Saturday, August 1, 2015

5th Edition, First Impressions


 Last night, I started my 5th edition campaign, set in the Middle Eastern flavored realm of Albadia.

A lot of the session was roleplay in town. (My wife says my NPCs are fun to talk to) and that whole awkward getting the party together thing. "Sure, I've only known you for ten minutes, but you seem like a solid guy. Let's go crawl around in a dungeon together." I'm also struggling from the transition of totally open sandbox style game back to something that has a present narrative, which is what this group prefers. I sprinkled clues and connections around, but that didn't work so hot so I had to have an NPC ask the PCs to go do something for him. Hopefully all the other clues and connections will come together. We ended the game in the first dungeon since it ended up being later in the evening than we had anticipated. Next week we'll be able to pick up and run, since the party is together and the campaign is established.
Now, a few thoughts on 5th edition itself: 

-Combat runs very much like 3rd edition, but with all the tedious parts cut out of it. No attacks of opportunity for failing to signal half a block before you turn, no five-foot steps, no confirming criticals, none of that. I've also noticed that monster armor class is much, much lower and doesn't suffer from Arbitrary Bonus Syndrome.

-Skills work a lot like they did in 3e, but without the Arbitrary Inflating DC Syndrome. 

-Spellcasters and their infinite cantips aren't nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be. Most cantrips do damage similar to a weapon. Yes, the sorcerer can use dancing lights all the time, but the light isn't as bright as the rogue's lantern. None of the party members felt extraneous. In addition, despite the higher number of spell slots over previous editions, the party's two spell casters hung on to those spells for dear life.

-My wife doesn't really dig on proficiency bonus. She thought that since she had to add it into everything it was a bit pointless, and that perhaps there should just be a penalty for rolling things you aren't proficient with. I can see her argument, but it's not a deal breaker or anything. My other two players haven't commented but sometimes they nearly forgot to add it to various things as well.

Someone (I can't remember who, either someone from a forum or my Sunday group or whatever) said that 5th edition plays a lot like 2nd edition. I disagree completely. I think 5th edition plays like 3rd edition if 3rd edition had been more like an actual edition and not like an attempt at a totally separate game.

So do I like it? So far, so good, but I'm only one session in and most of it was rp and exploration rather than fiddling about with the rules. I don't have anything I actually dislike yet, and I'll go ahead and echo the sentiment that it's a good compromise between older editions and newer editions.

1 comment:

  1. For an Arabian flavored game, the best thing I've found is to have most (if not all) players to be related to each other...by marriage if not by blood. It really captures the spirit of the Mid East fantasy genre (people don't tend to "meet up and go a-venturing") plus ties the players closer together, making it more personal.

    There's a large emphasis on family, religion, and honor (in approximately that order) in the setting. Makes for some fine gaming, IMO.
    ; )

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