Although in general, the playtest rules are concise and fairly well written, I think some aspects are confusing due to having to sort through several documents to understand a principal of how something works. I think that the playtest packets could benefit from having some cross references added.
For instance, there has been a lot of confusion about how martial damage dice are supposed to be used. I finally have a good understanding of it, but I had to go back and re-read points that I had previously read but forgotten about by the time I got to the related rule(s) in a different packet.
In the martial damage dice example, there is no mention of martial damage dice in the How to Play document, but there is mention of reactions. When I read this section on reactions (before reading the classes document), I didn’t know that the reaction rules would apply to MDD when I would later read about them, so by the time I read about MDD in the fighter’s Parry rules, I didn’t think to apply the reaction rules I had read about earlier.
It wasn’t until reading through a few times and discussing with other players that I made the connection. I now realize that you have to read the following to fully understand how a fighter uses MDD:
-How to Play, page 11, Reactions
-Classes, page 16, Martial Damage Dice
-Classes, page 17, Level 1 Parry
The only thing that brings all 3 aspects together is a quick blurb in the Level 1 Parry description that says in order to use Parry, “you can use a reaction to spend martial damage dice,” but it’s easy to gloss over when you read about reactions several documents ago. As stated, the How to Play document never references MDD, and Classes page 16 doesn’t mention reactions. It’s only that last part on page 17, and it’s briefly mentioned there.
There are other things like this in the playtest packet, but this is one I’ve seen a lot of confusion over. I suggest that it would be beneficial to the playtest to have at least some better level of cross referencing such as pointing readers to page 11 of the How to Play document when they read page 16 and/or 17 of the Classes document. It would draw attention to the fact that a previously mentioned rule applies specifically here, and it would point out exactly where to look for that rule.
It would also be nice to have a rule section in the How to Play document dedicated to MDD with more clarity, rather than the rules for MDD being a subsection of specific class descriptions.
This ended up being more wordy than I intended it to be, but I know it would have been less confusing not just for MDD rules, but for some others as well, if there had been some specific cross referencing between documents.
Other than that I’ll just add that I’m really enjoying the playtest and I’m eagerly looking forward to this becoming the next official D&D release.
It is a playtest document, not a finished product.
Personally, I'd rather see them spemd their time tweaking and testing the rules (and pouring over our feedback surveys) - not cross-referencing the document.
Yes, it is a playtest document, but if the documentation was clearer with cross referncing, it would cause less confusion and would yeild better test results and more productive discussion.
WotC has already shown an interest in both tweaking the rules and providing clarity as they have already done both in the updates that have come out. And the kind of cross referecing I'm referring to wouldn't consume a large amount of time, so it shouldn't take away from rule tweaks coming out every several months.
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