Two and a Half Druids (Three Wood Elves)

Where last time we had two Rangers and a Druid, this time was two Druids and a Ranger. Naturally, they all chose to be wood elves. In my playtesting experience, for every dwarf or halfling or human present, there have been three or more wood elves (I believe we've had one high elf). I should also mention that every one of them took Spot and Listen (with advantage on them already it's too good of a combination to not take them as trained skills...I think gaining training in the skills was better than the advantage, that left room to train in two more skills), and I'm pretty sure most of them also have Handle Animal and Nature Lore. For their characters, what sense would it make to train in anything different? I can't blame them for roleplaying well, but it became an extremely specialized party.

I tried out the new exploration rules. It was new to me, so I didn't get to do a lot with it. I think it's a really neat idea and has a lot of potential. The DCs need work, though. Well, maybe it was my trio of wood elves trained in Spot and Listen with advantage every time, so forget about failing either of those checks. Even if only one of them made the check somehow, if it was the Ranger his favored enemy benefit would automatically prevent the others from being surprised. Still, I think the DCs for preparedness are too low, even for an average perceiver.

I really liked the rules for traveling in the wilderness. I used a program called Hexographer to randomly generate a terrain in hex grid. I've never worked with a hex grid before, though I've long been curious about it. Now I want to try it even as a normal battle grid. Tracking movement was very simple without having to count diagonals differently. The exploration rules are a great idea that I need to try out more in the future when I have a better grasp on them.

For the battles in this session I didn't use a grid, I ran it "TOTM", which 5th edition is pretty good for.

Got a lot of the same old comments. During a battle with carnivorous monkeys, the Ranger was pushed down and ganged up on, then I had to explain that the ravenous fiends stood back and allowed him to stand up, ready his bow, draw and fire on them at point blank without the slightest objection. But he lost five feet of movement that round!

Some rules need clarification. During a fight with giant frogs, the entire party was grappled in the crushing jaws of the amphibians. I could not figure out whether you can cast a spell while being grappled. I allowed it with a concentration check, which was the reason the party wasn't killed today, as the Ranger was able to Cure Wounds one of the Druids, and the other Druid used Thunderwave to throw the frog off the ship and kill it. It's kind of insane that the frogs automatically succeed a grapple when their attack hits. The target should get a Strength or Dex check to resist the grapple as normal; a free grapple attempt is a good enough benefit already.

Once when the Oak Circle Druid escaped the grapple, she thought it might be a good idea to turn into a rat to try and scurry off avoiding opportunity attacks by virtue of being so small. However, the rat's armor class is only 11. Its Dexterity is a +3, how can it have 11, even with no other factors involved? We think the game really needs a universal size modifier to AC, because it just makes sense. It's harder to hit something smaller than you, and easier to hit something bigger than you. Don't believe me? Set a cockroach and an elephant next to each other, and try to hit each one with a hammer. Now, the elephant will strike back on its turn, killing you if it hits, but it'll certainly have a slightly harder time hitting you than it would another elephant. If you had two elephants, you could demostrate this. Put one of your elephants against a blue whale, though, and you'll see a similar effect to the balance between human and elephant, assuming you can teach the elephant to swim. In any case, the elephant has virtually no chance of hitting the cockroach.

With two Druids in the party, we got a solid test of the hydrogen bomb Faerie Fire. I was under the impression that this cantrip only affected one target, and I thought it was overpowered already, then I learn that it hits a 5 foot radius sphere. This unlimited use cantrip automatically grants advantage to all creatures attacking the target, with no saving throw, no concentration requirement, no limit on the number of targets that can be affected at once, and now I learn it can hit several at the same time. For a character without a Druid ally to gain advantage, they would have to go to a lot of trouble (opposed Str check, sneaking up on them, generally some kind of die roll with a reasonable chance of failure, you know?). With Faerie Fire, why go to the trouble? At least they haven't figured out the Druid/Rogue combination to automatically win any game yet. If it just allowed a saving throw, I'd be fine with it. Either that, or make it a 1st level spell, or even limit it to one target at a time and keep it the way it is, reduce any single aspect of the spell and it would be okay.

With all this advantage, the game became another crit-fest, since they don't need to be confirmed and advantage gives you double the chance of rolling one. 3E's confirmation roll completely fixes this problem, and I'll use that rule whether the devs add it or not when the game is actually out. I don't see how anyone finds this to be a good system, though, with a single lucky roll able to completely turn around a battle.

More consensus was made against the skill system. We have another complaint to add to the mountain, though: we need a Speak Language skill that can be used to learn a new language with a skill increase instead of gaining a new skill. It's great that they finally added the Int modifier bonus languages rule that every playtester was already using, but there should aso be an alternative method of learning languages. I mean, I can learn a language, and I certainly can't learn to cast Fireball, so there's no reason my character shouldn't be able to learn a language. How am I supposed to represent one of the Druids learning Sylvan because the other two party members are teaching it to her? (I know I can just cheat, but I'd rather have a rule for it.) The system also really needs more skill increases than three starting all the way at level 7. It does not present any sense of growth in a character's knowledge and skill outside of combat.

A side note, they reached Level 2. It's a pretty dead level now that there's no skill increase. Every previous playtest packet had a skill increase of some kind at 2nd level. The Druids got nothing but a hit die and a spell slot. Just a pretty boring level up.

Got a lot of the same old comments. During a battle with carnivorous monkeys, the Ranger was pushed down and ganged up on, then I had to explain that the ravenous fiends stood back and allowed him to stand up, ready his bow, draw and fire on them at point blank without the slightest objection. But he lost five feet of movement that round!

Some rules need clarification. During a fight with giant frogs, the entire party was grappled in the crushing jaws of the amphibians. I could not figure out whether you can cast a spell while being grappled. I allowed it with a concentration check, which was the reason the party wasn't killed today, as the Ranger was able to Cure Wounds one of the Druids, and the other Druid used Thunderwave to throw the frog off the ship and kill it. It's kind of insane that the frogs automatically succeed a grapple when their attack hits. The target should get a Strength or Dex check to resist the grapple as normal; a free grapple attempt is a good enough benefit already.

Once when the Oak Circle Druid escaped the grapple, she thought it might be a good idea to turn into a rat to try and scurry off avoiding opportunity attacks by virtue of being so small. However, the rat's armor class is only 11. Its Dexterity is a +3, how can it have 11, even with no other factors involved? We think the game really needs a universal size modifier to AC, because it just makes sense. It's harder to hit something smaller than you, and easier to hit something bigger than you. Don't believe me? Set a cockroach and an elephant next to each other, and try to hit each one with a hammer. Now, the elephant will strike back on its turn, killing you if it hits, but it'll certainly have a slightly harder time hitting you than it would another elephant. If you had two elephants, you could demostrate this. Put one of your elephants against a blue whale, though, and you'll see a similar effect to the balance between human and elephant, assuming you can teach the elephant to swim. In any case, the elephant has virtually no chance of hitting the cockroach.

With two Druids in the party, we got a solid test of the hydrogen bomb Faerie Fire. I was under the impression that this cantrip only affected one target, and I thought it was overpowered already, then I learn that it hits a 5 foot radius sphere. This unlimited use cantrip automatically grants advantage to all creatures attacking the target, with no saving throw, no concentration requirement, no limit on the number of targets that can be affected at once, and now I learn it can hit several at the same time. For a character without a Druid ally to gain advantage, they would have to go to a lot of trouble (opposed Str check, sneaking up on them, generally some kind of die roll with a reasonable chance of failure, you know?). With Faerie Fire, why go to the trouble? At least they haven't figured out the Druid/Rogue combination to automatically win any game yet. If it just allowed a saving throw, I'd be fine with it. Either that, or make it a 1st level spell, or even limit it to one target at a time and keep it the way it is, reduce any single aspect of the spell and it would be okay.

With all this advantage, the game became another crit-fest, since they don't need to be confirmed and advantage gives you double the chance of rolling one. 3E's confirmation roll completely fixes this problem, and I'll use that rule whether the devs add it or not when the game is actually out. I don't see how anyone finds this to be a good system, though, with a single lucky roll able to completely turn around a battle.


Couple of things I see here. 

The monkeys pulled the ranger down, then celebrated. Their intelligence is 4. Just make up something. Or, if your characters think it's too easy, then give all the monkeys an attack of opportunity against the ranger. Once he dies he can complain about that instead.


As for the giant frog attack, it makes sense. It's not hitting them with a sword--it is literally swallowing all/part of the character. A successful attack is a huge bite, and the frog doesn't let go. See the rule for small creatures? They could swallow whole a halfling, who then takes acid damage.

As for creature size, I think you are right, they should take that into account, but they take it into account on hits, not defense. That's why rats gets a +4 to hit even though their strength bonus is -2.

Faerie Fire deals no damage; advantage is handy, and they may rethink the spell. But advantage isn't necessarily damage.
As for creature size, I think you are right, they should take that into account, but they take it into account on hits, not defense. That's why rats gets a +4 to hit even though their strength bonus is -2.

Faerie Fire deals no damage; advantage is handy, and they may rethink the spell. But advantage isn't necessarily damage.



Monster attack bonuses don't make any sense right now. It sometimes looks like they do, but then you find a place where they don't add up at all. The orcs, for instance: the regular orc has a +5 to hit with a Strength of +2, while the orc chieftain has a +3 Strength, but still a +5 to hit. That would imply that the orc leader is a worse fighter than its followers. Right now, practically all of the low level monsters have a +4 or +5 to hit for almost no reason.

And I know Faerie Fire doesn't cause any damage, but it's automatic advantage for the entire party on an area, unlimited use, no save, no concentration. I think that's too much. A Rogue or a Barbarian has to go to some effort or suffer a drawback to gain advantage just for himself, a Druid can go around granting the whole party advantage on every enemy in a few rounds. So I'm not comparing it to damaging spells so much as other advantage-gaining methods.

Faerie Fire is a good classic spell it used to just give a +2 to hit butthe big benefit is that itoutlines invisible cratures and prevents hiding. Thecurrent version has too short a durration and small an area to be much good and advantage comes up so often already it doesnt seem like a big deal
a 5'radius is nothing twoguys standing next to eachtoher mabye if your lucky.
You all keep telling me it's no big deal but still it's broken so many combats for me. A big part of it is that it gives you double the chance for a critical, and there's no roll to confirm.
Our group has  no problem  with advantage /disadvantages.  We been playing dndnext  since last Summer.  I think  it is a matter of perception.  Our group precieves no problem  with  advantage.  Your group does precieves  a problem with  advantage. So I vote yo keep the adv/ disadvantages  Mechanic. 
castinga spellto grant an ally advantage is no big deal becaue they will already have advantage six different ways anyway
Sign In to post comments