Impractical Applications (We Can’t Test Anything Seriously)

The other day, I talked about having ended up recruited into doing the D&D Next playtest, and some pre-play issues I had therewith. Wednesday night I played. Tonight I talk about (or at least allude to) what happened.

What didn’t happen was ridiculously much changing of the characters, regardless of my feelings on the matter. I tweaked a background, and that was it. Everyone else was precisely as written. We had no fighter; let’s face it, there were only three of us, and none of us seems to default to tanking. Neither was I near as annoyed with it as I expected to be, having the love/hate relationship I do with several earlier editions.

We gamed like we haven’t gamed in a while; it was pretty hilarious. Nobody had a name, everybody had an attitude. Having the kobolds on our side (okay, after that first ambush and our trying to avoid a bigger incident by attempting to make it look like an owlbear attack) helped—particularly when they showed us where their pit trap was.

We did make one pseudo-houserule—noticed that everybody spoke the same number of languages (2) and re-implemented +Int in languages spoken. This came in handy within a couple of encounters of the beginning of game, and set up the part where just about everything involved working with our new kobold allies, improvising a last-minute ambush with them, talking them into guarding our loot (for a fee) and ferrying swag (also for a fee) and… well, short version is, everybody’s pretty sure that in ten years, the kobolds will have a bank there and it’ll be our fault. Sweet.

Mechanically… I love the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic and Skill Mastery. They’re such elegant solutions to the problem of the dice having a considerably larger effect on people’s chances than the actual skills are, particularly at low levels: I just want to take them home and houserule them into everything involving a d20, and I think the system would benefit from letting everyone choose one skill to be able to apply Skill Mastery to, regardless of class, so it isn’t just the rogue’s player looking at a one-digit number and calling the result as “….sixteen.” When you’ve got a signature ability, there’s nothing near as annoying as everyone and the dog rolling better than you at it because your modifier’s canceled by your dice. We realized, though, that feeling like one needs to level-grind is not good for our playing style, and that someone really needs to look at the XP rewards of large vs. small enemies.

Short version: I don’t know if I’d run a character long-term in it, but we had fun. What else do I need to know.

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