Cunning Action and Action Surge...Do they work? Yes!!!

My group had another playtest session last night. I used some of the Alpha rules hinted at from the D&D Live Playtest.

The Party:


  • Human Fighter (Sword + Shield)

  • Half-Yeti Barbarian (Greatsword, reflavored Half-Orc)

  • Human Rogue (Trickster, Hand Pistol as reflavored Hand Xbow)

  • Halfling Monk (using the rules from the previous packet plus some homebrew)



Cunning Action (Rogue)
Grade: A-  (good, but needs a small tweak)
The Rogue player absolutely loved this. He plays a Dex/Cha based Trickster Rogue with a Silver Tongue and Deadly Aim (with his pistol, a re-flavored hand xbow). So for his character, I gave his Cunning Action the following options:


  • Hide

  • Move

  • Taunt

  • Use an Item

  • Deceive* (new ability, see below)


The Rogue had a fantastic time playing with his new toys. Over the course of the adventure he used every single one of his Cunning Action options. He did admit that being able to make an extra Move or a Hide attempt every round was a little OP. As the DM, I agreed with him. I think it would be better to change the Move option to the Disengage option (move half your speed, no Opportunity attacks). I think that makes more thematic sense anyway.


I also wrote up a new Rogue ability called Deceive.



  • Deceive: [action] You confuse, bluff, and fast talk your enemy in circles and your poisonous words leave him flummoxed. Choose a creature within 25-ft of you and contest your Charisma against its Intelligence. If you succeed, the creature grants Advantage to the next attack made against it. You attack cannot come from you. The ability automatically fails against mindless creatures and creatures immune to charm.


This ability worked really well in play. The point is that the Trickster Rogue distracts and confuses a target, giving his ally Advantage. This really encouraged teamwork within the party, without slowing down the game. And since the Rogue can't use this to give himself Advantage, it prevents the Rogue from playing selfishly. Please feel free to use this homebrewed ability in your games.


Action Surge (Fighter)
Grade: A+
The Fighter player absolutely loved this ability! When he used Action Surge, it usually turned the tide of combat. In one scene the players stumbled into a room of demons and lost initiative. The demons charged and the party was surrounded. The Rogue and the Barbarian took some heavy damage. The Fighter was the first of the party to act. He used Whirlwind + Action Surge to make another Whirlwind. Four attacks later, the party was no longer surrounded! The Fighter felt like he really saved the day.

As the DM, I really like how this boosts the Fighter. It definitely makes him a more frightening combatant. I think it goes a long way to bridging the martial vs magic power gap. As it requires a Rest to re-fresh, it can't be spammed in back-to-back combats. All in all, I think it made a very fine addition to the Fighter's kit. The Fighter CAN have nice things!


Roll with the Blow (Rogue)
Grade: A
The Rogue also tried out this ability. As a [Reaction], the Rogue can halve the damage from one melee attack. This ability worked out very nice in play. The Rogue is primarily a ranged combatant and almost never goes into melee. But with this new ability I saw him go into melee several times. Having an ability to help mitigate damage, he felt safer standing up next to the Fighter and the Barbarian along the front lines of combat. When the Rogue used Roll with the Blow, it didn't change the tide of combat much, but it did help him survive.

From my DM perspective, I think it really helps reinforce the tricky nature of Rogues. They're slippery targets, dashing in and out, stabbing when they see an opportunity. If they do get hit by the enemy, they're able to dodge part of the attack. This also has implications for things like traps that make melee attack rolls. Excellent Rogue ability!

Second Wind (Fighter)
Grade: ??
The Fighter also had this new ability but he never got a chance to use it. I guess that's a good thing!
(Second Wind: 1/day you can use your [Action] to regain half of your maximum HP.)

Summary:
I was very excited about the new Rogue and Fighter abilities we saw in the D&D Livestream Playtest. After trying them out last night in my own playtest game, I can say that I am very impressed. Both classes are getting some amazing buffs. If this is any indication of how the next playtest packet (August???) is going to be, then I can't wait to see what else they have in store!!!

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I agree with you Ramzour. What I like most is that now it seems as if each class is really getting mechanics that make them feel special, and it seems as if WoTC is starting to balance it all out.

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I agree with you Ramzour. What I like most is that now it seems as if each class is really getting mechanics that make them feel special, and it seems as if WoTC is starting to balance it all out.

Thanks! Yeah, things are definitely starting to come together. I expect the next packet will be pretty awesome.

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Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

I agree with you Ramzour. What I like most is that now it seems as if each class is really getting mechanics that make them feel special, and it seems as if WoTC is starting to balance it all out.

Thanks! Yeah, things are definitely starting to come together. I expect the next packet will be pretty awesome.




Yes, giving every class having its own shtick and removing bonus class feats will help (which they are).
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Action Surge (Fighter)
Grade: A+
As the DM, I really like how this boosts the Fighter. It definitely makes him a more frightening combatant. I think it goes a long way to bridging the martial vs magic power gap. As it requires a Rest to re-fresh, it can't be spammed in back-to-back combats. All in all, I think it made a very fine addition to the Fighter's kit. The Fighter CAN have nice things!



It's one additional action. Once per day. This does not even begin to compare to what magic-users get to do multiple times per day. And they get it at level 11. Do you know what a Wizard can do once per day at level 11? Disintegrate. Flesh to Stone. Chain Lightning. Heck, Mass Suggestion. A single extra action does not compare to that.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Action Surge (Fighter)
Grade: A+
As the DM, I really like how this boosts the Fighter. It definitely makes him a more frightening combatant. I think it goes a long way to bridging the martial vs magic power gap. As it requires a Rest to re-fresh, it can't be spammed in back-to-back combats. All in all, I think it made a very fine addition to the Fighter's kit. The Fighter CAN have nice things!


It's one additional action. Once per day. This does not even begin to compare to what magic-users get to do multiple times per day. And they get it at level 11. Do you know what a Wizard can do once per day at level 11? Disintegrate. Flesh to Stone. Chain Lightning. Heck, Mass Suggestion. A single extra action does not compare to that.



First off, I'm sure that it's once per short rest. Secondly if you want the wizard and the fighter to do the same number of things the same times per day, go play 4e. Thirdly, two attacks from wellspeced fighter is going to drop your wizard in one turn.

I think these new abilities are deffinately a step in the right direction. They're like a martial version of paladin spells, small bonuses to supplement your already kick butt fighting ability.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
First off, I'm sure that it's once per short rest.


This would be incorrect. In fact, if it was once per short rest, I imagine that Rustmonster would like the ability a lot better (although that still doesn't make it an especially exciting ability, but sometimes a good utilitarian ability that is generally always going to useful is not a bad thing to have).

Secondly if you want the wizard and the fighter to do the same number of things the same times per day, go play 4e.


This point is something you made completely on your own. Rustmonster mentioned nothing about 4e or about the frequency of how often those two classes did things on the same day, just that at level 11, the Fighter can do Combat Surge once per day, while the Wizard a sixth level spell once per day and the effects of that spell are far more powerful (and maybe interesting) in Rustmonster's mind. This does not really need to pull in any other at-will / daily resource stuff other than Combat Surge vs. a level six spell.

Thirdly, two attacks from wellspeced fighter is going to drop your wizard in one turn.


PC vs PC fighting each other is a strange way to compare or build classes. No one before you had done that, certainly not Rustmonster.

They're like a martial version of paladin spells, small bonuses to supplement your already kick butt fighting ability.


Now that's not a terrible way to look at the ability and I could easily see a Paladin spell (or equivalent) that said "take an extra action". However, it is a shame that you cannot combine it with Deadly Strike, although the synergy with your expertise dice might compensate for that if you can boost your damage.
1) Watch the livestream game starting at 1:42:00 the fighter debates using his action surge that was replenteshed at the short rest. You are correct about the current packet, but the OP was talking about taking things out of the livestream game.

2) You were talking about how magic users were allowed to do so many more things per day which I took to mean you wanted a fighter to do the same number of things. Obviously I misunderstood and I'm sorry for that.

3) I'm not basing balance class vs class I'm saying that while the wizard can do super cool things he's also defensively weak and will get easily killed if he gets into a fight.

4) That's how I look at all martial abilities. Whether the abilities come from a god, ki focus, or just fighterness they all do the same thing augment a martial class beyond the base abilities they all share.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
1) Watch the livestream game starting at 1:42:00 the fighter debates using his action surge that was replenteshed at the short rest. You are correct about the current packet, but the OP was talking about taking things out of the livestream game.


Alright then.

2) You were talking about how magic users were allowed to do so many more things per day which I took to mean you wanted a fighter to do the same number of things. Obviously I misunderstood and I'm sorry for that.


Rustmonster was the original poster that you were quoting, but wrong assumptions can work both ways, such as me when I thought you were talking about the Combat Surge from the packet instead of the live stream.

3) I'm not basing balance class vs class I'm saying that while the wizard can do super cool things he's also defensively weak and will get easily killed if he gets into a fight.


The game is not trying to be a solo game, so the idea that the wizard is "defensively weak" because he seems like he could be easily defeated if whe was out all by himself doesn't seem like a valid point. Also, the survivability of a wizard can vary greatly depending on spell use (Stone Skin) and even race (like the Mountain Dwarf wearing armor and with a decent Con score).
Action Surge (Fighter)
Grade: A+
As the DM, I really like how this boosts the Fighter. It definitely makes him a more frightening combatant. I think it goes a long way to bridging the martial vs magic power gap. As it requires a Rest to re-fresh, it can't be spammed in back-to-back combats. All in all, I think it made a very fine addition to the Fighter's kit. The Fighter CAN have nice things!



It's one additional action. Once per day. This does not even begin to compare to what magic-users get to do multiple times per day. And they get it at level 11. Do you know what a Wizard can do once per day at level 11? Disintegrate. Flesh to Stone. Chain Lightning. Heck, Mass Suggestion. A single extra action does not compare to that.

In the current packet you are correct. However, I was NOT talking about the current Fighter. I'm talking about the new rules they mentioned in the Livestream game that will probably be out in the next packet. I mention this in the first and last paragraph of my post. These abilities (including Cunning Action) as also listed in the current playtest packet in the Against the Slavelords Beastiary.

So although we have not yet seen the official rules in print, the Fighter gets Action Surge by at least 5th level (maybe earlier). It refreshes on a Short Rest. So yeah, it's more awesome than you think.

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Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Just look at the A1 bestiary. There you can see most of the abilities written down. Although the rogue cunning action seems to introduce a new kind of action: "rush".

Action surge, second wind, flurry of blows... all written down. Roll with the blow is also written out. It is nearly identical to distract, but does not cost you your action in the following turn.

edit: oops, ninjad
Just look at the A1 bestiary. There you can see most of the abilities written down. Although the rogue cunning action seems to introduce a new kind of action: "rush".

Action surge, second wind, flurry of blows... all written down. Roll with the blow is also written out. It is nearly identical to distract, but does not cost you your action in the following turn.

edit: oops, ninjad

I'm guessing that "Rush" is "Hustle"....meaning you use your [Action] to make another move. That's my guess anyway.

Like I said in the OP, though, I think having another whole move might be a little too much. I suggest using Disengage instead (half move + no opportunity attacks). Guess we'll have to wait for the new packet to see what they have in mind though.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 


Jul 15, 2013 -- 6:54AM, UngeheuerLich wrote:

Just look at the A1 bestiary. There you can see most of the abilities written down. Although the rogue cunning action seems to introduce a new kind of action: "rush".

Action surge, second wind, flurry of blows... all written down. Roll with the blow is also written out. It is nearly identical to distract, but does not cost you your action in the following turn.

edit: oops, ninjad


I'm guessing that "Rush" is "Hustle"....meaning you use your [Action] to make another move. That's my guess anyway.

Like I said in the OP, though, I think having another whole move might be a little too much. I suggest using Disengage instead (half move + no opportunity attacks). Guess we'll have to wait for the new packet to see what they have in mind though.


True.

One of my concerns prior to this information has been that combats tend to be very static. Generally, in my games I don't see a lot of moving around once PCs/monsters are locked down and engaged. I love how Cunning Action adds mobility to the rogue. I'm looking forward to seeing more interesting stuff like that for classes and for monsters.

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog