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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris_Shadowblade View Post
    I'm confused where people are seeing where only finesse weapons can be used for sneak attacks. Was it in article or something? Because the Blurb on the sheet just says you need Advantage.
    I think your confusion comes from what it actually being said. Saph isn't saying you can't sneak attack with a battleaxe, just that in terms of optimization the Quarterstaff is the current leader.

    Finesse weapons allow you to add your dex modifier to both "to hit" AND "damage". A Quarterstaff, as listed, deals the most damage on a hit compared to the other finesse weapons like a rapier.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashdate View Post
    I think your confusion comes from what it actually being said. Saph isn't saying you can't sneak attack with a battleaxe, just that in terms of optimization the Quarterstaff is the current leader.

    Finesse weapons allow you to add your dex modifier to both "to hit" AND "damage". A Quarterstaff, as listed, deals the most damage on a hit compared to the other finesse weapons like a rapier.
    That's probably what it is.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    That's pretty much where I'm at with it. If you accept that the max length is determined by strength (which I'm not, at least entirely), then given the number of times this actually comes up, and the overall importance of it in the game, I'm happy with the simplification for the sake of gameplay.
    My main point really doesn't have anything to do with Jump, but was mainly that Ability checks aren't different enough between the extremes and will return utterly bizarre and inconsistent results. A Mage will outwrestle an Ogre and the Ogre will beat the Mage at chess a non-trivial percentage of the time. These abilities need to grant larger bonuses or they need to interact on a smaller die than a d20.

    I think it makes sense to simplify for the sake of gameplay further such that you have a set distance you can jump under normal conditions and then modify that for less than normal conditions rather than assume every situation you will ever jump in will vary so wildly from moment to moment and jumper to jumper that it means the spontaneous difference of 19 feet of capability. The fact that I think it's slightly more realistic to have a baseline distance you jump based on your strength and training and you'll GENERALLY stick close to that average (and then modify based on worse conditions for a jump) is essentially a non-point. I don't think it matters if it's more realistic or less, though I personally do think it is more realistic. I mostly think it makes a better rule for a game BECAUSE it's simpler and makes for better gameplay because of its consistency when it comes to basic capabilities of your character.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    With regards to Rules inhibiting Stunts – Lack of rules leave it to DM Fiat I have never seen why.

    Just a couple of ways we’ve always played DnD

    3.5 / 5E Fighter.
    I wish to attack this foe, but I also want to get him away from the wizard, so I’m going to Attack him and force him to stumble back under the weight of my attack.
    DM: No Problem, You take a -2 to your attack & Make a Str Vs Con check to see if you push him back.
    Result? Fighter makes basic attack and gets to pushes back.

    4ED Fighter.
    I wish to attack this foe, but I also want to get him away from the wizard but I’m out of manoeuvre powers, I’m going to Attack him and force him to stumble back under the weight of my attack.
    DM: No Problem, You take a -2 to your attack & Make a STR Vs Fort check to see if you push him back.
    Result? Fighter uses at will (that gives other tactical options) and pushes back.


    3.5 / 5E Rogue
    I wish to swing on the chandelier landing on the table behind my foe so I can get a flank in.
    DM: No Problem: Roll a Agiliy (Dex) check to see if you make it
    Result? Rogue Swings, lands, makes a basic attack with SA damage

    4ED Rogue
    I wish to swing on the chandelier landing on the table behind my foe so I can get a flank in.
    DM: No Problem: Roll a Agility check to see if you make it
    Result? Rogue Swings, Lands, makes an At Will attack (that gives other tactical options) and gets SA damage.


    ~ ~ ~

    Overall impression.

    It’s a step “Backwards”. But as that’s towards what people traditional see as DnD that’s no bad thing for most.

    Personally I can just about handle a return to spell lists. IF the power curve is much reduced. I do not like the return to “simplistic” Melee rules, unless they are balanced. Which is very hard to do if they run off a different system to spells. Some people think that Melee / Spells Should be a different power level. But that’s a game ender for me.

    So far it looks a lot like a DnD “Greatest Hits” edition. Trying to pick the best of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. And its very light on details. This is certainly a "Play test" rather than a "rules test". Which I think they would be better off doing.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Grogmir View Post
    So far it looks a lot like a DnD “Greatest Hits” edition. Trying to pick the best of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. And its very light on details. This is certainly a "Play test" rather than a "rules test". Which I think they would be better off doing.
    Actually, I think that's not a bad way of doing D&D Next - start with a base edition (probably 1st, or at most, 2nd), and take the stuff that worked from other editions and add it in, so long as it meshes well.

    There's a lot of good ideas in all editions. It would be a huge mistake to not capitalize on those.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    I think the way they are going about it is solid. You want a simple core ruleset that can be very efficient if you add nothing to it, but CAN support more detailed rules additions. I see it as trying to build a simple and reliable OS that is flexible enough to support future applications created by the original developer or third parties. Release a working product with Minesweeper and Notepad, and allow Elder Scrolls or Neverwinter Nights to be built on it, instead of releasing an OS designed to run just Elder Scrolls or Neverwinter nights respectively.

    Obviously it's not going to please everybody (have you met everybody? they are very disagreeable), but I dig the mindset of finding core mechanics that can be expanded to support preferred aspects of multiple rulesets in the same game. One of the problems with DnD is that it is very denominational, and people will outright refuse to play some editions because they can't use the mechanics they enjoy. I have friends who prefer to only play 4e, friends who would only play 3.x, and others of various interests and tolerances, but I now some of the players would probably get along well and enjoy hanging out with each other (similar tastes and personalities) if the extreme differences could be mitigated. Rebuilding the ashen bridges between their splintered fan-bases is probably the best thing they can do as a long term business policy, and for the integrity of the game in general. The biggest thing here is making sure modules can be used without conflicts, and that alternate modules can be used in parallel with each other effectively. At least they are focusing player-base-wide playtests on the most core set of rules they are considering without all the extra frills that would complicate the results. Once it's been established what works (in its intended use, scale and complexity), what doesn't, and what could be better (in every case), then the complexity can be increased and more testing can be done. This release is not the entirety of the system and most likely not even the entirety of the core rules (even without factoring in modules), so getting bent out of shape over what isn't there is pointless as the intent is to analyze what is there and consider how that might be adjusted or improved as a foundation to support a wider range of optional rules.

    You can always improve combat complexity (assuming the module concept isn't borked) by looking up some expanded rules and applying them in the manner you choose. Fighter X says "I want to twist my sword in the wound for a more devastating blow!", the DM says "Okay, if you want to play that way then we can use the Detailed Combat Module. It says here that you can take the effort to enhance your attack in various ways, and under 'Twist Sword in Wound' it says you can do an extra d6 damage and become disadvantaged as it requires more focus and leave you exposed while doing so, you'd have to learn a maneuver to do it without the disadvantage. Do you still want to do it?" "Yes!" says Fighter X. Wizard Y chimes in "Hold on, I don't want the monsters to be able to try and poke out my eyes or steal my staff in the middle of the fight, can't we just keep it simple?" The DM thinks for a moment and responds "Okay, I'll allow it, but it's just going to be between the monsters and you, Fighter X. Are we all copacetic?" "Wicked! I would totally lose an eye in an awesome fight!" shouts the fighter. "Fine, just don't take to long figuring it all out." responds the wizard. In absence of more details, the general rule still applies that players can only say what they are attempting to do and the DM decides the effect. A player can't say "I twist the sword for more damage", or "I kill the goblin in the fireplace." They can say "if I hit then I attempt to twist my sword in the wound" or "I try and push the goblin into the fireplace." It's up to the DM to decide if the sword twist or fireplace causes more damage, applies some status effect to the target or attacker, or simply has no extra effect at all, but gives kudos for the theatrics. In the case of added complexity through modules, the rules would be tested before finalizing inclusion in the core rulebook, or being released at a later date.

    You are going to have bad DMs who can't adjudicate the rules properly, and you are going to have bad players who don't want to use the rules properly. Neither of these are going to be fixed by having a more complex core ruleset. A good DM can make things work between bad players, and good players can find fun in a bad DM's shenanigans. At the end of the day it's up to them to make the most of it, and the guy writing the game can't do jack to make them have fun.

    Entire modules could be devoted towards action economy, grid based fighting (4e style pushing and general chessery), skill points, etc.

    To add to Denkal's comment: I could see a lot of maneuvers/special attacks that aren't explicitly described implemented with the 'Contest' rules. Where the player wants to trip a monster with his polearm, and the DM decides it would be a contest of strength or dexterity (depending on the situation), the dice would be rolled, stats would be compared, and the DM determines whether the trip was successful and what status is imposed on the creature (e.g. knocked prone, pulled sideways, etc.). While a saving throw could be made if the creature was surprised and only had a second to react without being capable of a fully aware contest of abilities.

    I would like to see a clear distinction between what stats are modified by class, race, feats, etc. as it makes it easier (as a DM) to deconstruct botched character sheets (happens at least once in every game).

    I hope to get 5e playtesting going later this week after my last final. It will be interesting to see how my current players respond. Most all of them are new to RPGs and prefer 4e (I still run Pathfinder because the campaign has lasted, but give them some more at-will style things they can do) because their backgrounds are generally WoW and Multiplayer XBL games, so the "video-gamey feel" is a plus for them. As long as they have at-will abilities, a preset grid/map, don't have to use to much imagination, and the ability to complain about not being able to roleplay enough when all they do is run to find the next battle, they're usually happy.
    Last edited by 7RED7; 2012-06-02 at 11:50 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by 7RED7 View Post
    Obviously it's not going to please everybody (have you met everybody? they are very disagreeable)
    This amuses me, and I wish to sig it.

    Also the rest of your post seems fairly sensible; let's hope WotC makes it turn out good.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    One effect of this is that the most effective sneak-attack weapon in 5e is currently a staff.

    Still, the poor old quarterstaff has been practically useless in every previous edition of the game, so maybe it deserves a little love.
    I think it does.

    Anyway a couple of questions: The OP mentions that the magic system is basically a mishmash of different types of casting. (vancian, spirit shaman, pathfinder style cantrips and 4e style rituals). Can the system function as a low magic system?

    Also how does magic items work? Does the Dm have to hand them out like candy on Halloween? Or can he truly make a magic item special and unique? I’m wondering how loot affects the character’s power scaling.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    After my first impressions that I posted about I decided to wait a week and get some playtesting in before my full review. We got to and cleared out the kobold caves as of writing this. This is going to be a long one, so brace yourself.

    Disclaimer: I just want to say that I care nothing about WotC; all I want to see is a good product that I will enjoy in the future and spend my hard earned money and time on.

    The document/presentation
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    First off, I don't consider this to be a pure playtest. Instead I view it in terms of free advertising, a preview of the future of DnD.

    Frankly the presentation is bad. There are numerous inconsistencies through the document (why does the fighter have a extra +1 to hit?) that make it hard to properly playtest. Does that bonus apply to all weapons, or certain ones. What do I do when I pick up a shield and handaxe instead of a greataxe. The silly things all those questions could be answered by a simple 1 sentence addition to a character sheet that explains it. Every class has one or more of such inconsistencies.

    To make things work, they even stated that these things are intentional, but obviously they didn't care enough to include the description to the playtesters, that is us. I mean I can't call Mike Mearls and ask him what he meant about X or Y.

    Also there are references to saves against strength, intelligence and charisma, but none are presented to test. I really don't see the reason why they could not include at least one spell that targets any of these abilities.
    EDIT: There are saves vs STR and INT in the module itself, as pointed out by Obryn. It seems to me though that those are more akin to ability checks in 3.0+ then saves.

    I mean you think that those are not big mistakes, but I personally would be ashamed to submit a professional document to public review with those kind of mistakes. Its akin to not labeling your graphs, it just stinks of laziness.


    Mechanics
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    At first glance at the document you notice that there are some things wrong with certain mechanics. Medium armor seems to be completely useless compared to heavy or light variants. Certain abilities (namely dexterity and wisdom) seem much more useful then others.

    Which brings me to my next point, the core mechanic of 5E, the ability check. Skills, saves, attacks, everything is resolved via this mechanic (sometimes via the addition of a small modifier). For characters ability score modifiers will typically go from -1 to +4 (maybe +5).

    If you played 3.0+ you know that ability checks were the worst part of that system. The values you roll on a d20 are many times greater then usually the bonus you will have to such an ability. This pretty much makes that ability score useless, as to resolve a task it is far more important how well you roll then the bonus you have related to that task. Using this system, a STR 10 character will beat a STR 20 character when making opposed STR checks a statistically significant percentage of cases that it is just silly.

    Now 3.0+ also had this problem, as a lot of their mechanics are in reality based on the ability check. There were a lot of legitimate complaints about how combat at level 1 felt fiddly and random. 3.0+ fixed this problem by allowing you to add a lot of modifiers to your ability check, like base attack, base save or skill rank bonuses. Since the modifiers to the roll were comparable to the span of d20's values, you got a feel that the resources you invested into something matter more then a d20 roll. That your choices actually matter.

    What that means is that in 5E there is no mechanical point in spreading your resources around to make a well rounded character. You will want to focus in a single ability score (the one you attack with) so you get a large modifiers (so you can rely on it a bit) and ignore the others (since the results will be random anyway). Given the mechanical constraints of the system it is even a smart thing to do, since killing the opposition faster will make your character take less ability checks.

    Another thing related to ability checks is that DC's start at 11. Why they thought that is a good idea in 3.0+ I have no idea, but they still think its a good idea now. From what I gather they drew from ADnD (where if you roll under your ability score you pass) when they made that rule. I'm guessing their idea was this: a average person (ability=10) can make a easy task (DC 10) in combat 50% of the time. So rolling a 10 or lower in ADnD translates to a DC 11 check. Great so far. What they didn't consider is that a character with a 14 in such a ability score makes a easy task 70% of the time, but in 3.0 onwards he makes that task with only a 60% chance; and the higher your stat (or difficulty of the task) the % difference between the edition increases. Not only that, but doesn't it strike you odd that you make a easy task with a 50% chance of success. A series of bad rolls makes it very frustrating when you are trying to climb a wall and just can't seem to roll above 10 for 3 rounds in a row.

    They also fixed the math of AC and saving throws that in most cases you will need a 10+ on a roll to succeed. With very limited ways of improving your chance to succeed during character creating (only by raising your abilities) and so far only 1 way to get a bonus during play (difficult to pull off) will result in very boring gameplay, a series of rolls hoping you roll higher then your opponent. Missing half the time is not fun.


    The advantage/disadvantage mechanic is something new they introduced in 5E. I liked it at first glance. It looks simple to implement, simple to keep track of, simple to resolve while it still gives a good penalty/bonus. During the playtest my feelings of joy begun to dilute.

    Given that the basic math in the game is to succeed you need a 10+, in effect this gives you a +/- 5 to your roll. It is a large bonus/penalty and if a ability allows you to give A/D with too little investment, that ability (or action) can be considered too strong and invalidate other options/classes. It needs further testing and balancing.


    The other major part of 5E I want to touch is the movement system (action economy). I have mixed feelings about this. While it sped up the game a bit not to worry about things like drawing weapons, opening doors and so forth I feel it can invalidate some options characters can have. Why sunder or disarm someone if they can replace their weapon at no cost in actions for example.

    Another part that worries me is the lack of opportunity attacks and the ability to take actions in the middle of your movement. Having a high movement speed (or a way to lower the enemies move speed) make you pretty much immune to melee combat. With this system I see very little point in melee focused characters/monsters.


    TL;DR part:
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    In conclusion, I find this to be a very very shoddy piece of work. Consider that a team of experienced game designers work on this for over 8 months (and got paid to do so). Now look at some homebrew work on this very forum, or start up game systems on their own (like Legend) that were created in a similar span of time, with less people working on, that did not get paid for their work. I understand that this is a playtest (but it is also preview, a advertisement), but certain standards of professional work should apply.

    Most of the mechanics in the game are taken from previous editions, mechanics that are poor and should be replaced with something else. The new mechanics are, for the most part, poorly thought out and they remove depth from the game without adding anything. A lot of mechanics that worked well from previous editions were removed, and we were told to improvise if such things come up, with very poor guidelines on how to do exactly that. The kind of guidelines we can't playtest.

    In the end it is obvious to me that WotC does not respect their potential future customers, nor does it want/care for any feedback from this playtest. I wanted a new fresh edition of DnD, a new system with innovative, streamlined mechanics that will drive the hobby forward. Instead it takes several steps back.
    Last edited by Tehnar; 2012-06-04 at 11:02 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    @Tuggyne. Yeah sure, sir!

    @Tehnar. Yeah, there's not much there, and what is has problems. However, this is looking at a mountain and saying "well that's not going to protect me in an accident" when the metal of your car's frame hasn't even been molded yet, and the ore hasn't been refined into metal yet, and the mountain hasn't been mined for the ore yet. Maybe the end result will still suck, but it takes time to get there.

    Sure they could get it out the door more efficiently, but they are trying to go for a different goal than other developers. Those developers are starting with new material and shaping the sculpture they see in the marble. WotC is trying to find a way to re-merge divisions that have happened over the course of 38 years. People who play DnD are most likely going to play it because it's Dungeons and Dragons, not because it's the best thing out there, but because it's what they like. They have decided on the task of taking 38 years of recipes in all of their restaurants and going back through them to find out what they can get on the menu that will keep their repeat customers happy, get old customers back in the door, and hopefully be attractive to new customers. That is going to take longer than "Hey, I just put a lot of effort into a new recipe that no one has tried before and it turned out great!"
    The chefs had some disagreements, the crust got a little burnt, and the sauce probably could have used less butter, but it's a free sample so go tell the cooks that they need to pay more attention to the flame and butter levels, and demand that they keep the little dish of glazing that you used to always dip it in.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    That's a lot of metaphors, and I'm not sure all of them go together!

    Unfortunately, I've got to mostly agree with Tehnar; this could have used another month of internal playtesting, and it especially could have used a better module, or at least one that could push the new elements being introduced in 5e.

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Ill give you a analogy of my experience with 5E thus far.

    You walk into a fancy restaurant, expecting a nice meal. When the waiter seats you, talking about how you are about to have the best meal of your life, on the table before you the glasses have stains and the tablecloth is wrinkled. The free complementary breadsticks are burnt, give off a funny smell and if you dare try one it tastes sour.

    Now even though you did not pay for anything yet, and have yet to sample the main dish, would you stay and pay $50+ for a meal? When next door you have a restaurant you go to every day, that you know and like?

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Playtest Journal, Session 1: When In Doubt, Set Something On Fire


    The Party

    • Elf Wizard: Ambiguously gendered. Spent half the game explaining the superiority of elves over other races. Source of the quote “If it’s got legs, I’m willing.”
    • Dwarf Fighter, later reincarnated as Dwarf Cleric: Spent half the game making comments about killing the elf.
    • ‘Pacifist’ Human Cleric: Intended as a gentle, peaceful healer. It really didn’t work out that way.
    • Two Halfing Rogues: We had six players and five characters so the rogues doubled up. The rest of the players (in-character) kept referring to them as “the halflings” on grounds that halflings weren’t important enough to learn their names.
    • Dwarf Cleric: Described as follows:

    Dwarf Cleric: “My dwarf’s name is McGruder and he has multiple personalities. Everyday, it’s a 50/50 roll to see if s/he’s male or female for the day. He also has lamb chops and a fondness for colourful scarves and fur clothing.”
    DM: “So what gender are you again?”
    Dwarf Cleric: “It can be a surprise.”
    DM: “We’ll put it down as ‘undetermined’.”

    Day 1: Kobold Hunting

    The party arrived at the ravine of the Caves of Chaos and spent five minutes arguing over which cave to go into.

    Dwarf Fighter: “We should go to Cave D.”
    Elf Wizard: “Clearly, we should go to Cave A.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “No, I think I’d rather go to the trees.”
    Elf Wizard: “Very well, let’s take a vote.”
    Halfling: “I think we should try Cave A.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Wait – halflings get a vote?”
    Elf Wizard: “They get a vote; we just won’t count it.”

    The discussion was resolved when the halflings headed for Cave A and promptly got ambushed.

    Encounter 1: Kobold Ambush

    Party: Wizard, Fighter, 2x Rogue, Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 8x Kobold

    Result: Complete massacre. Five kobolds were slaughtered in the first round, the rest fled into the tunnels, a sixth dying to a magic missile shot in the back. This segued immediately into:

    Encounter 2: Another Kobold Ambush, This Time With Rats And A Pit

    Party: Wizard, Fighter, 2x Rogue, Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 6x Kobold, 18x Cave Rat, 1x Dire Rat, 1x Pit Trap

    One halfling fell into the pit, while the fighter got stuck on the other side and swarmed by rats. The Dwarf cleric declared “Hammertime!”, jumped across, and started clobbering rats, while the second halfling Disable Deviced the pit trap. The kobolds died and ran (again), and the rats did some minor damage before they were knocked out by a Sleep burst from the wizard and coup-de-graced while unconscious.

    The party proceeded onwards. By this time the kobolds had raised the alarm and fetched their chief, who’d gone to the main common room to organise a response. The party walked right into the middle of them.

    Encounter 3: All The Kobolds

    Party: Wizard, Fighter, 2x Rogue, Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 32x Kobold, 1x Kobold Chief

    Round 1: The fighter and one of the halflings charge into the crowd, hacking away, and the clerics advance behind them. The wizard drops another Sleep spell, putting about twenty kobolds to sleep.

    Round 2: The awake kobolds start waking up the sleeping kobolds, while the halfling tries to get to the chief to kill him. The fighter and wizard are killing a kobold every round, but the fighter’s getting surrounded.

    Round 3: The fighter gets stabbed multiple times and goes down. The human cleric rushes in and heals him up. The halfling stabs the chief, who takes cover.

    Round 4: The fighter goes down again. The dwarf cleric heals him up again. The fighter and halfling rush the chief and wound him seriously. By this point the entire cavern’s awake except for one or two.

    Round 5: The fighter gets surrounded by 7 kobolds, all with advantage, who stab him six times, reducing him to -25 HP and killing him instantly. The halfling also gets repeatedly stabbed but survives on 1 HP, fleeing next round. Facing 25 now-awake kobolds and with their main damage dealer dead, the party realise they’re onto a loser and decide to leg it.

    One of the halflings smashes his lantern in the entrance to create a flaming barrier. The kobolds respond by forming a firing line and pelting the party with spears and daggers. The halflings run, the human cleric takes heavy damage, the dwarf cleric takes rear guard and orders the rest of the party to run while she covers their retreat. The elf wizard decides to demonstrate his bravery to the dwarf by standing side by side with her. The dwarf resolves the situation by slinging the elf over her shoulder and carrying her.

    The combat went on hold at this point for five straight minutes of shipping/innuendoes, assisted by the dwarf cleric’s player’s extensive knowledge of Legolas/Gimli fanfiction.

    Elf Wizard: “Take me McGruder! And then carry me.”
    DM: “The human cleric’s still there, and she’s not going to have another turn before the kobolds.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Can I pick her up and carry her too?”
    DM: “Make a Strength check . . . You succeed.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “I sling her over the other shoulder and keep running.”
    Dead Fighter: “Going for a threesome now?”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “Now you’re just getting greedy.”
    DM: “So, McGruder carries the elf out of the cave, and somewhere along the way, hanging onto the dwarf becomes groping.”
    Elf Wizard: “I’m in love!”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Shut your mouth elf – there are better uses for it!”

    The surviving party members withdrew out of the ravine and took an extended rest. The dwarf cleric’s player took the opportunity to draw her character:

    Spoiler
    Show

    and the elf:

    Spoiler
    Show

    Day 2: Kill the Goblins

    Since the dwarf fighter had been killed on the previous adventuring day, the player respawned as another dwarf cleric.

    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Hi, I’m Lag Junior. I’m looking for my father, a dwarf fighter named Lag Senior. Have you seen him?”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “No good dwarf, we’ve never been here before.”
    Elf Wizard: “But we’re planning to adventure into this ravine – where we have never been before – for a quest.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Have we mentioned we’ve never been here before?”

    The party bypassed the kobold caves and headed for the ogre cave instead. They saw the alive-looking bear and spent so much time arguing about whether to kill it (Pacifist Human Cleric: “But I like animals!”) that they woke up the ogre, who came out in a bad mood.

    Encounter 4: Ogre Battle

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 1x Ogre

    Result: Completely one-sided. The two Dwarf clerics stood side by side and made use of their ‘Defender’ feature, allowing them to give disadvantage (roll twice and take the worst) to any attack against an ally next to them.

    DM: “The ogre attacks the dwarf cleric.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Defender!” *attack misses*
    DM: “Fine, next turn the ogre attacks the other dwarf.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Defender!” *attack misses*
    DM: “The ogre goes back to attacking the first dwarf.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Defender!” *attack misses*
    DM: “This is ridiculous. You can do that every single time?”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Why do you think I came back as the cleric?”

    The ogre was slowly and painfully ground down over an 8-round battle, during which the monster landed exactly two hits. The elf wizard finished the ogre with a magic missile to the crotch.

    DM: “Searching the cave you find a large sack of coins, a healing potion, an invisibility potion, six +1 arrows, a hard cheese, and a barrel of brandy worth 100 silver pieces.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Or a lot of brandy.”
    Elf Wizard: “Time to get drunk!”

    The party moved into the goblin caves.

    Encounter 5: Goblin Slaughter

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 6x Goblin

    Elf Wizard: “Send the halflings in first!”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “You know, you’re kind of racist.”
    Elf Wizard: “I’m not racist – I just hate everything that’s not an elf, human or dwarf.”

    The goblins win initiative and throw their spears at the halflings in the front rank.

    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Defender!”
    DM: “You’re five feet behind him! How the hell are you supposed to be protecting him with your shield?”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “They’re within five feet, it works. Defender!”
    DM: “Fine, the other three target the other halfling.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Defender!”
    DM: “Gah!”

    In the rest of round 1 the first halfling kills a goblin with a throwing dagger, the second halfling kills a goblin with his sling, the Dwarf cleric steps up and kills a goblin with her warhammer, the reincarnated dwarf also kills a goblin with his warhammer, and the elf wizard kills a goblin with a magic missile. The last goblin opens a secret door and runs through it with a sack.

    Pacifist Human Cleric: “He’s got our loot! After him!”

    With the human cleric in the lead, the party chases the goblin through the secret door into what they recognise as the ogre’s cave.

    DM (to the human cleric): “You run out into the area where you fought the ogre and see the goblin standing over the ogre’s body, looking dismayed.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “I Radiant Lance him in the back of the head.” *critical hit*
    DM: “It dies instantly. The rest of you arrive a few seconds later to see the corpse of the goblin lying face down with the back of its head blown off.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Ah . . . so what exactly . . . ?”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It committed vicious suicide.”

    The party advanced through the goblin caves, discussing their relationships.

    Elf Wizard: “Hey McGruder, I have 50ft of hemp rope in my bag.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “So do I.”
    Elf Wizard: “100 ft of hemp rope – think of the possibilities.”
    Halfling: “What is it with you and dwarves?”
    Elf Wizard: “I’m going through a dwarf phase – at 90 it was a nymph phase, one of the worst decades of my life.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Don’t compare me to your past girlfriends.”
    Elf Wizard: “Sorry dear. You’re the best dwarf I’ve had – well, you’re the only dwarf I’ve had, but you’re still the best.”
    DM: “You emerge into a wider room. Tables set with large rocks as stools stand near a dim cookfire and amidst piles of bedding and trash. More than twenty goblins look up from their meals to stare at you.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Use diplomacy?”
    Reincarnated Dwarf (to the elf): “Use burning hands!”
    Halfling: “No, his burning hands are for the dwarf.”

    Encounters 6 & 7: Yet More Goblin Slaughter

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 22x goblins plus reinforcements of 6x goblins

    The wizard opened up with a sleep spell that knocked out about half the goblins. While the conscious goblins began to wake the sleeping ones, others advanced and opened fire.

    DM: “Okay, you get eight attacks on the front rank, divided between—“
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Defender!”
    DM: “NO! That’s it! I refuse to re-roll attacks for twenty-two goblins! We’re looking this bloody thing up!”

    A closer reading of the rules revealed that since Defender was a reaction it could only be used once per round, which made it still powerful but not utterly ridiculous. Six more goblins piled in from behind and the wizard and human cleric turned to face them, while the dwarves and halflings advanced into the main room, closing on the goblins and methodically smashing them one by one. The goblins formed a firing squad and used ranged attacks, but since they didn’t have the kobold auto-advantage ability they were notably less dangerous. It was a long fight and every party member was wounded, several going down to only 1 or 2 HP (and the elf wizard was dropped to negatives) but the party ground the goblins down until only 8 were left. Seeing five PCs still up, the remaining goblins fled, running to get their leader.

    Halfling: “Let’s get out of here before the reinforcements show up.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “Someone help me with the unconscious elf.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “I can coup de grace him.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “That’s not what I meant.”

    The party withdrew, camping out in the wilderness to heal and regain spells.

    Day 3: Fire Solves Everything

    The party came back yet again and this time decided to visit the hobgoblin caves. On discovering that the door was locked, they devised a plan of approach. I’m still not sure exactly who came up with it or what the reasoning was.

    DM: “Okay, so let me get this straight. You want to go down and fetch the dead ogre, drag the dead ogre up to the hobgoblin cave and prop it up in front of the door, use the brandy to set the body on fire, then knock on the door and run away?”
    Dwarf Cleric: “Yes, but we want to leave the cheese as well, “with compliments” carved into it, and before we set the ogre on fire we’ll leave McGruder’s scarf tied in a bow around a suitable appendage.”
    DM: “Do I want to know which appendage?”
    Dwarf Cleric: “No.”
    DM: “Are you going to yell ‘Trick or Treat’?”
    Everyone Else: “No, we’re going to hide so we can see their faces.”

    They executed the plan. The hobgoblins opened the door and stood staring.

    Halfling: “I use my sling to throw a turnip over the hobgoblin’s heads so it splatters over them!”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “I’ll use the invisibility potion to push the burning ogre over without them seeing me!”
    Elf Wizard: “I’ll magic missile the ogre in the side of the head!”

    The hobgoblins decided they must be under siege by lunatics and slammed the door and locked it. Pleased with their morning’s work, the party crossed the ravine to go into the orc caves instead. They didn’t spot the sentry and so got attacked by the occupants of both orc guardrooms at once.

    Encounters 8 & 9: Orc Extermination

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 4x orcs plus reinforcements of 5x orcs

    Result: Slaughter. Orcs are a lot weaker than they were in 3.5. The party massacred them in short order.

    The party advanced into the orc caves. They detected a main orc common room and bypassed it, moving deeper into the caves until they discovered a door.

    Elf Wizard: “I use my keen senses to listen at the door.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “You mean big ears.”
    Elf Wizard: “Keen senses!”
    DM: “You hear the odd scraping noise.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “I kick the door down.”

    Encounter 10: We Got A Runner

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 2x orcs, 1x orc chief

    Halfling: “Is there a big chandelier in the room? You know, a big one with lots of candles?”
    DM: “Why would there be— sure, why not. There’s a huge candelabra thing right in the middle.”
    Halfling: “I throw a dagger at the rope to cut it and set this place on fire too.” *attack success*
    DM: “You know what? Fine. You cut the rope and the candelabra falls and bursts and sends all of its candles everywhere, all of which ignite the tapestries. The entire room is now on fire.”
    Other Halfling: “Can I get to the door?”
    Dwarf Cleric: “No, it opens in and the orcs are attacking us through it. Why?”
    Other Halfing: “I wanted to set the doorway on fire.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “The whole room is already on fire – how much more do you need?”

    The two regular orcs were cut down and the orc chief only lasted another round before being brought to 8 HP – on his own he wasn’t remotely a threat to a full party. He turned and ran back through the burning room.

    Reincarnated Dwarf: “I chase after him!”*
    DM: “You see one of the burning tapestries swinging.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Secret door! I run through it!”
    DM: “Does anyone else follow?”
    Everyone: “YES.”

    The party chased the orc chief through a secret room into the caves of the second orc tribe. The wizard slowed him down at one point with a Ray of Frost, letting the halfling get a hit in, but the orc chief managed to break away with 1 HP. In a scene similar to that bit on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, the party chased the orc chief straight through into the other tribe’s common room, where seventeen orcs and some orc whelps were resting. The orcs and the party stared at each other. I called for initiative and the human cleric won.

    Pacifist Human Cleric: “Radiant lance on the orc chief!” *hit*
    DM: “You kill him.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “I radiant lance him in the face and yell out to all the others ‘And you’re next mother****ers!’”

    Encounter 11: Orc Smackdown

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 17x orcs

    DM: “The orc all grab their weapons and scream a battle-cry.”
    Elf Wizard: “I use mage hand to pick up hot coals from one of the fires and drop it on the bedding.”
    DM: “Fine. It catches. Now not only do you have a bunch of angry orcs attacking you, but the room is also on fire.”
    Halfling: “Surprise!”
    DM: “Well, the orcs have nowhere else to go, so they’ll fight their way out.”
    Dwarf Cleric: “You mean they’ll die their way out.”

    The party formed up in the bottleneck of the tunnel entrance and fought the orcs toe-to-toe, the two dwarves making up the front line with their Defender ability while the rest of the party fired ranged attacks over their heads. We noticed in this fight that the human cleric is an absolute murder machine – not only does she have healing spells, she has the best attack bonus and does more damage than anyone except the fighter.

    Dwarf Cleric (in response to the human cleric lasering another orc to death): “You aren’t very good at being a pacifist, are you?”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s an act of mercy. Their leader just got killed and they’re on fire. I’m easing their suffering.”
    DM: “You’re the ones who LIT them on fire.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “And they’re suffering.”

    By this point everyone had had time to get used to the weird kinks of 5e combat. The combination of no AoOs and the free Spring Attack meant that the party could stand in the tunnel, move forward, attack an orc, and move back into their defensive formation. Once the orcs figured this out, they started standing back from the party, moving forward and attacking and moving back, allowing 12 orcs to all make melee attacks from only 2 open squares. However, their low damage meant they couldn’t drop the party fast enough. A couple of lucky hits at the end put both one of the halflings and the dwarf cleric into negatives, but the last orc fell to a shocking grasp from the wizard.

    Pacifist Human Cleric: “We’d better carry them back.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “I’ve got stonecunning, I use it to retrace our steps.”
    DM: “You get back to the secret room that leads into the room with the orc chief.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “I go all the way out!”
    DM: “The room with the orc chief is on fire.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Oh yeah.”
    Elf Wizard: “There was a barrel in this room, right? I’m going to see what’s in it.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Wait, can we hear anything.”
    DM: “When you stop to listen, you can hear an intermittent clicking sound coming from the barrel.”
    Reincarnated Dwarf: “Right, I’m not touching it.”
    Halfling: “Glad we stopped to check that first.”
    Elf Wizard: “I push over the barrel.”
    DM: The two giant centipedes that were underneath the barrel attack you.”
    Everyone: “Goddammit!”

    Encounter 12: Creepy Crawlies

    Party: Wizard, 2x Rogue, 2x Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric
    Enemy: 2x centipede

    Result: Centipede bites wizard, wizard passes Con check, wizard kills centipede, dwarf kills centipede. The party took a short rest while waiting for the fire in the orc leader’s room to go out, then withdrew the way they’d came and left, carrying their unconscious comrades with them.

    DM: “Okay, so what have we learned about fire?”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s cool and we can never have enough of it?”

    On which note we ended the session.

    Conclusions and Wrap-Up

    DM: “Well, there are about 8 sub-quests within the module, and you’ve now done bits and pieces of 4 of them.”
    Elf Wizard: “A little appetiser here, a little glimpse over there.”
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s the Caves of Tapas, not the Caves of Chaos.”

    Everyone in the group thoroughly enjoyed the session, but feelings about the actual ruleset were mixed. The game had been great fun, but the consensus was that we’d had fun because of our group, not because of the game.

    The Good

    • Encounters ran fast. We ran through 12 encounters in about 5 hours.
    • Encounters worked better without a mat than 3.5 or 4e (though features like Defender mean you still need to track position). I stopped drawing the tunnel geography after a while, only using the battlemat when position mattered for whatever reason.
    • Characters felt more varied than 4e, playing significantly differently.
    • Monsters also felt more varied than 4e, due to the significant variety in HP. There was more middle ground between “joke enemy that goes down in one hit” and “sack of HP that you have to pound on for ages”.
    • Lack of specific rules means that improvising is fast (you just call for an ability check).
    • Characters move faster when getting up from prone, going through doors, etc, which leads to more fluid combats.
    • Lack of AoOs means faster movement and less worrying about how to get somewhere safely.

    The Bad

    • Stealth rules are confusing and it’s often not clear when someone is or isn’t hidden. What happens when a halfling uses their special ability to hide behind another creature and that creature moves? Can they hide in dim light with or without cover? What happens if they move between cover?
    • Advantage/disadvantage is REALLY REALLY annoying when you’re rolling for 20+ enemies at once. Too many rolls!
    • The combination of lack of AoOs and spring attack leads to bizarre combats. Twenty enemies can attack in melee one after the other, all from the same square.
    • Class balance is wonky – see below.
    • Skill system feels clunky. If you’re getting rid of skill points, why keep the +3 bonuses to specific skills? You still spend just as long figuring our your result.
    • Serious confusion over what does and doesn’t count for what skill. Often players would ask for a lore/knowledge check and I had no idea which to use or what to tell them if they passed. Exacerbated by the fact that everyone can use Lore now, meaning that with a 6-person party it was a guarantee that someone would pass their check.
    • Most monsters don’t feel threatening unless they’re in vast swarms – numbers are what matter, not size. 30 kobolds were deadly, 20 goblins were dangerous, 10 orcs were easy, 1 ogre or orc/kobold chieftain was a joke.

    Balance Issues

    • The healer cleric is highly lethal and fun to play, and immensely valuable to a party.
    • The warrior cleric is a good tank and also very strong, feeling like a 3.5 CoDzilla. Not sure if I’m a fan of the variable-duration buff spells, though.
    • Fighter is weak. Not enough AC, not enough HP. His DPS is great but he’s got zero variety of abilities and goes down fast. The warrior cleric is a better fighter than the fighter.
    • Rogues don’t have much motivation at level 1 to do sneak attacks and so tend to end up just spamming basic attacks. They don’t seem to have many interesting abilities either.
    • Wizard is a glass cannon. Goes down easily but spells are powerful and Sleep is INSANELY good, making the Wizard the ‘big gun’ class that you bring out for the tough fights. It makes 3.5 and 4e Sleep look weak.

    Next Week

    Despite our lukewarm feelings towards the new system we’re going to give it another shot next session. We’re going to advance the characters to 3rd level and take a smaller 3-4 person party into the more dangerous areas to see if it plays any different, so tune in then!
    I'm the author of the Alex Verus series of urban fantasy novels. Fated is the first, and Book #4 in the series, Chosen, is out as of September 2013. For updates, check my blog!

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    One of the two interchangable backup hobbits here :) My first time playing with Saph, and his games are even more fun to play in than they are to read. And I agree with pretty much all his impressions, but there are a few I'd draw out further.

    First, speaking as a rogue, a lot of the game was an excercise in frustration. I appreciated that I could never score below a 16 on my stealth check and that was one thing in my favour. But it was just about the only thing in my favour - and at level 1 without night vision I couldn't leverage it at all - I had to stay in range of the torches underground. (To be fair this is a level 1 issue). Traps? There was one and I wasn't being careful. So straight in. Locks? Yes - but an axe would get through any lock we saw. And there was the issue with how effective stealth was - gritty ability where you could only hide in cover or cloaking device (Saph erred on the gritty side).

    As a rogue, I found the combat a pain. First if my black dice hadn't been on murderous form (Saph asked at one point if it was weighted after I gave up on the yellow one that couldn't hit either kobold or rat) I'd have been the least effective party member. Hide then attack means I'm not doing anything half the time - and just attacking meant I had the second lowest to hit score and the lowest damage (not counting Magic Missile), and was squishy, not that I didn't pitch in to tank at the end of the big kobold fight, the big goblin fight, and the big orc fight when the real tanks were going down.

    On a tangent, in a weird balance issue, the pacifist cleric at first level is round on round probably the second most lethal PC after only the fighter. By third level mathematically their best choice for DPR is to use the Aid Other action on the Rogue unless fighting low hp bad guys.

    So all in all although the game was superbly fun, the rogue felt like an excercise in frustration. I was basically dependent on whatever levels of stealth and advantage I could coax out of the DM if I wanted to mechanically be much more than a torchbearer and sidekick in play. And although I pushed a little, it felt like pushing and trying to spotlight hog which was unpleasant (and I think Saph found that part of my play the same way - my apologies if so). And the alternative was a class that was about as bland as the fighter and a whole lot less effective.

    Which was a pity. Especially because playing with that group was hilarious. But mostly because the problem of a mechanically simple and effective rogue that doesn't rely on pushing the DM has been solved IMO since 2010 with the 4e Essentials Thief and the range of thieves tricks it gets instead of the normal A/E/D combat powers of a 4e character. Half of them are move actions that help you get combat advantage (like one that allows you to hide faster and behind only light concealment), the other half help you do nasty things to shank a monster like hamstring it, knocking it prone.

    And this brings me on to a couple of points of disagreement with Saph. Unfortunately they are both in the strengths column (and both 4e comparisons).

    To me it doesn't feel as if there's more variety between D&D Next classes than 4e classes, especially not post-Essentials. If I just take Essentials as a baseline and ignore all the subtleties of 4e (it's really not good at presenting itself), there is clear water between the thief and fighter in Essentials in a way I simply didn't see in D&D next (the thief gets tricks, the fighter gets stances - neither of them get daily attack powers), and after 4e Defenders, the Guardian's abilities felt ... limited.

    And I find 4e monsters much more varied than the monsters we had in the playtest. Essentially in the playtest it felt to me like we had "Multi-round monsters" (bosses), "Two hit monsters" (orcs), "One hit monsters" (goblins), and "Strong breeze monsters with Advantage" (kobolds, rats). They didn't appear to behave notably differently and the target number was (with literally two exceptions - unless we had the Dragonshields) in a two point spread.

    On a final note, the Cleric of Moradin seemed to be playable both as a healer who tanked, and as a Paladin who tanked and did almost as much damage on a hit as a fighter while being able to heal people.

    I'm running for a different group tomorrow - I'll probably post that over on rpg.net.

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Saph's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Yeah, with hindsight the monsters aren't really all that varied – there really is very little variation between the attack/defence numbers and they only have one signature trick (or in some cases, such as the ogre, no trick at all). Having varied HP is a good start, but they need a lot more work to feel significantly different.
    I'm the author of the Alex Verus series of urban fantasy novels. Fated is the first, and Book #4 in the series, Chosen, is out as of September 2013. For updates, check my blog!

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Draz74's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashdate View Post
    Unfortunately, I've got to mostly agree with Tehnar; this could have used another month of internal playtesting,
    Meh, I'm not terribly impressed by the rules as they stand, but I don't think another month of internal playtesting would have been the magic fix. That would have just let WotC make another month's worth of decisions that people wouldn't like before they got any feedback from the fans.

    and it especially could have used a better module, or at least one that could push the new elements being introduced in 5e.
    This part, however, is correct.
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  17. - Top - End - #107
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Well, a 4E rogue (or thief) is based on the principle that you'll have combat advantage (and thus sneak attack dice) pretty much all the time. The 5E rogue seems to be based on the idea that you have to work for it: you'll do low damage most of the time, high damage when you get it to work. Note that this is similar to the idea of a 2E rogue. While I like this in principle, it's tricky to balance how hard it should be to get sneak attack dice.

    Overall my impression of the playtest is that other than the advantage mechanic, there is nothing new here. Playing second edition would be pretty much the same. While I like and enjoy 2E, I don't see this playtest as something flashy or innovative.
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  18. - Top - End - #108
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    @Tehnar. The problem is that you are still making assumptions of quality that don't apply yet. It's not in the refining phase, it's in the taste-testing phase.
    The nice meal doesn't happen until release, and that is not any time soon. The fact is it's not ready yet, and you were offered the current prototype to see what you like and don't like about it so you can offer your opinion and they can take that into consideration before they finalize the release. Anyone who wishes to participate is not being charged to do so, and therefore there really isn't any reason to have a sense of entitlement regarding its quality. For the sake of humor I'll continue the metaphor and say that you aren't being wined and dined, you are being asked to give them feedback on their recipe so that it will be something that you would want to eat when it eventually makes it to the menu. If you don't like the service or the dish then the constructive thing to do is to share your concerns with the owner who has offered to let you participate, and the destructive thing to do is jump on Yelp and write a bad review for a product that does not yet exist in a finished (or even intermediate state). Collect all the issues you have and send them back to WotC, otherwise there was no point in participating.

    @Saph. Great writeup. Would read again. I wish I had more players with that much humor.
    "Everyone in the group thoroughly enjoyed the session, but feelings about the actual ruleset were mixed. The game had been great fun, but the consensus was that we’d had fun because of our group, not because of the game. "
    That is the key to the whole thing. Rules are incapable of creating enjoyment if the chemistry isn't there. Otherwise you're only doing it out of routine.

    @Draz74. Exactly. It's better to have something flawed now where player input can factor in at a more fundamental level, then to let feedback come later after core decisions have too much inertia.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by 7RED7 View Post
    @Tehnar. The problem is that you are still making assumptions of quality that don't apply yet. It's not in the refining phase, it's in the taste-testing phase.
    The nice meal doesn't happen until release, and that is not any time soon. The fact is it's not ready yet, and you were offered the current prototype to see what you like and don't like about it so you can offer your opinion and they can take that into consideration before they finalize the release. Anyone who wishes to participate is not being charged to do so, and therefore there really isn't any reason to have a sense of entitlement regarding its quality. For the sake of humor I'll continue the metaphor and say that you aren't being wined and dined, you are being asked to give them feedback on their recipe so that it will be something that you would want to eat when it eventually makes it to the menu. If you don't like the service or the dish then the constructive thing to do is to share your concerns with the owner who has offered to let you participate, and the destructive thing to do is jump on Yelp and write a bad review for a product that does not yet exist in a finished (or even intermediate state). Collect all the issues you have and send them back to WotC, otherwise there was no point in participating.
    I filled out the survey and sent my feedback to WotC, but I don't think it will matter, for a couple of reasons:

    1) I doubt WotC will take the player input seriously. As I explained above the entire playtest document was unprofessional, with errors that make it very hard to properly playtest it. If that is their level of respect towards the playtesters, I doubt they will take any critique seriously.

    2) The core mechanics presented in the playtest are flawed, and do not make a game enjoyable. A playtest's point would be to work out the kinks in the system, but my opinion is that they go so deep it is better to throw out all the mechanics and start again. Also there is nothing really refined, innovative, or new in the mechanics they chose to show us. This is from a team of professional paid game designers that have been working 8+ months. I have serious doubts about their competence.


    Now I did not review the entire possible future product, I only reviewed what I had before me. I never said that it lacked some feature, I focused only on the mechanics presented in the playtest.

    I want DnD NEXT to succeed, to be a game with innovative, fresh mechanics that will drive the hobby forward. Not because of DnD, but because other designers will be forced to up their game and produce better products. If it brings the same old stale thing, only rehashed then the entire hobby will suffer. No one will have the motivation to beat DnD NEXT if their own systems already do.

    I am not criticizing the entire future product, but rather the direction it is heading in.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    I think the main problem with 5E is that its core mechanic (1d20 + bonus >= target) has a far greater spread on the dice than on the bonuses. The die roll has a 20-point spread, whereas the bonuses have about a 5-point spread. Therefore, task resolution depends far more on randomness than on your character's abilities.
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    Ill give you a analogy of my experience with 5E thus far.

    You walk into a fancy restaurant, expecting a nice meal. When the waiter seats you, talking about how you are about to have the best meal of your life, on the table before you the glasses have stains and the tablecloth is wrinkled. The free complementary breadsticks are burnt, give off a funny smell and if you dare try one it tastes sour.

    Now even though you did not pay for anything yet, and have yet to sample the main dish, would you stay and pay $50+ for a meal? When next door you have a restaurant you go to every day, that you know and like?
    This is a horrible analogy and falls into the biggest misunderstanding of what the playtest is I've run across the past week and a half. Dungeons & Dragons Next is not a preview or quickstart. It is a playtest. It is not a complete game. It is not a finished product. It is a rough draft - less than that, a partial rough draft - for getting feedback on how the system works.

    Let's rework your example to be more accurate:

    You walk into a fancy restaurant, expecting a nice meal. When the waiter seats you, he explains that you can either dine on the normal menu which hasn't changed in some time (previous editions), or you can dine in the kitchen with the chef and try out new creations that haven't been put on the menu yet as a complimentary tasting session. So you leave the dining room with its fancy tableclothes, fine china, sculpted decor, and mood music and head into the kitchen.

    It's noisy, utilitarian, and you're eating on a plain steel counter seated on a stool. The chef comes up with a dish and says, "I've attempted to combine a simple steak with a new sauce I've created." There is only one bite of a steak with a dab of sauce.

    You immediately leave shouting to everyone who will listen how horrible the new menu at the restaurant is, how small the portions are, how terrible the decor is, and how the chef has no idea what he is doing. Even though you were told up front that this is not a full menu, that it's not going to be as pretty or refined as the final product will be, and that it is still a work in progress which needs your feedback to be finalized.

    That is what D&D Next is. They've designed a core rules system. They are releasing for mass testing small portions of those rules in various states of completion in order to get fan feedback before those rules are finalized. Once they are finalized, those core rules will be reworded for clarity with examples given so that it is easier to understand. They will be formatted and laid out with artwork and other options to give them a smoother presentation. And not until those core rules are finalized and they have a stable foundation will they move forward with more complex, obscure, and optional rules.

    You don't like something in the rules? Explain why you don't like them and make sure to tell the developers. If enough people also find the same faults, they'll either adapt the rules or include optional rules modules to suit you. If you just complain about how horrible the game is with inaccurate metaphors, all you're doing is hurting the game. You're not giving useful feedback and you're forming resentment amongst players, starting an edition war for an edition that isn't even finished yet.

    So please, if there's something you don't like in D&D Next, explain what it is. For example, I don't like the way wizard spells are being handled. There's too much power discrepancy between the cantrips and 1st level spells, which if the power scaling of damage is followed will bring back both the Quadratic Wizard/Linear Fighter and the 10 Minute Workday problems that plagued previous editions, made even worse with the balance of some of the spells like Ray of Frost which, while useless against a mob of enemies, can completely lock down a powerful solo creature with little to no effort. This is a legitimate concern, one which I voiced to Wizards of the Coast. I didn't just say "wizards suck now", I explained exactly what issues I have. It's the only way we're going to have any useful discussions about the new edition.

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s the Caves of Tapas, not the Caves of Chaos.”

    As someone who started with Basic D&D (second edition, reddish box), I can assure you that these dungeon room sequences are straight out of the Caves of Chaos. From memory, I think the Ogre was in entrance "E" but the treasure used to contain some counterfeit gold pieces (copper covered with a wash of gold). And likely more copper.

    Catgirl killing part: A quick googling lists brandy as "typically" 80 proof (although Ogres might want to hoard stronger stuff). "100 proof was originally defined as the concentration that allowed alcohol to burn (quick and dirty proof that the grog was full strength in the Navy). This also might involve US-UK proof conversion. The point of this is: can the brandy be used to set the entire dungeon on fire or will one of the dwarves drink it first?

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Default Re: Old timer note:

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s the Caves of Tapas, not the Caves of Chaos.”

    As someone who started with Basic D&D (second edition, reddish box), I can assure you that these dungeon room sequences are straight out of the Caves of Chaos. From memory, I think the Ogre was in entrance "E" but the treasure used to contain some counterfeit gold pieces (copper covered with a wash of gold). And likely more copper.

    Catgirl killing part: A quick googling lists brandy as "typically" 80 proof (although Ogres might want to hoard stronger stuff). "100 proof was originally defined as the concentration that allowed alcohol to burn (quick and dirty proof that the grog was full strength in the Navy). This also might involve US-UK proof conversion. The point of this is: can the brandy be used to set the entire dungeon on fire or will one of the dwarves drink it first?
    Proof is pretty much standardized internationally. It's the percentage of alcohol by volume multiplied by 2. So 80 proof alcohol is 40% alcohol. Most modern liquors will be about 80 proof unless otherwise marked (like Bacardi 151 or a whisky listed as "cask strength"). This is due to some international and state laws and just convenience.

    However, regulations like that weren't common in the middle ages. Even though distillation was common, but there weren't really regulations about how strong/weak specific liquors had to be. So it's very conceivable that brandy in that era (especially good brandy) would've been over 100 proof since it's just distilled wine aged in a wooden cask.

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAbstruseOne View Post
    That is what D&D Next is. They've designed a core rules system. They are releasing for mass testing small portions of those rules in various states of completion in order to get fan feedback before those rules are finalized. Once they are finalized, those core rules will be reworded for clarity with examples given so that it is easier to understand. They will be formatted and laid out with artwork and other options to give them a smoother presentation. And not until those core rules are finalized and they have a stable foundation will they move forward with more complex, obscure, and optional rules.

    You don't like something in the rules? Explain why you don't like them and make sure to tell the developers. If enough people also find the same faults, they'll either adapt the rules or include optional rules modules to suit you. If you just complain about how horrible the game is with inaccurate metaphors, all you're doing is hurting the game. You're not giving useful feedback and you're forming resentment amongst players, starting an edition war for an edition that isn't even finished yet.
    First off it seems you missed my very lengthy post explaining why I think DnD NEXT is bad. You can find it here.

    My beef with them was not with the artwork, the layout, spelling or narrative structure. My main beef was with two things, and I explained that in the link above:

    1) A typical undergraduate student should be able to write a more coherent, professional document. This gives me the notion that WotC doesn't care about any feedback and/or its future customers.

    2) The core mechanics they present ran from horrible to mediocre, and I explained why I think so in length in the link above. I did not complain about the lack of other mechanics, nor the clarity of the ones they showed us.

    Perhaps after reading my initial post explaining all my points you will see that my metaphor is quite apt.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    Also there are references to saves against strength, intelligence and charisma, but none are presented to test. I really don't see the reason why they could not include at least one spell that targets any of those conditions.
    I agree and disagree with your post, but I just want to note that there actually are saves against both Strength and Intelligence in the adventure itself - just not in the spells provided. I think two vs. Strength (involving nets and the like) and one vs. Int (that being the Minotaur maze).

    -O

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    I agree and disagree with your post, but I just want to note that there actually are saves against both Strength and Intelligence in the adventure itself - just not in the spells provided. I think two vs. Strength (involving nets and the like) and one vs. Int (that being the Minotaur maze).

    -O
    I stand corrected. I did not review the adventure itself, as I was a player and did not want spoilers.

    I will edit my main post to reflect this.

  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Default Re: Old timer note:

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Pacifist Human Cleric: “It’s the Caves of Tapas, not the Caves of Chaos.”

    As someone who started with Basic D&D (second edition, reddish box), I can assure you that these dungeon room sequences are straight out of the Caves of Chaos.
    We know. The joke was that the way the party was going through them was rather like picking and choosing from a big table of food.
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  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    I stand corrected. I did not review the adventure itself, as I was a player and did not want spoilers.

    I will edit my main post to reflect this.
    It's all good. As near as I can figure, there's no significant difference between a "save" and an ability score check at this stage of the game...

    -O

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I think the main problem with 5E is that its core mechanic (1d20 + bonus >= target) has a far greater spread on the dice than on the bonuses. The die roll has a 20-point spread, whereas the bonuses have about a 5-point spread. Therefore, task resolution depends far more on randomness than on your character's abilities.
    Exactly my impression. That's a big issue for skill-based character concepts.

    How does that impact finding/removing traps? I recall 1st edition, when our thief players would regularly die and, even if surviving, were quite frustrated by the success rates their chassis offered them.
    Last edited by Malachei; 2012-06-04 at 05:11 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: D&D Next/5e Playtest Summary & Campaign Journal

    OK, quick observation.

    Just doing a read-through of the playtest materials.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Invisible creatures cast a shadow? The rule for Invisibility seems to say so.

    Weird.

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