D&D Next playtest rules. Your thoughts?
Did you see some of the new features, or old ones brought back? How healing, skills, HP and death is done? I'd like to hear from you about it before I give my two cents.
It feels like 2nd edition, with a hint of 3e and a bit of 4e (mechanics-wise) put in.
Fighters, at least in the pre-gen dwarf fighter released, is a straight killing machine. He does damage on misses.
They've brought back vancian magic ... sorta, which means you have to memorize spells each day, but certain spells have been memorized so many times they are permanent, aka Cantrips.
Skills are attribute checks. HP is back to Hit Dice (aka 2nd edition). 4e-ish healing is gone, although you do get back all hit points on a full 8-hour rest.
There are some really cool things, like halflings being able to hide behind larger allies, and being drunk will lessen damage done to you. There's two clerics in the pre-gen, one a Moradin cleric, the other Pelor, and they do play differently.
Actually, they do have 4E-style healing, sort of. Except instead of healing surges, you get Hit Dice ... which are more limited than surges, apparently can't be used in combat, and require a healer's kit to access. It feels like a big step back to the days when you absolutely had to have a cleric. They did keep "recover completely after an extended rest," which doesn't bother me, but I know some people won't be fond of that.
Another hidden 4Eism: there are no minor actions anymore, BUT some spells, like Healing Word, allow you to cast them and still act on your turn.
As a 4E fan, the fighter makes me sad. Nothing mechanically interesting or distinctive at all -- and he/she STILL gets fewer skills than other characters. Meanwhile, the wizard gets four, count 'em, four at-will spells. I hope the combat maneuver system comes along soon.
The equipment list is a mess. Medium and heavy armor are simply not worth the cost. An 18-DEX character in a chain shirt (75 gp) has the same AC as a character wearing adamantine plate (15,000 gp). Seriously. I do like the fact that finesse weapons don't require a feat investment to use anymore. Oh, and electrum pieces are back. Did you miss them?
The Bestiary takes me back to the Redbox days. Very simple and easy. The hit points seem a little low and I am not sure how they calculated them. The HP does not seem to be based of CON like a PC's hit points. I can see WoTC scrambling to create a CR guide. Otherwise it might take a while before I find the sweet number for a proper challenge. I might rework the XP reward also.
The DM guidelines are a great addition. I would buy a core book or even a subscription that gave DM's valuable insight on how to run games. It feels like they are tired of players rules bashing with the DM. Build stronger DM's and you will build a stronger base. We want more.
The Background and Theme first made me a little skeptical but now that I have looked over the characters I am okay with them. It seems to me that it allows for basic to complex character creation. Some players like to develop their characters as they adventure and this system may not have them in mind. U can't get away from your background but will DM's allow a theme to change? Other than that it is too soon and information is too limited to give a full discourse on them.
Ability Checks have always been my preference to skill ranks. Always have, always will. The DCs and ability modifiers seem like they will allow for min-maxing and crazy high inflated abilities scores. Looks like there will be a throw away stat that is not Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, or Wisdom....
Pre-gen Characters The sheets are concise and clean. Seems like very straight forward D&D heroes. I am not sure how the Dwarf Cleric got such a high Atk. Maybe I missed something. The at will powers seem overpowered for spell casters. When at will powers can one shot monsters you gotta kinda wonder. That, and the buttload of hit points for a 1st level elf wiz had me thinking this game will be a nice sandbox game here at the weave - specially if Healer themes are allowed to be taken by any class. I like the spells' and spell slots' return. And as mentioned, the fighter is crazy damage. Lets see how he scales. The thief is meh. I mean, I see nothing on there that engages me. You hide and stab and find stuff out. I speculate that unless it scales well, it will become ineffective at higher levels. But...as we see there are different play methods available when we look at the caster and melee cleric so I assume that there will be play style invested rogue, fighter and wizard options. If not, I will make them. No biggie. Feels like D&D with a minor 4e fragrance. Very little reference to saving throws so the DM is going to have to know their stuff. Bearable.
Combat appears to be slimmed down and less complex from 3.5 as far as action management and it looks to have omitted the button spam from 4e. Unless it is covert, there can be no solid claim that this iteration got into bed with the MMO generation. Although I fear that fighters without a hold the line power will be chided for not being the party...do I say the word? Tank... I never like the healing surge and bloodied mechanic so, cya, have a good day and don't let the door hit you in the behind. Looks like they are allowing half dex for medium armors. Ringmail will become sold out everywhere because it is cheap and fits nicely on a high Dex character. Some armors will just never be used.
Spell ritual feels more magic like. I like it for some reason.
DMs are gonna have the weight put back on them for running fair and exciting simulations.
EDIT: The short/long rest healing can be removed if the DM wants to. It does not look like it is grafted in the mechanic as some odd surge. It uses one charge from a healers kit so prepare accordingly. Which may not be a bad idea.
Suggestion - Revamp the rest rules. Player can rest for one 8 hour period per day and can roll their hit dice plus con to regain lost hit points as a result of uninterrupted rest. Include the healing kit in the rule.
So far, I'm digging this. I'm still going through everything, but what I've seen is very impressive. I've only actually played 3rd and 4th editions in the past. I didn't like 4th, and 3rd got old because everybody seemed to focus very heavily on one thing or another.
Not only does it have stuff from all the previous generations of D&D (all of the stuff that MAKES it D&D), but it also seems to have taken hints from other games without turning into them. Various White Wolf games, even World of Warcraft. But it didn't try to transform into those games this time. I think that WotC is GENUINELY trying to make a new edition of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS.
Thank all that is holy. (Speaking of which, I would not be angry at all if they decided to make Pelor suck less.)
EDIT: Just finished looking it all over. I am... impressed to say the least.
Still can't see the actual material myself... Darn server.
I have to say so far I like it. 4e was a bit of a mess for me as a player, but did do some things that made my life as a DM easier.
What I missed from 3.5e was the customization of my class. Sure it was a bit overwhelming with all the non-core books and skills and whatnot, but it felt good to be able to make a character as my own, whereas in 4e I felt like I would be playing the same type of character in any given class.
The feel of it just seems more D&D and less World of Warcraft... and I love that. I recently uninstalled Diablo 3 for its WoW-ness and am glad there's at least one roleplaying game I can enjoy.
The adventure, on the other hand, is weird. I guess it was their way of throwing in an adventure that showcased all sorts of different monsters. If you don't think about monster reasoning and story, then its fine... it boils down to a dungeon crawl with different sections housing different monsters. If you try to think about it too much, its just silly.
Overall I agree with the views presented above me, I'm extremely excited about it, and am really looking forward to its development and eventual full release. WotC is definitely on the right track.
Renown0: The Cleric of Pelor DOES seem pretty awesome. I like that they showcased how totally different cleric builds could be.
It's probably illegal for me to post this, but I might as well just for the sake of clarification (and since most everybody who reads this thread is going to be awesome and go try the playtest anyway).
Basically, there's a section on one of the first pages of the adventure "module" where it explains why the game is somewhat silly. I understood what they meant to say through the following bits. If you need more, I could certainly attempt to further clarify/direct you to the statement in the actual document.
"What Is This Adventure Testing?
The Caves of Chaos isn't meant to be a hard test of the play balance between the PCs and monsters. That process is a continuing one as we refine the rules for monsters, characters, and encounter building. Although you should keep an eye on how elements of the rules interact, this adventure is intended to explore how well the rules support different styles of play.
We've created a fairly faithful rendition of the original adventu -- Blah blah blah, free-form nature of the adventure also gives the DM and players many options for play, blah blah blah.
Make This Your Adventure
The Caves of Chaos isn't a module in the typical sense. It does not present a single storyline, the motivations of the PCs are not set in stone, and the actions and the villains don't always have obvious motivations - nor do they work to a common end.
With this module, you don't need to belabor any plot points. Players don't have to move through encounters in a specific order. There's no railroad to ride: You and your players can make the adventure happen however you like."
Yeah, I'm reading over Caves of Chaos right now. Covers Levels 1-3.
Makes sense. Can anyone tell me why the wizard has a +6 to attack with spells? I can find only +3 from INT and +2 from attack spells... what am I missing?
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