Monday, 18 August 2014

D&D: The Triumphant Return (Part 2)

When last I talked about this, I had only dug into the basic rules and such. Well, now I've gotten myself a copy of the "Beginner's Box" and I even did a live-tweet unboxing. You can still check all those tweets out over @colinjmarco on Twitter!

Anyway, I now have the first box and the Player's Handbook is on pre-order. I've managed to organize a group of players to get started on a new table-top game (in rural Saskatchewan, no less! Who would have thought?!). With all the other games on the market like Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Dungeon World, it's a great time to be a gamer. But anyway: let's talk about the granddaddy of them all...


First out, let me say I'm glad there's absolutely NO EMPHASIS on the edition with these books. It's more elegant to just call it "Dungeons & Dragons". It's nice to just have it called the classic title without bogging it down with an edition title as well. I have no doubt that the edition wars are going on about it, but WotC was smart to not emphasize it and draw attention to that aspect of the game. 

I have begun plotting my first D&D campaign with this new system and it definitely feels old-school. The player characters are probably going to have to hire some NPCs to come with, because they're not going to make it very far into that cave without some back-up/meat-shields. To paraphrase the slogan Necromancer Games always used to say in the heyday of 3e: "5th Edition Rules, 1st Edition Feel". And it really DOES feel old-school, embracing what D&D has always been like, but with a brisk, clean ruleset that lets the DM run a fast, fun game while the PCs are never stuck feeling like their dice rolls are irrelevant.

The players for my upcoming campaign fall into two camps: either they played in 2nd edition and are coming back to the hobby, or they've never played before but want to play. Luckily, this new edition is not nearly as "math-heavy" as previous editions, so new players should be able to pick it up and play fairly easily. By the same token, the old-school gamers will probably say that it feels familiar, but the math works better and is a little faster.

"But, what if I like 1e/2e/3.Xe/4e/Pathfinder/Dungeon World/13th Age/etc...?"

I'm not saying those games are bad. Far from it! I started playing in 2e, and since then I've played every edition of D&D and many of the retro-clones and spin-offs of it too. I just love the hobby, and I really want to evangelise about what I like. I am currently running a Pathfinder play-by-post game and it's going really well. I constantly refer to my old D&D books and would be totally willing to run games in every edition, if I had the time to do so.

Play whatever makes you happy. Keep playing games! It's what keeps the hobby alive. I'm just very open to different interpretations of this game system and I love all that stuff. All of it.

There's a lot of people who are willing to bag on other games and a lot of people online who want to tell others that they're having fun wrong. I really hate listening to that sort of stuff. I want to hear about what people enjoy, and hear why they enjoy it! If you ever meet me or feel like you want to do so, tell me about your favorite games, tell me about your character, favorite magical item, favorite setting, etc. I want to hear that stuff. I could just listen to that stuff all day long. Feel free to drop me a comment below with some of that stuff in it. I'd love to hear about it. 
</end rant>

So, if you want to enjoy a game that embraces the heart of all the previous editions of D&D and have fun rolling dice, I recommend the new D&D. It's a sleek system that really seems to capture what D&D is all about.

What are your impressions of 5th Edition so far? Have you played any of the new stuff? What do you like/dislike? Tell me about your game, regardless of whether or not it is the new edition. I love hearing that stuff.

Get some friends together. Roll some dice. Have fun. Keep playing games. Always play games.

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