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  #1  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:26 PM
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Default How many dragons is too many? What about dungeons? A thread for the D&D devotee

I noticed a lot of people saying Dungeons and Dragons is worth its own thread; I figured it was about time someone actually did.

Alrighty fellows and fellettes, have a talking point to get us started: D&D 5E is out in a month and games are being played with the demo rules as we speak. Possibly the most drastic change is that D&D finally has roleplaying baked right into character creation, with spots on the character sheet for backgrounds! Personality traits! Bonds! Flaws! They even go so far as to give you a slight mechanical reason to roleplay, in the Inspiration rule: if the GM likes your roleplaying, you get to have Advantage on a future roll.

What do you think about that? Will it be enough to silence the ever-annoying "roleplay vs. roll-play" internet arguments? Maybe it doesn't go far enough, and every player should also have to list everyone in the last two generations of their family and that of their closest rival? Or is this secretly a tragedy - a massive reduction of the murderhobo habitat, already dangerously threatened by games like Fate Core and Legend of the Five Rings? I can dream that those are also popular.

Also, I suddenly have some extra free time this Saturday, possibly enough I could do a write-up of a quick character creation under the fifth edition rules. Is that a thing people would be interested in?
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:06 AM
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I'm running the started set campaign this Friday and several of my players have been clamoring for one. I would wait until the PHB comes out to make a full on character creator.

So far, I really love 5e. 4e was way too slow for me tastes and felt like it sucked a lot of the fun imaginative parts out of DnD. 5e seems to be very stripped down to what it needs to be fun and interesting. It could just be that not much is out but I am excited.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:18 AM
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I've been playing some variation of D&D for most of my life at this point.

I picked up the Starter Set when I saw it was pretty cheap on amazon, and am going to run a few of my friends from Colorado through the adventure using the pregens. They have never played more than a session or two of 4th edition, and I've never used Roll20 before, so I am not sure how well it is going to go.

My roleplaying bookshelf has all my D&D core books for 2nd-4th, with Pathfinder sitting comfortably next to them. I never really get into anything outside of the core books for any edition for the most part, so I still have room for the 5th edition stuff when it all hits.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:08 AM
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I've had bad luck with pen-and-paper RPGs. Being able to play them with actual people, that is. I either can't find anyone who's interested, or will STAY interested, or some kind of interpersonal drama comes up and ruins the whole thing. It'd be nice to be able to actually play 5e with some people at some point in the future - it seems really cool so far, from what I've seen.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:31 AM
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I've been in groups that I have had to leave due to interpersonal problems, scheduling problems, and hygiene problems. The core group I've been playing with for the past 7 years or so has been great though. It has fluctuated a bit, with people moving, losing interest or bringing in their friends - but nothing that ever 'killed' the group. We are at the tail end of a campaign now and will likely be starting fresh in the new year. I think this marks our 4th or 5th campaign together?

The only advice I have is to maybe go to open game nights/D&D Encounters/Pathfinder Society events to see if there are people who you can integrate with. It takes a while to curate a group of people who you don't know into a good group. I've had some good experiences convincing friends to just TRY the game, especially if they like more complicated board games. Usually after a 30 minute or 1 hour session you can get the basics down and give them an idea of what they would be getting in to.

It isn't a hobby for everyone, but I think more people would enjoy it if they gave it a chance.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:47 AM
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My bad luck concerns the fact that I am simultaneously in Nowhere, USA and in the Deep South Bible Belt. There isn't so much as a card shop for forty miles in any direction, and mentioning "D&D" gets you dragged off to your nearest Sunday school for forced rehabilitation.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:28 PM
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Is that seriously still a thing? I'm kind of amazed at this point.

As for D&D5 here, I can't really evaluate it until it's, you know, OUT out. If I'm judging it based on the "starter set" then I'm going to come down pretty harshly for A- Releasing a severely limited "demo" edition, and B- Not making it totally clear that's the deal. Granted, the competition does something pretty similar, but at least there you get flip mats and various minis you can keep using when you graduate to the real game, and you don't actually have to buy one single book to do so unless you just like physically having the books around. Plus an extra d10 apparently, for whatever that's worth.

From what I can tell at the moment though, I'd really love to play the game the designers clearly wanted to make, where it's just this super-stripped down simple game like back in the TSR days, but with a modern sensibility on encounter design and general PC survivability. Not so sure I like what they actually released though. This weird compromise between that and 3rd edition, plus whatever DNA from 4th managed to survive.

A lot of it comes down to how much they end up going back to that nasty "PHB3" model of spreading everything all over the place, and the degree to which it can really stand on its own with a unique voice. I mean, when they really just kinda tossed everything and made a brand new game with 4th, they kinda lost their status of "This is The RPG. Here are the most recent rules to The RPG," and now it's more, "Here is a a new D&D clone from a fairly prestigious publisher. Based on our track record you can assume we're only going to support this for 2-5 years then abandon it to focus on a new game." There's plenty of RPGs that just kinda do that sort of one quick flash and done approach which I can totally get behind, but they tend to really consolidate everything more, you know?
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Googleshng View Post
As for D&D5 here, I can't really evaluate it until it's, you know, OUT out.
You could read the free Basic PDF that WotC released online, which contains a superset of the player-facing material from the Starter Box.

I've got lots of RPG experience but relatively little D&D experience, largely because I could never stand the fiddliness of post-3.0 D&D. Feats, in particular, drove me utterly nuts. I'm really interested in giving 5.0 a spin - Mearls and his team seem to have integrated a ton of ideas from Dungeon World, Burning Wheel, and other advanced indie games in a way that's very approachable and minimalistic, while fixing most of D&D's traditional problems.

(In particular, I can play a Fighter with a noble background who fights primarily with a single sword - a staple of fantasy fiction - without being horrifically mechanically suboptimal.)
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:31 PM
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What edition are you thinking of where that didn't work? 3.X's big deal was that two-weapon fighting sucked, because you're paying twice as much cash, roped into a whole chain of annoying feats, taking penalties to hit, still only getting one attack if you move, and math-wise still doing the same damage in the end as someone with just the one sword.

And as far as the basic PDF there goes, I have it here, but again, most of my concerns are more big-picture.
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
My bad luck concerns the fact that I am simultaneously in Nowhere, USA and in the Deep South Bible Belt. There isn't so much as a card shop for forty miles in any direction, and mentioning "D&D" gets you dragged off to your nearest Sunday school for forced rehabilitation.
Turtle, you could always drive an hour over to Baton Rouge and we'd love to get you into some TABLETOPPING

not even kidding, man. Friday nights.

My group is running a 3.5 campaign right now with a lot of homebrew, and I'm going to be picking up some of the D&D5 books as they come out so I can start working on running my own campaign.
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:52 PM
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Turtle, you could always drive an hour over to Baton Rouge and we'd love to get you into some TABLETOPPING

not even kidding, man. Friday nights.

My group is running a 3.5 campaign right now with a lot of homebrew, and I'm going to be picking up some of the D&D5 books as they come out so I can start working on running my own campaign.
1) I have no car nor driver's license. Roads are scaaaaaary.
2) My hometown isn't even in Louisiana, so it could only be done during the school year anyway.

I mean, if I could, I totally would. It's just, well.
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Old 07-17-2014, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Googleshng View Post
What edition are you thinking of where that didn't work? 3.X's big deal was that two-weapon fighting sucked, because you're paying twice as much cash, roped into a whole chain of annoying feats, taking penalties to hit, still only getting one attack if you move, and math-wise still doing the same damage in the end as someone with just the one sword.
Sure, which just pushed you towards two-handers or sword-and-board instead. Pathfinder had a Fighter option for single-weapon fighters that I played in a game a few years back, but it traded off most of the core Fighter competency for marginal combat maneuver boosts, which required their own bizarre feat chain to use, and needed a bunch of other random "optional" feats to be remotely functional.

In 5e Basic, I just pick "Dueling" as my fighting style and I'm done. It's awesome.

I agree there's a bunch of strange rules - like really precise jumping and reaching distances - that I'll probably just ignore when running it. But I don't see the 3e compromises...? It looks nothing like what I remember of 3e. We've got basically zero stacking modifiers, extremely conservative buff powers, a flexible magic memorization system, and fiddly optional mandatory customization is, in fact, actually optional. They might still screw up in terms of line direction, but the rules we've got are totally sweet.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
The PDF does mention a "Druid" class in the PHB, so yeah, there's at least one more available, and chances are Paladin (or Bard) is in there too.
While the Conspirators thread is well past this, I believe that the PHB is confirmed to contain:

Races: (From Twitter) Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Dragonborn, Gnome, Tiefling, Half-Elf, Half-Orc

Classes: Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, Wizard, Sorcerer (*), Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian, Bard, Druid

(*) - We saw the general shape of most of the other classes in the playtest previews. Apparently the Sorcerer uses "magic points" for some kind of metamagic shenanigans.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:47 PM
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So Psion in the core books didn't make it, or is psionics some sort of feat or background or something?
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:04 PM
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So Psion in the core books didn't make it, or is psionics some sort of feat or background or something?
I have no idea; I don't remember seeing any psionic material in the playtests, and it sounds like a ton of extra work. Especially since they unified the Divine and Arcane spell lists...

To clarify: the classes list is based on what was in the final playtest and what WotC has answered questions about.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:24 PM
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So Psion in the core books didn't make it, or is psionics some sort of feat or background or something?
This sounds pretty psion-ic to me:

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Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
Apparently the Sorcerer uses "magic points" for some kind of metamagic shenanigans.
If sorcerers get a build-your-own summon of any kind and those shenanigans include things like silent casting and spell empowering, that would be most of why I play psions anyway. What are you looking for?

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In 5e Basic, I just pick "Dueling" as my fighting style and I'm done. It's awesome.
We were actually talking about this in the Conspirators IRC. Dueling is obviously aimed at fencer-types (which, count me in the camp that loves seeing them get a boost) but we were having trouble deciding if it would apply to sword-and-board fighters as well. The debate mostly came down to semantics and whether a shield counted as a weapon or not.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:26 AM
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We were actually talking about this in the Conspirators IRC. Dueling is obviously aimed at fencer-types (which, count me in the camp that loves seeing them get a boost) but we were having trouble deciding if it would apply to sword-and-board fighters as well. The debate mostly came down to semantics and whether a shield counted as a weapon or not.
I'd say the intent is clearly not, even if the wording is sloppy, but maybe!

I'm kind of interested in what Basic fighting style combos Champions seem to have at level 10. The obvious is anything + Defense (+1 AC) and anything + Archery (for plinking flying wizards until they drop like a rock).

Dueling + Great Weapon + versatile looked interesting, but I'm not sure if there's a point - maybe switch to Great Weapon when you've got advantage and go crit-fishing, and use Dueling the rest of the time for a reliable +2?
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:32 PM
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Would depend on how the math stats out at later levels as far as HP and defenses go, I guess.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:34 PM
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Oh boy, going to run the starter set scenario this weekend. Playing it super straight, going to ham it up and do dwarf voices and offer cheetos & mtn dew. Yessss
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:43 PM
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Would depend on how the math stats out at later levels as far as HP and defenses go, I guess.
Doesn't look like there's much that adds to hit rolls besides Proficiency + Attribute, so presumably even high-level defenses are "hittable" with a +11 or so - an attribute of 20 and a +6 Proficiency. It looks like the system's intended to be very flat, overall.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:25 AM
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I DM'd the first part of the starter set tonight for 3 people, including the DM of my my normal, 6-PC 4e group. We had an absolute blast.

This is such breath of fresh air coming from 4e. I have been making a subtle effort to get my group to switch to a different system, i.e. Pathfinder (me and the regular DM are the only people who have ever played anything other than 4e). I never really got any traction until tonight.

One of my players actually said "this is more like what I thought role playing was supposed to be like." I'm just happy not to be on a grid anymore — though if a grid is your thing, this will handle that too. Everything runs so much faster when every PC isn't worrying that much about spacing, or which of their eight powers to use and which to conserve. Everyone played much more creatively when not locked into set powers.

By the end of the night we were already talking about buying books, so I guess this might be a success for WotC.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:57 AM
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I ran the beginning of the starter set adventure last night too and my group had the same response. Most of us have experience with 3.5, 4, and pathfinder but we all agreed that 5e was really fun to play. When we finished our first combat my friend who has only played 4e said "wow, this is so much better than fourth edition."

We didn't have a whole lot of time so we only played for about 2 hours but we're hoping to pick it back up today. Ended with half of the party getting washed out of the hideout by the flood and the other half watching and laughing from the blind.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:49 PM
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Spent a lot of the last 24 hours writing a long discussion of my character creation, only to realize it is way, way too long to probably be of much use to anyone who actually needs it. So instead I whipped out this TL;DR version:
  • Start with a character theme, like any other game.
  • Proficiency is +2 for first level and added to anything your class and background say you are proficient in (page 7 of the basic rules).
  • Ability scores are pretty much the same as before, but now have a hard cap of 20.
  • Races are on pages 12-19.
  • Classes are on 20-32.
  • For roleplay aspects, start with your Background (pp. 37-41); they'll help you figure out the rest.
  • The lists in the Backgrounds are for inspiration, they are NOT the only ideals, etc., available to you.
  • Class and Background proficiencies and equipment are cumulative Sorry, that's misleading - you get all the proficiencies and equipment from both your Class and Background combined, you don't have to choose between them. Any time a proficiency would double up, choose another proficiency of the same kind instead (so if you get proficiency in Athletics from two places, you get Athletics proficiency and another skill proficiency of your choice) (page 36).
  • You can roll for starting gold as on page 42 OR take the equipment from your class and Background, not both.
  • Don't forget a nice trinket for flavor (page 54).
  • Stacking bonuses and penalties are out for Advantage and Disadvantage: Advantaged characters roll twice and take the better result, Disadvantaged roll twice and take the worse. Advantage doesn't stack with another Advantage and vice versa. Having both Advantage and Disadvantage cancels them both out (page 57).
  • To figure out a passive check (you'll want to know your passive Perception, at least), take 10 and add all your mods (page 59).
  • Saving throws are now just ability checks, possibly with a proficiency bonus (page 62).
  • Along those lines, Initiative is now just a Dex check (page 69).
  • Other tips: the pdf is searchable. This helps a lot. Pick Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws with some detail and that you'll enjoy playing; the GM will use them for plot hooks and if you play them well, you get Inspiration, which can be cashed in for Advantage on a lot of rolls.

Last edited by Lucas; 07-19-2014 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:53 PM
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We were actually talking about this in the Conspirators IRC. Dueling is obviously aimed at fencer-types (which, count me in the camp that loves seeing them get a boost) but we were having trouble deciding if it would apply to sword-and-board fighters as well. The debate mostly came down to semantics and whether a shield counted as a weapon or not.
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I'd say the intent is clearly not, even if the wording is sloppy, but maybe!
Brought this up with a friend who's been following everything far more closely; Mearls has apparently stated that shields aren't weapons, so Dueling is far play for sword-and-board fighters, which opens up a lot of combinations.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:03 PM
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That's good to see. It would really suck to be stuck with only defensive styles just because you went with a shield.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:08 PM
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BoingBoing has some art and a Warlock sneak peak.

So, having run some math, fighter combat options are pretty interesting. Great Weapon 2d6s have higher expected damage than Great Weapon 1d12s, but Dueling d8s have a marginal edge over Great Weapon d10s (until you get into crits, where Great Weapon pulls ahead again).

Basically, you've got a slight edge if you're using a Greatsword or Maul, but otherwise, you're on even footing, so go wild and chop stuff up.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:54 PM
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It makes me so, so happy to see Claudio Pozas' artwork in a core D&D book.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:59 PM
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No matter what issues I have with this edition of D&D and some consultants they thanked, I love the art for it. I'm glad that people seem to be really digging this edition though!

Last edited by kaisel; 07-21-2014 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:32 AM
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My group did more starter set tonight. We added another member of our normal 4e group, who I was able to work in as the pre-gen wizard, so now we are up to the standard 4 PCs, so I won't have to nerf encounters any more. Our 5 hour session was mostly RP, with only one combat — it was glorious. A good time was had by all.

Some notes/spoilers for DMs for when your players reach Phandalin: If one of your PCs is playing the Rogue, make sure to pay attention to the "bonds" section on the front of his/her sheet — the rogue's aunt is a specifically named character in Phandalin with specific information that is mentioned in the adventure (but with a typo at the end of her surname). Her name and this information isn't listed in the background section on the back of the Rogue's character sheet, which was the part I consulted on all the player sheets before running the 2nd section of the adventure.

Also, the bonds section on the front of the Cleric's sheet specifically mentions that he/she is a cousin of the Rockseeker brothers, which is also not mentioned in the background section — though the fact that the Cleric knows Dalan (Daran? Another typo!) Edermath is in the background section. None of these relationships are referred to at all in the adventure guide, which I think is the first bad oversight in the box. The Cleric in my group mentioned his cousins early, and I was able to roll with it, but the Rogue player isn't the best at names, so I had to scramble a bunch — his aunt ended up being a different halfling on a different farm, which is pretty kludgy when they plotted everything else so successfully.


EDIT: Or if they're going to mention the Rogue's aunt on his sheet, they should also mention his cousin Carp, since players are far more likely to encounter Carp's name first. I'm really bothered about how this played out, I thought I planned so well for this session.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:57 AM
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Possibly the most drastic change is that D&D finally has roleplaying baked right into character creation, with spots on the character sheet for backgrounds! Personality traits! Bonds! Flaws! They even go so far as to give you a slight mechanical reason to roleplay, in the Inspiration rule: if the GM likes your roleplaying, you get to have Advantage on a future roll.
Is this a new thing? I was pretty sure that 3e had background spaces on their sheet, and 4e not only has a section for background details, but also has Backgrounds that give tiny mechanical effects (generally speaking either adding another skill as Trained, or giving a minor bonus to a skill).

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What edition are you thinking of where that didn't work? 3.X's big deal was that two-weapon fighting sucked, because you're paying twice as much cash, roped into a whole chain of annoying feats, taking penalties to hit, still only getting one attack if you move, and math-wise still doing the same damage in the end as someone with just the one sword.
TWF may be sub-optimal in core d20, but the expanded stuff makes it pretty ridiculous and easily one of the most powerful ways to play a melee guy. The loss of feats to counteract the to-hit penalties suck, but when you can attack with TWO 2d8 weapons (either because you found some busted third-party finessable weapon like lightsabers, or you're using the feat to let you TWF two-handed weapons) instead of just one...!

That all said, though, just like third-party makes TWF kind of nuts, third-party also makes 2H or even just one-sword good as well. For example, the same 2d8 weapons you can be TWFing with you can just equip one of and be wielding a typical core 2H weapon. And third-party materials can start giving you 4d8 or higher 2H weapons if you want to go that way.


Overall, I really, REALLY liked 4e as a core product, though I will admit that 3e sure had it beat with addon materials. I like what I've seen about 5e so far, but am sad about some of the things they removed or changed during the playtesting. One of the first packages had TWF be much more of a trade-off, where it gave you full to-hit and damage bonuses, but your damage was always halved per weapon. This allowed for an interesting dynamic between TWF and 2H, in the sense that both could potentially deal the same damage, but TWF was more consistent damage, even if each hit was weaker.

I am also sad about the loss of the "action dice" mechanic for the melee characters, even if it mechanically didn't seem like it was working out. Though some of the actions WotC gave were... less and less useful as time went on, leaving only the generic +damage to attack one as being useful. The one to at least let you get some damage on a miss kept getting nerfed into uselessness; there was one playtest package where the way it was redesigned meant there were literally no monsters in the package you could use it on.

I'm really interested in seeing Sorcerers, because the only time it showed up in the playtest package, it was presenting as an interesting Spellblade concept that uses MP for spells instead of spell slots.
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