5E Review
Posted by: Jendor -- September 04, 2014

 

So my gaming group kinda missed out on playing the Play test for 5E and we didn't want to try it with just the free intro packet since it didn't really contain enough information in our minds to run a real game. Finally the PHB came out and we decided to run a one-shot to try it out since after we all read through the PHB and liked what we saw enough to give it a fair shake.

Before I get into the details, I will say that we for the most part are a 3.5 party, we never did 4th edition, too many changes not really to our liking.

So the broad stroke overview, 5th edition is primarily a rollback to 3.5 with a little bit of 2nd edition and 4th edition thrown in for good measure.

Our gaming group for our night of one-shot games consisted of Myself playing a Dwarven cleric with the life domain, an elf ranger played by my wife, a halfling rogue, a human druid, a dwarven barbarian, a human bard and a human sorcerer.

A pretty wide variety of classes were represented so we were able to get a pretty good idea of how each of the classes are represented. Our gaming group has three people who are able/willing to DM, myself and two others (the bard and barbarian). Our campaign started in a small desert town known as paradise that was formed around an oasis, the local magistrate had sent out a summons to recruit adventurers to deal with a coven of sand witches. (and yes the campaign was built around that pun by the DM)

The adventurers that composed our group were among those that came to the town as part of the summons and after agreeing to the mission we decided to get rested up in town that night before heading out into the desert to find said witches and dispatch them.

Before the sun even set on that day we had our first encounter, a young boy had come running into town screaming for help that his brother was in danger. Being the (mostly) good aligned group of people that we were we made our way out of the town to his farm and found a paddock full of angry goats that had attacked his brother who was laying on the ground.

Our sorcerer decided that there must be something wrong with the goats and attacked to draw the heat off of the injured boy. He cast his cantrip Fire Bolt and hurdled a blast of flame at the goat searing it but not killing it.

Now this is one of the biggest changes for mages, cantrips in 5e are not useless spells. First off they can be cast an unlimited number of times per day but you only know a small number of them. Fire Bolt does 1d10 damage... on a cantrip! So even when a mage has cast all of his spells and is drained for the day he can still contribute to combat with more than just a quarterstaff, dagger or crossbow. Another nice thing for mages is that when they have to hit someone with a ranged spell its not based on their dex, but is instead based on whatever their primary attribute is.

So with combat with strange, angry goes now a forgone conclusion the rest of the group jumps in, (literally jumping into the pen with the goats). My Cleric decides that healing the wounded boy to maybe let him get himself out of the pen throws off first level healing spell (no healing cantrips :( ) called Healing Word. Healing word only heals 1d4+ability mod so not as much as cure wounds, but it has two benefits, first, its ranged at 60' and second its a bonus action.. so you can cast it and still take a normal action during the around. But as a cleric of the life domain, in addition to 1d4+3(my wis mod) i also get to add 2 and then 1 for each level of the spell, so it healed 1d4+6 which was pretty nice.

Needless to say the young boy was fully healed and I was able use my Sacred Flame ability to burn another of the goats, the barbarian, ranger and rogue were all able to help take down the goats as well (after the first one was burned to death and the boy screamed that we were ruining his lively hood most everyone switched to dealing non-lethal damage)

Our adventures continued for several hours, including a non-violent conflict with the witches who turned out to be druids. A shady tavern dealer who was selling pure water jacking up his prices after some dust elementals started draining the oasis and the party (namely my cleric) negotiating with him and getting him to lower his prices. Finally ending in a battle where most of the party had no weapons (the thief managed to slight of hand to keep his sword) and we still ended up being victorious thanks to cantrips and then the fighters taking the weapons from the first opponents we dropped.

Over all we thoroughly enjoyed the changes that have been introduced to us so far and we are planning on converting over to 5E full time although not in all of our campaigns (we have 3 different ones we rotate through) until at the very least all 3 core books are released. I may hold off on converting my own campaign until either the Eberron book for 5E is released or at the least an official artificer is revealed since my campaign is in Eberron.

Some of the other things that were changed is how spells are handled. All spell casters basically get their normal spell slots of how many spells at which level they can cast. Then they have the number of prepared spells they have which is their level plus their ability modifier. So a 5th level wizard will usually only be able to have 5-10 spells memorized. Even though he would have 9 spell slots (4 1st, 3 2nd, 2 3rd). It kinda combines spontaneous casting with traditional casting allowing the caster to throw low level spells into higher level slots as needed even making them more powerful (usually adding extra dice of damage) in the process. It works the same for all of the casting classes from what I've read so far, but I haven't yet read the entire book, mostly just hopping around.

Saves, Skills, Attacks, pretty much everything your character does is related to a proficiency bonus which is the same for everyone, 1-4th level is +2, 5-8th is +3, 9-12th is +4, 13-16th is +5 and 17-20th is +6. Usually for checks like Attacking you would add your proficiency bonus, add your strength or dexterity modifier and that is your plus to hit before any other abilities class features, magic items or spells. Saves are the same way and are based on stats so there are dex saves, int saves, cha saves, etc. The skill list is much smaller and works the same way too, prof bonus plus stat mod. As a result most rolls are lower, but so are the target numbers, in the monster info provided so far an Adult Red Dragon only has an AC of 19.

Were all intrigued by everything that we have seen and are looking forward to the release of the rest of the book and will likely be playing a full blown 5th edition campaign in the coming weeks. I'll end my review here, but feel free to discuss your own experiences so far.
Recent News
TitlePosted
5E ReviewSep 04, 2014
How to Make Magic Items AwesomeAug 28, 2014
5 Tips on How to Design Diabolical DilemmasAug 21, 2014
The Ambush at Sheridan SpringsJul 29, 2014
Movie ReviewsJul 17, 2014
Make Your Adventures Feel AdventurousJul 08, 2014
Movie Review: Curse of the Dragon SlayerJun 23, 2014
The 5 Stages of Getting Lost in the DungeonJun 16, 2014
D&D Next Will Be Free?Jun 06, 2014
Party TreasuryMay 28, 2014
The Logic Death Guide to PlayersMay 19, 2014
Colourful Combat DescriptionsMay 02, 2014
Interview: MosesofWarApr 18, 2014
House Rule Hoedown: Material ComponentsApr 11, 2014
Evernote for GMsApr 04, 2014
A Return to a Galaxy Far, Far AwayMar 24, 2014
Potion GeneratorMar 21, 2014
Two new minor featuresOct 01, 2013
New Features: Bunches of em!Mar 15, 2013
New Feature: In Post Dice RollerMar 01, 2013
Edge of the Empire Dice RollerFeb 06, 2013
RPGNet On the Go!Dec 06, 2012
Great Gaming Blog You Should All Check Out (at least once)Dec 05, 2012
Bugs, Enhancements and DreamsMay 12, 2012
Show your SupportMar 16, 2012
How I role! Feb 27, 2012
Blurring the line… nPCs?Apr 05, 2011
Happy birthday to us!Oct 24, 2010
Subscribe to Site PagesJun 29, 2010
XP in the PBP gameMar 13, 2010
Email troublesFeb 23, 2010
Introducing: The Recruiting BoardOct 02, 2009
It's Coming!!!!!Aug 15, 2009
Site outageJun 22, 2009
Maybe I should run a Star Wars game.Jun 17, 2009
Accessibility GuidelinesMay 23, 2009
An Interview with XaryonMar 06, 2009
GMing the PbP MediumMar 02, 2009
News Worth Repeating: Wanna game with Keith Baker?Feb 23, 2009
SWRPG Saga Edition: Scum & VillainyJan 26, 2009
Happy New year...Jan 02, 2009
Contacting the siteDec 15, 2008
Guess who's back...Dec 03, 2008
New SWRPG Podcast at Wizards.comOct 27, 2008
Book ReviewOct 11, 2008
Never mind the bollocks...Sep 13, 2008
Dual interview...Aug 25, 2008
An interview with ChicletAug 13, 2008
An interview with The MagicianAug 04, 2008
2 interviews in 1Jul 25, 2008
book Review: The House of the ScorpionJul 22, 2008
Staff changeJul 19, 2008
An interview with...Jul 15, 2008
RPGNet Con 2008: A RetrospectiveJul 14, 2008
SWRPG Podcast at Wizards.comJul 10, 2008
An interview with SiduktingUJul 03, 2008
An interview with GlimlimbJun 26, 2008
Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Crystal SkullJun 20, 2008
The way it was!Jun 20, 2008
World Wide RPGNet CON08Jun 02, 2008
Home StretchMay 26, 2008
Review: Iron ManMay 05, 2008
RPGNet Con'08 - Game Masters WantedApr 11, 2008
Roleplaying Games Network 2.0 Is Here!Apr 06, 2008
RPGNet Con'08 - Pre-Registration!Apr 06, 2008
RPGnet 2.0Feb 20, 2008
And a Happy New YearJan 18, 2008
RPGNet Con'08Dec 02, 2007
RPGNet Con'08Nov 13, 2007
Seasons GreetingsNov 11, 2007
Site UpdateNov 08, 2007
Character SheetsSep 02, 2007
Quoth the RavenAug 16, 2007
Quoth the RavenJul 24, 2007
The VoiceMar 05, 2007
Special EditionFeb 13, 2007
The VoiceJul 23, 2006
The VoiceJul 13, 2006
The VoiceJun 04, 2006
The VoiceMay 07, 2006
The VoiceApr 29, 2006
UpdateApr 10, 2006
Site News editor to be announced very soonMar 26, 2006