Thursday, October 17, 2013

D&D Next - Rolling Up a Character

So in addition to my Swords & Wizardry game (which, sadly, may not happen because of scheduling conflicts) and my Dark Dungeons play-by-post game, I'm also prepping to run a D&D Next play-by-post game on the forums, running the Mines of Madness adventure that's included.

I'm using the last playtest (October 2013 version) packet, that you can pick up here. I've flipped through most of the files in the playtest, but I'm holding off on a full review until I can get some actual playtime in. However, I created a character so I'd know what my players were getting into and so that I'd have a better idea of what these characters can do.
I really hope my players end up fighting this dwarf-golem thing.
Picture from the podcast page on

First up, here's some of what I like about character creation:

  • Feats are optional. I love that there's no massive feat list to comb through at first level and that it's very easy for a DM to just say "nope, no feats in this particular game."
  • Ability scores can either be rolled, bought with points, or chosen with a standard array. I like 4E's tight balance, but it required a point-buy or standard array for ability scores. The default of rolling for scores makes D&D Next feel a little more old-school (though we'll see if actual play changes that).
  • It's fast and simple. Even being mostly unfamiliar with D&D Next, I still was able to create a character in about fifteen or twenty minutes.

Now, some stuff that was not quite so good:

  • The more traditional races (dwarves, elves, and halflings) have more diversity than the "unusual races." Most of the unusual races (drow, half-elves, half-orcs, kender, tieflings, and warforged) don't have any subrace or similar choices. Dragonborn and gnomes have some choices (draconic ancestry and gnomish subraces), but the other races, for whatever reason, do not.
  • I couldn't find any concrete rules on tool proficiency overlaps. For example, the paladin I created got proficiency in Mounts (Land) from both his background (Soldier) and the paladin class, but I couldn't find any rules on how that would work in-game. I assume it would be similar to skill proficiencies where you can choose an extra tool to have proficiency in, but if the rules are in the playtest packet, I can't find them.
I'll have a more comprehensive post (or more probably, a series of posts) once I the game gets going for a while. It's a play-by-post game, so it won't be a particularly fast game, but once I get through a few encounters, I'll have some more information to post. Setting-wise, I'm going with the Nentir Vale for simplicity's sake (as I've already got that info for the S&W game I'm trying to get rolling), but I'm throwing the party in at the dungeon, rather than have a long, drawn-out "everyone meets up at a tavern" style scene (since that takes a long time in forum games).

So, how does my experience so far with D&D Next stack up with yours?

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