Tuesday, September 11, 2012

D&D Next Spells (playtest 2)

I’ve been reading through the second D&D Next playtest packet, focusing on the character generation stuff and I have to say, I’m impressed! I’m happy to see the return of dice rolling as a default method to create a character, with a nice balance in that both race and class impact how a character’s ability scores end up.

I’m still finding some wonky things. Not as bad as the first playtest draft, but still kind of out there. For example, why would you ever take Ghoul’s Touch when you can take Hold Person? Both are 2nd level spells, and do basically the same thing. Hold Person works at range, the Ghoul’s Touch works by... well, by touch. Hold Person works on stronger creatures, and doesn’t have any fiddly bits about making their move 0 vs full paralyzation.

I’ve written about Magic Missile before. In this updated playtest it still auto hits for 1d4+1 damage and is a minor spell (aka you can use it every round). Ray of Frost received a boost over the previous playtest. Before it merely halted movement, now causes 1d6+3 damage and reduces speed to 10 feet for one round on a successful hit. Unless I’m fighting kobolds or other really low hit point monsters, I’m going to use Ray of Frost. Yeah, I have to roll, but presuming that I hit 50% of the time, over the course of 20 rounds I’ll do 5 points of damage more with magic missile. If I hit 11 times in 20 rounds I do 2 points more with Ray of Frost, and the monsters I hit get slowed for a round with each hit.

I really need to get my hands dirty with the system though, and either play in a game or run one. I played in a PbP G+ game with the first playtest... Maybe I could do something similar for this one. Anyone interested in a PbP G+ D&D Next game?


  1. Thanks for the review.

    I agree with your overall view, but I've always felt that Magic Missile did too little damage. I've always felt that it should be a 1d6+1 damage.

    As your level increases, you get more usage of the spell, certainly, but I also think that, as you reach certain levels your character should get more damage, to reflect his/her growing power.

    For instance: 2d6+1 at 5th level. 3d6+2 at 10th level, 4d6+2 at 15th level and 5d6+3 at 20th level.

    Behold the power of the Archmage!

    But that's just me. ;)

  2. If the timing is right, I'd love to playtest 5E with you. I tried to get a G+ play test going with the first round docs, but it fell through and I gave up. I'd like to give it a go, but being in East Asia means my gaming time doesn't match up well with North American game times. :(

    1. I can see how that would be a problem. However with a PbP game, that's much less of an issue!

  3. Damn my early morning reading skills. :)

    Guess I'm good to go.