Thursday, July 3, 2014

D&D 5e Basic Rules: A Random Review



As most of you probably know by now, the free download of the Basic Rules is available here.

In the spirit of the OSR I thought I would write a review based on random tables. Grab a six-sided die and enjoy!


1. COMMENT ON THIS SAMPLE EXCHANGE:

Dungeon Master (DM): OK, one at a time. Phillip, you’re looking at the gargoyles?
Phillip: Yeah. Is there any hint they might be creatures and not decorations?
DM: Make an Intelligence check.
Phillip: Does my Investigation skill apply?
DM: Sure!
Phillip (rolling a d20): Ugh. Seven.
DM: They look like decorations to you. And Amy, Riva is checking out the drawbridge?

Die
Result
1
A clear presentation of the current state of the art in RPGs. Thank the goddess we’re not living in the 1970’s anymore.
2
I skip these sorts of things.
3
I wanted to write something but I just failed my Intelligence check.
4
That this is featured on the first page of text does not auger well.
5
The above is an example of ‘New School’ roleplaying at its dumbest.
6
That one of the female characters is named ‘Riva’ brings up bad memories.

2. OVERALL THE RULES ARE:

Die
Result
1
Way too complicated.
2
Not complicated enough. Bring on the full $40 manuals!
3
Appropriate for the 'Basic Game'. It will lure novices in.
4
A precise simulation of reality down to the tiniest atom.
5
Fascinating! I've always wanted to act out a fantasy story. Now I understand how to do it!
6
Way too complicated. But then again, I've had a few drinks.

3. IF I WANT TO, CAN I PLAY A DWARF WHO IS NOT 'DWARF-LIKE', AT LEAST ACCORDING TO THE TWO PAGE DESCRIPTION OF 'DWARF-LIKE' RACIAL AND CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS, ATTITUDES TO THE OTHER RACES, ETC?:

Die
Result
1
No.
2
Yes.
3
That you even ask shows that you are a reactionary.
4
Yes.
5
Only if you make your Constitution check modified by your Arrogance score.
6
Perhaps, but only after private consultation with your DM.

4. IS THE ELF TRAIT 'MASK OF THE WILD':

Die
Result
1
Evocative.
2
Confusing.
3
A further sign that Elves are a bit magical.
4
Silly.
5
Cool.
6
Cribbed from 50 Shades of Grey.

5. PERSONALITY TRAITS (IDEALS, BONDS AND FLAWS) ARE:


Die
Result
1
Boring and too new school.
2
An enhancement of role-playing, and isn't that what it's all about?
3
Appropriate for the 'Basic Game'. Freudian analysis only comes with the Advanced edition.
4
Confusingly presented. Are they chosen or randomly determined? The rules are unclear.
5
Fascinating! I've always wanted to act out a fantasy story. Now I understand how to do it!
6
Way too complicated. But then again, I've had a few drinks.

6. COMMENT ON THIS TEXT:

You don't need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Correllon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example...You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, or a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character's sexual orientation is for you to decide.


Die
Result
1
I'm sorry, what is there to comment on?
2
Whatever, as long as the all the NPC Elven chicks have lesbian tendencies.
3
Oh, please. Must we have this in a game written primarily for children?
4
Yes, we must, and the author of the above statement is obviously a homophobe. There's no place for that in the RPG community. Take your hate and go home.
5
Personally, I've always felt I was a bearded man trapped in the body of someone who can't grow a beard.
6
Perhaps, but only after private consultation with your DM.

7. IS THE LIST OF 'TRINKETS':

Die
Result
1
About the only thing worthwhile here.
2
Too random. What if you end up with a bad one?
3
Too simple, without description or explanation. It's not clear how to DM it. Will the Advanced edition have rules telling us how to use these in play?
4
Cool.
5
So old school that it almost seems out of place.
6
Cool.

8. DO THE 0-HIT POINT, DEATH AND HEALING RULES SEEM ANY MORE 'DANGEROUS' THAN 4E:

Die
Result
1
No.
2
Yes.
3
Extremely unclear. Mixed signals are sent.
4
No.
5
Probably not.
6
No, and that's another huge problem with this game.

9. IS THE PRESENCE OF A MAGIC MISSILE SPELL THAT AUTOMATICALLY HITS:

Die
Result
1
New school.
2
Old school.
3
Heresy.
4
A carryover from the original game that has no deep significance whatsoever.
5
A good thing for all M-U's to have, if they have a spare spell slot.
6
Pretty damn powerful considering that in general you get one 'dart' per level. (Though in the context of the relatively high hit points and other special powers of PC's and Monsters in this game, is it really that great? I have no idea.)

10. WAS THE AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW:


Die
Result
1
Fair and balanced.
2
Unbalanced.
3
Mixed. It depends on how the dice were rolled. Hence the 'Random' title.
4
Predisposed.
5
Inebriated (but what else is new?) 
6
All of the above

Fight On!

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