D&D CATCH-ALL because Baron is dumb

Thanks for sharing your impressions, master0. I largely agree.

Dig this UA much more than the first one, but they basically have a giant "HEY IT'S JUST PLAYTEST STUFF" at the front to keep people from completely freaking out.

Ha ha, just kidding, Reddit is a garbage fire of overreaction, even moreso than usual. Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter both lose the -5/+10 adjustment for the power attacks, and it's obviously a sign WOTC hates martial characters and kills puppies.

Sharpshooter still has plenty of utility, but Great Weapon Master is much more of a gamble then. Still, nothing to lose your head over. Most spells can't crit at all and you don't get to add your modifier either (barring some class shenanigans) and given that every martial class gets some form of multi attack I can see why they got rid of a (possibly) near permanent +10 damage.

Hmm, some crunchy stuff in the latest proposed changes.

  • Looks like they took out the thing about ability checks always succeeding on natural 20. Huzzah! That one was brain-dead.
  • Hidden/invisible gives advantage on initiative rolls. Nice, makes sense.
  • Long rests restore all hit dice - really not sure about this one. As a DM my biggest complaint about 5e is that unless you're having 3+ combats per day, each combat needs to be super lethal or else it's largely meaningless. This would hugely exacerbate that...
  • Inspiration now granted for rolling a 1, rather than a 20 in the previous UA. I'm curious why they're so keen to change inspiration - it was the one and only "mechanical reward for good roleplaying" rule. What was so wrong with keeping it that way?
  • There are new actions for a player to "Influence" an NPC, or to "Study" a thing and recall information about it. I don't really disagree with the text they've written, but it all feels like adjudication advice that should be in the DMG, not mechanical rules for players to craft their actions around.
  • Jumping works quite differently. Rather board-gamey, but personally I like it.

I could be misunderstanding something, but it seems maybe like the biggest change in these proposed rules is that all classes of a given spellcasting category (arcane/divine/primal) will apparently have the same spell list? That seems like a very samey way to sacrifice lots of differentiation for no obvious reason.

Oh, I think the melodrama is a combination of awful and hilarious, and Crawford even stated in the interview posted to the YouTube channel that the 20 always succeeds/1 fails thing from the first UA was completely an experiment to see how people responded, and that's the point of a lot of the changes. A large part of 5e's success was heavy playtesting, and they're obviously doing it again here and trying stuff out, and maybe being a little less histrionic would be OK.

I think this last round of UA is interesting; it really does cool stuff with the Ranger, making all feats half feats is a pretty cool idea, and I'm not taking any of it all that seriously at this point regardless.

Ehh, I don't think I was histrionic, but I'm willing to die on the hill that ability checks always succeeding on 20 was a bonkers idea. I mean, putting out wacky ideas for testing is obviously fine, but ideally they should be ideas somebody has put in the work and thought about, right? One hopes they aren't just sh*tposting.

Which reminds me: awarding inspiration for rolling a 1 is pretty iffy, systems-wise, in that it encourages metagamers to try and incur frivolous ability checks whenever they don't have inspiration. It doesn't bother me, since I don't think my players would do it and I wouldn't let them if they tried, but it's the kind of thing that makes me wonder how thought goes into these UAs.

I missed the part about rangers and half-feats, where was that?

Wasn't talking about you, we posted at about the same time and meant very much the craziness on Reddit, and, for what it's worth, I will die on that hill next to you, and a large part of my feedback on the first UA was about how awful the 20 succeeds/1 fails thing was. I think they probably included that because 20 always succeeds is an awful house rule, and my guess is they were fishing to see how common it was and how people would respond. I think there was probably enough pushback to where it's dead.

I see your point about a 1 granting inspiration, but I kind of like that; a 20 is already a reward enough, but something good on a 1? That's kind of fun. I also only allow one person to roll for a skill check normally, and if the big dumb Barbarian announces first they're going to try to figure out what the magical runes are, well, they're the ones rolling Arcana.

Rangers are just one of the three classes detailed in the new UA that came out yesterday, as well as a long list of mostly 4th level feats. All of them are half-feats, and some (like Keen Mind and Mage Slayer) are clearly improved, and the -5/+10 for GWM/Sharpshooter are gone. Sure, the latter is a big nerf, but those felt largely obligatory at higher levels as martials, so welcome that.

Off topic from the UA discussion, I am planning to run a jousting tournament for one of my players. Any thoughts on making it more interesting than a series of skill checks or attack rolls? I know I can add some RP elements between bouts to spice it up, but then it still runs into just a series of skill checks once the joust actually happens.

Malkroth wrote:

Off topic from the UA discussion, I am planning to run a jousting tournament for one of my players. Any thoughts on making it more interesting than a series of skill checks or attack rolls? I know I can add some RP elements between bouts to spice it up, but then it still runs into just a series of skill checks once the joust actually happens.

If you never seen this it might help.

I hear you Dan. I agree that a consolation prize for rolling a 1 could be a nice thing, but as a systems person I'm just leery of any rule that creates perverse incentives for metagamers. Of course managing that stuff is part of DMing sometimes, but all things being equal you'd rather use a system that avoids them to begin with.

Which incidentally is why I like current inspiration so much. I may be misunderstanding it, but I thought the whole point of inspiration was to offset the fact that it's usually (mechanically) non-optimal for players to roleplay their character's flaws, so inspiration is there as a mechanical reward for doing so. It seems like they're intent on removing that, and replacing it with something that does the opposite.

I'm still lost on half feats. Is that a thing in current 5e, or something new?

fenomas wrote:

I'm still lost on half feats. Is that a thing in current 5e, or something new?

I believe it's in reference to the previous feats which still gave a +1 ability increase on top of their other benefits. So, half feat, half ability increase. Looks like most of level 4 onwards feats fall into that category now.

Ahhh that makes sense.

Malkroth wrote:

Off topic from the UA discussion, I am planning to run a jousting tournament for one of my players. Any thoughts on making it more interesting than a series of skill checks or attack rolls? I know I can add some RP elements between bouts to spice it up, but then it still runs into just a series of skill checks once the joust actually happens.

Hang up a dart board to represent the shield they are aiming at with the lance. Divide the board into point rings:
20 points: Double-bull
17 points: Single-bull
12 points: Inside single wedge
10 points: Triple ring
5 points: Outside single wedge
4 point: Double ring

When the players/NPCs joust, have them throw a dart. Note the point values they each got from the table above.

Then roll the skill check with whatever DC you choose. For every point each jouster beat/failed the skill check by, add/subtract the value from the dart throw value.

Highest wins and gets advantage on their next dart throw. If you win by more than (insert number here), the jouster is unhorsed and loses, or the combat is continued in hand-2-hand if that is how your tournament works.

This wouldn't float with some groups, but I know everyone that I play with would like it. It's not pure to the tenets of the "character's skill" part of the game but sounds like it would be a lot of fun to me.

And when you're done, you have a dart board hung up for playing darts! Win-win!

-BEP