DnD 5E vs SWADE - which one is easier to learn?

Hi all! I had some friends interested in trying out the whole TTRPG thing, and I wanted to run a one-shot for them. I have experience in running 5E, but I had been interested in SWADE as well, as it seems (at least on first glance) to be a simpler and more versatile system.

Does anyone have any insight into how easy it is for a new player to pick up SWADE in comparison to 5E?


If you are introducing new folk, I would say run something you are fluent in for their first go - they will need to pick up the rules from you.

Once you’ve demonstrated “this TTRPG thing is fun!” it is much easier to go ‘hey, for our next thing, there is this other system I am keen to try, let us test that’ and they’ve had a good time once, you should get the running room to test something out.

A harder trick to pull off (tho not impossible) is to do a one-shot which is also your first time with a ruleset and give the newbies the exciting first experience that will get them hooked.

I would say separate your two things - get the friends into TTRPGs with a system you know well and then test out your new system after that - it maximizes your chances of success with both.

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That is a very good point, thank you.

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Savage Worlds is a good system
complexity wise it is a bit easier than 5E

one imp. thing to keep in mind is:
combat could become very lethal and characters can die … even experienced ones
you should make your players aware of this fact, esp. if they are used to D&D 5E

also there are tons of solid setting books with included Plot-Point campaigns, that can be run as written with basically 0 prep.

have fun :slight_smile: :game_die:


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Wait, we’re calling Savage Worlds SWADE these days? I was trying to think which Star Wars version that might be …

Hi barpuncher. Pick whichever game you enjoy more. Unless you want your players to read the rules. In that case, avoid Savage Worlds. That thing could put anybody to sleep. :slight_smile:

Best of luck!

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I also had to google it and initially thought @barpuncher was talking about a Star Wars rpg :sweat_smile:

:thinking: because of the skeuomorphic design?

The frayed-looking pages? Nah, I think that kind of thing is neat.

It’s more that it’s on the extreme end of the rulebook-as-instruction-manual scale, at least in my older edition (kind of the polar opposite of high Gygaxian :slight_smile: ), and that makes for some pretty dry reading. It does a great job of telling you how to do everything, but never tells you why you’d ever want to.

Well it is a generic system … the “fluff” is in the setting books.

To expand on this a bit more:
Damage dice of non-minions can “explode” = should you roll a 6 on a d6, you roll it again and add it … and potentially again, and again …

So in every non-minion-only combat there is always a slight chance, that an attack can send even tough enemies and/or high level PCs to six feet under.

My guess is, that this is there to emulate the “Pulp” feel.
… but new PCs should be aware of this, esp. should they come from a D&D-only background