Long time gamers


3.5/d20/OGL


I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.


bigby99 wrote:
I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I like it. From the design side it is more consistant and streamlined than 3.0 which was in turn much more consistant than anything with an AD&D label on it. I find that character creation and evolution often mirrors collectable trading card deck construction but that's not so bad though more of a modern gaming concept. As with any game that inposes rules for real-life there is the potential for abuse.

My overall suggestion would be to pick-up the three core books (3.5 if economically feasible) and and play them 'til you bleed. Then after your comfortable let other people pick up the "Complete", "Book of" and "Races" books and then selfishly borrow them so that you can pick and choose what you want to allow in your world. Always buy your own monster manuals ;). You might also consider Eberron as a setting if you don't have one in mind as it is still fresh and relatively open. It has that Star Wars/Indiana Jones kinda feel and every old gamer needs to shake things up every now and then or else it just gets boring.

GGG


I've been Playing D&D off and on for over 20 years and have been through every Edition. The short response is yes, the revision was worth it.

The catch is that it requires a little more from your players as there are a lot of subtleties. I'm currently DM'ing for a newbie group of 30ish aged players who love it. They don’t have a lot of time to read up on the rules so I have made it my responsibility to teach them the rules during play – that is, the stuff beyond the basics. The rules don't have to bee complicated (the PHB sums up combat on one page) but when you use the subtleties it enhances the game experience and allows you to suspend your disbelief to a greater extent than the previous Editions (in my opinion).

My advice is start at 1st level and get really familiar with all the new rules for combat, terrain, movement etc... before your players overload themselves with their character’s options.

After that you’ll enjoy how adaptable and customizable the game is to your preferences as well as the fact that you are now familiar with the D20 System and can play any other game you’re interested in (D20 Modern, Call of Cthulhu, whatever) without having to relearn a new set of game rules.

Enjoy!

Contributor

YES! V.3.5 is sooooooooo much better than previous editions of the game. The only word I can think of for 1E & 2E now after playing the 3rd editions for the past few years is... Broken.

The current edition is easier to learn, easier to play, streamlined, simplified yet complex, and much more "newbie" friendly.


I totally agree with Steve Greer's comments. I had been playing AD&D since 1980 (started playing at age 13) and it was okay, but when I picked up 3.5 PH and read it cover to cover I was really impressed on how consistent and easy to learn 3.5 was.

I truly believe if 3.5 had come out in 1980, the hobby would have been even bigger during its heydey of the early 80's.

I'm extremely happy with it. My old AD&D books are on the bookshelf for sentimental value.


I can't really comment too much on the 3.5 rules. What I have seen it doesn't appear to be that much of a revision but I could be wrong (Hey! Quit taking pictures!). I started playing while in the Marines 25 years ago and it is my number one hobby and passion (Don't touch that! That's my shrine to Gygax!). Yes I am out on a limb here and its breaking. Currently I am using the 3.0 rules and I will likely stick with them for awhile before I feel justified in spending the money to upgrade to 3.5. As for this thread's Old Gamers tag yes I am an old gamer, 47 to be precise.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
bigby99 wrote:
I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I started playing when I was 10 years old. I'm 34 now. Was the revision necessary for stats and numbers, paper and pen stuff? Not in my opinion. I'm still playing by 2nd Edition, but our group stripped so much out of the rules for game flow purposes anyway that no body would recognize it as such. The big change I've seen, however, is in content and quality of the story line stuff, monsters, etc. That's improved greatly, and I'm acutally USING D&D products again instead of cannibalizing other game sytems. If they needed to revamp everything to breathe that kind of life into the system, so be it. I've gotten pretty quick at converting the stats back to 2nd ed in my head, so no big deal. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've been DM'ing since the early 80's with the 1st Edition D&D, then AD&D 2nd Edition, and eventually through V3.0 to V3.5. The major changes occured, in my experience, when the 2nd edition jumped to V3.0. There were numerous, important clarifications and bug corrections that led from V3.0 to V3.5, but not like the major overhaul from 2nd edition.

In the 2nd edition, the rules were loose in many areas and DM had much more flexibility in running their games. Some DM's consider this a loss and feel constricted by the new system.

I am very pleased, however, with V3.5. The rules are much more consistent and logical, and better written, than with the 2nd Edition, thus clearing up a lot of confusion. For example, numbering schemes have been made consistent so that the higher your values, the better you are, regardless of whether it's your abilities, your Armor Class number, your skills, or your spellcasting characteristics. Also, all player classes now advance at the same XP rates (this change seems minor, but it has done a lot to ease player reluctance at taking certain classes that leveled up much slower than others). The combat mechanics have been totally revamped, providing many more options and allowing the battles to be much more unique. And the addition of feats has dramatically enhanced the ability of players to customize their characters!

Having said that, the V3.5 rules are also more complex than those of the 2nd Edition, so as someone above mentioned, if you're the DM you may find yourself spending a lot of time studying so that you can teach and lead your players through the game mechanics.

I have not even addressed the improved quality of the adventures since the early game! All elements have matured. The backgrounds and settings, the plots, the character motivations, the foreshadowing of villains and events; these have become so much better since the early days of D&D. I have not examined Ebberon yet, but the DM's and players today have many more options and much better material to work with.

All-in-all, I'd say that the changes from the 2nd edition have been remarkably positive and I've found the changes to our hobby to be very rewarding and exciting over the years.

Hurm.


Don't like it, don't play it.

A few reasons:

1. Too much is defined by the rules. I don't think D&D needs a lot of super-specific options for combat. I preferred just winging it. Attacks of Opportunity, trip attacks, and so on and so on: Too much!

2. Multiclassing is too easy. I prefer when it came with a lot of drawbacks. Originally, you picked one class and could never change it or add another. Later in AD&D, you could, but you had high ability score requirements and severe drawbacks. Human multiclass heroes were rare and extraordinary. Demihumans could multiclass from the start, but advanced very slowly and had strict level limits. I prefer strong, archetypal characters. A Ftr 10 is an archetype with a single broad, but clearly-defined role. That's what D&D is about to me. Team play with strict roles. A Ftr 4/Clr 2/Rog 3/Wiz 1 is not an archetype, but a big mess with no clear niche. I like strict niches that enforce teamwork in play. The video game Gauntlet is a classic BECAUSE one player can't be both the Warrior and the Wizard. D&D is the same for me.

3. I don't like skills in D&D. In original D&D and AD&D, your character's abilities were defined by his profession and his background, things he could reasonably be ASSUMED to know. If you had any doubts about whether he could pull something off, the GM could just call for a roll against an ability score, or something. Simple. Later editions of the game ruined this elegent simplicity, I feel. But I guess juggling skill points, class skills, cross-class skills, maximum skill ranks, skill bonuses and penalties, and pre-set DCs for a whole host of obsure tasks is more fun or something... :(

4. Feats. Hate 'em. Want heroic feats? Make them happen in play, not on your character sheet. More busywork complexity to appeal to point-mongers and power gamers.

5. No limits for demihumans. Earlier editions were very specific that D&D was supposed to be HUMANOCENTRIC. Demihumans were limited to specific classes and roles and restricted from rising too high in level because they were intended to be supporting characters and sidekicks to the human heroes. Simply put, demihumans were not supposed to be "different, but equal." Humans were just supposed to be BETTER. Even the term "demihuman" was intended to indicate their intended role in the game. I have nothing against individual GMs going another direction with this, but I prefer that the game itself stay true to that original vision.

So mostly I don't like the new game because it relies less on the GM's judgement and imagination and requires an insane amount of number crunching and bookeeping just to have the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE that earlier editions could deliver with less than half the prep work. Why work so much harder for the same old dungeon crawl; so hard that it dampens the enthusiasm and detracts from the fun? Everything after Gygax's AD&D has been a bad dream.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I despise change, it took me years to switch over, and my old DM still hasn't done so. Yes, a revision was definitely needed, and I appreciate most of the changes.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I bought the 3.0 PHB and DMG and never opened them.

Then 3.5 came along and I thought we were back to that time when a new revision seemed to appear with disheartening regularity. (Shop assistant said to me in the 2nd Edition AD&D days: "That's £5 for the paint and £15 for the annual." It was almost the truth.)

I've been DMing 3.5 D&D for a whole three weeks now and I find it unsettling to be back roleplaying in general. That was something I did in my 20s and now I'm heading for my 40s. Specifically, the character generation seems much like other games we've played, and the Skills seem okay. The combat rules seem to be discouraging, and I'm feeling DM guilt over not having the exact a, b, c of that intricate combat system and of spellcasting learned properly. I'm not enjoying the learning curve, but I'm going to learn it and the players seem to be having a reasonably good time.

The game strikes me as one made for a generation at ease with video-game level advancement, power-ups and masses of goodies. And why not...? It ain't the 80s any more. (Bleedin' heck! It ain't the 90s either. Where did that decade go?)

I think its a fantasy game made for playing in the times we're in, so yes, a revision was necessary. Good luck to it. :-)


"I think its a fantasy game made for playing in the times we're in, so yes, a revision was necessary."

I think anything truly good will last forever on its initial merits alone, no updating neccessary. Shakespeare's plays, Mozart's compositions, Wells' Citizen Kane and Namco's Ms. Pac-Man don't seem to have a lot in common, but you can still find them all today being enjoyed and appreciated in their original forms and I don't expect that that will ever change. So if it's truly good, it doesn't need some souless corporate think tank to reimagine it more "hip" for the ADD-addled kiddies on a quarterly basis. If it's not truly good, it doesn't deserve to survive in any form.

That's how I see it, anyway.


I'd make the exact opposite arguement put forth by Yamo.

I hated what I percieved as the arbitrary nature of previous editions. Perhaps I'm overly politically correct but I've always felt that everyone at the table should have the right to know what to expect: equal fairness, equal constraints equal opportunity.

I can't stand it when the DM just suddenly declares that you can't do something (usually because it's in his/her intererst). The current rules offer what I feel to be an improved system to resolve everything from what a character knows to how well he/she fights; and, the DM is as bound to the rules as the player. No more dictators!

The down side I can see is that those geeks like myself who actually enjoy reading the rule books as a pastime will (much like lawyers or programers) find ways to do what they need to do; meantime, the less enthusiastic rule book readers will feel limited by the rules. This situation has happened in my gaming group and has landed me the the job of DM more often than not.

So, you can look at the new rules as a constraint on your creativity (as Yamo has explained) or you can look at it as a fairer more versatile and comprehensive system (as I do). Personal outlook I guess.

Nuff fer now.


I suppose I must disagree with your disagreement. Bad GMs will always exist, and I don't think the "rules" can even slow them down. There's nothing against the rules about having the 1st level party ambushed by rabid tarrasques in their sleep or having them suddenly "discover" previously unknown lethal allergies to things encountered in the adventure. All they care about is being petty and stupid, and that's a fact.

I think it's more likely that the good, promising GMs will be the ones to make a good faith effort to adhere to the rules, even if those rules limit their own potential in ways they may not even fully realize and reduce them from active judges, facilitators and participants to mere placeholder entertainers.

The way you fear a strong GM indicates to me that you've probably never played under a good one, even if you are a good one yourself. That experience cannot be overvalued and transforms a good game session into one you'll remember for decades to come.

It's important, though, for good GMs to have the freedom to be good: To let your character succeed at his heroic, last-ditch charge attack on the ogre chief, despite the rules saying that his 20 bodyguards all get AoOs and rip him to shreds before he even gets close. Or to let your rogue run up the dragon's neck and front flip off its head to reach the cave exit in the roof and escape with the cask of gems, despite the rules saying that you'd need a DC 30+ check to pull it off and your bonus is only +5. These little tricks don't work when everybody at the table "knows" they're not supposed to. It doesn't feel fair or right. The player doesn't feel like he did a cool, heroic, memorable thing, but that the GM cheated for him. Triumph gives way to cynicism.

This is how rules can defeat creativity, defeat fun and ultimately defeat a great game. This is why less is more.

Don't fear the jerks. They'll be jerks no matter what. Fear a D&D that doesn't encouraging great GMs to GM great.


So it hurts creativity to say a first level character just can't hit a demon prince? Cuz ya know, that would be just as cool as running accross dragon backs and charging through a group of twenty people without getting touched. So THACO is just as limiting to creativity as any rule in 3.?.

In a way, I see what your saying, but I think it's a matter of prefered style. I've been in campaigns where the DM would fly by the seat of his pants, making up this rule and ignoring that one, and had an absoulte blast. Perfect example was a year or so ago I played in this guy's Ravenloft campaign. It was great, the guy was an amazing storyteller and could keep every NPC distinct with personality and accents. We did a lot of roleplaying and investigation for the first few days before we wound up in a real combat. This is where I noticed the guy either didn't know the rules very well, or didn't care. Either way even the combat was amazing with vivid descriptions and heroic action.

For me, this was close to a perfect session. The one thing that could have made it better (at least on the DM's part) was had he been using the rules as stated in the book. I would have been more aware of what I was able/unable to do based on the character I made instead of whatever the DM was basing it on. Granted, I do believe the DM does, and should, have every right to change things either because he doesn't like the rules or because things need to go a sertin way in his game. I personaly hate the jumping rules, my friend who DMs the game I play in now is real leary about sneak attack. We all have the things that we dislike about the rules, but it's good (in my opinion) to have a base to start from.


I like 3.5 quite a bit. I feel so much more freedom to create the heroic architypes that I want, without feeling restrained by the limited class roles of previous editions. Every villan I create is a unique person, with the skills, classes, feats, and abilitis to reflect his/her backstory and motivations.

It's a great, open-ended system, and I like it.

Incidentally, someone mentioned Shakespeare, and how his plays were timeless and should never be changed, just like previous editions of D&D. Thing is, any play ever written changes with each performance. I just saw an outdoor theatre's version of "The Tempest," last year, where Ariel was a robot, and Propsero communicated to others through walkie-talkies.

Culture IS change, and works of literature, art, etc. all must translate themselves as time passes. IMHO, you don't worship the past, no matter how much it's been built into your worldview or sense of identity. You need to learn from it instead, so you can help create the cultural capacities you need to understand the present and future.

Anyway, sorry to get too far off topic - I majored in English, and minored in Speech/Theatre. . . Shakespeare and his continued effect on our lives is a fun subject for me to rant/rave about. :)

- Chris


"So it hurts creativity to say a first level character just can't hit a demon prince?"

Occassionally, sure. Every rule has the potential to be a straitjacket, but the more you have, the more potential there is.

Everybody wants some rules, but do they want a little or a lot? I'll take a little, because I believe that makes for a better game. You're welcome to disagree, but my reasons work for me, as they're based on what's made my best experiences in gaming as a player and GM possible.

"I just saw an outdoor theatre's version of 'The Tempest,' last year, where Ariel was a robot, and Propsero communicated to others through walkie-talkies."

The play stayed the same, the staging changed. All future printings of Tempest won't refer to Ariel as a robot in the text. This is similar to how I think the published game should stay true to its roots while individual play groups are encouraged to modify it however they want. Perhaps a version of D&D that's simple and fast, but has guidelines and discussion for implementing different or more complicated rules if you want? I doubt I'd have a problem with feats and skills and such if they were presented in a chapter (or whole seperate book) of optional rules and didn't show up by default in every published adventure and article.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Sure, I agree, V3.5 has flaws.

- Too many skills, some pretty obscure;
- Feats, prestige classes, and liberal multiclassing rules that enable the power builds;
- Too many actions, some with complex rules;
- Too complex combat mechanics, requiring much-too-much study.

There are more. Many of these appeal to the powergamers...

...or...

...they can also appeal to your average DM's and players who look for flexible, yet capable, rules that set the stage for exotic, entertaining, sometimes hair-raising adventures.

My house rules severely restrict the feats, prestige classes, and multiclassing rules unless the players locate and train under the rare masters. It has much the same "feel" as my AD&D games did, but takes advantage of the improvements in mechanics and logic.

My players and I enjoyed "Against the Giants" and "Tomb of Horrors" with the D&D V1 rules. We equally enjoyed "DragonLance" and "Vecna Lives!" using the AD&D rules. And now we're having terrific fun with the Adventure Path series in Dungeon magazine using the V3.5 ruleset.

It all depends on whether you're having fun. A good, adaptable DM and a group of funloving, experienced players can overcome a few loose rules, or a few restrictive rules, without a hiccup.

Hurm.


Yamo wrote - "The way you fear a strong GM indicates to me that you've probably never played under a good one, even if you are a good one yourself."

That transparent huh ;-)

None the less, I still don't feel my creativity is hindered by the revision to 3.5. I'll take your example:

"let your character succeed at his heroic, last-ditch charge attack on the ogre chief, despite the rules saying that his 20 bodyguards all get AoOs and rip him to shreds before he even gets close. Or to let your rogue run up the dragon's neck and front flip off its head to reach the cave exit in the roof and escape with the cask of gems, despite the rules saying that you'd need a DC 30+ check to pull it off and your bonus is only +5."

Even a mid level Rogue stands at least a 50/50 chance to tumble past the ogre chief's guards (DC 25 - it's not unreasonable to expect an 8th LVL Rogue to have +13 in Tumble); or, a fighter with improved overun; or, a mounted overun charge...whatever.

I'm not sure it shouldn't be a DC 30 to run up a dragon's neck and jump out a trap door but a 6 inch wide dragon neck with +5 dificulty penalty (DM's freedom right there) for movement, slipperyness, etc.. shouldn't make the stunt higher than a DC 20 balance check. Of course there's the jump check and the possible attack of opportunity but not unimaginable for a mid level monk, ranger, rogue - whatever.

Nobody would expect a 1st level character to succeed at these stunts but how would you know that if a consistent rules system were not in place to assist a character's ability to assess risk and reward. In the cases above the chances are not great, nor should they be. But the possibility is there and the method of assessing risk and reward is transparent to both GM and PC. When a success is achieved the victory is sweet (I sound like an advocate for gambling).

I always tell my PC's not to think of thier actions in rules terms (meta game thinking I believe they call it) but to imagine what they would like thier characters to do and let me worry about the rules. I can then offer them the risk (the DC of the die role) and let them make the decision. Afterwards I explain the mechanics. The players learn and develop thier characters using a set of mechanics that matches thier style of play.

Anyway, it may be an issue of style but I prefer a strong rules system to maintain fairness and consistency but with enough versatility to offer creative freedom. I feel the 3.5 system has all that. I certainly don't advocate it as the perfect system (I've got house rules too - thier written down and available to all players of course) but I do feel its an improvement to the earlier editions (to bring the discussion back on track).

Nuff fer now.


I just wanted to reply to your original question.
I've been playing for 27 years. From the first day I was introduced to D&D I was hooked. A living fantasy, a dream, and the ability to "Play" within my imagination would not end as I became an adult. These were the what I considered promises of D&D. In first edition (as a young man just starting high school and a poor reader) I could hardly understand all the rules, especially when they seemed so inconsistent. So creativity and imagination helped fill gaps where my lack of understanding the rules left big question marks. Anyway 3.5 is soooo much easier to understand and the rules are consistent, I can put my imagination to use in the game, instead of using it to get around poor rules.
I taught my niece and nephews to play, and now I’m introducing the game to my kids as well. My wife joined my game when we were poor newly weds living in New York. In each of these cases I taught different versions, and each version needed to be simplified to a certain extent. In my opinion the basics are so much easier to teach using 3.5
Good luck and enjoy, we are all different and we all understand things better in different forms, 3.5 works for me.


I think that all criticism 3.5 has taken in this thread could be alleviated by simply adjusting your campaign's house rules. For example, while I use all the feats and skills in my campaign, most of the prestige classes simply are not available. I also use the rule from D20 modern that if you take damage that exceeds your CON score in one hit, you have to make a DC15 Fortitude save or be knocked down to -1 hit points.

I also don't use a lot of the newer, weirder monsters. I like traditional adventurers vs. trolls, ogres, etc. I've never been a fan of oozes, extraplanar creatures, weird plant creatures or some of the more comic-book like monsters....so I just don't use them. I don't think you need weirder creatures to keep the players interested...you need good plot lines.

The game "feels" like old AD&D....the flavor is there. The game mechanics are cleaner and easier to use....I think this game allows more "focus" on role-playing than AD&D, IMHO.


Steve Greer wrote:
YES! V.3.5 is sooooooooo much better than previous editions of the game. The only word I can think of for 1E & 2E now after playing the 3rd editions for the past few years is... Broken.

Yeah - I have to agree with you - Especially with 1st Edition. Unearthed Arcana broke the system and Oriental Adventures utterly trashed it.

I there is a skill in Oriental Adventures that lets you break solid objects. Eagle Claw or something. I litterly had players that figured the best way to move through the dungion was tunneling. Some player would look in the rule book and work out that it would take them 3 hours or whatver to Karate Chop their way through solid granite to the alternate passage they know is there but can't otherwise get to without going through the room of many nasty traps.

There where some other crazy events as well that I remeber. I had a friggen vampire show up in some adventure and the PCs had no chance against it but did have lots of clues as to its existance and would have ample warning to escape after getting some for shadowing of the ultimate villian in the next series of adventures. Plus the NPC maiden they had spent several adventures getting to know would be abducted and would eventually fight them. Bit corny but I knew that it would tug the players emotional strings. Course I screwed up...my players hit the Vampire and kept going. When it made its appearance the charged forward. When I figured it I would have to kill soem of them for them to take the hint I turned out to be mistaken...I never took into account the overbearing rules.

I no longer remember the exact details but when the vampire turned to gas to escape they managed to trap him in a bottle and proceded to wander around with him for much teh rest of their adventuring careers.

I also recall realizing at that point that techinically speaking even demon lords could be overbeard by relitivly lower level players. There where also big holes...could you trip the dragon? I said no way but I was now fighting with the books because they seemed to indicate you could.


Page 2 of 1st edition AD&D DMG: "Is Dungeon Mastering an art or a science?" This is a direct quote taken from the foreword to that book written by Mike Carr, TSR Games & Rules Editor, 16 May 1979.
Another quote I am fond of, "This game is unlike chess in that the rules are not cut and dried. In many places they are guidelines and suggested methods only." 1st edition PHB, page 8,paragraph 4, E. Gary Gygax.
Everytime I hear about how the rule book says this or the rule books are restricting my creativity as a DM I point these quotes out. They are guidelines people, not etched in stone. If something doesn't work for you and your players then don't use it! These quotes may not appear in later editions but they still hold true. It is the DM who must decide what he/she wants in their game.That is the absolute beauty of D&D to start with. Every campaign, every game played around the table with the miniatures, maps, pizza and beer, even unto the games played now online, each is as individualistic as the DM running the game. If you want fighters who can cast spells tinker with the rules till you have something thats workable. If you decide there will be no attacks of opportunity in your world then black that section out in the rules books. Whatever you do be consistent and make sure your players know what you are up to. And above all else, have fun. Thats what its all about.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with 3.5.

It's great that there's an updated system, one with integrated skills, and the fact that you can improve all aspects of your character, even basic stats, is great. Such things are also, in my mind, the downfall.

The problem is that 3.5 has fallen into today's trap of instant gratification. My favorite campaign of all time was a first edition AD&D campaign I ran over a period of about 4 years. We played consistently, and often, and in 4 years one wizard made it to 10th level - but felt he'd earned it. Something like 250,000xp as I recall.

From a roleplaying sense, the fact that it's 3.5 doesn't matter at all. A shopkeeper is a shopkeeper, whether you're playing AD&D 1st edition or the 3.5 d20 version. What is completely different is the non-roleplaying aspects. Combat, due to the tactical battle of wits it has turned into, takes an inordinate amount of time, and the power is ramped WAY up.

Face it, anyone who is willing to go the min/max route will leave everyone else in the dust, and I'm tired of 'shop around' character development - "I'll take one level of rogue, and one level of barbarian, and ..." Bah! Half the characters out there are amorphous blobs of feats, classes and skills, with little to differentiate them.

Sure, there are people who don't do that, people who think of a character concept and follow through. But the *rules* encourage the former, not the latter - and the more prestige classes and Complete Divine and extra sourcebook #2112 crap there is out there, the more people will do such things.

BTW, before anyone out there give me the "just use the rules you want in your campaign" spiel, I know, I know. And I'll tell my kids to "Just Say No" and it will all be peachy. The reality is, I run and play in a convention campaign. We do have house rules, and we define what we allow, but we also have lots and lots of characters in the same shared world, and I see far too much of the min/maxing. I don't like it, plus it makes it virtually impossible to properly scale an adventure. A reasonable challenge for a standard group is a walk in the party for an omnipotent group of min-maxers, and with the current rules it's MUCH harder to just "work it out" during combat. Yeah, I could screw with the hit points and AC, but it becomes clear pretty damn fast and that ol' suspension of disbelief just comes crashing down.

Well, that's my 2 cents anyways. More like $2, I suppose :)


The revision was needed. I wasn't too happpy when they went from 3.0 to 3.5 rather quickly in my estimation, but I do like the d20 system. I am having a blast playing both a human paladin and a dwarf cleric in the current campaign I am in. Our party is on level 3 in the Temple of Elemental Evil. My DM found a conversion for this old Greyhawk adventure and it is great to be gaming in this edition. Both my characters are sons of my first generation of characters that I was using in 1E. I like history for my characters as it bridges the two systems.
I have been gaming since 1981 and the game is as fresh to me now as it was when I opened up that first box set for basic
D & D.


I too have a love/hate relationship with 3.5, but I feel a revision was needed.
I started playing in the late 70s running the classic Gygax modules. I purchased the 3rd Edition PH but barely read the book, thinking they had changed too much. Flash foward -- I'm now involved in both 1st edition and 3.5 edition games, and both are great fun.
The Good: The new rules added consistency across the board, and made some things simpler (chucking the Thac0 for the new AC system is a boon for any DM, figuring out "to hit" rolls couldn't be easier). Many of the rules systems work well together and are logical, eliminating the patchwork feel of the older game. The new rules also added some flexibility and helped define combat actions (I've had one too many poor DMs have my character take 3 melee rounds to drink a potion or draw a sword while "their" monsters take action after action). Having one experience table for all characters is great, and pro-rating xp is also fair.
The Bad: The new system can be exploited by power gamers. Renaming most of the spells (some needlesly I feel) drove most older players crazy.
The Ugly: The DM's work has tripled. Figuring out ELs and CRs and XP is a major nightmare, and judging by the many posts at the WotC boards asking for help I'm not alone. Upgrading monsters is another item; there's nothing like doing all the math to upgrade an otyugh (per the MM example), changing numbers to account for its new size, altering skill values, adding new feats, changing the skills again because of feats added, figuring out the new xp ... and then in play a wizard fries the thing with one fireball and the DM contemplates hurling himself out the nearest window. In the old days you bumped up the hit dice, increased the damage & possibly AC and bam, you were done. I'll admit, a creature having feats is cool, but overall consistency aside they never should have assigned standard abilities to monsters. (How does it feel knowing the average carrion crawler has a greater wisdom than most of the characters you've played?)

As far as 3.0 vs. 3.5 -- I wasn't sure if a reprinting was needed or if they simply wanted to make money buy selling hardcovers to players that had already purchased them. Perhaps the new D&D should have been fine-tuned more before its release. That's my 2 or 3 copper pieces.


TheDM wrote:

Page 2 of 1st edition AD&D DMG: "Is Dungeon Mastering an art or a science?" This is a direct quote taken from the foreword to that book written by Mike Carr, TSR Games & Rules Editor, 16 May 1979.

Another quote I am fond of, "This game is unlike chess in that the rules are not cut and dried. In many places they are guidelines and suggested methods only." 1st edition PHB, page 8,paragraph 4, E. Gary Gygax.
Everytime I hear about how the rule book says this or the rule books are restricting my creativity as a DM I point these quotes out. They are guidelines people, not etched in stone. If something doesn't work for you and your players then don't use it! These quotes may not appear in later editions but they still hold true. It is the DM who must decide what he/she wants in their game.That is the absolute beauty of D&D to start with. Every campaign, every game played around the table with the miniatures, maps, pizza and beer, even unto the games played now online, each is as individualistic as the DM running the game. If you want fighters who can cast spells tinker with the rules till you have something thats workable. If you decide there will be no attacks of opportunity in your world then black that section out in the rules books. Whatever you do be consistent and make sure your players know what you are up to. And above all else, have fun. Thats what its all about.

Nothing here thats not true...that said once you start to figure out that the Eagle Claw ability has toasted you game your really stuck with nerfing the player that has it. Not going to be happy about that. Sometimes it could seem like I was making up one house rule after another. Also heaven forbid if I used something on the party without figuring out its full potential. The rules work both ways but its more dificult to say 'you can't do that' when I have already set the precident...even if unwittingly.

Also balance could be really badly out of whack. Players usually had pretty notable differences in who was most powerful etc. It was way to easy to have one character really dominating the rest of the party - especially with some good stat rolls.

Some of the adventures could be crazy that way as well. The only way it seems to me to get through Tomb of Horrors is with a ton of monster summoning spells. You actual character never does or touches anything until his summoned minion has done it first. If the Minion dies a horrible death summon another one. If your a fighter your dead...your best chance for survival is to hide behind the mage.


I have been playing since i am 7 years old so its been 22 years now. I saw TSR grow and change as I did. Until it matured into wizards of the coast. D&D 3.5 is the best out of all the different verions. The basic rules are simpler to learn. Obviously i never like spending another batch of $$$ to upgrade to ANOTHER version but i have to say that this one is worth it.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I have been playing D&D for 25 years and really like the new edition. I have indroduced the new rules to many old time gamers, sparking new interest in some in the past time of role playing. I also have found it easier to teach new players both young and old, from 5 years old to 50. I Have found the d20 system provides an easy solution to resolving any situation while Dming on the fly.

the 3.5 rules are clearer and I am glad they revised the rules. Althouth there are some things I like and do not like in 3.5 version. My first 3rd edition character was a gnome bard (a novel idea if all you played was AD&D) to see that as gnome favored class was cool. I don't like the summon celestial mount for the paladin, A paladins mount is like a cohort in my opinion. So I stick with 3.0 version in my game.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I was really upset when they announced they were going to come out with 3rd edition as I had a substantial investment in 2nd edition and AD&D materials. I was even more upset when Dungeon quit supporting these earlier versions of the game as they had done in the past (there was a time when Dungeon would publish Basic, AD&D, and 2nd edition modules all in the same issue). I felt like my games were running just fine thank you and I didn't want to go through the expense and trouble of learning a new system.

Then a friend gave me the core set of 3.0 books and I decided to give it a try. I do like the new edition, and from a practical standpoint, you are not going to find much support for the earlier editions anymore except for at Half-Price Books. It is a good system and easier to use in many respects. The feats/skills/prestige classes can be a little overwhelming to keep track of, and it is a little easier to overlook something important in regards to running the NPCs and monsters, but it does give the players and the DM alot of flexibility in character/creature creation. I have never been a big fan of the half-dragons, but the fact that alot of the 3rd edition materials use creatures that longtime players haven't seen before keeps it fresh for them as well. I was getting really sick of 1st level characters who had never seen a troll before pulling out their oil flasks just because the players were so intimately familiar with that encounter.

Definately give 3.5 a try. Good luck to you!

DM Dave


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

Yep, I've been playing since the late 70s and I think 3.5 is great. I wonder if 3.5 wasn't planned before 3.0 was released though. Nothing like having a couple hundred dollars worth of 3.0 books that got a year of use then had to be replaced.

ASEO out


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

Been playing since 1978. Like it more than I dislike.

Like: It is a relatively streamlined system. More of what a player can and cannot do is clearly defined. I never liked the idea of having level limits on demihumans, especially multiclassing. Never played one until 2nd ed when that was eased up by exceeding level limits and/or paying extra xp. I especially like the idea of NPC classes and masterwork items. it gives the more definition to NPC's give the "common folk" their chance to excel.
Dislike: The game is more set for quick power accumulation instead of role-playing. Time was when a fighter would have to defeat around 280 kobolds to get to 2nd lvl (at about 7xp a kobold), more if you had to split xp with party members. Now it only takes 13 or so (at about 75 a kobold), more if you split with party members.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I've been playing since I was six, back before the books came hardcover. 3.5 has been nothing but a dream come true.

I don't know if I'm the only one out there buying up every book that comes out but I read them like some read their favorite fiction. The multitudinous choices, the game mechanics that finally work, the sheer depth of content and options provided of all of the various accessories...

Manna from heaven, baby.


Oh, so I suppose that you believe that Frodo and Gimli and Legolas, and Gandalf were all just supporting characters in the lord of the rings 'with them being demihumans and all...

And as far as number crunching goes, the only real crunching that went on in the old additions was that of my skull aS I tried to calculate THAC0.

That's all I have to say...


I agree with Michael Gonzalez' dislike. This new speedy progression seems aimed at an instant gratification audience weaned on RPG video games. A few gaming sessions and you're into epic levels.

It used to take you years and years to advance your character up to the point where he or she could start acting uppity in front of Orcus.

"Wave that wand at me one more time, Billy Goat lookin'..."


Yamo wrote:

Don't like it, don't play it.

A few reasons:

1. Too much is defined by the rules. I don't think D&D needs a lot of super-specific options for combat. I preferred just winging it. Attacks of Opportunity, trip attacks, and so on and so on: Too much!

2. Multiclassing is too easy. I prefer when it came with a lot of drawbacks. Originally, you picked one class and could never change it or add another. Later in AD&D, you could, but you had high ability score requirements and severe drawbacks. Human multiclass heroes were rare and extraordinary. Demihumans could multiclass from the start, but advanced very slowly and had strict level limits. I prefer strong, archetypal characters. A Ftr 10 is an archetype with a single broad, but clearly-defined role. That's what D&D is about to me. Team play with strict roles. A Ftr 4/Clr 2/Rog 3/Wiz 1 is not an archetype, but a big mess with no clear niche. I like strict niches that enforce teamwork in play. The video game Gauntlet is a classic BECAUSE one player can't be both the Warrior and the Wizard. D&D is the same for me.

3. I don't like skills in D&D. In original D&D and AD&D, your character's abilities were defined by his profession and his background, things he could reasonably be ASSUMED to know. If you had any doubts about whether he could pull something off, the GM could just call for a roll against an ability score, or something. Simple. Later editions of the game ruined this elegent simplicity, I feel. But I guess juggling skill points, class skills, cross-class skills, maximum skill ranks, skill bonuses and penalties, and pre-set DCs for a whole host of obsure tasks is more fun or something... :(

4. Feats. Hate 'em. Want heroic feats? Make them happen in play, not on your character sheet. More busywork complexity to appeal to point-mongers and power gamers.

5. No limits for demihumans. Earlier editions were very specific that D&D was supposed to be HUMANOCENTRIC. Demihumans were limited to specific classes and roles and restricted from rising too high...

Just a question - where exactly in ADD [1st Edition] did it have a rule for using ability scores for determining if you could do something? I believe that must be one of your house rules {which BTW - I used quite a bit back in my 1Ed. Days]

How about saving throws - wtf - five aribitrary categories that go back to the original monsters that the game had.

I played all the DnD going back to the [not quite original - Blue and Red single box set containing Basic and Expert - 1980 to be precise].

Up until the Wilderness Survial Guide [not sure that was the exact title?] - There were NO mechanics for skills except for the theif (which again seems pretty aribitrary].

Objectively - if you look at (espically 1st Ed and Basic) - all the rules were specifically geared towards hack em and stack em play. With a few specific issues such as max no. of henchmen and finding secret doors thrown in to boot.

There was no unified mechanic - attacks based on D20 while theif skills based on perctentile. Complicated Combat Matrices to look up all the time. Aribitrary saving throw categories. The list goes on and on.

At least 3E and onward is unified and makes sense.

How many DM's out there play 1st or 2nd Ed straight. No special table rules or conventions. Almost none I bet. Lets face it, the Big G was a horrible game deesigner as far as game designers.

Good ideas and concepts I grant you, but bad execution.

Monte et. al. are far better technical game designers.

Finally, in parting, I understand where you are coming from. You want more control over the game, and feel 3E is too complicated. Well just throw all that crap out if you want. House rule it or something.

Nothing says you can't disallow mulitclassing. Nothing says you have to use AoO. Nothing says that if you dislike feats that you have to use them (although IMHO feats far outrank the cldugy spend so many weapon prof for specialization etc.).

I guess the reason I wrote this was your use of "point mongers and power gamers" - 3E is an elegant uniformed game engine. Its what 2ed should have been if TSR had the balls to do it.

TSR was first out of the gate, but the rest of the companies soon caught up and suprassed them. They had elegent useful systems that were a better rules engine for simulating a lot of different activities. That is/was what RPG Rules are about.

1st Ed was a wargame with ad hoc and often aritbritrary rules thrown in, requiring a huge amount of ad hoc referring to determine a result that was not covered in the character right up (if you aren't a ranger you can't follow footprints wtf - Oh unless the DM wants you. Listen through the keyhole - wait your not a theif. Um...OK you hear something, um roll some aribtrary dice since its not in the rules for if you hear something since your not a theif. Oh you are a theif, well then roll percentile and get under 30%. again wtf????]

So to answer the orginal poster - Gamer of 25 years. 3E was the best damn thing to ever happen to the industry!

We should all tear down the Gygax shrine and put up the ones to Monte and Sean.

It took a lot of guts to put away the sacred cow of gaming out to pasture.


bigby99 wrote:
I have been playing D&D for several years, and my children are learning the rules now (and dragging my wife into the mess too). I want to know what other longtime gamers think of 3.5 edition, and if a revision was really needed.

I have been playing D&D since 1983, which makes me old enough to realize that for any business to be a success they must have something new, all the time, in order to maintain sales. I got into D&D when it was AD&D, but the first thing we bought was the original small white boxed set. I have been faithful through all the products and all the changes because I LIKE the game. Ther have been changes, to include Wizards and Hasboro, But, here we are 22 years later and still gaming. Other companies have folded who seemed to have good products and gaming lines, But Dungeon and Dragons is still around and as far as I can tell going strong. Viva Le Differance!!


TheDM wrote:
I can't really comment too much on the 3.5 rules. What I have seen it doesn't appear to be that much of a revision but I could be wrong (Hey! Quit taking pictures!).

This, in my opinion, is the biggest problem with the 3.5 revision. The changes were significant, but subtle. Monte Cook makes mention of this far more eloquently than I can, but essentially, because the changes aren't as obvious as the difference between 2nd ed and 3rd ed, players who picked up 3.0 and switched to 3.5, actually have a harder time adapting to the new rules than someone who never played 3.0 and went straight to 3.5. You have to unlearn as much as you've learned.

And there are also some changes which really grate against the bone, especially if you're a long time gamer. One in particular which I outlaw in my games, is the "Poof!" paladin warhorse. Snap your fingers and "Poof!" it appears! Snap your fingers again and "Poof!" it disappears!

Also, the barbarian is nothing like the original barbarian. None of the original's flavour, at all. Has more in common with the berserker kit than it does with the original barbarian.

But if you're open-minded, I think you'll see the benefits of the new system. Personally, I don't think they went far enough with the mechanics. There is a perfect system underneath d20 that is crippled by the old sacred cows like classes and hit points. But, oh well. No system is perfect.


My opinion...Personally, I love the update. I'd only played and GM'd for 4 years before they changed to 3.0 so it was reasonalby easy for me to convert. In addition, I hated THAC0 with a passion and refused to play unless I had that wonderful character sheet where you could write all of the THAC0's out (okay so I didn't, but you get my point). My only complaint is that they should have realized the problems, and fixed them before putting out the game. Example: I bought a player guide,then got the "fixes", then boyfriend bought the New players guide with all revisions, then they put out 3.5. Come on, these things aren't Magic Cards, and I don't have the money to buy a new set of books every 6 months!


I'm 32, been playing AD&D since I was seven. I was also studying kenjutsu-do from a slightly earlier age, and learning other things from my marine father. It always irked me when I could do things at a young age that a supposedly late-teen character couldn't. These characters are supposed to be from societies comperable in many respects to our own past. Training started young, and you learned alot before you went to your first battle {generally in your early teen years}.
The new version makes more sense as far as rules, and makes alot more sense when it comes to skills and combat, as well as areas of character focus like feats. I liked 3rd edition alot, and was annoyed that 3.5 came out so soon afterwards. Granted, it's improved, but all WoTC had to do was play-test it and refine it for a couple more years and then they wouldn't have needed a 3.5 {in my opinion}.


Vrykolas2k wrote:
I liked 3rd edition alot, and was annoyed that 3.5 came out so soon afterwards. Granted, it's improved, but all WoTC had to do was play-test it and refine it for a couple more years and then they wouldn't have needed a 3.5 {in my opinion}.

Refine it for a few more years? Comeon, I was miffed about 3.5 just as much as everybody - but really - 3.0 Had to have been one of the most playtested, and heavily supported and developed game out there. I don't think that any other TRPG company out there has ever dedicated as much time, money, and resources on pure game development. I mean I would have rather had 3E in 2000 with some tweaks with 3.5, than wait until 2004 for 3E in the first place.

Hell it took em more than 20 years to fix all the incompatible, seemingly arbitrary crap that gygax put in there in the first place.

I admit Starwars RPG was shoved out the door too fast, but there are other interface and scheduling issues with that product as I understand for the revised.

Cut the designers a bit of slack, they were messin' around with the sacred cow of gaming, and somehow managed to get it right this time.

Considering that the only thing not in the free SRD is XP which did not change from 3.0 to 3.5 You pretty much got the patch for free anyway.


Personally, I'm very happy with 3.5. I was a little miffed with it when it first came out, but after spending more time looking at the differences, I think it was the right choice. 3.5 cleans up a lot of stuff that seems just sort of half-assed in 3.0.

As for 3.x in general, I'm extremely happy with it. With older editions, I spent a lot of time breaking the rules or hacking things apart in order to get the character I wanted. The results were generally ugly and unbalanced... Either seriously underpowered or seriously overpowered. With the 3.x rules, it's a lot easier to create a balanced character just the way I want them to be. That means that my characters are better, my NPCs are better, and the storylines are a lot better.

What I especially love is the consistent D20 rule mechanics. It makes it a lot easier to run the game, since even if you don't remember the specific DC for something it's easy to take an educated guess and keep the action flowing. Guessing a DC is a lot easier than going, "Wait, were you supposed to roll a D12 for that? Or was it a D10? Maybe a D100? And what was the target again?" :-)

As for the speedier level progression... That's easy to fix. Cut the XP awards in half for monster kills. :-) Personally, I like the fact that characters level up faster... It gives the game a whole lot more variety, since the DM doesn't have to fabricate three hundred virtually identical goblin encounters for one level, then switch to three hundred virtually identical hobgoblin encounters for the next level, etc, etc.

Liberty's Edge

I have been playing since Christmas day 1979. I have played in all versions of D&D and here are my rambling thoughts on the matter.

1st edition was great because we didn't know any better. It provided many hours/years of play for us.

2nd edition started out ok...then those "Complete..." books started coming out. Each one tried to outdo the previous in terms of power granted to that particular class. It got to the point, that a first level character needed a 3-4 hit die monster to provide any challenge.

3rd edition came out and took care of this problem by allowing monsters to gain levels in the various classes. This was something we had been doing for years, so it just reaffirmed that we had a clue what we were doing.

3.5 edition comes out and maybe it fixes some stuff, but I don't know that it was really needed at that point. We play 3.5 now, but it is more like 3.25 because we dropped a lot of stuff that just didn't seem to make a difference to us...

The only thing about 3.x that I really don't like is how fast it is possible to go from 1st level to the epic levels. Sure you can slow down experience but it just doesn't have the same feel as when our 1st edition characters, after 7 years of gaming just made it to 14th level. It felt more earned I guess.


I can think of two things I'd have totally different.
1: The Paladin's mount wouldn't *poof* in and out of existence, and if it died the Paladin would have to wait a year for another.
2: My first character ever was a half-orc Assassin, way back in 1st edition AD&D; he was Lawful Neutral, if I remember correctly. I'd prefer the Assassin class to be a base, not a prestige, class open to non-good... not just evil.


Vrykolas2k wrote:
2: My first character ever was a half-orc Assassin, way back in 1st edition AD&D; he was Lawful Neutral, if I remember correctly. I'd prefer the Assassin class to be a base, not a prestige, class open to non-good... not just evil.

So you don't think it's evil to kill people for money?

I have a few people I need... 'dealt' with...


Delglath wrote:
Vrykolas2k wrote:
2: My first character ever was a half-orc Assassin, way back in 1st edition AD&D; he was Lawful Neutral, if I remember correctly. I'd prefer the Assassin class to be a base, not a prestige, class open to non-good... not just evil.

So you don't think it's evil to kill people for money?

I have a few people I need... 'dealt' with...

Depends upon the circumstances.

He didn't kill women usually, and he never killed children... most of his "marks" were scum, so removing them was actually a good thing.


Vrykolas2k wrote:

I can think of two things I'd have totally different.

1: The Paladin's mount wouldn't *poof* in and out of existence, and if it died the Paladin would have to wait a year for another.
2: My first character ever was a half-orc Assassin, way back in 1st edition AD&D; he was Lawful Neutral, if I remember correctly. I'd prefer the Assassin class to be a base, not a prestige, class open to non-good... not just evil.

Book of Exalted Deeds has a Lawful Good Assasin. I loved the concept so much that I stole the idea and had them become holy warriors for one of the more pragmatic good Goddess' of my campaign world. Her Holy Warriors fight evil by slitting their throats in the night.


Unsurprisingly, I think, I have the same basic loves and gripes about the game.

First, levels do come fast and furious; It seems to regulate a little around 6 or 7, but the levels going to it are very fast.

Second, the game does have some minor power issues, but no worse than any earlier edition. Some act as though power gaming never happened until now. Sorry, it has always been around. I like that I can beef out a monster to make anyone a challenge, amongst other things. I like most of the core D&D stuff, with the exception of the Warlock, who seems absolutely broken to me. Most of the abuse seems to be from OGL publishers, and the "Book of 2918639 Feats" type stuff.

Otherwise it rocks. Easy to learn, easy to play, but with layers of complexity if necessary. Tons of tools for the DM to play with, and more importantly, a PC can make EXACTLY what he wants. Anything he can imagine he can make, and I can show him how it works.

Anyways, 3.5 kicks some major tail. I have had more fun with it than with any prior edition.

Contributor

I've been playing for 15 years - started with a system called 'Fighting Fantasy.' I like 3rd edition the best so far.

-Amber S.

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