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    Default Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Say that you have a bunch of new players in your game. None of them have ever played before, but you are an experience player/dm. What rules/classes would you suggest people use?
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Whichever set the DM knows more of, and prefers. It's hard to teach things if you don't fully understand them, and it's harder to teach a game if you aren't enthusiastic about the mechanics.

    That being equal, 4.0 was faster for my newb freinds to pick up when they started playing D&D, as the DM was a 4E one. (different group from me, so I didn't have a part of it.)
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    Me: Yeah, a knight in shining armour might just bring her over the edge.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Personally I'd start with the core classes and rules out of the PHB (any edition).
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Sorry, I'm basing this off 3.5, and for arguments sake let's say you have experience with essentially all aspects of 3.5.

    And considering that core has the highest variance of power levels, and that many of it's mechanics can be counter-intuitive, I'd think that's the last place I'd want to start.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    If you understand 3.5 but not 4E, then teach 3.5, unless you really wanted to switch over. For balance sake, don't worry about it too much, but allow as many redo-s as they want on character creation with no penalty. The more characters they make, the better they'll get at it.
    Me: I'd get the paladin to help, but we might end up with a kid that believes in fairy tales.
    DM: aye, and it's not like she's been saved by a mysterious little girl and a band of real live puppets from a bad man and worse step-sister to go live with the faries in the happy land.
    Me: Yeah, a knight in shining armour might just bring her over the edge.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Let me clarify something: this isn't actually happening. This is a theoretical disscussion inspired by the which rules set is simplest to teach people thread. It's pretty clear that DnD isn't the easiest system to teach, so I thought about what aspects of it are easier or harder to teach. In fact, let me revise my previous statements. Let's say that you have experience in every edition. Which one is the easiest (I think it's 4th, but I'm willing to entertain other ideas)? The Hardest? For one's that have multiple different rule sets(Core 3.5, Psionics, Tome of battle, Incarnum, Vanianc, Invokers, binders, etc) what are the most new player friendly aspects, and what are the least?
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    4e is probably the easiest system to teach. The general mechanic is pretty consistent across the board, although there are different tactical options based on race and class.

    It takes the simplest aspect of 3e (the universal d20 task resolution mechanism) and does away with several of the more complex character creation issues you find in 3e.

    After that, it's a toss-up. 3e has the d20 system, which is much simpler than older editions' "roll and consult a different table" method for everything. The attribute bonuses/penalties are easy to understand and are consistent.

    On the other hand, there's a lot of complexity in there as well, and the combat rules... well, let's just say "simple and easy to learn" aren't in the first 10 things I think of.

    1e is a little simpler in that regard. Compared to later editions, it's pretty "rules light", and you can play the game off-the-cuff a little easier. Still, all those table lookups!

    I don't have much experience with 2e, but my impression of it is that it has all of the complexity of 3e with the haphazardness of 1e.

    So, I'd rank them, from easiest to hardest:

    * 4e
    * 3e / 1e (tie)
    * 2e


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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Healer: Cleric. Fewer choices to mess up.
    Mage: Invoker. No holding down the party with spell selection, harder to gimp
    Expert: Rogue. No inspiration points to deal with, no ki power, no spells... Actually, Spellthief would work too.
    Tank: Crusader. Harder to gimp, automatic maneuver recovery is easier. Choosing fighter feats is too hard, and choosing when to use barbarian rage can be annoying.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    For the very first session:

    Fighter
    Rogue
    Cleric
    Sorcerer

    Don't worry about much optimization. Use standard D&D. Work with the Sorcerer to pick out the spells; make sure the Cleric has a good idea of what's on the spell list. Strongly encourage the Fighter to take Power Attack.

    Regardless of which classes you use, start them from level 1 and let them level up a few times. This will get them used to updating their character sheet with what's important.

    In the first couple of encounters, a 30-foot room with an orc guarding a treasure chest is perfectly acceptable. Straight-up combat, nothing fancy. Let them see how much damage they're capable of dishing out under ideal circumstances. Then, slowly add things. Barbarians that charge; rogues that flank; spellcasters that cast different spells than what the players cast; melee combatants that make intelligent use of 5-foot steps; foes that trip, disarm, sunder, overrun, and bullrush. Don't pull all of that all at once, add it gradually, so the characters can see what the enemies (and therefore they) are capable of doing, without getting TPK'd in the process.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    The Hardest? For one's that have multiple different rule sets(Core 3.5, Psionics, Tome of battle, Incarnum, Vanianc, Invokers, binders, etc) what are the most new player friendly aspects, and what are the least?
    Have you never played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (by this, I mean 1e)?
    Have you ever looked at a THAC0 chart? What is my save versus breath weapon? How many weapon proficiencies do I get, and when do I get more?
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    start with dragon strike

    DragonStrike was a 1993 adventure board game from TSR, Inc. based on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The DragonStrike Entertainment product, which included a 30-minute video explaining the concept of role-playing, was intended as an approach to gain new players,[1] serving as an introduction to the D&D role-playing game, and used greatly simplified versions of the Basic D&D rules. The game came with several fold-out maps for use as the board, a number of plastic miniatures to represent the player characters and monsters, and various other game pieces. Also included were several pre-written quests available for play, including several single-player adventures
    Last edited by Emmerask; 2009-11-18 at 03:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    Say that you have a bunch of new players in your game. None of them have ever played before, but you are an experience player/dm. What rules/classes would you suggest people use?
    One way to go is ol'fashioned 1e: you're kept on a need-to-know basis. If aren't told, then you don't need to know.


    However, I'd go with 4e, partly because that's the system I'm most familiar with, but mostly because the characters follow a more universal progression and ability set, which means that you only need to teach the group one set of basics, rather than one set for every other character. 3rd edition is fine if you want to teach/learn multiple sets of rather different rules governing similar subjects, but 4e will take less time to teach to a group of new people.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    In terms of 3.5 subsystems...

    Invoking classes are probably some of the simplest mechanics. Few options, no uses/day to keep track of.
    Binders are a close second. Pick a set of abilities for the day, only one of them needs to be kept track of.
    Psionics aren't bad either. The point system will be familiar to anyone who's played a CRPG before, and you don't need to worry about augment options at first.
    Vancian casting probably sits somewhere in the middle. Spontaneous casters first, of course, as long as you give them some advice on spell selection.
    Incarnum and ToB are probably the most complex for new players; even though they're both quite simple once you understand them, I probably wouldn't teach someone using them.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Does Gurps: Dungeon Fantasy count as a form of D&D?

    If not, I'd go with Pathfinder, or 4th edition because of the availabilty of the books. If I want to bring a new player into gaming, the sustainability of this dedication plays a role, and this includes that the new ones can get the rules on their own, if they want to. I would probably prefer to use my own stuff as quickly as possible, just to make sure that I am used to the rules as well, but as a quick introduction Pathfinder would work.
    4E seemed to me to be very friendly to new, or casual gamers. The books are very good structured, and it is actually very easy to understand (at least the first PHB was... I have kinda lost the contact to the latter development), and completely new players would probably not have the problem of the constant comparison to other games or its predecessors, reliefin the system of some of its problems.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Easiest to teach? If going with 3e or 3.5, core only (or psionics for 3.5, better system than 3.0 psionics), as the less books the players have to use the better. Feel free to include some feats from other books if you want, as long as the players don't notice them.

    Then again, I've only played BD&D and 3e/3.5, so I wouldn't be the best person to say. If they want to be able to increase their collection, either 4e or Pathfinder if you must. But 3.5, core only is the way I'd go, but if you have BD&D go with it: you only have to worry about your class, and you can reward players who read the class descriptions. But fighters advancing with 2000 XP, and clerics with 1500XP never made sense to me: from 2nd to 8th level every cleric will be superior to the fighter as they can cast spells. But then again, I think 4000XP for the elves is only aceptable because of fighter abilities+magic user spells.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    4th, easy.

    Out of 3.5, I'd vote for Tome of Battle.

    The classes are fun, flavorful, and hard to screw up. The rules aren't very complex, and there is a lot of forgiveness inherent in the system.

    Psionics next, then Binders and Invokers, then Incarnum (lot of fiddly bits).

    I... don't think I would ever actually teach them Vancian. I find 3.5 alot more enjoyable when Vancian Casting isn't involved.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    If not, I'd go with Pathfinder,
    Just curious, in what way is pathfinder easier to learn that "standard" 3.5?
    I personally didn't find a lot of changes that made pathfinder easier to play, but I haven't been keeping track of the changes lately.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    I don't think that it is really easier, the main advantage is: It has become quite difficult to get the D&D 3.5 core books after the edition shift. The Pathfinder stuff is quite new and still easy to purchase. That's the one great advantage - availability (tough since both systems have the SRD stuff online, I don't know how many players would want or need a player's guide on their own).
    Last edited by Satyr; 2009-11-18 at 04:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    I said it in that thread and I'll say it here. The easiest way to introduce someone to D&D is via the computer games.

    I'm willing to bet that Baldur's Gate made learning 2e a cinch for many people that had never even sat at a gaming table before. Preparing spells, watching die rolls, gaining levels, random encounters... all handled seamlessly by the game engine.

    Ditto for Icewind Dale/NWN and 3.x.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Basic is the easiest D&D system to learn. Much easier than 4e, and proficiencies were an optional rule from outside the PHB in the original 1e and 2e (and Basic just says you can use X weapons). That said, within 3.5...

    Core is easy and simple enough, especially at low levels, just avoid prepared spellcasters (beginners tend to forget the need to prepare spells ahead of time and instead treat their spellbook as a spontaneous spells known). Sorcerer is easy, barbarian is easy, rogue is easy, and replace cleric with favored soul and you'll have no trouble. Psionics is simple enough at Lv 1, but no simpler than spontaneous spellcasting and I've always had an easier time understanding casting than remembering augmenting powers but I grew up playing D&D so that might explain it. Invocation users are also pretty easy, but I'd steer clear from Incarnum. Actually...
    Barbarian or fighter
    Rogue or Scout
    Warmage or Warlock
    and Favored Soul (or -shudders- healer)
    Would make a very simple party to teach the basics.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    As a DM I draw up 3 Easy level one encounters.

    I draw up a level 1 PC for each player for each encounter.

    The first encounter "Basic Combat"
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    The first encounter everyone is a fighter.
    They all have the same abilities (members of the town guard or something.)
    They all have the same equipment. (Shield, spear, dagger, scale mail)
    They all have the same everything.

    Let the players know this little adventure is just to learn the rules and not to get attached to their town guards. Also let them know that there is a nearby tribe of goblins that makes a terrible nuisance of themselves year round. Lately the Goblins have been getting aggressive.

    They are standing guard at a closed gate when a bunch of goblins come jumping out of nearby bushes.

    Combat begins. Go over every rule as it comes up.
    Have and endless amount of goblins keep coming out. (Make them mooks so they die in one hit.)
    Every round on your turn introduce a new rule by having a goblin use it against the players.
    Make sure to go over
    Melee attacks
    Melee reach attacks
    Charge
    Disarm
    Sunder
    Trip
    Bull rush

    Include others like power attack and combat expertise.
    (roll behind a screen to make sure the goblins stink at everything.)
    Eventually you'll kill all the players! Don't lament, death is an important lesson!

    But luckily for our stunned and dying fighters encounter number two is next.


    The second encounter "Basic skill use"
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    Hand the player's their new characters.
    Identical rogues and rangers (of an even amount if possible.)

    Recently a group of towns guard were captured by the local goblin tribe. Reports say they were dragged off into the woods to an unknown fate.
    A few hunters and stalkers set off to track the goodly guards down and save them.

    Now is time to teach the players about skill use.
    Have the rogues search for clues to what happened at the front gate.
    Have the rangers use survival to track the goblins down.
    Have everyone climb a short rock face.
    Point out an area on the path that might be trapped and have the rogues search for traps.
    Have them find and disable a trap.
    While the rogues disable the trap have the rangers see if they can spot or listen for anything strange nearby.

    Have the goblins now discovered spring an ambush.

    Combat begins. Go over every rule as it comes up.
    Have and endless amount of goblins keep coming out. (Make them mooks so they die in one hit.)

    Make sure to go over:
    Ranged attacks
    Attacks Of Opportunity
    Tumble
    Flanking
    Sneak attack
    Include others like Rapid shot and Precise shot


    Eventually you'll kill all the players! Don't lament, death is an important lesson!

    But luckily for our stunned and dying fighters hunters encounter number three is next.


    The third encounter "Spell casting"
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    Hand the player's their new characters.
    Identical Clerics and Wizards (of an even amount if possible.)
    Give them a good variety of spells but each class has the same spells for simplicity.

    Yesterday a group of hunters went missing while investigating the fate of some town guard that were captured the day prior. Reports say they were went off into the woods and haven't been heard from since.
    A powerful spell caster in town has divined their location; a nearby cave where they are being held captive. Are spell-wise sojourners set out to save the staunch defenders of the town. (Briefly touch on preparing spells but let them know you did it already to make learning easier.)

    The group arrives at the entrance to the cave and if you've taught the players well they should be rolling spot and listen checks to see if they can determine if there are any goblins waiting to ambush them along the way.

    When they reach the cave...

    Combat begins. Go over the rules as they come up.
    Have and endless amount of goblins keep coming out. (Make them mooks so they die in one hit.) Throw in one or three skeletons too. (Make them mooks so they die in one hit.)

    Make sure to go over:

    Casting time
    Spell targeting
    Spell placement
    Touch attacks
    Ranged touch attacks
    Saves
    Casting defensively
    Summoning
    Counter-spelling
    Healing
    Turning
    Concentration checks
    Grappling


    Eventually you'll kill all the players! Don't lament, death is an important lesson!

    But luckily for our stunned and dying fighters hunters casters adventure number one is next.


    Now that the players have a grasp of the rules, and the iconic classes that they can play, its time to generate their real characters!

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    Ask them well you all played a few classes what did you like the most?
    Work with each player one on one. (or as a group whatever works!)
    Help them build a character and then flesh it out.
    Come up with a story with them or help them make their idea fit into the game. Give them an NPC contact, a best friend they grew up with, or a loved family member to pal around with.

    Explain that Dnd is a role playing game, understanding the rules is only part of it. The other part is having fun in a living fantasy world.


    Then once everyone is set!


    The adventure "Returning home"

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    The party has known each other for most of their lives and grew up in a town called Burg. After their first successful adventure the party is returning home to tell all their friends and loved ones about their new wealth (which they spent on toasting their success.)

    On the way to Burg the party stumbles across a goblin corpse with a broken spear sticking out of it.

    Spoiler
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    The players should roll spots and listens here if they learned anything; if not, tell them to.


    No goblin ambush is awaiting them but the spear is familiar to one of characters in the party. It belonged to their father and it was given to that characters' younger sibling...

    Rounding the bend in the road the party arrives at Burg. The damaged wooden gate is guarded by a very young and very jumpy town guard.

    The guard will hold the players up but once they recognize the party they are directed to the town elder immediately.

    The town elder has grave news and requests of the party... and I think you all can figure out where this is going.

    Except this time Goblins aren't infinite (because so many were killed already) and the encounter is scaled correctly for the party.


    Final result
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    Profit!
    Last edited by Ormagoden; 2009-11-18 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    I said it in that thread and I'll say it here. The easiest way to introduce someone to D&D is via the computer games.

    I'm willing to bet that Baldur's Gate made learning 2e a cinch for many people that had never even sat at a gaming table before. Preparing spells, watching die rolls, gaining levels, random encounters... all handled seamlessly by the game engine.

    Ditto for Icewind Dale/NWN and 3.x.
    In that case I'd use return to the temple of elemental evil instead, at least that game is turn based and lets you make your actual in combat D&D manoeuvres.
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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Agree with "whatever you know".

    DMing a game for my GF and her sister. They have a lot of experience with ADnD, but I'm running 3.5 as that's what I know and can adjucate most easily on the fly.

    Now, my GF's character concept was for a nimble, stealthy, agile fighter type. I pointed out that any character could take perform(dance), and I'd probably give those skill points for free (for non combat bonus stuff, or flavor skills, I'll just throw free points their way if I deem it fits), she decided on fighter, as rogue or bard didn't really fit, and fighter was more flexible. I actually didn't mention ToB due to wanting to keep it simple.

    Well, she found some info on the ToB anyway, and found it interesting, so I guided her towards the swordsage. Ninja-like shadow concealment movement abilities? Nimble fighter rather than heavy armored tank? Flashy wuxia fighting options other than "move, swing, maybe trip etc."? She found it able to fit quite well what she wants to do at first glance.

    Since I'm familiar with it, I'm fine with it, after reminding her that keeping track of maneuvers would be more complex. We'll see what her sister wants, as I want them to be fairly balanced in ability (or at least knowingly unbalanced. If the sister wants, say, a sword and board fighter, realizing she won't be as effective as the swordsage in dealing damage...or doing much of anything, I can work with that. Already planning to "houserule" (steal) some stuff from 4E like healing surges if they don't want to play a healer).

    Basically, I know the system, am aware of its flaws (dang you monk! Why must you look so appealing while sucking so much! Hate that newbie-trap), and have patches planned for forseen holes to keep things flowing smoothly. Goal is more the flow of the story than the accuracy and consistency with the books of the system.

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Teaching 3.x can be pretty easy if you do it like this:

    Point the fighter types at Barbarians, knight, or swashbuckler.

    Point the skill monkeys at rogue and show them how to make different kinds by picking different skills.

    Point the would be spell-caster at Warlock (sans alignment restrictions) and DFA

    Make sure they have plenty of healing available through consumables. (because clerics aren't band-aids, they make the band-aids.)

    Start at level 1 and use simple encounters while everyone gets used to the system.

    I intentionally steer complete noobs away from vanacian spell-casters of any stripe. If the character concept they want to put together can't be done with one of the above, I'd look for how to do it in the simplest least rules intensive way possible. But honestly I can't think of anything a brand new player could want to be that's not covered by one of those.

    After everyone's got a feel for the system, you gradually introduce more complex encounters and npc's with levels in more complex classes.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    erikun's Avatar

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Honestly, if the question is teaching any system, I'd steer away from D&D. Even something like Muntants and Masterminds is easier to follow, as there aren't as many subsystems to work on and remember.

    The problem with the question is that there are a number of basics you need to teach before you get into any of the "expanded" subsystems. It doesn't matter if Clerics or Psionics or Tome of Battle is the easiest when the players don't know about skills, feats, or how combat works.

    Getting past the basics of D&D, the Fighter and Rogue are going to be the easiest. They're two of the most basic classes, relying mostly on skills, feats, and WYSIWYG abilities. Barbarian and Monk have more abilities, but fit in well.

    Beyond that, Psionics is probably one of the most internally consistent subsystems for D&D. Basically all the classes work the same way mechanically, it's relatively easy to follow, and there is generally less to keep track of. Once a player knows how a Psion works, they know how a Psychic Warrior works. While I don't have the book, Tome of Battle seems to be a lot simpler than core D&D magic, or at least a lot less to keep track of.

    Out of all the spellcasters, Clerics would be the simplest - choose any spells you want from the list each day, then cast them whenever you'd like. Druids after that, as they're basically Clerics with a bunch more abilities. The Bard/Sorcerer/Favored Soul is a bit more complex with seperate spells known vs. spells cast tables, with the Wizard/Archivist having the most resources to go through.

    Oh, and Artificers. Fun, but GAH THE BOOKKEEPING!!!

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    The easiest is OD&D:
    Pick your class:
    Fighting-Man, Cleric, or Magic-User (if using Greyhawk+, include Thief).

    Rules? What rules? Don't worry about that. Just roll the dice when the DM tells you to, and they will tell you what happens.

    Or Basic/Rules Cyclopedia. Either way, they are way easy, and depend on the DM knowing the rules, and that is all.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    1E and 2E are much easier to teach by virtue of having fewer rules, and the players can just say what they want their characters to do. 3E is full of "yes, but you need a feat to do that", then gives the new player a loooong list of feats to read. Likewise, 4E is full of "yes, but you need a power to do that", then gives the new player a loooong list of powers to read.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Editions: 4ed if one person knows the rules/has played before. Probably 1ed after that. Basic and chainmail not withstanding.

    3.5 Base classes I would choose:
    Heals: Favored Soul
    Fights: Barbarian
    Arcane: Any of the sorcerer variants with a set spell list, except dread necromancer(minions are tough to deal with) Which means...Beguiler and Warmage.
    Expert: Rogue

    Simple, covers all the bases, and get several features over 1-20 (except rogues, who don't need level 20. Ever.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson
    Evil Intelligence is knowing the precise ritual that will allow you to destroy the peaceful kingdom that banished you.

    Evil Wisdom is understanding that you probably shouldn’t perform said ritual while you’re standing in the estimated blast radius.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Basic D&D, of course.

    Labyrinth Lord is the free retroclone of Moldvay/Marsh/Cook Basic-Expert D&D. Your D&D education is incomplete without it.

    OD&D? That's a bizarre, incomplete-by-design example of the 'gnostic esoterica' school of game development. It's expected that you either refer to another ruleset (Chainmail fantasy battles system), creatively interpret rules that are only inferred by the text, or flat out make up the rules you require. OD&D is actually an advanced gamer's toolbox under a deceptive veneer of systemic simplicity. Only the very craziest of mad-eyed, raw lizard-eating D&D hermits play OD&D for fun.

    That said, Swords & Wizardry (the OD&D retroclone) is excellent.

    AD&D? Played strictly by the book it makes 3E look like something like Candyland. RAW AD&D (as opposed to houseruled cargo cult AD&D) is the province of hulking Viking-like masochists, maths grads, and re-enacters, all of whom speak a weird dialect of Gygaxian English.

    The OSRIC retroclone is full of useful stealables though...
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2009-11-19 at 11:02 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Easiest DnD rules to teach

    Quote Originally Posted by BobVosh View Post
    Editions: 4ed if one person knows the rules/has played before. Probably 1ed after that. Basic and chainmail not withstanding.

    3.5 Base classes I would choose:
    Heals: Favored Soul
    Fights: Barbarian
    Arcane: Any of the sorcerer variants with a set spell list, except dread necromancer(minions are tough to deal with) Which means...Beguiler and Warmage.
    Expert: Rogue

    Simple, covers all the bases, and get several features over 1-20 (except rogues, who don't need level 20. Ever.)
    What about using Psionics?

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