Posted by : David Guyll April 09, 2013
No monsters today, but some of the building blocks that help make them up. I do not really have any issues with the levels (well, except for the apprentice-range), and though the environments might be a bit too granular--waterborne and farmland, really?--it is ultimately harmless. Types, on the other hand, presents some problems.
Despite "only" having six origins, four types, and a keyword library, 4th Edition seemed to have all the based covered. Next looks like it is ranging somewhere in 3rd Edition's ballbark at a whopping fourteen types, complete with its arbitrary classifications, particularly where the monstrosity type is concerned.
For example, carrion crawlers griffons are beasts, but owlbears and minotaurs are monstrosities? Worgs, which are basically smarter dire wolves, are also monstrosities, but ettins, despite having two heads, are giants. Why is there even a dragon type? What about giants with strong elemental ties, or undead dryads? What about extraplanar creatures that do not come from an upper or lower plane, like slaadi, modrons, rilmani, or astral dreadnaughts?
I guess that even if they are not going to stick with 4th Edition's concise selection, I can be thankful that they are not tying statistics to things like Hit Dice.
Now, one thing I am digging from the article is the bit on treasure. Treasure is something that has always bothered me regardless of edition as I felt that you got too much, too fast, particularly in 3rd Edition, where magic items were an assumed part of your progression. I also felt that it would have been nice to see some treasure haul and art object examples, especially for monstrous races.
The proposed treasure tables give you the option of awarding treasure based on the monster, as opposed to an abstraction like level or Challenge Rating. Kind of makes me think of Dungeon World, just with a lot more depth, which sounds kind of cool. This is basically how I have been doing it already, doling out treasure that makes sense for the monster, and is one of the more interesting things about Next that I am looking forward to seeing.