A few weeks ago Raven and I decided we wanted and needed to learn 5E better so that we could better understand the newest edition of the game for better or worse. We both love and play the 0E through 2E versions and enjoy them. It was just time to set things aside and dig in to try 5e in earnest without insisting it be an older edition. Here’s my take on how things are going…
Up to now I’ve written and played modules in older editions and paid for help in the 5e conversions. No more. We found a local friend (Herman) and we talked about how to proceed. We would take it slow; stop, complain, look things up, and make a real effort to understand this edition. It turns out there was less complaining in play than anticipated but we do still need to look various things up. This slows play a bit, but we are progressing through the game better than expected.
Previously I had read the books and tried it a few times but always with a bit of expectation that the game was still what it once was. Of course, this is a foolish approach because those editions have already been printed. WOTC wouldn’t reprint the same game twice.
I have discovered by playing 5E weekly, rotating playing and GMing, that my issues were less with the game than with the way the information is presented in the books. The game plays differently than it reads when the dice start rolling. Running also seems to have smoothed out a bit with the progression of time as we become more familiar with the rules.
Tonight players finished The Witch’s Trial in the Lands of Lunacy. During my time behind the character sheet, Herman is running us through the Phandelver adventure. The more hours we all spend on both sides of the screen, the more we are learning to like 5E. The power ratchet is real, however, doing 2 HP of damage to a monster with 6 HP is the same as doing 20 HP of damage to one with 60. We are also learning to better write to this edition from the ground up.
As players, we are discarding the idea and verbiage of “Character Builds”. The Squad didn’t want to try to find the most powerful character stack. We are purposefully choosing the race class combinations we want to play and fitting the numbers and choices into that story. We had fears of overly complex play and abilities, overpowered classes (which is still on the horizon as we rise through levels), and spending hours looking up various abilities and skills.
I feel that we are all pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the game plays once the dice roll and the books are closed. Yes, we still need to look things up, but no more than we did in the 1E and 2E versions. The various character abilities are laid on slowly in lairs so GMs and player grow accustom to the options and abilities. It still feels like a night of D&D at the end of the evening and nothing more complicated than the “Complete Book of” era we went through.
The more we game, the more we all look forward to gaming again. The more we put the rules to practical application, the more we seem to accept the changes. It has taken us some time to adapt to 5E from our 0E to 2E roots, but we are indeed adapting.
We tested a live stream tonight and have discussed plans for future, better, and upgraded stream arrangements for FSG games to come online. Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with our adventure into 5E and our games.
This acceptance of 5E came just as we were considering dropping production to the system and focusing on BECMI / LL. I’m glad we gave it one more try.