A Long-Time Player Goes back to AD&D

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This saddens me a bit to realize and put into words...


Let me start by saying that I supported 4E since the day it came out. I played the Hell out of it. I DMd several 4E groups at my FLGS. I took part in the GSL and released a lot of original material for 4E. I was one of the staunchest supporters of the new edition. I fought in the depths of the Edition Wars month after month. I brought dozens of new players to D&D via 4E. So, before I'm crucified as an average 4E-hater, take a minute and consider my position.


What I feared would happen finally did...it became boring. It became more about the maps and minis than the role-playing. I'd spend countless hours making maps and writing deep adventures just to have the players zip through with little regard for RP. Whenever a thought-provoking storyline would be introduced, the players grew bored. They were simply waiting for the next map to be put on the table and for initiative to be rolled. They hated Skill Challenges. When I would gently force RP on them, they'd lose interest. I don't know how many times I had to hear, "When do start fighting?", only to get into a fight and have to hear, "My God, will this fight ever end?". As a DM since the mid '80s, I didn't like what I was seeing. So, I did something drastic...I went back to 1E/2E.


I never liked 3E to begin with, so that was just out of the question. After playing 4E since it came out, I had been having this unexplicable urge to bring out some of the older material and play AD&D again, so I did. I've seen many who say that felt that pull of nostalgia while playing 4E, and I felt it right along with them. I finally just did something about it. I sold all of my 4E material (which was everything released to that point), stopped my FLGS games (much to the disdain of the players and the establishment owner), and dug up all of my AD&D stuff...536 books, to be exact, and started playing that again. I must admit, I'm not sure I had this much fun with AD&D when it was still the new thing. It honestly revitalized D&D for me, and for those I DM for.


I'm not going to say that 4E is bad. I spent too much time and money on it to make a silly claim like that. What I will say, though, is that...in the end...it just wasn't what I was looking for in D&D. It's a fantastic tactical minis game, that's for sure. It has a great backbone of rules in which to build from. It's a balanced, well thought-out game. But sometimes...just sometimes...I care more about fun than perfect balance. I missed the randomness of AD&D. I hate to say it, but I missed SoDs. I missed THAC0. I missed having huge battles without pulling out one mini or map. If I did have a map, it was a sheet of graph paper with a few doodles on it. I missed all of that, so I went back to it.


I do wish 4E and WotC the best...they have made a great product...but this old-timer is just too much of a grognard, I suppose.

I don't think there's any shame in leaving 4e to play AD&D.  I'd quite happily play in a game of AD&D (or 4e, 3.5e, OD&D, or almost anything else!)  Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and who knows, you might come back to 4e in a while.


What I find confusing about your post, however, are the reasons you give.  You say that the big frustration was that you wanted an RP-heavy game, but your players just wanted hack n' slash.  How is that a fault of the system?  Then you justify your change of system by saying you wanted a less balanced mechanic and wanted more random elements.  How does this connect to your frustration with your player's play-style?  RP-heavy/hack n'slash are play styles that can be easily supported by any version of D&D I've come across.


Anyway, I hope you get back the fun you want from a your Fantasy RPG.  At the end of the day, it's a social outlet and a game - so aim for fun, whether in AD&D, or 4e, or Pathfinder, or Runequest, or Traveller, or TORG, or Bridge, Chess, Monopoly, WoW, Twister......

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Yet another rant how its just a minis game FAIL. If it became a minis game it was the group not the game.  4E has just as much if not more potential for rp than any previous edition ever, still have fun trying to find someone to play the older material.  Me I would maybe play a heavily house ruled 2e game, but that would be it other than 4e.


What I find confusing about your post, however, are the reasons you give.  You say that the big frustration was that you wanted an RP-heavy game, but your players just wanted hack n' slash.  How is that a fault of the system?  Then you justify your change of system by saying you wanted a less balanced mechanic and wanted more random elements.  How does this connect to your frustration with your player's play-style?  RP-heavy/hack n'slash are play styles that can be easily supported by any version of D&D I've come across.





Perhaps I worded it a bit oddly. With 4E, I had to keep a pile of gridded paper and minis on-hand to whip out for my players' constant need to hack-n-slash everywhere they went. Fault of the system? Perhaps...they put so much emphasis on PC positioning that free-styling comabt without maps or minis did two things: 1) stretched combats out even longer then they already were, and 2) made for good argument territory (I was there...no you were over here...No, I was here, HE was over there...). With all the combat rules specifically designed to be played on maps with minis, it became a huge hassle to keep up with. I literally have boxes upon boxes of old maps that were made for 4E. I keep them all just in case the PCs end up in a place where I can re-use one without having to make a new one. The expense was getting out of hand, and the amount of time it took to prepare was as well.

At first, I loved adventure-making for 4E. I loved the ease of altering monsters. I loved the ease of creating new monsters. By making alterations/new creations easy to do, it left tons of time for storyline...and map-making. With AD&D, alterations/new creations were just as easy, but I didn't have to devote time to looking for/making new maps and securing enough minis for the night's game. All of my time could be put into storyline.


A strange thing happened to my players when we switched back to AD&D...they lost the hack-n-slash mentality. With 4E, the sheer number of powers/abilities almost made you want to get to battle faster so you could try out the new ability you just got. Not that there's anything wrong with that....there are some awesome powers and abilties in 4E. I couldn't really blame them for wanting to rush things along so they could try them all out. It made for some pretty crappy RP, though. Storyline took a back-seat to rushing into combat. Fault of the system? That's debatable, at best. It's just as much a fault of the system as it is a fault of the players. The system offers these multitudes of powers, so the players, naturally, want to try them all out.


What I find confusing about your post, however, are the reasons you give.  You say that the big frustration was that you wanted an RP-heavy game, but your players just wanted hack n' slash.  How is that a fault of the system?  Then you justify your change of system by saying you wanted a less balanced mechanic and wanted more random elements.  How does this connect to your frustration with your player's play-style? 




Well, as a fellow old-timer, I would look to the old combat rules, basically agree that they were terrible, and that is the point. You cannot enjoy combat in 1E/2E the same way as you can in 4E. So you have to find other elements of the game to up the fun.


In a weird way, by making the combat system so good, WotC has exposed groups to differences between RP fun and combat fun. For some groups this might be a problem. In other words, the group can either have faltering attempts at RP (and some people confuse RP with acting which is a very hard skill to master to a level where it is entertaining), or can play by comparison a very streamlined and well-described skirmish game. I expect (but do not have first-hand experience) that some groups find a comfort zone in RP-light skirmishing. I'm reading the OP's description partly as frustration as that is where his group(s) ended up - and to jostle them out of this zone, the shiny combat toys need to be taken away.


 

Wow, I'm surprised, you were a very staunch defender of 4e (and easily one of the rational ones), not to mention you DMed 4e at your FLGS quite frequently. But, it looks like you found the right D&D game for you and your group and that's what counts.


Happy gaming. Smile

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Good luck to you man. Maybe when the players get used to roleplaying in an older system, they will be more accepting of rp in 4e. I myself havnt had this issue yet and I hope to avoid it.


Although I do notice that the mini's side of the game seems to take priority, but only when I'm not the DM.

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Well, as a fellow old-timer, I would look to the old combat rules, basically agree that they were terrible, and that is the point. You cannot enjoy combat in 1E/2E the same way as you can in 4E. So you have to find other elements of the game to up the fun.


In a weird way, by making the combat system so good, WotC has exposed groups to differences between RP fun and combat fun. For some groups this might be a problem. In other words, the group can either have faltering attempts at RP (and some people confuse RP with acting which is a very hard skill to master to a level where it is entertaining), or can play by comparison a very streamlined and well-described skirmish game. I expect (but do not have first-hand experience) that some groups find a comfort zone in RP-light skirmishing. I'm reading the OP's description partly as frustration as that is where his group(s) ended up - and to jostle them out of this zone, the shiny combat toys need to be taken away.


 




While we might disagree about the AD&D combat rules being terrible, I think you hit the issue on the head pretty well.

Combat is absolutely the primary focus of 4E. A quick look at all the revisions, errata, and subsequent magazine articles trying to fix Skill Challenges is proof of that. They made the combat of 4E awesome. It's deep, descriptive, and has oodles of options for every class (almost to the point of making them a bit too interchangeable). Comabt in 4E is what you do. Combat is AD&D is what you could do.


They made 4E combat so intense and fun, that other aspects seemed to take a back seat. Every time I would make a combat-light or combat-free adventure, it never went well. There was always a lot of goofing-off, not paying attention, etc. They were so itching to try out New Power X, that they grew bored with RP. As a long-time DM, that didn't set well with me at all. I've always been about making it fun for the players, so I tried to gear it toward their combat-focused mindsets...but that became simply too much work for me.


Since I was the primary DM since 4E came out, I decided to try it from the other side of the screen for a while...and found myself doing the same thing, to a degree. I had this pile of cool powers that I was chomping at the bit to try, and let my love for RP take a back seat to it. That was the last straw for me. I always looked at D&D as an RPG first, and a combat game second. Combat was what you did after trying other things first. 4E just seemed to go the opposite way for me and my groups. After the game, instead of sitting around talking about the different cool things they came across/conversations they had/RP experiences, they just talked about "Did you see how much damage I did with X?", or, "I wated three hours to use Power X, just to have it miss....and it was a Daily!"


Take the premade adventures, for example. You could simply pull out all of the combat scenarios, put them back to back, and you end up with Dungeon Delve. Little to no RP, and tons of fighting. That might be perfect for many players, but I love RP, and hated that every time I tried to push RP on the players, they grew bored. I finally told them that their playstyle was too different from my own, and that someone else could DM 4E for them. I was going back to AD&D. Much to my surprise, many of them came along with me.


 

The thing about people is they like good options. The combat of 4e is very well designed. Very well designed.


The combat of 2e on the other hand is utter crap (I love 2e, but it is what it is and combat it ain't) so naturally they'll avoid the pitfalls of the system.


4e's pitfalls are utterly dependent upon it's Dm. Where as 2e on the other hand Combat is to be avoided like the Black Death because it's boring as hell. The outcome -is- certain in 2e combat once you hit level 5 and that's the Pcs will win. At least that was my experience with it.


(don't get me started on 3rd and it's notorious Autowins)


Skill Challenges unfortunately stumbled out of the gate, because I think the game was released a little too soon. (Another six months of polish or so would have done wonders... Open Grave did a bang up job on rectifying many of the Skill Challenge problems)


The trick with 4e and to have successful games is to stop trying to treat Combat and Rp as seperate entitites. I'm serious. previous Es, they were seperate because the combat was that dodgy and terribad. (particular 3rd. 2nd and 1st to lesser extents)


I've noticed markably higher success with my campaigns once I had that epiphany. Which is something that is going to be coming up in a new Dms guide article by the way that I'm writing.


Once you treat the game as a cohesive whole, and they blend together it works. And works fantastically. The problem is when you try to seperate the two too much. Yes there should be time between encounters, but that should be kept as a minimum.


Also, your players are the stereotypical D&Ders. :P It's not the systems fault really. They grew up on kill it, skin it and loot it.


I could Dm 2e but I'd never be caught dead playing it again. And you'd never catch me alive willingly unless I literally have no other choice in gaming to be on either side of the screen with 3e. 4e for me is the first time that I would willingly be on either side of the screen. Unfortunately I'm the last 4e Dm in my area. (One is doing Savage world.. maybe some day.. yeah right, and one is wanting to make his own game system or do a song of ice and fire) So, my days as a player in D&D are over for the forseeable future.


Anyways best of luck Hocus. Don't be a stranger.

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Sounds like you've found that perfect niche everyone looks for.


I enjoy 4E, I really do. I GM for several groups of people, including a gig for the local school where I come into one of their Drama classes once a week and spend the entire day doing nothing but playing D&D4E until their school session is over. Then I usually hang around and play with some of the interested teachers. 4E is a great game, but it's not my preferred cup of tea as far as D&D goes.


I prefer 3.5E if I want to enjoy every aspect of the outrageous, over-the-top Heroics/Villainy of D&D that I can, and I play SWSAGA if I want to enjoy everything about a roleplaying game. If I feel like playing a more open-scenario, gritty/tough, and luck based RPG, I go play one of the White Wolf games. I play D&D4E if I want to enjoy the simplicity of the D&D world, where fighting is the primary feature, and engaging in tactical/strategy based warfare with heavy role-playing elements is what calls too me in that moment.


4E is great, and I hope that 5E is just as good (and improved/better!), and I'll keep playing 4E for years to come. But it's neither my favorite game, nor my preferred Edition/System/Whatever. Cheers!

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I feel you OP.  I can recall some AD&D sessions where not a single book was opened and the character sheets were only glanced at once or twice.


I've been playing 4E for a year, and every session, the book is open and in somebodies hands.


But, this is actually the type of game my group has been looking for since AD&D, because it actually feels... or rather, plays more like an actual game.


Does that make sense to anyone else?  AD&D was so complicated, we usually just fudged most of the rules and messed around telling epic tales about our heroes.  With 4E we're actually playing a game with easily understandable and applicable rules (for the most part), and we've been able to include other friends that were interested in D&D but could never really grasp what we were doing with AD&D.


In the end, I'm with many of the other posters who wish you the best of fun and hope that maybe you'll come back to 4E someday.


I feel you OP.  I can recall some AD&D sessions where not a single book was opened and the character sheets were only glanced at once or twice.


I've been playing 4E for a year, and every session, the book is open and in somebodies hands.


But, this is actually the type of game my group has been looking for since AD&D, because it actually feels... or rather, plays more like an actual game.


Does that make sense to anyone else?  AD&D was so complicated, we usually just fudged most of the rules and messed around telling epic tales about our heroes.  With 4E we're actually playing a game with easily understandable and applicable rules (for the most part), and we've been able to include other friends that were interested in D&D but could never really grasp what we were doing with AD&D.


In the end, I'm with many of the other posters who wish you the best of fun and hope that maybe you'll come back to 4E someday.




I suspect there is not a single game of actual bone stock 2e out there that has gone on since the game was new. Most of my 2e Dming did indeed consist of make it up as you go along. My 2e and book 2e are probably widely different things.

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Combat from 1E/2E and 4E are drastically different...but after level 5 or so, the outcomes was still the same: the PCs win. I really have no problem with that. As DM, it's my job to make it fun for the players, and killing them off time after time isn't it. It's a collaberative story about the PCs and their exploits...not how many times I could kill them in one session. If I wanted that, I would go back to BECMI and the Certain Death Dungeons of days gone by.


The real difference in 1E/2E and 4E combat is simple...the time it took to achieve the same outcome. Again, I might differ from the opinion that 2E's combat was terrible, but that's a matter of pure opinion, and little more. With 2E, combat was fast, furious, and at times unpredictable. With 4E, you have to keep a running tally of buffs/debuffs/AoEs/APs/Status Effects/etc. that made an already long combat even longer. Giving the PCs and monsters more starting HPS did nothing to help, either. It simply made it longer, again. Making the PCs harder to kill didn't really add anything for me except more to keep track of. I wasn't out to kill them off to begin with. What I did enjoy was making them FEEL like I could kill them off at a moment's notice. With 4E, they have twice as many HPs, death saves, buffs, etc., so the feeling of almost certain death isn's really there. With 2E, they would win. With 4E, they KNOW they're going to win...it was just a matter of how much Hell they could raise before they did.


 


 

Heh, most of the time my Pcs are wondering if they are going to croak. I'm not afraid of slugging it out with them in game terms. (funny how access to Raise Dead will do that)


This is, true at Paragon and Heroic for them so far. Every once in a while I throw a few soft encounters at them, particularly if it's been a while since we've played. I'm out to tell a story, and let them tell theirs at the same time. Buffs and the like are not that hard for us to keep track of. (I do have to wonder though how your group existed at all during the agony of 3e with it's buffs.... *shudder*)


We just put down pennies, d100s (hehe you know that useless die in 4e? yeah that one) to keep track if we have several down. I've got the exact opposite experience with you with 2e and 4e it seems. (3e it was no doubt at all, they would win... especially since the CR system was borked, and I never figured out the proper encounter balance in 3rd so I just said Screw it and used theirs)


Spare dice, especially since all of us survived 3e with it's 1000000 billion dice needed for one spell or whatever are especially handy for buffs and debuffs.


 

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**Disclaimer**  If you enjoy 4e's style of gameplay, more power to you.  It's the goal of the game for everyone to have fun, so if 4e's style is what you like, game on!  The following is my opinion on 4e and nothing more.


The real difference in 1E/2E and 4E combat is simple...the time it took to achieve the same outcome.


I'm surprised it's taken some people as long as it has to realize this.  "Monsters" in 4e are just walking bags of hit points to justify your encounter and daily attacks.  When you have disassociated attacks that deal gobs of damage, you need resilient monsters with piles of HP for combats to feel satisfying; else they might as well all be minions.  While I could easily kill or be killed by a kobold in 1 hit in previous editions (at first level), I now have to take two or three whacks at the bugger to take him down.  His being a threat to the PC is minute at best.  Like you say, I can play 2e or Castles and Crusades and probably finish 3 battles by the time it takes 4e to finish a large battle w/the assumed number of five players.  Add into that the absurd healing surge mechanic, marks, ongoing effects, etc. and you have the recipe for long, boring battles.  Terrain and such can only do so much.  I find it telling that the designers even offer ways to speed up combat.


Again, I might differ from the opinion that 2E's combat was terrible, but that's a matter of pure opinion, and little more. With 2E, combat was fast, furious, and at times unpredictable.


Heresy!  Having unpreditability in D&D!  We wouldn't want something bad to happen to our character; that would "not be fun".  Our 4e programmers have told us that anything bad that might befall our characters should be done away with or watered down so much as to be a minor inconvenience. 


Seriously though, you hit the nail on the head as to the main difference between 4e and prior editions.  In 2e and prior, you could have narrative combats as opposed to tactical combats.  One didn't have to worry about grids, distances, combat advantage, marking, etc.  Combats were fast, quick, and achieved the same results.  Then you actually had spells and effects you could use in creative ways.  There were actually options that didn't do damage!  Shocking I know.  In all ways except tacticallity (is that even a word??), 2e and prior combat systems are superior to 4e's in just about every way.  They encourage thinking outside the powers list and are much more engaging when you have to rely on the DM's descriptions and your imagination to take the place of a grid.  Story takes center stage and doesn't rely on 30-45 minute battles to fill in the gaps of a weak story or adventure.


With 4E, you have to keep a running tally of buffs/debuffs/AoEs/APs/Status Effects/etc. that made an already long combat even longer. Giving the PCs and monsters more starting HPS did nothing to help, either. It simply made it longer, again. Making the PCs harder to kill didn't really add anything for me except more to keep track of. I wasn't out to kill them off to begin with. What I did enjoy was making them FEEL like I could kill them off at a moment's notice. With 4E, they have twice as many HPs, death saves, buffs, etc., so the feeling of almost certain death isn's really there. With 2E, they would win. With 4E, they KNOW they're going to win...it was just a matter of how much Hell they could raise before they did.


Again, it's apparently "not fun" to not win, so why should there be any penalties to that chance?  Traps are rediculously watered down to inconvenience more than a threat, save or die spells were somehow "bad" because they could instantly kill your character (but I never see people mention that one could be brought back, so at most they were an inconvenience unless the DM had it in for you); nevermind the fact that they were going up against a liche and didn't take precautions, etc.  I could go on, but the point has been made.   4e's massive increase to HP, multiple death saves, healing surges, etc. all make death a remote chance at best.  I find it funny that people decry the imaginative use of old spells as "I Win Buttons" but say nothing of the multiple "I Win" buttons that 4e has littering it (surges, multiple death saves, second winds, dailies that do ludicrous amounts of damage, etc).  I could not have said it better than you when you stated in 2e players could win, but in 4e they KNOW they're going to win.


I've DM'ed 4e since it came out for about six months of weekly game sessions and have been a player for about a month afterwards.  Currently our group is taking a break to pursue other things but are hopefully going to get back to playing soon.  It didn't take me long to realize that 4e's focus is more on combat that RP.  When 95% of all the players "powers" are combat-related and deal damage of some type (with rare exception), then it's pretty obvious what they're aiming for.  Look at any 4e adventure and you see encounter after mindless encounter with no real story or plot.  Sure, the DM could devise that on his own, but after paying for an adventure why should one have to? 


When we do play it most likely will not be 4e.  I'm almost in the same boat as Hocus in that I'm seriously considering dumping my 4e collection but have not because of the amount of money I have in it.  2e or Castles & Crusades will be the system of choice we'll probably be much happier for it.  Again though, 4e is a fine system, it's just not suited to our style of play.

Heya Hocus. Was wondering what had happened to you. I hope you keep up your enjoyment level.


 


What I feared would happen finally did...it became boring. It became more about the maps and minis than the role-playing. I'd spend countless hours making maps and writing deep adventures just to have the players zip through with little regard for RP. Whenever a thought-provoking storyline would be introduced, the players grew bored. They were simply waiting for the next map to be put on the table and for initiative to be rolled. They hated Skill Challenges. When I would gently force RP on them, they'd lose interest. I don't know how many times I had to hear, "When do start fighting?", only to get into a fight and have to hear, "My God, will this fight ever end?". As a DM since the mid '80s, I didn't like what I was seeing. So, I did something drastic...I went back to 1E/2E.





Then it sounds like its not the game fault, but your players fault there is no role-playing.  4th edition is the only edition that lets you level without combat.  A little food for thought

My question is did your players have fun.  If they did then you had a succesful game of D&D.


 


Problem being is what you wanted and your players wanted was two differnt things. AD&D wasn't about role-playing and we use a grid map and minis when we played.  If I remeber correctly I think it was suggestion that you use a grid map and minis somewhere in one of the books.


AD&D acutally stopped me from playing the game becuase it was to many rules and over complitacted, but that may be just me



 


What I feared would happen finally did...it became boring. It became more about the maps and minis than the role-playing. I'd spend countless hours making maps and writing deep adventures just to have the players zip through with little regard for RP. Whenever a thought-provoking storyline would be introduced, the players grew bored. They were simply waiting for the next map to be put on the table and for initiative to be rolled. They hated Skill Challenges. When I would gently force RP on them, they'd lose interest. I don't know how many times I had to hear, "When do start fighting?", only to get into a fight and have to hear, "My God, will this fight ever end?". As a DM since the mid '80s, I didn't like what I was seeing. So, I did something drastic...I went back to 1E/2E.





Then it sounds like its not the game fault, but your players fault there is no role-playing.  4th edition is the only edition that lets you level without combat.  A little food for thought


Umm....incorrect sir.  Ever since 1e and possibly even in original D&D (don't have my stuff handy at the moment) one could level quite easily without ever rolling a die for combat.  XP was to be rewarded for everything from good roleplaying of your character and sticking to his concept to finding treasure (which doesn't always involve combat), etc.  It's amusing when some think that 4e had this big revelation that one could gain XP outside of combat. 


I would assume you're referring to 4e's "Skill Challenge" system when you say 4e is the only edition that lets you level without combat.  If so, what you seem to miss is that the only thing the Skill Challenge system achieves is replacing the act of roleplaying out those encounters and relying on the DM's adjudication and judgement with mechanical die rolls that let you see if you succeed or fail instantly.


My question is did your players have fun.  If they did then you had a succesful game of D&D.


Indeed, one can not stress this point enough.


Problem being is what you wanted and your players wanted was two differnt things. AD&D wasn't about role-playing and we use a grid map and minis when we played.  If I remeber correctly I think it was suggestion that you use a grid map and minis somewhere in one of the books.


You seem to have missed the point where he said that most of his players switched back to AD&D also and they are having as much, if not more, fun than they were under 4e.  Previous versions' reliance on a grid and minis were conveniences, not necessities.  They were not a mandatory item as they are with 4e's reliance on tactical combat.  Combat in prior editions could be narrative in fashion, relying on nothing but imagination.  I can not see doing the same under 4e with it's amount of push, slide, pull effects and reliance on combat advantage, opportunity attacks, etc.


AD&D acutally stopped me from playing the game becuase it was to many rules and over complitacted, but that may be just me


Too many rules?  Most of those rules were optional (depending on which version of AD&D we're talking about) and combat was really no different then than it is now, with the exception of 4e.  Granted they weren't as simpe for a new player to graps as they are now, but they were by no means complicated or hard; in my opinion.

I think some of it has to do with the time needed for character creation. In 1E/2E, you could have a PC built from scratch in 15 minutes, with a fully realized background (including traits, disadvantages, etc. if you used the Player's Options books) in another 15 minutes. In 4E, it takes time...a lot of time. I am/was a DDI subscriber, so the CB made it easy as pie to whip out PC after PC in minutes. For those without the online initiative, it takes a long time. You have the PHB, the PHBII, the various Powers books, and the magazines all to draw your powers from. Then you have the PHB, Adventurer's Vault, AVII, and magazines to pick your items from. I've seen PC creation take an entire game session. As a matter of fact, I started devoting the first entire game session to nothing but PC creation with my 5 different groups. It was nothing to see a player take 3 hours to make his/her PC from scratch, including a background.


It is an investment in time and resources. An investment not too many folks would be pleased with if the DM kept killing off the PCs. With 1E/2E, the fast PC creation made it easier for Killer DMs to pull the plug on PCs. There wasn't as much personal investment until the PCs reached at least level 5 or so. The 4E mindset is to "let the PCs win", so they won't have to go through another entire game session making another PC. In 1E/2E, the mindset was "if they die, they die". Second Edition actually started the trend of having a personal vested interest in PCs with their various Complete-series books and books upon books of nothing but race/class fluff.


Still, though, even if your players wanted to utilize the Complete-series books, there was minimal crunch in them. There were a few Kits to choose from, and the rest was fluff for backgrounds and storytelling. It would only take a few more minutes to pick a Kit to add to your PC, so the time investment was still minimal.


With 4E, the various supplement books are 90% crunch. The various Powers books are a prime example. If I want to make a simple Fighter, it really isn't that simple anymore. They've put a lot of focus on players having vested interests in their PCs...but to that point, they've made them so difficult to kill that a vested interest isn't really that neccessary. Chances are stacked that the PCs will always win...unless you have a Killer DM...nothing can save the PCs from that particular monster. Of course, this suits many players just fine. They can rest easy knowing that there is a much better chance of them surviving than in any previous edition. They have to actually do intentionally stupid things to get themselves killed, and even the most basic player can avoid that.


It all boils down to playstyle. I like a free-form, easy-going game with emphasis on story and RP. I don't like being tied to maps and minis. I like having my players spread out over the den, with a couple on the couch, a couple in recliners, one on the floor, and myself in my comfy-chair, all of us talking, having fun, and occassionally rolling some dice. I never liked having to have everyone huddled around a table so they could all see the map and be able to move thier minis when called upon to do so. We did that enough when played Axis and Allies. We didn't want to have to do it to play D&D. So...as it goes...it's about what's fun. For the time being, 1E and 2E have called me back, so I've put 4E aside. Perhaps in the future we'll migrate back to it to get out tactical combat fix, but for now we're content telling stories.

Re: Vested Interest ...


I think you have that backwards.  Why would a player put any emotional effort into a character 'if he dies, he dies'?  Disposable characters do not encourage roleplay; there's no point to developing a background and personality for a character that's likely to die, especially with how easily previous editions doled out meaningless death (aka 'save or die').

Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

Welcome back to 2e! My current group of D&D players accidentally got into 2e after playing a few quickie sessions of 4e. They had decided they wanted to make their own PCs instead of the pregens they were using to get used to things, but the oldest of them (13) went looking for an online character generator and mistakenly used a 2e one. (These kids had never played D&D before, so they were unaware of the editions.) He didn't think it looked right, but had faith that I would know what to do with the info. The other two players are adults and have been gaming with me since 1e. They recognized the mistake, but their eyes widened with delight when I sighed and took B2 off the shelf. It was probably the most fun I have ever had running that module! For half of us it was Memory Lane. For the other half it was something totally new.


I explained the reason for why things felt a little different after the game. When I asked which version they liked better, they unanimously answered in favor of 2e. The big draw was the lack of a powers list, which the oldest compared to a list of actions you had to choose from. He said it felt more like you could just make it up as you went. (I didn't tell him that the vast majority of their combat actions had 4e counterparts in the powers list. I just used 4e to determine what the effects should be.)


So now my current group plays 1e/2e, and they do so with an enthusiasm I remember seeing in my own face way back when, in 1981.


Again, welcome home!


Get outta my 4e with your emo-jibba-jabba.

I don't see the point in waving farewell to 4e on a 4e FORUM!

It is a flagrant play for attention.  Instead go post a "AHOY Y'ALL!" on an AD&D site (if such a thing still exists).



Or you know he could be voicing his concerns in the hopes that 5e, which is coming (and probably sooner than you think), turns out differently than what it is now. 


Don't let the streamlined rules, sweet minis, awesome character options, and official support hit you on the way out.


Sweet minis which are nothing but a money grab, poorly painted, and not worth the high price you pay for them. 


Awesome character options that one gets when they buy multiple books just to get the same amount (or less) than they got in one book in previous editions.  Then again, Wizards is in the business to make money so it's in their best interests to keep producing better and better powers to keep people buying. Can't wait to see PHB 8.  Also, if by awesome options you mean powers that all do practically the same thing using the same formula:  X[W] + rider effect....yeah, what options. 


Finally by "official support", I presume you mean the support that you pay yearly to D&DI for?  You mean the support that Wizards of the Coast used to give you for free in 3.x edition?  Perhaps you are referring to errata?  If you are, then you could get errata for your 2e books as well by mailing TSR and they would send you the most up-to-date errata document via mail.  You seem to think that it's somehow the fault of a prior edition just because the internet wasn't pervasive like it is now to obtain that support more easily.

A slight tangent, so forgive me, but I notice that a number of people are/have been saying that in 4e you can't have narrative combat and that you have to have a grid etc.  I disagree.  I can do a purely narrative combat if I want (no die-rolls at all!), or I can use the combat system in full, or reduce it to a skill check, or whatever.  I'm never constrained by a system - whatever the game!  Oh, and I don't have a battle-grid, and sometimes I don't use mini's.  The rules set for any RPG is simply a tool to be used; it's not a straightjacket.

Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg


Re: Vested Interest ...


I think you have that backwards.  Why would a player put any emotional effort into a character 'if he dies, he dies'?  Disposable characters do not encourage roleplay; there's no point to developing a background and personality for a character that's likely to die, especially with how easily previous editions doled out meaningless death (aka 'save or die').




Dying promotes a very vested interest in your character, it's called self-preservation.  In 4e there is very little chance of dying and monsters typically do not do enough damage to really kill a character outright like they could in previous editions.  How does that promote any more development or roleplay than prior editions?  The players put as much development into the character as they want.  If you spent a couple hours coming up with a good backstory for your character and you know it could be easy to die, that should encourage one to take care when playing their character and not take crazy actions or do stupid things.  It promoted smart playing.  Now one can just wade into battle and hit the healing surge button or have the cleric or warlord or bard heal him and keep going.  Add onto that second wind, and one has less incentive to play smartly or even care when their character is assumed to win anyway.


Save or die effects were only meaningless death when in the hands of the DM that tried to punish his players for some reason.  Most of the time they were the parts of the monster or whatever that made them cool.  You guys who cry "meaningless death" must not have read the spell resurrection, true resurrection, raise dead, etc.  Granted that normally wouldn't work someone who was disintegrated, but that's a rarity.  Petrification, trap damage, etc. were much more common and easily avoidable with smart playing and use of the aforementioned spells.


A slight tangent, so forgive me, but I notice that a number of people are/have been saying that in 4e you can't have narrative combat and that you have to have a grid etc.  I disagree.  I can do a purely narrative combat if I want (no die-rolls at all!), or I can use the combat system in full, or reduce it to a skill check, or whatever.  I'm never constrained by a system - whatever the game!  Oh, and I don't have a battle-grid, and sometimes I don't use mini's.  The rules set for any RPG is simply a tool to be used; it's not a straightjacket.




I think I should clear up that by "narrative combat" I mean that combat doesn't rely on a grid and paper.  You still use dice to adjudicate damage and saves, you just rely on your imagination to take the place of the map and minis. 


With that out of the way, what you are describing is taking the system and chucking the combat rules and using another method to achieve the same result.  One could replace combat with a skill check, etc. but then why have the combat system as written at all?  One would think you would then be cheating the players out of some of their class's cool abilities like the fighter's ability to mark, etc.  That you have to go out of your way to use a different system to achieve the same results of a previous version's combat system speaks volumes (not of you, but of 4e's tactics-heavy approach), at least in my opinion.

I haven't found 4th edition to be ridiculously soft. Sure, a house cat can't assassinate my elven wizard anymore, but when you place them against an actual challenge, they can go down pretty fast.

I understand though that people feel differently about the different editions of D&D. At my friend's Halloween party, everyone was playing Magic while I devoured the 2e Player's Handbook. I made a dwarven fighter named Throg Coalbeard with proficiency (mastery!) in longsword, algebra (though I realized that THAT list was actually a real-world parallel to a D&D-esque skill list), and morningstars. I statted him out and wanted to try him out. (By the way, THAC0, wow.) The only other guy there who played 2e pitted him against a dragon. He won initiative the first round, definitely, and I saved (I think I was doing saving throws vs. Breath weapons right) against his breath and then I tried to hit with my longsword, but couldn't roll a 29 on my d20. I died the next round, so Throg's mission of spreading algebra was cut short.

Was 2e fun? Sure. I remember liking it a lot more when I was 8 and even then, it was a starter set. Could I imagine EVER making a campaign out of it? Never. It's a bit too restrictive for my taste.

Also, 5e coming out sooner than we think? Psh-shaw.

Homebrew classes: Guerrilla, Airbender, Earthbender, Firebender, and Waterbender. (PHASE 2 BEGINS! Tell us how we could make these classes better. The Shadow power source done right.


I haven't found 4th edition to be ridiculously soft. Sure, a house cat can't assassinate my elven wizard anymore, but when you place them against an actual challenge, they can go down pretty fast.

I understand though that people feel differently about the different editions of D&D. At my friend's Halloween party, everyone was playing Magic while I devoured the 2e Player's Handbook. I made a dwarven fighter named Throg Coalbeard with proficiency (mastery!) in longsword, algebra (though I realized that THAT list was actually a real-world parallel to a D&D-esque skill list), and morningstars. I statted him out and wanted to try him out. (By the way, THAC0, wow.) The only other guy there who played 2e pitted him against a dragon. He won initiative the first round, definitely, and I saved (I think I was doing saving throws vs. Breath weapons right) against his breath and then I tried to hit with my longsword, but couldn't roll a 29 on my d20. I died the next round, so Throg's mission of spreading algebra was cut short.

Was 2e fun? Sure. I remember liking it a lot more when I was 8 and even then, it was a starter set. Could I imagine EVER making a campaign out of it? Never. It's a bit too restrictive for my taste.

Also, 5e coming out sooner than we think? Psh-shaw.




Wow, that sounds like my first experience with D&D, at recess in 6th grade.  I made a character, Evro the elf.  Some guy said he was this incredible DM, so we let him run the game.  Bam, first door, 3 red dragons.  My poor little elf got toasted on the spot. 


A bit later I got my hands on the rulebook and found out that you aren't supposed to pit red dragons against first level characters.  My second character, Anborn the fighter, had much more luck against the goblins and orcs of the Caves of Chaos than poor little Evro did against the dragons.


Wow, that sounds like my first experience with D&D, at recess in 6th grade.  I made a character, Evro the elf.  Some guy said he was this incredible DM, so we let him run the game.  Bam, first door, 3 red dragons.  My poor little elf got toasted on the spot. 


A bit later I got my hands on the rulebook and found out that you aren't supposed to pit red dragons against first level characters.  My second character, Anborn the fighter, had much more luck against the goblins and orcs of the Caves of Chaos than poor little Evro did against the dragons.





Mine was just this past Saturday. I feel so behind the curve.
Homebrew classes: Guerrilla, Airbender, Earthbender, Firebender, and Waterbender. (PHASE 2 BEGINS! Tell us how we could make these classes better. The Shadow power source done right.


I think some of it has to do with the time needed for character creation. In 1E/2E, you could have a PC built from scratch in 15 minutes, with a fully realized background (including traits, disadvantages, etc. if you used the Player's Options books) in another 15 minutes. In 4E, it takes time...a lot of time. I am/was a DDI subscriber, so the CB made it easy as pie to whip out PC after PC in minutes. For those without the online initiative, it takes a long time. You have the PHB, the PHBII, the various Powers books, and the magazines all to draw your powers from. Then you have the PHB, Adventurer's Vault, AVII, and magazines to pick your items from. I've seen PC creation take an entire game session. As a matter of fact, I started devoting the first entire game session to nothing but PC creation with my 5 different groups. It was nothing to see a player take 3 hours to make his/her PC from scratch, including a background.




I call "shenanigans" on this one.  If you are playing with nothing but power gamers trying to eke out every little bit of optimization then character creation doesn't take long at all.  Pick a race, pick a class, look at the names/descriptions of the powers and take the ones that sound appropriate/cool.  If, further down the road you don't like one of your choices there is a built in system to alter what you took.


The longest character creation I have ever seen in 4e was when we converted from Earthdawn (a completely different game system) to 4e for a jaunt through Sigil.  They were 18th level characters being adapted from a game that has completely different classes.  Took 6 hours.

Dying promotes a very vested interest in your character, it's called self-preservation.  In 4e there is very little chance of dying and monsters typically do not do enough damage to really kill a character outright like they could in previous editions.  How does that promote any more development or roleplay than prior editions?  The players put as much development into the character as they want.

/snip


You guys who cry "meaningless death" must not have read the spell resurrection, true resurrection, raise dead, etc.  Granted that normally wouldn't work someone who was disintegrated, but that's a rarity.  Petrification, trap damage, etc. were much more common and easily avoidable with smart playing and use of the aforementioned spells.




Isn't this a double standard?  Dying easily promotes good preservation skills and smart choices.  If you die, don't worry, we'll just raise you.


Why, then, would anyone be worried about dying, or concerned about survival?


If the character is too flimsy, there is little point getting attached to them.  Call of Cthulhu, although awesome, comes to mind; you bring three characters and half the fun is trying to have at least one live through it only halfway insane.  Without constant revival, which might not be appropriate for certain campaigns, the character is removed from the story far too easily...and all plot hooks, npcs, and concepts tied to the character go up in smoke.


On the other hand, I haven't seen the constant fear of death as necessary for good roleplaying.  7th Sea, for example, states that you won't actually die unless circumstances declare it so.  Shot?  You'll probably wake up injured.  Stabbed?  Medical clinic.  Fall over the side of the boat?  Wash up on shore.  The thing is though...it works.  You fight to win, not just to live through it, and if you do something stupid enough that circumstances declare you really, really, really don't have a chance in hell, you'll kick the bucket.  What does this mean for roleplaying?  Well, since combat isn't as vital, you can afford to do flashy, extravagant, or outrageous stunts and moves, swinging, ducking, diving, and generally having a great time swashbuckling it up.  Likewise, Eclipse Phase has mental backups of the character's mental profile, and will literally recopy you into a new body if you die.  This doesn't kill roleplaying, in fact, the idea that you are close to invicible...but so is everyone else, including your enemies....makes the world a fascinating place.


Fear of death isn't the only thing that can drive RP.  There is so much more.


Dying promotes a very vested interest in your character, it's called self-preservation. In 4e there is very little chance of dying and monsters typically do not do enough damage to really kill a character outright like they could in previous editions. How does that promote any more development or roleplay than prior editions? The players put as much development into the character as they want. If you spent a couple hours coming up with a good backstory for your character and you know it could be easy to die, that should encourage one to take care when playing their character and not take crazy actions or do stupid things. It promoted smart playing. Now one can just wade into battle and hit the healing surge button or have the cleric or warlord or bard heal him and keep going. Add onto that second wind, and one has less incentive to play smartly or even care when their character is assumed to win anyway.


Save or die effects were only meaningless death when in the hands of the DM that tried to punish his players for some reason. Most of the time they were the parts of the monster or whatever that made them cool. You guys who cry "meaningless death" must not have read the spell resurrection, true resurrection, raise dead, etc. Granted that normally wouldn't work someone who was disintegrated, but that's a rarity. Petrification, trap damage, etc. were much more common and easily avoidable with smart playing and use of the aforementioned spells.




i think it was gygax himself who said something along the lines of not bothering to name your character before 5th level. if i keep losing characters, not due to smart playing, but because monsters keep getting a lucky hit or i can't roll to litterally save my life, i eventually start doing like good old Tommy here lampshades this beautifully, to the point where "he's" been killed by the same NPC several times over. i lose intrest in creating unique characters and i just scratch off part the old name and add Tommy the I II III IV V VI VII. I simply have far less incentive to create a compelling character if there's a good chance he'll just up and die without any real action on my part.


i think the Heavy Weapons Guy in team fortress 2 said it best: "Some people think they can outsmart me. Maybe, maybe. I've yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet."


as for the resurrection class of spells, those were usually either A) high level and outside of immediate player reach B) a hit or miss if the local high level cleric will lend you his services or C) a crapshoot since you could just as easily fail your System Shock check and not revive in the end after spending the resurrection money.


as for the whole "healing surge button" it's a one-time button you can push with your second wind, and every other use is either fueld by a leader's heal (which they have limited uses of), or an after-effect of a few powers. at least it's a better option (imo) then "let's all sit down and pass around the wand of cure X wounds" or drink enough potions of cure X wounds to drown a Sahaguin. you're overvaluating it.



I think I should clear up that by "narrative combat" I mean that combat doesn't rely on a grid and paper. You still use dice to adjudicate damage and saves, you just rely on your imagination to take the place of the map and minis.


With that out of the way, what you are describing is taking the system and chucking the combat rules and using another method to achieve the same result. One could replace combat with a skill check, etc. but then why have the combat system as written at all? One would think you would then be cheating the players out of some of their class's cool abilities like the fighter's ability to mark, etc. That you have to go out of your way to use a different system to achieve the same results of a previous version's combat system speaks volumes (not of you, but of 4e's tactics-heavy approach), at least in my opinion.





note that previous editions also had ranges, reaches, etc.. that required handwaving and ignoring of some rules to work right if you did it "narratively". i ran under only one 2nd ed campaign that didn't use any kind of visual aid and it was horrible trying to figure out exactly where everyone was since we each saw the same scene in a different manner. once i started gaming maps and minis, it solved a LOT of "was he inside or outside the room" and "who's hidden where" issues. minis put everyone on the same page. note that maps & minis can as simple as X's and O's on a piece of graph paper. i moved up to a laminated mat when i started GMing for re-useability and ease of storage and i could just keep it out and wipe away when needed.
3rd ed SRD, character sheets, errata & free modules 4th ed test drive - modules, starter rules, premade characters and character builder & character sheet, errata Free maps and portraits, dice, printable graph paper, campaign managing website, image manipulation program + token maker & zone markers

"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2




 


What I feared would happen finally did...it became boring. It became more about the maps and minis than the role-playing. I'd spend countless hours making maps and writing deep adventures just to have the players zip through with little regard for RP. Whenever a thought-provoking storyline would be introduced, the players grew bored. They were simply waiting for the next map to be put on the table and for initiative to be rolled. They hated Skill Challenges. When I would gently force RP on them, they'd lose interest. I don't know how many times I had to hear, "When do start fighting?", only to get into a fight and have to hear, "My God, will this fight ever end?". As a DM since the mid '80s, I didn't like what I was seeing. So, I did something drastic...I went back to 1E/2E.





Then it sounds like its not the game fault, but your players fault there is no role-playing.  4th edition is the only edition that lets you level without combat.  A little food for thought


Umm....incorrect sir.  Ever since 1e and possibly even in original D&D (don't have my stuff handy at the moment) one could level quite easily without ever rolling a die for combat.  XP was to be rewarded for everything from good roleplaying of your character and sticking to his concept to finding treasure (which doesn't always involve combat), etc.  It's amusing when some think that 4e had this big revelation that one could gain XP outside of combat. 


I would assume you're referring to 4e's "Skill Challenge" system when you say 4e is the only edition that lets you level without combat.  If so, what you seem to miss is that the only thing the Skill Challenge system achieves is replacing the act of roleplaying out those encounters and relying on the DM's adjudication and judgement with mechanical die rolls that let you see if you succeed or fail instantly.


My question is did your players have fun.  If they did then you had a succesful game of D&D.


Indeed, one can not stress this point enough.


Problem being is what you wanted and your players wanted was two differnt things. AD&D wasn't about role-playing and we use a grid map and minis when we played.  If I remeber correctly I think it was suggestion that you use a grid map and minis somewhere in one of the books.


You seem to have missed the point where he said that most of his players switched back to AD&D also and they are having as much, if not more, fun than they were under 4e.  Previous versions' reliance on a grid and minis were conveniences, not necessities.  They were not a mandatory item as they are with 4e's reliance on tactical combat.  Combat in prior editions could be narrative in fashion, relying on nothing but imagination.  I can not see doing the same under 4e with it's amount of push, slide, pull effects and reliance on combat advantage, opportunity attacks, etc.


AD&D acutally stopped me from playing the game becuase it was to many rules and over complitacted, but that may be just me


Too many rules?  Most of those rules were optional (depending on which version of AD&D we're talking about) and combat was really no different then than it is now, with the exception of 4e.  Granted they weren't as simpe for a new player to graps as they are now, but they were by no means complicated or hard; in my opinion.





There has been no rule in any base set that gave experince outside of combat(outside of disarming traps)  There has alwasy been a houserule to give it, options came later for but not in the base set.

AD&D 2nd edition is like a wagon with square wheels.  Very clunky, to many rules and charts.  This is of course my Opionion


I think the less role-playing rules the more freedom someone has to roleplay.


At the end of the day if someone doesn't want to roleplay it doesn't matter which edition you play they won't roleplay.  The same can be said with roleplaying.  I love it and have had no trouble doing it any edition

XP was to be rewarded for everything from good roleplaying of your character and sticking to his concept to finding treasure (which doesn't always involve combat), etc.  It's amusing when some think that 4e had this big revelation that one could gain XP outside of combat. 


You could do that in earlier editions but it wasn't really supported by the rules. Even when the rules mentioned it, it was handwaving at best. What it lacked was a clear framework. Everything was DM fiat except for combat where XP rules were tightly defined. Clearly, the emphasis was on combat to level.


As for Skill Challenges, I'm sorry that a framework for awarding XP for out of combat play makes out of combat play unplayable for you. I run skill challenges all the time and my players roleplay the heck out of them. Maybe because I don't allow them to say "I roll Diplomacy!" and pick up a dice. They have to wait until I say, "Okay, please roll diplomacy for the action you just described". Just like every previous edition (that had skills. Though the same could be said for ability checks in previous editions fyi). The difference is, now I know how much XP to award for that awesome action.


Tbh, by reading your post, it sounds more like an issue with the group than an issue with the game. They're the ones crying about not being in combat (and then crying that it's taking too long. LOL! Why do they even play?).


Anywho, I guess you were a respected forumer or something so I'm sorry to see you go. Don't let the close button hit you on the way out, though.

To the OP:


Glad you found a system that works for you. If your group found a system that works well with them, go for it! Of course, switching now doesn't mean you have to forgoe 4E altogether. I'm sure you know this (you seem like a reasonable person) but if you are bored of 4E now it doesn't mean you won't ever enjoy it again. I know I've quit playing many games before and come back later to find my interest renewed!


On the topic of game difficulty and lethality.


 


While it is true that 4E is by default less lethal then older editions, it doesn't have to be. 4E benefits from having a well-thought out encounter rating system. Sure, the hypothetical "default" campaign has most encounters equal level to the party. However, if you want to run a tougher game just make most encounters a couple levels above the party. You won't still won't have the sudden random deaths of previous editions. However, I speak from experience when I say the game can still be quite lethal if played this way.


 


Think of the encounter level system like the temperature control on a thermostat. They may say that 72 degrees farenheit is comfortable for the average human, but if you like it warmer the dial goes up to 80 or even 90!


 

Hocus-Smokus: Let me start by saying that I supported 4E since the day it came out. ... I brought dozens of new players to D&D via 4E. ...


What I feared would happen finally did ... it became boring.


It became more about the maps and minis than the role-playing. I'd spend countless hours ... writing deep adventures, just to have the players zip through with little regard for RP.


Whenever a thought-provoking storyline would be introduced, the players grew bored. ... When I would gently force RP on them, they'd lose interest.


I don't know how many times I had to hear, "When do start fighting?", only to get into a fight and have to hear, "My God, will this fight ever end?"


As a DM since the mid '80s, I didn't like what I was seeing. So, I did something drastic ... I went back to 1E/2E. ... After playing 4E since it came out, I had been having this unexplicable urge to bring out some of the older material and play AD&D again, so I did. I've seen many who say that felt that pull of nostalgia while playing 4E, and I felt it right along with them. I'm not going to say that 4E is bad. ...


In the end ... it just wasn't what I was looking for in D&D. ... [4E] has a great backbone of rules in which to build from. It's a balanced, well thought-out game. [But] I missed ... I missed ... I missed ...


 


 This saddens me to put it into words, but ... Your problem isnt D&D 4e. Your problem is the generation gap.


Obviously, D&D 4e has made the right design decisions if it keeps the next generation interested.

I used to play 3.5 without miniatures and a battle map. Those games were very RP intensive, then we discovered minis and the game became combat centric, Minis and squares became shorthand for the lengthy descriptions of monsters, battles, and rooms. Players stopped asking questions about the room and the NPCs because all the information was right in front of them.


4th edition was about the same for me, until (as a player) I made a conscious effort to play my character and draw out descriptions by my DM, interactions with NPCs, and even engage other players as their characters.


I don't doubt that 4th Edition would would just as well WITHOUT a grid and minis. Do the 1 Square = 5 Feet conversion on powers and play the game in your head like it used to be. I bet you'd see your players take more interest in your storylines and roleplaying.


Edit: You know it's funny, because the DM that introduced me to Minis and Battlemaps is absolutely confounded when confronted by a player that wants to use the Bluff skill outside of a Skill Challenge...this didn't use to be so.

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I'm not going to spend a lot of time debating with others, but I can relate with Hocus-Smokus. 2nd edition for me did seem to have more of a RP feel to it, but the combat wasn't that great. I don't like how they neutered a lot of the spells, either converting them to rituals or just plain exclusion from any new editions. That was a big no-no in my opinion, and it takes away from the "original" experience I had.


It's not so much about having nostalgia, but that Hocus is using something that works for him. Sucks that the rest of you guys can't understand it, and just leave it alone.

I absolutely agree that Wizards made the correct decisions if they sparked the interest of the new gamers and brought back older players who had given up on D&D. 4E brought me back as well. It has revitalized D&D for scores of players, myself included in the beginning.


It isn't about what design features suck, which features are great, or any of that. It's about what an individual looks for in a game of D&D.


Yes, you can eliminate squares and minis and describe everything in 5 foot incriments, but when it comes to flanking, cover, concealment, line of sight, etc., you've just boiled it all down to DM fiat. You're no longer playing by the book. If you go into it with that mentality, then every edition can be warped to suit your needs (or no edition, depending on your point of view). I want to be able to play by the book, and the 4E book turned into more work than fun. If I'm going to rely on pure description for everything, then I have no need for the countless pages devoted to describing the battle field and the importance of positioning. Hence why I no longer need 4E. Everything I want from a game of D&D can be found between 1E and 2E.


Maybe it's not the system to blame at all. Maybe it's the players. However, they're my players...I owe them what they want when they sit down with me at the helm. It's about the fun. 4E lost its fun for us. Perhaps one day it will pull me back again (and with Dark Sun coming up, it very well might), but for now it's just not for us.


Everything I want from a game of D&D can be found between 1E and 2E.


Maybe it's not the system to blame at all. Maybe it's the players. However, they're my players...I owe them what they want when they sit down with me at the helm. It's about the fun. 4E lost its fun for us. Perhaps one day it will pull me back again (and with Dark Sun coming up, it very well might), but for now it's just not for us.





Now those are good reasons.  Don't just straight up blame the game.

One thing I often forget about GMing for my group is that it is also the GM's game.  My wife always reminds me that the players also owe me as the GM.  I'm the one who does the bulk of the work and referees them through the game.  It is as much about the GM having fun as the players.  Most of them will understand that when you talk to them.


Edit: P.S.  Posts like this work much better as a blog unless you are actually willing to debate your reasons for leaving (which you ended up doing).  If you just want the therapy of writing your thoughts in a semi-public space it does the trick just as well.

I learned to play D&D strictly by imagination, interacting with the DMs narratve with dice resolving outcomes without minis or maps.


Personally, Id love one of the future D&D 4e Dungeon Masters Guides to be dedicated to how to play 4e by imagination without minis. Mainly, it needs to explain how to convert tactical grid mechanics into the spacially ambiguous descriptions of a narrative.


On the one hand, the imagination style for D&D 4e might seem to bring less money to WotC because of the cost of the paraphernalia.


On the other hand, people can play the imagination style anytime, anywhere, without setting up any paraphernalia. Spontaneously. This greatly increases the opportunities to play D&D, thus the market for it. Moreover, the low cost opens the market to people who have less income, thus increasing the customer base this way also. The convenience and lower costs invite more people to play D&D 4e, who may also enjoy playing with minis, thus increase these revenues indirectly.


I disagree with the original post. You dont need to learn to play AD&D. You just need to update D&D 4e to accommodate the imagination style. As the OP admits, 4e is a better rules system, more balanced, and is a better basis for an imagination based D&D game anyway.

Since I don't have any experience with OD&D (earliest was 3E) but rather of a Swedish fantasy RPG, this is how I view my RPG nostalgia:


Sometimes, I take a look at the first RPG I ever played; a Fantasy RPG, based on Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying: a boxed set where the rulebook measures 68 pages of folded A4 paper and character sheets in A5 format with one side.


It radiates a warm feeling of nostalgia. There were no stats for demihumans (but they existed in the world) and classes varied from "Warrior" to "Merchant" to "Monk" (the sucky one, not the Kung Fu type). There are no levels, all skills are percent based and regaining 1 HP takes 1 week of full rest (characters hit points don't raise either unless you miraculously raise your Constitution or your Size. Yes, Size was a numerical character attribute in this game)


Then I take a look at the Star Wars Saga and the DnD4e rules, and realise that this BRP-game makes for a lousy game out of a story- and cinematic perspective; two things I've sought in a RPG for 12 years. I then put it back on my bookshelf and let it be what it's supposed to be; a good memory of my first experience of RPGs, nothing more and nothing less.


To each and their own tastes I guess.