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Author Topic: What are the big problems in 5E?  (Read 28413 times)

Aglondir

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« on: October 01, 2019, 12:52:47 AM »
I've bene playing 5E off and on for a few years, mostly in one shot games or short campaigns, and never past 3rd level. By now, I imagine the problems (if any) of the game are well-known. What are the main issues?
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Razor 007

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 12:57:22 AM »
Quote from: Aglondir;1106950
I've bene playing 5E off and on for a few years, mostly in one shot games or short campaigns, and never past 3rd level. By now, I imagine the problems (if any) of the game are well-known. What are the main issues?


Many people will defend 5E, and tell you there aren't any glaring problems.  It's a great game, that may not be everyone's cup of tea; but a lot of people like it enough to play it.  It's very popular.
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Opaopajr

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2019, 01:07:48 AM »
The biggest "problem" would be it is an already baked cake in terms of playstyle. Unlike older barebones TSR D&D, where you can build up to a more heroic playstyle by adding subsequent optional adjustments, you start with WotC's Unleashed Heroics! tm (albeit in their most restrained version yet) and have to subtract for adjustments -- however there are still more options to make it even MOAR heroic! That is a personal aesthetics issue, one that every table endures on any game, but it is still very much an issue because analysis and re-synthesis is more delicate than synthesis atop a bare-bones foundation. :)

That is actually a complaint I had from the beginning, mentioned here on this forum too, and it has born out for my tastes. ;) But AiME and others has shown the promise in the chassis to handle a thorough analysis & re-synthesis into a new-feeling product. So, all in all 5e is a solid WotC product, easily its best D&D effort to date, IME.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 01:12:13 AM by Opaopajr »
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S'mon

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 04:46:12 AM »
There's a very heavy reliance on spellcasting, with around 80% of PCs having spell slots - only Barbarians and (I think) Monks don't have a spellcasting path option, while Paladins and Rangers are casting more spells than old school Magic-Users. I don't like this as a flavour thing in lower-magic settings like Primeval Thule. Works fine for a high magic world like Golarion.

Combat runs faster than 4e and I think 3e, but much slower than old school D&D. A session can easily end up mostly combat, though it's not exhausting like 4e combat.

People who like high-crunch thing 5e lacks crunch.
People who like low-crunch think 5e is too crunchy.

The 5e DMG is missing some important stuff like generic encounter tables. These are in Xanathar's; which also has better ideas for a lot of DMG systems like crafting and downtime.

It lacks a robust system for magic item crafting & purchase, which annoys some 3e/PF fans in particular.

Overall the problems are minor; it is a great game and my favourite version of D&D.

Rhedyn

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 08:35:08 AM »
1. The skill system is bad. So bad, that no skill system would work better. People will defend this system forever.

2. The monster manual is full of boring sacks of HP. You'll start to feel it at higher levels, but the HP boat is why I consider 5e so much like 4e, but without all the robust mechanics that made 4e it's own thing.

3. DMG magic items include tons of broken ones that will let PCs stomp way higher CR creatures.

4. Class features are overtuned.

5. A lot of spells are really vague and have mechanical details fleshed out in other editions.

Scrivener of Doom

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2019, 08:38:32 AM »
For me, it's the monster stat blocks and the monster creation rules. They're a massive step backwards from 4E and that's a big problem for me even if it doesn't seem to bother too many other people. I don't like having to look up spells; 4E spoiled me with stat blocks that contained all the information I needed to run the monster.
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Steven Mitchell

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2019, 08:42:26 AM »
As usual, Rhedyn's bitter grudge against 5E should be considered when reading his input on the subject.

Steven Mitchell

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2019, 08:53:55 AM »
The modular aspects of 5E are mostly well done, or at least serviceable.  The default settings leave a lot to be desired in the "plays like D&D" realm.  You can make it play more like D&D, but you'll get there by monkeying with the modules and ignoring a great deal of the "advice" in the books.  Cyclic initiative is from the devil. :)

Backgrounds and class "paths" are well designed, but lacking in execution for many of the core classes.  The ranger is especially a missed opportunity, as it would have been trivially easy to have made the base class a non caster, and then added the casting back in on only some of the paths.  On the plus side, some of the paladin options are both flavorful and fun.  The bard is the best one they've ever done.  (They finally realized that jack of all trades doesn't work in D&D.  The 5E Bard is a full caster with a lot of skills.)

Backgrounds are rather bland and cookie cutter.  They could have had a little more variety mechanically that would have let the flavor shine through more.  Still, those are easy enough to spindle, fold, and mutilate.

Tome of Beasts (by Kobold Press) has monsters done better than the base Monster Manual.  The two books together make a good mix, though.  

Spells are organized poorly and on the cheap.  Nothing wrong with alphabetical order for the main listing, but the spot in the books, the location of the lists, the lack of an index by wizard school, etc. leaves a lot to be desired.

There is a general sense of using traditional D&D terms in non D&D ways that contributes to the overall confusion.  It's easy enough to figure out once you work at it, but unnecessarily troublesome for both experienced and new players.  

Dexterity is too important.  The game has shifted to make it more important, but the ability scores are mired in tradition.  Either keep the tradition and the links that go with it, or change it and let the change run through the system.  Halfway is just bad design.

Brad

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 09:20:00 AM »
Quote from: Rhedyn;1107013
5. A lot of spells are really vague and have mechanical details fleshed out in other editions.

I played 5th for a couple years, and am done with the system pretty much forever now, but this is a definitive PLUS of the system. After playing with rules-lawyers so much, it was nice to see spells that required DM interpretation.

The biggest issue for me is that it tries too hard to keep the classes balanced. I'm completely uninterested in balance that results in uniformity, and at some point all the classes seem to just turn into essentially the same thing. This is probably the 4th edition DNA showing. It's not a bad system, but requires more work than I'm willing to do anymore. I can get really drunk and run Castles and Crusades or B/X, 5th requires a lot more brain power to keep track of everything.

Advantage/Disadvantage is the best thing about the game, though. Totally worth ripping off.

Rhedyn

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 09:32:00 AM »
Quote from: Brad;1107018
Advantage/Disadvantage is the best thing about the game, though. Totally worth ripping off.
Tangent, but I love how The Black Hack 2e makes use of the mechanic.

One thing they did was apply advantage/disadvantage to roll under "skill" checks. Which I found to be a really elegant way to flesh out that not-skill system.

Haffrung

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2019, 11:49:27 AM »
I like 5E, and have both played and DM'd in several campaigns, going all the way back to the Next playtest. When I weigh the pros and cons, it stands as my favourite edition of D&D. However, I do have several issues with the system:

1) The skills system is worse than useless. There's little difference in individual outcome between highly trained and not trained at all. Worse, there's no downside to every PC rolling for every check, rendering failure highly unlikely. We've had to houserule the shit out of the skill system to make it work.

2) Monsters, for the most part, are just big sacks of hit points. Fighting an ogre doesn't feel much different from an owlbear or a minotaur. Roll to hit, whittle down the big bag of hit points, repeat.

3) Beyond the first couple levels, it's very difficult to place the PCs under real jeopardy. It's an attritional system, but the PCs have robust powers of recovery. It more or less works if you stick to the default assumption of 6-8 combats per long rest. But stray from that, and it loses all tension.
 

Brendan

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 11:52:37 AM »
Quote from: Opaopajr;1106953
The biggest "problem" would be it is an already baked cake in terms of playstyle. Unlike older barebones TSR D&D, where you can build up to a more heroic playstyle by adding subsequent optional adjustments, you start with WotC's Unleashed Heroics! tm (albeit in their most restrained version yet) and have to subtract for adjustments -- however there are still more options to make it even MOAR heroic! That is a personal aesthetics issue, one that every table endures on any game, but it is still very much an issue because analysis and re-synthesis is more delicate than synthesis atop a bare-bones foundation. :)

Quote from: S'mon;1106987
There's a very heavy reliance on spellcasting, with around 80% of PCs having spell slots - only Barbarians and (I think) Monks don't have a spellcasting path option, while Paladins and Rangers are casting more spells than old school Magic-Users. I don't like this as a flavour thing in lower-magic settings...

Combat runs faster than 4e and I think 3e, but much slower than old school D&D. A session can easily end up mostly combat, though it's not exhausting like 4e combat.


The 5e DMG is missing some important stuff like generic encounter tables.

These things.   The loss of encounter tables, and more importantly, the loss of cultural memory about how to use randomized adventure generators like encounter tables to generate compelling play is IMO one of the greatest losses from the first generation of gaming.

Armchair Gamer

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 12:09:55 PM »
From my engagement with 5E, it seems so determined to cover the various forms of what D&D has been (although some more than others--I feel stronger preferences for 1E and 3E in its nostalgia bits and tone and style, but that may be my own negative bias) that it winds up feeling like neither fish nor fowl. Maybe that's why the strongest impression it makes on me is cumbersome and overproduced--it's trying to be a 'simple, light D&D', but it can't quite pull it off with the tumid spell lists and massive options and details.

NeonAce

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 04:24:22 PM »
It's just tons of magic, hit points, and class-based super powers everywhere. Like all WotC D&D, it also removed the turn based dungeon exploration structure. It's totally usable and I think it's the best WotC D&D. That said, when someone in my gaming group pitches a session, I tend to skip those sessions.

mAcular Chaotic

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What are the big problems in 5E?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2019, 04:28:48 PM »
Quote from: Haffrung;1107040
3) Beyond the first couple levels, it's very difficult to place the PCs under real jeopardy. It's an attritional system, but the PCs have robust powers of recovery. It more or less works if you stick to the default assumption of 6-8 combats per long rest. But stray from that, and it loses all tension.


You just have to make a lesser amount of stronger combats. 6-8 is for medium encounters.

You could have 3-4 hard encounters instead, or 1-2 deadly.
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