This is just a short update as I've been pretty bad at keeping the blog updated. I'm still playtesting, running a weekly and a bi-weekly game, and that is going very well. Players are creeping up to level 6 in the longest running game and I think that the advancement/experience rate is holding up pretty well. Having the players run through levels 1-6 in about a year seems like a good pace and it gives time for all of us to feel out each new rise in capability.
The Communication skill is being re-labeled as Communion. I think that this is a broader term and so it is more suitable as a skill. Communication already was prime skill for clerics and enchanters and doing the work for things like leadership tasks, praying, noticing details etc. and Communion fits that role a lot better. So now you are meditating with a magic orb? Communion check. Trying to keep an angry mob calm - Communion check. The leopard king is raving and you need to figure out what he wants? Communion check. All that and the short form COMM doesn't change, so I consider that a nice bonus.
I'm still tweaking combat actions, especially how maneuvering can give advantage. For a long while players were taking a lot of time to roll both an attack and a maneuver for every round of combat in order to maximize their attack dice, and this was starting to bog down the game. I think I cracked it when I heard about Cinematic Advantage which I thought I was doing, but wasn't exactly. I had players making rolls to maneuver around and use the environment to get advantage yes, but there was no cost to it and so they were spending too much time doing it and it was bogging things down. Cinematic Advantage is clever because if you fail you get disadvantage, and that's the part I was missing. My more tactically minded players were ALWAYS trying to get advantage since there was no risk. This was bogging things down as some players were making 3-4 rolls every round trying to get that extra dice and monopolizing the combats. When they failed they just got a regular action. With that risk of disadvantage in place now they seem to be more cautious and use that mechanic less often. It also immediately made for more exciting fights as players got into trouble more often when they tried to be fancy and instead found themselves down on one knee or surrounded by opponents.
Last thing I want to mention is adding rituals for Druids. Since Druids came back into the Divine Magic fold I've been trying to rework their spell list and also sort out how they should manage animal companions which I decided they should get at level 3. I've decided to make some rituals for them, similar to the cleric rituals. Level 2 ritual is summon animal companion and the Druid has to go vision quest for while in the wilderness and then gets to roll for a bunny or an ostrich or whatever animal choses them. Real high rolls and they could get a magic creature or an elemental maybe. None of this spirit horse comes back from the dead, fits in your pocket crap from 5th edition either, these guys need food and places to sleep and die if they are killed. Also if you treat them poorly or as cannon fodder then the next vision quest is going to go sour. I highly recommend tossing karma into that ritual.