D&D 5E Whats your dealbreaker for 5E?


Considering the many "Will you buy 5E?" threads and the numerous "no" and "maybe" replies, I wonder why people do not have interest in 5E.
Is it a specific mechanic/thing or just being happy with the games you have and 5E not being a good enough upgrade to consider buying it?

For me the lack of skills and reduction to ability score is a dealbreaker.
I want a robust skill system as I feel it is necessary for a good RPG and reducing it to ability scores is not good enough for me, especially as then you have the problem that people are born good at something and do not train to become so.
Yes, there are optional skills in it, but I find them lacking and I do not believe in optional modules. It will either be supported so well that it is de facto core or not supported at all making it no better than a houserule or Unearthed Arcana variant. And I do have the feeling skills will be the latter.

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Well, that was fun
Staff member
There is no specific mechanic which could be a deal breaker for me. It's about the whole package and how it feels. I couldn't nail down anything specific. But any given mechanic is just a detail.


Slumbering in Tsar
For me it's..

1. No need to buy more D&D core rulebooks (I have several)
2. I enjoy Pathfinder
3. They alienated me with 4E
4. They aren't likely to keep the edition around for more than 5 years (WotC never has). [And by this, I mean that the original edition's core books are still the base assumption for support products.]
5. Their products cost more *and* have less content per page than they did in 3.x.


1. No OGL is pretty close to a deal breaker for me
2. I like Pathfinder a lot.
3. Expensive books with little actual text
4. No Vancian Magic, No alignments mean no easy sale
5. Lack of continuity in WotC staff (I don't trust them to maintain a continuous vision for what their game is from year to year)
6. The books say Next anywhere on the cover page!


Right now, I don't like the determined focus on ability scores, I don't like "bounded accuracy" (a term I still don't even like much), or the lack of focus on well-defined non-combat options. I don't like the focus on subclasses and big tent classes. Of course, lots of people will like it for exactly these reasons, so it is in no way objectively bad, or anything. These things just bugs me.

I do like a lot of things it's at least trying to do (exploration rules, etc.). But, overall, it's nowhere near enough to pry me away from my own RPG. Not that I think any real RPG is in the long term, so there's that, too. I mean, my RPG is tailored to my tastes, after all, so that's no real surprise.

I think it'll enjoy some amount of success, and I could see myself playing in it if someone wanted to run it for some reason, but I definitely don't plan on buying it, or anything for it. There's just not enough appeal in the game for me.

This isn't even a complete list...

Big Things
Lame monsters. Often monsters have no roles. If you attack a gnoll camp, the gnolls blocking the passage to the cave are statistically identical to the ones a few feet behind shooting you with shortbows. Lame monsters have few abilities. Only "leaders" get to be cool.

Unbalanced monsters. Certain classes of monsters (eg ghouls) shouldn't be far more powerful than other monsters of the same "level" or XP value. Monsters can easily be underpowered too, often for reasons of the "flat math", or have really weak saving throws in some categories due to the stat save issue, a problem with 3rd Edition that we don't need to copy again.

Human ability score boosts. This just doesn't make sense to me.

Feats for stats.

Lack of class roles. I don't see why archers should be using the fighter class and getting all the benefits and weaknesses; some of the benefits (eg heavy armor) they can't even use. It's only tradition or the name "fighter" that imposes this. The cleric class is (again) a mess. You tank, you curse, you heal... you're three classes in one (but only one action a turn).

PC casters start with very few spells and end with a lot. It's really hard to balance a system where, once again, wizard power goes from weak to very strong. (And not even all that weak, considering they can get at-will spells.)

Healing is a red button issue. There's a vast gulf between people who like easy healing with hard encounters (such as myself) and those who like logistical depletion. Even a modular game is going to have a really hard time containing both playstyles.

Bounded accuracy was a worthy goal, but the system isn't built to support it. Even things like Dex to AC (which scales) compared to PCs with heavy armor (no scaling) don't work. Monsters can't hit high level rogues but can slap around fighters, clerics, and wizards. Because things like AC aren't predictable anymore, balancing monsters is made far harder. Save DCs scale, but monster saves are based on ability scores.

There's a general lack of spell balance. I'm not pleased that combat and non-combat spells are competing (there's a ritual system, but that's just a name, and nothing like 4e's system). This is almost a red button like healing, as many people want this competition. There's probably no way to satisfy both camps.

I already have 4e. Frankly 4e is already bloated. I shouldn't say I'm happy 4e development is done, but in a way I am glad.

Little Things

Rangers still cast spells last time I checked. Then again, the ranger hasn't made sense from day one and probably never will.

Weird wildshape rules. I think your original stats should play a role, and don't see any need for "extra" hit points.

Kender in the core books. Ugh.

Multiattacks (eg a 5th-level barbarian now gets multiple attacks). It's better than iterative attacks, but I think a single more powerful attack would be faster.

Maybe this should go under big things, but magic items... I don't want them to be required so everyone needs their Big Six or Big Three (3e, or 4e without inherent bonuses), but I don't want a system where there's no guidance to how many items a PC should have and how powerful they should be (2e and earlier). There's probably no good way of resolving this issue. However, +2 and "better" weapons are rare, so it's not a Christmas Tree-sized problem.

Good Things

Backgrounds. Even with the changes, I really like their non-numerical benefits. Soldiers having a rank that contributes to the interaction pillar? Me want moar!

Advantage is something I like. It's probably overused, but I like it. I'm even using it (for a very few things though) in 4e.

Being able to (sometimes) separate ability scores from the specific skills. There might be a time when you make a Charisma + Arcana or Strength + Intimidate check.

Tequila Sunrise

...or just being happy with the games you have and 5E not being a good enough upgrade to consider buying it?
Bingo. Until 4e, my attitude was "Ooh, I can't wait to see what the new rules look like!"

But I'm a bit older now, so my attitude has become "This has to be better than what I already have for me to even consider buying it."


First Post
I don't have a dealbreaker, its just that I already house rule better than 5E does, using an authentic D&D (by its original authors) core. I'd have to hack 5E to pieces to do what I already do.
Things I dislike:
- advantage/disadvantage dice bogging
- stupidly overpowered cantrips
- lack of casting time/spell disruption, lack of vancian mu
- feats
- too many spells

Things I like, but already do anyway:
- open race/class, flexible multiclassing
- ability checks
- open flexible skills

5E comes off as a redesign rather than a unifying system. The only way to do a unifying system is to start with a modernized, but throughly Gygax-Arneson core. Basic D&D minus the race/class/level limits is about the extent of it. Then put all your other stuff in options and supplements. 5E takes a stab at it, but is trying too hard to please everybody. There's a point where I think listening to the public is counter-productive. A camel is a horse designed by committee....

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