You may have gathered I’ve been around a while, and started with the Red Box Basic Set. And I am torn between the old style and the new style.
One innovation since my time of which I whole-heartedly approve is the One central mechanism for resolving everything – the d20 check.
In BECMI, there were so many different mechanisms:
- want to hit someone? Roll a d20, add your modifiers, then look up on a table what armour class you can hit. Armour classes start at 9 for a normal unarmoured person, which a normal person can hit on a 10, then armour classes decrease to indicate they’re harder to hit – 8, 7, 6, 5, … So an 11 would hit AC 8, 12 would hit AC7, etc. Modifiers apply for dexterity or strength depending on attack type.
- saving throw? Look up your saving throw table (Poison/Death Ray, Wands, Turn to Stone/Paralysis, Dragon Breath, Spells/Staff) and roll higher than it on a d20. No modifers apply.
- skill check (additional rules from the gazetteers): level is based on one of your abilities, with bonuses by spending additional training slots on an existing skill. Roll d20 and get your skill level or lower to succeed. 20 always fails.
- thief abilities (pick locks, spot traps, etc) – roll d% and get your skill level or lower . Skills start down in the 5-15% range and increase with level
- dwarf abilities (detect construction traps, sloping corridors, sliding walls, new construction): DM rolls d6, and you succeed if they roll 1 or 2
- detect secret door: DM rolls d6, and you succeed if they roll 1 (or 2 if you’re an elf)
In 5e, it all comes down to one mechanism: roll d20, add appropriate modifiers (normally based on one of the size abilities), and check whether it is equal to or higher than the Difficulty Class value
- want to hit someone? AC is the DC. Roll a d20, add your ability/proficiency modifiers, and if it’s equal to or higher than the AC you succeed
- saving throw? Roll a d20, add the appropriate ability/proficiency modifier, and if you roll equal to or higher than the DC, you succeed
- skill check (now a core part)? Roll a d20, add the appropriate ability/proficiency modifier, and if you roll equal to or higher than the DC, you succeed
- thief abilities, dwarf abilities, secret doors? These are now standard skill checks as above
One mechanism for everything. So much simpler and clearer.
Tomorrow we have “Plenty”.