Saturday, August 27, 2016

Editions of D&D and Why

A topic came up in a facebook group, which errupted into an edition war.  I never understood the strong hatred folks have towards particular versions of the D&D games, so I decided to quickly list what I like about each of the editions I've played.  (That is, each edition but one...)

AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition

I put them together because I love them both so much, but also because the core mechanics are interchangable.  I also love them as my go-to for running games since the rules are easy to teach, and setting things up on the fly is fun and effortless thanks to the randomization tables.  Most of all I love the feel and mood they give, enriched by real culture and history, which breaths life in and makes immersion natural and all at once wonderful.

D&D 3rd Edition

This is the one I was introduced to the hobby through and still hold the fondest memories of, but as for running it as a GM, it can get a tad overwhelming due to its complexity.  But, because of how rules-heavy it is, it is my favorite to participate in as a player.  The flexibility allows me to make a highly diverse range of characters.

D&D 4th Edition

There are plenty of folks whose blood pressure will climb into stage three hypertension at the mere mention of this one.  I used to be annoyed with it too, and I remember trying to sell the core books that a friend had dumped on me for free.  Nobody would touch them with a ten-foot pole, so they collected dust on my shelves for a week.  Then, one day, I got ill and was extremely bored, so I picked up the monster manual to see if it had certain creatures.  As I read it I fell in love with the fact that they had multiple kinds of each creature, detailed with all relative information, eliminating the need for book juggling.  In short, it turned out to be the funnest tactical miniatures wargame I've ever played and now I have all the books (which I scored for dirt cheap thanks to all the sad little people who fell for the hate).

D&D 5th Edition

This one I'm not totally in love with; it has so much of the previous editions in it that it leaves me wanting to play one of them instead, but I admit this: had I been introduced to 5th edition first, I probably never would have wanted to even touch the other ones.  Its organization and art are both smooth and satisfying, like a sip of perfectly aged Dr. Pepper with a squeeze of lemon.


To be honest, it feels like a heavily house-ruled version of 3rd edition, only blanketed in Anime Porn.  The system is functional, but for some reason every time I've played it, either the players were terrible or the GM was out of his/her ever-blessed mind.  And I think I know why...  The artwork represents everything wrong with modern fantasy art (the aforementioned anime porn), which D&D 5th edition almost single-handedly repaired.  But even more than the art, the content is zanier than cartoon network on crystal meth.  The core setting is like a spackled mishmash of everything imaginable, interspersed with juvenile humor and the most rudimentary understanding of culture, economics and social interactions.  It's like Dungeons and Dragons was rewritten by a drug-addicted monkey with its fists filled with crayons and a mickey mouse hat glued to its head.  In short, I hate it, and I'm tired of telling all the illiterate Pathfinder players on roll20 that my clearly detailed campaigns do not utilize Pathfinder.

(My GURPS Starship campaign: "Doy, can I bring in my level 12 witchdoctor blood mage?"  "Not Pathfinder, not a fantasy campaign"  "Um, could you run Pathfinder instead?"  "...please leave."

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