An exclusive look at the new D&D Player’s Handbook—and The Warlock

Hell yeah.

This one: Dungeon World

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Yeah, I saw that – OAs/AoOs got re-classed as “Reactions” and a character only gets 1 reaction per round. This isn’t that much different than previous editions – PCs would only get a single AoO / OA unless they had the Combat Reflexes feat, allowing them to take AoOs equal to their DEX bonus.

I suspect that a similar feat could exist in 5E in the PHB, perhaps? It’s possible, at least, and the “specific over general” rule would allow for that restriction to be overridden by a Feat or class feature.

I do like that more of the feat ability are just being “assumed”…though this is at the expense of granular control over a character’s build… not saying that’s a bad thing, necessarily; things were headed in that direction after 4E nerfed the Munchkinability of builds by discouraging excessive multi-classing. (my 3/3.5e PCs were often dabbling in 4 or 5 different classes to maximize class features, bonus feats, etc).

If anything, it lets more of the focus be on gameplay and less on character building / optimizing. JUST PLAY.

I had one that went that way to an absurd degree. By the time the campaign finished (ca. 17th level) the character had started his 6th class, and one of those classes was a prestige class from the Forgotten Realms™ sourcebook.

Compared to the rest of the party, he was about useless in a fight vs. anything tougher than minions, but was nearly unassailable as far as saving throws went.

To be a little more fair, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who matters call it 5.0, “D&D Next” was always a codename and never meant for release, and the developers of the RPG I’ve seen interviewed on youtube and podcasts happily call it “Fifth Edition”. WotC as a company is trying to do the whole “brand” thing, and make D&D not just about the RPG books, but also video games, events, board and/or card games, various types of merch, etc. Silly things that both serious gamers, as well as the actual designers of the RPG, will happily toss out the window to ensure there’s clarity.

Just calling it D&D I don’t mind, as long as it’s clear from context that it means “the current version of D&D”. Just like when people say new software runs on Windows and Mac, they likely don’t mean to include Windows NT4 or System 7.

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I currently have a Cleric 3 fighter 1 Sorcerer 1 Dragen Disciple 1 Hobbit in an occasional pathfinder game. I think that the lack of higher level spells will eventually be his downfall. You’re right, multiclassing is at it’s best at low levels, but at higher levels only having lower level spells is a big disadvantage.


The important question is, do the actual printed tabletop books display the edition number? Games Workshop, which is in the midst of a multi-decade experiment to see just how shitty a game company can be and still shift product, does this thing where they roll out regular edition updates that obsolete and (eventually) replace every single army book, but (last I checked) the edition number is not printed anywhere in any of the army books. A casual player looking to get into the game can pick up a nice glossy army book from the discount shelf only to find it hasn’t been game-legal since 2002.

That’s what I hope they will avoid. Referring to the franchise as a whole without edition numbers, that’s fine. Refusing to acknowledge in print that any edition prior to the current one exists? That’s bullshit.

I think I heard that they wanted feats to be usable and attractive to a variety of characters, and not have class-specific feats. Also, from what I’ve been led to understand, multiclassing will indeed be a thing that will help build unique characters from a variety of build options, but classes aren’t as front-loaded as 3e’s could be. For example, spell slots available each day, as well as maximum number of spells you can prepare, depend on your overall caster level (with non-caster classes counting as half), so you don’t just sling around tons of low-level spells all day. Access to higher-level slots, even if you don’t have access to that level of spell, can come in handy, as many spells have built-in metamagic effects so they get better if you cast them using a higher level spell slot (so no need for metamagic feats).

5e will discourage one or two level dips for multiclassing in that it’s level 3 that classes get really specialized, and get their powerful build-defining abilities. It makes less sense to delay access to cool fire mage stuff just to take one level of something else that gives you a very minor benefit. I’m sure there will still be plenty of builds where they believe a tradeoff like that might be worth it, but it’ll take some study and careful thought.

From what I’ve seen, definitely not on the front cover. I hope it’ll be either on the back, or on the inside at the very least for the books.

The only product released physically so far, the Starter Set (which includes pregen characters levels 1-5, adventure module, and enough rules to get you started playing), does specify that it’s for 5e on the back of the box:

However, the Basic Rules on their website (a sort of SRD-lite), do not reference any edition numbers at all, only the current revision of the document. Which is 0.1 in this case, and they’ve promised to expand it later with some information from the books as they’re released.

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Why isn’t the red dragon’s gold all melted? How does a dragon carry coins in the first place?

Most of my builds were combat oriented. Swashbuckler(1) for free Weapon Finesse. Figher(2) for the 2 Bonus Feats. Scout(3) for the Skirmish Dice / AC / Movement, or one extra Scout for the BF.

The simplest character I ever played was either a Psion, and just below that would be my Dwarven Battlerager… Fighter/Barbarian until level 7, then FR Dwarven Battle Rager (Races of Faerun, I think?) for 5, then Frenzied Berserker after that. That was a fun character.

Good point on the multiclassing issue. I noticed the “archetype thing” – that seems neat.

One thing I enjoyed about 4E was that since they nerfed everything, simple stuff suddenly becomes incredibly useful. I had some shoes (I forget the name) that let you stand up from prone as a free-action. These came in handy on multiple-occasions, and I remember being pleasantly surprised by this.

Unfortunately the “feat tax” will probably be back. Basically how this comes about is that the basic numbers of the game don’t work, so they need to introduce a cludge that makes it work. In 4e despite James Wyatt’s boast that the entire point was the make the numbers work, they simply couldn’t add:

Monsters progress at 1 per level.
Players progress at 1/2 (level bonus) + 1/5 (magic weapon) + 2/15 (stat increases) + 1/15 (paragon/epic bonuses) per level = 0.9.

So they introduced various feat that gave you +1 to hit per tier (the other 0.1) to make up for it. Then everyone had to take that feat.

The numbers are not going to work. Some classes will be terrible and will need help. Alternatively, new classes that come out in later supplements will simply outdo existing classes. Then they will add kludge feats to fix the problem and the feat tax will be back.

The only solution that doesn’t involve a feat tax is to make the basic math underlying the game work and to have the discipline to stick to the very basics of balance with new supplements. That 4e example, though, doesn’t give me a lot of hope. I mean, how can they have people in charge of projects like this who can’t add fractions and see if they get to one? Or, alternately, how can they not be able to find anyone to hire to review the rules for balance before releasing them? I’ve heard there is no lack of mathematicians who have played D&D.

The red-box D&D Basic Edition rules were my introduction to roleplaying - and my brothers, our friends and I spent a lot of time playing it and other roleplaying games (Traveller, Middle Earth, Dragon Warriors, Toon, TMNT and Paranoia) as we grew up. Both my brothers continued to play, but I fell out of it once I left home. I have briefly looked at D&D since, but was unimpressed by the apparent focus on miniatures in the (3rd?4th?) edition rules.

A little while back I picked up a copy of the original red box D&D Basic Edition set on eBay (it had everything but the crayon for marking the dice in it) and I played it a bit with my son (9). One of the the things I’d forgotten about it was how poor a system the original D&D was - a special table for everything - no unifying resolution system underlying it.

Having read this post and comments I’ve started checking out the new rules from the PDF from WotC, and I really like what I see. It reminds me a lot of the red box basic set, but the rules seem so far improved. There’s a bunch of things they’ve done to ensure that you can roll a decent character without having to occasionally cheat on your rolls - no more of that choosing a fighter character only to roll a 1 or a 2 for its HP, for instance.

Anyway, I’ve ordered the Starter Set for us to play now, and I’m looking forward to the Player’s Manual.

I am one of the few that played and enjoyed 4e despite starting in 3e (and going through the transition to 3.5) - I’m honestly not that psyched that they’re moving away from the stuff I liked in 4e, but I’m willing to give it a fair shake and try it out sometime.

While I’m at it, why the hell haven’t they made a 4E Turn Based strategy game yet? :frowning:

Wherever he wants. No wait, that’s where does an elephant sleep.

Dragons aren’t just a big lizard with spells. Imagine it’s an intelligent, urbane evil genius centuries old. It’s spent all that time scheming, plotting and preparing for intruders. It has had time to create and mold generations of goblin or kobold cults that worship it and want nothing more from life than to move its hoard about with their tiny scaly fingers and scraps of burlap sacking. A dozen years spent researching hoard-transport spells would be like a long afternoon to a dragon. It knows the precise melting point of gold and the fire-breathing angles of its entire cavern. Hell, that’s its favourite delver-roasting staircase on which they’ve been manipulated into making their stand! I like to think that an Old or Ancient red dragon has reached that age by defeating dozens of adventuring parties, usually much larger than just four heroes.

That image of four poorly-armoured adventurers taking it on by themselves is just one perspective - and a really bad one, tactically speaking. Those four should be surrounded by dozens of hirelings, healers, torchbearers, Dragonfear counterspellers, an archery platoon, and a handful of alchemists struggling with bags of fire resistance potions. How about an elemental mage summoning an undine in exchange for two shares of the hoard? Or a wrangler-dude with a rust monster on a leash… a good way to threaten the dragon into at least parlaying before battle.

I like the artwork in this article, but sometimes rpg artwork can really limit our imaginations, possibly making things look more like a fantasy video game (where textures, sprites and objects are limited by budget and programming manhours) and less like a fantasy novel (complex character interactions and as many small details and careful plans as the author wants to pile on).

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