November 12, 2008

Word of Wizards - Spotlight Interview: Martial Power

Spotlight Interview: Martial Power

With the upcoming release of Martial Power on the 18th, we take a look at the behind-the-scene process of its design and development with Rob Heinsoo who is the lead designer.

This interview also answers a few questions and concerns about the first splat book so it's definately worth to check it out.

But here's a distilled version of the content of this interview.

On power sources
  • Ki will have 'some very marked differences from the martial power source,'

  • The list of power sources on page 54 of the PHB still holds true. There will still be the ki, primal, psionic and shadow powers to look forward to. Primal will be released in the PHB II in 2009.

What to look forward to for each class in the book?
  • Fighter: The Tempest build

  • Ranger: Pets

  • Rogue: Paragon Paths

  • Warlord: Resource Warlord build and fluff for each paragon path and one epic destiny

Will we see more options like the Gladiator from Dragon in Martial Power?
  • No, but it will be saved for later power books.

On Animal Companions and differences with previous editions
  • We wanted to avoid having the pet overshadow the PC, but still to give the player the fun sense of running a pet that really mattered. So the ranger and their pet share the ranger’s three actions: minor, move, and standard. The ranger is already a class that often attacks two targets, or makes two attacks, when the ranger and its pet use a standard action to attack, the trick is that they can’t be as good as two other rangers, they need to stay just as dangerous as the two-weapon ranger or the bow ranger.

On concerns of a power creep
  • In a sense, it probably does. But in the game’s lifespan, each of the other classes will have their turn in the bright lights.
  • As far as actual power creep is concerned, we have a mathematical understanding of what constitutes balanced powers. We don’t always live up to our balanced understanding, and as time goes on we might well produce a few powers that are better than others.

The presence of an animal companion being effectively a second character for the ranger is one that I've felt before and it really does extend the ranger's combat time a little longer because he has to make 2 decisions with each of his actions.

When I first read the excerpt on how Martial Power has incorporated the companion into powers for the Beastmaster, I've felt that they have used the idea of powers to solve one of the main issues with the animal companion by making it more useful and effective in combat and reduces the duration of combat at the same time.

However, I would want to read up on the full rules itself because I'm concern that the pet turns into like another implement for the ranger to use his powers. There should be something more to maintain the charm and personality of the animal companion as know, a companion.

I'm also curious to know what is this 'mathematical understanding' they have about a balanced design and will be keeping my eyes out to see what it means and whether they will stick to it in future books.

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