This is just a list of my Quick Fixes for the current test packet, as well as some suggestions for the future direction. Feel free to comment on mine or add your own.
Increase starting HP for all characters (5 seems like a good amount to add or start at half Con Score + Max HD, which is the same thing)
Cap starting ability scores at 18. 20 is the cap after level 1.
-1 AC to all heavy armors (except Ringmail)
Remove Montain Dwarf's AC bonus (replace with something else, but not an AC bonus)
+1 or +2 to NPC attack rolls
1-5: Are to reduce the swingyness the playtest has by increasing NPC chance to hit, and increasing PC HP to balance. Also to reduce the disparity between PC AC, AC range 10-16 vs current range 10-18.
-1 or -2 to PC attack rolls
Decrease Sneak Attack's growth rate
Decrease all PC damage
6-8: Are to reduce PC overpoweredness. High hit and dmg makes rolling feel less significant, like you cast an instant kill spell and you are just rolling your spell failure.
Whenever a rogue takes an action that is not an attack, they can use one of their trained skills as part of their action. (This makes a rogue's hiding turn much more interesting)
Rogue's Skill Mastery should give advantage on Trained skill checks. (Taking 10 is boring, makes easy stuff auto succeed and doesn't help on hard stuff. Failing is still possible with Advantage and it helps on harder tasks. CarlT's idea)
Guardian Speciality should grant shield proficiency (makes for more options for tanking)
Dragon Sorcs should not get shield proficiency (too durable with shield spell)
Healer's Touch feat should not affect spells (perhaps another benefit to help balance with other lvl 3 feats)
That's it for now. I'm sure I'll come up with some more. Continue posting in numnber form or similar format to allow for easy references.
I agree with most of the stuff on that list.
Personally I think slowing the SA growth rate and highlighting other features of the Rogue is the way to go. This will help them from becomming the SA machines they've been for the last 2 editions. Very good point there.
I personally haven't seen the problem with the Hill Dwarf AC modifier, but that could just be lack of exposure.
I don't exactly agree with Guardian granting shield proficiency. It just seems out of place and too good for a specialty if you just give it as part of taking the specialty. Otherwise we'd see people wanting you to gain weapon proficiency with TWF or Archer, which are just as useless if you lack proficiency. Stuff like that is all over, it's just more apparent in Guardian because less classes gain shield prof.
#1. Not against it, would be nice to at least take two hits to kill a PC.
#3. AC is pretty high still. In my games a Fighter's AC bonus is so high that it doesn't matter that they have a lot of HP.
#4. Yeah, it puts a lot of emphasis on Dwarves to be Fighters/Tanks. Though it does give a bonus to Low AC classes.
#5. Agreed. Monsters cannot hit at low levels.
#8. Disagreed. Unless it is specifically towards spells. When in Melee my Players do a lot of damage, but the reason most monsters die so fast is because of their low hit points.
#11. I fell that specialties shouldn't have requirements, allows for more creative character options.
#12. You dislike Dragon Sorcerers for having shields but would allow them to have shields if they had the guardian specialty.
So far Guardian and Necromancer are the only Specialties with prereqs that are not ability scores. They should probably change that. I like Attribute Modifiers as requirements however.
Im on the fence about the hit points - I want more hit points at low level and fewer hit points at higher level. Thus I'm not really in favor of giving them free hit points at low level because it just exacerbates the problem at higher levels. I actually preferred the hit point progression of the last packet. My current thought is to use Con hit points as a fallback: You roll your hit points at every level (including first level) - but if (at any level) your rolled hit points are less than your Con score, you have Con Score hit points. Kinda wonky - but it solves the problems as I see them.
I am also considering a fix to Fighters expertise dice. As I see it, it suffers from two problems. 1) The best option is usually to just do damage - so it really doesn't add to the fighters options and 2) it contributes significantly to the 'too much damage' problem. My potential fix is: Fighters get two combat expertise dice at level 1, but the dice are d4s (reduce all die sizes by one). A character may not use more than one die for any manuever. The result of this is a tiny bit less damage (d4 versus d6 at low level, d6 versus d8 later) but they always have a die that they can't just use for deadly strike and thus they need to look for other ways to use their die - and thus other things to do with their actions besides just hit and do damage.
I think upper level attack rolls and monster hp were a bit too high in the first playtest (so the minotuar was a bit excessive) but they need to find a happier medium. My level 1 group easily took the 80hp ogre to 7 hp in a few rounds and it was only the presence of goblin archers that drove them off. I think +1 or +2 to attack rolls would be about right depending on how 'martial' the monsters are.
PC hp were dfinitely more fun in the first playtest and I think it would be wrong to set up the hp conveyor by adding Con bonus every level unless they are goihng to cap that at level 10 (and even then that's a whopping differential of 50hp between Con10 and Con20). I think applying a minimum roll of 1+Con bonus but capped at your hit die would lead to better hp if front loaded like the first packet.
I think player damage needs to come down a bit too. It's odd that fighter and rogue damage got a boost but monster hp were reduced in the second packet. 2d6 at level 1 was definitely right but sneak attack every level seems to scale too fast when we assume that new ways to gain advantage will turn up as the game progresses. Likewise, CS dice and eldritch blast do seem to encourage simple damage dealing instead of something interesting.
I suppose if they want to give some benefit every level they could do:
Level 1- 2d6
Level 2 - 2d6+1
Level 3 3d6
Level 4 3d6 +1
Limiting fighters to starting d4 or restricting the number of CS dice they can spend on damage might help but the latter adds a layer of complication.
Lowering Eldritch blast to 2d6 but adding ways to add riders to it would be more interesting.
I like your ideas. I'm not sure about hit points either. I kind of like the really low hp at low levels now. After a few levels PCs begin to feel more hearty. At lower levels, they can try to avoid larger groups of foes and bigger foes that do more than 1 die of damage. This will probably become a dial we can set because it is just a matter of taste. Do you want a more realistic "novice" adventurer or do you want a more "heroic" adventurer? Gaming groups should be able to decide this.
One thing I'd like to add to the list is a better Magical Shield mechanic for the wizard. The Shield spell isn't so hot as a 1st level spell slot that lasts 10 min...maybe the magic shield should be an at will spell that can absorb 1d6 damage as a reaction (but the reaction takes the place of the Wizard's next action). Then, each level there is a new magical shield spell that can boost the number of HD you can shield if you use a spell slot for the day. For example..1st level spell - Augment Magical Shield I change damage reduction of shield cantrip to 1d8 (full day)... 2nd level spell - Augment Magical Shield II change damage reduction of shield cantrip to 2d6 (full day)...3rd level spell Augment Magical Shield III change damage reduction of shield cantrip to 2d8 (full day) --- Just a thought. (numbers may be off but I'd like to toy with the idea) - -Maybe this is something that the Abjurer tradition Wizard will get later...who knows.
Giving Wizard an "at will" shield that is a reaction that takes the place of the Wizard's next action is interesting because it simulates the idea that in order to stop some damage, the Wizard must concentrate, which prevents him from using an action in his next turn - kind of like disrupting his spell, but a little different.
Ah...maybe just giving the mage Mage Armor AC 14 that lasts for longer than 10 minutes (1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours) is a quicker fix.
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