September 7, 2012

Playtesting Next


Quick post!  We playtested D&D Next last weekend, with me as the DM.  I ran a whole level's worth of adventure for a 4-person party playing the bounty hunter, human cleric, wizard, and halfling rogue.  We played in the "theater of the mind" and it seemed to work fine.  I wanted to give some first thoughts:

Pros:
  • Theater of the Mind worked well since there were no forced movement or attack of opportunity powers
  • Combat was fast and loose; very easy
  • The fighter is better than any edition EXCEPT 4th
  • Hit Dice is a random take on healing surges
  • The expertise dice mechanic was interesting and has potential to work 

Cons:
  • There were occasional disagreements about where people were in combat
  • Disengaging from melee was a waste of a turn, so nobody did it (remember, even in 3rd edition, you could take a "5' step" and cast or shoot)
  • Tactics were mostly irrelevant and boiled down to killing the enemy as fast as possible
  • There needs to be a DM skill reference list; I was not familiar with the skills and the character sheet doesn't have a list of them!
  • Combat expertise (fighter's ability) didn't seem like it would scale well at mid and higher levels; and it was just added to damage every turn
  • People were going down fast; the monsters missed a lot, but when they hit, they would do about 50% or more of a character's hit points in damage, if they got lucky
  • They got rid of encounter-based healing along with all the other encounter based powers
  • Spells have a time duration again, which is actually pretty terrible
  • The rogue never did any sneak attacking