D&D Next v0.21

The next phase of the D&D Next playtest is out!  So far, it looks like most of the material has been revamped, including classes and monsters.  They've included a bunch of things that people had been screaming for from the original, including better skills descriptions, feats, attacks of opportunity, and a few other small details.  They've also thrown in character creation, as well as going into more detail about backgrounds and themes.

There are up sides to this 2nd edition release, however there have been some cow-towing to the big voiced minority as well.

The one downside that I've run into thus far is that they didn't bother to include a revamped version of the Caves of Chaos.  It would have also been nice to have a little more breadth with the pre-gen characters involved (especially with the high-end revamp on the fighter).  Overall though, the first impressions of the materials is very impressive.  I'm excited about the direction that most of the mechanics are taking, though I hope that they down bend to the pressures of adding more detailed skills lists - I'm already worried about the changes that they've made to the skills and hope that they don't continue down this slippery slope.

There has also been some nice changes with the way that weapons and armor are handled - very similar to 3rd and 4th edition, though in a more simplified manner.  And with the chance to create our own characters, we also now get a very basic yet satisfying equipment companion.  However, just like how the skills challenges and class descriptions allow you creative control over your character and their actions, I'm sure that the ingenuitive player can take the same liberties with their equipment as well.

If you haven't already, you can head over to the D&D Next Playtest page to download your sign up and/or download your package.