Is 5e "Easy Mode?"

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
So, I'm tweaking my house rules, and really going back to what I wanted to do in the first place which is leverage the streamlined rules of 5e but on an AD&D framework. To that end, I decided to look at the Proficiency/Expertise of 5e compared to the to-hit tables for AD&D (which I think was largely consistent through 3.5e, but I haven't double-checked), and found some very interesting things.

A lot of folks, me included, often feel like 5e is a lot easier than older editions when it comes to the chance of success.

In general, I haven't liked Expertise since a +12 sounds quite high to me (well, us). Part of this is because I like the concept of a system that has non-proficient/proficient/expert divisions. We'd also like that to be consistent across all types of proficiencies - skills, combat, and saves. We don't have armor proficiency, so it doesn't have to apply there.

Anyway, too see how that would scale, I started with combat.

What would happen if we allowed expertise in combat for a +12 bonus? Whoa, that sounds huge, doesn't it?

Except in AD&D at 17th level a Cleric had a +10, a Rogue was +8, a Wizard +5, and a Fighter a whopping +16! By 20th level that cleric is +12, the rogue +9, the wizard +6, and the fighter a +19.

Of course, this is only part of the equation, since the AC/DC of a check may be different in 5e than earlier editions, which is something else to investigate. But I certainly didn't remember the to-hit bonuses to be this high (and also forgot how much better at combat a cleric was than a rogue).

Seems like 5e may not be as "over-powered" as I initially thought...

Anyway, I thought others might find that interesting.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
It may be easy if you aren't using up the Daily XP budget. I tend to shoot for 3 deadly encounters a day, though sometimes I break one up into two medium or hard encounters.

In the opening encounter for a campaign I just started, I dropped two players to Zero and could have killed them if that's what I was playing for.

I suppose it's harder to get accidentally killed in 5E than it was in, say, 3E, but you could always turn those dials if you wanted a fatal game.
 

Psikerlord#

Explorer
Yes, 5e is extreme easy mode, for a number of reasons, not the least being how death saves work with bonus action, ranged healing word.
 

Sadras

Hero
What would happen if we allowed expertise in combat for a +12 bonus? Whoa, that sounds huge, doesn't it?

Except in AD&D at 17th level a Cleric had a +10, a Rogue was +8, a Wizard +5, and a Fighter a whopping +16! By 20th level that cleric is +12, the rogue +9, the wizard +6, and the fighter a +19.

Of course, this is only part of the equation, since the AC/DC of a check may be different in 5e than earlier editions, which is something else to investigate. But I certainly didn't remember the to-hit bonuses to be this high (and also forgot how much better at combat a cleric was than a rogue).

Seems like 5e may not be as "over-powered" as I initially thought...
I know you're comparing success rates between the two editions but I think it it is fair to say one often forgets the journey to get to 17th level or 20th level in an AD&D game. How many deaths saves would one have to face? That +16/+19 is a lot more difficult to earn than in 5e.
 
Last edited:

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So, I'm tweaking my house rules, and really going back to what I wanted to do in the first place which is leverage the streamlined rules of 5e but on an AD&D framework. To that end, I decided to look at the Proficiency/Expertise of 5e compared to the to-hit tables for AD&D (which I think was largely consistent through 3.5e, but I haven't double-checked), and found some very interesting things.

A lot of folks, me included, often feel like 5e is a lot easier than older editions when it comes to the chance of success.

In general, I haven't liked Expertise since a +12 sounds quite high to me (well, us). Part of this is because I like the concept of a system that has non-proficient/proficient/expert divisions. We'd also like that to be consistent across all types of proficiencies - skills, combat, and saves. We don't have armor proficiency, so it doesn't have to apply there.

Anyway, too see how that would scale, I started with combat.

What would happen if we allowed expertise in combat for a +12 bonus? Whoa, that sounds huge, doesn't it?
If this is on top of whatever else the character has going for it then yes, it's rather big. :)

Also, at what level does a PC get this +12?

Except in AD&D at 17th level a Cleric had a +10, a Rogue was +8, a Wizard +5, and a Fighter a whopping +16! By 20th level that cleric is +12, the rogue +9, the wizard +6, and the fighter a +19.
First off, 17th-20th level 1e games weren't exactly thick on the ground. Most campaigns packed it in around name level or a bit higher, if only because that's roughly where the system starts to wobble rather badly.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
@Ilbranteloth :

Yeah, we've had plenty of threads on how 5E is "easy" and following the RAW and suggested adventuring day guidelines it is after 5th level or so. Death is not hard to find at lower levels, however.

Otherwise, if you do want to hear more cases for and against, there are several other threads about it.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
Death is not the point of role playing. We get that right? This is a role playing game, not a video game. Characters play a role in a story. The point is to tell a good story - and random PC death is not part of a good story, generally. It leaves their stories incomplete. And, if eery encounter is a life and death struggle, the heroes do not feel like they are heros... and everything tends to feel samey rather than experiencing a spectrum of challenges.

"But I want to be strategically challenged! There needs to be stakes!"

If threat of death is the only challenge you can see in D&D, you're skimming the surface of a very deep, very rich and very rewarding game. Some of the best sessions I've run, and played in, featured little or no combat - and my PC never felt like it was in jeopardy. However, the stakes were high. Something it was the lives of others on the line. Sometimes it was an ethical dilemna. Sometimes it was just friggin amazing puzzles to be solved for treasure in an Indiana Jones type way.

5E is a far more flexible system than 4E when it comes to storytelling. The balance between the classes blows away what we saw in 3E and before without falling prey to the mirroring we saw in 4E. It is a very , very good system that is true to the D&D roots from which it sprang.

So, is it easy? No. If you focus on it, you can create wonderfully complex and enriching campaigns that are full of very difficult challenges with real impacts for failure.

And if you just can't give up n the idea that threat of death has to be forwardly present for you to come sit at one of my death trap delves. As a DM, I can set up sessions with no encounters exceeding the deadly XP limit that will kill almost every party that attempts to beat the challenge. Because although not every encounter needs to bring the threat of death to be a challenge, the challenge of a deadly threat is definitely one of the things you can bring to the table at the right times to really bring a climax.
 

FreeTheSlaves

Explorer
I agree 5E might be easy in that your character is hard to kill, but 5E still leaves plenty of ways to fail.

The heroes in my current game are in a 30 man longship and have captured a similar sized longship. Instant 10k gp + loot onboard. An 80 man warship is searching for them, and it outclasses them by almost every measure - the PCs are 7-9th level.

The obvious out for the PCs is to abandon their captured ship = fail, but not dead.
 

Sadras

Hero
It is fairly easy to compare top rates but right from the get go 5e PCs get +3 (ability) +2 (proficiency) = +5. This is before guidance, other spells, enchanted weapon/item, advantage, expertise, bardic inspiration...etc
So 5e definitely considered easy mode when compared to something like AD&D in terms of attaining success in hits, skill checks and saves
 
Last edited:

Sadras

Hero
Suppose I'll just add to the problem. If a DM cant kill their players then they're not trying hard enough, you just have to be creative. The game is as hard or as easy as you make it.
The OP is not about killing PCs it's about the success rate of PCs on rolls(attacks, checks + saves) through the various editions.
 
Last edited:

Advertisement

Top