D&D 5E L&L The Next Phase

ShadowDenizen

Explorer
Regarding "what HP means", my opinion is that they have decided that not providing a definitive answer would be the best answer.

Thanks for the thoughtful, succint reply, Li Shenron! :)

But doen't you think that something as basic as "What HP's are" should be a prime consideration, and should influence the direction the game takes? Without knowing "What HP represent", it's hard to pin down a cohesive feel for the new framework.

(And that's not a singular thing, just the first thing I could think of as an example; other examples might be "How to handle Clerical Healing?", "What about Feats/Skills?", etc.)

WHile I appreciate that WotC let us have input (though it did, at times, feel like WotC should be offering R&D checks to the truly devoted playtesters!), it also still feels like no-one truly had their own creative "vision" for D+D Next. (Like 'em or Hate 'em, both 3E and 4E seems like they were the singular vision of a small group of people.)
 

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MarkB

Legend
Thanks for the thoughtful, succint reply, Li Shenron! :)

But doen't you think that something as basic as "What HP's are" should be a prime consideration, and should influence the direction the game takes? Without knowing "What HP represent", it's hard to pin down a cohesive feel for the new framework.

Having seen the lengthy discussions that occur whenever this question arises, including the ones for 5e, it's pretty obvious that there hasn't been clear consensus on "what HPs represent" at any time throughout D&D's history. That hasn't prevented the development of several new versions of D&D.

WHile I appreciate that WotC let us have input (though it did, at times, feel like WotC should be offering R&D checks to the truly devoted playtesters!), it also still feels like no-one truly had their own creative "vision" for D+D Next. (Like 'em or Hate 'em, both 3E and 4E seems like they were the singular vision of a small group of people.)

My impression of the public playtest has been that there were some reasonably constant ideas as to the general direction, but the specifics mostly consisted of a lot of "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks". Now that they've gone through that process and found out what concepts and ideas have traction with their customers, they'll be modifying their basic design to incorporate those ideas.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
I think people are getting thrown off by the C&T reference. I'm pretty sure it's calling out the modularity of C&T (which was also an addon book to the core game, and was made up of optional rules that could be integrated but didn't have to be), not the specific 2e based rules.

I think this is absolutely correct. I'm not 5e's biggest fan, but folks seem all too willing to hastily read the worst (whatever that may be for that person) into anything they read about it.
 

I know there is a lot of general hate for Combat and Tactics (moreso Skills and Powers because OMGMUNCHKIN and D&D IS A CLASS-BASED GAME OK) but I thought it brought two very great additions; Heroic Fray rules and Battlefield Shifts (I think that is what they were called). Heroic Fray actually gave Fighters some author stance capability (the player declared a fray) and it mechanically backed-up the thematic implication of horde-breaker, etc. Battlefield Shifts were basically Encounter Card kind of stuff at the end of the round that lent mobility and dynamism to what may have been an otherwise moribund or gratuitous combat. I loved having that GM-side tool...loved it enough to make my own deck of Battlefield Shifts and used the cards throughout the course of the rest of my AD&D play and into 3.x. Yes, dual-wielding katanas and machine gun dart throwers etc. But it wasn't all terribad.
 

pemerton

Legend
Well, to be honest they have indeed delayed the design of modules of downtime, interaction, tactical combat etc. They've mentioned the concept behind them, but never gave us anything to playtest
Emphasis added by me - the interaction rules are in the current playtest.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
But doen't you think that something as basic as "What HP's are" should be a prime consideration, and should influence the direction the game takes? Without knowing "What HP represent", it's hard to pin down a cohesive feel for the new framework.

...

WHile I appreciate that WotC let us have input (though it did, at times, feel like WotC should be offering R&D checks to the truly devoted playtesters!), it also still feels like no-one truly had their own creative "vision" for D+D Next. (Like 'em or Hate 'em, both 3E and 4E seems like they were the singular vision of a small group of people.)

I think that's what they want, they don't want a vision similar to neither 3e or 4e, which are good to put together everyone who shares a certain playstyle at the cost of alienating the rest. They want to have a vision for 5e that is more inclusive, and that requires sometimes to leave things undefined.

They started from the question "what is the common ground of all D&D editions, what makes people say this is D&D?". Hit Points were one of those elements, but not healing (except healing spells and potions). A minority of people want D&D to have something else than HP, such as a wound system, but eventually they found from feedback and research that the vast majority is fine with that, and since HP were always part of D&D in all editions, they were not going to change that, and at best will add variant rules later to play without HP.

But after agreeing on that, IMHO they found out that the division between gamers who see HP loss as mostly physical wounds VS those who see HP loss as generic steps towards losing a fight, is not really dominated by one majority, not nearly enough at least to justify a choice that would alienate the others.

Actually to be more precise, the problem is not really in the explanation on what HP are, but rather in the implications on (non-magical) healing.

In fact, for the verbal explanation itself, they decided to go with the "more generic than physical", because it is in fact more inclusive. If you still like to see your HP loss as purely physical, you can always think/describe it as such if the book tells you that it's a mix of wounds, fatigue, morale drop and lost luck. It's an undefined mix, so you can always say that for your character it's 99% wounds, while another player can always that for hers it's always something else.

OTOH the implications are very important, because the "purely physical" interpretation makes it generally harder to justify why next day you're fresh as a rose, and much harder if you get full HP after each fight! The "generic" interpretation easily allow any natural healing speed and related mechanics.

But then it is the healing speed that makes all the difference in the world in terms of playstyle! One group may want to play a game where heroes just keep going, wave of monsters after another, until they win the adventure or die trying. It's a totally valid playstyle. Another group may want to play a game where heroes have to be careful, where encounters are often better avoided altogether, or simply where battles are spread over time. And that's a totally valid playstyle too. Which of them is more D&D? My guess is that WotC designers and managers did their research and concluded that neither of them dominates the other, and making 5e an edition that support both is the only way to go if they want players of former edition to shift to 5e, instead of creating another rift. And maybe this is why, tracing backwards towards the interpretation of HP, they need to keep it foggy.

Emphasis added by me - the interaction rules are in the current playtest.

Ops... should have been "inspiration".
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
I agree with you that, in an RPG which makes numbers central to its action resolution mechanics, the maths is fundamental. But my agreement is grounded in a particular approach to RPGing - namely, that the action resolution mechanics are the pre-eminent mode for the players to have their impact upon the gameworld, and that once the action resolution mechanics are in play its the GM's job to adjudicate them but not to suspend or disregard them. I don't know where I learned this approach to RPG play - I guess from Moldvay Basic, although I don't think it's expressly stated in that ruleset, and maybe also from Traveller with its many subsystems for skills and other things - but I know that I consolidated it over years of playing Rolemaster. And then brought it to, and further developed it over the course of, my 4e play.

But I think that many players, many GMs and many groups don't approach the game in that way. They are the audience for the sidebars on pages 1 and 3 of the most recent playtest DM guidelines, about ignoring the dice and setting DCs ad hoc and ex post facto . And for those players the maths is not fundamental, I think. What's important to them, as best I can tell from the outside of that outlook, is that the PC build rules should lead to character's whose numbers, on the page, convey the right flavour (so my barbarian should be naked but still numerically tougher than a mage; my fighter should have a high weapon damage number; etc); and the action resolution rules don't really have to do much other than convey a flavourful sense of effort on the part of a PC. The work that I (and I think you) would like the maths to do, they are happy to achieve via GM fiat at various points of action resolution, and perhaps even PC build.

I think this is well put. It sort of sums up my conflicts with one of the guys in my group, who is the second type to such an extent that his mind houses clear idea of what type of creature should be constituted by a 1 HD creature (or any particular number of HP or HD). His entire objection to 4e seems centered around the idea that everything has too many HP to be "real" and the game shouldn't encourage the DM to re-skin an orc as a kobold champion. Kobolds should be Kobolds with less than 1 HD, as god intended. Pointing out how Older editions (through Dragon articles or unique monsters in published adventures) accomplished some of the same things that he objects to in 4e only causes him to pridefully point out how great they were....its baffling.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
But doen't you think that something as basic as "What HP's are" should be a prime consideration, and should influence the direction the game takes? Without knowing "What HP represent", it's hard to pin down a cohesive feel for the new framework.

Nobody really knew what they were for any version of the game, and for most RPGs for that matter, so why would that suddenly get in the way for this edition?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'd like to put in an official word on something from a couple of pages back.

We on the moderation staff are not fans of cross-board drama. For the most part, we don't care much about what folks say on other boards. We generally try to judge folks by what they say here.

We also consider bringing up things from other boards to impugn the reputation of another to be a pretty blatant ad hominem argument - if you can't win by logic and reasoning, do it by trying to dismiss the poster via some perceived or asserted flaw of character! It is weak sauce, rhetorically, and we consider it an attempt to make the argument personal.

Those of you who have been here a while will have seen us repeatedly note, "Don't make it personal. Address the content of the post, not the person of the poster." That applies to old hands and new folks alike. It is part of showing respect for your fellow EN Worlders, and we expect everyone to hold to it in the future.

I hope that's clear. If not, please shoot me a PM or e-mail to discuss. Thanks, all!
 

@Neonchameleon , @pemerton : I think you are establishing a false dichotomy between DMing styles here. At least, as false as the one I established between protagonism and naturalism.
When you are practicing scene framing, you handwave the "boring" parts and jump to the conflict, so I don't think having a Thief Acrobat walking a tightrope (without external pressure) would be more than colour in your game. For more than 20 years now, RPG have had guidelines about when to roll or not to roll. In 3.x, it's even called "Taking 10" ;-)

That's worth bringing up but misses half the point. The half point it misses is that taking ten for a thief acrobat leaves you in the 15-20 range aiming at DC25. (Or did. They stripped that as an example out of the latest playtest packet and left almost no guidance). When taking ten leads to a miss by five or more on something that should be routine and that you can't take 20 on we have a problem.

You are 100% right 4e is not about the grid, but the expression of a very intricate game of character building. In its essence, 4e combat is closer to a game of Magic than a wargame using minis (and I am glad D&D is moving back to something simpler and more organic).

I'd argue that it depends on your wargame. And that Warmahordes is a much better wargame than Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
 

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