So How About that Fifth Edition

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m giving 5e a try. Really it’s my third try. Basic set with my boys. Basic set again with the group I normally play FFG Star Wars with. And now with my “normal” group.

I must say – so far so good.

Character creation went very well with a wide variety of characters and races. Most importantly, everyone was able to quickly “get” the rules and add story to their character. The Background mechanic helped – made folks think about more than just the mechanics. The module also helps by providing backgrounds that tie into the adventure.

I had to read through the combat and skills/abilities chapters a couple times. Not that I wasn’t getting things, more that I felt there should be more to get. The rules are simple, almost overly so. As I finished a chapter (again) I would remember a rule or situation from previous editions or other games, and couldn’t find it in the rules for 5e. A good example is flanking. No rules. Closest thing is the help another action that provides advantage to an ally. There are rules in the module for monsters (pack tactics for kobolds), but nothing called out for PCs. Firing into combat is another example – nothing. So what will I do? Make a DM judgement call, just like in the “old” days.

Speaking of Advantage/Disadvantage, I love this mechanic. I haven’t looked at the math at all – not sure I care – what I love is the simplicity. Put yourself in a good spot – advantage. Bad spot – disadvantage. For example, if the light is dim, make a perception (Wisdom) check with disadvantage, unless you have special vision. Another, attack with a ranged weapon over its normal range – disadvantage.

Two more things made me like the system. No maps. I am normally a map heavy GM. I love the toys and visual aids for players, and makes it fun for me (love me some LEGO terrain). Didn’t need them at all. Didn’t really care so much about positioning, because it wasn’t really stressed in the rules.

Inspiration. I handed out three inspiration points, and had one used during 90 minutes of actual play. Makes easy for me to reward the things I want in the game – love it.

Things I don’t like. Rules for dying are too complex compared to everything else. What’s with the extra math when all the rest is so simple. Short rests and hit die. Again why is the math and bookkeeping amped up for these little bits of the game. Get a certain number of hit die, and then half your hit die back at a long rest. OK, now it’s next week, who kept track. Lastly, the quality of my book is not good. There are four extra pages (including the end papers) at the beginning and end of my PHB. They have both already started to come out and I had to tape the front pages back in – looks terrible.

Overall, I like it. I don’t know if I will continue beyond this module – depends more on the players – but I’m having a good time playing D&D!

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