OMG They killed Lance of Faith and that’s a good thing
A new D&D Next playtest packet is out (go get it folks!) and with it comes three new races (Gnome, Half-Elf and Half-Orc) of which only one (the Gnome) isn’t boring. Th Half-Elf and Half-Orc lack the flavour text and sub-race choices of the other non-Human races, and they’re all the poorer for it.
For example, I’d like to see Half-Elf race choices that give them either an Urban or Wandering aspect, or let them cherry pick one feature from their Wood Elf or High Elf heritage, and the Half-Orc could be split into a more skulking subrace or a more aggressive one. I’d love to see a decent Half-Orc race designed as a viable choice for Rogues and general assassinery. I’m sure that’s a real word.
The key rules changes themselves are great. More clarifications for the movement rules are always welcome, and there’s a metric ton of new spells in this packet, along with even more monsters from classic adventures. I’d kill for all the monsters to be pulled into a single bookmarked Bestiary, but I guess we’re still a way off seeing that.
And Lance of Faith is no more.
Yes, the iconic poster-boy Clerical Power of 4e has left this mortal coil and is no longer part of D&D Next. I’m sure there’s some inherent symbolism in the fact it’s gone, but what is good is that it has been replaced with Sacred Flame.
Sacred Flame, just like Lance of Faith is an Evocation Cantrip that a Lightbringer Cleric can use as a Reaction against melee attacks, and as an opportunity attack. As with its predecessor it also does 1d8 damage on a failed Dexterity saving throw. Where it differs is that the range has been reduced to 25′ (down from 50′) and it ignores cover.
That’s….. pretty awesome, really.
Previously Lance of Faith in D&D Next was pretty much the same as firing an arrow (it’s 1d8 damage and it’s ranged) with the only difference being that it required a DEX saving throw rather than a ranged attack roll. Adding the “ignores cover” and halving the range to balance that out makes it a different beast; this is a close range spell that’s great for flushing out those pesky Goblins hiding behind a barricade or targeting the big boss hiding behind his minions. Ignoring cover also helps me picture it as a billowing gout of flame rather than a precisely targeted lance of light; it’s works both thematically and mechanically.
This ‘wulf approves.
Now I look forward to seeing it put into use in our playtest sessions. Game on!