May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

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May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby BottledViolence » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:03 am

Haven't played since 3rd, don't have any books yet.

How much has it changed? Any good YouTube channels or other resources to get me up to speed on the rules? Are clerics still the go to ass kickers that make everyone else look like chumps? :lol:

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Re: May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby Morgan_Lockbreaker » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:52 am

Advantage/Disadvantage is a huge catch-all replacement to the endless +1/-1's from 3rd.

AoO's and ranged combat is a little different.

Your players will be looking for magic shops for top shelf items. There aren't any. They get the good stuff from adventuring. The best they can hope to spend money on is gear, potions and scrolls, and character things like houses and land and booze.

Classes are a little more balanced, and there's a lot of built in variety with subclasses. Proficiency bonuses progress pretty evenly, and are what determines bonuses for skills and saves. Caster's are still crazy powerful at higher levels. I really like the ranger and the rogue.

Get Xanathar's Guide. It's fantastic.
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Re: May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby Ikoma » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:02 am

Basics are still very much the same as Morgan noted. Roll a d20, add a modifier, did you succeed?

Lots of things are simpler. No more allocating discreet skill points. Now it's just, are you proficient in that skill? Then add your proficiency bonus.

Oh, multiattack works different. No more get a second attack once your primary attack bonus hits +5. Now you get the second attack when one of your classes tells you that you get it. Fighters are much better at fighting because of this.

Advantage/disadvantage is the big thing. Learn how to get advantage and avoid disadvantage (in general) with your class and at your skills.

Critical Roll did a little series called Handbooker Helper (I think that's what it's called) that will give you a short little trainer on specific topics/races/classes.

Oh, the online character manager / rule repository finally is something worth looking into. Check out

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Re: May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby Lord Foul » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:05 am

I've played a bit of 5th Ed.

Overall I'd say it manages to plough a reasonable path between the perhaps excessive crunch of 3rd Ed and the more simple style of 1st & 2nd Ed, without the alarming incongruities that the early editions suffered from.

First, there's a lot less to play with than in 3rd Ed. Much simpler character build, and from my experience so far a less steep power climb up the levels. They've retained the concept of more flexibility in spell-casting they introduced in 4th Ed. but have done away with that edition's video game style to a large extent. Characters begin being quite capable, but not already superheroes.

I've not seen any class dominate the game so far, but my experience is limited. They seem to have gone to some effort to balance the classes, and have nerfed some more spells along the way. Thet haven't managed to recapture the early editions' incredible versatility in the abstract utility of spells, but the more flexible casting rules allow more versatility than you got in 3rd Ed.

Feats are an optional thing, to replace ability increases instead of in addition to them. That means a lot less scope to build yourself a monster, which was where 3rd Ed really shone if you had the experience to learn all the best combos.

In short, there's a lot about it I like. There's a fair bit about it I'm less sold on. It seems to work pretty well, but I do wish they'd drop the overreliance on grid positions (why can't I stand on the lines?). It's the one aspect where the abstract nature of the rules really grates against the fantasy feel of the game.
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Re: May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby John » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:57 am

It plays like a rebalanced and streamlined 3.x. My biggest adjustments, some of which have already been commented on in this thread...

1. Advantage and disadvantage replace most of the modifier soup. Advantage does a good job of making it improbable that you'll have to keep a very low roll, without making it too probable that you'll get a very high roll. This seems to create more satisfying hold-your-breath moments and payouts of hope/fear than simply giving players a +5 bonus when you want them to succeed. It's also dramatic when the two rolls are at opposite extremes, so the players can really cheer that they had advantage or curse that they had disadvantage.

2. Spell concentration. This is an ENORMOUS nerf to casters (not like they didn't need it) and something to consider when selecting spells for PCs and NPCs alike. You can only maintain one spell that requires concentration at a time, and a lot of very good spells require concentration. The days of standing outside the boss' door for a couple rounds giving the entire party every buff in the first half of the spell list are now gone. You want to haste the fighter, go ahead, but you won't be polymorphing that evil wizard at the same time.

3. Lower expected prevalence of magic items. The math doesn't assume that every character will have a couple of nice magic items by the time they're out of the low single digit levels. There is no magic item store where level 12 adventurers take their ten thousand gold piece dragon horde and buy a bunch of +3 platemail.

4. Customization that was provided by skills and feats is now much more hard-coded into class descriptions. You get a new cool ability because you got X level in Y class and chose Z option when you leveled up, not because it unlocked four more skill points and another feat that you now pick from a general list (there are still feats but they're optional and generally don't have as much of an impact as your progression of class abilities).

5. Death saves. It's quite hard to die. Unless you get smeared so hard you're instantly taken to a negative HP value equal to your HP maximum (unlikely unless you're very low level or you casually stick your head in the tarrasque's mouth) you go into this minigame when you're basically waiting on the ground for someone to pick you up, co-op survival style. This takes hard-fought victories from X-COM style affairs where you win the day but half the squad is dead to Left 4 Dead style recovery where managing the teammates who go to the fell-down-but-not-dead state is part of the fight and most of the time two minutes after the last monster is defeated everyone is back up and fine.

6. Save-or-suck effects are severely nerfed across the board. Their targets generally get a saving throw upon casting and then again every time their spot in the turn order comes up, instead of being debilitated forever (or at least for the whole fight) as in prior editions. Most of them also require concentration (see paragraph 2). They're much more situational and less attractive than in 3.x.

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Re: May be starting a 5th ed campaign. Get me up to speed.

Postby BottledViolence » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:17 pm

After digging into the PHB a little and reading this thread I'm feeling a lot better about 5th ed. I'm usually the type to stick with the editions I know rather than bother with newer ones, but this seems like a decent system. Plus we agreed to not use the new races. :thumbup:

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