How is D&D these days?

I ask ed this on another forum as well, but I know we have quite a few people here who plays D&D as well. How is D&D these days? For newcomers to the genre, and for ease of use?

I’m planning to have my kids (20 and 23) and my GF play a bit for fun - They have tried the REAL oldschool D&D once, the basic Red set that I bought back in the day, but I am somewhat curious how the newest D&D games are.

I’ve been looking at the starter set and it looks interesting. Any have any tips or ideas for this? OR recommendations for a somewhat easy fantasy rpg instead if D&D?

Thanks in advance

5th edition is pretty great IMO. Very easy to understand for newbies. If I was in your shoes I’d just run the campaign that comes with the starter set (Lost Mine of Phandelver). After that my group preferred Out of the Abyss over Hoard of the Dragon Queen & Rise of Tiamat. I filled in on some Tomb of Annihilation and it seemed pretty solid as well.

I’ve played other systems but I always come back to D&D and 5th edition gives you no reason not to. It’s kind of the English language of role players.

Thanks @Driveled - Are the pre-made characters fine to run with? We are danish, but it should be fairly easy to translate while playing.
Also - did you buy the players handbook and gamemasters guide, or just the starter set?

I think it just depends on how serious you guys want to be. If you think its going to be a go to entertainment source I’d just go ahead and spring for both rulebooks. If you’re just testing the waters run with everything in the starter set and see how everyone likes it.

The starter set is more then enough to get your feet wet. But I hear also very good things about the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit (D&d Boxed Set)

Here is some info on the differences

It can absolutely be recommenced if it has to be DnD. I have run the starter kit and it is tough but good. Quiet a nice campaign.

I own but haven’t run the starter set. The adventure and premade characters seemed fine. If your kids want to make up their own characters without investing in a Player’s Handbook, there are a surprising amount of options available in the Basic Rules .pdf that Wizards made available:

There are also online-only rules at the affiliated but separate DND Beyond website:

Even the bog-standard level one fighter or wizard can look pretty different from another fighter or wizard depending on race and background choices.

I think 5e is great, and one of the friendliest editions to newcomers that’s been made. I have some experience playing with the Basic Red Box, 2nd Edition, 4e and 5e. I hadn’t DMed a game until 5e came along. My friends and I started playing 5e just over five years ago, and we’re still playing in my campaign.

There are plenty of other RPGs out there that might be lighter on rules. I’ve only heard about them (Fate, Dungeon World) so can’t quite vouch for them.

AFAIK, it’s still churning out demon worshipers and Satanists by the boat load!

5th Edition is definitely the most accessible the game’s been. I would still recommend investigating some other games to see if they might suit your needs better - Fellowship is great story focused heroic adventuring, Torchbearer goes for a more procedural, grimy take on dungeon crawling, World of Dungeons is very light indeed, Dungeon World is okay but the mix of Powered by the Apocalypse and D&D is a bit awkward and doesn’t necessarily serve either side as well as it could be done. Fate is an option for just about anything (but personally is not my jam). And that’s just if you want to do similar D&D-style fantasy adventuring. I can recommend a ton of stuff if you’d be up for other genres.

5th Ed is absolutely the best D&D has ever been. As written, it’s simple an accessible for new players, and it’s very easy to put the emphasis on the story over the dice. You can also bring in some of the stuff from 3.5 or Pathfinder without breaking the game. For example, you can treat diagonals like 1.5 squares like 3e did, without breaking the game. Or, you can just not use grids and minis at all and 5e still works great.

I’m running Curse of Strahd right now and its the most fun we’ve had at a game table in 10 years. Half our sessions we don’t even have a combat.

My son has a D&D group that meets once a week at college and he’s loving it. Everyone at the table sounds like are having such a great time, now my son’s roomate (a player) wants to start up his own game that will meet a second time each week. Seems like D&D is doing well with the 5th edition - I like it, from what I heard/saw watching others play it on streams such as Critical Role, and I picked up the core books and read through them - some really smart game design in there.

Gotta agree with the others. Having played and run the last few iterations of D&D and its derivatives (e.g., OSR games like DCC RPG and Adventurer, Conqueror, King System, and 3.5-alikes like Pathfinder/Starfinder), I really dig the cleanness and focus of 5E. While I actually really loved 4E compared to a lot of folks, running and playing it can become a real chore unless you’re just SUPER hype for engaging, complex tactical combat.

5E makes good incremental evolutions on the core d20 system, brings back some nice parts of prior editions, and mostly just feels familiar and warm and what your sort of platonic ideal of TTRPGs probably is.

I’ll agree with others that there are probably “better” games for any particular kind of play or story (I’ve run way more Fate Core, Mutants & Masterminds, Exalted, and various Powered-by-the-Apocalypse titles, and played way more of the above + Mouse Guard, The One Ring, Chronicles of Darkness, DCC, and myriad storygames like Icarus and Ribbon Drive, than 5E in the last 5 years), but. . .

. . . for a lot of people, settling down to do a TTRPG can be a bit of a mental lift to begin with. D&D is universal, familiar, and, like above, sort of the “default.” People see it portrayed in Stranger Things and Community and Critical Role and sort of view it as what RPGs are/should be. Countless videogames have robbed its terminology and systems ruthlessly over the decades, creating familiarity. It’s got the cultural cache and the automatic buy-in.

AKA, for someone new to RPGs, your task of getting them into things with D&D is probably gonna be easier than whipping out the latest indie press critical darling. It’s hard to go wrong with the king, tbh.

Which is my biggest problem with D&D, to be honest. It shouldn’t be the default. It’s more accessible in 5E than ever before, but it’s still sprawling and often weird, not a little mathy, heavily combat focused in terms of actual rules support, and establishes habits and expectations that don’t serve a lot of other games well. It’s a very specific thing, and people treat it like it is roleplaying, full stop. Grr. I don’t think it’s even especially easy to learn.

But, that said, for what it does it’s pretty good. And although I have problems with literally every edition and 5 is no exception, it’s definitely learned some things from other designs in the meantime.

I definitely agree with all of that. . . but also accept the circumstances we must persist in.

But hey, it gets better. At our recent Charity RPG event, we had 4x as many players for the non-D&D tables as the D&D ones.

But my local scene is pretty weird :)

I started running the Lost Mine of Phandelver with my wife and a gaming couple and it’s been going great after 2 sessions. I’ve never actually DMed before and have very little actual live RPG experience but have been reading the books, supplements, etc, for years. 5th edition seems really accessible to me. Tons of tips/tricks out there for DMs as well if you’re going to run it. Matthew Mercer has a whole youtube series on being a good GM but there are also a ton of alternatives to help out as well.

I’ll reiterate what others have said, D&D 5e is great, much better than 4e.

I would recommend avoiding the tiamat campaign. My DM hating running it, and the group didn’t enjoy it much either.

If you like the Matt Mercer guides, and you have the time, I recommend watching Critical Role. I find it enjoyable to watch, but it is a huge time sink.

So many awesome tips and encouraments here - thanks a lot! I don¨t have much experience with youtube as a learning tool, but I´ll give Matt Mercer a look, thanks. I used to DM when I was…12 I guess for quite some years, but its always fun to see how people do things outside your small environment.

@rowe33 thats the exact module I see I will play. Someone actually suggested getting both the Essential and Starter kit, since they both use the same town as setting, and supplement each other quite well.

The Tiamat campaign was the first one they printed, it was a “launch title”, and they hadn’t really found their groove yet. I’ve purchased most of the hard cover modules for 5e and I have to say they keep getting better. They’ve found a sweet spot of interesting tactical situations, which is the bread and butter of D&D, and great world building that really lets the players integrate, make their own story, and shine.

Your results may vary, a bad group or DM will make any game shit just like a good group makes any game better. 5e really gives you the tools you need to run the kind of game you want. Focus on the dungeons, or meander off into interesting story sessions… or both!

I don’t know if your local Danish libraries would have this, but my local library has basically everything 5e, plus a number of other RPG systems. If you are uncertain, perhaps check your local libraries to see if they have copies for check out.

For example I recently checked out the My Little Pony RPG source book, and they also have the bestiary and additional adventures available.

FYI- Just 2 weeks ago a cleaned up version of this campaign was released. They combined it into one book and redid the first chapter plus other tweaks.

Thanks for the heads up, I bought it :) Haven’t had time to read it yet.