Kendal

Best Version of DnD?

704 posts in this topic

I've heard multiple opinions, and am interested in what many think. Every game I have been in runs mainly on house rules anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, the best version is the one that your cool group of friends want to play.

 

Followed by the one that a group plays.

 

After that you have to break it down by what you want to get out of the game.  Heavy RP, kill the monsters, take their stuff.  Do you want high magic, infinite options, or low magic with enough abilities/choices to be able to make interesting characters without a bazillion choice that induce paralysis?

 

And on the bottom of the list is the one that is what the only group in the area (who are all elfhats) plays.

 

Too me, the players are more important than the system.  A bunch of fun players that are interested in the shared experience of a game can make the most broken rule set fun.  Where as the worst group of players can make even the best rule set feel like chewing, swallowing and passing glass.

 

Now if you want me to rank them, I can do that. In order from most likely to play to least.

 

5th Ed:  It's what I play now.  Firstly, because it is what is played locally, and secondly because I like the system.  It's not too bloated (yet).  There are enough options that not every character feels the same, but not so many that most are substandard or you have to spend a day winnowing through all of your options (cough Pathfinder).  It also has a pretty strong Adventure League function that make getting together with a bunch of other like minded individuals easy.

 

Pathfinder (3.75): My second go around.  I love the setting.  You can figure out a way to do anything.  Of course, because of all of the options, it can take you vast amounts of time to examine all of your options.  Case in point, I just spent 4 hours today looking over all the feats that my Pathfinder Society Bloodrager might find useful.  Four hours!  Just for feats.  I'm going to have to do the same with spells when (if) I get to 4th level.  Also, PFS is popular at stores and cons, making it easier to play if you don't have a dedicated group.

 

3.0/3.5:  Played this for it's whole run.  I call it the attack of the splat books.  I feel that is similar to Pathfinder, but with out the cohesiveness of a single world.  Of course there were multiple campaign world but things didn't necessarily mesh between them all.

 

4th:  I only played a couple of games of this; mostly because it was what a friend wanted to run.  It seemed alright for combat, but even there is was limited.  It felt like I was running a Diablo character, and having to pick between skill trees.  Still I had fun, because I enjoyed playing with the other players.

 

2nd: I pretty much skipped over 2nd.  And when I did play, it was while 3rd was out.  The group of guys that I was with really like 2nd so that's what we played.  They were really into the Skills and Powers, so it felt option paralysis all over again.

 

ADnD: I played a lot of this and had all of the books.  While it was my first (well I played the Basic and Expert sets for a dozen games first) system, I don't think that I would enjoy playing it now.  I don't think it has aged well.  Te thing I like about 5th is that it evokes the felling of ADnD with the updated mechanics of an evolved system.

 

But then again; with the right group of people, I'd play anyone of these games. And have, here on the boards.  I've been in PbP games of 5E, Pathfinder, 3.5, 2nd and OSR.

16 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome post! I agree it is on the group. We didn't act (talk) as our characters or any of that, but we appreciated the the game and it was super fun. There has to be a shared sense of imagination I feel like.

Edited by Kendal
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I echo Dilvish's comments.  The system is irrelevant without a good group of awesome players.  I haven't played a game in forever, but I have a specific gamemaster I want to play a game with, because he is that good. 

 

Here's my experiences:

 

5th Ed:  Have not touched.  No hobby funds or time for this on top of minis and paints.  Honestly, I would give it a shot, it has a nice following and the gamers I am around are giving it a fair shake compared to 4e and predecessors.

 

Pathfinder (3.75): Yes.  I love this system.  It's my preferred game as a gamemaster.  Mind you, due to the same reason as 5th, I am FAR behind on releases, so my games are lower powered than others may be.

 

3.0/3.5:  Played this for it's whole run as well.  Had a couple really good games, but 4e and Pathfinder ended this run.  I have sold/given up most of my collection.  This version suffered from little continuity of rules but was still fun if you had the right group (I did... twice).

 

4th:  I made a character for this.  I tried to run a simulated combat.  It was too much like a video game to me.  The Diablo reference above is a real good way of describing it.  It was okay, just what I wanted to play.  And what they did to the Forgotten Realms (my preferred setting for the 3.x era) was really off-putting.  That and their marketing.

 

2nd: This was what I cut my teeth on, RPG-wise.  Played in Dragonlance, Planescape, and picked up Dark Sun's box.  A very late purchase was the 2e Forgotten Realms box set.  I also made my own homebrew world, and had a heck of a fun several games with it (mashing together Native American/Aztec culture with European Knightly areas with a healthy dose of Final Fantasy references, it was fun!). 

 

ADnD: I played very little of this, but it's second edition, as noted above, was my first real foray into D&D.

 

1e:  I have played several one-shots.  It was simple and fun, and the group was nice, too. 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't we just do this thread?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best version of D&D is the one I run with my favorite house rules in place and my least favorite charts and tables red-lined out of existence.

 

This might include rules & things dragooned from 3 different versions of the rulebooks...

 

:upside:

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And we will have it again. And again and again and again, ad infinum.

 

Basic gist. They are all for fun for whatever it is you are doing so long as you like doing it that way at that time.

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started with 2nd addition.  When 3rd edition was new.  It took a lot of convincing our DM to switch the rules because they were superior to 2nd.  In the sense of simplicity. 

 

3.5 came out we upgraded....

 

When 4th addition came out.  We stayed with 3.5  While I had an interest in "trying it out"  strictly for the fact that the wizard has such great changes.  However the fighter sucked...(I am known in my group for being the warrior most of the time.  but that is only because I hated the rules for casters.)

Pathfinder I started with another group.   Its similarities to 3.5 made it an easy transition.  When that group broke up I started my own campaign with Pathfinder.  Game was pretty well however, as the DM I that 1 player was simply just way too powerful.  The Paladin class was obnoxious at higher levels.  Despite the rest of the group being the same level.  I found it very difficult to challenge the group if he was present.  He would maul everything.  Even after I took him aside and we agreed to nerf some of his gear that I gave him.  Mostly his AC was an issue. 

​Then came 5th edition.  As I began reading the play tests all seemed a bit crazy.  So we didn't really pay it much mind.  I mostly kept up on it to see what changes there were trying etc but not actually playing as we still have a Pathfinder campaign to finish.   When the final version came out and I went through it.  I really liked how they rebalanced things.  They basically made it more about damage instead of AC which I think was the best move they could have done to make the balance between PCs and Monsters..  Now its not perfect...but its really good.  One thing Ive noticed though is basically....When a creature has a CR of something...you cant trust it.  The CR system isn't quite balance correctly.  I have found my PC's taking out things that are meant to be deadly with relative ease.  Also why is a level 10 necromancer only a CR of 6?  weird...

 

At the end of the day though.  I find the simplicity of 5E to be the best.  Though like many have said....Its not about the system its about the story and the group forming that story together.  I think 5E facilitates that the best. 

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, the best version is the one that your cool group of friends want to play.

 

Followed by the one that a group plays.

 

After that you have to break it down by what you want to get out of the game.  Heavy RP, kill the monsters, take their stuff.  Do you want high magic, infinite options, or low magic with enough abilities/choices to be able to make interesting characters without a bazillion choice that induce paralysis?

 

And on the bottom of the list is the one that is what the only group in the area (who are all elfhats) plays.

 

Too me, the players are more important than the system.  A bunch of fun players that are interested in the shared experience of a game can make the most broken rule set fun.  Where as the worst group of players can make even the best rule set feel like chewing, swallowing and passing glass.

 

Now if you want me to rank them, I can do that. In order from most likely to play to least.

 

5th Ed:  It's what I play now.  Firstly, because it is what is played locally, and secondly because I like the system.  It's not too bloated (yet).  There are enough options that not every character feels the same, but not so many that most are substandard or you have to spend a day winnowing through all of your options (cough Pathfinder).  It also has a pretty strong Adventure League function that make getting together with a bunch of other like minded individuals easy.

 

Pathfinder (3.75): My second go around.  I love the setting.  You can figure out a way to do anything.  Of course, because of all of the options, it can take you vast amounts of time to examine all of your options.  Case in point, I just spent 4 hours today looking over all the feats that my Pathfinder Society Bloodrager might find useful.  Four hours!  Just for feats.  I'm going to have to do the same with spells when (if) I get to 4th level.  Also, PFS is popular at stores and cons, making it easier to play if you don't have a dedicated group.

 

3.0/3.5:  Played this for it's whole run.  I call it the attack of the splat books.  I feel that is similar to Pathfinder, but with out the cohesiveness of a single world.  Of course there were multiple campaign world but things didn't necessarily mesh between them all.

 

4th:  I only played a couple of games of this; mostly because it was what a friend wanted to run.  It seemed alright for combat, but even there is was limited.  It felt like I was running a Diablo character, and having to pick between skill trees.  Still I had fun, because I enjoyed playing with the other players.

 

2nd: I pretty much skipped over 2nd.  And when I did play, it was while 3rd was out.  The group of guys that I was with really like 2nd so that's what we played.  They were really into the Skills and Powers, so it felt option paralysis all over again.

 

ADnD: I played a lot of this and had all of the books.  While it was my first (well I played the Basic and Expert sets for a dozen games first) system, I don't think that I would enjoy playing it now.  I don't think it has aged well.  Te thing I like about 5th is that it evokes the felling of ADnD with the updated mechanics of an evolved system.

 

But then again; with the right group of people, I'd play anyone of these games. And have, here on the boards.  I've been in PbP games of 5E, Pathfinder, 3.5, 2nd and OSR.

I will second this wholeheartedly, excepting that I haven't tried 5th--though your estimation of it echos what my friends say.

 

If nostalgia weighs in, I'd put 2nd higher than 4th, but it was pretty broken in places and the number of possible options could dissuade newer players (maybe the same for 3.x).  4th...you're dead on--it's Diablo or WoW.  Instead of a character concept, all you end up playing is a piece of the weapon--be it ranged DPS or healer or tank.  Could be fun for pure skirmish/combat battles.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an entirely subjective question, and the most objective answer I can give is this: the best version of D&D is the one you're having the most fun playing. Some people will try to argue the merits of one system over another, but the truth is that if you're having fun then nothing else really matters.

 

That said, I like 3rd edition and Pathfinder, but I also don't allow every optional rule and splatbook to come into play. I don't really like min-maxing, although I understand that it's going to happen at some level no matter what, and I find that allowing all the umpteen hundred books to all be in play at once does nothing but encourage it. At the same time, trying to codify everything into rulebooks takes away some of the freedom of a game, because rather than a player saying "I want my character to do (insert odd or crazy thing here)" and a DM saying either "No, that's impossible" or "Ok, but here's how it works..." you end up with players digging through rulebooks to find where that particular thing is mentioned or not mentioned and then arguing amongst each other or with the DM about how something should go. By having a slimmer set of rules, you nip that in the bud a bit while also allowing the DM and players to create their own rules for the things they want to do, rather than having someone dig up an obscure rule that's on page 92 of The Warviking Murderers Handbook, that then can be combined with the rule on page 37 of the Clerks Guide to I'm Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today, which says how many stormtroopers it takes to install a toilet main, to figure out just how long Pillowpants takes to bite of your tongue if you try to kiss before marriage.

 

Which is part of the reason I'm actually very fond of 5th Edition at this point in time. It doesn't have that. Yet. And, if WotC keeps their word like I remember them saying on the official D&D podcast, hopefully it won't happen for a long, long time.

 

But I can't really say much. I've gotten exactly two chances to play 5e since it came out, because I work a midnight shift with a non-standard work week so all my friends tend to be either working or sleeping when I'm awake and on my days off. And I've got hundreds of dollars worth of Pathfinder materials that have only been used as reading material because every time I tried to start a game it always fell through due to my work schedule.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best is what you enjoy as others have said. Right now I'm playing in a 5th ed game. It's ok, a good DM and group, which helps make up for the lackluster system. I prefer stackable bonuses rather than rolling another die. Also the lack of feats and options get to me. I much prefer pathfinder but 5th ed is what I got for now so I make due.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the general thought of ' the best one is the one you're playing and having fun with.'

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think 4e was honestly the best system for what it was designed to do. However, combat had a very board-gamey feel to it, with classes having set roles and clearly-defined powers. Most versions of D&D are pretty unfocused, and most do their job of presenting a unified system really poorly. 4e figured out what it wanted to do in combat, and did it very well. However, it was a very different experience than most versions of D&D. If you like tactical combat, it's much more rewarding, but if that's not what you enjoy in D&D combat, you're not going to enjoy 4e.

 

I'm gonna say all of you thinking it was worse for roleplaying or out-of-combat stuff I'm gonna have to say you're outright wrong. 4e had easily the best ruleset for out-of-combat challenges and roleplaying of any edition of D&D. It's not your fault that you're wrong on this, though. The dev team was really bad at explaining them, and even worse at implementing them, especially Mike Mearls. Keep on the Shadowfell is one of the worst-designed adventures I've ever seen, and it was supposed to be the first introduction people got to the system. They were explained far, far better in Star Wars: SAGA, where they first appeared (having been adapted from complex skill challenges in 3.5).

 

Skill challenges let the entire party get involved in talking to the king or getting across a canyon. They give rewards for having the appropriate skills while still letting you give it a go with other skills if you're creative. The two bits that make it seem not to work are that A) players are allowed (and should be encouraged to) come up with their own solutions, and B) you should only ever use them when failure and success have consequences.

 

For the first, let's say everyone wants to talk the King into sending troops to help their ally, Baron McNobleman (of the Highland McNoblemans), who is being invaded by orcs. The bard can use diplomacy, obviously. The fighter can use intimidate. The wizard doesn't have any social skills. In previous editions, it would be a really terrible idea for him to be involved in this. He would be limited to maybe making remarks, but he couldn't have any mechanical effect on the encounter. However, the player suggests he uses his History skill to suggest that the orcs will probably head for the capital after they finish with McNobleman. It's less relevant, so the GM is going to ask for a higher DC, but he can still give it a try and be involved. Meanwhile, the rogue uses Insight to figure out what the king really wants. Everyone gets to participate. Those who are invested in social encounters do better, have more agency, but the entire party is involved and working together. People are encouraged to find clever solutions.

 

Compare that to 3.5. In that, you would use Diplomacy. You could maybe try Intimidate, but it's only going to work while the king is in your presence, and 1d6x10 minutes longer. It's ultimately one single skill check, whichever you use. You might get an aid-another, but everyone has to be using the same skill. You can't use your sense motive or intimidate to help with the bard's diplomacy. The bard makes his roll, and if he gets 30, the king helps, and if he doesn't, the king won't.

 

Unfortunately, the book has a single line that lets you know players can come up with their own solutions, and most of the skill challenges are presented with a list of skills that will definitely work or not work, which gives the impression that players must use that list.

 

Only calling for them when they're important is an even bigger failing, and one not limited to 4e. SAGA was much better about making sure that if you did a skill challenge, it was for something important. Generally speaking, never ask for a skill check unless success and failure both do something interesting. 3.5 (and Pathfinder) let you keep trying on lockpick rolls. If you fail the first time, just try again. Unless there's some sort of time limit being tracked, there's no point in having the roll. You're rolling dice just to roll dice. This is an even bigger problem when it's a skill challenge, because they take up more time. There was one skill challenge in a published adventure where players tried to climb an icy hill.  Failure meant... having to try again. That's not interesting. It's just filler. A skill challenge should only be used at dramatically-appropriate moments.

 

Now, you might respond that in 3.5, with the bard check, he's going to be roleplaying it, and the other players can chime in, and maybe the GM will give a higher or lower DC based on that. That's nice, but 1) there's nothing stopping you from doing that in 4e) and 2) that's not the actual diplomacy system. Frankly, most people I talk to didn't actually use 3.5's social skill system because it was terrible. They just roleplayed their way through the system. Nothing wrong with that, but then you're not actually using the rules of the system.

 

And a final thing that 4e had better than previous editions. It had a lot fewer spells that made other class skills and abilities redundant, meaning that the fighter or the rogue's skills were much more valuable. 

 

Not that 4e was perfect. The math was a bit messed up at first, giving everything too many hitpoints, and they kept the item treadmill that 3.5 introduced (meaning that at a certain level, you had to have a +1 sword, or a +2 stat item, or what have you). It eventually fixed those problems, but it definitely colored people's perceptions of the game. And there's nothing wrong with not enjoying the tighter, more tactics-based combat system. But I think that a lot of people who didn't like 4e, including a lot of you in this thread, missed some of the cooler bits in the game. Not because you didn't give it a try, but because the dev team kinda sucked at showing off their system.

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto on the group dynamics is what makes a game fun.

 

I've had some of my best and worst game experiences playing Pathfinder with two different groups. And I still like Pathfinder, even though the amount of options is simply overwhelmingly staggering. Pathfinder has good balance, and a kitchen sink setting that still seems to hold itself together.

 

I haven't tried 5e, though from all the comments I've read, I'd probably like it.

 

Tried 4e. I understood what it was good for. But it didn't feel like D&D. And the business model attached to it was an immediate turn off for me.

 

I had fun with 3.x for its duration, even with the flaws.

 

AD&D 1st-2e is where I got my first real experiences with RPGs (though I officially started with Basic D&D). Nostalgia colored it in a positive light until my old group played Hackmaster (retooled AD&D 1st ed.). It didn't age well. It felt far more limited to the 3.x freedom that I was now used to.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I played 1e AD&D and then a 1e/2e hybrid for about 25 years.  I finally switched to Castles & Crusades about ten years ago to simplify the rules set and reduced the number of books I needed to haul to a game session.  I didn't really care for 3e D&D when I played a few sessions, and can't be bothered to play the newer editions.

 

The Egg

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now