Ah, finally managed to get around to making this little feedback. Though, before, we start, I would like to thank Jonathon_sicari for the great experience and great DMing.
So first off, I'd best start with explaining the party. The build was a five player build (which is interesting because it's usually four players) consisting of two rogues, a cleric, a wizard, and me as the barbarian (the one who got ludicrously swedged as explained community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758..." title=" community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...">here after a botched plan)
Aside from the suicide door-knocking tactic, out two sessions went incredibly well. The first session showed the capabilities of the classes extremely well, but that's only if we want to spend all of our powers on the first encounter (problem #1). The first fight went well, with no one going down and enemies missing en masse. T'was a good evening.
Second encounter is where we had the botched distraction. Unfortunately I wasn't able to rage, what with a lousy initiative roll, so I went down quite quickly with being ganked 6 to 1 with most enemies having multiple attacks (problem #2). In the end, with the help of the storm cleric to bring me back up a couple times, we managed to subdue the group before things got hectic.
Now, we only had two encounters at this point and we were already out of everything; I had raged on both prior encounters, the cleric had used all his channel divinities, and the wizard was down to a single 2nd level spell slot. Nonetheless, for the sake of balance, play testing, and my own personal theory, we went into the last encounter (problem #3). With three of us dying and the only two left standing was the frightened frost-throwing mage (problem #4) and a rogue, we managed to win. Barely.
So let's talk about these problems at hand;
Problem #1: If the first encounter is a big encounter, and your rolls just don't like you that day, you need to resort to blowing your abilities, and, at fourth level, you will do if you're a mage or a barbarian. With only a handful of this stuff a day (and how easily barbarians can be knocked out of rage), it only takes around 6 rounds to be completely out of options besides basic melee and cantrips. Then you realise you still have the rest of the session to go through.
Problem #2; As far as I'm aware, DDN is balanced around single attacks where monsters are concerned. So when creatures are dealing 1d6+4 twice per round, you're gonna have a bad time. But, most characters can avoid such a fate, with rogues picking Artful Dodger because, hey, why wouldn't you, and Fighters using Parry, both of which can be used indefinitely. From a barbarian stand point, we can opt to take half damage but only if we have a rage to spare.
Problem #3; Never enter an encounter without fully resting if 1) you know it's hard, 2) you have nothing left. I think the main issue with this is that you feel like a Sega Game Gear, needing to recharge every 20 [in-game] minutes because you had to spend everything against 8 creatures. This ties in with Problem #1 also.
Problem #4; Cantrips are boring as hell. At least, the offensive ones do. We've gone back to this paradigm of casters being weak at low levels because of the lack of spell casts, to the point that wizards now do less damage with cantrips than they would with darts (back in the AD&D era, anyway.)
So, what do I suggest?
Problem #1 and #3; give more options for classes who become dull after losing their key traits (wizard casting and barbarian rage). For wizards, I suggest an extra spell slot per level at each spell level, or give WIS modifier bonus damage to cantrips, or give them the ability to crit. Hell, all three will work, too!
Problem #2; Not so much as a solution to the damage, which is all good and fun, but more or less to the ways which melee attackers, who will be prone to major damage, have to mitigate damage. Fighters have parry, Rogues have Artful Dodge, but allow Barbarians to do something outside of rage to allow them to mitigate damage, be it allowing them to take Parry as a manoeuvre or whatever.
Problem #4; Pretty much answered in Problem 1 and 3. This would also help allow wizards to be more closely in tune with martial damage.
So yes, this is my feedback. Again, thanks for Jon for DMing for us.