Posted by : David Guyll January 09, 2012

Also known as "zOMG 5E!"


Before I get into it, you can check the announcement here (as well as sign up for the open playtest when it comes out), check out a 60+ page on RPG.net here, and read an article on The Escapist here.


So, yeah, 5E (or whatever, that is not the real name, but for sake of ease I guess that is what we are going with).

When 4th Edition was announced I was apprehensive that I would hate it. As more of it was revealed the apprehension turned to excitement as I realized that I was really liking what I was seeing; classes besides spellcasters had shit to do and did not become obsolete, and monsters were much easier to create on the fly and deal with. In actual play I was surprised at the flexibility of classes that previously had rigid progressions and options, such as the monk, ranger, and paladin, the ease of which it was to realize concepts like dual-wielding fighters and fighter/wizards, and how different classes felt despite being non-magical melee archetypes.

Basically it was dropped like a bomb without any build up (thread upon thread of random forum speculation does not count).

This time there was build up in the form of Monte Cook (of system mastery fame) being rehired, along with a slew of ill-received columns where he pitched existing concepts, posted polls with loaded choices, and seemed to do his best to illustrate that he did not actually read the 4th Edition rules. So with him as one of the heads of the chimera that is the 5th Edition team--the design one no less!--and the popular theory being that his Legend & Lore columns were his attempts to try and sell us on his ideas that, regardless of poll results, were going to be effected anyway...well, let us just say that I am again apprehensive.

Really all I have heard so far is that the rule set will be modular--allowing groups to set complexity to taste--and also be an edition that will somehow cater to fans of every edition. Just going off of my years of experience on the forums over the past few editions, to put it mildly this sounds like an impossible order to fill. After seeing how well it worked for Paizo and Pathfinder, even the prospect of an "open playtest" does not fill me with much hope (though I signed up anyway). 

What I am hoping is both that Cook can be kept in check, and that things do not go back to the days of Linear Fighters, Quadratic Wizards. The guy on The Escapist mentioned that we would "be surprised" which rules make a comeback, and I am hoping that those are good surprises. Ultimately I do not think that I will hate what comes next, though this is the first time where the thought of skipping an edition has crossed my mind. Eh...if that is the case I still have my books.

{ 4 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. There are a lot of solid ideas in 4E. While I don't expect a rehash of older editions with the new 5E (or even a Pathfinder clone), I hope they don't completely throw all that 4E stuff to the curb. Things need to be tweaked (did we really need all that errata?) but I found 4E had many strong points.

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  2. Whatever else they do, I hope they make this new one backward compatible.

    I love the robustness of 4e and think it does a slew of things really well - not the least of them allowing GMs to have an actual life outside preparing for a game.

    Being able to create encounters, challenges and monsters pretty much on the fly is one of the great joys of that system.

    Other classes than wizards being able to remain good is another.

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  3. Yeah on the list of wants are DMs being able to easily and accurately run a game without having to micro-manage stats, the most of which only exist to make a monster swingier (Hit Dice and how save DCs are determined come to mind) or are not even relevant (such as a creature's Craft skill bonus); I prefer to spend my time writing adventures, not statting up fodder.

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  4. All I really hope for with 5th ed is some official rules to make the grid completely optional. Let groups be part of the current, official, supported version of D&D ... and not have to use the grid. I'm a mini wargamer, I have played the living hell out of 3.0-4e era D&D (including Pathfinder) and I have to say ... the grid ... slows down the game, it interrupts role playing. Yes people have claimed to have successfully not used the grid to play 3.0-4e ... but then your house rulling and hand waiving to such an extent .. your not using 3/5ths of the rules .. so at that point why even play D&D. Why not play Burning Wheel or 1st or 2nd ed or one of the clone systems. So I really hope ... only ... for a non-grid option.

    Backward compatibility would be awesome. I can't even imagine how awesome it would be if they made the game backward compatible all the way to 1st. I still own sooooo much 1st and 2nd ed stuff it isn't funny. I don't play those versions of the game, getting a group to do that in my area is a pipe dream. It would be nice to see that. A move like that would go a long way in quelling the division in the community I think. That just seems fantastically commonsensical though and thus likely NOT to have a snowballs chance in hell :)

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