Things I Like and Don’t Like
Everyone has opinions on things they like and don’t like about D&D. When Stephen and I kick around ideas on what to write about or what to talk about on our podcast, we can have some pretty strong opinions on things (Such as Stephen’s unnatural obsession with kobolds). I started to keep a mental list of the things I thought were pretty cool and some I just couldn’t wrap my head around.
I’ve tried to drill down on my ‘dislikes’ to see if I could find some redeeming qualities, and for some I’ve changed my opinion. I wrote an earlier article on guns in DnD, and my thoughts on that have changed completely since I wrote it. My bias came from my old school thinking. I thought the game should only be about swords and shields, not pistols and muskets. But the more I looked at how they fit into the 5e world, I realized that they had a place in the game in its current edition. I’m even using a pistol with my rogue in the campaign I am playing in now.
Opinions are just that…opinions. These are mine. I respect others thoughts on the game, so be respectful when you rip them apart.
The Cleric. The poor maligned cleric has taken so much abuse over the years that most people end up playing one because they know that the party needs one, but they don’t have one yet (Full disclosure - I love playing the Cleric, even more now with the domain options). The Domains in 5e allow the Cleric to be so much more than just a support healer if they want to be. Sure, there is the Life Domain, which makes you the most powerful healer in the game. But if you want to be a front line hero, but don’t want to play the Paladin cause your party needs a primary healer, then War Domain is for you.
If you look through the list of Domains, it’s almost like WoTC realized in 5e, every party needed a Cleric, but the poor bastard who has to play it should be compensated for the rest of the party thinking all he/she should do is heal. As stated above, War makes you part fighter. Nature makes you part Druid. Trickery makes you part rogue. It’s fantastic, and no one should look at the Cleric as “just a healer” anymore.
Feats. Feats are fun. As I have stated before in many of my posts, I started in AD&D when feats did not exist. In my first campaign I didn’t take any feats, mainly because I didn’t read up on them and thought I might mess up by taking the wrong one. How stupid is that? Feats add so much flavor to the game that never existed before.
Increasing your stats can be very important, but many of the feats give you a minor bonus to a stat, plus an added feature. That makes feats even better! What fighter wouldn’t want to take the Durable feat at some point? Getting plus one to you Constitution is great, but getting the bonus to rolling hit dice when regaining hit points more than compensates for not getting that extra stat point. Some go even further than that, like Resilient is one of the best feats to take in my humble opinion. Getting the option to gain one stat point in an ability of your choice is amazing. Then you also get proficiency in a saving throw of your choice! At 4th level this is such a great feat to take, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t.
Of course, that said, I didn’t take Resilient with my new rogue at 4th level. I decided to take Alert. The +5 bonus to my initiative really helps get my attack off first in most fights. I slip in, get off my sneak attack at close range, then move back to attack at range for the rest of the fight. It puts the party at a nice advantage to start the battle, wounding the creature right off the bat.
Roleplaying. I’ve really taken to roleplaying. It took some getting use to, but I’m playing at a GREAT table, and that helped me come out of my shell a bit. I’m not big on using voice or acting out my actions, but I do try way more that I used to.
Dinosaurs. Stephen loves to tell me that he doesn’t understand how I can be ok with the idea of a world full of dragons, dwarves and liches, but I draw the line at dinosaurs. Well, I do draw the line at dinosaurs. They just do not fit in the game as far as I’m concerned. I picture dinosaurs wandering the world(s) in a time before man. Why are they hanging out with dwarves and elves? It just makes no sense to me. So yes, I can get behind all sorts of mythical creatures in a fantasy land, but only if there are no dinosaurs.
Adventure League. My experience with AL is pretty limited, so I could be wrong about it. But from the little time I did play in AL, it just wasn’t for me. The rules are pretty much always RAW and you’re “limited” by official classes, races, etc. I put that in quotes because there’s lots of crap home brew out there and if you’re allowed to play anything and everything you want in your game, you can ruin your own fun.
But the DM should have the flexibility to make house rules in my opinion. Luckily, I was very fortunate to find a group of people that I can play with once a week, and our DM (Stephen) is open to our wants. He also creates some of the best homebrew stuff out there.
Dragonborn. Something about this race just rubs me the wrong way. Isn’t it bad enough that the kobold now can link its ancestry to dragons? Now we have to go even one step further and make a race of dragons to play as? Come on.
It also seems to me that they really want this to be a popular race to pick. The dragonborn get three ability score increases out of the gate (Strength by 2, Charisma by 1) and damage resistance to whichever type of dragon they base their ancestry from. That is pretty standard. But what really pushes it over the edge for me is their breath weapon. Being able to shoot out a 15ft cone of fire that does 2d6 on a failed saving throw at first level seems totally unbalanced. Sure, you can only use it once and then you have to take a rest, but it’s a long or short rest. That’s a pretty OP ability to have early game.
Please feel free to share with me your thoughts on this and let me know what you do and don’t like in 5e. I’m not perfect and I’m always willing to listen. Hell, I came around on firearms…