You've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever D&D Next questions you're asking.
There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.
How does the trigger of "when you take an action" compare to minor actions from 4th Edition or swift/immediate actions from 3.5?
Obviously, in practical use they are very similar. However, combined actions (that is, an action that you only take as a part of a separate action) do their job without needing an additional action inserted into every player’s turn every round. You may remember from last week’s D&D Next Q&A, I mentioned that speed of a player’s turn is a big concern, and the minor action or swift action gives the player one extra thing to think about every round.
Unlike minor or swift actions, actions that you take as a part of another action are also intended to be things that you don’t do every round. These things don’t come into play on every round of combat, or indeed in every fight, as they are supposed to be either quite situational or, in some cases, require you to spend a non-renewable resource. Plus, as designers, using the combined actions tech forces us to be very cognizant of exactly what kind of effort it takes to resolve the action we’re creating, since these actions often occur in the same turn as attacks, casting spells, etc.
One thing we hope to continue refining is the frequency and complexity of these combined actions. Our goal is for these things to be exceptions, not an every-turn event, and thus not necessitate a whole other action type.
What strategies does the design have in place for mitigating (or preventing) power creep?
That’s a complex issue, so I’ll give you the best answer I can right now. One thing that the advantage/disadvantage system does for us is that it nicely sweeps up a lot of the numerical modifiers that would normally creep into the game, so that’s one piece of game tech that has long-reaching repercussions. We’re also working on some tech to help keep spell effects from overlapping too much, requiring the spellcaster to concentrate on the effect they are trying to maintain (similar to the sustain rules from 4th Edition, but without requiring you to spend your action on it). Likewise, much of our design is for lateral expansion, not depth of power expansion; in other words, as a general rule, we want to provide you with more options, not things to make you more powerful. Feats, for example, usually open up new actions and allow you to make new choices, though there are some exceptions to that (like the Survivor’s feats) that we are working on.
Lastly, part of making sure that the game stays close to its intended power levels involves better playtesting, which we’ve started now and hope to continue far into the future.
Will certain creatures have immunity to certain conditions (oozes being immune to the prone condition for example) or will that level of detail be left up to the DM?
Yes, and we’re working on ways to make them big and obvious. We don’t want to bury immunities inside other rules, like creature type. If a creature has some immunity (whether to a condition, or a damage type, or something else) then it’s likely to be expressed in a trait. To use your example above, we might give the ooze the “Formless” trait that says, “This creature cannot be knocked prone.” That way we make sure the DM is fully aware of this trait right up front, and also can reuse this trait across many different monsters. That way, the DM (and players) learn that formless creatures cannot be knocked prone, and that says something both about the game mechanics and about the world.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?
Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to email@example.com. So, if you’d like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!