Tuesday, March 17, 2015

D&D 5E: Powered By The OSR

Saving Throw In A Can
Okay, before I shoot my mouth off, Happy St. Patty's day everyone.  I don't drink beer, but I think I'll have a Mountain Dew in honor of the day, or put some green dye in my soda can.

A while back I lamented about how that 5E made it harder to find a game played with previous editions or clones.  I worried about how 5E was going to abolish the OSR and all sorts of gloom and doom was going through my head.

Well, I think I made my peace with all that.

I have come to the conclusion that 5E will only strengthen the hobby as a whole.  While I don't want to really invest time and money in DMing the game, this edition, more than any other, will bring more new blood to this pastime I love so much and that's a good thing in the end.  The attention to what worked in the past, the games' encouragement of role-playing and character development and the ease to which older material can be adapted makes this a winner in my book.  I still have problems with certain areas of the rules (such as the way they try to encourage developing backgrounds for characters, something I'd rather let happen organically in play) but I can understand why they did it (most players new to the game need a bit of guidance in that area, something us old grogs had to do the hard way).  I also like the foresight the developers had in making things modular (such as the aforementioned background development, which is easily removed if desired).  Someone at WOTC said that this edition was shooting to be the game closet D&D, something to play with the family on Game Nights, like Monopoly or Scrabble.  A perennial.  I think they may have done it.

So bravo WOTC.  I think you have a winner.  I'll be over at the table on the other side of the room running Basic D&D, lifting my can of Pepsi in salute.  Well done.

...and I didn't even rag on Ascending Armor Class.  How about that.

1 comment:

HeroForge said...

I'd like to add something I mentioned to Glen when the topic of 5E's background traits came up in conversation.

Us old grognards came by role-playing the hard way, by making up personality traits, flaws, and motivations from scratch. The rules make it clear that players are free to ignore the tables and make their own entries, but there's something else:

Role-players should always be up to a challenge, and one way to challenge one is to give them a character with personality traits they may not have come up with themselves. Anyone who GMs published scenarios does this already; any properly-written NPCs will have some notes about their personality,

Experienced 5E players could see the random traits as a challenge. Just like with old-school gaming, roll the dice once, take the results, and see if you can play with what you get.

There are other ways to get creative with backgrounds. Come up with more items for those tables, put that d12 to use. See if you can come up with new background packages that aren't already covered in the book. Projects like these benefit newer players, because you've given them more options.

You might even come up with enough to justify making a new rules supplement.