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

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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.

I think you misunderstood what I meant... Your idea of fundamental assumptions has NEVER really existed. Ever. Its like the "good-ole days" grandpa and grandma always talk about, but really weren't all that good - it's wishful thinking. Sure, Gary and Dave explained what they thought it all meant, but so did other developers and designers who worked under them and after them; there was no consistency.

I agree that 4th edition was too much of a departure from what I was used to when it came to D&D... but even with how incredibly different it was from what I came to know as D&D, I couldn't deny that the DNA was still there. And there are probably individuals who feel the same way as you do about 3rd edition, and 2nd edition, and 1st edition AD&D - all the way back to the original boxset.

D&D is not just a set of rules or assumptions; it's a living breathing thing, and always has been. If a living breathing thing doesn't grow, it soon dies and whither away. I don't think anyone wants that for our hobby...
 

Dragoslav

First Post
Either way, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If you're just playing one session, there's a good chance the party won't even have to take an extended rest. And if they do, just call it a week instead of 8 hours. There's nothing else in the rules that relies on the "8 hours = full hp" rule as written, so it won't invalidate your experience with the rest of the system.

EDIT: When we ran our playtest, I, the DM, let the players take two back-to-back extended rests up in the hills not far from a cave just so they could get back on their feet and keep playing. If we had actually been "playing," it wouldn't have worked out like that, but since we just wanted to try out the rules and see how they worked in play, a lot of handwaving was to be expected.
 
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Abstruse

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.
He doesn't like one rule in a playtest version of the game - one in which the developers have stated that the erred on the side of caution when it comes to healing and HP in this version of the playtest - so he throws a fit, hands his character sheet in, and refuses to play. That's a slap in the face to you and all the work and expense you went through to learn the rules in order to teach them to the group, learning the module so you could run it, and printing out the materials. It's rude and insulting behavior and I wouldn't tolerate it.

And in fact, I didn't tolerate it when one of my players (who has been a friend of mine for a decade and a half) did it to me when I ran a 4e one-shot as a dream sequence tied into my weekly Pathfinder campaign. I let him storm out, but I confronted him about it afterward. I told him the effort I went into creating characters and an adventure that was fun but still easy for players unfamiliar with the edition. I also took pains to tie the adventure into the campaign story. I told him how I felt about how he acted and he apologized. He hasn't thrown a fit like that again.

As far as healing and HD, I like the way it is now. HD is a great mechanic. It allows for extra non-magical healing similar to 4e's healing surges, but it also doesn't undermine the cleric's role in the party nor does it go too far the way surges did.

And I really like the "get all your HP back at the end of the day" mechanic. Because frankly, it doesn't matter if they get 1HP back per day or all of them. It's going to end up exactly the same at the table. "We go and make camp away from the caves" and "We go back to down and heal up for a fortnight" mean exactly the same in terms of pacing of the game session. It's going to get glossed over either way, so what's the real difference? It's fluff. If you don't like it, change it.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
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."

You and your friend may be jumping the gun a bit. Even Mike Mearls has gone on record as not liking that particular aspect of the Long Rest, and he's the lead designer. He's stated that they only threw it in to this version to see how feedback compares to the previous playtest, when people were complaining of not having enough healing.

Reporting that you agree with him would go a long way to having it removed.
 

Abstruse

Legend
If the intention is to repeat 4E's level of acceptance, then this is indeed reminiscent of it.
Yeah, did you even read the portion of my post you quoted? The bit where Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition outsells every other RPG on the market and the only way you can get Pathfinder higher is by fudging the numbers (Pathfinder Core Rulebook outsells both the Player's Handbook and the Heroes of... series and Rules Compendium from Essentials individually...but only in independent game/hobby stores which use the largest distributor for such locations)? Because the vast majority of gamers do not get on message boards or subreddits or forums or whatever else, only the most passionate minority. Most just get together and play the game. In fact, out of my last three groups (consisting of 17 gamers total over the span of the campaigns), only four of them ever posted on message boards or did anything at all D&D related outside of the game. And three of those also GM'd their own games including one who works for a small game company.
 

rounser

First Post
I think you misunderstood what I meant... Your idea of fundamental assumptions has NEVER really existed. Ever. Its like the "good-ole days" grandpa and grandma always talk about, but really weren't all that good - it's wishful thinking. Sure, Gary and Dave explained what they thought it all meant, but so did other developers and designers who worked under them and after them; there was no consistency.
That's not true. Most people equate hit points with wounding and/or a loss of morale, heroic luck or fatigue. Just because it's somewhat abstract and contentious does not give WOTC carte blanche to decide that the wounding now only kicks in on an unconsciousness blow. This is the same kind of handwavey argument based on reinventing D&D reality used to defend healing surges in 4E. Didn't wash then, doesn't wash now. Many will note that it doesn't match their understanding of what D&D is, and again declare another instance of "not D&D".
 

Agamon

Adventurer
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.

Except that he didn't even try the game, he just poo-pooed it before trying it due to this one rule that must make the game completely unplayable somehow. I'd respect the opinion, too, but I'd have taken the sheet and said, "Okay, see ya next week. Everyone else ready to play?"

Probably anyway. I do my best to not hang out with such closed-minded people.
 

Sir Brennen

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.
I know! It'd be just like if they redefined attack rolls based on THACO or Save vs. Petrification! Change those types of things and you can't call it D&D. Or, if you did, nobody would buy it.

It's just so obviously silly.
 

Abstruse

Legend
That's not true. Most people equate hit points with wounding and/or a loss of morale, heroic luck or fatigue. Just because it's somewhat abstract and contentious does not give WOTC carte blanche to decide that the wounding now only kicks in on an unconsciousness blow. This is the same kind of handwavey argument based on reinventing D&D reality used to defend healing surges in 4E. Didn't wash then, doesn't wash now. Many will note that it doesn't match their understanding of what D&D is, and again declare another instance of "not D&D".
Don't start this argument again. Go dig up your old 1st Edition AD&D Player's Handbook, look up the section where the explain what HP are, and read it. Because you can argue whatever you want for what HP actually mean, but it's been a nebulous concept since the very start of the game.

If you want a wound system, there probably will be one. There's more than enough demand, so I'd highly expect a rules module for that either in the core rulebook or in whatever they do for an advanced combat tactics book.
 

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