Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Comparing D&D Lite to D&D Next


D&D Next is the play test version of the next (v5) version of D&D. It addresses many of the issues I have with v3.5 (I never cared for v4).

D&D Lite is a set of “House Rules” that I have published here, that are intended to simplify and speed up play of v3.5 D&D.

D&D Lite was designed to meet the following criteria:

1. “Character creation and promotion should be simple, fast and easy.” – D&D Next does this, and also provides a lot of customization options at character creation for those who want it.

2. “The rule set should be fully compatible with other v3.5 stuff (adventures, sourcebooks, etc).” – D&D Next is not fully compatible. It feels a lot like a streamlined and improved version of v3.5. It should be very easy to convert adventures or other game materials from 3rd edition D&D to D&D Next.

3. “Complicated rules should be simplified to the point where you can play 90% of the time without having to look up a rule.” – D&D Next nails this. The rules are much simpler than 3rd edition D&D.

Below are some D&D Lite rules followed by comments on how D&D Next addresses these issues.

D&D Lite: No Multiclass characters.

D&D Next: Multiclass characters are optional. By frontloading the character creation you can get pretty much any type of character you want to play without multiclassing.

My thoughts: I had to restrict multiclassing in order to eliminate feats. D&D Next accomplishes what I was after without restricting character development. I like it.


D&D Lite: No Feats.

D&D Next: Feats are optional. If you do use them, you get to choose one feat at level 1, 3, 6, and 9 for a total of 4 feats.

My thoughts: My problem with feats is that there were too many of them and they over complicated the game. I can live with characters having 4 feats.


D&D Lite: No selection and distribution of Skill Points.

D&D Next: No skill points. Your character starts with four skills of your choice, from a much shorter list of skills. At levels 7, 12 and 17 you can add one more skill or improve one you already have. All skill checks are ability checks. If you happen to have the skill involved, you add 1d6 to your d20 die roll.

My thoughts: I wanted to get rid of skill points, but I couldn’t do it and still use 3.5 rules. This new way of dealing with skills addresses all of the issues I had with them. I like it.


D&D Lite: No Armor or Weapon Proficiencies.

D&D Next: Your character is proficient with certain weapons and armor depending on his class. Using weapons he is not proficient with is done at a disadvantage.

My thoughts: While not as simple as my system, it is much simpler than the 3.5 system, and the weapons are either simple or martial. This is very workable, fast and easy. I like it.


D&D Lite: No separate rules for Bull rush, Disarm, Overrun, Sunder, Grapple or Trip. To accomplish any of these you use a “heroic action”.

D&D Next: You can attempt any of these as an improvised action. Some classes are especially good at Bull rush, Disarm, and Trip. The rules for grapple have been greatly simplified.

My thoughts: D&D Next “improvised actions” are almost identical to D&D Lite’s “heroic actions”. How could I complain about that? I like it.


D&D Lite: No Attacks of Opportunity.

D&D Next: Attacks of Opportunity are almost eliminated. D&D Next reduces them to only be used if a hostile creature that you can see moves out of our reach.

Mt thoughts: To get rid of attacks of opportunity I had to require a heroic action to do anything that would provoke one. Dropping them altogether and still not allowing you to simply run past the guards with impunity is a good move. I like it.


D&D Lite: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.

D&D Next: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.

Mt thoughts: I tried to keep the results about the same as standard 3.5 rules. D&D Next just came up with a much simpler solution. I like it.


D&D Lite: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.

D&D Next: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.

My thoughts: D&D Next’s solution is simpler than D&D Lite’s solution. I like it.


D&D Lite: Character alignment is optional. There are no alignment related game rules or effects.

D&D Next: Character alignment is an important aspect of the game.

My thoughts: This was one of the hardest changes to implement in D&D Lite. I made this change primarily because of some unbalanced spells, such as “detect evil”, but the concept of good vs. evil and chaotic vs. lawful is so ingrained into D&D I was considering changing this. D&D Next corrects this at the source, by re-writing the spells so “detect evil”, for example, becomes “detect good or evil” and instead of allowing you to “sense the presence of evil”  you “perceive a strong concentration of good or evil as well as creatures formed by them”.  This is a subtle but important difference. I like it.


D&D Lite: Each of the classes has specific abilities (like feats) that they receive at pre-determined class levels, thus eliminating the need for feats.

D&D Next: Does the same thing, but offers more options in the form of backgrounds and sub-classes.

My thoughts: Thisallows the player to customize his character more than allowed in D&D Lite. I like it.


Conclusion: If they don’t mess it up, D&D v5 should be the game that I was hoping v4 would have been. I will quit using D&D Lite and whole heartedly endorse v5.


8 responses to “Comparing D&D Lite to D&D Next

  1. BIG RICH June 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I’m enjoying the changes that are taking place with D&D NEXT. I was very disappointed with 4th edition and the “video game WoW” feel.

    • Ronny June 29, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Exactly my take on it. Due to my present lack of players, I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in the playtesting that is going on, but I am following the posts and I am encouraged by the direction that NEXT is taking.

  2. Shroudeye June 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for posting your observations about D&D Next. I am currently involved in a playtest and have a renewed passion for D&D now that the rules are much more simplified. This re-design was in dire need and a welcome one at that!

    • Ronny June 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      I agree completely. Lets hope that the final iteration stays on track and they don’t succumb to the temptation to add a lot more complexity where it isn’t needed.

  3. sonworshiper September 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I like your clean item-by-item description of what changes you like about Next. I just started a playtest with an old friend, with hopes to get an online group together in the near future. It has been quite the change, and while I don’t like everything, I’m pleased thus far.

    • Ronny September 17, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thanks for your comment. There have been a couple of releases since I posted this. So it is a little out of date. Let me know how your play testing goes.

  4. Kapatid Boang December 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Well each have its own advantage..
    for the advance hardcore and more intelligent or experience player 3.x is alot better no matter how u see it , Role playing opportunity and customization to add uniqueness 3.x is way better, main problem with this is its very much inbalance
    For those who enjoy tactical battle and better class balance I would say 4.x beats all version to the extent that its almost mmo rpg style .but game dynamics are smooth and almost effortless when it comes with the combat side…over all 4.x offers the best combat mode for all the version
    For those who are beginners or just a little not intelligent or inexperience or just plain lazy dnd next is for u, character are a bit one sided and doesnt really have any uniqueness even compared to 3.x and 4.x, but its still a good game to use easy to start and easy to creat characters with but at a price in which case most characters of the same class almost move the same way, but over all its still a nice game with more role playing opportunity then 4.x but definately less than 3.x , tactical wise its as confusing as 3.x, but its alot easier to learn, alot more balance than 3.x but less balance than 4.x

    Over all:
    If u want power gaming with alot of role playing and customization go for 3.x
    If u want a more balance play team work and tactics go for 4.x
    If u want an easier game more relax setting use dnd next

    • Ronny December 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Your comparison of 3.x, 4.x and Next are quite good. However, I do disagree with you on a couple of things.
      First, I don’t think referring to people as “just a little not intelligent or inexperience or just plain lazy” is constructive. I am far from a beginner, but I believe that 5.0 (or whatever they end up calling Next when it is officially released) will become my preferred D&D version.
      Second, we will have to see what it is like when it is published, but so far, I don’t see the characters in Next being one sided. In previous versions your character background was encouraged, but in Next it is required. There are some suggested backgrounds (for the unimaginative or lazy), but it can be anything that the DM approves and they come with skills and feats. Like 3.x and 4.x there are several “core” classes, but they can be used as a starting point to create any character type you can image (with your DM’s approval). There have even added rules for multi-classing for those who want that.
      I just don’t see it as having less role playing opportunity than 3.x. As a matter of fact, with a much shorter list of skills and feats listed on their character sheets, I believe that when a character is faced with a dilemma, the player will be less inclined to select something from the list that the character is good at, and more likely to come up with new and imaginative ideas.

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