Dissecting Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

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Cloak-n-Dagger
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Dissecting Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

Post by Cloak-n-Dagger » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:47 pm

5th Edition.

I haven't played 5E, I've done little more than glance at the books when they first came out years ago, aside from reading the occasional post on a forum, G+ or some other online site. From what I can gather the latest edition has been doing very well and a vast majority of new and old players seem to really enjoy playing it.

The first time I "really" played AD&D it was 2nd edition. I owned the Basic Red Box late middle school into high school, then had the Rules Cyclopedia for a short while, but it wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I got into a true gaming group and started playing. In all honesty, I didn't even know what AD&D (1e) was until many years later when I had the chance to play with players who grew up playing that edition. Since the mid-90s, I've tried both 3e which I cared little for, PF, which spawned from the d20 rules and 4th edition which was really just a tactical skirmish game with an RPG coating slapped on.

My son has a regular D&D group playing the latest edition and for him, 5E is what AD&D 2e was for me. It's his first true D&D game and I can guarantee when he looks back on his gaming days, it won't be with AD&D or 3rd, or 4th, it will be this one. Three years after the game has been out, I've decided to take a hard look at the game. When Hackmaster 4e came out, a lot of players balked at the fact it was laden with humor and comedic elements. I bought everything for it and found that underneath the humor, was a very well written edition of AD&D. My group and I played several adventures, tossing out the stuff we didn't want or need and to this day, it's one of the most memorable systems I've played.

I figure this is as good a time as any to see what's under the 5e hood and whether or not I think there is a system that is really worth playing. I'm going to use this thread to critique and somewhat review the game and what makes it tick, for good or bad. That being said, I'm going to start with WotC's (free, downloadable) D&D Basic Rules.

For reference, the two current supplements available are the Player's Basic Rules v0.3 and the Dungeon Master's Basic Rules v0.5. Both can be downloaded from WotC's D&D site found: HERE.


“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” ~ Wilfred Peterson, American Author

Cloak-n-Dagger
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Post by Cloak-n-Dagger » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:57 pm

Player’s Basic Rules Version 0.3

The entire Player Basic Rules

Introduction:
The introduction is simply a general intro to RPGs describing what an RPG is, the purpose of the DM and players, etc. Other sections of the Intro cover things like, brief descriptions of the various worlds and settings within the D&D game, the dice that are used, adventures, and several short descriptions of the game itself and how it's played. I'll hit on more of these details later when I get to those sections.

The three main parts of the rules cover Character Creation, Game Rules, and Magic.

Character Creation
Character creation consists of five sections: Choose a Race, Choose a Class, Determine Ability Scores, Describe Your Character, and Buying Equipment. As far as a basic version of D&D goes, it appears to maintain a simplistic game.

- Choose a Race -

There are four races presented in the D&D Basic Rules, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human. Each section gives a decent description of the race, background information, a section on various name examples, and then the specific game related details which apply to each race (such as attribute adjustments, height/weight, size, alignment, racial abilities, etc). Players are also presented with 'subraces' which allow further character details. For example, dwarves are given Hill Dwarf and Mountain Dwarf, from which to choose. A small side bar also provides short details on Duergar, but no game mechanics. Sidebars found within each race also give a racial outlook towards the other races.

Subraces for Elves include High Elves and Wood Elves, Halflings can choose from Lightfoot and Stout. Like the Duergar, there is a sidebar under Elves describing Drow, but there is no mechanical information. Humans are given several ethnicities from which to choose, all from regions based in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. There is also an included sidebar with mechanical details for playing alternate human traits for players wanting to use 'Feats' with reference to a chapter in the Player's Handbook.

One thing I noticed as part of the racial game mechanics, races are given attribute adjustments. Players of from AD&D and 2E will recall similar adjustments when selecting a race, the difference here being that the races all gain a bonus to their attributes and no negative adjustment. Dwarves gain a +2 CON, Elves and Halflings gain a +2 DEX, and Humans gain a +1 to all stats.

** This is probably the first mechanic I would change if I were running a game. I don't see why characters should only gain a bonus. I'm not sure how I would implement a change but I would. Hopefully there are alternate attribute adjustments in the core Dungeon Master's Guide.

Abilities for races are actually pretty standard in comparison to previous editions. Subraces generally grant additional abilities or benefits. Below are the standard abilities found for each race within the basic rules:

Dwarves:
Darkvision - Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dwarven - Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage (explained in chapter 9).
Dwarven Combat Training - You have proficiency with the battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer, and warhammer.
Tool Proficiency - You gain proficiency with the artisan’s tools of your choice: smith’s tools, brewer’s supplies, or mason’s tools.
Stonecunning - Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Elves:
Darkvision - Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen Senses - You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Fey Ancestry - You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Trance - Elves don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Halfling:
Lucky - When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave - You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Halfling Nimbleness - You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.

** Aside from the attribute adjustments, I think racial selections and related game mechanics are pretty close what was found in AD&D 2nd edition.
“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” ~ Wilfred Peterson, American Author

Cloak-n-Dagger
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Post by Cloak-n-Dagger » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:47 pm

Game Rules

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“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” ~ Wilfred Peterson, American Author

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Post by Cloak-n-Dagger » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:48 pm

Magic

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“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” ~ Wilfred Peterson, American Author

Ancalagon
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Post by Ancalagon » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:56 am

Cloak-n-Dagger wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:57 pm
Player’s Basic Rules Version 0.3<snip>
One thing I noticed as part of the racial game mechanics, races are given attribute adjustments. Players of from AD&D and 2E will recall similar adjustments when selecting a race, the difference here being that the races all gain a bonus to their attributes and no negative adjustment. Dwarves gain a +2 CON, Elves and Halflings gain a +2 DEX, and Humans gain a +1 to all stats.

** This is probably the first mechanic I would change if I were running a game. I don't see why characters should only gain a bonus. I'm not sure how I would implement a change but I would. Hopefully there are alternate attribute adjustments in the core Dungeon Master's Guide.

<snip>

Halfling:
Lucky - When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave - You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Halfling Nimbleness - You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.

** Aside from the attribute adjustments, I think racial selections and related game mechanics are pretty close what was found in AD&D 2nd edition.
I agree on the attribute adjustments. WotC's decision to go with no negatives could just be a marketing decision so players only have positive outcomes. Yuck.

I wonder why Halflings have resilience against fright. It wasn't in AD&D and the Hobbits in the Rings films were certainly running scared in numerous instances. I disagree with WotC's decision on this.

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