Level Up (A5E) Playtest results using pregen characters

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Anselm

Adventurer
Technically true. I actually just found another issue with the text based on another conversion that was had earlier.

You cannot mix action and bonus actions by the book. That means that technically Press the Attack doesn't actually do anything, because the bonus action would occur after your attacks are over.

So Press the Attack should actually say: "You can take a bonus action to give advantage to all your attacks. Attacks against you are made with advantage. These effects last until the beginning of your next turn"

I will add it to the bug log.
Page 438: "You can declare
your intent for your turn in any order, breaking
up your movement between actions or using your
bonus action first. You can also choose to do abso-
lutely nothing.
Within a single round, you can take an action,
a bonus action, and any free actions during your
turn, and one reaction at any time."

Seems okay to me.
 

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Stalker0

Legend
Page 438: "You can declare
your intent for your turn in any order, breaking
up your movement between actions or using your
bonus action first. You can also choose to do abso-
lutely nothing.
Within a single round, you can take an action,
a bonus action, and any free actions during your
turn, and one reaction at any time."

Seems okay to me.
The issue in Press the Attack is it says "When taking the attack action", which means the bonus action has to occur after the action. And you cannot comingle an action and a bonus action (which is not what the quoted clause allows for).

So for Press the Attack, you declare your attack action (which is 2 attacks lets say).

You then must take your two attacks before doing the bonus action. You can move between attacks because that is specifically called out in the rules as an exception, but you can't just drop in a bonus action between attacks.
 

May I humbly suggest at this point it would be better to wait for the corrected wording before resuming this discussion? Because right now you're parsing words and sentences that will be different when the errata'd edition comes out.
 

Rant

Explorer
May I humbly suggest at this point it would be better to wait for the corrected wording before resuming this discussion? Because right now you're parsing words and sentences that will be different when the errata'd edition comes out.
That makes sense for analysis but raises the question of “what version of this was playtested” by the developers. If it’s getting last minute changes then it’s never been playtested up until now. If not, it begs the question of why the PDFs would contain an “old” version. If the version in the PDFs was playtested and approved then that’s troubling.
 

Stalker0

Legend
May I humbly suggest at this point it would be better to wait for the corrected wording before resuming this discussion? Because right now you're parsing words and sentences that will be different when the errata'd edition comes out.
The issue is that the next version will in theory be the "final" version that goes to print, so its important to bring up every concern with the ability now.

If the designers want to give us another beta of that ability, then I'd be happy to wait and provide feedback later.
 

Rant

Explorer
The issue is that the next version will in theory be the "final" version that goes to print, so its important to bring up every concern with the ability now.

If the designers want to give us another beta of that ability, then I'd be happy to wait and provide feedback later.
I noted before that Press the Attack is extremely problematic as a rule design. It clearly needs playtesting, but that leaves me questioning what the priorities of the original playtest were like, or what shape that even took, that resulted in rules like PTA/FB.

It seems asking for more details on the playtesting is somehow stigmatized, which confuses me since every player/buyer logically would want to know that I would assume.
 

Legendweaver

Explorer
@Rant I've been in professional (video) game development for a good while, and one thing I know is that no matter how much internal testing you do with any game, there are always big, potentially-fatal balance issues - it's just a matter of when they get discovered. This is, in fact, why we get speed runs!

There's lots of reasons for balance issues in published games of all kinds: the iterative nature of game development, the size of the feature matrix, echo-chamber testing, and the inevitable difference in scale between the dev team size and the player pool size, among many many others...

And I am confident that the Level Up folks did a ton of testing using the best methodology they could think of! I am certain many of them consider this a passion project that robbed them of time with their families and deprived them of sleep and that they poured in overtime to make this game as good as possible. I'm sure they felt great about the product they released (and they should - there's some really great stuff in this product) even though they probably figured there'd be some rough edges. And, yeah, they missed some things, too, because every game designer does. Some of those might even seem obvious to us outsiders because we come with fresh perspectives, but also, we lack the context of the original design and all the conversations and playtests that led them to this point, too.

Here's the thing, though - the Level Up developers are engaging with the community. They're collecting surveys about issues, and it seems like there's a real opportunity to work together productively to improve this thing before they seal it in ink and paper. This is a unique chance to contribute productively before the game goes to print. I'm optimistic about the game as it stands, and I'm trying to set my expectations realistically about what they're like to change (or not change), but I also want to seize any chance to improve it, too...even knowing that no matter how carefully I read through text, I'm gonna miss some big issues - and so will everyone else! When we get to the point that there are hundreds or thousands (or more, hopefully) of A5E games running around the world, I bet we'll all look back and wonder why certain issues weren't obvious during development (see contemporary criticisms of O5E balance, for example!!!!) But the more people collaborating toward positive solutions and problem solving, the better chance some of these land and make the game better for everyone who pledge support.

Anyway, for my part, I'm just hoping the developers will take the time as they need right now to listen to our biggest concerns, integrate appropriate changes, test those changes as best they can, and try to make sure the print version of the books are as polished and balanced as possible. I think there's some great stuff in LU that moves the hobby forward, and anything I can do to improve that final product (even at the eleventh hour) seems worth it! I personally think you've brought some great insights to the A5E conversation, but tone matters, and I think a lot of readers tune out when a conversation gets too...thorny. If you, like me, want to see this product improve, I think we need to all view this as a collaboration where we try to solve problems, not just articulate their nuances!

To the rest, sorry for the off-topic tangent...
 

Bunker

Hero
I have a lot of questions myself on exactly how the playtesting worked but there seems to be a lot of resistance to that line of inquiry. We are supposed to be satisfied that everything was “thoroughly playtested” and leave it at that.
There was a massive public playtest over about 18 months with thousands of people involved. Sorry you missed it, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, and very publicly. After the 5E and Pahthinfer 2E playtests, it was the biggest public playtest I've ever seen for a TTRRPG.

As for why your questions aren't being answered by the designers? Gosh, I wonder why that is? I wouldn't respond to you I were them.
 
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There was a massive public playtest over about 18 months with thousands of people involved. Sorry you missed it, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, and very publicly. After the 5E and Pahthinfer 2E playtests, it was the biggest public playtest I've ever seen for a TTRRPG.

As for why your questions aren't being answered by the designers? Gosh, I wonder why that is? I wouldn't respond to you I were them.
There was a playtest of a lot of things, but if Press the Attack and Fall Back were involved, they were very, very low-key. I followed the whole playtest for months, and don't recall them being brought up.
Also, this: "Gosh, I wonder why that is? I wouldn't respond to you if I were them" is rude and totally uncalled for. This is a legitimate inquiry about something that, no matter the angle of examination, appears wildly unbalanced.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
I was hoping they would simply remove press the attack and fall back since these are neither balanced or easy to use. It adds headaches, and meta-game guessing games, not a layer of tactical consideration. The number of fixes to make them work suggests an easier option: Remove press the attack and fall back. These are not a good fit for the game.
Just changing Fall Back so that all instances of Press the Attack do not give advantage and no OAs are triggered on either side may already be enough. Maybe one could add that for any instance of PtA the character Falling Back has to make a further 5ft step back, thus enhancing the intended effect of forcing mobility on the combat (a large gang of goblins trying to push PCs down a cliff could add some very interesting aspects to an otherwise maybe more mundane combat). These fixes are very easy to implement, and probably the design team has already come up with something better. And the intentions behind PtA and FB ARE a good fit for the game, so it's just a matter of finding the right wording.
 

Rant

Explorer
Just changing Fall Back so that all instances of Press the Attack do not give advantage and no OAs are triggered on either side may already be enough. Maybe one could add that for any instance of PtA the character Falling Back has to make a further 5ft step back, thus enhancing the intended effect of forcing mobility on the combat (a large gang of goblins trying to push PCs down a cliff could add some very interesting aspects to an otherwise maybe more mundane combat). These fixes are very easy to implement, and probably the design team has already come up with something better. And the intentions behind PtA and FB ARE a good fit for the game, so it's just a matter of finding the right wording.
The intentions are an issue on fit for the game, though. Consider how Advantage is baked into a number of class features, feats, DM ad hoc judgments, and so on. There are a lot of ways to get advantage in D&D. In the same way there are a lot of ways to get bonus actions in D&D. Level Up adds a universal bonus action and a universal advantage generator. That alone from an intent standpoint is not a good fit.

As for the outcomes, I and others have noted issues on how it shifts the balance of solo fights vs mob fights, how it penalizes casters less with Fall Back than melee characters, and how it adds a built in unique reaction specifically for this rule. That’s all problematic design. And it isn’t needed. A universal advantage generator isn’t needed nor is a universal bonus action. That’s what makes class features, feats, and circumstantial features of the battlefield exciting.
 

Rant

Explorer
There was a playtest of a lot of things, but if Press the Attack and Fall Back were involved, they were very, very low-key. I followed the whole playtest for months, and don't recall them being brought up.
Also, this: "Gosh, I wonder why that is? I wouldn't respond to you if I were them" is rude and totally uncalled for. This is a legitimate inquiry about something that, no matter the angle of examination, appears wildly unbalanced.
Appreciated. Despite this being the time and place for discussions of issues with the game, there’s a very strong resistance to any negative opinions, it seems.

That doesn’t help us analyze the product, though, if the goal is to get only echo chamber responses going. I’ve noted elsewhere I don’t consider Level Up compatible with play alongside D&D characters, and I find press the attack to be more of a troublesome rule that isn’t worth fixing. These aren’t particularly damning criticisms, but posters and moderators take them as “beating a drum” of subversion or something.

Most forums on a product involve discussing what is wrong with something and needs to be fixed. I’m not clear on whether that’s “allowed” based on the tone of responses to criticisms.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
The intentions are an issue on fit for the game, though. Consider how Advantage is baked into a number of class features, feats, DM ad hoc judgments, and so on. There are a lot of ways to get advantage in D&D. In the same way there are a lot of ways to get bonus actions in D&D. Level Up adds a universal bonus action and a universal advantage generator. That alone from an intent standpoint is not a good fit.
Morrus explicitly stated that the intention was forced movement. Then they added the advantage as a penalization if you don't fall back, and folded in Reckless Attack (which makes sense for the barbarian, but is something that anyone should be able to do).
The old Reckless attack is more of an auto-advantage generator than PtA, because it doesn't cost actions at all and has no counters (unless the defender finds a way to grant disadvantage to the attacker).
PtA instead has a counter, that is Fall back, so it's not an auto advantage generator. If the receiver of PtA doesn't fall back, then receives attacks with advantage, but the choice might be beneficial from a tactical positioning standpoint.
As for the outcomes, I and others have noted issues on how it shifts the balance of solo fights vs mob fights, how it penalizes casters less with Fall Back than melee characters, and how it adds a built in unique reaction specifically for this rule. That’s all problematic design. And it isn’t needed. A universal advantage generator isn’t needed nor is a universal bonus action. That’s what makes class features, feats, and circumstantial features of the battlefield exciting.
As I showed above, PtA is not a universal advantage generator, or at least not worse than what Reckless Attack was for the barbarian.
Universal bonus actions exist already in 5e, in the form of offhand attacks, so that argument is invalid. It's funny to read some of your absolutistic ideas of what's needed or not, given you're not the game designer an apparently not even the target audience.

If you don't like PtA and FB, noone is imploring you to use them. Or LU, for that matter. I'd like to use it so I proposed some possible fixes, as many others did. That's the way to criticise something, not repeating ad nauseam to remove something the designers and other players want.
 

Stalker0

Legend
As I showed above, PtA is not a universal advantage generator, or at least not worse than what Reckless Attack was for the barbarian.
Well we do have to respect the scopes here are night and day different.

There is a big difference in "all barbarians get advantage all the time" and "any creature can get advantage whenever they want".


The trick right now seems to be that Fall Back is balanced around a 1 on 1 engagement. Enemy PTAs, defender can choose to FB to negate the bonus, leading to relative equality. This falters though when its many against one, now the aggressor can just pile on advantage to kill a single enemy quicker.

I have to admit that in my thinking about it, I would find it hard not to justify why my horde of monsters doesn't swarm, full PTA, and just overwhelm a group with offense. Or why my party would not just PTA against a single monster. That seems a much more effective strategy than just using regular attacks.
 

Rant

Explorer
@Rant I've been in professional (video) game development for a good while, and one thing I know is that no matter how much internal testing you do with any game, there are always big, potentially-fatal balance issues - it's just a matter of when they get discovered. This is, in fact, why we get speed runs!

There's lots of reasons for balance issues in published games of all kinds: the iterative nature of game development, the size of the feature matrix, echo-chamber testing, and the inevitable difference in scale between the dev team size and the player pool size, among many many others...

And I am confident that the Level Up folks did a ton of testing using the best methodology they could think of! I am certain many of them consider this a passion project that robbed them of time with their families and deprived them of sleep and that they poured in overtime to make this game as good as possible. I'm sure they felt great about the product they released (and they should - there's some really great stuff in this product) even though they probably figured there'd be some rough edges. And, yeah, they missed some things, too, because every game designer does. Some of those might even seem obvious to us outsiders because we come with fresh perspectives, but also, we lack the context of the original design and all the conversations and playtests that led them to this point, too.

Here's the thing, though - the Level Up developers are engaging with the community. They're collecting surveys about issues, and it seems like there's a real opportunity to work together productively to improve this thing before they seal it in ink and paper. This is a unique chance to contribute productively before the game goes to print. I'm optimistic about the game as it stands, and I'm trying to set my expectations realistically about what they're like to change (or not change), but I also want to seize any chance to improve it, too...even knowing that no matter how carefully I read through text, I'm gonna miss some big issues - and so will everyone else! When we get to the point that there are hundreds or thousands (or more, hopefully) of A5E games running around the world, I bet we'll all look back and wonder why certain issues weren't obvious during development (see contemporary criticisms of O5E balance, for example!!!!) But the more people collaborating toward positive solutions and problem solving, the better chance some of these land and make the game better for everyone who pledge support.

Anyway, for my part, I'm just hoping the developers will take the time as they need right now to listen to our biggest concerns, integrate appropriate changes, test those changes as best they can, and try to make sure the print version of the books are as polished and balanced as possible. I think there's some great stuff in LU that moves the hobby forward, and anything I can do to improve that final product (even at the eleventh hour) seems worth it! I personally think you've brought some great insights to the A5E conversation, but tone matters, and I think a lot of readers tune out when a conversation gets too...thorny. If you, like me, want to see this product improve, I think we need to all view this as a collaboration where we try to solve problems, not just articulate their nuances!

To the rest, sorry for the off-topic tangent...
I wanted to see the product improve, which is why I joined the discussion in the first place. I don’t think that the “community feedback” you’re describing is welcome here, however. My “thorny tone” largely comes from taking issues with the product at all and not prefacing each complaint with glowing praise or a redundant note of personal opinion.
I don’t think that sort of contribution towards improvement of the product can or will take place if we aren’t allowed to point out flaws. I don’t feel that we are. I was fairly excited to see the rough edges removed and the final product come out better. Moderators telling you not to disagree gives me a different impression.
We can’t help fix this system if we aren’t allowed to candidly discuss it, warts and all. And it seems that we aren’t. That’s unfortunate.
Cheers, and carry on. I don’t know how to discuss room for improvement without noting things need to be improved, so it might be time to stop trying.
 

Bunker

Hero
I wanted to see the product improve, which is why I joined the discussion in the first place. I don’t think that the “community feedback” you’re describing is welcome here, however. My “thorny tone” largely comes from taking issues with the product at all and not prefacing each complaint with glowing praise or a redundant note of personal opinion.
I don’t think that sort of contribution towards improvement of the product can or will take place if we aren’t allowed to point out flaws. I don’t feel that we are. I was fairly excited to see the rough edges removed and the final product come out better. Moderators telling you not to disagree gives me a different impression.
We can’t help fix this system if we aren’t allowed to candidly discuss it, warts and all. And it seems that we aren’t. That’s unfortunate.
Cheers, and carry on. I don’t know how to discuss room for improvement without noting things need to be improved, so it might be time to stop trying.
That is of course not true. Nobody told you not to disagree. But you know that.
 

I wanted to see the product improve, which is why I joined the discussion in the first place. I don’t think that the “community feedback” you’re describing is welcome here, however. My “thorny tone” largely comes from taking issues with the product at all and not prefacing each complaint with glowing praise or a redundant note of personal opinion.
I don’t think that sort of contribution towards improvement of the product can or will take place if we aren’t allowed to point out flaws. I don’t feel that we are. I was fairly excited to see the rough edges removed and the final product come out better. Moderators telling you not to disagree gives me a different impression.
We can’t help fix this system if we aren’t allowed to candidly discuss it, warts and all. And it seems that we aren’t. That’s unfortunate.
Cheers, and carry on. I don’t know how to discuss room for improvement without noting things need to be improved, so it might be time to stop trying.
There’s really just no convincing you that the way you approach the subject of discussing perceived issues with the game is the issue, not the fact that you perceive issues, is there?

And no mod ever told you not to disagree, stop pretending like you are a victim of censorship. The mod told you to (1) stop beating the same drum every where you go, (2) read the room, and (3) stop arguing when you are called out for annoying near trolling behavior.

But I think you hit the nail on the head with that last sentence. Good luck.
 

Rant

Explorer
That is of course not true. Nobody told you not to disagree. But you know that.
That is not what I “know” at all. I want to be as clear and transparent in this as possible: My impression is that I have been asked to not criticize the rule set and that is the sole reason for moderation.
There’s really just no convincing you that the way you approach the subject of discussing perceived issues with the game is the issue, not the fact that you perceive issues, is there?

And no mod ever told you not to disagree, stop pretending like you are a victim of censorship. The mod told you to (1) stop beating the same drum every where you go, (2) read the room, and (3) stop arguing when you are called out for annoying near trolling behavior.

But I think you hit the nail on the head with that last sentence. Good luck.
If the community cannot distinguish between noting flaws in a rule system and “trolling” then there is absolutely no intent to take community feedback into account to improve the game.
 

If the community cannot distinguish between noting flaws in a rule system and “trolling” then there is absolutely no intent to take community feedback into account to improve the game.
If you can’t distinguish between how the community communicates with one another and your own desires to be heard, maybe you don’t have a place in said community.
 


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