Friday night the usual suspects got around the big table and played the recent version of D&D Next play-test. So here are some badly thought through opinions on the game thus far:
- It has changed more than I expected, and the changes are good. It is still D&D which is a good thing. I’m very keen to see and play more.
- I still dislike levels and hit points, but there is no changing that. We had a good banter about why epic feels epic, and the D&D experience still comes built in with boom factor. So I’m kind of glad that hit points and levels are there, as it keeps essentially what I thought was the game, as they game.
- I really like the way the Attack bonus for fighters is not 1/level. That makes it seem like their bonus to attack will not be so crazy at high level as to make others look silly, but they have an edge. Paladins, Barbarians and such are scales with them, which makes perfect sense. I think the Wizard’s scaling was missing in the pdf, which is hopefully an omission.
- I don’t know how the table-top gamers will feel about the changes, as a mini-board is not really needed anymore. 4th ed had a lot of tactical edges which are gone from this play-test. I don’t miss them, but some people might. At some points a grid or minis would have been useful, but we got the job done quickly and clearly through conversation and hand drawn stuff.
- How in hell are multi-class and class changes going to be handled in this version of the game? Looking forward to that cludge.
- If you make a Cleric then choose your “always avail” power carefully. You will still be required to heal a lot in this version, so playing a cleric is still “that guy”. I played mine incorrectly in the playtest, but not wrongly enough to make me feel Clerics were anything interesting to me. I don’t enjoy healing. Scratch the class from the PHB in my version. If I’d made up a Cleric of the Reaper, which I almost did, then our party would have owned face – they deal huge damage, but are crappy healers. Now a Paladin maybe a different story.
- Fighters are great. The new dice mechanics for special powers is empowering without being overpowered.
- Monks look darn good at high levels – like getting straight 20s in all low stats at level 20. Heh, paragon games?
- Wizards look the same, but I think our Wizard was playing it wrong too – my read is that a Wizard should always have one 1st level spell to use, and perhaps the Wizard should take a boom spell. Being left with cantrips is silly. It would be like leaving the two weapon fighter with a dagger. Or if he was playing it right and a Wizard can only cast x spells per day, with no default fallback, then scratch Wizard too.
- I’m not sure a Rogue selection of advantages is handy in terms of having broad attack options, but would need to see how it played. A Rogue reads like it either operates alone, or as a team player, not both.
- The rules are clear and fair thus far, and simple. It will be interesting to read what the advanced rules add in terms of complexity vs story.
- The Backgrounds, specialties, and such are a great feature. In fact it is so good it should be added into most games in some manner or another.
More later, when I get another shot at the system. The guy in the pic below better have good fire resistance or a great insurance policy to cover incineration.