Tuesday, 14 August 2012

So What's Changed in the New D&D Next Playtest Materials?

Wizards of the Coast have released a new batch of playtest documents for D&D Next, which now includes character creation and a host of changes.

Last night playtesters were sent an email with a download link where they could get the new material. Along with rules for creating a character, the file includes an updated bestiary, spells, equipment and rules.

Character creation rules consist of race options, classes, backgrounds and specialties, which were known as 'themes', with a reversion to attribute rolling rather than arrays, an aspect which has proven controversial among fans. In addition, each background now has a set skill list for each, rather than a universal list as in previous editions. The focus of character creation is still on being quick and simple, with backgrounds and specialties as added options.

One big change WotC have made is the reduction of HP in both characters and monsters, with the Wizard class having a default 4HP plus Constitution modifier, hearkening back to older edition hit point levels.

The main rules have also seen an update, with the inclusion of familiar opportunity attacks and variants for healing. Surprise no longer changes initiative order, but, like in previous editions, gives the surprised creature no actions in the first round.

The Bestiary has also been altered in favour of stat blocks rather than more detailed descriptions of monster attacks, some of which have been revised or added to. For instance, Orcs once had +3 attack and 1d8+1 damage, but they now have +2 attack and 1d12+2 damage. Creatures also have XP values, allowing the DM to build encounters, which is outlined in the new DM guidelines.

Weapons and armour have been revised, with armour now being more costly. Whereas a 14+ Dex chain shirt was 75g, the equivalent scale mail in the new version is 500g. Weapon damage has also changed, such as reducing sling damage from 1d6 to 1d4.