I managed to download the D&D 5E Playtest pack and run it to my friends and I must say – I was really surprised. The game was fun, quick and felt both nostalgic and new. But the main reason behind my positive reaction is not the attempt to reclaim certain Old School sensibilities. No. What won me to D&D Next (I still think it's a stupid name) were two design decisions:
- To have the system built around Ability Scores. This is intuitive, easy to use and is one of the reasons why I love Castles & Crusades.
- The removal of base attack bonus, save bonus and all progressive bonus in general. This is the most brilliant thing (IMHO) done to D&D in all its editions. It removes a lot of problem (especially beyond 10th level) and at the same time it forces the designers to expand the game in other directions.
Actually there’s sometime I’m struggling with the idea of removing Pathfinder's BAB, save and skill bonus. I’m still not sure about how should I do it. I think the we could replace the bonus with more interesting and unique abilities. The idea is to use something along the lines of Jonathan Tweet’s awesome (but never officially used) Epic Level System.
Do we need a new D&D edition? Hell, no. But I love new shiny things to play it, especially when they’re interesting to read. Let’s see how D&D 5E develops.