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"Return to D&D after 30+ Years" Topic

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afilter24 Jul 2018 8:44 a.m. PST

After leaving D&D 30 years ago or so I was recently reintroduced to 5th Edition. Very much like what I see so far.

Blog Post:

It was AD&D 1st edition last time I played. This version has the old D&D feel, but simple and streamlined, yet with more options.


Ping Pong24 Jul 2018 9:36 a.m. PST

I play it every other week. I enjoy it. It's my favorite version of the game.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2018 9:54 a.m. PST

I don't care what Edition people play… 5E is bringing a lot of old gamers back, and bringing new blood into the hobby! It's all good IMO.

Hasbro/WotC is also bringing back most of their old IP from OD&D all the way to 5e, as PDF's and some are even POD! It is great, for people who play every Edition! Cheers!

Brian Smaller24 Jul 2018 1:45 p.m. PST

I got into 5e on a nostalgia trip. After running a game for a while I realised that I preferred 1e. I still play in a 5e face to face game once a fortnight and enjoy it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2018 7:05 p.m. PST

I use 5e with the teens at the library, as it's the edition they are most likely to find and play with their peers. I do find a lot of things to like about it. Combat is simpler to follow, the AC and to Hit systems are actually logical for a change, and PC survivability is higher, suiting the "story-focused" nature of the game. The magic system is a little clunkier than necessary, but at least it helps alleviate the "two shots, you're out" problem that plagued 1st level spellcasters in earlier editions. The ability check process isn't bad, but I find it less intuitive than the skill system created for Mentzer Basic.
My main beefs are the "uber-power" traits and feats added to the character classes, especially as the gained abilities don't seem to derive from any roleplay action by the players. You hit the next level and BAM!-- the PC can fight with dual weapons, though he's never done that before!huh?
The other beef is that it's a tad too focused on the FALLEN REALMS setting, but that's an understandable marketing decision by WotC.
The skills are a little too general, and in particular are detracting from specialized classes like rogues and rangers. Any PC can pick a lock, track a quarry, etc., so why bother? Yes, the special classes are better at it, but let's face it; if you haven't studied locks and lock picking, you really haven't got a clue how to do it, and ditto for finding/disabling traps, tracking, picking pockets, hunting, etc., etc.. Sure, jumping and climbing and the like are reasonable "soft" skills (everybody can jump, and anyone can try to climb something), but some skills are actually skills, meaning you have to learn them!
So my ideal game would go back a bit and incorporate the combat system of 5e, the skill system of BECMI, eliminate the "anybody can try" soft skill approach in favor of the dedicated class training, and revise the magic system to be less clunky but still allow broader action at low levels. But for now, 5e works pretty well. And the teens are loving it, so that goes a long way with me.

USAFpilot24 Jul 2018 7:08 p.m. PST

Role playing is role playing no matter which edition you use. The main difference is the technical process of calculating hits in combat has been made less complicated. The game is what you make of it. Glad you are enjoying it after a 30 year break.

(I only ever played AD&D, also been 30 years)

CeruLucifus24 Jul 2018 10:32 p.m. PST

Hi Parzival.

I think the skills in 5e provide a nice granularity without too much detail.

Your lock picking example glosses over the rules. A character needs proficiency with Thieves Tools to add Proficiency Bonus to lock picking attempts. Rogues are the only class proficient with Thieves Tools (though some backgrounds also provide this).

So at 1st level a Rogue with Dex 17 is +3 and adds +2 Proficiency Bonus and this increases as he gains levels.

On the other hand any other class might have Thieves Tools, but isn't proficient. So if Dex is 17, +3 is the most he'll get.

As a DM you can also impose Disadvantage or Advantage to skew these skill differences further, which the players can manipulate with Inspiration Points. You can also say a failed check by a non-Proficient character jams the lock, whereas a character proficient with Thieves Tools merely loses time from failed checks.

Patrick R25 Jul 2018 2:49 a.m. PST

A lot of 5e is 4e in disguise, using the language and format of earlier editions.

Earlier editions gave few if any options to classes like the Fighter, you were the big bag of HP that deals the damage until the wizard casts their first fireball.

3e added skills and feats and it became a weapons race to get the best class combo to boost your feats into crazy levels.

4e leveled the playing field by introducing a mechanistic system where every class had access to balanced powers so that a fighter or a wizard would remain on more or less equal footing even at higher levels.

This was perceived as turning D&D into World of Warcraft and made Pathfinder so popular as an alternative, but the 3e system it is based on is basically broken. Sure everybody vaunts the merits of the incredible amount of choice you have to customize your character, but unless you're one of those masochistic puritans or have players with a Taliban-like devotion to keep your role-play pure and picking a feat that doesn't reinforce your concept is considered out of bounds, most players being human prefer those options that boost their character.

Which is why I do prefer 5e, even if it has fewer options, but even the World of Darkness system had ability combos that could give characters crazy abilities. The game keeps the numbers game down I saw a Pathfinder monster manual that included things like Cthulhu with crazy level stats like +200 to hit or an AC of 200, which means your variable the D20 no longer means anything, in 5e a 20th level character does get a +10 proficiency bonus. That's for top level characters and monsters with an AC of 20 or higher are far and few between.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

CeruLucifer: Oh, I know that rogues progress in proficiency and there are a lot of tricks the DM can do to make things harder on others, too, but as I said, the concept that anyone of any class can even attempt to perform thieves' skills is nonsensical and unnecessary to the game. Why, for example, would a Barbarian have *any* idea how to pick a lock? Why would he even try, and not just bash the door/chest apart? So why not just say that Rogues have the ability to pick locks, pick pockets, etc., but a wizard or, the heavens know, a paladin does not? With that being the case, the DM doesn't *have* to use any tricks to make a lock harder for others because others can't pick it anyway. Similarly, for things like animal handling, you are NOT going to be able to calm down an agitated bull if you don't know anything about animals, no matter what you roll on a d20! Really, this wasn't a change that needed to be made. (For that matter, I always simply used a Dexterity check for general actions involving agility or nimbleness, as dodging a pendulum trap or quickly tying/untying a knot, etc., and Strength checks for general actions involving physical exertion, and so forth. And all of this had a provision for simple DM mods to increase or decrease difficulty. So, again the broad ability/skills mashup wasn't really necessary.)
But all in all, it's a minor quibble. I like 5e, and can work around some of this.

Patrick R: Oh, yes, I saw that 3e was broken from the get-go. And I do agree that some level of "equality of level" progression was needed, and a way to take combat out of the "how many times will I have to roll the dice to do 120 HP to the target?"slog. And there is a great value to characters gaining abilities as beyond just higher bonus numbers as they progress. I just think this should have been made more adventure/campaign specific-- that is, if the setting reasonably allows for a character to acquire a given skill, and the character has demonstrated actions while adventuring which proved a logical background for that skill, then the skill (or "feat") is available to be learned. If not, no matter what the book says, it isn't.
By the way, in OD&D additional abilities were limited, so a character's "specials" were related instead to magical items acquired, which gave the DM a great deal more control in what the PCs could do-- no "flying clerics" zipping about unless the cleric in question found a magic item which let him fly, which the DM could include in the adventure (and even the world) or not. But with 5e (never really looked too closely at 3 or 4), a cleric can fly if he's got the right "faith domain" and reaches a given level huh? To me, that's superhero gaming, not classic fantasy. So I see the Feats as intrusions on the DM's right to determine what sort of world the stories occur in. And yes, the DM can still rule things out, but why force the argument?

But again, quibbles. The kids will play what they want, and if they like it, hooray!

As for me, my preferred system will be an amalgam of BECMI and 5e. Which is the beauty of D&D compared to many other games: it can indeed be what you want it to be!

afilter26 Jul 2018 6:13 a.m. PST

Well, I see that as with any game system there can be hot debate. :)

Just played in my 3rd Adventure League session last night with 3 different DMs. All have been extremely enjoyable, but I can definitely see that the style of the DM can impact the session.

I plan to return to DMing and already have the DMG and Monster Manual. Will likely start with the "Lost Mines of Phandelver" and run it at a con after a few practice sessions of course.

As some may have notice from my other blog posts when I host a convention event I go all out, so I have started to collecting minis for all the monster/creatures that could be present.

While I am enjoying the narrative aspect I also really like the minis on the table especially during combat.

roving bandit26 Jul 2018 6:25 p.m. PST

I used to play 2e heavily back in high school. Then dabbled a bit with 3e (after the switch to 3.5 had happened, but the group I joined had bought their books before the switch and weren't going to buy them over again) in my mid-20s. Skipped most of 4th until the Essentials line was released, even then didn't get them until D&D Next had been announced. Never got to play more than a single session of that.

But now I have, or have on order, all the 5e core books. Have played in 2 sessions so far and am really enjoying it.
It feels more like playing AD&D2e did back in high school. But with just enough of the 3e+ stuff to make characters feel more well rounded.

I like that I can make a fighter, whose primary function is to kick butt, with a criminal background. So he has the basic skills to try picking locks, disarming traps, etc. But without having to start as a level 1 thief, then multi-class into a fighter, just to have those skills. My thuggy fighter doesn't need backstabbing or any of that sneaking around stuff. That's not the character I planned. He is just a warrior with a little techie know how. Of course with only 300 xp needed to level, it is honestly not really all that hard to dedicate that 1st level to something other than your ideal class.

But I can see the other side too, what makes you want to play a thief or whatever when the party already has half it's members able to do your tricks… even worse is if some can do it better.

Overall I think the positives of 5e outweigh any of the negatives I have come across.

CeruLucifus29 Jul 2018 11:07 a.m. PST

A lot of 5e is 4e in disguise, using the language and format of earlier editions…
Your analysis is spot on.

However, I think we'll have to disagree, because from a rolegaming perspective, I can't see any downside to giving other classes some way to attack a lock. Sometimes the story hinges on getting past a lock, but the player with the Rogue hasn't shown up. The story has to move forward.

Also …. In my group we frequently enjoy the roleplaying interaction when the high skill character fails the roll, and the lower skill character tries and rolls high.

Rogue: I'll open this lock. [rolls 3+8=11]
DM: still locked.
Rogue: Going to roll up my sleeves. [rolls 5+8=13]
DM: can't quite get the tumblers to move.
Rogue: maybe with this brand new lockpick! [2+8 = 10]
DM: might want to take a break.
Rogue: Fooey, I think this lock is stuck.
Sharpshooter: oh let me try [roles 17+4=21]
DM: click, the lock springs open.
Sharphooter: you just have to know how to do it!
Rogue: grumble, mumble, fershingbug, I put my tools away.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 4:51 a.m. PST

I like your scenario, but I might suggest that there's generally always a way past a lock, even if one can't pick the lock. It's just gonna be noisy…
YouTube link

Alan Lauder27 Jan 2019 6:14 a.m. PST

Yep, me too. 5e has brought me back to D&D after about 30 years too!

Still wading my way through the books but it's given me some crafting inspiration in the meantime. link

I agree with the view that end edition any reason if it brings us back and inspires a new gen (my kids included) that's a win! There was a great RPG community in Melbourne in the late 70s took my life in a great direction.

Apologies for the threadomancy ;)

Mithmee31 Jan 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

For me it has bought me back after nearly 40 years.

repaint10 Feb 2019 7:04 p.m. PST

Same here, after playing in high school, and a few version later, I am back playing and DM-ing thanks to DnD E5.

Tried path finder, too much for what I was looking for.

Albus Malum22 May 2020 8:10 p.m. PST

Its probably been close to 30 years since life splintered my playing groups. I will be starting to DM for my kids soon.. ie maybe within the next year, if can find a couple other kids to play with my kids, otherwise I will just have to Start playing with just the 2 of them when I think my daughter is ready, my son is chompin at the bit.

I will start likely with Keep on the Borderlands, either using Basic or 1st edition, or a blend of the two editions. Never used any of the other editions, they all had issues I didnt want in my game as a DM. I hope that 6th edition when it comes out, not sure if or when, will give things back to the DM and not let the Player Handbook dictate the game.

As a player, I could play any edition, but as a DM… No WAY!!!

( when the later editions (IE.. 2nd and later) came out, I told my characters if they wanted anything from the later editions that they had to convince me! ( that does not mean pointing to a page in a book)

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 6:33 a.m. PST

We're in similar boats, Albus. I started out with Holmes (Blue Book), then AD&D. But when the latter began to swing towards 2e, I jumped over to Basic (BECMI) as a simpler, cleaner and more versatile system, especially for the DM. So when I started a D&D program at the library where I worked, I started with Basic. The next year, however, 5e came out, and I realized I needed to switch to that because my program was for teens, and I knew 5e is what they'd see in stores and what they'd want.

I will say, it's closer to the early game in structure than 3e-4e were, and it's possible to even strip it down to almost an Old School level. But you're correct, it's still a player's game, built around new "feats" and abilities and gee-whiz-bang powers as you level up. Not my thing as a player or a DM. But I've had fun DMing it, at least for teen newbies. (Though my fave remains Basic.)

Mithmee28 May 2020 7:12 a.m. PST

Oh and for anyone interested Baldur's Gate 3 is coming out later this year and it will be using 5E D&D.

YouTube link

USAFpilot03 Jun 2020 11:37 a.m. PST

I hope that 6th edition when it comes out, not sure if or when, will give things back to the DM and not let the Player Handbook dictate the game.

Never understood statements like this. It's an RPG, and every RPG that I have ever read says right in the beginning to freely change anything in the rules your group doesn't like. It's not chess; it's free flowing story telling among friends.

Mithmee03 Jun 2020 12:17 p.m. PST

Thing is that for several of the Editions they made the players having all of the power.

Thus I can see the comments from long time DM's since it only takes one player to ruin the full game for everyone else.

USAFpilot03 Jun 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

That's true, but I think has less to do with the rules than the particular player. The DM, through mutual agreement, sets the ground rules. The DM controls the story telling and the difficulty of the challenges facing the players. I can't imagine any situation in which a player can dictate terms to a DM. The player role plays his/her character; the DM role plays every other being (including the gods). Based on that alone, the DM has all the power to control any player character.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2020 3:46 p.m. PST

Actually, in 3.0, and beyond, they defined everything for the players as far as difficulties, and what to roll for every situation -- within the PHB. In 0e, 1e, and 2e, the DM made it up on the fly, most often.

After 2e, they pretty much did away with classes, and went to skills: assemble your skill sets any way you like, so each character became a mish-mash of skills and powers.

When folks refer to 'taking away the power and authority from the DM', that is what they are referring to. Back in the 0e-1e era's, there were few skill checks: the players had to role play the situation, as opposed to rolling a skill check to see if they could fast-talk their way out of a situation; or, the players had to come up with a solution to a problem, by thinking of a way out of it, instead of rolling a skill/knowledge check to have the DM give them the answer: "My character has an 18 Intelligence, he is smarter than me, and I rolled a 12, so he figured it out, even though I can't…"

I prefer 1e/2e rules, myself. Still playing them since I started in 1980: no game police have taken my books, or my dice, away from me yet. ;-)

Play whatever version you, and your players, enjoy the most. As long as you, and your group, are having fun, nothing else matters. Cheers!

USAFpilot03 Jun 2020 6:01 p.m. PST

Ok thanks. I was not aware. I was away from the scene during the 3rd and 4th edition years. I played AD&D for several years; then 2nd edition on the computer with Baldur's Gate. Agree, it's about having fun, cheers.

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