out of combat. But the thing is that i did not summon allies for the Vampire, since it did not fit into the story of my homemade fantasy setting. But its still quite impressive that they are able to defeat it. Vampire Charmed the Warrior, and the warrior attacked the mage, and got a Cause Fear. He needed very high rolls to break that Fear.

And a Priest with Lance of Faith causes Havoc on a Vampire aswell. Then he dont get the regeneration at all.

Think about it aswell, to be able to get the bite attack on a Vampire, you need to succeed on the two claw attacks. If you are fighting a priest and 2 warriors, those three can prolly hold on a Vampire even at low lvl. Lance of Faith stops regen, Shield Bash from one of the warriors makes disadvantage, chances for the Vampire to get in a bite attack to suck HP is very low. And if lets say the Warrior is now 3 lvl and got 2D6 Combat Die, he can choose to parry the bite.

Example: Vampire Attacks Warrior 1, Warrior 2 uses Shield Bash. Priest Hits with Lance of Faith. Chances are small that the Vampire will manage to get a Bite on the Warrior with with one Disadvantage roll. If Lets say it succeeds the Warrior can parry the Bite with reduction of 2D6 Damage. Vampire wont be able to regain HP through Regeneration due to Lance of Faith from Priest, it wont regain much HP either because of the parry on bite, and chances are small he will be able to hit a Warrior with 3 attacks against lets say a normal AC of 18. That means Vampire will need 12 or more on dice to hit on all 3 attacks.

We are now talking about low lvl Players. But once you start to think about issues like this, you will see that the game destroys itself. A priest can cast Lance of Faith and also be able to cast Curing spells if needed in same round. I love that to be honest. But try this composition of monsters.

The Real challenge on this encounter is actually the wolves that can be summoned (have not seen stats on the rats)
I'm not going to lie, I have no idea where this conversation has gone now . . . but I will attempt to continue it . . .

I'm not sure we're really disagreeing *that* much.  I'm just saying that it doesn't bother me if a fear spell has a strong fear effect than a dragon.  Deciding that the dragon has a fear aura at all is a worldview perspective, the only reason we are attached to it is because they have had it in the past.  If dragons never had a fear effect, would we have really noticed?  Surely, storm giants, or hydras, or a lich are just as 'scary' as many dragons. 

All I was saying is that enjoyment at the table is what concerns me.  If the fear spell makes combats that should be challenging trivial too often, *then* it is a problem. 

I think your vampire example (although I had some difficulty following) is a good example of what I'm talking about.  These types of examples are more helpful in discussing the issues we're having with DDN.