Monday, July 7, 2014

My Tiny, Petty Quibble with Fifth Edition

I honestly like what I've seen of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. Depending how much the Player's Handbook changes things, it's shaping up to my favorite version of “official” D&D.

I like that it tossed out a lot of what I felt was unnecessary dross and bloat of the last 2 ½ editions. I like the simplicity of the new system. I like the lack of math. I love the simple elegance of Advantage/Disadvantage.

I like the binary “you have it or you don't” nature of the very short list of skills.

I love that D&D 5th Ed pretty much adopted the magic system from Adventurer Conqueror King.

I love, love, love Backgrounds. They remind me of Kits from 2nd Edition and goshdarnit I liked Kits!

I even like using Hit Dice to heal and recovering all your HP after a good night's rest. It means no one is “forced” to play the healer (says the guy that actually likes playing clerics).


After games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Carcosa and Dungeon Crawl Classics, D&D 5th Ed, as presented so far, looks so... darn... boring.

After alien, demon-bound elves, dangerously mutative sorcery, 1st level Summoning spells that can shatter the universe with a bad roll, and so many robots, D&D 5th Ed comes across as so safe and dull. High Elves safely slinging magic missiles at goblins and Mountain Dwarves swinging warhammers at orcs. Ho hum...
Gentlemen, madam, we meet again.
Now, I understand that D&D is presented as a vanilla, mostly-setting-free system, but so was LotFP and DCC. I know we've only seen the Basic PDF and a couple of adventures, but I really doubt that the upcoming core books are going to tweak up the weird. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.

Can't I just “strange-up” and "danger-up" a potential D&D 5th Ed game on my own? Well, yeah, of course I can, and it would be really fun to do, too.

But for now, while I really like the new version of D&D, it doesn't just doesn't get excited.

I mean, I'm still 80% likely to order the core books, but...


  1. Of course it's safe. WotC is owned by the same company that produces the Candy Land game and licenses nostalgic properties to idiot filmmakers (G.I. Joes, Transformers, Battleship, Hungry Hungry Hippos . . .).

    1. You're not wrong. And I'm not really surprised that D&D is safe and dull. I think I'm mostly surprised to realize how bored I am with vanilla fantasy. I didn't realize how much my tastes had changed over the past few years.

  2. DCC and LotFP appeal to a very narrow sub-set of an already small niche hobby. D&D has to have broader appeal. Indeed in order for it to be commercially successful it has to have the broadest appeal of any game.

    At your table though there is nothing that needs to seperate how you play it from how you play the other games.