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D&D General How crunchy vs casual do you like your D&D?

How crunchy or casual?

  • Very Crunchy, the more options the better

    Votes: 6 13.0%
  • A fair amount of Crunch and Casual mixed

    Votes: 31 67.4%
  • Very Casual, imagination should drive the game, not tables, dice and math

    Votes: 9 19.6%

  • Total voters


Elder Thing
I've more or less fully switched to playing Dungeon Crawl Classics at this point. That's the level of "crunch-vs-casual" I like.

There are a LOT of rules - casting a spell almost always requires looking it up in the book, for example - but those rules add flavor more than they add granularity. And since the game is derived from 3.X, saving throws are Fort/Ref/Wil, which is still the most intuitive setup IME.

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Li Shenron

Considering that the only supplements I use in 5e are Volo and Xanathar, I should say "not very crunchy".

I used to play more crunchy in 3e but even back then I mostly settled for the first wave of 5 splatbooks + campaign settings.

All in all I think core is typically a bit too thin in charcter options for my tastes on the long term, but beyond core I don't need to go very far.


Good rules and sleek system design help the game move along smoothly.

I prefer when the rules stay out of the way or enhance the narrative when they apply. I was slow to head in that direction. I started with Red Box Basic D&D, and then Palladium Fantasy. For a while I was only interested in serious crunch. I loved Gamma World for its unique and complex system. Then I realized as a DM is very hard to gauge challenges for the PCs, and even though I was good at it no one else was. The learning curve/skill investment was too great. Eventually I came to realize the strengths in Pencil & Paper RPGs lie in the narrative.

I enjoy running and playing in 5e games. I just ran a very fun one-shot D&D game and everyone had a blast. It was a dangerous, hard-boiled, Cthulhu detective game in Eberron. It was not your typical D&D game. Most of it was roleplaying, skill checks, investigation, hunting for clues, untrustworthy NPCs, and surprising reveals. The combat was rare, but deadly. When the rules are light and simple it's quite easy to focus on narrative and Theater of the Mind.

Despite this, I still like some crunch. The system has to be consistent, not buggy, and easy to DM. I like systems that are built to last. I've run and played 5e campaigns deep past 20th level and it still holds up.

I voted the middle option, but I do like things on the crunchier side. One of my biggest complaints about 5e is lack of crunch. Quantifying the results is what makes it a game and not just a bunch of people sitting around telling stories.


Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I like the simplification that 5E did with the math and the crunch. I also encourage people to describe what they're doing in combat even if it's not directly allowed by the rules. When I do that though, I then try to figure out how to implement that using the existing rules system or come up with an alternative that does fit.

In many ways I enjoyed 3.5's crunch level but it was a ton of overhead if you had the wrong player or DM. For example I had a two weapon fighter with weapons that had multiple energy type enhancements. Because of how the game worked, I had up to 6 attacks IIRC (it's been a while and I don't feel like trying to find an old character sheet). So you have the D20, the weapon damage and then the "extras". Throw in a few spells and modifiers and it was messy. I had a worksheet I would fill out for my attacks with possible adjustments and roll ahead of time if the DM allowed along with color coded dice. I regularly rolled so many dice that I could not roll them all at once.

Which worked for me. But then you get the DM that won't let you roll ahead even after I explained my system, or the guy that didn't have a system and would take 20 minutes rolling individual dice while trying to add up all the bonuses from buff spells on the fly. That, and the "crunchier" a system is the more individual rules interpretations can cascade and cause issues with how a PC works. Add in loopholes and power combinations that could make one PC vastly more effective than another.

So while I enjoyed having all the options from previous editions, I think it's best to have a relatively rules light game.


Small God of the Dozens
I prefer less crunch, something more like a good OSR rules set of aine kind. 5e is flexible as heck, but I don't personally need or want that particular kind of flex. Everyones mileage may vary there, naturally.

My opinion: Combat RAW, roleplay and exploration with very few rules.

For example:
  • In combat, if you are 5 ft out of range means some action fails or cannot be done.
  • In traveling, we don't even count encumbrance and you may be 50 lbs over the limit.

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