032013 Packet Feedback: block, parry, feats, and more

First of all, my group and I are having a great time play testing D&D next. I think this edition has the potential to be my favorite version ever.

Things that I love and don't want to see change:
- slowish healing: we've been using the optional healing rule that gives you your hit dice back, but no hp.
- weapon finesse: works much better as a property than a feat
- useful cantrips: the wizard loved it when burning hands was a cantrip, but I agree that it was a little too powerful.
- spell slots and preparation: I love the flexibility of keeping prepared spells and spell slots seperate. This is how I generally house-ruled spells in the past.
- saving throws: using abilities scores for savings throws and more is long overdue. bravo.
- doing away with skill points: I never want to calculate or spend skill points ever again or worry about class/cross-class skills
- DC vs HP: I think the shift toward keeping AC and To Hit bonuses relatively stable and instead ramping up HP and damage at higher levels is the perfect balance. Previous editions suffered greatly from artificially inflated DCs.
- freer movement: I love that you can break up your movement before and after your attack.
- fewer opportunity attacks: I love not having to interrupt combat because someone moved around their target or cast a spell or used their bow.

Things that are better in this rendition:
- two-weapon fighting: the previous version did seem gimp and no one opted to make two-weapon attacks, this version makes more sense
- rogue sneak attack: the previous version it was hard for a rogue to get advantage
- skill die progression: giving the option to pick up a new skill vs increasing the skill die was a nice touch.

Things that I don't like or were better in previous renditions:
- racial weapon preference: bring back larger damage dice
- special combat manuevers: disarm, bull rush, knock down, etc should be governed by general combat rules, and not requires special feats or class features.
- too many feat prerequisites: please please please do not make the same mistake from previous editions of too many feats and deep feat requirement trees. Avoid feats that are too good to not take (like weapon finesse or power attack used to be) should just be folded into class features or general combat rules. Feats should be tweaks to existing skills or manuevers, but not grant access to new powers or unlock new capabilities. Feat choice should not over-shadow the base class features.
- fighter block/parry rules: bring back damage reduction instead of AC bonus. I don't want to as a DM narrate a hit and then have the player ret-con a cancel to that hit with a die roll. Like above, I prefer scaling damage and damage reduction over changing AC and to Hit values. Also, +AC Block/Parry have no value against a natural 20, whereas damage reduction still has value against a crit. 
- shooting at the back row: I feel like the previous rendition of targets providing cover for their allies felt right and natural. Why was that removed? 

That's it for now.

Cheers.
Nice feedback. I agree on almost all points. I especially agree with making party/block DR rather than AC retro boost. They could even let players spend more than 1 die with DR version. It adds more decision making which I like.

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- fighter block/parry rules: bring back damage reduction instead of AC bonus. I don't want to as a DM narrate a hit and then have the player ret-con a cancel to that hit with a die roll. Like above, I prefer scaling damage and damage reduction over changing AC and to Hit values. Also, +AC Block/Parry have no value against a natural 20, whereas damage reduction still has value against a crit. 



Something was bothering me about those rules, thanks for putting it into words. Turning a hit that the DM already described into a miss should be pretty rare, reserved for Halfling luck and maybe spells and such.

With all the Cantrips haveing Save Negates but no to hit, is awful in to respects:
You can no longer crit with the only spells you can cast all day, and if the monsters have a high save in all of your cantrip...

 
You can still narrate a hit. But the player can react and actually claim the hit didn't harm him.

If a monster didn't meet the AC value it's not necessary a "miss". AC also tells you if a weapon penetrated the armor or not. 
I agree with most of what you said, deviousgrin.

I feel differently about the racial weapon training die increases. I'm glad they removed it, along with all of the other over-the-top damage dealing that was in the last packet. My group has played one game so far with the new packet and everyone agreed that they were having more fun with things exactly the way they are now, with weapong training, constant MDD refresh, and the over use of parry all taken out. We all felt that the greater challenge led to greater satisfaction when winning an encounter.

As far as block/parry, it's kind of a toss up for me. During actual play, it didn't seem weird at all to me to have the fighter roll XD to increase AC after I rolled a hit for the monster. Kind of along the lines of what Cypher2009 said, we just figured that it hit armor instead of a vital area when that happened. Either way, I don't think I have a preference for AC bonus with XD vs. DR with MDD, as long as it isn't something you can do every round like you could previously.

---

brian ®

Guitars & Gaming


- fighter block/parry rules: bring back damage reduction instead of AC bonus. I don't want to as a DM narrate a hit and then have the player ret-con a cancel to that hit with a die roll. Like above, I prefer scaling damage and damage reduction over changing AC and to Hit values. Also, +AC Block/Parry have no value against a natural 20, whereas damage reduction still has value against a crit. 



With old parry my PC fighters were frequently turning hits and even crits into misses.  Parry for 2d6 at 2nd and 3d6 already at 3rd was wiping out a large percentage of my melee hits.  So where were you going with the narrative there?

Old parry was eliminating the other 'Reaction' choices as options.  It was almost always better to save your reaction for a Parry and use it every single time.
I think I'd rather keep AC boosts for warlord powers and damage reduction for parry.
+DR for parry/block appealed to me as opposed to the new +AC for parry/block/dodge/shout options for a few reasons. As a fairly unorganized and easily distracted DM I like to keep things moving simple and fast at the table. When my monsters attack I like to roll d20 and damage dice all at once and then assign them to their targets, compare the hits vs AC and then just call out the damages. If a Fighter could parry or block for an ally I didn't have any more housekeeping to do, they just rolled and reduced damages and made the necessary adjustments. Now, if a Fighter declares parry/block/dodge/shout they have to ask me if the new AC roll would still be a hit. That requires me to go back, try to remember what hit went where, recalculate and announce the new hit/miss. Feels like too much back and forth for me for one round of combat.

The addition of skill dice to the DR value was a bit overpowered. I think I preferred the Parry and Protect Maneuver best, when it was just the Expertise die. I feel like DR of 1d6 (or expected value of 3.5 HP) at 1st level isn't overpowered, and as expertise grows so will DR proportional to monster damage output. My personal bias is that AC values should remain fairly static and to-hit growth should be shallow and instead let HP, damage output, and DR represent combat superiority.

I do have to say though I like the flavor or nimble dodge and warning shout, but I don't know how I'd want to tweak these to avoid the +AC problem. Only being able to dodge in light/medium armor makes sense to me. Requiring a shield to block missiles seems right. Why can't I block/parry a melee attack for an adjacent ally anymore? There are still things that don't feel quite right yet about the Fighter defense maneuvers.

Thanks for the comments.
It suddenly occurs to me that I might be satisfied by dodge/shout if they forced a reroll of an attack, rather than added +AC. Maybe a roll of 4-6 on an expertise die indicates a reroll or something like that.
I have found using DR is more complicated than adding AC. Hit Points, being of abstract nature, scale with level. This presents the issue of scaling DR with level of both attacker and defender. If the Fighter gets 1d6+level in DR that would be easier than 4d6. For that matter should they get 1d6+level with Deep Wound? Then it may work better.
After playing the last two packets we found the AC bonus worked better than DR. This might have to do with rolling multiple dice from the last packet to determine DR. I know the math is simple but I like to keep the story fast paced and the time it takes to do the simple math can halt a scene.

As to Disarm, Bull Rush, and Trip. I see it that those are still maneuvers that anyone can try with an Ability Contest. Those with the feat get to add damage to them as well! Perhaps a solution would be: Disarm-STR contest to disarm target, if you want to do damage also then attack at Disadvantage. Disarm Specialist feat-Advantage to disarm attempts (normal attack to damage and disarm).

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Great feedback. I agree on all points and really wish I saw more people on these forums with your attitude. I get bummed out whenever the hate-fest starts because I am genuinely enjoying myse.f
First of all, my group and I are having a great time play testing D&D next. I think this edition has the potential to be my favorite version ever.

Things that I love and don't want to see change:
- slowish healing: we've been using the optional healing rule that gives you your hit dice back, but no hp.
- weapon finesse: works much better as a property than a feat
- useful cantrips: the wizard loved it when burning hands was a cantrip, but I agree that it was a little too powerful.
- spell slots and preparation: I love the flexibility of keeping prepared spells and spell slots seperate. This is how I generally house-ruled spells in the past.
- saving throws: using abilities scores for savings throws and more is long overdue. bravo.
- doing away with skill points: I never want to calculate or spend skill points ever again or worry about class/cross-class skills
- DC vs HP: I think the shift toward keeping AC and To Hit bonuses relatively stable and instead ramping up HP and damage at higher levels is the perfect balance. Previous editions suffered greatly from artificially inflated DCs.
- freer movement: I love that you can break up your movement before and after your attack.
- fewer opportunity attacks: I love not having to interrupt combat because someone moved around their target or cast a spell or used their bow.

Things that are better in this rendition:
- two-weapon fighting: the previous version did seem gimp and no one opted to make two-weapon attacks, this version makes more sense
- rogue sneak attack: the previous version it was hard for a rogue to get advantage
- skill die progression: giving the option to pick up a new skill vs increasing the skill die was a nice touch.

Things that I don't like or were better in previous renditions:
- racial weapon preference: bring back larger damage dice
- special combat manuevers: disarm, bull rush, knock down, etc should be governed by general combat rules, and not requires special feats or class features.
- too many feat prerequisites: please please please do not make the same mistake from previous editions of too many feats and deep feat requirement trees. Avoid feats that are too good to not take (like weapon finesse or power attack used to be) should just be folded into class features or general combat rules. Feats should be tweaks to existing skills or manuevers, but not grant access to new powers or unlock new capabilities. Feat choice should not over-shadow the base class features.
- fighter block/parry rules: bring back damage reduction instead of AC bonus. I don't want to as a DM narrate a hit and then have the player ret-con a cancel to that hit with a die roll. Like above, I prefer scaling damage and damage reduction over changing AC and to Hit values. Also, +AC Block/Parry have no value against a natural 20, whereas damage reduction still has value against a crit. 
- shooting at the back row: I feel like the previous rendition of targets providing cover for their allies felt right and natural. Why was that removed? 

That's it for now.

Cheers.

+1 to all :-)

Stay Awhile and Listen!

Great feedback. I agree on all points and really wish I saw more people on these forums with your attitude. I get bummed out whenever the hate-fest starts because I am genuinely enjoying myse.f


I'm right there with you.  I can't see how so many people apparently dislike 5th.  It's the best D&D I've ever played, and it seems to get better with each packet!
It suddenly occurs to me that I might be satisfied by dodge/shout if they forced a reroll of an attack, rather than added +AC. Maybe a roll of 4-6 on an expertise die indicates a reroll or something like that.

Nice points there.  My point of view regarding this ruleset is:

Likes:

+ Slower healing options
+ Classes ability adjustments
+ Dwarfs at last have Str +1 (Hill Subrace etc) 
+ Advantage/Disadvantage system
+ Skills system
+ Spells & DCs 
+ Combat Actions (I disagree making disarm, or knock down a basic combat action...at least not without a required Grapple first and a free reaction attack from opponent)

+ Basic Attack & Skill progression. At last adventures continue after 12th lvl. (I guess...haven't playtested that yet Cry )

+ Rogue SubClasses. Yes that's the way...no more useless endless Prestage Classes and countless books. Make 1 or 2 and well covered & editted. The rest Adventures, Gazetters and Lore

Dislikes:

- Weapons & AC . Why again God Mother Earth another edition where there is no point in wielding a Greataxe or a Greatsword...a warhammer or a pick....a dagger or a something....Nobody sees an opportunity to adjust a DR system to AC ??? What about the advantage/disadvantage rules ? Or the vulnerability/resistance rules ? 
Lets say Chainmail [S-disadvantage, B-advantage,P--] when rolling for damage (from attacker's view). Please let's contribute in an edition with more flavor to an important subject. The tools of combat!

- Weapon Mastery. I guess it's a bit powerful. Add weapon categories. Or split it in 3 feats. Weapon Focus (advantage attack), Weapon Specialty (advantage dmg), Weapon Mastery (previous+ ignore a disadvantage).

- Barbarian Tough Skin. Nice concept (reminds classic S&S naked Conan) but again it's unfair. Armour is armour...it should be somehow more protecting than skin no matter what...if something breaks skin...well you bleed...if a hit get's into a chink in armour...maybe your skin remained unbroken!

General:
Nice approach...let us all keep it that way and contribute anyway we can. There is a long way.


 


It suddenly occurs to me that I might be satisfied by dodge/shout if they forced a reroll of an attack, rather than added +AC. Maybe a roll of 4-6 on an expertise die indicates a reroll or something like that.




Nice points there.  My point of view regarding this ruleset is:

Likes:

+ Slower healing options
+ Classes ability adjustments
+ Dwarfs at last have Str +1 (Hill Subrace etc) 
+ Advantage/Disadvantage system
+ Skills system
+ Spells & DCs 
+ Combat Actions (I disagree making disarm, or knock down a basic combat action...at least not without a required Grapple first and a free reaction attack from opponent)

+ Basic Attack & Skill progression. At last adventures continue after 12th lvl. (I guess...haven't playtested that yet  )

+ Rogue SubClasses. Yes that's the way...no more useless endless Prestage Classes and countless books. Make 1 or 2 and well covered & editted. The rest Adventures, Gazetters and Lore
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Dislikes:

- Weapons & AC . Why again God Mother Earth another edition where there is no point in wielding a Greataxe or a Greatsword...a warhammer or a pick....a dagger or a something....Nobody sees an opportunity to adjust a DR system to AC ??? What about the advantage/disadvantage rules ? Or the vulnerability/resistance rules ? 
Lets say Chainmail [S-disadvantage, B-advantage,P--] when rolling for damage (from attacker's view). Please let's contribute in an edition with more flavor to an important subject. The tools of combat!

- Weapon Mastery. I guess it's a bit powerful. Add weapon categories. Or split it in 3 feats. Weapon Focus (advantage attack), Weapon Specialty (advantage dmg), Weapon Mastery (previous+ ignore a disadvantage).

- Barbarian Tough Skin. Nice concept (reminds classic S&S naked Conan) but again it's unfair. Armour is armour...it should be somehow more protecting than skin no matter what...if something breaks skin...well you bleed...if a hit get's into a chink in armour...maybe your skin remained unbroken!

General:
Nice approach...let us all keep it that way and contribute anyway we can. There is a long way.


 



I almost agree with you about what you like and mostly about what you dislike, but on one thing we are on the same wavelenght of thinking:

- Weapons vs AC!

as an old (very old truthfully) player, I have found the system used in OD&D very nice, when every suit of armor lent some advantages and some disadvantages against certain classes of weapons; to pick up your example; Chainmail (P - Advantage (chainmail was invented against archers afterall); B - Disadvantages (the blow of the heavy head have an edge in pushing the rings in the skin of the soldier causing a more Grievous Wound) S - _ (a sword, for instance, desn't have enough weight to push the rings, but can cut them))

With the new Advantage/Disadvantage system could be very simple add a more degree of realism in the sessions (obviously while keeping in mind that this is a game and the primary goal is to have fun), moreover that coul bring to some interesting decision made by players and DM alike with what armor choose for their Character and Villain. 
Yes the old AD&D aproach of  "to hit" bonus/penalty vs specific Armour was a detailed chart....but had a really major problem. All players and especially fighters if the circumstances allowed it and their pockets....where wearing 24 hours/day full plate armour. An clearly no one had any reason to hold a weapon other than a bludgeon one. The old system faced the issue in the "to hit" side...not in the "damage" nature of the problem. But the armours had already great differences from their ACs.

So if we had full plate (AC 18) and  the "to hit" adjustments against it where {P -3 , S -4, B  0}  and compared with Hide armour (AC 14) with "to hit" adjustment {S +1, P+2, B-2} , the choice of weapon against these 2 opponents would be 1 := bludgeoning. No reason to change from blade to mace or reverse against two such opponents, against plate vs Hide. But if those adjustments where properly adjusted on the "Damage" rolls, which is eventually what takes those hp away :P....well that would be a matter. Especially when weapons have different kind of damage.

Generaly low AC armour (11-12) ,becomes useless if it protects only 25-30% of the times (for rolls of 1-5, since most decent monsters have a +4-5 to hit). In the end AC & Weapons issue, ruins the flavour (I guess for me). I don't want every one of my fighters in glad plate...neither having a "weapon" from the 1st to the 20th lvl (changing only for skeletons, zombies and werewolves).  Or using a dagger only for cutting apples....and ropes!
When historically (and thus in reality) though the most secure way of killing a knight in full plate was a dagger in his eye...or into his armpit....but the 95% uses of Grapple feature, are to capture a goblin to..."speak", or stop something taking on you his full-attack with the  +5 poison,fire, longsword (and actually at this 3.5 was fine).  


Maybe the solution is somewhere between advantage/disadvantage in damage for weapons. Since the criticals where dissposed...there could be a stat Special in some weapons for example  War Pick , Special:  Advantage (Heavy) means the damage rolls against Heavy armour have advantage. Of course this needs proper dice damage consideration for every weapon and a proper thought....but I think it only has to add to flavour not to burden. 
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