My biggest concern with the new playtest packet is the ridiciulous damage inflation.
High level fighters do [W] + Str mod. + 6d6 + 20 damage. That's over 50 damage on average! This is beyond insane. Even Asmodeus, the archdevil, does about 14-20 damage with his spells and attacks, and he's one of the mightiest beings in the universe! (He does also have that stupid autokill if you have less than 150 hp thing, but I'll complain about that another time). And since Asmodeus has "only" 250 hp, the fighter can single-handedly kill him with 5 regular attacks, on average.
And it's not just fighters. While magic user damage is pitiful compared to martial characters in general, there are some notable exceptions. Meteor Swarm, if I read this right, shoots 4 meteors that each deal 12d6 damage. Thats 48d6 damage in total, double the damage it dealt in 3rd edition! Fireball, on the other hand, deals only 11d6 when cast as a 9th level spell. Meteor swarm deals enough damage to one-shot all but the mightiest creatures (and if the wizard really wants to, he can use maximize spell to one-shot ANYTHING in the Monster Manual that's not immune or resistant to fire and bludgeoning damage, guaranteed!)
I realise they think of martial damage dice and bonuses as a replacement for BAB and iterative attacks, but this is just ridiculous. They have such a great thing going with bounded accuracy in Next. Sadly, they've ruined it by replacing high to hit bonuses and extra attacks with insane damage and hp bloat. Why not apply the same principle behind bounded accuracy to damage and hp as well? Nothing makes a game feel more video-gamey and ruins immersion to me more than damage and hp bloat.
Remember that Asmodeus is taking half damage from all weapons unless they're made of silver. To me, that doesn't just mean silvered. That means made of silver. Granted, at level 20 or so, PCs aren't going to have much trouble getting silver together. But it's still a limitation.
He also takes half damage from cold attacks, and he is outright immune to fire and poison. Then there's the fact that every round, the PCs would have to make Wisdom saves vs. his Authority of Nessus. It's not going to hurt Dex Fighters as much as Strength-based Fighters, though. Of course, the Fighter can avoid this by taking disadvantage on his attacks, which reduces his chance to hit.
What would more likely happen is that Asmodeus charms the Fighter and has him attack his friends. Asmodeus is a lot more lethal than his meager 250 hit points would indicate.
Now, should it stay that way? I don't know. I haven't played it yet. I just know that 250 hit points is not in any way a true measure of Asmodeus' power.
edit: I should add that this is where I'm starting to see the flaw in escalating damage so much. Charm Person becomes an incredibly powerful spell for a monster to have, especially since most Fighters tend to have lower Wisdom scores (or Charisma, in the case of Dominate Person).
Meteor swarm is broken. I agree. It should state that none of its areas of effect can overlap. Otherwise, however, I think the damage in the packet is fine. If fighter damage drops any, they will have to drop spell damage across the board as well. Fighters and wizards are very well balanced right now (minus a few overpowered spells). Fighters are better at single target damage, but they need to be (for the game to be balanced).
Also keep in mind that Asmodeus has resistance to all non-silvered weapons, so he's really got 500 HP in most circumstances.
If npcs have too few hp then maybe damage it too high. Bigger numbers may not be the way to go. 4e had big numbers but the combats were too long
If you're comparing a 20th level fighter to Asmodeus, then you're comparing two creatures of equal level. Asmodeus may be one of the mightiest beings in the multiverse, but a 20th level hero is another of the mightiest beings in the multiverse. I'm joking a bit, but only a bit.
I think this is mostly just a question of Asmodeus's power level being a little weird. 20th level is definitely too low for him. I think we have to assume that his level is somewhere beyond the scale of normal mortal heroes (higher than 20). Elsewise, you have eight other lords of Baator who have to be weaker than him, but still mighty archfiends. Is Bel, Lord of Avernus going to be level 12? Additionally, Asmodeus doesn't look like his combat math is worthy of level 20. He does very little damage, even with his so-called "improved" spells, and is only a credible threat to high-level opponents because his scepter insta-kills things. To me, it looks like Asmodeus wasn't fully thought out and needs to go back in the oven. I'm sure he's only in the Bestiary for a fun example of a truly badass playtest villain, and at this point in the process level 20 monsters are somewhat uncharted territory, so this looks like it's just a prelimiary stab at some stats, just to have an upper end to the monster spectrum.
Finally, it's been said before, but it's worth repeating: fighters get martial damage dice added to their attacks, but it's more limited than it seems. They can only do it once per round, and if they're fighting a worthy opponent it usually ought to be necessary to spend some of those dice to activate maneuvers. If they have the perfect conditions to make their absolute optimal strike (with no need to use maneuvers), then I'm glad to see fighters be truly, frighteningly deadly.
Damage dice are added once per turn, not round. Just a nitpick.
And, a monster's level is not its actual level. It is the level at which, by itself, it is supposed to be a threat to an entire group of about 4 PCs.
I believe damage is out of control because levels 11 though 20 are scaling at the same rate as levels 1 though 10, when instead there should be dramatically diminishing returns.
At levels 19 or 20, I don't need to be doing more damage than I did at level 10. I need to be decapitating people and knocking back crowds. 9th Level wizard spells don't have to do twice the damage to a single target that a 5th level spell does. It needs to do 5th level damage to an army.
High level play is a different game.
I know alot of people hate 4e, and I wasn't its biggest fan either, but it did do some things right. Sneak Attack started at +2d6 and only went up to +5d6 at 21st level. Fireball, a 5th level spell, did 5d6 + Int mod damage. Meteor Swarm, a 29th level spell, did 8d6 + Int mod. damage. The damage scaling in 4e is something they really should use as a model in Next.
One thing on Asmodeus, since so many people are using him as an example.
He wouldn't face off an entire party of heroes by his lonesome... it's not like he's making toast one evening in his batrobe all alone when suddenly four to five heroes bust into his kitchen and beat the living crap out of him... no, rather he'd have been alerted way before the heroes even arrived and made the required preperations like trapped floor tiles, stuff that summons creatures if it breaks, magic circles that trap those who step on them, invisible and hidden allies all over the place, possibly an illusion of himself to throw the heroes off balance... he knows he's not up to a straight out brawl, so he will use every advantage he can get and he will fight dirty albeit honorably since he's a devil and not a demon. And then when the heroes are at his mercy, he'll offer them a deal that they really can't refuse
One of the things I dislike about martial damage dice is that they kind of undermine the weapon damage itself. I know this is perhaps a weird complaint but it just doesn't seem right. It's as if the innate power of the fighter does the multiple d6 of damage while the blade itself does the same d8 etc. Idk, maybe there's some kind of reasoning behind this, e.g. "it's not the blade that does the damage but the force applied to it's momentum".
Another thing I dislike about the martial damage dice is the fact that players have to keep track of what various things they can spend the dice on and it makes fighting seem like 'shopping'. What I mean is that it's counter-immersive imho to 'spend' dice to use maneuvers that could just be like they were before in 3e and 4e (i.e. use at-will, once per encounter, once per day etc.) Personally, I find it easier to remember that I have a feat I can use once per day or a feat that is in effect passively that provides a constant bonus to something that is recorded on the character sheet (making it so that I don't even have to remember it).
Martial damage dice is an interesting idea but imho it creates unnecessary dmg inflation and I think the one card that D&D has up its sleeve when compared to videogames is that it boils damage down to a small and tidy number that makes sense. I'm sure D&D will never get to the ridiculous '99,999' points of dmg, like the Final Fantasy series but even at this stage I think it would be wise to limit damage and HP to relatable and tangible numbers. By this I mean that a hit point or a point of damage should signify something, not just be one of dozens that can be freely distributed and disposed of. This feeling is what bounded accuracy got right. The sense that a small increase actually raises the percentage by a notable amount. Similarly, a +2 to damage could be really cool if the bad guy had say 30 HP. Of course those numbers are just made up on the fly but my point is that 'powerful and dangerous' doesn't necessarily mean 'lots of big numbers'. That's when the effects of inflation set in, and HP and dmg literally lose their value (that's inflation for ya).
Sorry for ranting. I just had to get my point across. Feel free to correct me.
I just went through D&D Next for the first time in the past days, and decided to re-start an old campaign with them. So far I like the old D&D flavor I am getting from them... I went straight to playing with level 12 characters. I had to read and re-read the rules around martial dice multiple times to make sure I was not mistaken (btw, I would have liked to see a chapter in the How to play combat section about those).
My multiple readings seemed to confirm that Martial dice are used and recovered every turn, which stroke me as overpowered, with on top of that the +10 damage once per turn at level 12. I still could not believe I was reading right. My players either.
So until further verification, I decided to use them across the span of a battle rather than a turn, much like the Encounter powers of 4th Edition.
I found in this thread the confirmation that my multiple readings seem to be, in fact, correct.
Of course, I am only starting and obviously using home rules already, but my current raw impression after a few days of rules reading, catching on D&D Next without prior knowledge of it, and one game with only two players, is that I agree with the OP.
I like the idea behind them a lot, but I think giving those out once per turn simply will not trigger the kind of choices expected from the players. there is very little reason to not go for full damage 99% of the time, the tactical considerations are by far not worth the lost of extra damage to lead to rapid demise of foes. If the martial dice and martial damages needs to be managed across a longer period of time, then players have to make more significant choices for each combat.
I agree with the OP. some bounded damage may perhaps be in order (although I must admit, exaggerated results is one of the sinful pleasures of high level play). I read for a really good fix in this article.
The author is proposing to replace Martial Damage Dice for everyone with Weapon Damage multiplier which would eliminate the weapon becoming unimportant at high levels. At this point of playtest there is no meaning in taking a 2handed weapon since you sacrifice a +1 AC for a higher die that soon becomes irrelevant.
Does anyone know why everyone gets BOTH damage dice and the damage bonus? I'm only theorycrafting at the moment (the only packet I've actually playtested was the second), but it looks like overkill from here and that seems to be where the problems in this thread are coming from.
I've noticed a tendency on WotC's part to throw in two or three different mechanics to accomplish the same goal in places where any one of them (in this case I'd go with the dice) would do. Rogues being better at skills in the second packet was a major offender; this time around, scaling up martial damage appears to have a similar kind of overkill built in.
I like the martial damage dice and damage bonuses just fine the way they are, and don't want to see them reduced or turned into an encounter resource. If anything, respec the monsters so that they can stand up to the abuse, and dish it back. I am also fine with the fact that spellcasters lag in terms of raw damage since they are more than amply compensated in terms of greater versatility and area of effect attacks.
To me, what suffers most from inflated damages is the game immersion.
Tabletop RPGs are not video-games, they are not MMOs.
Having a warrior cause 10 damage at first level and 100 or 1000 at higher level is OK for an MMO. It's not OK for D&D.
D&D needs not be realistic, it was never its intention as a game, but it needs to make sense.
I'm not playing a super-hero RPG, so why would my character be able to unleash a single attack of which the damage is capable of obliterating a thick steel door or stone wall, for example?
D&D character advancement represents becoming more skilled, overcoming weaker opponents with technique and combat experience... not gaining super-powers and becoming The Incredible Hulk.
Having combatants at high levels being capable of unleashing multiple attacks with precision, having better TH and/or AC, maybe dealing better criticals, applying difficult maneuvers with greater ease... all that makes sense as I'm playing, when I picture in my head a fight involving a highly skilled warrior.
Now, having a warrior deal 50+ damage per blow on average just makes no sense to me.
Of course one could argue that damage is not merely the strength behind the blow but also precision and technique, and that's absolutely right!
But when you apply some bonuses from Weapon Specialization, Power Attack and such it's all right. As each small bonus to your damage comes with a bit of its own explanation/justification.
When you progressively gain more and more damage like that, however, the immersion is simply gone and it just feels like you are slowly turning into Hercules, even if it's not what the description says.
Clearly all this extra damage from 5ed was included as a substitute for multiple-attacks in high level.
But not only the damage is extremely exaggerated, even if corrected for better balance it's still a poor substitute for multiple attacks, as it gives a lot more immersion (and it makes a lot more sense to that kind of game) having a skilled fighter unleashing a sequence of blows and have his greater damage output be a consequence of multiple hits (if they all hit), than simply applying one big damage every round.
Damage is only out if control if you can't by into the abstraction of HP.
HP is supposed to be an amalgamation of durability, experience and luck. Therefor any damage done is an amalgamation of force acciracy and psychological aggression. A higher level fighter doesn't hit harder, the hit deadlier and are better able to press even the staunchest of opponents.
This abstraction breaks when HP is used for inanimate objects as they lack the more intangible elements.
I really hate to say this, as I hated the iterative attacks of 3.x, but I'd much rather see extra attacks than this martial bonus damage stuff. It accomplishes the same thing (higher level fighters doing more damage) but without the problems of martial damage dice and bonuses. Unlike damage bonuses, extra attacks don't make strength or weapon choice obselete, since they multiply along with it. It also makes the game less swingy since critical hits are only maximizing a ([W] + Str mod.) attack, not ([W] + Str mod. +6d6 +20). It's also, IMO, more believable. It makes sense to me a more skilled warrior could get in more hits on an enemy, as opposed to increasing in damage to the point of becoming Hercules. It also balances better against objects. Extra attacks don't let you get around Hardness the way a single, massive attack does.
Now maybe I'm just being silly, but wouldn't a fairer way of describing the martial dice, in light of the single attack roll, be as a single, well placed attack, striking a vital area? You know, the way Sneak Attack was described back in 3.x? I understand that maybe the damage dice need toned down a bit, but I don't see them as being any more broken than rogues were in previous editions.
Why not simple give people less HP overall at highier levels?
Like only +1HP per level instead of +8HP?
Lets say that the HP is Class+CON Value+Level. So a level 1 fighter has 10+16+1=27 HP and a level 20 fighter has 10+18+20=48 HP (lets say he uped his CON twice is this example).
The damage can also up slowly, like at first level +1d6 and +1 every three levels or something. So a level 1 fighter has 1d10+STR (lets say 3)+1d6 and a level 20 fighter has 1d10+STR (lets say 4)+1d6+6+1 (magical weapon). So does average 12 at level 1 and 20 at level 20. Also he would have surge to do more damage by attacking more times some times on the day.
Sorry bad english, brazilian here.
Remeber how in AD&D you would't get that many HP anymore after 10th level or so?
I think the idea back then was just that, to not allow HP become soooooo much higher than in the initial levels.
If you compare the HP of 2ed's high level monsters and characters it's a lot more reasonable and interesting than that of 3ed monsters and newer editions.
Although even then it wasn't as low as you guys are suggesting it should be.
The only problem is that the progression was all crooked and weird.
You would gain, say, 9 to 11 HP each level and then all of a sudden you only got 2 or 3 and your Con didn't even add up to it anymore.
Players tended to become frustrated at these levels.
Maybe the following editions should have taken that "final average HP" as a goal and distributed HP-gain more evenly between our 20 levels, instead of keeping up the 1 to 10th level progressing of 2ed indefinitely, which lead to high-level characters having the HP of demi-gods.
Which itself led to an inflation of damage numbers so that that much HP was not considered the stuff from which demi-gods are made.
In 2ed you started out with 1d8+3 damage (say, a longsword and a good Str modifier, as an example) and it was OK to still have that damage in higher levels, probably just having one or two more attacks per round.
Also, because of less inflation in HP, a 10d6 fireball was ever something powerful! And maybe even a basic 5d6 one.
From 3ed on, it was expected of players to increase their damage considerably as they reached high levels, and this inflation is not good for the game since it creates too big a gap between the specializaded character and the average character.
It's not that it was bad or game-breaking. Numbers in 3ed were OK as long as your DM did not allow those questionable feats and prestiges and spells from the "Forgotten Realm's Complete Book of Ultimate Space-Transcendental-Mages Who Can Travel Throughout Time" or some such suplement, and would stick to the core book values.
Still, I would rather see smaller values like in AD&D, so as to bridge that gap between the "specialized" and the "average" a little more.
After all, if at some level 80 is a lot of HP, then 20 points of damage is a strong attack.
But if you push to 200 being a good HP than you need to be doing 50 in a strong attack, and in the end it's all the same thing.
Except the average character who didn't specialize enough to deal 50 damage becomes useless, while if he does his average 10 instead of the "good" being 15 or 20 he's still doing something useful.
One of the original HP suggestions (Class bonus + Constitution score + Level) isn't bad, except it leaves the whole calculation a little bit lacking. I do like the idea of first level being a little higher, at (Class bonus + Constitution score), which for a Fighter would be (10 + 16) at first level. Makes a starting warrior pretty sturdy. A Wizard of the same level would be say (6 + 10), assuming that Constitution isn't their dump stat, and that they didn't try to make it higher. After first level, they could get a class bonus of say 2 or 3, plus Constitution modifier, giving a Fighter around 6 HP per level, and a Wizard 2 HP per level. Sure, that puts the Fighter around 140 HP by 20, but if you assume a similar damage progression for monsters as for PCs, a damage progession that should top out at something like |W| + Strength modifier + 5d6 + 10 (plus magical bonus), which is still an average damage of 46. I think a critical hit shouldn't maximize martial damage, just weapon damage.
There's a bit of a stream of consciousness thing in this, i'm writing it on my way out the door, heading to work.
Personally I'm in favour of a degree of front loading. Wizards can survive quite happily with d4 hp if they get Con hp at level 1. Static hp after level 10 could well be brought back too given how they've drawn a clear line differentiating level 11+ progression. Hp + Con bonus does not work as a method of calculation for 20 levels IMO as the gap between Con 10 and Con 20 becomes too massive. One problem with hp is the decision to run rolling and static hp side by side. A method that works for one (such as the first packet with rolled hp) works less well for the other.
Personally, I'm quite happy with Con hp (or half Con for grittier campaigns) + class hp at level 1 and rolled hp with a minimum of 1+Con mod (capped at mnax hit dice) up to level 10 and then possibly +1 hp for non-fighter classes and +2 fighter classes after level 10. I think extra hp could be added based on legacy or prestige class (e.g. +1 to +5 bonus hp at the level you take the prestige class or something).
Can someone with better english make a post with this idea of less HP, best if the guy compile the ideas given here.
In the context of bounded accuracy, the power level of creatures (PCs, NPCs and monsters) is represented by a balance between hp and damage (maybe we should add options, as in flexibility and variability to make things). But to establish the flavor behind the numbers:
But essencially i think the main thing is a balance between the PC HP versus Monster Damage and Monster HP versus PC Damage.
On the current numbers and less philosophical DnD: I agree that we need encounter resources for all classes, and in the fighter case, the martial damage dice thing is a good start to convert. Im starting to think we can have "martial points" per encounter to execute maneuvers and just increase the overall weapon damage of fighter, i don´t know: Str Mod x2 on two handed weapons, Str+Dex Mods on finesse weapons, Str+Con on hammers, etc. Another option is that the bonus damage dice of fighter is dependant of weapon damage, if you have a dagger your dices will be d4s and if you have a greataxe they will be d12s.
I wish I had known about the open playtest sooner, because I'm now having to play catch-up on the forums. (I started with December's packet.) Unfortunately, there's some good stuff here from months ago, so I'm having to go way back.
Anywho, there are a few comments I'd like to add to this thread:
First, perhaps breaking objects could be handled as a special strength check to avoid the issue with MDDs. Something like d20 + STR mod + Weapon Damage (a maul should be better than a dagger in most cases) + attack bonus (representing better ability to apply force) versus a DC based on material composition and thickness, or somesuch. Why shouldn't the benefits of realism from bounded accuracy be applied to breaking things as it does with skill use?
Second, I do like Con Score + HD for first level HPs. In fact, my group just changed to that, though we rolled the HD instead of maxing it. We're still trying to decide if later levels should be HD + CON mod or roll HD with a minimum of CON mod to maintain encounter balance with the creatures in the bestiary as it stands. We have found, however, that front loading the HPs reduces the likelihood that one lucky crit rolled by the DM will result in a TPK at 1st level (which happened to us in an "Average" encounter). Also, to reduce HP bloat and maintain the integrity of bounded accuracy, a revival of the reduced HP advancement at higher levels from pre-3e may be a good idea (as well as having nostalgia value for some of us).
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