Sunday, August 4, 2013

Do double damage

DnD next has a new playtest packet out.  I haven't had time to look at all of it in detail of course but I have seen some broad outlines and I don't much like what I see.  I feel like the spellcasting system in general is totally bizarre and full of terrible artifacts from old editions and that has been true throughout the playtesting process.  They are trying to walk the line between having the same sorts of spell charts that appeared in the 2nd and 3rd edition guides in the Wizard section and doing something totally new and it is becoming a crazy, terrible chimera.  That isn't new though, so I will mostly ignore it today.  What is new is the way in which martial classes beat things up.

Do you like to do double damage?  I sure do!  Thankfully most classes get an ability called Two Attacks that makes them do twice as much damage at level 8 so everybody gets to do double damage.  (Fighters get it at level 5, and then Three Attacks at level 11.)  How the game designers expect the game to be balanced when people double their damage at level 8 is quite beyond me but that is apparently the current plan.  I don't like the idea of people getting lots of smaller attacks as that creates tons of dicerolling and adding and brings nothing in terms of extra excitement.  It does even things out some, which is good for the players, but bogging down combat with lots of rolls just isn't better.  High level combats are going to take a lot longer than low level combats not because they are more interesting but because there is more trivial math to do.  This is a game design failure.  If you want to increase damage then increase damage by adding fixed numbers to the roll or doubling the weapon die or something, don't make us roll more attacks.

I am also very concerned that customization for martial classes at this point seems to be almost entirely limited to a single choice made at third level.  You choose a single path and then that path determines all of your choices for the rest of your twenty levels.  I remember a class in 4th edition that did this:  The warlock.  Warlocks SUCKED because of this mechanic.  You pretty much had no choices because every time you levelled up your initial selection determined what you would do; there were really only three warlocks you could make.  That, coupled with the fact that everybody will max out their primary attack stat at 20 and then start stacking Constitution means that there are going to be very few meaningful choices at all.  I don't think that system mastery should be paramount in terms of building a decent character but it isn't that hard to provide some choices where each choice is reasonable.

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