D&D 5e – A Review

When I heard that D&D 5th edition was being produced, I was understabdably skeptical. After all, 3.5e was doing the job just fine, and 4e was terrible. But then I started to hear good things on the interwebs, and one of our group members suggested trying it out. Last night was our first night of a new 5e campaign, and it was awesome. 

Highlights of 5th Edition

Proficiency

Proficiency is a new concept that tells you whether or not you are competent at a specific task. If you are, you can add your proficiency bonus to all rolls for that skill. If not, you don’t. Simple as that. 

Example: Croman the human barbarian is proficient at using a longsword. When he attacks, he adds both his Strength modifier (+3) and Proficiency bonus (+2) to his d20 roll. Croman is NOT proficient at using a scimitar. When he attacks, he adds only his Strength modifier. 

Advantage & Disadvantage

Instead of having all sorts of bonuses and penalties to your attack/skill/saving throw rolls, you are either at an advantage or a disadvantage in a given situation. For advantage, you roll two d20s and take the higher roll, for disadvantage you take the lower roll. 

Example: Kiryn the dragonborn cleric is pretty scary-looking, and bares her fangs to indimidate a petty street thief. When his friends attack, Kiryn gets advantage on her first roll (or they get disadvantage, it’s up to the DM).

Backgrounds & Personality

Your character is no longer just a “stat block”. For those players who have a hard time with RP, the personality traits and background section help them flesh out their character. Each character has a bond, a flaw, and an ideal that is connected to their background. 

Example: Kiryn’s background is “pirate”. Her ideal is the freedom of the sea, her bond is her first ship, and her flaw is a lack of trust in her companions due to previous experience with mutiny. She is also able to use her pirate background to get away with minor crimes and petty theft.

Bonus XP for Role-Playing

At the DM’s discretion, players can be awarded bonus experience for playing to their characters ideals, bonds, flaws, or other personality traits. I love this because it really encourages players to think their actions through, and not just attack everyone or everything they see. 

Example: Croman, the human barbarian, believes in never harming women or children. When Kiryn suggests using a child as bait for slavers, he refuses, and is given bonus experience for playing to his character’s ideals. 

Overall, 5th edition is awesome. We’re still learning and figuring out the kinks, but I really enjoy it so far and can’t wait to DM my first 5e campagin!