D&D 5E A Hint of Elegance in the Latest Playtest

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I've written a fair number of words about how haphazard the current playtest feels, but much of that is due to the experimentation that's currently happening. Right now I want to talk about some of the promise that can be found in the recent package.

Weapon Attack and Spellcasting bonuses now range from +0 to +5. That mirrors the bonuses from ability scores, where +0 is a normal human and +5 is the maximum a character can have without magic.

Moreover, classes like the fighter or the wizard have a +3 around level 10, which helps us get a feel for what the scale means:


  • Normal/Untrained: +0
  • Apprentice: +1
  • Journeyman: +2
  • Expert: +3
  • Master: +4
  • Grand Master: +5

I assume that if the Skill Dice concept doesn't work out, skills will use the same scale.

Not only that, but skill training currently looks a lot like weapon proficiency. In both, you have a generic bonus, and then a list of weapons or skills that you're proficient in. The difference is how each subsystem handles a lack of proficiency. Attacking with a non-proficient weapon causes disadvantage, whereas you only get your bonus on trained skills. Going forward, I think I'd prefer weapons to work like skills.

It isn't hard to imagine a module that gives each skill its own bonus, and similar modules could apply to weapons and spells as well.
 

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Chris_Nightwing

First Post
I would love to see this followed up, there's definitely an elegance in balancing training and natural ability - attributes with skills or bonuses.

It's also not hard to imagine a module which treats weapon proficiencies the same as skills either, so you can have different attack modifiers with different weapons. Now if we can somehow scale spells in the same way.. only five levels would be appealing..!
 

Stormonu

Legend
Spells are easy enough to group - Apprentice (0th, 1st); Journeyman (2nd, 3rd); Expert (4th, 5th); Master (6th,7th); Grand Master (8th,9th)

Considering a starting wizard will have 0th and 1st level spells, part of the work is already done.
 



Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
Now if we can somehow scale spells in the same way.. only five levels would be appealing..!

It's a departure from tradition, but I would support this.

Spells are easy enough to group - Apprentice (0th, 1st); Journeyman (2nd, 3rd); Expert (4th, 5th); Master (6th,7th); Grand Master (8th,9th)

Considering a starting wizard will have 0th and 1st level spells, part of the work is already done.

It is a little rough, but yes. This would work.

Please explain those +20 damage bonuses, then. Shouldn't they scale +0 to +5?

Martial damage bonuses are one of the clunky parts. I would prefer if damage were entirely measured in dice. Perhaps zero to five Martial Damage Dice.
 

KidSnide

Adventurer
Martial damage bonuses are one of the clunky parts. I would prefer if damage were entirely measured in dice. Perhaps zero to five Martial Damage Dice.

Martial damage bonus exists for the simple reason that a crap load of dice would slow down combat at high levels. Right now, their math says that level 17-20 fighters need a +40 damage adjustment and forcing folks to roll dice that average to 40 just takes too long for an "every round" activity.

-KS
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
Martial damage bonus exists for the simple reason that a crap load of dice would slow down combat at high levels. Right now, their math says that level 17-20 fighters need a +40 damage adjustment and forcing folks to roll dice that average to 40 just takes too long for an "every round" activity.

-KS

It potentially does more than that.

In the previous packet, the type of expertise dice scaled as well as the number. So, by level 20, we were likely looking at 6d12. By moving half of that to a static bonus, the high end of what can be rolled is reduced. Though mostly, it seems like it was done so they could stick to the d6 for damage dice.

One mistake with the current approach is trying to continue the rate of HP and damage scaling seen in levels 1 though 10. Levels 11 through 20 should see dramatically diminishing returns, but provide a handful of truly outstanding tricks.
 

Grimmjow

First Post
i wouldn't mind having skills get bonuses like this, or somthing close to this, because the dice rolling thing is too much
 

variant

Adventurer
Remove the martial damage bonus and let the damage dice scale with the weapon. I would even go as far as have the weapons themselves add their own martial dice that anyone can use for something basic at the sacrifice of doing no damage, and then simply have the dice scale. It would give a good way to differentiate certain weapons that have two damage dice instead of the one and the weapons would have to be balanced accordingly.

i wouldn't mind having skills get bonuses like this, or somthing close to this, because the dice rolling thing is too much

Why is it too much?
 

Grimmjow

First Post
Why is it too much?

cause we dont have too roll for everything it gets old. i like rolling the d20 and then adding my bonus. but now that i think of it it wouldn't be too hard to house rule and say "you get the average (rounded up) from your skill dice as a skill bonus" so it doesn't matter too much. I can even see them saying that right there wit the skill dice if they were to be used as core rules. Useing the average as an option rule
 

variant

Adventurer
cause we dont have too roll for everything it gets old. i like rolling the d20 and then adding my bonus. but now that i think of it it wouldn't be too hard to house rule and say "you get the average (rounded up) from your skill dice as a skill bonus" so it doesn't matter too much. I can even see them saying that right there wit the skill dice if they were to be used as core rules. Useing the average as an option rule

I suggested they just put the average of the die in parentheses next to the die. They could also just put the optional rule in a sidebar. The die itself is important for the Rogue class though and I don't want to see that feature go away.
 

Grimmjow

First Post
I suggested they just put the average of the die in parentheses next to the die. They could also just put the optional rule in a sidebar. The die itself is important for the Rogue class though and I don't want to see that feature go away.

ah yes i forgot about the rogue....compromise?
i guess i dont play rogues so as long as i can have the solid number instead of rolling for it i'll be fine. Maybe they could say "you have x skill dice, you can either roll for it, or take average" and then go into setting limits on it and stuff. But we already do that with hit die. you either roll it or take average. could work the same way with skill die.

pluss then those times im feeling crazy and want to roll it i still can
 

MortalPlague

Adventurer
...you either roll it or take average.
You'd have to specify at the start of the campaign, I think. It couldn't be on a case by case basis, or someone would take the average sometimes, or take the roll other times, depending on the difficulty of the task.

For the record, I like the skill roll. My players are on the fence about it, but we've only used it for one session so far.
 

ren1999

First Post
I like the average or roll idea.
As far as reducing the bonus to+5, I would say that is ok as long as each bonus source maxes at +5. Magic, feats, ability, level, situation.
 

Warbringer

Explorer
I actually have a different take on the mass damage bonus...

I think this is to stop having too many options for maneuvers and not having scaling dice type.

So instead of 6d12 where this looked like we were heading, we could have 12d6 ... Can you imagine the grind slow down ... 1 spend 2d6 on maneuver a, then 1 on maneuver b, followed by ...etc

This is a compromise 6d6 for maneuvers plus (21) rounded down damage, plus more on damage if you want to spend your dice this way.

At higher levels, I expect players to build their own powers as their main sticks, rather than free forming completely .... For game speed
 

Warbringer

Explorer
Is that flat enough? .... Stats still +25

I think situation will be advantage only
Magic caps at +3
Feats cap at +2, if they even exist
Level at +5

So ability + 10 , plus advantage situationally

Works for me
 

ren1999

First Post
I don't know Warbringer. I got a lot of resistance not offering feats. And people grumble if there isn't at least a +3 spread. Ability Modifiers are too large when we pair them up with the other modifiers. It is like we are saying that natural ability is king. Wack those ability modifiers down to +5 max and raise the other modifiers to make them relevant. A +25 to hit and a +25 to damage is enough and the damage bonus speeds up combat when combined with multiple attacks.
 

ren1999

First Post
Here is what it would look like if we were to give a max of +5 bonus for each bonus type.

max level 25
level / 5 = level mod
+1 every 5 levels
lvl25(+5)

max ability 25
ability - 10 / 3 = ability mod
+1 every 3 ability score points above 10
str25(+5)

feats
+1 trainning, +1 proficiency, +1 specialty, +1 expertise, +1 mastery
Any suggestions on the order of these feats?

magic
-5 maximum for cursed items and effects
+5 maximum for blessed items and effects

Can anybody think of 2 more, a -1 and a +1 situation?
Situation Combat Modifiers
target is concealed/invisible -1
target is long range -1
ranged target is prone -1
attacker is prone -1

target is grappled, blinded, etc. +1
target is climbing, distracted, etc. +1
target moves away from adjacent attacker +1
attacker and ally are flanking target +1
 

ren1999

First Post
Situation could still be advantage and disadvantage with this to work.

It would go down like this.
lvl25(+5)+str25(+5)+feat+5+magic+5+advantage or disadvantage to hit.
lvl25(+5)+str25(+5)+feat+5+magic+5 damage bonus.
 

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