What I like about 3rd edition D&D
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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 :-)

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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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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:22 am 
 

I like 2E the best. Not making a value judgement. I made the natural progression from the holmes set to 1E then to 2E upon its release and eventually 3 & 3.5
Playing basic D&D was great, 1E was even better. By the time 2E was released my group and I were all more mature gamers and the order and organization of 2E was very appealing. Plenty of rules were bulky or nearly useless but the revision was necessary in my mind and my group really responded to it. Our best gaming days were 2E.
3E took my group alittle while to absorb but we decided to try it and ran an extensive campaign. Initially we really enjoyed it but by the end of run we had all decided that 3E was simply an all new game rather than a new edition. Again I'm not suggesting any edition is better but from my experience 2E provided the best combination of DM/PC balance with organization and a real D&D feel we had with our old chipped dice.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:45 am 
 

Cattledog wrote:I like 2E the best. Not making a value judgement. I made the natural progression from the holmes set to 1E then to 2E upon its release and eventually 3 & 3.5
Playing basic D&D was great, 1E was even better. By the time 2E was released my group and I were all more mature gamers and the order and organization of 2E was very appealing. Plenty of rules were bulky or nearly useless but the revision was necessary in my mind and my group really responded to it. Our best gaming days were 2E.
3E took my group alittle while to absorb but we decided to try it and ran an extensive campaign. Initially we really enjoyed it but by the end of run we had all decided that 3E was simply an all new game rather than a new edition. Again I'm not suggesting any edition is better but from my experience 2E provided the best combination of DM/PC balance with organization and a real D&D feel we had with our old chipped dice.


I have to agree.  2nd Ed was the rules of choice for us, with many house rules and tweaks.  In my mind I can see a clear break for us between the years of 87-89, the old group broke up, new groups formed, the setting changed from Greyhawk to the Forgotten Realms, and of course the shift was made from 1st to 2nd ed.  Interesting times!
 And I heartily agree with the thought 3rd ed is an entirely new game...had this sussed out after my first trip through the new 3rd ed rulebook, and when I explained the particulars to my group, they unanimously decided to stay with what we were doing.  No one wanted to take the time to learn a new game!
  One thing often overlooked, if you have the 2.0 core rules CD, the Expansion CD, and any of the downloads that used to be all over the internet, you can pretty much do anything you want....custom classes, races, magic items, spells, monsters, you name it.  What a great and easy to use and learn (at least to me) system, I was even able to create Gamma World characters and rules using the customizable stuff!  
  Oh, sorry, back to 3rd ed.... :D

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:28 am 
 

I used the 2nd edition rules when they came out.  I never warmed to the 2nd edition modules or publications.  I hated the art and I didn't like the feel of the new products.  They lacked the character of the originals.
Also, I never felt the charm of the Forgotten Realms.


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:28 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:I used the 2nd edition rules when they came out.  I never warmed to the 2nd edition modules or publications.  I hated the art and I didn't like the feel of the new products.  They lacked the character of the originals.
Also, I never felt the charm of the Forgotten Realms.


I'm going to throw the most horrific blasphemy at you that you will ever hear an old school guy spout: Forgotten Realms had the World of Greyhawk neck and neck for imagination and depth...for the first few years, until FR turned into a bloated, self absorbed parody of itself.  This was mostly brought about by the novels, I believe, and the flogging of characters such as Elminster, Drizzt, etc.  Also a culprit was the horrible lack of decent modules or adventures set in the FR, the significant crawls that really put their stamp on the setting like the GDQ1-7, T1-4, S1-4 or even A1-4 did for WOG. The first I blame on the marketing machine of TSR, which in retrospect could do logically nothing else but promote the few popular characters of it's setting.  The second I blame on the launching of Dungeon magazine, which featured dozens of adventures each year and effectively drained the need to publish stand alone Forgotten Realms modules or adventures.  
 However, the original box set, and the first five supplements, were SHEER BRILLAINCE.    The FR box set was everything old timers had always wanted out of the WOG.  The WOG had a sort of distance between the material and the player...IMO this is the result of EGG's background in miniature wargames. Descriptions of countries, leaders and personalities are usually nothing more than dry, impersonal stats, numbers and facts. Look at the country descriptions, most are merely lists of troops and population.  There is also a "sameness" about the material...not present in the FR's mishmash of cultures/locales including Celtic (Moonshaes), traditional kingdoms (Cormyr), Dalelands, desert/arabian nights settings (Amn/Calimshan), Egyptian (Old Empires), etc.  Through the first boxed set and the first few supplements (FR1 Waterdeep, FR2 Moonshae, FR3 Empires of the Sands, FR5 Savage Frontier) you get a feel of the vastness and depth of the material, and are left wondering "Why didn't EGG ever release a supplement detailing The Great Kingdom? The Bandit Kingdoms? Keoland?"  Ed Greenwood reminds me so much of EGG in his prime, both can write a paragraph on some locale and leave about 5 great idea floating around there just begging to be used by the DM.   It's really a tragedy that the World of Greyhawk never got the FR treatment...How much would you give for "WOG" series the equivilant of the "FR" series?  Ah, I can see it now:

WOG1 The City of Greyhawk and The Cairn Hills
WOG2 The Kingdom of Furyondy (including Shield Lands and Veluna)
WOG3 The Great Kingdom (including Ratik & Bone March)
WOG4 The Yeomanry (including Hold Sea Princes)
WOG5 The Heartlands (Bissel, Geoff, Gran March, Sterich)
WOG6 Ulek & Keoland
WOG7 Theocracy of the Pale (including Tenh)
WOG8 Lands of the Evil North (Iuz, Horned Society, Nomads, Blackmoor)
WOG9 Barbarians of the North (including Hold of Stonefist)
WOG10 Urnst (including Nyrond)
WOG11 Bandit Kingdoms (including Barrens)
WOG12 The Scarlet Brotherhood (including Sunndi & the Great Swamp)
WOG13 The East (including Ket, Perrenland, Zeif, Ull, Ekbir and Tusmit)
WOG14 The Wild Coast (including the Pomarj)
WOG15 The Sea of Dust (including Dry Steppes)

With a lineup like that, there never would have even been a need for the Forgotten Realms....and we'd all be the richer to this day!!!
  My group, that had been playing since the late 70's, had absolutely no attachment to the WOG, and the switch to the FR was not a problem. As a matter of fact, with the release of From the Ashes and additional supplements, I attempted a "new" Greyhawk campaign, which was met with sheer indifference from not only my original group but any newcomers we got to join our group.   I began to realize my attachment to the WOG was nostalgia and unfortunately wasn't felt my anyone else I gamed with


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:30 pm 
 

I still buy every new 3E Realms book as I'm a huge fan of the setting - I don't play only read and collect so I can easily ignore the stat blocks.
I actually think that Wizards have produced some really good work in the Realms even to this day - of course a lot of it is so much fluff but they seem to be keeping with Ed Greenwoods original Realms theme of high magic, political intrigue etc.

That having been said I did think that Greyhawk was going to be the default setting for the new 3rd edition when it came out - which begs the question, why is it nowhere near as well supported as the realms (and Eberon as well for that matter) by Wizards - surely the fan base must be there for the taking - release some nice supplements (a la Badmikes list above) and away you go.

(having said all that - I recently brought 'the Adventure Begins' which seem to bring Greyhawk up to date and I think it's a really neat book with plenty of hooks and campaign ideas - I'm so fickle - only the lack of money stops me from starting collecting another campaign setting)(Unless I offload some of the Mystara and Spelljammer stuff, and rein in the wargames... and the Dungeon mags.........and the last Imagine........and a newfound interest in Fanzines......................and those early White Dwarves-----------------------SHIT - too late!!!!)


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:46 pm 
 

gyg wrote:I still buy every new 3E Realms book as I'm a huge fan of the setting.


I guess you and Badmike are eagerly awaiting Expedition to Undermountain then?

  
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