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LadyOfLore
2015-12-29, 05:40 PM
I have not played D&D but I wanted to try and I was wondering which edition would be easier to learn and or pick up on.
Before I buy a few of the books i was wanted some other thoughts on it

jinjitsu
2015-12-29, 07:02 PM
I've played 2nd Edition AD&D, 3.5, Pathfinder, and 5th Edition; I've only ever read the books for 4th Edition, so unfortunately I don't have any expertise there. Of these, I've definitely had the least trouble with 5th Edition - the rules and mechanics have been simplified a lot from previous editions, and the "theater of the mind" approach means that while you can still use grids, miniatures, etc., you don't NEED them the way you did in 4th Edition.

There are only two major downsides to 5th Edition. Firstly, it can be fairly presumptive about what you know about RPGs and D&D in particular, so it's a good idea to either play with someone who knows it and can help you with questions or be prepared to ask around. Secondly, while the information is all there, the logical flow often leaves something to be desired.

Overall, I've found 5th Edition to be not only the easiest to run but the easiest by far for introducing new players to both D&D and tabletop RPGs in general.

Vitruviansquid
2015-12-29, 07:13 PM
It is far easier to get someone to show you how to play, and then read any of the books to find out the specifics, than to try to learn any edition by picking up the books.

Far cheaper, too.

LadyOfLore
2015-12-29, 07:24 PM
:/ the only problem is any playing i do will have to be online, there are not any groups/friends that play near where i live.
suppose I just need to find a someone willing to play/teach me now. thank ya'll for your advise :3

oxybe
2015-12-29, 08:27 PM
I have not played D&D but I wanted to try and I was wondering which edition would be easier to learn and or pick up on.
Before I buy a few of the books i was wanted some other thoughts on it

what kind of game are you planning on running?

if you want a game that focuses on action and scene-by-scene pacing, where your characters start sufficiently competent and durable and only go up from there as 4th edition might be up your alley.

if you want a gritty game where people can die at a moment's notice and focuses more on a zero to competent type of character, AD&D 1st and 2nd likely will work better for you. (1st being a bit simpler then 2nd in that it has less rules by volume, but still has it's fair share of wonky bits)

if you want something somewhere in the middle, 5th ed or 3rd ed might be more your thing, with 5th ed being a more restrictive and simpler system while 3rd has more options but can be incredibly complex and fiddly.

veti
2015-12-29, 08:33 PM
Well, the obvious answer would be "whichever edition the people you can find to play with are using".

But there are various things you should know about all of them, because you should be warned of what you're getting into:

1st edition AD&D: this is very rare nowadays (almost completely displaced by 2nd ed). It has the most arbitrary and widely ignored rules of any edition. Requires an exceptional DM to make a good game, and there are not many of them around, so probably a bad bet.
2nd edition AD&D: addresses some of the weaknesses of 1st edition, but not the most important one (of requiring an above-average DM to interpret the rules). Also suffers from rules bloat, which means that once you've read the Player's Handbook... you've only just got started.
3rd edition and 3.5 D&D: this juggernaut of a system developed "rules bloat" from a quirky art into a highly specialist science. A terrifying and terrible choice for a beginner today.
4th and 5th edition: I haven't played these myself, but I hear good things about both of them. 4th ed is supposed to be "forgiving" and well balanced, so may be a solid choice for a new player. 5th edition is the newest, and therefore likely to give you the best chance to achieve an equal footing with other players. Also, you can get the "basic" rules for free, here (https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules).

LadyOfLore
2015-12-29, 09:06 PM
The kinda game Im not picky with setting c: because I'm sure the differences make things more interesting
that said I still need to try to differences to know if I don't like them.
I'm more layed back and have more fun just laughing with everyone but I can be serious.
I think I'll try for the 4/5th e If it is easier to learn just because.
Thank you for the link, i'll be sure to read up.

Vitruviansquid
2015-12-29, 09:13 PM
4th ed is supposed to be "forgiving" and well balanced, so may be a solid choice for a new player.


4th is really like an extremely complicated skirmish board game. Sure it's balanced, but I wouldn't say "forgiving" or really even that easy to learn, unless you were already familiar with skirmish board games (or computer/video games that imitate them)

Zman
2015-12-29, 09:19 PM
For a new player, choosing anything but 5th is just plain silly. It's the easiest to learn, most streamlined, and just works.

Madbox
2015-12-29, 09:21 PM
:/ the only problem is any playing i do will have to be online, there are not any groups/friends that play near where i live.
suppose I just need to find a someone willing to play/teach me now. thank ya'll for your advise :3
I'd recommend checking local card shops or comic book stores to see about trying Encounters. It's 5th edition, and theoretically has some regulation from Wizards of the Coast. It tends to be full of newcomers, so you should fit in fine, and the DM will probably know how to handle newbies. If you find a place that hosts Encounters, I'd recommend showing up 30 minutes to an hour early, and see if someone can help you make a character. Don't worry about books, you can get the basic rules for free online, and someone in the shop will probably have a player's handbook you could borrow for a few minutes.

LadyOfLore
2015-12-29, 09:21 PM
What kind of video games would they be like? I have played many video games, Maybe one I can compare to.

MrStabby
2015-12-29, 09:34 PM
I have played 2nd, 3.5 and 5th and I have to say 5th is by far the best from an RPG perspective.

It has different complexity for different classes, so can appeal to a wide variety of different players, it is pretty well balanced so no one feels left out, you can build a very competent character by following the simple guides in the book and don't need system mastery to have a functioning character. Most importantly it has avoided the labyrinthine rules screeds of less elegant editions. It is simple to pick up and it lets you focus on your character whilst still making a lot of meaningful mechanical choices.

Esprit15
2015-12-29, 09:41 PM
Having played 3.5 and a little 5 edition, I can say that 5th is easier to pick up, though feels simplified. For me, that's because I'm a fan of intricacy and complexity. 5th tends to assume you'll stick with one class and just plug away at that, the biggest choice being what archetype to pick unless you mess with feats. 3.5 meanwhile has a lot more in the way of customization that can make an entire party of fighters (or rogues, bards, etc.) play very differently from one another.

oxybe
2015-12-29, 09:52 PM
1st and 2nd would be like the older Final Fantasy games: very basic in what options you have at your disposal and pretty much rely entirely on your GM's ability to wing it if you try to do anything fancy.

3rd ed would be kinda like one of the more recent bethedsa games. a bit more open-ended in how you can level up your character but it's still rather structured and open to a lot of nasty exploits if you understand how to make characters.

4th ed would be closer to Final Fantasy tactics: combat gameplay is more complex due to the nature of the beast: more abilities rely on movement and reactionary conditions then previous games and teamwork is heavily implied through various class features.

5th ed would be a bethedsa game seen through they eyes of the older final fantasy: the more structured levelling of the bethedsa game with a more simpler gameplay of the older final fantasy.

LadyOfLore
2015-12-29, 09:57 PM
I'd recommend checking local card shops or comic book stores to see about trying Encounters.

I was not joking when I say there is not groups here
the last time we had a comic book shop was 5 years ago in 3 towns over, I live in a rural area.
But I will look for a shop of that nature next time I am in town.
I am going to piece together what I can for now on 5e but when I find a group I will ask one them for opinions and suggestion.

I have play some of the older FF and Elder scroll.
Thanks again Everyone

Madbox
2015-12-29, 10:03 PM
I've only played 5th, but I would say that to a certain extent it feels like Wasteland 2, in that you are NOT going to get a lone character that's good at everything. Being the head of the thieve's, adventurer's, and mage's guild all at once like in Bethesda rpgs is not a possibility. You need at least 2, probably 3 people if you want that sort of skill spread. You can have some skill spread though, and everyone can contribute something in combat. Another good comparison might be MMOs, and older Final Fantasy games. You have a role in a group, but some skill overlap is acceptable, if not preferred.

themaque
2015-12-30, 10:20 AM
I am an advent supporter of 5th edition myself.

Now Pathfinder is a close second, it has some awesome power but has a lot of fiddly bits, lots of rules, and a ton of books to buy.

5e is simple, fun, low price point for entry, and is written with new players in mind.

EDIT: It should be noted that Lots of Rules, Fiddly Bits, & Tons of books is also one of the reasons I Love pathfinder. But I still suggest 5e for your first time.

Âmesang
2015-12-30, 11:41 AM
Admittedly I'm a big fan of 3rd Edition… primarily 'cause it's what I started with and am the most used to; probably why I haven't tried 5th that much 'cause it seemed too simple for me. :smalltongue: I also find that the more options that are presented to me the more likely I am to find something interesting that I may not have thought of on my own.

On the other hand I enjoyed 4th and would love to try 2nd or even 1st some day (just stay out of Dungeonland).

Milodiah
2015-12-30, 01:22 PM
I have played 2nd, 3.5th, and 5th, and have some understanding of the 'concept' of 4th.

In my opinion, 3.5 is the best form of D&D currently, but we'll get into that shortly.




PROS:
Very restrained in power level, you usually won't encounter a 7th level wizard who can utterly annihilate a group of similarly leveled adventurers. It also seeks to stay more in line with simulating a medium-fantasy medieval mid Renaissance setting, so you will find plenty of details concerning nobility, heraldry, culture, etc. It also features the beginning of gunpowder weaponry, and I'd estimate it to fall perhaps somewhat before the era of pike & shot in military history.

A somewhat different, but still enjoyable skill system which allows for somewhat broader characterization (in my opinion) than 3.5 and especially 5th. I could make a Fighter who knew about brewing, mountaineering, navigation, etc. without being handicapped by the ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS very low skill-point numbers afforded to me by the d20 system.

Encouragement to actually have a posse of NPC followers, which was what Gygax intended at the beginning; he somewhat recognized the silliness of four dudes wandering off into the wilderness, and intended that an actual 'party' be about ten to sixteen in total, with the PCs being its leaders.

Magic items actually feel like a rare and valuable find, rather than an expected and trivial part of adventuring. I specifically remember the first magic item we encountered, a sword of haste which only I could safely use (as per 2e Haste rules, it would take two years off the lifespan of the humans in the party, but that's less an issue for a grey elf).

I'm a gear nerd, and this game provides for that. I flipped out in the equip-your-character section, because I was playing a noble-twit wizard heading an academic expedition into the wild. First time I've ever built a D&D character who couldn't carry his starting equipment and had to get pack animals.

CONS

The system is a bit technically clunky, being an earlier iteration. Never attempt un-houseruled unarmed combat, or you'll just hurt your brain. THAC0 seems difficult at first, but you'll get used to it.

It lacks the incredible range of options for 3.5e, which is one of the things that draws me to it.

Dig + razorgrass. Blessing or a curse. Your call.

Obviously less supported on forus and stuff (especially this one), and sometimes you'd like to get second opinions on some of the stuff here.



PROS
TONS of customization options. If you slap together some fantasy sounding class name, you can probably actually find it in the books. Wanna start off as a marshal, take a few levels of scout for the skirmish stuff and bonus feats, switch to fighter to pick up a few more and a +1 BAB, then bounce to occult slayer prestige class to round out the magekiller build you're going for before going back to fighter to finish it out? That's a pretty normal character arc.

Huge spell list, magic items lists, lots of stuff in general has already been made for you. As the DM you can easily pick stuff out that the players have never seen used, regardless of their level of experience with the game.

The wide assortment of options means there's usually multiple ways of solving issues in front of you. Divination spells, stealth surveillance, pseudo-mind-control ultradiplomacy, detective intelligence gathering, frontal assaults, even more frontal assaults, multiplanar assaults...you name it.

A lot of campaign settings and other useful things have been published for this. You often won't need to houserule stuff such as the effects of heatstroke in the desert or whatever, because it's all published somewhere or other (in this case Sandstorm).

Finally, the complexity level of this game can be scaled however you like it. If you want a simple game, you can easily just have a sword-and-board fighter, generalist wizard without metamagics, healer cleric with some melee ability, bow-and-arrow ranger, etc. etc. But if you want to up it, you can almost ad infinitum. Take the same build idea, but this time look around and pick out things that augment it. Take a magic item with a useful effect, or a metamagic, or a special feat, and watch as the game evolves to be more complex.

CONS
Rather infamous for its balance issues; you'll see about a thread a week about someone wanting to nerf casters or something, but in my opinion it really can't be done without ruining what 3.5 is. Some builds are objectively better than others, and if some players don't pay as much attention to theirs as others, they will be outdone in raw mechanical output.

The sheer mass of information at your disposal can mean lots of sifting through stuff, and lots of difficult rules lawyering covering the interaction between X and Y while affected by a Z. Does this prestige class's bonus to sneak attack cross over to skirmish or sudden strike? Does this anti-magic thing also work against psionics? Does this creature qualify for extra damage from the enchantment on this sword? You'll find a lot of this stuff, and that's why our Simple RAW questions thread is so damn big.

There are a lot of little things that add up in 3.5's internal logic to somewhat break (my) suspension of disbelief when they're all taken together and carefully considered. If one allows them to progress naturally in a setting, you can end up with the Tippyverse or something similar to it. I for one consider it somewhat interesting, trying to tailor my settings to reflect these questions the actual writers rarely cover, like 'why aren't most metal goods the product of Wall of Iron + Fabricate", or "why doesn't every major city have a circle-magic teleportation/mail system". The one thing I hate most for a setting to have is what I call the 'blatant innovation factor'...incredibly obvious solutions suggested by players should bloody well already be in the game. If we, as average dudes sitting around a table, are able to figure out how to provide this desert village with a near-limitless supply of water using only a few spell slots in a matter of minutes, why did no one else already think of it?



-This is the one I haven't actually played, so here are my thoughts on it based on discussions with my other players who have...

It seems to be more along the lines of a small unit tactics game than an RPG. Quite a lot of work has been put into a combat system designed around somewhat video-gamey abilities that, yes, allows for interesting and fun ways of doing battle, but doesn't really feel like D&D. It's also prone to being janked nearly as badly as 3.5e, as evidenced by our (now booted) resident munchkin. Guy was able to deal 'finite but arbitrarily large' amounts of damage in at least half a dozen ways by exploiting various abilities that concerned giving other party members extra attacks, or abilities that affected dice rolling, or exploiting barbarian rage rules, etc. He's also been able to heal his entire party faster than any aggressors can deal damage, and lots of other stuff.

It seemed like this level of detail was not applied to the out-of-combat stuff, though, so one felt almost obligated by the game system to seek out combat. Thus, more of a small unit tactics game than an RPG. Overall, I feel like any review of it should be caveated/prefixed with 'It probably shouldn't be considered D&D'. I don't mean to say that in a negative light, I don't mean "It's so bad it doesn't even deserve the name". Instead I mean that if one considers it on its own merits rather than as a D&D system, a lot of the negative reviews people give of it wouldn't be as negative.





Way too goddamn simplified for my taste. This is all I will say about it, as this is all I feel qualified to say about it. I became fed up with it and went back to 3.5 after a single (bad) session. Sure, it seems nice for teaching newbies how to play, but that can easily be accomplished with the simpler setups of 3.5, and it allows them to have more fun as the grow and learn, whereas 5th edition is capped at almost condescending simplicity. That, combined with a bunch of other stupid things (by the original rules, the Tarrasque can't kick down a locked wooden door, for example), make me wish it hadn't happened.

Overall, it feels like 3rd Edition Basic D&D, while 3.5e is the Advanced D&D. Except this time it doesn't come with the disclaimer 'this is the basic version, you may want to switch over once you have a solid grasp of this one'. Instead it purports to be better, which is utter bull****.

Firest Kathon
2015-12-30, 01:31 PM
While I fully agree with the previous posters that Pathfinder is not the easiest game to learn, I would still ike to point you to the Pathfinder Society organized play site here (http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety/events). If you do not find any games there for your area, you can try to contact the local coordinator (called Venture Captain) whom you find here (http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety/about/regionalCoordinators) and who might know non-listed games you can join. I just find it a lot easier to learn a new system "live" with actual people instead of online and from books, and you get in contact with roleplayers who might know home games in your area. Also, free rules are available online (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/).

themaque
2015-12-30, 03:31 PM
I have played 2nd, 3.5th, and 5th, and have some understanding of the 'concept' of 4th.

In my opinion, 3.5 is the best form of D&D currently, but we'll get into that shortly.



IMHO Pathfinder takes 3.5 and does it better in every way.

However, I still feel I have more freedom, better story progression, and more engaging world building than the mechanical slog that is 3.Pathfinder.

Now I love the rules and number crunching, but 5e feels more like a more... pure experience and more in keeping with what it felt like when I first got started in 2nd.

Recherché
2015-12-30, 03:41 PM
Now Pathfinder is a close second, it has some awesome power but has a lot of fiddly bits, lots of rules, and a ton of books to buy.


I would like to take exception to the comment that Pathfinder has tons of books to buy; almost the entirety of Pathfinder is legally available for free online on this finely crafted wiki (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/) or this slightly less well organized but even more official source (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/).

themaque
2015-12-30, 04:21 PM
I would like to take exception to the comment that Pathfinder has tons of books to buy; almost the entirety of Pathfinder is legally available for free online on this finely crafted wiki (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/) or this slightly less well organized but even more official source (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/).

Fair enough. If your old school like me, who much prefers hardcopy, It's easy to forget such resources exist.

They even have a great free APP available for phones that is easy to look through as well. Masterwork Tools.

Talakeal
2015-12-30, 04:30 PM
2nd edition AD&D ... suffers from rules bloat, which means that once you've read the Player's Handbook... you've only just got started.

Could you please elaborate on this? I ran PHB only games just fine in 2E, I am not really seeing where you are coming from here.

While there were more supplements than 1E, there were a heck of a lot less than 3E or 4E, and I don't recall a whole lot of the supplements actually very rules heavy.

Mark Hall
2015-12-30, 04:51 PM
It's Complicated.

First of all, assuming you mean "D&D and only D&D", then Pathfinder is out (as are a great number of other games). I would say that you can still have access to the free retro-clones, however... OSRIC (which is the 1st edition AD&D retroclone), For Gold and Glory (2nd edition), and Labyrinth Lord (which is aimed at the Moldvay/Cook edition of Dungeons and Dragons) are three examples. They're legally free on line.

Much of the core of 3.5 D&D is available on-line under the System Reference Document (I usually use the version at d20srd.org). 4th and 5th editions, to my knowledge, don't have these resources available, though I believe 5th edition has some basic rules.

That said, every edition is a bit different. Personally, of the editions, I prefer 2nd edition, as it has clear mechanics compared to first edition, without the bloat of later editions. 2nd edition is far more modular, IMO, than later editions, with the ability to drop some rules relatively smoothly without impacting the game overly much. Mechanically, your character is pretty much created at 1st level, and it's a lot harder to get into the "traps" of later editions (selections of skills, feats, or abilities that seem cool, but are mechanically poor, sometimes to the point where you cripple your character).

CharonsHelper
2015-12-30, 04:55 PM
I'd suggest either Pathfinder or 5e. 5e is a bit easier to get into - but Pathfinder has more customization - and their APs are consistently somewhere between good to amazing, so it'll probably be a bit easier to find a solid online game. As long as they're running a Pathfinder AP - you know that at least the core of the game will be solid.

wumpus
2015-12-30, 05:24 PM
Seriously? First thing is to go here:http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules?x=dnd/basicrules
and download the "basic" rules to 5th edition. Its free, and covers the basics. As far as other things go:

1e. Yes, it is all true (I played it). If you get a chance to read the "Dungeons Master's Guide" by Gary Gygax, I highly recommend it, if only to get the ideas and guides from the inventor* of D&D himself. As far as a games, it appears that TSR (the company that made the books) took all available material for D&D (from both the original books, lots of magazine articles, and anything Gary Gygax was writing for the book) and simply sorted it into the most "cool" couple hundred pages and then crammed things were they fit (Gary Gygax was CEO and writer, his editor reported to him. Not the best way to get a well laid out set of instructions). You also get some pretty weird rules, some of which contradict each other.

2e. Basically 1e with more options. Hopefully the rules are saner, but I suspect that a 2e DM is unlikely to ever consider RAW (rules as written) or RAI (rules as intended) as being remotely important in his game (ok, her is quite likely as well. It just didn't seem to happen when AD&D roamed the Earth).

3.x I can't see how rules bloat should ever been seen as an issue. The OP isn't going to go out and buy every single book for any edition (well, presumably 5th is quite possible). Balance will obviously be an issue, but without all the splat books it should be less of an issue than with.
- edit: Note that replacing 3.x with Pathfinder makes all kinds of sense. Just don't expect it to fix the flaws in 3.x, Pazio gave up and decided to make the best possible 3.x, warts and all. Also recommended, but I don't think the downloadable rules explain things quite the way the 5e basic download does.

4th Again, the game nobody seems to have played (the one guy I know who tried it seem to like it, but that was before 5th was available).

5th. Download the basic rules and see for yourself. I really don't think any other ruleset is an option unless you get a good deal on a complete set of books or find someone greatly familiar with one set of rules (which isn't always a good thing if one is a 3.x optimizer playing with newbies).

A quick check of amazon looked like used 3rd and 4th editions weren't any cheaper than 5th edition. I haven't seen any in used bookstores either, my guess is that they just sell them on amazon like anyone else.

neonchameleon
2015-12-30, 06:12 PM
I have not played D&D but I wanted to try and I was wondering which edition would be easier to learn and or pick up on.
Before I buy a few of the books i was wanted some other thoughts on it

What do you want? There are basically three families of D&D

1: oD&D/BECMI/1E/Rules Cyclopaedia. D&D was designed as a hardcore logistical game - with Nethack being a cousin. In this family of games you play the leaders of a platoon of expert treasure hunters (at low level hirelings seriously outnumber PCs) and the goal is to explore the dungeon and rob the monsters blind. It's a hacked tabletop wargame with 1GP = 1XP (and wandering monsters not carrying treasure so you want to avoid them). If this sounds awesome you probably want the Rules Cyclopaedia with some modules such as Keep on the Borderlands and Caverns of Thracia.

2: 4e. In family 1 the correct response to a dragon is to either rob its lair while it is out or shoot it while it's asleep. 4e is an awesome action movie style game with interesting tactics and where you absolutely take the dragon on head on (and if you pick the right character you can suplex it). Physics is Holywood style - of the sort where shotguns knock their targets back and ridiculous things are flesh wounds.

3: 2e/3.5/Pathfinder/5e. Compromise choices that are good enough for most purposes (you can run a decent dungeon crawl/monster mash and a decent action movie in any of them although they are outstanding at neither). 2e is trying to do this off 1E rules. Which means you basically have two camps - 3.5 and Pathfinder for massive detail and a lot of unbalance and 5e for simpler, smoother, and a lot fewer options. I'd recommend 5e from this camp - if this camp is what you want.

veti
2015-12-30, 08:37 PM
Could you please elaborate on this? I ran PHB only games just fine in 2E, I am not really seeing where you are coming from here.

Oh yes, you absolutely can run a game with PHB-only material, and it'll be a perfectly fine game. (I'd suggest that's probably the best way to run it.) But in my (admittedly limited) experience - there'll always be someone in the group who wants to introduce this or that "cool" supplement, and then you suddenly find new rules ballooning around you, even if you, personally, wanted nothing to do with them and didn't even suspect they existed until they happened.

And yes, 2e is not nearly as bad as 3.x in this regard. But still bad enough to be seriously annoying.

KorvinStarmast
2015-12-30, 08:53 PM
:/ the only problem is any playing i do will have to be online, there are not any groups/friends that play near where i live.
suppose I just need to find a someone willing to play/teach me now. thank ya'll for your advise :3 I'd recommend starting in the flesh, not on line, if you can.

I've played all editions but 4th.

Simplest way to start is IMO 5th, as the basic rules are free to download, and they did clean up a lot of the loose ends from various other editions.

Doomchicken
2015-12-31, 07:36 AM
I'd recommend starting in the flesh, not on line, if you can.

For OP, that might not be an option. It's very difficult finding a local D&D group, especially for people who don't live in big cities.

wumpus
2015-12-31, 11:37 AM
What do you want? There are basically three families of D&D

1: oD&D/BECMI/1E/Rules Cyclopaedia. ..
3: 2e/3.5/Pathfinder/5e. ....

The funny thing about this is that 2e is basically 1e plus a few more options (much of which were in Unearthed Arcana, an otherwise disaster of a book). The oldschool feel that Gygax put into the game isn't really in the rules, but in all the suggestions and explanations. If you want option 1, there should be plenty of "oldschool revival" clones available online. These are not only free, they are almost certainly going to be easier to read than anything written by Gary Gygax (we may love and miss him, but boy he had issues with writing).

I'd certainly recommend 5e or pathfinder for the "third option" experience. The 'clunkiness' of AD&D (the name for 1e and 2e) is going to get in your way, and it really doesn't have the options of later games.

Mark Hall
2015-12-31, 12:15 PM
I'd certainly recommend 5e or pathfinder for the "third option" experience. The 'clunkiness' of AD&D (the name for 1e and 2e) is going to get in your way, and it really doesn't have the options of later games.

In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

CharonsHelper
2015-12-31, 12:20 PM
In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

Clunkiness - thy name is THATCO.

Mark Hall
2015-12-31, 12:31 PM
Clunkiness - thy name is THATCO.

ThAC0-(d20+modifiers)=AC Hit. Since most modifiers are relatively static, you can even apply them directly to ThAC0.

CharonsHelper
2015-12-31, 12:48 PM
ThAC0-(d20+modifiers)=AC Hit. Since most modifiers are relatively static, you can even apply them directly to ThAC0.

I didn't say that it was horribly complicated. I said that it was clunky. Different connotations. (Mostly because it's not intuitive.)

neonchameleon
2015-12-31, 01:00 PM
The funny thing about this is that 2e is basically 1e plus a few more options (much of which were in Unearthed Arcana, an otherwise disaster of a book).

Not so. The 2E PHB is approximately the same as the 1E PHB and either Monster Manual works for the other. But the 2E DMG is an extremely different beast from the 1E DMG. The default 2E XP system is very different from the default 1E 1GP = 1XP system, and the default encounter-based adventure given in the 2E DMG is very different from the 1E Dungeon Crawl.

2E is about as like 1E as knockout whist is like Bridge. Yes, both are played trying to win tricks that work the same way. But the objectives and methods are fairly different.


In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

THAC0, exceptional strength, NWPs, etc.

hamlet
2015-12-31, 01:45 PM
ThAC0-(d20+modifiers)=AC Hit. Since most modifiers are relatively static, you can even apply them directly to ThAC0.

Or, you know, an even better one is the player rolling to hit and adding modifiers and the DM adds the AC of target creature and compares to THACO as a target number. Works wonders. Takes seconds and certainly no more time than the player adding up numbers himself.


I didn't say that it was horribly complicated. I said that it was clunky. Different connotations. (Mostly because it's not intuitive.)

I've never grasped what people mean by "intuitive." About 99% of the rules for AD&D are extremely intuitive for me. I understand them, how they work, how they were intended to work, and why the work. And I didn't need an advanced degree to get there.

Meanwhile, I look at 3.x and all I can wonder is how the designers didn't think it would go off the rails rather quickly. Simple in thought, wildly complex in execution and, to me, tremendously counter-intuitive not least because they abandoned the implied "bounded accuracy" of AD&D for "big numbers are always better!" and "more is more" attitude.

AD&D is no more clunky than 3.x. It works great at what it does, which is not the same thing that 3.x does.

Kish
2015-12-31, 01:48 PM
If your primary or sole consideration is "easiest to learn or pick up on," probably 5ed.

I say this as someone who has never played 5ed and has no particular desire to do so.

themaque
2015-12-31, 01:57 PM
In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

Says the man who has been playing for 25 years. It's at the very least non-intuitive as Sometimes you want to roll high, sometimes you want to roll low, sometimes you roll high but subtract this number from chart 4.

compared to Roll High.

It's not impossible but it IS unwieldy compared to latter editions from a base game newbie perspective.

I really don't see any reason for someone to play 2nd ed D&D when 5th is a better evolution of the game. Or at the very least Castles & Crusades which is just 2nd ed but better.

JAL_1138
2015-12-31, 02:15 PM
Even though 2e is my favorite edition, and favorite tabletop game in general, I have to admit it's an unintuitive, poorly-organized mess that's very difficult to pick up without someone experienced to show you how it works, especially if DMing. It doesn't really give any guidelines for how to balance encounters, for one thing. It's very fast, simple, and fun once you get the hang of it, but the learning curve is very steep.

EDIT: Take THAC0 itself, for instance. Any experienced player can tell you that it's THAC0-(roll+bonus)=AC hit, but that's not how the book explains it. The book tells you to solve for what you need to roll using the enemy's AC; THAC0-bonuses-AC=(roll needed), which is much less straightforward. It works out the same mathematically, but you're solving for something else.


For a new player, I'd suggest 5e, which is a heck of a lot easier to learn (and is still really good; it's easily my second-favorite, personally).

Mark Hall
2015-12-31, 02:15 PM
Says the man who has been playing for 25 years. It's at the very least non-intuitive as Sometimes you want to roll high, sometimes you want to roll low, sometimes you roll high but subtract this number from chart 4.

compared to Roll High.

By which you mean "Roll high, but consider that you have modifiers from X, Y, and Z... no, not Z, because it's not Tuesday. Ok, Q. No, those numbers don't add together because their modifier has the same adjective, but these two numbers DO add together because we slightly changed the order of adjectives. You're a Fighter? That tells me slightly more than nothing about your character's capabilities, but only slightly."



I really don't see any reason for someone to play 2nd ed D&D when 5th is a better evolution of the game. Or at the very least Castles & Crusades which is just 2nd ed but better.

Because I can roll up characters without a book in 15 minutes? With a book in 10?

wumpus
2015-12-31, 02:17 PM
Not so. The 2E PHB is approximately the same as the 1E PHB and either Monster Manual works for the other. But the 2E DMG is an extremely different beast from the 1E DMG. The default 2E XP system is very different from the default 1E 1GP = 1XP system, and the default encounter-based adventure given in the 2E DMG is very different from the 1E Dungeon Crawl.

2E is about as like 1E as knockout whist is like Bridge. Yes, both are played trying to win tricks that work the same way. But the objectives and methods are fairly different.

THAC0, exceptional strength, NWPs, etc.

fascinating. My experience with 2e was the Baldur's Gate series (1e was live D&D). You could practically play 1e (with plenty of nifty kit options) by using the Baldur's gate (2.0) manual as your Players Handbook. Since I didn't see the other side [DM's] screen, I assumed it was the same. I'll have to find out what 2e really was.

PS. 1e's 1gp=1xp doesn't work at all at levels<3 or so if the DM is feeling particularly cranky. Look up the "training for level up" rules sometime for "even more reasons you shouldn't try to get an AD&D DM to play by RAW (assuming the concept begins to make sense)."

themaque
2015-12-31, 02:29 PM
Because I can roll up characters without a book in 15 minutes? With a book in 10?

I could play Risk without problem and teach it to new players but doesn't mean it's a good idea since there are better games out there. :smallamused:

But If you really ENJOY the game more power to you

Mark Hall
2015-12-31, 02:37 PM
I could play Risk without problem and teach it to new players but doesn't mean it's a good idea since there are better games out there. :smallamused:

But If you really ENJOY the game more power to you



A lazy man sits in his old chair all day enjoying the sunshine, while an industrious man labors to earn the money to buy a fine new chair he may sit in someday. I ask you, who is the fool?

--Hairfoot Philosophy

I'm just sayin'.

hamlet
2015-12-31, 03:18 PM
I'm just sayin'.

So, moral of the story, get out your copy of the little brown books and go to town?:smallamused:

Talakeal
2015-12-31, 03:46 PM
In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

Clunky probably isn't the right word, maybe it would be better to say it isn't streamlined?

I personally feel that AD&D2 is the best version, but the rules are kind of a mess.

Some examples:

Sometimes you want to roll high, sometimes you want to roll low.
Different skills have different costs.
Classes have lots of race and alignment restrictions.
Races have level caps.
Classes require different XP to level.
Ability score bonuses are not the same across even the same ability, let alone different abilities.
The wrestling / grappling rules are very random and arbitrary.
Thac0 and saving throws have an internal logic, but it isn't spell out as clearly.
Minimum and maximum ability scores for races and classes
Divine spells have 7 levels, arcane 9, and a different power curve as a result.
Lots of the monsters have seemingly arbitrary rules for their abilities rather than any sort of standard system.
The wacky saving throw categories with their priority system.
Etc. Etc. Etc.


Because I can roll up characters without a book in 15 minutes?

I find that kind of hard to believe. I guess if you have been playing regularly since ~1989 you might have the book mostly memorized, but there are just so dang many tables to look things up on. I would never be able to figure out my saving throws or ability score modifiers or racial attribute requirements without the book, especially in only 15 minutes.

The game is good, but it has a LOT of tables which you need to use to look stuff up rather than 3-5Es relatively straightforward mathematical progressions.


For example, off the top of my head:

In 3E good saving throws are 2 + 1/2 level, bad saving throws are 1/3 level.
The following are the classes good saves:
Fighter: F
Paladin: F W
Ranger: F R
Barbarian: F
Cleric: W
Druid: W
Wizard: W
Sorcerer: W
Rogue: R
Bard: R W
Monk: All

In AD&D I need a full page table with no progression I can detect (I am sure there is one, I just can't see it at a glance), six weird categories, and rates of progression which are different for each class group, not only in the numbers but also the levels at which those numbers improve. I couldn't even begin to write it down from memory, or even copy it from the book in a format that would be legible on the forum.

Quertus
2015-12-31, 04:55 PM
In practice, I find 2e to be very unclunky, and honestly don't see where others see it as clunky.

I love 2e, but I'd recommend 3.x because 2e is harder to learn to play. Do I want to roll high or low? Or higher without going over? When something gives me a bonus, does that make my numbers higher or lower? How does a modified die roll work? Why do we all earn different xp, and level at different rates? How do I calculate my con bonus to HP for leveling one of my classes in a multiclass? Etc etc etc. This is why people (or, at least, why I) call 2e clunky.

I've taught several 7 year olds to play 3.x competently, because the math is all easy and intuitive. But intelligent, college educated adults have a hard time learning to play 2e, because the rules are, well, clunky and unintuitive. Great fun, possibly my favorite, but unintuitive and difficult to learn.

Yes, the character creation mini game in 3e is as difficult as you want to make it. This is, to some, a feature, not a bug. You want to play a ninja pirate zombie robot? You probably don't have to house rule anything to do that in 3.x.

To the OP - if you can't find someone to teach you, unless you like learning arcane systems, start with 3.x. Or find a remake of 2e that uses d20 speak; ie, add a d20 to your attribute, high is good.

Jay R
2015-12-31, 11:17 PM
I was not joking when I say there is not groups here
the last time we had a comic book shop was 5 years ago in 3 towns over, I live in a rural area.
But I will look for a shop of that nature next time I am in town.
I am going to piece together what I can for now on 5e but when I find a group I will ask one them for opinions and suggestion.

I have play some of the older FF and Elder scroll.
Thanks again Everyone

I suggest that you place an ad in the local paper, looking for a D&D game. There are a lot more groups out there than anybody knows about.

The best version to play is the version the DM is running.

neonchameleon
2016-01-01, 08:31 AM
fascinating. My experience with 2e was the Baldur's Gate series (1e was live D&D). You could practically play 1e (with plenty of nifty kit options) by using the Baldur's gate (2.0) manual as your Players Handbook. Since I didn't see the other side [DM's] screen, I assumed it was the same. I'll have to find out what 2e really was.

PS. 1e's 1gp=1xp doesn't work at all at levels<3 or so if the DM is feeling particularly cranky. Look up the "training for level up" rules sometime for "even more reasons you shouldn't try to get an AD&D DM to play by RAW (assuming the concept begins to make sense)."

2e's meant to be a high fantasy action adventure with encounter based play and actively advocating DM fudging in the DMG. Get a copy of the DMG - it's interesting (although I really don't like the advice in it).

And there's a reason why whenever I discuss in detail with anyone who claims to still play 1e it turns out they play B/X (normally) treating the 1e DMG as a good source of optional rules. And calling it 1e because Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is ... advanced.


The game is good, but it has a LOT of tables which you need to use to look stuff up rather than 3-5Es relatively straightforward mathematical progressions.


For example, off the top of my head:

In 3E good saving throws are 2 + 1/2 level, bad saving throws are 1/3 level.
The following are the classes good saves:
...

In AD&D I need a full page table with no progression I can detect (I am sure there is one, I just can't see it at a glance), six weird categories, and rates of progression which are different for each class group, not only in the numbers but also the levels at which those numbers improve. I couldn't even begin to write it down from memory, or even copy it from the book in a format that would be legible on the forum.

AD&D saving throws are hideously eplained in the books. But one of the things they are is a balancing mechanism - with fighters having the worst saves to start with (because low level wizards suck) and ending up as tanks who shrug off just about anything. However you never need to actually remember that table - monsters use the fighter table so that's the only one that needs memorising by anyone (PCs just write their numbers on their character sheet when they level up).

But what are the saving throws? Badly explained is what they are. Especially as they differ slightly between editions - even if the intent is the same every time. Broadly speaking they are:

Save vs Spell = Save vs Spell. Any spell that fits none of the top three categories ends up here. Such as fireball or other direct hit point damage.
Save vs Breath Weapon = Save vs direct physical effect. So something like an alchemical grenade or an avalanche fits here.
Save vs RodStaffWand = Save vs Spell in a Can.
Save vs Petrification or Polymorph = Save or Suck. If you are petrified or polymorphed you're out of the fight but will probably survive even if as a rat you've scampered away. And statues are recoverable. So you survive these spells but are out of it.
Save vs Death or Poison = Save or Die. Death spells kill you dead. Fast acting poison normally just makes you wish you were dead.

(Save vs Paralysis moved between different classic D&D variants from a Save or Suck spell to a Save or Die spell becase people normally follow Hold Person with a Coup de Grace so for practical purposes it's a save or die 90% of the time).

There is no relationship between Save vs Spell and Save vs Breath Weapon. One's magical saves, one's physical - and a lot of how you do against both is down to your class. Save vs Spell in a Can is always slightly easier than saving vs a wizard who understands what they are doing (but Spell in a Can is a largely redundant group and is in at least one edition a straight 1 point bonus to saves).

Which leads to the big two. Save or Suck. And Save or Die. From memory it's about a three point bonus to saves vs suckage and five to saves vs death. (So Stinking Cloud in TSR-D&D as a save vs poison is about five points easier to save against than a fireball; combine that with half damage on a successful save and far lower HP and there's a reason Evokers are popular in 2e and nerfed through the floor in 3.0/3.5/PF).

Quertus
2016-01-01, 11:50 AM
I love 2e, but I'd recommend 3.x because 2e is harder to learn to play. Do I want to roll high or low? Or higher without going over? When something gives me a bonus, does that make my numbers higher or lower? How does a modified die roll work? Why do we all earn different xp, and level at different rates? How do I calculate my con bonus to HP for leveling one of my classes in a multiclass? Etc etc etc. This is why people (or, at least, why I) call 2e clunky.

What does a range of "21" mean / why are ranges given in tens of yards, when we move around in 5-foot squares? How do fractional attacks work? How do I know which of the listed damages my weapon deals against a given opponent? Why does being on higher ground give a modifier to my initiative - and do I still get the bonus if my character is only on higher ground than some of the foes? Why can only 6 of us surround an opponent, when the grid has 8 squares around them? What does "man sized giant class creature" mean? OK, every stat gives a bunch of named bonuses - so why do I use my bonus vs being surprised to offset the penalties for fighting with two weapons? Which classes can fight with two weapons? Do I get a save? And, my personal favorite, what does "AC 10" mean? (hint, it is usually but not always roughly equivalent to 3.x "touch AC", because 2e has things that give you "AC" and things that give you "bonuses").

See yet why people call 2e clunky? I've taught a lot of people to play 2e, and I eventually developed a cheat sheet I would hand new players with the answers to questions like these that kept coming up. Having to repeatedly explain the same unintuitive rules to so many different people is probably why I can remember all these issues, despite not being able to find a 2e group since 3.x came out.

GloatingSwine
2016-01-01, 12:28 PM
I've never grasped what people mean by "intuitive." About 99% of the rules for AD&D are extremely intuitive for me. I understand them, how they work, how they were intended to work, and why the work. And I didn't need an advanced degree to get there.


The intuitiveness is a feature of the logical arrangement of whose properties affect what part of the equation.

In 3.P (almost) all the properties that affect the attacker's roll are properties of the attacker (attack bonus, enchantments, etc), and all properties that affect the success threshold are properties of the target (armour class, bonuses)

With THAC0 the attacker's roll is affected by properties of both the attacker and the target, and the success threshold is a property of the attacker. It's essentially logically backwards. (it's also more intuitive that big numbers on your character are consistently better than small ones, because in 3.P a big stat is good, a big save is good, a big armour class is good, and a big attack bonus is good, whereas with 2e a big stat is good but a small save and a small THAC0 are good, and armour class is so small is good it goes negative and a big negative is good!)

neonchameleon
2016-01-01, 12:50 PM
I've never grasped what people mean by "intuitive." About 99% of the rules for AD&D are extremely intuitive for me. I understand them, how they work, how they were intended to work, and why the work. And I didn't need an advanced degree to get there.

An intuitive or immersive game is one that you have personally internalised the rules for and so seldom need to think about. Neither more nor less. Because you personally have been playing 2e for a long tim you find it intuitive just because it's what you are used to.

3e quite simply has a lower initial threshold than 2e - everything works the same way. On the other hand they then built a larger edifice on it taking back the gains from there.

GloatingSwine
2016-01-01, 01:09 PM
Intuitive means understanding things without having to specifically think and learn about them.

Big numbers good is intuitive, people are used to big numbers being good. Numbers going up when you get better is also intuitive.

Quertus
2016-01-01, 01:21 PM
An intuitive or immersive game is one that you have personally internalised the rules for and so seldom need to think about. Neither more nor less. Because you personally have been playing 2e for a long tim you find it intuitive just because it's what you are used to.

3e quite simply has a lower initial threshold than 2e - everything works the same way. On the other hand they then built a larger edifice on it taking back the gains from there.


The intuitiveness is a feature of the logical arrangement of whose properties affect what part of the equation.

In 3.P (almost) all the properties that affect the attacker's roll are properties of the attacker (attack bonus, enchantments, etc), and all properties that affect the success threshold are properties of the target (armour class, bonuses)

With THAC0 the attacker's roll is affected by properties of both the attacker and the target, and the success threshold is a property of the attacker. It's essentially logically backwards. (it's also more intuitive that big numbers on your character are consistently better than small ones, because in 3.P a big stat is good, a big save is good, a big armour class is good, and a big attack bonus is good, whereas with 2e a big stat is good but a small save and a small THAC0 are good, and armour class is so small is good it goes negative and a big negative is good!)


Intuitive means understanding things without having to specifically think and learn about them.

Big numbers good is intuitive, people are used to big numbers being good. Numbers going up when you get better is also intuitive.

And now starts the debate of absolute vs relative intuitive.

Premier
2016-01-01, 01:34 PM
Hullo, LadyOfLore, let me share a few of my thoughts on the matter:

- Obviously, if there's a real-life, face-to-face group you can easily get into, that kind of settles it. If you don't and you're looking at online games, you're a lot more free to pick whatever system or edition you prefer.

- Assuming the latter case, I'd strongly suggest cutting your teeth on some edition that's as simple ruleswise as possible.
One, you're new at this, it makes sense to start out simple.
Two, a simple, "minimalist" game will also help you learn the "craft of play" which is not contained in the rules: how to be a good, clever, thinking player; how to be a good Gamemaster, how pen and player RPGs are all about imagination and creativity in a way board- or computer games can never be. THAT is a lot more important than having the rules down pat. Unfortunately, you have lots of players who have started gaming with the more modern, more "crunchy" (rules-oriented) editions where all the math and written options eclipse creativity, and now they're stuck in an uninspired, uninteresting mindset.
Three, if you spend some time gaming, start trying out other games or editions and realise that you prefer something a bit crunchier, you can always move on to that. On the other hand, (and this is something that ties in to my previous point), you see lots of players who've started on the crunchier editions, got indoctrinated into a sort of rules-oriented mindset, and find it extremely hard if not impossible to adapt to the more traditional, freewheeling mindset. Don't do that; why would you want to limit your future options?

neonchameleon
2016-01-01, 02:58 PM
Hullo, LadyOfLore, let me share a few of my thoughts on the matter:

- Obviously, if there's a real-life, face-to-face group you can easily get into, that kind of settles it. If you don't and you're looking at online games, you're a lot more free to pick whatever system or edition you prefer.

- Assuming the latter case, I'd strongly suggest cutting your teeth on some edition that's as simple ruleswise as possible.
One, you're new at this, it makes sense to start out simple.
Two, a simple, "minimalist" game will also help you learn the "craft of play" which is not contained in the rules: how to be a good, clever, thinking player; how to be a good Gamemaster, how pen and player RPGs are all about imagination and creativity in a way board- or computer games can never be. THAT is a lot more important than having the rules down pat. Unfortunately, you have lots of players who have started gaming with the more modern, more "crunchy" (rules-oriented) editions where all the math and written options eclipse creativity, and now they're stuck in an uninspired, uninteresting mindset.
Three, if you spend some time gaming, start trying out other games or editions and realise that you prefer something a bit crunchier, you can always move on to that. On the other hand, (and this is something that ties in to my previous point), you see lots of players who've started on the crunchier editions, got indoctrinated into a sort of rules-oriented mindset, and find it extremely hard if not impossible to adapt to the more traditional, freewheeling mindset. Don't do that; why would you want to limit your future options?

The above is based on two fallacies.

The first is that newer games are more complex. I bounced off 1e AD&D when I tried it the first time - and Unearthed Arcana only makes it worse. This was not true of D&D 3.0. And D&D 5E is simpler than either - while 4e can be distilled into trifolds without losing anything important (see my sig). And I'm not even getting into a game that has a detailed enough list of polearms to differentiate between a guisarme and a glaive (or the rest of Appendix T).

The second is that crunch inhibits creativity. Anyone who thinks it does is making the argument that a bucket of lego inhibits creativity because the legos all have circular connectors and fit on a square grid. I've built bigger and better structures out of lego than I have out of plasticene (or play-doh) although there are plenty of things I can do with plasticine I can't with lego.

It's also based on the idea that as RPGs go D&D is freewheeling. To see actual freewheeling games I'd recommend avoiding D&D entirely and going for Fate, Fudge, Firefly, or Apocalypse World depending on your personal style.

veti
2016-01-02, 05:48 AM
Clunky probably isn't the right word, maybe it would be better to say it isn't streamlined?

I personally feel that AD&D2 is the best version, but the rules are kind of a mess.

Some examples:

You're right, some of that is kinda - silly. My DM had houseruled much of it out - race/class restrictions, level caps, min/max ability scores - before 2e even appeared, and the game was definitely easier to play without it. The unarmed combat rules? - seriously, did anyone ever try to use those?

But other features fall into the "so what?" category. I think the only feature I can unreservedly agree about is the saving throws. When I saw the elegance of 3e's tripartite saving throw system, I thought "holy hand grenades of Antioch, why didn't we think of this 20 years ago? It would have saved so much time."

What puts me off 2e is the big change from 1e: the XP-for-gold system. That was a thing of elegance and beauty (shorn of the evil "train for level up" rule, of course) - it put the emphasis firmly where it belonged (outwitting or sneaking past an enemy is as good as defeating it), answered so many questions ("phylactery, schmylactery, any enemy you can loot is dead enough"), and it even has its own in-game rationalisation ("after all, money is power").


The second is that crunch inhibits creativity. Anyone who thinks it does is making the argument that a bucket of lego inhibits creativity because the legos all have circular connectors and fit on a square grid. I've built bigger and better structures out of lego than I have out of plasticene (or play-doh) although there are plenty of things I can do with plasticine I can't with lego.

No, what inhibits creativity is those bazillion "special-purpose" pieces in Lego that are meant to be used as helicopter cockpits or lightsabres or the headlights of a BMW E36M3, or something equally boring. Lego stops being creative when you pick up a piece that can't be joined to any other piece in the set, including another piece that's the same as itself. The equivalent in D&D terms is what happened when WotC realised that there was no limit to the number of rules supplements they could put out and the fans would buy them: the ever-expanding roster of increasingly specialised classes and spells. It's not really an "edition" thing, so much as "the scope for creativity trends constantly downwards, because the more players do for themselves, the less money the publisher makes."

(Actually, the parallels with Lego are strong here. Lego-the-company makes money by selling 'kits' to build Star Wars scenes or hospitals or whatever - and those inhibit creativity in much the same way.)

In the 1e DMG, Gygax wrote: "the so-called planes are your ticket to creativity, and I mean that with a capital C! Everything can be absolutely different...". Then some idiot published the Manual of the Planes, and frankly the whole game has never quite recovered. (Seriously, "Blood War"?)

neonchameleon
2016-01-02, 09:06 AM
You're right, some of that is kinda - silly. My DM had houseruled much of it out - race/class restrictions, level caps, min/max ability scores - before 2e even appeared, and the game was definitely easier to play without it. The unarmed combat rules? - seriously, did anyone ever try to use those?

Translation: If you design your own game using AD&D as a basis you can reach a decent game. But this requires you to become a game designer as well as everything else - and most people aren't very good at most things.


But other features fall into the "so what?" category. I think the only feature I can unreservedly agree about is the saving throws. When I saw the elegance of 3e's tripartite saving throw system, I thought "holy hand grenades of Antioch, why didn't we think of this 20 years ago? It would have saved so much time."

The oD&D saving throw system is actually better in a lot of cases - not least of which is preventing the dominance of 3.X wizard Save-or-Suck spells. (If you rename the five saving throw categories Save vs Spell, Save vs Physical, Save vs Spell-in-a-Can, Save vs Suck and Save vs Death the whole thing makes a lot of sense).


What puts me off 2e is the big change from 1e: the XP-for-gold system. That was a thing of elegance and beauty (shorn of the evil "train for level up" rule, of course) - it put the emphasis firmly where it belonged (outwitting or sneaking past an enemy is as good as defeating it)

And you didn't notice the other big change from 1E to 2E then. The entire emphasis of the game changed if you read the DMG - 2e advocates groups composed only of PCs going on Epic Fantasy Adventures and that deliberately sidelined loot in favour of Epic Quests.


No, what inhibits creativity is those bazillion "special-purpose" pieces in Lego that are meant to be used as helicopter cockpits or lightsabres or the headlights of a BMW E36M3, or something equally boring. Lego stops being creative when you pick up a piece that can't be joined to any other piece in the set, including another piece that's the same as itself.

This is an ironic defence of oD&D because in any edition of D&D with the exception of 4e there is the name for a piece that can not be joined to any other piece. That is a spell. Fighters and rogues can't cast them. Wizards and Clerics use separate lists (and then there's the Illusionist that uses specialised connectors of their own in 1E). Literally all of the PHBs save 4e are 40% full of spells. 40% of the PHB is those special parts you decry here. (And in AD&D there's also the issue of magic items being restricted by class - fighters and thieves get swords, fighters and clerics get heavy armour, wizards get spells, etc.).

Also with the changes to ability scores, skills, and saving throws 3.X is set up so you can join the pieces together much better than you can in AD&D. That they then produced far too many pieces is a whole different story. As is the fact they shattered the balance mechanisms.

But if you actually are against all these specialised pieces that don't join to other pieces, I would suggest that Fate is thataway -> (with the Fate Fractal (http://www.faterpg.com/2012/fire/#more-98)). Get used to using that and you'll realise in short order how risible the idea that every D&D piece can connect to every other oe.


The equivalent in D&D terms is what happened when WotC realised that there was no limit to the number of rules supplements they could put out and the fans would buy them: the ever-expanding roster of increasingly specialised classes and spells.

You're thinking of 2E and TSR there and the ever-expanding roster of increasingly specialised kits and spells. 2e supplement bloat was actually worse than 3E.


(Actually, the parallels with Lego are strong here. Lego-the-company makes money by selling 'kits' to build Star Wars scenes or hospitals or whatever - and those inhibit creativity in much the same way.)

"Get your star wars junk out of my game with specialist rules for wizards and dragons. Only these special parts should be included, not those." D&D has always been rife with special parts of the type you claim to dislike. And a spell is the very definition of a solution in a can - the sort of thing that inhibits creativity in the way you describe.


In the 1e DMG, Gygax wrote: "the so-called planes are your ticket to creativity, and I mean that with a capital C! Everything can be absolutely different...". Then some idiot published the Manual of the Planes, and frankly the whole game has never quite recovered. (Seriously, "Blood War"?)

The Blood War was almost necessary from when some idiot moved the D&D alignment structure from 3 point alignment (Law/Neutral/Chaos) to 9 point alignment with Good and Evil being the other axis. That would be E. Gary Gygax when he tried taking Arneson off the cover of the game in the blatant cash grab that was 1E AD&D. And frankly the whole game has never quite recovered from that. The only edition where the Blood War makes sense is in 4e where it's a fight between those who want to take over the world and rule it and who have been exiled to the borderlands of reality and those who just want to watch the world burn - or in some cases who just want to eat reality itself, and this works because 4e threw out nine point alignment in favour of 3+2.

(The Gygax/Arneson team was brilliant. Arneson was an excellent designer who came up with the idea of D&D but didn't fully put the legwork in to get it working. Gygax was the developer who took it forward through the most intensive design process the RPG world has ever seen and did a spectacular job here. But Gygax was a terrible designer - as illustrated by Unearthed Arcana, Cyborg Commando, and Mythus: Lejendary Journies or whatever it's called).

Jay R
2016-01-02, 11:58 AM
As the thread has shown, choosing an edition is only for experienced D&D players, not for beginners. Find a game - online, in-person, whatever. And learn the just the single game that they are playing.

Joining a game and playing requires learning about one edition. Choosing an edition to play with requires learning about several editions. It's a complicated business that a new player is not ready to handle.

Malifice
2016-01-02, 12:16 PM
I seriously recommend the 5E basic rules already suggested.

Not only are they available for free, are the latest edition and quite popular, and are the easiest to learn, they also encompass a lot of themes and ideas from past editions.

Its a win/ win/ win/ win.

Ive played all 5 editions (4th edition only the once, read the initial books, not my cup of tea) and the B/E/C/M/I and obscure games like rolemaster, spacemaster, MERP, shadowrun (from 1st edtion) GURPS, Mechwarrior, Traveler, Dangerous journeys, Cyberpunk, Dragon Warriors, Hero, Champions, WHFRP, Runequest, HARN, WEG's D6, SWSE, FFGs new games, Hackmaster, Rifts and even whacky games like Top Secret, Dark conspiracy, Gamma World and Paranoia.

5E is arguably my favorite all round system.

And no, I dont have a neckbeard.

Premier
2016-01-03, 02:38 PM
The above is based on two fallacies. The first is that newer games are more complex. I bounced off 1e AD&D when I tried it the first time - and Unearthed Arcana only makes it worse. This was not true of D&D 3.0. And D&D 5E is simpler than either - while 4e can be distilled into trifolds without losing anything important (see my sig). And I'm not even getting into a game that has a detailed enough list of polearms to differentiate between a guisarme and a glaive (or the rest of Appendix T).

I'm not talking about hypothetical white room scenarios, but the reality of gaming culture and practice. Sure, you CAN postulate a situation where 1st edition AD&D, played with all the optional rules in the book and the UA is compared to a game of 3rd edition which uses absolutely nothing but the PHB and the DMG; and indeed, AD&D would easily come out as the more complex of the two.

However, this is a rather irrealistic comparison. In actual play, nobody uses all the optional rules in 1st ed. (and, in fact, there are quite a few of those which I have never, EVER seen being used; and which, based on the words of people who were there, even Gary Gygax skipped) - and I wouldn't know, but I suspect you might have had a poor experience exactly because you tried to play it in a way nobody actually did. In contrast to that, my experience is that a "core only" game of 3rd ed. is rather rare, since its player base has seemingly adapted a widespread mindset according to which you're "supposed" to use all sorts of splatbooks, and if your DM disallows those, he's a bad man infringing on your basic liberties...

And, of course, I'm speaking about old editions in general. You picked 1st ed. to build your argument on, and 1st ed. happens to be arguably the single crunchiest of the pre-WotC versions. Surely you're not arguing that 3rd ed. (with or without splats) is simpler than Sword & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord (to name easily accessible retroclones of old editions. Right?

Over and above all that, I maintain that 3rd ed. (again, in actual play) is more complex than previous editions in various highly practical ways. You complain that an optional book for AD&D has over a dozen different types of polearms; but you give a pass to 3rd ed., which in its optional books has several hundred (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/3.5e_All_Classes) classes; which is rather disingenious on your part. In an old edition, a new player just rolls their attributes, picks a race and a class, buys equipment, and they're good to go and won't have any regrets later on. This is what a newbie player's experience should be. 3rd ed. character creation, however, is full of trap options as a deliberate design decision. First, the newbie player is bewildered by the overwhelming number of options for classes, feats and whatnot; then after a while of playing she learns that her character is just generally and objectively worse than the others, because she picked a whole bunch of options which looked good on paper but are actually pretty bad. That is NOT the experience a new player should be exposed to.

And THEN you get into the whole meta-game where if you want to avoid a sub-optimal character, you'll need to plan out your PC in advance, because you can only take that desired prestige class at level 10 if every single feat and skill choice if rigidly predetermined for the first nine levels.

And yes, 5th edition is indeed much simpler than the preceding two, you're correct about that.


The second is that crunch inhibits creativity.

It's not about the crunch itself, it's about the mindset cultivated by the crunch. There's an adage: "If you present your players with a puzzling situation in D&D, old-school players first look at each other for ideas. New-school players first look at their character sheets to see if they have a skill to roll on and solve the puzzle." WotC editions have this philosophy of "covering all possibilities", which really means that whatever happens in the game, you'll know what to roll and how. And that is bad for creativity, because true creativity in the game means exactly the opposite: coming up with something that's NOT already anticipated and accounted for by the game's mechanics.

I'm not going to write out an entire essay about this matter here and now, but there's a very useful (and free) writeup about this here (http://www.lulu.com/shop/matthew-finch/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/ebook/product-3159558.html), which I warmly recommend to everyone, but especially LadyOfLore.



It's also based on the idea that as RPGs go D&D is freewheeling. To see actual freewheeling games I'd recommend avoiding D&D entirely and going for Fate, Fudge, Firefly, or Apocalypse World depending on your personal style.

Actually, D&D can be freewheeling. (Also, LadyOfLore specifically asked for help about D&D editions.) If your personal experience is that D&D cannot be like that (say, compared to Fate, Fudge or whatever), then all I can is that you have my sympathy for having a narrow and non-representative experience of what D&D can be.



And at the end of the day, this thread is about one thing: a new player would like to get into the game and is asking for some help. Whatever I write here I write as advice to that one person with the intention of helping her enjoy her now-starting involvement with RPGs. If my advice helps her with that, good. If she decides to listen to other people's advice instead and ends up having fun, that's good too. If she listens to others, and based on their advice she has a bad experience and gives up on RPGs, well, that's sad, but nobody can say I haven't done my part. Cheers.

CharonsHelper
2016-01-03, 03:10 PM
I've heard quite a few D&D vets (those who started significantly before 3e) say that the older versions of D&D (pre-3e) are easier to learn, and I've heard quite a few D&D vets say that 3e+ is easier to learn.

I've never heard someone who didn't start with the older versions of D&D claim that they were easier to learn.

I think that pretty much says it in a nutshell.

mephnick
2016-01-03, 04:57 PM
Actually, D&D can be freewheeling. (Also, LadyOfLore specifically asked for help about D&D editions.) If your personal experience is that D&D cannot be like that (say, compared to Fate, Fudge or whatever), then all I can is that you have my sympathy for having a narrow and non-representative experience of what D&D can be.

It can be, but that's not what it does well and the system offers nothing to help you run it that way. A very important part of table-top gaming is picking a system that's designed for the experience you want. You're much more likely to give up role-playing if the system you use doesn't meet your expectations.

I see so many people trying to excruciatingly warp D&D to fit things it wasn't meant to do. Threads on the forum pop up all the time about "How do I run an intriguing mystery investigation in D&D??" You don't! You search the internet and say "Holy ****! Dogs in the Vineyard is exactly what I want!" D&D is not magic. It cannot do everything.

GentlemanVoodoo
2016-01-03, 11:42 PM
I have not played D&D but I wanted to try and I was wondering which edition would be easier to learn and or pick up on.
Before I buy a few of the books i was wanted some other thoughts on it

It largely depends on what you want to get out of your playing experiences.

Old D&D was in my opinion very basic in terms of rules, player selection, etc. But there was very little focus in variety so arguably there is no difference between classes. Adventure modules and other printed text though were a lot more enjoyable.

Advance D&D was an attempt to go deeper in terms of rules and standardize D&D but made a mess of it. Additional published settings were done with different mechanics from core that did not tie in well to the basic system. Also it was in this addition the swing to "high-fantasy" began with epic quest and powerful characters. Though some interesting world settings did occur under this edition.

3rd edition D&D was the start at character customization which added more complex mechanics, in both a good and bad way. Though the focus on character customization lead to horrible rule bloat making the system very difficult to learn.

4th edition D&D was a radical departure from the traditional norms. The focus was more on grid combat and some would claim catered more to the MMO crowd. Though many of the mechanical imbalances that plagued 3rd edition were corrected. The issue most people have is with kill off the iconic aspects that "defined" d&d, streamlined the classes where some played no different than others, and long drawn out battles that could take hours to complete. Still the easiest to learn as compared to 3rd edition for its time.

5th edition D&D is the edition that attempts to bring players of all editions to the table. In its attempt, the best aspects from all prior editions were incorporated to some degree. Also it is the easiest edition to date to learn. Though 5th does have it's share of problems, some have argued the biggest consist of the poorly written rules (leading to many interpretations) and the focus on the DM to call all the shots leading to a "mother may I" mentality of play.

Regardless, all the editions in my opinion have been enjoyable in their own right despite the problems each system faced. The thing you should consider is what are you wanting to get out of your playing experience? That will determine which system you should go for.

Quertus
2016-01-04, 10:04 AM
It largely depends on what you want to get out of your playing experiences.

Old D&D was in my opinion very basic in terms of rules, player selection, etc. But there was very little focus in variety so arguably there is no difference between classes. Adventure modules and other printed text though were a lot more enjoyable.

Advance D&D was an attempt to go deeper in terms of rules and standardize D&D but made a mess of it. Additional published settings were done with different mechanics from core that did not tie in well to the basic system. Also it was in this addition the swing to "high-fantasy" began with epic quest and powerful characters. Though some interesting world settings did occur under this edition.

3rd edition D&D was the start at character customization which added more complex mechanics, in both a good and bad way. Though the focus on character customization lead to horrible rule bloat making the system very difficult to learn.

4th edition D&D was a radical departure from the traditional norms. The focus was more on grid combat and some would claim catered more to the MMO crowd. Though many of the mechanical imbalances that plagued 3rd edition were corrected. The issue most people have is with kill off the iconic aspects that "defined" d&d, streamlined the classes where some played no different than others, and long drawn out battles that could take hours to complete. Still the easiest to learn as compared to 3rd edition for its time.

5th edition D&D is the edition that attempts to bring players of all editions to the table. In its attempt, the best aspects from all prior editions were incorporated to some degree. Also it is the easiest edition to date to learn. Though 5th does have it's share of problems, some have argued the biggest consist of the poorly written rules (leading to many interpretations) and the focus on the DM to call all the shots leading to a "mother may I" mentality of play.

Regardless, all the editions in my opinion have been enjoyable in their own right despite the problems each system faced. The thing you should consider is what are you wanting to get out of your playing experience? That will determine which system you should go for.

To try to present a different viewpoint on some of the same data...

--- Character Creation and Game Balance ---

Character creation was easy in versions 1 and 2. You were all but guaranteed to lack party balance, but that was fine, as the game was not built on the premise of balance, but on the rule of cool.

Character creation was as easy or as hard as you wanted it to be in version 3, although, if you wanted to play long term, it added a new requirement: that you plan ahead. Although balance issues were less frequent, balance was more of an issue, in that you could be off by an order of magnitude or more from your team mates - if you were even using the same system.

Character creation was easy in version 4, and balance was all but guaranteed. "You can have it in any color you want, as long as it is black."

I have never created a character in version 5. Balance issues seem based primarily on DM favoritism ("mother may I").

Character selection was limited in version 1. Character selection seemed limited in version 2, but between kits, factions, and several books with rules for creating custom classes, this was largely an illusion. If you asked someone who had never played D&D what they would like for their character, version 3 was the most likely to be able to reasonably accommodate their request without creating something new, because it has the most, best pre-built, modular options. Character selection didn't matter in version 4 - it just meant different fluff for mechanically doing the same thing. I have never created a character in version 5.

Characters were (incompetent, illiterate) meh in version 1, on their way to being (incompetent, illiterate) super heroes in version 2, super heroes (complete with the expectation of being both competent and literate) in version 3, sub-par in version 4, and meh in version 5.

--- Playing the Game ---

The rules were horribly clunky in versions 1 and 2, and are layed out as though the binder fell apart 5 minutes before time to hit the presses.

The rules were streamlined, unified, and organized in versions 3 and 4. Although these rules were a little less fun than in earlier editions, it was generally a Very Good Thing.

Some of the rules were thrown out in version 5, and replaced with "mother may i".

--- The World ---

The world mostly makes sense in versions 1 & 2, in a post-apocalyptic, scramble for your life, reclaim lost treasures kind of way.

The world almost makes sense in version 3, except that, if you look too hard, you will wonder why it isn't a tippy verse yet.

The world makes no sense in version 4: things magically double their HP when you solo fight them, creatures that were throwing goop in jars at you do not drop jars filed with goop for you to loot when you kill them, etc. Fun if you like video game logic; avoid if you care about internal consistency.

Even simple things, like doors being indestructible, make no sense in version 5.

CharonsHelper
2016-01-04, 11:23 AM
Character creation was easy in version 4, and balance was all but guaranteed. "You can have it in any color you want, as long as it is black."

Yeah - that was the biggest issue for 4e. They sacrificed asymmetry for balance through symmetry.

Symmetry is the easiest way to balance a game - but it's also the most boring way. It's fine for PvP games, especially 1v1 (look at Chess/Go) but it's deadly dull for co-op. For the goal of balance, 4e sacrificed the bulk of the asymmetry of D&D.

Plus - it felt like they didn't really playtest it. Up until the release they were still bragging about how much faster battles would go than in 3.5. Sure - each round goes faster, but battles went from generally 3-5 rounds max up to 10+ for tough encounters.

hamlet
2016-01-04, 11:36 AM
I've heard quite a few D&D vets (those who started significantly before 3e) say that the older versions of D&D (pre-3e) are easier to learn, and I've heard quite a few D&D vets say that 3e+ is easier to learn.

I've never heard someone who didn't start with the older versions of D&D claim that they were easier to learn.

I think that pretty much says it in a nutshell.

Then you haven't talked to the right folks. I've converted (for lack of a better term) a few folks away from post TSR editions to AD&D and one to BECMI and several of those have said that it's actually easier to learn. No one ever said it was as mathematically precise or cohesive as WOTC editions, but then, that in and of itself is not necessarily a benefit either.


My advice to the OP is simple. Don't worry now about what edition to play other than, maybe, to download the free versions that you can get your hands on and start reading. One that you like and reflects what you want will start to become fairly obvious before long.

Your first real step, in your case, is to find somebody who is playing or who wants to play. You can hash it out from there. If they are currently playing, you'll probably want to learn to play what they are. If they want to, sit down together and bounce ideas off each other.

Quertus
2016-01-04, 11:55 AM
Then you haven't talked to the right folks. I've converted (for lack of a better term) a few folks away from post TSR editions to AD&D and one to BECMI and several of those have said that it's actually easier to learn. No one ever said it was as mathematically precise or cohesive as WOTC editions, but then, that in and of itself is not necessarily a benefit either.

I attempt to disbelieve ;)

No, seriously, how did anyone find "hunt through the core books, plus 50 supplements, to find the rule buried in the fluff, that uses a completely different system than any other rule in the game" easier to learn than, "I bet it's in the core books, and I bet it's roll a d20 and add my bonus"?

That having been said... How did you convince them to return to the good old days? Nobody I know is willing to even give the delightful train wreck that is 2e a chance.

wumpus
2016-01-04, 01:45 PM
It largely depends on what you want to get out of your playing experiences.

Old D&D was in my opinion very basic in terms of rules, player selection, etc. But there was very little focus in variety so arguably there is no difference between classes. Adventure modules and other printed text though were a lot more enjoyable.

??? The four "original" classes (fighter, magic user, cleric, thief) were different. Any other classes were pretty close to one of the four. Note the word "build" was never used in this era for character generation. You took pretty much the generic race/class and made up the rest. The important thing about this era was that it was rules light by necessity (there wan't enough pages for all the rules needed) and that the DM needed to make up "rules" on the spot. Don't expect to build a character that can do anything other than one of the four classes "by the rules" (if you can convince the DM that you are something else, go ahead).

Advance D&D was an attempt to go deeper in terms of rules and standardize D&D but made a mess of it. Additional published settings were done with different mechanics from core that did not tie in well to the basic system. Also it was in this addition the swing to "high-fantasy" began with epic quest and powerful characters. Though some interesting world settings did occur under this edition.

AD&D was pretty much 0e with more rules. While it might not look "rules light", *many* of the rules were either usually or always ignored. Classes were still limited (less so with 2e "kits"), but the DM still had to make up the rules as you went along (note: true for 1e, less sure about 2e). In this era it seems that more rules were "better" than less rules, with silly stuff (like complicated initiative rolls) added in the Dragon Magazine left and right. I'm guessing that once players tried to play the Rolemaster system (a system that advertised covering "everything", never played it myself), they realized that maybe this wasn't the way to go.

3rd edition D&D was the start at character customization which added more complex mechanics, in both a good and bad way. Though the focus on character customization lead to horrible rule bloat making the system very difficult to learn.
I suspect that any old school player (well, I certainly did) took one look at the 'net chatter about "builds" and "optimization" and concluded that 3.x was doing everything it could to kill the idea of roleplaying. On the one hand it let you pretty much build a class that had rules to do what you wanted to do. On the other hand this made starting from level 1 much pointless (your character wouldn't begin to become what he was supposed to be until several levels/classes later).
Behind the DM's screen, the idea was laid that every situation had a rule for it and the DM's job was to look it up and enforce it. This was probably for the best considering how long it takes for a DM to understand how to make rules on the fly, but the supremacy of Monte Cook's rules over the rule of cool meant much coolness was lost.
PS. There is nothing complicated about building a character. Build a druid (or cleric). Take natural spell (or whichever feat lets you cast in animal form if you are druid). Keep taking druid levels. Done. (Wizard also works, but requires an understanding in breaking the game (presumably lots of divination casting) that I don't fully understand).

4th edition D&D was a radical departure from the traditional norms. The focus was more on grid combat and some would claim catered more to the MMO crowd. Though many of the mechanical imbalances that plagued 3rd edition were corrected. The issue most people have is with kill off the iconic aspects that "defined" d&d, streamlined the classes where some played no different than others, and long drawn out battles that could take hours to complete. Still the easiest to learn as compared to 3rd edition for its time.

4th also suffered from some spectacularly bad marketing. It looks like they sampled the table of "DM of the rings" and designed a game to please those who hated the rules (and were least likely to buy the books...). Those who played seemed to like it, but the real result seems to be the rise of Pathfinder once TSR/WOTC/Hasbro/whoever appeared to be ignoring traditional D&D.

5th edition D&D is the edition that attempts to bring players of all editions to the table. In its attempt, the best aspects from all prior editions were incorporated to some degree. Also it is the easiest edition to date to learn. Though 5th does have it's share of problems, some have argued the biggest consist of the poorly written rules (leading to many interpretations) and the focus on the DM to call all the shots leading to a "mother may I" mentality of play.

Badly written rules? Gygax would be proud. Unfortunately, there is a difference between picking between multiple possible rules and applying the "rule of cool".

Regardless, all the editions in my opinion have been enjoyable in their own right despite the problems each system faced. The thing you should consider is what are you wanting to get out of your playing experience? That will determine which system you should go for.

My text in red
Note: the most important thing above all is to find 3-5 people who can agree on a single set of rules. My guess is that 5th is probably the easiest to agree on, but that is the real key. You can play (or DM) with any set of rules, but you can't play (or DM) without enough players (and a DM).

mephnick
2016-01-04, 01:59 PM
I also find 5e easier to hack into what I want because there aren't as many mechanics that contradict those mods yet. It's a good system as a DM that wants to put his own stuff in, which you'll probably want to do with any system as you get more competent and figure out what you actually want in a game.

However, I'd probably run it as written until you get good with it. Modifying or adding mechanics can have unforeseen side effects (like nerfing exhaustion greatly bolstering Frenzy Barbarians.)

Knaight
2016-01-04, 02:11 PM
While D&D was specified here, I think it's worth observing that there are a whole bunch of non D&D games, that might not be included simply because the OP doesn't know they existed - I can say that I sure didn't, when I started. A number of these are free, and I'd say that most of the ones that get any real attention* are easier to learn, easier to use, and quite frankly better designed than D&D.

If you want traditional, D&D styled fantasy or similar, I'd recommend looking into the following:
Warrior, Rogue, and Mage: It's free, it's fast, and it's a good starter point, if not as suitable for long term play.
Savage Worlds: It's a generic pulp system, so it can handle fantasy, and the type it does better is on the D&D end of the spectrum. It's also a lot cheaper than D&D.
Chronica Feudalis: This one leans more towards historical than fantasy, but it's still close enough to be worth mentioning. It's cheap, it's solid, and it does things like chases and stealth a lot better than most systems.
GURPS Fantasy: If you like having a lot more mechanics and the game itself being more complex, this is a good choice. It's lighter and more intuitive than any edition of D&D, but also significantly more capable.
REIGN: The pared down rules are cheap, and REIGN handles organizational conflict extremely well. If you are interested in things like the clash of nations and where individuals fit in that, REIGN's a good choice.

If you want something less on the traditional D&D style, then it's worth describing things like genres of interest first. Otherwise, the pile of applicable games is just too large to draw suggestions from.

*There's a lot of really obscure stuff that stays that way due to sucking, but once the group is restricted to games with actual followings the quality jumps up a bit.

Jay R
2016-01-04, 03:19 PM
One of the difficulties we run into in these discussions is that all of us (myself included) tend to exaggerate the difficulties of systems we don't like. For instance:


No, seriously, how did anyone find "hunt through the core books, plus 50 supplements, to find the rule buried in the fluff, that uses a completely different system than any other rule in the game" easier to learn than, "I bet it's in the core books, and I bet it's roll a d20 and add my bonus"?

I've played off-and-on since 1975, and I've never had an experience that can be correctly described as "hunt through the core books, plus 50 supplements, to find the rule buried in the fluff, that uses a completely different system than any other rule in the game".

I've played various versions from the original three pamphlets to 3.5E, as well as several other RPG systems over the course of decades, from many companies. And the only system I've found hard to learn and play was Chivalry and Sorcery. [It was the most lush, beautiful, realistic, detailed, fascinating, consistent, compelling, glorious, unplayable mess ever designed.]


That having been said... How did you convince them to return to the good old days? Nobody I know is willing to even give the delightful train wreck that is 2e a chance.

While I certainly have some preferences, the most important factor (for me) has never been the system. It's always been the DM (or GM). Any ruleset can work with a good DM; any ruleset can collapse with a poor one.*

So if a really good DM wants to run a game, I'm in, regardless of the system.



*Yes, I know there are games without GMs. My comments don't cover them, because I haven't played them enough to analyze them fairly, just as I would never critique any specific system I haven't played several times.

themaque
2016-01-04, 04:19 PM
While I certainly have some preferences, the most important factor (for me) has never been the system. It's always been the DM (or GM). Any ruleset can work with a good DM; any ruleset can collapse with a poor one.*

So if a really good DM wants to run a game, I'm in, regardless of the system.


I can heartily agree to that. I know if my friend Mark really wanted to run a 2nd ed game, I would play even though I have no real desire to go back to 2nd ed. Good GM/Player can make or break ANY game.

Heck I hear rumors that Rifts is playable under a good GM. ;-)

(Now let us hope he doesn't read this and get any bright ideas.)

2D8HP
2016-01-04, 06:15 PM
Besides all the numbered ''editions'' from the late 70's to the 90's there were parallel "original, "basic", "classic", "expert" etc. versions, and currently with all the "retroclones" and offshoots (Pathfinder being the most prominent offshoot) they are way too many "D&D's" to keep track of. But here's the secret, which rules you use matter much less then who you play with. The co-creator of the original D & D game back in the 70's published an article titled "D & D IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE DM" that let that cat out of the bag. While I have read and played a lot of original D & D, and 1st edition AD&D I kept buying and reading subsequent editions (and rolling up characters) and I have played quite a bit of other tabletop RPG's starting with either Villains and Vigilantes, or maybe Traveller, or was it Runquest? One of my favorite game sessions was playing Shadowrun because the "gamemaster" (early D&D called them "referees" later "dungeon master") narrated a good plot and creatively used the dice for suspense, thats 90% of the game (and I dislike the whole Cyberpunk genre, I never wanted to play in the "Dark Future", but I still had fun anyway. Don't worry about the rules, just enjoy the adventures.

Mark Hall
2016-01-04, 07:55 PM
I can heartily agree to that. I know if my friend Mark really wanted to run a 2nd ed game, I would play even though I have no real desire to go back to 2nd ed. Good GM/Player can make or break ANY game.

Heck I hear rumors that Rifts is playable under a good GM. ;-)

(Now let us hope he doesn't read this and get any bright ideas.)

The thing is, a good GM never really runs RIFTS. They run a system loosely based on RIFTS. That said, I'm looking forward to Savage Rifts (https://www.peginc.com/rifts-is-coming-for-savage-worlds/), and might run Breachworld (http://www.breachworld.com/)... but I have so much I want to run or play that these are down the list.

neonchameleon
2016-01-04, 08:02 PM
Fundamentally @Premier, your comments boil down to "In the 35 years since AD&D 1e came out, we have fixed the bugs in it and fixed them long enough ago that it's hard to remember what they were. Therefore someone starting with the books will automatically be playing a fixed game". And this is a major fallacy.


I'm not talking about hypothetical white room scenarios, but the reality of gaming culture and practice. Sure, you CAN postulate a situation where 1st edition AD&D, played with all the optional rules in the book and the UA is compared to a game of 3rd edition which uses absolutely nothing but the PHB and the DMG; and indeed, AD&D would easily come out as the more complex of the two.

But we're talking about which edition to learn - with the OP starting in a white room. Starting with a group is a whole different story (adn the answer is learn what the group plays); this is an actual white room situation. And there you do directly compare the 1e PHB + DMG + MM with the 3.5 PHB + DMG + MM. And in this comparison AD&D 1e is more complex than 3.5.

Now you can argue this is because AD&D 1e was a legal scam and never intended to be played that way. But guess what? It doesn't matter how it was intended. What matters is what is. Gygax was, for all he was the best developer in RPG history, terrible at explaininng things in writing (Gygaxian prose is a thing). This is one of the many reasons the classic red box is so good of course. (And a miserable failing of 4e)


However, this is a rather irrealistic comparison. In actual play, nobody uses all the optional rules in 1st ed.

And this is why AD&D 1e is TERRIBLE as a way of teaching classic D&D. How the hell is someone coming to AD&D 1e from the rulebooks meant to know which optional rules are the ones you are intended to use? Sure, if you come to 1e via the red box (either Moldvay or Mentzer) and DM starting without the 1e DMG for a year or so you are going to kknow what looks like a good idea. But guess what? That does not apply here.

But the fact is that as written 1e's core books are more complex than 3.5s core books. And when someone is asking what to teach themselves then they will try to play 1e as written. All your "Nobody uses the optional rules" notwithstanding. This is why I recommended the Rules Cyclopaedia.


but I suspect you might have had a poor experience exactly because you tried to play it in a way nobody actually did.

People who have given up in disgust because it is a terrible game when you play it as written are not "nobody". By recommending 1e you are trying to add to the ranks of people who tried to play 1e in a way that it claims to be intended for.


And, of course, I'm speaking about old editions in general. You picked 1st ed. to build your argument on, and 1st ed. happens to be arguably the single crunchiest of the pre-WotC versions. Surely you're not arguing that 3rd ed. (with or without splats) is simpler than Sword & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord (to name easily accessible retroclones of old editions. Right?

Swords and Wizardry and Labryinth Lord I find are only slightly less complex than 3.X. (The main difference being you don't have a ridiculous skill list - but on the other hand you have unintuitive saves and a couple of other niggles. And I think one of those two uses descending AC which causes runtime errors). Neither game is e.g. in the Fate level for simplicity.


Over and above all that, I maintain that 3rd ed. (again, in actual play) is more complex than previous editions in various highly practical ways. You complain that an optional book for AD&D has over a dozen different types of polearms;

Bardiche, Bec-de-corbin, Bil-Guisarme, Forchard, Fauchard-Fork, Fork-military, Glaive-Guisarme, Guisarme, Guisarme-Voluge, Halberd, Hammer-Lucern, Partisan, Ranseur, Spetum, Trident, Voluge. All from the PHB.


but you give a pass to 3rd ed., which in its optional books has several hundred (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/3.5e_All_Classes) classes;

I've got 99 problems but other peoples classes ain't one of them. And it's disingenuous to use all spatbooks like that.


3rd ed. character creation, however, is full of trap options as a deliberate design decision.

1e Thief, 1e Monk. 1e is not without trap options. And the 1e monk is particularly bad given the build up. If you get the wrong class in 1e you're even more stuffed than if you make one of the wrong choices in 3e.


And THEN you get into the whole meta-game where if you want to avoid a sub-optimal character, you'll need to plan out your PC in advance, because you can only take that desired prestige class at level 10 if every single feat and skill choice if rigidly predetermined for the first nine levels.

Ironic given that you're pretty much stuck as whatever class you picked in 1e, period.


And yes, 5th edition is indeed much simpler than the preceding two, you're correct about that.

I can't get the core 5e rules onto trifolds. Unlike 4e. Of course learning 4e from the books is almost as bad as learning 1e from the books.


It's not about the crunch itself, it's about the mindset cultivated by the crunch. There's an adage: "If you present your players with a puzzling situation in D&D, old-school players first look at each other for ideas. New-school players first look at their character sheets to see if they have a skill to roll on and solve the puzzle." WotC editions have this philosophy of "covering all possibilities", which really means that whatever happens in the game, you'll know what to roll and how. And that is bad for creativity, because true creativity in the game means exactly the opposite: coming up with something that's NOT already anticipated and accounted for by the game's mechanics.

And this is showing ignorance. "Accounted for by the games mechanics" is only a limit if you try to run a physics-sim game (of which 3.X is admittedly one). If you have abstract-ish rules in the style of Fate, Apocalypse World, or even 4e's Skill Challenges (my explanation is much better than the official one)


I'm not going to write out an entire essay about this matter here and now, but there's a very useful (and free) writeup about this here (http://www.lulu.com/shop/matthew-finch/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/ebook/product-3159558.html), which I warmly recommend to everyone, but especially LadyOfLore.

Ah, the Old Straw Primer. I wondered whether that pile of edition warring rubbish would show up.


Actually, D&D can be freewheeling. (Also, LadyOfLore specifically asked for help about D&D editions.) If your personal experience is that D&D cannot be like that (say, compared to Fate, Fudge or whatever), then all I can is that you have my sympathy for having a narrow and non-representative experience of what D&D can be.

And here you are cutting off caveats. I said "As RPGs go D&D is freewheeling". Yes you can throw out the rules and make any edition freewheeling (you can make GURPS freewheeling as well). This does not mean that it's where it starts. Old school D&D is a game where how many lbs of weight you are carrying matters.


And at the end of the day, this thread is about one thing: a new player would like to get into the game and is asking for some help. Whatever I write here I write as advice to that one person with the intention of helping her enjoy her now-starting involvement with RPGs. If my advice helps her with that, good. If she decides to listen to other people's advice instead and ends up having fun, that's good too. If she listens to others, and based on their advice she has a bad experience and gives up on RPGs, well, that's sad, but nobody can say I haven't done my part. Cheers.

And if she follows your advice, picks up 1e, and then finds she doesn't have the years of experience and the red box entry path needed to make it into a decent game then you have for all practical purposes given her bad advice.

My first post in the threat recommended old school play (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20245204&postcount=28). And gave a way in that works - not a way in that sounds like a good idea because you ignore half the rules and have fixed the game.

The simple fact of the matter is that AD&D 1e only exists because Gygax didn't want to pay Arneson royalties. And if you try to learn out of the 1e rulebooks you've a complex and horribly fiddly mess of a game that should never be recommended. And that 3.0 was released to applause in part because it's a whole lot less clunky to learn than any TSR edition (although its problems mount up in play; a lot of what was removed was balancing factors, and there's too much detail in the DC charts).

Premier
2016-01-04, 08:42 PM
*lots of stuff*

And if she follows your advice, picks up 1e, and then finds she doesn't have the years of experience and the red box entry path needed to make it into a decent game then you have for all practical purposes given her bad advice.

*more stuff*

Let me raise a point of order before you sign my death warrant for the crime of recommending 1st ed. to someone:

I did not recommend 1st ed. to anyone.


I recommended old-school editions in general. 1st ed. AD&D only became a talking point because and after you brought it up in your post attacking my general old-school recommendation. You're attacking a point I have never made. It's called strawmaning.

Telok
2016-01-05, 12:56 AM
Original D&D: Oregon Trail. If you get the joke you're dating yourself.

AD&D 1st: Nethack and/or Crawl

AD&D 2nd: Baldurs Gate, Daggerfall

D&D 3.0: Neverwinter Nights

D&D 3.(anything > 0): any Morrowind or later Elder Scrolls game with access to a couple of thousand mods and added content.

D&D 4th: Mortal Kombat, at the arcade.

D&D 5th: Fallout 3+

I have played them all, not as much 5th as I'd like to try but a couple months of a taste. In all of them a good person trying to be a good DM and players who want to engage with the game are the most important things to have. It's the people, not the rules, that make a good game.

Good luck.

neonchameleon
2016-01-05, 03:59 AM
Let me raise a point of order before you sign my death warrant for the crime of recommending 1st ed. to someone:

I did not recommend 1st ed. to anyone.


I recommended old-school editions in general. 1st ed. AD&D only became a talking point because and after you brought it up in your post attacking my general old-school recommendation. You're attacking a point I have never made. It's called strawmaning.

I've just been back to check. And discovered that you did not provide a meaningful recommendation at all. The closest thing to a useful recommendation you gave was the suggestion to go for simpler editions and then the fallacious claim that older editions were generally simpler.

I brought 1e in as a counter example to the only actually actionable advice you gave (older is simpler) that doesn't involve reading and comparing multiple editions. 1e is the easiest old edition to find so unguided will be the default a newbie finds - and the most complex three book core set in the history of D&D.

I apologise for misremembering and thinking you might have given advice that might have been useful to the OP like actually suggesting an edition in the edition suggestions thread.

SpectralDerp
2016-01-05, 04:20 AM
If you have abstract-ish rules in the style of Fate, Apocalypse World, or even 4e's Skill Challenges (my explanation is much better than the official one)

Did this part get cut off?


Character creation was easy in version 4, and balance was all but guaranteed. "You can have it in any color you want, as long as it is black."


Yeah - that was the biggest issue for 4e. They sacrificed asymmetry for balance through symmetry.

Could you elaborate on that? Because 4e is nowhere near "balanced" in my book. It may be more balanced than 3.X, but that's like saying lava is cooler than the sun.



Plus - it felt like they didn't really playtest it. Up until the release they were still bragging about how much faster battles would go than in 3.5. Sure - each round goes faster, but battles went from generally 3-5 rounds max up to 10+ for tough encounters.

I would say this is true to a point and definitely during higher levels. Combat is actually supposed to last about 4 rounds only and it's easy to accomplish, it's just that it requires a certain level of optimisation that many players aren't going to be able to pull off due to a lack of sufficient system mastery.

Telok
2016-01-05, 05:35 AM
For the first 12 to 18 months of 4e (my group picked it up a couple months in and played for an entire year) the classes all used the same framework of powers as the major interaction vector between PCs and NPCs. This led to classes within the same role playing pretty much the same. One of our players compared it to everyone playing 3e clerics with only three domains as their spell lists.

Combat was finely tuned for by-the-numbers results at different difficulty levels no matter what you fought. The combats were simple and well balanced but many enemies were just interchangable bags of hit points that swapped their defenses around and had a power or two that was either a stronger hit, an area attack, or a hit with a rider effect. Combat was fast if you had 4 players and a clump or two of monsters. We had 6 players and our monsters didn't clump nicely for area effects. We were one of the groups that did experience four hour combat slogs.

Vary little attention was paid to anything except combat and powers, and even the combat was built around medium sized humanoids fighting on foot. Stealth and skill challenges went through frequent revisions while we played and mounted combat was a bad joke. The skill system started to break down as soon as you got over 12 + half your level, which a couple of us managed to do by accident around level 5 with perception and stealth. Invariably 90% or more of any character was combat related.

And of course the infamous Firecube spell.

goto124
2016-01-05, 06:22 AM
Taken from another forum:


4th made [Fireball] kind of strange, since they measure diagonals the same as laterals. That makes cones and bursts into squares (hence the ongoing joke/gripe about Firecube as a spell).

Although, I don't understand why it's such a problem that Fireball is technically cube-shaped. Especially when playing on a grid made of squares.

Probably to do with the gripe about how "4e is so computer gamey".

veti
2016-01-05, 06:23 AM
This is an ironic defence of oD&D because in any edition of D&D with the exception of 4e there is the name for a piece that can not be joined to any other piece. That is a spell. Fighters and rogues can't cast them. Wizards and Clerics use separate lists (and then there's the Illusionist that uses specialised connectors of their own in 1E). Literally all of the PHBs save 4e are 40% full of spells. 40% of the PHB is those special parts you decry here. (And in AD&D there's also the issue of magic items being restricted by class - fighters and thieves get swords, fighters and clerics get heavy armour, wizards get spells, etc.).

My point was about special purpose vs general purpose things.

The "fighter", as fluffed in the 1e PHB, can be a soldier, a bodyguard, a brigand, a barbarian, a swashbuckler or a knight. All these things are covered by a single class.

Now, 1e fails dismally to provide any rules to actually support that fluff. In practice, give or take a weapon proficiency or two, every fighter has exactly the same skill set, and thus they all look and act pretty much the same as one another. (Multi-classing is one way out of that predicament, but that brings its own problems.) Worse, it undermines its own fluff by including "sub-classes". But the statement is still there. And as a statement of intent, I think it's a good thing in its own right. It puts the DM on a certain path, plants the objective in their mind when they're developing, often on the fly, the thousand-and-seven houserules that you need to make a practicable game of AD&D. 2e's supplements tried, with variable success, to build on that idea.

3e, with its elegantly simple feats and skills system, probably could have supported that fluff - which was a sad waste of an opportunity, because it promptly went the diametrically opposite way and invented a separate class for every single character archetype anyone could think of. And thus it entrenched the assumption that whenever you think of a new character concept, what you need is a new class (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/All_Classes) to support it. The creativity in 3e is all about rules (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0216.html), not play. I honestly think the creators of 3e actually believed they'd created a well balanced system - right up to the time when other players read the rules and started to point out what they meant, by which time the authors had painted themselves into a corner by including so many explicit rules.

SpectralDerp
2016-01-05, 07:22 AM
Although, I don't understand why it's such a problem that Fireball is technically cube-shaped. Especially when playing on a grid made of squares.

4e uses non-euclidean distances because nobody wants to try to made a circle-based "grid" which makes sense and they decided not to use a hexagonal grid because ... I don't know and that was probably a bad move. Maybe they thought hexagonal grids were difficult to make at home or would turn people away.

A square grid still strikes me as infinitely superior over having no grid or built-in way of measuring distances. A well-defined cube is a lot less annoying than a 20ft radius with vaguely defined positions if you are trying to honestly follow the rules.

hamlet
2016-01-05, 09:51 AM
I attempt to disbelieve ;)

No, seriously, how did anyone find "hunt through the core books, plus 50 supplements, to find the rule buried in the fluff, that uses a completely different system than any other rule in the game" easier to learn than, "I bet it's in the core books, and I bet it's roll a d20 and add my bonus"?

That having been said... How did you convince them to return to the good old days? Nobody I know is willing to even give the delightful train wreck that is 2e a chance.

Well, you have to realize that it kind of also goes back to a different paradigm, though a slight one.

The WOTC editions seem to me, and again this is personal experience, intended to be learned by getting a copy of the book, reading it, then sitting down with a group and gaming. It's very individualistic, very . . . dunno . . . essentially you're sort of expected to come to the first session knowing the vast majority and maybe needing a bit of help with the fine points.

The TSR editions were, largely, a different animal. Learning the game wasn't really a matter of getting a rule book and then reading through it for comprehension: that would simply drive a new player loopy especially with the 1st edition book which suffered from "creative editing." Really, you were kind of expected to be mentored: somebody who was an experienced player was expected to sit with you and be your "buddy" for at least a few sessions and most certainly through character creation. The DM was expected to help, too. You didn't just join the game, you were "inducted" so to speak. It could be oddly cultish, which I suppose lent just a little credence to MADD and a certain comic strip after a fashion. It was, at least, a bit more communal on the individual group level than the whole game level, especially since each table played the rules differently, sometimes significantly so. The 3.x and later editions played more cohesively and table hopping is a little bit easier of a prospect.

How did I convince them? For the most part, they wanted to game and didn't have a table to sit at for a 3.x game and I convinced them to give AD&D a try at least for the time being. We (the group as a whole) sat with them to help them make up their first character, assigned a buddy to help point them in the right direction in the books to find pertinent info, and just took things a bit slow for them until they were caught up. Within about 3 sessions, they were going at it like old seasoned pro's and had grasped all but the most arcane and oft forgotten details of the PHB.

The one that I talked into Basic was very upset with the absurd bloat of 3.x, so I handed him a copy of Labyrinth Lord and we set up a one-off. Three days later he was absolutely in love with it and still plays it to this day almost exclusively, though I think he's playing Runequest 2nd now, too.

The older editions appeal to a different mindset largely. You just have to find the right minds and work to dispel a lot of the ridiculous rumors that crop up around them.

wumpus
2016-01-05, 11:50 AM
I've heard quite a few D&D vets (those who started significantly before 3e) say that the older versions of D&D (pre-3e) are easier to learn, and I've heard quite a few D&D vets say that 3e+ is easier to learn.

I've never heard someone who didn't start with the older versions of D&D claim that they were easier to learn.

I think that pretty much says it in a nutshell.

One thing that is missing here is that for AD&D (and earlier) the players were encouraged not to know the system. Getting the DM to learn either system is likely easier than to get everyone to understand 3.x (I strongly suspect that it is easier for everyone to learn 4e than a newbie DM to learn AD&D. Try BECMI* instead).

In practice, this wasn't very true. Unless you had an ongoing campaign, many groups would rotate DMs. But the Dungeon Master's Guide (or DM sections of BECMI) would explicitly say "DMs only: not for players' eyes". By 3.x TSR/WOTC/Hasbro realized that this was a lousy way to sell books and killed the concept with gusto. Still, some of my favorite gaming times was playing Villains and Vigilantes with absolutely no idea what the "real" rules were (also having an amazing gamemaster run the thing was critical).

I'm guessing that you would need a much lower learning commitment for the rest of the players with 5e (and obviously old school gaming). Getting the gaming group together is the first step.

PS. Have we scared away the original poster yet?

* I'm kind of shocked about the lack of love BECMI has gotten . Maybe it wasn't that good, I only played the Moldvay "BE" game. Maybe because if you buy it as a "rules cyclopeida" you don't get the basic section helpfully broken out? The Moldvay (and earlier) games were written specifically for starting out and grew from there. If you want "old school", it seems the way to go (although I still think 5e is the obvious choice. [i]Especially downloading the free basic parts

hamlet
2016-01-05, 12:33 PM
* I'm kind of shocked about the lack of love BECMI has gotten . Maybe it wasn't that good, I only played the Moldvay "BE" game. Maybe because if you buy it as a "rules cyclopeida" you don't get the basic section helpfully broken out? The Moldvay (and earlier) games were written specifically for starting out and grew from there. If you want "old school", it seems the way to go (although I still think 5e is the obvious choice. [i]Especially downloading the free basic parts

It doesn't surprise me at all, actually. The basic "lack of options" really puts off a lot of people I find.

Personally, I love it, especially for some good old fashioned un-self-conscious gaming. Just great to have loads of fun with.

Quertus
2016-01-05, 12:34 PM
One of the difficulties we run into in these discussions is that all of us (myself included) tend to exaggerate the difficulties of systems we don't like. For instance:

To be fair, I was exaggerating the difficulties of a system I do like, possibly my favorite system. :smalltongue:

To be fair, I think I only spent 20+ hours researching a rule between sessions once, 2+ hours researching a rule with the whole party in session... about 10 times, maybe?


My point was about special purpose vs general purpose things.

The "fighter", as fluffed in the 1e PHB, can be a soldier, a bodyguard, a brigand, a barbarian, a swashbuckler or a knight. All these things are covered by a single class.

Now, 1e fails dismally to provide any rules to actually support that fluff. In practice, give or take a weapon proficiency or two, every fighter has exactly the same skill set, and thus they all look and act pretty much the same as one another. (Multi-classing is one way out of that predicament, but that brings its own problems.) Worse, it undermines its own fluff by including "sub-classes". But the statement is still there. And as a statement of intent, I think it's a good thing in its own right. It puts the DM on a certain path, plants the objective in their mind when they're developing, often on the fly, the thousand-and-seven houserules that you need to make a practicable game of AD&D. 2e's supplements tried, with variable success, to build on that idea.

3e, with its elegantly simple feats and skills system, probably could have supported that fluff - which was a sad waste of an opportunity, because it promptly went the diametrically opposite way and invented a separate class for every single character archetype anyone could think of. And thus it entrenched the assumption that whenever you think of a new character concept, what you need is a new class (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/All_Classes) to support it. The creativity in 3e is all about rules (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0216.html), not play. I honestly think the creators of 3e actually believed they'd created a well balanced system - right up to the time when other players read the rules and started to point out what they meant, by which time the authors had painted themselves into a corner by including so many explicit rules.

I guess I liked there being mechanical bonuses (and penalties) to differentiate different concepts - a pugilist getting a bonus to hit unarmed, but a penalty with weapons; a sailor ignoring any seasickness / unfamiliar terrain penalties on a boat, but getting a movement penalty on land, whatever. So I liked all the kits in 2e / all the class variety in 3.x. This difference is, I suppose, another one to look at for the OP (or anyone else) to choose which system to learn.


Could you elaborate on that? Because 4e is nowhere near "balanced" in my book. It may be more balanced than 3.X, but that's like saying lava is cooler than the sun.

No, I honestly can't. I'm told that it's a matter of my PoV, like how different languages use inflection for different purposes, or how some people are color blind - that, in this instance, I have one PoV, and cannot see the other. I recognize my limitations here. Hopefully someone who can see both PoVs can explain.


Well, you have to realize that it kind of also goes back to a different paradigm, though a slight one.

The WOTC editions seem to me, and again this is personal experience, intended to be learned by getting a copy of the book, reading it, then sitting down with a group and gaming. It's very individualistic, very . . . dunno . . . essentially you're sort of expected to come to the first session knowing the vast majority and maybe needing a bit of help with the fine points.

The TSR editions were, largely, a different animal. Learning the game wasn't really a matter of getting a rule book and then reading through it for comprehension: that would simply drive a new player loopy especially with the 1st edition book which suffered from "creative editing." Really, you were kind of expected to be mentored: somebody who was an experienced player was expected to sit with you and be your "buddy" for at least a few sessions and most certainly through character creation. The DM was expected to help, too. You didn't just join the game, you were "inducted" so to speak. It could be oddly cultish, which I suppose lent just a little credence to MADD and a certain comic strip after a fashion. It was, at least, a bit more communal on the individual group level than the whole game level, especially since each table played the rules differently, sometimes significantly so. The 3.x and later editions played more cohesively and table hopping is a little bit easier of a prospect.

How did I convince them? For the most part, they wanted to game and didn't have a table to sit at for a 3.x game and I convinced them to give AD&D a try at least for the time being. We (the group as a whole) sat with them to help them make up their first character, assigned a buddy to help point them in the right direction in the books to find pertinent info, and just took things a bit slow for them until they were caught up. Within about 3 sessions, they were going at it like old seasoned pro's and had grasped all but the most arcane and oft forgotten details of the PHB.

The one that I talked into Basic was very upset with the absurd bloat of 3.x, so I handed him a copy of Labyrinth Lord and we set up a one-off. Three days later he was absolutely in love with it and still plays it to this day almost exclusively, though I think he's playing Runequest 2nd now, too.

The older editions appeal to a different mindset largely. You just have to find the right minds and work to dispel a lot of the ridiculous rumors that crop up around them.

The vast array of possible classes tends to make me use the buddy system in 3.x, too.

But I may have to use the "one-shot" approach, and see if I can't get anyone to bite for a 2e game that way. Thanks! :smallsmile:

JAL_1138
2016-01-05, 12:47 PM
One thing that is missing here is that for AD&D (and earlier) the players were encouraged not to know the system. Getting the DM to learn either system is likely easier than to get everyone to understand 3.x (I strongly suspect that it is easier for everyone to learn 4e than a newbie DM to learn AD&D. Try BECMI* instead).

In practice, this wasn't very true. Unless you had an ongoing campaign, many groups would rotate DMs. But the Dungeon Master's Guide (or DM sections of BECMI) would explicitly say "DMs only: not for players' eyes". By 3.x TSR/WOTC/Hasbro realized that this was a lousy way to sell books and killed the concept with gusto. Still, some of my favorite gaming times was playing Villains and Vigilantes with absolutely no idea what the "real" rules were (also having an amazing gamemaster run the thing was critical).

I'm guessing that you would need a much lower learning commitment for the rest of the players with 5e (and obviously old school gaming). Getting the gaming group together is the first step.

PS. Have we scared away the original poster yet?

* I'm kind of shocked about the lack of love BECMI has gotten . Maybe it wasn't that good, I only played the Moldvay "BE" game. Maybe because if you buy it as a "rules cyclopeida" you don't get the basic section helpfully broken out? The Moldvay (and earlier) games were written specifically for starting out and grew from there. If you want "old school", it seems the way to go (although I still think 5e is the obvious choice. [i]Especially downloading the free basic parts

BX/BECMI/RC are great, absolutely, but finding copies is tricky anymore and not a lot of people seem to still be playing them (odd, since Red Box was reputedly the best-selling D&D product of all time). The difficulty of finding an active game may be part of the reason it hasn't come up much.

I'd recommend 5e of D&D editions. It's going to have a lot more active games out there, especially online, than any TSR era games and is very easy to learn, and has organized play in the form of Adventurer's League.

Pathfinder is another viable option, although it's more complex and harder to get into for a complete newbie (or for a grognard used to TSR era games, in my personal experience with 3.PF). It has a very large player base, almost certainly more than 3.5 D&D does now, and is 5e's main commercial rival. It also has its own organized play, Pathfinder Society.

Probably the best advice was given by another poster further back in the thread: for the OP, step one is to find a group to join that's willing to teach a newbie how to play. Then pick up whatever edition they're playing. 5e and Pathfinder are probably the most likely ones to find a group for at the moment, but not the only possibilities.

Lord Torath
2016-01-05, 03:07 PM
@ Lady of Lore:

If there's nothing available in the area, you might try signing up for Roll20 (http://roll20.net/). There are a host of games going on there, and you can search for games that are accepting new players and are being played at a time that meets your schedule. You can also search based on rule set and edition.

Like others, I wouldn't worry too much about which edition you play. They all have things that are easier and harder to grasp than other editions, and yet, somehow, people have learned how to play and enjoy each one. I have no reason to believe you won't be able to do the same. (That said, I've only played BX/BECMI/RC and 2E AD&D, so you probably shouldn't trust anything I say about the later editions).

So my main advice is to find a game that meets your schedule, and have fun!

Premier
2016-01-05, 07:49 PM
I've just been back to check. And discovered that you did not provide a meaningful recommendation at all. The closest thing to a useful recommendation you gave was the suggestion to go for simpler editions and then the fallacious claim that older editions were generally simpler.

I brought 1e in as a counter example to the only actually actionable advice you gave (older is simpler) that doesn't involve reading and comparing multiple editions. 1e is the easiest old edition to find so unguided will be the default a newbie finds - and the most complex three book core set in the history of D&D.

I apologise for misremembering and thinking you might have given advice that might have been useful to the OP like actually suggesting an edition in the edition suggestions thread.

It seems clear to me that all you're interested in at this point is tearing into me over some imagined slight and that you believe personal attacks are acceptable as long as the target voices an opinion you disagree with. Well, if this is what makes you happy, you can continue doing it alone. Ta.

Best of luck to LadyOfLore.

neonchameleon
2016-01-06, 06:30 AM
Did this part get cut off?

My explanation of 4e's skill challenge rules? Yup. I meant to say they are the "Three strikes plans" in the retroclone in my signature.

Short version - when the players come up with a complex plan you really don't know what to do with, the mechanical plan is to work out how difficult it is, chunk it up, and have them try to do each part with appropriate skill rolls

The Skill Challenges presented in the 4e PHB are writing down what a good DM might have done as part of a structure - but never telling you how they fit that flexible structure. Used as an improv tool they work well, but they aren't presented as an improv tool.

Also re: Square Fireballs, in play they aren't a problem after the first couple of sessions IME. But my theory is that 4e was playtested on a hex grid where the blasts are 60 degree cones and the fireballs are approximately circular. And then they were told "You must use square grids" about a month before 4e went to print so forced everything onto a square grid the fast and efficient way. (Again my retroclone uses hex grids).


Could you elaborate on that? Because 4e is nowhere near "balanced" in my book. It may be more balanced than 3.X, but that's like saying lava is cooler than the sun.

Indeed. 4e is neither an example of anything even vaguely approaching perfect balance nor of symmetric game design. It's just better balanced than 3.X or 2e. Part of Arneson and Gygax' genius in the design of oD&D is that you quite literally have each class being an almost separate game in oD&D, complete with extremely different resource mechanics, loot, and objectives.

(I am only slightly exaggerating when I say that D&D in 1974 was the first class based RPG - and the second was as far as I know Apocalypse World in 2010, with everything in the middle having packaged-point-buy as its "classes")


BX/BECMI/RC are great, absolutely, but finding copies is tricky anymore and not a lot of people seem to still be playing them (odd, since Red Box was reputedly the best-selling D&D product of all time). The difficulty of finding an active game may be part of the reason it hasn't come up much.

Rules Cyclopaedia (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/17171/DD-Rules-Cyclopedia-Basic?it=1).

Moldvay Basic (http://www.dndclassics.com/product/110274/D%26D-Basic-Set-Rulebook-%28Basic%29?term=basic+)/eXpert (http://www.dndclassics.com/product/110792/DD-Expert-Set-Rulebook-B-X-ed-Basic?src=slider_view)

Mentzer Basic (http://www.dndclassics.com/product/116578/DD-Basic-Set--Players-Manual-BECMI-ed-Basic?src=hottest_filtered&filters=0_0_44699) (the rest of the ECMI does't appear to be there, but that's the bestselling red box).

According to one primary source, D&D made more money in 1983 than the entire RPG market is making now - and that's not allowing for inflation.

goto124
2016-01-06, 08:05 AM
[4e] may be more balanced than 3.X, but that's like saying lava is cooler than the sun.

Just take a moment to admire this :smallcool:

KorvinStarmast
2016-01-06, 11:12 AM
While I stand by my recommendation to play at first with people, I do understand that this may not work for you, so here is my suggestion:

Download the basic rules from the wizards of the coast web site.

As noted a few posts previous, go the the roll20 site online and set up a free account. (So far, you have spent zero dollars).

Try to get into a game at roll20.

Depending upon your internet connection, the video and audio feeds for roll20 may be weird. But if you can, make sure you select the audio channel. talk helps.

Always use the chat function for communication on a final choice made during the game.

See how it works.

2D8HP
2016-01-06, 12:27 PM
Lady of L. (LoL?),
The thread you initiated has been real fun to read, and now I want to try every version!
Downloading the free 5E rules is probably the best way to go, to be a player rather then host the game ("Dungeon Master"). To play you really only need to know maybe the character creation rules and the list of spells if your playing a spellcaster. When I play I deliberately ignore the rules and just ask the DM what the character perceives, then I roll the dice to see if the attempt was successful. Whichever version of D&D you may chose is still probably best determined by what the individual play group that seems most fun or by which version gives you a character that looks fun (3.5 probably has the most options if you include the supplements, but I think with other versions it's easier to decide what character to play)
If you want to learn an earlier version my favorite way is from the 1977 to 1978 basic set.

I found a version of D&D that a fan made called "the grey book" that uses those basic rules plus some latter rules at
www.mediafire.com/?5nzhz1ztiyx


And after you started this thread I picked up a 1994 book "The Classic Dungeons and Dragons Rules and Adventures Book" which must have been from a "basic" or "starter" set back then and it just may be the easiest to learn from reading version that I have found yet.
Also the Basic Role-playing game published by Chaosium is a good choice to learn the hobby from.
Just thinking about it has reminded me how much fun D&D and table top role playing games in general can be.
Thanks and good luck!

Talakeal
2016-01-06, 12:59 PM
Also re: Square Fireballs, in play they aren't a problem after the first couple of sessions IME. But my theory is that 4e was playtested on a hex grid where the blasts are 60 degree cones and the fireballs are approximately circular. And then they were told "You must use square grids" about a month before 4e went to print so forced everything onto a square grid the fast and efficient way. (Again my retroclone uses hex grids).


Square is just so much easier to use though.

For my system I tried to compromise; most spell effects and explosions are spherical, but anyone in a square that is partially filled by the effect is still hit, so they are in effect square more often than not.

neonchameleon
2016-01-06, 01:13 PM
Square is just so much easier to use though.

YMMV. I find squares better on certain types of streets or in most buildings where the walls are straight - and hexes better on open ground because they are almost correct in their distances and there's no silly 1/2/1/2 counting.

Talakeal
2016-01-06, 01:23 PM
YMMV. I find squares better on certain types of streets or in most buildings where the walls are straight - and hexes better on open ground because they are almost correct in their distances and there's no silly 1/2/1/2 counting.

Oh, I meant for the shape of fireballs and the like, not for the board as a whole.


I do, however, use a square grid for two reasons;

1: There are a lot more models with square bases than hex bases, and
2: I find that the 1.5 distance thing for going diagonally to be a lot easier than the back and forth walk you have to do when moving up and down on a hex grid. I remember playing fallout (which used a hex grid) and how weird it looked when your character would walk straight up or down on the screen in this weird zig zag pattern.

RedMage125
2016-01-06, 03:41 PM
Oh, I meant for the shape of fireballs and the like, not for the board as a whole.



I have a set of templates (I think the company is Steel Sqwire or something to that effect) that I bought at GenCon YEARS ago, and still use to this day. Works out great for me.

Talakeal
2016-01-06, 04:18 PM
I have a set of templates (I think the company is Steel Sqwire or something to that effect) that I bought at GenCon YEARS ago, and still use to this day. Works out great for me.

IIRC those aren't spherical either, are they?

Mark Hall
2016-01-06, 04:38 PM
I tended to assume that the squares in 4e were approximations... so your square fireball was really a circle, but there's enough uncertainty about any given object's location that you can go "eh, good enough."

RedMage125
2016-01-06, 06:34 PM
IIRC those aren't spherical either, are they?

No, that's my point. They let you know which squares are and are not affected by AoEs.

Itsjustsoup.com
2016-01-08, 02:28 AM
Step 1 : Choose Latest Edition : Choose 5e
Step 2: Look up 5e rules online, read in one afternoon all the basics
Step 3: Join an online game on roll 20, its free and tell them your new, ask questions
Step 4: After playing for one week, start GMing your game. 95% of your questions will be gone.

Telok
2016-01-09, 03:45 AM
No, that's my point. They let you know which squares are and are not affected by AoEs.
I've used two other methods that are simpler, rulers and circles. Rulers are cheap and accurate and simple to use. For circles figure the length of wire you need and make a few different sizes with clothes hangers.

RedMage125
2016-01-09, 10:18 AM
I've used two other methods that are simpler, rulers and circles. Rulers are cheap and accurate and simple to use. For circles figure the length of wire you need and make a few different sizes with clothes hangers.

Whatever works for you, but if you DO play on a grid, it helps to have an official ruling on which squares are affected.

themaque
2016-01-09, 04:10 PM
I've used two other methods that are simpler, rulers and circles. Rulers are cheap and accurate and simple to use. For circles figure the length of wire you need and make a few different sizes with clothes hangers.

I can totally understand how the square spheres can rub a person the wrong way. However, if you are using a grid, than they are simply faster and easier.

Telok
2016-01-09, 04:42 PM
I can totally understand how the square spheres can rub a person the wrong way. However, if you are using a grid, than they are simply faster and easier.

Actually the wire circles are faster. No counting distances.

Plus for me there's the additional bonus of not being completely dependent on using and buying mats or grids. Our group has worked up house rules about dropping the center of an effect in the middle of a 'square' and using the rulers has simplified line of sight/effect/charging. We've had more fun that way, althouhg the CRPG guys have had issues with remembering that they don't need to be enslaved by grid lines.

JoeJ
2016-01-11, 05:32 PM
If you can't find a group to join, I'd recommend 5e. That version is probably the easiest to learn just by reading, and the basic rules can be downloaded free, so you're not out any money if you find the game is not to your taste.


Even simple things, like doors being indestructible, make no sense in version 5.

Where are you getting this from? Doors aren't indestructible in 5e. Like other objects, they have an AC based on their material and hit points based on their size. Or, if you just want to force open a stuck or locked door, that's a simple Strength check.

oxybe
2016-01-11, 06:45 PM
Where are you getting this from? Doors aren't indestructible in 5e. Like other objects, they have an AC based on their material and hit points based on their size. Or, if you just want to force open a stuck or locked door, that's a simple Strength check.

probably got it from the same people who believe that doors in 4th ed suddenly got harder to break down when you leveled up.

LadyOfLore
2016-01-15, 05:24 PM
Thank you everyone for the out put and help
:3 I have found a game and I am hoping for the best
I am excited :D

Talakeal
2016-01-16, 02:19 AM
Thank you everyone for the out put and help
:3 I have found a game and I am hoping for the best
I am excited :D

Great news!

Out of curiosity, which edition did you end up with?

hamlet
2016-01-16, 03:54 PM
Thank you everyone for the out put and help
:3 I have found a game and I am hoping for the best
I am excited :D

Tell us all about it!

LadyOfLore
2016-01-17, 06:06 PM
Star Wars Saga Edition
:3 I actually going to play for the first time in the next hour xD
Kid Jake was kind enough to invite me to sit in a game of his
and I am kinda nervous but you do not know how it is till you try it
If he had not I was leaning on 5e or pathfinders but it also depends of on what groups that would take me :3

runeghost
2016-01-17, 07:42 PM
As jinjitsu said, 5th ed is probaly your best bet. But you also really want to find a group, or at least a DM, who knows what they're doing. For new role players, I would say that 5th, Classic (BECMI or B/X) or 2nd are the best places to start with, but in the hands of a good DM who is trying to be friendly to new players, any edition but 4th is good. 5th is obviously going to be the easiest to find materials for.

I'd recommend against 4th, because it is the furthest from the basical ideas of D&D, basically being lightly D&D flavored World of Warcraft on a tabletop. There are also "retro-clones" D&D variants with the serial numbers filed off for legal reasons. Some of them are quite good, too.

LadyOfLore
2016-01-17, 10:50 PM
:D just finished my first session had a lot of fun still very noobish but that is ok for now
I cant wait to do it again with less mess ups and embarrassments.
I still looking to learned some of other ones to...
Thank you every one for their help again :smallredface:

Jay R
2016-01-19, 11:47 AM
:D just finished my first session had a lot of fun still very noobish but that is ok for now
I cant wait to do it again with less mess ups and embarrassments.
I still looking to learned some of other ones to...
Thank you every one for their help again :smallredface:

Great! I'm glad you had fun.

Don't sweat the mess ups and embarrassments - it happens to everyone.

And don't sweat the edition. Playing with any edition is better than not playing.

hamlet
2016-01-19, 12:48 PM
Great! I'm glad you had fun.

Don't sweat the mess ups and embarrassments - it happens to everyone.

And don't sweat the edition. Playing with any edition is better than not playing.

Unless that game is FATAL.

Quertus
2016-01-19, 02:51 PM
Unless that game is FATAL.

Reading that, I couldn't help but imagine playing d&d to the death.

LadyOfLore
2016-01-19, 03:15 PM
Lol, I get flustered and um emotional easy. I one point I turned red as tomato but either way it was more fun after i relaxed.
The session was cut a bit short so I did wish it lasted longer and I cant wait till next Sunday to play again

Jay R
2016-01-19, 06:13 PM
Unless that game is FATAL.

It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

I think it was very efficient of you to shoot down your point in your own sig file. :smallbiggrin:

hamlet
2016-01-20, 09:30 AM
I think it was very efficient of you to shoot down your point in your own sig file. :smallbiggrin:

Yes, I do enjoy a bit of irony now and then. While I'm sure it's actually possible to have fun playing FATAL, I'm not actually sure how that would actually work, short of playing a game that spends its entire time mocking the game itself.

Sol
2016-01-20, 03:24 PM
I'd recommend against 4th, because it is the furthest from the basical ideas of D&D, basically being lightly D&D flavored World of Warcraft on a tabletop.

There's so, so many truly bizarre impressions of 4e from people who've never played it in this thread. I dunno if you're one of them, but I'm honestly curious what you think is MMO-like about it.

In case it's not obvious, I like 4e. It can be played as a tactical combat board game, but it doesn't have to be. Not having thousands of rules for out of combat doesn't mean it's a combat game. It just means it knows when to back off and allow roleplay without interference.

The at-will, encounter, daily power structure gives casters stuff to do at low levels other than miss with a crossbow, and gives even fighters options beyond, "I move and attack," always. Assertions that this leads to different classes playing the same are highly questionable, unless you reduce both, "I launch a ball of acid at my enemy, dealing 1d12+1d10+20 acid damage. it is slowed and grants combat advantage until the end of my next turn" and, "I sneak behind the orc and find a weak point in its armor to jab my knife through, dealing 1d4+3d8+14 damage. If it attacks me before the start of my next turn, I can repeat my attack" to, "I use an at-will attack power."

More than anything else, I like 4e because it was a full departure from vancian magic, which I find incredibly uncompelling, but I have nothing against people who disagree.

Arbane
2016-01-20, 07:26 PM
What kind of video games would they be like? I have played many video games, Maybe one I can compare to.

AD&D 1st ed: Rogue
AD&D 2nd ed: Nethack.
D&D 3rd ed: Morrowind
D&D 4th ed: Final Fantasy Tactics
D&D 5th Ed: Skyrim

Jay R
2016-01-20, 11:10 PM
Yes, I do enjoy a bit of irony now and then. While I'm sure it's actually possible to have fun playing FATAL, I'm not actually sure how that would actually work, short of playing a game that spends its entire time mocking the game itself.

Thank you for acknowledging my point, and then going ahead and making yours. Cordial behavior really is possible on the internet.

Telok
2016-01-21, 02:16 AM
Sol: I may be able to answer some of that. My group played 4e for a year before going back to 3.5.

We found that 4e, for us, punished non-power based combat actions and failed to support anything but squad based combat. Plus at the end of the year combats were taking longer to play due to an increase in the availability of interrupt powers, tracking multiple conditions on everyone and bonuses that changed very often, and one of our players ended up with option paralysis because he couldn't build a character with just a couple repeatable tactics. While he found the aedu power system complicated I found it simplistic, the powers were so basic in structure that there was always an obvious best power. I ended up reading a book between my turns because the rounds took so long except for my 30 seconds. I couldn't make a character complex enough to hold my interest in combat.

While the game didn't get on the way of roleplay it also didn't help it. There were skills, and that was it. The skill challenge system hadn't gotten to it's final version by the time we quit and never managed to make anything more interesting for us. Part of it may have been us breaking the skill system, once a character got five to ten points better in a skill than the game's math expected it was pretty much an autowin. We had other issues, things like horses being unable to carry our 'knight' paladin and oddities involving vertical distances and the grid, but mostly it was combat getting slower and slower while the characters never grew or changed outside of their combat powers.

And yeah, a couple of us compared it to computer games where anything outside the provided powers pretty much just didn't exist or didn't work. I know other people had different experiences and more power to them if they get to play a game they like. Our group needed something more than a tactical minis battle to scratch our RPG itch.

hamlet
2016-01-21, 11:13 AM
Thank you for acknowledging my point, and then going ahead and making yours. Cordial behavior really is possible on the internet.

No it's not, the internet is a horrible place.

The secret is . . . this isn't actually the internet!

There is no spoon . . .

CharonsHelper
2016-01-21, 11:34 AM
No it's not, the internet is a horrible place.

Blame Al Gore - he invented it! *nods knowingly*

Mark Hall
2016-01-21, 02:55 PM
AD&D 1st ed: Rogue
AD&D 2nd ed: Nethack.
D&D 3rd ed: Morrowind
D&D 4th ed: Final Fantasy Tactics
D&D 5th Ed: Skyrim

You know, I can't argue too hard with this. Of course, one could argue this makes Pathfinder into essentially Oblivion... :smallbiggrin:

I'd also toss out that I see Hackmaster as being Quest for Glory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quest_for_Glory)... but I also figure most of you haven't played Quest for Glory (http://www.gog.com/game/quest_for_glory).

Talakeal
2016-01-21, 03:09 PM
AD&D 1st ed: Rogue
AD&D 2nd ed: Nethack.
D&D 3rd ed: Morrowind
D&D 4th ed: Final Fantasy Tactics
D&D 5th Ed: Skyrim

What's Rogue?

Also, as someone who hasnt played the newer Elder Scrolls games, could someone explain to me what the distinction is between Morrowwind and Skyrim that mirrors the 3e / 5e divide is?

obryn
2016-01-21, 03:13 PM
I don't know why everyone is getting so complicated. :smallsmile:

If you're just starting with D&D, arguably the very best place to start is with the classic Basic sets, alongside an adventure like Keep on the Borderlands. Fortunately, these are all very reasonable online, and if you need a physical copy, you can either check ebay (and still spend less than the $150 retail 5e would cost) or get a high-quality retro-clone like Dark Dungeons or Labyrinth Lord.

These will teach you the basics of how to play the game better than any newer edition.

Mark Hall
2016-01-21, 03:21 PM
What's Rogue?

Also, as someone who hasnt played the newer Elder Scrolls games, could someone explain to me what the distinction is between Morrowwind and Skyrim that mirrors the 3e / 5e divide is?

Rogue (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28video_game%29) was an ASCII-character dungeon exploration game from the early 80s. Your character was dropped in a dungeon with a weapon, some armor, and a bit of food, and you had to explore to find the Amulet of Yendor, then climb out of the dungeon. It was the original hard core mode... identifying potions was usually "drink it and hope you don't die". To figure out what a scroll did, read it. You were sort of an ur-adventurer... able to use all weapons, armor, and magic items, but with no spells or other special abilities.

Nethack is a descendant of that... as is Diablo.

As for the distinction between Morrowind and Skyrim that mirrors the distinction between 3.x and 5e? That's harder to say... in both cases, they're broadly similar, though Skyrim winds up sacrificing some of the flexibility and depth that Morrowind had in favor of expediency. For example, both have enchanting and alchemy... but Morrowind had you carry a mortar and pestle to do alchemy anywhere, and you could create a huge variety of magical effects through enchanting (again, doing them anywhere). What a sword that lets you throw fireballs like a wand? Craft an item that will let you do that. Skyrim allows alchemy and enchanting, and they're integral parts of the game, but there's less ability to go "off the reservation"... swords get weapon enchantments, and only weapon enchantments. You can't choose to put certain kinds of armor enchantments on certain pieces of armor... it's simply not allowed to have a helmet that increases your carry weight.

Plus, you know, 5e has snazzier graphics and a smoother implementation of the engine.

Talakeal
2016-01-21, 03:48 PM
Rogue (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28video_game%29) was an ASCII-character dungeon exploration game from the early 80s. Your character was dropped in a dungeon with a weapon, some armor, and a bit of food, and you had to explore to find the Amulet of Yendor, then climb out of the dungeon. It was the original hard core mode... identifying potions was usually "drink it and hope you don't die". To figure out what a scroll did, read it. You were sort of an ur-adventurer... able to use all weapons, armor, and magic items, but with no spells or other special abilities.

Nethack is a descendant of that... as is Diablo.

As for the distinction between Morrowind and Skyrim that mirrors the distinction between 3.x and 5e? That's harder to say... in both cases, they're broadly similar, though Skyrim winds up sacrificing some of the flexibility and depth that Morrowind had in favor of expediency. For example, both have enchanting and alchemy... but Morrowind had you carry a mortar and pestle to do alchemy anywhere, and you could create a huge variety of magical effects through enchanting (again, doing them anywhere). What a sword that lets you throw fireballs like a wand? Craft an item that will let you do that. Skyrim allows alchemy and enchanting, and they're integral parts of the game, but there's less ability to go "off the reservation"... swords get weapon enchantments, and only weapon enchantments. You can't choose to put certain kinds of armor enchantments on certain pieces of armor... it's simply not allowed to have a helmet that increases your carry weight.

Plus, you know, 5e has snazzier graphics and a smoother implementation of the engine.

I guess Rogue was a bit before my time. Thanks for the info!

Mark Hall
2016-01-21, 03:56 PM
I guess Rogue was a bit before my time. Thanks for the info!

See if you can find it and play for a while. It's hella addictive, and even has a basic editing tool in some versions (letting you determine what kind of random fruit is found in the dungeon, and set the default name when you just hit enter instead of typing in a name).

The Mad Hatter
2016-01-21, 04:21 PM
Personally, I adore Pathfinder. Golarion is a wonderful setting, in my opinion, and there's good roleplay capabilities in the system, even though there's obviously a potential focus on combat.

Vitruviansquid
2016-01-21, 06:18 PM
I guess Rogue was a bit before my time. Thanks for the info!

You know the term, "rogue-like?" That's where it comes from.

wumpus
2016-01-21, 07:35 PM
I don't know why everyone is getting so complicated. :smallsmile:

If you're just starting with D&D, arguably the very best place to start is with the classic Basic sets, alongside an adventure like Keep on the Borderlands. Fortunately, these are all very reasonable online, and if you need a physical copy, you can either check ebay (and still spend less than the $150 retail 5e would cost) or get a high-quality retro-clone like Dark Dungeons or Labyrinth Lord.

These will teach you the basics of how to play the game better than any newer edition.

Except that there also exists a free download that does the same for 5e (except that it is less limited and goes to level 20 instead of level 3 like the old basic editions): http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules?x=dnd/basicrules

Note that you can also download the "system resource document" that acts like a mini-extended basic set (adds a few classes, maybe some monsters, spells, magic items).
http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/SRD-OGL_V1.1.pdf

The real issue will always be getting the playing group together. Unless you are dealing with people who played a specific version "back in the day", you probably want the latest edition (and with the free downloads, it is easier for everyone to have a copy. Note that for old school play, that might be a double-edged sword).

obryn
2016-01-21, 09:41 PM
Except that there also exists a free download that does the same for 5e (except that it is less limited and goes to level 20 instead of level 3 like the old basic editions): http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules?x=dnd/basicrules

Note that you can also download the "system resource document" that acts like a mini-extended basic set (adds a few classes, maybe some monsters, spells, magic items).
http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/SRD-OGL_V1.1.pdf

The real issue will always be getting the playing group together. Unless you are dealing with people who played a specific version "back in the day", you probably want the latest edition (and with the free downloads, it is easier for everyone to have a copy. Note that for old school play, that might be a double-edged sword).
Oh, I know all about 5e Basic, but the classic Basic sets do a much better job of teaching the game to a fresh audience.

veti
2016-01-22, 01:16 AM
See if you can find it and play for a while.

Here's (http://mad4j.github.io/rogue.js/rogue.html) a version of Rogue. Not quite as polished as I remember it, but it gives the general idea.

themaque
2016-01-22, 11:05 AM
As for the distinction between Morrowind and Skyrim that mirrors the distinction between 3.x and 5e? That's harder to say... in both cases, they're broadly similar, though Skyrim winds up sacrificing some of the flexibility and depth that Morrowind had in favor of expediency. For example, both have enchanting and alchemy... but Morrowind had you carry a mortar and pestle to do alchemy anywhere, and you could create a huge variety of magical effects through enchanting (again, doing them anywhere). What a sword that lets you throw fireballs like a wand? Craft an item that will let you do that. Skyrim allows alchemy and enchanting, and they're integral parts of the game, but there's less ability to go "off the reservation"... swords get weapon enchantments, and only weapon enchantments. You can't choose to put certain kinds of armor enchantments on certain pieces of armor... it's simply not allowed to have a helmet that increases your carry weight.

Plus, you know, 5e has snazzier graphics and a smoother implementation of the engine.

I would actually say this was a little backwards then, As I find there to be more freedom and flexibility with 5e's inherit "Work with the GM" system than the stricter mechanical framework of the 3.5 system.

Perhaps putting Pathfinder as Skyrim and 5e as... something else. Maybe Fallout 4?

obryn
2016-01-22, 11:44 AM
D&D 4th ed: Final Fantasy Tactics

I'd say more like Xcom. Xcom is the closest thing to a 4e PC game we ever got.

Or, to keep it in the fantasy sphere, Pillars of Eternity isn't too far off, either.

Mark Hall
2016-01-22, 12:31 PM
I would actually say this was a little backwards then, As I find there to be more freedom and flexibility with 5e's inherit "Work with the GM" system than the stricter mechanical framework of the 3.5 system.

Perhaps putting Pathfinder as Skyrim and 5e as... something else. Maybe Fallout 4?

That's where we start talking about the modding communities built up around each. :smallbiggrin: The point was that 3.x (and Morrowind) had concrete rules baked in for that kind of flexibility. Want to build a sword that casts fireballs and is also a magic sword made out of adamantine? Hey, look in the DMG... they address all of that. You've got rules for special materials, magic weapons, spell-casting items of various types, and combined items. Build it off the chart and go.

Skyrim's default is "You have these options, chosen for a degree of narrative sense and balance. Anything else, you need to write a mod for."

mephnick
2016-01-22, 01:07 PM
5e as Skyrim works for me, as the vanilla game is perfectly fine, streamlined and accessible, but I still modded the **** out of it

wumpus
2016-01-22, 09:01 PM
Oh, I know all about 5e Basic, but the classic Basic sets do a much better job of teaching the game to a fresh audience.

I wonder how much of that was Gygax's "Keep on the Borderlands" (which was resurrected for 5e. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any mention of it again. It is like the buried it like Rich's campaign setting...). I know I used the perforated "cheat sheet" contained in the B2 module far more than I ever consulted the Basic Manual.

obryn
2016-01-22, 11:00 PM
I wonder how much of that was Gygax's "Keep on the Borderlands" (which was resurrected for 5e. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any mention of it again. It is like the buried it like Rich's campaign setting...). I know I used the perforated "cheat sheet" contained in the B2 module far more than I ever consulted the Basic Manual.
Nah, the actual rulebooks - I have the Moldvay Basic set with the awesome Erol Otus cover, myself - teach the game really very well. Keep on the Borderlands was a great beginner adventure, though.

Telok
2016-01-24, 04:56 PM
I'd say more like Xcom. Xcom is the closest thing to a 4e PC game we ever got.

WTF? You must be talking about the remakes of XCOM.

I always sent the robot tank out of the Skyranger first to soak up the opening shots and fire a few rockets for opening up fields of view. My tactics for chryssalids boiled down to "Buildings are destructable terrain and I have lots of grenades."

My experiences with 4e were completely uncomparable to XCOM. Just the difference between a robot tank and ten soldiers sorted into 'expendable' and 'can hit what they shoot at' versus 4e's focus on 5 PCs with a slate of options based on class instead of equipment lodaout prevents any meaningful connection.

Vitruviansquid
2016-01-24, 05:05 PM
... yeah... I think he was talking about the new Firaxis Xcom.

obryn
2016-01-25, 10:01 AM
WTF? You must be talking about the remakes of XCOM.

I always sent the robot tank out of the Skyranger first to soak up the opening shots and fire a few rockets for opening up fields of view. My tactics for chryssalids boiled down to "Buildings are destructable terrain and I have lots of grenades."

My experiences with 4e were completely uncomparable to XCOM. Just the difference between a robot tank and ten soldiers sorted into 'expendable' and 'can hit what they shoot at' versus 4e's focus on 5 PCs with a slate of options based on class instead of equipment lodaout prevents any meaningful connection.
I think you're taking the analogy a bit too seriously. This is like saying, "5e is nothing like Skyrim! There's a whole party of guys, not one of us can Fus-Ro-Dah draugr back 50', and I haven't seen a single Argonian anywhere!"

And yeah, I'm talking about the newer Xcom. I have a lot of love for the older one, but the newer one tightened up the design in a lot of good ways.

Telok
2016-01-25, 12:23 PM
I think you're taking the analogy a bit too seriously. This is like saying, "5e is nothing like Skyrim! There's a whole party of guys, not one of us can Fus-Ro-Dah draugr back 50', and I haven't seen a single Argonian anywhere!"

I don't know that it's totally off, the original Xcon played much more like the original and AD&Ds. You had a handful of important soldiers, some mooks to open doors, carry stuff, provide covering fire, and the ability to dictate the terms of the fight was important. It was very similar to the early D&Ds on a certain tactical level.

What I saw of the remake of Xcom was much more like 4e, four or five 'heroes' with abilities based on a metagame role, more scripted fights, and an emphasis on playing the game the way the designers intended you to.

obryn
2016-01-25, 12:59 PM
I don't know that it's totally off, the original Xcon played much more like the original and AD&Ds. You had a handful of important soldiers, some mooks to open doors, carry stuff, provide covering fire, and the ability to dictate the terms of the fight was important. It was very similar to the early D&Ds on a certain tactical level.

What I saw of the remake of Xcom was much more like 4e, four or five 'heroes' with abilities based on a metagame role, more scripted fights, and an emphasis on playing the game the way the designers intended you to.
I think that you're invested in edition-war-by-video-game-proxy right now, or else upset that I'm comparing a thing you like with a thing you don't like, so I'm gonna exit stage right. (And I also don't think you have played the new Xcom.) Have a good day. :smallsmile:

Telok
2016-01-25, 03:18 PM
I think that you're invested in edition-war-by-video-game-proxy right now, or else upset that I'm comparing a thing you like with a thing you don't like, so I'm gonna exit stage right. (And I also don't think you have played the new Xcom.) Have a good day. :smallsmile:
No, I'm not invested in anything. I just think there are some interesting parallels with the Xcom and D&D editions that I hadn't really thought about before.

I haven't played the Xcom remakes. I considered it but watched a few videos for info before I spent money on it (plus I run unix boxes so there can be insurmountable technical issues with precompiled executables for other boxes) and the gameplay in those videos was too different from what I wanted from the genera.

2D8HP
2016-04-12, 05:04 PM
Don't sweat the edition. Playing with any edition is better than not playing.:smallsmile:
I can't overstate how much I agree with the quote above
If the game features a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon and you play a Wizard with a magic wand, or a warrior in armor, wielding a longbow, just like the picture on the box I picked up in 1978, whatever the edition, I want to play that game!EDITION WARS ARE FUN!
But actually PLAYING THE GAME (whatever the heck the edition) is EVEN MORE FUN!!!:smallsmile: