Back to D&D

A bit long, sorry. To get to my actual question, please skip to the 3rd paragraph following…

1st edition AD&D was my introduction to gaming. I played and DMed for a couple of years. I also ran Call of Cthulhu (original box set). After that, I played and GMed a number of games over the years…Rolemaster, Palladium, HarnMaster, Torg, Dark Conspiracy, CORPS, a bit of GURPS and Warhammer, and a number of others. But not D&D after the first couple of years. AD&D 2nd edition lost my interest and none of the succeeding ones regained it. I tried a brief game with 4th edition, but it was too crunchy. Lately, I’ve been able to get back into GMing with Shadows Over Sol, Shadows of Esteren, and Genesys.

After getting interested in Critical Role, I realized that 5th edition didn’t sound nearly as convoluted as my experience with 4th edition had been. So, I picked up the Player’s Handbook…and I see that they’ve addressed most of the issues I’ve had with the game over the years. Not as complex, some interesting mechanics, additional options for the classes. I’m interested.

I’ll be restarting my fantasy campaign in a few weeks, and I’ve made the decision to switch the mechanics over to 5e. As someone with a lot of experience in running games, but who’s experience with D&D is out-of-date, what particular issues should I watch out for? Is there any particular advice that you think would be helpful?

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  • Take your time
  • Look up spells as a lot has changed in them over the years (my crew was shocked to realize that the 5e fireball was only 20’ and not 30’),
  • Have the first combat be methodical and “plain”/standard so everyone can get the idea of how it works
  • Have a couple of skill checks so folks get used to it, grant Inspiration for good ideas, and be sure that folks get the Advantage/Disadvantage d20 mechanic set by the end of the session.

Seriously though, take your time. It’s not a race to mastery for you or the group.

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  • Believe me, I’ll be checking the spells.

  • The advantage/disadvantage mechanic is a very nice addition, and one of the main things that prompted me to pick D&D up again. (Although it uses cards, Shadows Over Sol has a similar mechanic.)

  • Inspiration…good call. That’s one I’m not familiar with, and I’m not sure I’ve seen it used in Critical Role (my only exposure to 5e actually being run.)

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I always suggest DMs tell their players “If you don’t use Inspiration, I can’t award more”. It can get them out of the more reserved side of playing their characters and take chances.

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Honestly, I’d never heard of Inspiration. I vaguely remember it being mentioned in my PHB read-through, but I don’t recall any particular emphasis on it. Obviously, something I need to re-read…

Inspiration allows you to change a regular roll to one with Advantage, or a disadvantage to a regular roll.

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  • Concentration spells are great for making life less complicated, but make sure everyone understands how they work
  • Keep an eye on the casting time for spells; a lot of them may end up being bonus action spells, or rituals, instead of standard actions
  • Accidentally take a marker to Counterspell and black it out :wink:
  • 5e doesn’t assume you have magic items, so don’t worry about handing them out too early
  • At low level, advantage can be deadly, so be careful about things like wolves that have pack tactics
  • If you make inspiration a pool that maxes out at 1 inspiration per player, instead of on or off for each player, it flows a lot better
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5E is a really good game but I do have one suggestion.

While planning your campaign, I suggest you avoid going too far above level 10. Like many d20 games, the system has problems above level 10-12 and kind of falls apart. Having completed four D&D 5E campaigns (Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, Curse of Strad, a Diablo 3 adaptation, and Tomb of Annihilation), my group has decided it is just too difficult to challenge the PCs above level 10. For us, it took a lot of the fun out of the game. We were in the part of the story where we should be facing the greatest challenges and the DM (myself for two of those and my buddy for the other two) had to break the system to really do that on a consistent basis.

But up to level 10-12, it plays just fine.

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Good show topic, Akodoken. When’s the last time the boys tackled High Level Play?

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It’s been quite a while so this would be a good topic to bring back around

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The rule that tics me off most is the broken, “bonus action.” In an action economy game, the min maxing of that rule can get out of hand. When, who and how it’s used is muddled and easily abused.

This is followed closely with the Mobility feat. As is expected not all feats are balanced. Mobility is one I particularly hate. It can be very irritating if you do not have it. You will be chasing all the characters that do, always. If I run 5th edition ever again, it will be removed from the game. It’s another rule that takes advantage of the “bonus action” too. Unfortunately, bonus actions are too engrained into the system to be remove easily.

This said, 5th edition is my favorite version of D&D! Have fun! I really do like it, regardless of my negative tone above.

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My buddy who DMed the other two 5e campaigns also removed mobility from the game. He also discourages but hasn’t outright banned monks. And monks + mobility can be game breaking.