JP On Gaming

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An honest shot: JPs verdict on 5e

So I have played 5e a few times now and I think perhaps the best way to describe my thoughts on it could be summed up by what one of my DMs said. "It feels like 2e"

Now maybe for him it was a good era but I quit playing D&D for 10 years because I found the game to be too limiting, too uniform, bland and boring.

I do not see any of the uber-versatility promised in the adventure offered. Its more mindless crawling through dungeons for a nebulous goal... Then again painting a Pinto red does not make it a Ferrari, the same way adding 3e flavor does not make it 3e.

The GM's comparison is not fair to 5e. The 25 years between 2e and 5e show clearly in the game. It offers a wider array of choices from the start.

I can't say that I was blown away nor disgusted by the whole thing either. In short, I feel blah about it. This NPC is indifferent. I don't feel strongly about it to go out of my way to play. I don't feel strongly about it to avoid it all costs... just meh. Blah.

- The advantage/ disadvantage system is okay, I'm not a huge fan, but I've seen worse.
- The stat-saves make me think many are never - or very rarely - used. "Make a Charisma save" is not something I heard.
- The skill system is better than 4e, and miles ahead of 2, but still feels limited.
- I like that they brought back the traditional alignment system.
- The background system is something I really like, perhaps the best element of 5e as a whole.
- I also like the motivations. It was really missing in D&D.

So in the end there is some good and some bad, none of which really pull the blanket one way or another to convince me to move from my "it's okay" rating.

Trust me on this folks, I wanted to come in and write a scathing "how much it sucks" or a "this is better than sex" post, but I cannot do so either way. I think my initial position of "cautious optimism" was the correct one.

Now, that said, I fully expect that the game will grow and its quality improve. I will be able to say when 5.5 comes out in a few years.

3/5 overall, mostly because I do not have a strong opinion either way, so average sounds like a good rating.

Will I play it again? Likely.

Do I prefer Pathfinder? Yes.



  1. I think 5E does fit a much needed niche for gamers who want diversity and complexity, but not system mastery and endlessly escalating modifiers. When I think about going back to Pathfinder, it's so hard to conceive of doing so now...5E is exactly at my comfort zone of play. I can see how there's a need for more complexity in design and mastery, though....3.5/PF wouldn't have remained so popular for so long if there wasn't.

    1. It's not a bad game and maybe if I get to play some more it might grow on me, but so far... It's just "okay" I can see that a lot of people are loving it, and I'm happy and excited about that.
      A thriving community is a good community, and 5e adds to that, so it is a good and welcomed addition, even if *I* am not enamored with it.

  2. I wrote a post but your blog software ate it, damn you JP! :)

  3. No opinion on bounded accuracy?
    As a GM it is probably the one core aspect that I really like about 5e outside of hardcoding of character backgrounds into character sheets.

    1. I didn't really play long enough for it to mean anything. The people I played with turned me off so much that I have no intention of playing with them again.