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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:25 am 
 

If this is already somewhere else, I apologize.

In another thread, I said that when I started playing in 1978 there were only a few books (Monster Manual, DM Guide, Player's Handbook, Fiend Folio, maybe one or two others) to get started, plus a lot of new modules every year.  To a newcomer like me, the rules were overwhelming at times, but I did have fun.

Now, after 32 years, these are some of the books you need just to start:

>>  Monster Manual I, II, III, AND IV;
>>  DM's Guide I AND II;
>>  Players' Handbook I AND II (maybe there's a III somewhere??)
>>  Plus innumerable books with rules for this, that, and every conceivable situation--all very expensive ($35-45 each).
And very few new modules in a year.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!

Makes one wish for the somewhat simpler D&D / AD&D 1st edition.

When I went to play the 30th-anniversary game a couple of years back, I expected [/i]some changes---but NOTHING like the huge number of books it now seems to take.  It reminds me of the IRS Tax Code!!

The one thing I thought always was that I was one of a dwindling few who preferred 1E and even early 2E to the current 3.5E;  I gues I'm wrong about that!! 8)

  

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:59 am 
 

I gues I'm wrong about that!!  
- Nah, all the guys here are champing at the bit to play 3E (or, as I believe it's newest incarnation is called 3.58785aE) (I shouldn't complain really - I love Forgotten Realms stuff and WOTC are banging out books left right and centre - I simply ignore the rules heavy bits and read the backstory!)
(Though I personally believe you can NEVER have enough prestige classes, the more obscure the better for preference! (Can't wait for the Dire Corby Unholy Florist Taxidermist P/C :roll: )

  


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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:31 am 
 

To be fair, you really only need the three core books, same as 1e AD&D. I'm running a 3e game of Ptolus (the excellent, if very VERY expensive city source book by Monte Cook), and we're actually having a great time, believe it or not.

I still prefer the older edition though. I cut my teeth on 1e AD&D BITD. And I'm going to be running a 1e AD&D game at GenCon SoCal. I'll even be using the old goldenrod charsheets! w00t!

  

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:58 am 
 

gyg wrote: - Nah, all the guys here are champing at the bit to play 3E


:o  (closest thing I could find to a vomit emoticon)

  

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:17 am 
 

Ah, a thread for the old farts..

In the spring of 1978, a friend from Maryland got me to buy the Holmes boxed set at a local hobby store and said he would run us through a game.  Apparantly everyone up in the northeast played this game.  We got to roll up our characters using THREE six sided dice, although the numbers were allowed to be shifted around.  I miraculously rolled an 18 (something like 1 in 300 chance?) although all the rest of the scores were 12 and under.  All the other players didn't have an ability over 15 on any score.  I had to ROLL my hit points and got a six (no, no standard HP for 1st level back then). By pooling ALL our starting money, we were able to outfit my strapping fighter (named Conan, of course). with a Halberd and leather armor (The thinking of course that my 18 strength and 6 hit points would make me the powerhouse of the party, and one swipe of my mighty halberd would destroy anything in our path).  Everyone else in the party was armed with daggers, slings and stones.  I think one guy, the thief, didn't even wear any armor.  The mage had one spell, which I seem to think was magic missile. I had also gotten the original "Wizzards & Warriors" LEAD (gasp) mini set, which we used for our figures.  The only other items were pencils, paper and those craptastic poly dice that came with the box set and fell apart like a stick of butter in the oven.
     Thus equipped and outfitted with hirelings we made our way into B1 Search Into the Unknown, where promptly our entire party except for me and one hireling were killed past the long hallway in the first room by a group of kobolds. Of course, we had a blast and were hooked...with only the Holmes blue box set at hand.
    You have to understand, when I walk into the local gaming store and see the loads of splat books, $50 hardcovers, $100+ campaign setting books with gigantic fold out color maps with scratch and sniff, $100+ gigantic plastic minis, 5000 varieties of dice including gold leaf ruby encrusted titantium powerseller inserts, and hear the locals discussing their 29th level Bard/half yuanti/Tumbler/Blackguard/bionic caveman with the kung fu grip, it is EXACTLY the same concept as some old fella telling me how he had to walk to school 20 miles uphill both ways in the driving sleet.
 Back in the day, you either used the basic white set with supplements (although no one I knew did it that way), the Holmes basic box set with a mixture of the original D&D rules and supplements (I knew a few who did that), or the brand spanking new kick ass Advanced Dungeons & Dragons hardbacks Players Handbook, Monster Manual and DMG (although whenwe started the DMG wasn't even released for awhile).  That was all you needed or wanted with an occasional letter series module  to liven up the home brew.  
    I don't think things were necessarily better, or more fun.  I know a lot of the older items I detested (I absolutely HATED the chipping poly dice that came with the boxed sets) and that I would have loved to have (Dwarven forge, minis that didn'tlook like a lump of lead, computer programs to print out character sheets, etc), but I do know that we played for hours and days with nothing else. I will admit some of the annoyance with 3rd ed is JEALOUSY that the guys starting into RPGs today have so much freaking stuff that I would have KILLED to have back inthe day.
  I guess at the bottom of it all, I'm STILL pissed my first DM wouldn't let me roll exceptional strength for my 18 strength after I pointed out the rule to him in the new 1st edition Players Handbook.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:41 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Ah, a thread for the old farts..


Aren't we all old farts 'round these parts?!

  

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:49 pm 
 

COMING SOON to a Forum near you!!!!


For my first BITD reminiscence/rant, I will address the Too Many Books/Too Much stuff question from my WBITD perspective and the guiding ethos of the original RPGing.

                Narratio resumeter....


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Post Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:35 pm 
 

How much of this crap do I need?

The first in a series of BITD rants and diatribes

In 1974 I bought the brown box three book set and a copy of Greyhawk; dice were extra and I think they cost $2.50 or $3 for one each D4, D8, D12 and D20, for a grand total of $17.50 or $18. Somewhat serious money for a college student with a wife and kid.

This purchase was prompted by an "adventure" (the quaint term in use then for an RPG session) in which my character was encased in something like Lucite and lasered into little bitty cubes and another one where my dwarf PC found a dying dwarf king in a dungeon and was given an amulet that made him king of that particular clan of dwarves. (It was a year later that the dwarf found the clan; it was part of Rob Kuntz' campaign.)

I had joined into these "adventures" on a whim at GenCon; Gary Gygax, with whom I had struck up a friendship over the phone while talking gaming and Chainmail, had told me about a strange new game they were playing and had invited me to GenCon. I came up for a day. I would have stayed had I been able to find a motel room within 30 miles.

I took the set back to college at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and started drawing dungeon levels. Gary and Rob had told me that these were guidelines for making up campaigns of adventures based on or fleshed out around fantasy we had read. For me that meant some Conan, LoTR, Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, some Lin Carter and L Sprague DeCamp, and some Jack Vance. Pretty rudimentary stuff; just make it up out of our head.

My game club at SIU played boardgames: SPI, AH, Diplomacy and the like and the occasional miniatures battle of the Seven Years War and some Chainmail; the normal stuff for gamers in 1974.

I spent the next four or five weeks reading the rules and drawing on graph paper. Meanwhile, at the weekly club meetings, I started talking up the "Strange but fun new game" that I had discovered at GenCon. I informed the group that we would be trying it out one Sat. I could usually get my way with the group because I was older than all of them because I'd spent four years in the Navy and had gotten my ticket punched for SE Asia.

On the appointed Saturday, about ten said they'd give it a try. Six and a half hours later I realized I was going to be late for dinner—the afternoon ad simply disappeared. Worse, over half of what it had taken me weeks to prepare had been done… . I had created a monster.

The point I've taken so long to make is that D&D was what each DM made it to be, based on his fantasy visions. The first three books, Greyhawk and whatever your fantasy background made out of the GUIDELINES. The players couldn't argue—they didn't have the rules yet anyway. Besides, it was MY world—how could they? Four little booklets and my brain and my imagination.

A campaign or adventure is only as good as the DM. Your world operates according to your logic. You can't tell me I'm wrong (as the DM) because it's my universe.

Imagine how it was when we playtested Metamorphosis Alpha for the first times at TSR. None of us original players had any exposure to the rules, and everything was explained in terms that our "ignorant" PCs understood. A staircase was "wood piled up in front of an opening high upon the wall".

You don't NEED all of the books that are one the market to have a great time. My original group played twice a week for the next year with only those four books. (Blackmoor didn't come out until I was hired and did the editing).

Next Diatribe: Ridiculously high character levels and ludicrous character combos.

Next Installment; Ludicrously high level characters and absurd character combinations...


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:38 am 
 

An interesting exercise in selective memory.   8O

To be fair...and to be accurate....AD&D was not exactly a three book game.

A list of the 1st edition hardbacks might include:

Monster Manual
Monster Manual II
Fiend Folio
Players Handbook
Dungeon Master's Guide
Unearthed Arcana
Gods and Demi-gods
Wilderness Survival Guide
Dungeoneers Survival Guide
Manual of the Planes
Oriental Adventures
Dragonlance
Greyhawk Adventures


These books were commonly supplemented in D&D games by:

Dungeons and Dragons (Holmes Boxed Set)
The Arduin Grimoire (All three original publications)
Dragon Magazine (With hundreds of pages of photocopied text with alternative classes and new rules that eventually required the publication of four (4) Dragon compendiums and Unearthed Arcana.

The game was also commonly infected with notions from Runequest, Tunnels and Trolls and many other D&D imitators.  

(This is the same forum that includes interesting memories of some of the nutty things that happened in David Hargraves' games...and that is remembered as a good thing.)

Gamers also mixed in adventures and bits of rules garnered from
all four (4) Mentzer Dungeons and Dragons boxed sets....which culminated in a silly boxed set featuring lliterally god-like characters that were so high level they had to go adventuring in their underwear.

When one factors in the monsters, spells, magic items and special rules hidden in the pages of the umpteen million modules......

It is simply dishonest to remember "back in the day" when there were "only three books."  It is just not true.

Worse, Unearthed Arcana and the million-and-one new "NPC Classes" (yeah, right...NPC) and special rules sets made 1st Edition AD&D into one of the most confusing mazes of house rules and local compromises that modern society is likely to ever see in a game set.  Each of these new rules was designed to sell magazines and books...and game balance be damned.

By comparision, the 3.5 game system is incredibly clean and well considered.  When one considers just the 3.5 core rules published by WOTC, the system seems remarkably compact compared to 1st Edition AD&D.

Further, the "wierd" mix of character races that is commonly cited on this forum is a distortion of actual game play.  It no more represents actual game play than Mazes and Monsters represented AD&D.  

Ironically, the derisive comments posted here sound very much like the sarcastic comments about AD&D one might have expected from non-gamers BITD.  It sounds like jokes that a standup comedian might have made BITD...and you would have been outraged.

In practice, the 3.5 system is incredibly strong and balanced....especially compared to AD&D.  Characters can and do rise to high level in 3.5 just as they did in AD&D.  The difference is that the monsters themselves are powerful enough and flexible enough to challenge higher level characters.

Hey, fun is fun.  I like making extreme statements about "youngin's" or "kids these days" just as much as the next grownup.  Dis on the new game all you want.  Just remember that you are being pig-headed.   :)


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:06 am 
 

Thats funny, i can very clearly recall playing AD&D with only the PHB, the MM, and the DMG BITD.  The other TSR hardcovers that were produced later on after the original 3 hardcovers were not required for play, they were simply supplemental.  As far as Dragon Magazine goes, all those classes they produced were also supplemental and even if they were mandatory to the system, they were simply for use as NPCs and not to be used by PCs.  Additiaonally, saying that people used the Holmes & Mentzer Sets is 100% disingenious as they were both self sufficient games in themselves.  Just because you chose to mix and match your rules to fit in your own game, does not mean that is what the designers had in mind when the created these rules sets. The same cannot be said for the current incarnation.  Throwing the usage of Arduin stuff is also totally disingenuous, as those rules were not even produced for the same game nor where they even produced by the same company.  Once again, if you chose for your own game to include those outside supplements, that was your own doing and had absolutely nothing to do with TSR's design of the game, especially considering that the Arduin products had no affiliation to TSR what-so-ever.  

I have said before and I will say it again, I really have nothing against today current D&D game, but the truth of the matter is that the current game is Dungeons & Dragons in name only.  The only similarities that they share are thethat they are both FRPGs, they both revolve arounds PCs fighting monsters, and both use a few similiar terms and there is not much else similiar about them.  Comparing 3.5 D&D to 1e AD&D is like comparing apples and oranges, they are different games entirely.


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:18 am 
 

Mr Shipley - you make a very fair and reasoned argument - begone, you have no place here!!

You're right though, I guess that we all have fond memories of the games bitd and our brains edit out the nonsense and crap that no doubt went along with all the heroic fantasy.

I think that I'm not convinced by 3E (3.5E) because of all the superfluous stuff - though having read the 3 core rule books I still  do think that it is a bit rules heavy. I have said in the past that it does pander to 'power gamers' though to be fair I saw my fair share of those back in the eighties, so it shouldn't be too relevant. (Anyway in combat I had trouble remembering anything past the wonderful concept of THACO so feats would have left me floundering aimlessly!!)

Someone on here has in their sig something along the lines of 'there are no bad rules systems only bad players' (It might have been you Mark!?)  - perhaps there is something in that that some of us old boys would do well to remember.

All of that having been said I have to admit that 3E's penchant toward half-this/half-that/half-the other makes jokes and digs just irresistable - I'll try and stop but I don't think I'll be able to help myself :twisted:

Thanks for the voice of reason though Mark - I hope you know that I'm not taking this too seriously - I haven't thrown a dice in anger in years so I really shouldn't even be allowed an opinion!!

Carl

  


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:40 am 
 

MShipley, I'm not sure what the problem you are having is . . . I am pointing out that there seems to be more interest in 1ed. D&D than I first thought, and not just from collectors.  


"An interesting exercise in selective memory.  

"To be fair...and to be accurate....AD&D was not exactly a three book game.

"A list of the 1st edition hardbacks might include:
[sleepyCO's Note: Copyright year in [], based on TSR Archive site]

Monster Manual  [1st print 1977]
Monster Manual II  [1983]
Fiend Folio [1981]
Players Handbook [1st print 1978]
Dungeon Master's Guide [3rd print 1979]
Unearthed Arcana [1985]
Gods and Demi-gods [softback book 1977?, Deities & Demigods 1980]
Wilderness Survival Guide [1986]
Dungeoneers Survival Guide [1986]
Manual of the Planes [1987]
Oriental Adventures [1985]
Dragonlance [DL1 1984; DL16 1988; Dragonlance Adventures 1987]
Greyhawk Adventures [1988; World of Greyhawk 1980; Fantasy Setting 1983]
[and let me add some of my own:  Rules Cyclopedia [1991], Companion Set [1984], Master Set [1985], Immortal Set [1986]---sleepyCO]

"These books were commonly supplemented in D&D games by:

Dungeons and Dragons (Holmes Boxed Set)
The Arduin Grimoire (All three original publications) {??}
Dragon Magazine (With hundreds of pages of photocopied text with alternative classes and new rules that eventually required the publication of four (4) Dragon compendiums and Unearthed Arcana. "

    Disparaging??  No, no. . . . my point was the shock I felt when I saw the number of rulebooks around (needed?) to play 3.5ed. D&D today compared to 1ed. D&D in 1978-83.  As for the "selective memory" . . . .  

    When I started playing, DragonLance was six years in the future; MM II was not out yet (it was right at the time I had to stop playing, 1983); and most of the rest you listed--after the first five--were between 2 and 13 years in the future.
    Someone else said it right--the rules were (are?) GUIDELINES; how the DM ran the game was far more important.   

     I often use this comparison to describe my feeling toward 3.5D&D:
It is as if the football coach Knute Rockne came back to coach the game of football today, nearly 80 years later.  The fundamental game is still the same, but most of the rules have changed so that the game Coach Rockne would coach is far different today than it was in his day.

    So it is with me and current D&D.  When I picked up a new version 3.5 D&D module, believe me--I felt way out of place.  What had happened to the basic six stats (Str., Con., Cha., Int., Wis., Dex.), THAC0, negative AC's, hack and slash-type adentures, Fiend Folio, Demogorgon and Tiamat, etc.?  And what were EL's, skill slots, attacks of opportunity, non-lethal damage/HP's, and so on?  

    Now, the one time I did play 3.5D&D--the 30th Anniversary game two years back--it DID FEEL LIKE THE OLD DAYS!  There were some things I didn't remember [out of practice], and some I didn't understand ( had I been thinking ahead, I should've bought at least the Player's Handbook to get a jump on what I had missed).

    But did I have fun?  And would I get back in, in the future?

     8) Absolutely Yes!!!! :!:, and Yes!!!! :!:

    If I found or someone asked me into a 1e D&D game, would I go?  
 
    Heck Yes!!!

    In reality, THAT is the most important point of all . . . fun.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:42 am 
 

The old vs new debate again :D   Been a few months since we did this 8)

I for one am an old boy, probably older than most of the posters here and I play 3.5 8O   That's right surprise surprise!!

I have played them all, OD&D, 1st, 2nd, basic, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5.

I think the worst of the systems was the 2.5 (2nd ed with the players options books)  totally off balance game play and power gaming.

The new edition is a very different game from 1st ed.  

1st ed was revolutionary, a new game concept, uterly fantastic. It is my 2nd favortite RPG

My favortite is 3.5, totally flexible, very well balenced and as complicated or simple as you would like it to be.  No two characters are exactly the same.

Anyway after you gronards go on and bash 3.5 for the next 20-30 posts just know that things are different know than the seventies and eighties.  Video games, movies, games and all forms of entertainment have changed.  The music we listened to is now called classic rock (in my day my father called it pots banging beside your head :? ).  The new generations need updated enterainment to fit in with there own unique needs.

Later
Jeff


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:55 am 
 

Blackmoor--where do you get the idea that I was "bashing" 3.5D&D?
My point was, after 20 years out of the game, that the number of what I would call "basic"  books, plus all of the changes, was quite overwhelming at the time when I came back to the game.  ("Basic books" I define as DM guide(s), MM(s), PH(s).)  I don't deny that it is because  I'm more familiar with 1e rules than 3.5e rules, too.

(by the way, I may be close to one of the older posters, at age 44.)

Also:  I agree on most of the rest of what you say---let me add, that the music was on the AM side of the radio, and nowhere near as fragmented as today on the FM/XM/Sirius side---but that's for another topic! :D
And, believe me, I haven't had my head in the sand since the '70's;  just compare everything in and about my high school yearbook (1980) with the ones from the same school last year (2006) is truly night and day...

  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:03 am 
 

[quote="bclarkie"]Thats funny, i can very clearly recall playing AD&D with only the PHB, the MM, and the DMG BITD.  The other TSR hardcovers that were produced later on after the original 3 hardcovers were not required for play, they were simply supplemental.  quote]

Exactly.

The same is even more true of the 3.5 core rule books.

Why the double standard?


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:10 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote:(by the way, I may be close to one of the older posters, at age 44.)


Actually, I'd bet that's the average age here. I'm 45.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:40 am 
 

i have nothing personal against 3E/3.5E. i have tried it and just dont like how it feels. simple as that. i won't say it sucks or anything, just not my thing.

BITD, i couldnt afford all the books and i bought them as and when i could afford to.

i played and had my own PHB and character sheets (the orange/yellow looking ones - always my fave).

DMing, i had DMG, PHB, MM, FF and a rough looking Rogues Gallery for quick NPCs when i needed one. thats all i used.

what i had worked just fine and i never really felt the need to have more. even when i bought more books, i pretty much still kept to the core of what i had and only rarely looked for something elsewhere.

Al



  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:42 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote:Blackmoor--where do you get the idea that I was "bashing" 3.5D&D?


I am sorry, I was not referring to you at all :oops:

Later
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:55 am 
 

That's OK, Al, I'll say it sucks for you.
I don't think it's too rules-heavy. You just do what you want, when you want. Fight a storm giant with a 2nd level character? No problem. I swing 7 times (using my Eyeamgawd feat) and do 22,412 damage.


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:18 am 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:That's OK, Al, I'll say it sucks for you.
I don't think it's too rules-heavy. You just do what you want, when you want. Fight a storm giant with a 2nd level character? No problem. I swing 7 times (using my Eyeamgawd feat) and do 22,412 damage.


lol man you crease me up everytime - very funny :D

i always liked the realism in the 1E stuff and i had a load of my own common sense stuff in there too, which made everything very sensible.

hey ho

Al



  
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