Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition)

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The dice know. They always know….. And mine just hate me (in that dramatic story telling way…).

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Players: 2 – 7 (realistically)
Ages: 10+
Time: Infinite, in 3 to 5 hour sessions

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The core three, and others that I’ve spent my hard earning money on (totally worth it!).

Okay, so I don’t really know if I can do a full break down for Dungeons and Dragons. There is so much history behind this game, with its various editions over the years. What I can do is give an opinion on what I see for 5th edition and why I’m enjoying it.

So first let’s look at the formula. Mostly not much has changed. You still need a basic set of dice, pen and paper, some friends, imagination (or at least friends that have enough to help you out if you’re lacking!) and the core three books (Player’s Handbook,, and Monster Manual. Or you can pick up the starter set). You still need a Dungeon Master to run the story (be it one that he/she has made, or through one of the pre-made campaigns). The players have to respond, and thwart all of the DM’s efforts (but that’s expected). So this all fits the bill.

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Make sure to read and follow the disclaimers in each book.

Well, how does it compare from character creation and how you play? So having only really played 3.5 and 4th ed, I’ll use these as reference points. And basically it feels like a hybrid of the two. First, character creation and skills are very simple to customize, but lack the full depth that was seen in 3.5. This is okay, because the set that is left feels like a good baseline, meaning you can always find one that fits what you are trying to do. You may even be able to trim it down a bit further depending on how lax your DM is (or by how creatively you can express your plan/actions).

Okay, so what about combat? Well, 5th edition has moved away from the move, minor, major system. It’s a bit simpler with just move and action. Some characters get bonus actions which act like a minor action, but it’s not something everybody has.  With the combination of character creation/playing, and a simplified combat everything seems to flow really well.

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Showing some of the great art at the start of the combat section.

Another thing I feel that is worth sharing is the ease of character creation. 5th edition has made it super simple to make characters. Die hards will want to run random stat creation, but I much prefer the point buy system that’s included in this edition. Point buy just seems to be a much more balanced way to create a character, and starts all of the player characters out on an even footing. Speaking as a DM, this is a really good thing. It helps to balance out the players, such that everybody will have something they can specialize in.

The last item I really want to touch on is the current online tools and support. First and foremost is that Wizards of the Coast has created a free pdf (located here), which has some of the races and classes detailed in it. This allows play groups to try out the system before committing to purchasing the different books. Along with this, the developers and community have been hard at work creating home rules and modifications to make the experience more unique. If these are good enough (as determined by Wizards and the community), these ideas may get released as an Unearthed Arcana update. Which are basically optional rules, that Wizards of the Coast have signed off on to add some flavor and variety to your game.

So all in all, I’m extremely happy with where D&D has gone with 5th ed. For me, looking back, 4th was far too much combat with far to little RP. 3.5 was too much RP and not enough combat. 5th seems to hit the spot that balances quite nicely between the two. Along with this, there have been a slew of published adventures, and supplemental materials to make this edition great (by not only Wizards, but by third parties as well). I do wish there was an all in one (digital or otherwise) of all the expanded races and characters that show up in the extra material (adventures and player supplements). If you enjoy D&D, I would definitely give 5th edition a try.

Pros:

  • Familiar feel and style.
  • Easy character creation.
  • Tons of online support and supplemental material.
  • Free starter guide to try it out.
  • There have been some erratas released that help balance certain classes to make them more playable.

Cons:

  • You have to get all the books…… again.
  • Separating out what rules belong in what edition is starting to become confusing.
  • There have been some erratas released that help balance, which you will need to know about and look up to use (print media, what are you gonna do?).

 

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