Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5E Basic - The Red Pen Takes A Break

I think that aside from figuring out how to adjust the Ability score increases out of the monsters if they are included in monster stats, that any other thing I feel should be optional will be easy to separate from Basic without negatively impacting the core math of the game.

With that out of the way, I really like what the folks at WotC have done with Fifth Edition.

I had some concern about all classes having an identical increase in combat value, however I have been reading a lot of reviews and some people willing to dig deeper into the system pointed out how much more powerful a fighter gets in melee combat through class capabilities than the other classes. The classes really do break out nicely into their own respective niche.

While I have not had a chance to run or play yet, just a read through the magic/spells has me anticipating the fun of experienced players trying to relearn how a few things work in order to churn out some seriously cool uses for spells and spell combinations.

That's all for the moment. After a long day of work . . .

Sunday, July 6, 2014

5E D&D - The Red Pen Diary Continues.

Healing in 5E has gone way overboard into redundancy.

1. At one point in the rules it mentions that characters get all lost hit-points back after a long rest (at least 8 hours), along with half of the spent healing hit-dice.

2. During a short rest characters can roll hit-dice to recover hit-points, potentially returning to full.

3. There is a healing kit available in the equipment that has 10 uses and can help restore hit-points.

4. Clerics can use a number of spells to heal characters, including some at-range.

5. There are healing potions and likely other magic items for healing.

6. Some classes even have their own healing capabilities. The fighter has an increasing number of Second-Winds that allow a die to be rolled to heal some hit-points (up to 10 + CON modifier) and this ability recharges between short or long rests. And at 18th level the fighter even gains a minor form of regeneration.

I see no real issue with numbers 3, 4, and 5. Numbers 1, 2, and 6, should have been options, not Basic game inclusions.

Getting back to the Ability score increases. Some classes have more levels at which they are able to do this than others. Once we see the monsters we should be able to determine if this is baked into the core system math and then we need to determine how to remove it. It should not be core, it should be optional since something like this is much easier to add than subtract from the system.

I like the playability of 5E, but I keep finding stuff that should not be part of a basic game.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

5E D&D Basic - The Red Pen Comes Out

Well, I was somewhat wrong about Basic D&D being a clean basic game.

It does indeed have at its core the power mongering ridiculous Ability score bumps both at character creation and at levels 5 additional points during level gains.

Humans get +1 to all stats at the start and all characters appear to get +2 to a single Ability every 4 levels.
The maximum for an Ability score is capped at 20,what good is that when many of a character's Ability scores could get to 20. There may be some differences for the non-human races once I take the time to examine things further

The experience table is designed for very rapid level gain. The potential exists to go through 24 hours of play and have characters go from 1st level into the very high levels.

There may be more things I would change or eliminate from this Not-Basic, Basic game, but I won't know until I have time to read the entire thing a couple times through.

Mearls, you got some splainin' t'do . . .

Monday, June 30, 2014

Odds and Ends

Looks like the 5E Starter Set characters are built using options from the PHB. 

The Basic game will not be complete till close to the end of the year, but that is ok since it should still be playable somewhat when it becomes available for download on July 3rd.

Monsters have different types of hit dice. Some have D10, some have D8, and I suspect other dice come into play. 

Here's something you might find amusing: 101 Spells Not Worth Memorizing


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Eyes Have It!

Today WotC unveiled a few of the monsters that will be in the starter set. These included the Nothic, the Ogre, and the Ochre Jelly.
Guess which one this is.

I'm quite pleased by the simplicity of the monster stat blocks.  They have been kept neat, tidy, and give the info needed in an easy to read format, which is great when running a combat. The format reminds me of the 4e stat blocks which is one thing I did like about that edition.

Go take a peek at the info over at EN World.

The three creatures revealed are all Challenge 2 and 450xp. I am still baffled by what the 5e challenge ratings represent, though it won't be long before we all find out. Basic D&D will be free to download as soon as July 3rd. (just character creation, the other bits will be added as books are released)

Getting back to the Nothic . . . The flavor text in the description states that they were once wizards that "unlocked magical knowledge they could not fathom".  They also can learn knowledge from people they directly observe, even hidden knowledge. They also possess True Sight, so no fooling them with invisibility or illusions. Nothics are also above average intelligence, they easily could use their wits to smartly stalk and study intruders. I can really picture a Lich having a couple of these as "eyes" within or near the lair.

EDIT: I noticed something about all three of these monsters. Their to-hit in combat is equal to 1st level characters. The Ogre has +6 which is derived from its strength modifier of +4 and the proficiency modifier of +2. Both the Nothic and Ochre Jelly have strength modifiers of +2 and proficiency of +2 for +4 to hit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Forgotten Gods

In the course of world building the decision for what, if any, gods to include in the design. Do you use the ones from a published setting? A mix from multiple sources? Do you create your own?

I have done a mix of all three, though the ones I enjoy are the ones created whole-cloth by myself or in collaboration with players. One such deity whose name is indeed long forgotten (did it begin with Ch?), represented the domains of Vice and Humility.

Vice and Humility may sound like an odd combination, however the common mantra spoken by 'experienced' members of the faith is "a person must fall before learning to pick one's self up", which seems to briefly sum up the idea.

Devoted adherents are typically those who have drank, gambled, and/or whored their way to their personal and financial downfall. A good many end up spending at least some time at the church monastery performing humbling labors, wearing garments of hand mended sack cloth, and eating the most basic of foods. Some remain, having found either the need for the security blanket of the monastery, or having heard the calling to aid the newly fallen or to tend to the 'fall' of those not yet at the bottom.

Those tending to the fall perform their duties visiting places of ill-repute and observing the patrons, looking for those nearing their point of breaking. While watching for these seekers, the brothers and sisters gather donations, offered to them without prodding by those trying to curry favor from the deity, hoping not to fall.

In cities that have not embraced the deity, Humble Elders, pose as homeless and misfortunate, never asking for money or food, though often receiving both from the generous or those who know who these faithful serve and seeking favor. While performing this mission, the Humble Elders watch and listen for the opportunity to quietly minister to the fallen and soon to fall, eventually gathering enough new faithful to begin a monastery.

The core tenets of the faith neither condemn or condone vices, merely acknowledging the role vices serve in enlightening the populous. There is a branch of the church which the orthodox refer to as the debased, filled with hubris. The debased have begun to involve themselves in the operation of taverns, gambling houses, and brothels, with the potential to garner great wealth, and sometimes leading them into conflict with criminal syndicates, and the authorities. Those who leave the church or have become debased, may fall again, and would be welcomed again as newly fallen.

The typical fallen or faithful is a human male, though females, and other races are not immune to vice or the need to find humility.

Different monasteries may have different holy symbols if any at all. The deity has no specific weapon and adherents forced into conflict use whatever comes to hand. Some may be considered proficient with an item they used in a profession if it is available, like a blacksmith with a hammer. No specific colors are associated with the deity, though brown, gray, and other motley are the most common.

The deity is often depicted in a ragged cloak with hood pulled up, face in shadow.


Monday, June 23, 2014

5E Character Sheet Part 2

Today the character sheet for the Cleric from the Starter Set was unveiled.

Some big differences between the Cleric and Fighter.

WHOA! Hold the phone! At 4th level the Cleric gets a Constitution boost to 18! I think I might create a Dwarf Cleric with a 3 CON to start so my other stats can be huge, and then try to survive till waking up as uber-dwarf at 4th level. So much for limiting power creep. (It looks like it might be Dwarf related.) The dwarf already starts with Dwarven Toughness which gives a bonus hitpoint each level.

The Cleric is also wearing chain mail, and happens to have a shield. His AC is 18 vs the Fighter's AC of 17. I thought their -1 DEX mod was factored into AC, but that doesn't appear to be the case, and now it looks like chain mail might be AC +6 instead of +7.

Here's something interesting - this cleric cannot turn undead until second level. The skeletons and zombies are applauding that decision. Now they can be scary again. Sadly each undead has to save against the turning instead of a determination of how many are affected by a single roll. That will make a battle against large numbers take more time. Now they're scaring the DM.

Alternately, the cleric can heal people within 30 feet for small amounts.

These uses of Channel Divinity are not both usable in the same time frame so there is a choice to be made, do I turn the undead or heal my buddies by a couple points. This can only be used again after a short or long rest. (Since the Fighter can heal himself this means more possible healing for everyone else.)

I find challenge ratings annoying, and this character sheet mentions them when it talks about 5th level clerics being able to destroy undead.

Again, much of the oddball stuff has to be optional.