5 things you can borrow from 5th Edition for your game of choice

cavesofchaosAssuming, of course, that your game of choice is a previous iteration of D&D, Pathfinder or one of the many OSR clones.

1) Advantage/Disadvantage (pg 57) – In short, if you have advantage you roll two d20s and use the higher result; if you are disadvantaged you roll two d20s and use the lower result.  By far the best idea to come out of 5th Edition (in my view, at least).  Using Advantage/Disadvantage virtually eliminates fiddly lists of situational modifiers, or the need for additional dice rolls against concealment or what naught.  For example, an invisible attacker has advantage against targets, while anyone attacking an invisible person is disadvantaged (assuming they attack the right area in the first place).

2) Simple Crafting (pg 68) – Pathfinder Beginner Box, and most OSR clones, don’t have crafting systems.  5th Edition provides a simple crafting mechanic that can easily be transplanted into your game.  In 5th Edition, as long as you are proficient with the appropriate types of tools, and have access to proper equipment, you can craft anything within your field.  No need for special crafting skills or feats.  Each day you spend crafting, you contribute 5 GP towards the market value of a non-magical item (though you only spend 1/2 the market value on material costs – essentially trading time for money).  For example, crafting a 15 gp Longsword would take 3 days, but only cost 7.5 GP in material costs.  Simple and elegant, and no dice rolls required.

3) Equipment Packs (pg 46) – A variety of different equipment packs, complete with pricing and itemized inventory.  Very easy to drop into your game, and could be incorporated into a simplified encumbrance system (for example, allowing each PC to carry only one or two equipment packs on them, plus their armor, weapons and treasure).

4) Armor Differentiation (pg 43) – PFBB and most clones don’t differentiate much between armors, aside from saying heavier armor slows you down.  In PFBB, for example, you get your full Dexterity modifier wearing heavy armor.  If you’d like to introduce a bit more complexity, without resorting to Pathfinder Core armor rules, the 5th Edition rules would be a good compromise.  In short, you get your full Dex modifier in Light Armor, up to +2 Dex modifier in medium armor, and no Dex modifier (even negative modifiers) in heavy armor.  And if you’re using Advantage/Disadvantage, the rules further stipulate that you’re disadvantaged when trying to sneak in medium and heavy armor – no need to long lists of modifiers based on various armor types.

5) Trinkets (pg 54-55) – Okay, not a major contribution, but still very easy to pluck out of 5th Edition and plop down into just about any fantasy RPG.

Three other things  you can borrow from 5th Edition for your game of choice (because a list of ‘5’ for 5th Edition was too good to pass up):

6) Lifestyles (pg 51-52) – As written Lifestyles provide no mechanical benefit, but there’s rich ground here for adventure and role-playing opportunity.  A wretched lifestyle might but you in contact with a city’s underworld more readily, but maintaining a wealthy lifestyle could lead to more lucrative jobs or better social contacts.  And because there’s no mechanics related to lifestyles, it’d be easy to introduce to your own game and then tinker with it to suit your tastes.  For example, maybe you heal faster when you have a wealthy lifestyle, or you can get a slightly better price for your loot.

7) Tool Proficiency (pg 49-50) – I like the concept of tool proficiency because it allows players, so inclined, to use tools (including musical instruments) during their downtime without the need for extensive skill lists, specialized feats or abundant dice rolls.  Depending on your system, however, you might need to create a new mechanic to grant players tool proficiencies.  Maybe you get them based on race or class, maybe you just hire a trainer and spend some downtime to learn them, or maybe the GM just grants them based on level.

8) Passive Skill Checks (pg 59) – Passive skill checks are perhaps introduced most easily to PFBB games.  It’s essentially ‘taking 10’ all the time, and a great way to handle when a character passively notices a trap, secret door or hidden enemy without having to stop for a dice roll (and then alerting the player that something is up).  Of course, players who actively use the skill still roll d20.

Well, these are the ideas I came up with on just a quick review of the rules.   I’d love to hear what you’ve plucked out of 5th Edition for your own games.  Cheers.


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7 Responses to “5 things you can borrow from 5th Edition for your game of choice”

  1. JSpace Says:

    The advantage/ disadvantage idea is lifted from other games, in particular Johnathan Tweet’s Over the Edge, where it was called bonus/ penalty dice. You roll an extra die and keep the highest or lowest, yada yada yada. This reminds me a little of third and fourth edition D&D’s plundering of games like RuneQuest and Earthdawn. Spot rules, skills, feats, healing surges (a.k.a, hit point farting), et cetera. Deja vu.

    • edowar Says:

      I’m not surprised the idea has been used elsewhere. Some OD&D games used a house-ruled variant for damage: light weapons roll 2 d6’s and use the lowest, heavy weapons roll 2 d6’s and use the highest.

  2. David Jenks Says:

    Honestly, Advantage/Disadvantage is one of the very few things about 5th edition (so far!) that I feel is interesting an unique. Knowing it was lifted from another rules-set only makes me respect level for 5th ed go down more. 😦

    I like that light/heavy damage rule–I’ve never heard of it before, but it’s a nifty idea, so–thanks!

    • edowar Says:

      Well, there’s nothing new under the sun. 🙂 I’m sure other games have lifted plenty from various versions of D&D over the years.

  3. David Jenks Says:

    “interesting *AND unique”

    Wish we could edit comments! 😦

  4. JSpace Says:

    I didn’t spell it out in my comment, but I was hinting at the “circle of D&D”. RuneQuest being basically house ruled OD&D plus Perrin conventions and Earthdawn being Greg Gordon’s fancy dice tricks plus rationalized D&D dungeon crawling slash Cthulhu leftovers. And then Tweet borrows from those games in third edition and Rob Heinsoo does the same with fouth. And now Mike Mearls pilfers an old Tweet game (Over the Edge). Cue Elton John getting all Lion King all over everybodie’s ass.

    Also, if you dig advantage/ disadvantage and appreciate all things Conan, Fafhrd, Jirel and Zothique, check out Barbarians of Lemuria. It mixes particularly well with Holmes basic D&D with a hack of the blade here and there. I like to use it’s Traveller inspired career system in place of D&D’s classes for example.

  5. David Jenks Says:

    Yeah, I was thinking the Adv/Disadv system is much like BoL’s “roll 3d6 and take high/low” thing.

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