Dungeons & Dragons5th Edition will be out in only a couple of short weeks. There has been a great deal of buzz about it, especially with WotC’s positive stance on inclusivity written into it, and almost all of the reviews I’ve seen on how it plays have been mostly positive. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the full book when it comes out, but till then, I can look over the basic rules Wizards of the Coast released recently.
I like what I see. The game itself looks like it will support a wide range of preferences of play, and will be easy for new players to get into without being overly simplistic for us more experienced players. Some of the complexity that added an extra depth of detail in the iterations of 3.X (3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder, Fantasy Craft, etc.) had to be taken out to achieve this. For example, all heavy armors give a disadvantage (a new D&D 5th ed mechanic) to the stealth check instead of each individual set of armor having its own armor check penalty. And the skills list (now proficiencies) has been significantly pared down. It seems like it is a good trade off, for what they accomplished.
One area where I think 5th Edition shines is in character creation. Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition looks to be the most flexible incarnation, in terms of putting the character you imagine down on paper. It’s not as flexible as The Writer’s System, but what is? 😛 Seriously though, it’s really good.
I had this idea for a highwayman sort of character a few years back. I wanted to make him mostly a fighter, but with a bit of stuff from the rogue class to better fit the concept. Multiclassing put a bit too much of the rogue class into play, even with only a level or two, and there just weren’t enough skill points with the fighter class to get the skills I needed to where they needed to be to fit the concept. In 5th edition, all I have to do is make a fighter, and choose the Criminal Background. I now have this character pretty much exactly as I had imagined him.
This flexibility is accomplished with backgrounds, which basically give another bit of starting equipment and two more proficiencies. And here’s another part that I feel that D&D 5th Ed./WotC is really going in the right direction.
If there isn’t a background that fits what a player is wanting to do, the official rules say just go ahead and pick the two proficiencies you want.
Kudos Wizards of the Coast. The next few months look exciting.