First is something I picked up on in the Basic Rules .pdf (or maybe it was in the final playtest stuff even), and just read again in the PHB yesterday. In the section describing spell levels, we get this fluffy text:
Every spell has a level from 0 to 9. A spell’s level is aEmphasis added.
general indicator of how powerful it is, with the lowly
(but still impressive) magic missile at 1st level and
the incredible time stop at 9th. Cantrips—simple but
powerful spells that characters can cast almost by rote—
are level 0. The higher a spell’s level, the higher level a
spellcaster must be to use that spell.
(from Basic Rules pdf page 78, but it's the same in the PHB)
Looks like someone has a bit of a problem deciding how to describe spells to new players. Us old hands know what levels of spells are all about, so this is for the new player. What does this tell us? A 1st level spell is both lowly and impressive? Oxymoron alert. And 0 level cantrips are simple and powerful. While linguistically inoffensive unlike the magic missile description, I'm not sure if I like the idea of cantrips being powerful.
Anyway, whoever wrote that passage must have been thinking something along the lines of: "I need to describe how higher level spells have greater effect than low level ones, but we can't let players of spellcasters feel like they're weak and ineffective at low levels. It might hurt their feelings."
Another annoyance is how it describes movement as if it's some accounting procedure (or maybe that Common Core Math I keep hearing about?).
Every foot of movement in difficult terrain costs 1Is it so hard to say that movement through difficult terrain is at half speed? I just said it. See, that was easy. There are a few other lingering "tactical board game" phrases like that in the rules that sort of bug me, especially since this edition is making a determined effort to show that "theater of the mind" play is appropriate and encouraged.
extra foot. This rule is true even if multiple things in
a space count as difficult terrain.
(from Basic Rules pdf page 70)
At least it does lead to some interesting effects, like a double penalty reducing speed by 2/3 rather than 3/4.
So, nothing wrong with the rules per se, more the presentation that I don't like.