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D&D Next Q&A: 10/24/13
Rodney Thompson

Y 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.




1 Are you still planning to have a section in monster or villain descriptions that talks about their motivations, flaws, drives, and so on?

Yes, though every single monster will not necessarily have all those components. We’re still working to standardize what our monster presentation looks like, but we definitely plan to include a wealth of information on ideals, flaws, bonds, personalities, and traits for those monsters that warrant it.

2 What about climates/regions that monsters will likely be found in? Do you think we’ll see that kind of stuff in the monster descriptions?

Absolutely, since such information is integral to the exploration aspect of the game. We have already experimented with providing some of that information in monsters like the black dragon, and we expect to continue to find ways to do so. For example, we can describe the effect a dragon’s lair has on the region around it or the effect a pack of purple worms might have in an area.

3 How would a 3.5 prestige class designed to be taken by a multiclass character, like mystic theurge, be modeled in D&D Next as a subclass?

While we can’t yet talk about which specific subclasses we’re going to end up with, we’re looking into “multiclass friendly” subclasses to help blend the spellcasting classes with those that are not spellcasting classes. This goes in both directions; while we might have a subclass for, say, the fighter that makes it easier for that class to multiclass with a spellcasting class, we’re also considering subclasses for spellcasting classes, like the druid or sorcerer, that make them friendlier for weapon use. For the classes that already mix weapon use and magic, like the bard, cleric, paladin, and ranger, we are less likely to look for subclasses for that purpose. For any concepts not quite rich enough to support an entire subclass, we’re also looking into feats as a potential way to deliver some class-blending aspects, much like what you would expect from the multiclass feats from 4th Edition, especially since the feat design we have right now packs a lot of punch into a single feat.


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 dndinsider@wizards.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
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.
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mystic..... theurge......Welcome home........./crying
  
Posted By: whackygorger (11/4/2013 12:37:07 AM)
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Every intelligent monster and many beasts should be provided with motivations and personality, or a range of such. What they like, and things they hate, are a good starting point, as they provide a range of open-ended possibilities. Taking the http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/LegendaryBlackDragon.pdf as an example, several excellent observations are provided as a guide under Personality.

What I don't like is the use of Cruel as a keyword. Static definitions may be called for under Goals and Flaws, but monsters' interactions with characters and other creatures call for a lighter touch, just as the pervasive effects of their overall strategies, not to be confused with combat tactics, on the game requires a more flexible approach. I particularly dislike the categorization of monsters' and NPCs' Ideals. Enemies and Allies, in the section A Black Dragon's Lair, provides a starting point for defining the creature's bonds as far as relationships it has already established, whi... (see all)
  
Posted By: RadperT (10/31/2013 9:46:07 AM)
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I really hope they work it out so a level 6 fighter/level 6 mage is a level _6_ PC instead of a level 12 PC...Do it more like 4e's hybrid rules and everything will be much easier for everyone.
  
Posted By: seti (10/25/2013 10:43:13 PM)
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PS: I know this keeps people from intentionally breaking the game to make an uber-character, but if you need to scheme your way through the rules like some politician or high-priced lawyer, maybe cooperative ttRPGs aren't for you.
  
Posted By: seti (10/25/2013 10:53:48 PM)
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That lack of flexibilty is exactly what create the different between 3rd ed and 4th ed players. I don't see why a player spend more XPs and stay on the same level of a one class character. They only nned to make rules so a player can't dip in multiple classes, at least without consequences/disavantages.
  
Posted By: Palomides (10/30/2013 1:32:31 PM)
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Good; we need monsters to have some fluff. I understand the ideology behind a crunchier approach, like 4e, but I’d rather read the fluff and either be inspired or ignore it than just cram another couple of stat blocks into a book.
  
Posted By: mordicai (10/25/2013 10:18:28 AM)
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I am very happy to hear all of this! Yes, not every one will use the interaction rules and exploration rules and will just "wing" those aspects of the game (or modify them for their purpose), but for me and others, it is really great to hear that those pillars will get support in monster descriptions, just like the combat stats will. More than once the players have tried to ask random NPC's things I never thought off, and being able to go to the interaction rules really helped.

Just a side note, last weekend I ran a 4 hour session that was almost all exploration rules, with just three randomly generated encounters, as the party searched for a cave of sea hags, to get them to use a scrying cauldron of blood to answer a question for a necromancer, so that the necromancer would give a special healing potion to the party to cure a member who had a worm growing inside his chest. It was a lot of fun to take a break from the hack N' slash to run a structured session of e... (see all)
  
Posted By: moes1980 (10/24/2013 8:00:40 PM)
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#2 A great (and simple) way to describe the climate/region a monster tends to dwell in is an icon at the top of its entry. Pathfinder does that, and it's about time you guys at WotC copy THEM for a change ;)
  
Posted By: seti (10/24/2013 6:36:40 PM)
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I don't like the idea of using feats to substitute an entire type of prestige class, like the Arcane Archer feat, because this simply destroy the uniqueness of that prestige class. Also this choice easily made broken combos.
Why not simply leave the 3.5 ed. prestige class system, with a special bind to the background of every prestige class, forcing the players to consider more carefully the career of their PC's.
So, combining base class, subclass, archetypes and ONE prestige class, every characters can be unique, without debordation.
Restrictions and modularity should not to be in opposition each other, but DnD need to recover its foundations, and not become a colorless mixture.
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Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/24/2013 5:56:46 PM)
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Many prestige classes had only 5 levels, and something like 1 to 2 things going for them. The unique prestige classes I agree shouldn't be feats, but the ones of limited concept and ability should be prestige classes. Arcane Archer was one that was often a bad decision to take (no spellcasting advancement) and it's most unique thing was being able to imbue arrows with spells, so that ones better as a feat. Shadowdancer on the other hand is something I feel could be a Rogue subclass.
  
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (10/25/2013 10:58:36 AM)
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Beyond the infuse/phase/death arrows, the uniqueness of Arcane Archer prestige class is his racial restriction, that thing of "only for who have elven blood in their vein can be reach this honor and reveal his secrets" that made so special.
This is also what I intend for "uniqueness" and "special bind to the background".
Of course, I agree that Arcane Archer is not a well-constructed class.
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Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/26/2013 2:14:08 PM)
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Not a big fan of the mechanics behind ideals, flaws and bonds.

Although I love lots of detail and background on monsters, this seems to be an unnecessary complication. Providing information on ideals, flaws and bonds in the background - yes, that's cool. Having a painstakingly structured set of rules for how these categories affect interactions between players and monsters - that doesn't seem as simple and elegant as it should be.

Too much rolling and modifying and checking lists.
  
Posted By: BadMike (10/24/2013 4:33:03 PM)
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As long as they come up with a way to make a 20th level fighter/wizard multiclass that is fairly evently split in levels and is able to cast at least 7th level spells (not just spell *slots* actual 7th level *spells*) I will probably be satisfied.

That really is my litmus test. ADnD and 4e (kind of) both did it, and I find it essential to my favorite character concepts.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (10/24/2013 3:29:42 PM)
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I hope that this does not happen. Sorry. I'm fine with a Mage13/Fighter7 getting 7th level spells, but not a Mage10/Fighter10. That make no sense that a 10th level Mage can learn 7th level spells because he's also a Fighter.
  
Posted By: Wyckedemus (10/24/2013 3:41:43 PM)
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I also agree with Wyckedemus. There's no way I'd allow a level 10 mage/level 10 fighter to have access to any spells a pure level 12 mage doesn't have access to. Multi-classing is a trade off. The slots part I'm ok with.

Multi-classing should make you more versatile than a single class, and it should be allowed for unique character concepts. That comes with a price. You'll never be as good at spell casting as a PC who's levels are all spent on 'Mage'.

To suggest otherwise is, IMO, ridiculous.
  
Posted By: seti (10/25/2013 10:31:22 PM)
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The Fighter 10/Mage 10 should be able to reach that benchmark, while the Mage 10 shouldn't, because the Mage is a 10th level character, and the Fighter/Mage is a 20th level. Seems obvious enough, especially considering that almost all other basic abilities (Attack rolls, Saving throws, Skill rolls, ect, through the virtue of Proficiency bonus) scale with total level, rather than class level. Now, You could argue spells of higher levels are roughly class features, but if you're using a Gish Subclass, I can't see a reason why the class shouldn't scale somewhat like other base abilities.
  
Posted By: Avric_Tholomyes (10/25/2013 12:26:18 PM)
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I think something like the proposed Eldritch Knight subclass should add around 1/3 to 1/2 it's level to caster levels and spells that could be taken. Yes I think a Wiz10/Fighter10 should cast 7th level spells, it was roughly what 2e Fighter/Wizards could do at 20th level.
  
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (10/25/2013 11:03:52 AM)
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I think the extra levels of fighter should assist with being able to withstand casting higher level spells. For me there are a few reasons why it takes higher levels to cast the powerful spells. You need to understand the magical formulas (the academic side to learn a spell); have the control necessary to channel a powerful flow of arcane energy (preparing the spell); and have the physical conditioning to withstand channelling a torrent of arcane power (spell slot).
Fighter levels will help with the last one and the second one takes practice with casting more spells and in various conditions (under attack, under water, etc). You NEED mage levels for the first one.
So if as a mage 10 you can cast 5th level spells, and at level 20 you can cast 9th, then a multiclass mage 10/fighter 10 should be able to have a level 9 spell slot, but they can't learn or prepare spells of that level. They can only cast a levle 9 spell from a scroll or someone else's spell book, or increase a lowe... (see all)
  
Posted By: Rartemass (10/24/2013 8:16:21 PM)
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I agree with you Wyckedemus. The reason why the multiclassed wizard gets less spells is because he is a wizard with more HPs, ability to wear armour, second wind, action surge, proficient with all melee and ranged weapons, has an extra proficiency in saving throws, can make multiple attacks, all that makes up for losing those other spells.

They way it works is that you can multiclassed to get something the pure class doesn't get, but it is always at the cost of being behind in your pure class abilities. This continues all the way until the end, where you have sacrificed your capstone ability to get abilities from another class. Otherwise, It would be totally worth it for an 18th level mage to dump his last two levels into fighter to get action surge, as it would cost him pretty much nothing. The capstones give an incentive not to just power dip and to stick with a core class all the way.
  
Posted By: moes1980 (10/24/2013 8:10:31 PM)
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The point is that you won't have the capstone abilities of either a fighter or a wizard, but getting only the mid-level abilities of both isn't a fair trade. In ADnD, you would actually be something like a Fighter 14/Mage 14 when a single classed character was 20th level.

In 3e it was primarily the spellcaster who got gimped with an even combo, because the fighter mostly got more rather than better abilities, while the spellcaster got much better abilties. In Next, both classes get better abilities at higher levels. This means both classes will be underpowered with an even split. The abilities gained need to go above mid-range on at least one of the classes to be fair, both to the character concept and to game balance. If Eldritch Knight allows me to gain those 7th level spells, that will be fine.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (10/24/2013 6:31:19 PM)
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I really like everything mentioned in this post!

Monster entries with lots of information about the hows, the whys and the wheres is just great, as is having climate/region information and the impact of the monsters on their surroundings.

And I made a comment in the latest playtest survey that I'd really like to see multiclass-friendly subclasses, so I really love this!

And last but not least, relegating some earlier character classes/prestige classes to subclasses and some to feats really makes sense to me. Not every prestige class has enough content to warrant being a subclass, but will do fine as a feat!

All in all, I'm looking more and more forward to seeing the final product - great work so far!
  
Posted By: FelisLynx (10/24/2013 3:27:58 PM)
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The single most important part of DnD Next, to me, is whether or not they keep the promise of a simple core with options for modularity. The later playtest packets have strained this to the breaking point and all this talk of class, subclass, multiclass, and superclass is not helping one bit.
  
Posted By: RC-0775 (10/24/2013 11:33:23 AM)
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I think most of your problem will be solved with proper organization of the final product. The simple core of the game was still present in the most recent packet, but it was sort of hidden behind all the more complicated rules options. I would think with a better final layout or some way of separating out the simple elements from the more complicated ones, be they subclasses, classes, feats or whatever, that fear could be put to rest.

I agree that the playtest packet doesn't do a great job of calling those features out.
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 11:48:19 AM)
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I'm sure you're right about it all getting cleaned up. At the begging they talked about the sliding scale of complexity and how you'd be able to slide the scale all the way down to minimum with a focus on story and roleplay. I'm sad this was never presented as an option or variant in the playtest because I think it could have led to some great feedback.

The thing that bothers me about complexity is that the more rules there are, the less they are trusting the DM or the Players to not break the game. Maybe that's important with the way they do events or whatever, but it still makes me wrinkle my nose.
  
Posted By: RC-0775 (10/24/2013 4:49:00 PM)
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I think the idea of superclasses is to enable multi-classing without demanding support for an ever-growing list of classes. All classes get divided into on (or more?) superclasses, then new options support superclasses directly. For example, You might play a bog-simple wizard, or wiz-bang new Runic Shadow-Sculptor, but both are part of the Mage superclass. So long as all new items/spells/options ultimately care about how many levels you have in "one or more Mage classes", both classes will have similar support.

sub-classes, on the other hand, are new flavor. Warlock pacts, wizard schools, clerical domains/priesstly spheres, barbarian paths, etc. They let you use the same mechanics with new focus or flavor making "an old class new again". This is where you'd have to worry about disproportionate support. Very flexible classes that lend themselves more to varied subclasses will probably get new subclasses, while classes with very specific concept won't and w... (see all)
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/24/2013 12:19:07 PM)
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I think that multi-classing undermines the whole concept of player classes. We already have de-facto multi-classes. Ranger, Paladin, Bard.
  
Posted By: Kazadvorn (10/24/2013 10:22:36 AM)
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So we have the Fighter-Cleric (Paladin), Figther-Druid (Ranger) and Rogue-Wizard (Bard). Should we add additional full classes to cover other popular combinations (Wizard-Figther, Wizard-Cleric, Rogue-Fighter, Rogue-Cleric to name a few)?

My only problem with that would be that there would quickly be too many base classes. It was a problem in late 3.5 and 4e. Classes like the Artificer, Seeker and Runepriest received a fraction of the support that other did.
Multiclassing allows you to support a smaller range of base classes and still make interesting archetypes.
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 10:56:47 AM)
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What I was actually trying to say before the validator interrupted me was.
If you want a system where the players can pick and choose from a list of abilities, feats and skills then build that system. If you want defined classes, then do that. I'm just a little tired of the fighter-mage-thief-cleric multi-class characters. If you limit the players to two classes to multiclass then people will wonder why they can't do three. I've taken a wait and see approach to Next. The original test packet looked great to me. Every subsequent packet left me less impressed. We already have a couple of very complex RPG systems available. I was hoping for something a little different.
  
Posted By: Kazadvorn (10/24/2013 1:30:19 PM)
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I understand entirely where you are coming from, I also don't want to see a system where class becomes a meaningless choice because multiclassing makes gaining a level an ability grab bag.

But that is definitely not where the Next multiclass system is going. The addition of ability score requirements to multiclass and the fact that you start as at 1st level in your new class makes taking more than 2 classes untenable. It is doable with the right combination but you are likely to produce something that is not very fun to play. The classes in Next seem to have stretched out the previously front loaded abilities of the previous editions/versions, so taking 1 level in a class isn't giving you more than a touch of flavor.

They also took an interesting approach to calculating spellcaster level and spells per day from multiple spellcasting classes. There is room for improvement across the board, but I think they are on the right track.
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 1:43:04 PM)
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This validation system stinks. It should at least give you a hint as to what is wrong with your post.
  
Posted By: Kazadvorn (10/24/2013 10:20:35 AM)
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I couldn't agree more. I was using the ampersand and could not figure out why it kept telling me no.
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 10:51:28 AM)
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You guys have failed to address the underlying problem with your multi-class system. Feats and subclasses should not be used as bandages. If you have problem with your multi-class system then fix the multi-class system. Don't make the game more convoluted. Exactly, why you guys stuck with 3e style multi-classing (2e dual-classing) in the first place is beyond belief. You could have learned some lessons from 2e multi-classing and/or 4e hybrid design and created a new system that actually made sense.
  
Posted By: dmgorgon (10/24/2013 9:56:06 AM)
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I'm confused. What are your actual complaints about the current Next multiclassing system? I admit I've only had limited experience with it because no one in my group is using it currently, but it seemed pretty sound to me when I read through it.

Is it literally just that it emulates the 3e version of multiclassing?
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 10:00:02 AM)
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Multi-classing was literally the defining feature of 3e. Every other design decision is informed by the desire to have multi-classing be as easy as "just pick a class and take the next level in that". That's why classes that don't even need skill still got 2+INT points worth of them. It's why high BAB netted even a rogue extra attacks like a 2e warrior. It's why we got feats, so that a fighter 5/rogue 5 at least got some cool new feature and didn't get screwed for failing to reach either the fighter 10 milestone or the rogue 10 milestone.

Personally, I think that was a very good decision. It requires you to go in with eyes open and reconsider every other part of your system, but it gives you multi-classing that's easy to understand, very customizable, and basically forces you to address edge cases to make a very fair-feeling general system. The major flaws in the system were the front-loading of powers, the under-valuing of armor/weapon proficiencies, and that too... (see all)
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/24/2013 12:05:57 PM)
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Doesn't the intended flexibility of the Next system require that the designers consider that some players or groups of players want extensive multiclassing options?

As has been stated innumerable times before: all of these individual game components, including individual subclasses or even feats, can be removed from the game by an individual group with little to no impact to the overall game. The design of the game goes out of its way to make customization a priority.

DnD isn't a competitive game, the players aren't trying to outdo each other or individually 'win' (or if they are I humbly suggest they are doing it wrong). So class design and character creation should be as stringent or as flexible as the system allows and the group wants.
  
Posted By: Kormyr (10/24/2013 9:53:51 AM)
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Base class. Prestige classes. Core classes. Sub classes. Archetypes. Multi class. Gestalt. True multi classing. All useful and give a choice of class based uniqueness into each player. So no two players playing the same core are molded the same. It develops a greater story in the game and campaign.
  
Posted By: Valkrim (10/24/2013 9:35:24 AM)
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I don't like the answer to #3. What's the point of a class system if you're just going to seek to subvert it?

One of the things I disliked about late 3rd Edition was the creation of feats which allowed some classes to act like other classes. In moderation, the idea wasn't too bad. However, there came a point where they made the choice of class less meaningful. Don't get me wrong, my favorite rpg doesn't have classes, so I like freedom. Though, if I'm playing a class based game, I want the choice of class to be meaningful.

I fear that creating subclasses which are designed to multiclass subverts the idea of a class system and makes the choice concerning whether or not to multiclass less meaningful. I also fear this will serve to add more system mastery to the game and widen the gap between a character built the "right" way and one built the "wrong way." It also occurs to me that the constant printing of subclasses have the potential to crush the... (see all)
  
Posted By: Johnny_Angel (10/24/2013 3:39:40 AM)
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