D&D General Lethality, AD&D, and 5e: Looking Back at the Deadliest Edition

Thomas Shey

Legend
I am not sure how to respond to that; while that might have been the case in the 3e/4e era of "designated magic items per level," and "shop until you drop," it is certainly not something I've seen in reference to 5e.

And since 5e has been the game for the past decade, I try to keep my references current. ;)

Fair. But I still see a lot of people who are, from lack of a better term, fighting yesterdays's wars.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
Well, you can side with him all you want, but I'm not sure what he's talking about.

I have yet to see someone say that (in comparison with 5e), AD&D was a low magic item game.

As I said, some people seem to be fighting yesterdays wars here. I've absolutely seen people claim that. I suspect (given the sources) as you say its people who saw how 3e and 4e handled it, and just assume 5e is doing the same but don't actually know because they're OSR focused and avoid it.

Instead, it was a low magic game, in terms of the innate abilities of characters. It's a major distinction.

If you have a combat, any combat, in 5e, you will have spellcasting every single round (because of cantrips, if nothing else). That didn't happen in AD&D, which could have multiple combats without the casting of a spell.

Of course some people just consider it all of a piece.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Fair. But I still see a lot of people who are, from lack of a better term, fighting yesterdays's wars.

I was lucky enough to have missed those battles.

But yeah, there will always be that one guy who is like, "When our DM gave us our first magic item at name level, it was a +1 dagger. And you know what? It was better that way. Because we EARNED IT. Not like y'all with your Tikkity-Tok and your Dragonmen Warlock Sorcerer Hybrids."

You just have to kind of ignore that.
 

nevin

Hero
I think your right. I'll expand a bit more. (thomases post)

I never saw one of these games where magic wasn't common at any convention, in any module or book. I played in a few miserable games with DM's that wanted that game, usually because someone really had an axe to grind and wanted to DM, but the players always revolted and I always got the DM stick again. I will say this most people I've talked to that want a "low magic" game. If I can get them to explain why, are usually trying to recreate a feeling they had when they read the lord of the rings or some other book which is a lousy way to plan a game.

I loved the Lord of the Rings, I loved the Count of Monte Christo, but i wouldn't force my players to go through that nonsense to try and give them what I got when I read the books. I think that's why you get so many angry un-yielding people who want to fix the game by taking away those magic items that prevent them from reliving that feeling. Sadly you cant get that stuff back . But you can enjoy it in your own head while relaxing.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
To make it clear, I'm not allergic to low magic (in the sense of items or even routine higher magic) fantasy; that was true of much of my time with RuneQuest and to some extent, Fantasy Hero. I just think to claim it was characteristic of D&D ever is a bit of a reach.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Well, you can side with him all you want, but I'm not sure what he's talking about.

I have yet to see someone say that (in comparison with 5e), AD&D was a low magic item game.

Instead, it was a low magic game, in terms of the innate abilities of characters. It's a major distinction.

If you have a combat, any combat, in 5e, you will have spellcasting every single round (because of cantrips, if nothing else). That didn't happen in AD&D, which could have multiple combats without the casting of a spell.
Yup. Combat cantrips do more than anything else to contribute to the "magic everywhere" feel of modern D&D. Severely easing the restrictions on spellcasting is a close second.
 

nevin

Hero
I completely agree on the cantrips thing. Also every fix to DND magic simply makes the mages more powerful and every other class playing catch up. Makes sense though, the only fix for mages being powerful is to gut them and lose players , so they tinker at the edges and ignore the real problem and just keep making it worse. It's a very 21st century problem solving approach.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I completely agree on the cantrips thing. Also every fix to DND magic simply makes the mages more powerful and every other class playing catch up. Makes sense though, the only fix for mages being powerful is to gut them and lose players , so they tinker at the edges and ignore the real problem and just keep making it worse. It's a very 21st century problem solving approach.
This is why 3pp, particularly the kind that has its own core, is better. They can start from a cleaner base.
 

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