My thoughts on 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Discussion of any Role Playing Games, e.g. Dungeons and Dragons, Shadowrun, Dark Heresy, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
The Underdweller
Posts: 994
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 3:08 am

My thoughts on 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Post by The Underdweller » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:05 am

A lot of people (well at least 3) have asked me about what I think about 5th edition recently. I have to say that despite appreciating the rules in a lot of ways, I actually enjoy playing 3.5 a lot more still. That is just based on personal experience though, maybe I just having been playing it wrong, as the Internet generally seems to like 5th better.

Anyway, here are the things I like and don't like about 5th (as compared to 3.5)

Good Points

Overall, it's much better for beginners or casual play.

1) It's easier. It is much easier to learn the rules, and to do combat. It is way faster to create characters, taking about a tenth of the time, especially for high level characters.

2) It's less easy to break. Fewer things stack, so it is difficult to get ridiculously high attack rolls, damage, skills, etc.

3) Grid combat is optional. It's nice if you are not into that.

4) Magic Users never run out of spells (they can always use cantrips, which scale up as you level up), so everyone always has something to do in a fight.


1) It has fewer skills. This one is probably not a big deal, but it still bugs me. I don't mind if they get rid of Use Rope or combine Move Silently and Hide, but I miss a few like some of the Knowledge skills (engineering, geography, local, planes, etc.), Disable Device (which I can't see as being the same as Sleight of Hand), and Craft and Profession, which I often used to flesh out my character. I suppose backgrounds do that almost as well in 5th, though.

2) It's (too?) easy for characters to do things. For example, all wounds are healed at the end of a long rest. You can identify a magic item by just playing around with it for a while. You don't need to conserve spells as much because you can always use cantrips.

3) Combat is boring. You can shoot into melee combat without penalty. There is no flanking, no 5 foot step, no charging. Few Attacks of Opportunity. Grappling is less effective. There are some DMG options to re-introduce some of these rules but in general combat is much simpler, and for me less interesting.

4) I don't feel special:

a) There are fewer classes/prestige classes/other character options (at least for now).

b) Few things stack, so you will never be really good at something.

c) Everyone can us all of the Skills. So, your Barbarian has a good chance to know more about some magic spell than your wizard, for no particular reason.

d) Everyone has about the same chance to hit in a fight. The "proficiency bonus" (which determines bonuses for attacks, saves, and proficient skills) goes up at the same rate for everyone. And people tend to use their best stat (eg: Int for Wizards casting attack spells, Dex for thieves with finesse weapons) to attack with.

e) Everyone does about the same damage (with Cantrips or Weapons or whatever)

When I played a Fighter in 5th, I felt gimped compared to the spell casters in particular, who could contribute as much in a fight (other than soaking up damage, I suppose), and then do all other sorts of stuff like fly or turn invisible or polymorph, too. I have not felt like that playing fighter types in in 3.5, despite spellcasters generally being more powerful in that game as well.

User avatar
Evil Overlord
Posts: 10198
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:33 am
Location: Nagoya

Re: My thoughts on 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Post by Primarch » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:52 am

I haven't tried 5th edition, nor am I likely to anytime soon, but that is mainly because I have a large pile of 3.5 books and no intention to replace them. :D

From an inclusivity point of view, the 5th ed rules allow everyone to contribute to each game. For most games, balancing different factors so that all players have a chance to 'win' is tricky. With 5th ed and 4th before it, it would appear that the design brief was to make sure that all classes were on a par with each other. In 3.5 that is clearly not the case. At lower levels fighters and rogues shine. As you get into the teens, spellcasters begin to dominate.

Part of the challenge of DMing a game is to ensure that everyone has their chance to do something. Fighters should get the opportunity to beat down a monster, Rogues should have a chance to sneak around, Wizards should find the time to bend reality to their whims. This doesn't mean that every session will have an even split of time between all players, but the campaign as a whole should.

From the sound of things, 5th seems easier for beginners and beginner DMs too. By making the rules more even handed it allows players to focus more on their characters' character. But I do agree that in 3.5 everyone can be special. Being able to do something that no-one else in the group can is an important ingredient to a successful game. I think nobody wants to feel that they can ultimately be replaced by any other party member with no change in the end result.

So 5th ed. may be a good game, but for financial and gaming preference reasons, I doubt I'll play it.
Prims Painty Points > +924.5
Finished Minis in 2014: 510.....Finished Minis in 2015: 300
Finished Minis in 2016 (as of Nov 30): 369 + 2 Tables of Terrain

User avatar
The Underdweller
Posts: 994
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 3:08 am

Re: My thoughts on 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Post by The Underdweller » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:47 pm

I hadn't even thought about it from a DM point of view - having only DMd about 3 sessions in my life! But yeah, I'm sure 5th edition is better for beginning DMs too, because of the balanced classes as well as the simpler ruleset.

I'm guessing that 3.5 is a better match for you anyway. Prim, with your interest in miniature gaming.

Post Reply

Return to “Role Playing Games - RPG”