Level Up! — Episode #27: D&D Next Playtest

After a long hiatus, we are back and talking about the D&D Next playtest that got started at the end of May.  Benoit played a rogue (as usual) and Hamblin tried out the wizard.

Listen to hear us talk about how the playtest went and how we think this edition of the game fits in with the history of D&D. Also, here are the two official D&D podcasts discussing D&D Next that Benoit references in the podcast: 1, 2.

If you want to learn more about D&D Next or sign up to playtest yourself, head over to DNDNext.com.

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11 Responses to Level Up! — Episode #27: D&D Next Playtest

  1. james says:

    Zork I,II, and III
    Yep, beat them all. Got to be careful and not be eaten by a grue.

    Looks like that they took some ideas that Pathfinder used with Death HP for you go to your Negative in Con score. No surprise that this happened considering Monte Cook worked on Pathfinder and NEXT as well so I expect to see alot of the things that Pathfinder did and more.

  2. Shawn Merwin says:

    Love the podcast, guys!

    The pillar of “exploration” is more than just mapping. For me, it means a fun part of the game can be interacting with the “dungeon” and with the world as a whole on a level that involves learning about the areas without having it be done solely through combat. If done correctly, exploration–both on the “dungeon” level and on the world level–can be just as fun as interaction (roleplaying) and combat. However, in a way, the exploration part is the hardest part for the DM (or the designer) to make engaging and enjoyable. The original Tomb of Horrors, for example, was mostly exploration; there was very little combat.

    • Benoit says:

      So would you say that roleplaying is interaction with NPCs while exploration is interaction with the environment? I *am* intrigued by the concept, as the group I play with usually distills such things down to a roll. Part of the problem, I think can be player vs. character knowledge, as well as how good your DM is. For example, I would think that describing how the thief if disabling the trap rather than rolling thievery would fall into exploration. Making this interaction with the environment fun rather than boring or frustrating takes a skilled DM and an astute player.

      Incidentally, I think there are fairly foolproof ways to do exploration well, this being one of them, which is why I’m using the model in the campaign I’m currently running.

      • Shawn Merwin says:

        I think you and I are on the same page. A lot of what we did as “exploration” in 1e and 2e is now handled with one roll of the die in 3e and 4e. I talked about it a few months ago on Critical Hits: http://critical-hits.com/2012/02/08/exploring-dd-at-ddxp/

      • Benoit says:

        I think this line from your article hits on what exploration *should* be: “Most campaigns I have run over the years began on a mostly blank map of a home-brewed game world….like a dungeon map, the world map is expanded only as the PCs move upon it.” That is the kind of exploration that excites me – I’m not as intrigued by describing what, exactly, my character is doing in the dungeon room to interact with the dungeon dressing. However, that’s a difficult thing to achieve in a *published* product, because a published product can’t be “here’s a blank slate.” People pay for content, not non-content.
        So can D&D Next do anything for this style of exploration, other than encourage it? Perhaps develop a new setting, since there isn’t really a corner or Greyhawk, Ebberon, or Faerun that is a mystery. Perhaps the Nentir Vale? I honestly don’t know.

      • Shawn Merwin says:

        As a personal preference, I _am_ interested in that sort of “describe how you disarm the trap” stuff, as long as it is done well.

        In terms of exploration of the world when the world is so fully detailed, my one big push would be to de-emphasize the concept of canon. That would allow the DMs to take more control of his or her game and let the players learn by exploration in character rather than by doing things out of character.

        I understand both of these preferences on my part are not shared by others, but it is how I played the game for many years under great DMs, and it is what catches my fancy as a player.

  3. Grim grin says:

    The PF wizard is not as weak as you say.

    Your right about it’s spell book spells, you prepare the same # as 3.5 (3 cantrip & 1 first)

    Additionally you can take either a bonded object or a familiar. A bonded object allows you to cast once per day any spell in your spell book with the object.

    Also can specialize in a school and gain an extra slot for each spell tier.

    You also have a signature spell based on your school of magic you can use 3+int modifier times per day. Generally these are weak offensive spells that scale slowly but are useful to low level wizards (1st to 4th).

  4. sto says:

    so, uh, where do I download this? I can’t seem to get them on iTunes, so I was looking for the mp3s on this site, but couldn’t find em either. This seemed very promising from what I’ve heared!

    : ((

    • Benoit says:

      My apologies. We are in the process of migrating the blog back to a self-hosted domain, and some of the files are in progress. For now, you can get the episode at http://www.rovingbandofmisfits.com/podcasts/LevelUp_episode27.mp3
      The episode was a discussion of the very first playtest packet, so some of the info is sure to be out of date.
      Thanks for checking us out.

      • sto says:

        Thanks! While you’re right on this one being out of date (didn’t realize it was more than a year old), I listened to a bunch of other episodes by now, and I’m really enjoying them! They won’t come back though, will they?
        However, I’m happy enough with those 27 episodes!

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