What are the proud nails of D&D Next? (Done)

RyRy
edited July 2014 in Story Games
So far I'm seeing an edition that looks like. 3e with less grid and more sanded off edges. As far as I can tell, inoffensive, but still clearly D&D is what they were going for.

But they also wanted the rules to be smooth, easy to adjudicate, and internally consistent.

How did they do on that? What is the Grappling, the Double-Haste, the Thief, of D&D Next?

Comments

  • edited July 2014
    Are you asking about 'tired tropes', 'balance', speed of 'system mastery', problems, or what exactly?

    Problem with any of that is going to once again be subjectivity. For instance, if you ask someone who loves 4th why one thing they may say would be attention to balance or equality of characters. If you ask someone who hates 4th what's wrong with it they may say attention to balance or equality of characters. If you get me. I mean, some people loved early edition thief, some didn't. Some liked one set of grappling rules, some liked another. *shrug*

    So are you asking peoples opinions about warrant stuff, or are you asking if there are mathematical errors, or loopholes & exploits they missed, or ...?
  • They got rid of Feat Taxes, so good on them for that, but there are still Proficiency Taxes—what Thief is not going to take Stealth? What Fighter is not going to take Athletics? What Cleric is not going to take Religion?
  • I mean, I can come up with character concepts for all of those easily enough (country bumpkin cleric who serves his god with simplicity and service but little book lernin'), but it's a bit of a stretch, and the Fighter and especially Thief have class roles / niches that rely on those skills.

    But I think the real proud nails will come with classes we haven't seen yet. It's much harder to design a good Bard class or a good Paladin class than a good Wizard.

    Matt
  • edited July 2014
    Every proficiency confers a proficiency bonus, except armour proficiency. (ETA Oh, and some tool proficiencies. But others do.)

    Also, your proficiency bonus applies to some things that don't involve a proficiency, like magic attacks and spell save DC.

    You add your ability modifier to weapon damage, but never to cantrip damage.

    As in most editions, you will almost never have a reason to choose a spear over a sword, history be damned. Also, a trident and a spear do the same damage and have the same properties, but one is a "martial weapon" and the other is a "simple weapon," guess which is which.

    You always have to use material components for spells, except when you don't because you sprang for a cheap-ass magic focus (which might be a "component pouch").

    (I say all this with love and admiration, of course. I'm looking forward to playing this game.)
  • @phoenix182, I see your point, but this stuff is basically what I want to hear about. What do people see as odd asymmetries, so we can think about which ones are going to turn out to be good compromises versus clunky exceptions.
  • edited July 2014
    The the new thing is bounded accuracy and the balenced of damage vs. hit points over the levels. OD&D original booklets only is the only edition that anything remotely similar and it had considerably less options than what 5e is offering. The other is the widespread use of the proficiency bonus.

    D&D 5e Basic wouldn't be unusual if was an OSR ruleset. Character classes are vaguely like the ones in Blood & Treasure, the pervasive use of the prof bonus is similar in many ways to Castles & Crusades siege engine. My own Majestic Wilderlands uses skills I.e. abilities heavily particularly for rogues. Including the idea that 5e has that any character can attempt any skill just some are better than others at certain skills.

    Most of these concepts worked out fine for various OSR Rulesets and I am sure it will work out for 5e. If problems arise with these it will be easily remedied by axing the offending class, spell, or item form your campaign.

    Bounded Accuracy in my opinion is the part of 5e that will undergo baptism by fire.
  • D&D 5e Basic wouldn't be unusual if was an OSR ruleset.
    That's a very interesting proposition. Is there a place the "main" conversation about OSR rules is happening, where insightful people with OSR favorites are doing this kind of discussion about it?
  • edited July 2014
    Not really due to the diffuse nature of the OSR.

    Understand the OSR is very diverse and growing all the time. While the center on the playing, promoting or publishing of classic editions of D&D. It has a very diffuse edge that includes fantasy games that use classic D&D mechanics in different ways, non-fantasy games that use classic D&D mechanics, and other older editions of RPGs. What the OSR is depends what slice the individuals. It has grown beyond anybody's ability to keep track of.

    The reason for this is due to the side effect of the widespread use of the Open Gaming License. The original popular retro-clones (OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord) blazed a path that dozens have followed to make their own clones or D&D like games. Beyond that there are hundreds of adventures, supplements and settings.

    With that being said there are some specific places that I frequent that may be useful.

    The RPGSite @ http://therpgsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=2 a lot of OSR hobbyist congregate here. Pretty much a no holds barred forum.

    OD&D Discussion Forum @ http://odd74.proboards.com focuses on Original D&D with a subforum for OSR and 5e. The friendliest of the bunch.

    Knights & Knaves & http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb3/ Focused on AD&D, OD&D, and OSRIC. It is THE place to discuss OSRIC the AD&D retro-clone. The home of many hardcore fans of AD&D 1st.

    Dragonsfoot @ http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/ Focused on classic D&D. Big and sprawling with an OSR subforum. A lot of exTSR employee post here.

    Google Plus communities
    Google Plus is the social media most commonly used by OSR Hobbyists

    OSR - https://plus.google.com/communities/118190724629075727878
    Swords & Wizardry - https://plus.google.com/communities/105496313464716843665

    Much of the OSR revolves around bloggers.

    You can use my site to discover other OSR blogs. http://batintheattic.blogspot.com In particular look at the right sidebar Digging the Boxes. Things like the Great OSR blog roll, etc.
    I have a out of date web page as a guide. http://www.batintheattic.com/oldschoolsurvey.htm

    If you want to see near comprehensive list of all OSR product targeting classic editions up to mid 2012. then look at the Horde and Hoardes spreadsheet. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar9Wm_5gI_1TdGlyZHpwRHFoU2pEMng0NkhqTlJEYmc#gid=0 It also functions as a time line.

    I know this is a bit of a info dump but hopefully it what you were looking for.
  • RyRy
    edited July 2014
    That's perfect, thanks.

    I always am hoping that communities eventually get to a point EN World back in 2000-2004, where there was *a place* that the core of the discussion happened. But the links are very appreciated.
  • Can someone explain the Bounded Accuracy concept?
  • edited July 2014
    Can someone explain the Bounded Accuracy concept?
    The overall to hit bonus and armor class are scaled and capped to a low number. We have seen all the permutations yet but it looking like roughly +12 to hit and 20 to 22 AC is about the max you see in 20 levels of play.

    In contrast damages, ways of adding damage, and hit points increase dramatically. A powerful monster can do more damage and has a lot more hit points but is not much harder to hit.


    The implication is that a horde of orcs remains a serious threat to high level characters as they retain more than a 5% change of hitting their opponents. It also means that low level characters in a mixed party are able to hit level opponents and do damage.

    This results in combat with a different feel then nearly all editions of D&D except for perhaps OD&D core book only.
  • edited July 2014
    A few proud nails:

    1) Movement is meant to take place in the theatre of the mind (by default), but it's still listed in increments of 5 feet and a +5 ft bonus is a racial feature.

    2) I think proficiency in tools is a bit awkward, particularly when it overlaps with a skill - like musical instrument and Performance. I also think having to choose whether you're proficient in a lute or a pipe, but being proficient in all land vehicles, is weird. One house ruler over at EN World was thinking about adding skills like Bonsai and Origami to his Rokugan conversion. I asked, why not make them tool proficiencies - but does "origami paper proficiency" and "bonsai wire proficiency" really capture what's going on there?

    3) There are six saves, but only three are in heavy use. Things that could be saves, like Int checks to detect illusions, are instead skill uses.

    (I believe this concept was introduced by Jesse Decker and Dave Noonan in 2006, and more suggestions were made a few months later.

    A few of the proud nails that JD and DN identified - seemingly random spell-like ability lists, horses that are 10-foot square and gnome and halfling height and weight - are back in 5E after a couple left during 4E!)
  • A few proud nails:

    1) Movement is meant to take place in the theatre of the mind (by default), but it's still listed in increments of 5 feet and a +5 ft bonus is a racial feature.
    Good point. Yeah, that's gonna be interesting. I really like the idea of using Zones à la FATE and having Small characters take Disad on rolls to change zones.
  • More like Zones ala Red Box Hack, amirite?
  • Ah yes, indeed, I believe so.
  • I caved in and bought the starter set today, and stumbled across what looks like another proud nail:

    The monster types are 3e-esque (giant, humanoid, etc.) instead of 4e-based (natural beast, aberrant animate, etc.). Which is cool, I prefer that. But they've kept the giant type, even though there's a humanoid type. Giants are actually described as "humanoid-like creatures". Why not make giants large and huge humanoids? Meanwhile the fey type appears to be missing, although that may be only because none appear in the starter set.
  • Ah yes, indeed, I believe so.
    I'm just saying I liked how fun and light zones were in RBH.

    My feeling right now from Basic and the Starter Set is that 5e is compact and consistent, but it lacks heart or flair or a hook into my feelings about the game. Reading the Basic set feels like reading something from a designer that's been told "No" 6000 times.

    But given where D&D sits in the hobby, that's a better than if it had come out as a messed up ruleset with really interesting implied fiction.
  • No question they were operating under a *very* tight set of constraints!

    The thing that hooks into my feelings is making Traits, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw explicit. Of course, it depends on what the GM advice chapter says about those things. If it were up to me, I'd want it to say, "Do not prep anything that does not explicitly target one of those BIFTs*" but I realize that's unlikely. Still, it shows that they really want groups to give more than lip service to the idea of creating characters as more than collections of numbers. Hopefully they'll at least say, "Get together to make characters, and tie your BIFTs to each others'."

    Matt

    *Not as elegant as Burning Wheel's BITs, but, eh, I'll take it.
  • edited July 2014
    Matt,

    A serious question, not a hypothetical one:

    How functional is it to play in this mode (where the GM preps material based on the "BIFTs", as in lots of typical GMed story games) when the mechanics don't include things like social conflict resolution, the ability to state player goals, rewards for setting up moral dilemmas, and similar tools?

    For example, using the D&D rules, I have the Flaw that I'm a recovering Alcoholic. But I get XPs for defeating monsters, and my skills are combat spells and being good with animals. How does this play out, at the table?

    I'm asking because I've never seen it done well. (But I've rarely seen it attempted at all, so that's not saying much.)

    A half-way solution without system support could potentially just drive away/disappoint even more players, a la Vampire: the Masquerade.
  • Complicated!

    1) XP isn't *only* for killing monsters, is it? It's also for "completing plot points," which could include things like somewhat open-ended moral dilemmas rather than pre-plotted railroady nonsense. Again, it's all going to come down to the GM advice chapter.

    2) The Flaw alone, which Alcoholism is probably an example of, is probably not great fodder for adventures. But Traits and especially Bonds and Ideals really are. So it's kind of like, Flaws and Traits are used to generate Inspiration, Bonds and Ideals are used to generate plot. Potentially, at any rate.

    3) Don't underestimate the simple power of, "I told the GM I was interested in this thing. The GM put this thing in the game. Hooray!" I think that's pretty important, even if the reward cycle could be tightened up. Remember, most trad games give at best some lip service to this stuff about character motivation, and nothing concrete. So this is a huge step in the right direction.

    4) I'm not worried about oWoD style incoherence. The problems there were manifold, but basically boil down to the game not even being the type of game it said it was. There's no question this is a game about engaging with the standard D&D fantasy tropes with mostly-standard D&D type characters. The issue is simply whether our characters will be interesting or boring, and whether the adventures they go on will be entirely predictable or not. And I'm liking what I'm seeing, but maybe I'm just wearing rose-colored glasses. Time will tell.

    Matt
  • Oh, hey, thought of a more specific "proud nail." The way the Cleric's Divine Intervention works is silly. Waste an action for something that has a 10% chance of actually happening? No thanks.

    Matt
  • edited July 2014
    Matt,

    A serious question, not a hypothetical one:

    How functional is it to play in this mode (where the GM preps material based on the "BIFTs", as in lots of typical GMed story games) when the mechanics don't include things like social conflict resolution, the ability to state player goals, rewards for setting up moral dilemmas, and similar tools?

    For example, using the D&D rules, I have the Flaw that I'm a recovering Alcoholic. But I get XPs for defeating monsters, and my skills are combat spells and being good with animals. How does this play out, at the table?

    I'm asking because I've never seen it done well. (But I've rarely seen it attempted at all, so that's not saying much.)

    A half-way solution without system support could potentially just drive away/disappoint even more players, a la Vampire: the Masquerade.
    I don't know about 'in this version' specifically, but going all the way back to basic (at least in the Cyclopedia) there is mention (albeit brief) about experience awards for roleplay, for driving the story, for excellent characterization, etc. What's more, there's nothing stopping development of story, subplots, goals, and so on. In fact, many have considered it central to the game since white box, even without contrivance to propel it. There's just no system surrounding it.

    While it's not the same as making the process mechanically intrinsic that's never been the niche for D&D which is more focused on simulation/gamist ends of the spectrum, so neither is it surprising. It's also not unusual. If you think about flaws in many other games for instance you find that taking them tends to award mechanical bonuses...attribute points or advantages granting combat bonuses. In essence these 'roleplaying and story seeds' are bribes to increase odds during gamist resolutions in other areas. So it's not just a D&D thing. It comes down to a difference of focus and playstyle.

    We also have to acknowledge that this is the basic rules. The stripped down bare minimum mechanics for play. It's entirely possible we'll see more advanced rules, with a possibility (slim though it may be) for some mechanical attachments to story. I'm not holding my breath though.
  • No clue how this fits into what you're looking for, but:

    Many people didn't like the return of feats. They feared 'builditis', or had other issues. Partially to allay their fears they came up with the 'choose an attribute boost instead' rule.

    This is a significant issue for me because it maintains the power boost which was part of my initial issue with feats. 4d6 already creates fairly powerful characters. Encouraging several more attribute boosts is going to make some EXTREMELY powerful characters, which throws off our preferred playstyle (low power, common man campaigns).

    I can see where it would be a benefit overall, since so many in 3rd and 4th preferred the higher power feel of characters. It just isn't the panacea they claimed.

    Now, there are some easy workarounds. Use 3d6 or other lower attribute methods. Forgo the feat/attribute rule altogether. Not a huge deal, but it's one example of a 'fix' of theirs that falls flat for a slice of the player base.
  • I doubt it'll be as bad as all that, @phoenix182 . Getting a +1 to one stat modifier isn't that huge a boost, and they're making you choose between that and Feats. And it only happens, what, four times from level 1-20?

    As long as they don't break Bounded Accuracy, I think we'll be fine, even those of us who prefer lower-powered campaigns.

    Oh, and, one other thing I wanted to add to my response to Paul: it's also worth noting how satisfying it is to get XP for killing a monster when that monster's presence in the game was set up by your backstory information.

    Matt
  • BIFTs help you gain XP in combat by giving you the Inspiration bonus, right? They're part of the reward system, albeit indirectly. Any bonus mechanic generally is a reward mechanic in D&D.

    I wish the connection were a little more direct (play to your BIFT to gain an Inspiration advantage /at that moment/), rather than gaining the Inspiration point that you can use later whenever.
  • True, although the fact that you can't hoard Inspiration will encourage in-the-moment use.
  • Divine intervention never fails at level 20. Until that, 10 levels of a 10 % chance power that can solve anything looks like a good enough roleplaying idea. But I agree, this is not the cleric's best feature.

    I checked the list of feats and I love how every single one so far adds background and options to the characters instead of extra numbers or bonuses (some add +1 to a stat, not a mod. But that's it, and there are quite few of these.) Most of the feats look like good choices to take instead of multiclassing, which doesn't debilitate your character too much anyway, nor makes it too unbalanced as lots of things doesn't pile up.
  • I dunno if you have readed this on the first page of the basic rules, but they should have used it as their sales pitch:

    Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the
    party, sticking appendages in the mouth of a leering green devil face, accepting a dinner
    invitation from bugbears, storming the feast hall of a hill giant steading, angering a dragon
    of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?"
  • edited July 2014
    I doubt it'll be as bad as all that, @phoenix182 . Getting a +1 to one stat modifier isn't that huge a boost, and they're making you choose between that and Feats. And it only happens, what, four times from level 1-20?

    As long as they don't break Bounded Accuracy, I think we'll be fine, even those of us who prefer lower-powered campaigns.

    Oh, and, one other thing I wanted to add to my response to Paul: it's also worth noting how satisfying it is to get XP for killing a monster when that monster's presence in the game was set up by your backstory information.

    Matt
    Depends entirely on your playstyle preferences. Each increase is 2 points (1 in each of two or 2 in one). Classes gain 5-7 sets of increases, meaning 10-14 points of attribute increases. On top of 4d6. To us, 4d6 alone makes some pretty phenomenal stats, adding 14 points makes demi-gods.

    The 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 standard array (which is a considerably lower than 4d6 generates usually) becomes say 20, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, or 18, 18, 18, 14, 10, 8, or the more balanced (but still silly) 16, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12. Those aren't counting magical increases or racial modifiers. I don't know about you, but I consider 3 attributes at human max more than a bit OP.

    Or look at it another way: Let's say you create a character with standard array and put the 8 into strength. Then you put bonuses in it so that you end up with a 18 Strength (again, not counting magic, race, etc). What does that really mean? Using the predominately accepted bell curve of stats with 18 being human natural maximum (supported by specific breakdowns in earlier editions) it means you went from being someone who standing military pressed a max of 90lbs (not a lot, but not a weakling) to pressing 480lbs (very close to the world record). Another way to see it is raising your IQ from 80 to 180. Even if we broaden the curve to put 20 as the human max, it's still reachable (with 2 points to spare). There's fantasy, and then there's immersion breaking lunacy.

    Again, there are easy workarounds, but the point is that hacking/modding the defaults is necessary to serve (what is in my experience) a fairly broad demographic.
  • Phoenix I don't think I buy into your criticism at all; you're referencing ideas from past editions that the ability scores were meant to correspond 1-to-1 with reality. I can't find any reference in this new edition to how high an IQ a particular score is supposed to represent. I don't even seen any references to a 'natural human maximum' in this edition.
  • They got rid of Feat Taxes, so good on them for that, but there are still Proficiency Taxes—what Thief is not going to take Stealth? What Fighter is not going to take Athletics? What Cleric is not going to take Religion?
    I haven't seen the game recently, but when I was in on a very early test in 2012 I was also disappointed by the fact that Rogues had to choose between being good at sneaking or just about anything else. It seems that if you're going to be bound to a class structure, you should have default access to some things associated with the concept behind your character class. I also didn't like that when you were forced to choose between two options in your class, you couldn't go back later and take the other option you missed. It always seemed a "Make a permanent choice now and forever hold your peace."

    Disclaimer: my feedback may not be super relevant because I did not participate in the open tests.

  • 1) Movement is meant to take place in the theatre of the mind (by default), but it's still listed in increments of 5 feet and a +5 ft bonus is a racial feature.

    No, this is necessary. The game pulls back from minis and battlemats, yes, but “theatre of the mind” is not an adequate description of where the game happens:

    Typically, the DM uses a map as an outline of the adventure, tracking the characters' progress as they explore dungeon corridors or wilderness regions. The DM's notes, including a key to the map, describe what the adventurers find as they enter each new area. Sometimes, the passage of time and the adventurerers' actions determine what happens, so the DM might use a timeline or a flowchart to track their progress instead of a map.
    This is one of the features that make this game D&D and not some other thing. In an improvisational game the map may not physically exist and maybe imprecise or may be drawn up on the spot—and yes, you may not always need the precision of those 5′ increments. But there is a map. Time and distance always matter.
  • edited July 2014
    Phoenix I don't think I buy into your criticism at all; you're referencing ideas from past editions that the ability scores were meant to correspond 1-to-1 with reality. I can't find any reference in this new edition to how high an IQ a particular score is supposed to represent. I don't even seen any references to a 'natural human maximum' in this edition.
    Which isn't relevant. As a successor to previous editions it is expected (by many at least, and most I've ever met) to carry on the ideas already established. Editions aren't entirely new games (or rather, they're not SUPPOSED to be). They're supposed to be mere revisions/evolutions. I don't buy D&D to get rolemaster, or mouse guard...I buy it to get D&D; i.e. fundamentally the same game that it was was previously, but expanded and with fixes.

    Now, I realize that 3rd and 4th broke with that tradition somewhat, and 5th is still questionable. However, when they make a game with the purpose of 'going back to the beginning' I expect them to follow through. Anything else is a failure against intended purpose.

    The entire use of 3d6 to generate ability scores hinges on normal distribution across the population. The basis of D&D attributes is 3-18, with 10.5 the apex and 18 being normal human maximum (albeit, with a departure in 2nd for % exceptional strength). There is an enormous body of work from basic/1st/2nd which discusses this, and gives specific relative metrics. It's core.
  • edited July 2014
    Ignore, was misunderstanding on my part.
  • Certainly stat generation is one of the easiest things to have "dials" for to accommodate different playstyle prefs. The question for me is how well spelled-out those options will be in the main PHB, both for how to do it and more importantly what effect these methods will have on the feel of play.

    Matt
  • for a huge swath of the community D&D (and in fact most roleplaying) has always been 'theater of the mind'. Maps can have value, but aren't intrinsically necessary to the game. That was a big upset over 3rd, and especially 4th. Large segments of the community who had never bothered with such things suddenly feeling like it was almost a necessity (and really, it was pretty close).
    I think you're conflating "grid combat" with "maps" here. Players physically mapping and the importance of maps used to be a huge part of D&D (look at the old Basic sets). It was explicitly the main exploratory activity of the game. I'm not sure you can call "theater of the mind" (a terrible phrase that does nothing to explain what play actually looks like) the default for "huge swaths" of D&D players over the years.

    I'm excited about the new D&D and am running Phandelver soon. The one thing I wish it had thoughtfully designed-in is player mapping.
  • Count me among the swathes.
  • edited July 2014
    Then that is not a proud nail, that is you making an explicit decision to not bother with the scenario that rules are written to support; making a decision to not use one of the core elements of the game.

    Every published product that is contained adventure scenarios have always included maps since the beginning of D&D. Many of them have been little more than map-and-key products. And these rules explicitly say that you will use them.

    Here, in this specific text, we are not talking about a random set of numbers that stick out as implied from the rest of the rules. We are talking about the majority of chapter 8. The entirety of pp 63–68, and large parts of what follows (Food and Water & Resting) are movement rules or rules that follow from movement. And pp 70–71 in chapter 9.
  • edited July 2014
    for a huge swath of the community D&D (and in fact most roleplaying) has always been 'theater of the mind'. Maps can have value, but aren't intrinsically necessary to the game. That was a big upset over 3rd, and especially 4th. Large segments of the community who had never bothered with such things suddenly feeling like it was almost a necessity (and really, it was pretty close).
    I think you're conflating "grid combat" with "maps" here. Players physically mapping and the importance of maps used to be a huge part of D&D (look at the old Basic sets). It was explicitly the main exploratory activity of the game. I'm not sure you can call "theater of the mind" (a terrible phrase that does nothing to explain what play actually looks like) the default for "huge swaths" of D&D players over the years.

    I'm excited about the new D&D and am running Phandelver soon. The one thing I wish it had thoughtfully designed-in is player mapping.
    Oh I see now, you're right, I was transposing/projecting. Ignore my last and carry on. (not sure how the nesting/quoting got messed up, and too tired to figure it out).
  • This was a good starting point, I will be interested how these play into peoples' APs
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