Sunday, March 8, 2015

What would I steal from 5e

Bring on the feast!
Still playing the round robin D&D Fifth Edition game.  No deaths yet and when I ran my run of the campaign I found that the third level is about where players can stop worrying about getting killed every fight if you go by the challenge levels in the book.  This is not bad, I'm not saying it as a bad thing, but I found that you have to ramp up the monsters quite a bit above what the book says in order to challenge a decent group of players.  I would say that unless you are doing a closed set dungeon crawl you should aim for what the DMG describes as 'deadly' just as your usual baseline and then go over that for the big punctuation type fights.  Again that is a normal group in a story type game.  As I was reminded by a player, if there were a string of these combats with no breaks it might be a challenge.  Also my players didn't bother with careful approaches to combat, using healing potions or taking a lot of advantage of terrain and defensive play - they didn't really have to.  So what a highly tactical or paranoid gang would need for a challenge to provide a good fight would be very high compared to the challenge levels as written I think.  Well that's a digression for another day anyway.

I've played enough 5e now to know what I like and what I don't like as much.  I like the death mechanic.  I wouldn't steal it as is since I think the Beacon stat loss is a better system overall, however I would consider using it in some way.  I do like the hit dice recovery mechanic and I would consider stealing that idea and the short rest idea so that if you wanted to restore some HP after a fight you could.  I like ritual magic and I thinks its a great way to get spell casters to use those utility spells.  I did actually steal that idea before 5th ed even had it (ritual magic is old folks - I think it was in DragonQuest and Roll Master and probably RuneQuest or something)  Beacon ritual spells are there to provide a different kind of magic for the Divine classes that wasn't locked into the usual combat.  So not quite the same mechanic - In beacon you can use your utility spells when you like at the price of fatigue - but the idea was there to break up magic a bit.  Same as spell slots - a good idea for d20 fantasy in general but not needed in or not compatible with Beacon.

The Advantage mechanic, now that is an idea worth stealing.  It's funny because I added a second dice roll for rogues as a mechanic in Beacon but I didn't realize to use it more broadly like it gets tapped in 5e.  The advantage/disadvantage thing is a real good idea.  I don't know how it would work in Beacon I suppose you could use it the same way - replace many bonus and penalty situations with advantage and disadvantage instead.  For the Rogue class I think you would have to change their special skill into something else if you adopted advantage.  I'd have to speculate on that.

Aside from that it has been refreshing playing this version of D&D.   I think it's probably the best version of the game to be printed, although it isn't perfect.  Does it replace Beacon?  No - I still think Beacon does things that I like to see in my fantasy that 5e does not.  Spell Fatigue, physical damage, critical hits and fumbles - I think Beacon does all this better.  5e still has an air of heroic fantasy that is more fantastic than than heroic in my opinion.  It's still a bit gangling and goofy.   But for all that it is still a fun game and playing 5e has gotten me to rethink some things in Beacon.  I don't think I need such detailed rules for duel wielding for example and I do think that I need to streamline bonuses even better than I have.

That's about it for now.  Last year was a bad year for me and blogging and I'm not going to make any promises for this one, however I'm not planning on packing up the nerd-shelf or stopping with games any time soon.


  1. I'm enjoying the new D&D too. I think generally you're right that PCs are pretty tough, but we've been down to the wire a few times. But then that's balanced against incidents such as the giant killing nuclear arrow fired by the Ranger that pretty much ended a tough fight before it began. Mechanics wise, it's just the right amount of crunch for me. Just enough to give it some flavour and tactical interest without bogging down. It seems to have learned the lesson of only measuring the stuff that's interesting.

    It's not really a function of the rule set but I very much like the round robin approach we're taking to running the game. Everybody gets to leave their mark and elaborate on the aspects and story lines that they like. Perhaps not the best for consistency, but hey, it's been fun.

  2. Hey! Go read this - it's an interesting take on the subject of deadliness;