D&D 5E How crunchy is D&D 5E

How crunchy is D&D 5E?

  • 1 -- improv storytelling with no mechanics

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3 -- rules light/narrative style games

    Votes: 3 1.9%
  • 4

    Votes: 17 10.6%
  • 5 -- rules medium

    Votes: 69 43.1%
  • 6

    Votes: 55 34.4%
  • 7 -- rules heavy/crunchy games

    Votes: 15 9.4%
  • 8

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • 9 -- rules ultra-heavy

    Votes: 0 0.0%


Well, that was fun
Staff member
On a scale which runs from 1 (improv with no mechanics) to 9 (the crunchiest game around) where would you place D&D?

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I put a 7, because the rules and crunch are mostly all geared towards combat, which makes the storytelling parts less important comparatively. Had there been a more equal part of mechanics towards both storytelling/roleplaying and towards combat I probably would have dropped it down to a 6.


I went with "6", but I can see arguments for 4-7.

The real crunch sticking point for me is magic. I get why magic is and arguably should be complicated, but there it is, being complicated.

The number of class features - and how magic can interact with those - puts classes in a close 2nd place.

I'd rate it a 5, when comparing it to other editions of D&D and other systems I've played. There is 'some' crunch, but it is pretty easy to understand and run, with little to no math. Magic is really where most of the crunch is.

It's a Taco Bell Gordita: a soft outside with the crunch inside. Or to put it otherwise, it's got crunch, but crunch padded by sticking to the same d20 resolution mechanic in 90% of the cases. A new player can sit down, make their character, and pretty much be good to go just by knowing "roll a d20 and get equal to or over the target number" at the start.

I voted 6, mainly because I can think of a lot of systems that are even more complicated, and many things are really complex, but just annoying to remember. And as others already noted, the complexity ends up mostly on the combat and magic side, while the generic task resolution system is actually quite simple.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
As D&D goes, 5e is on the light side, but as RPGs go, D&D is on the heavy side, so I’d say it averages out to rules medium. 5e also has some wiggle room in terms of how rules-heavy you want to play it, with lots of optional rules proving more crunchiness to those who want it. So maybe the best description would be a 5 that can scale up to a 6 with the use of optional rules. I voted for 6.


With rulings over rules, I can see that it varies from table to table. I put it at medium because of that - I can certainly see certain tables being sticklers for rules which might make it a bit higher but other tables are going to take more of a laid back approach.



5 if 'ask your DM' is a rule.

Not enough for me at any rate. I like a nice 7 minimum as 'crunch' generally means player-facing options.

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