Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about you and your history with D&D, what you're playing now, and anything else you want people to know about you?I fix computers for a living, and do programming and game design on the side. I play many games, but usually those that involve tactics or strategy. Often I'll enjoy playing with the meta as much as playing the game itself. Currently, I'm playing a lot of League of Legends.
As for D&D my first experience was a bad one. I was invited to play (3 or 3.5) by an acquaintance. So i went, spent 20 minutes rolling up a rogue and 20 more coming up with a story. After a few tunnels, we entered a room, where i rolled initiative, then promptly got a fireball to dead. I then spend the next 2 hours watching everyone else play. I didn't go back.
Several years later, when 4e came out, i decided to try again. So i found a group, played for a few months, then started my own. After DMing for a few years one of my players has taken over.
During that time, I've been pretty active on the Char-Op board, building quite a number of odd-ball builds, as well as finding the occasional infinite damage/health/distance combo. Many of which have been fixed.
What do you think of the D&D Next playtest so far?
Honestly, I think the first packet was a waste of my time. (Dis)advantage is nice. Small, clean numbers is nice. But only the wizard or cleric had any actual choices to make, and even then, it was pretty limited. And worse, you got penalized for teamwork or for thinking outside the box.
The second packet however, is vastly improved. Combat Dice is a great mechanic. And while fighter->prone->rogue->sneak attack is a simple combo, it actually rewards teamwork. I'm also glad to see encounter powers back, even though i didn't get to see the warlock in play. They make a lot of sense in narrative and add a lot of options in the meta.
And while it still needs a lot of work (you can still lose a character before he can act) the fact that WoTC is listening to feedback, and that it seems like Mearls really is trying to make it a game for all players is very encouraging and promising.
Mike recently talked about some changes they'd like to make to monster attacks and character healing/hit points. Is that something you're looking forward to? How would you like to see the monster damage/character survivability handled?
It defiantly needs adjusted. Right now a goblin will hit a wizard for about 10, and can take 1-2 hits. He's either unscathed, or nearly dead, with no in-between.
So I would have more hit points, and more hits all around. If you adjust the wizard to say be hit on about a 5, and take 3-4 hits, then he's ensured to last the first round while keeping the overall danger level and rounds of combat the same. This should apply to monsters as well. As winning initiative and blowing everything away on turn one with a burning hands isn't fun either.
This also lets status effects and teamwork have more play. Since there is little reason for a fighter to knock a goblin prone for the rogue to stab if you could just kill it out right.
You've mentioned the fighter and rogue a bit. Do you have a favorite class in the D&D Next playtest? Anything you'd like to change about some of those classes?
The fighter. Love the CS mechanic and how it plays.
I would like to have an extra maneuver or 2 to start with. So they have roughly the same number of options as the wizard.
I also feel the dice should reset at the end of your turn instead of the start. Which would give the fighter more a defender/tank quality.
Rogue's Skill Mastery needs a good look at. It can trivialize things a bit too much. I suggest just toning it down to 5. So they won't fail easy things, but still need to roll for moderate ones.
I've also got my eye on the warlock, though i love/hate the heavily baked in fluff. It really helps take you into the world of D&D, but at the same time it heavily limits your character. Adding a simple "You can reflavor race/class/spell/maneuver/ect... (with DM's approval)", while keeping a strong default can get you the best of both worlds.
In that vein, adding "you can make your own combination" to the fighter, rogue, cleric (maybe), class Z, and specialties would do alot of good as well. I know it was mentioned the intent of allowing you to take feats a-la-carte, but it's not in the rules yet. While the groupings are nice for those who want to build quickly, it's limiting for those who want to customize and tinker.
Speaking of having the ability to tinker, what do you think about the multiclass plans?
It's hard to say without seeing the full rules, but i think Mearls has mentioned the main sticking points. Front loading class features and scaling class features (spell slots).
I see three possible problems with, from what i understand, the current plan is (in order of importance).
- It seems like wizard 3/rogue3 might have worse spells then a rogue 3/wizard 3.
- It might be difficult to get a particular feature you want. Like if i wanted skill mastery for my cleric, but multi-class rogue gave me sneak attack. Or perhaps i wanted heavy armor for my rogue, but fighters gave combat dice.
- Having a separate multi-class level chart might add a lot of repeated content.
Overall i think it's on the right track, but it's something that's going to need at least a few iterations to get right.
Are there any classes or mechanics you're hoping to see from the playtest in the near future?
Warlords. The quintessential 4e character with its focus on tactics and a teamwork. There's also a lot of good roleplaying tropes that have been missing from previous editions of D&D. Like the classic Drill Sergent, Pirate Captain, Joan D'Arc, William Wallace, or Captain America. Or if you are evil you can treat your allies as minions, whipping them to fight harder.
I also had a pixie who did rude and obnoxious things in front of (or on) the enemies face, giving opening to her allies. Her name was Major Anne Oyance. (Like I said, I enjoy oddball builds).
After that I would like to see some pet/summoner class. There's a lot of things that can go wrong with those and it would be good to get the mechanics for that right sooner rather then later.
For races I may be in the minority, but I would like to see something that's distinctly not human. Anything like thri-kreen, shardmind, wilden, elemental, some hive-mind-swarm thing, mindflayer, beholder, or, of course, zombie. I have a lot of fun trying to roleplay from a completely different mindset.
I'm also looking forward to the tactics module. Though I imagine that would be down the road a good bit.
What do you think about the spellcasting system that Mike mentioned in this week's Legends & Lore? Do you like the idea of having multiple systems beyond the one presented in the class descriptions that DM's and players can opt in or out of for their campaigns?
He was rather vague about it, so I don't know. That said, I'm all for having more ways to play, and it doesn't seem too hard to figure out how many spell points a spell slot is worth, or what slot an 1/encounter burning hands would fit in. I know a lot of other people are happy about being able to play a wizard their way too.
I would like to see the multi-system idea expanded to other classes too. For instance, a rogue might skip gaining a d6 of sneak attack to learn how to make a 1/encounter snare trap or even a 1/day poison. It may not really work for all classes, (It's still hard to justify daily fighter powers, even as a 4e player) but don't discount it.
The more meaningful options in the game, the more people will be able to play what they want, and the more I can tinker. (Emphasis on meaningful).
Any parting words of advice for the D&D Next Team or your fellow playtesters?
Add a nice, clear "can tinker with specialties / classes / fluff / backgrounds / ect" clause. Bundles are convenient, and close fluff-mechanic tie-ins are immersive, but forcing someone to play something they don't want to is not fun.And don't be afraid to stumble or ask for help. If you have an idea, but don't think it would work, put it out there anyways and see what the crowd thinks.