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Level Up (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document: #18: Combat

This is a big one, folks. If any playtest document needed playing rather than just reading, this is it. What we are giving you here is the entire combat chapter. You can use this chapter in your regular 5E combats (or you can use our previous playtest documents, like Combat Maneuvers); it’s the same game you know and love, the same system you’re familiar with, but with upgrades and tweaks. We can’t wait to find out what you think of it!

Take this and use it on your 5E games. Then come back and tell us how it went. Thank you!


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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RocjawCypher

First Post
I notice that there is no mention of minor advantage and disadvantage in this section- are those still in the system and just relegated to manuvers and the like? Or have they been replaced by more expertise dice?
 


Argyle King

Legend
While I understand the "on your turn" section which explains actions, I can see how it might be read (by a new player) in a way which suggests you can't move and take an action in the same turn.

Yes, I know that the section explains that you can. I understand that. However, I also feel that the wording could be made clearer for the benefit of those who are newer (or less experiences) players of games.
 

HeroicVanguard

Explorer
So I was looking back through the Berserker Playtest since Press the Attack took Reckless Attack and made it into a general thing anyone can use, and holy naughty word, Press the Attack is so good for Berserkers. With their increased Crit Range and varied effects on Critical, giving themselves Advantage makes them terrifying, and forces opponents into choosing one of two bad options, likely eating a ton of damage and debilitation, or burning their Reaction and getting Disadvantage next turn. That is the kind of oppression it should feel like fighting a Berserker. Rage also helps to mitigate the downside of Press The Attack as well. No flat damage on Rage looks bad at first, but with the math change to crits, and all the fun stuff Berserkers get including this, they are dramatically spiky and that just seems so much more satisfying. This chapter adds a ton of context to some stuff and has me so so excited.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I notice that there is no mention of minor advantage and disadvantage in this section- are those still in the system and just relegated to manuvers and the like? Or have they been replaced by more expertise dice?
Those were removed back last year, when the playtest survey responders made it overwhelmingly clear they did not like them.
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
While I understand the "on your turn" section which explains actions, I can see how it might be read (by a new player) in a way which suggests you can't move and take an action in the same turn.

Yes, I know that the section explains that you can. I understand that. However, I also feel that the wording could be made clearer for the benefit of those who are newer (or less experiences) players of games.
"When it is your turn, you can move a distance up to your Speed and take your actions."

I can't see how you can read that in a way that suggests you can't move and take your actions, whatever your level of experience. It's the exact opposite of what it says.
 

alsoalpharius

First Post
A quick question about the changes to Dash (and the introduction of Sprint) and their interactions with the Ready action.

As in O5e, Dash and Sprint don't allow you to move as part of the action, instead granting you increased speed with your regular movement. Therefore, Dashing (or Sprinting) as a readied action would have no real effect as it would increase your speed but not allow you to move. In O5e, this was circumnavigated by stating in the Ready action, "Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it." Having movement as a separate option when readying.

In the A5e Ready action, it states Dash as an option to move your speed. My question being, is the intent to keep it the same as before and I'm simply reading into too much detail? Or would you be able to move double your regular speed as you are using Dash in the readied action?

Cheers.
 



TheHand

Explorer
I'll be running some playtests with my group this weekend, looking forward to that!

I'm curious about something called "Strife" in the packet, it sounds like a stress or similar mechanic but I didn't see it explained (maybe I missed it somewhere else). Are there any details about it that can be shared?
 

Faolyn

Hero
I'll be running some playtests with my group this weekend, looking forward to that!

I'm curious about something called "Strife" in the packet, it sounds like a stress or similar mechanic but I didn't see it explained (maybe I missed it somewhere else). Are there any details about it that can be shared?
Strife, IIRC, is like fatigue but for the mental stats.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'll be running some playtests with my group this weekend, looking forward to that!

I'm curious about something called "Strife" in the packet, it sounds like a stress or similar mechanic but I didn't see it explained (maybe I missed it somewhere else). Are there any details about it that can be shared?
Yep, exhaustion is split into fatigue (physical) and strife (mental/spiritual). For now just use exhaustion.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Aka here's my more in depth look

Initiative: I like the idea that the check you made on surprise round becomes your initiative, a neat touch.

Size: I like the addition of the "number of creatures that can surround you". Its a simple detail that can be nice to have especially for really large creatures.

Mounted Combat: I do think this area could use a little more polish, especially since you opened the door for halflings to ride their allies in battle for automatic +2 AC. I do think the proning rules are confusing, and I still don't know if I'm supposed to get the "5 ft or higher" bonus while mounted. There's also no notes here for intelligent mounts like a paladin mount, do they work exactly the same or do they get their own complete retinue of actions.

Prone: So you can take a reaction to drop prone against a ranged attack, versus interesting. Gives melee a little more benefit over ranged, which I like.

Dragging an Ally: I'm glad to see rules for this, its one of those scenarios that happens at a table decently often but hasn't always had a good ruleset.

Fall Back: This feels fiddly to me. Its a big penalty, I lose my reaction, and I have disadvantage, all just to remove advantage. Its not like I even get farther away, as they get to freely move with me. I can see the idea of trying to add some more mobility into combat, but this doesn't have the right feel to me.

Press the Attack: Having run a lot of barb players, honestly this is the key reason to play a barb currently. Players love this mechanic. The trick is most classes don't have the durability of a barb to take that disadvantage. I don't know, on the one hand I think some players will literally just use this all the time. But it does improve melee over ranged. But it also removes some barb uniqueness. But it does require a bonus action.... I guess I have to see this in play, its definitely one I have reservations about.

Sprint: So my main concern with sprint, is it feels like 95% of the time its just a flat out superior dash. The check is pretty easy, and even if I fail I don't feel the fatigue until after the fight. Though I have noticed that fatigue does look like it can add up in a fight, so maybe I am underestimating that. But yeah at first glance, I think anytime a player wants to move outside of his dash range, they will sprint with 100% no hesitation.

Tumble: My only beef here.... why does this not use Acrobatics? That is like the main reason people have historically taken such a skill, and the idea of using a saving throw "proactively" here really goes against the normal spirit of saving throws. You don't make saves as the results of your actions, but others....so that's a very strange mechanic. I'm also still not personally on board with maneuver DCs, I still like opposed rolls better.

Unseen Targets: I really appreciate the clause that "if both creatures can't see each other, attacks are made at disadvantage". This removes all of the stupid insanity with fogs not actually providing benefit and things like that.

Two Weapon Fighting: So a 5th level ranger could make 4 attacks a round with two shortswords and full ability score on both. That's pretty darn deadly, but bonus actions do see more precious because of manuevers so its probably balanced over all, even if on paper I think TWF has the highest DPS now.

Critical Hits: I like that crits are cooler (straight up double damage!) but there are more ways to deal with them. That's a great compromise which I think will make fights more cinematic. I approve!

Damage Resistances: It looks like you have opened the door back up for some "remove 5 damage" kind of resistances from older editions. I approve, especially for boss type monsters. I respect that half damage is simpler, and when you have monsters taking a lot of damage, its much simpler math to just get all the damage and half it. But sometimes you just want creatures with that nice static damage reduction, to remove the "riff-raff" damage, so I appreciate that its back as an option. I would just hope its not too overused.

Massive Damage: On my second read I realized you got 1 fatigue/1 strife if you pass the save, and suddenly it clicked. This suddenly means things like big falling damage can actually leave a mark, and big attacks are suddenly scary again (in the base game, many little attacks are way scarier because of their ability to generate death save fails). My only concern is that save or dies just leave a bad taste in many people's mouths, there is a reason we have hitpoints. I might prefer it was 2 fatigue + 2 strife....and then half on a successful pass.

I will say that this makes fireball even more deadly. At 5th level, the chance of a 35 damage fireball is a pretty reasonable chance, and the fact that can kill you outright is pretty darn scary.

Death and Dying: I do like the shift towards fatigue and strife as opposed to auto death fails for many effects.

Fatigue: This section is a bit confusing, mainly around what happens if you fall unconscious 3 or 4 times, is it a fatigue every time?

Doom: Doom is a cool concept, and the fact that 5 fatigue = doomed makes that very scary.

RECOVERY FROM FATIGUE: I'm highlighting this one because I think its the most important. So on my read, Level up is shaping to be a MUCH GRITTIER game than vanilla 5e. While death is a little less likely straight up, Fatigue seems to be common, and very hard to remove....you both need a haven, and you only heal 1 level a day.

Fatigue (assuming its the same chart as before) already gives some pretty strong penalties at its 1st and 2nd levels, so I am worried that players are going to be suffering penalties a lot in level up.

Now of course, some people are going to love more grit, but for people looking to use level up as a "similar to normal 5e, but just better stuff", this may be a big shock to them.

I would highly suggest some alternate recovery versions here (similar to how core 5e offers healing levels depending on comfort). For example, maybe I can remove 1 fatigue by 2 spending 2 hitdice during a short rest, or 3 if not in a haven. Again pretty costly, but it gives me some options. Or make an allowance that on a long rest outside a haven is 1 fatigue, a long rest in a haven is all fatigue. That is more in line with standard 5e experience (which is very forgiving on recovery thats just the style)....it provides a nice lever for people that want grittier, but leaves it less gritty "at base".

My gut just says that right now many groups (including my own) are going to get "fatigued of fatigue".

If nothing else, please make sure there are some key questions about the grittiness level in your surveys....this is very very very important for you to get good feedback on.

World Actions:
I LOVE THIS!!! This is something that 5e really needed in terms of more crunch, so this is great. Just a few notes on some of them.
  • Forested (Cacophony): A very weak effect, I don't think its even worth tracking as a world action.
  • Furnished (clutter): You all really just don't like acrobatics do you? This seems perfect for an acrobatics check, not a saving throw.
Controlling Multiple Summons and Creatures: This needs some rewrites, I've reread it 4 times and I still think I exactly know how this work. The concept makes plenty of sense, it just needs some editing.

Rolling Movement: I get what you all are going for but this section just isn't doing it. This either needs a lot of beef up to really do things like chases justice, or just remove it. Right now I feel like the rules are too weak to justify the page space.

Countdowns: Already used them in a game, already a believer.
 
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Faolyn

Hero
Fall Back: This feels fiddly to me. Its a big penalty, I lose my reaction, and I have disadvantage, all just to remove advantage. Its not like I even get farther away, as they get to freely move with me. I can see the idea of trying to add some more mobility into combat, but this doesn't have the right feel to me.
Well, there are a lot of maneuvers now that have bonus effects on a hit, in addition to rogues and heralds, with their sneak attacks and smites. Getting rid of advantage can be very useful.

Sprint: So my main concern with sprint, is it feels like 95% of the time its just a flat out superior dash. The check is pretty easy, and even if I fail I don't feel the fatigue until after the fight. Though I have noticed that fatigue does look like it can add up in a fight, so maybe I am underestimating that. But yeah at first glance, I think anytime a player wants to move outside of his dash range, they will sprint with 100% no hesitation.
Perhaps the DC should go up +2 each extra time, instead of +1. Or maybe the fatigue should go away with a short rest instead of only a minute.

Tumble: My only beef here.... why does this not use Acrobatics? That is like the main reason people have historically taken such a skill, and the idea of using a saving throw "proactively" here really goes against the normal spirit of saving throws. You don't make saves as the results of your actions, but others....so that's a very strange mechanic. I'm also still not personally on board with maneuver DCs, I still like opposed rolls better.
Agreed. This would be a prime use for Acrobatics.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Perhaps the DC should go up +2 each extra time, instead of +1. Or maybe the fatigue should go away with a short rest instead of only a minute.
Its the first sprint that's the issue. Most combats are 3 rounds, you aren't going to be doing that much sprinting. Again if I have a combat where the heroes and monsters are that far apart...and a sprint is the difference between getting an action the next round or needing to dash again....I cannot see a player hesitating....you would just use sprint and be done with it.

You could make it where melee attacks get advantage against them (effectively the old school equivalent of losing your dex to AC during a run)...that makes it more of a gamble.
 

Faolyn

Hero
You could make it where melee attacks get advantage against them (effectively the old school equivalent of losing your dex to AC during a run)...that makes it more of a gamble.
Melee attacks, yes, but missile attacks as well, since you're likely running towards (or directly away) from the shooters. And (I have to check the actual text) maybe sprint should be in a straight line--no zig-zagging or trying to avoid obstacles.

Y'all remember setting pikes and spears to charge?
 

HeroicVanguard

Explorer
Now of course, some people are going to love more grit, but for people looking to use level up as a "similar to normal 5e, but just better stuff", this may be a big shock to them.
So I see where you're coming from with this, and it's definitely going to be the case sometimes, but I think a lot of new age 5e players just. Don't have very long adventuring days to begin with? I feel like 3 combats in one day would be considered pretty heavy combat day for most of them, despite it being half of the low end of what o5e is designed around. So the fatigue system seems to me like it'd be less of an obstacle to them since they are combat light to begin with, and gives good mechanical encouragement to take a day off and recover and spend some time RPing around town or something.
 


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