Jan 142012

First if you haven’t read Ryan’s post you should start here.  It contains links to the information that we base our reactions on.

Before we get too involved here is my brief D&D history.

I started playing in 1981.   I took a break in Middle School.  Started back again in ’86.   The play experience carried me into 2nd edition.  I remember that the transition was a simple one and I enjoyed proficiencies.  I stopped playing again sometime in the mid 90’s.

2002-ish I started to play again.  This time it was 3.5.   Again it was a simple step into the the new edition.  Oddly enough I didn’t miss the  things that were changed.  I missed the things that were used for background, like the GM description chart, and the random dungeon building chart from the DMG.

I remember when fourth edition was leaked and the initial reaction of our players.  “Man why are they doing this to us?” was the common response.  I even remember one of our players landed in the beta play test at Origins or Gen Con.  He was pretty disgusted.  All he had to say was “It’s not D&D.”   As a result I was in no hurry to play 4th ed.  In fact with the lack of interested parties it was very easy not to play.   It wasn’t until I had the chance to play by post that I finally gave it a fair shake.  I discovered most of my fears were true.  It was just too much of a change for me.

Obviously, I am not the only one who felt that way, or 5th ed would be in the works already.  I mean long before they announced it, they were working on it.  Heck they already ran one play test with select players. Fifth ed has been in the works for some time already, a year maybe two.


With that said what do we already know about fifth ed?

  • It is being designed with the intent of uniting all the D&D players under one set of rules.
  • It will feature plug and play rules.  In other words you will be able to pick and choose “rule sets”.
  • It will be the “best of” edition featuring the best rules from each edition.
  • Highly customizable from DM to DM.

I think that the concept they have is a good one.  The task is going to be monumental.  In order for Wizards of the Coast to reach out and grab the 2nd and 3rd ed players again the rules will have to be phenomenal.  I mean why would a 2nd edition player (who might not have played 3rd/4th) ever play 5th ed?  The game will have to do something really special to bring players out of the comfort zone they have been establishing for years.  This might be too big a hurdle to jump.

I do like the concept of plug and play rules.  My only concern is that it might make things a little confusing when players go to a convention.

One of the articles I read talked about a retro take on the new rules.  That is the most promising news I have heard.  The farther the move from 5th ed the better.  If the books weren’t given to me, I would have burned them.


Knowing that the game is making a retroactive move what should we keep?

Honestly I can’t remember many of the differences from first and second edition.  I would like to see the charts I mentioned earlier return along with the vorpal weapons and swords of sharpness.

Keeping the skills and feats from 3.5 would be a good step. Also a return to the alignment system would help create better characters.

What should we lose? Roles and the power system.  Roles are too restrictive and any character should have the ability to take any of those through good role playing.

Is there anything that should be added?  That is a darn good question.  WotC is already planning on making the best of the best.  I say add very little and focus on pounding out the dents in the new edition and add new rules with the “plug and play” supplements.

Both Ryan and I have signed up to be play testers.  We will continue to share with you our thoughts if we are selected to test.  Since it is a play test the information will be limited.  We would love to hear your comments and concerns about 5th ed – maybe we missed something.


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