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D&D Next playtest rules. Your thoughts?

From my cursory glance:

Love the hit dice mechanic. It's a concrete way to visualize healing surges, and it elegantly transforms 4E's Healing Word/Inspiring Word into a healing-for-everyone ability. It feels like they married together parts of the design in a brilliant way. Nothing terribly new here, just connections made between old modules. Which I approve of.

The advantage/disadvantage mechanic is very interesting, too. I like it. Much more fun than a flat bonus or penalty applied to the rule. I think it streamlines things in a good way.

I understand that this is the first of what will likely be many playtest packets but I'm a bit wary. Been playing since 2nd and I'm very much a fan of 4th. I generally DM and I had a lot of problems with 3rd and 3.5 (Dead levels, melee classes were boring, "The Big 5", encounter building in general, etc.)

Good: The static XP values on beasties makes me think they will have similar encounter building which makes me happy.
Bad: The stat blocks for beasties is messy and less-elegant than 4th.

Good: The classes feel more like "themselves" and less like "Mechanical role with slight re-skin" of 4th. There is a comfortable familiarity to them.
Bad: The fighter looks exceedingly dull, spending every combat round "hitting with my sword." There is a certain "Big 5" feel to it.

Good: Backgrounds and themes seem to have gone from optional rules to core rules, which I like, insuring that every character has a really unique flavor to them and some mechanical benefit for being different.
Bad: I had no bad to counter that good.

All in all, there's a mix of things I like and dislike about it although the dislikes worry me. I'll probably end up spending too much money on it and embracing it with enthusiasm (change is good!) but right now, I feel a little hesitant...

I gotta say, I'm loving what they're pulling into this. The rumor mill said that they were trying to balance out all the things from all the editions that were good.

I'll use the wizard class as an example, as that's the one I'll be playing in my playtest game.

2nd Edition Throwback: AC, while still going up as we've been used to in the last few games, still seems to be more limited in their advancement. Also, levelling up doesn't incur tremendous HP gain, so there's an element of danger to be found. (One nice change: The Wizard started with 16 HP at the beginning, so it takes 2 or 3 good whacks to drop him!)

3rd Edition Throwback: Aaah, we have Hit Dice (Sort of), we have spells that we eventually run out of, and they function JUST LIKE I'M USED TO! Magic Missile is Magic Missile, Burning Hands is Burning Hands, and Sleep is still a save or die effect. And we have Saving Throws, but your throws don't improve as rapidly as they did in 3rd Edition. Of course, most effects have a lower DC early on.

4th Edition Throwback: CANTRIPS! Cantrips are essentially at-will powers, which is one thing they got right in 4th edition. No longer is the wizard the "Cast one and done" guy. He has versatility and STAYING POWER which make sure the guy playing a wizard is still able to contribute even in the fifth fight of the game.

There's probably more, but that's what I know for now.

Just finished reading the "How to Play" thoroughly and I have no idea how I feel about it...the whole game feels like it is moving to a simpler system. Lower Hit Points overall, static DCs that never even get into the 30s, lower damage overall. It seems like you won't have AC, DCs, Skill checks in the 30s and 40s in higher levels and that the whole game will feel like its played at a "lower level." Which I think I'm okay with?

Things I Like
  • The Advantages/Disadvantages system is awesome. I like it. A lot. Like a lot a lot.
  • The Hit Dice mechanic is nice. Not as powerful as Healing Surges but it scales nicely.
  • The -20 Initiative to Surprised creatures is a nice mechanic.
  • I like the Coup De Grace mechanic. It was too weak in 4th and silly in 3.5. This one just makes sense.
  • I like the critical hits.
  • The return of slashing, bludgeoning, piercing damage. I like that. A lot.
  • The Death Saving Throws are very good. I like the idea of slowly bleeding away as you try to make the saves.
  • I like all of the conditions. I assume there will be more added (no Petrified, for example.) Plus, intoxicated! Hah!
  • I think I like incidental actions. It seems like if you're not attacking or moving, you can just sort of do it?
  • I like the return of the many creature sizes, reaches, space, etc.

Things I'm Indifferent About
  • Are there no opportunity attacks anymore? Casters can just cast when they want?
  • Rolling for hit points at each level is a nice throw-back and using your Con if your roll is lower will benefit warriors. Wizards will still be hosed but that's fine because they're keeping the "Start with reasonable HP at first level" bit.
  • Half-Cover and Three-Quarters Cover? Did they really have to go back to those names?
  • I wonder why they made the Short Rests 10 minutes instead of 5 and the Long Rests 8 hours instead of 6.
  • Electrum? They felt this was missing...?
  • I wonder if the DC system will change or if bonuses are going to stay more static throughout the levels. For example, if climbing an oiled rope is DC 26 and you get a +x from Strength, will it always be 26 and you'll always get +x from Strength? I think I like this but I'll have to see more.
  • Like the DCs, I have mixed feelings on the Saving Throw system. I will have to wait and see how it pans out.
  • I want to see the Skills section. The character sheets make reference to it but there's no details.

Things I Hate
  • The weapons seem dull again with no interesting properties to make them stand apart from one another.
  • The entire Armor section seems bloody awful.
  • Going back to the old style of spells is terrible. Everything about the spell sections just makes me cringe, from the terrible format to the cone/sphere/cylinder/cloud system (which is clunky and was streamlined wonderfully in 4th) to the varying effects based on hit points. This alone could stop me playing the next edition.

EDIT: Of course, I am taking all of this with a grain of salt, being the very first packet and all...


"Still experiencing higher than expected server volume"

**mutters darkly**

Anyone feeling generous enough to email me a copy of the packet?

Sent. We now return to your regularly-scheduled discussion.

Originally Posted by RotatingPanda View Post
[*]Are there no opportunity attacks anymore? Casters can just cast when they want?
Apparently not. The rules for spell disruption are actually on the character sheets. If you take damage, you have to make a DC 10 Constitution check to cast a spell on the next round. Which means the pregen wizard, for instance, has a 40% chance of spell failure. Or he/she can just cast a cantrip with no chance of failure. It's not much of a penalty.

I said in my first post that I liked finesse weapons, but having thought about it some more, I'm not so sure. If you're a high-DEX character using a finesse weapon, then your DEX modifier is added to your initiative, and your AC in light armor, and your to-hit, and your damage. We already have way too many games where DEX is the god-stat in combat (hello, White Wolf!) -- does D&D need to go in that direction?

Oh, and I noticed that the when the fighter levels up, he/she gets an ability that allows two actions in a round ... twice a day. Wonder when the people who rejected martial daily powers in 4E will get on that?

I'm also feeling generous. PM me if you still get errors.

Still perusing the rules, but so far my thought on rogues: OMG. +1d6 per level on Sneak Attack? Maximized on a critical hit?! With TWO chances to hit with Advantage?!? (REQUIRED for Sneak Attack)



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