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D&D 5E What D&D Does That is So Good: A Celebration of 5e's Advantages

jayoungr

Legend
Regardless of how I answer, that's just moving the goal posts, now isn't it?
I didn't think so; I thought I was clarifying my original question. You said 5e in general was superhero-based, which I assumed meant from the start, as something baked into the system or at least its presentation. If you are just thinking of the armorer artificer, then that would be more like "5E is becoming a superhero game," rather than "5E has always been a superhero game."
 

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Aldarc

Legend
I didn't think so; I thought I was clarifying my original question. You said 5e in general was superhero-based, which I assumed meant from the start, as something baked into the system or at least its presentation. If you are just thinking of the armorer artificer, then that would be more like "5E is becoming a superhero game," rather than "5E has always been a superhero game."
You are welcome to infer what you want from my answer but this is undeniably you moving the goalposts regardless of what I answered.
 

jayoungr

Legend
You are welcome to infer what you want from my answer but this is undeniably you moving the goalposts regardless of what I answered.
I apologize, then. But I'm still curious as to whether there's anything you're thinking of that's older than the artificer or whether this is something that has crept into 5E as it's gone on. That's all. No offense is meant by it. I feel like I've caused offense, which is not in any way my intent. It's just that I have never noticed this superhero influence, and I'm wondering if I've been missing something.
 

Reynard

Legend
In the spirit of the OP:

I often choose 5e because I know there will be players and I know it well enough to do whatever I want with it. These are based on 5E's two greatest inherent strengths: big player base, and elegant core design. What I don't use it for speaks to where I think it could use some work. For example, I ran a super high fantasy convention campaign inspired by things like the WoW cinematic and ultimately chose to use Mutants and Masterminds instead of high level 5E because I wanted it to be pick up and play by con goers. Most of M&M's complexity is front loaded in chargen, while high level D&D characters-- even in 5E -- can be a mess to manage at the table.

Anyway, aside from particularly high or low fantasy, 5E is a familiar, good enough, fun game.and it accepts modular rules systems pretty easily, from the AiME journey rules to the BECMI Domain Management rules.
 

Is it just me, or does it feel like three out of the four things on this list...aren't actually characteristics of 5e itself?

Network effects are important, but they're not actually part of 5e, any more than your friend you can call on the telephone is "part of" the telephone itself. Yes, being able to call your friends is important and can be part of the value you get out of using the telephone, but the friend herself is not a virtue of the telephone.

The history....has been there all along, for every D&D. That's not unique to 5e in any way. That's something great about every edition of D&D, period, whether you like them or not, whether you consider them successful or not. I mean, even 4e, the edition almost everyone likes to poop on for being anti-traditional, had Expedition to Barrier Peaks stuff and returned to classic settings like Dark Sun that had been left behind in the previous edition (in terms of official support). Every edition has leveraged the game's history as part of its appeal. Heck, you can even argue that Pathfinder of all things leveraged this stuff, they just had to tiptoe around it because of licensing issues.

Flexibility, that I can grant you is actually a characteristic of 5e. I of course have my own feelings about the specific implementation, but this is at least something that is a virtue of 5e itself, and not a virtue of the situation surrounding 5e, nor a virtue of simply being an edition of D&D.

And...your fourth point....isn't even a point as far as I can tell? It's just "Conclusion: It's awesome." Which...I mean...it's absolutely great that you like this thing. But answering "what's great about X?" with "it's great!" is at best circular reasoning, and at worst literally just repeating yourself without even trying to say more.

As one final note: While for you it may feel like there are too many critical threads on 5e....as someone who is not exactly a fan per se, I can promise you, the number of threads containing nothing more than "gosh 5e is just, like, super great!!" VASTLY outnumbers the threads that criticize it, and bringing up criticism of any kind has a real strong tendency to get you shouted down by people who aren't interested in hearing anything even a little bit nonplussed. People have gushed about what makes 5e great. A lot. Repeatedly. For a while, it was rare for a month to go by without people posting yet another "ermahgerd it's so coooool" thread. You can imagine how tiring this gets for someone who has nothing productive to contribute to such a thread.

Now, if your goal was simply to say "these are advantages that apply to all D&Ds, 5e is just the current poster child," that's fair I suppose, but you'd still have some issues with points not lining up (2, in this case, since it is 5e-specific) or being...not really a point at all (4).

Edit: For comparison, I would argue @Azuresun gave a list that was significantly more about the actual characteristics of 5e itself. (I'd argue that "hit points" isn't really a 5e-specific thing, since they really aren't any different from how they've worked in previous editions, but 3 out of 4 points being 5e-specific is a big step up.)
 


I'm a big fan of how 5E handle movement. especially how you can Breaking Up Your Move between attack and actions.
Another great example of something that really IS special to 5e, since no other edition (as far as I know) has done this. I think whatever comes "after" 5e (be it a non-edition update ala 4e Essentials, an iterative series of updates like the gap between PF1e-at-release vs PF1e today, a "Revised Edition" update like 3.5e, or something else) will need to consider how to address certain minor issues like the "pop out of cover, attack, pop back into cover" thing, but those are understandable wrinkles of a new policy rather than fundamental issues.
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'm a big fan of how 5E handle movement. especially how you can Breaking Up Your Move between attack and actions.
I like that too but we seem to have sacrificed bursty attacks like a full cleave from 3e that affects all adjacent targets and things like "Rain of Steel"... ie the ingredients that invoke a feeling of the one man army in the process.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I like that too but we seem to have sacrificed bursty attacks like a full cleave from 3e that affects all adjacent targets and things like "Rain of Steel"... ie the ingredients that invoke a feeling of the one man army in the process.

That's an interesting question. Arguably, the "one man army" for martial characters goes as far back as the old rule that Fighters got to attack 1/level against critters that were less than 1hd.

Which meant that at higher levels, Fighters could effectively kill (for example) 1 kobold per level per round, every round.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's an interesting question. Arguably, the "one man army" for martial characters goes as far back as the old rule that Fighters got to attack 1/level against critters that were less than 1hd.

Which meant that at higher levels, Fighters could effectively kill (for example) 1 kobold per level per round, every round.
Exactly the one man army was a concept from the beginning (though the implementation was a bit situational) it was definitely about completely out classing potentially large numbers of lower powered enemies.

Edit: It looks like if you relegate lower powered like 1e did to enemies with very low hit points then 5e sort of did make an optional rule to bring it closer. Like many 5e optional rules I do not think this was well thought out as the following rule means that a rogue doing a sneak attack might be better at cleaving through additional enemies than the 5e fighter or maybe that is ok. It may be rather inferior functionally to both Rain of Steel and Great Cleave. And could be seen as inferior to the 1e rule which did not require each enemy to be defeated but I think using various functions a GWF champion doing a lot of Crits can get up there on damage so that he can cleave through a lot of minor enemies with one hit. 4es use of minions means you can mow through bigger and bigger adversaries as you level and swarms like an angry mob can also be taken on effectively without as many specific powers for spreading the pain too (working better if you have them though). And the 4e abilities are not generally dependent on being a striker to do massive single target damage to spread the pain.

CLEAVING THROUGH CREATURES
If your player characters regularly fight hordes of lower- level monsters, consider using this optional rule to help speed up such fights.
When a melee attack reduces an undamaged creature to 0 hit points, any excess damage from that attack might carry over to another creature nearby. The attacker targets another creature within reach and, if the original attack roll can hit it, applies any remaining damage to it. If that creature was undamaged and is likewise reduced to 0 hit points, repeat this process, carrying over the remaining damage until there are no valid targets, or until the damage carried over fails to reduce an undamaged creature to 0 hit points.
 
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CLEAVING THROUGH CREATURES
If your player characters regularly fight hordes of lower- level monsters, consider using this optional rule to help speed up such fights.
When a melee attack reduces an undamaged creature to 0 hit points, any excess damage from that attack might carry over to another creature nearby. The attacker targets another creature within reach and, if the original attack roll can hit it, applies any remaining damage to it. If that creature was undamaged and is likewise reduced to 0 hit points, repeat this process, carrying over the remaining damage until there are no valid targets, or until the damage carried over fails to reduce an undamaged creature to 0 hit points.
It's always been very interesting to me that 5e seems to take an "all or nothing" approach to complexity, particularly when it comes to optional rules like this. Because this? Clunky as heck. You have to check if targets qualify, re-check the attack roll, dole out the damage, and keep checking. That's...pretty damn tedious, especially since "fight hordes of low-level monsters" was quite literally one of the specific selling points of the so-called "Bounded Accuracy" design (which, as I've said several times, is neither particularly bounded, nor actually about accuracy.)

Then again, I've always had rather a dim view of the way 5e's designers view game design. The moment Mearls said "math is easy, flavor is hard" (or some variation thereof like "math is easy, fluff is hard" or whatever), I knew we'd been given that curse (falsely associated with China): "May you live in interesting times."
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It's always been very interesting to me that 5e seems to take an "all or nothing" approach to complexity, particularly when it comes to optional rules like this. Because this? Clunky as heck. You have to check if targets qualify, re-check the attack roll, dole out the damage, and keep checking.
Note how Rain of Steel is very simple in comparison no die rolls or checking to hit, being adjacent to you just became fundamentally dangerous.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
And then, contrary to what you ended with, I believe that the core rules supporting and encouraging multiple modes of play, from variant rules to the interminable TOTM/GRID debate, creates an atmosphere that encourages flexibility in a manner unlike most other TTRPGs.
Is this the debate featuring assertions like this "I do not think TOTM is something D&D ever really did particularly well even though yes I did it back in the day and even now am pretty flexible (cannot have a battle board while driving in a car ) ... I feel like I am doing a lot of gymnastics to make it so whereas there are definitely games that define distances as adjacent / nearby / across the battle and even more distant these and move speeds in terms like move speed of 25 vs 30 feet is nigh meaningless it is pretty obviously not designed to support it."??
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
But circling back to the original point, I think it is helpful to not just look at what 5e does that doesn't work- no game will be perfect for everyone, all the time (and wouldn't that be boring)? Instead, an understanding of the things it does right, and why it appeals to such a wide variety of people (the crunch and the lore, the miniatures and the TOTM, the RAW and the DIYers, the advertiser's target demographic and the CBS watchers, etc.) is, more often than not, the productive exercise.
First a general thesis about validation in games. Most games present an arena of proof - typically the combat - with some kind of stakes, where everything is put on trial. Surrounding the arena of proof are metagame arcs and mechanics, including meta-arenas. Players value their choices and progress in the metagame through seeing them play out in the arena (even if only speculatively, or by repute). Ephemerally, are roleplaying concerns.

1. Testing - the mechanics in 5e are better playtested than almost all competitors (maybe all).
2. Due to 1. - a combat arena-of-proof that works extremely well, that is varied enough to validate a wide-range of mechanics.
3. Tied to 2. - a large and well structured design space for a mechanical metagame.
4. Accessible roleplay - 5e is undemanding for roleplay, you can enter into its broadly appealing fantasy as casually as you like.

It's hard to do 5e wrong, so you feel good about playing it, and that belies an extremely well-considered, sophisticated game design.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
D&D did a lot of things right on a much smaller budget than it now enjoys...

While discussing with some friends why D&D never had a real challenger until a series of WOTC own goals led to Pathfinder...

It became clear that D&D just got certain things right pretty much straight out of the gate.

That in addition to being first, (Which is a very big deal) led to them being virtually unchallenged for over 30 years:

The 5 points that secured D&D's early dominance:

1: Easy PC creation: You could make a character and begin play in a matter of minutes. A selling point for new players.

2: Graspable Rules complexity: The first levels are not rules heavy. The mechanics were understandable. New players gradually got introduced to any additional complexity, easing the gateway for new players.

3: Easily grasped Default play mode: The Dungeon, an easy to understand and grasp mode of play. New players knew what they were gonna do right away. Explore a forgotten crypt, kill things and take their stuff.

4: Easily understood setting: Common fantasy tropes of 'Tolkienesque" Elves Dwarves, Halflings/Hobbits, Fighting evil Orcs, Trolls, monsters, etc... And Dragons! New players could easily imagine the kind of medieval fantasy land their PC's were adventuring in.

5: Straight-forward reward mechanism: The leveling mechanic is a great 'gratification' reward for killing things and taking their stuff. New players unambiguously knew how many XP they needed for the next level, and what to do to get it.
When RQ came out almost 2nd I think it had arguably missed in my opinion only two significant elements (not identical to yours but similar) the approachable setting, and invocation of heroic genre.
 

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