Like a Virgin… for the 5th time.

(Trying something new here. I’m challenging myself to write 3 short articles a week about D&D. If you like the idea, please let me know!)

I’ve been playing RPGs for more than 30 years. I’ve been a Game Master for 95%+ of that time. It’s the role I like most, for reasons that have evolved over the decades. I’ve played many different RPGs, but I played D&D the most.

I always seem to come back to D&D.

It’s not different this time around. After spending about 3 years playing various, small press games, I’m slowly switching my other campaigns to the newest iteration of the world’s most popular RPG.

(And it is popular; I have it on good authority that it currently outsells all previous editions of D&D and its multiple offshoots).

I’ve perused the new Core Books (thanks for the gift guys!) and once I’d gotten a firm grip on the rules’ wire frame (what I call the “seeing the game’s Matrix”), I found I could totally get behind them! The new edition mixes just the right amount of legacy elements with elegant modern RPG mechanics and a dash of story-enabling mechanics… Just enough to get new and traditional players curious about the potential of being rewarded by following character personality and beliefs over optimized behavior.

I was sold to D&D, again. All I needed was to convince my players to switch back to vanilla D&D


  1. What type system do your players engage in at the moment?

  2. I have three ongoing groups. We just completed a 13th Age campaign with my main group. I was playing D&D 4e (with a strong Essentials slant) with a second one and I was playing Dungeon World with a group at work.

  3. Dixon Trimline says:

    I’ve been very, completely, extravagantly pleased with D&D 5E. Weirdly, I’m not speaking from pure theory, since I run a game for a group regularly now. I’ll always have a place in my heart for 4E, since it was the once that brought me back, but D&D 5E, I’ve only got eyes for you.

  4. It’s a viscerally pleasing game system. I’m going to enjoy it a lot… Also… DIXON!!!!!! I ‘MISSED YOU MAN! 🙂

  5. One thing that I felt 4E/13th Age did very well for me was the inclusion of class-relevant and monster-relevant spells/powers/abilities right in that section of the book. Being able to get everything I needed for my Sorcerer without flipping and running monsters without having to go look up what some spell does.While I found a ton to like in 5E, this was basically a deal breaker for me.

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about the return of a giant spells chapter as you write some future posts.

  6. My players are already looking into copying spells onto cards (4e was good for that) or purchasing class-specific PDFs with power/spell cards. As a DM, I don’t see much difference yet as I haven’t played spellcaster NPCs yet.

    Time will tell as I believe it will become an issue as I play more powerful NPCs/Monsters. I’ll keep this in mind, thanks.

  7. Dixon Trimline says:

    I will allow that I’m not a huge fan of the “prose” writing style of 5E, mixing descriptive language in with game mechanics. Yes, it reads well, but I need to know how *SLEEP* works right now, get to the point!

    Naturally, I have been spending all of my free time create spell cards (with rewritten descriptions, thank you very much), 1-page character sheets, and my own version of the monster blocks.

    It does mean more work up front, but somehow they have created a game where the characters are interesting and unique without being (pause 15 minutes while I decide what I want to do) hopelessly complex.

  8. Dixon Trimline says:

    Oh, and by the way, HI CHATTY! You still owe me a brilliantly run gaming session (4E, 5E, 13th Age, you decide).

  9. I do, don’t I? We’ll fix that as soon as we meet in a con! You’ll be at the top of my list. 🙂

  10. I too love it. As some stated earlier, 4e brought me back to D&D after not playing for a decade plus, then 13th Age gave me great ideas for simplifying my game and adding story elements. 5e is a perfect blend of the 2. I use some 13th Age ideas in my 5e campaign, primarily Icons and Icon relationships and I use backgrounds as skills.

    • Dixon Trimline says:

      I absolutely love the idea of incorporating Icons, relationships, and background skills from 13th Age into 5E. It really seems like the translation would work, and it’s an inspired idea.

      • It does. Icons lets you create the Power Archetypes you want in your world. And backgrounds totally replace skills, just remember to stick to proficiency bonuses to keep to the game’s math and it’s an easy, straight hack.

      • Yep, that’s exactly how I handle it, the proficiency bonus applies to the Background (skill). I have narrowed the Icons down to 12, many of them being D&D pantheon and Inner Sea notables (I use a lot of Inner Sea setting stuff). The Flaws and Bonds and Backgrounds are where the Icon hooks come in to play.

      • I love it Stag. This gets the official Chatty DM seal of Awesomeness!

      • Well thank you! I do a lot of solo rpg-ing and the Icons were always a great way to add a twist to the stories in same manner that Mythic GM Emulator does. I use them with group play as well, but they are really great for a solo crawl.

  11. It’s great to hear from you again. Please keep the posts coming!