Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chaoswolf

Various editions of D&D (sort of a rant, but not really)

Recommended Posts

I didn't explain because the OP was asking about differences in editions. I think I explained pretty well what the major design differences between the editions were, and while I obviously don't like 4th (and said as much), I think I was pretty accurate in defining the system. Your post said practically the same thing, i.e. every class is balanced against the others so they all get to contribute in a similar way to every combat, etc., the only real difference is you like it and I don't.

 

What I don't like specifically is encapsulated in my example. I hate the idea that a level 21 creature, especially an immortal celestial being like an angel, has one hit point. I also don't like the fact that, as in the example you gave, a level 13 creature can't even hit a level 21. That too is very video gamey, if you are on the wrong dungeon level you either face no threat or impossible odds, whereas in previous editions, you might be in trouble or have an easier time, but you'd still face challenges and have a chance to overcome them.

 

I do think it is interesting that 5th edition is moving far away from that system of level imbalance. They have reduced (almost eliminated) attack bonuses and AC ranges so much that theoretically, a group of 1st level creatures could still vex a medium-high level party, bringing the game much closer to basic/1st edition than either 3rd or 4th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, another question to go along with everything else;

Are all of these alternate games that are being suggested fairly popular? I ask because a few I've heard of and a few I haven't. I didn't realize that L5R was an RPG, I just thought it was a wargame.

What about Hackmaster? I know it's kinda tongue in cheek, but it seems kind of interesting at the same time.

What about Castles and Crusades?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

L5R started out and continues as a card game. They made the leap to RPG and table top wargame, but I believe the tabletop died out. The RPG is alive and kicking in it's 4th edition. There is also the Song of Fire and Ice RPG. It reminds me quite a bit of Shadowrun in how you construct characters.

 

The L5R RPG is a d10 roll and keep system. Your character is basically built around skill points and core character concept. It's easy to pick up and fun to go in depth on. Almost all the splat books contain a wealth of fluff and has enough new mechanics to keep things interesting but not bloated. Hit up Alderac's website for an idea of the product line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't explain because the OP was asking about differences in editions. I think I explained pretty well what the major design differences between the editions were, and while I obviously don't like 4th (and said as much), I think I was pretty accurate in defining the system. Your post said practically the same thing, i.e. every class is balanced against the others so they all get to contribute in a similar way to every combat, etc., the only real difference is you like it and I don't.

While that may be technically true, I think that if you present things only through a negative lens, it doesn't really give it a fair shake. I don't think either of us was presenting information inaccurately; I did want to clarify why design decisions were made, and how they can be useful, so as to give Chaoswolf the best understanding of the system.

 

You are right that it is a different design philosophy, but I think it makes sense. A Level 1 character shouldn't be able to hit an angel. When your players are battling gods in Epic tier, a troupe of goblins should be totally beneath their notice as far as foes go. From a gameplay perspective, it makes sense that you would only fight level-appropriate foes. From a storytelling perspective, it makes sense that you would only fight foes of equal and slightly greater power then you. From a world-simulation perspective, I suppose it would be a flaw that you can't set out in a random direction and have relatively balanced fights with everything you meet--the DM has to plan out who and what you're fighting in advance, or at least some possibilities thereof, or be quick with the MM. Furthermore, HP is already such an abstraction that it's pretty meaningless to say that so-and-so has #HP. While minions technically have 1HP, it really just signifies that a similar-level PC should be able to take them down in one hit. Which is entirely appropriate and thematic. If you're battling a god (and are of the appropriate level to do so) and he's throwing waves and waves of angels at you, then you should be able to wade through them, taking them down one after another. Meanwhile, a Level 1 party doing the same thing shouldn't be able to even hit any of them, since they're barely better than the average human, and the angels are friggin' angels. This is, ultimately, a matter of taste, but I don't think you were giving 4e a fair shake in your explanation.

 

And just... stop with the "video game" analogy. It doesn't make sense. Modern video games come in so many different flavors and types that it's silly to point to any given mechanic and say that it's "like a video game!" Furthermore, so many mechanics of modern video games come from tabletop games. HP, for one. These things don't grow in a vacuum; they've been influencing each other since video games first existed. Lastly, video games are fun. It's a very bizarre thing to say "this game shares some mechanics with other very good games!" Like, it's supposed to be an attack on 4e, but it doesn't even make sense as an insult, whether or not it's technically true.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea of combat roles like tanks originate in oldschool D&D. Fighters have always been expected to protect wizards and other squishy members of the party. Games like WoW just formalized it, and 4e did as well. All it is is looking at what you want a given class to do and figure out how to let them do it.

 

I actually like the idea of minions and the like, but I tend to look at RPGs as a way to tell stories. Same with extras in Savage Worlds. I can throw a huge number of enemies at the heroes without making it unwinnable. I don't really think of it in terms of HP. Minions or extras are just guys who can't take more than one good hit. Other enemies can take a few hits before going down. It's not that the level 12 fighter can't hit the level 30 monster, it's that he can't deal any significant damage (note that in 4e, I'd probably rebuild the minion as a lower level standard monster instead). "Boss encounters" (and D&D's pretty much always had boss encounters, no matter what they were called) are ones that can take a lot of hits before going down. HP's just a mechanical way of expressing it.

 

If that's not the way you like to look at things, if you don't want storytelling to guide mechanics (a perfectly legitimate playstyle), then 4e's probably not the game for you.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprised no one has mentioned Savage Worlds yet.

 

Haven't yet played it, but I know there are more than a few fans here, and I've been reading through the rules for it lately in preparation for a new campaign. Looks good.

 

I'm not a big fan of Class/Level systems, so that's my big complaint with all D&D editions. 3.5e/PF is my favorite flavor of those, but I do think that 4th edition was the best in terms of being designed for streamlined play and consistent, easy to follow rules. But the difference between 4th and other editions is like going to a Chinese food restaurant and just ordering white rice vs having the rice as a side dish. It's good, but other editions have more interesting flavors about them.

 

EDIT: And of course, because it took me 30 minutes to type my input while trying to put the kids to bed, the post right before me mentions Savage Worlds

Edited by kristof65

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matter of opinion.

I didn't care for 4th Edition. On the face of it, sure, it streamlined DM work and preparation, but it also introduced enough different new concepts that it very much altered the "feel" of the game. I also didn't much like the emphasis on "cards" and "tokens." And don't even get me started on buffs and debuffs and DOTs and suchlike. At one point, we used colored rubber bands to toss over the figure to indicate buffs, debuffs, and DOTs on that figure. I noted that within the first couple rounds, you could barely SEE the main antagonist in any given fight; instead of only wizards and clerics being able to debuff, now EVERYONE has something to throw in there, often defying any logical explanation (how, precisely, does a Rogue "cast a spell" that causes an enemy to slide four squares to the right?)

It didn't "feel" right. It was certainly a well thought out, well tested game, but it wasn't D&D. That, and the whole "spellplague" fluff thing, and the time jump of a century between 3.5 ed. Forgotten Realms and 4th ed. Forgotten Realms... frankly, it just didn't work for me.

3.5 edition wasn't as rough a bump. It was more similar to its predecessor, and while there were changes, it still held most of the game's structure and conventions. It still felt like D&D, and it didn't make any major changes in the existing game worlds... it converted easily. It was still D&D.

2nd edition was even less of a change. All it really did was change some spell effects, file off some of the less wieldy weapons rules, improve the art, and add "proficiencies." All improvements, to my way of thinking.

The upshot was that the worst complaining I ever heard before Fourth Edition was that a few people didn't care for some rules changes, or that Joe thought that Greyhawk was the way to go and that Spelljammer was lame, but Ted thought Spelljammer was awesome, but Forgotten Realms was old school, or suchlike. Only after Fourth Edition came out did we have full blown Edition Wars... to the point where Wizards actually brought back the old books (after yanking them from print and legal PDF format).

One can complain, all the way up to the point where one remembers that they never actually came out and collected all your old books. They're still there. Not a reason in the world you can't still play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, or Basic D&D, or 3.5, or whatever you like.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One can complain, all the way up to the point where one remembers that they never actually came out and collected all your old books. They're still there. Not a reason in the world you can't still play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, or Basic D&D, or 3.5, or whatever you like.

 

Thanks to PDFs, for a lot of games, this little problem has been cured, but...

 

...the big problem with playing older editions of a game is recruiting new players who don't have the books. For some reason, a lot of roleplayers like to own their own copies of at least a couple of the books. This is probably good for game companies, it isn't so great for GMs who want to play out of print games.

 

I ran into problems with this with my fantasy campaign world which was written for WFRP 1st edition. When I moved in 1999, I couldn't find any players because no one could get the books. By 2002, I finally gave up and converted it to 3.5 (which was a big mistake) and finally got a group going. When WFRP 2e came out, I converted it back to that. I made sure to buy all the WFRP 2e PDFs though when WFRP 3e came out.

 

My campaign will now forever remain WFRP 2e*, and I will provide new players with the materials they need from my PDF copies.

 

--------------------------------------

 

*unless, of course, I breakdown and convert it to Savage Worlds...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK so, if you like earlier editions but find them opaque, poorly organized, and out of print, why not have a go at Swords and Wizardry Complete?

 

If you want a system with rules / skills for all sorts of things, and the game kicks right into gear from low level, an epic power is bordering on impossible to obtain, try Burning Wheel or Torchbearer, both of which are absolutely outstanding. They have elements in common with Shadowrun in that you're using a pool of D6. Burning Wheel supports strongly medieval play. Torchbearer enforces fear of the dark.

 

If you're going to GM, most people will go along with you re: system, in my limited experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the flavor of Pathfinder, not necessarily because of the ruleset, but mostly because of the way they present them. I admit a certain bias towards WoTC, because I don't like a lot of the things they did around the time I left AD&D. I'm fairly familiar with 2e, and can find the things I'm not familiar with fairly quickly. I've always been a big fan of taking what you like, making it work for you, and losing the rest. If you want to back convert to 2e, I say go for it. If you want to back convert to 1e, or Swords and Wizardry, or Basic Fantasy I see no problems with that. House rules are what make things interesting in my book. Having said that, my familiarity is with 2e and a very, very small amount of 3e. After 3e released I got out of it for 10 years, and have just recently starting sticking my toes back into the water. I like a lot of the simplicity of the 1e and clones, though some of the earlier rules make no real sense to me (like one of them allows multi classed elven fighters but no single class elven fighters...wha?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with ST, Maybe try your hand at 5th ed shadowrun or 4th ed or 3rd ed (still my favorite) or maybe numernera, I got a copy from the kickstarter but haven't had a chance to run it yet.

 

I have only had a quick read through Numenera, but it looks like a very good game for both GMs and players.

 

Ishil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...