DnD 5th Edition: First Glance

Everyone is excited with the hype about the new Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. I, being a hardcore Pathfinder fanatic, decided to explore the new 5th edition of DnD to understand how it is different and if it is worth the hype. This blog will both look at the new workings of DnD 5.0 as well as introduce the beginning of the campaign I plan to run using the system.

First thing I should say is that I love Pathfinder. I started with Pathfinder and will end my RPGing with Pathfinder. Something about the simplicity and ability to add and grow the system is appealing. But I will say that there are many technical issues with Pathfinder that can drive me crazy, like the way magic users highly surpass any kind of fighting class around 8th-10th level. So what I really want out of DnD 5th edition is something familiar, and not bogged down with new rules, yet I want some stuff that is new and eye catching that will make me actually want to switch to this system.

I play with a group, around 5 people although I think it will be growing to 6 soon, and I am their all-powerful loving Dungeon Master. The problem I often run into with the group is that they love customizing their characters until it drives me crazy, like one person would not get over the idea of playing a Gorgonna as a race and wouldn’t stop until I let him. The other problem is that they create these crazy characters but then don’t play them as a character. The character loses sight of goals and ideas and it becomes defined by its race and class. Can DnD 5.0 remedy these issues?

After first glance, my answer is yes! When reading through the DnD players guide and dungeon master handbook I felt like I was reading an adjusted version of Pathfinder or DnD 3.5. It felt wonderfully familiar, I didn’t have to try to understand new lingo and get frustrated when I learn about some new rule that makes no sense (cough cough DnD 4.0). But also I did not get bored when reading because there were enough new things that kept me reading.

The best example of this is the new Advantage and Disadvantage system. In many cases you may be Advantaged or Disadvantaged do to gameplay or your character. If you are advantaged you roll two d20s and take the higher of the two rolls, if you are disadvantaged you do the same but take the lower of the two rolls. The simplicity of this and ability to integrate it further into an awarding system for good behavior of players is appealing.

Another example is the Backgrounds. Now when making a character you also choose things that help to define them, like Personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. This reminds me a lot of the FATE system and in fact is much like it. The background you choose for your character can lead you to receiving inspiration (inspiration can be spent on a roll to make it an Advantage roll). For my group this is perfect because they now have reason to play the characters they originally set their character up to be. Example: If they are a Paladin who holds justice as the highest power, they won’t steal all the treasure for themselves.

I could go on for eons about the new system and how it is a million times better than 4.0 and familiar and worth of playing for those lovers of 3.5 and Pathfinder. Knowing that I will be having my group play with this system, I have designed a perfect way to introduce them to it. The next couple of blogs will talk further about this and progress with the story while still analyzing the new system, but the brief intro is that I will be running 6 individual quests, one for each player in my group. This will allow them all to become familiarized with the system personally and also let them get to know their characters. As they progress through the quest they will eventually end up in two groups that may or may not be working towards the same goal. I did this because 6 people is a lot to handle when they are also learning a new system. If interested in the plots of each individual quest see below! Further information about the players and quests will come with next blog!

Quest Descriptors:

A village is attacked and raveged by strange creatures. Set out on a quest to investigate what happened in aid the village in whatever way you see fit.

A local lord hires out to spy on his son whom he believes is part of a plot to overthrow the King.  Things may not be what they seem.

Since you were getting low on money, you go in with a group of criminals to perform a heist. But the heist ends up going very wrong and now you are stuck in quite the pickle.

As you pass through a quiet peaceful town you are ushered into the church by a hysterical nun. There you find a dying adventure whom with his last breath bequeaths you to find his lost treasure.

You think you have accepted a simple mission of escorting a rich merchants daughter to her bethrothel, but she is not that willing to be escorted, and across the freezing Tundra no less.

The annual Kings tournament is taking place and you want to prove your worth so you enter. But some shady business is going on and when your life is threatened you personally become involved.