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I took part in my first playtest session for the latest iteration of the D&D Next rules, which have been refined from the earlier "Friends & Family" playtest which I also played a few sessions of.  My character was a female dwarf fighter named Valgard Stonyfist, and the game was DM'ed very capably by Robin Stacey (@greywulf).

This is his write up. Oh, and it was me that picked up the cursed chalice, failed the save, and now has a glowing backpack!

I enjoyed the game, but this was down to the other people I was playing with and the ten foot pole jokes. The D&D Next system has not yet clicked with me. This could be because of the limited options available to my character – #dndnext fighters can hit things very hard and that's about it – or the fact we are playing B2, an old skool dungeon crawl filled with nameless NPCs and monsters, with pregen characters. Sophisticated, story-centric 21st century roleplaying it is not.

I think I need to try out some of the more complex character classes and also run it myself, perhaps using a different adventure to see if it that helps. I felt the same way about 4e too when I first played that so there is every chance these initial impressions will change. I'm also keen to try out 13th Age by way of comparison and see what that D&D variant plays like.

In the meantime, I'm running kb98 through Halls of Undermountain tomorrow using 4e, our first one-on-one game since 2009 when we finished The Banewarrens. Looking forward to it.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
My write up of it is over at Tor.com; in a nutshell, I think Advantage is bloody brilliant.
Jun. 3rd, 2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
Just read it - good write up! I need to play more, and DM the system, to form more of a view. Advantage didn't come up for my PC in our game - and I'm not sure anyone else had it either.

Edited at 2012-06-03 11:31 pm (UTC)
Jun. 3rd, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
I think the "spirit" of Advantage/Disadvantage" is that is should come up frequently, & in response to organic situations, you know? The rules don't explicitly offer all that many situations for it to come up (sneaking is one) but it is a good rule for either offering players a general boost or hampering them (uh, you smash the fountain behind you...water gets everywhere on the floor...uh...okay! It is slippery & the monsters have disadvantage!) or to reward fun roleplaying or improv (like swinging on the chandelier.)
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
Hmmmm, think you could be right. Will see if it comes up more, or if I can gain advantage by my PC's actions next session.
Robin Stacey
Jun. 4th, 2012 09:52 am (UTC)
I have been a bit stingy with granting Advantage so far, partly because the PCs haven't yet done much to get it. The PCs had Advantage after gaining surprise on the Cultists, Symatt's Rogue got it with his 10' pole, and (if I recall correctly) the Elven Wizard had it.

I think that it's going to take a while to get used to D&D Next's combat where improvised and inventive actions are positively encouraged in order to get those all important advantages.

Let's experiment more next session :)
Jun. 4th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
D'oh, don't think I rolled Advantage when we attacked the cultists. I think you're right - we need to try and come up with some more innovative actions to get it ;)
Jun. 4th, 2012 10:39 am (UTC)
Sure & I mean, couldn't hurt to talk about it with your DM & the rest of the group, see how they think it should be interpreted & implemented.
Jun. 4th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
Next vs 13th
I've played 13th Age, and the mechanics for that one are more complex and deeper, but then, it's a MUCH bigger playtest document. I'm watching it and 5E duke it out for the title of "next-gen D&D", and it's an even matchup. There's every chance that 13th Age will get a biggish audience.

Advantage is brilliant, but so is one of the core 13th Age mechanics.
Jun. 4th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Next vs 13th
I'm glad 13th Age is looking promising - a bit of competition should make things more interesting, and it's always good to have a choice.

I need to give 13th Age a try - hopefully one of the guys I know from the tweetups is going to run a playtest game soon over Skype or G+. I've been a fan of Jonathan Tweet's stuff since OTE so am looking forward to seeing what he and Rob Heinsoo come up with.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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