happy... with a few tweeks

2nd playtest with the new rules last night was as fun as the first one, for myself as well as the players.

I had 3 PC's again: a monk, a stormbringer cleric and a wizard evoker, all 6th level. The (combat) encounters were fun and reasonably fast paced, without seeming too simple. I ran two fights, a hill giant and 6 orog footsoldiers, then later a roper and 9 stirges. However, I modified the fights a bit to give them the challenge that the PC's needed to feel threatened.

First, I had the hill giant in chainmail armor. The campaign I'm running has an elves vs. giants war happening so it made sense. This made the encounter only slightly more difficult due to the giant's higher AC, but really brought home the message that these guys were at least prepared for war.

The roper I botched with regards to remaining hidden. Should have had the PC's make INT/WIS checks vs DC 17 (IIRC) instead of a hide/spot contest with the roper getting a +8 to hide, but I think it worked out about the same. The Stirges attacked during the second round of combat, and I gave the PC's a chance to notice them (DC14), though none of them did. Then I attached and started slurping blood when they hit, which was made with advantage when the PC's got grappled by the roper.

Things that slowed down the game (besides the typical table banter) was skills, when to use them, and which one to use. Seriously guys, you need to do a better job with maybe giving examples of using skills so that we can playtest these properly. Is spot always an inactive skill (wis), because when you are actively trying to "spot" something, you're really searching (int) for it? Is track more INT based (your vast knowledge of how things move and how that movement interacts with the environment) or WIS based (your understanding of your natural surrounding allows you to intuit where the prey may have gone, and spotting the evidence confirms it)? 

Also, the conditions that you might find yourself in need better wording. The mage was grappled with a strength sapping tenticle (restrained), then dragged 25 feet over the rocky cavern passage. Does the restrained condition impose disadvantage to cast spells that aren't attacks? Do I have to make a concentration check to get one off?
2nd playtest with the new rules last night was as fun as the first one, for myself as well as the players.

I had 3 PC's again: a monk, a stormbringer cleric and a wizard evoker, all 6th level. The (combat) encounters were fun and reasonably fast paced, without seeming too simple. I ran two fights, a hill giant and 6 orog footsoldiers, then later a roper and 9 stirges. However, I modified the fights a bit to give them the challenge that the PC's needed to feel threatened.

First, I had the hill giant in chainmail armor. The campaign I'm running has an elves vs. giants war happening so it made sense. This made the encounter only slightly more difficult due to the giant's higher AC, but really brought home the message that these guys were at least prepared for war.

The roper I botched with regards to remaining hidden. Should have had the PC's make INT/WIS checks vs DC 17 (IIRC) instead of a hide/spot contest with the roper getting a +8 to hide, but I think it worked out about the same. The Stirges attacked during the second round of combat, and I gave the PC's a chance to notice them (DC14), though none of them did. Then I attached and started slurping blood when they hit, which was made with advantage when the PC's got grappled by the roper.

Things that slowed down the game (besides the typical table banter) was skills, when to use them, and which one to use. Seriously guys, you need to do a better job with maybe giving examples of using skills so that we can playtest these properly. Is spot always an inactive skill (wis), because when you are actively trying to "spot" something, you're really searching (int) for it? Is track more INT based (your vast knowledge of how things move and how that movement interacts with the environment) or WIS based (your understanding of your natural surrounding allows you to intuit where the prey may have gone, and spotting the evidence confirms it)? 

Also, the conditions that you might find yourself in need better wording. The mage was grappled with a strength sapping tenticle (restrained), then dragged 25 feet over the rocky cavern passage. Does the restrained condition impose disadvantage to cast spells that aren't attacks? Do I have to make a concentration check to get one off?




I know the way they are trying to work skills makes it very hard to make the wrong choice as a DM (unless you,say for example used your Cha check to climb a rockface) the examples you listed could work in either direction and seem valid.Which is what WoC wants,you as the DM able to make snap decisions and feel confadent in them (this also helps those that have the rules lawyers at their tables).

I would check the Perception section of the how to play page 9. It will give you the information you need to make the spot/search checks and which one actually applies.



As for your mage he was restrained-his speed becomes 0/all attacks against him have advantage/all of his attacks have disadvantage/and he has disadvantage on all dex saving throws.And since you cannot impose disadvantage on an attack roll that you do not make I.E area of effects spells or spells that do not have an attack roll.Your mage could still cast certain spells while restrained without ill effect.


the onlytime damage applies to casting would be if the mage was using a concentration spell when he was grabbed and drug over the rocks (he would need one check for the grapple and one for the rocks,provided the rocks did any damage as he was drug over them) that information can be found on page 23 of the how to play.Magical section under concentration.


 




    


As for your mage he was restrained-his speed becomes 0/all attacks against him have advantage/all of his attacks have disadvantage/and he has disadvantage on all dex saving throws.And since you cannot impose disadvantage on an attack roll that you do not make I.E area of effects spells or spells that do not have an attack roll.Your mage could still cast certain spells while restrained without ill effect.
the onlytime damage applies to casting would be if the mage was using a concentration spell when he was grabbed and drug over the rocks (he would need one check for the grapple and one for the rocks,provided the rocks did any damage as he was drug over them) that information can be found on page 23 of the how to play.Magical section under concentration.



 That's what I ruled as well. It just felt wrong to say that the roper grabs you and yanks you 25 feet towards its chompers, but it's okay to cast a spell, so long as it's not an attack. The wizard wanted to cast blink, phase into the etheral plane (and out of the arms of the roper), then phase back in to attack. I allowed it because of the way the rules are currently being playtested.

Questions that arose were: Why can I cast a spell without needing to make a concentration check while grappled/restrained? Why the disadvantage to attack spells, when the arms of the roper are around me and I could cast a touch spell, ie aiming not a problem? What about (effective) on-going damage, would that count to break concentration?

So, where did I look for the answers? Under attack options: grapple and conditions: restrained and  magic: concentration. I was underwhelmed. However, I think the problem was with partially the roper description and partially with just not knowing the rules very well.

For instance, one of the things that can end concentration:

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.


Fantastic! Let me see what it says under giant octopus for DC.... oh, right. What about other things that grab you? Giant crab? Owlbear? Gelatinous Cube? Mimic? Snake? Hmm... they are all different effects but still no DC. DMG says that a DC 10 check (EASY) allows you to cast a spell on a storm tossed ships' deck, or under other extreme circumstances, so I guess in the future I'll use that.

I would like the next iteration of the concentration check to say the following: For instance, you might need to make a Constitution save (DC 10) to maintain your concentration while a giant octopus grasps you. 6 characters in length, and a world of clarity, all without having to cross-reference anything.  I can absolutely envision someone getting grabbed by a giant octopus, so now I can envision +/- what all the rest of the creatures that can grab you might be like. 



What about the somatic components? It doesn't specify with the restained condition, but wouldn't that restrict arcane casting somehow?

As for your mage he was restrained-his speed becomes 0/all attacks against him have advantage/all of his attacks have disadvantage/and he has disadvantage on all dex saving throws.And since you cannot impose disadvantage on an attack roll that you do not make I.E area of effects spells or spells that do not have an attack roll.Your mage could still cast certain spells while restrained without ill effect.
the onlytime damage applies to casting would be if the mage was using a concentration spell when he was grabbed and drug over the rocks (he would need one check for the grapple and one for the rocks,provided the rocks did any damage as he was drug over them) that information can be found on page 23 of the how to play.Magical section under concentration.



 That's what I ruled as well. It just felt wrong to say that the roper grabs you and yanks you 25 feet towards its chompers, but it's okay to cast a spell, so long as it's not an attack. The wizard wanted to cast blink, phase into the etheral plane (and out of the arms of the roper), then phase back in to attack. I allowed it because of the way the rules are currently being playtested.

Questions that arose were: Why can I cast a spell without needing to make a concentration check while grappled/restrained? Why the disadvantage to attack spells, when the arms of the roper are around me and I could cast a touch spell, ie aiming not a problem? What about (effective) on-going damage, would that count to break concentration?

So, where did I look for the answers? Under attack options: grapple and conditions: restrained and  magic: concentration. I was underwhelmed. However, I think the problem was with partially the roper description and partially with just not knowing the rules very well.

For instance, one of the things that can end concentration: 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.

Fantastic! Let me see what it says under giant octopus for DC.... oh, right. What about other things that grab you? Giant crab? Owlbear? Gelatinous Cube? Mimic? Snake? Hmm... they are all different effects but still no DC. DMG says that a DC 10 check (EASY) allows you to cast a spell on a storm tossed ships' deck, or under other extreme circumstances, so I guess in the future I'll use that.

I would like the next iteration of the concentration check to say the following: For instance, you might need to make a Constitution save (DC 10) to maintain your concentration while a giant octopus grasps you. 6 characters in length, and a world of clarity, all without having to cross-reference anything.  I can absolutely envision someone getting grabbed by a giant octopus, so now I can envision +/- what all the rest of the creatures that can grab you might be like.       




WoC has stated that with each class typically only having 1 action they wanted that action to be meaningful.For spellcasting classes that means they dont want the one action they are going to get to always have to be checked via something else I.E being grappled/losing a spell to damage ect.
So magic is a bit more free form then in say 3.x where a wizard can still cast a spell if he's been shot by an arrow,he can even cast a really hard spell (something that needs concentration) if he can make the check.Thats going to be the diffrence in why you can cast a spell that does not need
to be concentraited on while grappled,simply because its easier.

   
What about the somatic components? It doesn't specify with the restained condition, but wouldn't that restrict arcane casting somehow?




You have to remember that a grapple is not a complete "lockdown" of a person (its not like you are wrapped like a christmas present) limbs are flailing,bodies are twisting and in spell casting terms if you have a hand free you can still cast a
a spell,provided you were not silenced.
First off, the formatting in this thread is awful!  I kept having to scroll my screen all the way over.  So I'm going to 
fake it for this post by pressing enter on half my lines.

Secondly, I agree with you; it's not always clear when a concentration check is called for.  I think that a DC 10 check
isn't likely to be failed very often.  But at the same time, that's not the point, is it?  The intention of the check is to
have the PCs realize that the wizard is in a spot where they have to take more than normal effort to cast their spells.  
Furthermore, the odds are low, but not impossible that they'd lose the spell.  A PC will try anything to avoiod being
at a disadvantage like that.

In my campaign playtest so far, I haven't encountered a need to roll concentration for our wizard just yet.  I think I'll
have to change that; she's had a free ride so far.  Time to challenge her. 
Alright MP, since your post formatted just fine, I'm hoping mine will do the same!

So the thing with concentration. I feel like I'm rules lawyering this to death, but at the same time...
well, it's not like I'm doing it to gain some advantage over the players or the DM. I'm just trying to
 understand.

From re-reading it about 6 times and since starting this post, what I've come to understand that the
 under-duress concentration check is a DC 10 CONSTITUTION check - so a ton harder to fail since
there is no concentration skill. If your Con is a 10-11, then you're 50/50 on this roll. That's not good
 odds for the Wizard. Even with a Con of 20 you're only 75% likely to make the check. (I'll have to
 remember that for next time, mu ha ha.)

The problem is that this only applies to spells that you are currently maintaining through
concentration, not for new spells that you might want to cast. And if you're restrained, you gain
disadvantage on attack spells, but are okay with all the other ones. IF this is as intended, then I'm
 a-okay with it, if not, then I think it's something they need to look at as an unintended loophole.