Sunday, July 27, 2014

D&D Basic: Spells


This breakdown of spells is lengthy enough that I'm going to boil down trends first, rather than making readers wade through a discussion of literally every spell in Basic to read a derived change log. You might say it's a trifle dry. (This blog is justly accused of same; I laud your forbearance.) There are also some discussions of what I foresee as optimal applications of various spells, and emergent oddities.
  • In-combat healing is drying up a bit, except for the high-end stuff. The spells aren't going away, but they've lost a bit of throughput.
  • Damage output for spells is holding steady or increasing - the more iconic the damage spell, the more likely that its damage has increased.
  • lot of spells that had a fixed duration in the playtest now have a Concentration duration. This is a broad-spectrum nerf to spellcasting classes, until we see domains, traditions, or magic items that change up a character's interaction with Concentration rules.
  • Many spells that previously did not have scaling effects from higher-level slots have gained them.
  • There are only two spells in all of Basic that still have hit point thresholds in their mechanics - the Power Words. All other uses of hit point thresholds are gone.
  • There are a lot of all-new spells, and a lot of classic spells that were absent from playtest packets but have now returned.
  • Most spell ranges that are greater than 15 feet are factors of 30 feet, rather than 25 as in the packet. More ranges go up than down.

D&D Basic: The Rules of Magic

When last we left our intrepid blogger, I discussed Combat and Conditions in D&D Basic, focusing particularly on how the rules had changed between the playtest packet and the final. This time, it's Part Three, the Rules of Magic. In June of last year, I wrote about the spells of the then-current playtest packet in detail; the spell list is much shorter in Basic (though there are some all-new spells as well), and that does interesting things to the game (especially as discussed in the Blog of Holding.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

D&D Basic: Combat and Conditions

This is my fourth post reviewing the D&D Basic rules, including comparison to the last playtest packet. Previous posts have covered races and classes; personality, backgrounds, and equipment; and general rules and adventuring. Judging by the title of the post, I'm probably writing about combat and conditions this time. Like all of the posts in this series, I expect to run on at the mouth keyboard a bit. Unless this is your first-ever visit to Harbinger of Doom (in which case, Hi! tip your servers), now is a rather silly time to be surprised about that. I'm skipping over spellcasting and the spell list for now, because the combat chapter gives me a lot to talk about as is.

Monday, July 14, 2014

D&D Basic: General Rules and Adventuring

In this, my third post comparing D&D Basic to the last of the playtest packets, we get into the fundamental rules of D&D. In the Basic PDF, it's Part Two: Playing the Game, but either part of that would make for a misleading post title, and what kind of barbarian of a blogger presumes to use two subtitles? So here we are. I'll also continue into the Adventuring chapter, where we see another of the tonal elements of 5e that sets it apart from its forebears.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

D&D Basic: Personality, Backgrounds, and Equipment

This post continues the detailed comparison between the D&D Basic PDF and the last playtest packet that WotC issued (10-14-2013). Part One of this analysis focused on races and classes; this time, we're getting into more terra incognita, including one of the most-discussed paragraphs in the whole bless├ęd thing. Without further ado:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

D&D Basic: Races and Classes

On Thursday, 3 July, 2014, the tabletop gaming world was... not rocked to its core, perhaps, but the vast majority of conversation was turned to the release of D&D Starter and D&D Basic for the new edition (which, for want of any other term, we distinguish as 5e). The former is available only in Wizards Play store for the moment, while the latter is available as a free PDF. I take only the faintest of interest in the marketing strategy behind a free release of the core of their rules - after all, this is a design blog. I wrote extensively about the playtest packets, so now it's time to yammer on about the changes made between the last packet and Basic.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Play With Someone Else's Toys

The other day, I got to talking with a friend about game-running, particularly in a setting for which the game-runner is not the initial creator. This includes LARPs, tabletop games, and for that matter, content development in video games - something most folks will never need to care about, but I have considerable experience in this field, and many of the same ideas apply. To cover all of those cases, I'm not really talking about game-running, but about how to be a content creator in someone else's domain.