Post by uptrainfan89 on Sept 6, 2016 15:29:22 GMT -9
Ok so I'm finally getting a game night going for me and a few friends again and was debating between some rule sets. Last time we used the Dragon Age RPG rules and liked them but there was a lot of times where I had to make a system for something not really specified in the book (like crafting and such), they need a bit of balance tweaking for some things. I was thinking of D&D 3.5 cause I've messed with it a bit but not as much as I'd like or maybe giving 4th edition a go. My main question is which is easier to learn and what are some of the main differences between the editions?
Post by oldschooldm on Sept 6, 2016 17:27:49 GMT -9
Is there some reason you're not considering D&D 5e? I played AD&D (1.0) and 4e and liked them both, but I like 5e better than both. Best of evolved rules, without going all deep-dive with rules for every single contingency.
Post by chiefasaur on Sept 6, 2016 17:27:54 GMT -9
I've played a LOT of 3.5 and 4E. Of course, first things first, the obligatory "If the adventure is good, the DM is good and the group has fun, the engine doesn't matter." Super short answer: play 5E. It's very streamlined, and has a very good balance of old school flavor and new school mechanics.
This is going to turn into a wall of text...
I've found 3.5 and 4E to be pretty wildly different. I don't think I'd ever want to teach anyone new to gaming 3.5. It's bloated and clunky, and often times, doing something pulls from so many easy to forget, conditional bonuses, an action, like grappling, can swiftly turn into doing fantasy taxes. 4E is considerably more streamlined, and I've found it MUCH easier to teach to newbies, but it doesn't feel like a classic PnPRPG, but runs more like an analog JRPG or MMO. Also, 4E is very tactical and requires minis, which I find very fun. It's a lot less of an RPG and much more of a very small-scale co-op wargame (which shouldn't be a problem, this IS a miniatures gaming forum.) All of your "attacks" are called powers, and much like an MMO, they all have "cooldowns." Some powers can be used every turn, some once an encounter, and some take a day to cool down. I actually enjoyed the "hotkey" power system, they all have stupid weaboo names, and you can shout the name of all of your attacks while performing them, like in any good anime The main problem I have with 4E, is it doesn't really encourage any roleplay. All your abilities and skills are pretty hard-wired for combat use. This is fine for a down and dirty dungeon crawl, but 4E always felt like it lacked a lot of nuance that make an RPG an RPG. Though, much of this is determined by players and DMs. I honestly don't even remember if it had a crafting system, doing ANYTHING outside of combat just never came up.
3.5 on the other hand is SUPER kitchen sink. It's got skills galore. You want to bake some bread and make a pot? heck, you can take ranks in that! Something I did really like in 4E vs 3.5 is that characters start out with some really fun abilities, and spellcasters have "at will" spells they can cast all the time, so the 1st lvl mage's "5 minute work day" is gone. Though, this has replaced any fragility and urgency of low level characters, it is HARD to die in 4E. Seriously, if your PC dies in a level appropriate encounter, throw away your dice, because either they are cursed, or you are terrible. (silly side-note: 4E bards become godlike puppet-masters, making the entire game-board dance like their own personal marionettes. I quite enjoyed that)
Those are the differences I can think of off the top of my head.
I really gotta' say, I would def recommend 5E over 3.5 and 4E. It strips a LOT of the bloat from 3.5, no more little fiddly bonuses, but also has some good role-play inspiring elements baked into your character sheet. It also keeps many of the elements that really worked in 4E. Mages are never useless, skills are MUCH more streamlined, etc. Also, 5E characters aren't nearly as invincible as 4E, so it adds a nice tension to gameplay.
tl;dr 3.5: You can do ANYTHING, you just need to figure out the math behind it 4E: A fun, but somewhat flat, tactical JRPG, also, bards are useful. 5E: Good balance of both
These are all opinions, and everybody is going to have different experiences with their own groups. I hope some of these ravings help...
Last Edit: Sept 6, 2016 17:50:29 GMT -9 by chiefasaur
If you want to start players resilient (with some cool basic powers) in 5e, start them at 3rd level - basically the same as 4e lvl 1 in terms of heartiness/fun.
Totally, though I find keeping your character alive those first two or three levels in 5E really makes you attached to them. I really like "wanting" to keep my character alive, and nothing forms a bond like going through that 1st level meat grinder
Post by cowboyleland on Sept 6, 2016 18:10:31 GMT -9
I actually taught some newbs 3.5 last year. They wanted to play D&D and I have the basic 3.5 books so that is what I DMed. I house ruled in some good stuff from Pathfinder, but basically we are playing 3.5.
On the other hand, maybe it's the herd that is crazy.
Post by uptrainfan89 on Sept 6, 2016 18:10:43 GMT -9
Hmm I'm kinda torn between 4e and 5e now lol, I definitely want streamlined, as a DM I hate spending precious game time looking up a random rule that only got used once, number crunching can get crazy too. I've seen 4e has more books avaliable, can't decide if that a good or bad thing. I did like crafting and I herd 4e did something wonky with it, tho that's me when I played a hero, I think my players are more about combat lol. I don't mind the low roleplay of 4e mostly cause I tend to make combat a major component and add plenty of flavor to it and in between to flesh it out as a story lol.
Post by squirmydad on Sept 6, 2016 20:03:59 GMT -9
The Pathfinder version of 3.5 is what got me back into playing RPG's, but yes, there is a crazy amount of crunch to keep track of. I cheated though and got the Herolab app so I could tick a few boxes and get on with the game instead of trying to do my fantasy taxes. I like that, it should be a thing.
Haven't played 5e, but I've heard nothing but good things.
Another option would be savage worlds, I picked up the main rule book, and I have not heard anything bad about the system (I have not been able to play a game yet, but I hope to be able to some day)
Savage Worlds is really good. It's VERY streamlined. character creation is interesting, because you don't start with character classes like in D&D, you pretty much build your hero from the ground up. I've found the game feels a little bit limiting in some ways, but my experience with SW isn't nearly as extensive as with D&D, so that is entirely subjective. On the other hand, the "lite" rules keep everything moving at a really good clip. If you want to fit a LOT of game into a few hour session, SW is a really good choice. What I do like is SW is just an engine, and there are TONS of settings that it fits into, so you can easily use the same rule set for sci fi, fantasy, noir, or whatever you're in the mood for.
Post by uptrainfan89 on Sept 7, 2016 4:07:58 GMT -9
I think I'll have to check out 5e, it sounds perfect. Also this my be a dumb question as I haven't played near as much D&D as I'd have liked to but I noticed there are 3 of each core book for say 4e but only one each for 5e, do the extra versions just add more classes, spells, monsters, rules, etc?
I'm an old-school 1st and 2nd edition player from back in the day who came back to D&D with 5e (hadn't played in over 20 years until last year). Don't know about 3.5 or 4e but 5e is a winner. It's the reason I'm here, since I make paper terrain and paper minis for my campaign (I'm a hybridist and use both painted metal minis and paper minis). The overall best mechanic in 5e is advantage and disadvantage (roll 2 d20s and take either the higher or lower number, respectively).
Why D&D, anyway? Other companies have beautiful daughters, too...
You could try the "totally new" game called The Dark Eye. It was just successfully funded via Kickstarter.
The system uses d20 and d6, and it plays in a rich and very well defined fantasy world called Aventuria.
Actually, this game is in its 5th edittion, too. It's one of the oldest German RPGs and has been continuously published since 1984. It's the game with which I and almost every roleplayer in Germany started the hobby. This game rocks mountain-like. It's easy to learn, all the rules fit in one book and all other books are adventures and rules supplements. However, buying just the core rules is enough to play for years to come...
Post by kgstanley81 on Sept 7, 2016 11:52:19 GMT -9
4e was trying out different things, phb 1, had some core classes and core races, then phb 2&3 added more classes and races, ones that I thought should have been in phb 1. 5e has all of it, they even have the basics for free online, so you can download and see for yourself, if you download the free version, just note that each class has about 3 sub-classes that goes with them, the free version has the iconic builds ie fighter has champion, who just gets better at fighting as he levels, and in the phb you also get the sword mage, and a technician, who can spend dice to help others or himself on the battlefield
Post by uptrainfan89 on Sept 7, 2016 13:00:58 GMT -9
Reading through the 5e PHB right now and loving it so far! Also I skimmed through the sword coast and elemental evil books and they are definitely getting used too, some awesome stuff in them! I'm gonna look through the 5e DMG and 5e MM next!
Having started with the three booklets in the white box version of D&D back in the mid/late-70s, I drifted away to other systems during the 1980s and beyond, but always kept an eye on what D&D was up to. However, 5e was the version that tempted me back to it, after brief flirtations with 2e and 3.5e that never actually got as far as playing either version. What I can say is that 5e has really brought me closer to the excitement of those initial heady days when EVERYTHING RPG was bright, shiny, and new (even when it actually wasn't!) than any other system I've tried (and there've been many) in the intervening (groan...) 40-odd years! Plus, as oldschooldm said, the basic rules remain freely available to all, so unlike virtually all other RPG systems on the market, you really can try before you buy, and not just with some cut-down version where half the core rules are missing or "simplified".
Incidentally, if you're thinking of running a small, low-level campaign, I'd recommend investing in the 5e Starter Set, as although it has only a cut-down version of the rules (which just cover character levels 1 to 5), the DM's adventure book has a lot of interesting ideas that can be reworked and expanded into your own campaign beyond the adventure as scripted, using part of the now standard D&D world-setting. Plus it comes with a set of six polyhedral dice if you don't own any already. So unlike most other D&D Starter Sets through the ages (which in my experience were never worth buying), you actually CAN start playing the game, and continue with it, simply by buying this set and using the free PDF rules available for download.
Post by jeffgeorge on Sept 21, 2016 17:30:53 GMT -9
If I were starting a new campaign, especially if some or all of the players were new to D&D/RPGs, I think I'd do the first few sessions in the Fluid Fundamentals style layed out by Hank at Drunkens and Dragons. This is a stripped down version of d20 roleplaying--without classes, proficiencies, spells, skills, levels, racial traits, or even statistics--intended to teach new players the very basic elements of roleplaying games. Characters consist of a name, perhaps a physical description, and a couple of bonuses (e.g., +1 on Dexterity tasks, +2 on Strength tasks). He sets a single Difficulty Class for every task in the encounter (e.g., DC 10), so that no matter what anyone tries to do, they just have to roll a d20 against the DC to find out if they succeed. The ONLY mods to the rolls are the characters' bonuses, if applicable.
Hank has each character break his turn into three phases: describe what you want to do, roll a d20 to see if you succeed, and then react to that outcome. His demo scenario involves some goblins bursting into a busy tavern; if one of the players wants to grab a chair and whack a goblin (describe), he rolls a d20 and adds his Strength bonus against the encounter-wide DC of 10 (roll), and then does damage a d6 of damage if he succeeds (react). The key is to keep it simple and keep it moving, so that new players get a feel for the flow of the game.
I can see this being an interesting way to start a new campaign in a new setting even for experienced players. You'd dispense with character back-stories and classes entirely for the first two or three sessions, and let the players discover their characters and their roles within the party organically. The campaign starts with these very simple characters in one place, for reasons that don't matter, as the action begins. If someone sees their character as a fighting type, he just says he bashes stuff with whatever's at hand; if she wants to be more of a rogue, she just describes tricky, stealthy actions; if he wants to play a caster, he just describes attempting to tap into the magic in the world and producing a (very minor, at this point) effect. Essentially, you're playing out the origin stories for the characters and the party in this Fluid Fundamental style, and once the chemistry within the group is established, and the players have some familiarity with at least a small slice of the game setting, THEN you can work together to fill in back stories and create formal characters with classes and levels. If I start a 5e campaign this way--and I may, in a month or two--I might have this Fluid Fundamentals/0-Level action serve as a sort of prequel, leading to the characters gaining a patron (or patrons), who sponsors their training for a few off-screen weeks or months, and then start the campaign in earnest with 2nd or 3rd level characters (3rd if you want them to begin right away with the cool class stuff that happens at that level, or 2nd if you still want them to have the satisfaction of "earning" that rather substantial power bump).
I know this sounds pretty wacky, but watch the video. At some point, it's going to suddenly seem brilliant. If you do watch the video (it's from a live stream), the real meat of the talk starts at about 10:15; Hank usually opens his videos with a bit of silliness that may or may not be to your taste. But the Fluid Fundamentals concept is very much worth considering, if you're starting a new campaign, and especially if you're running with novice players.
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