July 25, 2014

5E Friday

Finally I'll take a look at the Starter Set and Basic Rules...

-What is the "job" of the Starter Set? To provide those who have not played D&D an easy to handle and comprehend method to learn what D&D is and how to play it. Does it do its job? Yes. All the rules needed to play are laid out. The only thing missing is the character generation rules, but characters are provided including how to level them up (which I like since I believe character leveling is an important thing to learn).

-Interesting that they went with an Ability based system. It could be said that D&D has always been an Ability based system, but I would say that each edition kept moving away from such a thing, downplaying Ability over the other powers a class had. 5E goes back to an Ability based system, perhaps even more so than even 1E was.

-The Ability rolls are mostly random. A step above just rolling just 3d6 per sat...or even 4d6 drop 1 stat in order. Still...with an Ability driven system it could get painful. So many things rest of the stats. Of course they do offer alternate stat generation systems. I suspect this one will be house ruled to each groups taste.

-Advantage/Disadvantage will work very nicely. Last week I wrote a fairly long piece on Advantage. I'm looking forward to seeing it in play.

-Saving Throws. Again Ability based. Different from 1E but should still work fine. In fact, keeps it simple - no added categories or mechanics to remember. More elegant.

-Skills were gutted. The reliance on them has been limited. The number of them has been reduced. Right now there are no ways to get more, however, I suspect if a group adds feats then there will be a way in the PHB.

-Races. The basic 4, good to see. I also like that they have no negative stats (that always annoyed me). Also I like that they have room to grow for new races. Each race has several perks. If they only had 1 or 2 it would be harder to add new races that are diverse enough. Adding in new races will be easy. I also liked the subraces. Now instead of adding "aquatic elves" and giving them a 3 page write-up with new stats...you just add a paragraph as a sub-race.

-Classes. Basic 4 again. They work. Again they have enough "perks" that creating a new class allows for enough "wiggle room" to add new concepts instead of only 1 new idea. Also again the Archetypes will be very interesting. Instead of creating a whole new class an Archetypes will likely handle it.

-Pet Peeve. Both the Starter Set and Basic Rules go out of their way to make mention that you always round down...and then the Fighter/Champion Archetype has you round up for the Remarkable Athlete ability. I know that specific rules trump general rules, but why break the rule in the first book. Is it really a rule if we start breaking it right away?

-Inspiration. Not sold on it yet. Seems nice but I suspect it will be a "necessary" perk before long i.e. people will expect to always have Inspiration.

-Backgrounds. Nice. However, I wonder if its overkill. Classes have their core abilities, then Archetypes, now Backgrounds. In effect when making a character you have 3 choices to make (4 if you count Race). It's nice for individuality but seems a bit much. Still it does allow for customization.

-Multiclassing. I worry that we'll have every Wizard going 1 level in Fighter for the Proficiencies they would get, like wearing armor. However, we'll have to see the PHB to see how it actually works.

-Will I play it? I'm not going to drop my current campaigns, but I will likely use 5E for my next campaign once those wind down. Also, I was writing a campaign for Savage Worlds that I'll now do up as a 5E game.


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