Going to play test. Who wants to hear about it?

HammerMan

Legend
Play test report

So we are going to try a very quick short campaign. We are meeting twice this week and once next week.
Players: myself (been playing since 91) my niece (played 1 4e campaign and 5-6 times as small adventures in 5e over last 6 years) my nieces friend (never played only learned of D&D this year through stranger things and found out niece knew how to play). An old friend who is regular of my and the DMs games who was playing almost from the beginning (he was in college and a friend had photo copied pamphlets of basic D&D some time is 1300s, but since covid had us go virtual he has not regularly played)

DM: My best friend Becky. She has been with me on this journey since 91 when I took my new book outside to show her we could play a game and be like Conan


Session 0 is virtual then we will be playing in person at my sister and brother in laws house twice this week and hopefully once next week.


The DM is modifying an old world that is based loosely on a mix of dragon lance and Star Wars with a tiny bit of Avatar the last air bender thrown in. And we are doing something I have not done in years.. 1st level.

My intent is to make a half elf (useing drow stats) monk. As long as she hasn’t modified the back story of her world the DM had a group of martial artists who use tech including mystic guns and whip (metal cords) who protect the “capital” city of her world (based on the avatar city Kora starts in). If she allows that I am going to be a member of the guard. I also plan on building my own background allowing if (if she lets me) taking a dragon lance feat for my background from the dragon lance UA so I have martial maneuvers.

Today is session 0 in a few hours I expect most of it will be helping the two young girls who don’t know the system make characters but also getting the theme and base info in game world

I will let you know (tell me if anyone has something they really think we should try to test for) how it goes I hope to test the new grapple rules and the half race rules especially

Edit: dm just sent out the primer and the monk group is still in as town guard. So my idea will most likely pass
 
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HammerMan

Legend
So my character was half good she would not let me take the feat that gives martial maneuvers since she said that might be outside the scope of a 1st level feat.
Using standard array I ended up with
8Str 14dex 14con 10int 17wis 12Cha

I have deception and insight for skills from my home brew background and the magic initiate feat. (It was up to this or alert but our newest player took alert so I wanted to speared the play test) I went primal wisdom

I get stealth and acrobatics trained from monk. I get perception from drow, and I also have alchemist tools and tinker tools prof from class and background.
Magic init let me have thorn whip that is reflavored as metal coils I wear and can mentally snap out to attack and grab things. I then took spare the dying and hunter”s mark. Drow still gives me dancing lights and the 120ft dark vision.

Language was interesting. Normally I would get elven and under common. But in this playtest I have common and orkish. I think to me this was my most surprising moment of character creation.
I am Talos half orc half drow I was raised in the capitol city of the world (think like Babylon 5 a place of diplomacy outside all th kingdoms but supported by them all) and I have been a town guard in training for last 3 years but before that I was on track to be a criminal, when my mentor arrested me and set on this path. I also worked my 2 fav NPCs from previous campaigns in the old dwarven couple that started the town guard.

Other players:

Niece is a human bard entertainer “lyssa the dancer” she wants to have an old school vagabond mystic vibe (she got VERY mad when our grognard friend used the G word to say like a Romoni but she did like when DM showed her vistani from raven loft) having 2 feats let her take the new music one from background and toughness. She has 2 knives as a weapon and her leather armor is WAY more “chain mail bikini” then any of us adults are comfortable with, however the three ladies did enjoy talking about leather dresses and where slits for movement could be while still offering protection. I think our DM forgot how much she liked talking D&D fashion since we have gone virtual.

Her friend is this new race and looks like a skunk girl (she is drawing her character already) guard fighter. “Aracrom the blade of the night” she wants to be the greatest swordswoman that ever lived but still in training. A “have sword will travel” type. She wanted alert as soon as she saw feats. Her great sword is really cool looking by her description and she has hand axes that she sketched quick that look like they have 3 blades on them instead of 1 (and her chain armor sounds more like armor then my nieces) she also asked about having an animal companion and we had to warn her that is hard in D&D but DM did say she will work with her.

Other old grognard is a dwarven urchin hex blade warlock “Shadowstar the ravens squire” his “hex blade patron” is the “Axe of Shadowlava “ a relic of his dwarven clan that was thrown into a volcano and somehow came out in a black pond sentient in the shadow fell. It is now an exarch for the Raven Queen and he has taken the title “Raven’s Squire”

The DM pitch:

I and the other grog know this campaign world I have played 3 campaigns and a few short adventures in it and he played in 1 of those campaigns and at least 2 short adventures. But watching the two teen girls react to a magetech city in a mid fantasy setting was amazing
A crime syndicate and a set of gangs have started a criminal war in the city. Rumor has it one of the gangs just escalated by getting dragon magic somehow.
I added my partner and mentor who was 6 months from retirement died in the crossfire of one of the battles and everyone loved that.
Then my niece and her friend started and the last half hour to forty five minutes were them just working off each other and making there back stories.

Lyssa and Aracrom are both new to the city (both from more traditional fantasy kingdoms) and lyssa fell in with a bad crowd while dancing for coins. Aracrom was here to learn from a master blacksmith/swordsman who lived in the noble section of town… but Aracrom before she could find this blacksmith got caught up defending some kids that turned out to be the gang that Lyssa fell in with. Then the two of them decided that I almost arrested them for stealing food but I let them off with a warning and that is how I met them. Then they decided that Shadowstar (who had not given any real background) and Aracrom have met sparing in a city sparing circle. (He said that is okay even though he kind of looked for a criminal connection with urchin)
Tomorrow afternoon we are meeting after I get out of work and are going to start all drinking in a tavern after that sparing match… with me seeing the three of them and “checking to make sure the girls are staying out of trouble”



I will report more then and let you know how the skunk girl fighter artwork comes out.
After session 0 ended me the other two experienced players talked in text for a bit about our reactions to the new rules.

So far no major hiccups and two newish players picked up on everything well. The new crit rules weird us out still but nothing in backgrounds or races was a major issue. The termor sense on dwarves is WHY we ended up with a dwarf instead of a human.
This new race of animal feature Aasimar was a big hit with our newest player. I hope that means it will be a break out Star.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
Sounds like you all had a great time! Sounds like the newer players vibe with the new rules. Your Orc-Drow character already shows the value of the flexibility the new hybrid approach offers.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Sounds like you all had a great time! Sounds like the newer players vibe with the new rules. Your Orc-Drow character already shows the value of the flexibility the new hybrid approach offers.
100% agree. My half drow half orc would have been much harder without this (to make and to sell to a DM) and we had a fun hour and a half on zoom.

I think I missed something though because my friend running the game said my niece has been texting her since then on and off with world questions.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Talos lyssa Aracrom and Shadowstar all met at the bar. We waited a bit and talked and then the hook came. And went.

Okay this isn’t story time. But I was very proud of our new players.

We had 0 player crits. We had 1 eldritch blast nat 20 that got a naughty word said. Since players can’t crit on spells. But he was reassured when he got an inspiration but already had one so gave it to our skunk girl fighter who used it to get advanced on her very next attack

And our DM didn’t even flinch when she dropped a 20 on a scimitar attack and her NPC could not crit.

No skill checks got 1 or 20 at all.

My monk tried to grapple on a hit and it did well to okay. I was able to lock down a gang member but that just brought up the oldest issue in D&D. What do good people do with prisoners.

Overall the game went well. We got a level and we ended with a new goal. (Actually xp more then half way to 3rd). Nobody is multiclassing so level up for fighter bard monk and hex blade was easy.

A few thoughts new race is cool but I almost want it NOT to be divine in nature but just anthropomorphic animal. But it cool. The 1st level feats are powerful. Nothing other then power creep.

Trying to level up though our fighter very 1st time playing already noticed “wait, why do they get to pick things and me and you only get set features?” And action surge did not impress her compared to my niece getting to go through spells.

I will leave more thoughts after the dm gets home and texts me
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Nothing other then power creep.
I would argue that there is major distinction between power creep between publications, which is a gradual and haphazard phenomenon, and a considered uniform power step in a new rule variation. 2E power creep was authors just pushing stuff a little better in every book to make it attractive, and was an "emergent phenomenon" rather than a strategy.

But I'm just that way.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I would argue that there is major distinction between power creep between publications, which is a gradual and haphazard phenomenon, and a considered uniform power step in a new rule variation. 2E power creep was authors just pushing stuff a little better in every book to make it attractive, and was an "emergent phenomenon" rather than a strategy.

But I'm just that way.
What I mean is we have not done anything with setting spesfic backgrounds. So this was a noticeable jump from the 2014 PHB+ Tasha’s to this playtest.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
What I mean is we have not done anything with setting spesfic backgrounds. So this was a noticeable jump from the 2014 PHB+ Tasha’s to this playtest.
Oh, yeah, it's a jump, for sure. I'm bring picky about the term "power creep," because a jump is quite different, particularly everyone gets brought along for the ride.
 



HammerMan

Legend
So a little time past and preping for session 2. I had a long talk tonight with the DM and she REALLY hates that this new player is already seeing the “fighter issue” that the rest of my group found.

Come 3rd level we do wonder what subclasses everyone is taking.

She did also say that the power curve was noticeable as a Dm. Giving that extra feat and the enhanced races made for her to watch us mince meat every encounter.
 

So a little time past and preping for session 2. I had a long talk tonight with the DM and she REALLY hates that this new player is already seeing the “fighter issue” that the rest of my group found.

Come 3rd level we do wonder what subclasses everyone is taking.

She did also say that the power curve was noticeable as a Dm. Giving that extra feat and the enhanced races made for her to watch us mince meat every encounter.
What’s the fighter issue?
 

A few thoughts new race is cool but I almost want it NOT to be divine in nature but just anthropomorphic animal. But it cool.
Don't tell the Furry-hating narcs (like I used to be before I realized they were people too lol), but I'm pretty sure the whole "Upper Planes" stuff with the Aardling is mostly a disguise so that WotC can sneak an "any animal" anthro race into the game without getting accused of pandering to Furries and people getting huffy about it. My guess is they looked for the best way to do it, and the Guardinals (who are pretty badass/liked) and other Upper Planes talking animals and so on stuck out as an obvious way. The other major one would be Hengeyokai with a mixed form default, but that might be overcomplicated and some people would reject it as "Eastern mythology" or "not fitting settings" or the like. Whereas Angel-Fur flies under that radar (bizarrely).
 

HammerMan

Legend
What’s the fighter issue?
Fighters are plane. You don’t get options at character up like casters and you don’t get many options round to round.

The most optimal builds you basically choose if you are taking -5 to hit or not and move around the field taking the exact same action over and over and over again. And the best thing you get (action suger) just lets you do another set of attacks.

Meanwhile spell casters get spell choice at level up and round to round they normally have 1 or 2 cantrips maybe can attack with a weapon AND can play with spells.
 


HammerMan

Legend
I don't really see the plane Fighter as an issue but rather an option for those who just want to hit things.
Except the only options for someone to play a melee character is “plane or spells”. I saw the problem in 3e (Bo9s held it off a bit) but after 4e my group (including the DM of this playtest) chafe under it. I have seen new players hit this wall by seeing EVERYONE but them getting cool new abilities to pick from (spells) but game 1 session 1 campaign 1 is rough.

I would hate if it turned her off to playing.
 

Baumi

Adventurer
I also had a playtest yesterday, but we only used the new Rules not the character-options since we use it in an existing campaign. So only the Grappling, 1-20, Inspiration and Crit-Rules were in effect.

But it didn't really matter much since no player rolled a 1 or 20 :p In the end, one Player got Inspiration (Human after long Rest) and one Monster-Crit was just a normal hit .. which would have hurt but not matterd that much in the end.

Maybee we will see more differences next week :)
 

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