D&D 5E A 5th Edition: And It's About Time

SlyDoubt

First Post
Yeah I definitely agree about the XP comment. Having a flat xp amount is both simpler and to me makes a bit more sense though my only experience is 3.X/PF and 4E.

I also believe magic items belong in the DMG. Or at least NOT in the phb. I think it makes magic items a bit too assumed and a bit too mundane for my taste. That's not a huge issue but I just don't see a strong reason for them to be in the PHB if you're also going to make a DMG that is necessary for DMs anyway.

The economy of actions idea is interesting. I think 4E was on the right track. I remember seeing previews and thinking "this is genius!". Until I saw how many powers there were and how consistent and similar they were. I think the concept is a good one I just don't like how drastically it modified spells and less magical actions. Rituals vs powers was just not a good idea in my opinion. That divide really felt wrong to me.

I like these things too and I hope some of the concepts explored in 4E make it into 5E. I think they will. Because they were genuinely good ideas and facilitated fun and interesting sessions.

Some kind of hybrid of 4E and PF would be incredible I think. The width and breadth of the 3.X system with the brevity and balance of 4E. I can only hope! I'm sure I like qualities of AD&D and 2E but I don't have the personal experience to say so. Other than that I hope for extensive setting support by wotc. 4E was terrible as far as this is concerned and it really turned me off.
 

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airwalkrr

Adventurer
Yeah I definitely agree about the XP comment. Having a flat xp amount is both simpler and to me makes a bit more sense though my only experience is 3.X/PF and 4E.
Not to mention easier on the DM, who already has enough work to do.
I also believe magic items belong in the DMG. Or at least NOT in the phb. I think it makes magic items a bit too assumed and a bit too mundane for my taste. That's not a huge issue but I just don't see a strong reason for them to be in the PHB if you're also going to make a DMG that is necessary for DMs anyway.
A single, solitary source for magic items with just a sprinkling of magic items in the PH and DMG would be great. In other words, perhaps create a Magic Item Compendium that presents a large array of magic items, gives ideas to DMs for introducing them, and describes methods by which PCs might craft them (with the permission of the DM, of course). Aside from that, the Player's Handbook gets simple things like healing potions, magic rope, and magic weapon enhancements (i.e. the +1 kind, not the icy burst kind). The DMG has a list of artifacts along with rules and suggestions for introducing them into your game (after all, artifacts should solely be the DM's demesne).
The economy of actions idea is interesting. I think 4E was on the right track. I remember seeing previews and thinking "this is genius!". Until I saw how many powers there were and how consistent and similar they were. I think the concept is a good one I just don't like how drastically it modified spells and less magical actions. Rituals vs powers was just not a good idea in my opinion. That divide really felt wrong to me.
Rituals need to go, at least as a core option. I did not mind that 3e had them in the Unearthed Arcana book. But as a core rule, it really was forcing an issue that I do not think most people wanted. Just an opinion, but I hardly ever saw rituals even used in 4e games.
 

Dannager

First Post
Rituals need to go, at least as a core option. I did not mind that 3e had them in the Unearthed Arcana book. But as a core rule, it really was forcing an issue that I do not think most people wanted. Just an opinion, but I hardly ever saw rituals even used in 4e games.

I think rituals were less a problem of implementation and more a problem of emphasis (though they suffered from both to different degrees). They need to be accessible and potent, without being so accessible that they can easily be used in combat as an "I WIN" button. There were too many "I WIN" buttons in previous editions, and scaling those back was a good thing. What needs to be done is to find a middle ground. I think there's plenty of design space for it, and getting players to use those rituals is simply a matter of making sure that they are emphasized both in the character creation and gameplay rules, and in the "setting of the stage" that the DM does. There are a lot of ways, as a DM, to encourage the use of rituals in your campaign. It's very rewarding when the players pick up on it.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Monte: Instead of the fighter getting a better and better attack bonus, he instead gets more options to do stuff as he goes up in level, and his attack bonus goes up at a very modest rate. I think it offers a better play experience that the orc/ogre can remain in the campaign, and people can know how the monster would work from a previous experience, but they remain a challenge for longer.​

I think one of the things about common (iconic?) D&D monsters sticking around meaningfully is how they are structured culturally. Orcs came 30 to 300, but this wasn't necessarily bumping into them all and saying "Pardon me". As a skirmish game that's a nightmare (though you could handle with as a mass battle). Rather, this was an encampment, a settlement where the PCs are in an urban environment - though it may not look like a human one. The Caves of Chaos are a good example.

In the Caves a high level group could approach the whole affair as a one night session of ongoing combat thru many rooms, perhaps even smoking everyone outside, or some other ingenious plan you'd expect from high level PC players. The challenge remains meaningful because the diverse elements in the Caves join forces against their common enemy, the PCs. They are mostly low level, but together they are strong. Would a kick down the door strategy work well for 1st level PCs? Let's just say, not even the small Orc clan are going to commit more than a "good enough" force to give them their beat down. They'd rather sleep.

I think many options with less "can't lose" abilities offers this kind of play, while still allowing for Orcs to hang around in the world when PCs get up to high levels. It's not as if all the Orcs of the world leveled up to 10th too. (Not that there aren't some nasty ones around) That's what I think Monte is talking about and I give him high props for it.


==>Aside: [sblock]I should point out, I like to think different classes are suited to different strategies when it comes to combat. Mages warp the world around them!; Fighters lead from the front and take out swaths of lesser warriors; Thieves sneak in, take everything, and leave the place unlivable ("How do we eat now?"). Clerics on the other hand, what do they do? Hmm... Here's my estimation of a high level cleric run by a masterful player:

The cleric goes down to the 1st room of dungeon level 1. There are goblins here, though few. The cleric uses his divine powers, wiles, and talent for converting others to convince the goblins to join him. He does the same in room 2 (it's probably easier as the others are already following him). After that it's the whole level. As they go down to level 2 the challenge is upholding morale and loyalty, not necessarily withstanding a confrontation. He does this all the way down gaining followers and power (big time cleric treasure) as well as goods and information until he finds the BBEG. Then? Well he tries to convert him too, because "why stop here?" But maybe this bad boy is a little out of reach. Or maybe he's an Archdevil or something else naturally evil and vile. If that BBEG hasn't had the wisdom to get out of Dodge City yet, then he's in line for a colossal smackdown. ...and almost every one of them holding a stick is from his puny, worthless minion horde. (Which he probably called them most of the time too).[/sblock]
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
So I have been reading the blogs about the play-test at D&D XP and I am encouraged a bit. I am a bit disappointed by a few things. But I like some of the old-school ideas tossed around. A hard cap on ability skills (the mortal limit) is something I like. I really like the idea of themes. Sounds to me like it is a variation of the backgrounds from 4e but with a little more importance to actual game play. We shall see. I still say it's about time. 4e was a bit of a disaster from both a PR standpoint and a game play standpoint for me. I just could not get into it and WotC took away a lot of the things I loved about the edition that came before it. It seems like this time they are really taking a lot more interest in what your average player has to say. And yes, I signed up for the play-test. I want to see these rules in action when they are available. Although I do not think I will be DMing. I am getting a bit tired of DMing D&D. Been doing it for over 15 years now.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Then things started to go south. WotC fired Paizo, taking away two of my favorite magazines (Dungeon and Dragon), to which I had held loyal subscriptions for years (even before Paizo). Then I heard about Gleemax and the Digital Initiative. It sounded kinda cool, but it did not sound like it was for me. After all, D&D was supposed to be about playing with people around a table; it was a live social activity. I was not totally against these things for those who had few other options, but it seemed like the focus of D&D was really starting to drift away.
I'm with you this far. WotC was starting to 'pull stuff' from as early as the 3.5 intro. They were getting this feel to their marketing - I don't know if it's 'big corporation' or 'used car salesman' or what, exactly, but they've been steadily losing trust and respect for a long time...

Fighters were starting to look more like wizards. And wizards were starting to look more like fighters. I do not want to say that they were making the two look identical or even virtually identical, but that is sure the way it felt. Everything looked rather bland and generic with every class following the same formula for gaining powers by level.
Yeah. That was class balance. D&D had always aimed for some sort of rough class balance over time and always failed badly. 4e finally succeeded, but a lot of us were so accustomed to imbalanced that 'it didn't seem like D&D anymore.'

Honestly, I was one of those for a little while. It didn't seem like D&D when I first read through the PH1. It seemed technically a lot better, though, so I was willing to give it a try, and after a while - quite a while, actually, it wasn't until we started our second campaign - I started to realize it still had the D&D feel. Wizards were still awesome - it's just that fighters and rogues had become awesome, too. PCs still gained levels, accumulated ludicrous hps and could survive being poisoned and falling off cliffs in defiance of all logic and laws of physics. It was just D&D done so /well/ that it was hard to recognize at a glance. Ironic, really.

And the Vancian magic system which I felt had always made D&D such a great tactical game of managing resources was practically ripped out of the game and not really replaced.
Resource managment became an issue for all classes, and the wizard was still 'vancian' in the sense of prepping spells, but yeah, the extreme strategic/resource-management exercise of learning, prepping and using /only/ daily spells was gone. It made wizards a lot easier to play, though, which I suppose was a boon for new players who didn't want to just play a fighter or make with the heals as a cleric because no on else wanted to.


I did try to play the game, first with the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure, and then later with a couple borrowed books from a friend. But I did not really like it.
KotSf was pretty aweful.

But that just highlighted one of the key design flaws of 4th edition's numbers-based balance: you could run a battle that was designed to be balanced with the party and they would win, every time (unless they did something dumb), or you could run a battle that was designed to be a level above the party and they would lose most of the time, or you could run a battle that was designed to be a level below the party and it would not even tax their resources in the slightest.
Having run 4e more than a little, I'm afraid you've got a skewed experience, there. Parties can handle level+4 or more, and even a level-2 can be slightly taxing (a surge or few).

Now I am sure that those with extensive experience with 4e will tell me I have it all wrong.
You got a few things factually wrong, but on the whole your experience is quite plausible. You were disapointed with WotC when 4e was announced, you let that disapointment poison your early perceptions of 4e, you never got over it. You missed out on a great game. I don't blame you so much as WotC, though.

WotC says they have learned from their mistakes. They are saying they will be having a much more open play-test this time. They are saying that they want to go back to D&D's roots. They are saying they want to listen to their fans.
WotC has said a lot of things. They said they'd never repeat the 3.5 debacle again, but they came out with 4e after only 8 years instead of the 10 years between 1e & 2e and 2e & 3e. Then came out with a veritable 4.5 called Essentials after only 2 years, then announced 5e years early. They said they'd have a host of e-tools for the 4e DM, they still only have Monster Builder.

I'm back where you & I both were leading up to the announcement of 4e - more than a little dissapointed in WotC, not enclined to trust them, with very low expectations and no predisposition to be pleased even if those expectations are exceeded...
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
Well, I do not feel like I missed out on a great game. I did attempt to play it on several occasions. I never played an entire campaign over many levels though because every time I played, I would get thoroughly dissatisfied with the rules as a whole as well as the whole philosophy behind this supposed necessity for numbers-based balance as the high ideal. So I am not going to claim I have vast experience with the system, but I did try. I wanted to like it, but I never found anything that I considered better overall.

Anyway, I really do like this idea I am seeing of modular rules. I love the idea of a basic game, then rules modules offered as options to throw into your game if you want to get a certain type of feel to the game. I am thinking just having a well-thought-out basic game itself could be the best part of this next gen D&D. You play the basic version for a while then decide to tack on a couple rules modules that seem interesting. Eventually you fiddle with some other stuff and tack on another module or two. So finally you wind up with a game that is complex enough to satisfy you and including enough of the things that you have liked from other editions that it feels like you are playing another version of the game. This sounds great. If it really turns out this way I would love to play D&D again. I really did not like the idea of so many new rules being changed and forced in 4e. I like the idea that I can start with the "essence" of D&D, Ability Scores, HP, AC, and so forth, and adding in stuff from there as I choose. If there are enough options in the modules, I do not even mind paying for a hundred pages of stuff I do not want to use so long as the other hundred pages contains stuff I love.
 

Hussar

Legend
Tony Vargas said:
WotC has said a lot of things. They said they'd never repeat the 3.5 debacle again, but they came out with 4e after only 8 years instead of the 10 years between 1e & 2e and 2e & 3e. Then came out with a veritable 4.5 called Essentials after only 2 years, then announced 5e years early. They said they'd have a host of e-tools for the 4e DM, they still only have Monster Builder.

See, this is where these conversations start going pear shaped. First, Essentials is not 4.5 the way 3.5 was to 3.0. For one, Essentials was designed from the get go NOT to replace 4e. There is no problems at all having an Essential character or a base 4e character in the same group. Nor, going forward, did 4e stop being supported. It's still being actively supported all the way through.

Essentials was as much 4.5 as Unearthed Arcana was 3.5.

Secondly, there are considerably more DM tools than just the Monster Builder. Sure, the Monster Builder is the only purely DM tool, but, that's fair enough. The game table is there to be used, the compendium is there. The character builder is there. All of the material from Dungeon and Dragon is included in the tools within a very short time of release.

Is it less than they promised in 2006? Oh hell yes. Should there be more? Oh hell yes. But, let's not get too carried away pillorying WOTC. They did not cancel Dungeon or Dragon as was mentioned in the OP. It's changed format, sure, but, there are all sorts of reasons for that. But, claiming that it's gone is factually untrue.

There are lots and lots of things we can criticise WOTC for without making up stuff.
 

Banshee16

First Post
Maybe the next time I go to pick up the new Player's Handbook at my local gaming store I will not have to work so hard to convince myself to buy it and then come up short.

Your story sounds very familiar. I felt similarly when I picked up the books. And I went back several times, and the more I read them, the less interested I became.

It's unfortunate, because some of the stuff, such as Heroes of the Feywild looked rather interesting.

Banshee
 

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