Dungeons and Dragons 5e is the latest incarnation of the popular roleplaying game from Wizards of the Coast. Also known as Dungeons & Dragons Next, the game is currently at the final stages of it’s playtest or ‘beta’ phase.
I have downloaded the playtest, due to overwhelming curiosity and I intend to post my initial impressions, thoughts and reactions on what I have read so far, so you can hopefully have a good idea of what to expect, should you be interested in knowing more about D&D Next.
For now, I’ll leave you with a summary of what I’ve seen so far:
The main thing that struck me is how simplified the rules look compared to past editions of Dungeons and Dragons, barring 1st edition and possibly 2nd edition. There are no sign of any prestige classes, though whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen.
With the numbers being smaller and the maths more simplified as a result, I assume the aim is to make battles run a bit quicker than they did in previous editions (especially 4e). As well, it feels as though the game is now trying to move away from the superheroes feel of past editions, encouraging characters that are more realistic or believable.
There appears to be a smaller gulf in power between 1st level and 20th level – as compared to previous editions. While I can see problems with that, namely it probably won’t feel like a significant growth in power when you gain a new level, it may placate those who felt that the characters advanced far too quickly and too much in too short a space of time. In just a couple of months of playing a campaign using the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules, you could go from being a farm boy with dreams of glory, to a literal demigod.
Some of the rules, such as magic items and feats are optional, meaning that you can play a bare bones kind of D&D, ensuring a smoother experience for those who have little preparation time or those who have picked up the game for the first time.
Ultimately, the simplicity of the system can be a good or bad thing. It’s probably a good system to play if you are looking for a quick and simple game where you don’t have to worry too much about character customisation and book keeping.
In terms of character concepts or even for those who want to play characters that are superhuman, D&D Next might lack the mechanics to support such a game. That said, the game is still in it’s infancy and it’s entirely possible that new supplements for the game will be released over time, allowing players to further customise their characters and/or play the kind of game they want.
These are the things I’ve gleaned from the playtest up to now. If you like to add your own opinions about Dungeons and Dragons 5e, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.