Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Delight of a Dozen.

Twelve years ago, in a sleepy little church and with but a handful of treasured loved ones near two idealistic romantic youths said those fateful words that bound them with a sacred oath.

For twelve long years we have weathered winters together, and strolled hand in hand through summer suns. Over a dozen passing sets of seasons we have watched fall drape the land about us in a kaleidoscope of color, only to look on as spring sewed greenery anew. It has been a long road and one not without its own difficulties. However, I must confess it seems at times to have passed us by in a mere blink of the eye.

I'd not dare trade a single day of my time being married to my maiden fare for anything under the sun or moon. Nor have I ever truly regretted saying those cherished words. In deepest and solemn truth I do unequivocally exclaim that I look forward to the next dozen years and more with excited glee.

Twelve years ago on October 27th I vowed that 'with this ring, I thee wed.'

It is only fitting that on the anniversary of that day I can still proudly proclaim; that with this ring I remain, and forever shall.

Eternally and faithfully devoted to my loving wife Teal Rae Johnson Gill. May I be blessed to have you at my side for a few dozen more.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

When The Repair Man Needs Repair.

It's 10:54 p.m., and I'm sitting burdened by a series of puzzling thoughts. For one; what do you do when it is the repair man who is in fact the very thing in need of repair?

Two days ago I managed to see an orthopedic specialist regarding my right hand/wrist. Long story short there was an ever so pleasant injection into said wrist to try to determine if any relief could be had and the potential necessity of surgery. Now, here I sat two days later with marked improvement from the constant numbness and tingling but still struggling with some pain, not to mention reduced function.

The problem is that I find myself looking up at a spinning coin, on one face is the expected fear and worry ever present, and on the other a shinning glimmer of hope. I can even hear the familiar Twing of it on the air as it has been cast aloft. But my problem is the uncomfortable uncertainty.

I stepped outside today to take a look at our van, its our only vehicle and recently it decided that its power steering pump just didn't want to work. Now, granted this could be a irritating nuisance in itself, but it also serves as a key component of the braking system. No steering, no braking. I've managed to get it to straighten back out before, but back then I had two working hands. I say that because today I had to shamefully admit that something I have done a million times, a woefully basic task was beyond me. I couldn't remove a fuse with my right hand to check it. The hand just wouldn't work right, it shook violently, refused to grip or hold - I just couldn't do it. I found myself awash in a mixture of fury and torrential tormenting terror. My left arm couldn't manage the needed angle to reach well enough either.

Which brought me back to thinking. I look to my right hand and I see a technician with tools to hand and the knowledge to make use of them, but lacking the ability to combine those two aspects. A scribe unable to scribble. And then I look upon my left and I see possibility.

So whether surgery restores me or simply allows me a lesser degree of function than before I have to keep my eye on the coin of chance. Even if surgery isn't an option and something else is, I have to keep faith that I'll adapt - I'll survive. I've weathered many a storm from birth, and something tells me there will be many more to come. It isn't the events that determine the course of our lives, it is where we decide to tread from those events that define us. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can You Spell, DM.

Can You Spell, DM

As a final stop on my little jaunt through the final D&D Next playtest packet I thought I might focus my gaze upon two main areas as yet untouched; the Spells and DM Guidelines to be exact. Along the way I’ll try to sprinkle in a dash or three of any commentary regarding anything overlooked thus far. So, without wasting anymore time; let’s begin, shall we.

First, we’ll start this survey by diving directly into something fun; spells. Dungeons & Dragons wouldn’t be complete without its essential element of magical marvels. And even with enchanted items or ancient artifacts, no party is quite the same without a spell slinger among them. No matter if you’re a player who prefers to play a casting capable character or not, everyone recognizes a familiar spell or two. And it doesn’t take a mage to appreciate a well placed spell blast when the party’s back is to the wall.

  • Pete and Repeat are Looking at a Spellbook – In the past there has been a longstanding pattern of some spells existing in a series of staggered variants. A small, medium and large version, if you will. Instead, such spells are now just a single base spell; one that if cast using a higher slot scales in proportion with adjusted effect. No more juggling how many cure light wounds, moderate etc you have prepared. Now you just cast a cure wounds spell, and if cast in a higher slot it simply cures with increased potency.
  • A Tool for Every Toolbox – Often overlooked, cantrips are a caster’s most basic and useful spells. After years of repeated castings through training or daily use they are now etched upon the magic user’s mind making them almost effortless to cast. This ‘minor magic’ isn’t just some arbitrary handful of options you start the game with and collect dust. Classes like mages and clerics have access to ranged attack cantrips, providing them with magical attacks available each turn. Useful utility spells allow for spellcasters to keep handy tools at their disposal at any time.
  • Sometimes it Takes Some Time – Not every spell, cantrip or otherwise, is designed strictly for use in the spur of the moment. Rituals exist as version of a spell that takes longer to perform, but doesn’t expend a spell slot. For example a mage might choose the ritual for Find Familiar if they wanted to summon and bind a spirit that takes the form of some animal to their service. While the ritual itself takes resources and time its results are permanent. So, while spells can be slung in the heat of combat there are also others well worth the time to take to do them.
  • Don’t Panic, Your Magic Isn’t MIA – I have yet to meet a seasoned veteran player yet who doesn’t have a roster of must have spells they always start the  game looking for. And, should they find them absent, they might just react like a kid missing their favorite toy. Granted, that last bit was just a joke – but in truth some spells have a heritage all their own and a sacred place on a spell list. If magic missile was no more, I think there might be a crying chorus calling foul. So rest assured; legends like magic missile, feather fall, goodberry, prestidigitation, melf’s acid arrow and so much more are all still around. Not only that, but I can attest that I don’t think I have found any classic spell so far that isn’t true to its roots.
  • Shiny and New – The spell section isn’t just a collection of old and moldy greatest hits dusted off with a fresh paint job. Included among the familiar faces are some nice new ones. In fact, I have long been a less than enthusiastic fan of rangers getting access to spells; just never felt right to me. However, I can honestly concede that the spells available to a ranger now not only fit, but they feel right without making a ranger seem like something else. Spells like swift quiver, hail of thorns, and hunter’s veil all seamlessly interweave into the classes image. While other new spells like fire seeds, thunderous smite and sacred flame shine as additions to other classes. (I fully understand that not all of these may be new or never before seen spells, just trying to highlight a handful of standouts.)

Moving along from fun towards more function, allow me to tread into the realm of the DM Guidelines. Fear not however, I have no intention of laying bare all those mischievous machinations players are certain must be grinding away against them in such sections. (Another joke in case you missed it, DM humor can be somewhat like that of the British; dry and an acquired taste.)

  • When to, When Not to – A bit of sage-like advice that I wouldn’t be surprised to have been cited as its source of origin being the venerable Gygax himself starts the DM Guidelines section off. One might have alternatively titled the segment; “When to stroke your beard like an evil mastermind with a grin, and when not to.” All puns aside, it is an essential skill that is valuable to any DM; knowing when to roll the dice and when not to. Not every action taken by players should require a check; the dice are just a tool.
  • The Broad Basics – When you talk about covering all your bases, it’s easy for some areas to manage to be overlooked by the time you get to something like the DM Guidelines. Little things like; how do you deal with a pc falling, are kobolds nocturnal, and what dc you should set for a check based on its presumed difficulty. Impressively enough, everything looks to be covered and laid out in the Guidelines making it a more than capable framework ready to be put to use. Things like setting dc’s, hazards, dealing with ability checks, creature sizes, lighting, dungeon features, exploration tasks, travel pace, weather, encounter and reward building, all the way to an example of play are all covered and then some.
  • Can I See Your Cartographer, Please – Maybe it’s a sign of my age but I can remember every game session we played there was always one player assigned the task of map-maker. As we made our way cautiously down into the depths, they studiously scribed our journey down onto paper to illustrate the descriptions from our DM. Now there are grid sheets with terrain tiles, apps and a variety of other software to use instead. But, no matter how you track it, visualize it or handle it; having a map is handy both in character and out. For us, our map-maker’s character often also took to the task of making a map in character as well. As such in the new rules players can employ a number of useful tasks while exploring; including making a map. So, trust me; if there are rules mentioned in the DM Guide alongside the likes of keeping watch to avoid an ambush – be they map making or navigating etc – then odds are they’re the kinds of things a party would be wise to pay heed of.
  • The Might of Math – Say it with me now; elegance is effective and easy. One part of a DM’s job is to fairly form which monsters will be encountered on the adventure. There have been a variety of ways this has been handled in the different editions and some have been a little less than a lightening to the workload, so to speak. Well, now everyone behind the screen can sigh with relief; because things just got simpler. Have a party of 4 1st level pc’s looking for an average difficulty fight? You reference a simple chart with 3 columns; easy, medium and hard with a row along the side for level. A quick glance on the line for 1st level reveals a value for an average fight that you then just multiply by the number of people in the party. The final result is your xp budget for the encounter. With that figure you can go shopping for bad guys to battle.
  • What’s It Got in It’s Pockets – The flip side to a DM’s duties is one that actually goes hand in hand with what monsters the heroes face. It’s the details regarding how to reward them. Now, when you were shopping for monsters you already established part of what to reward them with by your xp budget itself. That is to say, your xp budget is also the xp your heroes will be rewarded with by defeating the monsters. To determine what more tangible rewards might be available a series of tables are provided based on the kind of treasure complete with how to use them to generate random loot. A DM doesn’t have to use them, but it is a handy reference if you need to throw a quick horde or modest stash together.

Some miscellaneous things to mention:

  • Step by Step – Want to make a character of your very own? Included is a step by stem walkthrough to guide you through the process. It details what choices you have to make and points out some things to consider in fleshing out your adventuring hero to be. Including some explanation of key basic terms and aspects of how to describe your character or what to do beyond 1st level.
  • But How Do You… - Another prized gem is the How To Play section, which, ironically enough explains precisely what its name implies. Gathered here are the rules on how you make an attack roll, what an ability check is and how advantage/disadvantage works. In short; everything from saving throws and skills to movement and attitudes/reactions are explained. Combat, taking damage and healing are described. Even the various conditions with which a character might be afflicted are defined. Everything short of what a DM might need to know is provided in surprisingly easy to understand terms.
  • We Don’t Need Your Sheet – Also included is a pdf character sheet for you to use with your own characters. It’s fairly basic all things told but kind of amusing too. The digital record allows you a layout with all the standard info arranged in little areas to fill in. Including some little bubbles you can fill in and label with a name to track ammunition, potions or torches complete with a simple icon to designate them. Everything is very straight forward and serviceable, albeit lacking in style. But then again, this is a sample intended for use during the playtest; it could just as easily been a collection of empty lines you could fill out like a sheet of notebook paper. Wouldn’t that have been a grand and humorous bit of fun?
  • Hello My Name Is… - If your pals are short on time, a little shy about diving in or just prefer pre-made personas there are already created characters included. There are around 10-ish total, and while they run the gamut of available classes to represent, don’t expect every race represented or anything that might stand out as an unusual combo. No dwarf rangers or warforged paladins I’m afraid, but there are some tried and true examples of some staple heroes. Each one is a complete write up listing their stats, racial traits, class features and background. Any gear is described, including what attacks they can make and if they can cast spells they are listed in detail. No assembly required, batteries included, ready to play right out of the box! The only thing left for you to do is give them a name and/or describe them if you chose. I suppose if a lack of creativity restrained you; you could simply be bob the dwarf…
  • Step Right Up – It wouldn’t be a playtest without some material for you to play through, right? To that end a collection of previous released adventures complete with their bestiaries and a new one are also included. So a DM can get a feel for things before trying to devise his own dark dungeon, if he preferred.

So, I believe that finally brings us full circle and to a close on my commentary regarding the final Next packet. An additional update is promised to be on its way in the immediate future, but until it arrives all that remains is to put these rules to the test. Do they hold up? Will they feel like you expect them too while playing? Who knows, but for now this is my thoughts on the subject. I’d welcome to hear what anyone else thinks or their own experiences. And rest assured; I’ll test things out as well before long. Whether those results make their way into a post or the update manages to warrant one, I’m always willing to discuss my impressions should anyone find themselves’ curious. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your time playing with the new Next material, I know I will.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beasts and Backgrounds.

Beasts and Backgrounds

When a player makes a character, that persona is more than just a class and race combination. It’s a sum of all its various components, and one aspect I for one am celebrating is that of backgrounds. One of my favorite things to do when making a character is to try and somehow work something into them to represent their background. A wizard might have some training as a bookmaker or record keeper because he grew up working as a clerk or craftsman before beginning their arcane studies. A young swordsman might have an acceptable knowledge of nature, geography or perhaps even be a capable farm hand. Doesn’t make either more powerful in combat or anything but it speaks to where they came from, makes the character have just that; more character. Its fun opens up interesting options for stories and allows you to really think about where they came from – not to mention why they do what they do.

The addition of backgrounds as a component of character creation, at least to me, was a welcome and delightful feature. So, in continuing my look at the final playtest packet released for D&D Next, let’s start with Backgrounds.  

  • There was a Yesterday for everyone – Every background presented grants the character proficiency with three skills, (up to) three tools, and a trait. The traits are basically an extra special ability the character can use that relates to their background. Some backgrounds also provide additional languages as well. A list of recommended gear is also present for those who take the class quick start gear packages complete with cost.
  • Tied Traits – Generally speaking, the traits granted to a character also serve to provide a tie to the world as well. They allow for them to have a potential connection to various groups they can interact with. In this way they don’t just provide a static bonus or ability, but instead a means to establish them as part of the world around them. A member of the thieves’ guild might recognize someone speaking in code, but it also means they might know others or be called on to settle guild business. It opens potential plot hooks for stories and serves to ground the character.
  • Enough to go Around – Not every imaginable background is listed among the samples. However, there is more than enough variety to cover most of the basics. And, should some specific background desired not be among those listed there are guidelines to come up with your own. More than sufficient enough to be of use to play with.

Let’s turn our attention as we take a moment to consider the monsters themselves now, since no adventure could be complete without bad guys to beat.

  • Monster, Monster, Goose – I haven’t counted them, but there are almost 90 pages of bestiary entries describing quite the range of monsters. But not every entry is just another beast to battle. There are also stated descriptions for animals like horses, and various humanoids as well.
  • Familiar Foes – Go ahead and grin, I know we all will; some of our favorite enemies are back once more. Like those vicious little lizard-looking kobolds for example. There is quite a collection of classic and iconic creatures to do combat with.
  • Don’t Expect The Same Fights – Even though some of the same monsters are back, there are also new ones as well. Monsters like kobolds now come in different types. Others have chieftains/leaders to be faced as well, and a new random recharge means you can never be certain that beholder is empty of energy blasts. So prepare for some familiar fun but don’t forget to keep an eye out for some surprises too.
  • Encounter Building Blocks – Gone are the challenge ratings, encounter levels and other such figures used to calculate which monsters made a threat and which were too much. Included in each entry is a single section at the end listing what level is appropriate for the party to be and how much xp is rewarded.
  • And… Action – The monsters presented aren’t just bland sets of stat blocks, they also list key traits, attacks and any customizable options for the dm. This includes any tactical strengths, average damage on a hit (damage dice are listed as usual), etc. Customizable features for some monsters can be things like if the creature can change shape, cast spells, curse its foes etc. Not every creature of a set kind will all be cookie cutter clones. All the better to have provide you with some variety in your opponents, no?

Even with some classic monsters and the inclusion of rules regarding backgrounds Next still proves to me to be fresh, innovative and a clear return to the game’s core. It shows us some of the games defining elements in new ways or with refreshing simplicity. Things may be changing but the past is not being forgotten nor is it replacing the future.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Race Class.

Race Class.

Continuing with my ongoing look at the final D&D Next playtest packet I thought we might take a gander at two important decisions any player ever makes; race and class. Now, as much as I might be thrilled to do so, I’ll have to refrain from citing every little detail or feature. So, forgive me if you were hoping for a summary account of every single aspect regarding the races and/or classes. I apologize for the restriction, but you are more than welcome to sign up with WotC to get access to the complete packet.

Let’s begin, as most players do, by taking a look at the races presented as available for play.

  • The Fantasy Four – Listed as the common races capable of fitting in to virtually any setting are the dwarves, elves, Halflings and humans.
  • The Uncommon Denominators – As far less predominant peoples we are also presented with dragonborn, drow, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, kinder, tieflings, and warforged.
  • Culture, Anyone? – With the exception of a handful of the races (who realistically don’t require one) every race has a detailed primer providing a good briefing on its culture, customs, and racial identity. Every race offers you ideas for names, commonly spoken languages, info on religion, beliefs etc. You really get a sense of the race as a whole to help shape the character you’re trying to create.
  • Fun Flavors – Not every race is just a singular group; many are made up of different tribes, clans and offshoots. This is nothing new to any experienced player; many could even rattle off names of various sub-races like hill dwarves and wood elves without blinking. So it should come as no surprise that when selecting a race you are also presented with some sub-races as well to chose from. They are all well done, with their own signature traits that add to all other racial features without replacing anything. Overall everything looks fun and worth trying out.
  • More With Less – The key established premise I keep seeing emphasized is the overall flavor and rich depth. Key aspects of each race is still present, but gone is so much of the math. Racial features are no less important or effective; they just don’t rely on +2 to this or that to justify them. 
  • Not Exactly What Some Expect - One caveat I must provide, and while I enjoyed it some will no doubt decry it; don't expect every race presented to be precisely as you imagine/remember them. Dragonborn aren't described as having to look like walking/talking dragon-men, nor are Tieflings forced to look like fiendishly evil folks. Without such mandatory aesthetics I think it breathes some old life into the concepts and allows for great storytelling opportunities. 

And as for the classes…

  • Party Plenty – Don’t expect your party of players to be restricted to a handful of choices because presented are the rules for; barbarian, bard, cleric, druid fighter, mage, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue.
  • But Are They Real? – One of the first questions I asked myself when approaching every class was a simple albeit important one; does it feel right. Every class has a certain feel to it, so if the mage doesn’t feel like a mage to me or the ranger like a ranger then it’s an issue. Fortunately, every single class screams its own name. Each one shines in its own way and is exactly how you would expect them to be.
  • Options Abound – Just because feats are optional doesn’t mean every class is just a straight line of generic traits. Players can chose from different types of representations regarding their class as they level up. Mages might take up the traditions of specific schools of magic, while a cleric might focus on a particular domain of his deity. No two characters will be alike even if they are the same class.
  • Efficient, Effective – Every class description starts off with a brief explanation followed by its features and includes a quick reference box highlighting some things to help if you’re trying to throw one together in a hurry. You have your trusty table of features per level laid out and then the starting traits to take note of. Chiefly your hit die, hit points at 1st level, hit points at higher levels, armor/weapon/tool proficiencies, two attributes you are proficient in for saving throws and finally a few skills to pick one from to add to those granted via your background. Don’t worry though, should they overlap the skills you already have you can pick a different skill of your choice. After this the rest of the classes’ features are explained and any options available are described.
  • A Different Approach to Ability Score Improvement – Depending on your class, you will get opportunities to raise your attributes at various levels. However, instead of a consistent 1 point increase you’ll find yourself with 2 points you can boost one stat or 2 separate ones. The only catch being you can’t use this feature to raise any score above 20. Every class provides this feature, just at different intervals and in total about 4-5 times by 20th level. Which could easily allow a player to exchange his stat boost for a feat should he find his stats sufficiently satisfying.

I think that about covers it, like I already said, without endlessly repeating everything in gory detail. So, until next time where I’ll try to fill you in on even more, feel free to have a look for yourself and/or share your thoughts. I know I’m looking forward to seeing Next continuing towards becoming complete, or at the very least farther down the line towards release.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gear, Goods and Greatness.

Gear, Goods and Greatness

In my last post I took a moment to highlight and talk about some things that stood out to me after reviewing the final D&D Next Playtest packet. And, just as I mentioned in my post there was far too much material to cover completely. This became doubly clear by the following morning, where it occurred to me that there were still some areas I had yet to look through very well. So, if you’ll bear with me for a moment, I’d like to continue my examination of the material. Specifically, this post will try to focus upon magic items, mundane gear and feats.

  • Magic Items – The element of magically enchanted objects is nothing new to a fantasy setting, nor is it a sudden addition to the game. The infamous animated children’s TV show even capitalized on the concept as a core device; portraying the young heroes each with a magical item. Most people to ever have played the game can still fondly recall the thrill of finding their first magical item, no matter how simple it might have been.
  • No Guarantee, Entitlement or Requirement – Part of the underlying new culture being interwoven into Next is the concept that things like magic items should be exactly as their name implies; magical. With that idea in mind they are presented in a way that highlights them as rare treasures, not commonly encountered easily acquired badges of adventurers. The central theme is that players shouldn’t be guaranteed potent prizes every time the ride out, nor are they mandatory for them to be effective. The material is quite clear on how flexible this all can be depending on the setting, DM, or group – it isn’t established in stone. But the basic foundation is one of returning back to the wonder of discovering even the tiniest treasure.
  • Smaller Numbers, But Don’t Judge a Book by its Bonus – Initially I don’t doubt many will look on the items presented and scoff at the fact that for being so rare most only provide a +1 bonus. But this goes back to my last point; focus is shifting away from the large empty bonuses and back to the flavor. Every item shown as an example is dripping with descriptive detail. Items are given subtle elements that play to who/where they were made, hidden aspects, even quirks. Nowhere did I see a single object mentioned that was nothing more than a +x to stick in slot y.
  • Familiar Friends – Thumbing my way through each entry, I discovered some very well-known names. Some famous magic items have a history all their own, and it was very welcoming to see some classic staples presented.
  • Charge It – Some items, like wands and staffs for example make use of charges to power various effects. An interesting new element is a smaller number of total charges that recharge a random number at dawn or on expending the final charge have the risk of being exhausted permanently(a roll of 1 on a d20).
  • Common Sense Rules – As funny as the claim is, it is also apt. Magic item wearable limits have been simplified; if you could see someone wearing it within reason, then it’s acceptable. People wear multiple rings, necklaces etc all the time, so perhaps this will help cut back on some of hose late night debate sessions for some of us. Even though nothing will ever end them all together!
  • Here’s Your Stat – Instead of providing a bonus to a specific attribute, as has been the custom in the past, there are some magic items that alternatively grant a new score. For instance instead of boosting your strength by a set amount that may or may not grant you ‘the strength of a giant’ the object instead actually adjusts your strength to literally become that of a giant.
  • Tune In – Not surprisingly people have been protecting the secret methods they use to manufacture the very tools they use to safeguard themselves. Be they weapons proven effective, the most protective armors, all the way to miscellaneous utility equipment. Likewise it comes as no surprise that dwarves guard their rare relics by making them only to fit themselves, and elven smiths weaving intricate spells into their own to only respond to their own kind. As such some items have requirements, they will only function for race x or class y. Others function fine for anybody, but in the hands of a preferred person they respond with superior effect. A new aspect now allows a player to attune themselves to an item, to bond with it and unlock features only available by such a connection.
  • There is Always Something – Even without a mathematical benefit, magic items still manage to effect game play. Many might not even require activation; they simply provide some effect. For instance by making all movement made while wearing them soundless, even when passing over broken glass, dry leaves or loose gravel. Others grant access to special use powers or automated responses to conditions, like say; falling, for example. And then there is the element that opposed creature types, alignments etc might meet with revulsion when coming into contact with an item. It can even lead to actual harm from touching the object. Magic items are a much richer, vibrantly flavorful aspect to the game as their presented. And what is included is merely a working sample to give us an idea. I think we can expect some great things to come.

  • Mundane Gear – Things are simplified and very satisfying here in my opinion. Enough variety to fill plenty of needs and feels perfectly well rounded. Weapons are grouped into simple and martial types breaking down into ranged or melee each.

  • Whips are a Weapon – One thing stood out to me right away, as odd as it may be (or trivial depending on your viewpoint). And that was the inclusion of the whip as a weapon that actually does slashing damage. For quite some time whips have been regarded as a non-lethal or 1 point damage weapon that could be used to try and trip or disarm. Welcome back whips.

  • Armor and AC – With the adjusted math mechanics first glances are deceptive when you approach the armor section. Light armor allows you to take advantage of your dex mod but on average only provides about an 11 +dex on average without getting into the more expensive light armors. Medium armor limits your dex mod to a max of +2 while offering a range of around 12-14 (again barring the fancy stuff). And heavy armor allows no dex mod at all with an ac of 14-17. Now, I’m not typically one to crunch numbers just for the sake of maxing things out but as an example a player with a dex mod of at least +2 could manage to afford some medium armor (ac 14) with a shield (+2 ac) for a total armor class of 18 at first level and still have only spent maybe a third of their starting funds. If you want to be precise by spending 60 gold out of a starting 175. All things considered I’d say that isn’t bad at all. Don’t let the lower ac values fool you at first look, this feels balanced to me, but we’ll see how it holds up in action.

  • You Don’t Have to Have Two Feat to walk – Feats are entirely optional now, being a substitution available anytime your class might offer you an attribute improvement. They aren’t mandatory nor are they handed out like candy. However these are not your old feats, they are noticeably more potent.

  • The Power of Potential – Feats now can provide a +1 increase to a stat; allow additional skills or languages, even bonuses to certain actions. They can remove limits on some actions like suffering disadvantage when firing from long range, or even grant new actions. Feats are formidable enough now to warrant some consideration of their use but still without being a requirement to be effective.

Well, I believe that is about it for now. There are still things left un-mentioned but perhaps I’ll go over them another time.