View Full Version : How Is D&D Next?

February 25th, 2013, 18:41
Our group currently plays a PF game but we're not opposed to giving 5E a try (we're new-system-whores), so I'm specifically looking for some opinions from folks who normally play 3.5 or PF, but I'll take input from all.

How is it? How do you like it? Is it more rulesy, less rulesy, just "different"? How does the game system "feel" (very ambiguous, I know)?


February 25th, 2013, 21:03
To help answer my own question... I asked this on a PF email group I'm a part of, and the most vitriolic 4E haters came out in support of 5E (they've been playtesting it), so the devs must really be reaching out to the community. Looking forward to giving 5E a whirl at some point!

February 25th, 2013, 23:18
Honestly, right now I think they are just testing the rules to see what is going to be in the core and what are going to be in optional modules. You can see what they are thinking is going to be part of each class at a slice of time but the details/actual values are not yet very balanced.

Its fun enough to play a few games with the included modules though. The way things have developed I don't think the Caves of Chaos is a the best starter dungeon though because the bounded to hit/damage means low level monsters in mass are quite dangerous and Cave of Chaos has a *lot* of low level creatures.

February 26th, 2013, 20:33
They are way beyond Caves of Chaos. There are over 5 different modules to use at least. Including Isle of Dread, Against the Cult of Chaos, The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb, Reclaiming Blingdenstone, plus the Caves of Chaos has been revamped 3 times as the rules progress. It is easy to convert any module from O D&D, AD&D 1st and 2nd and 4th or make your own. The rules are mostly done for basic and they are branching out into testing standard rules and new classes such as the druid and barbarian. All you have to do is go to wizards and download the latest playtest packet and you'll have all the answers you want.

February 27th, 2013, 22:41
As daumnation says their are many modules in the playtest now... but only *Caves of Chaos* has encounters for 1st and 2nd level characters since Isle of Dread starts at 3rd level and I think the 1st and 2nd level encounters in the Caves module are overly difficult and don't give a good "feel" for 5E. I think this is important to mention since most people brand new to the 5E playtest will probably try low level characters first in the only module with 1st and 2nd level encounters.

I ran B2 when it was first released and the conversion of the Caves of Chaos portion of the module for 5E is almost identical to the original but there is a *huge* difference between a 2nd level fighter in plate mail & shield being hit by a kobold in OD&D and 5E. Originally the kobolds would need a 20 to hit the fighter so the large numbers didn't matter, in 5E they hit just fine because of banded accuracy so the large numbers of Goblins, Orcs and Kobolds in the module are not representative of the recommended encounter size per the current DM encounter recommendations for 5E.

Bleak Midwinter
April 7th, 2013, 10:40
I've taken part in three early playtest sessions (with groups from another forum). I really don't know what to make of 5E. My initial impressions are really really negative, but then I am a huge fan of 4E. I've considered each new edition of (A)D&D an improvement (since I played simple D&D with 'Champions of Mystra'), but 4E really balanced the game and I love the tactical element. Playing 5E online hasn't really matched that, and some of the mechanics seem dubious - Advantage mechanics in particular (I don't like "more dice"). I haven't played since, and I'm assuming that stuff like that has been changed. Basically I'm trying not to dismiss it until it's released and I've tried some of the final product, but I have little faith right now.

Having said that, I think there is a lot of scope for FG to really shine with 5E. In the 'Advantage' mechanic above, the person with Advantage rolled a d20 twice and took the most favourable result. That's hella clunky in person, and worse if you have a lot of creatures doing simultaneous attacks with Advantage (like a bunch of rats ... ). However, FG could automate that process beautifully.

The modular view of 5E would also seem to fit well with FG. Given that:
a) DDI's online gaming table was massively delayed;
b) when it did arrive it was utter crap (hopefully Wizards have learned a lesson there);
c) this + copyright leads to 4E workarounds involving parser programmes, scraping of DDI etc which are horrible;
I really hope Smiteworks can strike some sort of licensing deal with WOTC for 5E that they couldn't manage with 4E.

I would have happily forked out a one-off cost to have all my 4E stuff ready for me in FG2, even if that one-off cost was the equivalent of two years DDI subscription, just for the convenience. If Smiteworks could find a way to let Wizards re-sell 5E content through the Smiteworks shop (even if it means modules are "checked" by FG2 to see if they are legitimately owned each time a campaign server is started), this would be brilliant. If we could then pay by module (e.g. I want the tactical module, I want the Forgotten Realms modules, I don't want anything associated with Greyhawk) then I'd be a very happy user, and both Smiteworks and Wizards would profit from me. I suppose technically they both already have since I have an Ultimate licence and a DDI subscription, but this way Wizards would profit from me without also garnering my contempt.

April 8th, 2013, 07:33
@Bleak Midwinter: You will be glad to know that an unofficial 5E ruleset is already in development. The Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic is already implemented. An extra panel is provided next to the modifier box on the Desktop that enables the DM or a player to set advantage/disadvantage before a roll. The ruleset will roll two d20's, if the player has advantage the most favourable roll is used automatically, if not the least favourable is used. The chat window is updated automatically with an apprprioate message, the advantage dice result is encoded in Green whilst Disadvantage dice result is encoded in Red.

As for content, a new parser (PAR5E) tool has been developed to enable easy bulk loading of 5E data into FGII. At present its supports text file input only however if WoTC support an online model (e.g. DDI Compendium) then it will be adapted to support auto scraping.

Bleak Midwinter
April 9th, 2013, 18:31
Hi DrZeuss,

I saw Par5e and it looks really good. I suppose as a person who isn't good at coding, I've really struggled with the 4E parser. The more you can automate the more attractive this will be (especially if FG2 gets through Steam Greenlight).

April 10th, 2013, 01:48
Rules are simplified and its a bit of kickback, maybe like Ad&D + 3rd? Its fairly modular now that things have opened up a bit, some of the mechanics are closer to True 20, though right now certain abilities require 'training' to perform.

Unfortunately, this semester has turned out to be a very big pain and I haven't kept up-to-date with the last 2 releases other than to glance over them. Right now, I am somewhat in favor of it as it seems to be going a little more rules lite and more story focused, which I will admit I prefer.

April 10th, 2013, 02:55
I saw Par5e and it looks really good. I suppose as a person who isn't good at coding, I've really struggled with the 4E parser. The more you can automate the more attractive this will be (especially if FG2 gets through Steam Greenlight).

(I feel a little rude making demands of the kind folks who make these parsers for free in their spare time, so i apologize in advance, but. . .) As someone who loves FG, but knows little to nothing about programming, i have to second this.

I would love it if the final product was simple enough for me to use. I tried to get Par5e running, with the intention of scraping the latest playtest packet for my FG group, but failed pretty quickly.

May 21st, 2013, 16:04
I like Next over 4E, that much I'm certain of, but one thing I miss from 3E is the plethora of flavored PrCs and creativity in char design. I do not like simplified, I like unique. I like the idea that a char I make today is less likely to be made by me ever again. This required strong multiclassing rules and options. Something 4E lacked.

October 15th, 2013, 14:49
I was initially excited about Next, but as time has gone on, there's some core pieces I really don't like:

Saving Throws:
I dislike this part the most. I feel like Next took a huge step backwards with returning to not only Saving Throws, but SIX of them. In 0E-2E, you have 5 Saving Throws, and at high level it was nearly impossible to actually land a spell because the DCs were so low. Then in 3E they took a big step forward with Fort/Ref/Will. Now there's only three saves, and they did the THAC0 flip on them, so it's a bonus instead of a target. Great! Finally in 4E they applied the cardinal rule of "The Attacker Rolls", turning your Fort/Ref/Will into DCs for the attacker. It was fantastic--even though mechanically it's no different that 3E, aesthetically it's more fun. Now we're back to 3E style saves, except you have SIX of them (to be fair, only Con/Dex/Wis are used really. Frankly, it sucks. Now we're back to mages just sitting there telling the DM what they want to cast, and him rolling some dice behind their screen and saying if it worked. Lame.
Is it fixable? Sure. Just take your (SpellDC - 10) and use that for your attack bonus, and make the target DC (10 + AbilityMod). But I can do that with 0E-3E already! If I have to recalculate a core mechanic of the game, that's a problem for me.

Multi-Classing is borked as hell. I have no solution for it, either. 0E-2E multi-classing was cumbersome and silly. 3E was exploitable as hell, and 4E got it right, in my opinion (Feat-based; I didn't care for Hybrid-based as much, but it wasn't broken, either). Now multi-classing is back to level-based (3E style), but the math breaks down horribly. A cleric 9/Bard 11 ends up being a better caster of bard spells than a Bard 20. Silly.

While I like the modified Vancian casting in Next, the cantrips are too strong--a mage can hurl Ray of Frost around all day every round, or cast Magic Missile twice. The two spells are way to close in effectiveness; there's very little reason to take the latter.

Bounded Accuracy:
I like Bounded Accuracy, that's not a complaint. It's the loss of bounded accuracy I'm having a problem with--Next started out with the idea, but has started siding away from that. With growing Ability mods (fighter gets SEVEN +2's or FOURTEEN +1's), Proficiency (+1 to +6), and then Expertise (+5) skills will quickly escalate to the point that it's impossible to fail anything but DC 25+ checks (which are supposed to be nigh-impossible). The Proficiency bonus also throws off multi-classing; if you make a 19 Mage/Fighter 1, the mage has the same +6 to hit with a sword that a 20 Fighter does. What?

EDIT: Meant to point out that instead of a 1/2-level bonus from 4E now we have a 1/3-level bonus. Having it apply to all proficiencies borks the math when you multi-class.

A 19 Fighter/1 Mage casts his 2 first level spell slots like a level 1 Mage. What would be balanced is if a 19 Mage/1 Fighter only got to use his proficiency bonus of +1 with weapons on the fighter gets. You want to make a Fighter/Cleric, both are able to use Maces, so full bonus. A Fighter/Mage? You're giving up training with the longsword to master magic, so you don't get the full proficiency bonus. It also becomes needlessly complicated then.

Anyway, Next is starting to feel more and more like a mish-mash of 0E-4E, and they aren't even taking the parts that I really LIKED. I'll buy it when it comes out of course, but right now I'm REALLY enjoying 4E Essentials; they did a lot to get back to 0E-2E feel, but keeping the better mechanics of 4E, especially:

The Attacker Always Rolls.

I mean seriously, if I want a complete system that's actually good but has some stuff I need to apply a transparent house-rule to change resolution mechanics (dumping THAC0 & Saving Throws) then I've got a near-mint condition D&D Rules Cyclopedia sitting on my shelf already. Plus that was from the good ole' days when TSR printed mostly Campaign Settings and Adventure Modules!

October 15th, 2013, 16:00
I haven't played as extensively as others, but I do have some good initial impressions.

I like melee types and was pleased how some feats were handled: Weapon Finesse is now a weapon quality and Cleave is one in a list of effects in a DDN feat. Also the new features like using Strength for hit and damage with some thrown weapons and moving before and after an attack.

Backgrounds are another interesting idea, just wondering how relevant will some of them be when the characters reach higher levels.

October 15th, 2013, 18:11
Yeah, I like those aspects. Feats are a big thing now--which they should be when taken in lieu of an ability increase. Backgrounds were much more interesting before they put skills back in, but now they have really taken a backseat again. Moving before and after an attack is nice as well--and since the only way to provoke OAs (without feats) is to leave someone's reach, it's the only time they come into play.

Oh, don't like that either--ranged/area attacks don't provoke anymore. In our playtest my brother was playing a mountain dwarf cleric with 19 Wisdom. There was literally NO REASON for him to ever do anything offensively than cast Sacred Flame. Even surrounded by monsters, Sacred Flame didn't provoke, and is much more likely to hit than a melee attack. Which means... you guess it:

Saving Throw instead of Attacker Rolls.

In the last game we played, they were ambushed by 9 kobolds, and it wasn't going great for the group--the fighter was nearly down, the rogue was flailing around missing over and over, the mage was a sling stone bullseye and about to drop, and the cleric was desperately trying to keep a few people standing, before asking me to make a saving throw with one of the kobolds.

The mage cast Charm on one of the kobolds, which took one out of the fight, took out a second kobold that it stabbed, and then a third one attacked the charmed one (missing). It wasn't shaping up to be a TPK, but it was going really badly. That Charm turned the entire fight around and they routed the kobolds.

Ben (the mage) didn't even roll a die. (Saving Throw vs Wisdom)


October 15th, 2013, 21:21
I am in favor of "The attacker always rolls" as well and wonder why are they taking this step in the direction of older editions. Maybe they are avoiding situations like: "what happens when a spell crits?"

I wasn't very enthusiastic about the rolling twice mechanic, but after I saw some people doing number-crunching comparisons I began to see it in a better light. Yes, its more dice rolling, but its not every time.

October 16th, 2013, 09:31
When a spell crits? It does maximum damage, like every other crit in 4E. :) With an Area/Blast, it only crits the target you rolled the crit on, obviously.

Advantage/Disadvantage looked really cool to me at first. A sliding 5-25% adjustment, based on what your initial chances are; if you need a 19 to hit, Advantage helps a little. If you need an 11 to hit, Advantage helps a lot! It seemed really cool, then as your start looking at character progression, Advantage/Disadvantage is in effect on like every single roll. Every class has 2 saves that they get advantage on, getting advantage is actually really easy (I mean how often do you get Combat Advantage in 4E? All the time.) Several classes either have Advantage on every attack, or give Disadvantage on every attack against them. So since it's not going to be a special occurrence, now I just feel like we're always going to be rolling 2 dice.

That kind of sums up my feelings on where the playtest packet is pointing: A lot of cool ideas being overused ad nauseum, slapped together with a hodge-podge of outdated mechanics with the purpose of (my opinion) "giving that old-school feel". Saving throws were great in 1983--because we didn't know any better.

Anyway, I'm sure I come across as hating 5E/Next. It's not out yet, and during the 4E development podcasts I remember quite a few "WTF would you do that?" moments then, too. For the most part in worked out. But the one thing I've learned from playtesting Next is that I LOVE 4EE (Essentials). It really captures 4E with a retroclone feel to it, for me.

October 20th, 2013, 19:23
When a spell crits? It does maximum damage, like every other crit in 4E. :) With an Area/Blast, it only crits the target you rolled the crit on, obviously.

Yea, thats a no-brainer, I was mixing up details in my head and that didn't come out as intelligently as I thought :). I'm in the camp that AoE damage-dealing spells should not be able to crit simply because its ultra lame when the DM TPKs with a fireball.

October 20th, 2013, 20:39
Most monsters don't have fireballs, and sometimes spell crits are unimportant. :p Like in the screen here: http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m222/Griogre/LotsOfCrits.jpg

Four crits for no damage. ;) Honestly I've never come close to TPKing a party over multiple crits from one power. Most monsters do nowhere enough AOE damage to kill on crits. Some solos, in theory could do it - like a dragon - I guess.

Edit: The big reasons most monsters don't do enough AOE damage to kill parties on crits is their AOE damage is lower than single target damage but, more importantly, they almost never have implements to kick up the crit damage.