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    How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
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    Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:09 pm  
    How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Hey guys,

    30+ year player and DM here, but I've exclusively played 1st and 2nd edition. I prefer 2nd edition and never moved on to later editions, although I have several products from 3rd edition that I like and I converted back to 2nd edition. My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition? Thanks!
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:32 am  

    Mostly mechanics. I don't think there have been any real plot developments since late 2nd. There's been a number of races added to the choices for player characters, which could be plot or culturally significant, but you wouldn't be required to add them to YOUR Greyhawk.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:55 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    xo42 wrote:
    My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition?


    Are you more interested in the Greyhawk setting or the edition rules?
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:08 pm  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    mindseye wrote:
    Mostly mechanics...


    -In a lot of ways, proficiencies work the same as in AD&D 1.5 or AD&D2.

    Attacks and saving throws are calculated by adding bonuses based on level, as in D&D 3X, which I think is a lot more elegant than using all those tables as in older editions, particularly [if] you have multi- or dual-class types involved.

    Some of the attack or saving throw bonuses/penalties are done away with and they just go with a bonus/penalty die ie., throw 2 d20s, then take the better or worse (as the case may be).

    One thing that irritates me about D&D 5 is that spell caster essentially cast 0 level spells every round. That's 10 spells a minute, 240 spells an hour. For some reason that irks me.

    Clerics don't turn undead until 3rd (IIRC) level. I like the old D&D, where Clr1s didn't have spells, but could turn right off the bat. I always figured that explains why the priest at your church can't cast spells: He's not 2nd level yet. Wink oh well.

    Kirt wrote:
    ...Are you more interested in the Greyhawk setting or the edition rules?

    -Ahem:

    "EDITIONS CHANGE. GREYHAWK ENDURES."

    I know I read that somewhere... Wink

    [Edit: Spelling]


    Last edited by jamesdglick on Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:06 am; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:02 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Kirt wrote:
    xo42 wrote:
    My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition?


    Are you more interested in the Greyhawk setting or the edition rules?



    I'm more interested in edition rules and specifics. Particularly compared to 2d edition.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
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    Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:05 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    jamesdglick wrote:
    mindseye wrote:
    Mostly mechanics...


    -In a lot of ways, proficiencies work the same as in AD&D 1.5 or AD&D2.

    Attacks and saving throws are calculated by adding bonuses based on level, as in D&D 3X, which I think is a lot more elegant than using all those tables as in older editions, particularly is you have multi- or dual-class types involved.

    Some of the attack or saving throw bonuses/penalties are done away with and they just go with a bonus/penalty die ie., throw 2 d20s, then take the better or worse (as the case may be).

    One thing that irritates me about D&D 5 is that spell caster essentially cast 0 level spells every round. That's 10 spells a minute, 240 spells an hour. For some reason that irks me.

    Clerics don't turn undead until 3rd (IIRC) level. I like the old D&D, where Clr1s didn't have spells, but could turn right off the bat. I always figured that explains why the priest at your church can't cast spells: He's not 2nd level yet. Wink oh well.


    Interesting. So it does seem pretty distinct and different than 2d edition. I was wondering just how different because it seems to be very popular, especially with younger players. Thanks!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:09 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    xo42 wrote:
    ...I was wondering just how different because it seems to be very popular, especially with younger players...


    -Yeah, I've noticed. Trying to get the younger crowd into D&D 3.5 is almost impossible now. Oh well.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:50 pm  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    xo42 wrote:
    My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition?...I'm more interested in edition rules and specifics. Particularly compared to 2d edition.


    Broad scale, there are five main trends that mark 5E as different from 2nd, but most of the differences continue the trends that distinguished 2nd from 1st. That is, I would say that of all editions, 5E is probably closest to 2nd in spirit, and although the mechanical differences are great, they go in the same direction that 2nd was moving from 1st. Of course, many of these features are not unique to 5E, and were introduced in 3, 3.5, or 4, or previewed and done piecemeal in 2nd and 1st.

    1. Streamlining and Reduction to First Principles
    If 1st came from a wargaming background of a chart for everything, 2nd reined that in a bit. So for example in first edition you want to open a door? Roll on the open doors table. You want to negotiate with monsters? Roll on the reaction table. You want to learn a spell? Roll you spell chance to learn. You want to survive raising? Roll your resurrection survival chance. You want to be aware of the impending ambush? Roll your chance of surprise.

    2nd edition took some of these and codified them as ability checks, then added that as a general possibility for interacting with the world to cover more examples without needing a specific rule for each interaction. Think of the task at hand as relating to one of the six abilities. Assign modifiers. Roll under that ability.

    In fifth edition, practically everything is an ability check, and ability scores form the basis of skill checks and saving throws. In continuing the trend of reduction to first principles, however, the DM sets a DC (target difficulty) and the player tries to make that roll, with higher rolls being better. Higher rolls are always better.

    Are you attacking? Roll a d20 and add your Str mod (for a typical weapon) or your Dex mod (for a finesse weapon) or your Int mod (for a wizard spell with an attack roll).

    Are you trying to make a saving throw?
    Roll a d20 and add your Str mod (for breaking free of a web) or your Dex mod (for jumping out of the way of a fireball) or your Wis mod (for magical fear).

    Are you trying to use a skill?
    Roll a d20 and add your Dex mod (for hiding) or your Cha mod (for persuading an NPC) or your Int mod (for investigating an object).

    There is a great simplification and even greater standardization of the mechanics around how actions are resolved.

    Where 2nd used THAC0 to simplify attacking, 5E has armor classes that go up, so no charts are needed at all - roll and if your total is the AC or better, you hit.

    "Advantage" (roll two dice and take the better) and "Disadvantage" (roll two dice and take the worse) are used for most situational modifiers. Attacking someone who can't see you? You have advantage on your attack roll. Trying to open a lock while you are poisoned? You have disadvantage on your Tool Use (thieve's tools) roll.

    Spellcasters can use a higher level spell slot to cast a lower level spell to boost damage, creatures affected, etc. It is not necessary to have cure light wounds, cure moderate wounds, cure serious wounds, and cure critical wounds all as separate spells if you have one spell called cure wounds and the caster chooses what spell slot level to use to cast it.

    A spell is just a spell (not a wizard spell, a druid spell, etc). A spell might allow certain spellcasting classes to access it and not others, but for any class that can access it, the description is the same, the level and the effects are the same.

    Spells cast by higher level casters hit more often (if they have to-hit rolls) and are more difficult to save against (if they allow saves). But as opponents increase in power their ability to save increases as well, so there is a natural scaling parity that resolves with just one number (proficiency bonus), eliminating the need to check one or two charts. 1st and 2nd achieved these same effects, but in a much more cumbersome way.

    Instead of each spell or effect having its own particular duration to be referenced each time, often with random factors, nearly all spells have one of the standard durations: 1 round, 1 minute, 1 hour, 8 hours, 1 day.

    2. Player choice and agency
    Compared to 1st, 2nd removed with level limits for demihumans, loosened restrictions on race/class combinations (though more so than 1.5 / UA?), and added specialty priests and schools of magic.

    In 5E pretty much any race / class combination is acceptable, and every class has at least three and sometimes more paths or archetypes within it, and all classes can progress to 20th level. If multiclassing is allowed (it is optional) the only limits to multiclassing are ability scores, not class combinations. There are no alignment restrictions on the classes.


    3. Survivability
    Appropriate-level combat is more of a focus of 5E as opposed to 1st edition's avoiding encounters and most xp based on treasure recovery. Almost all save-or-die effects are gone, and level draining is almost completely removed or is temporary. On the other hand, combats are generally quicker and more decisive, with attrition much less of a factor. Even small creatures in large numbers can be threatening in a way they are not in 1st or 2nd.


    4. Multidimensional usefulness
    In 5E, every character has something to do in every round, especially in combat. 2nd saw a nudge in this direction with NWP, as high-Int mages could use proficiencies as well as jealously guarding their spell slots and avoiding combat. But the most glaring difference in 5E play for old-schoolers is cantrips - zero level spells that can be cast every round and are not depleted. A wizard will be slinging a damaging cantrip every round of a fight even if they decide to ration out the more powerful spells.

    Every character can attempt nearly every action. There is a list of core skills that include hiding (stealth), persuasion, athletics, etc., and any character can make an attempt at that skill check, modified by their ability score. The concept of "proficiency" allows some individuals to be better than others, however. Sneaky classes start with proficiency in stealth - but so do sneaky races and sneaky backgrounds, so there are multiple ways to access a bonus in a certain skill. The amount of the proficiency bonus scales with level, so that as you level you get better at skills in which you have proficiency (as well as weapon attacks, saving throws, etc. This is another example of streamlined design eliminating the need for tables and charts)

    Most of the classes have some sort of access to spells. Primary casters gain more spells of higher power more quickly, but the number of classes that can cast spells far exceeds those that can't. Even classes that don't technically have spells have spell-like abilities (pure fighters can heal themselves or speed up their attacks, for example). Last Saturday I helped three people roll up characters for the first time, two characters each, none of them with prior 5E or RPG experience. The party consists of two druids, a wizard, a bard, a sorcerer, and a rogue. When we were done, the player of the rogue said "We didn't choose spells for my rogue." She had just assumed that every class got spells.

    Healing...ugh, healing. That's the part of 5E that is hardest for me to stomach. The PC's simply heal WAY too fast. Never a dull moment - your character should always be doing something, not waiting to do something. To be fair, that is the core rules. "Gritty reality" setting with much slower healing, is an optional rule.


    5. Character "balance"
    One xp table for all classes, and roughly equivalent power levels. 5E players will go on at length about how rangers are underpowered and what is the most powerful class (blech!), but compared to 1st and 2nd, there is much more conscious effort to have roughly equivalent power and functionality in each class at each level.


    Okay, so that is big picture trends.

    Smaller scale mechanics?

    "Critical hit" on attack rolls is institutionalized.

    Some levels are more important than others, but a level increase ALWAYS brings some sort of mechanical advantage besides pure hp.

    The purely martial classes get two attacks starting at 5th level.

    The "action economy" drives what you can do. On your turn, you can move at your full movement rate, AND take one action, and MAYBE take a bonus action if you have something that lets you do it. Once per round you can take a Reaction.

    Character level and ability scores are the principle measure of power. Gear is much less important than in 1st and 2nd. All classes have a limit of a maximum of three powerful magic items.

    As much as cantrips boosted the power of the lowest end of spells, "Concentration" has limited the power of mid-level spells. MANY spells, in addition to their maximum duration, now must also be maintained by concentration - and a caster may have at most one concentration spell running at a time. If you decide to cast web - that means the ally you cast invisibility on before is suddenly visible. I haven't played 3E, but I take it combat was often an escalating buff/de-buff war. I think Concentration may be a deliberate reaction against that.

    "Ritual" spells allow you to have an increased casting time in return for not having to expend a spell slot to use a circumstantial use spell, typically for information-gathering or summoning spells.


    This is off the top of my head. If you have a particular aspect of 2nd you would like to know how it has changed, let me know.
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI


    Last edited by Kirt on Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:33 am; edited 1 time in total
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:40 pm  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Kirt wrote:
    xo42 wrote:
    My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition?...I'm more interested in edition rules and specifics. Particularly compared to 2d edition.


    Broad scale, there are five main trends that mark 5E as different from 2nd, but most of the differences continue the trends that distinguished 2nd from 1st. That is, I would say that of all editions, 5E is probably closest to 2nd in spirit, and although the mechanical differences are great, they go in the same direction that 2nd was moving from 1st. Of course, many of these features are not unique to 5E, and were introduced in 3, 3.5, or 4, or previewed and done piecemeal in 2nd and 1st.

    1. Streamlining and Reduction to First Principles
    If 1st came from a wargaming background of a chart for everything, 2nd reined that in a bit. So for example in first edition you want to open a door? Roll on the open doors table. You want to negotiate with monsters? Roll on the reaction table. You want to learn a spell? Roll you spell chance to learn. You want to survive raising? Roll your resurrection survival chance. You want to be aware of the impending ambush? Roll your chance of surprise.

    2nd edition took some of these and codified them as ability checks, then added that as a general possibility for interacting with the world to cover more examples without needing a specific rule for each interaction. Think of the task at hand as relating to one of the six abilities. Assign modifiers. Roll under that ability.

    In fifth edition, practically everything is an ability check, and ability scores form the basis of skill checks and saving throws. In continuing the trend of reduction to first principles, however, the DM sets a DC (target difficulty) and the player tries to make that roll, with higher rolls being better. Higher rolls are always better.

    Are you attacking? Roll a d20 and add your Str mod (for a typical weapon) or your Dex mod (for a finesse weapon) or your Int mod (for a wizard spell with an attack roll).

    Are you trying to make a saving throw?
    Roll a d20 and add your Str mod (for breaking free of a web) or your Dex mod (for jumping out of the way of a fireball) or your Wis mod (for magical fear).

    Are you trying to use a skill?
    Roll a d20 and add your Dex mod (for hiding) or your Cha mod (for persuading an NPC) or your Int mod (for investigating an object).

    There is a great simplification and even greater standardization of the mechanics around how actions are resolved.

    Where 2nd used THAC0 to simplify attacking, 5E has armor classes that go up, so no charts are needed at all - roll and if your total is the AC or better, you hit.

    "Advantage" (roll two dice and take the better) and "Disadvantage" (roll two dice and take the worse) are used for most situational modifiers. Attacking someone who can't see you? You have advantage on your attack roll. Trying to open a lock while you are poisoned? You have disadvantage on your Tool Use (thieve's tools) roll.

    Spellcasters can use a higher level spell slot to cast a lower level spell to boost damage, creatures affected, etc. It is not necessary to have cure light wounds, cure moderate wounds, cure serious wounds, and cure critical wounds all as separate spells if you have one spell called cure wounds and the caster chooses what spell slot level to use to cast it.

    A spell is just a spell (not a wizard spell, a druid spell, etc). A spell might allow certain spellcasting classes to access it and not others, but for any class that can access it, the description is the same, the level and the effects are the same.

    Spells cast by higher level casters hit more often (if they have to-hit rolls) and are more difficult to save against (if they allow saves). But as opponents increase in power their ability to save increases as well, so there is a natural scaling parity that resolves with just one number (proficiency bonus), eliminating the need to check one or two charts. 1st and 2nd achieved these same effects, but in a much more cumbersome way.

    Instead of each spell or effect having its own particular duration to be referenced each time, often with random factors, nearly all spells have one of the standard durations: 1 round, 1 minute, 1 hour, 8 hours, 1 day.

    2. Player choice and agency
    Compared to 1st, 2nd removed with level limits for demihumans, loosened restrictions on race/class combinations (though more so than 1.5 / UA?), and added specialty priests and schools of magic.

    In 5E pretty much any race / class combination is acceptable, and every class has at least three and sometimes more paths or archetypes within it, and all classes can progress to 20th level. If multiclassing is allowed (it is optional) the only limits to multiclassing are ability scores, not class combinations. There are no alignment restrictions on the classes.


    3. Survivability
    Appropriate-level combat is more of a focus of 5E as opposed to 1st edition's avoiding encounters and most xp based on treasure recovery. Almost all save-or-die effects are gone, and level draining is almost completely removed or is temporary. On the other hand, combats are generally quicker and more decisive, with attrition much less of a factor. Even small creatures in large numbers can be threatening in a way they are not in 1st or 2nd.


    4. Multidimensional usefulness
    In 5E, every character has something to do in every round, especially in combat. 2nd saw a nudge in this direction with NWP, as high-Int mages could use proficiencies as well as jealously guarding their spell slots and avoiding combat. But the most glaring difference in 5E play for old-schoolers is cantrips - zero level spells that can be cast every round and are not depleted. A wizard will be slinging a damaging cantrip every round of a fight even if they decide to ration out the more powerful spells.

    Every character can attempt nearly every action. There is a list of core skills that include hiding (stealth), persuasion, athletics, etc., and any character can make an attempt at that skill check, modified by their ability score. The concept of "proficiency" allows some individuals to be better than others, however. Sneaky classes start with proficiency in stealth - but so do sneaky races and sneaky backgrounds, so there are multiple ways to access a bonus in a certain skill. The amount of the proficiency bonus scales with level, so that as you level you get better at skills in which you have proficiency (as well as weapon attacks, saving throws, etc. This is another example of streamlined design eliminating the need for tables and charts)

    Most of the classes have some sort of access to spells. Primary casters gain more spells of higher power more quickly, but the number of classes that can cast spells far exceeds those that can't. Even classes that don't technically have spells have spell-like abilities (pure fighters can heal themselves or speed up their attacks, for example). Last Saturday I helped three people roll up characters for the first time, two characters each, none of them with prior 5E or RPG experience. The party consists of two druids, a wizard, a bard, a sorcerer, and a rogue. When we were done, the player of the rogue said "We didn't choose spells for my rogue." She had just assumed that every class got spells.

    Healing...ugh, healing. That's the part of 5E that is hardest for me to stomach. The PC's simply heal WAY too fast. Never a dull moment - your character should always be doing something, not waiting to do something. To be fair, that is the core rules. "Gritty reality" setting with much slower healing, is an optional rule.


    5. Character "balance"
    One xp table for all classes, and roughly equivalent power levels. 5E players will go on at length about how rangers are underpowered and what is the most powerful class (blech!), but compared to 1st and 2nd, there is much more conscious effort to have roughly equivalent power and functionality in each class at each level.


    Okay, so that is big picture trends.

    Smaller scale mechanics?

    "Critical hit" on attack rolls is institutionalized.

    Some levels are more important than others, but a level increase ALWAYS brings some sort of mechanical advantage besides pure hp.

    The purely martial classes get two attacks starting at 5th level.

    The "action economy" drives what you can do. On your turn, you can move at your full movement rate, AND take one action, and MAYBE take a bonus action if you have something that lets you do it. Once per round you can take a Reaction.

    Character level and ability scores are the principle measure of power. Gear is much less important than in 1st and 2nd. All classes have a limit of a maximum of three powerful magic items.

    As much as cantrips boosted the power of the lowest end of spells, "Concentration" has limited the power of mid-level spells. MANY spells, in addition to their maximum duration, now must also be maintained by concentration - and a caster may have at most one concentration spell running at a time. If you decide to cast web - that means the ally you cast invisibility on before is suddenly visible. I haven't played 3E, but I take it combat was often an escalating buff/de-buff war. I think Concentration may be a deliberate reaction against that.


    This is off the top of my head. If you have a particular aspect of 2nd you would like to know how it has changed, let me know.


    That all sounds very positive for 5e but it really misses out on what 1e could be and is to many people. 1e is an art form. As with much of the early game it encouraged a do it yourself attitude. The rule system is a guideline and the game lent itself to roleplaying rather than a heavily mechanical bunch of dice rolling. The heart of 1e was the DM and 1e encouraged the DM to tailor the rules to their own style.

    Some people wanted less free-wheeling and more structure and each edition of the game continues to try and force a structured approach on a chaotic system. 1e is that chaos and from that chaos came unparalled adventures of the imagination.

    5e appears to be trying to reverse the lengths that went into applying more and more structure to the game system that culminated in 4e. Ive just started delving into 5e and I think it is a good introduction to 1e but it has too many training wheels that weigh it down. 1e demands too much, but if you can equal those demands the rewards are unforgettable. 5e asks too little and from the start gives too much and robs players and DMs of much that can make AD&D very special indeed.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:39 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    JasonZavoda wrote:
    Kirt wrote:

    Broad scale, there are five main trends that mark 5E as different from 2nd, but most of the differences continue the trends that distinguished 2nd from 1st. That is, I would say that of all editions, 5E is probably closest to 2nd in spirit, and although the mechanical differences are great, they go in the same direction that 2nd was moving from 1st. Of course, many of these features are not unique to 5E, and were introduced in 3, 3.5, or 4, or previewed and done piecemeal in 2nd and 1st.


    That all sounds very positive for 5e but it really misses out on what 1e could be and is to many people. 1e is an art form.


    I don't disagree. I've tried to stay away from value judgments here. Mechanically, 5E is much more standardized than 1st or 2nd. Whether or not you value that standardization is a personal preference.
    _________________
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:34 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Kirt wrote:
    ...This is off the top of my head. If you have a particular aspect of 2nd you would like to know how it has changed, let me know.


    -If you wrote that off the top of your head, color me impressed. Laughing

    Kirt wrote:
    ... Higher rolls are always better...


    -That's one of the changes starting with D&D 3 that really made sense. It was so obvious I forgot it.

    Kirt wrote:
    ...Appropriate-level combat is more of a focus of 5E as opposed to 1st edition's avoiding encounters and most xp based on treasure recovery...


    -Levels are generally easier to get than in AD&D1 or (particularly) AD&D2.

    Kirt wrote:
    ... 3. Survivability
    Appropriate-level combat is more of a focus of 5E as opposed to 1st edition's avoiding encounters and most xp based on treasure recovery. Almost all save-or-die effects are gone, and level draining is almost completely removed or is temporary. On the other hand, combats are generally quicker and more decisive, with attrition much less of a factor. Even small creatures in large numbers can be threatening in a way they are not in 1st or 2nd...


    -Everyone starts with max hit points at 1st level. (began with D&D 3X)

    Kirt wrote:
    ...But the most glaring difference in 5E play for old-schoolers is cantrips - zero level spells that can be cast every round and are not depleted. A wizard will be slinging a damaging cantrip every round of a fight even if they decide to ration out the more powerful spells...


    -Yeah.

    Kirt wrote:
    ...Compared to 1st, 2nd removed with level limits for demihumans.


    -They're balanced by humans getting bonus abilities at 1st level, too. IMO, that's more elegant way of accomplishing balancing than having rookie humans inferior to rookie demihumans and experienced humans superior to experienced demihumans, with isn't really balance, but imbalance at both ends.
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    Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:43 pm  

    Kirt's summary is pretty good. The only missing item for me is player support. It's a lot easier for new players to get hold of a copy of the 5E rules (they are available as a free download from the Wizards website) than the AD&D ones.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:01 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Kirt wrote:
    ...Appropriate-level combat is more of a focus of 5E as opposed to 1st edition's avoiding encounters and most xp based on treasure recovery...

    -Levels are generally easier to get than in AD&D1 or (particularly) AD&D2.


    Although I have played 1st/2nd since the 80's, I early on adopted a very idiosyncratic experience system, so I can't really speak to that from personal experience. But certain the published hardback modules seem to posit rapid leveling to keep pace with the plot, and the rules system itself assumes that succesful characters will be played from levels 1 through 20.

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Kirt wrote:
    ... 3. Survivability


    -Everyone starts with max hit points at 1st level. (began with D&D 3X)

    True, and upon leveling you are given the option of taking a slightly-better-than-average increase or rolling. A few classes get HD boosts, like ranger to d10 rather than d8.

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Kirt wrote:
    ...Compared to 1st, 2nd removed level limits for demihumans.


    -They're balanced by humans getting bonus abilities at 1st level, too. IMO, that's more elegant way of accomplishing balancing than having rookie humans inferior to rookie demihumans and experienced humans superior to experienced demihumans, with isn't really balance, but imbalance at both ends.


    To be more precise, humans don't get racial abilities while all other races do.
    Other races get bonuses to a few ability scores while humans get a bonus to ALL ability scores or, optionally, a bonus to some scores plus a Feat.


    DriveByPoster wrote:
    Kirt's summary is pretty good. The only missing item for me is player support. It's a lot easier for new players to get hold of a copy of the 5E rules (they are available as a free download from the Wizards website) than the AD&D ones.

    True, although that is more a function of changes in technology and business model than a design direction of the rules mechanics themselves.
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    Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:03 pm  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Kirt wrote:
    DriveByPoster wrote:
    Kirt's summary is pretty good. The only missing item for me is player support. It's a lot easier for new players to get hold of a copy of the 5E rules (they are available as a free download from the Wizards website) than the AD&D ones.

    True, although that is more a function of changes in technology and business model than a design direction of the rules mechanics themselves.


    That definitely depends on where/how hard you look. In addition to the various 1e PDF/POD releases, the various retro-clones like OSRIC do continue the support for AD&D 1e and other early editions. We'll have both WotC 1e reprints and OSRIC books available at GaryCon and North Texas this year, at our Black Blade booth, for example.

    Allan.
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    Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:44 am  

    Another aspect of 5E parity that everyone uses the same Character Advancement table. This table lists XP, corresponding Level, and Proficiency Bonus. Very simple. At 1st level, the Proficiency Bonus is +2, and it increases by 1 every 4 levels thereafter (+3 at 5th, +4 at 9th, etc.), to a maximum of +6 at 17th level. The Proficiency Bonus is used to bolster Skills, Saves, and Attacks a character favors based on their class.

    For instance, if any character attacks with a weapon/spell, uses a skill, or rolls a saving throw their class is proficient in, they add the Proficiency Bonus any applicable Ability bonus to the roll to determine success. Any action made without proficiency loses the proficiency Bonus, and just uses any applicable Ability bonus. Any character can try to do anything, but actually having a particular knowledge of how to do that thing is what gives the character the Proficiency Bonus edge. Overall, this means that characters are much more equitable with regards to what they can attempt to do. However, there are abilities in the game that allow for exceptional capabilities, in which case the Proficiency Bonus gets doubled. The Bard and Rogue classes have this feature, which impacts their Skill usage in particular.

    Spell Saving Throws: The target number for spell saving throws is equal to 8+ Caster's Proficiency Bonus + Caster's Relevant Ability Modifier. For example, opponents needing to roll a saving throw against the spells of a 7th level Wizard (+3 Proficiency Bonus) with an 18 Intelligence (+4 modifier) would need to roll a 15 to save vs. that Wizard's spells.

    Proficiency Bonus and Ability Modifiers govern nearly everything in the game, so knowing the advancement pattern of those two things is really the main thing for players. Other than that, knowing what situations result in Advantage or Disadvantage is also important.

    I think 5E can be looked upon as a drastic swing of the pendulum towards simplicity, counter to the prior two game editions. It is very, very simple. it is also very low magic. Magic is mostly found in the form of spells and potions. Other magic items are very rare, and mostly run from +1 to +3 in to hit/Ac value, as applicable. A 5E adventure equivalent in size to the average 1e/2e adventure might contain only one to three permanent magic items, and as many potions.

    One final thing about that simplicity- everything that could be considered a "monster," meaning anything that could be encountered, is always represented by a monster entry either in the adventure or in another book. Recently we encountered a "Necromancer, which is statted out in book with a set profile just as a more traditional monster would be, and includes a set level, spell list, hit points, AC, and so on. While this does lend to simplicity of understanding for new players, it is especially about simplicity of use for new DMs. One can of course customize anything however they wish to suit an adventure level, because a Necrocmacer is actually a nasty individual capable of TPKing a party of lower level adventurers! Enter the "Necromancer Acolyte" monster entry! Happy Simple! Laughing
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:08 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    grodog wrote:
    Kirt wrote:
    DriveByPoster wrote:
    Kirt's summary is pretty good. The only missing item for me is player support. It's a lot easier for new players to get hold of a copy of the 5E rules (they are available as a free download from the Wizards website) than the AD&D ones.

    True, although that is more a function of changes in technology and business model than a design direction of the rules mechanics themselves.


    That definitely depends on where/how hard you look. In addition to the various 1e PDF/POD releases, the various retro-clones like OSRIC do continue the support for AD&D 1e and other early editions. We'll have both WotC 1e reprints and OSRIC books available at GaryCon and North Texas this year, at our Black Blade booth, for example.

    Allan.


    Yep, I agree with both points. I guess I was giving more of a meta-answer really, based on my own experience. I am quite often running games for people who have no experience of D&D & just want to give it a try.

    In those cases it is not really fair to ask them to fork out for a set of rules (of whatever edition). In these cases the mechanical differences beween the rule sets are of less importance than the fact that the 5E rules are available for free. So, if you are starting a new group, it's just easier to link them to the Wizards web site.

    I actually like 5E & play it exclusively these days* but JasonZavoda is right about the 'training wheels' aspect of it. That's why I keep things low magic, low treasure once we get the game up & running!

    *I am using classic AD&D modules though. Hardly any conversion needed. Just a page of notes referencing the relevant 5E modules & don't even bother looking at Challenge Rating. If a fight is too tough, the party can always run away. There's not enough running away in 5E!
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    Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:18 am  
    Re: How is 5th edition different from 1st/2nd edition

    Kirt wrote:
    xo42 wrote:
    My question is, how is 5th edition different? And what are the main characteristics of 5th edition?...I'm more interested in edition rules and specifics. Particularly compared to 2d edition.


    Broad scale, there are five main trends that mark 5E as different from 2nd, but most of the differences continue the trends that distinguished 2nd from 1st.



    Ok, wow. First off thanks for such a detailed answer to my question Kirk. That was an awesome run down and it really showed me the various differences between the two editions. I'm surprised by some of the differences, but I also understand why they made them to capture the attention of a new generation of gamers. I'm intrigued by some of them, but definitely not liking several to the point where I'm not really interested in switching over. There's just something about 2d edition that caught my attention back in 89 and it's held it ever since. Thanks again for that write up!
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    Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:24 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    I think 5E can be looked upon as a drastic swing of the pendulum towards simplicity, counter to the prior two game editions. It is very, very simple. it is also very low magic. Magic is mostly found in the form of spells and potions. Other magic items are very rare, and mostly run from +1 to +3 in to hit/Ac value, as applicable. A 5E adventure equivalent in size to the average 1e/2e adventure might contain only one to three permanent magic items, and as many potions.


    I agree and from reading this thread and a little research online it appears simplicity was a major focus of the designers. I don't mind simplicity, as long as it doesn't affect overall tone and play. I've never thought 2d edition was too complex, as a player or DM though.

    I admit I don't like the low magic aspect you mentioned though. Monty Haul magic campaigns aren't good either, but I love at least a medium level of magic items and powers, especially from NPC enemies. Thanks Cebrion!
    Kobold Pinata

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    Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:19 pm  

    xo42 wrote:
    I admit I don't like the low magic aspect you mentioned though. Monty Haul magic campaigns aren't good either, but I love at least a medium level of magic items and powers, especially from NPC enemies.

    I would contend that it's only 'low magic' in comparison to 3e/4e. The default magic item treasure tables, assuming you're doing everything by the book, actually results in quite a lot of magical items. You're pretty much guaranteed to end up with a legendary, a couple of very rares, some more rares, and quite a few uncommons, and that's not counting the consumable versions you get in all those tiers along the way. By about 5th-level, pretty much everyone in the party will have at least one good magical item and some will even have a couple. By 10th, everyone generally has a 'signature' item (think something the player is keen on and tends to be powerful and unique and sets their character apart). By 15th an anti-magic field is devastating both mechanically to the characters and emotionally to the players (lol).
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    Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:02 pm  

    Hiya!

    A *bit* late, but still reasonable I think. :)

    With regards to magic items...the 'bonuses' from them are vastly scaled down. Weapons and armour, for example, range from +1 to +3. There are no +4 or higher weapons/armour.

    This works for the system because of its "bounded accuracy"; generally, everything in the game is 'balanced' around NOT having Feats, or Multiclassing, or high-bonuses. Every optional rule a DM adds means it is up to the DM to 'rebalance' that bounded accuracy. This is a personal pet peeve of mine when attempting to talk with or offer advice to DM's who primarily come from a "3.x/PF Mindset". (re: they complain the PC's are 'walking over monsters that SHOULD be kicking their ****...then they tell me they allow Feats, Multiclassing, no restriction on Attuning magic items, and all options from several other rule/expansion books).

    So, if you want to have a "+5 Defender" sword show up...expect it to be VERY powerful; like, artifact-level powerful. A +1 to an attack roll is noticable...a +2 is very good...and a +3 is spectacular! If you see an AC of 25, that's VERY HIGH because the game assumes "no to little magic items" for any PC at any level. A 20th level PC gets +6 to hit...meaning he needs to roll a 19 to hit that 25 AC! A fighter with a 20 Strength reduces that to 14+. Now the difference between a +3 weapon and a +5 weapon....you can see the impact of that 'measly' +2 difference.

    Oh, one more thing I don't think anyone mentioned; the "equalizer" for monsters is that they tend to have more (sometimes a LOT more!) Hit Points. The game assumes a monster will probably get hit...a lot. So to have fights last longer and feel more heroic, they upped the HP's of most monsters (e.g., an Ogre has an average HP of 59, iirc, but it's AC is only 11). The combat makes the assumption that "Players like to have their PC's hit monsters and do damage more than they like to TRY to hit monsters and do damage").

    Anyway, on thing I can say; 5e plays/feels different than it reads. I am a die-hard 1e/Hackmaster guy...but I honestly do quite like 5e and have had a blast running it (and no, as I said, I don't use Feats or Multiclassing...or any other books/sources than PHB/MM/DMG; so there is that... :) ).
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    Sat Apr 11, 2020 5:20 pm  

    I did not care for 2nd edition, honestly, but I think that was simply because I am resistant to change. I hated 3e/3.5 and wanted nothing to do with 4e.

    5e is a breath of fresh air. I've played it and find it quite playable. It's quick and easy to learn, which makes it really good for bringing new players into gaming. You really don't want newbies overwhelmed by the rules system.

    There's room for choice and granularity within limits, which I really like. If you make a mistake early in generation, you have room to correct it later, which I also really like.

    You can make a basic character very quickly, useful for me when I attend a local MeetUp group for a one shot at one of our local gaming stores.
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