Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Overreaction Thursday

This week there's a lot of interesting news with the open playtest starting up in about a week:

  • Balancing the Wizard - I am OK with a lot of what is said here, though I admit I've never seen it as a huge problem either though I did see evidence of it in 3E. In 1st and 2nd Edition the lack of feats and the lack of easy item creation rules kept a lot of the potential min-maxing under control.  Sure, wizards could unleash a ton of damage - for a while. That's why you almost never saw them without a party or at least a wall of bodyguards and minions surrounding them.
  • Rule of Three - Here - Feats not tied to class abilities - good; Backgrounds = skill packages - OK but kind of simple; Traits = non-mechanical benefits, fine but some will likely be clearly better than others in different campaigns and this kind of thing doesn't require much playtesting.
  • Skill and Task resolution is described here. It mentions the base for having skill X is a +2, which is similar to Specialties in ICONS in that having the skill is a small bonus to an ability. I can't tell from the description exactly how the ability check is calculated - is it the old school "roll under stat" on a d20 type check, the 3E/4E type ability score X = bonus Y added to a d20 roll, or if you just add your raw score + skill bonus (of +2 apparently) to a d20 roll to beat a difficulty number. I think it's the last one, but it's not spelled out that clearly. If it is then I think I like it as it keeps things simple and fast in play.
A Wizard demonstrates the "Ride" skill

The Playtest Package details are here:
  • Five pregenerated characters - I suppose if you have 4 or 5 players that's good. At 6 I might have to have twins in the party. I sense future tinkering...
  • Two clerics to test the range of the domain/deity system. One of the clerics is more of an armor-and-mace fellow, and the other is more of a mystic.- Hmmm, I guess that means a 5-man party gets two clerics.
  • Also a fighter and a classic wizard. - And a thief?
  • The five characters will feature the background and theme system that WotC has alluded to in the past few months. - Ideally they will have several backgrounds and themes to choose from, or enough separation from class and race abilities that we could rearrange them between characters to keep things interesting for a few runs
  • The Caves of Chaos adventure - Sigh - Alright I suppose, though I have run and played this one so many, many times. I probably shouldn't be annoyed at making this the training ground for Next since it was my training ground way back when but couldn't we give some love to another classic adventure, then maybe work our way into this one?
  • A bestiary to accompany the adventure - Sure, have to restock the caves! The original had an ogre, and a minotaur - I wonder how high this will go?
  • Rules of play, both for players and DMs - Well, yeah - task resolution and combat for sure. I wonder if there will be rules for character advancement? Levels 1-3 perhaps?
Spoiler Alert - oops, too late!

So I am interested. This is supposed to come out on the 24th. I won't be able to Assemble the Apprentices to try it out until the following weekend but it will make for a fun first summer weekend. Plus I might be able to talk the regular crew into giving it a try. I'm not giving up my 4E campaign for it, but I do intend to give it a try.


Barking Alien said...

Jolly good! I hope you can say something about it once you've tested it.

I will admit to simultaneously being curious about what you think of it and quite sure I will not be touching it myself with a ten foot pole.

Simply don't have the interest, time or money to get involved in a game I will likely never play. If I want to play D&D (which is unlikely) I have my homebrew variant. Always will.

Amanda Heitler said...

We'll be testing it I'm sure, although quite when is a whole other story. Our home group is in the middle of two long-running 4e campaigns.

Whether or not it turns out to be for us, I'm interested and curious and want to know how it plays.

Blacksteel said...

This is one of the great questions of our time: if a major goal is to "unite the editions" and I already have all of the editions, then what improvement is it going to make over each of those editions? A new edition would have to make some noticeable improvement over each prior edition of the game to win over those fans. Even a compatibility bridge may not be enough as I find converting older material to 4th to be fairly easy - will converting to next be even easier?