So I had a chance to read through the DnD basic pdf. You can download either a full graphics version or a print friendly version from this link. Note that if you want to copy and paste text you will need to do it from the Print friendly version. The full graphics version has some weird formatting that turns the text into gibberish when you paste it. The full graphics version does read and print fine tho.
My thoughts in a nutshell, it feel and plays similar to how my Majestic Wilderlands campaigns does and it not dramatically different than the late playtest rules. Each character type is definitely better at certain things everybody can lend a hand if needed. In my campaign is because I use Swords and Wizardry as my core rules which is based on the 1974 version of DnD. Characters have differences but they are not as dramatic as in later editions.
DnD 5e character mechanics has a similar design. If a wizard really had to get in and whack something with the staff they have similar contributions in the two editions. There are differences, DnD 5e has a lot more variety in its mechanics than ODnD. Many of the mechanics apply to all characters equally instead being baked into the character class like it with the later ODnD supplement or my MW Supplement.
In addition to mechanics the roleplaying of characters is emphasized with explicit advice and more importantly mechanics and aides to flesh out the background of the character. It is separate from the class mechanics which is excellent in my opinion. A full chapter is given over to this which serves to hammer in the point that RPGs are as much about the roleplaying as they are about the game. And just as important because it is in a separate chapter, you can tear it out and throw it way if it not for you. The game will work just as well without it as does with it. A win overall.
Some OSR rulesets are really good at cloning the feel of a classic edition, but other twist the classic mechanics a little and give their game a unique feel. DnD 5e has its own unique feel. You have some flexibility but the simplicity is there. Different classes can do specific things well, yet all characters can attempt anything. Because of this many who are happy with a particular edition will probably not switch. But it is easy for a new gamer to learn. Not just game mechanics but the idea of roleplaying itself.
My opinion is that DnD 5e will be the favorite system of many, but serve equally well as a second favorite system. One that creates a common ground for fans of various editions to meet at conventions or game store and share a good adventure.
In the next series of post I will comment on each chapter.
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