Friday, September 5, 2014
D&D to the 5th and 700th
Holy crap 700th post!!! What to talk about? Well how about this?
Played the new 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons and it was a damn good time!
We ran the first part of the starter set this past weekend. We grabbed the pre-generated characters and after a few minutes we had decided. We had a human fighter with Lord Douglas of Tripsy Stumble Manor, Thoradin the nuke dropping cleric and Pann Moonwhisper the soon to be very flamboyant elven mage.
We ran over our sheets and off we went to deliver some sundries. Along the way we were ambushed by goblins. After we barely survived that encounter we went looking to find them. That lead us to a cave full of the filthy beasts, which we cleared out and found a modicum of treasure. This was not so easy for some of the party as our nobleman kept falling into pits or down sloping hallways. There was also an issue of missing against peons, but we hit the monsters when it counted.
This game felt very familiar, like 2nd edition familiar. The basic characters are the same. The same six stats are there. Now there are a lot of non-combat skill checks which we are familiar with from playing 4th edition. Combat is a D20 roll and add any bonus to hit. There are various proficiencies for skills and combat. Everyone has one attack to start and can move. Gone are all the minor, major actions and crazy combat abilities (so far they are gone who knows what will be there as levels increase). The armor class is still the higher the better since we are never going back to lower armor is better. Magic is different and I think better with new spell preparation, 0 level cantrips and swapping spell levels. It makes spell casters more than just one and done at low levels. Melee looked similar with simple swing and roll damage.
So why does it feel like 2nd edition? Simple, you start with a D6,D8,D10, or D12 in hit points. We were almost wiped out by goblin archers. We are back from the nigh unkillable heroes of 4th, to the frail everymen of 2nd. It makes every battle a risk/reward, just like the days of yore. A single combat can see your character dead really quick, even if said combat is just a dirty old goblin. The damage rolls are all just tweaked a bit from the days of D4 daggers, D8 swords and D6 maces. All the extra combat stuff is gone. It is basic swing and add, instead of power choices and crazy bonuses. It really sort of feels like a tweaked version of 2nd edition and not something entirely different like 4th edition.
The new hotness seems to be this advantage/disadvantage roll. This involves rolling two D20 and taking the lowest (for disadvantage) and highest (for advantage) when making all kinds of checks. If you are not proficient with a weapon you can still use it, but at a disadvantage. This popped up a couple of times for us. I can see it becoming more common as we get into the game more. Especially in various combats and with spell effects. I like this mechanic and welcome the addition.
Every character needs the same amount of experience to level and that is awesome! The days of each class needing different amounts is gone and that is good! Plus it seems like they get you through those first few levels quickly. Hell we only needed 200 XP to reach second level. That is crazy.
There are still a lot of unknowns for this game. We just played with the pregens so there are character creation questions. Will there be a real multi-class? What races are available to play? We did not have any type of saving throw, resistance check or anything like that, so I have no idea if that is like a previous edition or something entirely new. Is the starter set spell list all there is right now? Why is the Monster Manual coming out so long after the Players handbook? What kind of treasure tables will there be? Will I buy $100 in books only to dump them like every other edition? Will this last longer than 4th?
I guess I’ll have to grab a Players Handbook and see what I can answer before I play again. Still with only one game under my belt, I think this new 5th edition will be a good time. If this is what they released instead of that mess they call 3rd edition I doubt we would have ever switched editions. If you are considered “old” and missing classic AD&D, then grab 5th edition. It feels like hanging out with a buddy you haven’t seen in many many years.
Seriously what kind of mess was 3rd edition D&D? If you have to patch it like computer software, then there is something wrong with the game. Sure it worked great on the PC (Neverwinter Nights), For those still holding onto that game version (and the 3.5 D&D/ Pathfinder world) I say leave it and jump onto 5th. It looks and feels like a damn fine, streamlined and fun system.