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D&D General Ready for playtest: a "5E-lite" retroclone


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Proficiencies measure your character’s talent at various tasks that they might attempt. Each Proficiency is represented by a proficiency die which ranges from d4 to d12, limited by your character class and level. In addition to the proficiency die itself, each of your proficiencies has a proficiency level and a static value, called a Defensive value (DV) associated with it. Note that Defensive Value (DV) and Diculty Value (DV) have the same abbreviation; this is intentional, as a skill’s Defensive Value is the Diculty Value for any proficiency roll made against you that could be reasonably defended by that skill.
Your proficiency level is based on your associated proficiency die: a d4 is proficiency level 2, a d6 is proficiency level 3, a d8 is proficiency level 4, a d10 is proficiency level 5, a d12 is proficiency level 6. There is no proficiency level 1; as soon as you gain a new proficiency, it starts at +d4.


So I’ve read this block a few times, and I think this is an example of how it’s heavier than just regular 5e. You have an escalating die that has a level and a value and then an abbreviation that has two separate names. It’s just very convoluted. It’s begging for at least an example of play to explain what you mean.
Anyway! I completely removed the idea of "proficiency level" as separate from "proficiency die", and moved "defensive value" to the saving throw section (since only saving throw skills really care about it), so now the first paragraph just reads:


Proficiencies measure your character’s talent at various tasks that they might attempt. Each Proficiency is represented by a proficiency die which ranges from d4 to d12, limited by your character class and level. As soon as you gain a new proficiency, it starts at +d4.

And then later, when describing Saving Throws, we have:
Saving throw skills also have a defensive value, also called a Skill DV. It is equal to 10 + your associated Ability modifier + half your Proficiency die size. The DV for each of your saving throw skills will be referenced often, so noting each one directly on your character sheet next to its Proficiency die is advisable.
 
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I think the spell section needs some work. I like that you’re trying to simplify the language but having the ranges and numerical mechanics in the text makes it hard to look quickly and figure out what you need. Also not totally sure I get the cantrip piece of each spell. Again, I would go back to “what is this trying to do that benefits the game?”

On cantrips:

Cantrips - at wizard level 2, you learn to pull minor acts of magic from your prepared spells without expending them. Each arcane spell that you prepare has a cantrip effect, which you may perform at-will so long as the main spell remains prepared.

So, if you prepare Disintegrate, then you have the Magic Missile cantrip while Disintegrate remains prepared. If you prepare Forceful Hand, then you have the Mage Hand cantrip while Forceful Hand is prepared. Think of each cantrip as a "powered-down" version of the main spell, which you can cast at-will without "burning up" the main spell's energy.

It's really that simple!
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
On cantrips:



So, if you prepare Disintegrate, then you have the Magic Missile cantrip while Disintegrate remains prepared. If you prepare Forceful Hand, then you have the Mage Hand cantrip while Forceful Hand is prepared. Think of each cantrip as a "powered-down" version of the main spell, which you can cast at-will without "burning up" the main spell's energy.

It's really that simple!

On cantrips:



So, if you prepare Disintegrate, then you have the Magic Missile cantrip while Disintegrate remains prepared. If you prepare Forceful Hand, then you have the Mage Hand cantrip while Forceful Hand is prepared. Think of each cantrip as a "powered-down" version of the main spell, which you can cast at-will without "burning up" the main spell's energy.

It's really that simple!
Okay, interesting way of linking them together. Can I suggest that figuring out the number of spells a wizard has per day is probably better served by the table than having to calculate it. This also creates a pretty flat progression but that’s probably what you’re seeking.

I also took a look at one of the spells: Fireball. So it looks like the caster now doesn’t get the spell until much later - 9th level. They also have to go back to the front of the document to figure out the damage, which is their proficiency die — I think this is 6d12 fire damage? Where on the character sheet would I look to see what my current proficiency die is? Also, how do I calculate the blast area? It says Blast 4 Area Magic Attack. I’m not sure where you get that info. The closest I can find is Designing a spell but even that’s not clear what the blast radius would be. If I count four down on the table for blast, it says 20 feet. But you’ve made paces your standard for measurement.

Why not have that information with the spell? Having it elsewhere forces a player and a DM to constantly be shuttling back and forth in the document to find the answer.

Finally, why use paces? That may make sense for a theater of the mind (assuming you don’t get into argument about what is a pace) but it doesn’t help if you’re using a gridded map. How many paces is a square on a map?

It’s one spell but it’s introduced a whole slew of questions that’ll come up in play.
 
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Okay, interesting way of linking them together. Can I suggest that figuring out the number of spells a wizard has per day is probably better served by the table than having to calculate it. This also creates a pretty flat progression but that’s probably what you’re seeking.

I also took a look at one of the spells: Fireball. So it looks like the caster now doesn’t get the spell until much later - 9th level. They also have to go back to the front of the document to figure out the damage, which is their proficiency die — I think this is 6d12 fire damage? Where on the character sheet would I look to see what my current proficiency die is? Also, how do I calculate the blast area? It says Blast 4 Area Magic Attack. I’m not sure where you get that info. The closest I can find is Designing a spell but even that’s not clear what the blast radius would be. If I count four down on the table for blast, it says 20 feet. But you’ve made paces your standard for measurement.

Why not have that information with the spell? Having it elsewhere forces a player and a DM to constantly be shuttling back and forth in the document to find the answer.

Finally, why use paces? That may make sense for a theater of the mind (assuming you don’t get into argument about what is a pace) but it doesn’t help if you’re using a gridded map. How many paces is a square on a map?

It’s one spell but it’s introduced a whole slew of questions that’ll come up in play.

Performing Magic
Each spell or miracle describes how it is cast. During an encounter, most magics require your action to perform, while a few can be performed with your reaction. Some magics require that you touch a target, while others have a range listed in five-foot paces.

I thought I had "five-foot paces" in more places in the document, but it looks like an editing mishap deleted them a while ago. I'll add them back.

Regarding "Where on the character sheet would I look to see what my current proficiency die is?", here's an example of a filled-out character sheet:
 

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TiQuinn

Registered User
I thought I had "five-foot paces" in more places in the document, but it looks like an editing mishap deleted them a while ago. I'll add them back.
Can I suggest just making things in feet? Like 5e? It’s not going to interfere with any of your stated goals and just reduces a point of friction for players.
 


TiQuinn

Registered User
Regarding "Where on the character sheet would I look to see what my current proficiency die is?", here's an example of a filled-out character sheet
I saw that but it’s not clear what the prof. die is unless I’m just blind. Is it the attack die? If it is, how would I know to equate that to prof. die?
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
The thing is, I really fell in love w 4e's default assumption of the 5-foot grid.
But even they didn’t use paces.

I know this sounds like hen pecking. My ultimate point is you might want to consider the complexity here. It makes sense to you as the author by virtue of the fact that you’ve spent hours thinking about it and it’s very easy to grasp the model you created.

For me, new to the system, it’s 5e-like but then you start to read the details and all of a sudden it gets very confusing. You want to approach this as someone coming into the game fresh.
 

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