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[Let's Read] 5E Player's Handbook

vitruvian

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Still no fly or swim move, though, which IMO is most of the point of animal shapes to begin with. Sure, a bear is a good shape for fighting, but a warrior friend who's strapped up in plate armour is even better than that. Turn into an otter and swim down to retreive something from the bottom of the lake/pool/river? Turn into a bird and go scouting? Turn into a dog and smell where the enemy went? That's what I want out of a shapechanger.

Not sure how that means auto nerfing things so that no-one can fly. One druid turning into a bird isn't gonna change that fight much other than stop the druid getting eaten.

Can't cast spells in animal shape for a lotta levels regardless. Turn into a sparrow and fly away, sure, but that's all you're gonna do.

And can't, in fact, do much of anything else but fly, if you're turned into a bird. Can't fight, can't talk, can't really carry anything...

Like being a bird who can't really do much? I mean, yeah, it means the druid can get themself past that obstacle without those skills, but that's why you're a druid, right? The other classes can do their own thing.
You could just start the campaign at 8th level, and then all the druids can fly, and the sorcerers and wizards most likely can, and at that point there's no reason not to allow aarakocra and winged mounts.

At lower levels, the druid Wild Shape is still greatfor scouting, since potential foes are unlikely to pay much attention to one more squirrel or mouse or what have you unless they've already been getting ambushed by druids a lot (and then they probably are so paranoid they can't get a good rest in while in any natural terrain), and are decent for combat if you're Circle of the Moon - the stats on a brown bear, i.e., grizzly, are nothing to sneeze at, and remember it's also like an extra pool of HP since when that form goes to 0 you revert and only have to deal with any excess damage, you're not down and out. Stronger than a same level dedicated melee fighter? Probably not, even with the healing from spell slots, but not bad as a sideline either.
 

Dalillama

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You could just start the campaign at 8th level, and then all the druids can fly, and the sorcerers and wizards most likely can, and at that point there's no reason not to allow aarakocra and winged mounts
You could do that, if your DM agreed, sure. But if it's a game that starts at lower level, then druids are pointlessly nerfed.

At lower levels, the druid Wild Shape is still greatfor scouting, since potential foes are unlikely to pay much attention to one more squirrel or mouse or what have you unless they've already been getting ambushed by druids a lot
There's a sharp limit to how far out a mouse or squirrel can go in a reasonable period of time. If you need to know where someone/thing is that's more than a mile or so away, a squirrel's no use at all.

and are decent for combat if you're Circle of the Moon - the stats on a brown bear, i.e., grizzly, are nothing to sneeze at, and remember it's also like an extra pool of HP since when that form goes to 0 you revert and only have to deal with any excess damage
And if I wanted to be a combat monster I'd be playing a Fighter; like I said above, combat is near the bottom of reasons I'd want to play a shapechanger.
 

Dzhay

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I'll quickly summarise the other Cleric subclasses we've seen so far. I'll go back for barbarians, bards and druids later, because WotC seems to love making cleric domains (as I'm sure you've noticed)
Spoiler: Show

  • The DMG has a Death domain, intended for bad guys. More for CE plague and zombie gods than your LN cycle of nature types. Extra spells are all nasty necromantic things. Other features are all about dealing more damage.
  • The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has the Arcana domain, for a... magic themed spell-caster? Extra spells are some of the more distinctly wizardly ones (plus two wizard cantrips at level one and a bunch of wizard spells at 17). Channel divinity can turn or banish fey, fiends, celestials or elementals. Cool thematic feature is the ability to dispel magical effects on a creature when you heal it.
  • The Xanathar's Guide to Everything has two: the Forge domain is for smith gods. Spells are half about enchanting weapons and half thematic things like heat metal. First level ability is blessing one item to make it +1 until the next long rest - pretty good. Channel divinity lets you make metal items magically - for the same price, but far less time. 6th and 17th give you advantages against fire and extra benefits from heavy armour. Divine strike does fire damage.
  • Secondly, we have the Grave domain, for your Raven Queen/ Hades type death god. Spells are actually pretty similar to the Death domain, with a few beneficial ones mixed in. You get spare the dying for free at first level and always heal the maximum amount if your target is at 0 hp. You can detect undead [wiz mod] times/ long rest, which is thematic. Channel divinity makes a target have vulnerability to the next attack that hits it. 6th level feature lets you turn critical hits on you or a nearby ally into normal ones as a reaction. 17th lets you heal an ally when an enemy dies.
  • Finally, the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica has the Order domain, for Lawful Lawful types. Spells are buffs and things to control or impede others. Allies get a free attack when you cast a spell on them. Channel divinity charms. 6th level lets you cast enchantment spells as a bonus action. Divine strike does psychic damage, and the 17th level ability makes a creature hit by it also take that damage when one of your allies hits it. Overall, not a nice view of Law
 

Dalillama

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Compared to previous editions it's three levels later than usual, in previous editions wildshape wasn't even available until fifth level.

-Naxuul
And in earlier editions than that it wasn't til 7th level, but when you got it you got it (except fish for some reason; it's 'Any bird, reptile or mammal' of not more than ~2x your own size. TBH it's a pretty powerful ability, but that's kind of the idea, right? I can see wanting it to be less powerful at lower levels, but a limited number of uses and the bit where you can't turn into anything more than CR 1/4 seems to be sufficient to me. That pretty much precludes anything that'd be useful in a fight, which is the main thing that D&D balances against.
 

Manitou

Emperor of the Americas
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I'll quickly summarise the other Cleric subclasses we've seen so far. I'll go back for barbarians, bards and druids later, because WotC seems to love making cleric domains (as I'm sure you've noticed)
Spoiler: Show

  • The DMG has a Death domain, intended for bad guys. More for CE plague and zombie gods than your LN cycle of nature types. Extra spells are all nasty necromantic things. Other features are all about dealing more damage.
  • The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has the Arcana domain, for a... magic themed spell-caster? Extra spells are some of the more distinctly wizardly ones (plus two wizard cantrips at level one and a bunch of wizard spells at 17). Channel divinity can turn or banish fey, fiends, celestials or elementals. Cool thematic feature is the ability to dispel magical effects on a creature when you heal it.
  • The Xanathar's Guide to Everything has two: the Forge domain is for smith gods. Spells are half about enchanting weapons and half thematic things like heat metal. First level ability is blessing one item to make it +1 until the next long rest - pretty good. Channel divinity lets you make metal items magically - for the same price, but far less time. 6th and 17th give you advantages against fire and extra benefits from heavy armour. Divine strike does fire damage.
  • Secondly, we have the Grave domain, for your Raven Queen/ Hades type death god. Spells are actually pretty similar to the Death domain, with a few beneficial ones mixed in. You get spare the dying for free at first level and always heal the maximum amount if your target is at 0 hp. You can detect undead [wiz mod] times/ long rest, which is thematic. Channel divinity makes a target have vulnerability to the next attack that hits it. 6th level feature lets you turn critical hits on you or a nearby ally into normal ones as a reaction. 17th lets you heal an ally when an enemy dies.
  • Finally, the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica has the Order domain, for Lawful Lawful types. Spells are buffs and things to control or impede others. Allies get a free attack when you cast a spell on them. Channel divinity charms. 6th level lets you cast enchantment spells as a bonus action. Divine strike does psychic damage, and the 17th level ability makes a creature hit by it also take that damage when one of your allies hits it. Overall, not a nice view of Law
Their is also a few other domains.
The 5e WIkia lists:
  1. Death Domain
  2. Forge Domain
  3. Grave Domain
  4. Knowledge Domain
  5. Life Domain
  6. Light Domain
  7. Nature Domain
  8. Order Domain
  9. Protection Domain
  10. Solidarity Domain
  11. Strength Domain
  12. Tempest Domain
  13. Trickery Domain
  14. War Domain
  15. Zeal Domain
PLus the UA has Darkness(rather meh IMO) and Destruction(pretty cool IMO) which you can google for.

Plane Shift: Amonkhet has the Strength Domain, give you proficiency with either a druid skill or athletics, a druid cantrip, and proficiency with heavy armor. Channel Divinity is if using a Strength based attack roll, ability check, or saving throw you can add +10 to it. At 6th level you can give this bonus to another within 30 feat. Divine Strike at 8th level gives you bonus damage from weapon attacks, even ranged/dex ones.
at 17th level you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (nonmagical) damage.
 

Kiiratam

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Chapter 3 - Classes - The Fighter

Class icon is a sword and battleaxe, crossed in front of a kite shield. The background is a very gray personless city. The Iconic is pretty amazing. I'm not sure about the shield/spear arrangement (is the spear serving as the shield's handle; what happens if you need to use your spear?), but in general? It's not dungeonpunk, it's not quite pre-WotC style, but it looks good.


So, uh, we get a lot more than three sample characters in the intro - mainly because all of them feature multiple fighters. A female human in plate shield-charging goblins, a male elf archer in leather, a half-orc battlefield commander. A male dwarven defender, with chain and shield. A female half-elf in scale, with dual scimitars. A retiarius gladiator, fighting an eldritch knight. I do find it interesting that they're defined by their gear, not their talents, mostly. And they're all about the combat pillar. Not surprising. But the book is also claiming that fighters are one of the most diverse classes in D&D. We'll see how that bears out.

Okay, so the first part is 'fighters are proficient with all weapons and armour', followed by the fact that fighters specialize in one particular style of combat (and then they mix up archetypes and combat styles, soooo).

As usual, we get a 'not every <profession> is a <class>.' In this case, 'soldier' and 'fighter.' They point out that most adventuring fighters have chosen a high-risk, high-reward lifestyle. They namedrop a flame-tongue sword.

Some prompts - where was your fighter trained, why are they not just spear-holder no. 18? Army, militia, military academy, self-taught? Is there a family martial tradition? Where did you get your kit?

Quick Fighter - Str or Dex is your highest ability (depending on whether you're going melee/thrown or ranged/finesse), followed by Con (or Int, if you're going Eldritch Knight). Soldier background. Either chain armour, or leather armour, a longbow, and 20 arrows. A martial weapon and a shield or two martial weapons. A light crossbow and 20 bolts, or two handaxes. A dungeoneering pack, or an explorer's pack. Well, that's the least specific gear list yet.

Rules: 1d10 HD, proficient with all armour, shields, and simple and martial weapons. Proficient with Strength and Constitution saves (sadly, no choice for Dex-centered characters). Two skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival. Hey, fighters can actually be competent guards! That's a change. I'm assuming riding stuff is covered by Animal Handling? Equipment choices are all covered in the quick build above.

And into the class features: Fighting Style (1st level): has six options, and you only get one. Archery is +2 to-hit with ranged weapons. Defense is +1 AC in armour. Dueling is +2 damage with a single, one-handed weapon and a free off-hand. Great-Weapon Fighting is Brutal 2 with two-handed or versatile weapons (reroll 1s and 2s, take reroll). Protection is spend your reaction to give disadvantage on an attack against an adjacent ally. Two-Weapon Fighting lets you add your ability modifier to damage of your second attack. I want to like Protection, but I think tying it in to advantage/disadvantage may be a mistake. Compare it to the War Domain stuff, which is just a +10 bonus (and therefore, can actually stack with things).

Second Wind is okay. Spend a bonus action, regain 1d10+ fighter level HP. Must finish a short or long rest before using again. I mean, I won't turn it down, but it's not going to scale super well. At least it's a bonus action.

Action Surge (2nd level) lets you take a second action this round. Must finish a short or long rest before it recharges. At 17th, you can use it twice before recharging, but only once a round. It's basically an extra turn; what's not to love? (I mean, besides them getting rid of the concept of encounter and daily powers, and making me type 'recharges on a short/long/short or long rest' every time.)

Martial Archetype (3rd level) choose from Battle Master, Champion, or Eldritch Knight. Grants features at 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th.

Ability Score Improvement yadda yadda, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th.

Extra Attack (5th, 11th, 20th) lets you attack twice when you use the Attack action. Then three attacks at 11th, and four at 20th. Not sure how that compares with the barbarian - the barbarian is probably doing more damage per hit, and has higher spikes due to criticals. But if they can both reliably hit, the fighter's overall damage is probably higher. Has anyone run the math?

Indomitable (9th, 13th, 17th) lets you reroll a failed saving throw (must take the reroll) as a daily. x2 daily at 13th, x3 daily at 17th.

And then we're into archetypes. But first, some art: There was a fairly plain scabbard, and I have no idea what those are. Coins? They're decorated with a little curlicue. We get something that's very different, too.A banner of a knight and a mge fighting a three-headed serpent in the sea. The sun and moon are both in the sky, and there's text at the bottom in runes. Buuut, it reads "This is Photoshop's version of Lorem Ipsum Proin Grfwida nibh wel welit auktor alinuet aenean sollikitudin lorem nuis bibendum auktor hsi elit konsenuat ipsum nek sagittis"


First, the Champion. Deadly perfection! Minimal fluff! At 3rd, critical on a 19 or 20. At 7th, add 1/2 your proficiency bonus to any Str/Dex/Con check that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus. And +Str mod to running long jump distance? Umm, okay. I'm sure that will be useful, Leap of the Clouds of 5E. At 10th, you get a second fighting style (but you can't choose the same style again). At 15th, critical hit range expands to 18+. At 18th, when below half HP (i.e. bloodied), regain 5 + Con mod HP. But once you hit 0 HP, no regen for you. Not bad, low interactivity, but sometimes you just want a simple class. Wonder how crit fishing works this edition. There's nothing to object to, but nothing really exciting either.

Next, the Battle Master. Combat as academic study, or art. At 3rd, you get 3 maneuvers from the the list we'll get to later. And then to more maneuvers at 7th, 10th, and 15th. You can also swap out a maneuver whenever you learn a new one. Limited to using one maneuver per attack. You also get four 1d8s as superiority dice. They refresh after a short or long rest. You get another die at 7th and another at 15th. They improve to 1d10s at 10th level, and 1d12s at 18th level. Some maneuvers require a save, which is based on either Str or Dex, but are otherwise like the spell save DCs. You also get proficiency with artisan's tools (your pick of what) at 3rd. Again, for your artsy calligrapher swordsman/blacksmith fighter/whatever. At 7th, you get a non-combat ability - sorta. With a minute of appraisal, you can determine characteristics of another creature relative to your own. You learn two from the list of Str score, Dex score, Con score, AC, current HP, total level, and fighter levels. Which, honestly? I let anyone know that, unless they're making an effort to obscure their skill. It's a nothing ability, except that now non-Battle Master fighters can't do that. At 15th, if you roll initiative, and have no superiority dice left, you regain one.

And then maneuvers: these are a whole page on their own, so, summarizing:
Commander's strike: with an attack action, spend an attack and bonus action, give ally an attack as a reaction, with your superiority die to weapon damage. The Warlord is crying into their cereal, you monsters. That's garbage. You're spending three actions to get one attack. It gets less worse when you have extra attacks, but still not good.
Disarming attack: on hit, disarm target (Str save negates), deal damage + superiority die.
Distracting strike: on hit, deal damage + superiority die. Next attack vs your target (that isn't from you, before the start of your next turn) is at advantage.
Evasive footwork: when moving, roll superiority die and add to AC until you stop moving.
Feinting attack: bonus action to spend superiority die and feint against adjacent target. Your next attack against that target is at advantage, and you add superiority die to damage.
Goading attack: on hit, deal damage + superiority die. Target makes Wisdom save or be at disadvantage to attack anyone but you until end of your next turn.
Lunging attack: spend superiority die, attack at +5ft range in melee. If hit, deal damage + superiority die.
Maneuvering attack: on hit, deal damage + superiority die. Ally can spend reaction to move up to half their speed without provoking.
Menacing attack: on hit, deal damage + superiority die. Target makes Wisdom save or be frightened of you until end of your next turn.
Parry: if you are damaged in melee, spend reaction and superiority die to reduce damage by die result + Dex mod.
Precision attack: add a superiority die to a weapon attack roll.
Pushing attack: on hit, push target up to 15ft (Str save negates, immune if bigger than Large), deal damage + superiority die.
Rally: spend bonus action, ally gains temporary HP equal to superiority die + your Cha mod.
Riposte: when you are missed in melee, spend reaction and make melee weapon attack against them. On hit, deal damage + superiority die.
Sweeping attack: On hit, spend superiority die to continue the swing against a target adjacent to the original target. If the original attack roll result would hit, you hit them too. It takes superiority die of damage.
Trip attack: on hit, knock target prone (Str save negates, immune if bigger than Large), deal damage + superiority die.

Okay, so - the Battle Master has now cordoned off 'doing any sort of basic combat maneuver with your attacks.' And attempted to be a 'realistic' Warlord. And did it using a less good version of a mechanic I used in a homebrew 3.75*. I could not be less of a fan of this.

*Besides the 'add to to-hit rolls, and various maneuvers, there were also skill bonuses, daze/stun/paralyze, bonus dice when in certain circumstances (drunk, higher ground, mounted, readied action, vs certain styles, etc), or using certain maneuvers, terrifying and damaging roars, making mirror images of yourself, becoming incorporeal, mimicking the combat styles of others, gaining damage resistance, healing...

The maneuvers themselves are pretty repetitive, and given that you eventually get half the list - eesh. It really, really suffers in comparison to the 4E Fighter, where most of this stuff isn't even at the level of an at-will, either in giving you fun toys, or new capabilities. Mind, it has sort of mashed the 4E Fighter, Rogue, and Warlord all into a mix, so the playspace of the maneuvers is theoretically bigger. But these are pretty close to the power of weapon feats - which, while interesting, weren't most of the class. Let's just move on.

The Eldritch Knight, or, as I'm going to call them in perpetuity, the gish, is a mage-knight. They're not-quite wizards - Int-based,but not keeping a spellbook, and really only using evocations and abjurations. Which, given the Abjurant Champion (great prestige class), and that the actual gish bread-and-butter were touch spells of all schools, conjuration, and transmutations.... yeah. So, this ain't the swordmage, teleporting all over the battlefield. But at least they can sling evocations. Theoretically. Start with two cantrips, and get a third at 10th level. Only up to 4th circle spells, getting 1st circle at 3rd level, 2nd circle at 7th, 3rd circle at 13th, and 4th circle at 19th. Gish know about four spells per circles 1st-3rd, and one or two from 4th. They get a spell from any wizard school at 3rd, 8th, 14th, and 20th, but otherwise, are all drawn from abjuration or evocation schools of the wizard.

Also at 3rd, they form a bond with a particular weapon. Can't be disarmed of it, can call it to their hand as a bonus action. Limit two bonded weapons at once. But it doesn't count as magical, or anything. I mean, like with the 4E swordmage, it's technically a feature. It probably won't come up much, and if does, your DM will probably get shirty about you getting around their 'throw the PCs in prison' or 'shipwreck the PCs' plots.

At 7th, when you spend your action casting a cantrip, you can make a weapon attack as a bonus action. At 10th, anyone you hit with your weapon is at disadvantage to the next save they make against a spell you cast before the end of your next turn. At 15th, they seem to have remembered that swordmages were a thing, and let you teleport 30ft whenever you use your action surge (before or after your bonus action). And at 18th, when you spend your action casting any spell, you can make a weapon attack as a bonus action.

Really depends on what spells are available, I guess. But I'm worried, given that they reversed the duskblade feature of 'make an attack, and also cast a spell.' 'Cast a spell, and also attack' would really benefit someone with lots of magic, and a pretty good attack, like the cleric. Given the small number of gish spells, it may turn it into someone who fights, and sometimes casts spells, and sometimes does both. As opposed to fights while they cast spells. All depends on the spells, and how they scale, I guess.

So how's that for variety? Well, the Weapon Styles are neat, but I think they'd be less defining than, say, a Bard's spells known. Champions are all going to look pretty similar, with only two Weapon Styles and their individual armament to set themselves apart. Battle Masters are going to be fairly different from maneuver selection, but that difference is going to decrease as they all pick up the fun, unique function maneuvers over the on-hit disarm/feint/goad/lunge/frighten/push/trip. Eldritch Knights - well, it all depends on how many abjuration and evocation spells there are of 1st-4th level. Overall, though - given that every character is going to have a different loud-out, fighters are only going to markedly different from the previous classes by being locked into a particular kind of gear. Which is kind of the opposite effect we want.

Well, that had its ups and downs. If you need me, I'm going to go bring the Warlord a fresh bowl of cereal, and let them cry on my shoulder. Poor dear.

Next time, it's everyone's favourite fist-puncher, the monk! And, as always, my question will be - will the monk be less impressive than Actual Jackie Chan?
 

Kiiratam

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You yadda yadda’d the best part! Well, a part at least. The fighter also gets bonus ASIs at 6th and 14th level. It and the rogue are the only two classes that break the standard 4/8/12/16/19 setup.
So it does! I completely missed that. So it's 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th. There was actually a reason they didn't just add the ASI to the experience table. ...Or they could have just done that, and made it obvious that the Fighter and Rogue got extra ones, instead of reprinting the same paragraph ten times.
 

Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
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Further cleric thoughts: I liked having two domains better, though it would probably be hard to implement at this point; but then I liked 2e's Sphere/Specialty Priest system best, and you could probably emulate that pretty well by making a custom themed "domain" for each god.
 
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