Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Review


Well, it's finally out. This is the review you've been waiting for, the one you expected as well as the one you secretly hoped you'd never read. They've finally released D&D 5th Edition! Of course, a lot's changed about the publishing industry and the way we read books since 4e came out, so it's probably no surprise to see 5e now. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if we started getting new editions every few years, since it's all just a download away, on your computer, Kindle, console or iPhone.

Ed. You may also wish to read this article for further thoughts about 4th Edition.

Of course, the RPG industry has also changed, and that's got some people down on D&D. Understandable. World of Warcraft is still top of the charts, of course, now claiming that they're on par to break 100 million players by the end of the year. What with the 6.0 changes and the latest expansion, it's easy to see why millions are willing to shell out $25 a month; that's less than a single night out to the movies, when you factor in the cost of gas.

But enough about WOW; let's talk about D&D 5th Edition!

To Begin With

there's no more delineation between Players and Dungeon Masters

The biggest noticeable change here is that we're not talking books, any more. At least, not physically. Instead, you've got one big download and then the ongoing subscription, sort of a trickle download thing like Steam used to do when Valve was still around. We'll get to that soon enough.

I'll assume you own 4th Edition for the purposes of this review. If not... good luck. A few years ago I'd have sent you down to your FLGS to grab a copy off the Used Books shelf, but of course the last one closed up shop last month, so that's not an option. You want print you'll have to check out Ebay or Amazon. Irrelevant, though, since what you REALLY want is 5e, right? Right.

So with that, let's look at the D&D Handbook, what we formerly called the Player's Handbook. Why the name change? Well, that's because there's no more delineation between Players and Dungeon Masters. Everyone is a player, and the DM is just a piece of code on the D&D server now. All automated! Sign up and create your characters, and the DM automatically generates a sequence of events for you, perfectly balanced. No prep time, no need to wait for the DM to get his crap together. More on that later. For now, let's look at what's in the D&D Handbook.

For the most part, this is the D&D we know and love. Most of what was in 4e is still here, except it's all been refined and streamlined even further.

Hit points still work the same, but healing surges have been completely revamped. Now every player can use a healing surge in place of a standard action if they want, without any penalty. You won't have to rely on the Leaders to heal you up; you can solo if you want. And best of all, healing surges reset after every encounter -- infinite healing! -- so now you and your group can charge into every encounter without having to spend a half hour discussing, planning or resource managing.

Alignment has also gotten a much needed revamp. Nine alignments were way too many in 3e, and even 5 was cumbersome in 4e, so now we're down to just three: Lawful, Good, and Unaligned. This is a heroic game about good vs evil and I'm glad these rules emphasize that.


there's no messy character generation process at all

And then there's the biggest change, which is the merging of class and race into one set of Character Packages. This is really old school, and I mean OD&D old, when elves were a class. We're back there, and it really feels natural. It's not really a surprise. I mean, 4e was already pushing certain races towards specific classes: Tiefling Warlocks, Dragonborn Paladins. Playing things like Dwarf Wizards and Gnome Barbarians never made sense, so there was never any reason to allow it. With these Character Packages, you get perfectly balanced numbers every time.

In fact, there's no messy character generation process at all. Pick a package, and your starting stats are all precalculated. Gone are the bad rolls when generating a character: 13 Strength, gone! Now you're a fighter, you get a 20 Strength automatically. Everything is balanced like it should be. Armor is picked with the best option chosen for your character (Paladins get their Plate, Rangers get their Scale, etc). Weapon specializations are picked, and weapons distributed, and now all weapons do a d10 damage so everything is balanced. No unfairness!

Here are the new Character Packages you can pick from:

Martial: 1/2 Orc Barbarian, Dwarf Fighter, Dark Elf Ranger, Halfling Rogue. Each of the martial classes has a different weapon specialization. Barbarians use axes, Fighters use sword and shield, Rangers use two swords, and Rogues use daggers; missile weapons are hand axes, crossbows, longbows and shuriken, respectively.

Divine Classes:Aasimar Cleric, 1/2 Elf Druid, Human Monk, Dragonborn Paladin. Divine classes also have different weapon paths, all using bloodless weapons. Clerics get maces, Druids get shillelaghs, Monks get bare-hand attacks, and Paladins get warhammers.

Arcane Classes: Gnome Bard, Genasi Sorcerer, Eladrin Wizard, Tiefling Warlock. Arcane classes get different implements. Bards get lutes, Sorcerers get staffs, Wizards get wands, and Warlocks get orbs.

Multi-classing? Gone. Nobody did it anyway so why keep it?

Magic and Powers

No more needless decision making or wasting time

And now let's talk about magic items. Moving the magic items to the PHB in 4e was a great decision. Who wanted the DM to mysteriously roll on magic charts to dole out surprises? In the old days sometimes you'd get something you couldn't use. In 4e the players already got to pick their own items when they were found instead of the DM, and now it's one step better: there's no need to pick! Since there's one logical set of items for each Character Package, there's no need to mess around with random charts. Here, at each level, the game tells you what you get. Level 2? Here's your +1 Magic Sword, sir! Level 5? Here's a Healing Potion and a Magic Shield. It's awesome; you get stuff as you level without having to worry about random bad stuff.

Class Powers also get a much-needed revamp and work the same way. Instead of making you agonize over a couple of choices at each level, each Character Package now gets a standard power tree that tells you what you get at each level. No more needless decision making or wasting time; each Character Package gets the same thing when they level up. The kickass part is you are totally free to role-play what the power looks like though. Like if you want it to be fire-based you can say it's fire-based. Sweet!

The best thing though is the revamped and streamlined combat. You don't have to sit around wasting time while you try to decide what power to roll for. Each time your turn comes around, you just play the power card with the highest value, and the game makes it really clear which one that is. So if you have a Level 10 power, you play that one first, and then Level 9, and so on. Once you get all the way down to Level 1, you just use that one over and over. But since every encounter is balanced to only go for about 4 or 5 rounds, that means most of the time you'll never get all the way back to your turn more than a few times. This is really cool since you are constantly using new powers each time. Of course 4e already worked sort of like this, since it always made sense to use your most powerful Encounter powers first, followed by At-Wills, etc. But that meant you always saved the Daily powers up for the last encounter of the night. Is it 11:30 and we're quitting at midnight? Daily time. BORING. Now everything is an At-Will and you just go in order through the power list. Much better.

Plus since magic items are now tied to character advancement all the numbers are added up for you on the power displays. No math required! Just roll a die, or use the pre-built in roller embedded into the document, and go for it! Spiffy!

Dungeon Maker

Entitlement is the new word in Role-Playing

Now let's talk about what used to be the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual. These have been entirely replaced with the DM (Dungeon Maker)'s Dungeon Scenario. When each player signs up their character on the server and downloads the D&D Handbook, they just plug in the name of their group or campaign and the Scenario is generated and downloaded to the book.

This Dungeon Scenario is custom-tailored to your specific group, and perfectly balanced so no one ever has a chance of dying. It's like being in your very own novel as the heroes! Each Scenario includes a brief introductory scene (you can role play if you want to but why bother, you can skip this) and then a Dungeon Delve to enter, with a monster encounter and some treasure, all pre-designed in the book and well-balanced. Kill the monster and move on. Just run through 5 two-page encounters and you get a level. 10 pages per level, 500 pages total, lots of content, and all of it is predictable, fun and fast!

And yes, you heard me right: that's at least a guaranteed level every night. Entitlement is the new word in role-playing, and Dungeons & Dragons delivers. Begone unfairness, imbalance and asymmetry! Everyone is rewarded at the same pace regardless of ability or effort. The reward is playing the game.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, you'll be pleased to know that skill challenges are gone! Players still have skills of course but they don't have to mess around with role playing through them. Just roll the d20 when the game tells you and see if you passed or not. Skill challenges are way streamlined, so there's no more need to determine if you succeed or fail by accumulating 7 or 8 die rolls (TEDIOUS!). It's just one roll to see if you succeed immediately, and if you fail, then another roll to see how long it takes you to succeed.

The best part about the scenario is that every encounter is totally unique. You won't have to fight ten rooms of goblins; you'll only meet them once. Each Dungeon Delve has unique creatures and different treasure that's perfectly balanced to where your level is. No "too easy" or "too hard" encounters. And yes before you ask, (SPOILER WARNING) in the final you all fight the T-------e and when you kill him you get to reach level 30 and win the game! Then your characters get Achievements and you get to pass on your best magic item to your next character.

Of course, the next time you pick one of the twelve Character Packages, the entire scenario is re-generated for you. Next time through, you can try it in HARDCORE mode and get to level 50. I think there's even an IMMORTAL mode after that one but we haven't got that far.

In Closing

In closing, you should definitely download a copy of D&D 5e. I'll post the torrent later. Since it's a free game now (completely ad supported in the ebook, but I'll write an article soon on how to block those) there's no piracy going on with 5e. Just download, share, and play! It's an amazing game that brings a new dawn to Role-Playing, and best of all it's definitely something you can play with your friends while you're waiting for a WOW raid to start. You can level up 5 or 6 times before the raid, then play some WOW, then do a few more during the raid... You can all hit level 50 inside of a week or two of playing 5e, even if you only play it around other activities, so it's easy, it's quick and it's fun. Campaigns don't take years any more - just a month. With D&D 5e, it's really like an epic fantasy story that you can always win. Adventure, excitement, balance, and awesomeness.

A++++++++ Would Play Again!

Quite possibly the best blog I've read all week. ROFLMFAO!!!!!

You are from the future, clearly. I don't know whether to laugh or cry :D

So....so.....AWESOME. :D

LOL!!! That was GREAT!!!

Very sharp, Aeon. Very sharp!

(*waves at Greywulf*)

Nice. Very nice. I think I'm going to send my group here to read this.

I want to bookmark this post and check back in a couple years and see how accurate it's going to be. The sad part is I think it wil be.

Nice one brother. I'm having a terrible morning and I needed to sign in and read exactly that. I'm going to go download my copy right now! OMFG, it's soooo COOL!

Wednesday in three weeks - that would have been the perfect day to post this ;)

No need to check back - the D&D facebook app is, essentially, what's described here. D&D 5th Edition has been out since August '08, or something like that.

The really funny thing is, I bet a lot of players would like this system juuust fine.

Aw man, that's so lulzy.

awesome just awesome. I haven't even got into 4e yet 3.5 feels better to me.

Pardon me sir...Yes, I'm with the Department of Temporal Investigations. I'd like to have a word with you if you don't mind...

lol. Excellent, funny and ever so frighteningly accurate post.

Barking Alien

I'm away for a few weeks and I get this as a birthday present when I come back? sweet!
(Happy 30th Birthday to me, BTW).

Wow, Aeon, you really went to great lengths with this - well done!
Just one thing, though - as anyone knows, nothing should work when it's first published (see MMOGs), so please fix the mention of level cap 30 to 50 in version 1.01 of this review (third to last paragraph).

I just clarified this; you can only get to level 30 in NORMAL mode; in HARDCORE mode you can get to 50. I think IMMORTAL lets you get to 70 but I'm not sure.

So that means you download pages 501-700 only after you unlock IMMORTAL? cool!

BTW, what did you think about the character trade mechanism? Do you think paying WotC a fee for selling your Drizzt , er, dark elf ranger, to a newb is fair?

Congratulations, sir. Your satirical work was utterly freaking awesome. I hope you don't mind but I've linked to (and commented on) this "review" in my blog entry for today (March 10).


Epic Win is Epic. Also, True Statement is True.

To whom it may concern,

Due to violation of the end user agreement, aeon's user priveleges have been revoked for a period of one(1) week and his character ("Snail_Ninja") has been penalized fifteen (15) hardcore-tier levels and one (1) +5 (plus five) sword of sameness.

As per article 1, subsection 5, paragraph 2 of the end user agreement: "No user, alive or undead, will speak freely regarding the super-secret IMMORTAL tier until such time of its release (4th quarter 2014) in the D&D Handbook 3; concurrently, any user found in violation of said article will be subject to user sanctions and penalties in accordance with article 2, subsection 2, paragraph 1 of the Wizards of the Coast Federal Constitution."

Thank you,


It's been an interesting day. It's clear from the positive responses that there are a lot of people who agree with me on some points, and it's clear from the negative responses (mostly on RPG.net) that there are those who disagree, quite strongly in some cases. Almost without exception, the people who agree found it funny; the people who disagree found that I lacked any sense of humor. The fact that this inspired such discussion is enough proof that it was worth doing, regardless.

Threads, in case you missed 'em:



Just for the record, I do play 4e, and will continue to do so. It's a good game. It's just not what I hoped for... at least so far.


How is it that so many gamers independently came to the same conclusions about 4e?

Hey, if those 4E Grognards can't understand why the changes were needed in the broken system, then they are free to play their stupid edition while I'm stay the REAL player... ;)

(And yes, I thought about typing that out with poor spelling and grammar, but my english teacher would hit me in the back of the head)

The information is independently verifiable by anyone with the intelligence to deduce it and the eyes to see it.

I linked this on my gaming group's campaign site; the current GM read it and loved it. Excellent satire; it took him reading three-fourths of the article before he caught that it was a joke. Or that it is hopefully a joke...

Thank you for prompting discussions.

Awesome plan for WotC to do this, but I bet it's vaporware. ;)

Wait a minute...did older D&D have actual...paper...books? What are all these PDFs then? ;)

ok, I cannot find anything wrong with that except this:
1; DnD 4.0 FAILS! where's the CHANCE? where's the chance of not being able to do something? WHY ARE WE ABLE TO TAKE ON LEVEL SEVEN MONSTERS AT LEVEL ONE AND LIVE?!?

2; for lack of reading past the first few lines, I only have one more complaint: MOVIES AND TRANSPORTATION FOR $25?!?!?!?!?

Find a dollar theatre will you? and what the heck are you driving? a hummer? get yourself a pruis, best car i've ever owned; 57-62 miles to the gallon. I can also make it about 50 miles without using the gass at all, but you guys probly dont know how to program it that way.

In knoxville Tennessee, there's a 'dollar theatre' called movies 7.
Go there, its prices have gone up, but not by much, and here's what you get;
$2.50~ One ticket to any movie, one large drink, one large popcorn (free refills).
$3.50~ two ticket to any movie, two medium drinks, two medium popcorns (free refills for both again)
$6.00~ Four tickets to any movie, four med. popcorns, four med. drinks.

go there if you live close. Then again, I havent been there in the few months or so, so look it up before you take my word for it.

Satire is more fun when you know what it is. LOL.

In the grim future of Hello Kitty there is only war, and $20 movie tickets.

This is brilliant! Unfortunately, it's probably also Nostradamian in its brilliance... let's hope Wizbro decides to sell the D&D brand as "unprofitable"... preferably at a cut rate to Paizo, along with the entire Forgotten Realms IP; but Wizbro can keep the novel rights if they want, since I'm not reading any novels set in that bastardized world that used to be the Realms anyway.

Well, I kinda figured Newell would end Valve after his election as god-king of earth.

Didn't expect that only people who owned the first Half Life would have the rights of citizenship, including access to the Striders and a pet Antlion.

So, that was a nice surprise.

I want it too!!! D&D 5th!!!

I like to play AD&D, when you take the final boss... you die, because the rules was broken.
Or you can use a spell that miniaturize a tree, and shot that tree with a bow, with only one single word you return the tree to the original size, and EXPLODE the monster! Cool!

On D&D 3rd this is better! You can do that more times per day! And don't forget, all D&D 3rd tables has Wizard, Cleric and Druid. Fighter? Who needs? Druid is better in the animal form. The cleric is: "Heal!" and the Wizards do anything of other class...

But this is past, now I'll play only D&D 5th, this is better!


This would be funny, if it weren't so sad.

Yes. This is SO TRUE! When taking the current trends in D&D and extrapolating them to their logical conclusions... this is what you'd get.

Far too brilliant to be believed, aeon. Just remember, in D&D 6th we just get to log out of our lives and hook up into the game matrix style! Constant gratificiation! Yes!

I just stumbled across this page, wherein many people reiterate the same issues I have with the system. It seems I/we are not alone.


@brianrjames have you tried the facebook #dnd tiny adventures yet? it is Exactly what you described for 5th Edition.

WTF you still roll DICE in 5e? WHAT A RIP OFF what if I roll low and FAIL I don't have FUN and that is WRONG
my weapon should always do max damage! You should NEVER have to worry about failing a SKILL CHECK, even if it means you take longer. I mean so you take longer and have to sit around and not BE COOL while all the other players are having FUN that is so WRONG!


Hilarious, Aeon! I spent the greater part of yesterday poring over the responses at RPGnet & the RPG Site (linked above), and found that to be funny & sad at the same time. I've never seen anyone get their panties twisted so quickly, and it's not like you're a 4ehater! I don't hate it so much as I just don't have time or money to invest in another edition; but if you bring your 4e books to my house, I'll give it a try! (As long as I don't have to roll on the "Bear Lore" chart...)

PHB 223
Your DM might say that you can track down a seller for the item you want to buy or that you might have to do some searching, but in general you can buy any item you can afford.

DMG 121
The game works better in a lot of ways if you just assume that the characters all gain experience and advance levels at the same rate, even if their players miss a session.

DMG 125
A great way to make sure you give players magic items they’ll be excited about is to ask them for wish lists.


Rob Heinsoo: My goal designing 4th Edition was to make a game that played the way I thought D&D was going to play, back before I understood the rules...

Some people have noticed that playing a first level character in 4E feels like playing a fourth or fifth level character in 3E. That's not an accident.

From the start we wanted to put 4E's character classes on more even footing.

When you're playing a cooperative game with friends, it's better if the baseline is that every character class has roughly equal potential


Previous generations expected to work hard, and we persevered, and we knew that you had to prove yourself first to get rewarded. It doesn't work the other way around. Yet these youngsters believe they should get rewarded without having to prove themselves.


You go to great lengths and expense to design compensation and benefits plans to keep employees motivated and happy, and, over time, employees come to expect them as their due. Privileges become rights, and perks lose their power to improve performance, which means that the benefits bar gets raised higher and higher.

It's a phenomenon called "employee entitlement." It manifests itself in the workplace in many ways: the poor performer who asks for a severance package after being fired, employees who fail to meet sales goals but demand bonuses anyway, or employees who expect bonuses just for fulfilling the basic bullet points on a job description.

"Companies where merit raises haven't been tied to actual merit, where promotion isn't tied to the ability to lead and where there's no clear rewards-results system," says Steele, are those most vulnerable to an entitlement-laden workforce.

Absent a clear connection of compensation to performance, employees will decide that they deserve rewards based on other criteria, such as "I need it more than others" or "I've been here a long, long time."


“I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”


Social promotion is the practice of passing students along from grade to grade with their peers even if the students have not satisfied academic requirements or met performance standards at key grades. It is called "social" promotion because it is often carried out in the perceived interest of a student's social and psychological well-being. Research suggests that promoting unprepared students does little to increase their achievement or life chances.


Entitlement, as described by Judith Bardwick in her book Danger In the Comfort Zone (AMACOM, 1995), is an attitude where people believe they do not have to earn what they get. They believe they deserve what they get or what they want: They are owed it because of who they are, not because of what they do. In such a culture people take what they have for granted, keep asking for more, and are never satisfied. In a culture of entitlement, peer pressure to perform is supplanted by peer pressure to conform; looking good is more important than doing well.


"Millennials are coming in with high expectations and are disillusioned about the reality of a work place. They feel they should be rewarded and start at the top, when we all know you have to work your way up. They have been raised to be rewarded often..."


...an obsession with boosting children's self-esteem was encouraging a narcissistic generation who focussed on themselves and felt "entitled".

@ Entitled Brat:

Having been teaching for a number of years at this point, I can say that you've understated--though amply evidenced--the point.

Another humorous take on 4th, told from possible the other point of view, but, regardless, hilarious (and that's the important part):

At Gamestorm today, I sat in on a game writing round table discussion with (among others) Rob Heinsoo. I now have a much better understanding about WHY 4e went where it went, and it makes more than a little sense. I still haven't fallen in love with 4e like I did with 3e or 2e or 1e or OD&D, but I will say that I'll be looking at it from a different perspective the next time I play.

I'll try to coalesce some further thoughts in an upcoming article, but for now I have to roll in money earned at our booth today. There are literally dozens and dozens of dollars.

Aeon, DO tell. I'd like to know why 4E is the way it is. I don't know if knowing the "why" behind it all changes what it is... it is what it is. But I so want to like 4E and not hate it that if this somehow helps, I want to know.

honestly, I like 3.5 better since you can customize all you want

if these changes keep on continuing, eventually you will only be able to choose from martial, divine and arcane, no subtypes/classes
after that you may just be human getting skills ad feats and abillities from each of the 3 "ways" because no one wants to multiclass
then you just are a human with a sword since spells take up ingredients
so at the end, everyone is a human (to avoid hard race choices) with a sword (to avoid hard weapon choices)
and nothing to customize or distinguish yourself, like skills or feats (to avoid those hard choices)
so in the end, the only difference beween 2 players is their level? let's just leave those out too, while we're at it
and to make the dm's life easier, everyone fights dragons in dungeons (only to keep the name of the game, otherwise those would be left out as well and everyone would be a human fighting another human in an undefined place)
and where's the excitement if you can't die anyway?
i must admit the part about "roleplaying" the power looks nice

if they want to make it easier, let them just add those stereotypes in full glory, with all statistics etc, but don't leave out the other combinations for the ones that enjoy the character building as much as playing the game
if they develop a new race, let them add it, a new feat? add. a totally new character class??! just add and let the player make the decisions

by the way, skil checks are made with a single die roll in version 3.5, and you can even avoid those by taking 10/20 (an average roll) or 20/20 (but that takes 20 times te time it would take in the game world, out of game it takes even less time because you auto-succeed)

overall it's a pretty good review though, I'm not mad at you or trying to mock you or ****ing on you, i'm just pissed with what they're doing to D&D


You can customize all things like... Feats... Skill Points.... And Feats... Skill Points.... And MORE feats.... Skill Points...

You really think u can customize character on 3.5!!!

I want to have sex with the writer and I'm a guy. This sarcastic prose is brilliant and encapsulates all the contempt I have for the people behind D&D 4e a hundred times over.

The only thing better would be to roll it up in a scroll and ram it down WOTC proverbial throat and the writer instated as the CEO

Congratulations whoever wrote this. You are comedically brilliant.

I really hope/wish D&D 4e DIES IN A FIRE and something better is made in its place or in succession to it soon

I may be coming late to the party, but do you know what this post tells me about you? That you think RPGs should be a job or a chore, and that it SHOULDN'T be fun/rewarding unless you earn it. Jaded much?


4e has destroyed the planes. We can all complain that things were stale and needed changing but the situation remains that 3.5 was getting Planescape back on its feet and for better or worse 3.5 gave you potentially unlimited gameplay potential (limited only by the storytelling capability of your DM...not GM) which suited Planescape down to the ground.

The fact will never change that 4e is for the WoW generation that no longer likes to think about the game it plays and would have their fragile childish minds shattered if their poor pretend character ever died. Its overpowered, removes all sense of choice and shattered the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Come on, the person who does that to such an established and loved setting (you know you all loved it even if just out of nostalgia) deserves to be crucified.

I've started to confuse myself, time to take my pills and retreat back to Planewalker.
My two greens
Love n Hugz
Barking X Wilder


@jlf: Rule 11 applies and I choose to apply it here. See Blaxx last line in his comment above yours for an opinion which im pleased to say makes your point moot :-) Thank you, come again.

@Barking: You know , you have hit upon one of my greatest irritations over the cancellation of 3rd edition. The planes were never fully fleshed-out. The Fiendish Codexes were great and contained a lot of interesting and usable material covering the Abyss and Nine Hells. I was looking forward to a Codex for every plane, eventually. My campaign isn't a planescape one as such, it's firmly set on the prime material, but I do enjoy giving my players the occasional planar excursion.

@Entitled Brat

Ok. Yes, today's culture is one of a false sense of entitlement. Sure, that's being reflected in popular media.

But then, every generation has its own collection of social ills that dismay those before it, prompting the previous generations to write long-winded articles complaining about it. Sure, the Millennial generation feels 'entitled' to more than they deserve. But the X ers are cynical. And the late Boomers were greedy and the early Boomers were disrespectful, and the Greatest Generation (WWII era) was hide-bound, and the Lost Generation were short-sighted, and on and on. This has been going on forever.

Also, D&D is a game. There is little to no point in using a bunch of articles talking about workplace attitudes to complain about a game. Fun should be fun, not an ordeal. Working harder is not tantamount to moral superiority. The impression I get is that an ideal RPG would include compiling expense reports and market forecasts, filling out TPS reports and auditing SEC filings for GAAP compliance. If that's the case, I've got a CMMI SCAMPI you can assess for level 3 compliance, and when you're done, you can assess our ITIL and ISO 90001 implementation. Sound fun? Not to me. Keep your 'Puritan Work Ethic' out of my game, thank you very much.

So, they waited until Gary Gygax had passed to issue this pathetic excuse for D&D. I miss you Gary, and I will always be playing AD&D 1st edition, the REAL D&D, thank the Godz for Ebay. 3rd edition is pretty decent too, but 4e is a fucking joke for an RPG! It's sad that the Xbox generation doesn't know what its missing in a real roleplaying game where your choices and wit matter more than your Stats. A fighter in 4e sounds more like a Power-ranger to me with all these tags like "powers" and "surge" and, seriously? "dragon-born?" what's the next race "Peek-a-chu?" I like my D&D a little complicated. Thats what makes my character so unique, and every adventure so unique. The more possibilities the better. 20 million people played GAry's version of AD&D for a reason, thats more than play today. Like it or not it worked just fine back then and still does today if you choose to play it. Well, thats my rant, thanks for your review Aeon, but maybe, just maybe with hope, someway we can convince the corporate bastard power-rangers that be Lizards of the Coast, that what the best thing for them to do next is to give the mindless lazy drone conformist their D&D 5e PDF online game thats really just a Xbox game in Yugi Oi clothing, but then please, with any shred of real paladin honor you might have, re-issue, re-issue, RE-ISSUE!!!!!! Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition as a tribute to Gary Gygax, and you could donate some of the profits to some great cause. Just a thought .. .


You can't put your foot in the same river twice. Games change and evolve. Have you considered looking beyond the mega-corporate games to look at the kind of thing being published by the small indie game companies? Looked at Vox from our very own Aeon?

If you are looking for the same experience you had when you first played D&D -- you won't find it in a re-release. Why? Because you have changed. Not the game, nor the rules; but you. D&D is a corporate monster. Pathfinder is an attempt to take control of a past product.

In my opinion, those that like 3rd Edition D&D enjoy the complexity of the character creation and rules optimization. They are builders, but instead of building a bridge are constructing a character and running them through simulated wind-tunnels, stress tests, and load tests (often called adventures or modules). Those that like AD&D are drawn to the action outside the build phase - even though it is less logical, at least it has more options.

There are more than two role-playing games out there my friends! Don't get stuck in the American two-party mindset! Go out and find a game you have heard nothing about and give it a try. Search for that elusive experience of wonder and hope; that mind-opening moment that first brought you to the hobby. Invest care and imagination into some game and wait for the magic. The fable about the goose that laid the golden egg is all about care and investment.

We expect our games to "entertain" us. A farmer has a goose that lays golden eggs. He can't believe it has produced these eggs and has them tested. They are indeed gold! Every day the goose lays a small golden egg. The farmer gets impatient for faster returns and cuts the goose open. There are no eggs inside. You see my friends...the eggs are the result of care, feeding, and effort. They aren't just there. You get out what you put in. In the passive "entertain me" world the role playing game is very different. The effort required to play is a barrier of entry.

Game designers struggle with the barrier of entry and often mistakenly try to make the game too easy -- hence 4th Edition D&D (Dross and Deviance). I think a great game compels the players to invest time and thought and care. This game produces golden eggs, not as a product of the rules, but a product of the care and effort that the players expend.

Dross and Deviance, nice. You hit the nail right on the head. Unfortunately, that barrier of entry is the bane of my roleplaying existence right now. It's...difficult to get the people you're close to into the game when they have busy lives and just want to come home and veg. I hope that people will tire of just being force-fed their entertainment, but I can't rely on that. Just have to keep searching. Laying golden eggs and shit. :)

I DM 3.5 with a few house rules because its a very comprehensive system, and with a little tweaking (plus a few indie sourcebooks) works the way I want.

Ive been DMing since 1988 over 3 editions and am now a professional with money to spend on gaming but no need to buy Trademark D&D anymore now my 3.5 collection is basically complete (along with 1st and 2nd ed).

In order to assess objectively, I bought the first 3 books for 4th ed and tried running it for a few sessions. With dismay I discovered characters were superpower superheros who regenerate HP regularly. Felt more like Marvel Superheros set in a fantasy realm than D&D.

If I'm in the right mood to play 4th ed I'd rather play MAME Gauntlet or Ghosts'n'Goblins/Ghouls'n'Ghosts with unlimited credits. Its easier than downloading/buying all WOTC's 4th ed crap out there and gets to the same quintessential point immediately.

Am I the only one who thinks AD&D 2nd Edition has all the tools necessary to create whatever rules you want to play with. Remember one thing. These are not Ironclad rules no matter what edition you use. They are only GUIDELINES. You can use or not use, incorporate this rule from this edition or what ever you want. I will never nor have to go beyond 2nd Ed. We have fun playing it the way we play it and thats to our liking. To each his own but WotC IS destroying DND but as long as I have my books and can keep copying my character sheets...Im Good. And dont respond to this thread cuz I'm ready to pull out my +5 Two Handed Vorpal Sword and do some damage. But I hope I dont accidentally critically miss and chop off a friendly party members head. (Sorry Owen).

"To each his own but WotC IS destroying DND but as long as I have my books and can keep copying my character sheets...Im Good"

Contradiction. They aren't destroying it for you, that's clear. It could be taken so far as to say that what they are doing is so irrelevant to you that they may as well not even be doing it. While we're on the subject, I used to be able to go to a movie and get a coke for under 5 dollars.

"And dont respond to this thread cuz I'm ready to pull out my +5 Two Handed Vorpal Sword and do some damage."

Challenge taken. Swing away.

"But I hope I dont accidentally critically miss and chop off a friendly party members head"

There are no friendly party members on Gamegrene; just cranky people, miscreants, and the snacks we love.

By the way, don't just post and run. Stick around a bit. We're miscreants, but we're easy to get along with.

It was no contradiction. WotC is destroying DND as a whole but not for me. Dont correct me. And it is relevant to me because its hard to find great DND Role players anymore with this watering down they are doing.

That was no challenge, it was humor. Your not really a challenge.

Just because YOU cant befriend party members dont think some cant. I have played with so many great Role players in my time. Let me guess, you always play a shady, always cowled dont trust anyone type character.

Oh dear. *Shakes head*

A troll? On Gamegrene?!? Man, I LOVE trolls!!!! [dons troll slaying gear...which consists of a Slayer tshirt and half a pint of bitters] It's not every day that Danzig and I would get to have an adventure together. (OMGOMG, I just said "Danzig and I". That's like...been a lifelong goal of mine for a couple years now. It's a good name for a buddy film. Or a comic book. Or my first album. Can you introduce me to some record company people? I have this new style of music I invented on my Casio keytar)

Lord Danzig, you just made my day. I've wanted the chance to speak to you for ages! I liked you best when you were in the Misfits. Your material after that has been pretty good (and that whole "TELL YOUR CHILDREN NOT TO WALK MY WAAAAAY" line is awesome. I have a character that uses that as his motto and has it tattooed on his invisible chest.) but I really did like the Misfits stuff better. While we're on that topic, maybe you can clear something up for all of us because I know I (and therefore everyone else, since what I say is a perfect cross section of what the entire internet thinks) can't stop wondering about it; are you or are you not a member of the Church of Satan? There are a lot of contradictory statements about it, both from yourself and others, and as long as you're clearing up what is clearly contradictory and what is clearly not maybe you could handle this factoid as well. I'm still trying to decide if I want to be a Satanist or not and if you are then that will help make up my mind.

Now that the whole "oh-my-god-I'm-talking-to-someone-famous-and-oh-so-important" thing is out of the way (well, partly out of the way...I'm really startstruck right now and am having a hard time typeing this on my Amiga. I wonder...what kind of computer does Danzig use? Probably a good one. Maybe a MacBook Pro. That's it, I'm getting a MacBook Pro like Danzig because he's creative and I want to be creative as well). Anyways...back to roleplaying chatter ([bites knuckles and tears up] OMGWTF, Danzig roleplays!!! I'm totally gonna blog about this later).

"Your not really a challenge"

Hmmm...I don't know what to say here. I don't think I have a "not really a challenge". Can I borrow someone else's? It must be a 2nd edition thing I don't know about. I know some of the other Gamegreners use 2nd edition still, but I always had a hard time with all the dice and it made me nervous. Danzig thinks I have a not really a challenge and I don't want to let him down. Oh crap...he's reading this too. He already knows I don't have one. Okay okay, sorry Danzig. I shouldn't have tried to fool you. I don't have a not really a challenge so when you mention mine I feel shame. This is a bad way to start out our new online friendship, but I think honesty is the best policy so I shouldn't have tried to pass off someone else's not really a challenge as my own. [hangs head then looks back up earnestly] I know we can get past this though. My humor, for example, is something that you can probably appreciate it (and schucks...thanks so much for pointing it out Danzig. It means the world to me) and I know that now we're on the right track it's all going to be smooth sailing from here. But to be clear, your mention of "your not really a challenge" made me nervous at first and then jealous afterwards. I don't have one and you do. But then again...you're Danzig. You probably have a lot of things that I don't. I'm not even good at Rockband. Do you like Rockband? I notice there aren't any Danzig or Misfits songs on Rockband. Is that because you hate it?

With great rock & roll must come greeaat powers. The fact that you can read my mind over the internet is something special Danzig. How did you know that I can't befriend party members? Even back when I was a DJ I had a hard time with this. The people at the party (we call them partiers where I live, but I think that if Danzig says "members" then so should I...your nomenclature is f*&king cool man! Is it as cool as your not really a challenge? They're probably equally cool. Ah crap, I'm rambling again. I get like this in front of famous people.) all seemed to like me well enough and when I was done spinning my set I would always try to mingle and get to know them and make friends. I stutter a lot when nervous though and have chronic halitosis from my diet of bitter and tictacs. I also have alopecia, so when I'd extend a sweaty shaky hand to introduce myself, it would often have my hair stuck to it. It was awkward...for me too. I usually left crying because of my underdeveloped social skills. You've travelled the world though, what with your rock & roll bands and all, and met many people. I bet you know how to talk to girls real good too. Is there any chance you could share some tips with me on how to get along in a room full of strangers I've just met? Or is this the kind of thing I should just pick up by studying you and your behaviours and taking notes as we go along? I don't make much money at the pet store where I work, and what I do earn mostly goes to my mom for room and board (it's easier to rent at home than to move out. If it's worked for the last 41 years why change it?) and paying for photocopies at Staples. I make my own graph paper with a ruler and a pen, and I came up with this great idea of just making one and copying it after the last time I spent all of Saturday drawing a bunch out. I don't have a scanner, and I don't know where I'd plug it in to my Amiga anyways, so I have to make copies. You mentioned copying things too...does this mean we could make Staples runs together? That would be great. We could make a day of it. I'll make tuna sandwiches and we can eat them in the car in the parking lot. I assume you have a car we can take. If not, we could just eat the sandwiches on the bus; I know the route very well so you won't have to MapQuest it. Do you like white bread? We only get white bread because my mom says that wheat bread is for hippies.

What am I talking about. You probably have a fancy car, you're Danzig. I wouldn't think you let people eat in your car. Actually, you probably have someone that you send out to make copies for you. That's good because then instead of eating tuna in the car or on the bus after making copies together we could just eat the tuna at your place (my mom doesn't let me have friends over) while your assistant makes our copies for us down at Staples. We could use this time for the lessons in public relations and talking to girls you're going to teach me.

I don't get to gamemaster much anymore, and I play even less. My last group got upset when I killed them all for solveing the Riddle of the Dead Swapped Kings in only the second session. King Bob wasn't really dead see...he had switched places with a pauper and the pauper had gotten killed by an assassin. All these really awesome NPCs I made up did most of the work, but the PCs found a note behind the throne that explained everything. So I killed their characters with a bolt of power from the gods. It makes me so mad when I plan out every detail of a long campaign and then the PCs just break it all like that. The note was there for my GMPC who I'll tell you about later to find, not them. Stupid players and their stupid Search rolls. My GMPC is named Talon and he is the son of the real king and one of the gods of my realm. He can alter reality and manipukate time so the PCs never knew he was there the whole time doing all the awesome things they forgot to do or missed out on. Sometiems they'd get mad that when they kicked in a door or something all the monsters would be dead and the good treasure was taken. It's not my fault though that Talon was higher level than them by quite a lot. Its not like I was giving him a larger than fair share of the XP, it's just that he was half Vovan, half King, and half god...so what did they expect?

Last time I actually played my own character he was a rogue named Arag'orrnx Duu'Urzdexnz (the Xs are silent, it's an ancient Vovan name of power given to him by the gods. Vovans have pointed ears and live in the woods. They are an ancient race descended from the gods that I invented all on my own because I was tired of elves and needed something totally different to have as a playable race. Cool huh? I bet if I ran a campaign for you you'd like to be a Vovan. They start at level 15 and earn XP twice as fast due to a blessing from the gods). Anyways, Arag'orrnx was a rogue and had the Vovan special ability to become invisible to everyone except the gods and I kept it turned on all the time so no one could ever see me. This is how I got around having to have his cowl up all the time so no one could see him. Got you there Danzig, he wasn't always cowled. He had a curse that made it so he couldn't even wear a cowl. The gods cursed his family line for being the ones that were behind every secret in the campaign setting, so they cursed the family to always be recognizable because of no cowls. He got around this because of the Vovan infinite invisibility power, and his life's goal was to kill the gods. He figured all this out because his Intelligence is 22 and he has all the skills in the handbook.

I didn't play that Vovan very long though. The entire rest of the group and the gamemaster all started new jobs that changed their work schedule so that we couldn't meet that night anymore so the gamemaster stopped the campaign. On my way to scouts (I'm a scout leader. It's very rewarding) I pass the house each week and it looks like something is still going on at the table so I'm guessing he had to move for work and now someone else lives there. I rang the doorbell for an hour and yelled "hellloooo! helloooo!" one night but no one came and all the lights went off. I'm gonna guess that the new tenants don't speak english, or they thought I was a bill collector or something.

Because you've played with so many great roleplayers in your time, I can't wait to share some more stories with you Danzig. Let me ask you this if you don't mind...do you only rolpeplay with other famous people? I meant it when I said you'd like playing a Vovan, and I could run a campaign for you if want. I mean, if you have time and you want to. Is it true that Alice Cooper plays D&D? And if so, is it true that he likes playing elves? Vovans are cooler than elves by far and maybe he would want to play one too. And Vin Diesel too...if you know him. He could also play a Vovan because they act just like Riddick and I heard he liked playing Riddick a lot. But they have pointed ears and Riddick didn't. Maybe he could just play a human. And I could have Arag'orrnx in the group as well as an NPC that comes along and does stuff with the group. I love doing that, having a character in the group. If you don't think it's a good idea, then he could just be invisible all the time and you wouldn't know. I'd only do stuff with him if your group was in trouble and you needed to be saved.

I have to go now. We still pay for the internet by the minute, so my mom gets mad at me when the bill comes sometimes. If our friendship becomes serios I can build you a HAM radio and then we can talk all the time for free!. I'll start building it today actually. It was nice talking to you Danzig. I'm going to add you on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn next time my mom goes out for a bit and I can sneak online again (are you on LinkedIn? If not, you should be. You could probably get booked for concerts and stuff through there). Is it okay with you if I post our conversations on my Live Journal too? Otherwise I don't think anyone will believe me that I'm online friends with Danzig. Well, except the people on Gamegrene of course.

Cler amos fxxg akaoi ghuststs malark yub dos. (that's Vovan for "by the gods, we are now friends". feel fee to put that in a song if you want. I have a whole Hilroy scribbler full of stuff like that we could turn into songs for your bands if you want.)

I knew I should have coded a "post of the day" module.

In retrospect that would ahve been a good idea...but you didn't know that Danzig would be posting here when you built the site. I can understand how an oversight like this would have happened because I didn't think I'd ever get to talk with Danzig here either.

What's really funny is that I tried contacting Danzig over Facebook and Twitter but he has blocked me. It's almost as if he has no idea what I'm talking about. Just in case it's a mix up (or he has someone else that checks those things for him and he's been so busy rocking out that he hasn't had time to let them know that we're friends now and it's okay to Accept me) I've gone ahead and typed up a 10 page document explaining Vovan culture and stuff. I've also made about 25 different NPCs based on my favorite rock & roll people because I like to do that and was fired from the pet store last night so I haev tons of time on my hand just now.

Did everyone know that you aren't supposed put the kittens that die sometimes at pet stores into the clear garbage bags that we leave out on the curb every night? Turns out they get disposed of seperately and at great expense. I think there might be a better way to do this, but my boss didn't agree.

Anyways, if anyone needs a world designed for them or wants someone to help write a new roleplaying game or something I'm free most times now. I have a light gun for my Family Vision and I'm going to be playing Trap Shooting this afternoon, but I could be persauded into an online conference call using Skype or something and we could brainstorm or talk about Vovans and stuff. I have a great idea for a world where everyone is gods.

smirk...I needed that. :)

I feel really stupid now. I was just issued a restraining order while at my new job as a Walmart greeter...from Danzig! I thought maybe his MacBook Pro was broken and so I sent him five hand written letters a day plus five per day to make up for the ones I would have sent on the days I emailed him or tried to Facebook him when I thought his computer was working though it wasn't. All along I thought I was talking with Danzig with an "I" the rock & roll person here on Gamegrene but as it turns out, I was talking to Lord Danzeg with an "E" and I don't even know who the heck that is.

Just so Lord Danzeg knows, I'm on to you and soon so will be Danzig. I told the sheriff that delivered the restraining order all about this and he took me super seriously. He said he would absolutely get back to Danzig that you were impersonating him on the world wide web and that you'd probably get in lot's of trouble. Maybe you didn't know this, but there's an entire team of people at interpol that do just that; they sit at computers and track down guys like you that try to impersonate Danzig. That's what the sheriff told me, "Okay Scott, I'll let interpol know about this. They have an entire team of people that do just that...they sit at computers and track guys like that who impersonate Danzig." Then he made me sign a sheet saying I had read and understood the restraining order and then I was given a promotion. Instead of being a greeter at the door at the Walmart by my house I now work in the back with a retarded boy named Owen and we sort out things to be taken out front and restocked after people have returned them.

Hey, did you guys know that there is a machine that seals plastic wrap again so that even things like underwear can go back on the shelf when someone has returned them? I can see myself doing far less laundry in the future given that I can just wear things then return them for an exchange with a clean one. You should try it too guys (well, all of you except Danzeg the Liar who I'm going to send an email about to our CEO so he is banned from all Wlamarts in the world), just tell them Owen sent you.

Anyways, all of this made me super upset so I needed to play roleplaying games to get my mind off of things. Not having a group at the moment I'm going to start a solo campaign for myself. I have already made the characters on my lunch break (I can roll up characters, even high level ones like these, really fast because I have memorized the PHB and DMG) at the Walmart by my house. They are all the same on paper, but I will roleplay all different. There are five. Each one of four is based on a member of Metallica (they're a rock band who wrote some really good songs. My mom thinks the music is about Satan and so I love it) and the fifth is the leader of the group. His name is King Glenn Danzig With An I, Emperor of the Land Of The Gods. He leads his band of heros against his enemy Lord Danzeg the Great Liar of the Kingdom of Lies. He is a 17th level Vovan barbarian/rogue/wizard and I am using the 4th edition rules for this campaign to make it better and cooler.

But when this great sounding 5th edition comes out I will convert my campaign.

So awesome.