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My return to TTRPG w/ 5e, reflections after 5 years

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'm one of the apparently large number of "lapsed gamers" that 5e brought back into the fold.

I gamed heavily throughout the 80s until college. 90 or 91 was that last time I played a TTRPG until I bought the 5e Players Handbook in 2014.

There have been plenty of discussions about what it is about 5e that brought many of us back. I'd sum it up as a mix of capturing the flavor 1st & 2nd, incorporating the lessons learned of later editions to provide a more streamlined and easier to pick up rule set, excellent production values, and timing (large demographic of people who played during the 80s boom who now have established careers and families, a bit more time to play, and a lot more disposable income).

I'm more interested, however, in discussing where those of us who returned are after nearly five years of playing 5e. Does 5e still hold that magic for you? Are you still into TTRPG? Have you moved on to other games? Here are my experiences and observations.

I'm still playing 5e almost exclusively and don't foresee that changing for years to come

This is a little surprising considering that in the 80s I played a lot of different game systems. My friends and I had pretty much stopped playing D&D by our junior year of high school and were playing other systems.

While I have played and ran games in other systems since I got back into the hobby, it has only been for one shots and they are few and far between. I simply don't have the time to play in, much less run, multiple campaigns.

Also, 5e still scratches my fantasy TTRPG itch. When I do play another system it is for a different genre. Folks complain about the "stingy" release schedule of 5e but I don't foresee running half the stuff they already have and I enjoy many third-party products. I currently have years worth of 5e adventure material on my shelves and in Evernote. I don't expect I'll ever use it all at the table.

If I'm still playing 5e when I die, I wouldn't be surprised.

I like D&D as a spectator

There are some trends that I don't personally understand the appeal of, even after making an effort. Twitter and the incessant attention-deficit generator that is social media is one that only confirms my negative opinion the more I use it. Live-game streaming is something that many of my generation and older shake their head at but which I've come to really enjoy.

Some D&D game-play podcasts like Gods Fall or Critical Role are as enjoyable as any entertainment. I don't consume them by watching video though, I use YouTube Red or a podcast app and listen when doing yard work or on a long car/plane ride. I do, however, enjoy the Acquisition Incorporated's live, on-stage, PAX games and have even attended one in a movie theater with Fathom Events.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would have enjoyed this, I would have thought it the dumbest idea ever. But this old dog can still learn to enjoy new entertainment.

It is still an in-person game for me


While I enjoy watching / listening to streamed games, I don't enjoy the remote-play, VTT experience. TTRPGs are still about getting together in person with old and new friends and throwing physical dice. I use digital battlemaps, D&D Beyond, and other technology, but it is still a fundamentally physical game for me. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the importance of building "social capital" in other threads about gaming and "adulting." I think the debate over video games is more of "what's old is new." But I think there is something about needing to meet with groups of people in person, repeatedly to build social capital. I think sitting around a table for 4-8 hours playing a TTRPG or a board game is as good of a way as building social capital as participating in a bowling league or playing golf.

My kids are not into it

When I got back into the hobby, I introduced my kids to gaming with Hero Kids, No Thank You, Evil!, and then 5e. For a short while they were into it and immediately wanted to start running games themselves. But they lost interest and now have no interest. Kids are going to be into what their friends are into and, for my kids and their friends, that isn't TTRPGs.

I do wish that they would have remained interested in the hobby and were less interested in computer games, but I'm not going to dictate what hobbies they have to enjoy.

The stigma remains...but things are so much better for newer generations


This is more about gaming in general, but really, more than any other game or geeky hobby, the words "D&D" retain some social stigma. I still keep my gaming life separate from my work and much of my social life. Unless I know someone is into gaming, I don't talk about it. This is in large part due to living through the 80s and the satanic panic and a period when "nerd" and "geek" were insults that still had bite. I'm also still of a generation where you were expected to grow up and leave things like this behind.

I find that many professionals in their 20s and early 30s are much more open about gaming habits. It is normal to hear younger professionals discuss getting together for game nights. For professionals in their 40s and above, that would sound weird, unless you are talking about poker night or watching sports.

I had a meeting with an attorney, who I think was in his late 20s, a couple weeks ago who casually mentioned going to gaming meetups with his partner. It was very gratifying to me that, in the midst of a fairly formal business-networking discussion, he would be comfortable casually mentioning his same-sex partner and his gaming hobby. Not to make a point, but just small talk, like discussing the weather or your kids. Huzzah for the millennials!

How about you? Did 5e bring you or anyone in your gaming groups back to gaming? Where are you/they nearly 5 years in?
 
I like D&D as a spectator

There are some trends that I don't personally understand the appeal of, even after making an effort. Twitter and the incessant attention-deficit generator that is social media is one that only confirms my negative opinion the more I use it. Live-game streaming is something that many of my generation and older shake their head at but which I've come to really enjoy.

Some D&D game-play podcasts like Gods Fall or Critical Role are as enjoyable as any entertainment. I don't consume them by watching video though, I use YouTube Red or a podcast app and listen when doing yard work or on a long car/plane ride. I do, however, enjoy the Acquisition Incorporated's live, on-stage, PAX games and have even attended one in a movie theater with Fathom Events.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would have enjoyed this, I would have thought it the dumbest idea ever. But this old dog can still learn to enjoy new entertainment.
As I'm from a different generation (I was born the year you've said you stopped playing the game) there is little I can contribute here, but this was very enjoyable to read. One interesting point is the one I'm quoting, for the resemblance of the reaction I initially had with videos and streams of video games.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
We're of similar ages, and I had some dry spells but never "lapsed".

I've been with 5e since it started - but not exclusively with 5e. I play with different groups. 5e has the widest play base, it's easy to get into a game - how limited my time is the biggest constraint. As a matter of fact, it's hard to find a game of anything else unless I'm DMing.

Even for the "High Fantasy Genre", I don't stick exclusively to 5e. 13th Age, made by the lead designers of two earlier editions of D&D as d20 game, is perhaps my favorite - though it's not as wide as 5e in terms of options for playing in lots of campaigns. And there are plenty of other that I haven't had the opportunity to try that might become my new favorite.

That's no knock on 5e - it's the favorite version of D&D for the gamer I am today. When I was young I liked super crunchy games and played a lot of Champions as well as tactical games like Battle Tech and Star Fleet Battles - but now I'd rather tell a great story with fun drama and not spend a whole evening on a highly detailed & crunchy combat - let's have real risks and challenges of various sorts, but I don't need an Avalon Hill wargame each time.

My kids are into D&D, as well as a nephew and niece. While I agree a stigmata still has some legs at my age, it has none at theirs. Of course, they both embrace geek culture well before TTRPGs.

I'm very much an anti-fan of television, and watching actual play as well as podcasts irritates the same nerve. I've tried, I appreciate what they do, it's not for me. (I also don't like audio books, much to the continual surprise of almost everyone I know.)
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
I stopped playing in the 80’s. It was time for college and then life took me on different roads. But one day, after being established in my career and looking to jumping into a hobby again, I decided to check out my old TTRPG D&D to see how it faired. More out of nostalgia than anything. I found the edition war of 4th edition, which led me to pathfinder. I checked a local gaming store, and shortly thereafter began playing in PFS sessions.

It was like, as an adult, hoping on a bicycle again. Not just that the mechanics of the thing came back to me, but that the joy of playing was akin to the feeling you get when you’re cruising downhill and gaining speed on a well tuned bike. Talk of a new edition of D&D came out, and a play test. I found this very interesting and participated in the games, gave my feedback in the store and on surveys done by WOTC. It felt like “my” D&D.

Once the game launched, I have been happily playing both in store and at home again. Even running my own campaign. I use D&D beyond, but still prefer actual books, which I buy. Before, when I was young and broke, we had no accessories or miniatures. Now I flow between theater of the mind and miniature play with ease, and have a nice collection of monsters and terrain. I watch live playing, but prefer podcasts I can listen to on the go.

Today, I find saying that you enjoy gaming of any kind is like saying you enjoy ice cream. Everyone likes ice cream pretty much, it’s just a matter of which flavor you like. Video gaming is fun, and multiplayer games have instilled in a new generation that old idea of “social” play. That gaming is more fun when playing with others. Table top gaming just takes it one step further by allowing the player to interact face to face. It brings you back to the playground. And in the end, the child in all of us smiles and is ready to play again.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
While I started playing D&D in the early 80s, I never lapsed in the sense that I have played every edition since then (though I did stop playing for several years towards the end of 2e). However, 5e has enabled me to reconnect with some old friends who did lapse and it has been a lot of fun playing with people who dont optimize their PCs or really think things through! 5e is so forgiving that it enables you to focus on the fun - even though I do miss elements of 3e and 4e. 5e is a great entry point.
 
I had already returned to gaming prior to 5e, but I’m doing far more gaming these days than I was prior to 5e, that’s for sure.

Two of the players in my home group are coming back to 5e after similarly long breaks like yours’. Another of my players is returning to gaming for the first time since 3.5e.

At work, I’m somewhat open about playing D&D, but only if it comes up in conversation, as opposed to volunteering that information. Most of the time, when people ask me how my weekend was, I'll say something like "oh, just had a small get-together with some friends. Granted I work in IT, so there’s certainly less stigma than other places – I know I’m not the only gamer here, but yeah, there’s still a stigma. Maybe part of it is just the stuff I still carry around - decades of it being thought of as this weird satanic game for loser nerds leaves a mark.

While I plan on doing some one- and two- shot RPGs, I don’t foresee us playing something else on an extended basis. It’s hard to weigh the learning curve of getting a new game started against the ease of playing 5e.
 

rgoodbb

Explorer
Returned end of 4th/beginning of playtest after a long time away. LOTR movies probably chimed within me.

Q. Why did I ever stop?
A. lack of games/players/DM's and also thought it was something just for kids.

Not a problem these days. I shout it from the rooftop that I play D&D now. The amount of folks who want to talk about it to me is surprising. How do you tell people what it actually is? Others just look blankly at me or ask if I dress up.

Big fan of CR and Acq-Inc. Have the time to watch both. Haven't seen Relics and Rarities yet.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
Returned end of 4th/beginning of playtest after a long time away. LOTR movies probably chimed within me.

Q. Why did I ever stop?
A. lack of games/players/DM's and also thought it was something just for kids.

Not a problem these days. I shout it from the rooftop that I play D&D now. The amount of folks who want to talk about it to me is surprising. How do you tell people what it actually is? Others just look blankly at me or ask if I dress up.

Big fan of CR and Acq-Inc. Have the time to watch both. Haven't seen Relics and Rarities yet.


The part about if you dress up cracked me up! I could see you saying, " What do I look like, a LARPer! " Haha. That's just a joke btw, if you do LARP. LARP on and have fun!
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
The part about if you dress up cracked me up! I could see you saying, " What do I look like, a LARPer! " Haha. That's just a joke btw, if you do LARP. LARP on and have fun!
I have friends in my age group that game but still make snide comments about LARPing, which I find strange. Even more strange are some of these are people that used to be big in the SCA and one whose wife runs murder mystery dinners as a side gig. So, if dressing up and playing games is based on history or a victorian novel, it's a fun adult times, but if it involves elf ears its for weirdos? Hmmm.

I would happily LARP, I just don't have the time and money for another hobby. If my kids ever got into it and it became something we could do as a family I would happily do so.
 

rgoodbb

Explorer
I have friends in my age group that game but still make snide comments about LARPing, which I find strange. Even more strange are some of these are people that used to be big in the SCA and one whose wife runs murder mystery dinners as a side gig. So, if dressing up and playing games is based on history or a victorian novel, it's a fun adult times, but if it involves elf ears its for weirdos? Hmmm.

I would happily LARP, I just don't have the time and money for another hobby. If my kids ever got into it and it became something we could do as a family I would happily do so.
I personally do not LARP. I find that particular hobby a tad too courageous for my liking, but I do like to make a polite differentiation to the uninformed. However It feels more important to me than to whomever I am educating.
 

oreofox

Explorer
I started at the tail end of 2nd edition, though my first game ever was a session of 1st edition. I played/ran a few sessions of 2e for the 2 years before 3rd came out, then switched over to 3rd. Played that off and on throughout its lifespan, until about 2007, when I basically had to stop. The people I played with moved away, and for the most part, VTT weren't really a thing (and I didn't even hear about them for another 4-5 years). 4th edition held 0 interest for me, and I got into Pathfinder in 2012 I believe it was. Played numerous games over roll20, until a group of excessive powergamers absolutely killed the system for me. I stuck with that group because the DM was a prety cool dude. I should have quit after the 2nd month, but was stupid and stayed for the entire year it ran. After the last session, I got called useless and a waste of space because I didn't powergame out the booty like everyone else.

Anyway, that happened in 2013. I got the playtests for the new edition of D&D, but didn't look too much into it. At first, I thought it was stupid. I mostly paid attention to the DM portions as that was what I would more than likely end up doing, so was more interested in the monster pdfs of the playtests over the classes and races. I was a little iffy on the monster categories, and I thought "monstrosity" was absolutely stupid. It never explained what constituted a monstrosity. An owlbear was a monstrosity, but a griffon wasn't? Why was the minotaur a monstrosity (humanoid bull) while the gnoll was a humanoid (humanoid hyena)? I had written off the newest edition and basically resigned myself to never play D&D again.

And then the free basic rules were released, I looked over everything, and found the edition to be actually really really good. I have played about 3 years in total of 5th edition out of the last 4.5 years since its release. While I wouldn't say this is the greatest version, it is probably my favorite overall edition. Luckily, as the DM, I can adjust it as I wish. I just wish they would have kept the modularity they promised at the very beginning, and also released more than just adventures more often. Premade adventures hold no real interest for me (I say as I purchased the Starter Set, which that mini adventure was great, and Princes of the Apocalypse, which was less so).

My biggest wish for 5e is they do something like Volo's and Xanathar's at least once a year each (more monsters, and more player options). Not the 250+ page hardbacks at $50 a piece, but something along the lines of Arms and Equipment Guide or the soft-covers like Tome and Blood or Masters of the Wild from 3rd edition. And for the love of goodness, get some different artists for your books WotC. That's the one thing Pathfinder has going for it over 5e.
 

cmad1977

Explorer
The part about if you dress up cracked me up! I could see you saying, " What do I look like, a LARPer! " Haha. That's just a joke btw, if you do LARP. LARP on and have fun!
I don’t LARP but a guy at my table did one over the weekend as an ‘NPC’. Initially I thought he was basically gonna wear a trench coat and be mopey. Instead he participated in full on ‘combats’ with lines of shield bearing warriors dropping to their knees in unison to allow the archers a clear line of fire. Midnight goblin raids. Imp attacks. His favorite moment was
A wizard shows up
‘ I am the great so and so.. master of realities!!’
My friend
‘Disarm!’
The wizard drops his staff. Looks at the guard. Looks at staff. Looks at guard. Runs away.

Not my thing but it sounded like a great time.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
And for the love of goodness, get some different artists for your books WotC. That's the one thing Pathfinder has going for it over 5e.
Interesting. One of the huge draws to 5e for me was the art and production values of their books. Even now that I have DnD Beyond, I still buy the books. I like seeing them on the shelf. I like the feel of them as I page through them. I love browsing through them. I especially like the art in this edition.

I bought the Art & Arcana book and other than some of the icon OD&D and 1e art from artists like Otus, I have to say that 5e has my favorite art and has really captured the feel of D&D for me.

When I was looking at getting into gaming again, before 5e came out, a friend recommended Pathfinder. Two things turned me off as I flipped through the books at my FLGS: (1) the complexity of the rules and (2) the art. I know it is ridiculous to judge a system on its art, but I remember just HATING every depiction of goblins in Pathfinder. Nothing about those books interested me and I just went another year without thinking about TTRPGs.

When the PHB was released, I remember paging through it and I was instantly rehooked. Certainly the rules and writing are where the fun it, but the art played a huge role in rekindling the flame.

The only other TTRPG rule book that has come close is the Dungeon Crawl Classics book. But that is pure nostalgia as they commissioned black & white art from a number of the OD&D and 1e artists. 5e's art feels fresh while at the same time creating nostalgia.
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
I'm one of the apparently large number of "lapsed gamers" that 5e brought back into the fold.

I gamed heavily throughout the 80s until college. 90 or 91 was that last time I played a TTRPG until I bought the 5e Players Handbook in 2014.
I started with Holmes, and have played every edition since. But have had many multi-year lapses of no gaming or only reading.

Timing is perhaps the biggest thing for me. I started playing occasionally with my son using 4E. But he became a teen as 5E was released as as we both got more serious, it was the current edition and fit well with my desires.

I see the various editions, especially the options of 2E and the crunch of 3.x fitting well with my personal development and growth. Now I'm older and don't feel a need to optimize characters, or worry about accounting for every situational modifier etc. 5E gets me to the fun, and provides enough that their is sufficient randomness to provide tension and uncertainty.

I'm still playing 5e almost exclusively and don't foresee that changing for years to come
I'm in 3 campaigns. I DM Undermountain in 5E. Play a 3.5 DragonLance campaign, and play in a Star Frontiers game. I one-shot some other systems on occasion. But don't feel a need to play other systems. I would stick with 5E for fantasy genres. I don't feel a need to play different systems. I just enjoy different stories (i.e. would love if my DL DM switched to 5E, would greatly improve the game imo.)

I love the setting, story and play of Star Frontiers. Of course the rules have shown their age (especially for a sci-fi game written many decades ago), but they are useable and "light" enough that the GM can just apply rulings as needed to keep us having fun.

I'm considering getting into some BattleTech/Mechwarrior gaming, but its actually the crunch of the system that discourages me. Again, I love the setting, but I really don't have interest to spend 6-8 hours to resolve a single 4v4 combat.

I like D&D as a spectator
During SoME I watched some. Enjoyed some and not others. Have tried one or two online and just don't choose to spend the visual/eye time. I will have to see about your idea of listening to it while travelling or at work though. That sounds promising.


It is still an in-person game for me
Not for me. I enjoy in person. But virtual means I get to play in 3 campaigns. Without it I might be able to play 1. Sure, in person has advantages, but so does virtual. I have no travel time. I can play 2 hours each Wednesday night which only takes ~2-1/4 hrs of my time. If I had to travel etc, I wouldn't have time for it and my wife wouldn't be up for me hosting on a work night either.

I also get to play with various new folks and play new systems (during conventions, like th upcoming FG Con 14) that I would never otherwise get to do.

My kids are not into it
[/quote]
My sons plays (late teens), my wife and daughter never have. Too much stigma for them.

My son and I actually went to GenCon once together, back in the D&D Next playtest phase and had a great time. Something we plan to do again some year.


The stigma remains...but things are so much better for newer generations
Yea, agreed. Also the comment about how much of the stigma is something we carry forward ourselves based upon experience?

How about you? Did 5e bring you or anyone in your gaming groups back to gaming? Where are you/they nearly 5 years in?
Sort of. One of the players is one of my brothers, and by me getting back into playing, he has gotten back into it as well.
 

OB1

Registered User
[MENTION=6796661]MNblockhead[/MENTION] I fall into a very similar experience as you. I played primarily from 88-96 (mix of 1e and 2e) along with a host of other RPGs (Robotech, Star Wars, Rifts, TMNT, Heroes) and tried out 3e for about six months in 2004 when a workmate invited me into his game, but didn’t vibe on it and didn’t really have the time. In 2011 or so I began listening to the 4e Critical Hit podcast and that gave me my D&D fix for a while.
When the playtest came out, I downloaded it just to read and found it reminded me of the feel of 2e. Started a game with my wife and a couple friends that is still going today (Tier IV near the end). Have bought every official release since and brought a dozen or so new players (including my nieces and nephews) into the game. We put the main campaign on pause to run APs or other home brews from time to time, and there is so much stuff I can’t ever imagine needing another system or edition.

Not to thread jack, but as for your comments about social media, I’m guessing you are a few years older than me but still GenX, and I have to say I don’t understand all the hate it gets. Facebook and Twitter are nothing more than tools. I use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends across the world and Twitter to get news about my hobbies and the personalities around them (NFL, Movies, D&D).

Also, I used to feel the same as you about the stigma and not talking about my gaming, but have blissfully discovered the joy of not giving an F about what others think about me, and in doing so found another 3 new players at my office. Hell I even have a pic of my gaming group at the table with books and minis and everything as the cover photo of my FB account. Nerd on!!!
So yeah, 5 years after returning to D&D, I’m more invested in the hobby than ever and absolutely loving the edition. It makes telling amazing stories about incredible characters east and fun. I’m sure I’ll be playing a long time.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
@MNblockhead Not to thread jack, but as for your comments about social media, I’m guessing you are a few years older than me but still GenX, and I have to say I don’t understand all the hate it gets. Facebook and Twitter are nothing more than tools. I use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends across the world and Twitter to get news about my hobbies and the personalities around them (NFL, Movies, D&D).
Oh I use social media. LinkedIn is pretty much a professional requirement. I have a paid-for Hootsuite account that I use to manage Twitter and LinkedIn. I used to use Facebook regularly and it was great to get in touch with old friends. I killed my account because it became a time sink and recently created a new account just to access certain company's or people who only seem accessible on that platform.

It all feels more of the same. I've gone in cycles of info overload and digital weaning since the days of PINE, talk, BBS, and IRC on Unix through today. I comes down to just a few truths I keep rediscovering:

1. Time is limited and there are usually better ways to spend it than whiling away the hours online.

2. True friendship is being there for someone. In person. Spend less time liking status updates on Facebook and more time on meetup.com and meet up with people in meatspace. Build local social capital.

3. I'll know I'm successful when I no longer have to check e-mail.

4. I'm a hypocrite and will run after latest social tech. But its okay, so long as I'm able to step away from it. I frequently go on "social media fasts" to give myself the focus I need for productive work, creative endeavors, or to just read and hang out without constant digital distractions.
 

S'mon

Hero
5e was not a big change for me, though it has meant more gaming and better gaming since January 2015.

For me 3e was the watershed. Before then I had not played much for 4 years, and what I did play was a variety of systems. Since then the vasy bulk of my play had been D&D. I have 3 or 4 5e campaigns on the go across a variety of genres and levels. I love it. :)
 

Monayuris

Explorer
5e was not a big change for me, though it has meant more gaming and better gaming since January 2015.

For me 3e was the watershed. Before then I had not played much for 4 years, and what I did play was a variety of systems. Since then the vasy bulk of my play had been D&D. I have 3 or 4 5e campaigns on the go across a variety of genres and levels. I love it. :)
I played quite a bit of 3e, but for me it was 4th Edition. At the time of its release, I was in perfect storm conditions for playing D&D. On any given Friday or Saturday evening, I could, literally, text the letter 'd' to a bunch of people and have a game going about an hour later.

Now everyone's older and have more responsibilities and less free time... including and especially myself. I wish it was still like that now, since I like 5 so much better than 4.

Although, I can't complain too much. I have 2 regular games going on right now, a 5E and a Basic Fantasy RPG game. I'm playing quite often.
 

oreofox

Explorer
Interesting. One of the huge draws to 5e for me was the art and production values of their books. Even now that I have DnD Beyond, I still buy the books. I like seeing them on the shelf. I like the feel of them as I page through them. I love browsing through them. I especially like the art in this edition.

I bought the Art & Arcana book and other than some of the icon OD&D and 1e art from artists like Otus, I have to say that 5e has my favorite art and has really captured the feel of D&D for me.

When I was looking at getting into gaming again, before 5e came out, a friend recommended Pathfinder. Two things turned me off as I flipped through the books at my FLGS: (1) the complexity of the rules and (2) the art. I know it is ridiculous to judge a system on its art, but I remember just HATING every depiction of goblins in Pathfinder. Nothing about those books interested me and I just went another year without thinking about TTRPGs.

When the PHB was released, I remember paging through it and I was instantly rehooked. Certainly the rules and writing are where the fun it, but the art played a huge role in rekindling the flame.
I agree with you on the goblins in PF. I absolutely hate the way they look.

As for 5e: The artist(s) is skilled (I think the vast majority of the art in the core 3 is from Conceptopolis) without a doubt, but their style is absolute garbage to my eyes. There are some monsters I really like the look of (5e ogre looks a hell of a lot better than 3e ogre), but the vast majority (to me) looks terrible. Tiny baby feet on the halflings (it would be like Shaq wearing a size 8 instead of his size 22), the sahuagin, the giants, and many others. All terrible. HOWEVER, I gladly admit they are better than 2 of the artists used in 3rd edition (initials W.E. and D.C., the last of which made all the art in Masters of the Wild). My favorite artist from the 3e era was Steve Prescott, while Wayne Reynolds is hit or miss (he does the core book covers for Pathfinder). Also, the portraits in Out of the Abyss I am not a fan of either.

Glad you like the art, though. They need to expand their selection. Dip into the MtG artists more.
 

CydKnight

Villager
5E also brought me back to TTRPG but it was really a perfect set of circumstances that made it happen. I'm not even sure how it happened to be quite honest. I was not even aware that a new, popular system (5E) had been released recently at the time I pulled the trigger on the Starter Set. I had just gone to the Texas Renaissance Festival for the first time in years and the atmosphere with the weapons, armor, dragon, jousting, etc. themes got me to reminiscing about previously playing the game. The day after I was browsing Amazon and somehow found myself looking at dice and it escalated after that to me buying a 5-set of dice and the Starter Set.

Like the OP, I also played extensively throughout the entire decade of the 80's. I played other TTRPGs as well like Battletech and Star Frontiers. Then I simply stopped playing. The game got stale, I lost contact with other players, and life happened and so I basically forgot about the game. It was more than 25 years later before I bought the 5E Starter set in 2015.

5E opened me up to a lot of new things. Some I liked. Some I did not. When I first got back into the game, I knew no one who played (or if I did I didn't know they played). I started asking friends but it seemed that very few had played recently and were unsure what kind of time they could commit to regular sessions. This led me to Roll20 and I did find a group there but it took weeks. That group broke up after one session and I didn't like the feel of basically playing via teleconference. I really wanted face-to-face sessions.

I tried getting my kids to play and they reluctantly did a one-shot. The only one I hooked with that session was my youngest, who was 10 at the time. During a family camping trip with another family whose kids go to the same school, I mentioned Dungeons & Dragons over a campfire chat. It turns out the other Dad had played a lot through high school and college and would be really interested in playing again. He suggested that we create a group from our families and so we did. We ran through LMoP and beyond.

Another thing that 5E got me to try (besides online play) was watching other groups play through livestream. I thought the idea was corny at first but I really got hooked on Critical Role. I've watched a few of the D&D/WotC webstreams as well. Some I thought were great. Some I thought were short of great.

Along with the family group I started, I also started picking up games a the local hobby gaming store. I found it really hard to get into a consistent long-term group due to various reasons including people moving away, losing jobs, changing work schedules, having babies, long-term illness, etc. When all else failed I played Adventurer's League one-shots.

Now, four+ years after starting back, I still love 5E. I don't play any other TTRPGs. I have a regular group of adults that meets every Saturday night that has been together about 5 months. I DM one campaign every-other week and another of our group DMs a completely different campaign in alternating weeks. Our group seems to really enjoy both campaigns. It took a long time for me to get into a regular group where everyone's schedules and interests coincide. It is rare that any of us miss a session.

My final thoughts are that I really like where I am with the game right now. I really feel I am at a high point at the moment with the game, the group, and with 5E in general. Currently I have no plans to try other TTRPGs but the idea has crossed my mind. At the moment I am having too much fun in 5E to have that attention put on another game.
 

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