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 10.7%
  • 5 -- rules medium

    Votes: 69 43.4%
  • 6

    Votes: 55 34.6%
  • 7 -- rules heavy/crunchy games

    Votes: 14 8.8%
  • 8

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

    Votes: 0 0.0%


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Argyle King

Legend
I went with 4.

I think it's "medium" overall, but there are areas of the game which are a bit on the shallow side.

On occasions when I've found it confusing, it's usually because something is worded in an odd way or a particular rule seems un-intuitive. For example, parsing the differences between attacks; melee attacks; unarmed strikes; natural weapons; and natural attacks matter to the rules in a way that's not always logical.

5E books also tend toward have rather poor indices. So, while the information may not be difficult to understand, funding what you need to know isn't always easy.

On the DM-side of things, I might rate the complexity higher. The encounter-building guidelines are somewhat convoluted.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
On the DM-side of things, I might rate the complexity higher. The encounter-building guidelines are somewhat convoluted.

Ha! I didn't even consider stuff like that because I see it as optional and ignore it! But part of why I ignore it is because I trust my gut when it comes to running D&D more than I do any crunchy system, which may be a flaw - but it has worked for me so far.
 
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Argyle King

Legend
Ha! I didn't even consider stuff like that because I see it as optional and ignore it! But part of why I ignore it is because I trust my gut when it comes to running D&D than I do any crunchy system, which may be a flaw - but it has worked for me so far.

There are a lot of games in which I just go with whatever I feel makes sense given the situation.

When it comes to D&D 5E, I'm not as confident. Some part of that is because it's the edition of D&D I've DMed the least.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Not rules heavy enough. The rules should preclude players deciding that Rule of Cool or how their char "feels" is more important than the actual game.
Heh... this is why we have games like Twilight Imperium or Terraforming Mars to play. All the crunch without that dreaded "character-work" to deal with. ;)
 





AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Yeah, I'd rate it as a 6. It's fairly rules-intensive (with the magic system, some of the fighter subclasses, etc), but also it leaves a lot of things up to DM interpretation/fiat. So, yeah, slightly more rules-intensive than average, but not super rules-intensive/rules-light.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
IMO content and complexity aren't the same thing. There are three books, but a lot of that is just content -- spells, magic items, monsters. And a system with 5 spells isn't less complex than one with 5000 spells (you do the same process), it's just less supported.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I rated it a 5 or medium. I think it depends on who is running the game and how many supplements they allow. It can be VERY crunchy if someone wants it to be, even upwards to a 7, 8, or 9 I think. It doesn't have to be and I think it could even be lower on the scale closer to a 3 or 4 depending on how it is run (let's say they only use the Basic rules, or the Essentials Kit and are loose with the rules).

It would vary table to table, but overall I'd put it as medium from my perception of things currently today.
 

GreyLord

Legend
IMO content and complexity aren't the same thing. There are three books, but a lot of that is just content -- spells, magic items, monsters. And a system with 5 spells isn't less complex than one with 5000 spells (you do the same process), it's just less supported.
True. But more content can mean more rules and more things to remember and numbers to crunch.

As more books have come out with 5e there has been more numbers increasingly to crunch. Tasha's has more feats and subclasses that combine for different variations than what came before. The more added to the mix, the more crunch there is to min/max, powergame, or simply just to crunch the numbers as one would.

That's why, if someone was using EVERYTHING and pretty strict ruleswise, I could see D&D 5e being a pretty crunchy game at that point if one wanted to run it that way (not that I see it usually as that, see my post above). Today, with everything out there, I'd say 5e has a LOT of crunch if one wants to run it that way.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't think so. If you take one spell from a list of 5 or a list of 5000 or a lot of 5,000,000, you still only have to know how one spell works.
Hm. That's a good point. When the dice hit the table, you only need to be familiar with the few things on your character sheet. Everything else will languish in the books, unread and unused.
 


There are narrative aspects to the game, like backgrounds, that have mechanical roleplaying benefits which are typically found in rules light systems, while lacking in strict details , bean-counting, or abundance of very specific rules found in rules heavy systems.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I don't think so. If you take one spell from a list of 5 or a list of 5000 or a lot of 5,000,000, you still only have to know how one spell works.
That's true. But when you sit down with a player to have them choose a spell, they still face 5, 5000 or 5000000 options that they, theorically, have to go through to make a well-informed decision. It doesn't add rules, but definitely adds weight. It's a matter of perspective, but for me, if you had a very simple game with only a few rules but with 2000 different spells to choose from, I would not consider it a lite game. The complexity of your rules and the amount of information you have to parse through are both factors of crunchiness/heaviness for me.
 


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