So, after a frustrating morning of broken links and nerdrage, I finally got my hands on the playtest documents. What follows are my first knee-jerk reactions concerning the playtest materials:
First: This should really be called “D&D: Dungeon Master’s Edition.” Because boy howdy, have they placed a lot of power in the hands of the DM! Rules lawyers are going to hate this edition, if what we see here remains true. You could also call this “D&D: Storyteller’s Edition,” because it really seems to have a lot of little bits that boil down to, “Figure out what you want to do, let the Dm decide what ability covers that, and make a role.” In other words, it seems to be a case of “DM as Storyteller first.” [Reminds me of the path the recently released Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game took.]
Second: This feels most to me like AD&D 2E. I’m down with that. Also, I don’t detect a whole lot of 4E in here at all. I’m down with that, too. Frankly, the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a Power in sight just warms the cockles of my heart.
Third: I freaking LOVE these character sheets. More text than numbers! For the first time in a long time, the character sheet doesn’t look like math homework. I hope this it a trend.
Fourth: Lots of good things about the pregen PCs. Dwarves, Halflings, and Elves all feel the way they should. Good riddance to teleporting Eladrian! Also, I really, really want to play a thief.
More organized and developed thoughts as I get to read in more detail. But my first impressions are overwhelmingly positive.