D&D 5E 5E inspired by B/X?

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For me the 5e basic rules are an updated BX and the standard game is an updated AD&D. Prior to 5e, 4e and BX were my favorite editions (with AD&D 3rd). Now it's 4e and 5e. Best two designed RPGs every IMO.


I don't know how much we can say that B/X inspired 5e, although there was definitely influence. Mearls first mentioned his modified B/X game in this Legends & Lore.

Mearls said:
First, to give you some insight into where I'm coming from, I take the idea of approaching the entirety of D&D's history very seriously. I'm about to start a new D&D campaign at the office, and I'm using the 1981 basic D&D rules as a starting point. As I plan the campaign and (eventually) run adventures, I plan on making house rules, adopting rules from other editions, and shifting the rules to match how the game moves along. In some ways, it's a reality check against the ideas I see proposed for the next iteration. Would I want them in my campaign? Do they work for my group?

Obviously, this represents only one DM and gaming group. The aim is to give myself a perspective just removed enough from the design work that I can strike a midpoint between the community of D&D fans and the people working on the game. With that in mind, I have a few issues that have come up in my prep work. I'd like to talk about one of them this week.

This was from March of 2012, when design work was already quite far in Core 5e. He also mentioned his campaign here and here.

Interesting. Those house rules are enough to turn the core B/X game into an entirely different animal. Taken together you can see the influence of those rules taking the game in an ever increasing narrative direction.

The original B/X wasn't really designed to weave group fantasy stories. It was purely a game of fantasy exploration that quite often produced surprising and varied results. The fragility of 1st level characters was a feature, not something that needed to be fixed.

Interestingly enough, there were some rules that I expected to see that weren't listed. Without alternative house rules, character generation in B/X was six 3d6 rolls in order. Then, after choosing class, one could raise prime requisite scores by lowering other scores on a 2 for 1 basis.


There are clearly bits of stuff that come from all the editions: in the various sub-classes and the backgrounds I see 2nd Ed's Kits; in the 'breezy' way the game plays (and also Basic), I see BECMI; in the more structured and mathematical underpinnings I see the universal mechanic structure that came in with 3e; and the hit dice are very reminiscent of 4e's healing surges. (There's more, of course. :) )

So, yeah, there's certainly some inspiration from B/X (one of few editions I've never played).


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I don't care what edition 5E is based off. I don't care what it is inspired by. All that does is add fuel to self-righteous edition-warriors.

I care about two things:
1: Is 5E fun?
2: Does 5E work?

To a lesser extent I care that WOTC has learned from the mistakes of the past, and also from their successes. I feel that on these counts 5E is a significant success. New people, old people, people from editions that never mingled can generally all play at the same table in 5E and generally have an experience that isn't bound up in wondering if the rules are going to work today and simultaneously have an experience that is not wholly bound up by the rules.


psrsonally I think 4e gives me more of that Moldvay/Cook/Marsh vibe as neither edition is tied down to the fluff/flavor/ip of 1e, 2e, 3e and 5e.

I see all editions when analyzing the rules of 5e, but playing at the table, I find it very much it's own game.


I don't care what edition 5E is based off. I don't care what it is inspired by. All that does is add fuel to self-righteous edition-warriors.

Fear not. I can tell you from long experience that almost no one gives enough of a crap about B/X to edition war over it. It's the Burma Corps of the Edition Wars.

5E inspired by B/X?
I went straight from Basic to Advanced in 1980, so couldn't say for sure if B/X, specifically, contributed that much (The Basic of B/X reportedly being different from the Basic I started with). But, 5e seems to draw heavily from classic D&D - the D&D of the 20th century, particularly the fad years of the early 80s - which means B/X as well as AD&D 1e. I see the AD&D influence most strongly. Not so much in specific mechanics, but in overall design philosophy. The idea that the rules are created only to give the DM a starting point, and that balance is something that happens at the table, as the characters develop and the players & DM acquire greater skill, not on the drawing the board.

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