Ristin's Campaign Construction Center
Report on 09 09 2014
It’s really a bit early for me to comment on 5th edition but here are my initial impressions.
I like the proficiency thing. It’s a good way of handling leveling and power progression unlike DnD 3rd and 3.5and DnD Pathfinder. It also means that it’s worth swinging a weapon for classes that don’t specialize in it. For instance I have seen people in 3.0 and 3.5 who declined to take an AO since it would be ‘useless’ to try with their character. Not so in 5th edition.
I think I like the at-will cantrips and also that they are on-par with weapon attacks. For instance in the playtest I used the pregen elf wizard and found that ray of frost was nice but a longbow was just as good.
I like the flatter power progression. It feels like characters get more potent but don’t ascend to godly power. Characters feel like veterans and champions, not like they are in a different league.
Now…that’s not to say I think DnD 4th no longer has a place…it’s a fine system and would suit a certain style of game (and power progression).
in a word, no. I get the “but it’s traditional” argument for characters to struggle through the ‘infant mortality’ issue of 1st level. But, see, that actually sucks. A problem doesn’t become good or cool because it’s not fixed for long enough.
In any game where there’s a plot and the characters matter, the fragility of characters at 1st level is a huge problem. If it’s just a mindless dungeon-crawl, fine. But if the characters have a backstory and the players want to do roleplaying then having the characters prone to die at the starter’s gate…there’s nothing good there.
Just plain no.
To me 1st level is “0th level” and the level before characters became competent adventurers. It’s the same difference to me as a 1st level commoner and a 1st level adventurer in 3.0 or 3.5. The only use I would put 1st level characters to is to roleplay out a (extra safe) “coming together, overcoming adversity and then choosing to go on together as adventurers” thing.
But, drawing from media, classic stories like Star Wars or Pirates of the Caribbean or even Lord of the Rings would not be suitable for the level one treatment (in 5th). Some sort of “you’re still in the academy when the enemy attacks” scenario is about all that springs to mind here, or “your villiage gets attacked” or so on. Were I doing something like POTC i’d be starting my “not adventurers yet” characters at level two for their big meet up and then they’d graduate to level three and set out on their quest.
Anyway…if I had a team of players each with a character with a backstory and personality and my GM plans to integrate them into the plot I had woven…i’d not want them killed off in the scramble to get from first to second level.
But that’s just me…