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A Few Rules Updates
Mike Mearls

A s we continue to work toward the release of D&D Next, a number of rules that you saw in the public playtest have undergone revision. Here's a quick look at some of those updates and changes.


The exploration rules have been reworked to make them easier to use at the table. We've brought back the concept of passive perception from 4th Edition to cut down on the number of die rolls and to speed up play. A character's passive perception is the result of rolling 10 on a Wisdom (Perception) check. Your character sheet will have a space to note this, making it a value you calculate once and then use as needed.

We've also folded the basics of the exploration system into the party's marching order. As the party approaches a trap, a hidden monster, or some other threat, the DM uses a combination of marching order and passive perception to determine who sees the threat and when. This change eliminates tracking the party's alertness, though moving at a fast pace imposes a penalty to characters' passive perception.

We also simplified the concept of group stealth. Whenever the party moves at a slow pace, everyone in the group makes Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide, in addition to whatever other actions they take while traveling. At a slow pace, a rogue can thus attempt to hide while using an action to pick a lock or search for secret doors. If the party moves at a faster pace, each character can still attempt to hide, but must use an action to do so.

The idea of a sequence that includes checking for random encounters remains in place. You can still undertake a variety of tasks while exploring, but we've unified those options with the general rules for doing stuff. For instance, actions such as hunting or sneaking are described under their appropriate abilities. The exploration rules simply reference them as things you might do while exploring.

Finally, we've standardized the time it takes to complete certain actions with the exploration rules. Disarming a trap or picking a lock takes 1 minute, matching the duration of an exploration round in the dungeon and making timekeeping easier for the DM.

Extra Actions

The playtest process showed us that gaining an extra action on your turn in combat can lead to a lot of overpowered combinations. In addition, letting characters stack up extra actions can seriously bog down the game. Multiclassing cast a bright light on this issue, with characters combining class features and swift spells on the same turn to unleash all sorts of havoc.

Right now, we're working with a rule that limits a character to one bonus action per turn, and then labeling abilities as bonus actions where appropriate. The goal of this rule is to avoid stacking up options like two-weapon fighting, the rogue's Cunning Action, the monk's Flurry of Blows, swift spells, Bardic Inspiration, and other abilities that are meant to augment your turn, not to replace it. You can use one of those bonus actions during your turn, but not all of them—a

change that should address many of the more heinous action combinations that playtesting uncovered.

Character Speed and Heavy Armor

We're looking at giving all the standard player character races a speed of 30 feet, and allowing characters with sufficient Strength scores to ignore the speed penalties for heavy armor. We think these ideas make sense for a few different reasons.

The speed penalty for smaller characters and dwarves doesn't differentiate them from the other races in any interesting way. Moreover, goblins and kobolds have had a speed of 30 feet since the days of 3rd Edition, so in some ways, we're simply adjusting gnomes, halflings, and dwarves to an existing standard.

When it comes to armor, we wanted heavy armor to have potential drawbacks without being overly harsh or restrictive. Heavy armor is . . . well, heavy, so making your Strength play a role in its effectiveness is intuitive. This change allows medium armor to play a more meaningful role for characters with marginal Strength and Dexterity scores. Other characters can still maximize their AC with heavy armor if they have a poor Dexterity, but at the cost of reducing speed by 10 feet if a character's Strength is less than 13.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
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Posted By: WotC_Bart (2/7/2014 3:08:10 PM)


Exploration: Simplifying these rules is fine with me.

Bonus Actions: While I understand the reasoning behind this change, I will say that it will be disappointing not to be able to have my rogues dart into melee, attack twice with TWF, and then dart away again with Cunning Action. Unless of course you beef up Sneak Attack or something to compensate.

Passive Perception: I for one am glad to see this return. I was using a passive "take 10" for Spot and Listen back in the 3.5 days before 4e was more than a rumor. Reading through the other comments, I think a lot of people misunderstand how it works. You don't compare PP with static DCs. It's more like an alertness AC to defend against active Stealth checks. And as others have pointed out, PP doesn't have to be an automatic "all or nothing" situation. A success can just mean that the PC notices that there is something to notice, prompting them to make an active Search check to figure out what exac... (see all)
Posted By: pukunui (2/6/2014 3:48:04 AM)


I don't buy small races moving as fast as large ones just because the stubby legs of little bipedal monsters moved ridiculously fast in Third Edition. Don't forget that's the edition where you could grow 60 feet tall but still lumbered along at 30'/round so the Longstrider spell would be good for something. If goblins and kobolds are supposed to be adept at moving about in natural settings, give them a trait which allows them to ignore speed penalties for nonmagical difficult terrain.
Posted By: RadperT (2/3/2014 8:52:12 PM)


I don't have a problem with the DM using passive Perception as long as I, too, can say I want to use my passive skill result when the DM asks for any check (this does highlight the need for really high knowledge DCs, though). Strange that nobody mentioned "taking 10" in all these comments. Have all the Third Edition players excused themselves from this discussion?
Posted By: RadperT (2/3/2014 8:46:09 PM)


I don't know about speed... I don't think it was a bad thing having slightly different speeds between races.
Posted By: TRBand (2/3/2014 12:21:12 AM)


I think a lot of this will come down to waiting to see what the final rules look like. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (1/31/2014 3:46:30 PM)


Meant to be a reply to nukunuku. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (1/31/2014 3:58:17 PM)


I'll be interested to see the final exploration rules and whether they mesh with our groups' playstyle. I will say that Perception, at least as it has been done so far, is so over-the-top better than all other skills I really hate to see it return, since it forces all characters down a similar path. At least this is all optional, though.

I'm glad you finally figured out that extra actions were a serious balance issue. It's been that way for many editions.

Dex penalties for armor still make no logical sense, and seem more about game mechanics than any sort of realist idea of how armor works. Str requirements, on the other hand, are realistic and logical. Glad to see armor moving in that direction.
Posted By: nukunuku (1/31/2014 9:26:34 AM)


I agree with the above comment that a strength of 13 should be inadequate for eliminating the movement penalty associated with armor. My suggestion would be to reduce the penalty by one square/five feet per point of Strength bonus. I'd also have differing speed penalties to further differentiate armors, with the heavier medium armors at 5, the heavy armors 10, and the super heavy armors at 15 (thus requiring a strength of 16 to overcome).
Posted By: delroland (1/31/2014 1:19:33 AM)



(I'm really not sure if all of the stupid flaws this comment system has are laughable or just sad. Would it kill them to just use Disqus or something?)

I've actually taken the concept of using Passives as time-savers further and applied it to all of the skills. 4e makes this easy thanks to having a clear demarkation of whether any specific area of knowledge or ability is specialized or general (trained vs. untrained) for a character.

Generally speaking, if a character is trained in a skill and not under an undue amount of stress, I generally don't bother making them roll if there is a reasonable chance they'll succeed, particularly where knowledge, rather than physical skill, is concerned.

Doing things this way keeps the game moving and keeps the players focused on what's happening in the story, rather than what's happening on their character sheets.

There's also a case for making the PCs feel like they're made o... (see all)
Posted By: Kalranya (1/30/2014 6:00:31 PM)


I'm not excited about any of these developments.

1) Passive perception, while a good idea in theory, just doesn't work for me at the table. In practice, it's just one more thing the DM needs to track for the players.

2) I absolutely despise extra attack or extra action mechanics. The action points in 4E were about my limit for extra actions. Whether it be extra attacks, summoned creatures, or double-action feats, I think it's possible and preferable to achieve class balance without them.

3) If you're going to have armor and race affect move speed, then speeds in combat versus overland need to be separated. That way you don't have one guy in full plate turning a 5 day journey into a week-long trip. On the other hand, if you're going to allow a bypass for the penalty, then why include it in the first place? I guarantee that 99.9% of heavy armor wearers will have the requisite strength to overcome the penalty.
Posted By: Sebastrd (1/30/2014 12:18:13 PM)


I don't like the idea that Dual Weapon fighting is part of the extra action limit. Those attacks are balanced with other forms of fighting already. Making it so a Dual Weapon Specialist doesn't get an extra action means that should be balanced with Styles that have 2 actions instead of one then.
Posted By: ZaranBlack (1/29/2014 7:22:57 PM)


Passive perception is great. Now you need passive stealth. If one group can "take 10" in perception but another group must roll for stealth. The group that must roll will have at least 1 of its members roll too low. There must be a passive stealth as well.

There might be other passive scores as well. Just make take 10 the passive event.
Posted By: kezzek (1/29/2014 10:46:40 AM)


My comments:

Exploration: This passive skill idea sounds good to me!

Extra actions: Limiting these seem to be another good idea!

Character speed and heavy armour: I like this idea as well, but I definitely think the limit for not getting a 10 feet speed reduction should come at strength 15, not 13. You should be required to have a strength well above average to avoid this penalty.
Posted By: FelisLynx (1/29/2014 7:07:17 AM)


Love the use of Wisdom score as the passive against many actions. It certainly does not scale with level or balance well. However, it is simple and generic enough for my purpose.
Posted By: WahSword (1/28/2014 8:50:35 PM)


I like the idea Sword_of_Spirit had: have a benefit for having medium over heavy armor. Some sort of mobility bonus, or perhaps "no finesse weapon feat with heavy armor" or something. Heavy armor is hard and strong, sure, but it is harder to move around.

Otherwise, no one is going to use it unless forced to by their class. Gives folks the chance to have some variety.
Posted By: Barky (1/28/2014 8:35:50 PM)


Taking Extra Actions away is going to make classes boring. Classes need options. For example, most of my players thought that Gamma World was more fun than 4th edition DnD. Why?? Because in 4th edition DnD you have a set of powers that you use over and over and over again… the options are too limited, and it becomes repetitive and boring. There's not enough variety. In Gamma World, you have the same system of powers… but you have Omega Tech and Alpha mutation cards. That constantly keeps the powers fresh and presents new options throughout the game, the entire way. In DnD you have to give players a variety of powers or its going to get repetitive and boring. I'm not saying they have to be overpowered. Tactics through options is more fun than tactics through the same options again and again. Don't focus so much on balancing the mechanics that this is forgotten. Taking things out might help stave off the cheesy players looking for the loop holes, but why does the average player ha... (see all)
Posted By: Sands666 (1/28/2014 5:19:59 PM)


I agree that more options are better. I also agree that balance for the sake of balance is a poor motivation for design. However, I also think that it's important to weed out loop holes in the rules whenever possible. Not for balance sake, but for STORY sake.

Say there was a rule loop hole that let you slay an Ancient Red Dragon with a Level 4 Fighter. It wouldn't make SENSE for the STORY that low level adventurer to slay such a mighty and powerful monster, would it? So we close up that loop hole to protect discontinuities in the Game's Story. As a result, you might end up restricting a character's options (because you removed a certain combination of mechanics)...but you did it for the greater good of the game.
Posted By: Ramzour (1/28/2014 8:15:03 PM)


Yeah, I understand that bad loop holes which create an unexpected excess in power need to be closed. But I am not seeing where the problem is. They state that multiclassing is allowing people to gain overpowered combinations. They mention the Rogues Cunning Action. But that action doesn't allow an extra attack. The Monks flurry of blows does, but to stack that with other multi attack actions you're going to have to gain about 5 levels in fighter to get another attack. Although I guess that would technically mean 4 attacks? Not sure, but if that's the case then it makes send to me. Maybe you know what combos are creating a problem. I can't see it yet.
Posted By: Sands666 (1/29/2014 3:17:28 AM)


Are you guys ever going to stop buffing the dwarf?

Why play any other race?
Posted By: Vulf (1/28/2014 1:46:02 PM)


Can we please get all skills to have passive counterparts?
Having a passive stealth for instance should be a base figure when needing to be quiet. If a guard walks by you roll a check which either improves or worsens your passive stealth.
I don't see the point of having all these skills and training if it all comes down to chance. What if a stealthy person needs to roll a 5 to succeed? They may roll a 2 and they fail when they are highly trained and wouldn't make a disastrous mistake. If their skill and stats etc +10 defeats the DC then it should be an automatic success. This should only be a passing level of success. If it was a written exam the character got a mark of 51%. If they want it higher then they must make a dice roll to add to this base level of success.
It may not work in al situations but consider athletics for jumping a hurdle. Clipping the top of the barrier and knocking it down or breaking a hole in it would be a base pass. Clearing it fully and landing ... (see all)
Posted By: Rartemass (1/27/2014 11:30:04 PM)


Hate to say it, but the d20 system is what's bothering you. Any time a game relies on a single die for task resolution, it ends up here. This is a bigger topic than comments can handle though, alas.
Posted By: emwasick (1/28/2014 3:09:59 AM)


Many people have mentioned using enemies stealth or perception rolls vs players passive skills, it seems like it's also possible to apply the same type of things to secret doors, traps etc.

You give a trap a difficulty modifier + roll vs passive to detect. The roll reflects variables like flickering lighting/shadows, light fog, possible distractions or ambient sounds, just simple things like which way the player is currently focusing, etc basically saying that the same trap is not noticeable in exactly the same way/difficulty to every person for all times. So you just have the DM rolling once vs team passive for each occurrence that passive might detect.

Also wondering if for things like stealth, perception, insight, charisma, etc passive levels shouldn't be the floor (e.g. why would trying actively to succeed make you worse). At the least before actively trying your passive check would have been in effect. This wouldn't obviously apply to active only skil... (see all)
Posted By: Travesty (1/28/2014 11:30:02 PM)


I dig the idear of the changes of the exploration part; though in play; they didn't really seem to take up that much time to begin with. That's neat-o about the armor and speeds...

As for the Extra Actions part being ruined / nerfed, I was hoping wizards wouldn't notice that. Hahahah.

Who has two thumbs and loves being nigh unstoppable by 5th level? This guy, that's who! :D

High five!

Yeah, that's kind of partly what ruined 3e-3.5, the unstoppably combinations where you had 72 attacks / round (exaggerating-ish), and couldn't miss. So I guess I can see why they'd want to ruin / nerf the extra actions in next.

With the current multi-classing rules, you can make some stupid-powerful combinations by 4th-5th level. :)

I'm looking at you: Barbarian, Ranger, Monk! Or Bard, Ranger, Rogue! Haha.
Posted By: awogaman (1/27/2014 11:25:22 PM)


A good way we deal with things like Barbarian/Ranger/Monk is that Multiclass in our campaign means TWO classes. Three Classes not allowed. This deals a lot of things, and you still can create varied characters based on two classes. We found that 3 classes in one character is not really needed for character customization (not powergaming) reasons.
Posted By: MagicSN (1/28/2014 1:29:16 AM)


I like the idea of all three of these suggestions. Passive perception is fine, and keeps players form knowing they missed something if I have them roll a perception check and then say "nothing there."

I REALLY like the idea of limiting players to one bonus action. I felt that all of the opportunity actions and out of turn actions is what bogged 4e down.

I also like the idea of basing a players speed in armor on their strength. It just makes sense that a player should have to be strong to use heavy armor (or heavy weapons, for that matter). And THANK YOU for ditching the rule that small characters can't move as fast! That was silly!

Overall, I really like the direction the game has taken over the past two months, and I'm getting more and more excited about the new edition.
Posted By: gpchem (1/27/2014 7:12:13 PM)


Oh, I just realized something! the article only says passive perception, not passive search! search is an int check to find hidden things such as secret doors and traps. Perception is to notice things like ambushes. Maybe some traps are crude enough that perception can notice them (such as a trip wire) but others will require an active int based search check. If this is how it will work then I think that will be just fine!
Posted By: moes1980 (1/27/2014 5:37:00 PM)


No sure how I feel about passive perception. Didn't really like it in 4th cause it meant either the party will catch everything or miss everything, it takes away the fun of rolling. Also, how will it work with things like keen sense, which gives advantage to perception checks? Maybe just have to add in that for passive perception you add +4 or 5 I guess.

I do like that passive perception can set a DC for whether or not monster ambushes a party. I can see that working. But it seems problematic for other things such as searching for traps. Don't forget the importance of bounded accuracy with this. If DCs remain relatively unchanged while a rogue's skill increase, then that just means more auto chances of success and then less excitement.

Maybe add in a 'check' or roll, for traps and doors to see if they remain hidden. So you roll a d20 and add a bonus based on the quality of the trap/door and see if it beats a DC set by the passive search ability of the party. (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (1/27/2014 5:20:54 PM)


I have always treated passive perception as a gauge to notice something is out of place or not quite right over there. It forces focus onto a specific area as a means to look closer. You then need a perception roll (or search etc) to find the specifics.
Posted By: Rartemass (1/27/2014 11:11:12 PM)


The central mechanic of d20 is, of course, d20 + mods vs a DC. Passive Perception works great as a DC for stealth checks, for instance. Perception, perhaps more than any other 'skill,' makes sense as something the DM rolls (otherwise 'calling for a perception check' creates a meta-game situation where the players know something is going on, even if they fail - and the typical way around that is to call for /fake/ perception checks, which just further bogs things down). Passive Perception is a good thing to have, then, as it lets the DM determine what the players notice by making checks behind the screen - assuming he's made of note of everyone's passive perception, that is.

Passive Perception vs a static DC is a bit too rock-paper-scissors for d20, though, a d20 should be getting rolled somewhere when you're playing d20. ;)

Posted By: Tony_Vargas (1/27/2014 4:14:02 PM)


What feels a bit weird is that in many situations it will be easier to manage a passive perception check than an active perception check (shouldnt it be easier to notice something when you actively look than if you dont?) as usually for an active check the DC will be set higher than 10. Could of course be fixed by that you do not notice everything with a passive perception, only the most basic things (if anything at all).
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 4:53:39 PM)


Passive skills really feel like they need to be reversed. For stealth I like the idea that the PCs add 10 to their Stealth scores for normal movement. Badguys roll Perception against the lowest score. You can add a bonus for slow movement.

For perception, much like how you're planning to work stealth, I like the idea that everyone pitches in with penalties for fast movement and potentially actions required.

I don't think I've ever used Passive Perception once in game, it's too cumbersome a mechanic. It feels like it guarantees either success or failure in ways I'm not comfortable with. But looking at stealthiness--that looks like a great way to bring in the same mechanic but in a way that could contribute a lot to the game.
Posted By: Grimcleaver (1/27/2014 2:50:30 PM)


Hrm, reply is broken for me too. Anyway, sometimes it's cool to set Passive Perception checks higher than the party can make. Sometimes there are elements of a location that should make the party curious. An impressive sarcophagus should be checked for traps before anyone robs the dead. A slight asymmetry in construction might hint at a secret door. These are good DCs to set above the passive level, since they encourage players to pay attention to details and consider how the world works.

On the other hand, maybe the villain's secret escape tunnel is in the middle of an unremarkable corridor. Setting that DC a few points too high might slightly frustrate the players, but they could always kill the bad guy, capture him, or otherwise foil his plans before he gets away. That high DC is not an automatic "screw you!" that makes the players feel like they should be paranoid: their choices can still matter.

On the other other hand, filling a dungeon with nasty ... (see all)
Posted By: emwasick (1/27/2014 2:11:05 PM)


The only problem I have with this is that you then set dcs based on character ability rather than on the 'world' situation. In other words, how difficult it is to spot something is always compared relative to party level. In other words, the increase in perception checks really dosnt matter because DCs are always set in accordance to party ability. Level in this sense then doesn't mean anything. Maybe some things could be classes as "simple" meaning that passive checks can find them (such as a out trap covered with a patch of out of place banna leaves) while other things require an active search (such as detecting the spring loaded needle trap inside of a treasure chest). This way, you get the distinction between finding things with passive vs active checks you a retail king about, but increasing bonus to checks still matter.
Posted By: moes1980 (1/27/2014 5:34:03 PM)


There can still be "real world" numbers that the DM uses. He can decide which traps are appropriate rather than setting DCs for a given trap artificially high or low. The DM knows what group he's writing for even without Passive skill checks, and he can guess that any group will be careful once they encounter the first trap. The difference is that some will be nervously tapping everything with 10-foot poles while others will be casually detecting traps left and right - and in both cases players will be rolling a lot without Passive checks in the game.
Posted By: emwasick (1/27/2014 8:20:46 PM)


Using passive perception doesn't really fix the problem for me. The real problem is that in a party of 5 or 6, the odds are very high that at least one person is going to botch their stealth check. This means that trying to have the party move stealthily is going to be a near impossibility. It might be cool if one member of the team (with a high stealth), could choose to take disadvantage on their stealth check to give others in the group advantage, essentially acting as a guide for the rest of the party.
Posted By: Paladin-s_Pride (1/27/2014 1:49:57 PM)


Isn't there an "aid another" option out there for that?
Posted By: nirnel (1/27/2014 2:06:59 PM)


That is a really good house rule idea. I'm going to snag it for my own use until I see the published rules.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (1/27/2014 4:07:22 PM)


In such situations (especially with heavy armor guys who do not remove their heavy armor for the scene) we usually make everyone roll stealth, and if the majority of the group pass their checks, the check is passed, else it is failed (like group checks in 4e). Worked good for us.
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 4:55:16 PM)


Perhaps a rule adding distance between party members. When I am the scout, I always try to be 20' ahead (or more if visibility allows). Then hopefully your perception kicks in before the party's general noisiness comes in.
Posted By: Barky (1/28/2014 8:28:35 PM)


You could always adopt as I have the mechanics alternatives for characters trained in armor use from unearthed arcana 3.5 as bonus for melee specialists like paladin and fighter. The AC DR alternative I use is this.... a class/character trained in armor gains a DR bonus equal to 1/2 the AC bonus provided by the AC (defense bonus) and can turn attacks into glancing blows by fully optimizing worn armor.
Posted By: Valkrim (1/27/2014 12:49:00 PM)


I really like armor as DR. It makes armor feel like what it is. A guy in full plate isn't harder to *hit*. The idea that it reduces damage to a binary value: hit (you take all the damage as if you were naked) or miss (none of it affects you--whether it was a goblin with a knife or a giant with a tree club, it all rolls off) has never really reflected what armor is particularly well. DR mirrors it perfectly--you are easier to hit (based on the max Dex bonus of whatever armor) but some amount of damage gets shaved off the top or light hits might get totally absorbed.

Simple and elegant.
Posted By: Grimcleaver (1/27/2014 2:59:17 PM)


That was what armor worked like in the german RPG System Midgard. The problem the system had - with enough armor you made combat so un-dangerous, that certain characters "could not be hurt". I fear something like that might happen with a DR system in DnD as well, (we had that in 4E with the lvl 10 Endurance Power - and to a smaller extent I notice a similar effect in the DnD Next warrior in one of our RPG groups who has thanks to the heavy armor feat -4 damage on all physical hits, together with Second Wind and his very high hit points it is very hard to make things dangerous for him - and if it is dangerous for him its VERY VERY VERY dangerous for everyone else).
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 4:59:51 PM)


Passive perception and passive insight is and always will be the way a character perceives their world without actively focusing on it. Spots and listens are focused. Gather information and bluff/sense motive are focused. They have been utilized in my 3.5 game since fourth came out. A flawless execution of game mechanic evolution that sets hard values to a character without utilizing the core d20 dice over and over. Faster streamlined flow of play that still leaves focused checks on the table.
Posted By: Valkrim (1/27/2014 12:41:59 PM)


Aren't you at all worried that the labeling of certain actions as stackable and others as not bordering on the "too complicated" side? This harkens back to 3rd edition: does the action provoke an AOO or not?

Any rule that means I have to break play to see if it has the right label on it or not is too complicated for me. I would opt for making actions stackable or not. period.
Posted By: jfriant (1/27/2014 12:30:18 PM)


The good:
-Extra action changes (as long as this doesn't apply to a fighter's extra attacks)
-Racial speed
-Heavy armor adjustments

The *really* bad:
-Effect on medium armor. Right now (with these changes) there is no reason for a longsword fighter to pick medium armor. Ever. What if I want to look like the guy on the cover of the old Gold Box Pool of Radiance game? Bastard sword wielding fighter in scale. And I do. I like my fighter to have a reason to wear scale mail. With these changes, medium armor is only for barbarians, rangers, dwarf mages, and low level finesse fighters.

Provide some benefit for a developed fighter in medium armor. Raise the AC, or somehow provide a mobility bonus. I don't care what, just don't invalidate the whole category for fighters.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (1/27/2014 12:21:10 PM)


I disagree. Animals smaller than humans are faster than humans.

There is nothing wrong with the smaller races having the same speed as humans. These aren't human children. They are a completely different species.

Whether you blame it on spry energy inherent to the race, or evolution to adept to the world of larger folk, it's perfectly acceptable in my mind that they take one and a half times the strides that Medium characters take and are able to keep up.

Posted By: Wyckedemus (1/27/2014 11:33:15 AM)


It's also acceptable that they are slower even if kobolds and goblins are not. If goblins and kobolds having a speed of 30 ft. is sacrosanct because they have been this way for a couple editions, I don't get how the same brain can get the idea of changing halfling, gnome and dwarf speed and connect both things as something coherent (in fact using one to justify the other).
Posted By: nirnel (1/27/2014 2:13:49 PM)


Passive Perception is a junk rule. Sure it might reduce the number of die rolls, but it results in the same characters succeeding all the time, which is extremely dull. As DM, I like rolling. Sometimes I will even fake a few rolls just to keep the players on their toes.

As for extra attacks per round. For the sake of the simple fighter that many want, I really hope the fighters extra attacks are not taken away.
Posted By: dmgorgon (1/27/2014 9:50:17 AM)


So do you roll "passive" perception checks for your players (and unbeknownst to them)? Or do you call for the checks and hope that the players keep that information separate from character knowledge?

Anyway, it's not a "junk rule" just because you like rolling more dice. AC is also averaged out to 10 instead of having a "Defense Roll". At some point, fixed values speed up play more than they hinder realism. That's why we use them.
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 12:22:53 PM)


Yes I roll behind the DM Screen. I want the underdog to take or share the spot light sometimes. The law of averages does not playout unless you make 100s of rolls. In this case, Passive checks are total BS because they ensure that you automatically pass or fail a percentage of the modules checks. All the random out-liner rolls are take away from the game.
Posted By: dmgorgon (1/27/2014 3:45:12 PM)


So you roll a die and compare it to the passive of each player. Then you roll a die to determine which of the players that passed spotted the danger/oddity (equal chance for each player).
Posted By: Rlyehable (1/27/2014 8:11:20 PM)


Consider a scenario where goblins are hiding and trying to ambush the Heroes. As the Heroes approach, the DM can make Dex Stealth checks for the goblins. If any of the Heroes have a PP higher than the Dex Stealth checks, the DM can say, "Elf Ranger. Your keen senses detect a low noise up ahead behind that big rock." If none of their PP scores exceed the Goblins' checks, then the Goblins have surprise. This is arguably better than calling for 5x Wisdom Perception checks. Even if they all fail, the players will be aware of a hidden thing nearby.

One thing I am concerned about is how Advantage plays into a character's passive perception score. The Elf, for instance, has Keen Senses. So do many beasts (animal companions, Druid beast form, etc.). Will they give them a solid +4 or +5 bonus to their PP score then?
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 9:32:07 AM)


"Moreover, goblins and kobolds have had a speed of 30 feet since the days of 3rd Edition, so in some ways, we're simply adjusting gnomes, halflings, and dwarves to an existing standard."

Since halflings, dwarfs and gnomes have been slower from before that, wouldn't it be more coherent to adjust the NPC races to the more importan PC races? Aren't the latter a better (and previous) standard?

This said, I dislike this change for entirely different reasons: I prefer races being different from each other when it makes sense for them to be, like this case. Having smaller races move more slowly but being able to access easily to certain parts of the battlefield is a significant change from the bigger ones, and one that is interesting enough from a tactical viewpoint.
Posted By: nirnel (1/27/2014 9:14:13 AM)



PP is not like AC, which the PCs may or may not hit depending on their roll. Passive Perception is an automatic, predefined yes or no, so when you're writing an adventure for your group, you're doing the extra work of writing a number for something when you could just say "yes, they'll see it". Why the extra step?
Posted By: Dreamstryder (1/27/2014 9:07:17 AM)


The changes to movement rate look like classic examples of fixing something that wasn't a problem. The change for heavy armor is particularly egregious, because it: (1) effectively removes the penalty for 95% of builds, (2) does it in a way that makes the rules more complicated (rather than just dropping the penalty all together), (3) further disinsentivizes non-traditional builds.

If you're going to drop the move penalty for heavy armor, just drop it.
Posted By: DrewMelbourne (1/27/2014 8:05:38 AM)


I heartily disagree about armor.

We all have heard anecdotal evidence that people who are good with heavy armor aren't as hindered as most people might think.

I have no problem with Sturm Brightblade walking at the same speed as Tanis.

What I *really* like is that this rule makes sense narratively as well as provides a hurdle for 8 Strength wizards dipping into a warrior class to gain proficiency in heavy armor with no penalties. How about the wizard needing to invest in a 13 Str so it makes a little more sense that he's so comfy in Splint mail.
Posted By: Wyckedemus (1/27/2014 11:41:38 AM)


A wizard needs 15 strength to get into the fighter class according to the rules of the last playtest.
Posted By: alhoon2 (1/27/2014 12:59:20 PM)


Ah, but its sneaker than that. People "reverse dip", meaning you start out as a fighter at level one with 8 str and high int and then you take all your levels in wizard after that (thereby avoiding the multiclass requirements). Its kind of ugly and I hope they do away with it somehow.
Posted By: WCU_Scout (1/27/2014 1:41:43 PM)


>Ah, but its sneaker than that. People "reverse dip", meaning you start out >as a fighter at level one with 8 str and high int and then you take all your >levels in wizard after that (thereby avoiding the multiclass >requirements). Its kind of ugly and I hope they do away with it somehow.

But for this "reverse dip" the fighter would need Int 15, which is the requirement for taking levels in wizard.

I am more concerned on something else - if with Str 13 you do not get speed penalties on heavy armor, is that not like removing speed penalty from the game "at all"? Most people who take heavy armor (few exceptions) WILL have Str 13.

Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 2:44:38 PM)


Ah, now I get it what you mean... you mean about people taking fighter without having the stats for it (having stats of a wizard), right? Wow, that really sounds like full powergaming :( Anyways, at least myselves never saw such a character. But I now see your point.
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 2:47:59 PM)



People seek to gain any advantage available to further their goals. It's human nature. There's no difference between a player choosing a bastard sword over a long sword because he wants his character to hit harder and a player choosing to arrange his ability scores in a way that allows him to "reverse-dip" a level of Fighter because he wants his Wizard to be able to wear armor. The game permits both, and both are acceptable.

As a game designer, you can either fight this truth (and lose), or accept that it will happen and design your game to accomodate it, or at least channel it in a desirable direction.
Posted By: Kalranya (1/30/2014 6:12:52 PM)


In many ways DnD Next feels like a more realistic version of the fantasy world we have known for years and feels familiar.

Changing something to make it simpler does not mean it is a change worth making. Think about why you are changing it. Does it not work? Has it not worked for years?

I do not like the change in base speed or the change in armor. If you are basing the armor simply on Strength you might as well just do away with movement issues in heavy armor as any fighter who's worth anything will definitely have a higher than 13 strength and have no issues with movement at all. And let's face it very few players will bother will end up with a fighter that cannot take advantage of this change. You are simply making those more nimble characters in lighter armors feel less important, and have less characters opt for those armors. Bad idea.

Racially there most definitely should be a difference, you look at most classic fantasy settings or stories and... (see all)
Posted By: LostLegolas (1/27/2014 7:57:43 AM)


But, dwarves and halflings aren't any slower in combat. LotR movies made a point to show that when the fellowship was jogging overland...But that's, again, not combat. I honestly don't remember if Tolkien wrote that in. In a fight, the short races shouldn't be 'slower' than the tall races. It's unfair...Humans and Elves already have tons of mechanical advantages.
Posted By: seti (1/27/2014 4:59:26 PM)


The dwarves didn't ride ponies in the book The Hobbit, and Gimli fell behind all the time in The Lord of the Rings, the book.
Posted By: RadperT (1/29/2014 5:59:59 PM)


Perception and search is one of those thorny player skill vs character skill issues - can we get some insight into how it is being approached in DnD Next? There are a lot of players who find the perception/roll to search thing actually subtracts from the game.

Discussed quite nicely at (slightly NSFW images)
Posted By: 5Shilling (1/27/2014 6:07:51 AM)


I like giving all PC races the same base speed. It never made sense to me that halflings and dwarves were somehow slower in combat. In reality, someone 4'9" isn't any slower than someone 7'2" over short (ie: melee range) distances.

I like the STR effect on heavy armor, but I wonder if the cut off should be more like 15...13 almost seems too low. You'd have to be REALLY buff to move quickly in 50+ lbs. of metal and leather. Also, the speed penalty was always a fair and balanced offset for the high AC...Otherwise, why would anyone not choose to wear heavy armor if they're not a DEX based class?

I don't think anyone should get 'extra' actions in combat, unless some really specific conditions are met. I think instead of non-wizards getting extra attacks as they level up/as class features, they should just get more damage dice. It's easier and quicker to roll, and it makes SENSE, just like casters spells often get more damage dice to roll as they level up. Th... (see all)
Posted By: seti (1/27/2014 4:29:45 AM)


While I agree that extra damage is easier and simpler than extra attacks, there is a big advantage to having extra attacks...namely that you get to attack more than one creature per round. Obvious, I know, but consider a warrior surrounded by many weak targets. If the warrior only had 1 attack with high damage just think how much overkill they might have against a single weak target. He might deal 3-4 times the monster's MaxHP, while the other enemies slowly ping him to death. By giving the character extra attacks, the decision to split their attacks over multiple enemies, or consolidate their attacks against a single tough enemy, is in the players' hands.

Also, by having extra attacks you have a higher chance to deal at least SOME damage every round. Otherwise a high level warrior might miss with his single attack and end up doing absolutely nothing useful that round.

Thus, ultimately, I think extra attacks are a better tool for characters in terms of balance, ... (see all)
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 5:23:56 AM)


That is an excellent point, and one that occurred to me after I typed. Nice that there's NOT an edit button here, lol.

I wouldn't mind seeing a feat that allowed for a choice between the two. Especially for hitting closely packed enemies with a two handed bludgeoning or slashing weapon. One problem I see is that DnD 5e is making the battle grid optional, so...With no grid, there's no way of being fair about how many creatures you could hit with a single swing. One of the many reasons I've never played gridless, even back in the 2e days.
Posted By: seti (1/27/2014 4:46:53 PM)


@Kalranya and Ramzour (Why, Reply!?)

I love such stuff, but I still have that question G_X mentions: assuming you aren't writing the adventure for multiple groups, the Passive Perception number is determined already, so when you write the DC down, you're basically deciding whether or not the party will notice. Why even make a check of it, unless you improvise numbers without remembering the PCs' Perception?

In a previous example, noticing the bookshelf secret, in my game the elf's player would have had to say they were checking the bookshelves after my room description, then I'd roll for them (not showing the results, and give an appropriate answer ("You see it is patterned after Bast design, though the wood is aged" or "You notice that the Bast pattern in the middle of the shelf backing is broken by a change in elevation"), thus given them something regardless, but one was a success. If there's a lurking monster or hidden trap, I roll in secre... (see all)
Posted By: Dreamstryder (1/27/2014 4:21:00 AM)


I don't see the issue with DMs making passive perception DCs higher than the PCs' passive perception check. That's not really a system design problem. More like a DM problem. I mean, the DM can do that now with other things anyway. He can make monsters with AC higher than the players can hit (outside of a nat 20). He can make trap DC's higher than the Rogue's max search check, or trap damage high enough to kill a character on a failed save. If you're designing something in the dungeon in such a way that the players will never notice it, then why put it there to begin with? And why call for a check at all? If the DM wants to force the players into a trap, then he doesn't have to fiddle with perception DCs to do it. He can just say "Let there be Traps!". And LO! there were traps. And the PCs took many points of damage.
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 5:36:38 AM)


Ramzour is mostly right, but you do ask an interesting question in "why bother at all?"

There are two parts to that answer:

The first is that ignoring Perception entirely or dropping it altogether makes the players feel cheated out of their accomplishments. They end up feeling like you're hand-holding them through the entire adventure, rather than that the skills and abilities they've invested into their characters over time are having a tangible impact on gameplay.

(Making rolls for the PCs has a similar effect, I've found. Players like being in control of their characters, and anything that takes that control away--whether it's just spoon-feeding them plot tokens or rolling the dice for them--tends to diminish the amount of fun they're having at the table.)

The second part is that you've got to remember that a Passive score is not the maximum possible that character could roll. In fact, it's HALF that. To continue my earlier examp... (see all)
Posted By: Kalranya (1/30/2014 5:40:00 PM)


@Kalranya >> @G_X:

Figures that YOUR reply button is borked too. Stupid DnD forums.

Anyway, I was going to post a very similar thing to you. I like Passive Perception checks because it lets me (the DM) give out information as part of the story and without requiring a die roll from the players (which always seems to take longer than it should).

Our current party has a Dwarf Rogue. I frequently refer to his Stonecunning and Dwarven Heritage when telling him that he notices something odd in stonework, like a trap or secret door. Sure maybe his actual Perception training came from being a Rogue but I think it makes the story 100 times more interesting to refer to his Race instead. In yesterday's Adventure I had the Dwarf notice all sorts of stuff about the dungeon they were in. Goblins had moved in to an abandoned watchtower and they were exploring its dungeons. I pointed out which room and hallways were pre-existing or new editions by the Goblins. I... (see all)
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 3:49:46 AM)


All these rules update go in the direction of simplifying a few things that are unnecessarily complicated -> GOOD!

I would go even further and totally eliminate swift spells from the game. They don't really add much, they have been introduced only because some gaming group wanted to have some sort of fast healing (i.e. characters able to heal on the fly, without asking them to give up their attack action). But swift spells are an additional layer of rules to remember, and the "combine with another action" text can be confusing.

Not sure if the updates to exploration rules mean that basically all actions (skills, spells) are now possible exploration tasks, but I think this should definitely be. It makes a lot of sense, but should be made more clear in the rules. An exploration task takes longer and spans multiple actions, but the whole point of exploration rules is to provide a framework for skipping over the details. This can be VERY useful, because f... (see all)
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/27/2014 2:31:31 AM)



(because the "Reply" button is broken)

If they're importing the function from 4e, that's not quite how Passive Perception works. It's only used in cases where the characters are not on alert or would otherwise not have a reason to be actively using skills.

Or to put it another way: if there's an immediate negative consequence to failing the check, they roll. If not, the DM may choose to use the Passive.

So, whether or not the party detects signs that they're near an Owlbear's lair while traveling through a forest, or whether they spot the street urchin pickpocket casing them while they're out shopping might use the passive score, but noticing the Owlbear about to come charging out of the bushes or feeling the pickpocket cutting their purse strings would require a successful check.

In practice, I found the only Passive I had to keep track of as the DM was the highest one in the party. My scene-setting often went some... (see all)
Posted By: Kalranya (1/27/2014 1:57:15 AM)


Thank you Mr. Mearls and the entire Next team for taking the time out to share with us some of your core changes to the game.

It won't silence the nay-sayers who feel that their every suggestion should have been immediately incorporated into the game. But it does show the rest of us that you are indeed listening to our feedback and that's AWESOME.

Next is gonna rocks socks all the way to the docks!
Posted By: E-Tallitnics (1/27/2014 1:35:56 AM)


Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 3:40:51 AM)


I never really cared much for the exploration rules. Every thing sounds like reducing complexity and closing loop holes. I'm not a fan of extra actions, so limit this by all means. I have no problem with the changes, thanks for the update.
Posted By: Prom (1/27/2014 1:29:43 AM)


Remember that exploration rules are supposed to be optional. Maybe they aren't labelled as such, but they should have an "optional" label, because if you ignore them, the game still holds without the need to adjust anything else.

I'm not sure I would use exploration rules all the time... but sometimes, the game gets boring if the PCs are in a monotonous location (caves, forest, labyrinth...) where there is something to find (traps, hidden doors, etc) but very little clue about WHERE they should look for them, since everywhere there looks the same. This is when one group of players might just get paranoid and check for traps everywhere (especially if they have been hit by a trap before, for not looking), bogging the game down. And it gets much worse when the group realizes that ALL PCs can attempt at perception checks to increase the chances! That is one case when I wish I had something like the current exploration rules, so that each PC takes ONE task and makes ONE... (see all)
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/27/2014 2:40:40 AM)


Very glad to see the changes in speed and PP come back! I thought passive skills were very smart direction in 4E.
Posted By: hobson1975 (1/27/2014 1:29:14 AM)


I'm ambivalent about passive perception. On the one hand, it's nice to cut down on die rolls in the exploration rules (since in my experience, that's all the exploration rules boiled down to). On the other hand, it makes dungeon design weird. The DM knows the players' passive perception scores, so does he make something that the party will definitely detect, or something the party will definitely not detect?

Also, it adds even more upside to Perception, which is already the most useful skill.

For myself, I'd rather not roll for perception at all (I think it's more fun to have the players ask questions and describe how they're searching), and I'm wondering if this will make it easier or harder to run a game the way I want.
Posted By: G_X (1/27/2014 1:14:56 AM)


The "All races 30 feet movement" -> Does the Wood Elf lose the 35 foot movement? Or does it only modify the races with currently LESS than 30 foot movement?

A character with Str 13, does he still get the -5 on heavy armor, or does he get no penalty at all? If the second this sounds to me as if penalties for heavy armor in speed are removed at all, as I think most heavy armor wearing characters have a Str >= 13 anyways (with maybe a few exceptions like Healing Clerics).
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 1:07:17 AM)


The elf only has a 30 foot movement rate. The wood elf gets a racial feature that adds to that base. So, I don't see the change affecting the wood elf.
Posted By: MechaPilot (1/27/2014 2:07:32 PM)


But that the woodelf keeps 35 foot (by the 5 foot speedup of the wood elf racials) would be a direct contradiction to the rules update where they claim "all races have 30 foot". 30+5 foot is not equal 30 foot. So the question is what is true? The racial or the rules update? My guess would be though that the racial should still exist.
Posted By: MagicSN (1/27/2014 2:41:48 PM)


I think the point is that Wood Elves do not have a base movement of 35 feet. They have a base movement of 30 feet, and a racial ability that gives them an extra 5 feet of movement on top of (not as part of) the base.
Posted By: Noirsoft (1/28/2014 1:58:04 AM)


+1 for Passive Perception and Bonus Action 1/round. Not sure if Two-Weapon Fighting's additional aattack should be a Bonus Action though. I also dislike races having same speed, i like more diversity.
Posted By: Plaguescarred (1/27/2014 12:48:19 AM)


Aside from the fact that I have no problem with all races having a base speed of 30 feet (I assume the wood elf will still have their racial feature that gives them a +5 foot bonus), I agree.

With regard to the speed, I have no problem with 30 feet being standard because I think individual concerns such as Str, flexibility, and weight have far more impact on speed than the length of one's legs. As it stands, a morbidly obese human with Str 3 and Dex 3 can outrun a lithe Str 18 Dex 19 halfling.
Posted By: MechaPilot (1/27/2014 2:17:09 PM)


Maybe low physical stats could impose a movement penalty? Might be a nice house rule...But, using the analogy of obesity, I'd prefer the encumbrance penalty to movement to be applied. After all, a really fat person is carrying 50-100+ lbs. of extra weight.
Posted By: seti (1/27/2014 4:52:41 PM)


So, basically, we are the "reinventing the wheel" phase. Multiple action issues in 4E were resolved by powers granting additional attacks and thus generally kept under control (I am looking at you, 4E ranger...) and passive perception is a 4E-vation as well. Good call on heavy armor though. In 3E and 4E that would be handled by feats. Different design philosophy on feats mandates a different resolution. And I like it.
Posted By: Clansmansix (1/27/2014 12:26:01 AM)


More like they are reinventing the edition. Just because a rule was in a previous edition doesn't mean they automatically decided to include it into DnDNext. That's what the playtest was for, see what work and doesn't work for this new edition.
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 3:38:12 AM)


You say "still seeing", but you don't actually know how new this information is. Since the playtest ended in December, it's very likely that the new information we will hear about is several months old. They dish it out slowly. He can fill an entire 9 months worth of weekly articles that way.
Posted By: Ramzour (1/27/2014 12:26:52 PM)


And now they're still seeing what works and doesn't work for this edition. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (1/27/2014 11:16:00 AM)


Thanks for the head's up, Mike! It's really great to see some updates on the rules, especially to address thorny issues like "are extra actions overpowered?" and "heavy armor should tie in to strength/medium armor isnt very useful"

I'm also glad to see the official return of passive perception, since it both streamlines my DMing and removes that tip-off that players get if I ask them to roll Wisdom checks for perception (I know that players should ideally separate character knowledge from player knowledge, guys, but things are rarely ideal, right?).
Posted By: sixtymya (1/27/2014 12:12:19 AM)



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