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    Canonfire :: View topic - So I got my 5e playtest material
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    So I got my 5e playtest material
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2012
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    Thu May 24, 2012 8:56 pm  
    So I got my 5e playtest material

    We're allowed to talk about what's in them (but can't give anything like excerpts), so I'll let you know my initial thoughts.

    I haven't read it thoroughly, but at first glance it seems to be a melding of 1st edition and 3rd edition, with a sprinkling of 4th.

    Classes can pick a background (like "commoner" or "soldier") which grants 3 skill bonuses, and a "theme" (like "slayer" or "healer") which grants a bonus feat. Classes included for this first round are the standard Fighter, Wizard, Cleric and Rogue. There are two clerics included, one for Pelor and the other for Moradin, to demonstrate how domains will work. Races are standard pre-4e races like hill dwarf and high elf, etc.

    The rogue has a thief "scheme" that makes it very much like a 1st edition thief with bonuses to skills like open locks, find/remove traps, etc. Thieves' Cant is back as a language.

    It comes with the Caves of Chaos from B2 and a bestiary. If the bestiary is any indication, the 9 alignments are all back. Monsters included have alignments of Neutral, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil, and Lawful Evil.

    Only did a cursory look at equipment and it seemed to be the standard stuff. Electrum Pieces are back as currency.

    Overall, I really like what I see. This definitely makes me look forward to the game. Happy
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Fri May 25, 2012 10:55 am  
    Re: So I got my 5e playtest material

    Bluebomber4evr wrote:

    Overall, I really like what I see. This definitely makes me look forward to the game. Happy


    This is what I've heard from several other Grognards that have been involved in the recent playtesting, too. I'm glad to hear that you are pleasantly impressed with the work so far.

    I wonder if any of the newer generationa - those that cut their teeth on 4e - are as impressed as the Grognards with the Next version of D&D.

    SirXaris
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Fri May 25, 2012 11:40 am  

    I'll have to see what combat looks like. That'll be a big part of whether I give it two looks or not.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 03, 2011
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    Fri May 25, 2012 1:01 pm  

    - warning opinions ahead -

    I got my materials today as well. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by some of what I see. There's OD&D and BD&D in there with the liberal use of ability checks, something that I've always used from 1E. They did away with those obnoxious, 17-hit-while-doing-a-cartwheel-and-shooting-fire-from-me-arse type of combat mechanics.

    The best part, and this is why I never even bothered to moved beyond 2e, was that it appears they're having DMs actually.....be DMs again. Shocked I'm sure to newer players this is blasphemy since they're used to the MMO generation where things are codified in AI but I think they'll find it's far more fun to actually play the game where they interact rather than crunch stats and the DM just makes sure nobody does the math wrong. You also don't die at 0 hit points, which I think most old skoolers have a house rule in place about this.

    However, in my opinion, it still has its bumps with using Difficulty Class, with rounds only being 6 seconds - we can't use segments, rounds, turns??? - there still seems to be this weird tendency to spell out "things you can do". advantage and disadvantage is extraneous, isn't that what initiative is for? They still have backgrounds and themes but these are now optional for those wanting a more "old skool experience".

    And i'm just not used to AC going up now. No offense to anyone here. I know it was never going to go back to what it was and yes, I understand how the mechanic works but my brain is so hardwired for 1E I can't undo it! Wink

    going to be a week or two before I actually get my group together to play this since we're neck-deep in an adventure in the Hool Marshes at the moment. I'll let folks know how it goes. Given what I've seen so far, the best news is that future published materials might be useable by the OD&D, BD&D and even the 1e/2e crowd with almost no conversion.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
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    Fri May 25, 2012 3:19 pm  

    Sounds intriguing, I can't wait to hear more on what you guys think of the changes. How about the magic/spell system? How long does the playtest period last?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 10, 2003
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    From: New Jersey

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    Fri May 25, 2012 9:04 pm  

    I have also received the materials. I do think some of the abilities are overpowered and can be churned down a bit. The thief seems most complete and the wizard seems to have gotten the least tweaked so far.

    However, thats what a play test is for. Test out the material and give one's critique and input. So now I have to gather the masses for a playtest.

    Later

    Argon
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    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
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    Fri May 25, 2012 9:45 pm  

    So far on many of the blogs I've read about the playtest, the mechanic everyone is buzzing about is the advantage/disadvantage. Simply, if there's a situation where in previous editions you'd get a circumstance bonus/penalty now you just roll two dice and either take the highest result (advantage) or lowest result (disadvantage).

    I am intrigued by this system because I just like the ease for DMs and drama it can produce for the players, plus I don't care what edition you play it sounds easy to steal this idea as a house rule anyhow.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Sat May 26, 2012 8:22 pm  

    So, first glance, it's looking like a stripped down and more coherent version of 2e to me. I'm thinking WotC is going to sell a lot of books to many of the people who never made the jump to 3e as well as new players. I don't see many people who liked 4e and 3e going to this. That said, I have been wrong before. Just speaking for myself I see some stuff I like but combat is way too big of a step back.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat May 26, 2012 10:00 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    So, first glance, it's looking like a stripped down and more coherent version of 2e to me. I'm thinking WotC is going to sell a lot of books to many of the people who never made the jump to 3e as well as new players. I don't see many people who liked 4e and 3e going to this. That said, I have been wrong before. Just speaking for myself I see some stuff I like but combat is way too big of a step back.
    I don't know, I see a lot of stuff that 3e folks would find familiar: feats, the way AC works, ability-based saves, combat/spell terminology, etc. I think they'd do fine.

    I don't know enough about 4th edition to say about that crowd, however.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 13, 2006
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    From: Frinton on Sea England

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    Sun May 27, 2012 12:36 am  

    I feel like a lot of people on this; there are bits I like and bits I don't.

    The "feel" seems good for an old timer like me and the advantages/disadvantages is a great "modern" insert to the game although it might be taken as a token "hippy" gesture for some.

    It was good to see simplified stat blocks although I'm not sure about the level of hit points on some of the uber bad guys. Having said that, the first level pcs have high hits too and, for me, this is not a good sign. Once more the "bullying sack of hits" accusation could too easily be made about D&D pcs.

    One major gripe for me are feats; I never liked them, don't like them now and this will put me off the game completely. Heck, there's a feat in this playtest where if you miss you still hit. Confused

    What's my problem with feats? These were introduced to make characters more "cool" and give them "cool things to do", especially fighters who have been singled out as dull and boring knuckleheads who just go through the "roll, hit, damage" process interminably during an adventure. Well, rules don't make characters interesting, players and DMs do. I don't remember any of the fighters in my 1e/2e games being dull and they were more than capable of leaping onto tables, swinging from chandeliers and suffering ignominious pratfalls all on their own without bling and shizzle rules. (Just add imaginative player to achieve.)

    Early days on Next, though, so it could all turn out well. I do worry that with a desire to be all things to all people the game could end up pleasing nobody and falling flat. It will need an identity and I see that as being its biggest challenge.

    I remain optimistic as there's lots of playtest to go through yet. It will take a truly genius game to reunite the fractured D&D community as well as pull gamers back from other games they may have migrated to out of frustration with the original.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun May 27, 2012 12:28 pm  

    I'm actually a long-time player (cut my teeth on the red box Basic set), but I've never had an issue with the general idea of feats -- they're a great way to customize a character. The problem comes when some specific feats are totally broken and everyone picks them. But that's an issue with those individual feats and not necessarily the idea of feats overall.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
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    Sun May 27, 2012 12:38 pm  

    So here is some input from someone who has been playtesting D&D Next (DDN, that is what they are calling it right now, so that is the term I will be using) before the public version came out.

    #1) They are listening to playtest input. The public playtest is light years better than the first rounds (cycle 1.0 and 1.5 that my group tested).

    Example: In those cycles spellcasters set the their spell save DCs by rolling a d20 + relevant ability modifier. I cannot tell you how much a bummer it was if you rolled really low and now all the enemies in your burning hands have to beat DC 6 to save.

    #2) This is way early in the playtest process. Things are going to be fluid for a bit. What you see in this playtest does not address character creation and the monsters are still proto (they are still making decisions).

    #3) Right now they are trying to tighten the core mechanics on which more complicated modules (gridded/tactical combat, skills, full feat and ability/powers system, etc.) will be layered on top of.

    This means that the rules are going to resemble (not one for one duplicate them) older editions (by older, I am saying pre-3e). That is not to say that elements from the more recent editions are not present (at-will cantrips/orisons for wizards and clerics for example) or ascending AC (not many want the return of THACO).

    #4) The core mechanics are intended to work as a flexible, rules light system that is still D&D. It is intended to work without battlemaps or minis (they refer to it as theater of the mind) but it will work with it.

    #5) A key difference in the DDN system from previous ones is a flattened leveling structure. Fighters are not going to gain +1 to their attacks each level (or +1 to hit, AC, and skills every 2 levels for all PCs in 4e). Instead what your PC can do is going to broaden, it might involve additional abilities or bonuses to hit, skills, etc.

    #6) There are limits on out of turn actions (something that started in earnest in 3e and became a real nuisance in 4e, especially in high level play).

    I will say as someone who has played and DMed all versions of D&D that while I enjoy the simplicity of DDN in its current proto form (being able to make a PC without a computer program or spreadsheet is nice) and once you understand the mechanics its pretty easy to run, I find it terribly dull to play so far.

    Improvising is very well supported in this game but the incentive is to spam your existing combat abilities because they will invariably hit better and get your enemies to the most desirable condition, dead or helpless quicker than going off script.

    For instance, if I want to temporarily blind an opponent I can give up my attack action and improvise throwing dirt/sand into his face. The DM says its a Dex save for the enemy. As a fighter instead of blinding him (a condition in the game) I could be dealing damage instead and probably do a better job of taking that enemy out of the fight quicker by doing so.

    In all I have hope that as they refine the base system and start adding modules/layers the game will be able to mimic my preferred style of play (4e) and I won't feel like I have taken such a huge step back in time to an era that wasn't as enjoyable to me (1e & 2e).

    The great thing I see is that it will mimic both those styles. Just because I don't love older editions like I used to when I first started playing the game doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't. Conversely, there has been some great innovations in gaming that I would hate to lose.

    Even better, if WotC hits their design goals I will be able to mix and match core rules with various modules to better fit with whatever game world I want to play in. John Cater of Mars style, check. Basic D&D style, check. 4e tactical combat in the Forgotten Realms, check. I want to run old 1e mods with 1e style play with little or no conversion, check. Rules light for new players to help them get into the game, check.

    I see the possibilities. So, for now my 4e lovin' group that isn't getting lots of love in this playtest will help make the core rules the best they can be and look to what the future will bring us.

    My two coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    DDN Playtester

    PS If you haven't signed up for the playtest, why not? The worst thing that can happen is you don't like where its at right now. Have a voice in the process and try it out.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon May 28, 2012 12:44 am  

    Bluebomber4evr wrote:
    The problem comes when some specific feats are totally broken and everyone picks them. But that's an issue with those individual feats and not necessarily the idea of feats overall.


    And therein lies the problem. Everybody selects the "buff" feats and then totally forgets to roleplay anything and you end up with a litany of "I cleave" or, "I Power Attack" and nobody tries to do anything they don't have a feat for. In this way the feats actually limit creative play and detract from the game not add to it.

    There are also endless feats that have been added in splatbooks that only address very specific situations which encourages the selection of the handful of basic buff feats.

    These are just my experiences, of course, you may have had different ones but I found myself longing for the days when a player would just say to me "Hackman will attempt to sever the rope that the innocent npc is hanging from and then spin and hit the hangman in the same move". I, as DM, get to sort out how that works rather then just look up the feat which Hackman will attempt to use over and over because the player's invested a slot in it. Which is probably why I eventually stepped away from 3e/PF.

    A simple resolution mechanic that allows characters to do things creatively would float my boat far more than a list of standard tactics dressed up as "cool things". Not to mention the creation of a side industry of "The Book of Pointless Crunch" manufacture; but don't get me started on that one. Wink

    PS; Thanks to you Bryan for the update. Unfortunately I have neither the time nor the group to join in the playtest, so being kept informed is invaluable. It is early days but, from what you've said, squaring the circle of pleasing as many people as possible looks a monumental challenge. I really wish it well but it's going to have to be something really special to lure me back.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon May 28, 2012 9:17 am  

    Well one of the things about this that I really do like is that we don't need feats spelled out. The players can once again be creative and the DM can say "okay it's a Str check vs. the opponent's <ability> check". Simple, quick and provides for creativity. I can understand players' concerns that it's "all up to the DM" but any DM worth their salt would almost always say "give me a roll". Feats are over the top and should be removed. You want flavor for your character, work it out with your DM ahead of time I say. There was something in there where even if you miss, you hit. That alone made me cringe.

    Advantage / Disadvantage, I like the concept yet at the same time, I guess I already have this in my games. Overall though, the best part is the game is simplified, it appears so far that it can easily be retrofitted and "feels" old skool in many ways.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon May 28, 2012 10:05 am  

    Elliva,

    One of the design goals is to make D&D Next (DDN) flexible enough to support your desire for "featless" play but also support those of us that want a feat system.

    Again, as this is just the very beginning of the design and development of DDN this goal will guide the process but how it gets implemented will probably evolve.

    Feats right now are baked into Themes, well more hard coded in them to be precise.

    If you want featless play you just chop off themes from character creation and bam you got a game that is more like AD&D right off the bat. In fact Mike Mearls asked folks to test this very thing in his latest Legends & Lore column: Playtest: First Round Overview .

    If you play as is, there are feats but your choice is limited to the theme you choose. They are theme abilities baked in, so if you like the the themes you can live with it.

    Later in development of DDN there will be a skills and feat system that will layer on top if the DM and players want it. This is where those of us who enjoy feats as a means of customizing our PCs will get our satisfaction.

    DDN is not about the one true way. Its not about limiting folks play experience. Its about making a flexible system that will unite folks, not divide us.

    So whether its you asking that feats be done away with or me saying save or die should not reappear, neither position is conducive to a game that over all going to be designed so both our play styles are supported.

    One final thing, I am not saying you should not examine and bring a critical eye towards feats. Quite the contrary having a healthy dose of skepticism is perfectly alright. In 3e feat bloat got really bad. Even in 4e where the design space for feats was more controlled there were still "must have feats", "meh" feats and "why in the world would I take that" feats. Feats have a specific design purpose and as long as they serve that purpose well they should be part of D&D.

    Thanks,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon May 28, 2012 12:33 pm  

    Agreed on many points Saracenus. I'm just reporting what I see and adding my opinion. Obviously I'm a grognard through and through. I might borrow from 5e (or not). Ultimately, I'm interested in this edition because it would be nice to see published new material that I could use in my BD&D/ED&D/1e/2e campaigns. I scour the web for user created stuff and some of it is quite good. I use my own too but that youth in me still would like to purchase new material. I'd be very curious to see what might come out.

    One thread I saw was the idea of separating 4e and 5e as product lines since they're very different games, i.e. tabletop / tactical wargaming vs. roleplaying.
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