I recently had the luxury of getting to play the new 5th Edition starter set for D&D. Is it really fair to call it fifth edition? Was it a good time? How’d the game go? How was the basic D&D pdf? Let’s find out below!
The funny thing about calling this game 5th Edition is that it feels in some ways like a step back to days past. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The mechanics are smooth like I found them in 4th, but the game feels and plays much more like old school D&D did.
We had 8 players gathered around the table and with doing the game in theater of the mind and with the new rules, it was not the terrible slog that 4th edition became with more than about 5 players. So, the number of players can fluctuate a little bit easier up or down from a standard sized party.
The whole crew pretty much had a good time. The new rules for Advantage and Disadvantage and character backgrounds made the game fresh. The mixture of so many old school mechanics made the game feel very nostalgic for all of us. It felt like we should have been playing until 3 in the morning and getting up for college classes the next day.
The Basic D&D PDF is what six of us used to make our characters. It was simple to have everyone make their characters at the same time. Similarities with older editions made it easy for all of us to get a grasp on. The equipment system made building characters from just the 2 pdf documents on hand fairly straight forward. I think we got to finish making characters after about 45 minutes.
The spell casters need the spell effects, so fortunately, we only had two actual casters to go with our two pdfs. That was one big benefit of 4th edition, to have all the effects from your spells right there. But fighters and rogues are a hell of a lot more straight forward now than they were then.
The modular design of the system makes future rules modules (hopefully) not add too much time to character building.
I was incredibly skeptical about the new edition. I loved 4th basic mechanics, but the bloat made making characters without the online character builder an impossibility. Also, the theater of the mind aspect was out the window.
3rd edition spell casting was brutally challenging to add up with all the level bonuses to things.
2nd edition had some wonky mechanics like THACO.
I think this new edition has some real legs for old and new D&D players alike.