Developer Video on Druid/Paladin/Expert Feedback



WotC has posted a video discussing initial feedback on the One D&D Druid/Paladin playtest, along with survey results from the Expert playtest. Some highlights for discussion:

Druid: The developers recognize that the template version of wild shape is contentious. If they retain this approach, they would plan to add flexibility to those templates. If they revert to monster stat blocks, they might allow Druids to choose a limited number of options, with a default selection provided.

Paladin: The new version of smite is still intended to work with critical hits. If ranged smite persists, its damage may be adjusted through the internal balance/playtesting process.

Ranger: The updated Ranger scored very well in the playtest. Some players did miss the choice of options in the Hunter subclass.

Bard: All of the Lore Bard's features scored welll, but the overall subclass rating was mediocre. They attribute this to the loss of Additional Magical Secrets, which many saw as the key attraction of this subclass.

Rogue: The change to limit sneak attack to the Rogue's own turn scored poorly. The developers generally like moving actions to a player's own turn to keep the game moving quickly, but in this case, the change doesn't seem to be worth the loss of tactical flexibility.

Feats: With the exception of epic boons, all the feats in the Expert packet scored well. The developers are still loking at written feedback for fine tuning.

Conspicuously not mentioned were the Arcane/Divine/Primal spell lists, which were the focus of a lot of discussion during the Bard playtest.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Undrave

Legend
My thinking is more that you should treat that as general mechanics and give most classes the option to go that way.

Part of my games design is that it escalates into army v army and PC v armies in the endgame. Everyone interacts with mass combat, some moreso than others, and you're always able to participate even if you don't want to lead an army.

Relegating everything to do with mass warfare to just one class basically means you're telling people to skip it if nobody takes that class, and I don't want people to skip it.
Which is nice for your game but we're talking DnD here who has no mass combat support (anymore). The Warlord I'm talking about wouldn't be able mass combat either but about supporting allies.

It still doesn't answer what a Barbarian without the Primal Rage aspect would bring that would qualify them as a class and not a series of Shirtless Fighters and Shirtless Warlords.

Personally I see DnD classes as either pure expression or mixes of various themes, with Subclasses adding more themes:

Martial Prowess
Underhanded Trickery
Arcane Might
Divine Blessing
Nature's Blessing

Are already a thing in DnD. You can add Psionic, the Power of the Self, and I would, personally add 'Leader of Men' to the themes. It's similar to 4e's Power Sources but a little different.

You'd thus have the pure classes: Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Laser Cleric (or Invoker), the Druid, the Psion, the Warlord, and everybody else is an hybrid of themes. Paladin (Martial+Divine Blessing), Barbarian (Martial+Nature), Monk (Self+Martial) Ranger (Trickery+Nature), Cleric (Divine+Leader), Bard (Leader+Arcane), Warlock (Trickery+Arcane) and so forth and you could have subclasses adding additional theme.

Admitedly I'm not sure where Artificer fits in...

But I guess this is all academic. Point is, I feel like the Barbarian as a conduit for Nature's Fury makes for a more interesting, and SOLID, basis for a class design than 'mundane guy who happens to lead a barbaric horde' which just feels like an off shoot of other concepts without that touch of Primal Spirits in its lore.

The D&D druid is based around the Nature-Priest Trope, the Shapeshifter Trope, and the Sage of the Older Age trope. However in mythology and fantasy stories, they are rarely combined.
I think 5e's biggest mistake with regards to Druid was not keep the Lore of the Primal Spirits from 4e. They were an interesting wrinkle and made the Primal Class more than just a weirdly narrow version of Divine classes.The Druid is thus not just someone who worships a distant deity who places itself above all, but they become a conduit to, and commune with, the spirits of nature that surround us and interact with us every moment of every day.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Emberashh

Adventurer
It still doesn't answer what a Barbarian without the Primal Rage aspect would bring that would qualify them as a class and not a series of Shirtless Fighters and Shirtless Warlords.

I mean, Ive covered what it is. Your apparent inability or unwillingness to imagine the class any other way than what DND did with it isn't an indicator of much of anything other than your own hangups.

My Barbarian is distinct from its Martial counterparts, just as much as they are distinct from it and each other. Relegating frenzy (or "rage") to a subclass to make room for a more interesting core design doesn't change that or make it something not unique.

for a class design than 'mundane guy who happens to lead a barbaric horde'

Which isn't accurate to what my Barbarian is. As stated more than once, Barbarians are primarily an anti-magic Martial.

Yes Outlander develops them to give them a horde, but then you have Smash! which forms your offensive abilities, but also gives you the Slam! Reaction which lets you grapple and throw your enemies in one action. And then you have Fortitude, which builds up your tanking capability.

Yawp! gives them the ability to shout down spells (and eventually disintegrate even non-magical weapons and armor, making them even more devastating against mundane foes) and if you want to go fully into that role, Ward Breaker develops the ability more, and expands on the theme by letting you bat away spells and even catch them out of mid air, allowing you redirect them.

But if you don't like that, you've got Beastheart, which returns Frenzy/Rage mechanics and develops you instead into a powerful AOE martial who gets exponentially stronger the closer they are to death.

Then you have Honorbound, which builds on the Horde mechanics if you want to go that way, and Guardian, which effectively turns you into an Intelligence based Captain America character that becomes a tanky defensive powerhouse, taking what you get out of Fortitude and granting it to your allies, among a number of other fun abilities.

All of this, meanwhile, is explicitly designed this way to capture what Barbarians originally were in fiction prior to DNDs interpretation. They weren't Beserkers, and so that theme becomes a subclass, building on and integrating those core abilities to build up and support the sub-theme.

And, more to the point, the way the class plays is deliberately distinct compared to the Warrior or Rogue, who are also as said just as distinct compared to each other as they are to the Barbarian. Battle Combos, Cunning Deeds, and Smash! all deliver unique mechanics to deliver 3 distinct ways of playing as Martial, and I not only will be doing this 3x but 5x over, as the Ranger and the Paladin, as Nature and Divine Martials, also have their own distinctive mechanics, through AOE Strikes and Conviction respectively.

To assume that any of this isn't possible just because WOTCs DND sucks at differentiating how the classes play is just just folly. These classes can be so much more than the cruddy, one-note implementations that DND has been married to.
 


Undrave

Legend
To assume that any of this isn't possible just because WOTCs DND sucks at differentiating how the classes play is just just folly. These classes can be so much more than the cruddy, one-note implementations that DND has been married to.
I don't think it's impossible if you're clever enough, I just doubt it would work in the context of DnD as it is right now, especially in how it refuses to make Martial interesting... I mean, there's plenty of people who say that the Bard, or Sorcerer, or even Warlock should just be folded into the Wizard, or that the Druid is just a Nature Cleric. I don't think those people would be behind a Barbarian that would go back to its Rageless roots. The 'we don't need a Warlord, we have the Battlemaster' crowd, you know?

The anti-magic angle is neat, but on the other hand I'm not a fan of making Magic so centralizing that there's an entire class dedicated to opposing it...

The 2nd edition barbarian didn't have rage, they were a fast, mobile, high hit point, low armor warrior with more focus in skills. It has literally been done before.
That's not particularly convincing...
 

Emberashh

Adventurer
The anti-magic angle is neat, but on the other hand I'm not a fan of making Magic so centralizing that there's an entire class dedicated to opposing it...

It wouldn't say thats the case at all, given the anti-magic angle originates with the literary archetype rather than a metagame concern.
 

Undrave

Legend
So why is the Druid the least played 5e class for years?

I said its because it has the most info to learn. Crawford said the same. Both DNDBeyond and WOTC says its least played. Less played than 5e ranger, monk, and sorcerer classes well known as weaker.

But many D&D fans say its not complicated nor complex nor is there a lot to learn. But its still the least played. Sure its only 1%. But that's still last pace. Last place behind underpowered, niche, and weakly supported classes. Whereas the Druid is a strong class with many, almost too many, tropes embedded in its core.

Why is the druid least played?
I played a Druid but eventually gave up after a while. I had found all the best spells, all the best transformation to use for stealth scouting and it all felt too easy. It got really boring and I barely changed my spell load out.
It wouldn't say thats the case at all, given the anti-magic angle originates with the literary archetype rather than a metagame concern.
I don't know if I'd qualify that as 'anti-magic' inherently than just having a strong will to resist and overcome supernatural opponents. Maybe the Barbarian's the one who should get all saving throws and not the Monk?
 


Ashrym

Hero
Nah. Every class and it's mother gets extra attacks. Even a wizard subclass gets it. The fighter may get more of them, but it's hardly an exclusive ability if tons of other classes get it. Action Surge is far more of a fighter exclusive than extra attack is. Give more extra attacks to the ranger and paladin, then give fighter something else that's actually exclusive.

Bonus feats. Action surge and bonus feats.

With the way the playtest is adding feat requirements based on class group fighters could have access to many feats not available to rangers (expert class) or paladins (priest class). Also, monks and barbarians may potentially have access to strong combat feats that rangers and paladins will not.

Personally I see DnD classes as either pure expression or mixes of various themes, with Subclasses adding more themes:

Martial Prowess
Underhanded Trickery
Arcane Might
Divine Blessing
Nature's Blessing

I think bards cover a renaissance category because the theme is less a mix and more of a potential to build towards those aspects to different degrees.

Admitedly I'm not sure where Artificer fits in...

Magepunk Gadgeteer. Play one like a mad scientist. They're fun.

I mean, there's plenty of people who say that the Bard, or Sorcerer, or even Warlock should just be folded into the Wizard, or that the Druid is just a Nature Cleric.

A person can make an argument to roll most classes into another class. I think those arguments beg the question "what justifies the class existence?'" in the first place. It's not a bad discussion, IMO, but ppl can get testy.

I can see potential in warrior class feats not available to other class groups to be significant in making those classes more interesting. Cross our fingers and knock on wood?
 

Remathilis

Legend
The 2nd edition barbarian didn't have rage, they were a fast, mobile, high hit point, low armor warrior with more focus in skills. It has literally been done before.
Yes it was done before. It was called the 2nd edition ranger...

And that's part of the problem with both classes. "Lightly armored, skilled survivalist wilderness man" is a compelling archetype but it lacks a mechanical focus. Fast and mobile is a feat at best. Four classes get d10 or higher HP. Thanks to the universal skill system, being focused on Wilderness skills is easy. Low armor is a function of proficiency. It's the same problem as the ranger has been facing: the 2e version doesn't have enough mechanics to be unique and what they did have could be replicated with skills and feats. So barbarians gained a thematically appropriate mechanic in rage, while the ranger has been forced to lean into spells as its mechanic. (With several attempts to make favored enemy happen).

If WotC had found a more solid mechanic to anchor the ranger too, I think it might have found a way to lower the necessity of spells as a defining trope. Both the barbarian (rage) and rogue (sneak attack) found a backbone mechanic to use to keep a class identity after skills went from class features to universal mechanic.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yes it was done before. It was called the 2nd edition ranger...

And that's part of the problem with both classes. "Lightly armored, skilled survivalist wilderness man" is a compelling archetype but it lacks a mechanical focus. Fast and mobile is a feat at best. Four classes get d10 or higher HP. Thanks to the universal skill system, being focused on Wilderness skills is easy. Low armor is a function of proficiency. It's the same problem as the ranger has been facing: the 2e version doesn't have enough mechanics to be unique and what they did have could be replicated with skills and feats. So barbarians gained a thematically appropriate mechanic in rage, while the ranger has been forced to lean into spells as its mechanic. (With several attempts to make favored enemy happen).

If WotC had found a more solid mechanic to anchor the ranger too, I think it might have found a way to lower the necessity of spells as a defining trope. Both the barbarian (rage) and rogue (sneak attack) found a backbone mechanic to use to keep a class identity after skills went from class features to universal mechanic.
WotC asked people what was core to a Ranger when they did those early 5E experiments, and Spellcasting was one of the primary answers.

There will never be a spell-less Ranger, count on it.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
WotC asked people what was core to a Ranger when they did those early 5E experiments, and Spellcasting was one of the primary answers.

There will never be a spell-less Ranger, count on it.
Not by WotC, no. Plenty of other 5e games do it though, so who cares if WotC doesn't?
 


Remathilis

Legend
WotC asked people what was core to a Ranger when they did those early 5E experiments, and Spellcasting was one of the primary answers.

There will never be a spell-less Ranger, count on it.
Note I didn't say spellless.per se, but both rangers and paladins (and in a different way, bards) all leaned into spellcasting harder as the editions grew and more class features were needed to round out the progression.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Note I didn't say spellless.per se, but both rangers and paladins (and in a different way, bards) all leaned into spellcasting harder as the editions grew and more class features were needed to round out the progression.
Fair, but that genie is out of the bottle in the modern Evergreen era.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
This is a thread about D&D, not third party material. There will not be a Ranger in mainline D&D that doesn't have Spells.
I'm sure you're right about ranger, but "D&D" encompasses far, far more than what WotC decides to roll out. 3PP is a big part of that, and absolutely no less D&D than the vaunted market leader.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm sure you're right about ranger, but "D&D" encompasses far, far more than what WotC decides to roll out. 3PP is a big part of that, and absolutely no less D&D than the vaunted market leader.
Still has nothing to do with what the designers may do in OneD&D or any future iteration of the game, which ia the topic st hand, not fantasy heartbreakers. In D&D property, Rangers are magic.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Still has nothing to do with what the designers may do in OneD&D or any future iteration of the game, which ia the topic st hand, not fantasy heartbreakers. In D&D property, Rangers are magic.
So every D&D product that wasn't made by WotC is a fantasy heartbreaker? Do you have any idea how disrespectful that is, and how unjustly this raises up the company that happens to own portions of the IP? I can't believe I'm hearing this.
 



Epic Threats

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Epic Threats

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top