Rule-of-Three: Clerics, Advantage, and Tactics

Full article can be found here.

Clerics & Domains
Though I liked how 3rd Edition made it easier for clerics to be the heal-bot by swapping out spells for healing magic on a whim, I did not like how being Good required you to channel positive energy, while evil required negative energy (which made it harder to be an Evil cleric yet function "normally" in a group). In a similar vein, while I liked how 4th Edition made it easier to play a cleric that did more than funnel hit points into the fighter so that she could stay propped up, I did not like that all clerics could heal as a default choice.

Domains are pretty cool, though. Ideally I would like to see spell lists set entirely by gods and/or domains, so that not every cleric can necessarily heal, have ready access to healing, or heal in the same way; for example, clerics serving a god of war or protection might not be able to heal, but simply avoid or ignore damage (kind of like how some creatures can fight at negative hit points), while a cleric of death might be able to devour souls to heal herself and/or allies.

I do like that a cleric of war "gains proficiency in heavy armor and shields". I had been hoping that they would go the route of doling out other features on a case-by-case basis.

Now this I do not like. Basically if you have advantage from a bunch of sources, it still only takes one disadvantage to render them all obsolete. With a lack of conditional modifiers, I would prefer to have it where you stack them all up and whichever has the most "wins".

Tactical Combat Module
Predictably this sounds like a cluster of rules that adds 4th Edition's level of grid-oriented combat back into the game, though the mention of facing makes me think of 2nd Edition's Combat & Tactics book (I wonder if they will include rules for dueling and/or called-shots?). I am hoping that the rules make it very easy to turn this on and off, so that I can run free-form encounters and then switch over to a grid for something that I feel "deserves" it. I also hope that some of the individual portions are easy to strip out, so that I can disregard facing (or other rules) if it bogs down things too much.


  1. If they have other ways to get healing, then I don't mind non-healing clerics. Pathfinder seems to do good with this, and 4e has several divine classes who aren't healers.

    I have a friend who wants to house rule advantage with disadvantage to say you roll three dice and drop the highest and lowest. I could easily see your stacking rule and that's probably how I'd do it. I'm not a fan of advantage because it's binary and gives a variable bonus that's based on what the person needs to roll instead of the severity of the condition that grants it.

  2. Its interesting that Wizards is ruling Advantage / Disadvantage as purely binary in all situations. I remember going on the forums for clarification on the rules and everyone seemed to agree with the rule of the one you have the most of wins.

    Under this rule it seems in the players favor to accrue as many disadvantages as possible on any turn they have an advantage because they will just cancel out. Which because disadvantages you grant yourself come with some form of extra power you would end up at the end with an advantage just not one that equates to a keyword. Right?

  3. @Philo: After checking out Cortex and Marvel Basic, I had been kicking around an idea about having advantage/disadvantage translate into a modifier die that you roll to add/subtract.

    For example, having advantage would give you a +1d4, while having two advantages would be +1d6 (and so on up to d12). Disadvantage would decrease it, so having two disadvantages and one advantage would net you a -1d4. I guess this would work better using Zocchi dice.

    @Monocle Lad: I had been looking at it from the perspective of "why bother trying to get the best possible circumstances you can, when ultimately it might not matter".

    For example while climbing a cliff characters might normally use a climbing kit and make other checks in order to find the safest way up. They might even use magic. However if it is raining and that imposes a disadvantage then why bother?

    I had not considered the potential for characters to take increasingly risky, high-payoff chances, offsetting it all with a single advantage. Hopefully the rules will not allow for that sort of mentality.

  4. @David You must have much nicer players than I do. There is no rule no matter how minor that they won't find a way to twist to their advantage. I'm already thinking Prohibition might end up coming to the lands of D&D just to keep them from being permanently drunk for the 1d6 DR.

  5. @David Guyll, My issue is that it's really going to suck when you get five times advantage and roll a 1 on your d12. If I were to do random advantage/disadvantage, I'd probably go with a d4 and add 1 for each extra advantage. I did look at doing a d4 per advantage, but that would bring up a lot of bonus inflation and be too extreme.


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