Kendal

Best Version of DnD?

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Why no love for Rules Cyclopedia/BECMI D&D?? That's what I'm running right now for my Friday night games.

 

Difficultly in getting physical books probably.  It is tough to find a copy of Rules Cyclopedia in good shape for a reasonable price anymore (at least it was 2 years ago when I was actively looking).

 

I would love to run a RC D&D game.  THe BECMI rules set was where I started and it hit its high water mark with RC.

 

1E & 2E were always good as long as you kept magic items rare and expensive (except for your standard magic swords and armour which I always just told players was of 'exceptional quality' rather than actually magical.  A +1 sword is just about the dullest item in any game - what wizard is going to bother investing the time and resources into making them by the wagonload?  A talented weaponsmith from the far of land of Goodswords is the guy you want to talk to for that stuff).

 

3E/3.5E - played lots of this but by the end of its run I could DM it anymore.  The game was crushed under the weight of its own rules, ime.

 

Pathfinder - ugh.  House ruled 3E (thanks I have my own house rules). Love the adventure paths paizo put out but their game system started out bloated and just got worse.  Never playing or running this thing again.

 

4E - honestly liked it.  Quite a bit.  Made some really entertaining scenarios in this system with the skill challenge rules mixed in with combat (though I did drop most monsters hps by 1/4 - make last long enough to get a shot with their main power(s) then have the PC beat them senseless).  My favourite one had to be the players trapped in a city slowly being engulfed in flames while they raced through it trying to get back to their guild to save some important dignitaries. They had to calm panicked crowds, fight looting gangs even rescue some people (including the mandatory kitten) from a burning building.  The Character Builder (the offline one that is) was fun as hell to play with and the Monster Builder made encounter creation take almost no time at all.  Only system where I could have a detailed ambush/wandering encounter fully fleshed out in 5 minutes to the point where my players had a hard time telling it wasn't linked to the main story.  Miss this system as without the offline Character and Monster builders it isn't as easy to use.  Last system I DMed until the death of a close friend and co-DM of mine.  That was over 2 years ago and I still cannot get the urge to play/DM back.  Miss you lots, Greg.

 

5E - haven't played this or bought anything for it.

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The thing about short rests is that while you regain HP, only specific classes regain spells as well.

I believe that is only "Circle of the Land" druids, wizards... and there's sorcerers who can use their sorcery points to gain more spell slots.

 

I do wonder how they did it back in the day when wizards only had one spell per day at 1st level, though. It's like nowadays they get cantrips whose damage even increases as they level up so even if their spells are spent they can still spam some pretty effective damage.

 

Darts.  Hundreds and hundreds of darts (my 1st level 1E wizard carried something like 120 of them to every adventure).  Their rate of fire was 2 or 3 per round, iirc, so even 120 was 'only' 40 rounds of combat.  41 if you count time I use my 'Sleep' spell ;)

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Thanks to the OGL, if you want RC D&D, you can get it for free! There are free rules sets that have been compiled for every old school edition based on the OGL.

 

http://taxidermicowlbear.weebly.com/dd-retroclones.html

From Chain Mail to OD&D, Basic D&D (including the RC), 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and beyond. Labyrinth Lord is a good version for lower level (B/X) edition of basic D&D. Dark Dungeons is the full RC experience. Just about all of them can be bought for relatively low prices through a variety of print on demand sites like Lulu. 

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Honestly, in 3.5, you were only limited in spells until around level 7 or so. By that point, you had enough spells to let your party win four to six encounters, with a few extra in reserve. You didn't need to cast every round. You just need to cast enough to either give your party members an overwhelming advantage or to negate an enemy's advantages. By the time you ran out of spells at that point, the fighter was also running out of hit points (or the cleric was running out of healing spells).

 

Wizards also had a lot more options to prepare for the next few fights with divination spells, and if they did decide to rest, they had things like rope trick or teleport to make sure they could get out of the fight fairly safely until they could come back in. But again, going nova was really only a small part of the issue. Wizards could often effectively "win" a fight with one or two spells with an excellent success rate, because of the way saves progressed.

 

Of course, this assumes you were casting mostly battlefield control, buff, and debuff spells. If you were mostly throwing around direct damage spells, you were much less effective. 

My parties seem to love the things what go *Boom!*

 

We did have a game where the wizard managed to Bluff the monsters - yelling 'Lightning Bolt!' and throwing up his arm dramatically... Then rolled a natural 20 on his Bluff check. Cleared the corridor for just a second. ::P: (The wizard was too low level to have lightning bolt - but they had been tossing Thunder Stones around with gay abandon, so it had sounded like somebody had them....)

 

The Auld grump - good times, good time. ::):

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Pathfinder and 4th edition are essentially diametric opposites in how they adapted D&D to a more modern era. Pathfinder is basically just 3.5 with corrected damage numbers for the non-wizard non-barbarian classes. This is feels like comfort food, very good comfort food, but still a clear sign that Paizo is not going to really expand 3.5's rules set in any meaningful way or address the underlying problems with 3.5 core systems such as linear warriors and quadratic wizards and certain play styles being almost incompatible with the core systems (maneuverability melee combatants have been a particular bedbug).

Though the problem of linear fighter vs quadratic wizard existed loooong before D&D 3.5e, I find that it was never that bad in the 3.x or PF.

 

In the games I've been in, at higher levels the fighters were still massive damage dealers, and though the magic users had devastating spells, they were also very often limited in having the right opportunity to use those spells. i.e. Fireballs still need to have no ally with 20ft radius, Lighting Bolt still needs a straight line, and there's that pesky X times/day that sticks to them.

 

From experience, the classes that suffered the most from high levels in 3.x were rogues. Sure, their sneak attacks could be devastating, but at higher levels, the shear amount of critters immune to sneak attacks shut them down pretty quick. Monks also suffered from having their Flurry of Blows unable to hit anything with high AC due to their average BAB and lack of items that could effectively boost their to-hit bonuses without compromising the FoB.

 

Pathfinder retooled several of the core classes with the PF Unchained book, much to my liking now.

 

I think we are mostly in agreement. Rogue and monk were the most harmed by 3.5 and later Pathfinder's rules for them. Hell Paizo seems to agree with us and addressed the issue (mostly) in Pathfinder Unchained. I'd actually say that if your GM still allows archetypes unchained monk is nearly perfect in terms of design. Sitting right up there with bards, alchemists, and maguses (magi?) in terms of "good job Paizo". Then at the core of very simple combat everyone can contribute roughly equally assuming no terrain or complex enemy immunities. The problem comes up when you are using a non-combat encounter or a more complex combat encounter such as one involving incorporeal flying ability damaging enemies (shadows, wraiths, etc) or having to cross a bridgeless valley, or attend a fancy dinner party. In general this is not what the fighter has specced for and thus he has difficulty contributing. After all he was built for fighting. Now this is good game design in my opinion, after all the dinner party should be the bard's time to shine and the wraiths should be hard to kill. The problem comes in the fact that the wizard contributes highly to both the fancy dinner party and combat without equally and has no real difficulty changing between the two so long as he's allowed any amount of time to prepare spells.

 

This is something 3.5 actually came close to solving but Paizo didn't follow suit. The classes of beguiler, dread necromancer, and warmage were spellcasters capable of filling all the sort of fantasy tropes you'd want out of spellcasters, without contributing massively to every encounter. Hell they're actually better at their niche than a core wizard would be but present fewer design and story telling problems for me the GM. They end up being balanced with bard, unchained monk, etc. Hence why when I play Pathfinder I tend to ban wizard and just tell people "tell me the sort of wizard you want and I will either give you a focused caster or design one for you". So I'm willing to homebrew up my buddy a "super transmuter" or whatever type of bearded caster he wants because wizards are cool but the "everything on the spell-list" type we were given in 3.5 is very difficult to economize a game around.

 

 

Pathfinder and 4th edition are essentially diametric opposites in how they adapted D&D to a more modern era. Pathfinder is basically just 3.5 with corrected damage numbers for the non-wizard non-barbarian classes. This is feels like comfort food, very good comfort food, but still a clear sign that Paizo is not going to really expand 3.5's rules set in any meaningful way or address the underlying problems with 3.5 core systems such as linear warriors and quadratic wizards and certain play styles being almost incompatible with the core systems (maneuverability melee combatants have been a particular bedbug).

Though the problem of linear fighter vs quadratic wizard existed loooong before D&D 3.5e, I find that it was never that bad in the 3.x or PF.

 

In the games I've been in, at higher levels the fighters were still massive damage dealers, and though the magic users had devastating spells, they were also very often limited in having the right opportunity to use those spells. i.e. Fireballs still need to have no ally with 20ft radius, Lighting Bolt still needs a straight line, and there's that pesky X times/day that sticks to them.

 

From experience, the classes that suffered the most from high levels in 3.x were rogues. Sure, their sneak attacks could be devastating, but at higher levels, the shear amount of critters immune to sneak attacks shut them down pretty quick. Monks also suffered from having their Flurry of Blows unable to hit anything with high AC due to their average BAB and lack of items that could effectively boost their to-hit bonuses without compromising the FoB.

 

Pathfinder retooled several of the core classes with the PF Unchained book, much to my liking now.

 

Part of it was a sherical cow argument - if you allow the wizard to recharge after each encounter he does become too powerful - but most groups, in my experience, don't play that way - so the wizard does not go nova on each and every encounter, and is not carrying enough Knock spells that you don't need the rogue, and so on and so forth.

 

It was pretty much an excuse for Wizards to kill 3.X and the accompanying OGL.

 

Without realizing that because of that same OGL 3.X no longer needed WotC in order to survive.

 

Which they really, really, really should have known, since it was one of the danged stated purposes of the OGL - in order to prevent exactly that kind of corporate idiocy. (Sorry guys - some of the founders of WotC went and said what would happen, long before 4e was even the barest twinkle, you morons!)

 

The result was that 4e had killed its own chance of success.

 

The Auld Grump - only two hours into the game, and already waiting on pizza...

 

*EDIT* I swear to Gogamagog, we ate healthier while I was running Curse of the Crimson Throne - It's like old school adventures somehow cause a craving for pizza, corn chips, and fatty, fatty dips!

 

4th edition was actually successful just with a different crowd than 3.5. It was the top selling RPG until D&D Essentials came out and killed the line. elfing Essentials, easily the worst edition of D&D. Only 5th edition even approaches its awfulness.

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Played 2nd edition for 2 years and enjoyed it.

3rd edition launched and our group instantly adopted it. It was really difficult to play without a lot of house rules.

3.5 launched and our group also moved on, it had many of the house rules we created. Spellcasters were too powerful still. We never used the 3rd party supplements, because it completely breaks the game.

We stop playing by the end of 2005 because of real world activities.

We thought of going back to D&D in 2008, but 4th edition felt like a video game.

10 years after quitting RPG we started playing again in 2015. 5th edition is beautiful, probably the best edition yet, though I miss some methodical elements from 3.5.

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Well, again... whatever version you prefer is clearly 'best'.

 

I don't have a 'best', though. I'll play pretty nearly any of them. I prefer to avoid 4e; it doesn't lend itself very well to actually roleplaying, or RP-friendly character choices.

I started with 2e, and the math messed with my head then. It still does, but that doesn't slow me down too much. I just tend to depend on the GM to keep my sheets straight more than I might with another system.

3-3.5e ... not playing this as much. Not very many groups seem to be playing it.

5e. .. have yet to test this one. Our group isn't interested, and I've yet to find a group that was running something that interested me with a GM I figured I could trust to keep things straight.

 

Second the suggestion for Hero Labs; the only version they aren't supporting seems to be 2e. ^^;

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Pathfinder and 4th edition are essentially diametric opposites in how they adapted D&D to a more modern era. Pathfinder is basically just 3.5 with corrected damage numbers for the non-wizard non-barbarian classes. This is feels like comfort food, very good comfort food, but still a clear sign that Paizo is not going to really expand 3.5's rules set in any meaningful way or address the underlying problems with 3.5 core systems such as linear warriors and quadratic wizards and certain play styles being almost incompatible with the core systems (maneuverability melee combatants have been a particular bedbug).

Though the problem of linear fighter vs quadratic wizard existed loooong before D&D 3.5e, I find that it was never that bad in the 3.x or PF.

 

In the games I've been in, at higher levels the fighters were still massive damage dealers, and though the magic users had devastating spells, they were also very often limited in having the right opportunity to use those spells. i.e. Fireballs still need to have no ally with 20ft radius, Lighting Bolt still needs a straight line, and there's that pesky X times/day that sticks to them.

 

From experience, the classes that suffered the most from high levels in 3.x were rogues. Sure, their sneak attacks could be devastating, but at higher levels, the shear amount of critters immune to sneak attacks shut them down pretty quick. Monks also suffered from having their Flurry of Blows unable to hit anything with high AC due to their average BAB and lack of items that could effectively boost their to-hit bonuses without compromising the FoB.

 

Pathfinder retooled several of the core classes with the PF Unchained book, much to my liking now.

 

Part of it was a sherical cow argument - if you allow the wizard to recharge after each encounter he does become too powerful - but most groups, in my experience, don't play that way - so the wizard does not go nova on each and every encounter, and is not carrying enough Knock spells that you don't need the rogue, and so on and so forth.

 

It was pretty much an excuse for Wizards to kill 3.X and the accompanying OGL.

 

Without realizing that because of that same OGL 3.X no longer needed WotC in order to survive.

 

Which they really, really, really should have known, since it was one of the danged stated purposes of the OGL - in order to prevent exactly that kind of corporate idiocy. (Sorry guys - some of the founders of WotC went and said what would happen, long before 4e was even the barest twinkle, you morons!)

 

The result was that 4e had killed its own chance of success.

 

The Auld Grump - only two hours into the game, and already waiting on pizza...

 

*EDIT* I swear to Gogamagog, we ate healthier while I was running Curse of the Crimson Throne - It's like old school adventures somehow cause a craving for pizza, corn chips, and fatty, fatty dips!

 

I know plenty of players who play by the "Well, we're out of spells after two combats, time to go back/sleep" mentality. I tried to discourage it, by having them get ambushed on their way back, or by preventing rest by having things happen while they're asleep that wake them up(one time I had a bar fight spill into their room at the inn, busted door and all) but that just made them get annoyed with me. Other times I've tried by having their leaving in the middle of the day result in reinforcements/changes, and the same thing happens. So I explained that they need to ration resources and extend their day beyond 15 minutes of adventuring, and they just don't want to play that way. That's how my old high school group was, and that's how a couple players I had in a group a few years ago were.

 

I haven't had opportunity to play much 5E, but I'm hoping that the short rest/long rest rules will discourage that stuff. A short lunch break in a cave that gives back a spell or two and a few HP, but then requires a long rest later before you can do it again, should help satisfy their want to do a bit more blasting while also helping me not rage over their 15-minute adventuring days.

 

I find the best way to solve the 15-minute adventuring day is to make the quest time dependent. Your group will quickly stop resting for 8 hours after every fight when they have only 72 hours to get through the dungeon before the celestial alignment starts the sacrifice of their loved ones...

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I find the best way to solve the 15-minute adventuring day is to make the quest time dependent. Your group will quickly stop resting for 8 hours after every fight when they have only 72 hours to get through the dungeon before the celestial alignment starts the sacrifice of their loved ones...

 

 

Or relentless attention from the bad guys. It really only takes a few 14-encounter days* to stop the PCs from going nova on every encounter.

 

Or one time of "Whew, that was a nasty boss encounter." "Boss? No, I'm the boss."

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The best version of D&D is the one your friends will play with you.

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Currently running and enjoying 5e. After 4e it's like slipping into an old pair of sneakers after wearing dress shoes all day; familiar and comfortable.

 

If you like D&D basic, expert, companion rules, check out Basic Fantasy RPG. Free rules to download in PDF or open office format, and you can get a hard copy from Lulu for like $4. It has a few concessions to modern rules, like ascending AC, but otherwise is compatible with the original adventures.

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The best version of D&D is the one your friends will play with you.

Absolute Truth!

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Pathfinder and 4th edition are essentially diametric opposites in how they adapted D&D to a more modern era. Pathfinder is basically just 3.5 with corrected damage numbers for the non-wizard non-barbarian classes. This is feels like comfort food, very good comfort food, but still a clear sign that Paizo is not going to really expand 3.5's rules set in any meaningful way or address the underlying problems with 3.5 core systems such as linear warriors and quadratic wizards and certain play styles being almost incompatible with the core systems (maneuverability melee combatants have been a particular bedbug).

Though the problem of linear fighter vs quadratic wizard existed loooong before D&D 3.5e, I find that it was never that bad in the 3.x or PF.

 

In the games I've been in, at higher levels the fighters were still massive damage dealers, and though the magic users had devastating spells, they were also very often limited in having the right opportunity to use those spells. i.e. Fireballs still need to have no ally with 20ft radius, Lighting Bolt still needs a straight line, and there's that pesky X times/day that sticks to them.

 

From experience, the classes that suffered the most from high levels in 3.x were rogues. Sure, their sneak attacks could be devastating, but at higher levels, the shear amount of critters immune to sneak attacks shut them down pretty quick. Monks also suffered from having their Flurry of Blows unable to hit anything with high AC due to their average BAB and lack of items that could effectively boost their to-hit bonuses without compromising the FoB.

 

Pathfinder retooled several of the core classes with the PF Unchained book, much to my liking now.

 

Part of it was a sherical cow argument - if you allow the wizard to recharge after each encounter he does become too powerful - but most groups, in my experience, don't play that way - so the wizard does not go nova on each and every encounter, and is not carrying enough Knock spells that you don't need the rogue, and so on and so forth.

 

It was pretty much an excuse for Wizards to kill 3.X and the accompanying OGL.

 

Without realizing that because of that same OGL 3.X no longer needed WotC in order to survive.

 

Which they really, really, really should have known, since it was one of the danged stated purposes of the OGL - in order to prevent exactly that kind of corporate idiocy. (Sorry guys - some of the founders of WotC went and said what would happen, long before 4e was even the barest twinkle, you morons!)

 

The result was that 4e had killed its own chance of success.

 

The Auld Grump - only two hours into the game, and already waiting on pizza...

 

*EDIT* I swear to Gogamagog, we ate healthier while I was running Curse of the Crimson Throne - It's like old school adventures somehow cause a craving for pizza, corn chips, and fatty, fatty dips!

 

I know plenty of players who play by the "Well, we're out of spells after two combats, time to go back/sleep" mentality. I tried to discourage it, by having them get ambushed on their way back, or by preventing rest by having things happen while they're asleep that wake them up(one time I had a bar fight spill into their room at the inn, busted door and all) but that just made them get annoyed with me. Other times I've tried by having their leaving in the middle of the day result in reinforcements/changes, and the same thing happens. So I explained that they need to ration resources and extend their day beyond 15 minutes of adventuring, and they just don't want to play that way. That's how my old high school group was, and that's how a couple players I had in a group a few years ago were.

 

I haven't had opportunity to play much 5E, but I'm hoping that the short rest/long rest rules will discourage that stuff. A short lunch break in a cave that gives back a spell or two and a few HP, but then requires a long rest later before you can do it again, should help satisfy their want to do a bit more blasting while also helping me not rage over their 15-minute adventuring days.

 

I find the best way to solve the 15-minute adventuring day is to make the quest time dependent. Your group will quickly stop resting for 8 hours after every fight when they have only 72 hours to get through the dungeon before the celestial alignment starts the sacrifice of their loved ones...

 

It is also fun for the PCs to come back to the dungeon... and find all the monsters slaughtered, and all the treasure gone!

 

And the PCs are not the only folks that can use the downtime to prepare....

 

The Auld Grump

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I agree that it's good to keep pressure going on a party when possible, but it doesn't really help game balance that much. Sure, casters run out of spells, but fighters run out of hit points. And once you get past a certain point, he'll start doing that a lot faster than the wizard or the cleric are running out of spells (well, about the same time the cleric runs out of spells, if he's acting as a healbot).

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I agree that it's good to keep pressure going on a party when possible, but it doesn't really help game balance that much. Sure, casters run out of spells, but fighters run out of hit points. And once you get past a certain point, he'll start doing that a lot faster than the wizard or the cleric are running out of spells (well, about the same time the cleric runs out of spells, if he's acting as a healbot).

With exceptions by player, not by class, not in my experience. (Jon can get himself killed regardless of class.)

 

And then there is the Magus - who can run out of both spells and hit points in the same round.... (I love playing the Magus!)

 

The Auld grump

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