#RPGADAY: Game You'd Like to See a New/Improved Edition Of...

If you've been following this blog at all, then you know what I think of 5th Edition, but just in case you haven't here's a very succinct recap: 5th Edition is not only more than a few steps back from 4th, but they failed to address problems that have been plaguing Dungeons & Dragons from the start.

So, that's what I'd like to see a new and improved edition of: Dungeons & Dragons.

Something that allows for more meaningful customization than picking a race, picking a class, picking something at 1st- to 3rd-level, and then every now and then being able to boost a stat or pick a feat (that can for some reason provide instant and absolute mastery of something).

Something that is not afraid to look at the older traditions and lore, and discard it in favor of something that makes sense, or is just more inspiring or imaginative. I'm not just talking about the pseudo-Vancian magic that pervades almost every single spellcaster out there, but even stuff like the cosmology: the World-Axis was so much more accessible and felt more mythological than the artificial, fill-in-all-the-blanks Great Wheel.

Something that makes it easy to create even complex monsters and encounters, without having to reference another book, while still making them precisely as difficult as I want them to be.

Ultimately, something that would actually justify spending around a hundred or so dollars on (I don't care if the art is arbitrarily considered "inclusive" or whatever the Social Justice Warriors are going on about nowadays). This? This is something anyone could have done in a fraction of the time.

Also, the universal proficiency bonus is pointless and sucks balls.

Fright Night Kickstarter

That's what we're trying to Kickstart: more art like that. Burney is pretty spendy, but Melissa, Ben, and myself think he's worth every penny. If you haven't heard me talk about it before, here's the "plot synopsis" from the Kickstarter page:

"Fright Night is a lightweight, easy to learn and quick to play tabletop role-playing game intended to evoke the feel of b-movies, slasher flicks, horror films, and even dark comedies. The players take on the role of typical, everyday people that somehow cross paths with a variety of malevolent entities that they must either defeat, escape from, or contain.

Or die trying.

The rules are minimal and flexible, using a simple dice pool mechanic that relies entirely on six-siders: when you try to do something, you roll a number of dice equal to your stat, and each 5 or 6 is a success.

You normally only need one success to pass a check, but sometimes you'll want more (especially when it comes to attacking or evading the monster). Tools, weapons, vehicles, extras (NPCs), and environmental factors can grant you assets or impose complications, which add or remove dice to your pool.

While the players work with the Director to set the scene, and cast their characters and the extras, both the monster's nature and course of the story are randomized through a series of tables. This means that even the Director has no idea exactly what you will face or what’s going to happen next. 

Not only does this provide a kind of story framework useful for new Game Masters to work with (especially those not used to winging it), it also prevents you from learning the trends and habits of the guy your group normally ropes into the job of running your games."

You can get a stripped down pdf of the final rules here, and if you want to read up on a couple of our play reports, you can find them here and here.

If you're a fan of the horror genre and/or rules-lite games, then we think you'll enjoy this game. If you don't or even just can't support it (possibly because of GenCon or other Kickstarters going on), we'd still appreciate it if you could spread the word around.

Thanks in advance!


  1. I like the 5E version of D&D. I see it as an improvement over the previous editions including 4E, which I played a lot of.

  2. I, too, don't like everything from 5E:
    1. yeah, the book is very, very poorly organized
    2. yes, vancian magic sucks
    3. no, 5E is not a bit less battle map dependent than 4E
    4. no, 5E is not spotlight-balanced
    5. yes, keeping track of all those special rulings for each class is a drag

    That being said, 5E isn't too bad either. I like the concept of bonded accuracy. I like the universal profiency bonus. I like the background options.

    I will propably wait for some sort of 5E essentials. It made me like 4E. My favorite edition of D&D is D&D Gamma World anyways. It's the best!

  3. @Dailor:

    1. I've haven't had a chance to really look through it. Could you elaborate on that?
    2. Well, to be accurate, it's "pseudo-Vancian". Fully on Vancian actually makes a lot of sense! Ironic that they purport to draw on The Dying Earth and really only half-ass the thing.
    3. I never even understood why this was a complaint. I mean, people used minis back in OD&D, and 4E is incredibly easy to yank off the grid.
    4. Agreed: my players just use whatever, whenever, ran out of shit, took a nap, and went back in. Felt like playing Final Fantasy.
    5. This is one of the reasons I liked 4th Edition's one-round-only/entire encounter buffs.

    I'm not a fan of either of those things. I'd rather monsters and difficulties just assumed that your stat's would top out at +5, and let classes scale as they want instead of giving everyone the same bonus all the damn time.

    Like, it makes sense for fighters and barbarians and paladins to have a WAY better chance of hitting things. As it stands, the only difference is the stat mod, which isn't much. Same goes for a fighter taking Arcane Lore at 10th-level: she ends up being immediately as proficient as a wizard.

    I'm curious what a 5Essentials would even look like...maybe it would add in some class flexibility?

    I REALLY need to actually give Gamma World a proper go... >_>

    1. (Sorry if this double posts. I tried to post before and it didn't seem to take so trying again). As a person who quite likes 5E, I will gladly agree with your criticism of the universal proficiency bonus. If you followed the playtest you will remember that it didn't exist at all initially. Then, we got proficiency bonuses that varied per class. Casters bonuses were much smaller. Fighters were the fastest improving, as would be expected. However, the feedback was very much against it, so they changed it. The game design was touted as feedback driven and to their credit, they made a design decision that pleased the masses rather than one that I thought made sense. Anyway, my group is enjoying the system. I'm the only one who has mentioned the proficiency bonus issue. No one else in the group of experienced gamers even noticed, or cared when I brought it up, so, I just ended up deciding to shrug it off and go along to get along. The system works well enough as is and it gets so many other things right that previous systems go wrong, I figure I'll tolerate it. Contrary to what another poster mentioned, I found the contents to be very well organized. However, the meta data (for lack of a better term) was quite poor. The labeling of the chapters and subchapters was poor and they didn't tell you what spell lists each spell belonged to in its description which was a big pain. I've added a bunch of bookmark tags/ears to my copy and now it's much better.

    2. I think that the game "works well enough", and that's the problem: 2nd and 3rd Edition worked "well enough", too.

      I was hoping 5th Edition would keep advancing the game forward, discarding what didn't work before (giving almost every class the same AEDU resource model, +1 per two level bonus, all the damned choices, etc) and add where it was needed.

      It didn't. It's a retcon. There's no reason for it to exist. I am confused why some people clamor about it like it's done anything noteworthy.

      The proficiency bonus is something I'd houserule (along with a bunch of other stuff), if I felt the need to play 5E at all. As it stands it's ironically easier to just build my own D&D-esque game, which is the plan.

      I do agree about the spells: jesus, just put them with the class they belong to. >_<

    3. Maybe I wasn't clear. I meant the universal proficiency system works well enough. The game itself is excellent, and in my opinion does precisely what you mention. It takes off from 4E and keeps what it got right, while removing and redesigning those things it got wrong.

      Personally, I didn't think 3E worked well enough. Although I may be in the minority in that. I felt like 4E was great, but it was more of a minis combat game, rather than an RPG in the way that D&D was for decades. But to be fair 3E started down that path so I understand why they did what they did. But, one place I disagree with you heartily is that there was no need for it to exist. I think the need was urgent and intense. And it came perhaps just in time. Only time will tell.

    4. Well that's where we disagree: spell slots, spell levels, the pseudo-Vancian nonsense, having two task resolution systems, Hit Dice, challenge rating as guidelines, billing almost everything by the day, etc are all bad/pointless things.

      From a purely "gamist" perspective they more or less work (though the per day stuff leads to the 15-minute day issue, as well as messes with adventure/story pacing), but just working is the bare minimum, especially with all the games, hacks, and clones out nowadays.

      With two design teams and years at their disposal, the game should be amazing those that aren't being paid/receiving freebies. Or, at the least, the magic systems should possess some semblance of sense by now.

      3rd Edition worked, but it was hell to design and plan for. I'm not sure why people describe 4E as a "minis combat game", especially when you consider the fact that original editions of D&D not only assumed minis, but measured things in inches. Plus, many people (myself included), have run 4E without minis at all.

      I would ask you: what kind of roleplaying can you do in other editions of D&D that you cannot just as easily do in 4th? Also, how come you can go gridless in other editions, but not 4th?

      I think 5th Edition has no reason to exist because it doesn't do anything noteworthy or innovative. I could just as easily play 3rd Edition and get virtually the same experience. For me a collection of houserules is no reason to buy an entire new library of books.

    5. Ive always been skeptical of new editions of any roleplaying game i play but i always give them a chance. When 4e came out it felt different and at first i was against it, but after a few sessions i began to love it for the improvements and innovative mechanics that made every encounter interesting.

      I am currently playing a 1st level monk in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure and i have to say that 5e feels refurbished. We were TPKed during the 3rd encounter of the adventure, most players keep constantly falling in battle (myself included), most classes are boring ( i am looking at you monk) or have mechanics that dont make much sense or are there just for nostalgia's sake (just look at the wild magic surge table for the wild sorcerer (entry 37-38 http://www.dnddungeonscape.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Wild-Magic-104.jpg) Flumphs... 1d6 flumphs appear. For someone who has been playing dnd for a long time it may appeal to their nostalgia but when comes down to fairly new players or players who arent that familiar with the history with D&D just really dont get these references.

      We are a group of 5 players and most of us have been playing D&D and other roleplaying games for over 10 years. Some of us are happy or content with it others like me just see it as a tool to mine for ideas.

    6. That's my thoughts, too: look! LOOK! Flumphs are in! You guys remember those, right? RIGHT?! It's cool guys, we dropped all the innovation and brought back Hit Dice, because those are the bestest mostest elegent way to handle hit points!


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