5E How do you handle magic item churn in 5E?

tetrasodium

Adventurer
That's a nice assertion, but I strongly disagree- 5e's magic item economy (if you want to call it that) works fine, not all magic items are too powerful, and I'm not sure what you even mean by 'subjective dials'. The 3e "body slot" system was okay, but nothing stopped you from (for instance) making some kind of mind control item as a pair of boots and paying the upcharge. Very few dms that I saw would care enough to stop that sort of thing.
1584810374589.png

For example 6 strength kobold gish to 19 strength with an uncommon item, what next?

1584810472513.png

wow that's great, not only does it recharge but it's only a 5% chance of losing it if you spend the last charge? Surely that's an aberration right?... oops no it's nearly everything that recharges & stuff without the 5% can just not ever use that last charge.

Back in 3.5 they were things like asf, acp, speed, crit range ,crit threat, etc. That subjectivity was not limited to 3.5 though, even 4e had a bunch of subjective dials, for example armor (speed, dr, armor penalty, etc) and weapons (brutal#, defesive, high crit, etc) both had a bunch. So instead of Andy needing to pick more powerful magic items for the style game he wants, Alice needs to design an a new system for them for the game style she wants.


As to your boots of mind control?... no 3.5 dmg288 pretty much explicitly slaps that down
1584811578618.png

But even if either gm said sure, Bob is going to be paying a very real price because of that 50% cost increase
1584811764394.png

that is opposed to 5e where the rules for magic item crafting may as well be written on a cocktail napkin complete with a ring from lunch so both Andy & Alice are in for a lot of work if they have Bob who really wants to get into crafting magic items with his character in their campaign.
 

the Jester

Legend
View attachment 120098
For example 6 strength kobold gish to 19 strength with an uncommon item, what next?

View attachment 120099
wow that's great, not only does it recharge but it's only a 5% chance of losing it if you spend the last charge? Surely that's an aberration right?... oops no it's nearly everything that recharges & stuff without the 5% can just not ever use that last charge.
So first, neither of those are all that powerful.

Back in 3.5 they were things like asf, acp, speed, crit range ,crit threat, etc. That subjectivity was not limited to 3.5 though, even 4e had a bunch of subjective dials, for example armor (speed, dr, armor penalty, etc) and weapons (brutal#, defesive, high crit, etc) both had a bunch. So instead of Andy needing to pick more powerful magic items for the style game he wants, Alice needs to design an a new system for them for the game style she wants.
Oh, so you're talking about weapon properties? 5e has those too- for instance, finesse, heavy, thrown, etc. But I wouldn't characterize those as subjective dials. After all, plate armor always has the dials set the same way, magic properties aside. And you can have any of those 3e or 4e properties in 5e too- in fact, I have converted hundreds or thousands of magic items from earlier editions.

that is opposed to 5e where the rules for magic item crafting may as well be written on a cocktail napkin complete with a ring from lunch so both Andy & Alice are in for a lot of work if they have Bob who really wants to get into crafting magic items with his character in their campaign.
Because it isn't assumed that pcs can make magic items at all in 5e. Instead, magic items are in the purview of the DM. If you really want to get into crafting magic items in a DM's campaign, you need that DM to buy in to the idea in the first place.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
So first, neither of those are all that powerful.
Ok Goku, Alice is trying to avoid Super Saiyan as the baseline for normal though. That's fine for Andy's game but is very problematic in Alice's. An item that can take an 8 or even a 3 to 19 is indeed powerful. The same holds true for an item that permanently grants 1d6 castings of a spell every day to a character until they find a better one. If those kinds of things were not the case, we wouldn't be here in a thread from someone asking about handling item churn in 5e.

Oh, so you're talking about weapon properties? 5e has those too- for instance, finesse, heavy, thrown, etc. But I wouldn't characterize those as subjective dials. After all, plate armor always has the dials set the same way, magic properties aside. And you can have any of those 3e or 4e properties in 5e too- in fact, I have converted hundreds or thousands of magic items from earlier editions.
No, 5e has Boolean values, The key difference between all of those things you note in 5e & all of those things in 3.5/4e that I mentioned is that the 5e ones are either true or false while the earlier ones had subjective numerical values that allowed difficult choices not possible with 4e's Boolean values.

Because it isn't assumed that pcs can make magic items at all in 5e. Instead, magic items are in the purview of the DM. If you really want to get into crafting magic items in a DM's campaign, you need that DM to buy in to the idea in the first place.
1584846477928.png

1584846514865.png
Your assertion didn't stop them from publishing half a rule in xge... Nor did it stop them from giving rules for players to randomly award themselves magic items that Alice needs to work with Bob on... First step, create all the magic items bob could make & decide what kinds of rare stuff he needs in order to finish the cocktail napkin into a finished system, suitable for bob to use in play. Lucky for Andy, he doesn't even need to go through the grueling work f selecting more powerful items forcharacters like goku & friends he wants at his table.
1584846669359.png
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Ok Goku, Alice is trying to avoid Super Saiyan as the baseline for normal though. That's fine for Andy's game but is very problematic in Alice's. An item that can take an 8 or even a 3 to 19 is indeed powerful. The same holds true for an item that permanently grants 1d6 castings of a spell every day to a character until they find a better one. If those kinds of things were not the case, we wouldn't be here in a thread from someone asking about handling item churn in 5e.
I'm not sure I understand the Goku/super-saiiyan references, but when you think about it in practice, those items aren't too bad.
If someone put an 8 in a stat, its unlikely that it will be an ability that they get a lot of use out of. Conversely, if they have a lot of power based on a stat, they will probably want to max it out.

Likewise the wand of magic missiles. Unless you burn all the charges in one or two shots, you're probably going to be doing comparable damage with cantrips. Its nice t have as a backup, but its not exactly going to dominate play.

If Alice has an issue wit any of the items, she can simply not make them available in most cases.

Your assertion didn't stop them from publishing half a rule in xge...
With several options built in for DM fiat.

Nor did it stop them from giving rules for players to randomly award themselves magic items that Alice needs to work with Bob on... First step, create all the magic items bob could make & decide what kinds of rare stuff he needs in order to finish the cocktail napkin into a finished system, suitable for bob to use in play.
So Bob asks Alice if he can try to make a specific item in downtime.
Alice would need to:
Decide whether this activity is available to the characters.
Decide if the item is possible to make in her game.
Decide whether she is going to allow the party enough downtime to create the item.
Decide how Bob might be able to obtain the formula required. (adventure, buying etc. Likely determine how Bob could find out about how to obtain the formula.)
Decide what the materials required for the item are, the CR of the adventure/encounter required to obtain them.
Then start rolling for complications.

Now, if she wanted, Alice could just bypass a bunch of these checks. Or set them to a level at which she doesn't think that the item will be problematic.

Lucky for Andy, he doesn't even need to go through the grueling work f selecting more powerful items for characters like goku & friends he wants at his table.
Well, sure, he can just decide that magic items are unnecessary. or stick to what the dice say in terms of items the party might find as treasure.[/QUOTE]
 

Eltab

Adventurer
For my Tiamat campaign, I used the concept from Weapons of Legacy that the item gains abilities as you gain XP and have experiences.
Our Bard max'ed out a Staff of Healing in Arauthator's lair and created a silly-high amount of healing HP. After that, I limited the top-end healing power and added a cold-based attack (because the Bard had been hit and downed by the dragon's breath weapon during the fight).
If you play the Avernus AP, a +1 Sword might become a +1 Devilslaying Sword then (after the PCs reach Tier Three) it improves to a +2 Devilslaying Sword ...
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
I'm not sure I understand the Goku/super-saiiyan references, but when you think about it in practice, those items aren't too bad.
If someone put an 8 in a stat, its unlikely that it will be an ability that they get a lot of use out of. Conversely, if they have a lot of power based on a stat, they will probably want to max it out.

Likewise the wand of magic missiles. Unless you burn all the charges in one or two shots, you're probably going to be doing comparable damage with cantrips. Its nice t have as a backup, but its not exactly going to dominate play.

If Alice has an issue wit any of the items, she can simply not make them available in most cases.

With several options built in for DM fiat.

So Bob asks Alice if he can try to make a specific item in downtime.
Alice would need to:
Decide whether this activity is available to the characters.
Decide if the item is possible to make in her game.
Decide whether she is going to allow the party enough downtime to create the item.
Decide how Bob might be able to obtain the formula required. (adventure, buying etc. Likely determine how Bob could find out about how to obtain the formula.)
Decide what the materials required for the item are, the CR of the adventure/encounter required to obtain them.
Then start rolling for complications.

Now, if she wanted, Alice could just bypass a bunch of these checks. Or set them to a level at which she doesn't think that the item will be problematic.

Well, sure, he can just decide that magic items are unnecessary. or stick to what the dice say in terms of items the party might find as treasure.
[/QUOTE]

Your entire argument is rooted in ignoring the fact that she does not want to run a game like andy. Here it is from earlier....

"A game like Andy's that wants fewer magic items or faster progression can just give out fewer more powerful ones, but a game like Alice's that wants more less powerful magic items & slower progression is lacking the foundational elements within 5e to do so effectively." If Alice & her group is going to spend months at a given level that andy's might only spend a couple sessions in, she needs to have magic item progression that supports it. A progression that supported it would still work for andy simply by picking more powerful items but the items built for a progression like Andy's game do not have the granularity to support Alice's badwrongfun.

You ending your post by suggesting that she just not use magic items underscores how little attention you are paying to the game she wants to run, WotC did the same. The problem with those rules in xge is that they designed the simple & then tried to apply the complex needed by Alice via postit sticky note but were still only writing for Andy, as you admit those xge rules leave Alice with a great deal of work to support Bob unless she says they are not available.

edit: as to the Goku/super-saiiyan references... if you start with 19, where do you think the more but less powerful magic items are going... over nine thousand?
 
Last edited:

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
You ending your post by suggesting that she just not use magic items underscores how little attention you are paying to the game she wants to run, WotC did the same. The problem with those rules in xge is that they designed the simple & then tried to apply the complex needed by Alice via postit sticky note but were still only writing for Andy, as you admit those xge rules leave Alice with a great deal of work to support Bob unless she says they are not available.
If you want to run a game that differs from 5e's designed paradigm, than you have to house rule. That isn't a flaw with 5e's design.
 

the Jester

Legend
Ok Goku, Alice is trying to avoid Super Saiyan as the baseline for normal though.
It would be easier to have this conversation if you kept to D&D terminology instead of bringing in anime stuff, because I have no idea what you're saying here.

That's fine for Andy's game but is very problematic in Alice's. An item that can take an 8 or even a 3 to 19 is indeed powerful.
Not really. You seem to be stuck in the 3e mindset, where such items give you a +2/4/6. This isn't that. This sets a stat at a specific value, much like gauntlets of ogre power/girdles of giant strength did in 1e and 2e. It was never a problem then, and it hasn't been a problem yet in my 5e games. Which, yes, have seen at least one of these items enter play.

Think about it- who is taking this item and how much are they getting from it? Almost certainly, it's not going to the front line fighter whose strength is already 20. It goes to a secondary fighter, or maybe the rogue or cleric- but almost certainly to someone who won't get a massive power boost from it. It doesn't matter if you get +12 to your strength score if you hardly ever use Str for anything that is important to your character.

The same holds true for an item that permanently grants 1d6 castings of a spell every day to a character until they find a better one. If those kinds of things were not the case, we wouldn't be here in a thread from someone asking about handling item churn in 5e.
Is that the source of the question, or are you just assuming?

Anyhow, I disagree that this is a super duper powerful item. I have pcs in my campaign with wands of fireball, and not only do I very rarely see 6 charges spent in one day- even those with many encounters- when I do, it's not a problem. Not at all. Have you actually played with these items, or are you just theory crafting? Because you really seem to be applying 3e logic to this whole discussion, and 5e simply isn't 3e.

No, 5e has Boolean values, The key difference between all of those things you note in 5e & all of those things in 3.5/4e that I mentioned is that the 5e ones are either true or false while the earlier ones had subjective numerical values that allowed difficult choices not possible with 4e's Boolean values.
You're splitting hairs here, I think- kind of yearning for the sort of complexity that, sure, you can inject into 5e if you want it, but that nobody should have forced on them as a baseline if they don't want it. Honestly, the payoff for all those "dials" you are talking about is pretty minimal, with the possible exception of critical values.

Your assertion didn't stop them from publishing half a rule in xge...
Yes, 5e has a lot of options for those who want to emulate previous editions. But magic item creation is not a central piece of the system and it's obviously intended as an add-on for those who want it. It's not exactly part of the core rules, is it?

Nor did it stop them from giving rules for players to randomly award themselves magic items that Alice needs to work with Bob on.
What? Are you talking about buying items as downtime? That's not how it works at all. Look at what XGtE says under "Example Downtime Activities"-

Xanathar's Guide to Everything said:
As DM, you have the final say on what downtime activities are available to the characters.
That's pretty far removed from "rules for players to randomly awared themselves magic items" of any kind.

The bottom line is, if you want to include those things in your game, go ahead, but you can't assume that every other game (or even any other game) is going to do the same. Hell, I treat the formula that allows you to make a magic item as equivalent to a magic item itself when handing out treasure. But I don't expect a DM I am playing under to do the same thing.
 

the Jester

Legend
Your entire argument is rooted in ignoring the fact that she does not want to run a game like andy. Here it is from earlier....

"A game like Andy's that wants fewer magic items or faster progression can just give out fewer more powerful ones, but a game like Alice's that wants more less powerful magic items & slower progression is lacking the foundational elements within 5e to do so effectively."
Then don't hand out the items you perceive as powerful or problematic.

If Alice & her group is going to spend months at a given level that andy's might only spend a couple sessions in, she needs to have magic item progression that supports it. A progression that supported it would still work for andy simply by picking more powerful items but the items built for a progression like Andy's game do not have the granularity to support Alice's badwrongfun.
I don't think anyone is saying that Alice's playstyle preferences are badwrongfun. Just that they aren't as problematic as you seem to think. Look, here's a solution for Alice- simply don't give out a ton of magic items. You really don't need to. Or make magic items suitable for the power curve she wants. It's not that hard. But having, 4e-style, six different items that do almost exactly the same thing with tiny numeric or usage variations is a waste of space. There's no need.

You ending your post by suggesting that she just not use magic items underscores how little attention you are paying to the game she wants to run, WotC did the same.
If she doesn't want magic items, she doesn't have to hand them out. If she does, she can. If she doesn't like the ones in the DMG, she can make her own. It's not that hard to do. It's something DMs have been doing for around 50 years now. I really don't see the problem here. Heck, if she wants a constant influx of items, she can do that. If she wants them to all be minor, she can do that. If she wants her wands to run out of charges, there's a sidebar for that in the DMG. I don't see what the problem is here at all. Is it a desire for more items that do less? Simply import them wholesale from 4e, then. In many cases you don't even have to convert them- they'll work as is.

The problem with those rules in xge is that they designed the simple & then tried to apply the complex needed by Alice via postit sticky note but were still only writing for Andy, as you admit those xge rules leave Alice with a great deal of work to support Bob unless she says they are not available.
If I am understanding you correctly here, you seem to be saying, "The problem with an option presented for people like Andy is that it's not well-suited to people not like Andy." Well, yeah. That's because it's for people like Andy, who want certain 3e-style elements in their game. It's hitting its target. It's like if someone who isn't into tactical combat starts complaining about the facing options in the DMG- you're not using them, they aren't suitable for your playstyle, don't use them.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Then don't hand out the items you perceive as powerful or problematic.



I don't think anyone is saying that Alice's playstyle preferences are badwrongfun. Just that they aren't as problematic as you seem to think. Look, here's a solution for Alice- simply don't give out a ton of magic items. You really don't need to. Or make magic items suitable for the power curve she wants. It's not that hard. But having, 4e-style, six different items that do almost exactly the same thing with tiny numeric or usage variations is a waste of space. There's no need.



If she doesn't want magic items, she doesn't have to hand them out. If she does, she can. If she doesn't like the ones in the DMG, she can make her own. It's not that hard to do. It's something DMs have been doing for around 50 years now. I really don't see the problem here. Heck, if she wants a constant influx of items, she can do that. If she wants them to all be minor, she can do that. If she wants her wands to run out of charges, there's a sidebar for that in the DMG. I don't see what the problem is here at all. Is it a desire for more items that do less? Simply import them wholesale from 4e, then. In many cases you don't even have to convert them- they'll work as is.



If I am understanding you correctly here, you seem to be saying, "The problem with an option presented for people like Andy is that it's not well-suited to people not like Andy." Well, yeah. That's because it's for people like Andy, who want certain 3e-style elements in their game. It's hitting its target. It's like if someone who isn't into tactical combat starts complaining about the facing options in the DMG- you're not using them, they aren't suitable for your playstyle, don't use them.
That's a lot of words to say that you forgot Alice wants to run a game with less powerful but more common magic items & slower progression than Andy does for his game and she should deal with the fact that the magic items are all written for Andy's game style by not handing them out or just not use magic items. Telling Alice to import things from older versions of d&d & make enough changes to 5e so they fit does not change the fact that they were removed for 5e with "this is complex so
1584890136583.png
" without enough consideration for how they enable the kind of game alice wants to run to include some other tools like 3.5>4e did with different (but still preset) weapon & armor properties or the focus was only on meeting andy's game with all other games being badwrongfun outside 5e's Venn diagram consisting entirely of Andy's game & nothing else.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If you want to run a game that differs from 5e's designed paradigm, than you have to house rule. That isn't a flaw with 5e's design.
I would even say that the ease of which you can house rule is one of 5E's strengths. For example when it comes to ability score adjustment items I decided that I didn't like the idea of replacing scores. So I changed it. Gauntlets add +2 to your strength (up to 20), girdles have a higher max and add more. They also stack with the gauntlets. That just fits my vision of how I want magic to work - I want the PCs core abilities to matter more than their items.

Not hard at all.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
That's a lot of words to say that you forgot Alice wants to run a game with less powerful but more common magic items & slower progression than Andy does for his game and she should deal with the fact that the magic items are all written for Andy's game style by not handing them out or just not use magic items. Telling Alice to import things from older versions of d&d & make enough changes to 5e so they fit does not change the fact that they were removed for 5e with "this is complex so View attachment 120119" without enough consideration for how they enable the kind of game alice wants to run to include some other tools like 3.5>4e did with different (but still preset) weapon & armor properties or the focus was only on meeting andy's game with all other games being badwrongfun outside 5e's Venn diagram consisting entirely of Andy's game & nothing else.
They dedicated an entire chapter "Dungeon Master's Workshop" to making the game your own. As they state in the first paragraph:
As the Dungeon Master, you aren’t limited by the rules in the Player’s Handbook, the guidelines in these rules, or the selection of monsters in the Monster Manual.​
They go on to encourage changes and experimentation. Other than going to your house and asking how they could write the game explicitly for you I don't know what else you expect.
 
Last edited:

the Jester

Legend
That's a lot of words to say that you forgot Alice wants to run a game with less powerful but more common magic items & slower progression than Andy does for his game and she should deal with the fact that the magic items are all written for Andy's game style by not handing them out or just not use magic items.
First, if "I forgot" something that you assumed, it's because you didn't state it explicitly in your post. All your tossing around of Alice and Andy and Goku and whatever doesn't clarify anything, it obfuscates your point.

Second, I offered several solutions for your poor Alice, who apparently can't import, homebrew, or adjust anything for her game. If there is such a person, I'd suggest that she stretch her wings a little and try some different approaches to solving her problem instead of pining for an older edition's paradigms.

Telling Alice to import things from older versions of d&d & make enough changes to 5e so they fit does not change the fact that they were removed for 5e with "this is complex so View attachment 120119"
Now you're just making stuff up (unless you can provide a cite for that claim). The issue with magic items wasn't that they were too complex; it was that they had become just better gear instead of special, and worse, that they had become requisite. The designers pretty clearly said that they were moving magic items back into "this is special" territory for 5e, and if Alice doesn't like it, she can adjust accordingly.

without enough consideration for how they enable the kind of game alice wants to run to include some other tools like 3.5>4e did with different (but still preset) weapon & armor properties...
You're pining again. And that's fine. But if you won't accept any of the easily instituted suggestions to include that stuff in 5e, you can always play an earlier edition, with all its warts and flaws.

The changes to magic items in 5e are a direct response to how they worked in 3e and 4e. The difference- reduction in "churn", items that are cool and fun, but aren't needed to keep up- is absolutely intentional. And even so, it's absolutely easy to retrofit your game style to a more 3e-like (or 1e-like, if you prefer) playstyle. If Alice can't be bothered to put in the work to convert or homebrew, doesn't want to go back to playing a more suitable-to-her-tastes edition, doesn't like the options available in the DMG and Xanathar's, and isn't happy importing older edition material, hey man, I don't know what to tell her. She isn't being reasonable with her expectations.

or the focus was only on meeting andy's game with all other games being badwrongfun outside 5e's Venn diagram consisting entirely of Andy's game & nothing else.
5e had a long public playtest period, with lots of surveys for feedback, and the designers paid close attention to those surveys. If 5e is designed for Andy and not Alice, it's because Andy participated in that playtest and filled out those surveys, like thousands and thousands of other people. Alice's preferences simply weren't the ones that a majority or plurality of players wanted. And even so, there seem to be plenty of ways that Alice can bend 5e into the game she wants. She's just not being reasonable about doing any of the work herself. She's just shouting, "No, it should be my way!" while ignoring that she's in the minority AND that it can be her way with just a little bit of work.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Ok Goku, Alice is trying to avoid Super Saiyan as the baseline for normal though. That's fine for Andy's game but is very problematic in Alice's. An item that can take an 8 or even a 3 to 19 is indeed powerful. The same holds true for an item that permanently grants 1d6 castings of a spell every day to a character until they find a better one. If those kinds of things were not the case, we wouldn't be here in a thread from someone asking about handling item churn in 5e.
Yeah, I dislike the permanency of these things as well. I've never introduced one of the above in 5e as far as I can recall. Although I do like the idea of a small kobold wielding a greatsword three times bigger than it is. That would scare the crap out of a party.

Well I do give out wands of magic missiles as treasure, but wands in my games use CHARGES, never the stupid reset at dawn rule with 5% of loss. It is a dwindling resource you use when you need it, and eventually it will be gone.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Yeah, I dislike the permanency of these things as well. I've never introduced one of the above in 5e as far as I can recall. Although I do like the idea of a small kobold wielding a greatsword three times bigger than it is. That would scare the crap out of a party.

Well I do give out wands of magic missiles as treasure, but wands in my games use CHARGES, never the stupid reset at dawn rule with 5% of loss. It is a dwindling resource you use when you need it, and eventually it will be gone.
I do the same but it doesn't stop players from saying "but it says it gets back 1d6+1" at some point. 5e is the only edition I've ever had players regularly do things like that so often, it's part of why I ban dndbeyond at my table.

@the Jester you assume that alice was not present in those surveys rather than simply had her voice as a gm drowned out by players thinking about how powerful they would be who outnumber gm's by a significant degree or some other poor application of statistics & survey practices*. We've been talking about the same two hypothetical games for a while now, you shouldn't need constant reminders that it's still being discussed in a back & forth discourse.

* Be honest, when was the last time you saw a UA survey ask how you feel about something as a gm? It's few and far if ever they ask anything gm specific in those.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I do the same but it doesn't stop players from saying "but it says it gets back 1d6+1" at some point. 5e is the only edition I've ever had players regularly do things like that so often, it's part of why I ban dndbeyond at my table.
I personally find that temporary, one shot magic items or dwindling resource magic items supplemented by RARE permanent items works best in my 5e games. The party is 5th level and only the paladin has a magic "intelligent" battleaxe. Some DMs will think that is well behind the curve, but it's the kind of game I want to run. I don't like higher level D&D, I just don't enjoy the power curve by 10th, so I run the game in the sweet spot I enjoy, and I parcel out the magic the I want.
 

the Jester

Legend
you assume that alice was not present in those surveys rather than simply had her voice as a gm drowned out by players thinking about how powerful they would be who outnumber gm's by a significant degree or some other poor application of statistics & survey practices*.

* Be honest, when was the last time you saw a UA survey ask how you feel about something as a gm? It's few and far if ever they ask anything gm specific in those.
No, I more or less feel that the playtest was big enough to provide a relative sampling of the D&D community.

As for the UA surveys, I'm not sure what you mean. What would be an example of a DM specific question? I always answer them from my own perspective, which is that of a DM.

The playtest surveys did ask how you felt about a lot of things. I remember surveys about a lot of aspects of the game- both things like going through lists of spells and choosing which ones I felt were iconic and giving feedback about aspects of the playtest which I then saw incorporated into the next playtest document (or maybe one a few iterations down the line).
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
No, I more or less feel that the playtest was big enough to provide a relative sampling of the D&D community.

As for the UA surveys, I'm not sure what you mean. What would be an example of a DM specific question? I always answer them from my own perspective, which is that of a DM.

The playtest surveys did ask how you felt about a lot of things. I remember surveys about a lot of aspects of the game- both things like going through lists of spells and choosing which ones I felt were iconic and giving feedback about aspects of the playtest which I then saw incorporated into the next playtest document (or maybe one a few iterations down the line).
That came up in a recent thread & I answered it here. along with some examples The way you ask a question influences the responses you get. Pew research has an excellent article that goes into those sort of things here. Without getting into politics there is another example of it that you might be familiar with if you read/watch the news regularly you will frequently hear how a poll says voters are in hate/love soandso's proposal but when those same voters are polled on what they feel about specific policies based on the policy rather than name the have the opposite opinion on those specifics. The same also applies to the order you ask the questions in

On the topic of magic items & using some mentioned already, some examples might be:
  1. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "I sometimes have trouble tracking all of my equipment"
  2. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "The wand of magic missile is easy to use"
  3. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree, " I think the wand of magic missile & others like it would be a lot of fun (chosen simply because it was posted earlier).
  4. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "I think the wand of magic missile would fit well in the party"
  5. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "The wand of magic missile is well balanced"
Not only do those start out with questions that prime the mental pump to push a responder into the player's headspace, they all biased in ways that are bordering on push polls. compare to something like:
  1. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "players sometimes have excessive difficulty tracking details of their equipment such as asf acp crit range crit threat brutal# damage reduction etc "
  2. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "The wand of magic missile daily recharge mechanic rather than a set number of charges is a good design choice"
  3. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree, " I think the wand of magic missile & others that recharge like it would be an appropriate treasure for a level 4 party to find.
  4. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "I think the wand of magic missile would fit well in the party"
  5. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being strongly disagree & 5 being strongly agree. "The wand of magic missile reharge mechanic is well balanced"

Right off the bat, the difference between the first question 1 & second question 1 is that the first only asks if the responder "sometimes" has difficulty tracking things. Alex could vote 5 because at high levels he has six pages of inventory that has nothing to do with the complex bits missing from 5e equipment. Beth could vote 5 because she likes to fit 5 pages of stuff on two and does so by writing in mice type. Charles could vote 5 because he tries to avoid filling out new character sheets & eventually starts erasing through the paper. Dawn could vote 5 because she has dyslexia. None of those four voted five because the items themselves are too complex. .... The second question 1 specifically points out what potentially difficult to track aspect about the equipment is the subject of being difficult to track so Alex looks at his six pages & decides those particular aspects are not a significant hurdle enough to merit a 5. Beth looks at her mice type & decides that those numbers are not the problematic thing that her mice type was for the first question 1. Charles looks at those things and admits hose values almost never change on a weapon/armor so are not the cause of his erasing through the page problem so again does not vote 5. Dawn thinks about those values & admits that they are not her dyslexia so also does not vote 5

The first question 2 is so simplistic & vague that it is effectively meaningless. An autohit spell you just roll some d4's with is obviously easy. Uttering the words "I use my wand of magic missile to cast magic missile at $target" is beyond the point of merely being "easy". The thing gets back all it's charges within a couple days with d6+1 (avg 5, min 2!)/day & has nearly zero chance of ever going away, what could be easier? everyone votes 5 on a question that should never have been asked to an individual capable of taking the survey without assistance for reasons other than language or physical disabilities on par with those of stephen hawking before death.... but hey it got a bunch of 5's so must be good!

The second question 2 asks about the charge mechanic specifically By using the words "good choice" rather than easy to use or fun, responders are forced to consider the broader implications of going from set number of charges to what is effectively making the item permanent and more specifically do so in comparison to the old charge mechanic. Alex thinks back to that time he burned out a few wands he'd been saving in his back pocket as his ace in the hole to save the day & realizes he would have just had one or maybe two wands that couldn't have enough charges to repeat that under this system so does not vote 5. Beth Realizes that her five pages of inventory will never happen because hose items are now both more powerful & permanent that she won't have a stockpile made from odds & ends collected & she's always enjoyed being the group's record keeper so certainly does not vote 5. If charles really thinks keeping track of the inventory not tracked by Beth is a significant problem he might vote higher than Alex & Beth, but he might also have other reasons for not doing so. Dawn might look at that mechanic & think about how it would complicate her experience due to dyscalculia so tries to vote less than 1 but can only vote 1.

The First question 3. Would it be "fun"?... sure why not, Wotc seems to really like asking this kind of question in the UA surveys.
The Second question 3. Alex looks at that and realizes "oh my god, I thought that was on par with staff of fireball or something not an uncommon low level magic item!" he does not vote 5 because he realizes that such a wand would be a significant part of what defines his character. Beth comes to similar realizations & thinks about how the shift to very few character defining magic items would impact the feeling of fulfillment she gets being the group's record keeper so also does not vote 5. Charles thinks about how he's going to be not only subtracting but also adding charges to the wand regularly so avoids 5 because it means he's going to be erasing through the page more often. Dawn comes to whatever xonclusion she comes to

Both Question 4s are the same, Would it fit well in the party?... all four think & say "I guess?..." to themselves but because of question 1 & 2 the second version is likely to have lower results among the same four if asked the second set instead

The first question 5.Is it balanced? what part? the spell magic missile? The max charges? The 1d6+1 recharge/day? The upcasting costs?the attine requirement? The uncommon rarity? what a uselessly vague question, wotc likes these kind of things in UA surveys
The second question 5. Alex thinks back to the earlier questions he was asked from the second set & his answer is likely to look a lot like his answer to 2 & 3 but could be a little higher or much lower depending on if he tries to stay neutral & objective or if he weights it down against what he' be losing. so on & so forth.

With that said, many of those questions I raised in regards to those four players & the questions are examples of some of the things a well designed survey should attempt to determine with additional questions & the UA surveys almost never seem to. In this context, one reason those things are important is that it allows people to be grouped based on their preferences in order to determine if there are additional things important to those people that should be included or represented in new ways rather than accidentally making a well meaning change catering to a specific group that damages the experience for a second group. A second reason might be to weight those groups because both Andy & Alice are outnumbered 4:1(at least) by their players, but if those players rarely if ever GM or think that being a gm is too hard for them Alice & Andy's oppinions need to carry much more weight in some cases. Those extra questiona also allow decisions to be made so that design choices can include support for the kind of games both andy & Alice rather than just one. That last point is especially important if the designers are all mostly a single type of GM demograpic like andy likely to not even consider or be aware of the needs that a different style of game like Alice's in their design (see the class feature UA video from earlier of crawford saying almost exactly that).
 

ad_hoc

Hero
No, I more or less feel that the playtest was big enough to provide a relative sampling of the D&D community.

As for the UA surveys, I'm not sure what you mean. What would be an example of a DM specific question? I always answer them from my own perspective, which is that of a DM.

The playtest surveys did ask how you felt about a lot of things. I remember surveys about a lot of aspects of the game- both things like going through lists of spells and choosing which ones I felt were iconic and giving feedback about aspects of the playtest which I then saw incorporated into the next playtest document (or maybe one a few iterations down the line).
I agree with you about the game matching the playtest but that playtest is also very out of date now. So much so that it is a bit silly to speak of it 6+ years later in relation to what people want out of the game.

Many more people are now playing the game than were taking part in the playtest.

Most 5e players will have never played an RPG before 5e (or even a hobby game excepting something like Settlers of Catan).

I think the popularity speaks for itself as far as whether people are happy with the game.
 

Advertisement

Top