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4th Edition of D&D Announced
August 16, 2007 9:34 AM   Subscribe

4th Edition is Coming... Eight years after the release of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition (and only four years after the release of 3.5), Wizards of the Coast announced today that 4th Edition will be on the shelves in May of 2008. Back in 2000, the release of 3rd Edition launched a boom (and bust) of secondary adventures published under the Open Gaming License. Back then, a gamer couldn't swing their boffer sword without hitting a start-up game company with d20 content. Contrast that to this month when the very last issues of venerable Dragon and Dungeon magazines hit the shelves.
posted by robocop is bleeding (106 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
(rolls save vs nerdiness)
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:55 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nerd!

The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game.

Apparently one of the new 4th Ed. rules is "don't let Eugune DM, no matter how much he begs. You know it won't go any better this time. I'm serious, I won't even play if you do, I swear to god."
posted by cortex at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


I don't know how they're going to keep generating fresh content, 3rd Edition has 50-odd rule books at this point, there's enough rules and variations for a lifetime of gaming. I personally wont be too eager to replace my 10-12 3rd and 3.5 books with new ones, I can't use all the stuff in there as it is. And those books are expensive.

Plus some of the prestige classes / monsters they've thrown out there in the last few years are really a stretch (well, even more of a stretch than usual... )

Of course I'm pretty jaded about the entire fantasy genre after reading/playing it since 4th grade, you can really only kill so many mindflayers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2007


On a tangent, I look forward to when precision manufacturing will allow for obscenely high numbered (256 sides and higher) multi-sided dice that are the same size as the standard dice used now.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Calloo Callay! Experience has led me to believe I'm not patient enough for D&D, or MTG decks that kill in more than 8 turns, but WoTC get mad respeck.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:59 AM on August 16, 2007


I seem to recall a short story from Dragon magazine in the early 80s that basically predicted WoW. Except it was played in arcades.

So is my first printing Dungeon Master's Guide worth anything? What if I "enhanced" many of the pages with additional rules and illustrations?
posted by gwint at 9:59 AM on August 16, 2007


This is going to stand or fall by the way in which it incorporates computers and the internet into the D&D experience.

3.5 rules are pretty close to the D&D game I always wanted to play, so I am doubtful about the need for a new edition. However, good professional software, especially if its user-interface was top quality, would get me into playing more than the occasional game I have. Integration with VoIP, a standard D&D "client", quick start for online pick-up games, this is the sort of thing that I'd be excited by.

However, the question must be whether this will add up to a justifiable 4th Edition, or just force us to buy the rulebooks for that edition in order to access the new functionality? I'm not really sure. I'm hopeful, I guess.
posted by howfar at 10:00 AM on August 16, 2007


Will they finally have improvised glaive support?
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those older gamers who want an alternative with a bit more 1st-edition flavor, there's still HackMaster.
posted by jtron at 10:03 AM on August 16, 2007


I'll admit, I've only played D&D once (though I gamed for years), but I was excited when I found out one of my favorite game designers (J. Tweet) was working on 3rd edition.
posted by drezdn at 10:04 AM on August 16, 2007


On a tangent, I look forward to when precision manufacturing will allow for obscenely high numbered (256 sides and higher) multi-sided dice that are the same size as the standard dice used now.

The damn things would just roll and roll. Not enough edge. Plus, with such a small surface area on each face, you'd have to have a really dang level rolling surface to make sure the center of gravity landed over the resting face.

There's also the issue of the readability of the individual faces. And imperfections on the rolling surface. And you'd have to decide on a good method for fairly subsectioning the faces of a regular polyhedron such that you got a fair surface distribution.

Dice are serious business.
posted by cortex at 10:05 AM on August 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game.

Well, I say meetup then.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2007


I thought the 3rd edition effort was an absolute marvel of game design. It took something very familiar and smoothed out the rough edges and added key components, yet retained all that was good from the original. I was honestly shocked about how good it was.

I didn't particularly like how, when the 3.5 edition came out, it seemed to be putting players on a treadmill of collectibles. But that's how WotC makes its money...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2007


Well, I'm long past my RPG days, I'm afraid, and speaking from a position of entire ignorance, as usual.

But I can't help thinking that the WoC people sort of ruined a good thing, emphasizing the streamlining of content and making the system quicker and easier to play. This was fine, but was an effort to compete with computer "role playing" games that would never really succeed.

At the same time, the more corporate structure of WoC produced such homogeneity of look and feel to Campaign worlds and rulebooks. It was all so consistent and centrally approved. Look at the first edition monster manual, and compare it to the similar books that followed in later editions--in all those ones, the illustrations (and monsters) contained in the books are more professionally illustrated, but with less of the quirkyness and individuality that stood out in the early versions of D&D. It all became so professionalized.

Perhaps the OGL was an effort to change this and "de-centralize" the production of stuff somewhat. I really don't know. Yet I can't help thinking that part of the problem comes down to the wrong sort of Geeks having taken over at WoC---the ones obsessed with systematic consistency (like the folks who keep track of the number of missiles fired from the Battlestar Galactica), rather than the more artsy Geeks who are more taken by the conceptual strangeness and originality that was the hallmark of the D&D's earlier, less well systematized versions, and which is also the aspect of D&D that is least reproducible in massively multiplayer on-line games.
posted by washburn at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


On a tangent, I look forward to when precision manufacturing will allow for obscenely high numbered (256 sides and higher) multi-sided dice that are the same size as the standard dice used now.

The damn things would just roll and roll. Not enough edge.


Indeed.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2007


The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game.
Yes, yes. Instead of opening a door into a 10x10 room with an orc guarding a chest with a spear, the room will be 5x5.
posted by boo_radley at 10:20 AM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'll be interested to see what this is like. My experience with D&D is almost entirely through CRPG's and I must be the only person on the planet who prefers 2nd to 3rd edition. 3rd edition seems (to me) to concentrate too much on mechanics and numbers, and doesn't make any intuitive sense. All of a sudden my 14th level mage, who has been casting spells for all of his his brief life mysteriously picks up a level of ranger and can now track animals and the like out of the blue. And now my character is screwed if I want to get uber-powerful without planning well ahead.

With 2nd edition I didn't have to think about numbers like that and could just roll a character and have them level up in the background while I concentrated on roll-playing.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2007


I'm glad people still play D&D, but I don't think I would have it in me anymore. Since playing games with much better engines/ systems, I just can't get excited about d20 gaming anymore.

For all the cheesiness of the White Wolf universe, their d10 system is nothing short of genius.
posted by quin at 10:31 AM on August 16, 2007


I hear they're changing the combat to be more in line with their current and upcoming marketing. It's now resolved with pogs.
posted by Legomancer at 10:34 AM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


gwint: I seem to recall a short story from Dragon magazine in the early 80s that basically predicted WoW. Except it was played in arcades.

Catacomb. (via)
posted by LordSludge at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


washburn: while I can agree that the artwork and layout of the D&D rulebooks and the like have become more "professional" since WotC took over, is that really what matters?

3rd Edition (and 3.5) are great not because I care a whit about the standard reference world and artwork provided with the books. They are great because they vastly simplified what was an overly complex and inconsistent set of rules that added nothing to the enjoyment of the game, and oftentimes caused the sorts of rules lawyering sessions that were pretty much counter to the goal of having fun in the first place.

D&D 3.x just kind of gets out of your way, and lets you tell a story and play a game. It doesn't demand that you spend every friday night for 6 months playing your character to gain a single level, and it doesn't come with horribly unbalanced classes, or monsters, or god forbid, any of the class-specific supplements from TSR that typically lead to complete twinkage. It's just a framework in which you can put together your own campaigns and have a lot of fun.

For an aging nerd, 3.x revitalized my interest in D&D. When I first looked at it, I thought to myself, "here is the game I used to love, with the bad pieces stripped out". And really, far more than competing with computer games (which is, I think, kind of a ridiculous assertion), this was what 3.x was about, from WotC's standpoint: broadening appeal amongst new players, and giving older players a game that is more practical when you're working a 9-5 job and have a wife and kids at home.
posted by tocts at 10:46 AM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


This was fine, but was an effort to compete with computer "role playing" games that would never really succeed.

Exactly - D&D isn't the Amish port of World of Warcraft. It has the potential to be a forum for collaborative fantasy storytelling. As such, the rules it should focus on are simply the ones that produce a better story, not JFK-style ballistics reports on your magic arrow.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:51 AM on August 16, 2007


Ah D&D...all those books I never played with, but read obsessively nonetheless..hundreds of dollars, and only around a session a year...Rosebud...
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


JFK-style ballistics reports on your magic arrow

Rolemaster, we hardly knew ye.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


I started playing 3.5 about 18 months ago. Frankly, I don't have the fun I used to, but for me the game isn't the draw, but the metagame. I'm not there to act in an imaginary universe. It is sitting around a table making jokes, drinking the occasional beer, and recalling xvarts from back in the day.

My group does have somebody in the industry, the min-maxer, the overbearing, and probably another RPG stereotype I'm overlooking.

Washburn: There's a lot of similar sentiment in a particular TTG at the moment.

The marketing folks want a game that can be easily picked up, offers a continuous stream of supplements, and hopefully a means to license the IP into other forms such as video games, books, and movies. That encourages a short-term outlook, but in my experience many of the current players will keep buying in the future barring a more expensive hobby presenting itself.
posted by infowar at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2007


I still play D&D pretty regularly, and 3.x was an awesome system. I'm worried that 4th will be closer to their "SAGA" system, which was a streamlined version they released for a Star Wars themed game a month or two ago.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:02 AM on August 16, 2007


I'm glad people still play D&D, but I don't think I would have it in me anymore. Since playing games with much better engines/ systems, I just can't get excited about d20 gaming anymore.

See, here I am (a 31 year old) and I just started playing D&D this year. I've been surrounded by video RPGs and I find D&D much more engaging. Maybe it's because I get to play with great friends. Maybe it's just an excuse to sit around on a Sunday afternoon drinking beer. But whatever it is, I love it, and I've been in withdrawal since we finished up our campaign a few weeks ago. We start our new campaign this Sunday and I can't wait!

I'm not sure I'll ever understand Attacks of Opportunity, but that's ok.

Which reminds me, I need to finish my spell cheat-sheet before Sunday! God damn there are a lot of spells in the spell compendium.
posted by misskaz at 11:03 AM on August 16, 2007


I want to play Dark Sun again, damn it.
posted by chunking express at 11:11 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm still holding out for Twilight: 2020.
posted by kowalski at 11:12 AM on August 16, 2007


I'm not sure I'll ever understand Attacks of Opportunity, but that's ok.

"My fellow Americans, we have reason to believe that Iran has performed a partial action in our Zone of Control."
posted by kid ichorous at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2007 [12 favorites]


I have a complete set of first edition books and sort of lost interest with the second edition. The third edition just irks me.

I have always felt like the editions after the first were "don't mess with it if it aint broken" mistakes, but I am whatever the rpg equivalent of a luddite might be.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2007


I'm still holding out for Twilight: 2020.

There's 523 days left until we finish with Twilight 2000.
posted by washburn at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The 4th Edition rules emphasize faster game play, offer exciting new character options, and reduce the amount of "prep time" needed to run the game.

Faster game play: I have had the fortune and far too often the misfortune of sitting down at many LG tables where the entire intent of every player sitting down was faster game play. Ultimately at the hands of unpatient people, the game quickly devolved into combat, combat and finally, if you have ever played LG, the third combat. If the goal is faster game play, likely it will be at the expense of creativity and community. Thankfully I no-longer play LG at the cost of a few good friends and the heartache of trying to make it work for far too long.

With the deplorable cash-grab that was 3.5 I get the feeling that the only reason our merry band of friends continues to roll dice in this system is nostalgia. I don't disagree that the rules needed to be simplified. Ultimately that is what was accomplished by the release of 3.5 (in spite of my hatred of needing to shell out so much MtOoOrLrAeHn!t to buy every book necessary to substantiate play as a Goliath Bard with a penchant for opera and artisan cheese making.

I am not excited at all about this pending release as I view it as likely not more than another cash grab and rather unneccesary. A good (or even mediocre) GM can accomplish faster/slower/more creative game play without needing to resort to yet another set of rendered to pablum rules catering to gamers who would just as likely continue on with their MMPORG of choice.
posted by verveonica at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2007


If I had more time, I'd love to get back into D&D. I grew up with the staple-bound Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal sets, and have oodles and oodles of love in my heart for them. I felt totally burned when AD&D second edition came out-- suddenly, everything that had been loose and sloppy and seat-of-the-pants was rigidly spelled out. I remember exactly when I lost my fire for the game: it was in college, playing with a bunch of guys who included the worst rules-lawyer I'd ever met, a guy whose total memorization of the 2nd Edition rulebooks warped the game experience for the rest of us.

I realize this is silly, but to me, I'd rather see those old pamphlets reissued than to have a 4th edition. And I wish those fucking elf kids would get off of my lawn.
posted by COBRA! at 11:23 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


chunking express: try the official (as in, WotC sanctioned) but completely free and fan-made D&D 3.5 Dark Sun Adaptation. It's not perfect but it's pretty damn good, and if you need more source material you can get most of the old TSR Dark Sun supplements for $5 or less each in PDF form from numerous retailers.
posted by tocts at 11:25 AM on August 16, 2007


"I have a complete set of first edition books and sort of lost interest with the second edition."

That's pretty much the position I found myself in. The second edition of the game was so totally different -- and also bad -- that I stopped paying attention to whatever they were publishing after that. I hear plenty of chatter about how subsequent editions are somehow better, but as far as I'm concerned, the second edition caused them to lose me as a customer.

(Not that I even play much of this stuff any more.)
posted by majick at 11:25 AM on August 16, 2007


as a veteran of Basic D&D, D&D, Advanced D&D, 2nd Edition, and 3.x and countless other RPG systems. (actually countles, I can't do it. Do I count Ghostbusters? or Dogs of War?)

I love 3.x. the simple progression of levels, the well thought out and carefully constructed CR system. they all serve to make the game fun and to help me create a unique character with unmatched capabilites.


I just hope I can convert My Ranger 4 /fighter 2 /Tempest 4/Dervish4/Horizon Walker 1

to 4th edition without too much trouble
posted by Megafly at 11:28 AM on August 16, 2007


2007 is turning out to be an awesome year for a 12 year old version of me. Between 4th edition announced and the re-release and completion of Lone Wolf, its shaping up to be a fine year.
posted by khaibit at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2007


tocts, I've actually checked out athas.org before. I think it's pretty cool they released all the material in that way. I'm tempted to pick up a bunch of those $5 PDF files. Anyone know where you can get the old books in book form? Or the old Dark Sun novels by Troy Denning. I'm feeling incredibly nostalgic.
posted by chunking express at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2007


washburn said: ....rather than the more artsy Geeks who are more taken by the conceptual strangeness and originality that was the hallmark of the D&D's earlier, less well systematized versions, and which is also the aspect of D&D that is least reproducible in massively multiplayer on-line games.

Wow, did you ever nail it there. Version 3 of D&D was technically very impressive, but they sucked the fun right out of the system, at least for me. We loved finding weird corner cases and neat combinations of spells and powers, and there's just not much of that in v3 and 3.5.

They succeeded in their goal of reducing exploits and balancing character classes better, but in smoothing it out, they also filed off all the fun of the system itself. Sure, you could still enjoy the roleplaying, but it wasn't really D&D anymore, in my view. If I wanted custom characters with a sensible rule system, I'd use GURPS or Hero. D&D was about cookie-cutter archetypes and bizarre rules mechanics that allowed for some very weird shit to happen.

I did like some of the new combat. The feat system added a lot of good stuff to fighters and made them much better characters. If I ever got back into D&D, I'd stick with v2 rules, but would likely backport some of that.

The modern system is just too... systematic. Blah. Unpredictable, quirky rules can be a lot of fun.
posted by Malor at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2007


I'll openly admit I've been bitching about 4ED in both the Wizards and Paizo.com forums for a couple of days now. I used to play D&D years ago, moved on to other games, and have just gotten back into it, and have been having a blast. In fact, I'm in the planning right now to start running my first D&D campaign in over 10 years, and have been gushing over how awesome 3.5 is. I do no t want to go through learning another system now.

I'm sorry, geekywhining mode off, sorry.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 11:37 AM on August 16, 2007


I wasn't kidding up there...I loved the idea of D&D, but I could never find a stable gaming group...I tried for years, but whether it was hanging with 8 year olds who I taught to play despite never gaming, or 48 year olds who obsessively reengineered Buffy into D&D, it just never quite meshed.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2007


I went through a period where I loved reading the books... like Tome of Magic and Psionic Manual and Fiend Folio... but I never actually played the game! I know I'm not the only one but this still strikes me as odd.
posted by jcruelty at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2007


I didn't buy the 3.5 books four years ago because I figured I'd just wait for 4.0. But honestly, I can't imagine what changes would make it compelling for me. Like a couple of posters already, I feel like 3rd edition streamlined a lot of the enjoyable quirkiness out of the game. I like having a few esoteric rules or classes or abilities that don't feel like a computer came up with them. Given that the description at the supplied link includes "emphasize faster game play" and "reduce the amount of prep time", I worry that they've decided to streamline it further, to the point where it's comprised of simplistic choices requiring minimal thought. I'm not looking for a pen & paper implementation of a computer game.

(Not that computer games are consistently simplistic. Although they're moving in that direction, but that's a separate rant. I mean more than computer games have that templated, mechanical feel to them.)

I do like 3rd edition, my complaints notwithstanding. And I didn't expect to. So maybe 4 will be better than I imagine.

And, hmm, meetup would be interesting. I haven't been able to put together a decent gaming group since moving to LA.
posted by coined at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2007


This reminds me that I have about a vertical foot and a half of Second and Revised edition material that I've been meaning to sell off.

If I ever get back into the playing, it will be with quirky house systems all the way. With (A)D&D, I always found both the rules and the setting box sets like Planescape and Dark Sun more fun to read than to actually play.
posted by kowalski at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2007


My 12 year old son just started gaming with a group of homeschooled kids. It does this old AD&D nerd good to see my offspring fighting Kobolds just like his old ma did 20-odd years ago. I may get back into it myself, after reading this.
posted by Biblio at 11:58 AM on August 16, 2007


I'm also someone who bought a bunch of the books (the 2nd ed. rule books and way too much Dark Sun stuff) but never actually played with any of them. I did play the original D&D, but by the time I was buying all this stuff it was pretty clear I'd never get to use it. There's something about reading about these fictional worlds that was so compelling. It's like a novel but not quite.
posted by chunking express at 11:58 AM on August 16, 2007


I grabbed copies of the AD&D books for my six year old son on Amazon. They were like $.75 each. I paid more for shipping. Later I bought him the 3.5 rule books for his birthday. He loves them.

Nothing like having a little boy geek in the house to rekindle one's interest in D&D. We often sit down and play together using random dungeon generators for our campaigns. Nothing fancy, but he's getting the hang of gameplay and after we rifle through a level or two, he goes off and starts drawing up maps and stories for his old man to play.

The craft of table top gaming, passed from generation to generation.
posted by salishsea at 12:01 PM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I thought World of Warcraft IS D&D 4th edition..? People still play RPGs on paper? With dice that you roll by hand? Why not let the computer do all the boring stuff?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:05 PM on August 16, 2007


World of Warcraft? Are you shitting me?
posted by chunking express at 12:14 PM on August 16, 2007


What the... there's a 3rd edition?!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2007


salishsea and Biblio, those are some damn lucky kids.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:22 PM on August 16, 2007


Are people still hooked up to the pablum-feeding machines we call computers that run so-called "RPGs"?
posted by illiad at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2007


Well I don't play it myself but isn't that what the kids do nowadays? Frankly I'm shocked there's still people buying the dead tree version.

I left D&D somewhere around the 2nd edition. By then, the guys I played RPGs with, we made up our own rules using a conglomeration of several different games, taking whatever suited us and disregarding the rest. And if a new guy came along arguing semantics and rules, we got him real drunk and locked him outside with the dog, and his 2nd edition books. We used everything from Palladium to Paranoia. Whatever suited us at the time. There was a Guimoire that the DM had with charts suitable for any occasion, and a few unsuitable occasions.

Personally my fave was DC Heroes. ONE chart. Two ten sided dice. Resolved ANY situation. No more conversion charts. One ruler to sort them all out. Those were the days.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:27 PM on August 16, 2007


Well, yeah, ZachsMind -- computer RPGs pretty much ruined me for pen/paper/dice based gaming.* Played D&D and AD&D for years and years as a child, even played some in college. Feeling nostalgic, I tried playing a campaign a few years ago and was just bored to tears. One battle took 4-5 hours. Ugh, the tedium! I guess I was really bored as a kid...

Although the problem with MMORPGs such as WoW or EQ is that they are, by design, fairly generic -- everybody gets to go on the same quests; everybody gets to be the hero, huzzah! I'm looking forward to a subset of MMORPG that builds a richer, more story-driven player experience for a smaller set of players, say a group of 8-16. That'd be cool. (Maybe it exists; I can't say I've poked around very much...)

The story: that's where pen & paper RPGs still have the edge.

* Not that I have time for either, these (grownup) days.
posted by LordSludge at 12:31 PM on August 16, 2007


Personally my fave was DC Heroes. ONE chart. Two ten sided dice. Resolved ANY situation. No more conversion charts. One ruler to sort them all out. Those were the days.

Yeah, after I got the hang of it, I loved that system. Scaled-down slickness at its best.
posted by COBRA! at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2007


My god. Dragon was still in print!

I hate to tell people to get off my lawn, especially DnD'ers, but, well, er... even the 2nd Edition was a hard sort of swallow for me. Unearthed Arcana was pretty much the last character expansion I wanted to deal with.

(If you managed to put two and two together and point at my name.. well, you win!!!)

posted by cavalier at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2007


Zachsmind: I agree, d10/percentile is the great road too often untaken in dice-based rpgs. Apart from its brandability, I've never quite understood the appeal of d20 -- as Western humans, we don't evaluate anything IRL using a twenty scale. Plus there's the sensation when using a d20 that you're rolling a completely uncontrollable ball. d10s still have some of the feel of d6s, that you can influence the outcome, even if you really can't.
posted by kowalski at 12:52 PM on August 16, 2007


Woah, hey, nice to see my fellow geektry men out here in nerdville with me. Really love this site.

(Egads! They made a SECOND Unearthed Arcana? Heresy!! Heresy! If it doesn't have an old man with a shiney copper beanie looking astonished at something he's reading.. why.. why...)

WTB Full 1st Ed. AD&D Set Mint Condition paying Kidney ty.
posted by cavalier at 1:01 PM on August 16, 2007


One battle took 4-5 hours

There was one sysem (forget the name - "modern combat", yes - Pheonix Command *I think* - preferred their SciFi "Living Steel" though) with extremely "realistic" combat simulation. We spent one night planning the attack, then in a seperate session which lasted 6 hours we simulated 12 seconds of combat with our spec ops team of 4 guys...

Made "roll-master" look positively lightweight.

As to the folks who bought the books and never played - well, that is not that adnormal. For awhile I collected system after system after system - just to look at the game design, mechanics and rules - any wonder I became a programmer?
posted by jkaczor at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2007



The story: that's where pen & paper RPGs still have the edge.


I dunno, it's not so much the story to my mind. With a big enough budget/good writers/etc. A computer rpg can serve up storytelling probably better than any pen & paper experience.

What pen & paper has going for it is freedom (or at least the illusion of it). If you want your character to invite the invading orcish hordes to tea, you can *do* that. In a computer rpg, you can do only what the designers decided it makes sense for you to do (because everything else won't have been implemented).

DC Heroes. ONE chart.

IIRC didn't they try to cram every single different type of unit onto the same scale and end up with demented formulae like travel time = distance - (?!?) speed?

I think DC was also one of those systems I hate where instead of keeping track of money, your character has some abstracted wealth/resources rating you had to roll to see if you could afford whatever thing you were trying to buy? Well okay, I can't make the roll to buy the fighter jet, but I have an auto-success on buying a pack of gum. Let's buy 5 billion packs of gum and sell them...
posted by juv3nal at 1:08 PM on August 16, 2007


Well, I'm long past my RPG days, I'm afraid, and speaking from a position of entire ignorance, as usual.
But I can't help thinking that the WoC people sort of ruined a good thing, emphasizing the streamlining of content and making the system quicker and easier to play. This was fine, but was an effort to compete with computer "role playing" games that would never really succeed.

The thing is, with 3rd edition they didn't really make the system that much quicker or easier. It can still be very complicated to build a character, have said character fight in fights, and so on, especially if you make use of the bazillion supplements that they have released. What they did was modularize things, making them a little more consistent, but I think with an eye towards making the rules easy to implement as a computer game rather than to compete with computer games. Seriously, I remember reading the 3.0 Players Handbook and thinking it read like an API. Heck, they even version the things like computer games 3.0, 3.5, 4.0.

At the same time, the more corporate structure of WoC produced such homogeneity of look and feel to Campaign worlds and rulebooks. It was all so consistent and centrally approved. Look at the first edition monster manual, and compare it to the similar books that followed in later editions--in all those ones, the illustrations (and monsters) contained in the books are more professionally illustrated, but with less of the quirkyness and individuality that stood out in the early versions of D&D. It all became so professionalized.

I think you are right about WotC exerting centralized control over their product lines, but I think this was more of a maturation of the industry than anything else. In the early days, you had a small number of hobbyists-publishers playing RPGs and printing the game books and getting others involved, and some of them happened to know artists who then did stuff for them. As time went on more and more professional artists got involved, many of them literally growing up with the game, which lead to a lot higher level pretty design. You can see the evolution in quality and sensibility by looking at how Dragon Magazine developed visually over the years. Add in the computer revolution in the graphic arts industry (no more waxers and hand typesetting, yay!), and you end up with a "sexier" product. Heck, almost all RPGs nowadays are slickly produced works of graphic design (except for the *really* small pdf-only imprints).

Perhaps the OGL was an effort to change this and "de-centralize" the production of stuff somewhat. I really don't know.

If I recall correctly, the OGL was simply a way for WotC to maximize its profits. The D&D line manager did some research and discovered that the most money was made on the "Core Books," and that by printing a bunch of supplements for a bunch of different gameworlds that TSR ended up not doing so well. You had a bunch of different small constituencies that demanded stuff for their favorite gameworlds (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Planscape, Dark Sun, snd so on), but said constituencies weren't large enough to make the profits all that good. So WotC cooked up the idea of the OGL to allow other publishers to provide the lower-margin supplements and worldbooks while they kept the rights to publish the high-margin Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. They thought of it as a win-win situation, and from what I understand it largely was.

All that said, I'm interested in seeing what the 4th edition of the game will really offer that is all that different from the previous edition. It sounds to me mostly like Hasbro just wants to make more money, and by rebranding and adding a few changes and tweaks they believe they can get fans to shell out $60 so that they can have the newest and shiniest. </nerd>
posted by moonbiter at 1:10 PM on August 16, 2007


Up until a couple of months ago, I was still running a weekly D&D 2.0 campaign. The gang and I tested out 3.0, and then 3.5, and decided that the rules were just too finicky for us; we'd developed a free-wheeling style of play that suited us well.

Recently, I found myself wanting to branch out from the fantasy genre, and I did an extensive evaluation of the simple universal role-playing systems out there. I found Savage Worlds, and introduced it to the group, and the new campaign (modern day paranoid paranormal) starts next week.

And I just found out that later this month Pinnacle is going to release a version of their core rules in a 6"x9" format, for ten bucks. If you're not happy with the upgrade path that Wizard is taking towards huge tomes of rules and collectible artifacts, it may be time to branch out and explore different ways of telling your stories.
posted by MrVisible at 1:21 PM on August 16, 2007


Having moved to Oregon a few weeks ago, I lost my cadre of players. Weekly games around a big table, drinks, miniatures...sigh. i miss it already. Not sure southern Oregon has gamers...but at least I can read the books and be nostalgic.

I didn't know Dungeon and Dragon are ending. How sad!!!!
posted by Dantien at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2007


Tocts makes a good point; however I do think that the lost creativity and atmospherics of the early games has been a liability of the later ones, as LordSludge and others have suggested.

It's not just that the consistent artwork and production values have homogenized the look of the game; D&D has also been subjected to the removal (I think) of Assassins, Devils, Demons, half-orcs, and possibly thieves. The original game, especially in its Greyhawk incarnations, had lots of historical and literary touches that were subtle imports from literature and history. These are mostly ironed-out of the new versions, which present more standardized and controversy-free and mythic worlds to fight in.

To Illustrate my point, allow me to provide an amazing link or two that I've been saving to use as a MeFi front-page post for the last year or two:
_______________
Dave Trampier was the author and illustrator of Wormy, a comic-strip that appeared in Dragon Magazine, in the late 1980's. The confusing, subtle and ambivalent tone of Trampier's comics is preserved however in The Wormy Archive (warning, website may crumble), which contains most (though not all) of the installments of Wormy. Disillusioned with his editors at Dragon, and disaffected from TSR, Trampier vanished from the public eye, and was rumored to have died, until (apparently) resurfacing as a taxi driver, amid the woods and party schools of Southern Illinois. Trampier was also one of the primary illustrators of early Dungeons and Dragons materials. If you think you haven't seen his work, think again.
_______________

It's probably best to keep this off the actual frontpage, as I fear the Angelfire server might not hold up; however, I wanted to point to the work of Trampier as the sort of stuff that seems kinda lost nowadays, with all these wretched kids on my lawn and whatnot. For many of us who were kinda ad-hoc and cavalier with the old AD&D rules anyhow, it was the change in atmospherics that accompanied the new releases of AD&D which was most noticeable and sad.

[on preview: again, I speak as a very ex-gamer, edified by many comments here, including one by Moonbiter, who notes: "You can see the evolution in quality and sensibility by looking at how Dragon Magazine developed visually over the years." -- Exactly!]
posted by washburn at 2:04 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did anyone play the Palladium system games? Palladium, Heroes Unlimited, the Mechanoids? It had something similar to the stripped down feel as the d20 System, although not nearly as buttoned down and balanced.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2007


Kowalski: "Zachsmind: I agree, d10/percentile is the great road too often untaken..."

Actually the 2D10s for DCHeroes were added together, and twins were rerolled and added. Then you referred to the one chart. It wasn't percentiles.

As for influencing the outcome, the point of rolling dice was that some arbitrary third element is introduced to resolve disputes. Rolling dice is only really required when the player and the GM can't agree on the outcome in their shared virtual reality. So I don't get why anyone would want to influence the outcome. If the other party discovers the outcome being influenced, it'd just add fuel to potential disputes.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:07 PM on August 16, 2007


Oh and one more thing re Dave Trampier:

Look at this.
posted by washburn at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2007


There's probably no one reading this now, but just in case, here are a few other relevant links:posted by jiawen at 2:21 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


juv3nal: "IIRC didn't [DCH] try to cram every single different type of unit onto the same scale..."

There wasn't any 'try' about it. That's precisely what they did. Greatest system ever.

"...and end up with demented formulae like travel time = distance - (?!?) speed?"

It was basically rudimentary algebra. The GM took whatever variables all parties could agree upon, and used them to determine the variable in question. It's the one system that seemed to understand why an RPG needed dicerolls in the first place. Out of context, it doesn't make sense to some why you're using the same measurement for weight that you use for distance or damage, but in each situation, the same overlay is being placed over a different variable. The numeric determinants simply represent different things in each case.

D&D has different charts for everything. That makes gameplay cumbersome, time-consuming, and unfun. I have no understanding why it has been so popular for so long, and is still as popular as it is. Humans must love their charts and graphs. I was always more intrigued by the shared storytelling, and the mechanics of it all bored me.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2007


WoTC didn't renew the license for Dragon and Dungeon magazines because they are coming out with their "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Insider" it seems likely thy want to charge a monthly fee for their articles, character build tools, etc. online and don't want any competition for that.
posted by Megafly at 2:31 PM on August 16, 2007


juv3nal: "Well okay, I can't make the roll to buy the fighter jet, but I have an auto-success on buying a pack of gum. Let's buy 5 billion packs of gum and sell them..."

I'd classify that as PowerGaming - where the game for you isn't the storytelling at all, but how you can break the game or bend the rules to your advantage.

No offense juv3nal, but with the group I used to game with, you'd be drunk and in the backyard talking to the dog by the stroke of twelve, sitting on your stack of expensive books, and we wouldn't invite you back.

For the record it's impossible to 'win' at an RPG, but when a PowerGamer gets his way, everybody loses.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:45 PM on August 16, 2007


In a box in my basement lives two bags of dice, my D&D 2.0 rulebooks, and a Monstrous Compendium with a few extra sets of critters thrown into the binder. I don't play it any more, but I refuse to get rid of the books. I still have a fond spot in my mind for the two characters I developed the most and played the longest; when I do run a computer-based RPG (primarily the Diablo series) I invariably name my computer character after my old D&D characters.

If only the guy who used to DM for us back in high school hadn't been a total dick, I would have nothing but fond memories for D&D. Damn you, Sam, you fucking deserved the woodchuck in your car, and you know it. Dick.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:55 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind: As for influencing the outcome, the point of rolling dice was that some arbitrary third element is introduced to resolve disputes.

I didn't meant that one would ever actually be influencing the outcome, I meant that certain shapes of dice give you the sensation that you could be able to control it, that if you think hard enough and ball your fist just the right way, you'll manage to roll a critical or dodge the fireball or whatever. It's that sensation that I would attribute to standard dice and also to d10s, but not to full-on rollers like d20s and frustrating pointers like d4s and d8s.

I don't think it's too out to lunch to say that unless you're playing an RPG designed by Luke Rhinehart, you're pulling for your character to succeed at whatever action you're currently attempting. When I'm rolling as a player, I want to feel like I have some slight control of the destiny of that roll, whether I'm participating in an RPG, deciding the outcome of a WW2 battle, or dodging puddles in an alley (the last one only theoretical). Not that I really do have that control -- because as you say it would destroy the game -- but I just expect to have the sensation that I do. Maybe it is just me though.
posted by kowalski at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2007


Nerd fight!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:04 PM on August 16, 2007


If your characters don't end up mad or dead by the end of every investigation then it's a wussers RPG.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd classify that as PowerGaming - where the game for you isn't the storytelling at all, but how you can break the game or bend the rules to your advantage.

You misunderstand my point, or more likely I haven't explained it very clearly. I am absolutely a powergamer when it comes to computer rpgs, but the farthest from it when sitting in front of real people, but that's beside the point (especially since it's been years since I've taken part in a pnp session).

It's all well and good to say "only use these rules when players and gms can't agree on what should happen," but when it comes down to it, maybe the player thinks his character can afford thing x and the gm doesn't. When that happens, the rules that underpin it should make sense. In a system that keeps track of money the player can say "look I have y amount of money" and the gm can reply cost(x) > y. But with the wealth checks, it doesn't hold up. A character can try to buy something one moment and fail, and in the next moment attempt to buy something more expensive and succeed. It's problematic beyond powergaming issues. When wealth/resources are reduced to dicerolling, purchases become somewhat independent of each other (yes I know commonly in these systems purchases reduce your rating, but that's usually not enough to ensure that something totally implausible doesn't result if the dice fall the wrong way). And if purchases are independent of each other, you take away a storytelling/roleplaying lever in that players are no longer facing the same "if I buy this I can't afford that other thing" decision-making situations.
posted by juv3nal at 3:17 PM on August 16, 2007


So... Anybody wanna buy my TMNT sourcebooks? I even have Mutants Down Under...
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on August 16, 2007


My great regret from high school was that I could never get my friends interested in playing Gamma World. I had all these great characters designed but nobody who wanted to give it a go. Why was I interested? Because back then D&D took the time to explain how to get your characters to cross over from one game to the other. You could cross over to Boot Hill, too, which opened up some interesting possibilities of pistols in Greyhawk.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:30 PM on August 16, 2007


D&D has also been subjected to the removal (I think) of Assassins, Devils, Demons, half-orcs, and possibly thieves.

These are all in 3rd edition, under those names, with the exception of "thieves" which are called "rogues" now.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 3:41 PM on August 16, 2007


I want to cast Magic Missile!
posted by bertrandom at 3:48 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to hold the Guinness World Record for non-stop AD&D play.

And they say you can't win an RPG.
posted by Hogshead at 3:50 PM on August 16, 2007


I still hold the Guinness World Record for non-stop ADD play.

And they say you can't win let's go ride bikes.
posted by klangklangston at 4:06 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whorecraft Starlet Kicked from WoW
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on August 16, 2007


I started playing AD&D when I was about 8 years old, and played pretty continuously till I was about 25 and could no longer find a group to put together. So, I played through all three (and a half) systems, and found each to be a massive improvement on the last. I was really suspicious of 3.5, but it addressed some pretty serious design flaws and thought it was ultimately a good thing.

I think, to understand why they did this, you have to go back a ways. (If you want to skip all that crap below, then - spoiler alert - it's a cash grab.)

In the real boom-days of MtG, TSR had run the D&D brand in to the ground and the company was insolvent. WotC, flush with Magic money, snaps it up, because they want to "Make Games As Big As the Movies."

So, with 3.0, they basically "reset" the brand. And, sucessfully, I might add. I think their experience with numerous Magic expansions and the development of a Professional circuit meant they had a lot of people on payroll that had very good ideas about how to make a set of specific, consistent, and streamlined rules. (The proto-days of Magic, especially the earliest DCI tournys, were an absolute mess, to the point of everyone having to lug around 800 page tomes*of rules, errata, and clarifications just to play the game.)

They also learned that, with a consistent set of rules, you could organize events on major scales. After all, the d20 mini-boom came on the heels of the CCG one, both of which contributed to a pretty heady explosion of gaming conventions. (though, it is possible my current distance from the scene is coloring that impression. Maybe GenCon really IS as major an event now.) Before then, playing RPGs at a convention sucked. (Unless it was Paranoia or Cthulhu. You know, the ones where no one EXPECTS to last more than a session) You either got pregens you cared nothing for in a setting you knew nothing about, or everyone got to bring their own characters, which - as you can imagine - was about as fun as listening to the stories associated with those characters. ("I think it was eighth level when I fought the Liche-King, consumed his phylactery, and took on the aspect of Draco-Lich.") No good.

LG, at the very least, leveled the playing field. The only problem being the new field wasn't all that fun to play on, at least for me. Honestly, I think the mechanics of the LG system are elegant and do just about exactly what they are meant to : convert MMORPGs into PNP. (And so the serpent swallows the tail.) I mean, it's about the grind.

I leave discussions of how the D&D minis system, which I think was also pretty sweet, fits into the whole rebranding scheme.

Anyway, though I doubt anyone is still reading after that Tarasque sized digression, all this really means - in my opinion - they hit the mark pretty squarely with 3.5. They created a system that was streamlined enough to please DMs (ie: me) because it made introducing new players easier, made rules based arguments far less frequent, and did a great job of balancing a host of game play elements. They got a system that so intuitive they were able to pick up a great number of high-quality IP licenses and one so streamlined they could replicate their successes with major-scale Magic events. (though, I dunno that actually came to pass)

Because of these, I think 4.0 is absolutely unnecessary. I am willing to be wrong, and certainly will read about it in hopes that it will be revolutionary. Hell, if it turns out I can call the old group (currently spread across the globe) and tell them "I'm gettin' the band back together," I'd wreck a lot of sleep schedules. But, in my heart of heart, I know that won't happen, because this isn't about innovation. This is about the problem the bought when they acquired the D&D license: you cannot sustain growth. To play D&D - pretty much since the Trinity was released - you need three books. Other supplements and add ons are available, sure, but my hunch is that is maybe 10% of the market. (And even if it is higher, in a gaming group of six, only one or two are going to buy any individual expansion.) Even those constant expansions are a strain on the system. (Feature creep, ya'll. More feats, more prestige classes, more special rules, means more complexity. How long before you're back to
Random Elf Generation Table?**)

The problem, however, is that games are not as big as the movies, at least not the kind they're talking about. They were counting on, or at least hoping for, a steady supply of new gamers. Predictably, that never happened. The market, over the years, became flooded with sourcebooks, suppliments, expansions, and settings again.

With Magic, constant investment is the nature of the beast. They'll always make money there as long as people play the game. D&D takes three books, no matter what your flavor, 1st-3.5th. I don't expect my dog to use the litter box, they should know better than to expect a PNP RPG can ever sustain continual growth, which I'm sure Mattel (who bought up WotC ages ago) is keen on.

On preview: Every aspect of this post lessens my stature in the world. Ha!

* - not hyperbole.
** - From Complete Elves Handbook, 2nd edition
posted by absalom at 4:25 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


On the d20: Each side is 5%. Moving everything up and down in increments of 5% is logical. The major reason, of course, is because of the associate with D&D from times of yore.
posted by absalom at 4:29 PM on August 16, 2007


To be fair, juv3nal, I don't recall my group being very particular or retentive regarding the wealth rules of DCH (or most any other game for that matter). Essentially the wealth system was used as a gauge. It helped us visualize our characters. If you're like Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm) you can barely pay college tuition so you can't pull money from thin air (well actually Firestorm coulda kinda pulled fake money from the air but you get what I mean).

The GM would only require the player to roll when the two disagreed, but oftentimes the disagreement would be regarding something the GM knew but the players didn't.

It worked kinda like this. The GM needs the players to stay in the city, because when he wrote his adventure he had not anticipated they'd just fly off to Europe when they hear the bad guy speak with an outrageous french accent. The bad guy's not even really french, but one of the players suddenly gets fixated on this idea that if he can just get to France he can solve everything.

So the player wants to buy a Lear Jet. The GM doesn't want him to get the Lear Jet. He wants to nip this in the bud right now and move forward in the city but he can't convince the player he's following an unintended red herring. Naturally the GM makes the wealth roll nearly impossible to make, not just cuz buying a lear jet should be impossible, but if the player actually does succeed, the GM's gonna have to completely revamp whatever had in mind before the whole thing began.

If you rolled up a character that's like Peter Parker financially speaking (a wealth of say, 2), this is a cinch. Tell the player his character can barely afford a motor scooter and he wants to buy a Lear Jet? However, if the character is more like Reed Richards (a wealth of 10) We're probably going to France.

This is essentially why in my final years of GMing I stopped organizing anything beyond a general outline framework. I just improvised. I detailed for myself who the baddies were, and what they had in mind. I had a general goal for the baddies and knew what would happen if they were unimpeded, then let the players tell me where we were actually going during gameplay. But most GMs freak out when their linear plot takes a left turn at Alberquerque.

One time I was in a DCH game as a player, and the GM started the game in NYC but the drugs we had to stop were coming out of the Yucatan. I had force manipulation, which worked much like Green Lantern's ring. I made a Lear Jet by sheer force of will (literally. I had a WILL of 11, and forcemanip was linked inexplicably to my will) and told the rest of our team to hop on. Didn't cost my Wealth of 2 character a cent. Gave the GM a headache tho.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:43 PM on August 16, 2007


This is essentially why in my final years of GMing I stopped organizing anything beyond a general outline framework. I just improvised.

I totally get this ZM, when I used to Judge, I just made myself a little note like "find way to penthouse" and I'd let the players figure everything else out.

It was kinda like jazz actually. The players were all really good, and quite clever, and I would just let them impress me. If they came up with a good idea, I'd let them advance a bit. Occasionally, because I'm a bastard, I'd let then follow a thread for quite a while before I made it clear that it was a dead end.

More than once I canned my original idea because a much more interesting adventure developed through the actions of the players.
posted by quin at 5:01 PM on August 16, 2007


I had a WILL of 11, and forcemanip was linked inexplicably to my will

That's pretty much how Green Lantern is supposed to work.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on August 16, 2007


"It was kinda like jazz actually..."

Ooh! VERY good analogy!

I think ultimately this is why I grew tired of the computer MORPG I enjoyed the past few years: City of Heroes. It's fun initially to explore the game's content but when things start repeating themselves, or you realize that the majority of monsters in the highest levels are just retreads of the ones at the lowest levels (in ghost form sometimes even) the End Game is rather anti-climactic. For years, the mantra among those of us who love the game was: it's not the destination but the journey. Then one day you wake up and realize that's bupkus. When your character hits fifty, you should arrive at a plateau of coolness. But the best the game can muster up is a vague suggestion that you go roll up another character and repeat the process, maybe with cold powers this time instead of kickboxing. World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Diablo, and other computer based games are pop music.

Jazz is in the dice. It's in the books. It's in the blanks that you fill on the character sheet. It's in the handful of pretzels you throw at your buddy when he suggests you make a saving throw for poison. It's in the laughter you all share when a guy's character dies again - second time this game session alone - and this death was a doozy. It's in the in-jokes you guys share even years later about spreading the feces out on the floor looking for treasure and finding nothing, or sticking fellow adventurers into a bag of holding so they don't rot as much while you look for a cleric.

Old GM Buddy #1: What'll you be doing man, while we go for smokes?
Old GM Buddy #2: Oh I'll be rotting this round.
(the two share a knowing chuckle)
New Clueless Buddy: He'll be rotting? What?
Old GM Buddy #1: Never mind, it's not important. Let's go...


That's why D&D has an edition four, and ten years from now WoW & CoH will probably be a distant memory.

Okay. I get it. The jazz is in the dice. If someone ever figures out how to put the jazz in a MMORPG, that'll be the better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to that door.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:47 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Artw: "That's pretty much how Green Lantern is supposed to work."

I wasn't playing Green Lantern. We used the DCH system but we didn't play DC copyrighted characters. In fact it was only force manip in terms of game mechanics. In actual game play it worked differently. Difficult to explain without boring you to tears, so I'll leave it at that.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:57 PM on August 16, 2007


It was kinda like jazz actually. The players were all really good, and quite clever, and I would just let them impress me.

In my opinion and experience that's the ultimate game. A great group of players who aren't trying to "win" but have an interesting fun time can really make a game. So much so, that my old group got to a point where dice rolls were optional: if you were likely to make the roll, you succeeded, if you weren't, you failed. You always had the choice to roll or not. Secondary rolls, like damage after a combat hit were assessed by how much you were likely to succeed by. Really sped things up. Combat almost happened in real time, as fast as one could describe it happening.

The best of those sessions was like being in an Indiana Jones movie. Fluid, fast moving, always surprising.
posted by bonehead at 6:31 PM on August 16, 2007


The Cook article (bust link) is especially interesting, especially regarding 4th edition and the Open Gaming License.
posted by absalom at 7:18 PM on August 16, 2007


Personally I think there have been two peaks in the D&D time line. Unearthed Arcana was the first and the second edition upon release of the fighter's handbook was the second. The first was the pinnacle of a framework for anything goes, keep it within reason. The second was the peak of Archetype gaming with only the min-maxers muddying the waters.

ZachsMind writes "I thought World of Warcraft IS D&D 4th edition..? People still play RPGs on paper? With dice that you roll by hand? Why not let the computer do all the boring stuff?"

NetHack not withstanding, no computer game can possibly have the potential depth of PnP play. A good GM can roll with any whacked out plan the players come up with. When the players decide that the best way to get through that door they can't unlock is too blow out all the gas lights in the room; wait for the room to fill with gas; then toss in a torch to get things going. The computer game probably won't even let you blow out the lights. How many computer RPGs allow you to _intentionally_ target yourself with a fireball? How many allow a character to develop character quirks like collecting wishbones/skulls/baculums/random body part from every creature they kill?

cavalier writes "WTB Full 1st Ed. AD&D Set Mint Condition paying Kidney ty"

Only one kidney? Good luck.

As far as fourth edition goes here's hoping they don't leave out broadswords.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 PM on August 16, 2007


I got into the game after my cousin and his friends won Dalcon in 83. Team Hawaii ruled!

We were a bunch if 6th grade kids with little money living in the sticks, and we worked our asses off to get the 1st ed books, and rooted around to find the cheaper but very fun Judges Guild adventure modules.

We stopped playing when football took over our lives, but when we get together now, we talk about the win over Southlake Carroll and the time we got our asses kicked when we tried to take on Inferno.

I don't think I would ever play again, it is too hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Great memories of being with the guys and using our imaginations.
posted by Senator at 7:44 PM on August 16, 2007


I don't think I would ever play again, it is too hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

I actually haven't played in several years, but I hope that when I am old and crippled and unable to actually go out and do anything any more I will be able to convince several of my fellow nursing home inmates to play D&D. It sure as hell would beat watching TV or playing checkers all day.
posted by moonbiter at 12:12 AM on August 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Very valid point. Look me up.
posted by Senator at 12:54 AM on August 17, 2007


WTB Full 1st Ed. AD&D Set Mint Condition paying Kidney ty.

I was present when a friend discovered a True First (I don't remember which printing, but it was of the woodgrain box variety, so 1st-3rd) boxed set in a local game store. He haggled with the shopkeep and got it for a few hundred bucks. When he opened it up, it turned out to have at least three of the five original supplements.

It was a big score.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:14 AM on August 17, 2007


We are gonna be the creepiest bunch of old people.

"This round I use magic missile on the hobgoblins!"

"Dammit! The dice rolled off the table onto the floor again!"

"Whose turn is it to go down there and pick em up?"

"Not me!"

"Nurse! Can you git our dice for us, please?"

"And more cheetos!"

"Yeah! Git us more cheetohs!"
posted by ZachsMind at 12:46 PM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Where's the Mountain Dew?"

robocop, another area gamer, who knew? How cool.

I'm only recently returned to D&D, after years in other systems. I think I'm a bit done with the standard fantasy setting, but I'm having fun playing in a friend's game.
posted by canine epigram at 1:03 PM on August 17, 2007


Artw: If your characters don't end up mad or dead by the end of every investigation then it's a wussers RPG.

Yeah - I really miss Paranoia, too. :)
posted by Orb2069 at 8:05 PM on August 19, 2007


Heh. In Paranoia everyone STARTS mad and ends up dead.
posted by Artw at 9:45 PM on August 19, 2007


I bought Neverwinter Nights 2 because this thread made me so nostalgic. Man, D&D 3.5 is way different than the 2nd edition. What happened to all that THAC0?
posted by chunking express at 1:32 PM on August 22, 2007


It got THAC0wn3d, ce.
posted by cortex at 1:37 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man, D&D 3.5 is way different than the 2nd edition. What happened to all that THAC0?

THAC0 was what you needed to hit AC0. Default unarmored AC in 2nd ed was 10, armor/bonuses decreased that so AC0 was better than AC10.

In 3.x default unarmored etc. also starts at 10, but armor/bonuses increase that number. So roughly speaking and old AC 0 is worth an AC 20 in 3.x

THAC0 is more or less equal to 20 minus your attack bonus.
posted by juv3nal at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2007


Yeah, the new system actually makes a lot more sense. I wonder how the rule set for the 4th edition will look. From what I can tell, the 3rd is actually pretty nice.

That said, it sucks that Neverwinter Nights 2 is so damn slow.
posted by chunking express at 3:37 PM on August 22, 2007


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