D&D 5E What (if anything) do you find "wrong" with 5E?

Hussar

Legend
To be fair, simply responding to any criticism with, "Well, D&D is doing fantastically well, so, you're wrong to suggest a change" isn't really productive.

Heck, most of the changes suggested are focused more on actual play, rather than how to make D&D sell better, because, frankly, none of us know how to make D&D sell better and we never have. At best we can make suggestions and those suggestions will always be based on personal experience. "I am finding this in the game, I like/dislike this, and if we made this change, then the game would promote/reduce this" is about all any of us can do.

But, again, it's so much like those Halfling threads. I could shout until I was blue in the face that I didn't hate halflings, but, any criticism of halflings automatically labels you as a hater in some people's minds. It's the same here. Suggesting that the game would work better if we did X or removed Y in no way suggests that you hate the game or anything like that. It's about wanting to improve the experience that people have sitting at the table.

Frankly, I couldn't give a rat's petoot how well D&D sells. I played editions that sold fantastically well and I played editions that lasted barely a couple of years before being replaced. Doesn't really matter to me. I'll still be playing D&D, most likely, for many years to come. It's pretty unlikely I'll suddenly stop now after playing for forty some years. I've spent most of my life playing D&D (and other RPG's as well). It's my hobby, same as pretty much anyone reading this. And, like any hobby, we all have suggestions for how to improve it.

But, I really, really doubt anyone who actively dislikes D&D actually continues to play it. I guess it happens. Infinite monkeys and all that. But, there's a HUGE difference between some dipshit hatewatching the latest popular show just to take steaming dumps in other people's cornflakes and pretty much anyone in this thread who is earnestly attempting to present things that they think will result in a more fun game.
 

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But, I really, really doubt anyone who actively dislikes D&D actually continues to play it.

To be entirely fair, since I've participated in the thread from time to time, I don't play D&D; I play a D&D-adjacent at the moment (PF2e), and played 4e in the past, ran 3.5e, and both played OD&D and ran it back in the day, but its built around a number of structural things (classes and levels, level elevating hit points, and most of its approach to spellcasting) that are not my cuppa. Even the three D&D-adjacents I have some liking for I like largely despite these things, not because of them, and for probably about two decades I was actively hostile to D&D, before 3e taught me that it was at least possible for a D&D structured game to potentially serve my needs even if it was built around a framework that I fundamentally wasn't fond of (in the end, I decided that 3e had too many problems that were, for the most part, disconnected from my generic issues with its structure for me, but that's neither here nor there).

Which is why I have avoided commenting about anything regarding those for the most part because my comments on them would be manifestly unuseful. I've stuck to things I'd have just as much issue with in a game with entirely different bases such as Advantage/Disadvantage (and in fact I own at least one non class-and-level game that took that mechanic and I don't like it there either) or things that are pretty clearly failures to do what they intend to do (CR).

I don't know if anyone else in this thread comes from that sort of position, but think its at least honest to admit that if someone wants to view my criticism as coming from an outsider who isn't overly fond of the general class of games, they're not wrong. I just think its possible to separate the things that seem like they'd be problems for me even if I liked the overall structure (and that, in fact, aren't necessitated by that structure--since I know of at least two games with CR equivalent that seems to do a better job, it doesn't have to be that way) from those that add up to "I don't like a lot of what many people consider to make it D&D at all" and I'm not about to wave those around in a thread about the current incarnation of D&D.
 

5e has plenty of problems. But then...I'm a ttrpg enthusiast. There is a history of enthusiasts and experts (in ttrpgs or other areas) looking down on "casual" players as having an uncultivated taste and not knowing what they truly want. So the popularity of dnd doesn't mean it is a good system. By the same token, there are a lot of people out there playing the game, and purchasing new products, and it's not productive to make claims about what they like and do not like and whether they are taken in by marketing or playing because they are bored during the pandemic or because of stranger things or whatever, because the fact is we truly don't know. I certainly don't want to take the position that once these casual players see the light and play pathfinder 2e or some other game, they'll realize they were wrong to like 5e all along.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The thing I don't get is why me and others saying 5e is bad at supporting the fantasy subgenre and archetypes of the last 20 or so years is so controversial.

5e can be:

Successful
AND
Popular
AND
Have a core that was very bad at the creation of berserker, beastmaster, monk, sorcerer, warlock characters, complex and varied interpretations of monster races, and replication intrigue, war and superheroic fantasy

It's not incorrect to say the 5th edition playtest focused on the human, elf, dwarf, halfling, fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard in the herioc fantasy and sword and sorcery subgenre and a huge chunk of the people who currently play 5th edition were not involved in the playtest. And this all may have skewed the. edition's design.

I mean, look at the classes in "What class do you feel people argue about the most?" poll that are high and low pecentage.
 

wicked cool

Adventurer
Lack of helmets. Bring them back with an ac modifier
Sneak-it’s easy but seems overly complicated and it appears a lot of people get it wrong
Feats-I hate the idea that a dm can say no. Why was this optional
Backgrounds/motivations. Flesh them out a bit. Maybe a suggestion. If your a rogue your background most likely isn’t a hermit etc
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Lack of helmets. Bring them back with an ac modifier
Sneak-it’s easy but seems overly complicated and it appears a lot of people get it wrong
Feats-I hate the idea that a dm can say no. Why was this optional
Backgrounds/motivations. Flesh them out a bit. Maybe a suggestion. If your a rogue your background most likely isn’t a hermit etc
People who refused to jump on board 3e might not be interested in Feats.

I could see a Rogue who had to flee the law and hide out in the wastes being a Hermit.

Helmets...well, I think the assumption has always been that you wear them because why wouldn't you, and removing them would just be silly. I remember in AD&D, it specified that in order for a Thief to Detect Noise, they had to remove their helmet.

2e's Complete Fighter's Handbook had rules for helms, but they didn't increase AC, and they penalized your ability to notice things.
 

The thing I don't get is why me and others saying 5e is bad at supporting the fantasy subgenre and archetypes of the last 20 or so years is so controversial.
Well it's an opinion, so people might disagree. You seem to disagree with yourself in this same post:

It's not incorrect to say the 5th edition playtest focused on the human, elf, dwarf, halfling, fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard in the herioc fantasy and sword and sorcery subgenre
So is it good at supporting fantasy or not good at supporting fantasy?

Have a core that was very bad at the creation of berserker, beastmaster, monk, sorcerer, warlock characters, complex and varied interpretations of monster races, and replication intrigue, war and superheroic fantasy
Do we want dungeons and dragons to support all those things? I thought the problem was that people use 5e to do too many different things, when they should consider switching to other games and other systems?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Well it's an opinion, so people might disagree. You seem to disagree with yourself in this same post:
Reread what I said,

So is it good at supporting fantasy or not good at supporting fantasy?
It's not good at supporting fantasy tropes and archetypes popular with new players.

Here's an example

The "Way of the Four Elements" Monk.

The 4 elements monk is clearly inspired by the hit Nickelodeon Tv series Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra,
The 4 elements monk however is designed like either:
1) The designer never watched either tv show
or
2) The designer didn't care enough about recreating benders by including elemental cantrips, low level elemental effects,and designing a monk subclass that can do elemental feats frequently over other things int the PHB.

5e is easy someone who was a kid in the 00s to learn. 5e however doesn't replicate the fantasy that was popular with kids in 00s.
5e was easy for my little cousin to learn. However he doesn't want to play anything in the PHB anymore until a DM really hook him.

Do we want dungeons and dragons to support all those things? I thought the problem was that people use 5e to do too many different things, when they should consider switching to other games and other systems?
The question is if 5e is failing to replicate the fantasy tropes popular with the new players, will many of these new player stick with 5th edition once they become veteran and have other options. Will they stop buying official 5e books and WOTC only get the 50% profit off the DM Guild?
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
So is it good at supporting fantasy or not good at supporting fantasy?
Fantasy is a supergenre that contains hundreds of genres that also sometimes bleed back into its parent supergenre, Speculative Fiction.

D&D started life as an already hacked together attempt to emulate all of the then-prevalent sword and sorcery, heroic fantasy, sword and sandal, science fantasy, and pulp fantasy. This is why it has LotR's orcs, Conan's Barbarians, Farid and the Grey Mouser's fighter and thief, Elric's alignment, Kung Fu's Monk, and a magic system derived from the very sci-fi dying Earth.

The issue is that, being a game mired in tradition and a passionate fanbase that hates everything, it has been veeeeery slow in changing with the times and integrating modern fantasy. It usually does this in the form of spinning off a new setting to do the heavy work while it remains safely ensconced in its protective Forgottenhawk shell, stubbornly not adopting fresh new ideas, only emerging to devour things decades late.
 

The question is if 5e is failing to replicate the fantasy tropes popular with the new players, will many of these new player stick with 5th edition once they become veteran and have other options. Will they stop buying official 5e books and WOTC only get the 50% profit off the DM Guild?
If they put down 5e for a little while and went and played the game specifically designed around the concepts (and IP) of Avatar, both these players and the hobby would be in a better place, I think.
 


integrating modern fantasy.
There's lots of "modern fantasy" that still fits within dnd's ambit: the witcher, game of thrones, skyrim, elden ring, etc. If anything, 5e is too overpowered for those settings/concepts (but still can work, I think). And if there are genres and concepts that 5e doesn't do well...that's fine, I think? Maybe instead of more 5e kickstarters, we can get some actual new games
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
There's lots of "modern fantasy" that still fits within dnd's ambit: the witcher, game of thrones, skyrim, elden ring, etc. If anything, 5e is too overpowered for those settings/concepts (but still can work, I think). And if there are genres and concepts that 5e doesn't do well...that's fine, I think? Maybe instead of more 5e kickstarters, we can get some actual new games
As long as 5e is the big dog, actual new games will a distant second, I'm afraid.

And to be fair, 5e is WAY overpowered for most modern fantasy fiction. You have to restrict the heck out of it to make something like GoT work, for example.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
As long as 5e is the big dog, actual new games will a distant second, I'm afraid.

And to be fair, 5e is WAY overpowered for most modern fantasy fiction. You have to restrict the heck out of it to make something like GoT work, for example.
A Song of Ice and Fire came out in 1996, is that really "modern"?

OTOH, if it is, what about Harry Potter, which has children throwing around powerful spells pretty much at will?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
There's lots of "modern fantasy" that still fits within dnd's ambit: the witcher, game of thrones, skyrim, elden ring, etc. If anything, 5e is too overpowered for those settings/concepts (but still can work, I think). And if there are genres and concepts that 5e doesn't do well...that's fine, I think? Maybe instead of more 5e kickstarters, we can get some actual new games
Well that's just Tiers of play.

There's still stuff like Avatar, WOW, Wahammer, Dragonball, Street Fighter. Harry Potter, Demon Slayer, League or Legends, Frozen, POTC, One Piece, Black Clover, and much of the MCU that is over Tier 1 which could work in D&D.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
A Song of Ice and Fire came out in 1996, is that really "modern"?

OTOH, if it is, what about Harry Potter, which has children throwing around powerful spells pretty much at will?
For D&D it is as pretty much anything after 1990 is barely supported with character and setting rules.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
There's lots of "modern fantasy" that still fits within dnd's ambit: the witcher, game of thrones, skyrim, elden ring, etc. If anything, 5e is too overpowered for those settings/concepts (but still can work, I think). And if there are genres and concepts that 5e doesn't do well...that's fine, I think? Maybe instead of more 5e kickstarters, we can get some actual new games
I'll grant GoT, sadness simulator that it is, but trying to do Witcher combat with 5e is going to be... lacking. At the very least, Worst Superman doesn't have to stand there and job while he drinks a potion or tosses an effect; Skyrim has mana-based, at-will magic (would need one of those new classes we're never going to get) and the at-will Shouts, and Elden Ring has magic weapons that make pretty much everything on offer right now with their paltry per day abilities curl up and cry. Also, you can't roll everywhere to avoid damage--and didn't they do a 5e souls that needed new mechanics?
 

Also, just as an aside, the Potterverse has got a lot more to do with urban fantasy than it does swords-and-horses style fantasy. There absolutely are examples of the latter that have powerful magic (Draegera comes to mind) but they aren't particularly the common thrust of modern fantasy I think.
 

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