Sunday, March 20, 2016

Heretical D&D5 Playtest

Last night I got to take part in Doug's playtesting of his Heretical D&D combat system.

I played with three people I haven't played with before - Patrick, Stephanie, and Jeffro (who, obvious, I already know.)

It was pretty interesting. Doug's hammered out a nice variation of D&D.

It didn't feel like GURPS, although it did have some of the things I like about GURPS.

It did feel like D&D5e, but with enough differences that I had to keep close attention. Even so, things that work in D&D worked here - flanking/advantage, simple attack choices (hit him, hit some other guy, don't hit anyone), etc.

I used the "charge in and engage" method of fighting. I ran Otto Markmann, my new 1st level fighter. It was a combat playtest, and I didn't really feel like maneuvering tactically so much as brawling and seeing how it all worked.

Some highlights/lowlights:

- I attacked with Advantage and rolled two 20s. It's a shame that double criticals doesn't mean automatic maximum damage or something. I don't think it mattered - I gutted my target - but it would have been nice.

- One of the "boss fight" foes rolled a long string of 20s. That carved up our fighters nicely. I think Doug decided we'd been killed, but technically, we left off with me having made 2 of my 3 death checks, and one in the tank. Science tells me a roll not made has neither failed nor succeeded, so he's still not dead.

- I forgot Second Wind. I never played a character with it, so I had no idea about it.

- I also didn't really have any idea how I'd relieve Stress after a fight, so I didn't. That and the above is probably why I got waxed. Well, maybe - I took so much damage on the criticals even the extra stress wouldn't have been enough to help me, and one extremely heavy wound went straight to injury and put me down.

- It can be frustrating to fight with a guy for a while and not do anything to him, but on the other hand, death spiral! Get in a solid hit and bam, it all starts to spin towards the grave. Fighting is like that, generally, so I like the feel. "He's wounded and vulnerable" not "he's wounded so he's just as dangerous but takes less additional hits to kill him." So you feel like you just need one more hit to make it all go right.

- Naming our group The Dungeon Frolickers.

- Having someone - I think Jeffro - ask, "Do we ever talk to monsters?" Me: "In a combat playtest?" Heh. Probably not the best use of our time. Like my old Shorin-ryu instructor used to say when you'd do something crazy that worked - "Nice move, but that's not what we're doing here." Successful, but not the technique you're trying to learn.

- One of these days I actually need to figure out Roll20. I hand-coded all of my attack and damage rolls, instead of filling in a character sheet.

Good stuff.

Here is Doug's look at it all.

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