The (Non-)Playtest Experience, or How the Hit Die Mechanic was a Non-Starter

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I think this goes to the heart of the problem - the designers think that they're allowed to redefine D&D's fundamental assumptions.

They don't understand that many D&D fans will not give them license to do that. The game is over 30 years old, and they're trying to pretend that what existing players understand about D&D doesn't matter.

Just as many balked at 4E's retconning and break with the D&D universe as 30 years of understanding had it, the designers think they are free to reinvent the meaning of fundamental D&D conceits, using existing names, and expect people to wear it.

I doubt everyone will, and see another fantasy heartbreaker with the D&D name on the cover in the making.

Wha?

No offense, but many of D&D's fundamental assumptions have been debated and disagreed on since the game's first run. My understanding of what this new edition is going to be is something of a build-your-own-game edition, in which the system is so flexible and DM's are given so many options, that you can't help but give it a try.

If you are going to judge the finished product off of the first round of play-test material and not give the game an honest go, with honest feedback, your's will be one less voice pushing the game in the direction you want to see it go... As much as I'd like to be a cynic and say that it's your tough luck, I sincerely believe that the game is better off with MORE voices, not less.
 

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rounser

First Post
No offense, but many of D&D's fundamental assumptions have been debated and disagreed on since the game's first run
Yes, but if I were to redesign the nature of hit points, I wouldn't call it D&D. I'd call it Rounser's Nextastic Fantasy Heartbreaker, so D&D fans wouldn't look at it and have to relearn fundamental conceits they thought they already knew. D&D already has a common understanding of it's conceits such as hp, healing etc. They may think they get to mess with that, but may be in for another unwelcome surprise from the D&D existing audience.
 

Abstruse

Legend
If one of my players did that to me, he'd no longer be in my group. Not counting that the mentality goes against the entire idea of a playtest. Not counting that the rules are in flux and we're looking at a small part of a rough draft. Not counting that the developers have said that they erred on the side of too much healing and too many HP at this point in development.

That was hands down some of the rudest behavior I've ever seen involving a game. It shows no respect to the DM who put in the time to learn the rules and modules and it shows no respect to the other players. It's a slap in the face, and I wouldn't want anything to do with someone who behaved that way.
 

FireLance

Legend
As much as I'd like to be a cynic and say that it's your tough luck, I sincerely believe that the game is better off with MORE voices, not less.
On the other hand, there are voices that I would be perfectly happy to see NOT having any kind of input into the game. Not because they disagree with me, but because they seem fundamentally opposed to the game's stated objective of inclusiveness. IMO, voices that preach exclusion ought to be excluded.

EDIT: If there was one thing that I would like the posters on this site to do more often, it would be to tell WotC what they want IN the game instead of what they want OUT of the game.
 
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Mallus

Legend
The rule that guarantees full HP recovery after a night's rest has been in place for a long time. It just used to cost gold - 15 gp per CLW wand charge or 50 gp per CLW potion in 3rd, if I remember correctly. So if you want to restore this thing you think is "realism", leave the 4e/ 5e rule exactly as it is, and then add "also, deduct some money."
No, no, no, no, no, no! That's completely different.

There's nothing gamist or suspension-of-disbelief ruining about magic healing potions rolling out of the local clergy like oh so many Cokes from oh so many Coke machines, or healing wands stacked like straws in the straw dispenser at the neighborhood magic mini-mart.

That's simulation! Not at all like healing up unaided after a short interval like countless adventure story protagonists (which is so totally gamist).

edit: as for the OP... I'm sure I have ridiculous friends. I'm equally sure I'm someone's ridiculous friend. But I thank my lucky stars --and garters, excelsior!-- I don't *that kind* of ridiculous friend.
 
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Abstruse

Legend
Yes, but if I were to redesign the nature of hit points, I wouldn't call it D&D. I'd call it Rounser's Nextastic Fantasy Heartbreaker, so D&D fans wouldn't look at it and have to relearn fundamental conceits they thought they already knew. D&D already has a common understanding of it's conceits such as hp, healing etc. They may think they get to mess with that, but may be in for another unwelcome surprise from the D&D existing audience.
Yes, because Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition wasn't the largest selling tabletop RPG for most if not all of the time it's been in print (depending on how many different sources you get your sales figures from) because it wasn't really D&D since HP refreshed daily...
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
...
But as soon as I explain the hit die / healing mechanics, the GURPS GM (who was going to be a PC for the playtest), hands back the character sheet, and says, "I won't play a game where your hit points are LITERALLY guaranteed to be returned to you every night. Period. If this is how the game works, it's a waste of time to even play it. Let's do something else."

And to be honest, I didn't necessarily disagree with him. I was willing to give it a shot in the playtest, but the basic premise of the mechanic hadn't been sitting right with me all week.

Now, in some sense, this was a "knee jerk" reaction on his part, but he also gave a very succinct reason for his opinion--"I get that they want to not force players to be a cleric, but how do you simulate a wilderness survival scenario, or an extended mission scenario using this mechanic?"

I suppose I should report this in the WotC survey, but so far, the sum total of our playtest experience is---"Hit Die Mechanic is a Non-Starter. Not terribly enthused about what we've seen so far. Interest in actually buying product in the future is sinking even further."
I wish there were more people like this.

The hit die mechanic and guaranteed healing is not the biggest red flag I saw in the playtest, and the way the player handled it (i.e. stopping a planned game and not having read the thing beforehand) is a bit extreme and possibly rude depending on the context, but he's right in principle. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. If the game in front of you isn't what you want, don't play it. Even for a playtest.

There's plenty of room for variation in styles, and plenty of mechanical ways to accomplish such variation, but this isn't about that. The mechanic is inappropriate for D&D (at least, that's what this player believes, and justifiably so). Simple as that. Good for him for taking a stand.

***

It's not fundamentally wrong for a player to express such an opinion or to back out of a game if he has an objection. If I tried something stupid, I'd expect my players to call B.S. on it. I count on it. I have used bad mechanics in the past to bad effect, and their frank feedback helps make the game better.
 

innerdude

Legend
Here's the thing, though---despite GURPS being the player in question's "go to" system, he's also played the HELL out of 2e (he has a HUGE 2e library of 25+ books), and very much enjoyed our Pathfinder campaign last year. In fact, he was BY FAR the most enthusiastic player.

In hindsight, we probably should have just plowed ahead with the playtest. But I really didn't feel like trying to GM for someone who was clearly dramatically opposed to one of the system-as-presented core mechanics (besides which, he's my friend).

Look, I realize his "knee jerk" reaction was pretty harsh. But having respondents get all up in arms about "how rude and inconsiderate" the response was, or getting on a high horse about "unfettered nerd rage" and "I'd refuse to allow a player like that play" seems counter-productive.

I'm more wondering at this point if the Hit Dice / healing / rest mechanics have been this controversial or divisive in other groups.
 


rounser

First Post
Yes, because Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition wasn't the largest selling tabletop RPG for most if not all of the time it's been in print (depending on how many different sources you get your sales figures from) because it wasn't really D&D since HP refreshed daily...
If the intention is to repeat 4E's level of acceptance, then this is indeed reminiscent of it.
 

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