D&D 5E The Key to 5E's Success: Inspire DMs


First Post
I think it is fair to say. I've got experience playtesting non-core products for WotC. I had always wanted to playtest a core product, because there's more than one round of playtesting and communication.

Basic math should be one of the first things done. There's not enough rigor there. Different DMs are on different pages, diluting the value of their playtesting. It's also aggravating to see old errors that were previously fixed getting unfixed. That's the problem with reinventing the wheel.

The last public playtest document has already been released. People outside WotC have this one last chance to influence the game, and ...

Even if that happens, WotC can't whip up a new set of rules and say "is this okay? Good? Terrible? Did it fix the issue? Can you test them?" My playtesting experience informs me about this. Usually WotC will add extra material after the playtest, so playtesters look at the final product and say "how did X get in there? It's horrible. I never saw it. I could have helped fix that."

I agree with your basic point: getting the math right is really important. (Especially the note about monsters in 4e vs 3e is something I have come to realize myself).

At the same time, it's not THE most important part. Having perfect math doesn't help if the system is too clunky. Or too shallow. Which is part of what the wanted to find out in the play tests. 5e looks to be pretty fast, not clunky and not shallow.

4e had some "balance" problems as well. The basic "math" of of skill challenges and higher level play didn't work out. They added the "expertise" feats and their kind (defense feats) to make the math work. A shame in my opinion. The game would have been better without it. In addition, 4e is "clunky". Fights last a too long without fiddling with the system. Higher level play suffers from too many conditions. Stun/Blind/Daze galore. So, a game that prioritized math, got it slightly wrong and ended up being much to clunky.

So, yeah, the math is really important and I really hope they manage to get it right in 5e. That it wasn't priortized higher in the play test is understandable in my opinion.

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I agree 100% with the basic statement. Whether I play 5e or not will definitely ride on whether 5e makes me WANT to run it. Whether it inspires me.

But I'm not sure that a rules set that's easy to create for is necessarily "inspiring" enough. I need that burst of enthusiasm, the "wow" factor that I haven't seen so far.


I think that they need to attract both DMs and players. 4E's biggest problem that I saw was that every single person I saw that was actively supporting it was a DM, and I never saw a regular player saying anything about it. That's a problem, since DMs without players aren't going to be buying much of anything since they won't actually be running anything. Unless Next can engage the regular players as much as it can engage the DMs, it will have the same problems as 4E. Basically, they need to find a balance between what they did with 3.x, where the player was the focus, and 4E, where the DM was the focus, and find a way to get both sides interested, and if they have to choose, they need err on the side of the player slightly, because with enough players, someone will step up and DM, while without enough players, having a lot of DMs is pointless.


First Post
Well, that's an interesting perspective. I don't know that 4e is a good example (for anything, really), but in principle the idea that the players should have to play an inferior game to make the DM's life easier is not going to fly, you're right about that.

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