ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will scour all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the making of the game or anything else you care to know about... with some caveats.
There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.
Could you tell us a little bit more about how the sorcerer is shaping up?
Sure. Right now, the sorcerer is a spellcasting class that has a spell progression like other primary spellcasters (druid, cleric, wizard). The sorcerer’s subclasses focus on his or her sorcerous origin, the source of that sorcerer’s magical ability. For example, having a draconic heritage (like the 3rd Edition sorcerer) is one method of obtaining innate magical power, but another one we’re exploring is exposure to wild magic. Additionally, since sorcerers are “innate” spellcasters who simply know spells instead of studying rigid arcane formulae, we’re experimenting with giving them sorcery points, which can be spent to produce metamagic-like effects (for example, you could spend sorcery points to increase a spell’s damage, increase its range, cast a 1-action spell as a swift spell, and so on). Since the story of the sorcerer is that they use their inherent understanding of magic to cast spells, it also stands to reason that they would be the best at shaping and molding raw magical power, changing the nature of those spells on the fly.
Will the available armor types be expanded?
We’re pretty happy with the available arrays of armor types right now, and according to our survey data, so are most of our playtesters. We’re not likely to expand the basic armor types, though we’re certainly interested in a wide variety of magic armors to provide some more options.
I’m curious to know how similar effects are compared and balanced against each other. Take the example of rogue Stealth and the invisibility spell. What kind of things does the team do when balancing these class abilities against similar effects found in spells or elsewhere?
Many times, we like to make them so that they are complementary, so that you’re happy to have both. While rogues are sneaky, a rogue with invisibility cast upon him or her is at a serious advantage and should be able to sneak in anywhere, because the benefits of invisibility stack on top of a high bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks. Sure, you could cast it on the wizard, but the wizard still has to make Dexterity (Stealth) checks to avoid being noticed by sound. Similarly, the invisibility spell complements the rogue’s Sneak Attack class feature well, while it’s not an exceptionally powerful combination with the wizard’s other class features. Take a look at charm person as opposed to having the bard try to talk a way past the guard; the charmed condition has been specifically worded to make it so that it isn’t an automatic success. The condition instead gives advantage on Charisma checks, making it complementary with the bard’s high Charisma score and potential training in social skills.
The nice part about complementary design is that, if another class intended to be complemented by the spell isn’t present, the spell can produce an almost-but-not-quite-as-good substitute, making it a useful solution, if not an optimal one. What we have to strive to avoid is the complementary solution being better than the class it’s trying to complement. In cases where we can’t make them complementary, like the knock spell vs. picking a lock with thieves’ tools, we look for ways to make it so that the spell isn’t always the best choice; in this case, the booming knocking sound is definitely a drawback in stealthy situations, so you almost certainly want to pick a lock when sneaking in somewhere.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?
Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.