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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Lion Cleric wrote:
If you are not a casting class, you can get away with starting with 20 in the stat, if you're not using arrays. if that stat is Dex, you can have just 1 less AC than the guy in full flate, while still having advantages, such as being able to stealth, doing more damage (because you have +5 modifier on your bow/rapier), spending much, much less money, and most likely more HP as well, due to higher Con. The only two advantages a high Str guy would have is his carrying capacity and his ability to initiate maneouvres. You can protect with Dex against them too.

How are you starting with 20 in a stat? With point-buy, the highest you can start is 15, and racial modifiers would only bring that to 16 or 17. I suppose you can end up with a 20 if you were rolling stats and had the right race, but there are plenty of unbalanced possibilities in any system where you are rolling stats.

That said, yeah, Dex is weighted pretty strongly, as is Con. The one nice feature mitigating that is how saves now exist for every stat. Thus, while a high Dex-Con character had great Ref and Fort in both 3rd Edition and 4E, in 5e a Dex-Con character remains vulnerable to Strength saves, and that can be a big deal against many opponents.

Personally, I really like the stat-buy system. The cap of 15 on a starting stat, and the way the costs are weighted, feels like it encourages me to end up with a much more well-rounded character compared to point-buy in earlier editions.

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Yeah, I wasn't too bothered by Absorbing Man being able to work some mojo to take on the car without any problems. I was much more bothered by him being able to intercept it without any explanation for 1) how he was fast enough to get ahead of it; and 2) how he located it so easily. That was much more immersion breaking, especially since they didn't even try and offer any sort of explanation.

That said, I did really like him as a villain overall. Especially after some of the previous villains being epic monologuers, having a villain who was just intimidating and generally just went about his business without any grandstanding or bantering, was a nice change of pace.

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I finally got my copy of the PHB, and now that I can see different path options within each class, I'm really feeling the approach the class design, even more than what I saw in the playtest.

So I figured I'd start up a thread for everyone to share the elements they've noticed that have them most excited or interested in the edition, or any other stuff that just looks cool.

Here are the big ones for me thus far:

1) Character choices having a big impact.

I'm really impressed by how much weight goes into the different character path choices within each class. Wizard specialists not just being about having different spells, but actually getting truly unique abilities that fit the flavor of their specialization. Same goes for cleric domains, with domain impacting skills, equipment, spells, special abilities... that's really cool.

It also shows me the direction, I'm guessing, for any future content. Will we eventually see future classes like the Psion? Sure, seems likely. But plenty of other character options seem like they will simply be incorporated as path variants within the existing classes. Why come out with a Psychic Warrior class, for example, when you can just make that a Martial Archetype for the Fighter - just as the Eldritch Knight is?

Adding new variants within each class seems like it will let you capture plenty of unique builds and concepts without needing to resort to countless new classes / prestige classes / paragon paths / etc. Which has me hopeful that they will have plenty of room to develop new content without going down the usual path of option bloat and optimization.

2) Character abilities that really feel unique.

Warlocks who have made pacts with Great Old Ones (ie, Far Realm / Star Pact / etc) just straight up get telepathy at level 1. Wild Magic Sorcerers have a chance to trigger a wild magic surge every time they cast a spell - or more often, if the DM invokes it upon them! Rogues are wily, crafty skirmishers who get free utility actions each round of the combat, letting them dash safely past enemies, dart out of sight to go hide, disable traps while tossing a dagger at a foe, etc.

I feel like they have done a good job, with many abilities, of giving out benefits that feel meaningful and useful, without being overpowered. I'm not sold on every such build - the Shadow Monk looks awesome, for example, but the Elemental Monk hasn't really grabbed me.

But nonetheless, I like how just about every class has something unique going for it (or at least has some options in that category). I feel like it avoids the disparity of 3.5 (where some characters were pretty mundane from start to finish), while also avoiding the 'sameiness' that could crop up in 4E.

3) Taking the best of both worlds.

I like seeing the blend of concepts from editions - not just in the mechanics, but also in the flavor. Discovering the Avenger was still around - as a Paladin buld - was a great surprise.

I was thrilled at how the Warlock incorporates elements of both the 3.5 warlock (with at-will invocations) plus elements of the 4E Warlock (with different pacts, unique spells like Hellish Rebuke, the Fiendish Warlock's ability to gain temps by killing foes, and the ability to Hex enemies for ongoing damage bonuses).

Does it support every build found in every edition? Well, no, but that's a bit of an impossible task. But I was impressed at how many different versions and references seemed to be around.

Does it only have the best options from every edition? Given that 'best' is subjective, the answer there is inevitably going to be no. There are certain some elements I'm not entirely sold on, as well as things I miss from some editions that got left behind. But they obviously made an effort to try and incorporate as much as possible for those who liked different styles of play, as well as different elements of flavor that cropped up in each edition.

4) Character build flexibility.

One of my fears about the new edition was that options would be somewhat limited. And there are some areas where elements of that are true - once you make some of your big choices (character path within a class, feats, etc), you might not have many more decisions to make within your character build.

However, within those choices themselves, I feel like there are a vast number of playstyles and character builds that are not just available, but feel perfectly viable for play.

Fighter is a great example of this. Do I want a 4E style tank that protects his allies? I take the Protection Fighting Style, the Battle Master Archetype with Goading Attack, and the Sentinel Feat, and suddenly I've got all the best aspects of the 4E protector.

Do I instead want an Elven Bladesinger? I go Eldritch Knight with the Dueling Fighting Style, a finesse weapon, and the Defensive Duelist and the Mobile feat. I'm fast, agile, hard to hit and able to wield sword and spell to good effect.

Or let's go for a Warlord! I take the Inspiring Leader feat, and snag Commander's Strike, Manuevering Attack and Rally as Battle Master options. I can hand out temps to help my friends, and give them free movement and attacks (with bonuses) on my turn.

Having a class that can so easily accomodate those builds - as well as more classic builds like sharpshooting archers, or charging greatsword wielders - or more unusual stuff like unarmed grapplers or shield bashers - is a very good sign to me.

The big worry, of course, is whether those builds are viable at all levels. You don't get a feat until level 4, after all. You don't get your fighter archetype until level 3. On the other hand, it seems intentional that the first few levels should get pretty quickly - and are even perhaps deliberately less defined, so that you have a few levels before really having to decide where to focus one's build. I'll wait to see how that plays out.

Still - overall, I find myself thinking of countless different types of characters I can build and play with these rules. For me, that is a very good sign of things to come.

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Bave wrote:

The problem is with simplified you get undesirable side effects. The simpler a game system is the less variability you have in it. I could easily make a simple game with the rules on a 3x5 card, one class, one race, one mechanic. Great, but it's boring.

The problem I saw in 5th ED was that the damage was toned down heavily, the healing increased dramatically which leads to grinding battles.

I agree that a game without options or choices is not an especially compelling one, sure. But 5E is a far cry from that. Is it as robust and developed a system as existing systems like 4E and 3.5... which have had years and years of support books and supplements? Of course not. But it seems to present a solid amount of potential for character creation, and I've seen plenty in the PHB that has me very excited about making characters. (For example, the new Warlock, which melds together all my favorite things about both the 3.5 and 4E warlock.)

I also haven't seen any indication that combats are about lengthy, grindy battles. In my own playtesting they were fast and quick-paced, and other reports have been largely the same. Yes, a character moving and taking one attack is going to be much less damage than a character taking 4 attacks with a full-round action. But the counterpoint is that the time it takes to resolve that turn is much faster.

A fight in 3.5 might take 3 rounds of combat, while one in 5E might take 8 rounds of combat. But the 5E fight, in my experience, will take half the real world time of the 3.5 fight, if not less.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
Can't see any reason to play a Rogue, just play a criminal or other background for proficiency with Theives tools and you are set.

See, for me, this is a feature, not a bug. I like that if I want to play a rogue for the playstyle, the option is there - but if I want to be a thief of Olidammara who serves as the party's trapsmith, the options are right there to do so.

Playing a rogue still has plenty of perks - they get awfully good at skill checks (and with the new bounded approach to most bonuses, doubling one's proficiency bonus on expert skills is a huge deal.) I love how elegantly they made rogue's into dynamic skirmishers by giving them extra actions in combat - but all of them non-attack actions. Sure, the Fighter can flip out and take a flurry of attacks in one round and shred someone.

But every round of combat, the rogue can dart out of the shadows, shoot someone in the neck, and then dash back around a corner. Or can fling a dagger with one hand while the other hand unlocks a door. Emphasizing those utility perks and abilities, for me, is what gives the rogue a great role - but without making them a 'required for play' choice in order to deal with traps. For me, that's the best of both worlds.

Logan1138 wrote:
es, I am aware that Wizards won't do as much damage but they simply should not be able to hit as well with weapons as other classes. They don't spend much time training with weapons and they should suck hard when it comes to using them.

Except we are explicitly talking about Wizards who do spend time training with weapons. That's the point of them being proficient! Whether they spent a feat on it, or have a racial benefit, the idea is that this isn't some random scholar who just picked up a sword, but someone who actually has spent time and effort learning to wield a blade. Why shouldn't they be perfectly capable of swinging the sword with skill, if they have the stats and proficiency to do so?

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Lord Snow wrote:
To each their own I guess. The nature of the beast has always been apparent to me, and as long as they still deliver an entertaining product, I really don't care.
But, wouldn't you prefer that some sort of minimal effort to conceal the nature of the beast was made? if only as a sign of respect to your (the consumer's) intelligence? It's not that there's a reason for anyone in Hollywood to respect the general audience's intelligence, but it would still be nice to get the benefit of a doubt...

I thought the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was excellent. Despite it being based on a theme park ride.

Assuming they are actually making these movies, I'm guessing that they aren't planning to just show a bunch of fantastical beasts without any story to tie it all together. I imagine they'll have a plot, and character arcs, and all the other things you need for a proper movie. It will draw on the ideas and creatures in the book, and draw on the setting as a whole. Yes, with the goal of making money. Presumably making money by creating a good product that people will be interested in. What's wrong with that?

I love Toy Story. I hate Cars. That isn't due (directly) to the motivations behind them, but because I find one to be a good product, and the other a disappointing one. Now, it may well be true that marketing and other factors have played a part in making one of them an inferior product. But that isn't always the case, and even if a product is commercialized, if it still ends up being entertaining, that's good enough for me.

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Slatz Grubnik wrote:
Censorship is censorship. It doesn't matter who's doing the censoring.

That's not entirely true. Yes, editing posts on a message board is censorship. So is forbidding newspapers from criticizing the government. And so is telling my crazy drunk uncle not to curse at kids when the family gathers for a holiday dinner. Those are three very different situations, and who is doing the censoring, and where, makes a huge difference.

Censorship that infringes on public communication is a very different thing from censoring individuals within a private domain. I can't prevent you from cursing in my house - but I can say that if you do, I'll ask you to leave and won't let you come back in. Similarly, the owners of private internet forums - like this one - are entirely in their rights to edit posts and ban posters, and they can do so for whatever reasons they choose. You are free to show your disapproval by taking your presence to a more open message board. But accusing them of infringing on your freedom of speech is, honestly, way off base.

That said, I certainly think it silly - and even self-defeating - that posts mentioning the existence of piracy were removed out of fear that they encourage piracy. But the role of a moderator is a harrowed one, and I can understand the tendency to err on the side of caution over reason - even if, in this case, I think it the sort of thing that has done more harm than good.

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bugleyman wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:

I am impressed the PF Core Rulebook is till in spot 7 years after it released for Fantasy Gaming on D&D is in five of the six top spots. D&D has a huge spike now. I wonder what it will look like in 6 months?

The good news is it looks like both D&D and PF can both be very successful at the same time at least on Amazon. Which is good for the hobby as a whole.

Point of order: The Pathfinder Core Rulebook will be five years old next month, not seven.

I think you misread that initial line. I did the same at first! I believe the statement is intended to be parsed as 'the PF Core Rulebook is still in (spot 7) (years after it is released)'.

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The more I think about it, the more the approach to proficiency seems like a good thing to me. I like the idea that elves being proficienct with certain weapons actually means just that - they are all capable combatants when using a sword. Rather than proficiency meaning, "You suck just a bit less when using this weapon, unless you've actively built your character to be decent at it."

I like that if I can gain proficiency with a sword, my wizard can go full Gandalf and swing it with confidence. That doesn't make me trump the fighter, since they get plenty of extra capabilities of their own (like staying alive while being stuck in combat!) But proficiency in something means that, yes, I'm actually competent with it, regardless of most everything else.

Now, being *exceptional* at something requires going a step further - good ability score, plus various benefits from class features / feats / etc. And that's fine. And, more importantly, the level of difference between competence and exceptional is much more contained than in other editions - so while the exceptional character will often have the chance to shine in the right scenario, the competent character can at least take part right along side of them, rather than feeling like it wasn't even worth showing up.

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I loved the 'epic scope' of the last few books, and was not expecting something a bit more back to basics - but it worked. It worked damn well! It really showed how much he has woven the series mythology together, that it feels like he can at any time draw on such a large cast of allies and villains, can introduce new players and new adversaries, and still have it all fit together remarkably well. I had been worried that the series might be nearing its end, but this one did a great job of reassuring me that there is still plenty of room for it to keep on growing.

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I was definitely very happy with the movie. Some minor nitpicks here and there, but overall, left me very pleased, and very interested in where they go from here.


Peter Stewart wrote:
I enjoyed Wolverine taking sort of a backseat in both the past and present. Too often I've felt like it's been Wolverine and the X-Men, which again I think goes against what the X-men are and what a movie about them should be.

Yeah, this. Growing up, Wolverine was my favorite X-Man. But the focus on him ruined X-3 for me - it just became the all-Wolverine show, and completely missed what made the X-Men great.

This movie has Wolverine in perhaps the most central role as the bridge between past and future - and yet, manages to let him largely reside in the background while letting the others have the spotlight. And most importantly - he isn't there to save the day by kicking ass. The situation isn't one that can be won by physical force. Instead, his contribution was largely in the role that Professor X normally plays - to bring the team together, to give them the motivations they need to remain true to their convinctions.

X-Men 3 ruined Wolverine for me, while this movie again made me celebrate him. That alone would have made me like this movie, and it was just one great element among many.

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I wouldn't read too much into it. While 4E had some exceptional adventures over the course of the edition, the ones they opened with were not especially exciting, and I don't think it was the first edition to have that flaw.

They may have realized that they just didn't have the resources in house to devote to both the rules and producing an adventure they would be happy with, and so decided to turn to a company that has a well-deserved reputation for designing such adventures, in an effort to help the edition get off on the right foot.

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LazarX wrote:
I really question what was on Marvel's minds when they chose to green light t his project. Captain America and the Avengers are characters with broad appeal. The Guardians of the Galaxy in it's recent incarnations, are a group that only comic nerds can love. The only thing that might save it is that they might be hoping that Karen Gillan's casting may bring the Dr. Who crowd in.

I have at least one friend who hasn't read comics in years, doesn't watch Dr. Who, and was entirely unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, but the trailer alone got him to go hunt down a bunch of their recent run to read.

I have no idea how it will do, honestly. But if it is a good movie - as all the Marvel in-house movies have been, thus far - I wouldn't be surprised if word of mouth spreads and gets it a decent showing. The Marvel movies have worked well because they are polished films that blend humor, action and solid casting, and this seems well-suited to do the same. Green Lantern didn't fail because of space battles, it failed because it was a bad movie whose production and promotion was a mess.

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Hama wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Hama wrote:
Coulson genuinely regrets having to kill those two guards. I call the subject closed.
Are you suggesting that because he regrets it, that makes it ok?
Yeah. I don't really care about those guards. Much less then I care about Skye anyway. Plus it's Coulson we're talking about here. If he could have found a peaceful solution, he would have.

You mean other than the non-lethal guns they had ready access to? ;)

Now, I tend to credit that more to inconsistent writing than anything else. I suppose if we wanted to come up with a reason for it, we could claim that Coulson was distracted by what had happened to Skye and was off his game.

Nonetheless, the situation remains - the team crossed a line, and decided that murder and theft were acceptable means to save a team member. It will take quite a bit more than simple regret for them to redeem themselves as heroes.

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Aranna wrote:
First, I am sure SHIELD agents do carry credentials and if given the chance it is clear Coulson would have presented them. But the guards refused to consider anything other than their pass code.

Right. As far as the show indicated, the ability to enter that facility was dependent on knowledge of the entrance protocols. There was no indication that random SHIELD agents, operating outside of mission parameters and without authorization or credentials, should have simply been allowed entry based on their words and nothing else.

Aranna wrote:
Second as agents in the field the are acting as representatives of SHIELD itself.

I don't think that is remotely the case. They aren't there on assignment. They are, in fact, defying orders by going there for personal reasons. A police officer who, while off-duty, uses his badge to intimidate a shop-owner into giving him free stuff is not 'acting as a representative of the law'. He is breaking the law and abusing his power. SHIELD is doing the same thing here - only worse.

Aranna wrote:
I could understand if the guards used a secure line to call up the chain of command and maybe get further orders, but they simply locked and loaded. Which is bad for two reasons 1: They have NO idea if these agents have been sent here on an approved mission or not. 2: If they fail then their superiors have far less intelligence as to what happened at the destroyed facility.

If the guards didn't call up the change of command, the logical assumption is that doing so isn't part of the protocols - that there is a reason they had strict orders not to allow anyone access who wasn't supposed to be there.

Aranna wrote:
I bolded the false part of your statement. From what we have seen so far SHIELD seems to have no limits to it's authority over local or national concerns. So you are false in assuming they had no authority to enter. I could be wrong but so far I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

We've seen that SHIELD is powerful, and that it is willing to work outside the law. I don't think we've been shown that their power is limitless, though - they have worked with local authorities on most missions.

Look, if simply flashing a SHIELD badge got you entrance to anywhere, why wouldn't all bad guys just carry SHIELD badges and claim to be from SHIELD? Presumably if SHIELD agents do need to enter a facility in the course of their mission, they can get the authorization and be given access.

Given that Coulson didn't do that here, there is every indication that the guards were acting appropriately in not simply letting him walk into a secure facility on the basis of his word alone.

And we return to the original point - even if SHIELD agents are supposed to have that authority while on a mission, Coulson's team wasn't on a mission. They were running solo, defying orders, on a personal agenda. Hence why they didn't have the passcodes that would have gotten them access if they were actually supposed to be there. Hence why the guards acted correctly, and hence why Coulson forcing a confrontation with them was on his head, not theirs.

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Arnwyn wrote:
I agree. I have no qualms with mook guard #1 and mook guard #2 shooting at these unknown dudes, if that's how they felt they should best handle the situation they're in. Obviously, of course, they should expect to be popped back.

Sure. That's part of the job - the risk of being killed by intruders. The fact that the guards know that is what the job entails, however, doesn't remove the team's guilt in causing those deaths. Coulson and his team chose to break into a location they weren't authorized to enter, and killed those who tried to keep them out of it. They did so in pursuit of personal reasons, with the planned theft of something that was presumably valuable, experimental, and dangerous.

I can understand why they did it. But that doesn't make it right.

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Aranna wrote:

Just because the guards followed orders doesn't make them right.

If SHIELD had the authority to enter then the guards had the duty to stand down after verifying those credentials. If their orders were otherwise then following those orders turned them into the bad guys.

But all we have to go on is the information the show gives us. In the show, the guards clearly followed the protocals they had to determine who was authorized to enter - Coulson's team showed up unscheduled, claimed to be SHIELD, offered no credentials or authorization, and didn't have the appropriate passcodes to enter. After being refused entry to the secure facility, they broke in.

Even if SHIELD as an agency has the authority to demand entrance to any facility in the world, Coulson and his team weren't operating in support of a mission. So even any claims that they should be given authority, as agents of SHIELD, would have been in the wrong.

What happened is this: In a matter of personal interest, a team of agents attempted to abuse their position and gain access to a facility they weren't authorized to access. When they were still denied entrance, they broke in with force and killed the guards defending the facility, and their carelessness caused the destruction of the facility along with its research and any inhabitants who might be within it.

I can understand the logic in being willing to sacrifice the innocent to save someone you love. It is the sort of reasoning that can lead to some of the most interesting stories about villains. And if they decide to have the team continue down this road, and acknowledge that it is villanous behavior, that could lead to an interesting story. But the show seems to be acting as though their behavior was heroic, when it was anything but. And that is what I really find concerning.

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I don't really have anything against Skye. I'm actually rather excited about more Asgardian interaction coming up. But, man, it is awfully hard to root for a team who are suddenly both incompetent and evil.

-You are a team of agents involved in military/covert operations. Injuries and death are part of the job. It is one thing to grieve over the loss of a teammate and want to make it right, but completely falling apart and throwing everything out the window when it happens? Shows these guys aren't remotely qualified for their position, and it is criminally dangerous to empower them to act in the field.

-Speaking of which, if a teammate is injured in the capture of an incredibly important enemy asset, one should probably try and not waste that sacrifice. Ways to do this include delivering the enemy to a properly secured facility for interrogation and trial. Not, say, flying him around the world and threatening to pointlessly kill him. While engaging in some light torture on the side, just for fun. When he reveals that getting you to visit a secret research base was part of the plan all along, at the minimum, you should probably not bring him to that base. The fact that this didn't backfire even more doesn't justify the risk they took.

-Speaking of secret research bases. Murdering the guards and blowing up the facility, whether intentional or not, is straight up villainry. The second you decide that your friend's life is more important than any innocents you have to hurt to save her? That's when you become the bad guys.

Agents of SHIELD was supposed to be about a team who are part of the superhero world despite not having the powers. But the part they really seem to be missing is the 'hero' side of the equation. Being a hero means being willing to go into the line of fire in order to save the innocent. Instead, the show has repeatedly emphasized that the team's most important priority is each other. They are a family, they break rules to help each other, the most important thing on the agenda is keeping each other safe. And while I get that and can appreciate the vibe they are going for, it ultimately undercuts their moral ground. Especially the further we see them willing to go - and not in pursuit of the greater good, but in pursuit of their own self-interest.

It is possible they are going down this road intentionally, and we are supposed to view them as morally ambigious secret agents who are simply protagonists rather than good guys, and whose moral conflicts with the law and society will be a topic for serious questions and thought. But in an episode like this, which featured a remarkable amount of good natured joking and lightheartedness amidst the scenes of torture and murder, I'm rather doubtful this is the case.

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Here's a fun one where something fell from the sky, but it worked out just fine for the PCs.

First, some background:

I was running a 3.5 Campaign with a rotating cast of characters - each player had a variety of PCs who worked for the 'rebel underground', and each session they would choose a mission to go on and decide which PCs would be going on the mission. Some players had 1 or 2 PCs they focused on exclusively. Some had a huge roster of favorites. Others might have 1 core character, but would regularly try out bizarre or strange builds just for fun.

One of those bizarre characters was named Willy. He was an anthropomorphic Baleen Whale, because this was a thing you could do and it happened to give you a silly amount of Strength. And Willy was built to be a grappler - the best grappler he could be.

And on one of his missions, the party was exploring some underground ruins of an ancient, technologically advanced race. And as they crossed an enormous bridge above a vast, apparently endlessly-deep chasm, they awoke one of the ancient guardians of the ruins - a Colossal Animated Statue.

And as it it trampling the PCs into the ground, Willy goes and wraps his arms around one of its legs. He rolls well. He makes the grapple check to grab the statue. He makes the grapple check to drag it with him. And he takes himself and the statue over the side of the bridge, to fall forever into the abyss below...

That's the background for the story.

The Plane of Wild Magic

Much later in the campaign, the PCs have a mission that takes them on a planar journey, and they find themselves in a realm of wild magic. Magic is unstable, erratic and unpredictable, and the party has unfortunately brought a pretty magic-focused crew on this specific mission.

This becomes even worse when they discover that the enemy they are up against in this region is some sort of monstrous lizardman that can surround itself with an anti-magic field. I can't actually remember the name of the creature, but it was not something the party wanted to fight, so they started running back to their transport out, figuring they'd come back later with a better prepared party.

But their enemy was fast, and had a powerful bow with a ranged attack, and getting away was proving quite the challenge. So one of the party's casters decided he'd try and invoke the wild magic of the plane to work with him, and try and send up all his magic in one big blast and see if he could overcome the lizard's anti-magic field in a flux of wild magic.

I told him he could try, and asked him to roll percentile - if he rolled '100', it would work.

"I didn't roll 100", he said, "... but I did roll '42'."

And so it only seemed fitting that a portal opened in the sky, and Willy the Whale - who had been falling through an endless abyss all this time - would come plummeting through the air and squash their enemy flat, saving the party for the second time. As, it seems, the universe had intended.

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Scott Betts wrote:

More or less. It's the first couple of things that I think most clearly distinguish nerd rage from other types of rage. A heightened level of anger that is completely unjustified by the material in question. It's a fundamental lack of perspective - there are things worth being angry about, but this isn't it. Other types of rage are, on occasion, proportionate to the gravity of the source of that rage. Nerd rage never is.

I'm sure that impotence only exacerbates things; if you can't take action, you can always scream louder.


I think there are plenty of folks who can feel disappointed in DC's sexism without getting enraged by it. I also think there are many who offer up their criticism of DC's actions in perfectly civil discourse - plenty of them in this very thread.

Dismissing such opinions as 'nerd rage' is... well, it seems a cheap tactic. Saying that being bothered by sexism comes from a lack of perspective - that such concerns aren't valid when there are more important things to be bothered by - is equally so.

If you feel that DC's actions in this instance (and the many, many other similar situations over the last few years) are not sexist, that's a perfectly fine opinion to have and to offer up for discussion. But come on - we're on a gaming forum, filled with thousands of discussions and debates over all manner of subjects. Saying that this topic - sexism - isn't worth having, or that those who disagree with you are simply doing so out of hysteria or overreaction... that's not fair, and that's not right.

For many of us, comics are important. Maybe just as entertainment, sure. But they still brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, whether growing up with them or discovering them and enjoying them for their art, stories, shared mythology, etc. For many folks, discovering the flaws of those works is, yes, cause for disappointment and criticism.

Why bother with the criticism? With the discussion of sexism, with the 'nerd rage'? Why not just walk away? I'm sure there are many reasons. Hope that maybe enough voices will get through, and will help the worst offenders move away from such behavior - and that maybe, just maybe, that will help the comics industry as a whole avoid its ongoing obsolescence. Or maybe just out of the hope of having better stories that, as a customer, I can freely enjoy.

So, where exactly do you find the problem in that? Are those wrong outcomes to hope for? Or is it sharing such opinions in a forum like this? If this isn't the place for such topics to be discussed, where is?

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:

An outright fail doesnt have to stop or block play, it can be turned into an additional obstacle, an additional scene to play through, and yet you speak of outright failure like its the worst possible thing to happen.

Weak builds are often played by me, and if that keeps you from a game then that is an issue with the GM, not the game itself. Same goes for dealing with optimizers, if they keeping stealing the spotlight, then the GM isnt doing her job.

I think this is the breakdown in disagreement between your point of view and some of ours. Yes, a good DM can try and fix problems in the system (like unbalanced caused via optimization) - but many of us would prefer that the system does the work for us.

We aren't arguing that all characters should excel at every task. But a system with tighter boundaries and basic competence for most characters - unless those characters choose to be incompetent at a task for RP reasons - is preferable to one where some characters are so far ahead of others that they are operating on a completely different level of play.

For example: Say I am a halfling, in 3.5, with 14 Charisma and a few ranks in Diplomacy. We need to convince a halfling chieftain that helping us resist an invading army is better than simply surrending. This feels like an area where my character should really be able to contribute, and I am getting ready to give a good speech to persuade him.

But if we have a wizard there, he might just solve the entire issue with charm/dominate/suggestion. Or instead, say we happen to have a half-elf who has optimized for Diplomacy. My +5 or so diplomacy pales in comparison to his +30, even if the DM gives me some circumstance bonuses for cultural reasons or a good speech, etc.

Indeed, the very presence of him in the party means that no other characters are really needed in social situations. And it means that the DM either doesn't bother with such social challenges - or has to artificially inflate the DC so the diplomat can't automatically pass. And, by doing so, makes the DC strictly impossible for everyone else.

Now, sure, there are ways around this if the DM gets inventive, or alters his adventure design in certain ways. And you can also make the point that why does my halfling need to be the one succeeding as long as the party succeeds and I get a chance to RP. But that misses the point of why many people are playing the game - the chance to have their characters matter, and to be able to interact and contribute to the success of the party, especially in times when it would be character-appropriate to do so. Balancing those aspects doesn't impede RP and character - it enhances it.

That's why many people prefer balance - whether it be a mitigation in the potency of magic, or it be more tightly banded numbers so that the super-diplomat might be better than his allies, but not so much better than it isn't even worth them rolling.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Besides most of your balance is completely nonsensical, why in the world would any fighter living in a world with mages and magic not learn it?

Because magic is dangerous and takes its toll on the mortal body and mind? Or because magic involves making pacts with dark powers? Or any number of other reasons one can decide since magic is not a real thing and the designers get to decide how powerful and/or dangerous it is.

Seriously, the second you try and say that it is 'realistic' for magic to be more powerful than martial prowess, you are going into a very silly place. Magic is more powerful in D&D because that is how it what designed. That doesn't make it good design, nor does it make it a good representation of fantasy, especially if one looks back at the heritage of fantasy, whether it is LotR or heroic myths or many other scenarios where magic is treated very differently than the abundant, cost-free commodity it is in D&D.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:

you had better use tactics and good planning to gain success, oh waitplayers hate that, they want to play like Halo, rush in and slaughter with no plan and no strategy.

Too bad really, strategy and planning can make the weak builds come out on top, which is another issue with game balance. How you play is extremely important. An optimum build played with suboptimum choices will fall to a suboptimum build with optimum choices.

So really, balance is important when people are lazy, and while I can respect that some people like being lazy in their leisure, there is no reason to assume that pandering to their playstyle is somehow better or the most important thing.

That is... kinda a mean suggestion to make, and one I don't really feel deserves me taking the time to pick apart. I suggest you very carefully examine what you said, because it is both incredibly wrong and largely insulting, and really doesn't belong in what had been a pretty rational discussion up to this point.

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bugleyman wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Skills will be back though. I wouldn't take their presence or absence in any one playtest packet to be meaningful. They're playing around with different ideas, not nailing anything down yet.
Not to be a naysayer ( I want D&D to succeed), but doesn't it seem like they should be further along?

Honestly, I'm quite happy to see them just keep working at it until they get it right. We do continue to see big changes, but at least from my perspective, the product is getting more and more refined with every release.

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
As for point two, I am very objective with such things, in dealing with rpgs I run the idea with what I know of reality then see how each game compares. For example sneak attack, it is rather easy to find weak spots when you know what to look for, however a less practiced individual is more likely to strike a quarter inch to left dealing greivous but not quite as bad damage as the master. However when you can see such weak points, you will strike for them at every available opportunity regardless of your actual accuracy. Thus 3.x is more realistic because you can use snk atk at every opportunity and damage depends on your skill.

But again - that comes across as a plausible justification, but I think there is a very big difference between being plausible, and actually being realistic. As soon as you examine statements like that in detail, plenty of questions arise that make it sound less reasonable - or that cause the rest of the system to start breaking down in comparison to it.

I mean, do we actually have real world combat experience that indicates a dabbler in knife-fighting can always see the best place to strike the enemy, but often misses compared to the more experienced knife-fighter?

What if the dabbler was already a skilled warrior who was even more accurate than your standard rogue - wouldn't they be likely to perfectly strike that weak spot even more often? If it is 'very easy to find weak spots', does that mean someone good at bluffing can make themselves immune to sneak attack by tricking the enemy? Should a rogue with a better spot check be better at finding weak spots than a rogue without a good spot check? Should the damage dealt by an attack fluctuate based on if you barely hit someone's AC or if you hit them by a lot? Etc, etc, etc.

This is the problem with trying to claim that one element is more or less realistic than another - it pretty much breaks down immediately, because so much of the core of the system is inherently unrealistic. The entire concept of attacks, initiative, hitpoints, etc - all of it is heavily abstracted in the interest of game play, regardless of what edition one is playing. That isn't a bad thing, by any means, but it does mean that claims of realism are usually actually rooted in favoring what is familiar or simply feels more suited to one's style of play.

Which isn't to say that those aren't, themselves, valid reasons to prefer one style over another! But claims of one approach truly being more realistic usually don't hold up to proper examination, at least in my experience.

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:

4e can do some of it but only if you twist the concepts into the system, you have to do that with any system, the concerning part is just how much twisting needs done.

For example my rog/sorc/mnk concept, is really just a scout character who sneaks everywhere and deals with traps, except learned martial arts mostly for defense but some atk too, so no need for armor, and learned a few spells to augment such as invisibility, plus a few atk spells.

Even bringing this into 3.x requires some twisting, but bringing it into 4e requires more twisting, and in both cases will inevitably result in gaining more ability that are not part of the original concept.

Honestly, I'm not sure if it would take as much twisting as you think. That is actually one of the areas where I find 4E will often shine, because the shared customizability of several areas (feats / skills / backgrounds) can really let you hone in on a concept without being wedded to a specific build. If I want a Monk who happens to be a capable scout who can deal with traps, I can cover that via Background and Skills without needing to multiclass into Rogue. If I want a Sorcerer who is skilled at defending himself without wearing armor, I can take the Unarmored Agility feat. If I want a Rogue who can turn himself invisible, I can take the Master Infiltrator Paragon Path and have several ways to do so.

I'm not saying that 4E will always provide the perfect solution, but provided one is working from an overall concept rather than from a desire for specific mechanics, it can often achieve what you are looking for.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
This is one reason I dislike classes of any form, but 3.x has a touch more flexibilty and feels more real, after all, if I just learned how to snk atk, why would it do as much dmg as the guy who has practicing his entire life? Good for balance yes, but it doesn't make much sense.

Again, I think this is another matter of perception, where one version seems more fitting not because it is actually more realistic, but simply because it is more familiar. Couldn't you argue just as easily that, if sneak attack represents finding a weak spot to stab, that it should do just as much damage regardless of who is stabbing the vital spot - but that it takes the more devoted rogue to be able to consistently find that weak spot and capitalize upon it?

I think trying to break down D&D into 'what makes sense' is honesty a bit of a waste - so much of the system is, at its core, far from realistic, regardless of what edition one is playing. But with the right justification, you can usually explain most rules, and that is why I think folks usually find the version they are most familiar with to be the most realistic - simply because they have had the most experience with it, and have already had a chance to internally justify its mechanics in the past. When something different comes along, however, it feels like a change, and without having yet had the chance to internally attune to it, many of those differences will feel 'wrong' on a purely emotional level, rather than a legitimately rational one.

At least, that is how it often is for me, and I've certainly noticed myself coming across mechanics in new games that I dismiss as absurd, before taking the time to really think it over and notice that they are no more or less absurd than similar approaches in systems I am more familiar with.

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
First, my comment had nothing to do with 4e. As I stated earlier in the thread, 4e has a different focus and I think it does it's focus quite well. For some incomprehensible reason, people keep comparing the two like apples to apples, but really it's a case of apples and oranges. Yes you can play the game outside it's focus, but it won't play as smoothly.

In your experience, perhaps. (Though from the sounds of it, that experience is more theoretical than actual.) I've had plenty of success running 4E games with a focus on character rather than mechanics - and, indeed, I find the 4E goal of balanced characters actually makes it easier to have such a game.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Ironically,you are complaining about my statement because it would require the GM to make a custom call, yet many folks like 4e because it's more open for them to make custom calls.

I don't think there is any contradiction. If someone feels that 3.5 is a system that requires significant DM fiat in order to make workable, but does not make that DM fiat easy to do without disrupting core elements of the system, those same people are quite likely to enjoy a system that makes DM fiat easy to do in a way that doesn't break the system.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Besides, did it ever occur to you that there is a difference between being built into a system and simply being an option? A spell is neither rule nor law, and no player can learn said spell unless the GM says "Yes you learn the spell." 3.x was not made as a complete kit, it was made as a collection of options.

Do you know how many spells there are in 3.5? The answer is a lot. As the DM, needing to know in advance what spells will break the game, and which will not do so, is not a burden that I desire.

If you have found a way to successfully run the game, then more power to you! But for many other folks out there, they have not found it as easy to do so. The level of micromanagement required to make 3.5 workable at higher levels was something I found unpleasant as a DM. I love a great many elements of the system, and I agree that there are a variety of solutions to address those problems, including carefully examining and banning/allowing feats/classes/spells on a case-by-case basis. Yet, for me, that was a level of work I wasn't really a fan of, and not an ideal solution to the problem.

For me, one of the benefits of 4E was not that it was perfect in a way that 3.5 was not - but instead, that it was much easier to customize and adjust elements that I felt needed fixing. (Or that simply didn't suit a specific campaign.)

Now, that might not be true for everyone, and might not even be a concern for many people. That's fair.

All I'm saying is that for some people, it proved an easier system to run and to manage, and that having a system designed for that was seen as a feature.

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Scott Betts wrote:
I've seen multiple outlets (including one or two that have been linked to in this thread) reporting that Microsoft is working on a solution for allowing service members to use their Xbox Ones without the once-a-day requirement. The fact that their reps aren't giving details out yet is probably more of an indication that they haven't finalized those plans than anything else.

"Probably" is a very important word there. The important thing is that, based on the links you have provided, there is absolutely no concrete evidence that those reports are anything more than rumor - especially given that the official statements from Microsoft since then have not even hinted at such plans existing.

Listen to yourself, Scott - you are saying that a journalist reporting the facts, asking Microsoft directly, and providing exact quotations of their response, is "amateur" because they didn't give equal service to unsourced rumors on the internet??

Scott Betts wrote:
Taking the lack of concrete details and turning it into "Xbox One is a sin against all service members" is sensationalist, and is amateur (honestly, even if it were true, that's a pretty awful headline).

It is a sensationalist headline, yes - but that doesn't make it a sensationalist article. You seem to have missed an important part of that headline - the quotation marks. "A sin against all service members" isn't something the journalist made up - they are quoting a naval aviator and his response to the current information Microsoft has revealed about the XBox One.

Scott Betts wrote:
It's reporting an inflammatory conclusion based on incomplete information on a product that won't be out for half a year.

Scott, have you actually read the article? The tone is about as even-handed as it gets. Blaming the article as inflammatory because it provides quotes of angered service members - alongside quotes of Microsoft response to these concerns - seems incredibly unjust of you.

Yes, you are correct that we do not have complete information on this product, and that it will not be out for half a year. Are you suggesting no articles should be written about it until it is released?

At this point, the information we have to go on is what Microsoft has provided. This article reports on that information and raising concerns over what those limitations will mean for service members. I'd say that now, half a year away, is an EXCELLENT time to raise those concerns - so that if Microsoft actually can respond to such issues and respond accordingly.

I have no objection to you feeling that Microsoft's decisions are reasonable from a business standpoint, or believing that the restrictions of the hardware will not prove to be an inconvenience for you (or even for the majority of gamers using the system.)

But I don't think it is fair to say that journalists should leave Microsoft alone until more information is revealed. I don't think it is fair to say that the information Microsoft has revealed thus far is somehow 'off limits' for criticism because the launch date is still half a year away.

It might be easy to dismiss the article as sensationalist, and amateur, and inflammatory. Just like it has been easy for many to dismiss the XBox One as evil, greedy spyware. I think your claims about that article are just as much an exaggeration and just as much a knee-jerk reaction as the similar hyperbole about the XBox One's flaws.

Perhaps even more so, since the mob hysteria over the XBox One at least is grounded in genuine concerns for the consumer, while the only valid complaint that might be lobbied against the article is that of using an attention-getting headline.

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Some of the main reasons I liked 4E:

-It made it far easier to run a story-driven, RP-heavy, open-world campaign.

-Players could build any characters they wanted, rather than worry about who had to play the healer.

-Everyone in the party felt able to contribute both in and out of combat.

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Scott Betts wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Hey Scott, could you please respond to Matthew Koelbl's last post? I thought he brought up some interesting points, and I was looking forward to seeing your response to him, but it seems like you've skipped him (if you're taking your time to respond in-depth, I apologize)

Not trying to pick on you here, I'm just digging seeing this conversation flesh out.

The problem with Matthew Koelbl is that he's generally correct about everything, and keeps a much leveler head than I do.

Aw, shucks.

Honestly, I think this is the first time Scott and I have been on opposite sides of an argument, so I certainly take no offense to Scott not wanting to dig down into my claims with the same back and forth that these discussions can sometimes descend into. (Especially since things have been busy enough this week that I've only occasionally been able to check this thread anyway!)

Scott Betts wrote:
I disagree that there are no advantages to an always-connected or always-watching system (in this case, these are advantages on the developers' side) but without any concrete examples of games in development taking advantage of those things (largely due to the fact that we haven't gotten through E3 yet), it's hard to make a compelling argument.

I definitely agree that the biggest point in your argument's favor is very much that we don't yet know enough of anything to really form a complete perspective, and that it is absolutely the right call to urge everyone to wait for more information before, say, vowing blood oaths to boycott the Xbox One.

At the same time, I think that there is still value in folks airing their concerns about the current info we do have, if only to help provide that perspective to Microsoft and let them make adjustments based on user feedback (as, it seems, is happening with the PS3 and similar debates over used game content.)

That said, the best way to do that is to air such concerns in a calm and civil fashion, rather than simply with blind rage and fury that might feel good to emote, but is unlikely to result in any genuine and substantive change.

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Scott Betts wrote:

This is important: do you really believe that there is no substantive advantage that a permanently-connected console offers over a gaming PC?

The answer will be instructive.

A console that requires permanent internet connection is absolutely inferior (for the customer) to a console that is capable of permanent internet connection but does not require it.

I know this firsthand - I use the internet all the time, and pay for just about the highest possible speed available in my area. I also had close to a month without functioning internet, due to errors caused by my internet provider and their own disfunctional support system that took so long to identify the problem in their own equipment and then fix it. During that time, I had plenty of console games I could still enjoy even without my internet access. I'm not particularly interested in a product that changes. Having a system that uses the internet is just fine with me - having one that requires it is, indeed, actively worse.

Same goes with the Kinect always-on 'feature'. These are elements where their presence as an option would be genuinely welcome, but having them as a requirement is potentially a burden.

Now, having such required elements does provide, I'm sure, some advantage to Microsoft and to the game companies, in the form of DRM and such. And I do understand the concern that companies have over piracy and they have the right to try and take what measures they see appropriate to address that issue.

In turn, when the measures they take result in an inferior product for the customer, I have the right both to take my business elsewhere - and to offer my criticism of their decisions, ideally in the interest of their future decisions resulting in products I will again purchase.

Scott Betts wrote:
I'm not blaming people because of where they live (they're not at fault for anything, so blame doesn't enter into it). But I am saying that if you choose to live somewhere with unreliable or non-existent access to one of the most critical pieces of modern infrastructure, you shouldn't be surprised or offended when you find yourself being unable to participate in certain aspects of modern life because of it.

Scott, you really, really are. The very fact that your follow-up sentence refers to 'choosing' where to live is a very big example of class privilege. Not everyone can simply move, especially over a matter of convenient internet access. Similarly, there are plenty of folks out there for whom a one-time purchase of a console and some games - or receiving such things as a gift - is possible, but who can't afford to also budget a significant amount each month for constant internet access.

Scott Betts wrote:

I'm not calling anyone a worthless human being, or anything. I'm saying that we're talking about a piece of high-tech, modern digital hardware. Making internet access central to the use of modern digital hardware is par for the course, and has been for a few years, now.

It's like someone living in Kansas complaining that a surfboard company isn't making a surfboard they can use in their backyard.

Not exactly. It is more like someone in California complaining that a surfboard company only allows them to use their surfboard at a specific beach - one that you have to pay in order to have access to.

Similarly, modern hardware taking advantage of internet access has absolutely been happening for years, but needlessly requiring it is a different story. If someone without internet access complains because they don't get the full features of a product that takes advantage of internet access, that is one thing. But in this situation, we have a product that should be fully functional without internet access, and complaining about a company intentionally crippling its functionality is entirely legitimate.

Now, I'm not saying the company has to respond to those criticisms and complaints by changing its product. It is their product and they can choose to sell it with whatever features, or lack of them, that they choose.

And, honestly, I'm sure the XBox One will be a functional gaming console for the majority of users, and while I suspect it will end up the loser of the current round of 'console wars', I don't think that will make it unprofitable as a product.

But that said, I do feel disappointment that, in the interests of DRM, a gaming company is providing consumers with an intentionally inferior product.

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Scott Betts wrote:

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I feel that it's absolutely reasonable for a company delivering a piece of modern digital technology to design that technology to rely on broadband internet access. We are at the point where high-speed internet access is largely ubiquitous. U.S. broadband penetration for active internet users (and I can't imagine a gaming enthusiast who doesn't qualify) is above 93%. That leaves less than 7% of people in the potential gaming market who do not have broadband internet. Of that 7%, some significant portion (the majority, I'm sure) has no interest in buying a gaming console (qualifying as active internet users but not gaming enthusiasts). In other words, we're probably looking at less than 3% of the potential U.S. market being affected by this (and that's a conservative figure; I'd wager the actual percentage of people actively interested in purchasing a next-gen gaming console who do not have access to broadband internet is 1-2%).

So for those 3%, it's probably a shame. But, at least for the next generation of gaming, they can always purchase a PS4. By the time that hardware is retired in the year 2025 or so, hopefully they will have access to the internet.

And if not, they have the next decade to plan their move to somewhere that gives a quarter of a damn about its modern infrastructure.

You know, I totally do get that a company has the right to market their product at whomever they like, as well as to intentionally create an inferior product for consumers in return for benefits to themselves like DRM, etc.

But I really hate when valid points are made about not everyone having internet access, and the counterargument is, "Those people are behind the times / not worth caring about / should suck it up and move somewhere else in order to be worthy of using this product."

There are a lot of folks out there without reliable internet access for plenty of very valid reasons - whether due to money, location, profession, etc. Being poor doesn't mean your opinion shouldn't count. Not living in the US doesn't mean your opinion doesn't count. Working in the military or in a job that requires regular travel doesn't mean your opinion shouldn't count.

You are absolutely free to claim that it is a reasonable business decision for a company to disregard such people. But the last couple lines of your post come across as very dismissive of such people, and putting the blame on them for not having access to the internet. And that is very not cool.

Look, Microsoft made a business decision in making their system tied to the internet. That is their right to make. But that doesn't change the fact that it explicitly makes it an inferior product to the customer. People have the right to be upset about that. You can certainly feel the downsides aren't a problem for you, but dismissing the problem as nonexistent, and claiming that those affected by the problem have only themselves to blame, is not the way to go about it.

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Cardboard Hero wrote:
I dont see a D&D movie as ever being succesful. Movies tend to depend on a single protagonist. When you have between 2 to 2 1/2 hour to develop a character, less is more. D&D typically tells the story of a group of 4-5 working together and all being +/- equal, characters that are involved in a long story arc. When you have too many main character the story suffers, you either end up focusing too much on the cast and not enough on the storyline or you end up with characters with no substance. Few movies manage to pull this off, Princess bride comes to mind but little else.

I'd think a successful D&D movie would be along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean - it is a good example of something where all they really took was the setting, and then built an interesting adventure story around it. Along the way, you have a handful of characters who basically get thrown together and learn to work together to triumph over the villain.

Sure, it only really has a party of 3 instead of 4, but I don't think a 4th protagonist would suddenly prove too much to tackle in a movie. But I think a similar approach is certainly workable - and, I think, a good example of the scale on which you need to operate. Don't focus on a grand epic where the focus is on armies clashing - you need a story that, sure, can have big consequences in the long run - but is focused on the characters, and on the actions they are taking.

I don't think a Drizzt tale would make for a great movie, but not really for the Drow issue - you either start with his origin, which is way too much of a solo story, or you start with him and his adventuring companions - who all have a ton of backstory, which is probably too much to fit into a movie timeframe.

Honestly, I don't think adapting a standard D&D novel or adventure would really be the way to go. I think including references and background elements is fine, but that you'll have a better chance of success with a fresh story and characters. Now, that's no guarantee of success, as the existing D&D movies show. But if you can find a good screenplay writer with some good ideas, and a decent core cast, than that will go a long way.

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Scott Betts wrote:
The last ten minutes of the game disregarded some things. But the ending didn't, because the entire third game was the ending, and it touched on damn near everything you did from the start. I'm sort of astonished that you would go through the trouble to mention that you played the series for 300 hours, only to try and drive home the idea that the only part of that 300 hour timespan that counts as the "ending" is the last ten minutes.

I think, perhaps, it would be more accurate not to say that the ending disregarded all the events that came before it, and instead to say that it rendered them meaningless.

I absolutely enjoyed most of my time playing Mass Effect 3 - and yes, it did provide some powerful and intense resolutions to the plot lines that had been building over the course of the series - the Genophage, the Geth/Quarian story, and so forth.

I found it unfortunate that the ending not only had little to do with such things, but largely rendered moot those plotlines, along with just about every other decision you've made over the course of the three games.

The complaint isn't that the last 0.05% of Mass Effect was simply bad - it is was that it was unpleasant itself, and actively undid all the accomplishments you had spent the other 99.95% of the game working towards.

Now, I do think it is perfectly fair to say that having a bad ending does not - or should not - cancel out all of the enjoyment folks have experienced over the rest of the series. And I also am certain that for many folks, the ending did work just fine - and for others, the revised ending may have done the trick.

But at least for me, it was as disappointing a conclusion to the series as I can even conceive of, in large part because the static design of that outcome (of any of the ourcomes) was so at-odds with the dynamic approach of the series up to that point, which had made you truly feel like you were making choices that mattered.

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I'm liking this version most of the various iterations just far. I like that Expertise dice are back to being Fighter only. I like the use of Deadly Strike to improve damage at higher levels, rather than giving extra attacks or having numbers continually inflate. I like the prepared/spontaneous spellcasting system. I like the ritual system. I'm a fan of the skill system. I like what I've seen of magic items. I like how they are handling sneak attack - lots of damage, but difficult to land that perfect shot. I definitely like how elegant it is to tie everything to ability checks rather than basically inventing new systems for skills/saves/etc. And I really like stepping away from number-bloat as characters level up.

Elements I'd still like to see adjusted:
-The Cleric seems better at Smiting than the Paladin, at least at higher levels. Similarly, the Druid gets a pretty good spell list, just as many spells as the Wizard, and can also Wild Shape into some very effective combat forms. I'm a little worried about returning to the days of Clerics and Druids being better versions of everyone else, and the Druid in particular looks like it needs some tweaking.
-Similarly, Monks could use a bit of a boost. They get a lot of neat tricks, but could use a bit more oomph to really work.
-I'd much prefer a 4E style hp system than going back to the old system, where having a good constitution was basically a requirement. I like having barbarians with more hp than wizards; I don't want them to potentially have triple their hp, however. Con mod per level is just a bit too problematic.
-I'm also not entirely sold on the Hit Dice system. They just don't seem to restore quite enough hp, which means if you don't want to stop fighting early in the day, we are back to relying on healing spells to keep everyone going, and I don't really want to return to the days of 'the party must bring a healer'.

Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased by the direction things are going in. It has taken a lot of good elements from different editions and managed to find a way for them to fit together. And, most importantly to me, it seems to be really, really striving to avoid the potential pitfalls of previous editions - limiting the potential for number bloat, keeping most classes capable in and out of combat, keeping solid balance between characters, etc.

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Here is one possible solution for those bothered by these elements for reasons of believability: Just declare that attacks that deal damage on a miss can't drop the enemy below 1 hp.

So it can still represent overwhelming the opponent, but avoids having to justify inflicting lethal damage with a miss, for those who find that immersion-breaking. And from a game-mechanic perspective, it means that you can still benefit from powers with such 'fail-safes', but actually need to land at least one solid blow to win a fight.

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Stefan Hill wrote:
So 3e's wow factor was the d20 system, 4e's wow factor was the power mechanics, 5e's wow factor ???

I think you are mistaking a symptom for the cause. The power mechanics weren't the 'wow' factor of 4E - the wow factor was the balancing of classes, the simplification of prep for the DM, and the focus on narrative action. Powers and stat-blocks and action points were all specific mechanics that fed into such things, but were never really the end-all and be-all themselves.

For myself, what can 5E bring to the table?

1) The balance the 4E originally aimed for, potentially coupled with a scaling back of overall numerical bloat, which in turn will also return us to a swifter style of play.
2) Customizability in terms of complexity and play style (already seen somewhat with Essentials), but built in from the ground up.
3) Continue honing the math behind the scenes and sharing it with DMs to make monster (and trap/challenge/obstacle) creation and customization an easy, and even on-the-fly, possibility.
4) Find a happy medium behind the power-house effect of older edition items/spells, and the more balanced - but harder to reliably use - rituals and items of 4E.

I think many of these things are elements that they managed to improve upon over the course of 4E, but only by building them in from the start will they be able to get them right. We'll see how much compatibility with previous editions they can actually build into it - that seems a nigh-impossible task, but an amazing one if they can pull it off.

For myself, I'll settle for a game that incorporates the lessons learned from 4E, just as I enjoyed 4E as a game that addressed issues I had with 3.5. There are certainly things I miss from 3.5, and I am eager to see if they can bring them back while avoiding the original difficulties with such things.

In a sense, I suppose I am agreeing with you that what I am hopeful is a further refiniment of 4E. But at the same time, I think they can make a game that is just that, while also including new innovations as well as recapturing old-school elements.

At least, I can see it as possible, albeit not easy. Whether they'll succeed or fail will certainly be interested to see.

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Stefan Hill wrote:
Funny, because 90%+ of 3.5e players if you sat them down to a core 4e game wouldn't think they are playing D&D... ;)

And 72% of statistics are made up on the spot. :)

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