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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Hello,

    I do hope this is the right place to ask this question. If it is not, apologies and feel free to delete the thread.
    I design online mafia games as a hobby, and I was considering the idea of designing a d&d-themed mafia game.

    However, I have never played d&d in my life. My entire knowledge of d&d stems from two sources:

    1) The Baldur's Gate videogames; I have played them many, many times.
    2) The Order of the Stick comic strip. The Baldur's Gate videogames helped me understand many of the early strips of the comic.

    Given these premises, the 3.5 version is the one I would rather learn. I know what are the 6 ability scores, what are the 9 alignments, what is THAC0, what is a saving throw, what are the main classes and the names of many popular arcane and divine spells. I know almost nothing else.

    Given these premises, could you recommend me a good source that could introduce me to the all other important mechanics and rules of the game that I don't already know? Sites and videos are all fine, but I don't want to buy the player's handbook just for this.

    Thanks for your attention.
    Last edited by Alish; 2020-01-26 at 01:06 PM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Most of the content can be accessed legally via: http://www.d20srd.org/index.htm

    Some content is omitted due to license restrictions, to be specific: http://www.d20srd.org/faq.htm

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Alish View Post
    what is THAC0
    Do note that all Wizards of the Coast era D&D games (starting with 3rd Edition) have ditched THAC0 and the old method of calculating AC in favor of positive numbers and the "d20 System" in which all attacks, skill checks, and saving throws are resolved by rolling a d20 + bonus and comparing it to a target difficulty number. High numbers are now always better than low numbers.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    If learning through those videogames is something to your liking, Neverwinter Nights 1 was using a (preliminary, AFAIK) version of 3.0 and NWN2 is on relatively accurate 3.5.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    I feel like I may be pointing out the obvious, but you could buy the books? =)

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Lilapop View Post
    If learning through those videogames is something to your liking, Neverwinter Nights 1 was using a (preliminary, AFAIK) version of 3.0 and NWN2 is on relatively accurate 3.5.
    I second this idea - these games are routinely available for very cheap on Good Old Games, and most modern PCs can run them easily as well. Because you can play at your own pace it makes them great learning aids. Some of the mechanics don't translate well to a computer game, like illusions and persuasion, but the majority of it is there.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Neverwinter Nights is 'real time with pause' and not turn based, though it primarily uses the 3.5 mechanics.

    I'd recommend the Temple of Elemental Evil videogame with the Circle of Eight and Temple Plus mods. Or Pathfinder: Kingmaker with the Turn Based Combat mod if you're okay with learning Pathfinder instead.

    Anyway, it'd probably better to try to find someone willing to run an actual 3.5 game for beginners and get in on that (e.g. the recruitment subforum here or on Roll20). If you're having a hard time finding a game, try a professional DM (i.e. someone you pay money to run a game for you).

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I feel like I may be pointing out the obvious, but you could buy the books? =)
    It seems obvious but dry text like that can be more than a bit dense for some people to learn directly from them. Nevermind the sheer volume of even just the core rules. It's certainly a place to start but I wouldn't begin to call it the easiest.

    IMO, the easiest source for learning 3e is experienced players. See about finding a group either online or at your FLGS and ask if they're willing to help a newb learn the game.
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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Quote Originally Posted by radthemad4 View Post
    Neverwinter Nights is 'real time with pause' and not turn based,
    Actually, it's rather genius... the game is, mechanically, turn-based. It's just smoothed out so as to play and feel real time. One of the quirks I've noticed in my history with the game is that the timing of your clicks matters, because if you're a bit too slow then your command doesn't trigger this action and waits until your next turn. Similarly, if you tend to be the mad-clicker type, it can feel frustrating how your character just stands there waiting his turn to swing unless you understand what the game is doing. I dug the game up a few years ago and have been playing a TWF, not yet done with the campaign.. I ought to pull out NWN2 at some point because I've been meaning to try it.

    But I will heartily second the 'try it!' suggestion. Online via VTTs, in person via your friends or FLGS, or right here on the GitP forums are all good ways to dip your toes in. Whether trying or simply reading up, my go-to resource is d20srd.org, as linked above, and my secondary and much more thorough go-to source will not be linked because it totally doesn't exist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frogglesmash View Post
    I guess I'll amend my original statement and instead say that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5 to spark an argument about how close it actually is.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Another good source is Rules of the Game from WotC once you got the basics and want to know more specific things. (note the link is from waybackmashine since the wotc archive is down atm, as mentioned in this post on the forum..^^).
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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    I also agree with using the games, primarily the Neverwinter Nights ones. While a lot of the mechanics are either simplified or automated, it does a rather accurate job of translating the class and leveling systems. Ultimately, knowing how those work is the biggest hurdle to actually playing the game. The rest of it you can easily learn as you play. The other players can tell you how to calculate your bonuses, and the DM can tell you what to roll whenever you do something. What's really important for the individual is knowing how to build a character and what that character can do. For this reason, the video games work well as entry points.
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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kool View Post
    Actually, it's rather genius... the game is, mechanically, turn-based. It's just smoothed out so as to play and feel real time. One of the quirks I've noticed in my history with the game is that the timing of your clicks matters, because if you're a bit too slow then your command doesn't trigger this action and waits until your next turn. Similarly, if you tend to be the mad-clicker type, it can feel frustrating how your character just stands there waiting his turn to swing unless you understand what the game is doing. I dug the game up a few years ago and have been playing a TWF, not yet done with the campaign.. I ought to pull out NWN2 at some point because I've been meaning to try it.
    It's still not quite turn-based though, because some commands in real-time-with-pause are immediate without regard for whose "turn" it is, most notably movement. For example, in NWN if you open a door and a bunch of enemy thugs see you, they'll all start charging towards you simultaneously, even if your initiative lies before or somewhere in the middle of theirs. This makes tactically placing some things like area effects and conjurations feel very different than it does in the tabletop game. If you target creatures (which most spells can do) then you might not notice this, because the game is good at tracking a moving target and making sure your fireball gets to them even while they're running at you - but if you target a point in space like you would in the tabletop game, depending on your initiative your attack might trigger later, flying past the onrushing enemies and harmlessly detonating behind all but the slowest of them - which wouldn't happen in real D&D for a standard-action spell.

    To see the difference most clearly, play a true turn-based game like Divinity OS2, ToEE, or the Pathfinder Kingmaker with TBS mod suggested above - a game where, like tabletop D&D, without initiative you almost can't do anything (including move).
    Last edited by Psyren; 2020-02-23 at 02:02 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    wink Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    You could also take a look at the system reference document (AKA SRD (for example on d20srd).
    Granted, you won't have the access to the splatbooks (aside from parts of Unearthed Arcana and Expanded Psionics Handbook), but all the core rules are there, and you don't exactly need splats to learn the rules, do you?
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    As noted above http://www.d20srd.org/index.htm has the relevant rules freely available online. Personally I would strongly recommend that you actually by a players handbook. They're not that expensive - less than $10 plus shipping for used copies from a number of places. $30 new from Amazon. But that's for needing a source to REFER to when learning. For the actual learning itself the best way possible is to be taught by someone who already knows the game. Second best way is to start plowing through youtube. The only difficulty with youtube is that unless someone can point you to a specific set of videos and say, "These do a good job of teaching the game," then you have absolutely no way of knowing if the person making the video is going to be good at teaching the game or if they're going to teach it correctly.

    BUY a PH. Join a game somewhere that someone will teach you. Learn by doing. Come back here with any specific questions you come up with.
    Last edited by D+1; 2020-02-23 at 01:39 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SirNibbles's Avatar

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    Default Re: Easiest source for learning 3.5 rules

    Like many others have said, joining a game and learning on the go is a good start. If you're playing in an online group and are fast at googling, just google every time anyone does anything and you'll gradually learn how and why they're doing it.

    For example, let's say your Cleric says 'I cast Cure Light Wounds on the Barbarian.' So you search up 'Cure Light Wounds 3.5' and find the SRD entry and understand how it works. Maybe your Barbarian decides to make a trip attack. Search 'trip 3.5' and with 20 seconds of reading you have a good idea of how tripping works.

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