Where 5E of the World’s Most Famous RPG Loses Me.

Dear Wizards of the Coast,
Okay, I’m one of thousands of Dungeon Masters who have experienced A LOT of frustration with 5E. I know your new not-an-edition is coming out and you’re looking for feedback. I don’t think you’re asking the right questions.


An Open Letter to Wizards of the Coast,


Okay, I’m one of thousands of Dungeon Masters who have experienced A LOT of frustration with 5E. I know your new not-an-edition is coming out and you’re looking for feedback. I don’t think you’re asking the right questions.

From Day 1 of owning 5E, I’ve wondered where the rules for creating fair and challenging encounters are. The Dungeon Master’s Guide failed us in that regard. Other roleplaying games and other editions of D&D had mechanics that get it done. Why wouldn’t I play those instead?

This is also why I think so many DMs have switched to Milestones as the preferred method of character leveling. Experience points seem to be dying as a concept. Other games and editions still use XP.

A lack of effective encounter creation guidelines is accompanied by the rather anemic Monster Manual. Why do you think there are so many monster books on DriveThruRPG.com/DMsGuild.com? It’s because many of the basic core monsters are easily overcome at low levels.

This leads to another problem. Why do most campaigns seem to drop off at about 10th Level? Could it be there just aren’t a lot of good challenges at higher levels? Many DMs are just plain frustrated with the higher end of the game.

Let’s talk about what I feel is the most basic issue in the game as of 2022. The D&D game has become too player-oriented. The DM, that person running the game? Has been completely overlooked. And from what I hear about One D&D so far, it’s only going to get worse.

Don’t worry about new DM’s right now. Worry about retaining people who want to be a DM at all! If you don’t have people wanting to run the game, it’s going to fall apart. Yes, thank you for bringing more players into the game. Now focus on DMs a bit more, please?

Players are constantly seeing character buffs and very beneficial class revisions. That’s great for the players. Please bear in mind, this is not about the DM having an adversarial relationship with the players. It’s about the DM having the ability to challenge powerful character builds with monsters, otherwise the game devolves into a game of one upmanship among the players.

If I just want to watch characters banter among themselves, I’d watch TV or read a book. Yay plot! Yay description! I love telling great stories, but we’re starting to lose the game part of roleplaying game. I don’t need to be a DM just to give a few prompts for the characters to play off-of. Why have game stats at all?

As this letter is getting rather long, please see Part 2 of this article. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by. You rock! Game on.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa always looking for more work. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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