Toasty Posted September 10, 2016 Share Posted September 10, 2016 I'd say the best version of D&D is Fantasycraft followed by Dreamscarred Press's Pathfinder books. Then there is a tie between Pathfinder and 4th edition. Then comes BECMI/rules cyclopedia/OSRIC and all the others are equally meh to me. Here are the basic reasons. Fantasycraft feels like the proper final evolution of 3.0 D&D. All of the rules are well considered and character progression is focused on player choice in a very real and rewarding mechanical sense. It is a bit more complex than 3.5 but succeeds at making this complexity far more about the players being able to do new cool things with their choices than just adding +1 or +2 to some situational roll like a lot of the 3.5 choices boiled down to. Everything that is on your character sheet is generally going to be a new capability rather than just a new number. So a fighter's level up gives them just as many new options as a wizard's new level of spells. Dreamscarred Press has taken all of the fun inventive new subsystems that were made for 3.5 in the year or so before it ended and expanded upon them enough to all but replace the default rules. I have played numerous games that simply banned all classes in the core Pathfinder book except bard and barbarian and replace them with the classes from Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, and the related Pact Magic books. This sort of game results in a far better flow of play. Everyone in the party has roughly equal turn length and roughly equal ability to respond to any given situation outside of specialties. So yes if you need to go on an espionage mission the psion's mind reading is probably more useful than the stalker's sword strikes but the stalker can still contribute with his stealth and teleportation manuevers. 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). 4th edition meanwhile basically just gave up on balancing 3.5 entirely. Instead they just made a really good skirmish game for emulating final fantasy tactics. I love final fantasy tactics and thus love 4th edition. However it still feels cowardly to simply surrender to fixing what you broke. BECMI/rules cyclopedia/OSRIC are the big cahoonas. The first editions that came out after things started getting published as real books instead of pamphlets. They are always what has defined classic D&D for me. The rules may not all be good but you can always see why they were made in the first place. Everything is sort of cobbled together but it has a real charm to it because as the dungeon master the book seems to be written by someone who is actually running a game adjacent to you and has written everything with your usability in mind. 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.