Some of my thoughts on tabletop roleplaying as I sat down for a brief rest while walking through Central Park.
To me, making a character in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition is very different from Pathfinder. I found the transition from D&D 3.5 to Pathfinder to be very seamless and easy and the order of everything is the same or very similar. With 5E, I felt that I was flipping back and forth between the sections a lot while generating my bard. This is mainly related to the background that you generate for your character. While I do like the background system, I didn’t realize that there were more specific backgrounds depending on what class you were playing; this is good as the generic, random one I generated initially made zero sense. However, having the “archetypes” closer to the class section would make more sense to me, and would have helped streamline the character building process. This disjointed feeling is most likely due to lack of experience with 5E.
One definite positive for 5E is the stunningly beautiful artwork found throughout the books. To me, 3.5 lacked art. There was plenty in the books, but, especially with the monster manuals, you could go a few pages before seeing a picture of some hideous beast. A good GM could fill in the description holes, but having a picture is very nice. Pathfinder did an incredible job with this; every monster has a picture so you know exactly what you are dealing with. Pathfinder also did an incredible job keeping all the information on a monster on a page. You don’t have to flip pages to get the rest of the description nor are multiple monsters described on the same page; this is very handy.
However, the artwork put into 5E is another notch above the rest. Wizards did an amazing job with it, and a lot of my friends, on their first flip through the books, commented on how beautiful it was. I think this beauty is a definite boon for tabletop roleplaying books. If someone is on the fence about what system they want to play, they will most likely choose a book with good artwork.
This brings me to my final thoughts; all the systems that are currently out there. I primarily want to try several systems, Monte Cook’s Numenera specifically. Whenever we have a break from one of our lengthy campaigns, I always want to fill the gaps with one offs or short campaigns from other systems. Unfortunately we always seem to settle for more Pathfinder. Not that there is anything wrong with Pathfinder, I just want to branch out more.
For those watching that have played numerous systems, how do you do it? Have you found a method that works for playing different systems simultaneously? Do you play, say, Pathfinder one week and then Numenera the next and rotate between the two? Do you play one for a month or so before switching over to another for another month? Please let me know if the comments.