D&D 4th Edition How the D&D Next Public Playtests Will Work

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  1. #1
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    How the D&D Next Public Playtests Will Work

    Mike Mearls discusses this here. As always, this has been added to our comprehensive compiled D&D 5E Info page.

    As a reminder, the public playtests begin on May 24th. The playtest is not a store only thing, so you will be able to do it at home and/or with your usual gaming group. You will not need a DDI account to participate in the playtest.

    You get the basic core rules plus a limited set of classes and races: fighter, cleric, wizard, and rogue, along with the human, elf, dwarf, and halfling.
    • The characters will be pre-gens.
    • As feedback comes in, more material will be released.
      • Starting by levelling the pre-gens up through 10th level
      • Followed by character generation
    • Starts broad, then zeroes in on specific option
    So, in just under a month you'll get to actually see the core rules of the next edition of D&D. Exciting stuff!

    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 30th April, 2012 at 02:35 PM.


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    Nice - I'm looking forward to this!

    Touching on what they're looking at for the fighter, I'm guessing they're going to get a bit of pushback on #2 from the lovers of the Book of Nine Swords.

    Also, a tad concerned about them "focusing only" on the first 10 levels (though, personally, I don't much care for the higher levels anyway...), as I seem to recall one of the "issues" that lead to the 3.5 revision was that play above 10th level wasn't tested as rigorously - the designers just trusted that "the math worked". Hopefully, they'll be sceduling high-level play further down the line (again, something I'll most likely pass on, personally).
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    While I'm excited about the playtest, starting a playtest for a system that's built on the premise of being modular and having tons of options with pregen characters seems really counterproductive to me. I get that they can't throw everything at you at once and that they just want to show off the base mechanics at first, and I guess that's fine. But leveling content and character generation seem like the most basic stuff you can put out, and I'd rather they just give us some form of that stuff from the get go. I think they'd get better, quicker feedback that way too.

    Other than that, sounds good. The class and race selection seem limited until you realise that, if this is a truly modular system, then those basics'll get blown wide open as they add more options. Focusing on the first ten levels initially seems like a smart idea too. I'm still pretty excited, but I really wish they'd revise the actual launch plan a little, maybe even delay until they have that material ready to go.

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    Basic core rules and character pregens sounds cool. I plan to start running a playtest campaign right away.

    Is there any way to learn how long this thing will go on? I don't need or want an end date, but months, weeks, what?

    Also, campaign settings and adventures are pretty diverse. Are we getting these as well or are we home brewing? Perhaps there will be rules for converting these to 5e for playtesting purposes?
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    I expected that they'd limit it to those races and classes, but I hoped they would let us build our own characters. Maybe we can reverse engineer it from what they give us?

    Also I noticed that it doesn't mention what to expect on the DM's side. How many monsters and magic items will we get? Will we have tools to create our own adventures, or just run some prewritten ones?

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    I know I should be patient and my quastions will be answered over the course of the next month,but I have to ask...

    Are these new pregens or the ones from pax? Is there a preset adventure (if so is it the one from pax?) will there be goblins or kobolds or orcs. Or necromancers and zombies?

    What themes and backgrounds will there be?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewJHanson View Post
    I expected that they'd limit it to those races and classes, but I hoped they would let us build our own characters. Maybe we can reverse engineer it from what they give us?
    Well, if the basic rules with pre-gens don't work, they'll have to change all the creation stuff anyways. So may as well start without character or adventure generation.

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    I keep feeling like certain classes woud be better as class-theme combinations.

    Like...a 'ranger' could be a fighter or a rogue with a 'ranger' theme that gives them some wilderness survival traits. A 'paladin' could be a fighter or cleric with a theme that gives them some paladin abiliies. A monk is just a fighter (or if based on a rogue it could be called a ninja) who focuses on unarmed, unarmored combat.

    Do those classes really need separate identities? Can a theme and feat selections provide the necessary 'subclass' distinctions, while preserving the class identity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSHamster View Post
    Well, if the basic rules with pre-gens don't work, they'll have to change all the creation stuff anyways. So may as well start without character or adventure generation.
    ... but the information that they can get there can mostly be done with private playtests and in-house testing. The value of a public, open playtest is in getting large numbers of players to try things the developers didn't anticipate.
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    I'd think they'd want a larger baseline of what works/doesn't work from pregens before releasing the char gen rules.

    Going from a little over 1000 (I believe the friends/family playtest is about here in number) people to 10000+ (exaggerated or not, I don't know) people even with Pregens will be alot of feedback to look over and evaluate. If all goes well, and no great surprises are found, then the footing is solid, they then have a great base level to compare newer options to in how things work.

    Looking forward to playtesting this out.
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