D&D 5E Vestiges of the old!


What parts of earlier editions have flavored or shaped your 5e?
It's funny - I've been playing this game across editions for nearly 40 years and ... I can think of very little that I bring from earlier editions into my current games that are tied to those editions and not to setting elements that wend their way into whatever campaign setting I run games in.

So from B/X D&D I bring the idea that "gods" such as they are aren't the only source for clerics/paladins to get spells - you can also devote yourself to a philosophy such as Law or Chaos or Balance (or many others now as that idea has refined itself over the decades that I've played the game) and you receive spells just like clerics who devote themselves to gods or fiends do. In some campaigns the "gods" aren't even the ultimate source of divine power, just one of many intermediaries between humanity and that divine power source.

From 3e I bring the use of minis in combat. We never used them before 3e and they've been a constant since, whether it makes sense to use them or not.

I enjoyed 4e a lot - but I don't use a lot of it in 5e. I use the bloodied condition like other folks on this thread - mostly because my players use it, and also being able to communicate to them that they're making progress in the battle turns out to be narratively useful. I build more interesting battles than I did in 3e, but since 5e isn't a wargame it's more for the narrative than it is for the challenge. (It's really interesting how many mechanics from 4e make their way into 5e and yet how different the two games play - how combat in 4e is the core of the game and how in 5e it's just kind of one element of the game, and not even usually the most interesting one IME).

I think I bring a lot more from other non-D&D games into D&D. My adventure pacing owes more to the Torg and Marvel campaigns I ran in High School than to the D&D games I ran, and my DMing style probably owes more to not just Torg and Marvel but also the Ars Magica and White Wolf games I played in college and the GMs that I picked up tips from than to D&D.

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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I've seen bloodied mentioned a few times already. It's interesting to note that it does a lot more in 4e than just signal the half-way mark of a creature's hit points. The first time a creature drops below 50% of its hit points, it will sometimes trigger an immediate reaction, or recharge a power to use it right away. Dragons are a prime example of the latter, using its breath weapon immediately even if it hasn't recharged it yet.

Bloodied can also be viewed as a state that enhances certain abilities, or gives the creature new options. The wounded creature becomes more dangerous, increasing its damage on some attacks. In a sense, bloodied signals for an escalation in the fight and keeps the tension mounting.

If I were to bring that over into 5e, I would want to bring all those things related to it as well.


Front Range Warlock
Bloodied from 4e is the biggest one that comes to mind. My group includes players I played 4e with, and we'll announce when NPCs and PCs are bloodied. When we've added new players, they've always stared at us in confusion.

That has been the biggest carryover amongst the folks that I play with, too. It's a helpful indicator and morale booster when combat appears to be going poorly for the PCs.


I sometimes use templates which, among others, includes the roles from 4e (skirmishers, artillery, etc). Like others I use the bloodied condition as both descriptor and trigger for other effects. Bloodied is already used in 5e for some class features, it's just that it isn't called that.

I did try out the 2e morale system until I went back and reread the DMG and realised they had something there for it. The 5e DMG I think is a lot better than many give it credit for.


Been playing since Holmes edition, and I carry over a lot of 1E/2E world lore (mostly Greyhawk & Planescape) over to my current games. Mechanics, not so much.

Personally, I'm not the type to track ammunition, torches, rations and the like. I used to (including rolling for arrow breakage and such), but sometime around 3rd, and after a PC lugging around 100+ arrows (and the Ranger constantly hunting food for the group), I realized that the paperwork wasn't for me - as a DM or player.

I wish 5E had kept the bloodied condition around, it could be used for some interesting monster abilities and other game effects.

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