First Playtest Feedback, Halfling Rogue

So I've recently been playing in a game with a Lightfoot Halfing Rogue. This is a list of my findings with the Race/Class and game mechanics as a whole.

Mechanics Findings:

Advantage/Disadvantage: As noted by many, the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic is very good, however the fact that any form of disadvantage cancels all forms of advantage and vice versa is rather irritating. On more than one occasion I have had multiple forms of advantage, and one form of disadvantage ruins my entire roll.

Saving Throws: I have had few occasions to make a saving throw, but currently the setup seems to work.

Hit Dice and hit points: I noticed that rolling for hit points still has that horrible chance of getting a 1, which is not only frustrating but can ruin a character with several bad rolls. I suggest an Advatage style mechanic. When rolling for HP at level up, roll twice and take the best result. This way, someone with a D6 only has a 1/36 chance of a 1, while a D12 has a 1/144, thus making higher Hit Dice very relevant.

Skills: The skills being assigned to a single ability score again feels badly implemented. If I make an attempt to Intimidate someone, why should I be forced to use Charisma when my Strength is higher and more appropriate?
The skills should also be more condensed. Why are Listen/Search/Spot not just Perception. I know it makes that a very strong skill, but it simplifies things. The same goes for Balance/Tumble and Climb/Jump/Swim. Making them one skill is something 4e got right. Other problems are redundant skills like Break an Object. Next Intuit Direction will be back. Do away with things that can be covered by other mechanics like attack/damage rolls.
The skill die is currently to spaced out. It should start at a D4 and have 4 increases at lvls 5,9,13 and 17 to still end at a D12. It may be a smaller bonus to start, but offers more option for people who want lots of skills and makes little difference to people who want a high skill dice.


Feats: I really like that some class features (like the rogues) are now feats. It removes the need for a Skill Monkey character, thus leaving party class choice broader for the average group. The addition of Bull Rush/Charge/Disarm feel forced though. These are mechanics that anyone should be able to do and having the feat just would make you better at them, similar to Dual Weapon Fighting.
The specialities seem a waste of text at the moment, but could be easily fixed with my next suggestion.
There are to few feats over the life of character. Ignoring the fact that feats stop after level 9, having only 4 feats over 10 levels isn't enough. However, offer to many feats and someone can become exceptionally good. The way to solve this is to have the specialities offer a set list of feats at levels 1,3,6 and 9 that cannot be altered. Then players can choose any feat they want at levels 2,5 and 7. This nearly doubles the number of feats, but over half of them are pre determined by the Speciality.


Race: Halflings


The change that now gives races two Ability Score increases is very welcome. It brings the other races more in line with humans, as your ability scores are the core to defining what a character can do.


The change to Lucky was a bit disappointing, but I also disliked its previous incarnation. I would prefer a simple reroll, that recharges after a short rest. Similar to a 4e encounter power, it would give the chance to fix a very bad roll, but luck is only on your side so much.


The loss of Halfing weapon bonuses is something I really miss. I like the thematic feel of using a short sword and sling because it fits the race better. But now there is no mechanical reason to use them instead of a Rapier and Short Bow. Racial weapon bonuses should help make weak weapons viable for certain races without being stronger than other options available.


The additional languages is also welcome. Having a high Intelligence character have multiple languages makes sense, the only problem is I could see a list of available languages. i may have just missed it.


Everything else about the Halfling I like.


Class: Rogue


I know the Rogue is currently in transition, but It has many flaws that need addressing.


First is the loss of Skill Mastery. The ability to roll your Skill Die twice wasn't much of a bonus, but did give a Rogue an edge as far as an Expert style of character goes. If a fighter and a Rogue both have the Disarm Traps feat, the rogue is still slightly better because he can roll twice on the skill die. This is a small bonus, but its loss really hurts my view of the rogue as a skillful class.


I'm glad to see skill tricks gone. Most only weakened your skill attempts by wasting your skill die on strange gimmicks. Having some appear as feats is something that makes perfect sense and works well.


Sneak Attack, now this has been debated a lot, and I have to agree that I currently don't like it. At levels 1 and 2 it actually lowers your damage per round, and only starts getting useful at 2D6+. Then at higher levels it gets far to strong. Adding +10D8 to damage is a heck of a lot of damage. I would personally change it to only work on Advantage, but doesn't provide disadvantage. It would start at 1D6 and increase 1D6 every four levels (5,9,13,17) and then increase to D8's as a class capstone. So at lvl 20 you do 5D8 extra damage.


Backstab/Isolated Strike are excellent mechanics, offering a chance for advantage on around 50% of attacks. I highly support this class feature.


Bonus feats from rogue schemes seem to be to few. They are replacing class features that were lost to feats, but failing to meet my expectations. If the number of feats over the life of a character are increased (see my earlier point on feats, then this isn't such a problem, but If not, more need to be available. Maybe you could get 3 feats from your Scheme and gain bonus Expert feats as you level.


The extra skills are very welcome, rogues should have more skills than other classes, but maybe a third skill to really help them fill the Expert role would be slightly better.


(X) Mastery, an extra D6 to certain skills is also welcome and helps fulfil the Expert roll nicely.


Distract seems to be a waste of time that will only be used when receiving a very large damage roll. Giving up your Reaction AND your next Action is to costly. Just make it a Reaction to half one damage roll and you still get to keep your next action. Rogues already have the lowest Hit Dice so offering a good defensive option isn't to bad and doesn't stop a Rogue getting pounded on when surrounded as they can only apply it to one attack.


I have currently only reached lvl 2 so I have yet to test other mechanics.


Summary


The rules are shaping up nicely, but certain things really need attention. Skill and feats I would say need the most work. I think its time to drop the idea that feats are optional. Several of the classes important features are now covered by feats (rogue abilities) and so are many basic combat abilities (Bull Rush/Charge). Feats are now a requirement so still having them as optional is nonsense. Skills still have to many to choose and many ridiculous ones. Condense them down and cut out the nonsense (Break an Object)


I look forward to the next playtest and will provide another review when I have chance.

Interesting/useful feedback.  Good insights.

Totally agree about the hit points...sucks to roll a 1.

I also think we need more feats, more often.  There isn't enough reward to leveling as it stands. 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
Racial weapon bonuses should help make weak weapons viable for certain races without being stronger than other options available.



I like pretty much your whole review, but you are the first person I have seen mention this, and I think it warrants attention.
To read about my playtest sessions click here: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/29995793/?sdb=1&pg=last#533677003


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Yeah, my current group is using the roll twice for hp method because 3 of us rolled a 1 at lvl 2.

The weapon familiarity thing was something is saw by another tester on the forums, and it makes perfect sense. Why would a rogue use a short sword while the rapier is available? He wouldn't, but if halflings get a damage bonus they may.

Similar thing for dwarves. They should give hammers/axes the versatile property and increase damage when held in two hands. That way it makes sense for that race to use it, but in no way overshadows the other options.

Feats: I really like that some class features (like the rogues) are now feats. It removes the need for a Skill Monkey character, thus leaving party class choice broader for the average group. The addition of Bull Rush/Charge/Disarm feel forced though. These are mechanics that anyone should be able to do and having the feat just would make you better at them, similar to Dual Weapon Fighting.



Isen't this the case ?
As a improvised action you can still try to trip or disarm but this would be instead of a attack.
The advantage of having the feat is that you can make a attack that deals damage and trip/disarm in the same turn. 
Yeah, my current group is using the roll twice for hp method because 3 of us rolled a 1 at lvl 2. The weapon familiarity thing was something is saw by another tester on the forums, and it makes perfect sense. Why would a rogue use a short sword while the rapier is available? He wouldn't, but if halflings get a damage bonus they may. Similar thing for dwarves. They should give hammers/axes the versatile property and increase damage when held in two hands. That way it makes sense for that race to use it, but in no way overshadows the other options.



This subject deserves a thread of its own, but I'm also concerned about some weapons being clearly superior to others.  There should be advantages/disadvantages for all choices.  For example, maybe the Short Sword could be piercing OR slashing damage, which would give it an advantage over Rapier in some situations.  And/or the rapier can't be used to Disarm.

It would require a bunch of special rules for the different weapons, which is not optimal, but the result would be more interesting weapon choices.


"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
I'm playing A 14 year old kid with 2 weapon fighting and two broken pool cues / clubs ... I do d4 damage with each weapon. I could have looked at the rapiers d8 damage and min maxed my guy but I din't because my 14 year old kid with sticks is fun to play. What you are talking about is sort of min maxing the game, lets make halflings be able to do d8 damage with short swords so they do as much damage as a rapier. I'm assuming the rapier does d8 damage I didn't actually even look at the weapons list I just dreamed up my little fighter and built a backstory. The DM fiddled about with the numbers because I'm thinking it's more fun to play a role playing game and play a role than to play 4th edition again with wombo combo push pull parties that frost cheese encounters.
I'm playing A 14 year old kid with 2 weapon fighting and two broken pool cues / clubs ... I do d4 damage with each weapon. I could have looked at the rapiers d8 damage and min maxed my guy but I din't because my 14 year old kid with sticks is fun to play. What you are talking about is sort of min maxing the game, lets make halflings be able to do d8 damage with short swords so they do as much damage as a rapier. I'm assuming the rapier does d8 damage I didn't actually even look at the weapons list I just dreamed up my little fighter and built a backstory. The DM fiddled about with the numbers because I'm thinking it's more fun to play a role playing game and play a role than to play 4th edition again with wombo combo push pull parties that frost cheese encounters.



Good for you, but how you play is not nessasarily how I play, or anyone else for that matter. I like roleplay, but I don't want to mechanically gimp my character in a game that is partially a combat simulator, I'd rather fit  my concept around the mechanics. When it comes to combat I want to do well, so I choose equipment that helps with that. 
There's an option in the book for non-rolled hit points. All of the classes have the line "Hit Points: 1dX (or Y) + your Constitution modifier per level gained", and it's always better to take Y instead of rolling.
There's an option in the book for non-rolled hit points. All of the classes have the line "Hit Points: 1dX (or Y) + your Constitution modifier per level gained", and it's always better to take Y instead of rolling.



I agree with you Fimbria, but in my group we have taken another option too: we have scaled the dice for HP...I explain

character who rolls

d4 --> Take every result
d6 --> reroll 1
d8 --> reroll 1 and 2
d10 -> reroll 1 and 2 and 3
d12 -> reroll 1 and 2 and 3 and 4

so, in my group, we dont have anymore the Wizard with more HP than the Barbarian due to extraordinary luck by the first and misfortune by the latter:D


Yes, you are talking about min maxing your damage, it is one way to play. My gaming group doesn't do a lot of "combat similator," repeating the same actions to resolve every conflict gets old fast. I run up to the nearest bad guy and roll to hit, roll damage ... repeat all night. I'm not trying to be persnickity it just seems the pervailing winds in these forums is the power gaming viewpoint, and one of the things disliked in 4e. I see very few threads on anything other than combat tweaks.

rest assured, eventually elves will have a bonus with long swords and bows, and halflings will probably have something as well, I can't remember an edition that didn't have racial bonuses on some weapons.
Yes, it is a form of Min/Max, but it is simply a fact that balancing combat and weapons a bit will in no way effect your game play style, but not doing it will effect mine. Therefore it is clearly something that should be addressed.

Im not looking for 4e levels of balance, but simply making all weapons viable (even if only in niche situations) isn't asking much, otherwise the weapons list may as well be

Sword Finessable, 1d4, 1d6 or 1d8 damage
Sword 1-handed, 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10 damage
Sword 2-Handed, 1d10 or 1d12 damage   

and you just pick whatever you like.  

Hit Dice and hit points: I noticed that rolling for hit points still has that horrible chance of getting a 1, which is not only frustrating but can ruin a character with several bad rolls.




In effect this is answered under the class section? It gives a HD die to roll i.e. d8, d10 etc and has an averaged number you can select without rolling?  e.g 6 (1d10)