@Ashtoret That is Deadly Strike, not Weapon Mastery.
Lord_Kyrion, Read it again:
"Benefit: Once per turn,when you roll damage for an attack, you can roll the weapon’s damage dice twice and add the rolls together. At higher levels, you can roll the damage even more times: three times starting at 10th level, four times starting at 15th level,and five times at 20th level."
They clearly state the you roll extra damage dice once per turn, effectively causing your attacks to cause 2[W] at 5th level, 3[w] at 10th, and so on. Please note that the extra damage is applicable only once per turn, so if you hit with an extra attack because you were, say, under the effect of the "Haste" spell, or you hit someone with an opportunity attack after applying the extra damage for the round, you would only hit for 1[W].
After my first run through, here are my thoughts:
First, the good:
-) The 'package' system works great.
I really like how it allows simplicity without denying complexity. You can choose to be a hedge wizard, OR, you can choose your own feats. Everyone gets what they want.
-)Suggested character combination is great.
I liked how for the fighter it gave you a few options to mash together the various class options, backgrounds & specialities to give different flavours of the same class. I'd love for all the classes to list 2 or 3 options so as a reader you can get a sense of the breadth of the class without having to read every option yourself.
The flow works well, and each player finished their turn quickly doing something that they wanted to do. The combat was over before the players' focus was gone, which was great. See thoughts on the dice below.
-) Fair distribution of stats in skills
I like how strength & constitution appear more frequently in the skill lists now. I'm not too keen for the list itself, but that's addressed below.
-) Roleplaying encouraged
The lack of combat options encourages the player to spend more time describing what their character does, not which "card" they select. It makes it more about the character, and less about the sheet. There are downsides to this too though addressed below.
And then the not so good:
-) The game should rely less on unintelligent dice and more on intelligent people.
Combat (and skills) seem to rely more on the luck of the dice than the skill, tactics & character (or monster) in question. I think 4e got it right when they allowed the character to shine and the dice to only tweak things, rather than the other way around.
-) Distance should be in squares, not in the empirical system only used in some countries
- Squares were awesome. Geographically, everyone was on equal footing, and most things could be described in squares. Miles are really confusing to someone familiar with the metric system. I feel like I'm playing 'your game,' not playing 'a game.'
- Feet make it too “realistic” when it is not: The fact that every PC can attack in a 1 square radius made sense. The fact that every PC can attack in exactly a 5 foot radius does not (halfling with knife or elf with longsword). The disjoint between 'game' & 'realism' is really jarring.
- Using feet instead of squares makes it more awkward for a DM to invent their own specific measure of distance.
- It was really convenient that a character's speed in squares was their speed in kilometres/hour
-) There should be optional rules to have resilient heroes
Some players like their characters to die from a random, unimportant encounter monster. Some players do not. I think this should be addressed (at least in low levels).
-) The current skills seem arbitrary at best.
-Something like 'break an object' is a skill, but 'negotiate' or 'improvised construction/fixing' is not.
-Ride & drive seem like fairly "trash" skills for your average hero (given that mounts & vehicles are discouraged in most dungeons (and cities, depending on the creature/vehicle) by the rules, mechanics & traps).
-Splitting searching and spotting encourages bad roleplaying and being deceptive with phrasing of what your character is doing.
- I felt what I could do (as a monk) was very limited, making one battle much like the next in terms of my options. I didn't have the ability to craft a combat character. The combat was turned into a 1980s arcade game where the only attack is the "A" button - rather than a modern videogame where you have options.
- Variety in combat was forced purely onto the DM. As a player I had 1 realistic option most of the time: basic attack with no options, so no tactics.
-) Martial characters should be able to cause effects too.
This is tied in with the above. It seemed, at least at low levels, that special effects like prone, dazed, hypnotised and slowed were for wizards only. I really liked how in 4e everyone got to do the fun, impressive things whether it was with martial or magical prowess.
Spells need to be vast and fun. The progression is weak and no bonus spells for high Int, also weak. So is making magic items rare. I like magic weapon shops. I like having slots and a ton of items to try and mix and match. Spell Books should vary. Save or dies. Having combat take long or short, who cares. I sometimes want a whole session to be about combat and others not. Why the focus? The over complicated side of things often make it more fun so long as the players and the DM know what they are doing. 3.5 was a great system. Fine tuning it and adapting some of 4 e, is the call. Variety, imagination, freedom, and give the human some love. The nerf they made to him, makes him unplayable. +2 should be back in the cards. More feats for everyone. More skills. There just isn't enough variety... How about a point buy for skills and feats? That can also work. More on character building, to allow for uniqueness. And another thing, PCs and monsters should be balanced in terms of damage out put and hit points. As a DM I want to through NPCs at the PCs... That should always be allowed... Late night rant, so my apologies if on several tangents. But 3.5 had a lot of great things. You need to model this system primarily on it over all other systems. This is from a gamer who played every edition. Not that should matter but it was the most advanced and challenging in that regard. You could really get into character building and getting a unique and fun character was half the game... The rest is up to role-playing, dice and having fun... No more dumbing it up... I want my DnD to be a mental challenge not easy... Imagination isn't supposed to be boring and simple. The game should push us.
You don't roll twice for every weapon die with Weapon Mastery, you roll all of the weapon dice, add one, and drop the lowest. It's only "advantage" when you only have one die to roll, and gets diminishing returns at high levels.
I didn't like the alignment options of Paladins. The focus the packet presented was lawful, which is actually the worst aspect of the Paladin. The "good" aspect of the paladin is now taking a back seat and Chaotic Good Paladins are impossible while Lawful Neutral Paladins are AOK? Not OK.
Paladins should be willing to fight against slavery.
Paladins should be willing to fight against tyranny.
These two actions are the opposite of lawful, but both are good. Obviously our group familiar with 1st edition Unearthed Arcana wasn't impressed by the Paladin skills & abilities list. We also felt 15 hit points was too much healing and 1st level spells or Divine 1/day powers wasn't a necessary feature, where traditional features like protection from evil were.
I agree that Weapon Mastery should not be 'roll twice and take best result'. I like the idea that it could increase the die type though! or could even give you 'brutal' from 4e where you can reroll 1s on damage die.
Oh, look, I found more notes:
Since Halflings can be frightened, Halfling Fearlessness should be more aptly named, 'Steadfastness'... the hobbits of Tolkien weren't fearless, they were terrified, but steadfast.
A critical fumble with a ranged weapon should cause a character to drop their ammunition.
Giving a potion to an unconscious ally in a fight should invoke opportunity attacks, as you're hunched over and focused on carefully pouring it down their throat.
Small creatures should get either a +1 to AC or invoke disadvatage to attacks targeting them, because they are harder to hit.
The Chill Touch spell should say you actually need to touch the target in its description. Sure, indicating the target needs to be 5 feet away is fine, but a little misleading based on the spell's name.
The barbarian, though being really cool, became not very challenging after awhile. There is the maximum chance of taking 2 turns of normal damage before entering a rage and gaining resistence, and that's if things go badly and at lower PC levels. Needing to take an action to enter a rage, or some other limitation would help make the class more challenging to play, and increasing the Rage Bonus by slow increments rather than in jumps.
A contest to wrest control of undead away from another necromancer seems called for, rather than potentially just stealing control back and forth.
In regards to Weapon Mastery and Deadly Strike, it's easier to roll damage dice "with advantage" rather than rolling twice for each damage die, even though damage is higher this way... the difference between rolling each die twice ensures greater damage than rolling "with advantage", usually by quite a bit (though the second method does produce good results), and makes fights less challenging.
Fighting 3 orcs proved to be more difficult than fighting a dracolich. It's fear powers weren't allowed to come into play due to PCs being halflings, good die rolls, and so on. However, maybe the orcs relentlessness can be more effective, like the zombies'?
That's all for now!
The March playtest packet is a big step back towards sanity. Most of the massive blobs of damage have disappeared again and the game is starting to look more like D&D again. Damage on criticals is also better designed.
I like the extra fighter attacks – more old-school – but the double rolling of weapon dice is unneeded. Too much instant gratification still and the degree of damage means that most monsters of challenge rating 1-4 are remain one hit balloons.
Large damage totals also mean few multi-round combats. But overall, yeah a big step back in the right direction.
The Paladin – excellent. The Ranger – it needs a simpler chosen enemy system and one that’s worth taking – who cares about int roll advantages if you can’t kill the dang monsters?
I’d prefer that abilities like laying on hands grew along with character level (same arguments apply to all set value damage and heals) and/or that damage set values required a die roll – more fun and more exciting,
A few big issues still remain:
Too many classes – like the barbarian – have abilities that simply negate other classes’ abilities, chosen skills or feats. Can’t be surprised now as a barbarian? Well bad luck for all those other classes that chose or developed stealth skills.
Perhaps some contested roll here would help? Simply stopping other classes skills or feats from working is naff design.
Saving throws. The old wand staves, death, reflex etc. saving throws tables where saving throws varied by source and class but generally trended down addressed saving throws in an interesting manner. Saving throws trended down to reflect increasing character power but also because spells grew steadily in power and became steadily more binary as power increased (binary = alive/dead/paralysed/dominated etc) .
The current saving throw system is simply too hard for many PC to make, even with stat bonuses and items – these are offset by similar caster bonuses - some work needed here. Maybe not as complicated as the true old school, but something that reflects both source and class and character level.
Finally a few nice things have disappeared. I liked the increase in dice size for damage for racial weapons use and the dwarf hit dice step up for Con. Same effect but more interesting than just adding a hit or damage point Generally, though, a good step forward.
Does anyone else agree that "Deadly Strike" is far too powerful? I mean many of these PCs will be able to one shot many of the bestiary's toughest monsters.
Perhaps making it a times per day skill, or once per day...?
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