D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:24 pm UTC

The 6-int Orc Fighter should be able to identify - maybe - the most basic, commonly encountered planar entities and probably not even that. Identify it as extraplanar, sure. Identify it as a Mane? Maybe. Identify that whatever it is, it doesn't like being smacked in the face with a waraxe? That's a DC -5 check.

The 6-in Orc Fighter who for whatever reason has stuff that would increase their ability to do that (The 3.X/Pathfinder Knowledge (Planes) skill, for example) then.. yes, they should have the same chance that a wizard with the same effective ability would have.

Which is to say that if your effective bonus ends up being a +5, it's possible you're familiar with the weak points of particularly rare Lawful Neutral planar beings (DC25) because - for whatever reason - your character found that fascinating and stuck it in the back of their mind even though they couldn't correctly identify the Lawful Neutral plane on sight (DC12) as you blew the roll completely. But you're not going to know the true name of a Lawful Neutral God's right-hand assistant (DC +10 higher than whatever the highest roll was) as that's something goddamn no one knows except that entity, the deity, and maybe one lunatic who happened to guess it one time but no one believes them and they never encountered the assistant again so it's useless knowledge.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby BlackSails » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:16 am UTC

The thing is, int 6 is approaching intelligence of a smart dog. On a good day he can identify himself in a mirror. This is compared to the int 25 wizard, who is superhumanly intelligent

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:05 pm UTC

Int 3 is the point where you can learn a language. Not a couple of words or phrases, an entire language to where you can infer the meaning (not necessarily correctly) of words you have never heard before.

So int 2 is a smart dog. Int 6 is a very stupid person, yes - but still leagues above a dog. Lennie, maybe. (A balor! I will love him and feed him and call him George and never give him cold iron and...)
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby mosc » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:27 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:The thing is, int 6 is approaching intelligence of a smart dog. On a good day he can identify himself in a mirror. This is compared to the int 25 wizard, who is superhumanly intelligent

Int 25 wizards are impossible to roleplay. Combat sim-o-matic is the only reason to have stuff like that.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby clockworkmonk » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:33 pm UTC

you can do it with a bit of collusion from the GM. an example comes from Adventure!, where they give a way to play a very witty character without requiring being all that witty yourself. you give the GM a setup that they deliver at some point during the session, if able, and you follow up with the punch-line. A similar thing could be done for that kind of intelligence.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:03 pm UTC

You can simulate intelligence a couple of ranks higher than your own by getting more time to think, but beyond that the ability to think bigger thoughts becomes more significant. Okay, in a finite domain with a well-defined list of choices, clear outcomes, and specified evaluation criteria, pure brute-force computation can come up with the best option (a game of Chess, for example, though even the best computers have yet to actually "solve" the game) but it takes actual cleverness to come up with a way to win at TicTacToe against a "perfect" opponent - I know of several ways to win - the Wargames approach, and various "outside the box" solutions that rely on the rules for your game being spelled out, and omitting one or more details that are usually assumed - playing outside the grid, playing twice in succession, playing the "wrong" symbol ("the winner is the first to make a line of three matching symbols"), etc...

On the other hand, to a certain extent, just as you allow your character's physical attributes to replace your own (unless you're LARPing), you can allow your character's mental attributes to substitute for yours - instead of actually saying something witty, you can say "Jack says something incredibly witty"...

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Xanthir » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:05 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
BlackSails wrote:The thing is, int 6 is approaching intelligence of a smart dog. On a good day he can identify himself in a mirror. This is compared to the int 25 wizard, who is superhumanly intelligent

Int 25 wizards are impossible to roleplay. Combat sim-o-matic is the only reason to have stuff like that.

Note that 5e appears to have purposely capped human stats at 20 for this reason, and all creature stats appear to cap at 30. The stat-boosting magic items in the Basic Rules, at least, raise your stat to a given level, rather than giving a flat bonus that might stack with other bonuses, so someone who's already at STR20 won't get any benefit from the Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:04 pm UTC

Hm. Not sure how I feel about that.

On the one hand, getting 32 Strength through relatively normal channels as a halfling was hilarious and something of an accomplishment, one to be rewarded by your halfling ball of fury ripping iron golems apart with his bare hands.

On the other hand, Pun-pun.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby EmptySet » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:48 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Fair enough - it does address one of the biggest flaws in 3E - that you can keep adding numbers to anything indefinitely and reach the point where the difference between a high performer and a low performer is more than a d20 roll can cover.


That seems pretty realistic to me.


The major problem I have with that system is less about "realism" and more about game design. 3.5's skill system reduces the amount of meaningful decisions after level 1, because it encourages putting all your skill points into the same skills every level. As has been mentioned it also makes it difficult for DMs and especially module designers because you don't know if the party if going to have someone with 20 ranks in whatever skill.

If there is an issue of realism, it's that D&D characters tend to be overspecialised. Real people have varying levels of competence and knowledge in many different areas, while D&D characters tend to be inhumanly good at three things and inept at everything else.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:53 pm UTC

Well, that was more explanations of THAC0 than I expected. It also looks like everyone thinks of it in slightly different ways even if it does end up the same. I'll just stick to "d20 >= THAC0-AC to hit" for the next time I decide I'll definitely play through BGII this time.

Personally, my biggest problem with the skill system in 3.x (and possibly 4e but skill challenges did try to address it in a roundabout way) is that there are essentially two ways of challenging an ability and the system (and most GMs I've played with) never actually address that. There's the challenge where you only need one person in the group to succeed- the above discussed wizard identifies the extraplanar enemy and immediately shouts out all relevant information... or they fail and then no one else has a snowball's chance in Hell of doing it. There's also the challenge that needs to be completed by each character separately- the rogue sprints across the falling bridge, the barbarian leaps across the chasm like a boss, the wizard just teleports across and my poor cleric wearing a full plate he isn't proficient with wishes he'd prepared air walk instead of water walk that day. The point I'm making is that some possibly important but optional elements of the narrative can be hidden behind "specialist" checks but crucial elements need general checks with lower difficulties and multiple evident solutions. In that respect a maximum skill proficiency of 1d20+1d12 seems to completely destroy the first option since even the best specialists would only have a statistically significant but not overwhelming advantage in a certain task. A task intended for an actual expert would be extremely difficult for them- DC25 gives a 15% chance of success for 1d20+1d12.

As for magic items that set abilities to a specific value, I really really dislike the idea. While it might prevent the creation of Pun Puns, it is open to much easier and more widespread min-maxing. I can definitely see my friends playing Str 5 barbarians just waiting to collect enough money for their belt of giant strength- a situation that might actually be fun the first time or two you encounter it but which would quickly get annoying. Just reminds me of my BGII paladin with 18/76 strength that ended up being the weakest member of the party since everyone else got magic items pushing their strength up to 18/00 or more (since they got much better gains out of it).
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:16 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Fair enough - it does address one of the biggest flaws in 3E - that you can keep adding numbers to anything indefinitely and reach the point where the difference between a high performer and a low performer is more than a d20 roll can cover.


That seems pretty realistic to me.


Sure, but it makes for a boring game. As a DM, you either make challenges that the one dude automatically beats, or if you challenge him, nobody else is doing anything in that time, because they have no hope of being able to beat it. From a gaming perspective, it's generally easier/better to toss out things everyone can participate in.

Plus, thanks to the degree of stacking, it meant those of us with optimization chops were the ones good at everything. Getting a +20 bonus isn't actually hard...For instance, Guidance of the Avatar, a low level spell in 3.5, provides a bonus that big to the roll of your choice(ANY skill check included). If you had the munchkinry/chops to recur the spell in some way(a wand is an overtly easy way, but crazier ways exist), you could essentially be that person for EVERY skill at the same time. This grows tiresome. Those with optimization skill are essentially choosing to fail to try to keep things fair, while if they don't hold back, everyone else gets annoyed. Optimization is a fun mini-game for some(myself included), but systems that allow...unreasonable levels of it eventually start to break down.

Gameplay trumps realism every time. If all we wanted was realism, we'd be playing a simulation of an average day at work.

maybeagnostic wrote:Personally, my biggest problem with the skill system in 3.x (and possibly 4e but skill challenges did try to address it in a roundabout way) is that there are essentially two ways of challenging an ability and the system (and most GMs I've played with) never actually address that. There's the challenge where you only need one person in the group to succeed- the above discussed wizard identifies the extraplanar enemy and immediately shouts out all relevant information... or they fail and then no one else has a snowball's chance in Hell of doing it. There's also the challenge that needs to be completed by each character separately- the rogue sprints across the falling bridge, the barbarian leaps across the chasm like a boss, the wizard just teleports across and my poor cleric wearing a full plate he isn't proficient with wishes he'd prepared air walk instead of water walk that day.


Once the wizard has teleport, the rest of those abilities become irrelevant.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby BlackSails » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Once the wizard has teleport, the rest of those abilities become irrelevant.


There are multiple ways for a GM to deal with teleport, from dimensionally locking the area, to anticipate teleport traps, to just requiring multiple uses with no chance to rest.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:20 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Once the wizard has teleport, the rest of those abilities become irrelevant.


There are multiple ways for a GM to deal with teleport, from dimensionally locking the area, to anticipate teleport traps, to just requiring multiple uses with no chance to rest.


Scry solves #1 and #2, mostly...and neither is a significant barrier to a "cross the chasm" encounter. Multiple uses...eh. It gets increasingly hard to prevent resting in a plausible manner at higher levels. Particularly once PCs have teleport, since that enables them to pop somewhere safe, then pop back.

Now, yes, there are further optimization tricks the DM can do, and the game goes back and forth, escalating in power until wizards start memorizing and casting arbitrary numbers of spells in every metamagic permutation he wishes in a single round. Or pun-pun. Whichever. In any case, in none of these situations does the "everyone crosses the river using their own specialty" make a great deal of sense. If the wizard can teleport, he can port everyone. If he can't...he cannot use his specialty. As the power level rises, the specialization still causes difficulty. A high power level isn't inherently good or bad, but in this particular system, it leads to such an immense advantage for a specialist over a non specialist that you'd never dream of swapping up roles.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:00 pm UTC

Scrolls of Teleport (really, scrolls of anything) are what well-planning wizards carry. Your spell slots are used for spells you think you need, you always carry a stash of general purpose scrolls useful in almost any situation.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

Yeah, magic items(scrolls especially) greatly extend endurance at high levels. Plus, you just natively have a pile of spell slots and stuff. Running dry is a serious concern at low levels, but once you get up there...stopping to sleep is not a serious difficulty. Hell, your character may not need to sleep at all.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby BlackSails » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:32 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, magic items(scrolls especially) greatly extend endurance at high levels. Plus, you just natively have a pile of spell slots and stuff. Running dry is a serious concern at low levels, but once you get up there...stopping to sleep is not a serious difficulty. Hell, your character may not need to sleep at all.


Even if you dont sleep, replenishing spells still takes 8 hours of rest.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:29 pm UTC

Two words:

Midnight. Attack.

Any extended siege in a D&D setting is going to include ways to prevent any casters among the defenders from getting their 8 hours rest...

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:37 am UTC

Which is perfectly valid every now and again.

But much like random encounters, if you overuse it, you'll just piss players off.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:55 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Once the wizard has teleport, the rest of those abilities become irrelevant.

That's a valid point but it isn't what I was really talking about. In this particular challenge I envisioned a wizard that has access to 2-3 level 4 spells a day so they can dimension door across but can't take anyone else across and it is still a big drain on their resources. In general, 3.x was only balanced* at levels 5-8 where spellcasters can pull off a few impressive tricks per day but anticipating which spells will be needed is difficult and they don't have the disposable income to carry around every conceivably useful scroll in triplicate. It is one of the major problems of the system that by levels 12-13 (highest levels I have any significant experience with), spellcasters can do everything all at the same time better than anyone else. Personally, I think the problem there isn't that magic becomes absurdly powerful at higher levels (seems to be a feature of the world) but that access to it is arbitrarily limited to a few classes, all of them based on the wisdom and intelligence stats. Exalted, for example, does a much better job of presenting powerful demigod characters where all of them eventually become capable of amazing feats.

That said, no one seems to have discussed the point that you can have different situations where one requires expertise in the skill and another requires mere competence (or a lucky throw) in the same skill. That way both experts and jack-in-all-trades can feel useful.

* For a group of optimizing players familiar with the system and restricted to a subset of the books that limits the brokenness they can unleash at lower levels.

rmsgrey wrote:Midnight. Attack.

Any extended siege in a D&D setting is going to include ways to prevent any casters among the defenders from getting their 8 hours rest...

I like the 13th Age solution where they drop the concept of a "day" (well, they still called it an "adventuring day", I believe) and instead use story milestones. You set up the adventure so that every 3-5 encounters there's a logical point in the narrative where the characters achieve something important allowing them to rest and recuperate i.e. the old "8 hours rest." That completely gets rid of the "I cast Time Stop, Imprisonment, Energy Drain and Meteor Swarm at the halfling peasant that insulted me. He's dead? Ok, I teleport to my castle in the astral plane for a good nights sleep." In fact, I noticed it encouraged the groups to explore their surroundings, scout ahead and plan their encounters much more carefully and they still ended adventuring "days" with some of their biggest hits held back in reserve.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:35 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Once the wizard has teleport, the rest of those abilities become irrelevant.

That's a valid point but it isn't what I was really talking about. In this particular challenge I envisioned a wizard that has access to 2-3 level 4 spells a day so they can dimension door across but can't take anyone else across and it is still a big drain on their resources. In general, 3.x was only balanced* at levels 5-8 where spellcasters can pull off a few impressive tricks per day but anticipating which spells will be needed is difficult and they don't have the disposable income to carry around every conceivably useful scroll in triplicate. It is one of the major problems of the system that by levels 12-13 (highest levels I have any significant experience with), spellcasters can do everything all at the same time better than anyone else. Personally, I think the problem there isn't that magic becomes absurdly powerful at higher levels (seems to be a feature of the world) but that access to it is arbitrarily limited to a few classes, all of them based on the wisdom and intelligence stats. Exalted, for example, does a much better job of presenting powerful demigod characters where all of them eventually become capable of amazing feats.

That said, no one seems to have discussed the point that you can have different situations where one requires expertise in the skill and another requires mere competence (or a lucky throw) in the same skill. That way both experts and jack-in-all-trades can feel useful.

* For a group of optimizing players familiar with the system and restricted to a subset of the books that limits the brokenness they can unleash at lower levels.


Understood...yeah, it really comes off the rails by 12. Exact point will vary by group, but eventually, the discrepancy in capability becomes ludicrous for almost any party. DMing at level 17+ becomes...really difficult. Lots of prep, and it becomes increasingly harder to prep for everything the party might do. I enjoy 3.5 quite a lot, but DMing at those levels always wore me out.

The issue with varying DCs like that is that everyone just expects the specialist to still do it, generally. Why take the chance on a lucky roll when one guy will auto-crush it?

rmsgrey wrote:Midnight. Attack.

Any extended siege in a D&D setting is going to include ways to prevent any casters among the defenders from getting their 8 hours rest...

I like the 13th Age solution where they drop the concept of a "day" (well, they still called it an "adventuring day", I believe) and instead use story milestones. You set up the adventure so that every 3-5 encounters there's a logical point in the narrative where the characters achieve something important allowing them to rest and recuperate i.e. the old "8 hours rest." That completely gets rid of the "I cast Time Stop, Imprisonment, Energy Drain and Meteor Swarm at the halfling peasant that insulted me. He's dead? Ok, I teleport to my castle in the astral plane for a good nights sleep." In fact, I noticed it encouraged the groups to explore their surroundings, scout ahead and plan their encounters much more carefully and they still ended adventuring "days" with some of their biggest hits held back in reserve.


That's actually a much older conceit(13th age steals from just about everywhere, in a good way). 7th Sea, for instance, had a concept of stories and scenes, and some powers were usable based on those metrics. I do like it in general, but it does seem to come from a more narrative tradition than D&D, which is very dungeon-delve styled. 13th Age somewhat overlaps those two things, though.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Mordus » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:38 pm UTC

Many times, especially at higher levels I would put time constraints on whatever it is that we were doing. "Sure you can teleport back to X and get some sleep, but in 4 hours the ritual will be complete and the armies of Hell will be unleashed. Up to you, is a good nights rest worth trying to deal with half a dozen Pit Fiends and their armies (which will already have 4 hours of killing time)?" I figure by the time the party is high enough level for this to be an issue, they should be doing things that have large scale ramifications anyway. Thus a time limit would make sense.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:10 pm UTC

Mordus wrote:Many times, especially at higher levels I would put time constraints on whatever it is that we were doing. "Sure you can teleport back to X and get some sleep, but in 4 hours the ritual will be complete and the armies of Hell will be unleashed. Up to you, is a good nights rest worth trying to deal with half a dozen Pit Fiends and their armies (which will already have 4 hours of killing time)?" I figure by the time the party is high enough level for this to be an issue, they should be doing things that have large scale ramifications anyway. Thus a time limit would make sense.


As always, it's something with room for a little give and take - if players are teleporting away and healing up every time they kill a monster, then, sure, you can probably penalise them a bit for time-wasting. If half of them are only on positive HP because they've been chugging healing potions, and the rest aren't much better, then pushing them to risk another encounter is probably a bad idea...

On a larger scale, a fixed time limit, announced in advance, always reminds me of Meteor in Final Fantasy VII - the sky is literally falling, but it's okay because you have time to race Chocobos dozens of times, breed and raise Chocobos repeatedly to create a Gold Chocobo, use that to obtain Knights of the Round Materia and then have enough fights to Master it... twice (along with the assorted lesser Materia for your desired loadout) - and only then actually go and do something about Meteor... On the other hand, if you enforce them, long-term fixed time limits go one of two ways - they're tight enough that, after an early mistake, you're then doomed to miss the deadline, but won't find out for quite some time; or they're loose enough that, having done all the preparatory work, you then find yourself at a loose end for some time before the final confrontation can proceed (or you have the final confrontation with absolutely no time pressure whatsoever). Stopping the countdown with the timer reading 007 only happens in a Bond movie... (more generally, stopping with a second to spare only happens in non-interactive fiction)

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Mordus » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:21 pm UTC

I don't know about you, but I refuse to stop the timer until it reads 00:01. It's just boring otherwise. That situation was absolutely for that situation where the players are abusing those kinds of abilities. I don't want to break them, just to push them. I can always adapt if I do put a time table and a fight or some challenge turns out to be more difficult than I had originally intended. Of course if the casters blow all their spells for no reason at all (aka stupidity and expecting me to let them slide) then there shall be no mercy.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby mosc » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:30 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:On a larger scale, a fixed time limit, announced in advance, always reminds me of Meteor in Final Fantasy VII - the sky is literally falling, but it's okay because you have time to race Chocobos dozens of times, breed and raise Chocobos repeatedly to create a Gold Chocobo, use that to obtain Knights of the Round Materia and then have enough fights to Master it... twice (along with the assorted lesser Materia for your desired loadout) - and only then actually go and do something about Meteor...
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:26 pm UTC

Anyway, update on 5e, now that the player handbook is out. It feels like a 3.5 engine with a 2e chassis and a 4e paint job, if I may strain a metaphor...the layout is very 4e like, and fairly clean. Probably the best thing about the system. Also....very popular. Distributors are having some trouble keeping up with demand, and retailers are frequently running dry. I ran out of my initial lot of Hoard of the Dragon Queen on friday(release day), and Players Handbooks should be running dry today or tomorrow. I have another load on the way, fortunately...but stores that were less sanguine about the chances of the system are now hunting for additional supply. There is also a strong demand for organized play. I've got three sessions a week slotted at my shop, and they fill within hours of being posted. Wizards is being very good about chatting to DMs in organized play groups and trying to provide feedback, but it's a little chaotic still...my rep hasn't gotten back to me in a few days now, and player folders are going to run dry on...this wednesday, probably.

The organized play seems well laid out, stealing the best elements of Pathfinder Society, but being far less formal. More room for DMs to improv, and a less fiddly item/loot system. Also, three adventures to a page in a log, instead of a full page per adventure, which means your sheaf of papers for a char is much thinner than PFS. A significant plus, IMO. Downtime days are accrued like currency, and can presumably be used for crafting and such, but honestly, I haven't even looked at it yet. I'm curious to get to gencon and see what all is there, but right now, galeforce 9 seems to be producing licensed accessories(GM screen, maps), and wizkids is making miniatures. IMO, the starter pack of minis is the best buy, as it's non-random(unlike the boosters) and contains a decentish selection of prepainted minis suitable for PCs. I'm lazy, I like prepainted. And honestly...you're gonna use PC minis far more than a dragon mini or what not, no matter how cool that dragon is. Plus, buying sealed boxes of random stuff can just suck. It blows to buy the same thing three times because randomness hates you. Still, I imagine they'll be as popular as the similarly done pathfinder minis.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:36 pm UTC

So I started playing the adventure from the Starter Pack today. We only played for about five hours, including character creation, so we didn't get very far- basically just killed a dozen goblins so far barring the roleplaying that had nothing to do with the system. Anyway, level one is boring as always. After using up the single spell my character could cast, I spent four rounds exchanging arrow fire with a goblin at point blank range while we each missed each other. I do see how they've tried to make the power curve a lot more flat in this system to keep lower CR enemies a threat for longer but I'd need to play a lot longer to actually get a feel for how well it works. Still, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of increasing damage and hit points while keeping attack and armor class mostly static.

Tyndmyr wrote:Anyway, update on 5e, now that the player handbook is out. It feels like a 3.5 engine with a 2e chassis and a 4e paint job, if I may strain a metaphor...

Definitely agree on the 3.5e and 4e bits. I don't really get what the 2e chassis is though? Is it the approach where most things give you static values rather than additive bonuses?

One thing I miss from 4e is the higher starting health. Everyone in our party currently has 9 to 12 hp and our poor fighter got hit for 8 damage by a single goblin arrow. A critical hit would've dropped any of us.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:02 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:One thing I miss from 4e is the higher starting health. Everyone in our party currently has 9 to 12 hp and our poor fighter got hit for 8 damage by a single goblin arrow. A critical hit would've dropped any of us.


The major issue with the inflated health values from 4e is that it makes everything take so much longer. Wizards even included a "mopping up" option - everyone takes 1 healing surge of damage to defeat the remaining foes - as a way of speeding things up...

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:48 pm UTC

But the characters in the group will all have 75-90 hit points by the time we get to level ten and I assume the enemies will likely have even more while our hits will average around 10 damage i.e. barely more than they do at level one. Having a low starting health doesn't change the rate at which it increases and that rate is what really slows down the game at higher levels. In 3.5e this was "balanced" by our party barbarian hitting for 4d10+33 at level ten but that will likely no longer be possible in 5e. The fact that it wasn't possible is what made fights in 4e so slow- big baddies would require 10+ solid hits to bring down.

I'd much rather have health be equal to Constitution + level * 1/2/4 for low/mid/high progression. Comparatively high initial value with a noticeable but not overwhelming increase over time. This way a level twenty character would have 3x-5x times more health than he did at first level rather than the 20x-25x times 5e will produce. Of course, the whole system is balanced around much higher hit points so it's not a viable house rule.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Chen » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:51 am UTC

Unless I'm reading it wrong the concentration mechanic for spells seems like its worse than the problem they were trying to fix. They didn't want the Wizard buffing himself so much that the rest of the party was obsolete. So you have to concentrate on many buff spells now (blur, fly etc) and thus can only have one going at once. It looks like this limits the wizard to having one buff on himself. But in fact it limits the whole PARTY to having one buff (well per spellcaster). Not only buffs got hit with the concentration tag either so in fact it might completely remove the buff part. If the wizard casts Black Tentacles and has locked down a few creatures, he now cannot cast fly on the fighter when one of the opponents takes to the air unless he lets the locked down creatures go.

It also seems that characters deal significantly less damage now. Except the wizards who's base spells got buffed. Fireball does 8d6 when you first get it now instead of 5d6. Yes they need to use higher level slots to make it better, but the default fireball is almost at the cap the old fireball used to hit at 10th level! Oddly cone of cold still only deals 8d8 damage yet is 2 levels higher than fireball too.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby EMTP » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:19 am UTC

I loathed the hp/healing mechanics in 4e. It took the endless damage/healing cycle of earlier editions and made it even worse.

Damage should count for something. Being seriously hurt ought to stick with you for a while, it ought to up the anxiety a little. And who wants their character concept to be a walking box of band-aids? Healing surges? Sure, let's "fix" the problem with yet another stat to keep track of . . .

Partly this grows out of the fact that I never accepted the "tank" idea, someone who is there to soak up damage . . . partly because it insults everyone's intelligence. Who can hurt you the most, the fastest? The guy in the bathrobe, probably. Who is going to die the easiest, and thus, not be killing you or your fellow monsters today? Again, the guy in the bathrobe. So where should any "monster" of low human intelligence or better focus their attacks? Not on the "tank" . . .

And in inflating the PCs hp, the monsters got ludicrous amounts of hp as well 400, 500, 600 hp sometimes. This makes tactics like setting an ambush, choosing your terrain, springing a trap in general far less useful. Your cool ambush cost the enemy maybe 10% of their hit points, in contrast to earlier editions where a smart party could ace the opposition. 4e is set up for you to stand toe to toe and grind each other down.

And don't get me started on the "controller" rolls, where actual thinking about the environment and the enemy takes a back seat to weird, unphysical buffing . . . the best tactic for a big bad eventually boiled down to surrounding it and doing the swords & sorcery version of a curb-stomping.

Well, it's dead now . . . pardon me for destressing about it after the fact. I've played every edition of D&D . . . all of them. I remember when "Dwarf" and "Elf" were classes . . . so me and the old icosahedron, we go back. I think this edition is very, very promising. It does have a little of that 2e feel, 2e being the first time the game approached its current level of sophistication in character creation and challenges, but before character creation became an all-night process. 5e seems very clean, so far, without giving too much back in terms of the candy store of races, classes, and options that I really enjoy.

With the scant items and general downplaying of magic loot in Next, I am hoping the Christmas Tree Hero is finally dead, but I have hoped that many times before, and I suppose I should just resign myself to the fact that people like having masses of cool stuff, rather than focusing on their cool characters and what they can do au naturale. "As above, so below . . ."

When the DM Guide comes out I want to see a much better set of mechanics for falling, terrain, bad weather, breath-holding -- all that stuff. You may not need those rules often, but I like them to be there and be fairly detailed. For one thing, when PCs want to try some weird and wonderful work-around the DM hasn't thought of, you want to be able to game it out rather than saying "cool idea, that works" or "that's stupid, you drown." 5e is trying to do a lot with simple rules and advantage/disadvantage, but, Einstein's Law.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Chen » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:54 am UTC

EMTP wrote:With the scant items and general downplaying of magic loot in Next, I am hoping the Christmas Tree Hero is finally dead, but I have hoped that many times before, and I suppose I should just resign myself to the fact that people like having masses of cool stuff, rather than focusing on their cool characters and what they can do au naturale. "As above, so below . . ."


I suspect the lack of magic items is again just because the DMG isn't out yet. If your saves cannot be made better via magic items its going to be rocket tag once again at high levels due to the current imbalance in save DC vs save progression. The fact you get proficiency with 2-3 saves at best and a smart enemy will be able to target whichever save they need is going to be an issue. This is made more pronounced by the way they changed spellcasting. You only need to have 1 spell that targets each save throughout your whole list of prepared spells rather than one of each at high levels like in 3.5 since spell DCs don't seem to care about spell level (unless something changed in the latest PHB compared to the playtest, I didn't reread that section). The fact that the caster gets to add their best stat to the DC and then target whichever stat they want on the opponent makes the discrepancy even bigger.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Xanthir » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:15 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:But the characters in the group will all have 75-90 hit points by the time we get to level ten and I assume the enemies will likely have even more while our hits will average around 10 damage i.e. barely more than they do at level one.

How do you possibly figure that? Every character is doing significantly greater damage at level 10. The fighter has two attacks, the rogue has 5d6 sneak attack, the wizard and cleric are tossing around much better spells, and that's before we factor in magic weapons/etc. Are you just looking at a basic attack and figuring what the stat improvements will do for damage?
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:38 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:
maybeagnostic wrote:But the characters in the group will all have 75-90 hit points by the time we get to level ten and I assume the enemies will likely have even more while our hits will average around 10 damage i.e. barely more than they do at level one.

How do you possibly figure that? Every character is doing significantly greater damage at level 10. The fighter has two attacks, the rogue has 5d6 sneak attack, the wizard and cleric are tossing around much better spells, and that's before we factor in magic weapons/etc. Are you just looking at a basic attack and figuring what the stat improvements will do for damage?

Well, first I said an average of 10 damage per hit. While many characters might have multiple attacks by level ten, each time they roll a d20 and hit someone, they will still usually roll a 1d10+5 or thereabouts. A raging barbarian with 20 strength will hit for 1d12+8, an archer ranger or shielded fighter would hit for 1d8+7, a warlock's eldritch blast attacks are 1d10+5 and so on. The sorcerer/wizard's most damaging spell is a cone of cold for 8d8 (avg. 36 slightly higher than a lvl 5 fireball's 35) but they have a strictly limited number of those per day AND can only use one per round. The only big damage spike I can see is the rogue's 6d6+5 sneak attack but those are also limited to one per round and even then the average is just over 20.

There is a more noticeable damage spike at level 11 with a fighter/warlock's third attack, a paladin's attacks becoming 2d8+5 with an option for 6d8+5, and the sorcerer/wizard getting access to the 10d6+40 disintegrate. Still compare that to the average barbarian hit points going up for 15 (12+3) to 137(12+55+10*7)- an over ninefold increase. The hit points of enemies are likely to go up even faster with dragons, for example, having a d20 for hit dice. So maybe a level 11 group won't need ten rounds to kill a boss but most characters are still likely to make ten attacks, just in groups of three or in the form of a few powerful spells that are rougly equivalent.

Edit: Right, magic items. So I have this hope that they will be rare and special but this being DnD that's probably an empty hope. Add 3 damage to attacks for the mandatory +3 weapon. Still won't get a ninefold increase over the 8 average damage of a first level character.

Edit 2: Ok, maybe I am thinking about this too much but just to show the disparity of how much quicker health increases than damage. I just finished my second session as a first level warlock that has 14 con and thus 10 hit points. Our party fighter has 16 strength, great weapon fighting and a greatsword which means his basic attack hits for an average of 11.3 (2d6+3 with rerolls on the first 1s and 2s). Basically the fighter easily drops me down to 0 with a below average hit. At level 11 I can reasonably expect to have 91 (8 + 10*5 + 11*3) hit points. Assuming the fighter rolled natural 20s on all three of his attacks for three critical hits and rolled sixes on all twelve damage dice he'd still only deal 87 (12*6 + 3*5) damage. A +2 magical weapon would bring me down but that's a roll so preposterously good that the likelihood is preposterous. In fact, the average he can expect on three hits is a "mere" 40, meaning I'd be able to take six slightly above average hits and keep fighting.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby EMTP » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:43 pm UTC

Well, yes, 1st level characters are ludicrously easy to kill, and that becomes less true as the levels march on. That's a feature, not a bug, surely? A 10th level character who died as easy as a 1st character would be . . . well, would be dead, in short order.

Spells like Cone of Cold and Fireball do not of course give impressive results when applied to a single tough enemy. It's the ability to toast a couple of dozen in one strike that constitutes their appeal.

Another thing I would point out is that this is very, very early days. If the game doesn't get more broken (leading among other things to higher damage) over time as new rulebooks and supplements enter the canon, then it will be unlike every edition of D&D to date.

Chen wrote:The fact you get proficiency with 2-3 saves at best . . .


You get 2 or 3 per class (at least in Next; my PHB should arrive today!) Despite some evident ambivalence on the part of the designers, min/max folks will likely be back to "a class level here, a class level there" for non-Bard and non-primary spellcasters.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:48 pm UTC

Partly this grows out of the fact that I never accepted the "tank" idea, someone who is there to soak up damage . . . partly because it insults everyone's intelligence. Who can hurt you the most, the fastest? The guy in the bathrobe, probably. Who is going to die the easiest, and thus, not be killing you or your fellow monsters today? Again, the guy in the bathrobe. So where should any "monster" of low human intelligence or better focus their attacks? Not on the "tank" . . .
Keep in mind that the game grew out of a tradition of 5 foot wide corridors.

Meaning it wasn't that you weren't smart enough to go after the guy in the bathrobe, it was that to get after Mr. Squeaky Clean, you had to bash your way through a 300 pound meatwall swinging a greatsword.

Meatwall would be a more accurate description, but most people get upset when their entire existence in a game is defined as "To exist as a speedbump to slow down the Enemy so the spellcasters can do the real work", so... we called them Tanks.

So..y'know.. just remember where it all came from, and a lot of the traditional stuff makes more sense.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby EMTP » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:43 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Partly this grows out of the fact that I never accepted the "tank" idea, someone who is there to soak up damage . . . partly because it insults everyone's intelligence. Who can hurt you the most, the fastest? The guy in the bathrobe, probably. Who is going to die the easiest, and thus, not be killing you or your fellow monsters today? Again, the guy in the bathrobe. So where should any "monster" of low human intelligence or better focus their attacks? Not on the "tank" . . .
Keep in mind that the game grew out of a tradition of 5 foot wide corridors.

Meaning it wasn't that you weren't smart enough to go after the guy in the bathrobe, it was that to get after Mr. Squeaky Clean, you had to bash your way through a 300 pound meatwall swinging a greatsword.

Meatwall would be a more accurate description, but most people get upset when their entire existence in a game is defined as "To exist as a speedbump to slow down the Enemy so the spellcasters can do the real work", so... we called them Tanks.

So..y'know.. just remember where it all came from, and a lot of the traditional stuff makes more sense.


I wouldn't describe that as the "traditional" approach . . . it was only really codified in the 4th edition. And it only really works, as you say, in a narrow corridor, where the enemy presumably has little in the way of ranged attacks. In a wilderness adventure, or a city adventure, or even a cavern or, hell, a large room, it doesn't work. Which is why 4e tried to breath life into this moribund approach with the "marking" of opponents . . . ugh.

High level spellcasters have long been overpowered . . . I don't think anyone disputes that. But a significant amount of that has to do with how DMs handle magic and casters. As the hardest hitters/easiest to kill folks, arcane spellcasters will benefit disproportionately from a game in which players dying is avoided by the DM. Their lower hit points and inferior armor class are only meaningful disadvantages in a relatively hard-edged game.

Magic more than most mechanics long required a DM who was ready to step in and say "No, you can't call an Effretti every day and trap them until they give you a wish." And that is how the magic rules were always intended to work, and part of what made D&D special . . . there were hard and fast rules, but also room to alter the game world in creative, and lasting ways. But that only works if the DM is ready to use common sense to interpret the rules, and, from what I hear from my spell-slinging friends, many are not.

5e seems more balanced between casters and warriors without the 4e wimp-out of making spells attack-like and attacks spell-like. A 20th level mage who loses initiative could easily die before getting a spell off at the hands of a 20th level fighter dealing out eight attacks in the first round. Which is as it should be. Again, early days. (EDIT: Having reviewed the classes, it's interesting/discouraging that every single one, except the Barbarian, can cast spells (either primarily or on one or more of its paths). Even the Fighter and the Monk are spellcasters now. Good luck if you want to run a kinda gritty, Lankhmar-style rogues-and-thugs campaign. . . 5e Boccob is apparently handing out spellbooks like JW literature.)

EDIT: I got my PHB!

Initial impressions (assuming familiarity w/ D&D Next & not repeating that stuff):


* Half-elves kind of don't suck now. With +4 in abilities and two extra skills, I would certainly give half-elves a close look before passing them over for a non-loser race.

* Gnomes, with +2 Int and advantage to magic saving throws, seem set up to be a natural wizard race.

* Half-orcs are a little weak, and other than being decent fighters, seem overall disadvantaged.

* Tieflings are very similar to their 4e cousins. Didn't like them there, don't like them here, but unlike Next, at least there are Cha-based classes (other than Bard) for them to excel in.

* Barbarians: Rage once again gives resistance to weapon damage! That was a feature in early Next stuff, but was removed, I assumed because it was overpowered. It's back!

* Barbarians: They modified the primal paths, so you can no longer get advantage on Dex attacks as well, which spoils one of my favorite Next builds -- a low-Str barbarian with dual finesse weapons. But "Eagles" at 14th level can now fly whilst raging, which, um, OK.

* Bard: Call to Battle is gone, removing the only thing approaching a "killer app" this otherwise mediocre class had going for it. Battle Magic has been weakened . . . these things raise the question of who looks at the font of weak combat abilities and even weaker spellcasting that is the Bard class and says "Whoa . . . we better reign in this bad boy, before the whole party is bards!"?

* Cleric: There are six cleric domains in the PHB, and you know what? They're all badass. That violates one of the basic unwritten laws of D&D that most of the options you are given in character creation will obviously suck.

* Druid: the Wild Shape now lets you pick any shape, restricted by CR. Better than the small number of fixed animal shapes trialed in the later versions of Next.

* Fighter: the superiority dice, which I didn't like in the earlier versions of Next, are back in a new, steroid-enhanced form. You get four of them (later five and six), they are d8s rather than d6s, and there are now 16(!) different ways to use them. Hey, it beats making an unlikely chance for a shitty crit slightly less unlikely.

* Fighter: the Eldritch Knight path basically takes a straight fighter and augments them with sub-par spellcasting abilities. Not to seem ungrateful, but don't we have Rangers and Paladins for that?

* Monk: unarmed damage has been toned down from an unbalanced (/sarc) d6 to d4(!). All flurry of blows attacks now require ki points. Oh, and you no longer get ki points at first level . . . I thought 4e monks were hobbled after the glorious brokenness of 3.5e monastic orders. 5e monks make 4e monks (or Next monks, even) look like 3.5e druids.

Ah . . . I love me a good wall-walking, hard-hitting monk . . . I has a sad.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:10 am UTC

EMTP wrote:Battle Magic has been weakened . . . these things raise the question of who looks at the font of weak combat abilities and even weaker spellcasting that is the Bard class and says "Whoa . . . we better reign in this bad boy, before the whole party is bards!"?

Funny story but the current game testing 5e I am in had three of the four players come in wanting to play bards. I tried to suggest we do so but we finally settled on only having one who just died in the second session and now we're left bardless.

I, however, settled on playing the poor man's bard- a warlock. Not how I thought of the class at the time but I am really starting to get underwhelmed by the prospects higher levels hold for me. I was a bit surprised when one of the other players pointed out that the warlock stops gaining new spells at level 9. So not only do I get to cast barely any of the few enough spells I do know but I have virtually no access to higher level spells in the warlock spell list. What particularly baffles me is that the warlock has the sorcerer-with-very-few-spell-slots going until level 10 and then suddenly stops getting any new spells. Why? It's not like the warlock gets any powerful abilities or good invocations to replace the spellcasting ability. I just cannot figure out why anyone would take more than 11 levels in the warlock class- you get your third eldritch blast and your single 6th level spell and then move on to something different. Not to mention the spell list itself is shockingly limited and lacking many spells I fully expected to find in it.

The ability score improvements are based on character level rather than class level, right? I assumed that but can't seem to find it in the multiclassing section.
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby Chen » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:52 am UTC

EMTP wrote:* Druid: the Wild Shape now lets you pick any shape, restricted by CR. Better than the small number of fixed animal shapes trialed in the later versions of Next.


The Moon druid seems ludicrously overpowered at low levels. At level 2 I can change into any CR 1 creature twice per short rest and when I run out of HP in that form I just turn back to my regular form with my original HP? Uh what? Ok so I'll turn into that 37 HP lion twice per encounter. Giving me an extra 74 HP for those encounters and more attacks (normally and when pouncing) than a 5th level character. Something doesn't feel right there.

* Monk: unarmed damage has been toned down from an unbalanced (/sarc) d6 to d4(!). All flurry of blows attacks now require ki points. Oh, and you no longer get ki points at first level . . . I thought 4e monks were hobbled after the glorious brokenness of 3.5e monastic orders. 5e monks make 4e monks (or Next monks, even) look like 3.5e druids.


Flurry gives 2 extra attacks though which is pretty strong early on. I agree they seem quite weak later though.

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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby EMTP » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:25 am UTC

Chen wrote:
EMTP wrote:* Druid: the Wild Shape now lets you pick any shape, restricted by CR. Better than the small number of fixed animal shapes trialed in the later versions of Next.


The Moon druid seems ludicrously overpowered at low levels. At level 2 I can change into any CR 1 creature twice per short rest and when I run out of HP in that form I just turn back to my regular form with my original HP? Uh what? Ok so I'll turn into that 37 HP lion twice per encounter. Giving me an extra 74 HP for those encounters and more attacks (normally and when pouncing) than a 5th level character. Something doesn't feel right there.


Good point, although as I read it, the lion gets only one attack per round, which can be either a bite or a claw. Creatures that can do both, like the bear, have "multiattack" in their list of actions. Further quibble: lions have 26hp, not 37. The Dire Wolf (another CR 1 bruiser) has 37hp, but not the pounce ability . . .

But you're still absolutely right. The brown bear has multiattack (1d8+4/2d6+4) and 34hp. AC sucks, but with 68hp to burn, who cares?

It appears that the makers of D&D are constitutionally incapable of producing a not-broken Druid. Which is sad for me, because I have never cared for the class (although I do have fond memories of overcoming a dangerous opponent by executing a timely hummingbird-to-bear transformation, successfully arguing that velocity was conserved. Why velocity and not momentum? Ah, youth . . . )
Chen wrote:
EMTP wrote:* Monk: unarmed damage has been toned down from an unbalanced (/sarc) d6 to d4(!). All flurry of blows attacks now require ki points. Oh, and you no longer get ki points at first level . . . I thought 4e monks were hobbled after the glorious brokenness of 3.5e monastic orders. 5e monks make 4e monks (or Next monks, even) look like 3.5e druids.


Flurry gives 2 extra attacks though which is pretty strong early on. I agree they seem quite weak later though.


I have to disagree with you there. As noted, there are zero ki points at first level. Which means the monk cannot use FoB at first level at all. Which is unprecedented, and not in a good way.

You do get an extra unarmed attack gratis, and I suppose there is no longer anything to prevent you from dual-wielding short swords and taking that bonus attack, so I suppose 1d6/1d6/1d4/1d4/1d4 at second level is not terrible, if we assume a Dex modifier of +4 or +5. Hmmm. Maybe more to work with than I appreciated at first. Still wouldn't want my second level monk to run into the druid above in a dark alley, though.
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maybeagnostic
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Re: D&D Next (or 5e, or just D&D now actually)

Postby maybeagnostic » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:54 am UTC

EMTP wrote:You do get an extra unarmed attack gratis, and I suppose there is no longer anything to prevent you from dual-wielding short swords and taking that bonus attack, so I suppose 1d6/1d6/1d4/1d4/1d4 at second level is not terrible, if we assume a Dex modifier of +4 or +5. Hmmm. Maybe more to work with than I appreciated at first. Still wouldn't want my second level monk to run into the druid above in a dark alley, though.

The following are bonus actions of which a character gets only one per turn:
  • A single attack with an off-hand weapon
  • A single unarmed strike attack received through martial arts after a regular attack
  • Two unarmed strike attacks purchased from flurry of blows at the cost of a ki point
So a second level monk has no way to do more than three attacks in a turn and most turns can only do two attacks- at least the way we're playing so far we get a short rest every 2-4 encounters and a second level monk only has 2 ki points. I suppose YMMV depending on how frantic or leisurely a pace the party sets.

Chen wrote:The Moon druid seems ludicrously overpowered at low levels. At level 2 I can change into any CR 1 creature twice per short rest and when I run out of HP in that form I just turn back to my regular form with my original HP? Uh what? Ok so I'll turn into that 37 HP lion twice per encounter. Giving me an extra 74 HP for those encounters and more attacks (normally and when pouncing) than a 5th level character. Something doesn't feel right there.

It's also peculiar how uneven the usefulness of the wild shape power of a moon druid seems to be. At 2nd level you can transform into a (very intelligent) bear or direwolf (with additional save and skill proficiencies) that can challenge a group of four level 2 characters by itself. By the time level 5 comes around though, staying in animal form would make you weaker than all the other party members as they now have two attacks and powerful spells while your animal form remains unchanged. I suppose you still have access to level three spells so there's no reason to stay in animal form at that particular point and as a druid you'll just wait for level 6 and the release of the Monster Manual to see what kinds of CR 2 beasts are available.
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