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May 24th, 2012

First impressions: #dndnext

After a fair bit of faffing around, I managed to download the D&D Next playtest stuff this evening, and am pleased to say it was worth the wait, having had a quick read through of the nine documents included in the pack.

Having played in several of closed playtest games, it's good to see that the rules set has improved considerably based on feedback received, and things like when to roll an ability check and when to handwave it now make much more sense than previously.

I liked themes and backgrounds in the original playtest and we can see some of these here in the five pregen characters, giving an indication of how two PCs from the same class can be quite different from each other. The mechanic for advantage and disadvantage, rolling 2d20 and taking the best roll (advantage) or the worst roll (disadvantage) is neat – I need to see it in play but it should work well – and the new rules for healing and resting seem much improved, with spending hit dice to heal during a short rest reminiscent of 4e's healing surges. I like the new rules for dying too – three death saves made and you stabilize, as opposed to 4e's three strikes and you're out, and the "hovering at death's door" rules in previous editions.

So, so far, so good. I'm looking forward to running Caves of Chaos for either or both sets of Parsantium players. Anyone brought up on the balanced encounters of 3.x or 4e is sure to enjoy blundering into a chamber populated by "up to 40" kobolds ;)

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