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Too many PC options?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:43 pm
by Havard
We are enjoying 5E just fine, but one surprising comment from some of my players was that there were too many options in the Players Handbook. We are not even using multiclassing, feats and the rest of the material from the optional rules chapter. They were mainly referring to the classes (and paths) and races (and subraces).

Of course I will have to take some of the blame for this. I allowed them to create any character they wanted from the PHB. I could easily have placed some restrictions. Some obvious limitations would have been to disallow Tieflings, Half-Orcs, Dragonborn, Drow, Warlocks and maybe Sorcerers.

Another idea we toyed around with after the fact was to have all the classes on the table, but only allow human characters. It would be a departure from most standard D&D campaigns, but it could be an interesting one.

How do the rest of yo feel about all the options in the PHB? Do you allow all the races and classes or do you place some restrictions on what the players are allowed to choose from?

-Havard

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:45 pm
by Hugin
We've only established limitations based on the setting, not from a complexity standpoint. And we had people brand new to RPGs and D&D.

I don't think there are too many options, myself. It's basically the same as 3E; pick a race and class, some skills from a short list, and some equipment from very nicely crafted selection lists, etc. The subraces are mostly new by that's just, "hmmm... this one or that one".

What's new, and takes a fair amount of time, is going through and selecting a background and its details. But we found that to be so very worth it in developing a well fleshed out character.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:38 pm
by RobJN
Compared to Classic/Basic D&D, yes, the options appear, at first, a bit daunting. With the half-page illustrations, there is quite a bit of page-turning involved in selecting your race and class, and I think that also contributes to a feeling of "holy crap, there's a lot to slog through" during character creation. Classic through 2nd Edition have been three-column layouts, which allowed for more words per page, and for spreading text around lists and tables.

With the inclusion of "all editions" in their 5th Edition mindset, they've spent a lot of "fluff/flavor" text on addressing the different settings' tropes, as well as name-dropping, whereas earlier editions either left them out, went generic, or stuck with "Greyhawk-lite." Honestly, I find myself skipping over any sentence in the book that either starts with, or contains the words "In the Forgotten Realms..."

I don't really like that the "after first level" options within each class have different names: Archetype, Tradition, Domain, Style, Circle, Oath, College, Path..... Just pick one and stick with it! :-\

As many as there, are, though, it doesn't feel like they really did enough with those, that they had to pare things down to fit 'em into the Player's Handbook. Some of the options just feel... truncated, like they spent too many words on some classes (clerics, wizards, fighters), while not devoting enough to others (bards, rogues).

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:27 pm
by HobbitFan
my response echoes that of RobJN
It's not that complex per se, it just appears so next to Old School stuff and at first glance. And the spread out presentation while easy on the eyes makes it look like there's more there than there is.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:33 am
by Vile
Hugin wrote:We've only established limitations based on the setting, not from a complexity standpoint.
I think this is the key. The options are what the referee makes of them.

The key to 5E much more than any previous edition going back to OD&D (or even Chainmail if you like) is that almost everything is optional. You don't need to have archetypes or backgrounds or feats - I almost forgot feats because we don't use them - just pick the bits you want and go with that. Our group loves the whole character interaction thing and we spend lots of time outside the game bantering in-character (on the Epic Words site). If your group doesn't like the options, don't give them options. You could pare it back to the Basic PDF and just give them 1 fighter, 1 rogue, 1 wizard and 1 cleric type to choose from.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:49 am
by Marco Fossati
5E is an open system where most things are optional. It depends only by the setting you choose what classes and races you make available to Pcs

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:55 am
by dulsi
I don't generally have a problem with too many options. 2E kits and 3.5E makes too many options seem impossible. The sad part how rarely I many times I design my own thing because nothing else is quite right. Granted for 5E I haven't done that. The only modification was a rusted starwheel pistol as his trinket item. (I'm playing a Half-Scro using Half-Orc rules. His father was the last surviving full blooded scro from a crashed ship and refused to mate with an orc like the rest of the scro did.)

I do feel they caused themselves problems with 4E. Now people expect all the 3.5 stuff plus all the new races from 4E PHB and the warlock.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:27 am
by DirtSkull
As a B/X guy, playing 5e is fun, but I don't need all these bells and whistles. I would forego them to accomplish more per session. The youth(3/4e players)in my games, take forever in combat and leveling up. My problem is my groups seem to break down like seasons and actually finishing a scenario becomes priority.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:51 pm
by shesheyan
We enjoy the fact that everything is in one book. Its an Encyclopedia of choices available in D&D. Not choices available for every campaign. Restrictions based on Campaign setting would be the way to go. (So its your fault Havard! ;) )

None of my players made the OP comment. And they are happy to be rid of all the 3E (skills/cross-class skills, feats) and 4E (powers, feats, etc) during character creation. That generated a lot of page turning.

They find it interesting that characters can gain an Archetype at 3rd and its first Feat at 4th level instead of 1st level. Makes it more unique, something the character achieved through adventuring. Some people had «preselect» Archetypes and Feats at first level, saying the character would become this or that, but when time came to do the actual choice some changed their mind because of what had happened in the campaign.

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:27 pm
by Havard
shesheyan wrote:We enjoy the fact that everything is in one book. Its an Encyclopedia of choices available in D&D. Not choices available for every campaign. Restrictions based on Campaign setting would be the way to go. (So its your fault Havard! ;) )
Hehe, yeah you are right. I had simply not anticipated that reaction. Had I done so, it would have been easy to cut down on their choices. Although I am not really sure this criticism was as strong as it sounded at first.
None of my players made the OP comment. And they are happy to be rid of all the 3E (skills/cross-class skills, feats) and 4E (powers, feats, etc) during character creation. That generated a lot of page turning.
Yep. And although I have not had to do so yet, I expect it will be even more of a time saver when it comes to generating higher level PCs/NPCs.

They find it interesting that characters can gain an Archetype at 3rd and its first Feat at 4th level instead of 1st level. Makes it more unique, something the character achieved through adventuring. Some people had «preselect» Archetypes and Feats at first level, saying the character would become this or that, but when time came to do the actual choice some changed their mind because of what had happened in the campaign.
That makes alot of sense in game as well. Many people will have plans and aspirations, but some do change as time passes. I tend to like the Archetypes over Kits and Prestigue Classes, both mechanically and also the specific selections.

-Havard

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:32 am
by rabindranath72
In my current group, one of the players likes Pathfinder, another is an old-school enthusiast (stopped playing when 2e was new) and the third only ever played Das Schwartz Auge back in the 90s. They are all loving 5e for the way in which it handles complexity in small "quanta" so the player is not overwhelmed.

Since I am running Birthright, I put some limitations on the types of races and classes I allowed, so the complexity in terms of "wealth of choices" was not really addressed. The complexity of each class however is very manageable, and as a DM I find my job very easy (though I would have preferred an even simpler monster and NPC design, like 13th Age.)

Re: Too many PC options?

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:57 am
by timemrick
In my regular group, we have a range of age and experience: I've been playing D&D since B/X and 1E; two members have been playing since 2E; two others started with 3E (IIRC); and one is new to tabletop within the past year, though he's played a lot of D&D-style CRPGs. We're currently playing Pathfinder, though we just took a break to try some 5E: Lost Mine of Phandelver, run by our newbie, who also ran it for another group. He let us build our 1st-level characters using all the options in the PHB. We ended up with 2 wood elves (a ranger and a cleric), a halfling rogue, a human monk, and my tiefling warlock (the party's token freak). Character creation and leveling up was pretty quick and easy, but still had enough choices to stay interesting. As much as we all love 3.5 and PF, the simpler system and character options in 5E were a welcome change of pace. And our newbie DM is finding it a very easy system to prep for and run, especially when using published adventures, which means he'll be running another game for us when his schedule frees up enough to juggle two games again.