Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Overreaction Wednesday

It's been a couple of weeks since the last one of these - it feels like we're in a slower period now - the big cons have come and gone, the Next playtest is going internal, and there's not as much going on in general as far as new stuff.


  • Apparently Mike Mearls said something about evil character support not being included in the PHB. I doubt this as what is described sounds pretty clunky but then I don't much care either as my groups don't usually play evil characters anyway. There's a poll and a discussion here on EN World. This sounds like the kind of thing people get all excited about and then find out there's really not much to it when the game is finally released. 
  • Here's a fairly interesting article on design for Next. I'd like to see stuff like this in the DMG down the road to help guide the future. 
  • Here's the article on the Warlock class design if you haven't seen it. This one didn't do a ton for me. I didn't care about them in 3rd but I thought they made some sense in 4E and had some interesting concepts tied to them. For Next's broader approach to classes I think they're going to be about as distinctive as 3E sorcerers were vs. wizards. I hope they prove me wrong but they've never struck me as a "needed" class. They feel more like something that should go in an arcane magic supplement or they should be refit into a more defined niche, like fighter-mage.
I was happy to see that the D&D Encounters adventures are starting to show up on DTRPG. These are one of the harder to find types of books for 4E, at least at a reasonable price, and they are exactly the kind of product that should be available in PDF. This is 12 encounters with a coherent theme for $4.99 - sounds fine to me. Hopefully the rest of them become available shortly too. Being modern products I can't see too many barriers to getting them out there.

The next big rulebook for PF is the Advanced Class Guide which is supposed to feature new hybrid classes, each of which is a mix of two existing classes. There's a big interview with the designer here and it looks like the beta starts very soon. From their own announcement:

Now that you know when to expect the playtest, on to the new class. Up to this point, we have talked about 7 of the 10 classes: the Arcanist (a mix of sorcerer and wizard), the Bloodrager (a mix of barbarian and sorcerer), the Hunter (a mix of druid and ranger), the Shaman (a combination of oracle and witch), the Slayer (a blending of ranger and rogue), the Swashbuckler (a mix of gunslinger and fighter), and the Warpriest (mixing the cleric and fighter). The 8th class is...
The Investigator. This class blends together elements of the alchemist and the rogue to make for the ultimate sleuth. Using extracts, sneak attack, and a new mechanic called inspiration, the investigator is skilled at putting together clues, finding hidden foes, and striking enemies with precision. Think of him as part Sherlock Holmes, part Doctor Jekyll. Using inspiration, the investigator can add a bonus to certain skill checks, saving throws, and even attack rolls.

Now there are some interesting ideas here and I love the enthusiasm but beyond possible niche bleedover (a mix of druid and ranger? I thought ranger was sort of a mix of fighter and druid already? etc) I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say that Pathfinder lacks class options. In fact I'm not sure what it does lack with lots of classes, races, gear,, four monster books, and magic and combat supplements Pathfinder is pretty well-stocked in most areas. I'd like to see more of the "interesting new systems" type stuff like we have in Mythic Adventures and Ultimate Campaign, but that's probably my always-the-DM side showing. Have people really gotten bored with 20 or so classes and per-level multiclassing? Where do they find the time? The only holes I can see compared to prior versions of D&D is a psionics system and a monsters-as-pc's supplement. I suppose they will get to those eventually. In the meantime I will take a look at the beta version and see if anyone wants to try them out in our game.

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