Heretical DnD5 – 6th level playtesting

Got in another playtest on the Heretical DnD project.

What did I learn?

  • I need to look a little bit at the grappling rules. There’s a tweak to be made that’s tiny and sensible. It won’t change much, but it’s a good add.
  • There’s a neat use for a reaction on the Protection fighting style that makes tons of sense
  • We didn’t really get to play with the brand-new shield rules, but I like the draft. Need some more hand-to-hand fighting to really try those out. The one time someone got hit with a melee attack, they’d been paralyzed, so it didn’t matter.
  • Need to work out how losing concentration in spells works with the new system.
  • Really needs to be better advice on how to get information about your foes. What can you get with what roll? What skills for what monsters?
  • We resolved how to take care of critters that are resistant to damage with the new rules. It’s not even really a change, but we agreed we liked the not-change.
  • Definitely need to un-tweak the bow aiming rules. They were needed in some of the original drafts, but probably aren’t needed anymore.
  • Spells could be really, really nasty, but when confronted with a Will-o’-Wisp and two mummys in a line, two different spells were “just the ticket” to be a fight-ender. With relatively few spell slots per day, this seemed the right level of “holy crap! lions!” and “can survive.”
  • Armor made the difference between life and death for an NPC hireling; that was cool.
  • The rules for when impairment sets in were tested as a drive-by, and they worked. They gave an excuse to be very parsimonious with healing, and the aforementioned NPC was left wounded but unimpaired. This guy is totally walking around with a bandage on his face.
  • We ruled that the paladin’s ability to locate evil conveyed to others, but at disadvantage. Might revise that, but it helped move things along.
  • A lot of look-ups today, as the draft has grown to 3x the size it was when we last tested (nearly all of that spells, equipment, and feats) and a lot of smallish but critical revisions. A few design decisions I’ve made along the way seem like they’re still the right thing to do.
  • I was reminded a few times of older 5e blog posts I’ve done with nice house rules in them, that I really, really need to go back and mine to see if they belong in the draft.

All in all, I feel like things are going well. There’s lots of work to do, and I really need to be able to sit in front of my machine for eight uninterrupted hours or so…but things are looking good.

I’m also taking the steps that will lead to a viable publishing outcome. This is kind of exciting; never done it before.

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