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.
What are the benchmarks for fighters at each tier, compared to the spellcasting guidelines used in Wandering Monsters?
While James Wyatt discussed spellcasting in his latest Wandering Monsters, the other classes have similar breakpoints. For fighters, 5th and 11th levels represent the point at which you get a second and third attack respectively. While extra attacks may seem relatively simple to hang an entire tier on, they represent not only an increase in damage output, but also in versatility; more attacks means more chances to hit, more chances to fire off a combat maneuver, the ability to attack multiple foes, more chances for critical hits, and the ability to perform special attacks (like shoving someone down or grappling) as a part of your combat round.
As you reach the 11th level tier, we also start giving out more abilities to shrug off spells and other effects, which then expand from there across the levels. Above 11th level is where we start including mechanics designed to increase fighter survivability and the ability to cheat death; when you reach 18th level as a fighter, we want you to feel like you can stand in front of the dragon in defiance with the ability to live through whatever the dragon throws at you.
How would you handle running a business in D&D Next? Is this something handled with the downtime mechanics?
The most basic version will be handled by our guidelines for what happens between adventures (what you refer to in the question as “downtime mechanics”). These basic guidelines will provide a simple version that’s enough to say, “I own a tavern,” or “I work as a blacksmith,” between adventures without getting into a lot of minutiae about how running the business works. Elsewhere, we plan to expand on these guidelines for dealing with an organization, which could be anything from a trade consortium to a thieves’ guild, to an army, and include not just your ability to administrate your organization, but also what you can do with it.
Is 20 the hard cap on maximum ability score or can magic push it higher?
Magic (especially magic items) can increase a character’s ability scores above 20. We simply use 20 as the cap for natural, non-magical ability scores. Additionally, other character features (for example, a class feature) could allow an ability score to exceed this cap.
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 email@example.com. 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.