GMs are an endangered species!

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
While a 4e approach might have been as or more accessible to new players as 5e's...
I think most of us here are so removed from being "new players" that we have forgotten what makes it easy or difficult.

Anecdote, not data, but I taught a couple of 13/14 year-olds to play 5e, and they found it plenty accessible. One of them quickly went off to put together a game with her peers, who also had zero difficulty picking it up.

We could have a long argument about what's more accessible, but wherever it sits relative to 4e, 5e is "easy as pie".
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I think most of us here are so removed from being "new players" that we have forgotten what makes it easy or difficult.

Anecdote, not data, but I taught a couple of 13/14 year-olds to play 5e, and they found it plenty accessible. One of them quickly went off to put together a game with her peers, who also had zero difficulty picking it up.

We could have a long argument about what's more accessible, but wherever it sits relative to 4e, 5e is "easy as pie".
Agreed.

I teach 6th-9th graders to play in my area, and they regularly form their own groups in 5e.
 
I think most of us here are so removed from being "new players" that we have forgotten what makes it easy or difficult.
Or what's appealing, sure (I recall harboring some hearty skepticism in the playtest when Mearls started going on about reaching back to early experiences with AD&D to get insight into what would make 5e appeal to new players - being a new player in the 80s or 90s has gotta be very different from being one today!). And the dynamics at the table can have a big impact. But, while 39 years (yeah '80) of experience separate me from my new-player self, only the width of a table has separated me from actual (no scare quotes) new players, since Encounters first got rolling in 2010 (well, not /first/, I came in with the second season).

Anecdote, not data, but I taught a couple of 13/14 year-olds …
Cynicism, not data, but I've noticed that any characterization of an RPG as complex, unwelcoming, complicated, 'hard' or what-have-you, almost instantly conjures an anecdote from someone about a young person mastering it effortlessly.

I have to consider it evidence of youthful enthusiasm rather than any quality of the system in question, since I've noted the phenomenon with quite a range of systems.

For my own experience, I ran a lot of introductory 4e games and played & ran Encounters which included both new & casual players, and special introductory games & Encounters/AL for the first few years of 5e (until health issues kept me from attending my usual cons). And, yes, IMX, I found that 5e was more welcoming to returning players (who, yeah, tended to be 'older'), who found in it what they expected from D&D, while 4e was more accessible to new players (yeah, some quite young, but plenty of adults, too) without preconceived notions.

That's not to say that 5e isn't accessible, especially at a mixed table with an experienced DM and/or player or two to set expectations and explain things: getting that just-right balance between acceptability to established fans and accessibility to newcomers is the great accomplishment of 5e there's no overstating the difficulty, importance, or impact of that accomplishment. But it is a balance, it's less accessible than 4e was /and/ it trains new players to have similar expectations & attitudes to established & returning ones. That was my actual point, that 5e represents a return to the feel of the classic game, after a really quite short experiment, not just a pendulum swing or cycle - the 4e style of D&D isn't coming back.
 
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Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I think most of us here are so removed from being "new players" that we have forgotten what makes it easy or difficult.

Anecdote, not data, but I taught a couple of 13/14 year-olds to play 5e, and they found it plenty accessible. One of them quickly went off to put together a game with her peers, who also had zero difficulty picking it up.

We could have a long argument about what's more accessible, but wherever it sits relative to 4e, 5e is "easy as pie".
Absolutely. While my daughter had a grounding in RPGs via Savage Worlds, she took to D&D5e like a fish to water and almost immediately started running games for her friends. Her second best friend played in only a couple of her sessions before volunteering to run D&D5e. So, for her circle of friends, it was super easy to pick up and take off with.

Might also help that I have all the books via DND Beyond and they all have access to them through a campaign I made for them using my Master subscription. As such, it's almost a $0 investment.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
the 5e/classic-D&D approach to helping GM's flourish (is) to make it /hard/ to DM, making it a prestige position since fewer players can make the leap, and to incentivize it with built-in privileges (DM Empowerment ftw). . .

So keeping the bar for DMs high is a good idea, in that sense of image, too.
5e is "easy as pie".
Are we talking about the same game, here? Part of me likes the idea of putting the GM in a prestige position (and one way to do that is by making GMing a difficult task), but another part says that everything is disposable these days, so why not just dispose of a game if it's hard to find a (good) GM for it?

Sorry - that last part was the little marketer on my shoulder telling me that everything must appeal to the masses (although that is a rule that D&D, as a brand, must follow).

If GMing is (or should be) a prestigious, difficult thing to do, why is the DMG the most prominent, and for me the only, example of clearly setting GMs apart from PCs? ...taking the cost explanation as a given.
 
Are we talking about the same game, here? Part of me likes the idea of putting the GM in a prestige position (and one way to do that is by making GMing a difficult task),
Yes. 5e is both easy and hard. It's hard to DM, requiring a lot of skill/talent/experience/gall/whatever to just take up that imaginary absolute power and run with it - but, if you /have/ meet that preq somehow (or you just don't care), it's also /easy/ to just wield that power and have fun with it.

I'm not sure if it's 'conversely' or 'by the same token,' or both, but from the players' side, it can /also/ be very easy, if you just let the DM do his thing. Come up with a character, declare what you're doing, and enjoy the show.

Sorry - that last part was the little marketer on my shoulder telling me that everything must appeal to the masses (although that is a rule that D&D, as a brand, must follow).
And it's a rule 5e is following pretty well - while staying acceptable to it's hard-core-nerdraging fanbase - a near miraculous balancing act.

If GMing is (or should be) a prestigious, difficult thing to do, why is the DMG the most prominent, and for me the only, example of clearly setting GMs apart from PCs? ...taking the cost explanation as a given.
I don't think it is. The primacy of the DM permeates the system, from the rules in their most basic outline form: the DM describes the situation (has total narrative control of the world outside the PCs), the player declares an action, the DM determines how it will be resolved (has total mechanical control of the resolution), and narrates the results (total de-facto narrative control of the character, in the end, as well). :D
 

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