5th Edition D&D – Easier for PCs?

I posted the previous article, the one about 1st v 5th Edition fighter against orc, on a Facebook group devoted to 1st Edition AD&D. Some of the responses were really interesting. Hard to say for sure without playing, but it seems like the power level of 1st level characters has been greatly increased. Used to be couple of orcs could give a 1st level fighter a real problem.  Now I’m hearing that it takes a LOT of orcs to kill the same fighter.

In fact, I’m hearing that pretty much all 1st level characters, regardless of class, are a lot harder to kill.

Does this cheapen the game?

Granted, it does stink to have your first level character die in the first fight you get into with some kobolds, orcs, or goblins, but I have always just assumed that starting characters are supposed to be weak. That’s part of being 1st level, right? Am I way off base here? In my first D&D game, I went over to my friend’s house, rolled up a fighter, and lucked out massively. In front of everyone, I rolled an 18/00 STR. 30 minutes later, my super strong fighter was dead. He died. That’s how it goes. He was strong but inexperienced.

I’m sure that even back then a lot of people would have said “this sucks” and quit playing. The cynic in me wants to say that these days, with kids brought up on videos games where they get multiple lives, most kids would not play in a 1st Ed. D&D game where it’s so easy to get killed. A lot of people are saying this. I’m not sure if it’s true. I’d like to think it isn’t. But it probably is.

I’ll get around to reading the Spell Casting rules for 5th Edition this week. As I’ve said, I think they’ve done some good things in the new edition. So for now, based on those good things, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

2 responses... add one

I guess it depends on how individual players feel about a “zero-to-hero” progression of effectiveness in an RPG.

Even in games with such a progression, I rarely play long enough to go through the whole progression nowadays – instead, gameplay mostly occurs characters staying near one end of the spectrum (zero or hero). Sometimes, in one of the groups in which I’m a participant, we’ll start with relatively weak beginning characters (1st level equivalents) to get a feel for the rules, then the GM will us a big crapload of XP to “level up”/buy more goodies, with the narrative justification that the story resumes years later and our characters are now all much more seasoned.

Bob, I actually like that idea of the GM moving the game/XP forward in time. Any yes, once I get started on this I expect that once a month will be about all I can play, so it would take a long time to get to higher levels.

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