Dec 222014
Dungeon Masters Guide

The Fifth Edition DMG is out and the trilogy of core books is on the street. To be pretty honest, Fifth Edition is looking pretty darned good. Now A lot of folks who are a whole lot wiser than me have dissected this book in detail so I won’t bother to do that plus I just ain’t that kind of guy.
I had some real misgivings about finally ordering it. Lot’s of folks were talking about all the random charts for a DM to use in the book. Heck, if you’ve been hanging out in the DIY OSR gang then you’ve got more random tables than you could ever use. But the opportunity was there so I grabbed up the book and I’m pretty pleased. (Yes, I did have the wavy pages that so many others have encountered.)
The DMG gives a good look at the nuts and bolts and design philosophies behind Fifth Edition. If you’re an old hat at this DM thing then you’ll probably sit there and nod or mutter to yourself, “Oh ,I get it.” If you’re new then you might feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of options and information. Just take your time and digest it.
Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t some hiccups here and there. OK, there’s some really cool and pretty maps in the back. Why? Inspiration for newbies, That’s OK. But unless you plan on hacking apart your book then they’re pretty useless. A freebie PDF would be more useful (and heck there’s plenty of cool maps on Drivethrurpg and the web). There’s a nice index of monsters by terrain and CR. Such an index for magic items would have been nice. Yes, I know they can’t include everything. The DMG has great guidelines on crafting the game for whatever your style of play happens to be. That’s good. But for some new DM’s there might be some analysis paralysis. Just so many options. Old hat’s just play around with ideas and talk to your players. For the new folks, try running it as is before you really start tweaking with stuff.
With all three core books in grubby little grognard fingers, I feel it’s safe to say that Fifth Edition is damned cool. They really did pull the best parts together to make something that’s easily playable and tweakable. So looks like one of my plans for 2015 is going to get some sort of 5E game off the ground. Cool beans.

Sep 032014

Well now that I’ve had the chance to do a little bit of DMing and even more playing, I’d like to officially say that I like Fifth Edition. This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up any love for the OSR or Savage Worlds. I still dig those two as well. But let’s face it. Fifth Edition is the shiny new toy and the 800 pound gorilla.
Fifth Edition is like the Greatest Hits version of D&D. It takes what many think are the best parts and meshes them together in a fun workable system. It ain’t old-school. It’s a bit more complex than those games. But it’s easily tweakable and ready for house rules. Heck, you could easily import most of your OSR houserules into 5E. Plus experienced DM’s could pretty easily convert over the best of the old school adventures. But why would want to? Aren’t the old school games good enough? Yes, they are. They are still good and cool. But if everybody at the table is chanting, “FIVE, FIVE, FIVE” and I have a pile of awesome adventures, I ain’t going to let them go to waste.
What about Pathfinder? You know I liked it but would never want to run it. And the more Paizo publishes the splat books. The more I’m starting to just go, “Meh.” Heck, our little group has been playing Pathfinder since the beta. We’re used to it. But it still drags on with all the rules minutia. Fourth Edition never caught on with our group at all. It was DOA. So yeah, if I had choice between Pathfinder and 5E. Vote goes to 5E. But 5E versus retro-clone. That one is tougher. Might as well flip a coin.
Now on to some more random speculation. This is after reading through the PHB. I got’s me theory on splat books. More class archetypes. More Backgrounds. I know WOTC has mentioned that. But that path is really obvious when you read the book.
And finally. Let me rant and pray again to the might lords of WOTC (or maybe offer up a sacrifice to their lawyers). MAKE FIFTH EDTION OGL! please. Thank you.