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The cap only applies to PCs (and in theory most small/medium sized humanoid races). I LOVE the cap on ability scores. I like that they say that the normal human maximum for an attribute is 18 (though they allow for adventurers to go up to 20). This keeps the game in the realm of a fantasy game, and makes the game feel a bit less like a super heroes game in a fantasy setting, which is what pathfinder and 4e feel like to me (especially at higher levels). As soon as attributes start going over 18-20 the game begins to feel more like a super heroes rpg and less like a fantasy rpg.
Here here! The one player that I have that has been "on the fence" about this edition, this is one of their major gripes. Another is the "only 20's crit" and don't get me started on the skills. The "go-to" class he said he'd play is the Fighter, purely because of the one option given in the pdf.
I read all the playtest rules, but I didn't do the surveys. I still feel like I got everything I wanted. I've been DMing Rise of the Runelords for the past year using PF, and I just started to get burned out around level 8. I found myself doing more math and less exploration of the narrative elements of the game and at the table we were spending more and more time talking about rules elements and what character/monster could or couldn't do.
This.....1,000 times this. I've enjoyed 3.x/Pathfinder. But this has been how I've been feeling myself lately. The line in bold has been what 60% of our time gaming has been lately. And because of that, the fun is starting to fade on me.
I ran the box for my group last Saturday and there were only three of them playing (one player....it's a long story; not the place to go into it). They cleared out the goblin cave and will be in the town this Saturday.
After playing through the first cave, there's nothing I'm not liking about this system. Two of my players are digging it and the third is on the fence still. I can tell he's still having a hard time accepting how skills are done. He's not going to like magic items any more.
Before it gets asked, this is how it was explained in the box - some magic items need you to be "attuned" to them before you can use them. And you can only be attuned to 3 such magic items at any time. They also give how Gauntlets of Giant Strength work - If your strength is less than 19, it becomes 19. Otherwise, it does nothing for you.
So far...I'm liking everything about this system. After seeing magic in action, I'm starting to like it a bit more. Still ambivalent, but I'm starting to like it.