ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will scour all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the making of the game 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.
Doesn't the concentration rule effectively eliminate lower-level buff spells from a caster's repertoire once they get higher-level spells that are more effective?
Many buff spells—especially those like bless or shield of faith—are additive, meaning that they're good no matter your level. This is especially true in D&D Next, with its slower scaling and more bounded accuracy. While it’s true that higher-level spells requiring concentration will fight with lower-level spells for use, we think that’s acceptable as a tactical choice to present to spellcasters: Do you want to have an additive buff and use your higher-level spells for instantaneous or short-burst effects, or do you want to use higher-level spells with ongoing concentration effects and your lower-level spell slots for weaker instantaneous/short duration/utility effects?
Additionally, since concentration can be broken by taking damage or being otherwise incapacitated, there’s the risk of not getting the most out of using a high-level spell slot for a concentration spell, which we think helps balance some more powerful spells (and also produces some good tension as opponents try and disrupt the spellcaster in order to shake off a powerful effect). Concentration, as a rule, is really helping keep a handle on some of the most powerful spellcasting effects and is one of the most effective effect-stacking mechanisms we have.
Would it be possible to have a feat that would allow spellcasters to maintain concentration on two or more spells at a time?
We considered it, but ultimately decided that such a feat (or class feature) is bad for the game, largely due to the unintended consequences it would produce. Every time we design a spell that requires concentration, we design and develop it knowing that it won’t be stacking with other concentration spells. With that primary safeguard gone, there would be far too many unpredictable combinations of spells that were never intended to function together.
Do main villain type monsters have ways to shrug off completely debilitating effects?
Yes. We’re still pursuing the legendary monster/lair mechanics that Mike previewed in Legends & Lore a while back. Additionally, we’ve tweaked some of the more debilitating effects to either allow multiple saves to end the spell (either end-of-turn saves, saves when the creature takes damage, and so forth), or we've made the spell function slightly differently so that they are not encounter-enders; for example, polymorph now breaks if the creature is reduced to 0 hit points in its new form, similar to how the druid’s Wild Shape works, making it so that if you polymorph the fire giant it’s more useful as a control technique than a pure encounter-ender.
Additionally, some creatures may simply be immune to certain effects, depending on the monster. We’re definitely treating villain-type monsters in this regard much like we did Solo monsters in 4th Edition, and we're taking a lot of what we learned in the development of those monsters over the years and applying them to the monsters in the next edition.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!
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.