First Round of 5E

I recently was able to run my first game of 5E. It was a one-shot with a few people, including a friend who was visiting from out of town. One of the players had never played any roleplaying games before, so the other players and I had to teach that player how to play. Based on what happened, here is the good, the bad, and the ugly:

– The simplified math helped the transition from 3.X / Pathfinder for some of the players (all but one had never played 5E before).
– Advantage / Disadvantage system. Simple, yet powerful. The fact that it replaces a lot of conditional bonuses / penalties speeds up gameplay immensely.

– Due to the last minute nature of this game, I picked a random low-level adventure from the DM’s Guild that I had. It was an ok adventure, but for a one-shot…it was not great. Note to self: sort adventures by “good for a one-shot” or “good for long term”.

– Character creation time. I created all of the characters and it took longer than I originally anticipated. Admittedly, it did not as long as 3.X / Pathfinder, but still longer than I would like. See this post form Cirsova for more about character creation time.


4 thoughts on “First Round of 5E

  1. The advantage/disadvantage system is one of the few parts I like from 5e; we’ve incorporated a variant of it into our home-game, though the conditions in which we’ve implemented it feels a bit less like trying to integrate cover-based shooting mechanics into an RPG. (My first time playing 5e, the thief would spend each round trying to roll for various stealth checks to attack from and get back behind cover cover; it was rather strange to watch).

    What level did you guys start at? I’ve never played 5e at anything lower than 4th level, and I noticed that the complexity of combat packages for a lot of classes ground things to a halt with people who were either new to the system or new to role-playing, as they spent half a minute or more trying to figure out which options they had available to use when it came to their spot in the initiative count.


    • Our game was at 3rd level. As a one-shot, there was never a chance for this to go anywhere in the future. I had a couple of friends visiting from out-of-state.

      You are right about the possibility of combat grinding to a halt. The person who had never done any roleplaying games before played a spell caster. (I know, I know…but the person insisted)

      I printed out the spell information for all of the character’s spells, but even then, sometimes the player was frustrated with having too many choices. In 5E, it seems like you need to start a level 1 for new people and work your way up the levels. People used to roleplaying games (particularly those with 3.X / Pathfinder experience) should be able to adapt quickly.


  2. The Alt-Right DM says:

    Third level is a good point for a one shot in 5e. The characters have enough abilities and HP to last through the session unless they screw the pooch royally, but you haven’t hit the point that the number of abilities are overwhelming. It’s a bit of a sweet-spot for the learning curve.


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