D&D 5E Q&A 10/17/13 - Crits, Damage on Miss, Wildshape

Ratskinner

Adventurer
I still think we need to move further away from stat-stealing when shapeshifting. There need to be some specific abilities, bonuses and limitations that go with various "forms" of course, but on the whole it feels like now instead of simply ripping off full0blown monster stats, we're ripping off half-arsed monster stats.

Why can't wildshape be as simple as "Flight form: you take on the form of a bird of your choice within one size category of you, you gain flight at your speed, +2 dex, but -2 Str."
-There, now I can turn into just about any bird.

Having entirely separate stat blocks always felt unwieldy.

I've been feeling for a while now that wildshape should be a suite of spells rather than the unwieldy universal imbalancer that seems to be its native form. For example:

Flight of the Bird You and your equipment take the form of a small or medium bird species with which you are familiar. You take flight and remain in this form until you land, and then revert to your normal form. With the exception of gaining Flight <X>, your other statistics are not affected.

But, y'know, that's just me.
 

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urLordy

First Post
Mmm, it sounds to me like the druid is using a fly spell. I agree with any mechanic that is balanced AND reinforces the story of a druid in bird form.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
My two coppers...

A. How Crits Interact with Sneak Attack and Smite
I like the maximized dice mechanic for crits, and I don't have a problem with a critical hit maximizing all of the sneak attack or smite dice. The extra die of damage seems unnecessary, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.


B. How Damage on a Miss Works
I don't care what they call it or how they explain it. I hate this with the burning fury of a supernova. They need to get rid of this, and quickly.

"I used to be an adventurer like you. And then an arrow skillfully and forcefully missed my knee." Pbbbth.

C. How Wild Shape Works
Creating a list of valid and invalid animals is a work-around, not a soluton. It will do for playtesting purposes, but that won't pass muster for the final version. Keep working on it, fellas.
 
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Ratskinner

Adventurer
Mmm, it sounds to me like the druid is using a fly spell. I agree with any mechanic that is balanced AND reinforces the story of a druid in bird form.

Theoretically, you could describe all the spells in an "effects based" manner, and just let the various classes or even individual characters re-flavor\re-skin what happens in the world. So Fly might be a third-level magical effect. A Druid performs it by turning into a bird, a wizard by animating a broom or carpet, a sorcerer by...I dunno, rocketing up a column of flame or ice? Fireball would actually be Blast a third level attack power (or maybe the third level variant of the Blast power). Wizards and Sorcerers make it Fireball because they can add the <fire> tag to such damage. Druids maybe add some kind of hindering tag and make it Entangle or something (or maybe just animated plants smack you?).

That might get a little tricky with some corner-case spells, but the more I think about it...the more sense it makes.

...and some people freak out about this kind of thing, grumpily muttering words like "dissociated".
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
C. How Wild Shape Works
Creating a list of valid and invalid animals is a work-around, not a soluton. It will do for playtesting purposes, but that won't pass muster for the final version. Keep working on it, fellas.

Why? Why won't it pass muster for a final version? Seems like it's the kind of rule that can work well for the entire long life of an edition.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Why? Why won't it pass muster for a final version? Seems like it's the kind of rule that can work well for the entire long life of an edition.
It seems heavy-handed and overly restrictive, that's all. I mean, if a player wants her druid to wildshape into a squirrel, I'm sure that she has her reasons for doing so...maybe she wants to climb a tree to spy on a party of orcs, or maybe she needs to carry a magic acorn through a tunnel, or something. Maybe she is just trying to hide.

Wildshape doesn't always have to be about combat or hit points, but a list might force it to be.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
It seems heavy-handed and overly restrictive, that's all. I mean, if a player wants her druid to wildshape into a squirrel, I'm sure that she has her reasons for doing so...maybe she wants to climb a tree to spy on a party of orcs, or maybe she needs to carry a magic acorn through a tunnel, or something. Maybe she is just trying to hide.

Wildshape doesn't always have to be about combat or hit points, but a list might force it to be.

Uh...the whole entire list for the basic Druid wildshape ability is non-combat in nature. You can transform into a bat, a cat, a deer, a dog, a fish, a hawk, a horse, an owl, a raven, a snake, a toad, or a weasel (and that's the whole list). I am sure if you want to turn into a squirrel instead of a weasel, you're DM won't mind. But, none of that is about combat or hit points...it's all non-combat focused on the very thing you want, the ability to do things like climb a tree to spy on a party of orcs, or carry a magic acorn through a tunnel.
 
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TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Theoretically, you could describe all the spells in an "effects based" manner, and just let the various classes or even individual characters re-flavor\re-skin what happens in the world. So Fly might be a third-level magical effect. A Druid performs it by turning into a bird, a wizard by animating a broom or carpet, a sorcerer by...I dunno, rocketing up a column of flame or ice? Fireball would actually be Blast a third level attack power (or maybe the third level variant of the Blast power). Wizards and Sorcerers make it Fireball because they can add the <fire> tag to such damage. Druids maybe add some kind of hindering tag and make it Entangle or something (or maybe just animated plants smack you?).

That might get a little tricky with some corner-case spells, but the more I think about it...the more sense it makes.

...and some people freak out about this kind of thing, grumpily muttering words like "dissociated".
Nah, we've already had people say that area-blasts with the fire keyword don't set things on fire because there's no burning rules in the spell. I don't think the community is ready for that level of freeform. :)
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Uh...the whole entire list for the basic Druid wildshape ability is non-combat in nature. You can transform into a bat, a cat, a deer, a dog, a fish, a hawk, a horse, an owl, a raven, a snake, a toad, or a weasel (and that's the whole list). I am sure if you want to turn into a squirrel instead of a weasel, you're DM won't mind. But, none of that is about combat or hit points...it's all non-combat focused on the very thing you want, the ability to do things like climb a tree to spy on a party of orcs, or carry a magic acorn through a tunnel.
I guess I interpreted the article differently. The author talked about wanting "to make sure the new form was a nice pool of hit points", for example, and "statistics and capabilities that they want to see in player hands."

But anyway. The point I was trying to make: I hope that the final version of the wildshape ability will be balanced so that a druid can wildshape into any animal and not break the game. That should be their goal, IMO...not a list of valid and invalid animals.
 

urLordy

First Post
Theoretically, you could describe all the spells in an "effects based" manner, and just let the various classes or even individual characters re-flavor\re-skin what happens in the world. So Fly might be a third-level magical effect. A Druid performs it by turning into a bird, a wizard by animating a broom or carpet, a sorcerer by...I dunno, rocketing up a column of flame or ice? Fireball would actually be Blast a third level attack power (or maybe the third level variant of the Blast power). Wizards and Sorcerers make it Fireball because they can add the <fire> tag to such damage. Druids maybe add some kind of hindering tag and make it Entangle or something (or maybe just animated plants smack you?).

That might get a little tricky with some corner-case spells, but the more I think about it...the more sense it makes.

...and some people freak out about this kind of thing, grumpily muttering words like "dissociated".
I get that. The absence of rules for a bird form would imply to many gamers that the design philosophy doesn't know, doesn't care, or doesn't feel it's worth it (too complex or whatever) to use rules to describe a druid in bird shape. Like rules for basketweaving, who cares? If D&D was a game where flying druids only flew from A to B and didn't interact with the gameworld as a bird, I'd agree with it. But I would want to know as a player what my druid could do as a bird. And if possible, I'd like it to be somewhat consistent and predictable so the DM and I have a shared understanding of what could happen. Nothing profound here, just reiterating why I like some level of sim in D&D.
Nah, we've already had people say that area-blasts with the fire keyword don't set things on fire because there's no burning rules in the spell. I don't think the community is ready for that level of freeform. :)
They're not. There is this deep seated belief, for better or worse, that if there aren't any rules for a piece of world-building, then that piece of world-building doesn't matter, or doesn't exist. I think this is true ever since each edition of D&D clarified more and more about simulating a D&D setting, as if there was a continuous demand since 1e to know more what is 'true' in the game setting.
 

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