GAME THE GAME: 5th Edition Player’s Handbook Preview Part 2



So, we at Acts of Geek playtested D&D Next.

None of us were that impressed.

I’m going to give a quick read through of the Combat chapter to see if it seems any better.

Proficiency seems cool. The fact that it is one number across the board (saves, attack, skills) seems elegant.

Advantage and Disadvantage seem cool, but potentially subject to powergaming abuse.

In combat everyone gets one action. But then that same section goes on to say that many class features and other abilities give you a second action. Why not just call it a standard action?

There are multiple attacks again.

Grappling is still… grappling.

Reach is still a thing, even though the game can, in theory, be played without miniatures. In my experience, this only leads to arguments. In addition, the combat chapter, which is all of 10 pages long, has no mention of it. One has to look at the weapon properties for the simple explanation that it adds 5’ to your reach. There might be a huge index, but how well done is it. Think of this in terms of someone totally new to D&D and RPGs, would this be confusing? I think so.

Opportunity attacks, disengaging is still a thing, and seems vague and nebulous, especially considering no grid, and ripe for arguments.

There are a lot of terms in bold, which being intuitive, I decipher to mean that they are explained somewhere else. But where? Appendix A has a list of conditions, which is sharp, and the pictures are very fun, but what about crawl? So, I jump to the index.

Crawl, see movement.

Page 182: “When climbing or swimming, each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain), unless a creature has a climbing or swimming speed. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, gaining any distance in rough water might require a successful Strength (Athletics) check.”

And that is all the text.

Page 191 brings this: “every foot of movement while crawling costs 1 extra foot. Crawling in difficult terrain, therefore, costs 3 feet of movement.”

So, these are terms? An appendix with all these terms in one place would be nice. Essential even.

Damage dice rolled for a critical are doubled. Even sneak attack!

Oh, mounted combat has made a return. Joy.

Cover is not an advantage, it is +2/ +5 or can’t be targeted. More room for arguing.

Overall, I am seeing a combat system that wants to be exciting, dynamic, and narrative, but is just a variant of the 3.x rules.

Yes, that is a generalization, but, given the timeliness of the article, forgive me for the broad statement.

Check back later for more looks at the new Player’s Handbook.  We will be tackling different aspects of the book over the next three days! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for instant notifications of when we post new content or to let us know what you want us to review!

GAME THE GAME: 5th Edition Player’s Handbook Preview Part 1

We haves the precious! No, not footage of Nic Cage of Superman. No, not Wonder Woman and the Star Riders. We have a preview copy of the Player’s Handbook (we at Acts of Geek have powers, very cool powers), and we will be doing our best to absorb it, and give you some teasers.

DnD_5th PHBLike any good nerd, what I want to do most is see if it can handle converting my character from a previous edition, so I will be going through character generation, and you are along for the ride!

I have not read the entire book cover to cover, that will be done though, so for right now, I am opening it up, and reading through what I need to know. As I think this is common for a RPG.

I will be converting Damion Abisson, Tiefling Bard (Blade kit)/ Fighter (2e), aka Damion the Blind.  Don’t judge me.  So, the Blade kit part of Damion has always been hard to recreate. But I love the idea of a braggart, who talks the big game, and is very showy with his weapons. I was never happy with any 3e or 4e builds I came up with, so, let’s see if 5e can handle my quirky character (aren’t they all?). I might skip the fighter part, as it was just to give him some cool stuff (two-weapon fighting), but let us see how robust the Bard is.

So, first things first:


My tiefling was a Planescape tiefling, so his appearance was random, with 4e, the appearance of tieflings was unified, so instead of my unique character look, I know have: large horns (with numerous possible shapes available), a thick tail, canine teeth, and solid color eyes. The last part is still true. Skin tones range from human and also includes various shades of red. And their hair is usually dark, but can be some interesting colors (Blue!). So two parts remain the same, I can work with the other stuff, afterall, IIRC, Maxius did call me demonspawn and try to kill me, even though we were in the same party. Oh, Maxius.

I will own my tail and horns!

Being a tiefling gives me darkvision, I speak Common and Infernal, have resistance to fire, and get innate access to some spells. Bonuses to my Int and Cha, so all good there!



HD d8

HP (1st Level): 8+ Con bonus

Proficiencies: Light armor, simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords.

Of note, the PHB is not filled with magic items, so I can’t look up Damion’s real precious (assuming they include it).

Tools: Three musical instruments. Hmmm… I will have to read up on this Tools bit, to see if I can make it work. Maybe in the circus he played some instruments. Not a dealbreaker.

Saving Throws: Dex, Cha. Looking good there!

Skills: Any three.

Spells: 2 cantrips from Bard list, and 4 spells known. So, I will actually have 3 cantrips, as being a tiefling gives me access to thaumaturgy.

DnD_5th PHBSpellcasting: Cha based.

Focus: musical instrument.

Bardic inspiration: looks cool, give a d6 inspiration die to someone (or something) else. Use a number of times equal to Cha modifier. Die size increases based on level, up to a d12 at 15th level.

2nd Level: Jack of All Trades: +1/2 my proficiency bonus to any ability check that doesn’t include my proficiency bonus. Neat!

Song of Rest also at 2nd level: Allows me to revitalize allies during a short rest. Starts at d6 HP and goes up to d12 at 17th level.

Bardic College at 3rd level: choose college of Lore or College of Valor. The College of Valor seems very appropriate, giving bonus weapon and armor proficiencies, as well as combat inspiration, extra attacks, and Battle Magic!

Flipping forward to Chapter 4, Personality and Background.  Everyone is really short. Humans start at 4’8” and add 2d10

Alignment is back, and not confusing at all (4e I am looking at you!).

Personal Characteristics

Each PC will have a Personality trait, an ideal, a bond, and a flaw.Ideals. Will need to see some examples, but these are promised in the Backgrounds section.

Inspiration: an interesting approach to encouraging roleplaying, will it become too subject to powergaming?

DnD_5th PHBBackgrounds

So many choices: Acolyte, Charlatan, Criminal, Entertainer, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Hermit, Noble, Outlander, Sage, Sailor, Soldier, Urchin. Some very interesting possibilities, but of course, more would be awesome, let us hope that WotC comes through with more of these over time. I narrow it down to Charlatan, Criminal, Entertainer, and Urchin. Not even reading them, just on name alone.

As much as this whole musical instrument thing isn’t my jam, I stick with Entertainer, it seems most appropriate to his circus upbringing.

Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance

Tool proficiencies: Disguise kit, musical instrument.

Equipment: A musical instrument (sigh), the favor of an admirer, a costume, and 15gp in the standard belt pouch.

Routine: I choose Juggler, Storyteller, and Tumbler.

By Popular Demand: Uyag and I will always have a room for the night. (Uyag is my cohort in all activities).

I look through the suggested characteristics:

Personality: “Whenever I come to a new place, I collect local rumors and spread gossip.” It’s not perfect, but it will do.

Ideal: None of them really fit, I will have to come back to this. But my brain is processing.

Bond: “I would do anything for the other members of my old troupe.” Replace “old troupe” with “party”, and we have a decent fit!

Flaw: I should just skip this, as Damion has no flaws.

Ok, nothing is a perfect fit, will have to come back.

Oh, look, a variant, the Gladiator. I like it. Replace musical instrument with an inexpensive but unusual weapon. Ding!

Not complete, but he is shaping up.

Equipment chapter, looks pretty solid, I read through some of the special rules for weapons, Finesse is right up my alley.

Multiclassing! Cool. I read through it, seems simple enough, not too complicated, will have to consider this.

DnD_5th PHBFeats

Feats replace ability increases if you so choose. Feats as a whole are optional. Some have stat bonuses built in, some seem underpowered (shocker, I know!)

Chapter 7 is Playing the Game

But Chapter 7 also has the skills list, a bit odd in terms of UI.

I recall that I get three skills from being a Bard, with all of them available (I look at another class to see how it works, they have to choose from a list. Go Bards!).  I already have Acrobatics and Performance, am thinking Stealth, Arcana, and… lots of good stuff to choose from, I will have to decide later, narrowed down to: Sleight of Hand, History, Perception, Deception, Intimidation.

Where is the Tools section? I flip to the Index and check it out, in the equipment section. Ok, this is sort of interesting.


So, there is some neat stuff. I take a look at Minor Illusion, because Illusions are always one of those things that seem problematic in my experience. It looks like we are back to problematic. Ohwell.

So, I have translated a 1st level Damion. Am I happy with the results? Does 5e Damion effectively translate all the awesomeness? I have to say, there is some very cool stuff here, and this was just my first glance/ read through, a quickie character creation if you will. So, yes. I am intrigued and want to level him up, but I don’t need to bore you with that.

Check back later for more looks at the new Player’s Handbook.  We will be tackling different aspects of the book over the next three days! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for instant notifications of when we post new content or to let us know what you want us to review!