Posted by : David Guyll October 08, 2013
I mentioned back when the packet was released that I feel like they are going out of their way to make sure that certain groups of people see that they are clearly marking races as unusual and "officially" cordoned off to a campaign setting. I guess to be fair gnomes and half-orcs are in the mix with warforged, though this should really be a campaign setting decision on the DM's part.
I am baffled that playtesters seemed mostly happy with the druid, except when it came down to wildshape. Granted I have a lot of issues with wildshape, but what about the rigid, arbitrary class features? Everyone satisfied with the fact that no matter what you are just like every other druid until 3rd level, and that at 15th-level you can always take on the for some reason nonspecific appearance of another creature? What about spellcasting: do you actually think that slots and spell levels sufficiently evokes the flavor of someone calling on "the divine essence of nature itself"?
Okay, got that out of my system. Again. For now. As for details on the changes to wildshape the current proposal is to basically keep it the same as before, except that your animal form has a separate hit point pool, because it was apparently difficult to track hit points otherwise. So if you change into a bear you use the bear's hit points, and if you run out or shift back to human form you just go back to what you had before. Oh and there will be more forms to choose from, which you can choose from at any time.
Strange, I would have thought it would be easier if a druid had to choose what forms she could shift into ahead of time, so that you could make cards with form stats. After all fighters have to choose their maneuvers when they get whatever class feature says that they get maneuvers. Personally I think it would make more sense for a druid to have to learn animal shapes, or at least restrict them to terrain types as in Dungeon World. It is okay to force spellcasters to have to choose.
The justification is that this will be simpler to manage, not that I think having to track up to two hit point pools is particularly complicated or difficult. It sounds like they are very interested in making this game as simple as possible at the sacrifice of good, interesting, and/or elegant rules. Who needs an evocative, engaging magic system when you can just nonsensically divide spells into levels and force everyone to use spell slots? Why give players choices when you can just force them down a preset track?
The justification for moving cunning action from the thief subclass to the rogue, because it was apparently incredibly popular, is a prime example of why I dislike their subclass model. You know what would have avoided the issue of shifting class features into arbitrary categories? Letting players pick the class features they want. There is absolutely no reason why a character should wait a few levels before having to choose a preset that possibly lets them evoke they concept that they wanted to from the start.
Except, I guess, because that is how it was done before.