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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Question about which edition to learn:

    Hey guys, here's my situation:

    I've followed OOTS for years, and played plenty of RPG video games, including Neverwinter Nights. I've long wanted to try my hand at pen-and-paper RP'ing, and been told by people who've played D&D that I would probably enjoy it. However I have been completely unsuccessful in finding anyone else in my area interested in playing.

    Only recently did I learn about play-by-post games and that has my interest. Problem now is learning how to play... I'm not someone who likes jumping in blind, I want to know as much as possible about what I'm doing before trying a game.

    I figured I'd give D&D 3.5 a shot, seems really popular with the people around here and I know at least some think it better than 4th edition, and I also saw people saying the books were cheap. Looking at Amazon though, I can't find any 3.5 books that aren't $30+ used and $50+ new. I'd rather not spend that much, especially if I have to buy 2 or 3 books at those prices.

    4th edition looks much cheaper, and I've heard it's easier to learn. Now if 3.5 is really a better experience then I don't care if it's harder to learn I'm willing to do it, but if it's harder to learn and way more expensive... I'm having second thoughts about 3.5


    So all that to say... what do people recommend I do? Should I just make do with the 3.5 SRD (which I've heard is more useful as a reference than a beginners guide, but at least it's free), pony up the cash for 3.5 books, or go cheap/easy with 4.0? Or something else entirely? Should I be looking somewhere other than amazon? (No local game shops in my town I'm afraid, so pretty much have to go online or drive over an hour to a bigger city)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Leolo's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    You could even think about other editions like pathfinder rpg (very similar to 3.5 but easier to purchase) or older Editions (i really like AD&D 1st Edition).

    But the best tip i can grant you is to think about what kind of game you want to play.

    What is important for you in Roleplaying?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Well I suppose top priority is something other people are playing via the forum... not much point in learning something and having no one to play with! I guess that's what scares me most of going outside of primary D&D... not sure how popular those other things are.

    In terms of setting I prefer fantasy, the kind of world in OOTS is what I'd call my ideal... I don't mind if there are places like Cliffport where it's a bit more modern, but the world as a whole needs to have that feel of pseudo-medieval fantasy. Don't go in for sci-fi or steampunk RP generally... though I'd be willing to give sci-fi some of a try as I do enjoy that genre of fiction.

    What idea really draws me to pen-and-paper RP... and I figure this has more to do with the GM than the edition but I may be wrong... is the ability to think outside of the box. To find creative solutions to problems. You know in video games you're generally restricted to what the programmers came up with, which usually means only very limited use of the environment and less destructive spells/abilities.

    I love times where, for instance, Xykon inscribed the symbol of insanity on the bouncing ball. Yes that was a bit ridiculous and maybe not realistically feasible... but it was very out of the box thinking no video game programmer could have anticipated! Or reading about stories people have about trapping and crushing a dragon underneath it's own horde and other such things.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Pathfinder is probably cheaper than 3.x these days, and is pretty darn close to the same thing.

    1e/2e and retroclones:
    Advantages:
    Probably the simplest rulesets
    Probably the fastest combat
    Work best in dungeon crawls

    Disadvantages:
    Rules are weird and inconsistent
    Little support for customization of characters
    Kinda deadly
    Work best in dungeon crawls

    3.x/PF:
    Advantages:
    Consistent rules
    Flexible character generation, allowing for customization
    Lots and lots of material available

    Disadvantages:
    Lots of complexity in character generation
    Class imbalance is probably the greatest of all the versions
    Rule complexity and interplay is high

    4e:
    Advantages:
    Consistent rules
    Character creation has room for flexibility
    Very balanced characters
    Arguably easiest for a novice DM to run

    Disadvantages:
    More "strict" rules than previous editions
    Less character flexibility than 3.x
    More character/build complexity than 1/2e
    Hard to break out of "the box" unless you're a more experienced DM.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shivore View Post
    Well I suppose top priority is something other people are playing via the forum... not much point in learning something and having no one to play with! I guess that's what scares me most of going outside of primary D&D... not sure how popular those other things are.
    Oops, in that case, you're probably best with 3.x or a retroclone. 4e is probably a very bad choice for play-by-post. Honestly, for PbP, I'd be likely to go with a retroclone or a different system, but I think 3.x/PF would be your best bet around here just due to adoption.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2012-02-07 at 04:27 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    May I ask why you favor play by post as opposed to in person play at a table?

    Really, sitting round the table is part of the whole experience.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    May I ask why you favor play by post as opposed to in person play at a table?

    Really, sitting round the table is part of the whole experience.
    I believe he said something about not having any luck finding a group locally. He mentioned it was an hour to the nearest big city, so it's entirely possible there just aren't any people playing D&D in his area, wherever that is.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    I believe he said something about not having any luck finding a group locally. He mentioned it was an hour to the nearest big city, so it's entirely possible there just aren't any people playing D&D in his area, wherever that is.
    Huh. Must have missed that . . .

    Though I've found that D&D players are actually quite more populous than people tend to think. I've found them way out in the hinterlands, though they tend to have to travel a ways to a central location to game sometimes. I have a game where, other than me, the closest person is 20 miles away, and one travels almost 40 miles.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Dimers's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Yeah, I'd recommend 3.5 or Pathfinder. The SRD* for either is free on the web, so that helps reduce your costs -- you might end up buying a book or three for filling out some concept, but there's a LOT you can do with just the basic materials.

    Mind you, I'm a 4e man myself, but that's because I have a good feel for what a given DM will and will not allow in terms of "outside-the-box". 4e isn't inherently more restricted than 3.X in terms of what's permissible, but I know it comes across that way, and it's much harder to learn when and how the weird stuff applies. You basically described being able to come up with brilliant ways to use powers, and 3.X supports that quite well.

    I'd recommend playing a druid or wizard, incidentally. They have the most flexibility in that department -- lots of spells/wildshapes to choose from.

    * SRD = "system rules document", the basic rules for playing and running.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    nedz's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    You really need to find a group or two and find out what they play. RPGs are a social experience and so you need to find a group whom you get along with; or start your own with some friends.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Yeah, I'd recommend 3.5 or Pathfinder. The SRD* for either is free on the web, so that helps reduce your costs -- you might end up buying a book or three for filling out some concept, but there's a LOT you can do with just the basic materials.
    Link to SRD.

    Agreed that the core materials can go quite far.
    I think it's true about the SRD being more useful for reference than for learning but if you're a newbie then you can probably rely on the rest of your future gaming group to explain the basics and then keep you straight on them.

    I'd recommend playing a druid or wizard, incidentally. They have the most flexibility in that department -- lots of spells/wildshapes to choose from.
    For a new player, I would suggest that the sheer number of options might be a bad thing. A sorceror would have less stuff to remember during play (and you could get help for character creation and levelling up); a skilled character (such as rogue or ranger) would similarly have a managable set of options available.

    * SRD = "system rules document", the basic rules for playing and running.
    I thought it was "system resource document" myself but I have no proof...
    If a tree falls in the forest and the PCs aren't around to hear it... what do I roll to see how loud it is?

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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    SRD means System Reference Document. It's right there on the site itself, if you forget again
    "One need not hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere."

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tyndmyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shivore View Post
    Hey guys, here's my situation:

    I've followed OOTS for years, and played plenty of RPG video games, including Neverwinter Nights. I've long wanted to try my hand at pen-and-paper RP'ing, and been told by people who've played D&D that I would probably enjoy it. However I have been completely unsuccessful in finding anyone else in my area interested in playing.

    Only recently did I learn about play-by-post games and that has my interest. Problem now is learning how to play... I'm not someone who likes jumping in blind, I want to know as much as possible about what I'm doing before trying a game.
    Well, first things first...what do you hope to see in a tabletop game? 3.5 and 4 are notably different, and what you want is rather the biggest thing to consider..

    I figured I'd give D&D 3.5 a shot, seems really popular with the people around here and I know at least some think it better than 4th edition, and I also saw people saying the books were cheap. Looking at Amazon though, I can't find any 3.5 books that aren't $30+ used and $50+ new. I'd rather not spend that much, especially if I have to buy 2 or 3 books at those prices.
    d20srd.org is the place to go. Can play using just the bits on there, and not spend a dime. That said, there are a *lot* of books published for 3.5(and 3.0, which are usable with 3.5. Heck, in a pinch, 2e books can be updated to 3.5 fairly easily). You don't need *all* of them, but some of them are very nice.

    Note that there is a softcover copy of the phb, at least, that tends to sell used quite inexpensively. I bought a copy for my second phb, and don't regret it at all.

    4th edition looks much cheaper, and I've heard it's easier to learn. Now if 3.5 is really a better experience then I don't care if it's harder to learn I'm willing to do it, but if it's harder to learn and way more expensive... I'm having second thoughts about 3.5
    Well, 4e's in print, so it's books are a bit more accessible. Either of the editions are fairly easy to learn, but they are notably different, so learning one won't help you a great deal with the other, nor are books terribly interchangable between the two.

    Note that 5e is coming out, and testers say it is least like 4e, so if you think you might be interested in 5, that makes 4 a bit less attractive.

    That said, 3.5e has a bit more world simulation stuff involved, and 4e tends to be more combat focused(3.5 has a lot of combat, but 4 is even more so), with an emphasis on "move x squares" level of tactical combat. So, which of these you prefer is what really matters.

    So all that to say... what do people recommend I do? Should I just make do with the 3.5 SRD (which I've heard is more useful as a reference than a beginners guide, but at least it's free), pony up the cash for 3.5 books, or go cheap/easy with 4.0? Or something else entirely? Should I be looking somewhere other than amazon? (No local game shops in my town I'm afraid, so pretty much have to go online or drive over an hour to a bigger city)
    Ebay is often cheaper than amazon...I think I got the majority of my books off there.

    Used bookstores are hit and miss. If you find any, you probably find a few, and fairly cheaply, so it's like hitting the jackpot, but many used bookstores just won't have any. I got a nice sprinkling of 3.5 books for $5 each this way. Hard to beat that.

    Edit: Yes, 3.5 and PF are both quite popular here on the forums, if that's a draw. That said, I agree that finding a local group is something I've done in all manner of places.
    Last edited by Tyndmyr; 2012-02-08 at 08:54 AM.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all the input.

    Right now I'm thinking I'll study the SRD and other online sources as much as possible, and run by the local used bookshop and hope I get lucky. Based on what I'm hearing I really think I want to learn 3.5.

    I would prefer finding a local group, but just not having much luck. Heard www.penandpapergames.com is a good place to find people but at least using their player search the nearest GM is in that city I mentioned.... I'd rather not drive an hour each way if I can help it. At least not until I'm more confident I'll like it.

    That said, if anyone in the central Virginia area knows of any groups, players or resources I should know about I'd love to hear about them.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Oracle_Hunter's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Additionally, you can try out the whole 4e rules set (all books published, plus Character Creator application) for $10 for a month.

    I'm a proponent for 4e since it is a mechanically neater system (e.g. no divide-by-zero problems, few build traps, more precise rules text) but honestly it looks like you'd be better finding a game first and then learning whatever they play.

    Good luck
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tyndmyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shivore View Post
    I would prefer finding a local group, but just not having much luck. Heard www.penandpapergames.com is a good place to find people but at least using their player search the nearest GM is in that city I mentioned.... I'd rather not drive an hour each way if I can help it. At least not until I'm more confident I'll like it.

    That said, if anyone in the central Virginia area knows of any groups, players or resources I should know about I'd love to hear about them.
    I would imagine there'd be someone...I game more in the central MD area, but I know a number of gamers from northern virginia...it's certainly populous enough to have a great gamer population.

    Check out local gaming friendly places. Game shops if they exist, hobby shops, local larp groups(dagorhir probably has chapters nearby, others might as well), games workshop stores...there's a huge overlap with other nerdy hobbies, so simply making friends at somewhat related hobbies is a great way to find roleplaying buddies. Note additionally that colleges and military installations typically will have multiple gaming groups on them, if you have access to either one.

    That said, keep in mind there's no real harm in learning multiple systems. Sometimes even a single group will play several(my primary group plays 3.5, D20M, and 7th Sea, for instance). Feel free to poke around online and see what all is out there. D&D is quite popular(and PF can basically be included in that), but there's a lot of other options too.
    Back from a lengthy vacation from Giantitp. I've been dabbling with 3d printer technology and game design, PM if you're curious.

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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tengu_temp's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    May I ask why you favor play by post as opposed to in person play at a table?

    Really, sitting round the table is part of the whole experience.
    I had much more fun in PbP than I ever had in live roleplaying. Both styles have their strengths and weaknesses. De gustibus non disputas.

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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    You can have a good time in any edition. Anyone who says otherwise is a fanboy.

    That said, you're best bet is probably to find a group that's already playing and go with the system they're using. You don't want to buy all the books for Edition X and find out that all the local players are running Edition Y games instead.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Pathfinder because the SRD is all online. You might say the same thing about 3.5, but Pathfinder includes all the splats as well as the rules for character creation and leveling up.

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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Wow now this is exciting... checked into Pathfinder and what do I find but a gaming club I'd somehow overlooked that plays Pathfinder regularly just an hour-and-a-half away. A bit far perhaps, but in addition to regular campaigns they run some stand-alone-quests that are designed to be completed start to finish in one day, I might just attend one of those to get my feet wet. Definitely checking into them a bit more.

    What's more I have a good friend living in that same city, so maybe I can see him a little more often if I start going there for gaming! Still no luck finding anything closer but hey, this may just be do-able.

    Now I just got to convince the wife to let me go

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    As mentioned above, for PbP, you're probably better off with 3.5/Pathfinder here.

    If you decide you'd like to try a 1e or 2e type PbP game, you can find more of those at dragonsfoot.org.

    Another thing to consider is play-by-Google+/Skype. At least for 1e type games, you can find info at http://constantcon.blogspot.com/

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    some guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Question about which edition to learn:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoddypeak View Post
    Another thing to consider is play-by-Google+/Skype. At least for 1e type games, you can find info at http://constantcon.blogspot.com/
    Doesn't ConstantCon have a fair share of all editions? In once ran a 3.5 evening and a 4e gamma world evening. Anyway, I think most GM's on ConstantCon are pretty relaxed about rules.
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