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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    So... I havenít played in an edition past the 2e era. Iím not just a grognard of D&D. Thatís somewhat misleading. I branched out in the 2000ís into narrative and ultra-lite beer & pretzel games. Up to and including 2e is still reasonable in terms of crunch...not too much, but itís really at the top of my crunch scale. My first browse at the 3e books when it came out scarred me. Iím lazy. I like to run things off the cuff, but preparing dungeons and scenarios is a fun little hobby in and of itself if itís well codified.

    Iím enjoying occasional dips into OD&D and B/X. Still lots of fun. But Iím wanting something that is well-supported in which I wonít have any trouble finding interested players. However, looking on the character sheets, it still looks like a lot of stuff to track. I know itís the standard for 300+ tomes, which I find unnecessary and off-putting. I want a game thatís supported that might allow me to run games in several modes: standard crawls, intrigue-based, or even more freeform player-driven action in which I can improv.

    Is 5e for me? Does it run (from the DMs side of things) fast and loose enough for a Ďcasual gamerí?

    Sell or unsell me, please!
    Running: [Barbarians of Lemuria] Princess of Satarla. IC. OOC.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    So... I havenít played in an edition past the 2e era. Iím not just a grognard of D&D. Thatís somewhat misleading. I branched out in the 2000ís into narrative and ultra-lite beer & pretzel games. Up to and including 2e is still reasonable in terms of crunch...not too much, but itís really at the top of my crunch scale. My first browse at the 3e books when it came out scarred me. Iím lazy. I like to run things off the cuff, but preparing dungeons and scenarios is a fun little hobby in and of itself if itís well codified.

    Iím enjoying occasional dips into OD&D and B/X. Still lots of fun. But Iím wanting something that is well-supported in which I wonít have any trouble finding interested players. However, looking on the character sheets, it still looks like a lot of stuff to track. I know itís the standard for 300+ tomes, which I find unnecessary and off-putting. I want a game thatís supported that might allow me to run games in several modes: standard crawls, intrigue-based, or even more freeform player-driven action in which I can improv.

    Is 5e for me? Does it run (from the DMs side of things) fast and loose enough for a Ďcasual gamerí?

    Sell or unsell me, please!
    5e feels a lot like 2e to me (at least without the Complete xyz series of add-ons). Start with just the core three books and it'll probably be fine.

    OTOH, if you like lighter games but want a D&D feel, I've found that Shadow of the Demon Lord is a great game.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    5e feels a lot like 2e to me (at least without the Complete xyz series of add-ons). Start with just the core three books and it'll probably be fine.

    OTOH, if you like lighter games but want a D&D feel, I've found that Shadow of the Demon Lord is a great game.
    Thanks! SotDL is lighter? I know itís somewhat popular and has good production values, but it seems only a fraction as popular as D&D. Would you agree with that?
    Running: [Barbarians of Lemuria] Princess of Satarla. IC. OOC.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    So... I havenít played in an edition past the 2e era. Iím not just a grognard of D&D. Thatís somewhat misleading. I branched out in the 2000ís into narrative and ultra-lite beer & pretzel games. Up to and including 2e is still reasonable in terms of crunch...not too much, but itís really at the top of my crunch scale. My first browse at the 3e books when it came out scarred me. Iím lazy. I like to run things off the cuff, but preparing dungeons and scenarios is a fun little hobby in and of itself if itís well codified.

    Iím enjoying occasional dips into OD&D and B/X. Still lots of fun. But Iím wanting something that is well-supported in which I wonít have any trouble finding interested players. However, looking on the character sheets, it still looks like a lot of stuff to track. I know itís the standard for 300+ tomes, which I find unnecessary and off-putting. I want a game thatís supported that might allow me to run games in several modes: standard crawls, intrigue-based, or even more freeform player-driven action in which I can improv.

    Is 5e for me? Does it run (from the DMs side of things) fast and loose enough for a Ďcasual gamerí?

    Sell or unsell me, please!
    No, it's a WotC game, which means that it's still a combat-oriented game riddled with technical minutiae, and characters are exception-based widget decks. It's a great platform for CRPGs and forum arguments, but as far as TTRPG play goes if you're looking for a rules-lite experience you would be better off playing OD&D or an OSR game.
    I like the way AD&D PCs are grounded in mythic fantasy archetypes. 5E has too much HP inflation and too few consequences... In AD&D 2nd edition, a high-level fighter can potentially fall from orbit and survive the 20d6 HP of damage (plus saving throw vs. death) that entails, and be perfectly healthy again only a few weeks later; in 5E, a 6th level wizard can fall from orbit and not only survive but be perfectly healthy again only a few hours later. I feel the AD&D way leads to better adventures.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    5e is made with the philosophy that everything is a bit loose, so that the DM can easily fill in the gaps where the rules aren't concrete.

    For example, DCs for EVERYTHING scale on a range of 5 (impossibly easy) to 30 (impossibly hard) for every level.

    Additionally, rather than a +1 - +5 tally for a bunch of different conditional things for different actions, the game utilizes a concept called Advantage or Disadvantage for everything, which is simply just rerolling and keeping the highest or lowest of the 2d20.

    Blinded attack? That's Disadvantage.

    Drank a potion of Nigh Invulnerability? Your saving throws have Advantage for the next minute.

    Make a called shot to the boss's weak point? Disadvantage on your attack, but add +10 damage if it hits. (Not a real rule, but why not?)

    Everything uses a common system, so you don't need to track much of anything. Most of the classes are inherently balanced well, so you don't really need to sway anything in anyone's favor. There are features that recharge halfway in the day, and others that recharge after a full night's sleep, so you can sway between having a ton of fights or a few.


    While 5e has hard mechanics and rules, a lot of it is written in a way that the DM can easily pick and pull what he wants or decides whether or not a rule is relevant. And as a DM, with everything using the same scale, it's fairly easy to make up scenarios on the fly or adopt a mechanic in the middle of a boss fight (the constant thunderclaps of the machine knock you prone if you don't succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the start of each of your turns, etc).

    -------

    That being said, a lot of the core mechanics revolve around combat and having a single DM, so it might not fit your playstyle. There are a lot of homebrew solutions that people have made that fit pretty well together, though, due to the fact that the system is pretty streamlined.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-01-11 at 05:38 PM.

    Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, using existing classes to open up more unique character builds.
    Improved Ability Checks, fixing unused skills by improving player agency.
    Improved Stealth, creating long-term stealth that supports melee combat.
    Improved Initiative, maintaining tension even after combat ends.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    So... I havenít played in an edition past the 2e era. Iím not just a grognard of D&D. Thatís somewhat misleading. I branched out in the 2000ís into narrative and ultra-lite beer & pretzel games. Up to and including 2e is still reasonable in terms of crunch...not too much, but itís really at the top of my crunch scale. My first browse at the 3e books when it came out scarred me. Iím lazy. I like to run things off the cuff, but preparing dungeons and scenarios is a fun little hobby in and of itself if itís well codified.

    Iím enjoying occasional dips into OD&D and B/X. Still lots of fun. But Iím wanting something that is well-supported in which I wonít have any trouble finding interested players. However, looking on the character sheets, it still looks like a lot of stuff to track. I know itís the standard for 300+ tomes, which I find unnecessary and off-putting. I want a game thatís supported that might allow me to run games in several modes: standard crawls, intrigue-based, or even more freeform player-driven action in which I can improv.

    Is 5e for me? Does it run (from the DMs side of things) fast and loose enough for a Ďcasual gamerí?

    Sell or unsell me, please!
    Yes, it is for you.

    My take away of 5e is that it:
    1. Aims for the same general tone as early-to-mid 2nd edition
    2. Uses a game engine that adopts the core mechanical refinements of the 3rd edition d20 system (which I find generally superior to the TSR engine, which was still bogged down with legacy war-gaming elements).
    3. Avoids (or at least limits) the rules complexity and power creep of 3rd and late 2nd edition by maintaining overarching design guidance and static mechanical power targets.
    4. A better long-term product strategy for maintaining #3 (above), chiefly in terms of long-form adventure modules representing a significant chunk of publications (as opposed to leaning primarily on publishing new mechanics).
    5. Uses a light-touch approach to combat and other tactical play, which makes it play faster and looser than the more tactically intricate 4th edition*.


    5th sounds exactly like what you are asking for. Give it a try.

    *Random aside on 4th: 4th edition was a well made, enjoyable, and intricate tactical game. In many ways, the resembles a great deal what I would expect if the original proposition of D&D 74 - adapting the strategic tabletop war gaming that descend from Chainmail to a tactical 5 man context - were executed on a blank slate today. That makes it a good model of what D&D might look like if it were invented today, but it also inherently abandons all of the changes then make D&D what it is to most people.
    Last edited by Hecuba; 2019-01-11 at 05:57 PM.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Thanks! SotDL is lighter? I know itís somewhat popular and has good production values, but it seems only a fraction as popular as D&D. Would you agree with that?
    Sure, it gets far less exposure than D&D, but that's true of just about any game. However, you can spin up a game of SotDL very quickly and it requires no system mastery to enjoy.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Speaking as someone who started playing D&D at the tail end of 2e, didnít much like the ďPlayersí OptionĒ splats (particularly Combat & Tacticsí combat system), tried 3.X and didnít much like it, tried 4e and didnít like it, and finally tried 5e...Iím pretty sold on 5e. Iím not necessarily saying itís a better game than 2eóI actually like (parts of) 2e better stillóbut itís much easier to get a 5e game going nowadays, and...well, itís turned out to be a close second to 2e in terms of my enjoyment of it. It manages to bring back a lot of the feel of older D&D despite having considerably different mechanics. It felt like I was playing D&D again, even though the rules were quite different, not something I didnít really feel like I recognized anymore like I felt about 3.X and 4e.

    5e is fairly easy to DM. The rules for building reasonably-balanced encounters are easy enough to use, and various online encounter-builders like KoboldFightClub can make it even easier. Enemies arenít built like PCs, unlike 3rd edition, so the amount of crunch in an enemy statblock is pretty manageable. The amount of rules you need to know off the top of your head, as opposed to looking up special circumstances, is pretty small, and the number of soecial circumstances youíll need to look up is also fairly small. Itís got more crunch than the Red Box of Mentzer BECMI, yes, but itís generally a bit...if not necessarily simpler per se, more streamlined and with a gentler learning curve than 2e. Fewer distinct subsystems like the percentile dice Thief skills, for instance. And the vast majority of fiddly bonuses and penalties from 3e/3.5 have been replaced by the Advantage/Disadvantage system, for another example.

    For players, itís quite forgiving of unoptimized character builds, and itís a lot easier for DMs to avoid accidentally killing low-level characters than AD&D was. Itís generally regarded as the most ďnewbie friendlyĒ of the various editions; thereís mechanical depth to be found if you dig, but itís also quite workable to just go with what looks cool. Itís hard to build an outright bad character, and combat isnít horrendously complex and it tends to move reasonably fast.

    A couple of things I always advise new 5e DMs:

    First, to treat it as though itís a completely new game with completely new rules, and donít assume anything from prior editions carries over, even if it uses the same terminology as a prior edition. It might have carried over completely intact, or it might use the same term to mean something very different, or it might be very subtly different but in a way that does have significant gameplay implications. Approach 5e as a whole new beast and, perhaps paradoxically, itíll be a lot easier to learn.

    Second, to run it by the default rules, without houseruling or digging into optional DMG rules, for at least a short campaignómore than a few sessions, and definitely more than one sessionóbefore starting to change things around, so you can get a feel for the system and why it does the things it does. A lot of things I thought Iíd dislike because they didnít fit the ďold schoolĒ style and preconceptions Iíd brought from AD&D, actually turned out to work really well within the context of 5e, whereas things I tried to do to ďmake it more old-schoolĒ (mainly dialing up the lethality and toning down the ďeasy healingĒ via some optional rules in the DMG) turned out to work kinda poorly for the way 5e is designed.

    My personal recommendation is to pick up the 5e Starter Set and play through the included adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver, either using the included pregenerated characters or by having the players create characters from the free SRD pdf (or the PHB if theyíve already got it). LMoP is a well-regarded, well-designed adventure module that serves as a great introduction to 5eís mechanics, and the starter set also includes a reasonably simple straightforward overview of the basic rules except for character creation. The Starter Set generally runs less than $20 USD, and the SRD (and a couple of other PDFs that further simplify things, the ďBasic RulesĒ pdfs) is free, so it wonít take a huge financial investment to see if 5e is for you or not.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Dude. It's the best version of the game since either 1E or 3.0 depending on your tastes. 5E is a greatest hits edition, and it hits a very nice sweet spot.

    This is coming from someone who's been playing for 33 years, and worked at the publisher of the game for a little over a 1/3rd of that time.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    If you liked any earlier version of D&D (4e was not D&D, sorry), you'll probably like 5e. It's more streamlined than prior versions, in good ways rather than bad ways.

    But it's still D&D. You have chinese menus of options, races that have big mechanical effects on your classes, and arbitrary lists of spells with little said in the way of making up your own.

    One specific change that stands out as worth mentioning is that in 5e, many spells require the caster to concentrate on them for the duration or they fizzle out, and you can only concentrate on one spell at a time. The basic idea is this limits buffs & debuffs you can have active at any one time. Various homebrews have added in feats or things that increase how many spells you can concentrate on, but to my knowledge in the official materials this is a hard limit. My problem with this mechanic is that the list of such spells seems completely motivated by gamist combat concerns rather than any sensible interpretation of things. Your mileage may vary.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Wow! Thanks, all, for your detailed responses so far, especially those of you who know from where Iím coming. I may have some more questions. I certainly like that I can have a complete game without all the splatbooks 2e had, and that the support is geared toward adventures.
    Running: [Barbarians of Lemuria] Princess of Satarla. IC. OOC.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    ...but ó and I should have noted this in my initial observations before asking here ó there is no pdf version?! Thatís a dealbreaker for me. I donít have the shelf space for large gamebooks. At most, I might be able to add one or two digest-sized volume of any size to my collection.

    Sheesh. I guess this is to combat piracy? What century are we in now?
    Running: [Barbarians of Lemuria] Princess of Satarla. IC. OOC.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Wow! Thanks, all, for your detailed responses so far, especially those of you who know from where Iím coming. I may have some more questions. I certainly like that I can have a complete game without all the splatbooks 2e had, and that the support is geared toward adventures.
    Unfortunately they aren't good adventures.
    I like the way AD&D PCs are grounded in mythic fantasy archetypes. 5E has too much HP inflation and too few consequences... In AD&D 2nd edition, a high-level fighter can potentially fall from orbit and survive the 20d6 HP of damage (plus saving throw vs. death) that entails, and be perfectly healthy again only a few weeks later; in 5E, a 6th level wizard can fall from orbit and not only survive but be perfectly healthy again only a few hours later. I feel the AD&D way leads to better adventures.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    ...but ó and I should have noted this in my initial observations before asking here ó there is no pdf version?! Thatís a dealbreaker for me. I donít have the shelf space for large gamebooks. At most, I might be able to add one or two digest-sized volume of any size to my collection.

    Sheesh. I guess this is to combat piracy? What century are we in now?
    You might want to have a look at dndbeyond.com for electronic versions. You're buying access to book content through their site, not an electronic document, but they have an app that will cache the contents of the works you've purchased so you can reference them offline. They'll also let you purchase books piecemeal if you want, picking and choosing races, monsters, spells, items, etc. If you later want to buy the entire work, it's discounted by the amount you've already paid for the parts you have.

    I've found it useful enough for ease of reference that I rarely use physical copies of anything now when running a game.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    For now I would just read the free Basic Rules pdf. It's the full game rules plus the four basic classes. There's a lot more in the Player's Handbook, but this is a perfectly adequate way to get an impression of the system and whether that looks inviting or not.

    I'm someone who has come to loath 3rd edtion and never bothered with 4th edition, and have almost nothing but praise for B/X. And now I really like how 5th edition looks and can't wait to start my first campaign soon. But I find it quite important to understand that this game is not an improved version of either B/X or AD&D. That was what I was looking for when 5th edition came out, and why I went on to ignore it for the next several years.
    But judging it now as its own game, I really like what I am seeing. But it's not AD&D 3rd edtion.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    As someone who cut their teeth on 1st edition AD&D, played some Pathfinder, and now 5e, along with other RPGs like FFGs Star Wars, Iíd say 5e feels more like a sequel to 1e than it does 3e or 4e. Although, Iíve never played 4e, I have read the PHB.

    Just DMed for my wife and her sisters a few days back and I ran it fast and loose. But, that really depends on the DM.
    Last edited by Ghatt; 2019-01-12 at 04:38 AM.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    ...but ó and I should have noted this in my initial observations before asking here ó there is no pdf version?! Thatís a dealbreaker for me. I donít have the shelf space for large gamebooks. At most, I might be able to add one or two digest-sized volume of any size to my collection.

    Sheesh. I guess this is to combat piracy? What century are we in now?
    The lack of legal pdf versions, rather than simply paid access to the (potentially quite pricy, but full of admittedly more powerful tools and features than a simple bookmarked pdf) D&DBeyond site, is infuriating and nonsensical, yes. That said, there are free pdfs of the ďBasic RulesĒ (Playerís Basic Rules and DMís Basic Rules, slimmed-down versions of the rulesónothing actually changed from the full version, but quite a lot of customization options such as feats, most classes, most subclasses, optional rules, a lot of spells, and a lot of monsters monsters omitted) and the SRD (much more optional content than the Basic rules, but not 100% complete by any stretch. Both have the fundamental system rules youíd need to play a game, though. So if you want to test drive 5e, doing so without resorting to piracy can cost you as little as ďnothing but your groupís time.Ē).
    Last edited by JAL_1138; 2019-01-12 at 06:59 AM.
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    Second, to run it by the default rules, without houseruling or digging into optional DMG rules, for at least a short campaignómore than a few sessions, and definitely more than one sessionóbefore starting to change things around, so you can get a feel for the system and why it does the things it does. A lot of things I thought Iíd dislike because they didnít fit the ďold schoolĒ style and preconceptions Iíd brought from AD&D, actually turned out to work really well within the context of 5e, whereas things I tried to do to ďmake it more old-schoolĒ (mainly dialing up the lethality and toning down the ďeasy healingĒ via some optional rules in the DMG) turned out to work kinda poorly for the way 5e is designed.
    This.
    Houseruling is good, but most thing are in the rules for a reason, and usually a good one (and possibly a counter-intuitive one), and you may not understand it without testing. So use the standard rule (with feats, and giving only few magic items) first, and then adapt if needed.
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2019-01-13 at 07:10 AM.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Based on your comments. I would think it would be worth trying. The investment is relatively low since you can play it with just the Player's hand book. If you have DMed before the DMG is really not required unless you want some of the fluffier magic items. The monster manual would give you more opponents but some of introductory type modules (like Lost Mines of Phandelver if you want pre-created content) will give you most of what you need.

    I mostly played AD&D (1e) and dabbled in the others. I personally find 5e to be much better designed, balanced and streamlined compared to any of the earlier editions while not sacrificing any of the role playing game flavor. It is still a dungeon's and dragons combat and role playing game ... it still has three main pillars of play ... social, exploration and combat. A DM can choose to run their campaign to emphasize any of these, mix it up or whatever they like. If you are looking for something that is NOT D&D then this is not what you want ... if you want a D&D system that is simpler and more streamlined than 1e, 2e and certainly 3e/3.5e/PF then this might be what you would like.

    One of the reasons I think for the increased popularity of D&D is that they kept a lot of the flavor but applied some more simplified design mechanics so it retains a lot of fun and flexibility while dropping a lot of the minutiae that appealed to folks wanting to play a medieval fantasy simulation ... but not so much to folks interested in a fantasy role playing game.



    Some of the design aspects
    - there are only three types of dice rolls - attack rolls/saving throws and skill checks - each is a d20. There is a target number defined by the difficulty of the task and a modifier based on your stats/skills/level - roll the die and if it higher than the target number, you succeed. The mechanic is the same to resolve hitting someone in combat, avoiding full damage from a fireball, or convincing someone to let you into the busy pub.
    - the idea of bounded accuracy. The modifiers are modest and as a result a level 20 character may only have a 25% better chance of hitting a creature than a level 1 might have. This makes it much easier to have a level or two gap or range in levels in a party and still have everyone feel like they are contributing. It also makes play into the higher levels more accessible and fun.

    ... lots of other little differences

    However, as folks have suggested here ... try playing it and don't change anything until you have played quite a bit ... some of the elements that seem a bit overpowered when you first encounter them end up feeling quite well put together after being played for a while (e.g. doubling of all damage dice on a critical hit).

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    As someone who views 5e negatively (IMO, it's oversimplified and caters too much to sacred cows which are outright bad for the game), I'd still say it'll probably be a good game for you. While playing 5e, I'd always felt that it was something like editions before 3e, but streamlined and polished with some additions from 3e and 4e that mostly contributed to ease of play and accessibility. So in that way, 5e is definitely a game for grognards. There should definitely be PDFs for sale, probably at dndbeyond.com or something.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    One word of caution for a grognard: 5e tends to be very soft-handed and forgiving to player characters. Character deaths after 5th level or so tend to be very rare, and magical healing is much less needed in this since anything short of death can be wiped away with a good night's sleep. There is almost nothing that an long (overnight) rest won't fix. Parties tend to go into each day at 100% capabilities, and this can become a problem if they are not required to spend that day's resources carefully. If you are used to extremely challenging resource management in your games, 5e doesn't really provide that beyond the realm of a single day.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    One word of caution for a grognard: 5e tends to be very soft-handed and forgiving to player characters. Character deaths after 5th level or so tend to be very rare, and magical healing is much less needed in this since anything short of death can be wiped away with a good night's sleep. There is almost nothing that an long (overnight) rest won't fix. Parties tend to go into each day at 100% capabilities, and this can become a problem if they are not required to spend that day's resources carefully. If you are used to extremely challenging resource management in your games, 5e doesn't really provide that beyond the realm of a single day.
    You do need to be on top of the resource management aspect of the game, and encounter building, and managing your players adventuring days.

    Once you get that though, the game works great.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    You do need to be on top of the resource management aspect of the game, and encounter building, and managing your players adventuring days.

    Once you get that though, the game works great.
    Whereas in old school D&D the players were required to do their own resource management and management of days, and it wasn't the DM's problem if encounters were unbalanced (many of them were and it was up to the players to avoid or work around it). 5e is made for players that expect to be able to win all the time. It's vastly different from older (pre-3e) D&D in that regard.

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keravath View Post
    Based on your comments. I would think it would be worth trying. The investment is relatively low since you can play it with just the Player's hand book. If you have DMed before the DMG is really not required unless you want some of the fluffier magic items. The monster manual would give you more opponents but some of introductory type modules (like Lost Mines of Phandelver if you want pre-created content) will give you most of what you need.
    Thatís an intriguing idea, and one that perhaps I can get behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keravath View Post
    - the idea of bounded accuracy. The modifiers are modest and as a result a level 20 character may only have a 25% better chance of hitting a creature than a level 1 might have. This makes it much easier to have a level or two gap or range in levels in a party and still have everyone feel like they are contributing. It also makes play into the higher levels more accessible and fun.
    Thatís not what I would have expected. Thatís a crazy notion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    As someone who views 5e negatively (IMO, it's oversimplified and caters too much to sacred cows which are outright bad for the game), I'd still say it'll probably be a good game for you. While playing 5e, I'd always felt that it was something like editions before 3e, but streamlined and polished with some additions from 3e and 4e that mostly contributed to ease of play and accessibility. So in that way, 5e is definitely a game for grognards. There should definitely be PDFs for sale, probably at dndbeyond.com or something.
    Streamlined and polished is good. +

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    One word of caution for a grognard: 5e tends to be very soft-handed and forgiving to player characters. Character deaths after 5th level or so tend to be very rare, and magical healing is much less needed in this since anything short of death can be wiped away with a good night's sleep. There is almost nothing that an long (overnight) rest won't fix. Parties tend to go into each day at 100% capabilities, and this can become a problem if they are not required to spend that day's resources carefully. If you are used to extremely challenging resource management in your games, 5e doesn't really provide that beyond the realm of a single day.
    Thatís not surprising and doesnít necessarily daunt me. I play some other heroic level contemporary-minded games, so I assume this would naturally creep into the design.

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    Whereas in old school D&D the players were required to do their own resource management and management of days, and it wasn't the DM's problem if encounters were unbalanced (many of them were and it was up to the players to avoid or work around it). 5e is made for players that expect to be able to win all the time. It's vastly different from older (pre-3e) D&D in that regard.
    Hmm, thatís somewhat troubling. Are the guidelines for balance easy, and do they work?
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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Hmm, thatís somewhat troubling. Are the guidelines for balance easy, and do they work?
    Yes and yes. Really, as long as you allow time and options for 1-3 short rests between each full rest (for days/events that matter) and average more than 1 resource-consuming encounter between each of those rests on those days, you'll be fine. You might hear "6-8 encounters", but that assumes medium (no substantial threat, small resource drain) encounters.

    Another tip: 5e does not handle "big solo monster" fights well, especially at low levels. Action economy is king. Minions are your friends.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Hmm, thatís somewhat troubling. Are the guidelines for balance easy, and do they work?
    In my experience, the guidelines are a reasonable starting point for you to get a gut feeling to go from there.

    When it comes to "targets are easier to hit", one thing to keep in mind is the HP is used as a defensive buffer, so the inflated HP to the damage of the players does mean that higher level threats are still threats with regards to combat. Yes you can hit the dragon easily enough, but it's going to annihilate you if you are not skilled enough to take it on.

    As far as skills go, after you run through the game, if you like the system well enough, I recommend using 2d10 for skills, which curves the skill roll distribution, making the added bonus more apparent. For a even greater curve, use Proficiency Dice (1d4 instead of +2, 1d6 for +3, etc.) With Expertise maximising the roll (behaving as normal). This means that your skill rolls will tend greatly to your average roll, and your static modifier matters more, so you feel liked skilled people are actually good at what they do.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Hmm, thatís somewhat troubling. Are the guidelines for balance easy, and do they work?
    The game works best with a median of around 6 medium-hard encounters per long rest (8 hour rest) with around 2-3 'short rests' of an hour granted over that same time frame.

    So your average dungeon level, or similar.

    Thats only adventuring days, not days of travel or roleplaying or days not spent with at least 1 encounter.

    If you're running games with no more than 0-3 encounters in a single day as a median (i.e. more wilderness based, and less dungeon based) then there are options in the DMG for that (its called 'gritty realism' where long rests become a while week in town, and short rests are overnight affairs).

    If you use too few encounters between long rests (whether you make them overnight, or a whole week), players will 'nova' and dump all their long rest abilities into that encounter and cream it.

    This not only mucks about with encounter difficulty, it also invalidates several classes (Warlock, Fighter and Monk who are all Short rest based classes) while buffing others (Barbarians, Paladins and full Casters who are all long rest based).

    Your natural reaction will be to dial up encounter difficulty. DONT! This only entrenches the above issue (players will be forced to nova, just to survive, and those short rest classes will suck even more) plus it leads to boring rocket tag, and a high chance of a random TPK.

    The best way to deal with it is to push those six or so encounters on the party (with enough time to short rest at least twice) as a median. Make them ration those abilities, and use them when they count instead of dumping them all in the first few rounds (and ensuring your short rest classes, get enough short rests to enable them to keep up with the long rest based classes).

    Doom clocks work great in this regard (save the princess/ recover the macguffin/ stop the ritual by midnight or else bad thing X happens kind of thing) as does using the alternate rest variants provided above (or a simple chat with your players to avoid that kind of thing).

    In my own games, we've reduced short rests to 5 minutes long, but with a hard 'no more than 2 per long rest' cap on them. That fixes the short rest issue; from there the DM only has to worry about providing e enough encounters to challenge the long rest classes.

    Remember - the above is only a median. You can have the occasional longer or shorter adventuring day (or days with only the one really deadly encounter). It gives you a chance (as DM) to pull some different levers to move the spotlight from player to player simply b varying the number of encounters that adventuring day, or the number of short rests, or both.

    It's a useful tool when you get the hang of it, but you should know about it before going in and DMing.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    One other note about the guidelines--they're intentionally set to be generous to the players. That is, a Medium encounter should pose no significant threat to a baseline party[1]. Each group can and must adjust to taste.

    [1] A baseline party is 4 players, no feats, no multiclassing, no (or few) magic items of combat significance. If you're giving out lots of +X (to hit, AC, or save DC) items or using feats and/or multiclassing, the guidelines will significantly undershoot expectations for difficulty. Basically, a "full power" (feats + multiclassing + common items) will generally treat each encounter category as one lower-- Deadly becomes Hard, Hard becomes Medium, etc.

    This is intentional. TTRPGs are a significant investment of time and money. Many new groups will fall apart at a TPK, especially if it seems they did everything right (followed the rules). So the baseline is set to "no TPKs" and then can be scaled upward if desired. If you or your group are significantly motivated by "challenge" and/or are heavy optimizers, you'll want to adjust upward--increase the adventuring day budget by about 1.5x as a start. That could mean more encounters or replacing a medium with a hard, a hard with a deadly, etc.

    My group isn't really challenge focused, so it works fine for us.
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by roryb View Post
    Is 5e for me? Does it run (from the DMs side of things) fast and loose enough for a Ďcasual gamerí?

    Sell or unsell me, please!
    5e brought me back to the game. 2e was bloated, for me, and 3.x was far too rulesy for me, and also some things in life changed, so I packed up my D&D stuff and put it away for a lot of years. Most of my D&D time over the years was OD&D, AD&D 1e, some 2e, quite a bit of Empire of the Petal throne (a lot like D&D but also unlike it somewhat) and we also played things like Runequest (original), Traveller (original), Chivalry and sorcery (original) and some other stuff.

    5e can be as simple as original D&D, but if you want it to be a bit more complicated, it has room to be so. It is, after all, WoTC and the d20 system.

    Rulings over rules? Yes. Room to riff and improvise? Yes.

    Combat at first level is swingy. Not hard for a character to drop to 0 HP in the first encounter. (But you get some "death saves" so a re roll immediately isn't needed).

    You can download the free basic rules on WoTC site, you can down load some pregenerated characters too (or have your players roll them up) and run some adventures from levels 1-4 pretty easily using just what's free. There is actually enough in that, and in the SRD (free, with one archetype for each class) to get you well into levels 12-15 if you all take to it.

    If you want all rules in electonic form, do as suggested and sign up at D&D beyond.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-01-13 at 12:30 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Player agency doesn't mean they get to roll for everything. Agency means that they control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: [Sell Me] 5e. A game for a grognard?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    One other note about the guidelines--they're intentionally set to be generous to the players. That is, a Medium encounter should pose no significant threat to a baseline party[1]. Each group can and must adjust to taste.

    [1] A baseline party is 4 players, no feats, no multiclassing, no (or few) magic items of combat significance. If you're giving out lots of +X (to hit, AC, or save DC) items or using feats and/or multiclassing, the guidelines will significantly undershoot expectations for difficulty. Basically, a "full power" (feats + multiclassing + common items) will generally treat each encounter category as one lower-- Deadly becomes Hard, Hard becomes Medium, etc.

    This is intentional. TTRPGs are a significant investment of time and money. Many new groups will fall apart at a TPK, especially if it seems they did everything right (followed the rules). So the baseline is set to "no TPKs" and then can be scaled upward if desired. If you or your group are significantly motivated by "challenge" and/or are heavy optimizers, you'll want to adjust upward--increase the adventuring day budget by about 1.5x as a start. That could mean more encounters or replacing a medium with a hard, a hard with a deadly, etc.

    My group isn't really challenge focused, so it works fine for us.
    They also figured out that mathematically that even a 5 - 10 percent of a TPK in an encounter means fewer than 1/100 parties survive to 5th level.

    The expectation in a medium difficulty encounter is the players win, expending a portion of their resources (HP, slots, smites, rages, potions etc) in the attempt. The overall challenge is completing the adventuring day/ adventure (of half a dozen or so encoutners) without dying, while managing your resources (HP, slots, rages, smites, kit points, P etc) not just surviving an encounter.

    Once you get with that concept, you can create some really epic adventures and campaigns.

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