Note: this translates and expands upon a clarification I made for a post on a Hebrew role-playing game Facebook group, where I asked about people's experiences with converting a campaign to a different system.
Let me explain why, if I do decide to add new arcs to the campaign which I finished in February, I would want to do so in a system that is not Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.
On the one hand, I don't feel that the things that are dominant in D&D 5E were meaningful for the campaign developments which interested me, and hopefully, the players as well. The character journey from slightly superhuman to very superhuman, which is apparent even in the range that we played, levels 1 to 5, simply wasn't very connected to them.
On the other hand, I felt the absence of tools that I have seen in other systems:
- The existence of multiple groups using different, mutually unintelligible languages, was very important, and D&D has very facile support for this aspect of play - as opposed to, say, RuneQuest Classic, which has a dedicated and yet seemingly well-integrated system for languages as skills, including acquisition, graded levels of proficiency, distinctions between speech and literacy, and tools for addressing communication between characters with different levels of fluency. I've previously written my early impressions of RQC, and a more detailed discussion of using languages in RPGs.
- Especially towards the end of the campaign, there was a lot of mass combat. While I was eventually able to run an experience that was reasonably engaging using the rules of D&D 5E, it would have been much nicer to work with a system that had better support for it. For example, I had an excellent time playtesting Ahadi, Basheer Ghouse's upcoming role-playing wargame, where you play officers of a certain rank in the Mughal Empire. It blends role-playing political power plays, managing interesting and sometimes risky travel and logistics, and conducting tactical mass warfare in a very entertaining and cohesive fashion. Such a breath of fresh air after attempting to do similar things in D&D.
- D&D 5E's method for handling social and diplomatic challenges is basically unusable, and I would much prefer to have a system with better social mechanisms, which also tie in better to character progression.
- This feeds into a bigger issue: the lack of ways of measuring character advancement by level of influence or political power, or by increase in knowledge, without them becoming superheroic in more personal, direct ways. The main numerical measure of progress in D&D 5E is the proficiency bonus, which gets added to the mundane and magical attack modifiers, to the target numbers when forcing enemies to roll saving throws, and to the use of skills and tools. It ends up flattening out progression into combat prowess, with everything else being subsidiary.