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Been playing this. Game is really good. My only complaint is lack of a storage chest (and I could use a better inventory management system in general), but I'm definitely impressed with the vastness of the world, the difficulty of the big choices you need to make, and the smoothness of the gameplay. (Compared to the previous games, which I enjoyed, but figuring out the combat/levelling system was something of a chore.)

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Damon Griffin wrote:
Stein's speech to Eddie: "You're the only one here who has a choice" was patently ridiculous. Sure, Eddie had a unique advantage over Eobard, but the whole point of the episode was that they all had choices, most notably Barry.

I read it as, "Thawne masterminded all of this, specifically manipulating the Flash, and choosing intelligent capable scientsists (Cisco, Caitlyn, Ronnie) whom he could control. But you weren't part of his plans."

Basically, Eddie ended up a part of all of this by chance - it isn't that he is the only one with choice in the matter, but the only one whom Thawne never counted on being part of it. Hence, he's the wild card.

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Te'Shen wrote:
I... I don't really like Iris. She's just so self absorbed and whiny that I have a hard time viewing her as a love interest for anybody. I don't dislike her to the same level as I dislike Laurel in Arrow, but still... I just can't like her, even though it seems obvious that the writers favor the Barry-Iris pairing.

I've liked her at times, but her reporter-ish tendencies seem to come across as awfully selfish:


The Flash: Please don't write a blog about me. That could put me - and you - in great danger.
Iris: People deserve to know the truth!


Fellow Reporter: Hey, weird stuff is going on at Star Labs. You have a bunch of friends there, right? You should totally abuse their trust by mining them for information.
Iris: Good idea! Hey, Caitlin - you consider us friends, right? Do you mind me digging into your supposedly dead ex-fiancee and other weird happenings with your boss and your coworkers?
Caitlin: I'd really appreciate it if you didn't.
Iris: People deserve to know the truth!


Iris: Barry, how dare you not tell me that you were the Flash! You don't have the right to keep that a secret, not from me! I don't care if you thought it was keeping me safe, I deserve to make my own decisions! I don't care that this is a deeply personal and traumatic secret element of your life - I have a right to know the truth!


Basically, I get that being a truth-seeker is one of her character traits. But it seems she doesn't even hesitate, even when she is digging into the secrets of friends and family.

And this last episode was really the worst. She acted so upset over not having been told, but Barry was not under *any* obligation to tell her. She goes on and on about deserving to make her own decisions - but completely ignores that this wasn't ever about her. This isn't something that happened to her, it is something that happened to Barry, and who he shares it with - and why - should be his decision to make.

I could accept her being disappointed that she wasn't told about it. But her righteous anger came off as a really unpleasant aspect of her character - especially in the middle of everything else the group was dealing with.

Rynjin wrote:
I have a hard time figuring out how the League is any sort of threat when Laurel ("I take boxing lessons 2 times a week. I'm a superhero!") And f##$ing FELICITY of all people can take one or several of them down.

Felicity didn't take any of them down. (She thought she did, which was played for a laugh.) Meanwhile, they've done a decent job with Laurel in having her feel less competent than most other team members... but I agree that she felt a little too capable here. Though she did ultimately look like she was being bested, until Merlyn came to her aid.

But yes, the fact that dozens and dozens of league assassins get taken out every time they encounter Team Arrow doesn't say much for their capability. Still, its basically the 'inverse ninja law', which is a time-honored comic's cliche. Or in other words, the league's rank and file are cannon fodder, but their leaders and named members are the actual world-class assassins.

Lord Fyre wrote:

Doubtful. Jiaying's personality did not change.

After being tortured by Whitehall, she fears all humans. When Commander Gonzoles/Agent Skye/Dr. Zabo talked about the Index, it hit on her fears of Inhumans being persecuted. Watch the actions and dialog of "the Real S.H.I.E.L.D.", and Agent May, and you will see just how valid her fear is.

So, her reaction to S.H.I.E.L.D. may be extreme, but I can see where she is coming from.

Yeah, that was the part I was most impressed by. The scene took me by surprise... but the more I thought about it, the more understandable it was.


The other big thing to realize - her people have lived peacefully, in secret isolation, for decades? Longer?

Suddenly SHIELD discovers them and their headquarters. This is every fear they have, all coming true at once. (Plus the concern about the mystery cargo in SHIELD's possession.) SHIELD's current role in the world is pretty undefined. You effectively have this unsanctioned private army flying up to threaten their home, and telling them: "Your people are under our authority now."

Now, intentionally instigating a war seems dangerous to her people. But - especially by painting SHIELD as the aggressor - it also might drive her people to fight, despite their nature having been shown as peaceful thus far. And she retains her moral authority while also inspiring her people to use their full power against this enemy.

Makes sense. Especially given all she has undergone. Especially given her confession to Cal about how her ordeals have changed her.

It doesn't mean that what she did was a good thing, or was 'right'. But you can understand her position. And it makes for awfully good tv.

I want to try out a Barbarian Druid who wildshapes into a raging bear. And adds Con to AC.

Lord Snow wrote:
Didn't like this one so much. Felt pretty vanilla. The nasty green serum in Cal's drawer was a nifty little detail.

I liked the set-up for what seemed like a showdown between all 4 (or more?) factions... but it ended up fizzling out a bit. Still, I like where everything is going, and am hopeful we'll get some proper payoff in not too long.

Yeah, but I'm not sure you can have it any other way. The bodycount was the biggest thing to bother me in the first season, and I'm definitely glad they moved away from that and even addressed it as a core character arc.

But if you stop and say, "Whelp, Ollie deserves to go to jail for that", then... well, that's the end of the series, right?

Also worth noting, as far as Roy's logic - Roy is definitely haunted by the death he called. But keep in mind that when he was telling Ollie that he 'deserved to go to jail for it', he wasn't actually being honest - he was telling Ollie what he needed, to keep Ollie going along with things while the team put together their plan.

Lots of great stuff in the latest episode, including one reveal that I thought was absolutely brilliant:


- We find out that Raina has gifts in addition to her external mutations - and that they involve dreams in which she can see the future.

How perfect is it, after her obsession in season 1 with 'the Clairvoyant' - who turned out to be a fraud - that she ends up with genuinely clairvoyant powers of her own?

- Not sure what to think about May and Simmons seeming to buy in on the distrust of Coulson. He has obviously been up to something big. Working on setting up an HQ and support network for the Avengers, maybe? Seems likely to be something that ties in to the upcoming movie.

- We also finally find out about Bahrain and the Cavalry. It is often really hard for shows to deliver about a long-standing mystery that needs to fulfill multiple functions (such as both showing how May earned such an extreme reputation, while also showing how it would have such a lasting impact on May herself.) The fact that this show pulls it off handily - while also tying it into the current plot - is kinda amazing.

- Once out of the lab, Fitz seems to be really coming into his own, and I think competence and confidence are doing wonders for him.

I gotta say, the show continues to impress me with how quickly it keeps things moving along. After those first episodes when they were stuck in stasis for most of the season, it has managed to completely reinvent itself and doesn't hesitate to embrace change. And that's a good thing.

Response to Aberzombie:

Aberzombie wrote:
One thing that was bothering me about the hidden place they took Skye - not a lot of inhumans (so far) who've had very visible alterations due to the Terrigen Mist. Hopefully, they'll introduce more.

They did make it clear that only a few 'active' inhumans are around, so presumably most of those people in the hidden valley were just 'potential' inhumans who haven't yet been activated. Still, I agree that a few unusual inhumans walking around would have been interesting.

Thus far... we've seen 3 inhumans with innate powers (Skye, Skye's mom, and Lincoln with his static electricity), and two with overt mutations (Raina, Gordon). So yeah, another one or two overt mutations (sorry, 'evolutions') to balance out the scales might be nice.

Aberzombie wrote:
Skye's mom - wasn't she vivisected?

Yep - and more than that, they implied that Whitehall pretty much harvested her organs for himself. On the other hand, her inhuman power seems to be some sort of immortality, or healing factor, or something. She had a number of scars, as though she had been stitched back together, so apparently once enough of her was restored, I'm guessing her power was able to revive her.

Aberzombie wrote:
Fitz - why did I suddenly get the feeling, after watching that cab scene, his mental recovery may have been a bit further along than anyone realized?

When he gave his speech about fear, I definitely felt like his words were more certain and confident than they've been at any time since his injury. I'm not sure if this is a matter of him having concealed his recovery, as much as a matter of him having needed a real crisis to drive his recovery to the next step.

SmiloDan wrote:
Hmmmm.... I'll check out those cantrips, but clerics get some Divine Channeling (or whatever it's called nowadays) boosts with a short rest, and the Wizard gets Arcane Recovery.

One of my favorite things about 5E is that everyone seems to be jealous of what other classes get. I think I've seen players of every single spellcasting class complain about how much better other class's spell lists are. (And that includes a bard who can pick and choose from everywhere.)

I'm running a high-level Fey warlock. We converted our campaign from 3.5 to 5E, in part because we had hit the point in 3.5 where players either died instantly or won fights without every being challenged. My warlock obviously took a big step down in power - I know longer was constantly flying and invisible and dropping maximized empowered chained eldritch blasts on people.

But in return, suddenly, I find each round I am actually making choices. Sure, I only have 3 spell slots per rest. But I also have a couple actions from being a fey warlock - like frightening nearby enemies, or trapping a foe in an illusory world that I entirely control. And of my spells, I have tough choices to make - do I focus on buffing and cast Greater Invis on our Rogue? Do I just try to shut down enemies by Banishing a few to another plane or ensaring them in Confusion? Do I polymorph myself into a T-Rex and wade into the fight? Or do I just hex an enemy and unload Eldritch Blasts into them for damage? Or do I instead use those Eldritch Blasts to knock an enemy away so it has to waste its next turn running back to the fight? Or maybe, before the fight, I summoned up a spirit Mammoth and I'm riding it into battle.

The power level may have gone down, but the fights are more interesting. And I'm sure that is true for other casters, who also have plenty of versatility of their own. Still, the Warlock has felt pretty good at being able to bring big effects to each fight, and worst case, being able to simply deal quite a bit of damage if I run out of all my other tricks. While allso having a host of interesting and flavorful abilities, between the Pact and the Invocations.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Suppose you could if you want. One idea would be to decide how often your players actually want to play through encounters that are too easy and or too hard and vary it by that much. so if they want to run from encounters 10% of the time and roll over them 20% of the time (your guesstimating as the DM of course) then have that many easy/hard encounters and run the rest at a level that will really challenge your group even when they go nova. My personal experience in this regard is that my players want unbalanced encounters rarely though every so often kicking butt - especially minion butt - if fun. Most of the time if the encounter was a walk over then they feel like they wasted the session that we just spent playing through the encounter. Hence I design almost all of my encounters like this as level+4.

Yeah, I didn't go out of my way to throw unbalanced encounters at them. For anything core-plot related, those usually were tied to quests or the like, and I had a website running with the expected levels for such things - basically, they knew that going to confront Count Strahd, at level 6, was unlikely to end well. So there were challenges at all sorts of different threat levels, but the PCs (usually) knew whether something was out of their league or not. (Not that that always stopped them.)

The other aspect of the sandbox, though, was that they were somewhat driving the story, and so often they would get into unexpected situations. At one point they met with a tribe of mongrelfolk and accidentally picked a fight with the entire tribe - not an encounter I was planning on, but one they found some a creative way to deal with despite the danger of the encounter. (In this case, the stealthy assassin stuffed the unconscious PCs in a Bag of Holding, and opened an Iron Flask looted from an evil tyrant, thus releasing a powerful Devil to rampaged on the tribe while he made his escape.)

Of course, that meant that - some ten levels later - they had to hunt down and deal with the devil that was now ruling that tribe and conquering territory on its own. And so on and so forth... That is what I liked about running the sandbox game, that the PCs were largely defining the story. And part of that was giving them leeway to get in over the hands on occasion, and see how they dealt with it when they did. Conversely, sometimes they took a while to get around to a quest or enemy of lower levels - which meant when they dealt with it, it was a walk in the park. And indulging in their ability to cakewalk over former adversaries was also often a fun experience for them, rather than having that former foe having mysteriously powered up to the same level as them for no reason.

2097 wrote:
Diffan wrote:
I'm not getting the MMO thing. I've played very few MMO and thought they were really boring and not worth my time and I've found 4e the complete opposite. I've done the whole sandbox campaign with 4E and I think it works great with the system, especially with hex-maps.
The leveling becomes a problem. Do you put level three encounters all over the map or do you mix it up?

In my 4E sandbox game, I had a pretty healthy amount of encounters that weren't set to the PCs level. If they got in over their heads, they are usually durable enough (as 4E PCs) to run away - or creative enough to find another way out.

You really believe the Beastmaster Ranger is non-functional in combat? Is that based on actual play experience, or just how it looks when reading through the PHB?

I mean, I agree that it isn't as high damage as the Hunter. But it doesn't seem broken beyond use, and does start to come into its own as you level up. (While, meanwhile, the extra presence on the battlefield is handy in its own right at lower levels.)

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Although on further reflection, like Jester Dave mentioned, Circle of Moon and Circle of Land Druids are miles apart. CoM Druid is Tier Broken.

You know, I had thought this was the case as well - but again, in actual play experience, it hasn't been that bad. In our game we had a CoL druid, but they haven't been available as much recently. So our Fighter had a chance to retire his character, and decided to try out a CoM Druid, thinking it would be the best thing.

Thus far, it has been decent. But the biggest strength is that it is basically a super-tank (since it gets a ton of virtual hp). But damage hasn't been insane, nor AC, and it has to make hard choices about when to drop out of Wild Shape for casting.

Meanwhile, our CoL druid pretty much always had something useful to do, and got some very nice spells from their Land feature.

The Moon Druid certainly hasn't been bad, but hasn't outshined our former druid, or really stood out as broken compared to the rest of the party.

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I've been playing in a game at level 12-14 or so. The one thing that stood out is that initially I had the same lackluster view of the Ranger, until I actually saw it in action - it easily put out the top damage of the party. Volley made it better than the casters at AoE, while Hunter's Mark + Sharpshooter let it shred single-target enemies. The Hunter build, at least, definitely seems to eventually come into its own.

Lorathorn wrote:
What are the problems with Beast Master? I have been borrowing a PHB on and off. Soon I shall own one. I just wish they'd release a pdf already.

I think the big weakness is that you give up some nice features to get it, and at least early on, you don't get much out of it. Early on, the companion is an extra threat, but no extra actions or damage.

At level 7, it starts to pay off - the pet can Help you each round, giving you (or someone else) Advantage on your first attack.

At level 11, you can instead switch focus to having your companion attack - it gets two attacks and you get one, putting you on par with Fighters for attacks per round, and likely with similar accuracy and damage. However, the companion doesn't have feats or other special benefits, and can't share spells until level 15.

It also doesn't heal great on its own, so while it gives you a 'bonus tank', it also eats up healing if you want to keep it healthy.

Now, you can get potential utility from having a companion that can fly or sneak or do other useful stuff. But usually not as much as, say, a Wizard with a Familiar (or a Druid with Wild Shape) doing similar things.

So while I wouldn't say it is a completely useless build, it does seem to suffer when compared to other options.

Diffan wrote:
Matthew, are monsters and NPCS also subject to lingering wounds too?

You could certainly run it that way - what happens when they drop doesn't usually matter, but using it as an easy 'critical hit result' table would probably work.

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Also worth noting, the DMG has an optional 'lingering injury' chart that can include permanent injuries like lost limbs. Specifically, you roll on the table when:

-You drop to 0;
-You take a critical hit;
-You fail a death save by a significant amount.

And of the injuries, generally 1/4 of them are serious permanent effects (lost eye, arm, etc) and another 1/2 are bad effects that magic healing can fix, but otherwise take a long period of extended downtime to recover from (broken ribs, etc). It seems a good way of having injuries crop up, but only when appropriate, and the threat of a serious loss being there, without it being a common occurance.

In my game, I gave PCs the choice of using it (individually) in return for getting some Hero Points that they can do cool things with. One PC decided to go with that offer. Thus far, he has had a couple rough ones he has suffered in combat but fixed with magical healing, plus one vicious scar that shifted his paladin's looks from friendly to menacing.

Diffan wrote:
Right, "apprentice levels" showed up in the Playtest packets and I was vocally against it on their surveys. I still am to a degree. I don't really think starting at level 3 is the best approach to get around this as a veteran player and would have rather been happy with Level-0 rules for those who want to simulate the farmer-boy grow to soldier thing.

Sure, but I think you are looking at folks wanting this entirely for flavor reasons. For many, it is about ease of play. I've got a player in my group who thought it was fantastic that she could spend two sessions learning the character and getting a feel for the class, before needing to actually make the key decisions that would define her future playstyle.

Barbarian certainly feels distinct from the others, since it gets Rage right out of the gate. Ranger and Paladin get unique at level 2, when they get spells. Is that really any worse than 3.5, where paladins have to wait until level 4 for spells and 5 for a mount?

Yeah, the "one-time pad" comment really threw me out of the scene.

I like a lot of the variant rule options, and the look behind the scenes at monster creation. I would have liked a bit more guidance on the presence of magic items, and on handling character wealth in general.

I've decided to try out a bunch of the variant rules in the form of paired 'Perks/Drawbacks' that my players can (optionally) choose to take. For example, they can get access to the Hero Points system (where they get a certain number of points each level that they can cash in to boost rolls and do awesome stuff)... in return for being at risk of the lingering injury table (where critical hits or mighty blows might leave them with permanent damage.)

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
4E, in my experience, works better when the DM is prepared for what is coming when it comes to fights. Interestingly its great at heavy sandbox so long as swords stay sheathed...the skill system is versatile and can be used for ad libbing pretty easily. Combat though, well not so much.

I actually ran a 4E sandbox campaign, and found it actually worked quite well for it in many aspects. Notably, the guidelines for creating monsters - plus the access to numerous statted monsters in the Compendium - meant wherever the party went, I could find something appropriate to throw at them. Combined with the skill challenge system - which I found was a great tool with only a bit of tweaking - I was able to put the party in a tight situation and just sit back and see how they reacted, and in many ways, let them drive the campaign on their own. This included a willingness to let them run into an encounter that was much weaker - or much tougher - than they were and see what they did.

Now, from what I've seen of 5E, it does a good job of preserving those elements - flexible skill/ability use, easy-to-generate monsters - and so I expect it will also do great for that sort of thing.

Overall, I'm some 90+ hours in and still going strong. I haven't run into any significant bugs (for which I'm grateful, after Dragon Age 2 left me with my main character unable to function in combat for the second half of the game.) There are a few areas where bugs seem to prevent some collection quests from being completable (I can't seem to find the last region in the Exalted Plains, I can't get any Crystal Grace seeds, etc), but that's the worst of it - and those issues are nuisances more than anything else.

Hama wrote:
I'm fine with mine. Still not done with Hinterlands. I assume that ** spoiler omitted **

Yeah, that was the one area of the Hinterlands that I left unfinished during my initial foray, after also trying to fully complete it and realized that I might have to wait a few levels before being ready to do so...

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

I just read a review where the reviewer was whining that Bilbo was not in the movie enough. Did this person not ever read the book and thus not know that Bilbo was unconscious and invisible for most of the battle?.

I can see the complaint inasmuch as Martin Freeman as Bilbo was fantastic and a highlight of the movies in every scene he was in. But yeah, the battle was never really going to be his place to shine...

Overall, I definitely enjoyed the film, and the Hobbit series as a whole. Not as strong as the epic nature of the LotR films, and not as strong an adaptation itself. However, it does fill a solid role as setting the stage for the LotR films, and it had plenty of solid moments and performances. And in some ways, it was able to bring a greater depth of characterization to the dwarves and others who didn't have as much focus brought to them in the book itself.

Te'Shen wrote:
Of course I might just be saying this because I don't like the pairing. It's unsubstantiated (as in not enough events to support it happening) and unsupportable (as in the characters may have demonstrated friendship but they have nothing to demonstrate chemistry). I feel that anybody who goes on about how 'subtle' it is, might find too much meaning in me being polite or kind to a co-worker or customer or even a complete stranger. As Jung said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I think the 'subtlety', as noted, was more due to having to work the relationship within the confines of the network restrictions. Which, while a shame that it limited the work (in this as well as other ways), doesn't take away from what was there.

For me, I didn't even consider the relationship a possibility initially, but it really came on my radar with how the interaction between the characters developed over the course of the show. Which, yes, developed initially into friendship - but friendship developing into something more isn't exactly unheard of. And I definitely saw plenty of scenes that supported the development, and moments that showed real chemistry between the characters.

All that said, if it isn't enough to feel intact for you, that's entirely fair. (And, again, one of those things where I'll lay the blame at the limits of the network.) But what isn't remotely fair is to imply that those who do support it are simply doing so because they are the type to read too much into anything. That's just not cool.

I thought the ending was pretty great. The rest of the season had some pacing issues (likely due to the budget cuts and such), but I thought the finale covered everything pretty well and brought the season's theme into focus (while also having some excellent action sequences.)

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Rynjin wrote:

First and foremost, they have ZERO chemistry on-screen. Her and Barry, I could kinda buy. Her and Ray have this oil and water thing going on that's fun to watch.

Her and Ollie seems dead and lifeless. And wangsty.

Second, Ollie's still pretty immature when it comes to relationships. He's quite obviously still not into commitment, and he's pretty selfish to boot. Look at his last two love interests, Laurel, who despite her job is still basically just a ditzy college bimbo, and Sara the "dangerous", "mysterious" girl who also happen to be his old sweetheart.

I was going to respond with some detailed counter-arguments here, but it doesn't seen worth it to say more than: I disagree strongly with pretty much everything you say here. I'm not even particularly a fan of Laurel, and I still think your description of her is a major disservice, and I think Ollie and Felicity have plenty of chemistry on-screen.

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David Bowles wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Creature abilities in 4E and D&D:Next sort of replace the need for feats IMO. An Orc doesn't need Power Attack, he could simply have a line that says "-5 to Attack, add an additional +10 to the damage roll" or to illustrate Lightning Reflexes "The Orc has advantage when making Dexterity saving throws."

An endless list of feats based on HD isn't required (and good riddance).

Except for those of us who find "advantage" and "disadvantage" limiting and boring as watching paint dry. The Ork needs power attack so the effect of it scales with the BAB of the Ork.

What do these words mean?

Seriously, outside of the mechanical context of 3.5, what do you mean by "scales with the BAB of the Ork?" BAB is a mechanical construct that 5E doesn't use. Are you looking for an effect that scales to the challenge level of the orc? In that case, a higher level orc would get the benefit either due to having more attacks with which to benefit from, or by the DM simply changing the ability to "-10 to hit for +20 damage". Unlikely to happen, given that doesn't fit well in the bounded accuracy of the setting, but you could do it if you really wanted to capture an attack that is wildly inaccurate but highly damaging when it hits.

But the idea that it has to exactly copy the mechanics of a previous system is just... silly, honestly. Same thing for the idea that advantage on dexterity saves is limiting and boring, but that "+2 on reflex saves" is somehow interesting and inspired.

Personally, I don't have a problem if you don't like the system and prefer what you are used to. But at this point it feels like you are not interested in even looking at what the system actually is, and are looking for things to criticize solely because they are different from what you are used to.

For myself, I am quite happy to stay away from the atrocious monster design system of 3.5, which generally was just needless (and inaccurate) busywork for the DM. The change in approach was one of the biggest strengths of 4E, for me, and I'm glad that 5E continues with that design.

David Bowles wrote:
SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.

On the other hand, it also can't be ignored by mages who focus on "No SR" spells or who otherwise amp up their Spell Penetration roll to easily overcome SR. And given the range of DCs in 5E, advantage on saves is a very good perk for resisting spells.

I mean, I guess I can see having a specific mechanic for stopping spells is more, well, unique. But that is the sort of problem with the 3.5 and PF edition - so many subsystems. If you already have a mechanic for showing how good a creature is at resisting magic (via the saving throw), do you really need *another* roll to see if it works at all?

Magic Resistance is still a way to represent some creatures being very hard to affect with magic. Honestly, from what I've seen of the game thus far, it looks likely to be relevant more often than SR was in the past.

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David Bowles wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.
Since monsters aren't limited to being built the same way as PCs, you don't need to give them power attack. You can just increase the damage they inflict.
But they didn't do that either. Most of the monsters I looked at hit like pansies.

Compared to a different edition with completely different mathematical expectations as to what is 'low' or 'high' damage? Well, sure.

We've been over this before. Some folks aren't a fan of the tendency in 3.5 / PF for fights to get resolved in 1-2 rounds. 5E takes an approach where combat is expected to feature more rounds as a whole, even while those rounds are faster-paced. Monsters and PCs are not expected to be able to deal out enough damage to one-shot a key opponent in a single action.

That doesn't mean the monsters are now 'weak'. It means that they are threatening over the course of a fight - not because getting caught in melee with them is an instant death-sentence.

The advantages of this extend to both the faster-paced combats (which I personally find more engaging), and also help make the system easier to balance as a whole, at least in theory. For me, those are good design goals.

It does mean that you don't get to see as many Exciting Big Numbers, either as a player or a DM. And if that is what makes the game fun for you (and honestly, it is an entirely legitimate thing to enjoy), then 5E is, yes, going to feel 'underwhelming'.

But for those of us for whom the benefits of Big Numbers was outweighed by the problems that came with them, 5E is very much what we were looking for, and the playtest steered it exactly in the right direction.

That doesn't mean it is perfect or without flaws, sure. But for many of us, this aspect of the system - scaled down numbers and bounded accuracy and so forth - is a feature, not a bug.

David Bowles wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

They have stripped out a lot of variety of monster abilities. Most monster powers I read give advantage or disadvantage. That's just boring to me. I know that others will think its great.

Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.

Ah, it sounds like it isn't the monsters themselves that you are as concerned with, but the rules for customizing monsters. (Whether that is via templates, advancement, levels, or selecting feats/skills/etc.)

I can understand that. I'm say that isn't really a weakness of the Monster Manual itself, though - I'm used to that sort of thing being in the DMG, and it sounds like that is the same case in 5E. Now, how well the customization compares to what you are used to, I'm not yet able to judge, and can understand preferring the codified 3.5 / PF approach over a more freeform version like 4E. (And I get the sense that 5E errs more in that direction, from what I've heard of the DMG thus far.)

I was just surprised since the Monster Manual itself seems quite robust in terms of the monsters and their abilities. I'm not sure what 'variety of monster abilities' might be missing, but if that was a generic reference to them not having feats, I guess I see what you are missing.

David Bowles wrote:
One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.

The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

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thejeff wrote:
Which isn't really a problem with the players, but with the system. The system assumes you have those +x bonuses - ACs, attack bonuses, save DCs and the like are based on them.

Except I'm not sure *how* true that is in 5E. At higher levels, having magical gear does seem important - but more in the 'I need a magic weapon to hurt this devil' sort of the way. (And even then, silver can get the job done.)

I'm eagerly awaiting my DMG, and hoping it at least goes into some discussion of what the expected presence of magic items will be, particularly in the realm of +x weapons and armor.

From what I've seen so far of high level play, those pluses are certainly not *needed* to threaten enemies. So I am cautiously planning in my campaign to avoid +x gear entirely, and just feature magic weapons and armor with unique abilities.

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goldomark wrote:
Wrath wrote:
- Remembering that all I really need to do is determine if a situation is advantage or not, rather than searching through hundreds off possible situational modifiers
Hundreds? Are you obligated to even give some?

Hundreds is certainly an exaggeration, sure. Still, with either 3.5 or PF you've got over 20 different status/situations that can modify the roll based on who is the attacker and who is the defender. Some of them rarely come up, sure, but I've definitely been there when we remember higher ground a moment too late, or spend another bit of time looking up entangled and trying to remember if it debuffs attacks or AC.

In 5E, you determine: Advantage or Disadvantage? Cover or No Cover? Pretty much all of the conditions feed into that. Sure, you may need to track individual spell buffs on top of that, but they are also going to much fewer in number due to the concentration limit on buffs.

goldomark wrote:
Give it time. Splat is on the way! In March the first splat book will arrive. Adventurer's Handbook. At 40$ I bet it will be thick with "brokenness".

I'm hopeful that the design of 5E will help keep brokenness in check. Expanding archetypes rather than designing entirely new classes seems like it provides room for growth without risking something new that completely unbalances things. Feats may be the more dangerous ground, but since you don't get a ton of them, and each is designed to be a 'high impact choice' balanced against a stat boost, I'm optimistic they can put more work into keeping them balanced against the existing ones.

Still, I was hopeful at the start of 4E as well, and it did eventually get a bit out of control. But it didn't have the same commitment to bounded accuracy that 5E has, which is a big part of where the numbers crept out of control in 4E.

goldomark wrote:
What I do not understand with this argument is why can't you control your PCs power level? You can say "no, that is too powerful".

Being able to directly control power level isn't the same as wanting to do so. The more a DM can trust the system to police itself, the easier it is to run the game. It takes a lot of work to try and remove anything that seems to become too strong, and it can cause friction between players and the DM if the rules they are using are constantly changing.

goldomark wrote:
I rememberd 2e with its stats that capped at 25 and PCs rarely had more than 19 in score. 3e really freed us from that paradigm. This is a huge step back. Players and DMs will feel constrained over time

I'm going to wait a bit before passing final judgement. But at least initially, it feels like a huge step forward. The big problem is if you *can* get your stats as high as possible, that becomes an impetus that you *must* do so to remain effective. When one character is running around at Str 30 most of the time, my Str 14 fellow has really trouble feeling like I am contributing along side them.

I can't remember - did 2nd Edition even have stat bumps as a leveling feature? How did stats grow in it?

I feel like, for me, having a more bounded area of stats - while combined with a more advanced stat generation and advancement system than we had in 2e - is hitting the sweet spot of being able to modify my stats to fit my character, without feeling like I need to maximize them or fall behind in effectiveness.

Yeah, I could see going with Goodberry instead of Jump - and red winter berries is an iconic enough image that it seems like it could fit.

With enervating touch, I decided to mirror it after ray of enfeeblement, which seemed more thematic than poison - even if the mechanics work out, I feel that poisoned has some other implications that don't quite fit with the winter theme.

I did wrestle with the idea of how strong exhaustion reduction would be. (Especially since there are characters, like the frenzied barbarian, who can really benefit from being able to get rid of it.) But as noted, at level 9 you do get a way to clear it with greater restoration. Getting it 3 levels earlier, without a cost, is certainly nice, but didn't seem too overwhelming for a class feature, especially with not being able to use it again on the same person in the same day.

But yeah, I can see the concern, and it would probably be something to keep an eye on in case it ends up too strong in a particular campaign.

David Bowles wrote:

" The expectation is usually that you will go through several of those fights in a day in order to be challenged,"

When I GM, I prefer one or two very difficult encounters as opposed to many average ones. It's not unheard of for healers to be dry after one of my encounters.

And that's an approach you can still take in 5E. I was just pointing out that the encounter in question was an 'average' one. You were wondering how PCs could ever be threatened in 5E. The answer is either having a good number of average encounters - or, as you might prefer, have just one or two encounters from the higher difficulty tiers ('hard' and 'deadly').

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David Bowles wrote:
Adjule wrote:
In your opinion, it was a massive upgrade over 2nd edition. In many people's opinion, 5th edition is a massive upgrade over 4th edtion and Pathfinder.

I just don't see it, sorry. 2nd ed didn't even have stats for the monsters in the Monster Manual. Nor item creation rules. The list goes on and on.

5th ed has so much stripped out that I can't see it as an kind of upgrade. Just easier and less to keep track of.

Honestly, if you are perfectly happy with PF, than it is absolutely fine not to have any interest in 5E. And just to clarify again - my own responses to you in this thread hasn't been to try and insist you have to like what they've done with 5E, but to try and clarify areas of the 5E rules that it seemed like you had a limited perspective on. (Which, after only playing one game of it, is not an unreasonable outcome.)

In any case, for me, 5E has a lot to offer. The bounded nature of the numbers - which I know is something you see as a weakness - is, for me, a huge selling point. My group just converted over from a 3.5 game where, at level 12, we were entering the 'PC/DM' arms race. We'd buff up until we were unhittable, we'd swim through most encounters by spamming AOE shut-down spells like Black Tentacles and Wall of Thorns. If the DM ran things out of the book, they would just be trivial for us. But if he designed monsters to try and counter us or use similar tricks against us, it meant we'd have PCs die left and right to a single failed save or a buffed up enemy full round.

So for me, I was very interested in moving to a system where I feel they have made great strides in terms of balance. Where PCs can be effective without encounters being either auto-win or auto-lose. And, notably, where combats are moving fast enough to have more than one fight per session.

So - better balance, faster fights. That is what is getting my interest. 4E took a similar approach at the start, but over the course of the edition, didn't quite stick the landing. From what I've seen, 5E is better poised to avoid the same pitfalls 4E ran into, however. So I'm optimistic about how it will be developed - and all that is aside from liking specific aspects of the class features and options.

Is it going to be a better system for everyone? Of course not. Like I said, if PF - or any other game system - is already doing everything you need it to, that's plenty of reason to keep playing it even *if* 5E was perfect in every way. (And that certainly isn't the case.)

David Bowles wrote:
Is it true templating monsters is gone? If so, that's a deal breaker right there.

It isn't in the MM, though there are some minor guidelines on customizing a few different monsters here and there. But the DMG isn't out yet - we should see within the week, I think, what sort of options there are for adjusting and modifying monsters.

David Bowles wrote:
After reading this, I don't understand how anyone ever dies in this system, but maybe that's the point. Your party has 3-4 rounds to get something off of you. How does anyone ever screw that up?

Well, that was a pretty average difficulty fight in the given example. The expectation is usually that you will go through several of those fights in a day in order to be challenged, as resources get used up. If the DM is throwing more difficult fights at you, it does become a bit easier for monsters to focus on bringing someone down.

Also, again, look closely at the numbers I mention. It is unlikely my warlock was going to get killed by a single full-round from any given enemy. But if a couple enemies are allowed to freely focus on me for 2 rounds, I'm probably in trouble.

The expectation is that if that happens, I'll start breaking out spells to get to safety, or the party will shift gears to try and assist me if I'm in trouble. Maybe that involves healing me, maybe that involves a fighter forcing the enemy to focus on him instead, maybe that just involves rogues and archers putting lots of damage into the enemies attacking me. Different parties will find different solutions.

But, again, that's the idea of the game. The enemy is able to threaten PCs, and the PCs are able to react, and vice versa. That creates the flow of combat and is what keeps fights engaging and dynamic.

And, for me, that is a selling point. When fights get resolved completely in 1-2 rounds in 3.5 or PF - when a single spell or full-attack action is not only capable, but *likely* to entirely remove one or more combatants from play - I find it doesn't make for as interesting a combat. It becomes about winning initiative, bringing the most effective build to the table, and having planned ahead with the most counter-measures to overcome enemy weaknesses.

And don't get me wrong, I think that provides it's own sort of interesting challenge. But these days, I'm preferring the style of 5E, where the interesting and relevant choices are the ones being made each round of combat, as opposed to everything coming down to the ones I made when I built the character or prepared spells in the morning.

David Bowles wrote:

Some people have insisted that the martials being able to move and full attack in the same round is not an issue, because they can't cause enough damage to threaten a caster. I therefore find it necessarily true that they can't do enough damage to threaten a monster that is substantially tougher than a caster. Unless, of course, the monster AREN'T tougher than casters, which seems very unlikely.

As noted previously, there is a difference between "offering enough damage to threaten an enemy / have an impact in the fight" vs "do enough damage to explode a target in one round."

To try and provide a bit more detail, here is an example from actual play:

In our last session, our party (level 13) gets into a fight with some devils while infiltrating the city of Dis. A Horned Devil with 2 Barbed Devil lackeys. I'm playing a rather squishy caster - a warlock with 15 AC and 58 hp.

Now, in this fight, the rest of the party started between me and the enemies, so the Barbed Devils would need to eat Opportunity Attacks in order to reach me. But that didn't matter, since I went before them in initiative and simply started the fight by backing up and attacking from range - given our similar speeds, catching me wouldn't really be easy for them, and would require wasting at least one round simply double-moving.

So, what would happen if they did get to me? They could full attack for around 22 damage. That's enough to put a substantial dent in my hitpoints - but not enough to take me out of the picture right away.

Of course, the Horned Devil is the real bad guy of the fight. With Fly 60', it can actually pretty easily go after whichever target it wants. And if he came for me, he could put 35-40 damage into me without much trouble. Again - enough to scare me, and enough that I don't want to get stuck next to him. But without crits or some really high damage rolls, not enough to just take me right out.

Of course, the new movement rules only matter so much here. Even if we ignored them entirely, all of these are enemies that can just throw fire at will. So they could just sit back and hurl fire at a squishy target and do similar damage from afar. So what happens if the DM takes that route, or if the Horned Devil and his friends happen to start on top of me and all focus on finishing me as quickly as possible?

Well, in my case, I've got a few tricks to help with that. I've got a fey pact ability, when hit, to teleport away and go invisible. So that easily saves me at least once, if I have it available. If cornered, I've got the ability to teleport away as a minor action - at which point I can move and possible get somewhere out of reach. Or I can cast a spell to protect me, like Greater Invis, or Armor of Agathys to gain 25 temps and severely punish anyone who hits me.

Does everyone have the same tricks? No - but most casters have something in their favor. We have a bard with a great AC, and a melee warlock/sorcerer with lots of ways to gain temps - in the actual battle, they tanked the Barbed Devils for several rounds while everyone else focused on the Horned Devil.

What about our ability to threaten the Horned Devil? This is a fellow with close to 200 hp. Sure, in 3.5 (which we converted from a few weeks back), our fighter could do that in a single pouncing charge. But now he rolls in and does around 50 hp.

Is that enough to 'threaten' the foe? It won't kill them in one action, no. But that is still a quarter of its hp. If you have a few PCs doing that over a couple of rounds... suddenly the enemy is no more.

That's the thing. Not one-shoting every target doesn't mean attacks are suddenly *ineffective*. They are just scaled for a different timeframe. Combats (particularly high-level ones) in 3.5 / PF often get resolved in 1-2 rounds, either via save or dies or via extreme damage. In 5E, they seem to take 2-3 times as long - in character, that is. As noted, they are also moving fast enough that they usually take less time to actually run in 'real world time units' like minutes and hours.

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The big question to how do you envision the Winter domain cleric working. The Domain isn't just about 'have some cold-themed abilities', but really defines how the cleric functions. The War domain encourages a cleric to hit things really hard, the Knowledge domain is about utility features and casting support, the Light domain is about blasting and distracting enemies.

Tempest domain is a bit of a mix - it gets armor and weaponry and some abilities that help fight in melee, along with some blasty spells and ways to boost those spells. You could draw on that a bit - but, as noted, it would be nice to try and find ways to make the new domain feel distinct.

So, glancing a bit at the background for Ulric, one idea comes to mind: Toughness. What goes well with the image of a servant of winter? Someone hardy and used to the wilderness. So while the Tempest gets the tools to be something of an Armored Storm Knight, maybe we can steer the Winter domain towards more of a rugged, barbarian style character instead?

So, here's some ideas from me:

1: Jump, Longstrider
2: Calm Emotions, Silence
3: Sleet Storm, Wind Wall
4: Ice Storm, Locate Creature
5: Antilife Shell, Cone of Cold

Unarmored Defense
Starting at 1st level, while you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity m odifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Bonus Proficiencies
Also at 1st level, you gain proficiency with martial weapons, and also gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Nature, or Survival.

Channel Divinity: Enervating Touch
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to drain the vitality from your foe.
As an action, you present your holy symbol and make a melee spell attack against an adjacent creature. On a hit, the target takes 3d10 cold damage and must make a Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it moves at half speed and deals half damage with weapon attacks until the end of your next turn.

Channel Divinity: Invigorating Touch
Starting at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to bolster an ally's life force and spur them onwards.
As an action, you touch an adjacent willing creature and imbue them with vitality. For 10 minutes, the target gains advantage on Constitution saves and ability checks. They also gain temporary hit points equal to twice your cleric level, which are lost when the duration expires. In addition, if the target was suffering from exhaustion, you immediately reduce their exhaustion by 1 level. You must finish a long rest before you can use this ability on the same creature again.

Divine Strike
At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 cold damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Relentless Stride
At 17th level, you gain resistance to cold damage and immunity to exhaustion.

David Bowles wrote:
I don't need a huge amount of experience to understand the following. The DPR of a standard martial moving 30" goes from maybe 20ish to potentially triple digits. Assuming the game scales that high. But I seem to remember fighters getting 4 swings when I looked at it. That's a lot of pounding after a full move. I don't seem to recall any super caster hp buff in this game either. This ability to full attack after moving is, in many ways, far superior to pounce because you don't need straight line and rough terrain doesn't stop you. It's incredibly, incredibly powerful. And casters got nothing in return except the nerf bat.

Full attacking or pouncing characters/enemies in 3.5 / PF aren't scary because they take multiple attacks. It typically was due to things like taking multiple attacks while cranking up the damage with power attack, having attack bonuses that rarely missed, having spells or other buffs to do more damage, etc.

5E has moved quite far from the paradigm where your attacks hit almost all of the time, or where there are countless ways to crank your damage through the roof. Damage dealers can certainly still be effective and consistent, but the numbers are much more balanced a whole. They are also aimed at combats that are often faster paced but longer in duration (in terms of in-character rounds, not necessarily out-of-character minutes).

The monsters and PCs aren't written with the expectation that everything will be resolved in the first two rounds of combats, either through save or die spells, or through typically-lethal full-round attacks.

You know what happens when a monster with 8 attacks runs around the party and charges the wizard? The wizard casts Shield and most of the monster's attacks miss.

Now, Shield is a significant resource for the wizard, even as he gets into the high levels. But he has that spell as an option, and it does a very good job of preventing him from getting 'auto-murdered' by a DM out for his blood.

David Bowles wrote:
That also does not take into account multiple attack monsters that can move their potentially more than 30" and just wail away. I can't possibly see how this is balanced for casters. Especially when all casters lost their extra melee swings in the process. In fact, I can't see how this is balanced at all at higher levels. There is the potential to fight multiple large monsters with high STR scores with multiple attacks they get every round because no one can get away from them, and they get all their attacks whether they move or not.

I would take a closer look at the actual stats of monsters and PCs in the game, as well as the expected balance of typical encounters. I'd also take a closer look at the capabilities of high level PCs for getting away from monsters or disabling enemies when needed. Or just surviving a beating while finishing off the enemies themselves. Honestly, the fact that casters don't provoke for casting in 5E seems like they will be much better off when cornered by something scary. As opposed to 3.5 or PF where, yes, a squishy caster getting cornered by a huge monster is usually a very bad place to be.

But it really feels like you are pointing at one change in the rules while ignoring a lot of the other adjustments and balances. In the big picture, I just don't see any signs of your fears coming to pass. Not in the rules themselves, and not at the table while playing the game.

JoeJ wrote:
If anything, balance issues go in the opposite direction; casters are still slightly OP (especially Circle of the Moon druids), although not nearly as badly as in 3.PF.

I think the biggest indication of decent balance in the game, that I've seen thus far, is simply the number of competing opinions out there. I've seen folks claim that casters are now useless, and others who insist they are still the top-tier of the game. I've seen complaints about how bard's get too versatile a spell selection, while the bard in my party is upset he doesn't know as many spells as a wizard. I've seen rangers dismissed as the weakest class in the game, while others describe how a ranger in their group regularly outdamages the rest of the party combined. I remain frustrated over how underwhelming the elemental monk is - I've also talked to some folks for whom it is the reason they are trying out the game.

Every class seems to have something unique going for it, and every class seems to have some ways in which it doesn't measure up to other classes. We'll see if that continues to remain true throughout the edition, sure. But for now, it seems a promising sign to me.

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David Bowles wrote:
How tactically oriented is your GM? Because I'll tell you right now that if I were GMing this system, it would be incredibly hazardous for casters.

If a GM wants to hose casters, they can do so in any system, whether with true-striking invisible archers readying to disrupt casting, monsters with spell resistance or magic immunity, or simply foes that target one character to the exclusion of all others.

I really don't think some altered mobility rules will change that, or be a bigger 'weapon' in the hands of a DM than the options available in many other editions.

Will there be situations where it makes things more of a problem for a caster? Sure. In other situations the new movement rules will be an advantage for them - such as the ability to duck around a corner, cast a spell, and duck back out of sight in one turn.

It sounds like you run a very 'competitive' style of play, where the DM is not going to hold back against the players, and vice versa. And that is a perfectly legitimate approach to the game. But if the players have found ways to survive in dangerous situations in past editions of the game, why do you think they won't be able to do so in this one?

If the party finds that you prefer to run mobile assassin-type foes against them, who hone in on the weakest party member and take them out... why wouldn't they start building parties with ways to hinder enemy mobility? Which can take any number of forms, mind you - it could involve a fighter with the guardian-style features and feats to stop enemies from moving past him. But it could just as easily come from the casters themselves investing in spells that slow movement, create difficult terrain, or push the enemy around. Or monks who grapple and knock prone anyone that gets near them. Or maybe you just build your caster's for durability and melee combat. Or take lots of teleportation and bonus movement spells.

I can see being concerned about what effect the new movement rules will have on the game. But you seem to have arrived at a very absolute certainty about exactly how it will work, without - as far as I can tell - any significant experience with the system.

I think that is how a lot of the misinformation and confusion about new editions (and new game systems in general) gets started - someone comes to a conclusion that may or may not be supported by the rules, but is put forward with enough confidence that others take it as fact and carry it on.

In this case, I could understand wanting to see the system in action and see what effect it has on casters at different levels in their careers. But this guarantee that it is an automatic death sentence is just way, way out there, and seems particularly at odds with many very real experiences with the actual game itself.

David Bowles wrote:

"So...5E sucks because it isn't Pathfinder? :P"

Not exactly. It just seems the cleric got its balls completely busted. No multiple attacks. No channel. Most combat summons are gone. Why even have one if healing is never needed? Which it was in the game I tried out. All our cleric did was single target heal. Just like 2nd ed.

I've seen clerics played the same in 3.5 and in 4E. That doesn't mean that is the *only* way they can be played. 4E actively encouraged a cleric's ability to heal while also taking part in combat, and 5E has continued down that road with spells like Healing Word.

Also worth noting - if you are really sad about not getting extra attacks, Spiritual Weapon is basically an extra attack for an entire fight. There are plenty of ways to be an effective melee cleric in 5E. Or, say, more of a blaster - the light domain gets a pretty potent channel divinity, and a spell list that includes fireball.

If you want to build a healbot, you can do that too. But it is certainly not the default.

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David Bowles wrote:

" and monsters in turn are more manageable in many ways. "

I don't want a game of gimped opponents making gimped PCs, or specifically casters, a playable option. If I wanted to be gimped, I'd go play GURPS or some other very gritty, deadly game. But then, I've seen the armor classes of high-level opponents in 5th ed, and they have indeed been gimped.

Well, fair enough. For some folks, having bigger numbers is what makes the game more fun, and if that is the case, 5E is definitely not going to deliver as well as past editions.

David Bowles wrote:
Actually, that is also my question because why would I ever want to play a cleric without channel ever again? That ability lets my cleric use spells for interesting effects instead of just being a healbot. With no channel, $%^&^ that.

"Just being a healbot" certainly isn't the clerics lot, and they've done a decent amount to support having quite a few different playstyles available for cleric. That said, if the channel mechanic itself - or that specific implementation of it - is what you need for a cleric, than sure, that's fair.

I like the version of channeling we've got in 5E, and like some of the decent ways each domain can use it - but it definitely isn't as emphasized as much as it was previously. For me, that's a fair trade given the other features that clerics now get, but that won't be the case for everyone.

David Bowles wrote:

" And that again is where I say it encourages party support. And it makes Sentinel feats and the Defense fighting style viable."

After having lived through 2nd ed, relying on your party that much is suicide for an arcane caster. Just saying.

5E really, really is not 2nd ed. I can certainly understand preferring other systems, but I really do think a lot of your complaints are about an imagined version of the game rather than the one that actually exists.

sunshadow21 wrote:
Maybe 5E pulls it off in play without having to have the perfect group, but on paper, it seems like it has most, if not quite all, of the difficulties that AD&D had, which makes me less likely to actually try the game because I like to play casters and I need them to be not entirely reliant on teammates or DM fiat to be both fun and useful. 5E just doesn't seem to have that from what I've seen so far.

Are there any specific issues you are seeing on paper that are concerning you?

Here are a couple reasons why I wouldn't be as worried:

1) Even at low levels, they have at-will cantrips to keep them effective once they've used up their spells. That alone means your all-caster party can remain perfectly viable without bringing along a fighter.

2) Wizards, who are usually the most fragile folks, now get more hp for wizards, plus plenty of unique (and often defensive) class features - and if you *do* want to build for it, making an armored mage is quite viable without needing to jump through as many hoops as in the past.

sunshadow21 wrote:
At least on paper, it seems like 5E still has most of the problems that AD&D had in that department, which to me is definitely a bit of a turnoff. I don't have the luxury of being able to play in the same group with the same players all the time. I need a system that is capable of handling at least some group variation, and 5E does not seem to be very robust in that area on paper.

How so? Having a diverse party certainly brings advantages, sure. But 5E to me looks quite good at working for many different types of parties. Perhaps not quite to the level of 4E (if only because Hit Dice aren't quite as robust as Healing Surges). But I'm not seeing any particular weaknesses - even on paper - that would cause issues with regularly different parties.

There isn't any 'hey, this monster is immune to physical damage' or 'this monster is immune to spells' to worry about. You don't have 'hey, we need at least one fighter to keep the party capable once the casters are out of spells'.

Is it good to have one character who can be great with social skills, one character who is great at sneaking and dealing with traps, one character who is great at tanking, one character great for killing bosses, and another character able to deal with swarms of enemies? Sure, it is useful.

But there are plenty of ways to cover those roles without the need for any specific class - and even if you don't happen to bring those roles along, you can deal with the problem the same way adventurers always had. Through improvisition, or through sucking up your lack of expertise and charging on in anyway. You can still use barbarians to kick in the door and set off all the traps in the absence of a rogue. You can still threaten or enchant those you are talking to in the absence of diplomacy.

My 5E group recently ran through the starter adventure, and had different players at the table for pretty much every session:

Week 1: Human Paladin, Gnome Druid, Gnome Rogue, Human Fighter, Tiefling Rogue
Week 2: Gnome Druid, Drow Sorcerer, Elven Ranger
Week 3: Gnome Rogue, Elven Ranger, Human Fighter
Week 4: Gnome Druid, Drow Sorcerer, Elven Ranger, Human Fighter, Dragonborn Barbarian

Weird, rotating cast of characters. One week they had no melee characters, and did fine. One week we had no healer, and did fine. It meant we might have some different tactics, or might use some extra resources to heal up. But at no point did it feel like, "Oh, we didn't bring a cleric (or wizard or fighter or rogue) this week, I guess we're gonna be in big trouble".

David Bowles wrote:
I disagree with your last statement. I think there is a VERY real chance of getting crushed by a martial, because once they are adjacent, you can't get away.

Unless you have a teleport spell like Misty Step or Dimension Door. Or the fighter fails a save vs being Charmed / Frightened / Incapacitated and you walk away. Or be a cleric in heavy armor who is hard to hit. Or just have the Shocking Grasp cantrip, which has a good chance to hit and prevents the target from taking Reactions, letting you move away.

Now sure, they might come right on after you. So maybe you also toss up Expeditious Retreat so you can easily outpace them, and once at range, keep em slowed by Ray of Frost.

Are any of these guarantees you will win a one on one match? Of course not. We could write up characters all day designing one build to trump another. But the idea that a caster 'just loses' to a martial character simply isn't true - nor is the idea that a party needs one or the other in order to survive.

David Bowles wrote:
And cranking down spell slots seems to me to be cranking down choice. Maybe I'm just looking at it very differently.

Right, but at the same time, the more spontaneous casting could be said to open up choice. Even more so with the ritual mechanic. Making your utility and conditional spells available without unduly limiting your core spells... that's a very nice feature.

Sure, some casters are more limited than others. Sorcerers are intentionally blasters, with a small spell list and few spells known - in return for getting to do cool tricks with their spells. Meanwhile, wizards get a much more robust list and many fields to focus on. Bards are pretty limited to the enchanter/buffer role - but at a few levels, can expand their list to just about everything. Yes, a lot of the 'universal' nature of spells got broken up quite a bit - there is much less overlap between class spell lists.

But I think that is a good thing overall, keeping the different casting classes a bit more distinct.

More limited in some ways, sure. More open in others, as well - you can cast while wearing armor if proficient in the armor. You can fire rays into melee without taking extreme penalties. You can cast spells while engaged without provoking. Multiclassing as a caster is much more viable. And every caster, in addition to their spells, now gets a bunch of interesting and useful class features. All of those expand options for both your character build and your tactics at the table.

Now, again - are casters going to be as powerful as they are in 3.5 or PF? No, they are not. But characters as a whole are taking a step back from the scaling of the past, and monsters in turn are more manageable in many ways. The question isn't whether casters are weak compared to past editions, but whether they are a viable choice in this one. And they absolutely are.

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David Bowles wrote:
I have seen them. And casters are eviscerated in 5th. No channel. No summons.

Casting power has definitely been toned down. That doesn't mean they aren't perfectly viable alongside martial characters, especially at higher levels.

Now, there are certainly some differences in what they can do and how they can do it. Someone who was a huge fan of a summoner will definitely be in for a big change. That doesn't mean a summoner can't exist.

It does mean that you don't really get to start combat summoning until the middle levels - and that summoning is specifically the domain of the Druid and the Wizard.

At the same time - keep in mind that the design of 5E means that summoning a pack of small animals can actually be quite effective against high level enemies. So directly converting summon spells from 3.5 just wouldn't be a good idea. Instead, summoning is rarer, but is quite effective - and the 'non-combat' summons (which take a minute to cast, but give you an ally for up to an hour) are potentially even more of a big deal.

I can definitely understand specific concerns about some playstyles having changed or gone missing. 'Save or Lose' spells are a lot more restricted (in many cases incorporating the 'save ends' mechanic of 4E). There is a lot more versatility in your spell casting (everyone has a psuedo-spontaneous element to the way casting works) - but in return, a much stricter limit on spell slots. Your Int 20 Gray Elf Focused Specialist with a Ring of Wizardy... they probably have double or even triple the number of spell slots as your 5E character. That can be a big adjustment.

On the other hand, spells are still a big deal. And even if you can't crank up save DCs so that enemies are auto-failing, the same is true for enemy saves - even high-level monsters will usually have a decent chance to fail a save. Some awesome monsters have specific protections that might let them auto-save, or be immune to conditions like charm or fear. But there are still spells that can have an impact even then - you don't have to worry about being shut-down entirely by spell resistance or magic immunity.

You can't devote half your spell slots to uber-buffing yourself and the rest of the party. But in light of that, when you do cast a buff spell, it is usually a pretty big deal.

If the 5E caster isn't something you are interested in, that's entirely fair. But a lack of *choice* is certainly not a real problem, nor is the threat of getting beaten up by a martial character.

Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Yep. i get that—and to a certain extent agree—I just don't know that I'm sold on 5e's solution, for the stated reason.

One thing worth noting - levels 1 and 2 are intended to be somewhat incomplete levels. You are designed to blast through them in a few sessions. They are generally there to help you get used to the system and the fundamentals of your character before hitting levels 3 and 4 and getting to start make some key choices that really start to differentiate the characters. (As things like archetypes and feats come into play.)

All that said, I think some of those same concerns will remain so throughout one's levelling career - one of the goals is to keep 'optimized' PCs from being on a completely different level from 'average' PCs. That doesn't mean there is *no* difference between them, however. Nonetheless, especially at levels 1 and 2, the situation is likely to be exaggerated beyond how it works in the course of a normal game.

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