What I like about 3rd edition D&D
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:59 pm 
 

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I have had a a high school D&D group, a college D&D group and a post college D&D group, with some members crossing over to two or even all three.

One member of my high school AD&D group visited my post college AD&D group right before 2nd edition appeared.

He was dumbfounded by all the changes in the rules, new classes and the different way the game played...and it was the same game, but altered by the appearance of Unearthed Arcana and a few other books, as well as about 1000 house rules and Dragon magazine articles.

He felt like it was a whole different game.  It wasn't, it was just the same game with more rules.

My point is simply this:  3.5 edition really is AD&D with Unearthed Arcana and other books, combined with about 1000 house rules and Dragon magazine articles with an attempt at game balance and a consistent system.

In short:  3.5 is AD&D with fewer arguments.


That is the reaction I had when I played the 30th anniversary game a couple of years back--I wasn't the only one blown away by all of the changes and books! :)  :!:

  

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:57 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:I have had a a high school D&D group, a college D&D group and a post college D&D group, with some members crossing over to two or even all three.

One member of my high school AD&D group visited my post college AD&D group right before 2nd edition appeared.

He was dumbfounded by all the changes in the rules, new classes and the different way the game played...and it was the same game, but altered by the appearance of Unearthed Arcana and a few other books, as well as about 1000 house rules and Dragon magazine articles.

He felt like it was a whole different game.  It wasn't, it was just the same game with more rules.

My point is simply this:  3.5 edition really is AD&D with Unearthed Arcana and other books, combined with about 1000 house rules and Dragon magazine articles with an attempt at game balance and a consistent system.

In short:  3.5 is AD&D with fewer arguments.

Mark   8)


If it really was, I would be playing that instead of 2nd ed.....

I can understand why 3rd ed is fun....I love the Neverwinter Nights stuff.  It's cool to have your 20th level Barbarian/Mage/Cleric with something like 500 hps (that's what I'm running now) hacking up demons and demigods.  As a matter of fact, as a video/computer game, I think 3rd ed works 100 times better than as either a P&P game, or as any of the older computer games based on the 2nd ed rules.  

But 3rd ed is really an entirely different game with the same name.  A lot of old timers can't make any sense of it (everyone I game with).  I tried to read the rules and didn't like it at all, and wasn't even sure if I could run a session (which if it was just AD&D Plus I should have been able to do this no problem, I am a DM with 25 years experience).  NEARLY every 3rd ed game I've witnessed has had the same amount of problems as classic gaming, including the arguments, time consuming stop down combats, munchkinistically impossible powers doing 300 pts of damage a hit, etc etc insert your favorite cliche.  

3rd ed isn't just the same game with more rules, as was 2nd ed. I haven't met a single gamer yet that was confused by that changeover...they may not have LIKED it, but they understood it.  In contrast, I've ran into many gamers that can't make heads or tails of the new game. Call it the generational learning curve, or whatever.  I just know I've seen it in action.

A couple of other things I like about 3rd ed:

Customizing monsters (a very natural progression) with additional abilities or skills; makes facing that "harmless" lone kobold a little more dangerous; however, having stats/abilities for EVERY monster is a waste of time and makes pick up/spur of the moment battles almost impossible (unless you have a good spare database at hand).  Who gives a flying Eff what a spare orcs stats are, he's there to be hacked in half!

Raising your ability scores at certain levels; should have always been a facet of the game. However, raising your ability scores over certain limits (ex eventually having a 26 STR or whatever) tends to totally munchskinize the game (fun when you are playing Neverwinter Nights, though).

I think as a player of D&D since 1978 or so I will always be very upset that TSR/WOTC chose to create an entirely new game with the name of my favorite game on the rulebooks, and not just tweak the game by adding the house rules and maybe changing things a little bit to make it easily playable with older versions of the game (or vice versa).  For instance Mark in your example instead of the 1000 house rules I guess I would have been much happier with just 100 house rules and a system that was more streamlined but still like the "classic" system enough that I could run a the same character through L1 Bone Hill, Ruins of Undermountain, or The Forge of Fury with little or no changes...
 I completely understand the marketing and money factors that led to the entirely new version of D&D.  That classic D&D had a 25+ year run is fantastic in itself.  But everything has to change, and I still have my old rulebooks, modules, Dungeon mags, etc.  I'm reminded of the famous author who was asked about movie versions of his books, wasn't he unhappy that so many things were changed when his works were brought to the screen?  Said author pointed to a bookshelf behind him and said  "None of my books are changed, here they all are just like I originally wrote them." Makes a good point in regards to classic vs 3rd edition gaming.....!
  And staying hopefully somewhat on target, does anyone play Eberron?  Does anyone LIKE Eberron?  I read through a couple of the modules, and I honestly couldn't understand a blamed thing....it was like they were written in another language about an entirely new RPG. Is my disconnect getting that large, or is the setting just that different that it would make no sense to someone who hasn't bought the core Eberron rulebooks?

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:17 am 
 

I agree with much of the sentiment of the original post...

We took a while to convert from 1e plus houserules... (and in fact I
still play in one stubborn "1e will be here forever group"..), but for my main
group in the end the quality of the new game and materials made it worthwhile. If you want some outstanding 3.x campaigns then look at the shackled city book from paizo, or Ptolus.. or necromancer games stuff.

One thing not mentioned which is outstandingly better than anything previous, is the clear, understandable, detailed sections on the rules for round by round combat. Numerous diagrams, (expanded in 3.5), stop all
the misinterpretations of the rules..  We have two campaigns, AD&D and
rolemaster.. and I think the rolemaster is also about to be killed off by
3.5.. it completely outclasses it now.

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:42 am 
 

Let's face it -- munchkinism is fun.  (Particularly the parody game Munchkin!)  Too often we try to pretend it's not.  

3.5 has it's fair share of munchkinism, but it's saving grace is balanced munchkinism.  The monsters are munchkins.  The PCs are munchkins, and not just one of them, so it's fair.  Probably, random street urchins are munchkins.  Unlike 1E, I'd be wary of starting a brawl with anything in 3.5.

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:15 am 
 

People who love 3.X E always like to point out that there is a rule for everything.  To me that is not necessarily a good thing. :?   Part of the charm of 1st edition and what made it great was the ability within the rules to make stuff up on the fly.  It seems to me that 3.xE was made to cater to weak DMs who aere afraid to tell their players, "NO", without having a huge multitude of gaming text books to back him up on his decision.  On top of that and to make matters worse, because of the million and one rules that 3.X E gives you, I have heard stories where groups have not been able to finish a complete simple encounter in a 4 hour game sesion.  I fail to see how the hell that THAT can be fun.  :roll:   No thanks, I'll pass.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:12 pm 
 

Two more things I like about 3rd Ed:

Saving Throws

The 3-type Save system of 3rd Ed makes so much more sense than the junk heap 5-type system in the old game. It's very easy to intuit whether a save should be Fortitude, Reflex, or Will. Now, non-clerics actually have a reason to have a decent Wisdom.

In the old system, if somebody cast Death Magic at you, well, gosh, that wasn't a save vs. Spell. Nope, that had it's own special save. Flesh to Stone? Another.

About to be crushed by a gigantic boulder? New system: Reflex save. Old system? *shrugs* Save vs. Death Magic? Dex roll? DM's gotta figure it out, and that's where the arguments come in.

Oh, and no need for System Shock or Resurrection survival rolls anymore. More bookeeping eliminated.

Dex-based Fighters

Hard to pull off under the old system without buckets of magic items. Very doable under 3rd ed with purely mundane equipment.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:22 pm 
 

The number of rules in 3.5 is daunting.  Also, combat can take time if there are a number of players.

I rely a bit on my players (weak DM?) to run the rules for themselves, thus spreading out the responsibilities for the legal department.  

I hate the rules for grappling and unarmed combat.

Oddly, I think I may have more inclination to like 3.5 because I am slightly older...started in 1977, just before AD&D appeared.  I get less hung up in campaign settings than some other gamers do because I have pretty much always used my own settings.  Thus, Eberron is no problem, since I ignore it.

I used the Greyhawk setting for a while until I latched onto the concept of a "micro-campaign."  In a micro-campaign, the action takes place in a setting that is roughly 100 miles by 100 miles or less...the size of a duchy.  This keeps the action localized and encourages the players to do role playing such as obeying laws, patriotism and the like.

I constructed the city of Arragonne beside Relmore Bay on the Greyhawk map, changed the city of Primp to Castille and ran a campaign for years based upon a more realistic medieval setting.  (I once tried to kill Primp altogether...they said I couldn't do it...stupid name...it really was attempted name-o-cide.  I also tried to change Oldred to Old Red...which is a possible reading in the original Grehawk world publication.) The Prince of Arragonne ruled a palatine state within the political structure of the Great Kingdom...culminating after a dozen or so real-world years in the Battle of Llowren Hill and Arragonne winning independence from the
Overking.

Well...I guess I digress.  No idea why.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:15 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote: I used the Greyhawk setting for a while until I latched onto the concept of a "micro-campaign."  In a micro-campaign, the action takes place in a setting that is roughly 100 miles by 100 miles or less...the size of a duchy.  This keeps the action localized and encourages the players to do role playing such as obeying laws, patriotism and the like.


Clever. Keeps the DMing simpler too. Always annoying when the players decide they wanna visit the next continent for the weekend.  :)

  


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:39 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:One mystery to me....

People often mention how demi-humans were limited in level in AD&D.

This is true...officially.

From what I can tell, even the game designers ignored this rule from the outset.

Did anyone here seriously tell the demi-humn player charcters that they could not advance beyone a certain level?

Did anyone here stick to the rule that elven PC's could not be raised from the dead?


Well, of course Gary's campaign didn't have characters of high enough levels for level limits to really matter for the most part, but yes ...
[/b]


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:27 pm 
 

It is clear, from an examination of the Greyhawk world map, that Gary's original campaign was not continent-wide.  The center of the map, around Greyhawk, was clearly designed and lived-in first, before the rest of the continent took form.

...Roughly a standard sized small hex sheet of 8.5 x 11 inches was clearly the original map...expanded to much larger size when the hexes were enlarged for the continental scale map.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:03 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:It is clear, from an examination of the Greyhawk world map, that Gary's original campaign was not continent-wide.  The center of the map, around Greyhawk, was clearly designed and lived-in first, before the rest of the continent took form.


Absolutely:  the essays in Dragon Annual #2 and (more importantly), Horsemen of the Apocalypse talk through the early development of GH in some detail.

MShipley88 wrote:...Roughly a standard sized small hex sheet of 8.5 x 11 inches was clearly the original map...expanded to much larger size when the hexes were enlarged for the continental scale map.


I'm I'm following you fully (that the original GH map was simply enlarged to become the published GH maps we all know and love), I'm not sure that's the case, given the info in the above two articles.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:00 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
I used the Greyhawk setting for a while until I latched onto the concept of a "micro-campaign."  In a micro-campaign, the action takes place in a setting that is roughly 100 miles by 100 miles or less...the size of a duchy.  This keeps the action localized and encourages the players to do role playing such as obeying laws, patriotism and the like.

I constructed the city of Arragonne beside Relmore Bay on the Greyhawk map, changed the city of Primp to Castille and ran a campaign for years based upon a more realistic medieval setting.  (I once tried to kill Primp altogether...they said I couldn't do it...stupid name...it really was attempted name-o-cide.  I also tried to change Oldred to Old Red...which is a possible reading in the original Grehawk world publication.) The Prince of Arragonne ruled a palatine state within the political structure of the Great Kingdom...culminating after a dozen or so real-world years in the Battle of Llowren Hill and Arragonne winning independence from the
Overking.

Well...I guess I digress.  No idea why.

Mark   8)


One of the best campaigns I ever ran was on my own world and took place entirely on a small group of islands that formed a five island group with dozens of smaller islands.   It worked so well I used the same concept for my Night Below campaign. I also had an entire campaign built around the city of Phlan in the Forgotten Realms, and another that took place entirely in the city of Waterdeep (exploring Undermountain). Since then I think it's a great idea to keep the action local so to speak....much less work for the DM, much greater connection to the area for the players, and besides if you are a good DM the characters should be so intrigued by the many plotlines they don't want to go anywhere else anyway....!

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:06 pm 
 

I will start by saying that I have only played 3e twice. The guys get together once a month to play and I try to go when I can.

Things that I like:  

Magic Users can have more than one spell at first level plus a couple cantrips that actually can do something. (I know they were around in 2e, but I'm trying here.) But, no freaking way they should be slinging around crossbows. That is just plain idiotic.

Skills: Again, a 2e thing, but I like the addition and the way you can increase them as you go up in levels. The lack of formal skills in 1e was definately a gaping hole - practically all rpgs of that era had them.

Conversely, I hate the hole feat thing. Has that power-gaming feel.

Thief skill resolution: I think I like the 3e way better. Thieves can be more specialized and distinctive.

That about sums it up. The whole humanoid-class thing is BS in my book. PCs are unique. Now all of the sudden we have a million high level bugbear fighters running around.

In 1e, if you needed a tough bugbear, you just made him tougher by giving them more hit dice and some equipment as needed. Same went for orc witchdoctors, etc.

I guess I am the only guy who likes the old AC system. I have no problem with 1e's combat system. But that is it.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:05 am 
 

grodog wrote:
I'm not sure that's the case, given the info in the above two articles.


What I mean is this....

I don't have a map in front of me, but try counting the hexes from the northern shore of the Nyr Dyv to the sea just below the Pomarj.

I believe you will find that the number of hexes is roughly equivalent to the number of hexes across the short side of a standard sheet of hex paper (like the ones TSR used to print).

Then count the hexes from roughly the Lortmil Mountains east to the Cairn Hills or somewhat beyond...the long side of a standard 8.5x11 inch sheet of standard hexes.

In that area you will find:

1) Mountains (two miniature ranges)
2) Great Lake and small lake
3) Bay
4) Haunted hills
5) Impenetrable forest (actually three forests in one)
6) Lawless land (The Wild Coast was originally a remote area)
7) Major city
8) Mysterious desert
9) Elf kingdom
10) Desert nomads
11) Humanoid kingdom
12) Menacing swamp
13) River
14 ) Ocean
15) Amazons / matriarchy
16) Island
17) Demihuman kingdoms (gnomes and halflings and dwarves)
18) Greyhawk Castle
19) Maure Castle
20) City state
21) Kingdom
22) Bandit kingdoms
23) Deltas (two)

I'm sure there are a few others I have not thought of right away.

In short, all of the terrain types and standard fantasy zones other than "frozen wastes" appear in that section of micro-terrain.  
It is clear that the rest of the map was drawn around a central map, roughly centering on Greyhawk.

By comparison, the forest, hill, swamp, mountain and plain areas on the rest of the continental map are enormous.

The Red Brotherhood occupies a "secret society" located on the single most strategic and central penninsula on the map...which can be explained by the fact that the Red Brotherhood was originally on the very periphery of the mental map of Eastern Oerik, as was the indistinct green blob known as the Great Kingdom.

It is also clear that the areas on the periphery of the continental map were only very dim in the designer's mind.  The Paynims, the Tiger Nomads  and the frosty cold proto-vikings of the Thilrondian Penninsula are barely concieved except as cutout figures.  By comparison, the center of the map is highly developed.

Some important places like Lendor Island in the Spindrifts, the Sea of Dust, Hepmonaland, Blackmoor, the Valley of the Mage and the like were simply dropped onto the edges of the campaign's mental map and later drawn in when the continent was designed.  Their peripheral position is explained by the fact that they were other people's campaign areas, or areas of major legendary significance that were added after the fact.

For a nice example of the vague writing that characterizes the edge of the map....quick...picture the major differences in culture, religion and government between Bissel, Veluna, Keoland, Ket, Sterich, the Gran March and the Duchy of Geoff.  Aside from the recollection that Veluna is a religious state and Keoland is a kingdom...what are the differences?

Distinguish the culture of Ratik from the culture of Perrenland.

Recognize that the Bone March is simply a play on the words Bon Marche.

Now, for comparison...quick...distinguish Grehawk from Hardby and the Cairn Hills from the Kron Hills.

Although it is not named on the map, where is the Neen Marsh?  Where is Tharziduin imprisoned?  Where are the slave lords located?  Where is Hommlet?  Where is the Temple of Elemental Evil?  Where is the smallest mountain range on the map?  What free city was obviously a religious state long before Veluna?  For that matter, where are almost all the campaign's free citys located?

So, to repeat...mentally lay a standard 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of standard hex paper horizontally on the center of the two Grehawk maps, with Grehawk itself near the exact center.  Mentally expand the hexes to the same size as the hexes on the Eastern Oerik continental map.  Picture the number of modules and major campaign developments located on that small portion of the map.

Can you see it?  It is Gary Gygax's original campaign map.

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:01 pm 
 

I like the way 18 strength got mended

Initiative sort of works a bit better

Must keep this positive...no comments about roll-playing instead of role-playing...

Multi-classing is a lot easier

Skill checks are nice, a bit like DSG/WSG, but easier

The ability for the players to completely uber-munchkin their characters...Er, nope, this is a bad thing

Sensible class progression tables

Not all thieves have to learn to pick pockets

Unarmed combat is a little more integrated

If you're a player, then poison and level drain are nicer ;-)

Move/standard actions - WOW! Excellent.

I like the D20 OGL concept

Living Greyhawk :-)

AND THE FACT THAT D&D IS STILL ALIVE AND KICKING

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:50 pm 
 

First, let me give some background of my 3e experience.  By 2000, my gaming had been reduced to roughly a once a year get-together of old friends.  When 3e came out I immediately bought the 3 core books and started planning a big campaign.  I found some people who wanted to play... and I think we played twice.  I haven't played any P&P RPGs since.  Of course, that's no fault of 3e, it's just what happens when you have a job, family, house, etc.

So, based on my limited experience, what did I like?  Almost everything!  However, that's not to say everything was an improvement over 2e.  Some things were better, some worse, most just different.  I think if I was an active gamer the way I was back in high school it would just be one more system to choose from when deciding what to play.

The big flaw that most people point to (munchkinism?) honestly would not affect me much since I mostly played/ran low level games anyway.  Once characters' levels started getting to double-digits it was time to start something new.

I agree with most of things other people have said they liked.  One thing no one's mentioned is that the D&D/AD&D split was finally removed.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:49 pm 
 

Another interesting point you raise is that 3rd edition was an improvement over 2nd edition.

Which is true.

I have not heard anyone compare 2nd and 3rd.  The debate is usually over 1st versus 3rd.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:52 pm 
 

Playing 1e or 2e, the hardest thing was actually finding a DM capable of the job. There were always tons of players, but very few people to actually orchestrate the game. The DM was the bottleneck to the game's expansion and success.

3e caters to making DM'ing easier.. how well they've succeeded is probably an empirical question I can't answer. But in theory it is easier: Can your character do this... the DM needs only ask what feats do you have. And of course, there are rules for everything.

  
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