Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Stupid Of 5E

So in an attempt to "lighten the mood" (blogger just deleted a rather long comment I was scribbling re the conflict in Ukraine...I'll take that as "a sign"), I'm going to go ahead and denigrate the current edition of D&D for a bit. 

[how is that lightening the mood? Because my readers appear to enjoy my rantings like a crazed lunatic and, in the end, it doesn't matter terribly whether one finds an edition of Dungeons & Dragons to be "cool" or "crap." It's just a game...play it if you like, or don't. Besides, venting appears to be good for the spleen or something]


SO...here's the deal: a couple posts back, I wrote about how my child purchased the 5E PHB (with my approval and blessing, though with HIS money, not mine) in order to learn the new system for a game his friend intended to run (said game never having materialized...they're 11 years old, you know?). Well, he read the book and pretty much hated a lot of it...so much so that even when I offered to buy a copy of the DMG and MM and actually run the game he vehemently rejected to offer out of hand. 

[I have little doubt the boy would slap Satan in the chops if Ol' Scratch appeared on the road with a bag of temptations]

Anyway: I'll admit I was slightly disappointed, just because I was curious to see what would happen if I actually ran the game in the manner to which I've become accustomed...

[just by the way, I've done so little writing the last couple-three months, I'm finding my typing skills to be woefully rusty...I keep misspelling words and hitting the wrong keys and generally annoying myself. Sorry, but that needed to be vented, too...]

...a playstyle that is most assuredly NOT the type currently in fashion with the New D&D crowd. 

However, I only felt comfortable making my offer because I'd been reading the books (the DMG on-line) co-currently with the boy, doing my own studying. And I decided, early on, that I would keep a running list of all the stupid found in the 5E game. Seriously, I just started a running list on my phone's Notes app called "5E Stupid." It was last updated 3/20/2022 at 9:04 am. For posterity (and so that I can delete the thing off my phone) and for my own amusement, I present it here.

In no particular order:
  • Eldritch bolts (cantrips in general)
  • Cost of normal plate armor = cost of gauntlets of ogre power PLUS immovable rod PLUS helm of telepathy (economy)
  • Wights > Specters (and no energy drain in the game)
  • 300 days to craft plate armor (economy)
[if there's a common thread, it's the host of issues with the fantasy economy of the game. The game design seems more of arbitrary, video game economy than anything based or grounded in reality. For example, it's an easy Google search to find information on the historical forging of plate armor and, NO, it did not take ten months to manufacture. When designing a living, breathing campaign world, these details become important and their missteps become glaring]
  • Less XP needed to get from 11th level to 12th level than from 10th level to 11th level (total arbitrariness)
[again, this is just sloppy, nonsensical design]
  • Hellish rebuke (3d10 damage, 60' cantrips available to all tieflings of 3rd+ level)
  • Humans demonstrably weaker than every other race in the book (no skill proficiencies, spells, abilities, etc. for a cumulative bonus of +1.5), promoting a non-human-centric game.
[i.e. not D&D as originally conceived]
  • Staff of Withering (non-magical magic)
[again, this note...these are all just notes...requires some explanation. I'd invite unfamiliar folks to read the original description of this magic item as presented in Book 2 of the LBBs, or even the description from the DMG: so much potential for one's game, so many plots and ideas that can stem from the consequences of its use, whether against the players or prominent NPCs, so much FLAVOR in a single item of enchantment...powerful, fairy tale stuff. Contrast that with the 5E version:
The staff can be wielded as a normal quarterstaff. On a hit, it deals damage as a normal quarterstaff. and you can expend 1 charge to do an extra 2d10 necrotic damage to the target. In addition, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or have disadvantage for one hour on any ability check or saving throw that uses Strength or Constitution.
That's it. That's all it does. Fail a save and you have disadvantage for an hour. The damage inflicted by the thing doesn't even do as much damage as the hellish rebuke that can be cast at will by any tiefling of 3rd level or higher. Were the designers actually trying to strip all the magic and wonder out of the D&D game? Their staff of withering is but one example]
  • Adamantine plate armor is cheaper than normal plate armor (as an "uncommon" magic item, its value is only 500 gold pieces, compared to plate armor's 1,500 g.p, value).
  • Limits of "attunement" (attuning magic items in general).
  • Evil high priest cantrips (spare the dying or chill touch are the only available options...which is appropriate)
[can't remember what I meant by "appropriate;" I think I meant it sarcastically with regard to spare the dying]
  • Average shopkeeper earns 36.5 g.p. per month (after expenses and paying salary of employee); cost for "aristocratic lifestyle" is 10 g.p. per month (making every baker and shoemaker an aristocrat).
  • Medieval bakers would be expected to bake/sell 80 (4 pound) loaves per day. To earn the AVERAGE shopkeeper income (not profit), a 5E baker would need to sell an AVERAGE of 3,475 loaves per day (2 c.p. isn't  a bad price given that 2-3 english pennies...1/240th of a LB...is fairly similar). Considering that a medieval village of 2,500 people could expect to host four bakers (and each medieval person ate roughly 1# of bread per day), that's a surplus of 11,400 pounds (more than 5.5 TONS of bread per day)...even assuming NO ONE is baking their own!
  • True polymorph allows for substantial creation of wealth (by bards, warlocks, wizards) unlike the limitations of the wish spell.
  • Wraiths > specters; wraiths only CR 5, specters CR 3.
[ha! I repeated myself. But to be fair, I was rather flabbergasted by this change, not to mention the nerfing of such (previously) feared undead phantoms]
  • All damage is attrition (HP) based; purple worm poison, or being swallowed (for example) simply do "damage" of various types. 5E appears to have a phobia of "save or die" effects.
  • AT THE SAME TIME "revivify" becomes available as a 3rd level spell (for clerics of 5th+ level) with raising carrying NO penalties, so long as the spell is used within 1 minute (10 combat rounds in 5E) of death, for a minimal (300 g.p.) cost.
[two notes: the 5E version of the vorpal sword DOES retain (somewhat) its auto-kill effect so kudos (I guess); also 300 g.p. may NOT be all that minimal...it's difficult to tell with the general wonkiness of the 5E economy. However, the point remains that for a game that appears to fear PCs inadvertently dying, it sure is easy to bring folks back from the dead]
  • If you can attack me, I can attack you (re: "reach" from larger creatures).
[this was with regard to combat maneuvering. If a troll...or whatever...is going to swipe at me with a long arm, it doesn't matter that I'm armed with a dagger instead of a spear. If he can "touch" me, my weapon can touch him. His effective range is zero because he's unarmed..."reach" should only come into play when using weapons (like a pike versus a knife)]

Aaaaand...that's where my notes end. They could have continued, but I think 3/20 was around the time I decided there was no use examining it further when no one in our home had any desire to play the thing.

Folks should note that ALL of these things are complaints I had with regard to actual DESIGN...there's plenty of "stupid" (IMO) regarding the way the game is written, choices of aesthetic, of focus, etc. But these decisions of design...things like the way the crafting or finances or spells or magic items are handles...are things that I see undermining any type of meaningful (or satisfying) long-term play using the 5E system. They were things I found so striking that I felt compelled to jot them down.

Of course, people DO play 5E, and have been playing it for years, so it's not really appropriate to stamp it with any type of "failure" judgment. The game has been successful...clearly...at its general aims (reclaim market share, generate returning consumers, make lots of money). It's also, clearly, not my cup of tea. 

All right, that's enough for now (deleting page of notes...and...done!). The next couple days are going to be pretty busy for me, so for folks looking for content, take a listen to Settembrini's podcast interview of Trent Foster Smith. It's about three hours long and has some fascinating insights, as well as some things I wouldn't mind addressing in my next (hopefully soon) blog post.

Later, Gators!


  1. agree with all of this except the "everything deals damage in HP." while save-or-die effects certainly have their place, and I'm ALWAYS partial to a good lopped-off limb or mangled eye, being swallowed whole is absolutely something that should resolve in HP. nothing better than cutting your barely-breathing companion out of a monster's belly, or even cutting yourself out of the inside of the monster who had the misfortune of deciding to swallow you.

  2. It's a good thing you didn't read the PHB, it would have been a much much longer list (and may have driven you to drink!)

  3. I would argue that the varient human with Feat is very common in the 5e.

    I would also say that this puts humans on par or more powerful than a demi humans at 1st level where 1e clearly has every other race more powerful at level 1 and you have to play the long game to finally be more powerful than a demi human.

    I actually like Refivivy much better than raise dead. The 10 minute time limit creates tension and I like the flavor of you can pull the person back before they cross completely over. I would ban raise dead in my campaign but keep Refivy.

    The economy is horrible. No doubt. Most DnD economies fall apart with magic but 5e is a little nonsensicalbto start and once you realize a cantrip like mendingor move earth eliminates so many jobs.

    I didn't realize they had a cost for magic items in the books. I never allowed purchase of magic items in my games in any eddtion other than a few rare exceptions and potions.

    Cleric cantrips are the worst. Just shouldn't exist. Spare the dying and the attack cantrips just hurt the game.wizard cantrips are not much better and such easy access to fire makes Trolls a joke.

    I don't love 5e, but I ran a campaign for over 100 sessions. I had to house rule a lot of things out, but I house rule 1e as well so not sure if one gets more houserulled than the other.for example no tieflings or dragonborn in 5e, no monks in 1e. No cleric Cantrips in 5e and more Hit Points at 1st level in 1e.

    I think BX is the only version of DnD I would run Rules as Writen

  4. Yknow what's truly bizarre? People with more money than sense saw all of the above and thought that the "game" was too restrictive, and what was really needed was an unending litany of $60 splatbooks with ever easier rules.

    1. Because it worked so well for 2E, 3E, 4E... :D

  5. The Tiefling doesn't get to use Hellish Rebuke as a cantrip, they can only cast it once per day (or once per "long rest"). But yeah, it's kinda silly that they can do that.

    I'd never bothered to analyze the economics of 5E, but I'm not at all surprised that they make no sense.

    I still find it a fun system to play a character in, but I quit trying to run it about 3 years ago, and haven't regretted that decision.

    1. RE Tieflings

      I stand corrected.

      RE Running vs. Playing

      I'd imagine the game to be VERY frustrating to run, for many reasons. As I wrote in an earlier post, some of the PHB makes me excited to build characters, but I'm not sure how much fun they'd be to play (I had "fun" building characters back in my 3E days, too, but it didn't translate to ACTUAL fun at the gaming table).

      The economics only matter if you're interested in world building...which, strangely enough, seems to be the main focus (or, at least, FIRST focus/discussion) of the 5E DMG.

    2. I ran back to back campaigns in the same world lovely connected one 1e (50+ sessions)and one 5e(100+ sessions). I would say they were about equal in ease of running at the table, but 5e took slightly more prep.

      5e is easier to find rules and is more polished. Momsters are more complex especially ones that have spells.

      1e is fast until you run into a corner case on a spell or rules interpretation that you and a player see differently.

      You have to houserule the 5e economy a little but if your world building anyway it fairly easy.

      Both are easier than 3.5 or pathfinder neither if which I will run.

    3. 1E suffers from a lack of easy accessibility and scattered side rules, but longtime players/DMs don't have too much trouble navigating the pages. Old hands like me can whip up something pretty quick using the old systems.

      That 5E takes "slightly more prep," seems a bit of an understatement in this regard, and not just because of a lack of familiarity. The unique and exceptional abilities of individual monsters and character builds, and the interaction between them, would (to my mind) make the creation of appropriately challenging scenarios pretty tough...much more so than a 1E game. But I suppose it depends on the kind/style of game you're running at the table.

    4. For both my 1e and 5e games were sandboxes so encounters were not tailored to the PCs. Honestly because 1e magic has some very powerful spells, sleep, charm person, stinking cloud, encounters were more likely to swing towards not chalanging enough. 5e has a lot of different moving parts but the bounded accuracy keeps things fairly simple and monsters without spells are easy to run.

      Despite 5e being better organized than 1e the spell are not listed by class and level but mixed together alphabeticaly 1e definitely does this better. So running spell casters is a pain with out making notes in the spell before hand.

      Again I ran 5e like a old School Game. Ignored chalange ratings and combat was often brutal. Play the monsters with common sense (after the first time a cleric heals a downed character back into the fight the monsters make sure they finish the job and or kill the cleric) and encourage the party to think strategically and avoid combat when they could.

      With out pulling my records I think 11 permanent character deaths plus some henchman in 5e.

    5. @ 7:

      Just to be clear: no need to justify your game to me to affirm your "old school cred" or anything.
      ; )

      RE Spell Organization:

      Yeah. The all alpha thing sucks.

  6. Every once in awhile I have to write a post about this. I'm working to reconcile myself to the fact that I have as much in common with 5e players as I do with cricketers or participants in jai alai. I remain convinced that were I to meet someone from 5e who wanted to play in my world, I would either win them over very quickly, or discover they're the kind of "player" who would have spat on D&D in the 80s.

    As such, there's nothing for me to do but to ignore that another thing called D&D exists. The words might as well translate to "Dupes & Duds" for all it has to do with the game I play.

    1. That's my usual feeling. Was just in a game store this afternoon and, passing through the RPG section, was rather astounded by A) the sheer amount of beautiful, polished product newly available, and B) my complete lack of interest in procuring anything.

      The people that play these games have a rich trove from which to pick and choose...but are they are having the same amount of fun IN PLAY? Are gaining the same amount of entertainment?

      Maybe the subject for my next post...
      ; )

    2. Seven and Dennis seem to have once found reasons to play, describing 5e as "easy" and "fun" ... which is the kind of thing I hear all the time from people who used to play. In all honesty, I'd like to know what they found compelling about it being easy, or what made it fun, given that they both describe it as something they don't do any more.

      Are we talking about the sort of "easy" we'd associate with checkers? The same sort of "fun"? Because, sure, checkers is easy and fun. So are many things. And it sounds like they are referring to 5e in that same sense.

    3. I'm not sure how 5E could be considered easier than, say, B/X or OD&D (at least, in the three-four book format). Those are far easier than 5E.

    4. I sure have to agree with that. I've read the DMG and the Player's Handbook in 5e; and after 42 years of playing and running D&D, and 14 years of writing how to do it, the 5e books read like gobbledygook to me.

      Honestly, I have no idea how someone who buys the books ever figures out how to play the game.

    5. I do still play 5E in a couple of PbP games. If one of my local gaming group were to run a game of 5E, I'd consider playing in it.

      What I don't do is DM it. It's not, in my experience, fun or easy to manage that game, despite the "elegance" of a unified mechanic. The game is designed like MtG. Every class ability, spell, monster, and magic item basically has its own ways to twist the rules, like cards in a Magic deck.

      Why is 5E fun to play? Well, role play in general is usually fun (with the right group). System can make a difference, though. As a player, I just need to manage MY PC's fiddly bits. Not that hard to manage. As a DM, I need to manage ALL the fiddly bits. Not so fun. The tracking of abilities and exceptions to the basic rules creates headaches for me as a DM. And that was BEFORE all the splat books started coming out. Much easier to manage that as a player. But Seven was the one claiming 5E to be easy, or at least no harder than 1E. I'll leave further responses about ease to him.

      TL/DR: I find RPGs fun as a player as long as the system (or group) doesn't make it un-fun. 5E doesn't make it un-fun.

    6. Perhaps they mean "easy" as in "easy to do well at/"win." Yes, 5e is a lot more mechanically complex than B/X, but let me tell ya...

      In the 5e games where I have been a player, I have never, not once, thought my characters were in danger. Meanwhile, the last time I played B/X as a player, I had to do my utmost not to die.

      IIRC, you have to fail three saves against a medusa to get petrified. That's definitely easier than B/X.

    7. @ Dennis:

      When you write:

      "Well, role play in general is usually fun (with the right group)."

      By "role play" do you mean "folks sitting around a table doing improvisational acting in character?" Because...okay, I agree that can/could be enjoyable (same caveats) but one hardly requires a heft pile of rulebooks to participate in that kind of play.

      But I don't want to go down a tangential rant about 5E's confusion of focus.

      I think your analogy regarding MtG design sensibilities is especially apt, much in the way 4E seemed to use WoW as its model (I have played both MtG and WoW and the similarities to 5E and 4E are quite apparent). Even some of the terms used in 5E ("conditions," "stacking") seem clear callbacks to the card game.

      My thoughts on that development are...um...not complimentary.

    8. @ DMW:

      Yeah, that may be the case...though I think my momentary madness about running 5E was me jumping at the chance to try killing PCs with their own rule system.
      ; )

      I will say that my son's friend, who plays in a regular 5E campaign, has said they've seen several PC deaths in play...they just get brought back to life quickly (i.e. there's no real PERMANENT death). And that seems to be the point...5E exhibits the video game mentality, where one simply "re-spawns" in order to keep playing with minimal (or zero) consequences.

    9. During my tenure as a 5e DM, I did have one player character death, and it was simply due to bad luck- critted twice in one round at nearly max damage for each attack, brought to low enough hp to be "insta-dead." The characters were low enough level that the player shrugged and rerolled.

      During my tenure as a player, the one character death was a rogue who tried to wade in and be a frontline fighter along my absurdly invincible earth genasi fighter against a trio of bulettes. 5e may be pretty hand-holdy and low stakes, but it will absolutely punish you for changing lanes with your character. 5e is hardly the first game to do that, though.

    10. "By "role play" do you mean "folks sitting around a table doing improvisational acting in character?" Because...okay, I agree that can/could be enjoyable (same caveats) but one hardly requires a heft pile of rulebooks to participate in that kind of play."

      Yes, that's exactly what I mean. And I won't argue about the unnecessariness of it. I agree. I don't need 5E to have fun. I don't need AD&D or Classic D&D to have fun.

      Alexis seemed mystified that I could have fun playing it but give it up. 5E can be fun, but that doesn't mean it's the funnest activity I've ever engaged in.

    11. I'm pretty sure the "easy" of 5E is something along the lines of "the characters are so powerful nothing is really a challenge".

    12. No, Dennis, not mystified that 5e could be fun. I'm mystified that as an adult you'd spend so much time with something that ultimately proved unsatisfying.

    13. When I said easy I was comparing 5e to playing Rules as Written 1e. As this is JBs blog and he loudly proclaimed 1e the one true way I am using that as my comparison. Yeah B/X is the best and as I said the only d&d system I would run Rules as Writen

      I know 1e well but for a new player all the sub systems and disorganization are rough. Heck just the stats raise more questions than answers when you get into things like what is system shock and why is it different from saving throws. Try explaining alignment languages when all of us have a different opinion on what they are.

      Again B/X is the best. But I'll play 5e or 1e. Though for both I would rather run than play so I can do so with my house rules that I think help fix them.

      With the right friends and players any system can be fun, heck I had good game of the Paladium Fantasy RPG.

    14. I (perhaps) need an updated post regarding 1E as the "one true way;" sometimes I succumb to the easy hyperbole.

      (of course, AD&D *IS* the one true way)

      RE RAW

      Running 1E RAW is daunting, but not impossible. The difficulty mainly comes in reconciling rule discrepancies within the rules. Full stop.

      [I really REALLY don't want to get into an argument about By The Book game play; it's very NOT pertinent]

      5E is a strange beast (in part) because it is so wishy-washy on just what rules it expects participants to follow. RAW or variants? XP for defeating monsters or DM-assigned "milestones?" 1E may offer daunting challenges ('how do I "grade" my players' performance for training?') but it's almost always consistent. Consistency is NOT 5E's strong suit.

      RE: the right friends.

      Eh. I suppose. I've had lots of fun (for example) playing Palladium RPGs with friends, but I'm not sure the GAMING was the reason for the fun. Being hungover with (hungover) friends can be more fun than being hungover alone (or being hungover with coworkers or total assholes)...but is it really "fun?" Reasonable minds might differ on the answer to that question.
      ; )

    15. @Alexis: "I'm mystified that as an adult you'd spend so much time with something that ultimately proved unsatisfying."

      Well, as DM, I ran 5E for less than a year. I posted a few times about it here on the blog, especially about considering changing to Classic D&D rules, which is what happened. As soon as I stopped having fun, I started planning the switch. I knew I'd lose a few players, but ended up gaining some equally good ones after the switch so it all worked out.

      I continue to play in others' 5E games as long as they remain fun. And I have dropped out of a few that weren't very fun.

  7. That is very interesting about the economics. I hadn't looked closely enough at the system to notice that.

    One thing that bugs me about 5e is the short/long rest mechanic. WotC assumed that a typical adventuring day would include 6-8 combats, which come so fast that the party can only manage 2 short rests in the midst of all the fighting. The game is calibrated on that assumption. However, I think most (not just some, most) DMs do not run their games that way. And if you don't maintain the intended ratio of fights to short rests to long rests, balance problems emerge.

    I see why WotC went that route. They seem to have always considered the combat fanatics to be their primary consumer, and they wanted to avoid mechanics that resembled 4e. But it means the game runs best for campaigns that follow a formula I don't particularly enjoy.

    And Matt Colville made a great point in one of his YouTube videos: the way 5e handles XP saps player investment, and causes campaigns to die from apathy. And this is from someone who publishes 5e supplements professionally, and makes videos for 5e players. His solution is to hack the XP rules in a way that has an effect similar to XP for gold, but which requires more work from the DM.

    I also have a few thoughts about PC races.

    I think there is a sort of double problem with humans in 5e. Arguably, the standard version is the weakest of all the core races, while the variant version is the best. This is especially true at low levels, since some of the feats aren't balanced for low-level play. If you prefer human-dominated campaigns, the latter isn't an issue. But neither seems ideal to my tastes.

    At one point I came up with a point system for building 5e races. I was playing in a campaign using a homebrew race I came up with. (Actually an old Mystara race, updated to 5e and adapted to a non-Mystara setting.) The DM approved my character, but I kept wondering if my character was really balanced. I spent time Googling up race creation systems, but concluded that every one I found was seriously flawed. Including systems that people were charging money for, and/or their creators claimed to have reverse-engineered WotC's system.

    I finally realized that the key to quantifying the PHB races was that each was built on a budget of 50 points, with minor traits like darkvision and languages being worth exactly one point apiece. (Actually, I initially conceptualized a race package as a set of 3 feats + 2 languages, but it works out the same.) There are also numerical relationships between various racial traits and feats which I won't go into.

    I noticed that at first glance, both versions of humans seemed to have a perfect 50 point score. But I later realized that I wasn't accounting for all the variables. Once I did, the standard humans fell significantly below target, while the variant humans worked out to be significantly over-budget.

    Same with the dragonborn and tiefling, incidentally. Both seemed to have a perfect 50 point score at first glance. Then I realized I was overlooking some variables, and both fell significantly below target. Makes me wonder if WotC was using a similar system to stat the PHB races, but they didn't think it through completely.

    I also noticed that the races from the DMG and other sources don't seem to be built by any real system at all. It looks to me like they used a concrete system for the PHB races, but then threw it out and just eyeballed everything in the other books. As a result some (like the eladrin) are just better than anything in the PHB, while others (like the goliath) just suck.

  8. I sometimes play 5e, since it's popular. But I can't get excited about it as a system, and would never DM it. I think this is partly because I am already familiar with GURPS.

    5e is about powerful, almost unkillable characters built using a detailed character creation system that allows a wide range of options. As such, you assume that most or all of the PCs will make it to the end of a long-running campaign. Working toward objectives implied by a PC's backstory is an important focus of play. Combat is slow and not particularly suspenseful.

    I don't actually see anything wrong with that. I can and have enjoyed campaigns using that formula.

    The thing is, that is basically the playstyle GURPS is optimized for. And IMO, GURPS does it better.

    Moving from D&D 5e to GURPS does involve a significant increase in crunch, so there is a trade-off. But you get a lot in return. Character creation is a lot more flexible and detailed, and it is clearer how a character's traits relate to what they can actually do in the game world. So you can build almost exactly the character you imagine. Combat is more tactical, more gritty, and less abstract. So, at least for me, there is more satisfaction for the same level of risk. And although characters are hard to kill, they are easy to incapacitate or maim, and it can take a long time to recover from injuries. Spellcasters can't usually snap their fingers and put a critically wounded character back into a fight. So combat has meaningful risks other than death.

    The non-combat skill system is much more developed, too. It makes clever use of the 3d6 bell curve and situational modifiers to generate a lot more verisimilitude, while offering a lot more rewards for engaging with the campaign world. You can roll for every little task if it amuses you to do that, and the PCs won't turn into bumbling buffoons.

    So when I play 5e, I keep wishing I were playing either an old school version of D&D or GURPS. Instead of this weird hybrid of the two, which I don't think exemplifies the best traits of either system.

    1. @ Ceo:

      I appreciate your thoughts on 5E. It's been decades since I last played/read GURPS but it has had a lasting impact on a LOT of RPG designs (most anything with point buys and universal mechanics). 5E, like many RPGs that owe influence to GURPS, takes a more focused approach in its design, streamlining mechanics in a way that narrows the "universality" to make the game more accessible and more "D&D-centric."

      Personally, I also find this a detriment, though not in the way you do. You play 5E and wish it was MORE like GURPS...I look at it, and wish it was LESS like GURPS.

  9. "Less XP needed to get from 11th level to 12th level than from 10th level to 11th level (total arbitrariness)"
    This is actually worse than arbitrariness, this is their dealing with the brokenness of their whole design. The designers acknowledged that the game has a "sweet spot" between levels 3-8 or so, where players seemed happiest playing. Rather than fix the game design, they built XP so that levels come fast 1-3, then slow until 8ish, then accelerate after again.

  10. You're right about the economic brokenness, I think, but one mistake: lifestyle costs are per day, not per month.
    An aristocrat needs to spend a minimum of 300gp per month. That baker selling impossible amounts of bread is making enough for a modest lifestyle and saving about 6gp per month.

    1. Ha! That’s makes a lot more sense…thanks for the correction!
      : )

    2. Of course a pound of flour costs the same 2 c.p. as a loaf of bread, so he's losing money by baking it in the first place.