So damn true. See link. Laughed throughout so I wouldn't cry in shame.
TL;DR/First Impression: I like it more than 4th edition and it’s a better entry point than 3rd, but long-time and comfortable 3e players probably have no reason to switch (yet) other than novelty.
This is all cold-read reaction. I haven’t played with the game. I did play with a previous playtest version, but that was not even the final playtest and I don’t have strong memories of how it worked so I won’t be drawing on that much.
Proficiency Bonus: This is a spot where splitting the difference between 3rd and 4th really works out. Instead of ever spending ranks in a skill (like you had to track in 3rd), you are either proficient or not in it. Instead of proficiency giving you a static bonus (like it did in 4th) it lets you apply your (scales with level) proficiency bonus. This massively saves on bookkeeping compared to 3rd, and eliminates the weird “feature” in 4th where 15th level fighters were weirdly competent, say, cultural anthropologists, since 4th always applied a level-scaling modifier in addition to the static “trained” bonus.
Diversity: The basic rules specifically call out non-binary genders and non-conforming gender identities as options and supports them in the setting lore (without making a joke out of it). This is to be encouraged.
Number Squash: This is the most tentative of my “good” points, because I’d really want to (a) play out at least a few sessions at levels 10+ and (b) see some monster writeups to actually draw conclusions on it, but so far it looks like they've generally reduced the power curves to keep bonuses from outgrowing the entire size of the RNG.
No Gnomes: Gnomes are stupid.
Extensible Kit: The split of classes into basic progression plus a “tradition”, along with backgrounds giving a few minor bonuses that aren't class-related, should in theory make for a really nice amount of campaign-specific customization without the overhead of 3e prestige classes or the feeble pointlessness of 4e paragon paths. For example, I will probably at some point write up a fighter tradition that involves giving them actually useful abilities. (See below.)
Gaining Tool Proficiency: This is a cool little feature that lets characters get some advancement during without necessarily needing to go up a level. If the party doesn't have a thief, for example, the fighter can pick up proficiency in lock-picks and thieves’ tools, letting him apply his proficiency bonus and somewhat covering the gap. It arguably advantages longer-lived races by letting them trade downtime for benefits, but the benefits are small and the horizon of the average campaign not nearly that long, so I don’t care.
Fighters Suck: I see we’re back to fighters taking the cup for Best Class If You’d Rather Spend Most of the Game Playing Candy Crush Instead. “I stab him. I stab him again. I stab him twice. Oh, combat’s over? You guys do stuff, I’m gonna go get a burrito.” Twenty levels of this bullshit. If there’s anything 4th got right (understand how difficult it is for me to admit this), it was realizing that all classes needed to get level-appropriate abilities at every level, instead of casters getting level appropriate-abilities and fighters being permanently stuck at level 6. I’m hoping the full PHB release fixes this, but I won’t say I’m optimistic about it. In the meantime, just play a real class.
LNC/GNE Alignments: Are back. JFAM why are we still pretending these are at all sane in this, the Century of the Anchovy? Here’s how I GM alignments: Write down whatever makes you feel like the specialest snowflake and let’s get on with it.
Defaults to Random Stats: Pure grognard bait. Someone please take this idea out behind the chemical shed and have the remains humanely disposed of. If present at all, this should be an option in the DMG under the heading Fun Rules to Use if You Hate Your Players And/Or They Hate Themselves. Or in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”. (On a related note: rolling for HP when you gain a level is also stupid.)
Saving Throws: The new saving throw system has, instead of Fortitude/Reflex/Will, a different save for each stat. Let’s see how this works out in practice, looking at the spells included. Of spells that require saving throws, 39 of them require either Dexterity, Constitution, or Wisdom (ie, Fortitude, Reflex, or Will). 1 requires both Dexterity and Constitution. Literally 0 call for an Intelligence, Strength, or Charisma save, while 3 actually ask for an Intelligence (Investigation) check and one asks for a bare Intelligence check; this despite Int saves existing in the rules. I believe we can summarize these data in abstract as “copy, paste, search, replace maketh not a new edition”.
Hit Dice: Not the idea of hit dice, but overloading the term to mean both the dice that give you hit points and the dice you roll to heal during short rests.
The “Finding a Hidden Object” Sidebar On Page 61: Wherein GMs are instructed that characters who do not specify their exact behavior in carrying out a search fail. That is some pixelbitching bullshit. Unless you specifically want your game to emulate the more annoying aspects of point-and-click adventure games of the mid 90s, it should be ignored.
Advantage/Disadvantage: When you have “advantage” on a roll, you roll 2 dice and keep the higher; disadvantage, roll 2 keep the lower. Ad/Disad do not stack and cancel each other out, which means if you have fifteen things giving you advantage and one giving you disad, you’re neutral on the roll. Which means at higher levels, you’ll just be neutral on everything as different abilities designed to hook on this system come into play. And even if everything’s giving you disadvantage, you can try to play Mother May I? with the GM to try to cage some advantage from the environment or the GM’s benevolence and cancel it out. This is stupid. I like the idea, even though it’s statistically equivalent to about a +/- 3 non-stacking bonus, but the implementation seems doomed to irrelevance in the lategame.
 It then tried to hack this away by making target numbers also scale up by level. To quote Douglas Adams: “This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
 Seriously, though, if your party has a fighter but no thief you’re gonna have a bad time.
True, but they rarely interact with something like that. Most UI components are much further abstracted from what is going on.
> Really? Maybe I'm not normal (okay, I know I'm not normal), but do people really not even look at the URLs of the sites they visit?
In modern browsers, there is no need. I type the first 1-2 letters of the site name and chrome auto completes it. No need for URLs or bookmarks (although the autocompletion is really just an abstraction of bookmarks).
> I mean, at least look at the domain part so you know you're not on totally-your-bank-and-not-a-scammer.ng instead of yourbank.com.
Yes. That is kind of what he is arguing for. He wrote this in response to one of the chrome betas that did nto show the URL unless you click on it, just the domain.
> Note that I said the domain was in the wrong order, not the URL.
Which is what he said too.
It is inconsistent, which is bad UI. If it were consistent, we would have, for example, "com.google.www/search/search term"-- Most specific to least specific.
> but it did serve a purpose.
Right, but that is not a very good argument for keeping it there.
> I don't really understand what he's complaining about here
Yeah, I would like to see a fleshed-out argument for why free-form domains are bad. I think he is saying that it exacerbates the other UX problems with URLs, but I am not sure.
> His argument is that everybody just uses a search engine instead of URLs to navigate now (I don't think that's true, but I'll pretend it is) and we should just hide the URL and forget about it
Yeah. I am not 100% on board with that either. He points out some of the problems, but I think I would be more worried about censorship and other corruption of the search provider. It also makes it much more difficult to get content out to people if you are not a well known name.
- Factivity, Inc.Software Developer, 2012 - present
- Case Western Reserve University College of Arts and SciencesIT Technician/Programmer, 2008 - 2012
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