And, now, spells… I hadn’t really looked at them until a player pointed out the insane damage a 1st level PC could cause with Inflict Wounds: 4d8 on a failed save! Wowzers! I realize that you’re trying to make spell-casters cool and powerful masters of their art, but I would be sorely disappointed if Inflict Wounds were cast on a 1st level, full HP, 19 CON Barbarian I were playing… it could kill him instantly, particularly if the offending spell-caster used Maximize Spell! A suitably deranged necromancer who detested barbarians could kill off each one before they reached 1st level with relative ease, wiping out entire cultures! PCs of lesser Hit Points (i.e., all of them), would be in even more danger.
This makes me wonder, “If spell slots represent the magical energy channeled into a spell, how can beginning mages harness such incredibly powerful and dangerous forces?” It seems very likely that a good many would become consumed by the very magic they were trying to summon while learning the spell.
It’s the same with Burning Hands, Magic Missile, and Gust of Wind. At 2d10 damage at 1st level, that’s some ‘gust’! If damage for 1st level spells started out lower, they would not only seem like beginning level spells, but monsters would present more of a challenge than they currently do. If, like Cure Wounds, the effect began at 1d, then increased per level (or every few levels, like some other spells do, and at whatever damage seems appropriate), gaining the ability to cast the spells at higher level will seem all the greater. To compensate, lower the damage of cantrips from 1d8 to 1d6. They’re only cantrips, after all, and can be cast without spending spell slots, which is already an enormous advantage during gameplay. Need them to cause more damage? Just add a +1 bonus.
Yet, even Cure Wounds when cast upon undead at 1st level does 4d8 on a failed save! Rein in damage for spells at low level altogether. (2nd level Scorching Ray produces a total of 6d6 damage... ouch!)It’s a great development, making Cure Wounds a single spell that increases healing when cast at higher levels… it increases the effective number of spells a mage can learn and have prepared! But, to keep with the patterns established with other spells, both of the Mass Cure Wounds spells should be a single spell, with a 5th level and 7th level (Improved) version.
Okay, so we played our first session taking two paladins, a ranger, a druid, a rogue thief, and a high-elf sharp-shooter who took weapon mastery at first level instead of precise shot. In general, we really like the direction the playtest has taken. Deadly Strike and Multi-Attack are great, we like the character creation options, but feel there should be more… as well, as a few feat restrictions besides the requirements. One player just created a Cleric of the Reaper who took the Mystic Healer specialty… putting her in the service of Anubis… because she’s a complex PC who helps people through the dying process and heals those not ready to die. I personally like the complexity, but she was wondering if they were okay to take together. I said, “there’s no rule saying you can’t”. Is this on purpose?
The exploration rules are good, and pretty much how I handle travel in another game, but they’re a little dry as written… maybe include a few suggestions on how beginning DMs can spice up the (slow) action. I really like how running the game with the system of checks is so intuitive and understandable.
Among our other initial impressions was the fact that there are certainly enough healing choices. One of the characters had herbalism and started with three healing potions, the druid rolled a natural 20 on a check to find ten berries, found twenty instead, and cast Goodberries on them. Aside from that, the paladins had Lay on Hands and both they and the ranger had the Cure spell. With the combination of Beast Soul with Wild Shape, the druid was able to fight nearly to death as a bear before reverting to a +1HP human. (Her comment was, “Nice loophole!”) This and all the other healing, including the Healer’s Kits, was all very appreciated by the players, as it kept them alive through 1st level.
On the other hand, it was almost impossible to kill them! Unless, of course, the CON 10 thief was struck directly by the club of the 9th level Cyclops’ that was waiting for them at the end of the dungeon… and, this didn’t happen. At first I was advocating that certain “superpowers”, like ranger’s spells and cleric’s and paladin’s Channel Divinity, be given out at 2nd level, after the PCs have proven themselves to their gods, superiors or whatever.
After discussing this with a player who argued that the world was filled with heroes and the rules accounted for a higher caliber of adventurer- putting what I was used to as a 1st level character at 0 level, 0 level characters were now level -1, and commoners as TRULY pathetic- this gave players a greater chance at keeping 1st level characters alive, and we both agreed that games rarely started at first level, because it did kinda suck.
So, we then agreed that the Healing rule that states that when below 0 HP, you are restored to the positive number of the value of the healing effect was to blame for taking the “danger” out of the game at this point. The players, whether facing goblins, bugbears or the cyclops, were never actually worried (as 1st level PCs on their first adventure!) that they could actually be killed. This is because, even if down to -10 HP, they could receive a few HP back and jump up their next turn and be fighting again. This causes me to wonder why the Cure spell could restore 5 HP, for instance, to a conscious character, but 15 HP to one who had nearly bled to death!
All the players thought it odd… and, they were the ones receiving the healing! Additionally, as DM, it was impossible to threaten them, or even kill them a little. In short, it completely deflated the sense of accomplishment at having actually survived their first adventure! If the PCs begin as undefeatable heroes, it does not challenge the players to come up with new, creative strategies and reduces the game to simple dice-rolling until the DM says the monsters are dead. Leveling loses it joys, because you were already a hero; you just fight bigger monsters now, which don’t particularly pose any greater of a threat to higher level characters.
Another thing that makes the characters so powerful is the HP minimums when leveling. While I realize that barbarians are preternaturally tough, I rolled low for one at 5th level and ended up with 59 HP! Wow! While I like not being able to roll a 1 or 2, with a minimum of 7 per level + CON bonus, the across-the-board increase doesn’t create a realistic variation between different PCs hit points. This also, while making it harder for PCs to be killed, goes toward making the DMs job harder of creating challenging scenarios. Perhaps a minimum roll of 3 per level would be better?
In regards to HP in general (and, the Warlord in particular), if they truly are an abstraction that includes “winded-ness” and over-all physical well-being, there should be situations that reduce HP besides just taking damage! Otherwise, the whole system is unbalanced. March thirty miles through an untamed forest and get jumped by a band of murderous creatures, then tell me that you aren’t going to be even a little debilitated at the start of the fight! Additionally, if there is a rule where a PC can “heal” HP with a pep-talk (hardly any reason with all the healing options already), there should be a feat that allows a clever or cruel character to “trash talk” or intimidate other characters, lowering their readiness, confidence and over-all psychological well-being… and, temporarily lower a victim’s HP. Similarly, losing sleep or going without food for a certain amount of time should lower HP, as well. If these rules seem too much like needless record-keeping that’s going to gum up the process and want to ignore these conditions, it seems like the Warlord’s restoring HP needs to be similarly ignored.
Also, the Entangle spell… it either needs a new name (as it’s a completely different spell that almost doesn’t entangle anyone at all and causes damage), or it needs to be a higher-level version of the spell, which has a better entangling effect to begin with.
Lastly, should there be a maximum damage for daggers? I like how Deadly Strike accounts for a knife in the eye and so forth, but maybe they should only be able to do so much? For instance, a dagger’s damage maxes out at 2d4+4, or 12 points, or something? This would help to differentiate between the damage from a dagger and that from a greatsword.
Not D&DNext related exactly, but for anyone who has wanted Dwarven Forge but couldn't afford it, they have a Kickstarter up currently. I use it in my D&D games, and this is the greatest deal I've seen.
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One extra attack would be fine with me, provided that the Monk also gets multiattack so it can target multiple targets.
Whirlwind strike I think should only be one attack roll regardless of number of opponents used on. It's effectively a area attack with melee at within reach range. Who wants to have to roll that many attack rolls or wait for the player to do it? Plus it should have a once a turn cap. Otherwise power gamers are going to use it with combat surge and two weapon attack to pull off insane multi-strike of up to 15 times! Back to the monk, would some of you think flurry of blows be put back in but work like whirlwind strike? Just extra attack?
You know at 1st level a monk can do the following melee. 1st attack 1d6+Dexterity modifier bludgeoning damage. 2nd attack 1d6 bludgeoning damage. The other classes would have to use a feat or light weapons to do more than one attack. Monks are suited to this from the start. Why would you need flurry of blows? It's technically already present, if not named as such. Here is 20th level example melee. 1st attack 5d6 + 5 bludgeoning damage. 2nd Attack 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If you had two weapon feats you could do 1d6 +5 on 2nd attack. Get a critical and use Ki (heart strike) to do this one. 1st attack 35 +1d6 bludgeoning damage. 2nd attack 11 bludgeoning damage. Thats a min of 47 points of damage in a single turn. Use two weapon feats plus another ki move instead (vulnerable to bludgeoning) and it would look like this. 1st (5d6 +5) x2. 2nd (1d6+5) x2. Point is do you still want more attacks? Only smite evil, barbarian rage, fighter move, or backstab come close to this. But a high level monk can do this more often and his barbarian brother can stand on comparable footing.
I was sorely disappointed with 5e till this packet. Obviously there are some things to work out but so far so good. I like how each class has a different feel to each other and that their are a lot more options when building a class. I think this has the best of 2e, 3e and 4e.
@Lord_Kyrion - I concede that as a maneuver Flurry allowed you up to two extra attacks by third level in exchange for the extra damage granted by your martial dice. A lot of classes saw a decrease in the amount of damage or attacks in this version. I don't think the monk stands alone with the loss of Flurry of Blows.
The fighter in the last packet could gain Whirlwind attack maneuver first level to gain the same benefit as the monk's Flurry. The same ability has this go around moved to a class feature which isn't gained until 5th level and caps at striking two opponents until 10th.
The monk could probably benefit from some multi-attack ability at higher levels.
@ Damar, Flury of Blows in the previous packet allowed two extra attacks all with Dex bonus to damage, so two weapon fighting is hardly a replacement. It's also something every character can do, while Flurry was a unique Monk feature.
@sirRivalenDM - did you realize the Monk inherently gains two attacks now? Two-weapon fighting gives you no penalty to hit if you are wielding two light weapons and only affects the damage of the second attack. Martial arts makes his unarmed attacks count as light finesse weapons that cause 1d6 bludgeoning damage. Why does he need flurry if he always has an extra attack?
The lack of slowfall doesn't stress me, but it is weird it is gone. Most of the other movement abilities are just twisted into the feat section so they are available to all characters which is even cool. Vault FTW!
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