11 December 2016

Running 5e

Fifth Edition D&D is a giant pain in the ass.

It's just a thousand different things that I don't like. I could list them all (and I very nearly did), but you all know what I'm talking about. It's really not much of a game, and that's a big part of the reason why it works so well. There's enough of a combat minigame that you can break out the minis, even though it's not a very good minigame. Or a very deep one. But it doesn't last very long, so it's ok. And it turns out that your character's background is the last time you'll ever get the option to have any sort of link with the wider world, but that's ok because at least the bonus is pretty useful all the time.

And so on and so on. The monsters are overly complex but in actual play you mostly just use the two stats. And you can refluff them anyways, since they're just a bundle of stats with a power or two. If you describe the power differently, nobody will notice, and if you don't use it, then nobody will know it was ever there.

And it's like, that's all cool. I like a system that knows how to get out of the way- I'd been running D&D like that for years.

But there's so much to 5e, and there are some really significant parts that it doesn't want you to throw away.

Classes and races, obviously. Races change your attributes and sometimes give you powers. Classes give you health and attack bonii and combat powers, and sometimes even out of combat things you can do. At least, indirectly. Martial-type characters are mostly only good at fighting, for whatever reason. Unless you're the ranger, and then you're good at exploring.

The whole thing makes me just want to play Shadow of the Demon Lord instead. I wish that the name weren't so incredibly stupid- I think if it got somebody with an ounce of sense to redesign the branding and the interior layout it'd have a great shot of really being a common name in tabletop circles. I'd love to be able to find a bunch of SotDL players and run that instead of 5e, but alas.