To complement the "What you really like . . ." thread I decided to start this thread for the negative stuff (hey I posted a lot of positive stuff too
), eventhough I appear to be late to this playtesting round (oh well better late than never). I will note that I haven't played this game yet and have only read through it.
1) In looking to later editions for better mechaincs that can be applied to the Appendix N stuff I find it curious that the designesr stopped at 3.5. I think 4e has some good changes that could work well in this game. I know the designers are going for a high mortality game but as I stated in another thread that doesn't seem to fit with what I know of the the Appendix N genre. The stories I am familiar with (mostly Conan and the Gray Mouser stuff) don't have high mortality for the main characters. So I think the 4e higher HP at first level and healing surges would have been great additions to this game and fit the appendix N stuff better.
I have no experience in appendix N, except form the ideas i got from these forums. I think though that the fact that 0-level HPs are added to those gained at 1st level should give a few more HPs at first level than at further levels. Healing surges are something i hate about 4E, it's so videogamey... but that's just me!
I like the tuning down that HPs and damage got in this game. Everything makes more sense, when even a 10th level wizard won't have much more than 30 HPs and could be killed by a volley of goblin arrows if he couldn't cast a spell first. Similarly, having monsters with less HDs (even in 3.5 i didn't like those 150+ HPs monsters...) is healthy for the game as every monster is both a threat and a challenge, no matter what level you are. Just as 10 goblins might be lucky enough to surprise a 10th level wizard, 15 0-level PCs could be strong enough to kill a 5HD hydra. In 3.x that's impossible - that's why in 3.x there were CR.
2) Speaking of the Appendix N main characters they didn't have ability scores stats either. Conan was very strong, quick, and smart. Fafhrad was definitely very strong as well. Speaking of 4e a point buy system seems like it would work better than rolling stats.
This has been already debated, check the forums, but in the end it seems that if you mess with the randomness of PC generation you're demolishing the game from its base. Nothing stops you to devise your point-base system for PC gen, of course! but you might not get the same feeling from the game.
3) On the same note I don't understand the 0-level average Joe thing. I am an average Joe in real life. I don't need a game to pretend to be one. The main characters in the Appendix N stories didn't start out as a group of 15-20 average Joes and by luck just happened to be the ones that survived. I guess I just don't get this tone for the game. It seems to be emulating OD&D more than Appendix N and I thought the goal was to change the things from OD&D that didn't fit with Appendix N.
Remember: History is written by the winners. This also replies to your mortality-rate doubt. Maybe the tales you heard or read, about Conan or Gray Mouser were just a few of the many, inglorious adventures that every day end with the death of the protagonist, without anyone there to write or sing about it. Your role as a DCCRPG actor is to try and be one of those few who survive, if you can... and if that is not the case, well try to have fun in the process that brought to your grisly death.
4) Speaking of Appendix N. Are clerics represented in Appendix N? Again this seems like an OD&D retread than inspired by Appendix N.
I don't know about this, but the idea i got is that this game is not just an "appendix N" based RPG. It should be OD&D if Gygax could have focused more on his sources (App N) than on rulecrafting. Of course, the cleric is a staple in OD&D so it has the right to be in there IMHO.
5) There are a lot of tables to reference during the game. Seems like too much book referencing during play, but I will see how this one comes off in actual play.
This is true. A lot of tables.
But you get used to them, and if you spread them around the table (like i will do tonight in playtest) like... you give John the Crit tables, Eric the Fumbles, Matt the Corruptions... table surfing becomes quicker and involves the players as well.
That all I can think of for now. If I totally have misunderstood the appendix N thing then please enlighten me. Like I said I haven't read much of it but what I do know of it just seems different than what is presented in this game.
This were just my 2 cents so please don't pay them more attention that they deserve
wait for someone more "enlighted" to reply