334 Why All the Hate, Sean

Why does Sean hate D&D 5th edition? There has to be a reason for this. Maybe it’s the skills, classes or races. Does he really hate it?



I have a photo of him storing his books for later! :stuck_out_tongue:A-still-from-the-film-The-001


I’ll be taking notes…

:eyes: :ear:

Oh, I REALLY hope he does. Delicious, delicious controversy.

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I’m all in on Quest for the Gatekeeper. I rolled up a Pixie Fairie Barbarian.


I left (cough) a few voicemails about this. My apologies to anyone who hears them. On my voicemail, I said that I’ve never been able to quite make the kind of character I want. I’d like to explain that–you see, I realize that there are tons of options. (If you go by Tasha’s, there are even more permutations.) But I always get hung up when I make characters RAW. Somehow, for me (and me only–not commenting on anyone else’s sandwich of choice) there are enough options that I feel I need to select, but they pin me down in a way I don’t dig. I prefer the OSE “you were a surveyor: let’s let those skills and that background apply when they should,” or a super detailed background, career and skill list as per Call of Cthulhu. Somehow, 5e lands right in the middle, and I don’t want to hang out there. I get where that middle might be perfect–and apparently it is pretty good–for many gamers.

And while I’m here, there’s one other thing that gets to me about 5e, though I recognize this could happen to any game. (It just seems to happen to 5e a lot, prob because it has wide appeal.) But I really don’t enjoy the cartooning that happens. I’ve written about this before–I’m a very grumpy old man about it–but the “my character is a 1/2 dragonborn 1/2 half-elf bard with a magically powered electric ukelele for a weapon…here’s my 10 page backstory portfolio” tendency really irks me. I greatly prefer a more serious, deadly game, and the trend I exaggerated above heads in the opposite direction. Gonzo in DCC fits so well, and that’s a system that marries wild and deadly nicely. So does Mork Borg. The One Ring is pretty dangerous, and it is so tonally sound. (pun?) Then again, my friends have recently played in some One Ring sessions full of min-maxers and folks trying to D&D in The One Ring, which doesn’t quite work. So, as I wrote earlier, any game can be awkwardly played, I guess.

Sorry if this overcooks the issue. Fun stuff to consider, and through it all, I still have 5e on the shelf. (Sold my fancy box set, tho)


Please, can we resist the urge to dogpile hate on 5e (or any other game system) here in the forum?

Sure, stating your preferences and why you think something is great for you and your table is encouraged (and helps me learn about more reasons to love gaming) but posting a pissed off rant about System X isn’t doing anyone any good.

Honestly, after personal preferences, many “complaints” I see about my favorite system are about degenerate play patterns (aka things like min-max) or rule misunderstandings, which can happen for every game system at just about every table.

Let’s not make people feel left out because we make loud noises about how System X sucks, implying those who like it are somehow wrong/inferior.

To be clear, this is NOT the tone I heard in Sean’s remarks on this podcast (so far. I am about 1/2 way thru). He is very clear It’s him, not the system. :slight_smile:


I agree with @OldSchoolDM we don’t want to yuk a lot of people’s yum. I don’t bash on 5e, that’s a big deal to me.

Having said that, I know @Georgesedg states “5e gets on my nerves”…“I get always get hung up when”…“one other thign that gets to me

Again, we all have some very strong opinions, and that’s ok. I just ask that we be constructive.


Yeah, guys, I apologize if I’m overdoing it. I tried very carefully and repetitively to point out that it is just my experience/preference–mainly to avoid the implication that one who enjoys is somehow wrong, etc. But I am happy to amend or delete my previous post if it is over the line!

I do, however, think that a complaint can yield a positive change. I might say “x isn’t working for me,” and another bs’er might respond “but have you considered y?” or “tried this rule variant?” and the game might change, quite literally.

And in the spirit of positivity, here are things I do like about 5e:
great art
Brett’s Avalon setting!
lots of class and ancestry options
advantage/disad still rocks
combat can be extremely fun
clear attempt to capture old school flavor with innovations
revitalizing some older adventures (Saltmarsh, as example, or the stuff in Yawning Portal)
the many VTT options and tools

All true!


I couldn’t help but hear a certain Seinfeld quote in my head while listening to this episode.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with it.”

And there never was.


part of the frustration with ‘the game’ is infact with some of the community who play the game

eg back when I was on facebook, if I discussed homebrew rules/other systems on D&D or World of Darkness groups, wow did they pull the knives out, not even remotely objective.

in both cases, D&D and WoD have some interesting concepts and fantastic artwork that inspires roleplaying.

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Agreed - framed as a request for help, these kinds of challenges are welcome! But terms like “grumpy”, “irk”, and “on my nerves” aren’t super inviting. :stuck_out_tongue: But, in the spirit stated above, I’d be happy to address your “complaints” as best I can determine them from your post:

NOTE: I am not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m doing this at the invitation of @Georgesedg specifically. I wouldn’t post this otherwise.

"I’ve never been able to quite make the kind of character I want … RAW… there are enough options that I feel I need to select, but they pin me down … ‘you were a surveyor: let’s let those skills and that background apply when they should’ or … a … detailed … career and skill list. "

Ok. This is still vague to me.

If the complaint is that there aren’t enough specific skills - I’m confused why you think this is needed, as the DM determines what attributes/skills apply to a particular check. Why have a “wedgery” skill if the gaming contexts don’t require it? Why would players determine the skill taxonomy in the world? Are you trying to overload features onto skills? For example, look at Sage - could have been a skill, but it’s a Background with the Researcher Feature in a Specialty instead.


Also check out all the tool proficiency information in XGtE. How doesn’t the Cartographer’s Tools meet the needs of your desired Surveyor? (Also, there is Cartographer background in AI, but I don’t own it, and you might not consider it RAW, but it’s there.)


If the complaint is that the skills you want exist but aren’t the part of any class build available - besides those you choose proficiency at creation, a common DM house-rule is now apart of the official rules in TCoE - you can change skills (for RP reasons):


If it is something else, you’ll have to clarify more fully for me. I’m not familiar enough with other systems to get your inference.

As to the self-admitted “exaggerated” example of a “cartoon” character. I’ll note that character generation is an agreement between a player, the DM, and other players at the table - no matter what the game.

First - is your example even RAW?

Doesn’t really matter to me though, but you call this a “tendency” (based on your experience?), but I don’t agree that this is widespread - in my experience. Not my style (or yours either, apparently) - but there’s nothing wrong with it for other tables.

And why-ever it “irks” you that other people can choose to play this way is an example of the game bashing/shaming I’m worried about - why do/should you care that people can create what you see as stupid/broken characters? How should a player feel if they read your comment being angry about their playstyle?

This isn’t a evidence of broken system, but a style of play choice.

No harm, no foul.

Hope this feedback is useful. Keep on gaming any way y’all like!
:game_die: :+1: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Thanks for your response: I do appreciate it. Also, that feedback is useful.

I don’t want to do too much “back and forth” as I don’t want this to feel like an argument for you or anyone.

Here are a few quick thoughts though:

I think it’s okay for gms or players to share the parts of a game or its particular culture that irk, frustrate, or don’t work well for them. If done disrespectfully, without being mindful of the joy others find in the game, that’s a different story, and one I would not support.

On skills, background, and chargen: The combination of skills and background options just didn’t sit right with me as a player. As a gm it has been fine, but when I’ve had the opportunity to play, I’ve either been unhappy with the backgrounds and/or felt limited by the skills.

The exaggerated example:
It’s not RAW, I hope, but it is not far from character concepts thrown my way. I would never have a problem with that style of play at a table for others who want to play that way. And what a futile opinion that would be, anyhow! The reason it irks me is that the “exaggerated” stryle has snuck into games I’m involved in online or at a con. An otherwise serious, exciting, complex adventure becomes an exercise in cartooning. That’s not fun for me as a gm or player, and I value the time I make for gaming.

And yes, this is a style of play choice, not embedded in any rules–it could happen at any table.

Anyhow thanks for the ideas, and I hope this provokes thought, not unease.

Be well.


Last reply, I promise! :slight_smile:

BTW, the DMG does discuss a no-skills variant RAW - you might like that better?


Ah! The problem is with the way tables are gathered online? The DM is abdicating their responsibility to keep the game within (what you think) should be the appropriate tone.

I can see how that would be frustrating. But, it that isn’t the fault of 5e.

Someone is confused about what should be the tone of that table and who should set/enforce it.

Maybe we need some way to communicate expectations between players/DMs before sitting down to play. :grin: I think session 0 is supposed to help with this, and these effects are the result of jumping straight into a game with no orientation…

Last reply too, also promise!

Yes, DM or the table (at large) abdicating responsibility–totally, completely agreed.

You’re right, though, in my estimation: nothing in the rulebooks (well, I didn’t read Acquisitions Inc. or the Rick and Morty box set–those seem like very specific subsets) pushes one style of play over another. Session 0 would help: I did politely leave one of these situations after a char gen/session 0 combo indicated that 3 of the 5 players were into a fully goofy campaign. Cons are a different thing altogether, of course.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve run a fair bit of 5e and played it recently, helping a friend introduce his son to the game. I’ve run it for my students, too, as it is what they voted for, and I was all about the fun. It’s just that when I’m left to choose, other games work better for me.

Ok, good night. Thank you for the discourse!


Oh @sean, you funny guy… :laughing:

The title of this episode is misleading click-bait. :smiley:

There is no 5e hate in this episode. :do_not_litter:

Of course, that means that it was, instead, a great episode!



Clearly you have not listened to the episode backwards!


Why 5e is not my game of choice:

  1. Everyone has magic. It’s baked into the classes. It makes it feel like magic is not special.
  2. It takes way too long to make a character, especially if they are a magic user.
  3. There seems to be a tendency for all of the classes to start to feel the same.

What I mean by that third one is the writers have provided a way for every class to, at some point, have access to the same, or similar, abilities (with different names).

I’m sure these are all reasons why people LIKE the game and that’s understandable. To each their own!

FWIW, I think I disagree with @Fafhrd 's statement that it’s a toolbox game because the “high magic” aspect is baked into the game, from my perspective.


You’re not the only one that has expressed this. :slight_smile: I mean, I think, if we say D&D is a toolbox, how is another rpg NOT a toolbox, and if everything is a toolbox, then are we just carpenters and not rpg’ers?!

Hehe…figured some people will quite literally say “OH!! MAN I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS GUY. SOMEBODY IS GOING TO BE WRONG ON THE INTERNET, HONEY!!” LOL

Backmasking FTW!

One would argue that you just get a PC gen tool, DnDB, etc. In that tool, if you go completely random and check a few boxes, it can literally take you 2 minutes. Just sayin. BUT!! I do realize you’re talking ‘if you do it by hand’. :slight_smile:

I’ve defined the toolbox comment multiple times. what don’t you get? :stuck_out_tongue: