Legends & Lore: This Week in D&D

Legends & Lore:
This Week in D&D
Mike Mearls



We made some interesting progress on the fighter in the past week. We've known for a while that asking fighters to choose between damage and a maneuver was not an ideal situation, and we're working to fix that. On top of that, we're looking at maneuvers to fill the space between the fighter's basic combat ability and the class's full power. It's like an equation that looks like this:

• Barbarian = weapon user base combat abilities + rage
• Monk = weapon user base combat abilities + ki
• Fighter = weapon user base combat abilities + expertise

Barbarian = Monk = Fighter

Rage = Ki = Expertise

"Weapon user base combat abilities" is an intentionally awkward way of saying, "The basic method in which you get better with weapons."

In essence, building those two classes let us settle on exactly where maneuvers should rest, and the conclusion we came to was that they are additive to an attack, rather than something that comes at a cost of your base effectiveness. That means bigger, more effective maneuvers that are fighter-only, with stuff that we want any character to gain as being accessible through feats.



Talk about this column here.

Wizards, shave and a haircut

Maybe it's just me, but that reads like a step back toward the "Combat Superiority/ Expertise" version of the DDN fighter.

If so, then... well yeah.  Folks have been suggesting just that for a long, long, loooooooooong time now.

I'm curious if it will look anything like "The Fighter gets an Expertise Die, which is equal to his Skill die" - I'm guessing not, and that it will instead be effectively "point" based (like Ki).
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I don't think it sounds like that at all greatfrito. Based on everything they have been saying, it sounds like something new. It sounds like they will have base combat abilities. Those abilities will be what MDD and MDB look like in the current packet, but with MDD and MDB being turned into WDD (as we have been hearing via various mediums). It sounds like fighters will get something new. Specifically, a pool of dice called expertise. Dice can be spent on using maneuvers. Unlike what we have seen up to now, it doesn’t look like dice recharge automatically. Rather, it looks like you recharge your dice by spending an action to catch your breath... all in all, it sounds very intresting!

Indeed. I am very intrigued to see this new fighter mechanic.
My two copper.
Rather, it looks like you recharge your dice by spending an action to catch your breath... all in all, it sounds very intresting!


Thats an interesting mechanic. You can do it, but you cant do it again until you take a moment to catch your breath.

Rather, it looks like you recharge your dice by spending an action to catch your breath... all in all, it sounds very intresting!


Thats an interesting mechanic. You can do it, but you cant do it again until you take a moment to catch your breath.



To me it sounds more like you can do it 2 or 3 times, but then you need to catch your breath. You'll get a little leeway before you have to start spending actions, I'm sure.
My two copper.
This makes me a little afraid for Rangers, Paladins, and other classes that need access to powers that are additive to an attack.  Either maneuvers are going to be available to a wide range of classes, or some classes are not going to be getting the tools they desperately need.  I'm not sure either of those two options are good game design.
As usual, the article is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
...whatever
This makes me a little afraid for Rangers, Paladins, and other classes that need access to powers that are additive to an attack.  Either maneuvers are going to be available to a wide range of classes, or some classes are not going to be getting the tools they desperately need.  I'm not sure either of those two options are good game design.




Or it just means that all weapon using classes will have base combat abilities + some additive mechanic that is specific to the class. Rangers might get favored combat techniques (special ways to hunt specific types of foes), paladins might get auras, and so on and so forth. Why jump to “the sky is falling” scenarios, especially when all of this seems to be good news? There have been complaints that fighters don’t feel unique enough. Now they are giving fighter’s something unique. There have been complaints that using maneuvers costs damage. Now you don’t spend your damage dice to use a maneuver. This all seems like good news to me. 

This makes me a little afraid for Rangers, Paladins, and other classes that need access to powers that are additive to an attack.  Either maneuvers are going to be available to a wide range of classes, or some classes are not going to be getting the tools they desperately need.  I'm not sure either of those two options are good game design.




Or it just means that all weapon using classes will have base combat abilities + some additive mechanic that is specific to the class. Rangers might get favored combat techniques (special ways to hunt specific types of foes), paladins might get auras, and so on and so forth. Why jump to “the sky is falling” scenarios, especially when all of this seems to be good news? There have been complaints that fighters don’t feel unique enough. Now they are giving fighter’s something unique. There have been complaints that using maneuvers costs damage. Now you don’t spend your damage dice to use a maneuver. This all seems like good news to me.


An archer ,something I feel a Ranger should be able to be, is going to need access to Volley.  Giving them different, unique toys other than the maneuvers they need is just going to result in unhappiness as they are compared to those maneuvers and found wanting by some.  Either Rangers or archer Fighters in my example would end up feeling like second class builds if the archery options they get end up getting end up being that significantly different.


Expressing a fear in a rational way is not a declaration of "The sky is falling.", btw.

This makes me a little afraid for Rangers, Paladins, and other classes that need access to powers that are additive to an attack.  Either maneuvers are going to be available to a wide range of classes, or some classes are not going to be getting the tools they desperately need.  I'm not sure either of those two options are good game design.




Or it just means that all weapon using classes will have base combat abilities + some additive mechanic that is specific to the class. Rangers might get favored combat techniques (special ways to hunt specific types of foes), paladins might get auras, and so on and so forth. Why jump to “the sky is falling” scenarios, especially when all of this seems to be good news? There have been complaints that fighters don’t feel unique enough. Now they are giving fighter’s something unique. There have been complaints that using maneuvers costs damage. Now you don’t spend your damage dice to use a maneuver. This all seems like good news to me.


An archer ,something I feel a Ranger should be able to be, is going to need access to Volley.  Giving them different, unique toys other than the maneuvers they need is just going to result in unhappiness as they are compared to those maneuvers and found wanting by some.  Either Rangers or archer Fighters in my example would end up feeling like second class builds if the archery options they get end up getting end up being that significantly different.

 


Expressing a fear in a rational way is not a declaration of "The sky is falling.", btw.




Yeah, I see what you are saying. In some ways arbitrary classes are quite inferior to a classless system. It's unfortunate that classes are the one "iconic" sacred cows that they won't slay.
Indeed. I am very intrigued to see this new fighter mechanic.




Any takers that the new fighter mechanic will show up in later iterations in the backpack of all martials?


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"Expertise" pool sounds a bit like an encounter resource - a different direction for the 5e fighter for sure. They could do fun things with alternate or additional recharge mechanics - e.g. gain 1d4 expertise tokens when you land a killing blow. Kind of like people were discussing for barbarians. ;)


Volley doesn't do anything but let you attack multiple people with a bow. In past articles Mike has talked about your MDD being formatted in such a way so that you can split their damage between multiple foes or stacked onto a single foe (making them represent the multiple attacks of editions past). It sounds to me like volley and whirlwind are going to be rolled into the basic mechanics of the MDD function. 

Meanwhile, who "needs" what is subjective. It sounds like they are going to let you build two different types of archers, much as we can now build two different types of swashbucklers (using the rogue and fighter class). One type uses bow base combat abilities and maneuvers, the other uses bow based combat abilities and something like favored foe techniques. They are both archers, but they use their abilities a little differently. Which, to me, sounds good. 

Volley doesn't do anything but let you attack multiple people with a bow. In past articles Mike has talked about your MDD being formatted in such a way so that you can split their damage between multiple foes or stacked onto a single foe (making them represent the multiple attacks of editions past). It sounds to me like volley and whirlwind are going to be rolled into the basic mechanics of the MDD function.

I don't read that the same way you do.  MDD may allow you to split their rolls between multiple targets, but it still doesn't give you the ability to attack multiple targets.  That latter ability is pretty crucial for a Ranger in my view.
This is also just one example.  Think of all the other martial or martial hybrid classes, including those yet to come.  To keep with the archery theme, what if we see a Seeker or a Soulbow?  I remember when Rogues were great archers.  I'd like to see that option return.  I don't see it in DDN now, and this L&L doesn't give me a lot of hope that I'll see that in the future.

Flying (and three-dimensional movement generally, like underwater, elemental travel, etcetera) are important and routine in my campaigns. So Im glad to see a reasonable approach in the rules. The core (Basic) will be minimal but functional. Elaborate rules will be optional.


We'd likely just provide simple rules that apply to all flying creatures in the core system, unless otherwise noted in the creature's description. For example, a creature might need to move forward at least half its speed and cannot turn more than 90 degrees total during its turn.



Just this one rule is easy enough to remember and perform, yet is effective to distinguish standard winged flight from an exceptional hover method. Sounds great. Good enough.


In complex aerial “dogfights”: rather than keep track of the relative speeds and resort to trigonometry, calculus, and the laws of physics ...

It seems easier just to make an ability check to connect, with faster flyers getting an advantage.

Even in a chase scene, just roll an ability check once, and if failing, the faster one gets away.
So fighter maneuvers will run on an encounter-based resource with a recharge mechanic?  That sounds... perfect, actually.

I guess we'll see if it lives up to the promise. 

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

The fighter mechanic looks interesting.  The way they describe it it looks like a nice way to kind of eb and flow the power of the fighter through an encounter.

EDIT: Also looks like ther may be a bit more of a strategic aspect to it which is cool. 
it looks like you recharge your dice by spending an action to catch your breath... all in all, it sounds very intresting!

Interesting indeed! The Fighter's ability would be unique to it again.  I want to see what its all about...

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Manouvers: I like the sound of this.

The damage trade-off wasn't really flying and I'm glad to see a new direction here. 
It's also very welcome to me that manouvers have some soft limit in frequency; this reminds me a bit of how the Force was handled in SW Saga, which is cool in my book. 

I assume we'll still get MDD(WDD) to handle damage, which hopefully could be split across multiple targets. In which case does it mean there'll be two dice pools: one for damage and one for manouvers?        
Looking forward to see the actual implementation.    
Sounds like the Aug Fighter with Current parry.

Simple enough but.... 2 things

How do you do the simple "I attack for damage" fighter?

Is "weapon user base combat abilities" the feature which is handling keeping warrior classes high enough to slay monsters?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!


How do you do the simple "I attack for damage" fighter?



Either there is just a 'dafault manouver' available for the Basic fighter (parry perhaps?), or Expertise is only available as an advanced module. My money would be on the former rather than the latter.
  
Is "weapon user base combat abilities" the feature which is handling keeping warrior classes high enough to slay monsters?



That would be my guess.  

Ugh... Simple flying rules.  Must move forward at least half its speed and cannot turn more than 90 degrees at any given time during its movement.

One of these things is not like the others.

Simple flying rules are 'you can move when flying exactly as you would on land, except in an extra dimension'.  I really don't want to deal with anything more complex in a supposedly stripped-down and simple system.
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How do you do the simple "I attack for damage" fighter?



Either there is just a 'dafault manouver' available for the Basic fighter (parry perhaps?), or Expertise is only available as an advanced module. My money would be on the former rather than the latter.
  
Is "weapon user base combat abilities" the feature which is handling keeping warrior classes high enough to slay monsters?



That would be my guess.  




Maybe there will be a maneuver that gives advantage on the damage roll, or increases crit range, or inflicts ongoing damage-- all maneuvers that increase a fighter's effective damage, that one could always use as their maneuver option.
Ugh... Simple flying rules.  Must move forward at least half its speed and cannot turn more than 90 degrees at any given time during its movement.

One of these things is not like the others.

Simple flying rules are 'you can move when flying exactly as you would on land, except in an extra dimension'.  I really don't want to deal with anything more complex in a supposedly stripped-down and simple system.

I couldn't agree more. 4th eddition flying rules are both elegant and simple and should be modeled after them IMO. 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter


"bigger, more effective maneuvers that are fighter-only, with stuff that we want any character to gain as being accessible through feats.

As an example, a feat that makes you better with a bow might allow you to ignore cover. A fighter maneuver aimed at ranged attacks might let you fire a quick volley of arrows to make an area attack by spending your expertise."


 
Good. Fighter maneuvers should be cool and unique, without interfering with damage.

EDIT: Just realized. A Fighter with big splashy maneuvers that renew out of a pool that can be recharged by taking an action to recharge. In other words, the 5e Fighter has become the Warblade. Awesome!
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Ugh... Simple flying rules.  Must move forward at least half its speed and cannot turn more than 90 degrees at any given time during its movement.

One of these things is not like the others.

Simple flying rules are 'you can move when flying exactly as you would on land, except in an extra dimension'.  I really don't want to deal with anything more complex in a supposedly stripped-down and simple system.

I couldn't agree more. 4th eddition flying rules are both elegant and simple and should be modeled after them IMO. 


The at-least-some distance of travel and turn difficulty seems simple enough for me, even for mental-style. But I sympathize with your desire for a friendlier way to handle flying. If you want simpler, I support that.



I hope D&D goes by 1-yard squares. Normal movement is 10 yards (30 feet). Also, ranges in yards simplify well:

1 yard: melee
10 yards: close, close-quarters combat, standard move, throw range
100 yards: short range, bow range
1000 yards: long range, town range, the diameter of most medieval townwalls (about 10 modern city blocks)

These numbers are very simple to manage in theatre of the mind. It makes it easy to ballpark events.


 
By extension, an “extended” range can multiply by ×3 for a rough midway point.

(1 ×3 = 3, 3 ×3 ≈ 10, 10 ×3 = 30, 30 ×3 ≈ 100, ...)

So, extended melee at 3 yards is the distance of polearm attacks. Extended close range at 30 yards is a typical spell range, beyond close-quarters combat but within reach of bows. Extended short range at 300 yards, would be for extremely good archers.


Thinking in yards, say a winged creature can fly 10 yards per turn, but not less than 3 yards. Very simple, and working with familiar easy-to-ballpark numbers.
   
Even 4e requires a minimum distance of movement, or else the flyer falls. But yeah, 4e ignores turning requirements (and facing).

I have only one question:  WHen.


 


 


This will be a significant enough change that it makes testing the fighter moot until it comes out.  So can we get a release of the new fighter (as a small package to download) for testing soon?


Carl

I am very interested to see this new rechargeable manoeuvres/dice pool action, are they the same as WDD, maybe trade them for extra attacks?

I like the base weapon ability + shtick. 
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I would not mind more versatility with the fighter, even if it comes at the exspense of short term rests. It forces the fighter to think into the long term (at least for an at-will class), i.e. the entire battle; where the wizard focuses on daily use of resources.

However, I will compare any new fighter to the barbarian and monk as indicated, but also how all three of those martial classes compare against the rogue. Basically ability checks and skill use is the primary mechanism for martial classes to explore in comparison to casters having access to spells. So each martial class will need some type of niche for skill use or an equivalent.

Whether a martial class uses ki, rage, combat surge, in comparison to MDD/WDD or something similar, they are resource management systems represented under different skins to  handle at-will, enounter, and daily use of abilities. I would not mind if they added new mechanics to represent longer time periods such as 1 hour. This can be used in direct comparison to spell durations. Because one thing that is not discussed often is how long spell durations last to extend caster power beyond daily use.
Agree that the basic flying rules should just be "you can move in three dimensions using your fly speed". Any set of basic rules is going to have to involve some degree of extrapolation and hand-waving for unusual situations or if you want to maintain higher fidelity to some ideal (such as real-world physics). Anybody who wants slightly more sophisticated flying rules can use the slightly more sophisticated flying rules module. That's what modules are there for. Anyone who wants insanely complex flying rules can use the insanely complex flying rules module. Flying rules get complicated to write fairly quickly, but they get complicated to run extremely quickly, especially since there aren't awesome solutions for representing altitude on a grid (and if I'm running TotM, I'm abstracting at a level that does not require five slightly different rulesets for flying, plus modfications for feats.) I don't know what it is about flying that compels people to suddenly want to get super physicsy on it. I mean, if that's what you want, that's cool, but the simplest version should be the simplest functional version. You shouldn't need to tack "oh, and facing is part of the game, when it comes to flying monsters" on there.
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And simple flying rules can address three dimensional combat at the same time, to determine cover, and more importantly three dimensional objects in reference to spell cones, spheres, etc. to determine effects. 4E should be used as a reference, then tweaked if necessary.
I just wonder how the warrior damage and fighter maneuvers will be handled.

The warrior classes will still need the bonus damage (though less of it) to deal with the powerful threats of D&D. So every warrior class will need WDD or MDD. But since fighters won't have to trade them out, you can design them around a constant damage.

Here are my thoughts.

The barbarian, the rogue, and the cleric will need little change as neither traded MDD for maneuvers before. Just recalculation.

The monk will need to be rehauled in the same manner as the fighter as the monk's other shtick was FoB which is a maneuver currently.

No raw damage manuevers can be added as players would once again be forced to choose between cool stuff and damage. Situational damage might work like critical hits but they would have to remain weak or restricted. Same for flat accuracy or extra attacks.

With no damage maneuvers, the basic fighter and the "I attack" standard fighter will need something.

Suggestion:

Bring back Cleave as a maneuver. With damage handled by the base warrior system, Cleave can make the simple fighters feel special. The basic fighter and "I attack" standard fighter will still remain simple but have that option of hitting another adjacent foe without sacrificing effectiveness and damage.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I hope we see a bit more of an analogue range between the fighting prowess of the Wizard and the expertise of the Fighter or rage of the Barbarian. Different progressions have always worked in the past, provided that the absolute extremes aren't too far apart. So we're talking abot a to-hit difference between the Str 10 Wiz and the Str 20 Ftr at top level of around 10, certainly less than 15, and other classes can slot in based on their relative strengths.
Volley doesn't do anything but let you attack multiple people with a bow. In past articles Mike has talked about your MDD being formatted in such a way so that you can split their damage between multiple foes or stacked onto a single foe (making them represent the multiple attacks of editions past). It sounds to me like volley and whirlwind are going to be rolled into the basic mechanics of the MDD function.


I don't read that the same way you do.  MDD may allow you to split their rolls between multiple targets, but it still doesn't give you the ability to attack multiple targets.  That latter ability is pretty crucial for a Ranger in my view.
This is also just one example.  Think of all the other martial or martial hybrid classes, including those yet to come.  To keep with the archery theme, what if we see a Seeker or a Soulbow?  I remember when Rogues were great archers.  I'd like to see that option return.  I don't see it in DDN now, and this L&L doesn't give me a lot of hope that I'll see that in the future.


I am confused. How is splitting rolls between targets not attacking multiple targets?

An interesting thought is if they felt that all martial classes should have access to maneuvers they could allow them to lose WDD to perform the maneuvers (as the Fighter does currently) - but only the Fighter gets an extra pool to spend on these maneuvers without loosing their WDD.

Everyone can fight, and do cool things, but Fighters are just better at it than all others.

Something to consider anyway.

Rather looking forward to seeing the new rules. 
@Lesp.  :-)  Nice comment on the need to avoid becoming “physicsy” in Basic flying rules.



And simple flying rules can address three dimensional combat at the same time, to determine cover, and more importantly three dimensional objects in reference to spell cones, spheres, etc. to determine effects. 4E should be used as a reference, then tweaked if necessary.


Heh, that reminds. I am so less than excited about “cones”. Can we please just have a fat ray to avoid headaches? Or maybe a 90° angle is simple enough to handle. Call it a “spray”, but make its area of effect self-evident.
How do you do the simple "I attack for damage" fighter?


Maybe they've come to the sensible conclusion that there is no reason to create or focus on the simple fighter outside of the Basic ruleset. If that's true, then even in the Standard rule set, you'll still be able to build the simple fighter by selecting those same options that the Basic fighter used, but they will be listed with the other available maneuvers and class features instead of somehow highlighted in an explicit fashion (outside of looking at the Basic fighter of course).

Is "weapon user base combat abilities" the feature which is handling keeping warrior classes high enough to slay monsters?


No, I think it is the "+stuff" that is supposed to let them keep up with the monster slaying. This will be why the barbarian's rages gets better and more frequent as he gains levels and why the fighte will get a larger expertise pool and more things to do with it.
Suggestion: Bring back Cleave as a maneuver. With damage handled by the base warrior system, Cleave can make the simple fighters feel special. The basic fighter and "I attack" standard fighter will still remain simple but have that option of hitting another adjacent foe without sacrificing effectiveness and damage.



This sounds like a good idea. Perphas the Claeve would be an actual manouver to split the damage across multiple target. So if you have 3WDD you can hit up to 3 adjacent targets by cleaving, each one for 1W damage (with all the static bonus going to one target of your choice among them).
Same overall damage output but more flexilbity. 
Volley doesn't do anything but let you attack multiple people with a bow. In past articles Mike has talked about your MDD being formatted in such a way so that you can split their damage between multiple foes or stacked onto a single foe (making them represent the multiple attacks of editions past). It sounds to me like volley and whirlwind are going to be rolled into the basic mechanics of the MDD function.


I don't read that the same way you do.  MDD may allow you to split their rolls between multiple targets, but it still doesn't give you the ability to attack multiple targets.  That latter ability is pretty crucial for a Ranger in my view.
This is also just one example.  Think of all the other martial or martial hybrid classes, including those yet to come.  To keep with the archery theme, what if we see a Seeker or a Soulbow?  I remember when Rogues were great archers.  I'd like to see that option return.  I don't see it in DDN now, and this L&L doesn't give me a lot of hope that I'll see that in the future.



I am confused. How is splitting rolls between targets not attacking multiple targets?



I am experimenting with trading WDD for extra attacks.