D&D 5E Are you coming back to D&D from another GAME SYSTEM? (theoretically?)


In between 3e and 4e, my group took a DnD break. We tried all sorts of games, some mainstream, some hippy dippy pass the story stick stuff as well. And that really impacted how I approached 4e and DnD in general. Way back when, I used to play all sorts of different systems, but, in the 2e days, it was pretty much exclusively DnD and then into 3e, I stuck with DnD.

It amazes me how much of a rut I had gotten myself into. There are just so many really cool ideas out there that can improve gaming for me. And, I think, my Dming has improved. I run a better game now because I hopped around a bunch of different systems. Not only to see what DnD does wrong, but, also to see what DnD does right.

So, when we change over to 5e, which will be likely sometime around Christmas, or into the new year (our current 4e Dark Sun game still has a lot of legs and there's some other stuff to kick around), I'm sure that that same point of view will inform our 5e games.

I highly, highly recommend playing, or at least reading, other RPG's just to get a better perspective on gaming in general.

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Technically, I never left D&D. When I stopped playing 4E a few years ago, we switched back to 2E. I don't think I've been without at least a quasi-regular game for more than 3 months since 1988.

I have played other RPGs during the years. I would say the two best were Legends of the Five Rings and Deadlands. I played L5R since it's release until we set it aside to focus on the Next Playtest. I only played Deadlands for about 9 month until the guy who owned all the books moved. I would say the most important thing I learned from both of those is the power of a strong setting.

Back in the 1990s, as White Wolf's Storyteller: World of Darkness peaked in popularity, I still ran AD&D2 and GURPS, so I think a good group of people and a strong campaign idea are more important than any rules set.

I think there are limits, though, mostly because once people have tasted certain freedoms or styles of play, they are often extremely reluctant to go back to other styles of play, or particular forms of rules. With good reason, in many cases.

Indeed, you can damage a group's experience by insisting on using a rules-set that they don't enjoy. With a good group and a good campaign, the experience may well still be good overall, but it won't be what it could be with a better-suited set of rules.


[MENTION=18]Ruin Explorer[/MENTION], you're right that once role-players have overcome their initial reluctance to try systems other than those they're most familiar with, other challenges may arise. While many of my friends like Pathfinder, my groups have gravitated toward rules-light, narrative games over the past few years.

There is the danger of "gamer ADD" (attention deficit disorder), in which a group and its Game Masters have difficulty settling on any one rules set for long enough to develop a proper campaign. Constant tinkering with characters or house rules is another symptom that I've experienced firsthand.

We've tried to counteract that with one-shots and miniseries over the summer and around holidays alternating with longer-term storylines and worlds. That said, I'd rather encourage people to keep an open mind and try as many things as possible before deciding on what works best for a particular group.

The Hitcher

I'll definitely be dragging in storygame elements from the likes of Burning Wheel, FATE and Dungeon World. Of those, I've only actually played BW, but I have great respect for the innovations all of those indie games have made with RPG mechanics. Compels in D&D? Hell yes.


We stopped playing for a year, then came back to 2E for nearly a year before we realized that none of us were going to be happy.

One of us wanted to play PF, another DCC, another 3.5 E6, another 2E still, and also 4E essentials. And there were probably more.

We ended up just saying eff-it and played board games instead and that has been a lot more fun.

Whether or not we play D&DN is based on what we hear about it after the initial release opinions are gone and the general "settled in" opinions come out.

When 4e stopped begin supported, we started playing many systems, and the ones that we liked most were Fate and 13th Age, with Pathfinder a third choice. I'm guessing we'll keep with 13th Age unless 5e significantly advances the hobby. Since it is mostly a backward-looking version, that seems unlikely, but, hey, you never know.


I am on the Pathfinder bandwagon, mostly since we play their adventures a lot. 5E has to compete with that; to beat out Pathfinder it has to be easier to play Pathfinder adventures after converting them to NEXT. Not a huge chance of that, but it is certainly possible.

By the end of 3.5, I was thoroughly tired of the game, it limited options, and its many weird spells and items. Pathfinder added options while holding back spells and items, so I like it better than I liked 3.5.

We do play other games. My homebrew is Feng Shui based and does a fair job of emulating DnD, but I'm longing to play something else in it, such as pulp or space opera. Friends are playing Savage Worlds, but I've not played that yet.


I played Star Wars for a little bit and I think that game did a good job of capturing some of the feel of Star Wars. I just think that Star Wars is not my game and the style of rules need to support the Star Wars feel is not my style of rules. I'm much more of a dungeoneer.

I've pretty much decided to play C&C or 5e. I want a streamlined game that is fast combat and more DM adjudication than having a million rules for possible situation. I enjoy the campaign approach that PF recently supported with their Ultimate Campaign book. So I am eager for 5e's DMG and what it offers. I'll use the PF book too as a supplement if it offers something extra.

Gamma World! (4E-version, then 2nd edition, then Mutant Future, and then some d20 Modern/Urban Arcana/Future/Apocalypse + White Wolf Gamma World + Gestalt 3.5E D&D.)

I liked 4E D&D, but it wasn't really scratching my itch. I dabbled in D&D retroclones and C&C, all of which "hit the spot" but at the same time frustrated me with either their blandness or their clunkiness. I ended up jumping genres to Gamma World (noted above), and then gradually shifted to a gonzo future-past, anything-goes mashup using mostly d20 Modern stuff.

I never switched to PF, partly out of pride (as a former Fouron/4venger) and partly because I hadn't seen a benefit to PF over 3.5E. Later, I almost started up another 3.5E campaign--but heavily houseruled and varianted, and including some stuff that looked like PF had fixed; it was still a gonzo game, but more fantasy-themed than my last. (I would still run 3E/PF again, but only gestalt and heavily modified to ramp up the awesome.)

I'm excited about 5E because it really does look like it includes the kind of "structured freedom" I've been looking for, but without the heavy bookkeeping of anything 3E/d20/PF. I love that potential.

When I start playing 5E, I'll definitely be bringing in the gonzo elements though: eladrin wizards and cyborg mutants, dwarf paladins alongside fraal telepaths, and eldritch knights versus goblins with bazookas. I can't wait to see what kinds of stuff comes down the pipe for 5E (and 5E-adjacent systems) over the next few years!

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