Final D&D Next Public Playtest Packet is Now Available

We knew it was coming, and here it is.

The final packet of the public playtest is now available for download. This is all we’re going to get between now and GenCon (aside from articles on the WotC website, of course), and there seem to be quite a number of substantive changes to the rules that will need to be absorbed and tried out before any meaningful commentary can be made.

There are new classes, like the bard. There are new races, like drow, kender (huh?), tiefling, dragonborn, and warforged (I know that’s a thing, but damned if I know what it is). There are huge changes in the way skills are done, and they reverberate throughout the whole packet. Skills are no longer optional, by the by; they’ve been moved to “core rule” status. And there are now rules for multiclassing.

I’ve already said that I think this playtest packet is going to be pretty close to the final version. I’m a little trepidatious about the skills being made non-optional, but I want to give the final playtest a thorough run-through before I make any pronouncements.

Also, I note there’s still not a peep about any sort of open licensing. I daresay that bodes ill. They’re looking more and more like they’re going to keep everything proprietary, but I could well be wrong. Six months is plenty of time to come up with an open licensing concept.

Please, WotC. Don’t screw this up.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “Final D&D Next Public Playtest Packet is Now Available

  1. Hmm. My brother was just telling me how great the last playtest version was, and I decided to download it, had trouble getting my password reset last night… and now it's different version. Sounds like a lot of these final changes are not for the better. Just when we were getting a little excited about Next… oh well, still have B/X.

  2. Warforged were brought forward from the Eberron into core D&D.

    I love them in Eberron conceptually (close to the only thing I love about it).

    They are constructs who were built to wage a war without risking lives.

    Imagine if machine guns in World War I became self-aware and after the war and began to realize their monstrous role in it. Then they somehow have to learn to live in the post-war society.

    Eberron is not my "cup of tea", but I think the warforged is thematic as hell… until they start showing up everywhere as generic magic robots.

  3. There were a few certain things about Eberron that were great conceptually, but were promptly ignored when the glut of books hit the shelves. The idea about Warforged having to come to terms with their role in the last war was one of them and they became just another block of numbers for the min-maxers to abuse.

    I'm not looking forward to D&D5. If I'm right, and mind this is pessimism fuelled speculation, it's going to be loaded up with the "leet cool" stuff to the point where it reads as idiotic to anybody who gamed prior to 2000 and will put off most of them. It'll have no filter, so to speak.

  4. Are they really going to go through with having three tiers of rules? Common wisdom (not mine) about the downfall of TSR was that having two different rules sets (basic and advanced) split the audience for the game.

    Trying to be everything to all gamers (Old School through Pathfinder) is going to ensure synchronization problems down the road. How are they going to put out the inevitable splatbooks and the extend the rules, if it has to be compatible with the basic rules?

  5. I'm actually pretty happy with the playtest so far. While I too was hesitant about skills moving from optional to core, the implementation is solid. Most importantly, skills are still not required even if they do exist. They are purely a bonus to an attribute check. They can be in the game a la cart and they are not hardwired to a specific stat. I couldn't be more pleased.

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