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Rule-of-Three: 06/19/2012
Rodney Thompson

Y ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the about the making of the game, the technical workings of our DDI studio, or anything else you care to know about... with some caveats.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.

1 What can you tell us about Cleric domains in D&D Next? Will we see more cleric spells like the classic buff spells?

Cleric domains represent a baseline choice that clerics make that flavor many of the abilities they gain. First of all, much like spheres in 2nd Edition, the cleric's choice of domain opens up new options for the spells that cleric can prepare each day. Second, the cleric's choice of domain grants some baseline class features that alter how the character plays; for example, the cleric who chooses the War domain gains proficiency in heavy armor and shields, while the cleric who chooses the Sun domain gains resistance to radiant damage. At higher levels, the cleric's domain choice helps provide more powerful class features that form an integral part of the cleric's play style; again, as an example, the War domain cleric might gain the ability to cast a spell and make a melee attack as a single action, while the Sun domain cleric could get a free radiant lance spell once per round.

2 The D&D Next playtest rules state that advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out. How does this work when you have advantage or disadvantage from multiple sources?

When you have disadvantage or advantage, you have it, no matter how many sources you're getting it from. They are binary conditions, and once you have that condition in a certain situation, you simply have it. However, if you have both, then their effects cancel each other out—you roll no additional dice; again, no matter how many sources grant advantage or disadvantage, having both means that you, effectively, gain the die-rolling effects of neither advantage nor disadvantage at that time. Technically, you still have both advantage and disadvantage (for the purpose of things that key on those situations), their basic effects simply negate one another.

3 Is the "tactical combat" rules module in D&D Next going to be more akin to what we see in current 4E, will it look more like previous editions, or will it be something else entirely?

With the usual caveat that the tactical combat rules module is still a work in progress, I can give you an idea of where we're headed. We're thinking this chunk of optional rules covers tighter integration with a grid, templates for area effects, more grid-based rules for line of sight and cover, along with more options for movement and forced movement. Perhaps one of the more exciting portions of this module that we're tinkering with is facing rules. Mike has drafted some very tight, clean rules for facing that should add a lot of tactical depth to combat, and make movement and positioning even more important than ever. Of course, we'll see how things shake out in playtesting, but we want the tactical combat module to provide a full, rich tactical experience that is completely compatible with our base rules.

How can I submit a question to the Rule-of-Three?

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the Rule-of-Three, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!

Rodney Thompson
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.
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