Checks & Skills[sblock]Re: Checks are actions, Saving Throws reactions
Not a bad distinction, but Saving Throws were further distinguished as actions to avoid one's environment, so the roll is still in the characters/players hands. Saving throws used to be categorized by environmental effects and magic spells. The caster succeeded in affecting the environment no matter what, if the spell succeeded. Those in the area might have received Saves to avoid the effect, but the spell occurred regardless. Attacks, whether they used a tool of the environment or not, were actions by the territory one commanded - like one's body. The attack was always made, the roll was about determining whether or not it struck.
Ultimately none of this was about the rolls so much as the probabilities the dice (probability generators) expressed. Changing the probabilities was the game and avoiding rolling altogether was likely the best option. Learning the defined relationships made up the majority of the game.
Skills / Ability Score Checks
Trivial (7) was dropped and Easy (10) was renamed Trivial and listed as 10 or less.
Nor are ranges listed, but instead solid numbers like 10, 13, 16, etc. And those 3 are understood as the only ones one really needs to remember. It's an easy to remember change, but one that leads to greater uniformity and still lacks any mention of the relationships the numbers measure.
DCs / target numbers
are vastly more important when it comes to cost. In combat they are 1/round, so are quite valuable. If you can spend 6 seconds out of combat to pick a lock however, then the DC is more about re-rolling and how long is spent doing so. Taking 10 or 20 becomes the decision in the Exploration Phase and time spent with wandering monster consequences the balancing factor. Drop those consequences and the game becomes "Can Unlock" and "Can't Unlock" with no room for interaction / game play.
DM Guide p.3 shaded box includes, "You don't actually have to set the DC before the player rolls the check."
I vehemently disagree unless the players are okay with this playstyle and know it is in effect. Claiming further "your players will never know" isn't cool at all.[/sblock]Exploration Phase rules[sblock]Adventure/Dungeon Design Components
- From Illumination - actually determines 3 possible Conditions for every Location. Temperature, Smell, Sound, Magical Auras, Alignment Auras, and any other special conditions would be nice to see in an Adventure Design pdf. Or at least a list of conversion guidelines for creating such.
- from Holding your breath & drowning - Races could use a solid subset of Common Racial abilities and Breathing, and the abilities it confers. This would would work well in that section rather than Misc. Rules. Sight and Illumination should be included as well (as should scent and taste, sound, facial, sight, etc. recognition rules). Also, Size works for creatures as well as anything else, like rooms, castles, mobile transports, spell areas, etc.
Also, a lot of the incidentals could be created in such a way as to simply always be in effect unless environmental conditions change. This is like the Suffocation rules (holding your breath and drowning) where "Air" is always assumed to be available unless otherwise noted. This helps for Speaking, Freedom of Movement (vs squeezing, compressed or Restrained conditions), STR lifts below the PC minimum of 3, Ditto other Abilities like DEX for walking and chewing bubblegum, and so on.[/sblock]Misc.[sblock]Spell Prep
- Still using 1 minute / spell level for daily spell prep time. What is gained by this fussiness?
Religion / Arcane Knowledge
- "You must choose a skill in which you lack training." This wasn't clear to me. It appears the ability graints proficiency in 1 skill chosen by the player from a list of 4. Why the the last sentence?
Number of languages known
is still too few. Literacy (or lack thereof) could be spelled out as an option too, perhaps a benefit of class.
has been removed. It was under Creature Size DMG p.9. So has the Colossal size apparently.
- p.8 Kobolds are 70 XP, Human Commoners are 50. They look near identical.
- Minor -
- Bless Water at will 6 seconds would change Crafting considerably
- Light at will means torches are obsolete for everyone
- Ray of Frost & Shocking Grasp are too condition tracking fiddly for these to be frequently cast spells.
- Ghost Sound (which is out of order) & Mage Hand could greatly use longer durations. Try 10 minutes or more or just make the Concentration-based durations.
- Detect Magic needs a duration, I'd say 1 round or the 1 to 3 thing again and then concentration. This is to help relay info during exploration as magic auras are sensory dependent, like sight, sound, etc.
- very clean, very nice. I like how customizable it is and nonrestrictive. I can't help but feel it is missing something like Player Name or Saving Throws, but I like NL and Senses added on there. A place for a character portrait would be cool too. And even just coupling this with an entry with advice for making one's own - to personalize and simplify a character log.[/sblock]Equipment[sblock]Great change to bring back bartering to the game. This always leaves an optional minigame to quickly sell or buy for the asking price or engage in learning what the actual going rates are and what's cheating by merchants for a better price. A nice thing for those who like to play money making via trade on the side.
Magic Items can be handled differently than the sort of off-limits way listed. Unless something Actually Appears magical, then it isn't worth anything but its mundane form. It's hard to show why one sword hits more often than another. This is one of the big reasons Detect Magic is so valuable, it can help you appraise dull items as actually highly expensive magic items. Barter here with other wealthy adventurers, old or new, is probably the most likely way to buy or sell magic items. Casting Detect Magic in a store means one might find the magic sword the trading post is unknowingly selling (which is one reason why the spell shouldn't be at will). Magic items aren't a black market or so much a high rollers market, but can be more of an invisible one for those with the rare power to see and remember to check for such.
Studded Leather as Medium Armor
is interesting. And Chainmail as Heavy is even moreso. Unusual changes.
I think it has to do with price. Studded leather is +1 better, but not much more costly. The issue would still exist for Ringmail however. Banded and Splint also appear to be only cosmetically different.
No armor or just clothes
/ cloth armor should probably be singled out for ease.
I think armor nonproficiency creates Disadvantage on Saves for Dex & Str only, not all saves at the phrasing appears to suggest.
Displacer Beast Hide
really should be a Cloak of Displacement. That means appearing to be in an adjacent square or similar effect. It's not a tougher hide, which could be any thick hided beast.
No "Light" property weapons
makes me wonder how they'll do two+ weapon fighting. Maybe a Specialty.
A container breakdown would be nice - vial, flask, sack, pouch, pack, quarrel, etc.
Also, the game has long been neglecting the old substance breakdowns from early one. I don't mean the big 5 energy types that have taken hold, but a more diverse environmental breakdown that corresponds to items (and monsters, and PCs) as well. For example:
- Cloth (tent, backpack, bedroll, blanket,
- Iron (caltrops, pot, spike, manacles, lantern, chain,
- Steel (bolts, pitons, mirror, crowbar, ball bearings, lock,
- Wooden (ram, tinderbox, bucket, block & tackle, pole,
- Clay (flask, jug, lamp,
- Glass (hourglass, vial,
- Paper (parchment,
- wax (candle, sealing wax,
- Stone (whetstone,
Further breakdowns are possible too...
Cloth type by rarity / value = silk, wool, cotton, etc.
Metal = iron, steel, copper (bell), gold (rings), silver whistle, etc.
Earth = stone, clay, gems, dirt, etc.[/sblock]