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D&D 3E/3.5 The New Playtest: Why return the failed 3e mechanics?

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
Let me preface this by saying that overall I really like the new playtest. But weirdly, they seem to be backsliding into some of the same mistakes that THEY have pointed out as problems in 3e.

First, it looks like BAB is back, but now it's more arbitrary and confusing. Wasn't this one of the cool innovations of 4e, that you didn't have to consult a class-specific chart to figure out your attack bonus? How will this work for multiclassing? A level 4 fighter already has a BAB points higher than a level 4 rogue, which is which is, IIRC, exactly the same as in 3e. (Yes, I know the rogue closes the gap a bit again at 5th, but still.) And magic BAB is a separate scale, so a multiclass fighter/wizard will suck more at both aspects. Isn't this a Bad Thing for bounded accuracy?

Second, I find it hilarious that they take the 3e feat that WOTC people have used as the paradigmatic example of a bad feat, 3e Toughness, and brought it back unchanged. First off, the feat doesn't scale (so it doubles a first-level wizard's HP but is barely noticeable by higher levels). Second, if you want more HP, you should be adding more Con. Third, "Having a lot of HP" is not a Specialty. (I get that this and Jack of All Trades are stand-in specialties, but still.) This is exactly the sort of boring, straight-mechanical-bonus feat that I thought they were getting rid of. (Ditto for Two-Weapon Defense.)

Third, they made a point of saying that clerics would get non-spell heals for the express purposes of cordoning off their healing from other abilities, so that they wouldn't feel restrained to being healbots. But instead, they've STILL got Cure X Wounds (which must be prepared), but now they'll be expected to use all their Channel Divinities to heal as well. (Oh, and clerics now have the weirdest Vancian system I think I've seen. It's like wizards plus sorcerers, but more complex than either.)

And while I'm venting, every PC can now one-shot every other PC at first level, unless the target is a Hill Dwarf fighter and/or has Toughness.

Again, overall I like the playtest, but what's the deal with these weird changes?
 

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Ahnehnois

First Post
Let me preface this by saying that overall I really like the new playtest. But weirdly, they seem to be backsliding into some of the same mistakes that THEY have pointed out as problems in 3e.
Perhaps they noticed that THEY were the only ones who saw these problems, perhaps deliberately in an attempt to distance themselves from the previous edition and the OGL.

First, it looks like BAB is back, but now it's more arbitrary and confusing. Wasn't this one of the cool innovations of 4e, that you didn't have to consult a class-specific chart to figure out your attack bonus?
No.

How will this work for multiclassing?
Good question.

And magic BAB is a separate scale, so a multiclass fighter/wizard will suck more at both aspects. Isn't this a Bad Thing for bounded accuracy?
Could be.

Second, I find it hilarious that they take the 3e feat that WOTC people have used as the paradigmatic example of a bad feat, 3e Toughness, and brought it back unchanged.
That, and a variety of other bad mechanics.

Third, they made a point of saying that clerics would get non-spell heals for the express purposes of cordoning off their healing from other abilities, so that they wouldn't feel restrained to being healbots. But instead, they've STILL got Cure X Wounds (which must be prepared), but now they'll be expected to use all their Channel Divinities to heal as well.
Don't see the problem. All clerics get some healing. Some can choose to get more. Expectations are not WotC's business; that's for the players.

(Oh, and clerics now have the weirdest Vancian system I think I've seen. It's like wizards plus sorcerers, but more complex than either.)
Agreed.

And while I'm venting, every PC can now one-shot every other PC at first level, unless the target is a Hill Dwarf fighter and/or has Toughness.
Thankfully. In what kind of game do you swing an axe and somebody and not have "killing them" as one of the possible outcomes?
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Second, I find it hilarious that they take the 3e feat that WOTC people have used as the paradigmatic example of a bad feat, 3e Toughness, and brought it back unchanged. First off, the feat doesn't scale (so it doubles a first-level wizard's HP but is barely noticeable by higher levels). Second, if you want more HP, you should be adding more Con. Third, "Having a lot of HP" is not a Specialty. (I get that this and Jack of All Trades are stand-in specialties, but still.) This is exactly the sort of boring, straight-mechanical-bonus feat that I thought they were getting rid of. (Ditto for Two-Weapon Defense.)

Notice that you don't just get hit points. You get a hit die. That will benefit the character for healing purposes too.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And while I'm venting, every PC can now one-shot every other PC at first level, unless the target is a Hill Dwarf fighter and/or has Toughness.

Here's the thing - power is like salt. It is easy to add to a concoction, but generally difficult to take it away.

"First level characters are too weak!" has a simple solution - start at a higher level, no rules changes required.

"First Level characters are too tough!" has no simple solution.

Thus, if they want to cater to folks that like a breadth of character power, having starting characters be weak is a better choice.
 
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Shroomy

Adventurer
It's not really 3e BAB - it's a combination of a BAB-like mechanic and weapon proficiency bonus (at least for the weapon version). The D&D Next Toughness feat, while kind of bland IMO as feats go, is more effective than both the 3e and 4e version since it also grants you an additional hit dice (plus is stacks). And clerics do have a non-spell version of healing - channel divinity -as you point out; whether or not players expect you to only use it for healing is really a decision made by the player and his group, not the system. Personally, I don't see that much difference between it and 4e's healing word.
 

chriton227

First Post
Thus, if they want to cater to folks that like a breadth of character power, having starting characters be weak is a better choice.

My problem with it isn't that they are weak, it is that they are powerful but fragile. Starting 5e characters are glass cannons. 5e primarily uses the "survivability" dial to lower the power level of a starting character; I would have rather seen a more even combination of the "survivability" and "offensive capability" dials. I don't think they are quite as bad as the 3e starting characters that could be slaughtered by housecats, but two of the pregens can be dropped by a single lucky hit from a kobold's sling which counts as pretty fragile in my book.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
My problem with it isn't that they are weak, it is that they are powerful but fragile. Starting 5e characters are glass cannons. 5e primarily uses the "survivability" dial to lower the power level of a starting character; I would have rather seen a more even combination of the "survivability" and "offensive capability" dials. I don't think they are quite as bad as the 3e starting characters that could be slaughtered by housecats, but two of the pregens can be dropped by a single lucky hit from a kobold's sling which counts as pretty fragile in my book.

Like Umbran points out, issues like this are easy to adjust above the baseline. Give every character 5 extra hit points, or 10.
 

Magil

First Post
Speaking of failed mechanics from 3E returning, is there something I am missing, or is there not much reason to play a fighter over a war domain cleric?

I mean, the expertise thing is kind of nice, but generally it looks too weak and limited to me (Cleave is the only one I like very much, but that's only a single, inflexible build). Now, divine favor, a 1st-level cleric spell, can give the cleric +2 to attacks and checks for a whole encounter pretty much! Incidentally, the one thing that might swing it the other way, casting it on the fighter, doesn't work, because it's self-only. Oh, and you get to make an attack as part of casting it.

The war domain cleric also gets all of the same 1-handed weapons as the fighter, and all of the same armor proficiencies and a shield. It's slightly more fragile HP-wise, but you have healing to compensate. Did I mention the cleric actually has as many spells prepared per day as the wizard? It's deceptive, but the way the domain entry is worded, you get those spells on top of your others. So you don't get to choose one of them, but you still have pretty good flexibility due to how cleric casting works (prepare spells and then cast any combination of them, no need to learn spells ever).

The fighter may have slightly more raw damage than a cleric without its spells, but that's it. I can't imagine why I'd want to play a fighter over a war domain cleric. I'm dreading the return of the CoDzilla, and it's starting to look like it may happen again.
 

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
What baffles me a bit is that pcs have very high damage and low hp, and that they've therefore lowered monster damage to make up for it (like the comparison everyone ha made between the pf and 5e troll). Wouldn't it make more sense to increase monster damage and keep the hp levels higher, so if the wizard gets pissed off (or charmed) he can't murder the entire party with one Burning Hands?
 

BobTheNob

First Post
... And magic BAB is a separate scale, so a multiclass fighter/wizard will suck more at both aspects. Isn't this a Bad Thing for bounded accuracy?
...

On a related note, Im a bit concerned about multiclassing. I know they want to "get the basics" right first, but as far as I am concerned, multiclassing IS part of the basics, and as has been observed here there are some facets of design that are counter-intuitive to making it work (at least, by comparison against past multiclassing approachs).

Thing is with any system design you have to nail fundamentals early and you have to have a clear idea of what you fundamentals are. If you dont do this, they will never work, and for my 2c, multi-classing IS a fundamental requirement of D&D.
 



Greg K

Adventurer
L
First, it looks like BAB is back, but now it's more arbitrary and confusing. Wasn't this one of the cool innovations of 4e, that you didn't have to consult a class-specific chart to figure out your attack bonus?

No! While I like several things about 4e and want to see (3e is still, conditionally, my favorite) I disliked its single level bonus replacement for different class BABs.

Third, they made a point of saying that clerics would get non-spell heals for the express purposes of cordoning off their healing from other abilities, so that they wouldn't feel restrained to being healbots. But instead, they've STILL got Cure X Wounds (which must be prepared), but now they'll be expected to use all their Channel Divinities to heal as well.
Personally, I am not a fan of the change on channel divinity. It is one of several strikes against Next for me at the moment. My opinion may change depending upon modules.
 

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
[MENTION=6672353]Magil[/MENTION], I personally don't see that as a huge issue. Remember the fighter's BAB is higher to begin with, and Parry can reduce more damage in one combat than a cleric could heal in a day.
 

Victim

First Post
Speaking of failed mechanics from 3E returning, is there something I am missing, or is there not much reason to play a fighter over a war domain cleric?

I mean, the expertise thing is kind of nice, but generally it looks too weak and limited to me (Cleave is the only one I like very much, but that's only a single, inflexible build). Now, divine favor, a 1st-level cleric spell, can give the cleric +2 to attacks and checks for a whole encounter pretty much! Incidentally, the one thing that might swing it the other way, casting it on the fighter, doesn't work, because it's self-only. Oh, and you get to make an attack as part of casting it.

The war domain cleric also gets all of the same 1-handed weapons as the fighter, and all of the same armor proficiencies and a shield. It's slightly more fragile HP-wise, but you have healing to compensate. Did I mention the cleric actually has as many spells prepared per day as the wizard? It's deceptive, but the way the domain entry is worded, you get those spells on top of your others. So you don't get to choose one of them, but you still have pretty good flexibility due to how cleric casting works (prepare spells and then cast any combination of them, no need to learn spells ever).

The fighter may have slightly more raw damage than a cleric without its spells, but that's it. I can't imagine why I'd want to play a fighter over a war domain cleric. I'm dreading the return of the CoDzilla, and it's starting to look like it may happen again.


As for CoDzilla, a lot depends on the scaling of various factors. Up to level 5, the fighter starts with +1 attack on the cleric and d6 CS, and grows to +2 and 2d8 CS. If the battle cleric is stuck on +2 attack (for physical and magical) the whole time, while the fighter is growing his attack every 4th level and scaling both the number and size of his CS dice, it might be tough for the cleric to keep up in fighting even with buffs.

Especially since we already see some negative buff interactions. Prayer doesn't work if the targets are Blessed. Battle Psalm ends if you cast another spell. Stacking up all the spells doesn't look like it's going to work so well - based on what we see so far. So if there are other good self buffs that work in conjunction with each other or the spells we have, then there's a problem. If it's basically "Pick one of your DF, Righteous Might, or DP" or something like that, then it's not

But it's really hard to predict high level scaling with what we have so far. I don't think you could really call out CoDzilla by only seeing level 3 spells in 3.5 either. Although Druid would look like a problem from low levels.
 

Magil

First Post
@Magil , I personally don't see that as a huge issue. Remember the fighter's BAB is higher to begin with, and Parry can reduce more damage in one combat than a cleric could heal in a day.

It can--in theory, if the enemies attack mostly/only the fighter, the fighter doesn't use your expertise dice for other things, and the fighter rolls well. The cleric can heal anybody, not just themselves. And while the fighter starts off more accurate, the cleric is actually more accurate with the divine favor buff for levels 1-3 (equal at levels 4-5). The cleric gets to skip the "rolling" part for healing once they reach level 3 if they took the healer specialty (and I'd take either that or guardian, depending on whether or not there was another healer in the group).

Sure, it may look kind of equal, but I see the fact that the cleric can spend spells to basically become equivalent to the fighter as alarming. It didn't immediately look alarming in 3rd edition either, and look what happened there.

So yeah, I still can't see a reason to play a fighter over a cleric.

@Victim : The problem I see is that Divine Favor basically removes the scaling difference at levels 1-5, and I don't think the cleric's attack bonus/save DC will never scale at all. If it never scales at all, well, that's kind of sad, isn't it? Anyways, those buffs aren't as limited as you think--prayer doesn't stack with bless, but it does stack with divine favor. Battle psalm ends if you cast another spell, but channel divinity and weapon attacks are fine. The cleric actually gets a 2nd use of channel divinity before the fighter gets a 2nd CS die.

True, calling "CoDzilla" may be premature, but I still think the war domain cleric as written is almost strictly superior to the fighter in a general sense.
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
Speaking of failed mechanics from 3E returning, is there something I am missing, or is there not much reason to play a fighter over a war domain cleric?

I mean, the expertise thing is kind of nice, but generally it looks too weak and limited to me (Cleave is the only one I like very much, but that's only a single, inflexible build). Now, divine favor, a 1st-level cleric spell, can give the cleric +2 to attacks and checks for a whole encounter pretty much! Incidentally, the one thing that might swing it the other way, casting it on the fighter, doesn't work, because it's self-only. Oh, and you get to make an attack as part of casting it.

The war domain cleric also gets all of the same 1-handed weapons as the fighter, and all of the same armor proficiencies and a shield. It's slightly more fragile HP-wise, but you have healing to compensate. Did I mention the cleric actually has as many spells prepared per day as the wizard? It's deceptive, but the way the domain entry is worded, you get those spells on top of your others. So you don't get to choose one of them, but you still have pretty good flexibility due to how cleric casting works (prepare spells and then cast any combination of them, no need to learn spells ever).

The fighter may have slightly more raw damage than a cleric without its spells, but that's it. I can't imagine why I'd want to play a fighter over a war domain cleric. I'm dreading the return of the CoDzilla, and it's starting to look like it may happen again.

While I agree that Divine Favor may be a little too strong right now, as is, it is limited by the clerics number of 1st level spells, ie 2 to 3, it competes with cure spells and other 1st level spells, it only adds to accuracy, meaning that, when the cleric casts it, he matches the fighter in accuracy, but still falls behind in damage, as well as the flexibility of the fighters other combat maneuvers.

The change I noticed about Divine Favor is that it also affects ability and skill checks. That's pretty awesome.

EDIT: it's never going to happen, but I kind of wish they would re-incentivize the battle cleric to use the mace, rather than the sword and battle axe.
 
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Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I'm a bit disappointed to see straight attack bonuses by class. Personally, I'd much prefer to see weapon proficiency bonuses that worked like a mix of the ones in 4E and the D&D Next skills.

Thus, proficiency in swords would grant me a +3 bonus when using any type of sword. At set points, I could improve my sword proficiency to a maximum of +7.
 

drothgery

First Post
No! While I like several things about 4e and want to see (3e is still, conditionally, my favorite) I disliked its single level bonus replacement for different class BABs.
The problem with 3e-style progressions is that the gap between fighter BAB and rogue BAB (let alone wizard BAB) keeps getting bigger as you go up in level. So anything the fighter has a non-trivial chance of missing at 15th level is almost impossible for the rogue or un-buffed cleric to hit at all, and if the wizard's not shooting a ray at something with a bad touch AC he might as well not bother rolling an attack without casting true strike first.
 

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