Fans of 4e, what stuff from old editions do you like

I got the reprints of the 1st Ed Adnd books and I've been interested in some of the ideas that were in the old DMG and wouldn't mind seeing something like this as an option in 4E and 5E. Mind you, AD&D had lots of horrible ideas like level and ability caps for women and dfferent races or alignment languages.

Still all the charts and tables for different parts of the world are really cool fluff. As often as I have seen PCs choose to live in squalor to avoid paying for living expenses, giving them a chance for disease for doing so could encourage them to roleplay what their character would want to do. This isn't gygaxian naturalism, instead, its a game within a game you can play when designing the fluff.
I totally agree, Rethgryn.

Some of the stuff in the old AD&D DMG is purely awesome. I never even actually played that edition much, but I still love some of the great 'fluff' as you call it. I wholly support what you're suggesting.

Unfortunately, 4e wasn't my favourite edition (sorry guys, no offense meant!). I loved the innovation in 4e though.

So, yes, I think it's a good idea. Thanks for posting it up!

Best Regards,

David L. Dostaler
David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
Well hard to say, most of the stuff I liked from old editions seemed to be done better and more inteligently in 4e, which is why I liked it so much. I mean sure 4e had problems (like the wacko feats for multiclassing, it could have worked had they been a bit smarter with those), and some real derp ups (like making monk attack powers not use weapon die, what the flumph were they smoking?),  but for the most part it did most things I cared about better than previous editions I had played (3e and 3.5).

I guess i'd like to see the concept of a PRestige class re-instated as somethign that you can qualify for via multiple routes instead of all hospitalers having to be paladins. You wouldn't even need to bring back multi-classing, you can just use something similar to the paragon path system but have less class specific requirements.

That and half-dragons, D-born are nice and all, but sometimes you just wanna be able to call mom for a ride home. 
Big fan of 4E here. I will generally play previous editions without complaint, but I prefer 4E and will only DM 4E.

One thing that I didn't like about 4E was that it didn't feel finished right out of the box, by which I mean that there were some basic character concepts that were not available right from the get-go which made options feel much more limited. A really big example for me is the Summoner. Reflavoring could take care of a lot of it, I guess, but I wish it didn't need to.

I also actually liked how previous editions had some classes share their power list, because I couldn't think of any good reason that a Wizard shouldn't be able to learn Burning Spray or a Sorcerer shouldn't be able to learn Thunder-Wave. Plus, sharing power lists made classes easier to home-brew.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I like how...

Well, you know what, most of the things I liked in the older editions over 4th edition largely stem from publication decisions instead of actual rule changes. For example, I like how 2e had a number of supported campaign settings and even how 3e took two campaign settings and delved deeply into them. I had high hopes for 4e plan for giving two or three books for a campaign and then a new campaign every year, but the actual implementation of it was, well, not very good.

That plan would only really work out if the edition was around for a long time (like 8 years or so, I guess), and then to spend one of those years on a sub-section of Forgotten Realms felt kind of like cheating. Even though the actual book was kind of nice, I would still like to have seen either a new place or an older place revisted, like Dragonlance or Ravenloft or one of the other high fantasy settings from 2e.

I also liked how 3e (and 2e) had books dedicated to new classes with completely new mechanics, like the Tome of Battle with its new maneuver mechanic, or the Book of Incarnum, or the Tome of Magic (three new types of magic!). No matter how good AEDU might have been in general, I did like seeing the wider variety of mechanics in 3e (although I can imagine it is much harder to balance, which is important to me).

Mechanically though, I think the only thing I really do miss from the earlier editions is choice in assigning skill points. I like being able to choose which skills I improved from one level to the next as opposed to the automatic increases that 4e offerred (this is already in 5e, so yeah).

It is important to note that I am looking at 4e from what it is at the end compared to at the beginning (more or less). I like expanded monster descriptions and I like how 4e has presented that in its latest books compared to the more sparse information in the earlier books.
I'm no newcomer to 4th and have been playing it and enjoying it for quite a while now.  But, I wish the Planescape approach to D&D was still actively supported.  I mean, a couple things here and there are nice, I suppose.  But, I would have happily bought a big on how to run a game in Great Wheel and its universe using 4th edition's rule set.  That's one of the things that made me reluctant to dabble with PoL.  While I love the 4e approach to Warlock, I really like the 3e's fluff and styling of the warlock too.  If both were available options (even in fluff) from the start, I'd be even happier.  Also, one thing I'd like 5E to do is make generic equivalents to the newer races, so that way a quick palette swap would make them the new guys, without inspiring frustration with older gamers.  (half-dragons, planetouched, high elves, etc...  Sounds like a plan to me!)

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.



Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

I totally agree with you, Rampant! Half-dragons would be freaking awesome. Also, your ideas on multi-classing are great.

Crimson_Concerto: Definitely. It had a kind of 'missing things' feeling which I think 5e will fix. I think it's partly because the initial player's handbook didn't have a few key classes (like the summoner you mentioned). Thanks for mentioning it!

David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
I get all warm and squishy when I think of my days playing 2nd.  There were many things that my young mind didn't like ("Hey, why do clerics get bonus spells and not wizards"), and somethings that made sense to me as a youth but later as I grew up just seemed unnecessary (such as some of the mechanics designed to instill fluff/flavor/feel)

But overall, 2nd was some of the brightest times of my life.  The complete psionics handbook was probably one of my favorite books.  It had a weird way of resolving things, but I liked the way that psionics developed, more so than later editions it didn't just feel like "New Magic"

I did like some of the fluffy stuff that happened at name level - I do wish that they could bring back some of that stuff as a module (my older self not wanting that in core books becuase it feels forced).  In fact, I loved much of the old fluff, but I never even got to use a percentage of it.  That's why with next I don't want the fluff built into the main rules, and instead go for a cleaner feel - like GURPS that really has very little in the way of fluff in the core books but the other books are fluff heavy.  This way I could even use the fluff very easily in other games.

Lately I've been picking up some more of the pathfinder stuff - I don't care for the rules, but Paizo knew what they were doing with stories.  I honestly hope (though highly doubt) we could get a partnership again with Wizards and another group - Let Wizards handle the rules, let the publisher handle the adventures.   
Big fan of 4E here. I will generally play previous editions without complaint, but I prefer 4E and will only DM 4E.

One thing that I didn't like about 4E was that it didn't feel finished right out of the box, by which I mean that there were some basic character concepts that were not available right from the get-go which made options feel much more limited.

I agree with this, but I predict it will be true of Next also. Just like it was true of every other wide-scope game system when first released.

(3.5E and Pathfinder don't count, because neither was ever the first release of a game system. They are minor mods of 3E that can carry over practically everything.)

I was there for the early days of 1E AD&D. About the third time I created a character I was trying to build a concept that the system didn't support.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Big fan of 4e, so maybe it should come as no surprise that books that I loved most from past editions were those that assisted me in creating my own content.

I recall a book (I believe it was one of the brown softcover AD&D 2e class books) that mentioned creating your own school of magic and the minimum number of spells you needed to create for each spell level.

More of my favorites from AD&D 2e include: the build-your-own class rules, the campaign setting guide that introduced flintlocks and gaslights, the book that gave a system for figuring out a point value for magic item creation (from which you could determine what number of exotic components you needed to create the item), etc.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.


The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.


You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.


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Frankly, after having played 1E AD&D for a while and 3.5E for a while (I skipped 2E and 3E), I cannot think of a single thing in either of those editions that I liked better than 4E. Everything they did that was good, 4E did just as well and frequently better.

That said...

There are some things that those editions did badly and 4E did just as badly but in a different direction.

For example...

1E is extremely restrictive in creating a character that didn't fit any of the defined classes.

3.5E multiclassing is absurdly overpowered and cheap.

4E is substantially less restrictive on this score than 1E, but even so, multiclassing is absurdly UNDERpowered and expensive. Hybriding fixes that but adds a boatload of restrictions - it can represent a concept of an initial condition - quite a lot of hybrid-concept backstories could not be played through as a series of adventures within 4E rules, because they involve a character first being a character of class X and then becoming a character of class X|Y or even nearly-straight Y.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Okay. I actually got into the game with 4e, but fell in love with a lot of the parts of earlier editions after lots-o-research. So I'll tell ya what I liked.

More Open Spell System- While I still agree that 4e killing Caster Dominance was a very good thing, I still like how the earlier system was more open ended in it's use of spells, how they had more application outside of battle and felt more like real spells rather than game constructs. I also liked how 4e made magic a bit more tailored to each class, and I think how 5e is doing it (Some stuff is class features, some is actual spells) is a pretty good compromise.

Random Charts- While I think that Random Stat Generation should go die in a hole unless your game's name is Gamma World I loved the random creature generation charts from earlier editions, like the Hordeling chart and the Random Lower Planes Being generation chart.  I'd love to see a chart like that in the 5e DMG with stuff for generatign your own Demon Lord, ArchDevil, Oinodaemon, Prince of Elemental Evil, Fey Lord, ect. And I'd love to see an updated Courtesan chart with such stuff as Gimpy Gigolo, Muscular Man-****, Buxom Bugbear and Mind Flayer Madam.

Settings- I keep getting annoyed at how much attention the overhyed and overexposed Forgotten Realms setting has gotten compared to a lot of the other more creative settings (Though I like Greenwood himself a lot better than his setting after reading his columns). I want to see more attention paid to the oddball D&D settings like Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer, Birthright, council Of Wyrms, hell even goddamn Ghostwalk, and a few new, out-there ones (Like Perkin's Wind Waker-ish Iomandra) just to show how creative D&D can be.

Planes Philosophy- I think the idea of philosophy mattering and being able to reshape the planes is what people really miss about Planescape, with the Great Wheel as just a side note. I see no reason why the World Axis couldn't do the "Philosophy can shape the planes" business even better than the Great Wheel, givenhhow much more open and allowable to re-jiggering it is.

The Unbodied (from the Expanded Psionics Handbook)- While I want them to come back without that Level Adjustment crap and be on par with the regular player races, I still want them to make a comeback as a PC race because the idea of playing as a disembodied psychic brain is too cool for me not to enjoy.
My primary non-4e experience is with 3.5, so this is all from there. I've played 2e, but not enough and not recently enough to develop any feelings about it.

I like (far, far from a complete list) -

- The modularity (in the sense of everything being able to combine with everything, not in the sense of things being take-out-able and put-in-able). Pretty much any combination of character options can end up on the same character. From the perspective of someone who likes scouring books trying to put together thematic or mechanically interesting characters, 3.5 is an absolute dream.
- 3.5 Psionics. While I like the flavor, what I really like about 3.5 Psionics is how much more closely it mirrors my intuitive sense about what magic should feel like than almost anything D&D's ever done, and it's not even close.
- The "focused caster" classes - the Beguiler, Warmage, Healer and Dread Necromancer. While none is perfect, they're much more evocative to me than more generalist casters.
- While I don't think it's really better than the world axis for actual campaigning, I'm a sucker for the great wheel cosmology because I love pointless symmetry. That sounds sarcastic, but it's not. If you tell me that there's this set of demi-elemental planes with these random properties and they're positioned between the elemental planes like this, I totally drool over that even if I'm never going to use them for anything. While two-axis alignment is an almost shamefully poor way to model PC ethics and worldview, I think it's a reasonably sweet way to set up a cosmology.
- Wildshaping. I actually think PF hit the sweet spot for wildshaping between 3.5's "wholesale access to material that we weren't really thinking about players having access to when we designed this" and 4e's "wildshaping is a toggle that turns on half your powers and turns off the rest and does nothing else", but I'd rather have 3.5's by a long shot. It's a little easier for me as a DM to rein in crazy than to make something lame un-lame.
- The extreme breadth and depth of spells available by later in the edition made it possible to put together casters very focused about very specific themes.
- Willingness to try, during the later years of the system's life, interesting resource managment systems for base classes. (Ones that would never be spoken of again afterwords, but they're still there.)

Obviously 3.5 did a massive number of other things excellently; I'm just trying to pick out ones that 4e didn't also do.
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