Perhaps the only thing on the net to rival all the talk of Johnny Football is conversations on 5e D&D. They have a lot in common with people speculating on if they are good or bad without a game being played. At least in the case of Johnny Football we have tape of him in college. With 5e we just have previous editions. But with the new game of D&D just like the NFL the rules are changed in ways that make it tough to judge them before the first snap or die is rolled.
When looking at 5e D&D I do so through my own eyes. I am not going to talk about or be concerned with it the Starter Set does its job to allow new gamers to understand and be attracted to the game. I am also not interested in the started adventure except to say it should have included Aleena and Bargle in it. I also will not look at every aspect of the new game that is out. There are some things that just don’t interest me to write about. I do hope to get everything correct but it is always possible I get a rule wrong as this is a new game.
I don’t like the way it is being released with little nuggets at a time and lack of solid information. I am not sure it will help the game. Gamers will be taking what little info they have and making guesses about the rest. These guesses will become assumptions that will be harder to disprove and we all know few people ever fully read the rules to correct themselves. There will be a lot if inaccurate information that Wizards will have to overcome.
The game is D&D so it is of no surprise that the six attributes remain the same. It is interesting to see random attribute generation is back and encouraged. I was never a fan of that but then point buy came along and showed me there is something worse. I think it will be challenging for players of previous editions to accept that these lower attributes in this game are going to be adequate. To aid in that I think Wizards should have gotten rid of the numbers and just left the modifiers. Having a 14 in an attribute doesn’t mean much and the 14 is never used. The game uses the modifiers one has to look up on a chart to get. They should have gotten rid of that chart and those numbers and just left the modifier. This is not a new idea True 20 did it and it worked great there.
The proficiency bonus is going to be interesting. With everyone having the same bonus it means that characters that want to do something everyone can do better than them like fighters with weapons of rogues with certain skills will have to get those extra bonuses in the class. I like the idea of the proficiency bonus has the same number being added to saves, skills, and attacks. I hope we see more uses in the game that takes advantage of this system.
I like the idea of a few core races and with many of them having sub races. It should make things a little easier than having every sub race be its own race entry. Of course this could make tons of sub races happen and there could be an issue with should something be a race or a subrace. There will be a Dragonborn race at some point and I would prefer it being a subrace to each class that some of them change into a Dragonborn like in the 3e book that had them. I liked that a lot better than a race of humanoid dragons when we already have kobolds in the game.
With classes I can see a similar problem. What makes a Sorcerer so different that it will be its own class separate from the Wizard? With also the Warlock and Bard class all arcane spellcasters there will need to be more mechanical differences to make them stand out. Even the Druid could be made an archetype of the Cleric or the Paladin a version of the Fighter or Cleric. Most of the D&D games continually had too many classes and options that were not well thought out. I do like the options that can be built upon to help shape the characters. I hope we see many options that used to be feats become part of the archetype system. I also like that the game moves in some way away from the Vancian magic. The versatility of the spells is also a nice improvement. Spells that can be cast at a higher spell level is also a good addition. It will hopefully keep the spell lists smaller and I cannot wait to see some creativity in the higher spell slot system. It can be used for better things then just rolling more dice.
The advantage and disadvantage system is a great addition, though it is going to matter on less than fifty percent of those rolls. People have done the math on line of course but even if it does affect less than half the rolls that use it. It will be easier to remember to roll a second d20 than to add all those damned small bonuses that plagued some of the earlier games.
Magical items look pretty good so far. I hope to see wands and staffs that have spells that can be used by anyone. If people want to weaken casters open up spell casting to all characters just don’t make them as good at it. I do like that the charged items regain random charges each day. When they run out of charges though the chance of the items destruction needs to be greater than five percent. I would like to see some items that have the possibility of losing charges per day do there is no guarantee. Say an item that gets back a d6-3 charges per day. Items that have to attune with the owner are also interesting. Hopefully a person can only attune with a few items at once. I am also hoping cursed items have the ability to attune with their owner taking up an attunement slot but still being useful in some way. The best cursed items are the ones that have a negative that does not completely overshadow their positive.
August will be a good month to learn more. Cleveland plays four preseason games that month and we should see Johnny Football some in each of those games. For D&D the Player’s Handbook comes out and it will fill in a lot of blanks and hopefully end much of the speculation.
Chris Gath. I’ve been gaming since 1980 playing all kinds of games since then. In the past year I’ve run Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classic, Paranoia, and Mini d6. My current campaign is mini d6 and we are using that for a modern supernatural conspiracy investigative game. On some forums I’m known as Crothian and I’ve written a few hundred reviews though I took a sabbatical from reviewing for a few years as it burnt me out. I was also an judge for the Gen Con awards (ENnies) six times. Jeff, the owner of this blog, is one of my players and a good friend.