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Monday, September 23, 2013

D&D Next final playtest review: Other Stuff

So we've covered the main dish, now the miscellaneous appetizers


Equipment is still pretty familiar. It's clear they've simplified some things.

Armor: armor is simpler. Light armor gets you a dex bonus, medium armor has a max dex bonus of +2 and Heavy Armor doesn't allow a dex bonus. Armor also does or does not penalize your Stealth abilities (giving you disadvantage). Oddly, rather than armor being its own bonus it changes your Base AC. Plate Mail is oddly expensive (5,000 gp) vs Splint Mail which is identical other than being one point of AC lower (500 gp).

Weapons: It's good to see that my original issue with weapon classes has been dealt with. Now there are merely simple and martial weapons, not even exotic weapons anymore. Most weapons won't seem much different from earlier editions.

Gear: I'm still unclear if it's possible to add your class's proficiency bonus multiple times to the same roll, but I'm getting the impression that it must be. Several tools specifically let you add your proficiency bonus to skills, which you could likewise have proficiency. It seems somewhat odd...I can understand climbing better if you have a climbing kit...but why doesn't someone proficient in the climbing skill know how to use a climbing kit already. Likewise for someone with Medicine using a Healer's Kit or a the Perform Skill and a musical instrument. It seems like these tools should just be granting a flat bonus to the rolls of those with the skill (or anyone really. I'm sure that having a medical bag will make improvised first aid easier). A simple bonus, or granting Advantage seems far more sensible.


Spells are going to be fairly familiar 3rd edition powers. Many of them do slightly more damage or otherwise have somewhat more intense effects. The main difference is that the spell's level is now merely it's minimum level. It's possible to use a higher level spell slot to increase a spell's potency. In fact, this is the only way to increase spell potency as they no longer scale with level. The only exception seems to be cantrips, making them one of the best ways for spellcasters to inflict damage oddly enough. Compare Ray of frost which inflicts 1d8 damage, increasing by 1d8 every 5th level (so 5d8 at 20th) with Magic Missile which fires one 1d4+1 missile and increases by one for everyone spell level above 1. So that means a spellcasting using one of their only 9th level spell slots to cast magic missile will produce 9 missiles or they can cast a 5d8 missile at will without using any spell slots. For damaging spells there doesn't ever seem to be much motivation to "power up" the spell with a higher level slot, unless you just have no spells prepared already for the higher level. Other than an increased DC the boost to damage or other effects is pretty minor, especially when you consider how few high level spell slots a spellcaster has available in a day.
   Still, when you consider how few spells most spellcasters can memorize it might make for an interesting tactical choice...you can prepare one of your big, level 8 or 9 spells but you'll only be able to use it once or twice. Or you can prepare a broad selection of low-level spells that an be cast repeatedly at different levels of effect.

Not much else that needs addressing. I'll chew things over and probably give a final evaluation soon.


  1. I've just read through the most recent playtest and it appears to be the most astoundingly boring rendition of D&D yet. WoTC appears to have gotten rid of all its creativity in favor of designing yet one more slightly tweaked version of the fighter...

    No wonder their having their butts kicked by people who actually put effort into designing what people want: adventures. Selling rules books might be more lucrative short term. But, eventually, you cannibalize your fan base into naught. And, sadly, that seems to be what's happening with WoTC...

  2. Ray of Frost requires an attack role/save throw, if I recall right. Magic Missile does not. It's auto hit. Further I remember Magic Missile to fire three force projectiles by default. That's 3d4+3