Hi, I’m Redda, and I’m going to take a deep look into the latest playtest pack
We’re currently testing it in a lv 10 capped campaign that will end this week, and we’ll keep test it in another campaign that will start in February. Playtest feedback will be archived in the proper forum when the material will be enough.
In this post I’ll discuss the paragraphs that aren’t bestiary, classes, spells and magic items (I’ll discuss about them in another post with some numeric data). I’ll only speak about improvable things, thou I’m really satisfied about the rest.
I’ll mark things as AK = absolutely keep (really good stuff), AM = absolutely modify (really bad stuff), MG = modify would be good (slightly bad stuff), NI = not really interesting (indifferent stuff)
Important note: I copy/pasted some stuff from the old analysis BUT I ALSO MODIFIED THAT IN SOME PARTS. So, if you already read it before, don’t just skip as some parts are completely different.
HOW TO PLAY
AM = ranged attacks in melee: it’s self understandable that if you do some ranged stuff in the reach of a creature, you’re going to have a bad time. A decent fighter wouldn’t allow somebody to shoot with a bow at his face from 5 feet without any reaction, or wouldn’t allow a mage to do some gestures in his face without cutting him a hand. You can’t just make melee and ranged stuff equal, shooting should have some penalty. A good solution may be: ranged attacks against creatures threatening you with their reach have disadvantage. Ranged attacks targeting other creatures while you are in the reach of one (or more) hostile creature (that you’re not targeting) trigger opportunity attacks. From time to time a bowman reached by an infantry (or cavalry) unit has some big problems.
AAAAAAAAM = healing rule: the actual healing rule combined with 1hp heal cantrip results in fights too easy and a feeling of immortality. When you heavily go down, you should stay down or being risen up by some equivalently big spell. The best solution is to restore the old healing rules: if you’re at –x and you are healed by +y your hp is –x +y (no heal automatically restores you to 0 before healing the rolled amount). If you’re downed and you’re healed, but not enough to have a positive hp amount, you’re stabilized. Otherwise remove the cantrip heal.
MG = Invisible: attacks made while invisible MUST have advantage. This advantage does not apply versus creatures that does not rely mainly on sight.
MG = Intoxicated: why in the world an intoxicated creature shall take less dmg? An intoxicated creature shall DEAL less dmg, like when you’re drunk and you can’t apply your full power to attacks.
MG = Unconscious: an unconscious creature is not able to protect itself, so it’s not reasonable that you only get advantage in the attacks you make against it. Attacks shall be automatically hit, and if not coup-de-grace at least they should be automatically critical hits (you can easily take aim at that creature’s weak spots).
MG = The “hide” action is not clearly explained. In our opinion hide can take “action”, “movement” or “no action” at all depending on the situation. Examples : 1) “I make some place in the bush to hide myself” (normal action), “I run behind the huge rock while they come in our direction” (movement), “I hide myself hopping behind the rock I was sitting on” (no action).
NI = The space for spells should be improved
BACKGROUNDS (average really satisfied)
MG = Artisan: The guild mechanic is considered bad by everyone here. If you’re an artisan you should craft stuffs, that’s the point. The mechanic you inserted in the packs before 102912 was overall corrected, the gaining in doing it was just too high, risking to transmute the game into a “4hrs session in which every player grind for mats to craft stuffs and gain big money”. It’s easy to fix it, just diminishing the gains can be ok. You shall provide mats no more equal to ½ of the item’s cost, but 8/10 or 19/20 or 999/1000 or whatever you think it’s reasonable. Consider that x% of a cheap item is a poor amount of gain, but the same x% of some really expensive item can be big money (in the pack before 50% of a full plate armor could be a straight 2500g gain, unbalanced). The “due” mechanic makes us feel like being an artisan is not a privilege at all.
MG = Commoner: the commoner should be able to do his profession in some way. For example if I’m a fisher I should be able to fish and so on.
MG = Guild Thief : A thief must be able to pickpocket better then anyone else. Take out balance and insert sleight of hand in his ability list.
NI = skill DRIVE: this skill looks totally useless, you can remove it and add drive’s function to the ride skill.
NI = skill DISGUISE: remove totally and add it’s functions to the bluff skill. Having too many skills to do similar actions can cause confusion for the master and for the players.
AK = bounty hunter, guide and sage. These background are really synergic for the gameplay, as they help players know “what to do”. Thumbs up
EQUIPMENT (average satisfied)
MG = heavy armors: increase amount of armor given to be the top protective armor class. This because at high levels light armor + dex (increased by levels) gives more armor class, while heavy tank classes should have the best ac, not rogues and such
AM/MG = What really annoyed us about the 4.0 d&d was that if you wanted to be 100% effective in combat you MUST select a race combined to a certain class(usually the one that improves your attack roll). So if your toon dies and you want to do another one with the same class you had to take the same race or change the class specialty and take a different race. Every player if possible wants to have the biggest advantage he can by building the character in the best way, the point is that the dwarves are not only warriors and priest, and elves are not only rogues or mages. If I want to do something different, like a dwarf mage, why have I to be nerfed? If I build my own background I may be a dwarf without any “martial weapon” training and instead be trained by a magic council, so why should I have an increase in weapon dice damage, or a train in medium armor just because I’m born as a dwarf? . Same for the physic stuffs. Not all the elves are full of dex, they can also be tough or whatever else, especially depending on the training they received. What we really ask is not to lock the player’s creativity into schemes, but help them develop instead. If I want to play something different from the standard, that shouldn’t necessary be lower effective then the average. Suggestion could be to take out all the advantage that a race can give you in combat while keeping up with racial out-of-combat stuff (like elves’s trance, dwarves’s stonecutting and so on). I understand +1ability given by the class, but the racial one should be free to choose (or included into background/specialty).Also, a list of background-given benefits (like I was born in a clan of warriors so I have improved axe dmg or I was raised by a guild of thieves so I’m expert in the use of swords and such) may be implemented. You should think about it.
IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THINGS LIKE THEY ARE, THESE CAN BE SOME FIXES TO DO
AM/NI = mountain dwarf: I thought that the light armor proficiency was a typing error with the heavy one, but then I read about the caster classes, and for a wizard to be in full plate was surely excessive (you just need the competence to cast in armor). The only thing that doesn’t convince us is that in the race’s description dwarf is “expert in forge and blacksmithing” so why should a dwarf be competent in light and medium armor? I would rather understand if they got a bonus ac when they use metal armors. Btw this is not really disrupting the game (NI), it’s just a bit “far from dwarves background”(AM). I can’t suggest a good correction about this, maybe a little background change would fit.
NI = high elves: with the new cantrip setup, the cantrip benefit became not appealing. The wizard class already choose cantrips, and as the high elf is a wizard-oriented race this is an obsolete bonus. Some increased spell-oriented bonus would be slightly better.
AM = stout halflings: the lack of a cha-oriented class makes the race not appealing. The “fear resistance” is also a very situational buff, not worth the choice of the class. Some static combat bonus may convince players to use the race, even if the cha bonus is not the best combat stat you may pick, especially in low levels.
MG/NI = human: the human class is no more op, as the lv 20 stat increase is odd/numbered, so every race with a positive stat in “whatever you need to be the biggest one” in the end reaches the same modifier. Well, if you wanted the human to be a versatile race, you got it. If I want my toon to have many stats rounded to do more stuff (like cha/int etc if I want my rogue to do some slightly better out-of-combat-stuff etc) I choose human, that’s it. The real problem is just one: dwarves are born to be a tough/wise race and the humans are average as tough/wise as dwarves (+1 stat) and in many cases they’re even better (+2stat). Same for elves. Atm the race bonuses are balanced in the game, so there’s no need to change at all, but from the racial background point of view they make us a bit perplex.
MANEUVERS (average really satisfied)
MG = bull rush: the lack of damage in this maneuver makes it not really appealing. Moving an opponent instead of dealing damage may be good in some situation, but makes me feel like it’s not really worth. A suggestion may be to add the standard attack to the maneuver, while the die spent works with the push-and-follow.
MG = spring attack: this maneuver should be also used to partially disengage for a ranged attack (see the how to play section for some hints about “what I would like ranged attacks to be&rdquo, and looks really cool for the rogue class. The movement should also be available BEFORE the attack, and not only after. You should also get this maneuver available for the rogue class someway (and not to the warrior).
SPECIALTIES AND FEATS
NI = arcane dabbler: absolutely not appealing
MG = called shot: “I lose an action to make the next attack a critical hit. What if I miss that attack? I lost 2 actions”. This is what I think about this feat. A suggestion may be that the critical hit applies on the next attack hitting. Also a critical hit is not really an upgrade compared to 2 normal hits. This feat should be thought a little about.
MG = covert strike: the movement should be doable after OR before the hide, so that you can do a “soft” disengage with the hide and change position, or you can simply add a “not triggering opportunity attack” mechanic, otherwise moving before hiding is not really worth the opportunity attacks you get (when you attack an opponent, you’re mostly in the reach of his allies).
AAAAAAAAM (remove) = healing initiate AND restore life: the 1hp cantrip is the WORST SPELL IN THE WHOLE GAME, disrupting every fight. You can be at 1hp from death, still you get healed by 1 (permanently, as it’s a cantrip) and you’re ready to fight again and again. This is RIDICULOUS. If you add this crap to every class wanting it, fights become extremely easy (tested, we killed a lv 15 dragon with a lv 7 balanced group with 0 magic items). Somebody goes down, somebody random else gets it up, at will. Note: weapon attacker can also attack, as it’s a word of power. So, what about the permaress? That’s even worse. With that feat, you start making fight previsions based on the death like “Ok stop heal me now, I die, you kill the boss, you ress me”.. This with 0 costs at all (no 1k gold gem, no drawback, nothing). If there isn’t a concrete possibility of die in mass the fun is over. The solution can be to restore the standard heal mechanic: you are at -5 dyeing, you get healed by one, you are at -4 stabilized. Remove the ress, introduce a cleric high lv ress spell with some heavy money drawback.
MG : sniper: sniper is a situational feat, good when you absolutely have to kill something in a turn and this something is low in health, or you’re fighting some high-ac mob. The point is that there are many stronger feats, useable close to always, so I don’t consider this feat really appealing.
MG = shift: This feat has always been of use of mobile/casters classes, when melee spells and ranged attacks in melee provoked opportunity attacks. The point is that this is a clear positioning maneuver, and could be of better use for rogues etc. Should be removed from the warrior list
AK/MG = charge: this mechanic is really pleasing, making combats more fluid. It should be available as a standard combat action, with some little changes. First of all should be in a line (and not “by the safest path&rdquo, with a minimum require of 10feet to go, also this movement shouldn’t provoke opportunity attacks. If it’s going to be a warrior privilege to charge, it’s ok like this, otherwise it should also have some drawbacks (like a -1 to ac for the next turn, charging focuses more on attack and less on defense).
AK = cleave, defensive ward, shield bash, shift, hold the line. These are good mechanics to make fights more fluid and tactic.