What I've seen looks pretty good. And it's free, at least the Basic version is.
Some observations that spring to mind:
- Ability scores get bonuses like 3E. However, the default way of generating them is first choose race and class, then roll 6 stats (4d6 and drop lowest) and assign to whichever ability scores you wish.
- Demihumans all get +2 to one stat (Subraces get an extra +1 or +2 to another stat). Humans, however, get +1 to each stat. Is this balanced? Purely in terms of stats, no, but I suspect that other demihuman abilities (such as infravision) do keep things balanced.
- Quite a bit more flavour and fluff than I was expecting. This is not an SRD collection of rules but a proper book for DMs and players to learn about the game.
- There are many references to the Forgotten Realms, and a few to Greyhawk, Dragonlance and other campaign settings.
- Clerics are modified - no longer restricted to blunt weapons, they now use any simple weapon. Interestingly they don't use heavy armour, only light or medium armour.
- Only one domain is given for clerics, the Life Domain. Incidentally this domain allows clerics to use heavy armour.
- Fighters get Martial Archetypes, though only one is given, the Champion.
- Rogues also get Roguish Archetypes, and the only one given in the Basic rules is the Thief.
- Wizards get Arcane Traditions (perhaps similar to 2E schools). The one given in the Basic rules is Evocation.
- The Nine Alignments are back! Thank goodness. I know not everyone likes or uses alignments, but what 4E did just seemed so wrong.
- Backgrounds include Acolyte, Criminal, Folk Hero, Sage & Soldier. These all have a big impact on equipment, skills and other aspects.
- Strength requirements for heavy armour? Interesting.
- Armour Class is ascending.
- Premade equipment packs allow adventurers to start quicker.
- Trinkets are a whimsical addition to equipment
- Feats are mentioned as being in the PHB but are not part of the Basic rules.
- Multiclassing is sort of discussed, but certain details are left to the PHB. Enterprising DMs could probably house-rule it without the PHB.
- Proficiency Bonus becomes quite important. Still haven't worked out exactly how. They seem to crop up in all sorts of situations, particularly in skills and combat.
- Ability Scores get discussed in chapter 7, after race, class, alignment and equipment. Interesting choice.
- Saving throws get a short section, with no examples given.
- Rounds are 6 seconds long.
- Spell lists are reduced in size, as befits a Basic Rules set. I'm sure more spells will appear in the PHB.
- There is a blank 2-sided character sheet and an extra sheet for spells at the end.
So for me this raises the question - do I stick with B/X Classic D&D, or make the jump to 5E ? I have not decided yet, but a new edition would benefit from a new campaign setting.