D&D 5E D&D 5e Post-Mortem

MuhVerisimilitude

Adventurer
Turns out the splats were not needed. Some folks have the ability to blast through material and need constant refresh, updates, and new challenges. Casual gamers get fatigued from all that. I think we often take the casual for granted. For much of D&D history they were along for the ride. Now, they are being catered to and it turns out to be a good move on WotC part.
Just because A and B are different in two metrics does not mean that one metric causes the other.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Oofta

Legend
I will say that I've played 5e with many young people - my nephews, neighborhood teens, teenagers at the library, etc. It's been great to have so many people come into the hobby. I've even run games for my father-in-law, who is a rugged outdoorsman in his 60s.

What I do have to wonder about is how much of 5e's success was actually out of its control?
1) Fantasy isn't "just for nerds" anymore. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc., all had mass appeal.
2) "D&D" as a brand has gotten widespread acceptance, as shown in Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, etc.
3) Also, it's just kinda cool to be a nerd.

If all these same factors were in place, and D&D was more like 4th edition (for example), do we think it wouldn't have gained increased traction. What if B/X were still the flavor of the day - would it have been more popular with an (arguably) even more approachable system?

People like what they like. When 4E first came out I was a big proponent, running on game day in a major metro area and helped run another. For a while there was a lot of enthusiasm for it but after a year and a half or so we dropped from 50-60 people between the two to a single game day that was lucky to have 15-20. I went back to visit the old game store last spring and the place was packed with people playing 5E and it wasn't even game night. I think there was demand back then for a TTRPG, 4E just didn't seem to have staying power for a lot of people.

A lot of things led to the boom in popularity of 5E, but the approachability and staying power for most people can't be discounted.
 

Retreater

Legend
As Churchill once said "5E is the worst TTRPG except for all the others that I have ever tried." (People often misquote that one).

I complain a lot about 5E and see many flaws, but after playing numerous other RPGs going back to 1E (and reading many, many others) I can't say that there is one that I personally see as an overall improvement. So comparing 5E to some Platonic ideal of what you want a game to be is well and good but I also think you have to recognize how it stacks up against the actual alternatives.
At current count, I own 51 different RPG systems. I'd rank many of them higher than D&D 5e ... for short term games.
For example, I can't imagine being satisfied with a system like Call of Cthulhu for a decade of play (like I ran 5e). The only other system I ran consistently for as long as 5e would be 2nd edition AD&D - but those games were irregular and not multiple times a week.
But when I think about 5e, it never reached the highs of other systems. It was merely an "okay" time.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
5E is fine, if you’ve never played anything else. That said it does D&D well enough. OSR has done it better.

As Churchill once said "5E is the worst TTRPG except for all the others that I have ever tried." (People often misquote that one).

I complain a lot about 5E and see many flaws, but after playing numerous other RPGs going back to 1E (and reading many, many others) I can't say that there is one that I personally see as an overall improvement. So comparing 5E to some Platonic ideal of what you want a game to be is well and good but I also think you have to recognize how it stacks up against the actual alternatives.
I think these attest to what I was saying. Old hands have had their turn at skill play and tactical combat. They swam through system mastery and waddled into rulings over rules philosophies. Folks develop their tastes and preferences over time. There are many folks playing D&D for the first time with 5E. They haven't had the chance yet to experience design diversity and form their opinions.

The real kicker is that most folks never will. We also take for granted that folks understand these terms, but they likely dont. Wonder why martial caster disparity never gets solved? Its not an issue for most gamers. They never experience it, or they speed bump over it with rulings and get onto the fun. They don't care enough to spend time during the day on a forum talking about this stuff. They just want to play.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I will say that I've played 5e with many young people - my nephews, neighborhood teens, teenagers at the library, etc. It's been great to have so many people come into the hobby. I've even run games for my father-in-law, who is a rugged outdoorsman in his 60s.

What I do have to wonder about is how much of 5e's success was actually out of its control?
1) Fantasy isn't "just for nerds" anymore. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc., all had mass appeal.
2) "D&D" as a brand has gotten widespread acceptance, as shown in Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, etc.
3) Also, it's just kinda cool to be a nerd.

If all these same factors were in place, and D&D was more like 4th edition (for example), do we think it wouldn't have gained increased traction. What if B/X were still the flavor of the day - would it have been more popular with an (arguably) even more approachable system?
I don’t know.

I do know that the “spells” did not seem to match up with the fiction I wanted. I know that sounds weird…but teleporting and wishing and…not part of most of our play but I like it in world.

It may have done better than it did all other factors being equal but can with certainty my group would probably not have come back to D&D with the vengeance we did.

It’s not a slam on the merits or the game or people that like it at all. I am far from a tastemaker but not for me.

In my guts I don’t think it would have caught on like 5e even with all other things being equal, which they weren’t.

Part of me wonders if the Playtest which for this 40+ dude interested helped other fossils get back into it and spread the word.

I don’t know. But all of the younger players I happen to know got into because of older players. We may not be representative in that.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I think these attest to what I was saying. Old hands have had their turn at skill play and tactical combat. They swam through system mastery and waddled into rulings over rules philosophies. Folks develop their tastes and preferences over time. There are many folks playing D&D for the first time with 5E. They haven't had the chance yet to experience design diversity and form their opinions.

The real kicker is that most folks never will. We also take for granted that folks understand these terms, but they likely dont. Wonder why martial caster disparity never gets solved? Its not an issue for most gamers. They never experience it, or they speed bump over it with rulings and get onto the fun. They don't care enough to spend time during the day on a forum talking about this stuff. They just want to play.
Qft. Back a ways I played a lot of strategy games. Tactical infantry, whatever.

And yet here I am pleased with 5e. Not because I am an idiot and cannot grok games (well, depends who you ask 😆) but becase when I play D&D I want it to move.

If I want total tactics and not just middling levels, I can got back to board games etc.

But for me, cover, elevation, conditions, range, weapon choice, marching order armor vs. speed/stealth, spell selection is….just enough. It’s not right or wrong…but I think that middle to light ground draws people in.
 
Last edited:

Tutara

Adventurer
I have no nostalgia to earlier editions of D&D - I played other systems, and then stopped in my teenage years. I played Baldur's Gate, but enjoyed it in spite of the weird maths. I played Neverwinter Nights, and enjoyed it too.

I have always been D&D curious, and as a (much) older person I resolved to try it out again just as 5e came out. I thought it was great, because finally I was playing D&D in real life. I ran 5e campaigns, and played in 5e games. In the last three years, my gaming group has grown tired of D&D. We want to tell other stories, and while we can do so in D&D, there are so many systems that are better at telling the stories we want to than D&D. This isn't a problem with 5e, more a problem with the framework 5e has inherited. It is too idiosyncratic for my tastes - there are too many legacy elements that exist because of previous editions, too many assumptions of how X should work, too much baggage. The fans are passionate to the point of self-destruction, for they are all passionate about entirely disparate things that are all at odds with each other but are all intrinsically D&D.

5e is an excellent D&D. In my humble opinion, by far the best D&D. But it is D&D. It cannot handle much outside of the scope of D&D. I have enjoyed it, and I wouldn't say no to playing it again, but I and those I play with are playing a wide range of other systems which suit our needs better.

The next iteration is far less courageous than I had hoped, so I may buy it out of habit but my interest in it is academic rather than heartfelt. I am fine with this - people who want D&D should get D&D. I wish them well.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I have no nostalgia to earlier editions of D&D - I played other systems, and then stopped in my teenage years. I played Baldur's Gate, but enjoyed it in spite of the weird maths. I played Neverwinter Nights, and enjoyed it too.

I have always been D&D curious, and as a (much) older person I resolved to try it out again just as 5e came out. I thought it was great, because finally I was playing D&D in real life. I ran 5e campaigns, and played in 5e games. In the last three years, my gaming group has grown tired of D&D. We want to tell other stories, and while we can do so in D&D, there are so many systems that are better at telling the stories we want to than D&D. This isn't a problem with 5e, more a problem with the framework 5e has inherited. It is too idiosyncratic for my tastes - there are too many legacy elements that exist because of previous editions, too many assumptions of how X should work, too much baggage. The fans are passionate to the point of self-destruction, for they are all passionate about entirely disparate things that are all at odds with each other but are all intrinsically D&D.

5e is an excellent D&D. In my humble opinion, by far the best D&D. But it is D&D. It cannot handle much outside of the scope of D&D. I have enjoyed it, and I wouldn't say no to playing it again, but I and those I play with are playing a wide range of other systems which suit our needs better.

The next iteration is far less courageous than I had hoped, so I may buy it out of habit but my interest in it is academic rather than heartfelt. I am fine with this - people who want D&D should get D&D. I wish them well.
I actually find this posting to give me optimism about the hobby. I dont want D&D to do everything. I want it to do D&D. I want folks to branch out and try new games as they come out. Encourage more variety in design. D&D not reinventing itself every few years is a boon because folks can finally grok it and expand outwards when they are ready. No need to bog down in relearning D&D, again, again.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
That may be why it is so successful and also reviled. It is a good casual a game but frustrate those you want something else?
This, in a nutshell, for me......I do think it's great for casual play. I don't think so for A LOT more (not some more, a lot) crunch. It is a fine edition, but I preferred 2e and 4e (3e was good, but the complexity of the monsters having to have the same feats and rules as PCs was a killer for me as a DM).
 

I've got a love/hate relationship with 5e.

The lack of classes, character building options, literally anything for martials, systems to help the DM like strongholds and levelling mounts, the fact that most campaign books these days seem to just say 'Make something up'. All of it makes me hate 5e and want to find something else.

But when I'm sat there, actually playing the game.... Nothing competes with it, and it's the most fun I've ever had from a tabletop game. It's got this perfect balance of being approachable and relaxing to play, while also being complex enough to do what you want with.

I think if I had to play 5e RAW, I'd walk away real fast. But with my DM running the show I find it such an enjoyable system.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top