5th Edition vs Pathfinder Critique


4th Edition

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goldomark wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

Wasn't 4e supposed to be close in spirit to 1e like 5e is supposed to be to 2e?

If that was the intent, they missed by a mile.

1E and 2E were very similar. 4th didn't seem like either of them to me.


thejeff wrote:
goldomark wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

Wasn't 4e supposed to be close in spirit to 1e like 5e is supposed to be to 2e?

If that was the intent, they missed by a mile.

1E and 2E were very similar. 4th didn't seem like either of them to me.

Yeah, ummm....wow! I had never heard that 4E was "supposed" to be like 1E because...well, it couldn't have been farther off the mark.


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Didn't follow 4th ed much, but there was a line called D&D Essentials IIRC that attempted to appeal to lovers of 1st ed D&D, mostly through presentation and aesthetics from what I've gathered.

Silver Crusade

Adjule wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:
@sunshadow21 agree with your points that most games share responsibility between players and GM. I like that a lot. My point was that those systems do not remove the GM from the equation entirely, and most encourage and allow the GM to engage in world and campaign building by limiting player options to those that make sense to the campaign. Which to my mind is the only approach that makes any real sense.

Most systems, though, require that the DM does most of that work before the players are even invited to play in the campaign. D&D is one of the few that allows a DM to start from scratch after the players have already sat down with their dice, and that is both it's biggest strength and biggest weakness. Once others are involved, DMs have to be willing to give up some (not all, but some) of their creative freedom and power in order for the others to feel at least somewhat engaged, and D&D not only does not encourage this, it does not even particularly facilitate it.

Some of the best games I've been in have been D&D, because of the freedom and lack of limits, but all of the worst ones I've been in have been non-3.x D&D, for exactly the same reason. That's a big reason why 4E struggled, and I can see it being a problem for 5E as well. With the right group, 5E could be a lot of fun, but it will be very easy for a lot of people to have one bad experience that makes them refuse to even think about trying it again. It's going to be far too easy for a DM to make 5E a DM's game with the players just along for the ride; 4E had that exact same problem, and not only did they repeat it, but they amplified it. That amplification, along with a very limited release schedule for support, is going to be a major challenge. This isn't 1980 anymore; players have enough other options for entertainment, not only in the tabletop game market, but overall, that a game that flat out glorifies the role of the DM while actively limiting what

...

No players, no game. There's always Starcraft, too.

Silver Crusade

The Rot Grub wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

By necessity, D&D 5E had to differentiate from Pathfinder. It was never going to win back the adherents to the edition they had abandoned.

From a microeconomics perspective, it makes sense. Different people like different things. The idea of winning an argument over which is "better" is too trifling for me to get stressed over.

As someone who prefers Pathfinder, I am looking forward to Pathfinder Unchained because I want to preserve all the stuff I like about Pathfinder but pick and choose rules modules that preempt the Christmas Tree Effect, make running it a little easier, etc.

One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.


David Bowles wrote:
One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.

The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

Silver Crusade

Matthew Koelbl wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.
The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

They have stripped out a lot of variety of monster abilities. Most monster powers I read give advantage or disadvantage. That's just boring to me. I know that others will think its great.

Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.


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on the other hand, to those of who use it, its drips with flavour, ideas and great art. Gone is the ridiculous superhero art of PF

Shadow Lodge

David Bowles wrote:
Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.

Since monsters aren't limited to being built the same way as PCs, you don't need to give them power attack. You can just increase the damage they inflict.


David Bowles wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

By necessity, D&D 5E had to differentiate from Pathfinder. It was never going to win back the adherents to the edition they had abandoned.

From a microeconomics perspective, it makes sense. Different people like different things. The idea of winning an argument over which is "better" is too trifling for me to get stressed over.

As someone who prefers Pathfinder, I am looking forward to Pathfinder Unchained because I want to preserve all the stuff I like about Pathfinder but pick and choose rules modules that preempt the Christmas Tree Effect, make running it a little easier, etc.

One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.

I would not define the Monster Manual as boring...it's actually a pretty solid book. Even if I am deeply disturbed by Sahuagin having noses...


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thenovalord wrote:
on the other hand, to those of who use it, its drips with flavour, ideas and great art. Gone is the ridiculous superhero art of PF

I was going to comment on how I liked the Monster Manual like many of the monsters that I wouldn't have expected to be in a primary Monster Manual, how I enjoy the way many of the powers were built (that aren't just advantage or disadvantage) like the medusa's gaze or how goblins are naturally good at running and hiding with a small bit, but I stopped after seeing this.

Pen & Paper RPGs, where one can't exclaim their love for one game without taking a shot at another.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
goldomark wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

Wasn't 4e supposed to be close in spirit to 1e like 5e is supposed to be to 2e?

I found 4E to be similar to AD&D in spirit. But I never met anyone who agreed with me, so no - I don't think it was supposed to be. I think that was just how I played it.

Silver Crusade

Kthulhu wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.
Since monsters aren't limited to being built the same way as PCs, you don't need to give them power attack. You can just increase the damage they inflict.

But they didn't do that either. Most of the monsters I looked at hit like pansies. I guess the monsters got hit with the same nerf bat that was taken to everything in the game.

Silver Crusade

Blazej wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
on the other hand, to those of who use it, its drips with flavour, ideas and great art. Gone is the ridiculous superhero art of PF

I was going to comment on how I liked the Monster Manual like many of the monsters that I wouldn't have expected to be in a primary Monster Manual, how I enjoy the way many of the powers were built (that aren't just advantage or disadvantage) like the medusa's gaze or how goblins are naturally good at running and hiding with a small bit, but I stopped after seeing this.

Pen & Paper RPGs, where one can't exclaim their love for one game without taking a shot at another.

I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.


David Bowles wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

They have stripped out a lot of variety of monster abilities. Most monster powers I read give advantage or disadvantage. That's just boring to me. I know that others will think its great.

Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.

Ah, it sounds like it isn't the monsters themselves that you are as concerned with, but the rules for customizing monsters. (Whether that is via templates, advancement, levels, or selecting feats/skills/etc.)

I can understand that. I'm say that isn't really a weakness of the Monster Manual itself, though - I'm used to that sort of thing being in the DMG, and it sounds like that is the same case in 5E. Now, how well the customization compares to what you are used to, I'm not yet able to judge, and can understand preferring the codified 3.5 / PF approach over a more freeform version like 4E. (And I get the sense that 5E errs more in that direction, from what I've heard of the DMG thus far.)

I was just surprised since the Monster Manual itself seems quite robust in terms of the monsters and their abilities. I'm not sure what 'variety of monster abilities' might be missing, but if that was a generic reference to them not having feats, I guess I see what you are missing.

Silver Crusade

Matthew Koelbl wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

They have stripped out a lot of variety of monster abilities. Most monster powers I read give advantage or disadvantage. That's just boring to me. I know that others will think its great.

Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.

Ah, it sounds like it isn't the monsters themselves that you are as concerned with, but the rules for customizing monsters. (Whether that is via templates, advancement, levels, or selecting feats/skills/etc.)

I can understand that. I'm say that isn't really a weakness of the Monster Manual itself, though - I'm used to that sort of thing being in the DMG, and it sounds like that is the same case in 5E. Now, how well the customization compares to what you are used to, I'm not yet able to judge, and can understand preferring the codified 3.5 / PF approach over a more freeform version like 4E. (And I get the sense that 5E errs more in that direction, from what I've heard of the DMG thus far.)

I was just surprised since the Monster Manual itself seems quite robust in terms of the monsters and their abilities. I'm not sure what 'variety of monster abilities' might be missing, but if that was a generic reference to them not having feats, I guess I see what you are missing.

SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.


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My experience with SR in Pathfinder was just another roll to drag combat along. SR was never really relevant as the casters basically always made the check.


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David Bowles wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.
Since monsters aren't limited to being built the same way as PCs, you don't need to give them power attack. You can just increase the damage they inflict.
But they didn't do that either. Most of the monsters I looked at hit like pansies.

Compared to a different edition with completely different mathematical expectations as to what is 'low' or 'high' damage? Well, sure.

We've been over this before. Some folks aren't a fan of the tendency in 3.5 / PF for fights to get resolved in 1-2 rounds. 5E takes an approach where combat is expected to feature more rounds as a whole, even while those rounds are faster-paced. Monsters and PCs are not expected to be able to deal out enough damage to one-shot a key opponent in a single action.

That doesn't mean the monsters are now 'weak'. It means that they are threatening over the course of a fight - not because getting caught in melee with them is an instant death-sentence.

The advantages of this extend to both the faster-paced combats (which I personally find more engaging), and also help make the system easier to balance as a whole, at least in theory. For me, those are good design goals.

It does mean that you don't get to see as many Exciting Big Numbers, either as a player or a DM. And if that is what makes the game fun for you (and honestly, it is an entirely legitimate thing to enjoy), then 5E is, yes, going to feel 'underwhelming'.

But for those of us for whom the benefits of Big Numbers was outweighed by the problems that came with them, 5E is very much what we were looking for, and the playtest steered it exactly in the right direction.

That doesn't mean it is perfect or without flaws, sure. But for many of us, this aspect of the system - scaled down numbers and bounded accuracy and so forth - is a feature, not a bug.


David Bowles wrote:
SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.

On the other hand, it also can't be ignored by mages who focus on "No SR" spells or who otherwise amp up their Spell Penetration roll to easily overcome SR. And given the range of DCs in 5E, advantage on saves is a very good perk for resisting spells.

I mean, I guess I can see having a specific mechanic for stopping spells is more, well, unique. But that is the sort of problem with the 3.5 and PF edition - so many subsystems. If you already have a mechanic for showing how good a creature is at resisting magic (via the saving throw), do you really need *another* roll to see if it works at all?

Magic Resistance is still a way to represent some creatures being very hard to affect with magic. Honestly, from what I've seen of the game thus far, it looks likely to be relevant more often than SR was in the past.


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So..once again, 5E sucks because it isn't Pathfinder. Or 3E. Or something.

Silver Crusade

I really don't understand the campaigns the posters are playing in. My combats rarely end in two rounds and I have seen many many blown SR rolls in my time. I'm beginning to think we don't even have a common frame of reference on pathfinder.


David Bowles wrote:
Blazej wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
on the other hand, to those of who use it, its drips with flavour, ideas and great art. Gone is the ridiculous superhero art of PF

I was going to comment on how I liked the Monster Manual like many of the monsters that I wouldn't have expected to be in a primary Monster Manual, how I enjoy the way many of the powers were built (that aren't just advantage or disadvantage) like the medusa's gaze or how goblins are naturally good at running and hiding with a small bit, but I stopped after seeing this.

Pen & Paper RPGs, where one can't exclaim their love for one game without taking a shot at another.

I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

No.


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David Bowles wrote:
I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

David, stating your opinion is one thing, trolling is another... please cut it out.


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David Bowles wrote:

I really don't understand the campaigns the posters are playing in. My combats rarely end in two rounds and I have seen many many blown SR rolls in my time. I'm beginning to think we don't even have a common frame of reference on pathfinder.

Well here is a link to me asking the Paizo creative director about the very thing a couple years back: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2l7ns&page=318?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Qu estions-Here#15876

Seems that it has happened for a few of us.

Silver Crusade

Laurefindel wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

David, stating your opinion is one thing, trolling is another... please cut it out.

There's a fine line, isn't there?

Silver Crusade

Alan_Beven wrote:
David Bowles wrote:

I really don't understand the campaigns the posters are playing in. My combats rarely end in two rounds and I have seen many many blown SR rolls in my time. I'm beginning to think we don't even have a common frame of reference on pathfinder.

Well here is a link to me asking the Paizo creative director about the very thing a couple years back: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2l7ns&page=318?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Qu estions-Here#15876

Seems that it has happened for a few of us.

Evidently. It happens to me in PFS in groups with optimized PCs, but not at all in homebrews. Totally different experience.


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David Bowles wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

David, stating your opinion is one thing, trolling is another... please cut it out.

There's a fine line, isn't there?

Yeah, but you're crossing some line or another. While it may be understood, you're not phrasing anything as "I don't like this" or "In my opinion". You're stating things as if they are facts.

In this case, there was a lot of play testing and development and what they seem to have come up with is that you're not their target audience. Therefore it's underwhelming for you. Quite a few people seem really excited about it.

Maybe that'll fade and you'll turn out to have been right and all their playtesting really was a waste, but we certainly don't know that yet.

Shadow Lodge

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David Bowles wrote:
I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

It's only underwhelming to you because you, for some unknown reason, expected WotC to publish the PRD, but with art added. From your posts, that seems to be literally the only think that would have made you happy.

The Exchange

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David Bowles wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I'm mostly dismayed at how much play testing and development went into 5th and that the final result is so underwhelming.

David, stating your opinion is one thing, trolling is another... please cut it out.

There's a fine line, isn't there?

Yeah, back about 10 pages of puking on anyone's opinion that likes 5E was the line.

The worst thing I keep hearing from you is "they sure did nerf this or that". No they didn't. They built a new and different game with different parameters for how much damage, what average attack modifiers are, etc.. You keep acting like this is Pathfinder 2 and that damage output, AC, to hit, etc. all should be matching up or it is nerfed. It is a new system that operates in it's own parameter and it does it well despite you hating on it for not being just a new Pathfinder/3.5 clone.
Stop trolling, it is getting old and is making you look petty and juvenile.

Shadow Lodge

David Bowles wrote:
SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.

3.0 also gutted Spell Resistance. It was much stronger in all the pre-d20 editions, which you have made perfectly clear that you hold in complete contempt.

Of course, I"m making the assumption you actually know anything about them and aren't just mindlessly hating them because they aren't 3.x/PFRPG. Something I've seen on these boards a few times.

The Exchange

Kthulhu wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.

3.0 also gutted Spell Resistance. It was much stronger in all the pre-d20 editions, which you have made perfectly clear that you hold in complete contempt.

Of course, I"m making the assumption you actually know anything about them and aren't just mindlessly hating them because they aren't 3.x/PFRPG. Something I've seen on these boards a few times.

Also if we look at advantage/disadvantage the numbers are roughly a +4.5 or -4.5 on average which is a pretty nice bonus to saves. I found the older version of the caster rolling to overcome was usually just a matter of rolling higher than a 5 in most cases if you built to be fairly decent at overcoming SR. I like 5E's approach because it steamlines the mechanical aspect while making it a significant boost.

Liberty's Edge

So far I'm glad that so far i'm hearing more positive then negative about 5E. I get that David expected a rehash of Pathfidner with better art and organization. Except that makes no sense from a edition point of view. Or even a financial one imo. Two editions that are the same and people think that a third that is going to be the same is going to sell well. Good luck. I get gamers like familiarity. Except why invest in something that is the same a third time. Then again to be fair it's the same complaint some hardcore fans have with 7E Call of Cthulhu.


I think I'm beginning to really like 5e. I am in 2 straight 5e games and running a heavily house ruled 5e game myself, all on these forums. One player has dropped out of my game because it wasn't what they were expecting (a great player, I was sorry to see him go, but he had valid points and was a real gentleman about it).

So far I like how it has played as both a story telling game and a fantasy battle simulation

I'm happy

(there my post is finished and I didn't hate on anyone elses opinion, version, or game company, I hope that changes some minds about the current idea that this sort of thing is rarely done)


The OP asked about the art. I'd say the art for both games is quite well done, with a few exceptions (the halfling pictures in 5e being awful), although the art style is quite different. Stylistically, 5e is reminiscent of some of the best art of 2e, which I greatly prefer to the "dungeon punk" look of Pathfinder.


Kthulhu wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
SR went from shutting down spells to giving "advantage" on saving throws. Another gutted ability in 5th.

3.0 also gutted Spell Resistance. It was much stronger in all the pre-d20 editions, which you have made perfectly clear that you hold in complete contempt.

Of course, I"m making the assumption you actually know anything about them and aren't just mindlessly hating them because they aren't 3.x/PFRPG. Something I've seen on these boards a few times.

What's hilarious is that a page ago he was complaining how terrible it was that 5e 'gutted' spellcasters by giving them a bunch of weaknesses. Now he's complaining that they 'gutted' the one thing that actually has a change of giving d20 spellcasters trouble (while there are a lot of ways to bypass it in 3e, there are also a lot of otherwise good spells which are hampered by SR).


Steve Geddes wrote:
goldomark wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

Wasn't 4e supposed to be close in spirit to 1e like 5e is supposed to be to 2e?
I found 4E to be similar to AD&D in spirit. But I never met anyone who agreed with me, so no - I don't think it was supposed to be. I think that was just how I played it.

I sort-of agree, though it reminds me rather more of BECM than 1e. In some ways, at least, though in others it's very different. But 4e did a much better job of emulating my campaign world's style (originally a BECM setting) than either 2e or 3e could.

Though I really don't find 5e particularly good at being "old school". Certainly not BECM like, which is hardly a surprise considering I don't remember the Basic series being mentioned in the playtest articles Mearls and others wrote. Perhaps it wasn't a proper D&D edition to learn anything from.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I never played BECMI, I'd always just assumed it was the same as AD&D. What are the differences, do you think?


Steve Geddes wrote:
I never played BECMI, I'd always just assumed it was the same as AD&D. What are the differences, do you think?

I don't even know WHAT it is, since I have never seen the full name once on these boards, just the acronym.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think it's the set of D&D boxed sets, each tied to ever increasing level ranges: Beginner - Expert - Companion(?) - Master(?) - Immortal.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's the set of D&D boxed sets, each tied to ever increasing level ranges: Beginner - Expert - Companion(?) - Master(?) - Immortal.

That would explain it. I have never played any of the box sets past basic. Back in those days, none of us ever even made it to level 2. All GM's considered an eventual TPK to be the goal, success was measured in how long it took before that point was reached. I don't miss it at all.


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This was a nice thread once. Now it feels like it's been burned down for failing to pay protection money.

-The Gneech


Grey Lensman wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's the set of D&D boxed sets, each tied to ever increasing level ranges: Beginner - Expert - Companion(?) - Master(?) - Immortal.
That would explain it. I have never played any of the box sets past basic. Back in those days, none of us ever even made it to level 2. All GM's considered an eventual TPK to be the goal, success was measured in how long it took before that point was reached. I don't miss it at all.

but you would play it differently now. the world has moved on.


thenovalord wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's the set of D&D boxed sets, each tied to ever increasing level ranges: Beginner - Expert - Companion(?) - Master(?) - Immortal.
That would explain it. I have never played any of the box sets past basic. Back in those days, none of us ever even made it to level 2. All GM's considered an eventual TPK to be the goal, success was measured in how long it took before that point was reached. I don't miss it at all.
but you would play it differently now. the world has moved on.

And we never played it that way back then. GMs I played with, at least more than once, didn't consider TPKs to be a goal. We had plots and villains and epic quests even back then.

Didn't play BECMI much, though I was aware of it.

Grand Lodge

Grey Lensman wrote:
All GM's considered an eventual TPK to be the goal, success was measured in how long it took before that point was reached. I don't miss it at all.

Never played or ran it that way...


Digitalelf wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:
All GM's considered an eventual TPK to be the goal, success was measured in how long it took before that point was reached. I don't miss it at all.
Never played or ran it that way...

I never played under you. All posts I make can be considered my own anecdotal experiences rather than generalizations of everything, everywhere. I guess sarcasm isn't the only thing lost across messageboards.


Beginner levels 1-3
Expert levels 4- 14
Companion levels 15-25
Master levels 26 - 36
Immortals - beyond level 36 (actually stopped using "levels"

There were some very small differences between the pre Mentzer basic and expert rules (before 1983) and this set.

I started with the OE box, then went into the first (blue book) Basic, then moved into AD&D in 1978, and then back to the red Box in 1983, played both versions through the 80's and 90's, never really thought I was playing 2nd edition, even though some of my players had those books (I kept using my original books well into the 90s.

I moved into 3e and stopped red book games altogether (couldn't find anyone who wanted to play that version anymore). Naturally moved into 3.5e, but I tried 4e for about a year and a half, and it never felt right to me, I had some complaints about the mechanics, but never thought of myself as a hater of that system, and sort of drifted into Pathfinder when I found some new players who wanted to give it a try.

as I said above, I am really enjoying 5e, Pathinder is still a great game, I'll play it, but honestly, it can be a little too hard for me to manage. I don't blame the system, I just think I am not up to that level of complexity, and when I try to ask people to play a slimmed down version of Pathfinder, I find that that doesn't generate interest.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's the set of D&D boxed sets, each tied to ever increasing level ranges: Beginner - Expert - Companion(?) - Master(?) - Immortal.

Basic rather than Beginner, but that's the sequence. As for what I thought was similar, some looks rather obvious - tiers of play, for example. Some is rather more subtle, the much narrower spread of magic - something that 1e had early on, but lost to spell bloat and FR sourcebooks. And some of it is down to the less "serious" approach than was found in AD&D, which suited what I wanted a lot of the time. There's also some things that are fairly obviously different - low level characters were much more fragile in BECM than 4e, for example. But I certainly feel 4e was closer to the BECM version of D&D than to others, arguably closer in spirit than any other edition, and I'm including AD&D despite the rules being rather more similar than they are with any subsequent version.


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David Bowles wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
One could have differentiated without stripping out 80% of the game. The Monster Manual is just a tragedy in how boring it is.
The 5E Monster Manual? Out of curiousity, what exactly do you find boring about it? What do you feel has been stripped out of the game?

They have stripped out a lot of variety of monster abilities. Most monster powers I read give advantage or disadvantage. That's just boring to me. I know that others will think its great.

Monsters can't even be built with power attack as far as I can tell. It's just...meh.

Many seem to think that some monsters hit too hard for their level in 5th edition.

Many of the creatures that had no special abilities before in 3.5e like goblins and kobolds, have special abilities that affect how they fight in 5th.

I don't see why you can't increase the CR of a monster by 1 and give them an ability that simulates a feat like great weapon fighting.


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goldomark wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It certainly seems to me that 5E was designed to cater to the old school game players rather than the pathfinder players. As such, it's no surprise to me that it's skewed more heavily to the DM-fiat end of the spectrum, rather than the clear-codified-rules-for-everything end of the spectrum.

I think there's a correlation between whether one prefers Pathfinder or prefers the older style of game and where one thinks the 'power' should sit between player and DM.

Wasn't 4e supposed to be close in spirit to 1e like 5e is supposed to be to 2e?

Yes and no.

3e was actually the one that was supposed to go back to a 1e way of doing things in spirit, if not exact rules.

They did all sorts of things to try to make this apparent. First, they brought back all the old 1e races, and most of the classes (at least the monk, and the assassin was a prestige class). Second they utilized Grey Hawk as the primary world of 3e.

There were some evolutions and Forgotten Realms gained more traction (it sold better most likely, which is why you saw a lot more FR stuff than GH stuff on the commercial front later on when 3.5 was out).

Now, some of this changed when 3.5 was coming and you saw a sort of evolution of things, but I think that was one of the intents.

However, as people broke things and changed things (despite what Monte says, things like Pun Pun and other unexpected ideas I don't think were ever planned on happening, any system mastery in expectation was more akin to what you would have seen in older editions, nothing like what happened with the min/max stuff in 3e) an evolution of game style happened, and attempts at restrictions, rebalance, and other ideas happened with a 3.5 release.

4e was a re-attempt at the magic of 3e. It did the same thing, a different take on the rules that some would consider a completely different game, and others would herald as the next logical step forward of the same game. There were aspects of 4e that were supposed to undo some of the actions of 3e to move it more towards an older school game, or what older games had intended.

For starters, OD&D was targeted I think (IMO) with how it was a deriviative originally of a miniatures game (Chainmail, the D20 system people love today, was actually an alternative system just in case you didn't have the miniature rules). In that sense, miniatures were utilized in combat as one would have done with a chainmail rules for OD&D.

In addition, XP was drawn out with larger numbers, and monsters were given a set XP (instead of a mobile XP number that could change as level changed in comparison to CR). This is something that PF also did in a similar manner to 4e.

Next, archtypes and classes were made stronger, more akin to older editions where you couldn't simply Multiclass at a whim, and dualclassing was not done lightly either. They made it so that you had to make choices in multiclassing/dualclassing and not discard and pick up classes at a whim every level.

Finally, they tried to make it more freeform outside of combat, which is what the famous (or infamous, however you see it) page 42 was. It gave guidelines on skills, but skills could be handled fast and quick, and beyond skills you were encouraged to use your imagination and use quick and dirty estimates of how difficult it would be for target numbers on what people would need to roll to accomplish such things. In that light, it was very very old school...and probably a precursor of what you see with 5e.

In fact, many of the things you saw for an older style game, you can see as inspirations for in 5e, but with a slightly different approach.

So, no, 4e wasn't really like a 1e thing...that I place fully on 3e (and NOT 3.5 by the way). It was more trying to bring back some elements of the older game styles...but in my opinion, was MORE trying to recreate the gigantic sales phenomenon that 3e originally had when it was released (once again, 3e, not 3.5). A lot of that was basically copycat the process of what made 3e work in a sales manner (such as pointing out what was improved with 4e supposedly, a much different take on the rules than what was reflected in the core of the old edition, and other aspects).

Many would say they did a poor copy cat job of marketing, others would say they did grand.

Essentials on the otherhand was a direct attempt to garner the old 1e and 2e crowd. I think it was successful and a disappointment at the same time. For the old crowd, a few probably got the starter box, but if you sell a starter box to an old guy or gal, they are expecting one thing in it. If it turns out to be completely different, you may have sold them the initial product, but probably lost them as a customer forever as they'll never trust you again.

In which case, yes, they probably lured a few old timers in, but lost just as much if not more in the long run.

IN MY OPINION....as if it had to be said.

I see 5e as a similar thing once again, copycat process of 3e. However, they are doing a different approach and angle for it then they did with 4e. Unlike trying to market it as a new and improved ruleset, instead they are trying to market it via nostalgia method. They are trying to seat it as an OSR type game with lite and loose rules, artwork that hopefully reminds one of the older editions, and saying the spirit is like the old games. Just as they did with 3e being in the same spirit as 1e, I think they are doing the same with 5e. I think they have more the 2e and possibly B/X audience targeted this time around than the 1e or BECMI Basic crowd. Perhaps they are being more successful this time than with 4e. I definitely see less antagonism this time around.

I personally am not won over, but from the appearances in this thread, it seems that many have been.

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