D&D: An Eclectic View of Each Edition

I've always had a general idea of which editions of D&D I like and don't like, but I recently decided to come up with an actual list of all the things I like and dislike about each edition of the game. I tried to stick with only the most eclectic things that I enjoy the most about each edition as well as the elements of the game that I feel the strongest about (positively or negatively). 

I invite you to do the same and present your lists, too....but please keep it constructive and civil.

IMPORTANT: Please refrain from commenting on other people's lists unless it's positive and/or friendly feedback. I honestly want this thread to be a constructive list/poll of what people like and dislike about every edition of the game. I do not want it to be a battleground for people to argue about opinions.


Below is a list of things I really like about D&D and the improvements each edition brought to the table:

Original D&D
• It popularized the concept of fantasy RPGs
• "Core Four" Races (i.e., Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human)

Classic D&D (Basic and Expert)
• Simple, rules-light edition that's easy to learn
• "Core Four" Classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Thief, and Magic-User)

AD&D 1st Edition
• Demihuman characters may be different classes
• Alignment dynamic with Ethos and Morality: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic and Good, Neutral, Evil
• Hit Dice structure for the four main classes: Fighters d10, Clerics d8, Thieves d6, and Magic-Users d4
• AC starts at 10, instead of 9

AD&D 2nd Edition
• Class Groups (i.e., Warrior, Wizard, Priest, or Rogue)
• Overall clear and concise rules compared to AD&D 1st edition
• Wizard/School Specialists
• Bards are Rogues

D&D 3rd Edition
• d20 vs DC resolution mechanic
• Features a real skill system
• Consolidated XP Table for level advancement
• Feats (the concept, not necessarily how it was executed)

D&D 4th Edition
• Rulebooks and supplements are graphically pleasing, well-designed, and easier to read than 3rd edition
• At-Will spells for casters


Below is a list of things I really dislike about D&D and the changes each edition brought to the table:

Original D&D
• It's basically a free-form RPG; with haphazard rules that closer resemble design notes, rather than actual rules.
• The artwork and graphic design is pretty awful, even for the 70's.

Classic D&D
• Race and Class are the same thing (for demihumans)
• Alignment is based on Law, Neutrality, and Chaos ONLY (instead of Good, Neutral, and Evil)
• Level limits on demihumans


AD&D 1st Edition
• Convoluted and long-winded rulebooks that are over-complicated
• Level and class limits on Demihumans

AD&D 2nd Edition
• Level and class limits on Demihumans

D&D 3rd Edition
• Dismantled the "Core Four" class structure
• Class and race bloat started with this edition on an official capacity
• Cluttered, "over-the-top" graphic design made rulebooks and supplements annoying to read
• High-level play became unplayable (or at the very least, boring)

D&D 4th Edition
• Mandatory use of miniatures and grid-based combat (I prefer the storytelling/roleplaying approach to playing D&D)
• WAY too many drastic and arbitrary changes; i.e., Dragonborn and Tieflings as standard races, Warlord and Warlock as standard classes, AEDU powers and "power sources", etc.
• Overall, not a bad edition, it was just too much of a jarring departure from previous editions (which in turn alienated many longtime players, myself included)


 
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

Howdy folks,

Nifty idea for a thread.  I just want to pre-emptively step in and ask everyone to not argue over anyone's specific lists of likes and dislikes.  These are opinions and preferences and therefore can't be "proven" right or wrong.  Stick to listing your own likes and dislikes and we should have a good, constructive thread.

Thanks.  

All around helpful simian

Very much agree with the Op,  except for the third edition..since I have never played it, I cannot comment on it.  Well said bharlfire
I've always had a general idea of which editions of D&D I like and don't like, but I recently decided to come up with an actual list of all the things I like and dislike about each edition of the game. I tried to stick with only the most eclectic things that I enjoy the most about each edition as well as the elements of the game that I feel the strongest about (positively or negatively). 

I invite you to do the same and present your lists, too....but please keep it constructive and civil.

Below is a list of things I really like about D&D and the improvements each edition brought to the table:

Original D&D

• It popularized the concept of fantasy RPGs

• "Core Four" Races (i.e., Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human)



Classic D&D (Basic and Expert)

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Simple, rules-light edition that's easy to learn

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• "Core Four" Classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Thief, and Magic-User)


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">AD&D 1st Edition

• Demihuman characters may be different classes 

• Alignment dynamic with Ethos and Morality: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic and Good, Neutral, Evil

• Hit Dice structure for the four main classes: Fighters d10, Clerics d8, Thieves d6, and Magic-Users d4

• AC starts at 10, instead of 9

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">AD&D 2nd Edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Class Groups (i.e., Warrior, Wizard, Priest, or Rogue)


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Overall clear and concise rules compared to AD&D 1st edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Wizard/School Specialists

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Bards are Rogues

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">D&D 3rd Edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• d20 vs DC resolution mechanic

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Features a real skill system

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Consolidated XP Table for level advancement

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Feats (the concept, not necessarily how it was executed)

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">D&D 4th Edition 

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Rulebooks and supplements are graphically pleasing, well-designed, and easier to read than 3rd edition


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• At-Will spells for casters

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

Below is a list of things I really dislike about D&D and the changes each edition brought to the table:




Original D&D

• It's basically a free-form RPG; with haphazard rules that closer resemble design notes, rather than actual rules.


• The artwork and graphic design is pretty awful, even for the 70's.



Classic D&D

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Race and Class are the same thing (for demihumans)

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Alignment is based on Law, Neutrality, and Chaos ONLY (instead of Good, Neutral, and Evil)

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Level limits on demihumans


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">AD&D 1st Edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Convoluted and long-winded rulebooks that are over-complicated

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Level and class limits on Demihumans

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">AD&D 2nd Edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Level and class limits on Demihumans

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">D&D 3rd Edition

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Dismantled the "Core Four" class structure

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Class and race bloat started with this edition on an official capacity

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Cluttered, "over-the-top" graphic design made rulebooks and supplements annoying to read

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• High-level play became unplayable (or at the very least, boring)

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">D&D 4th Edition 

• Mandatory use of miniatures and grid-based combat (I prefer the storytelling/roleplaying approach to playing D&D)


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">WAY too many drastic and arbitrary changes; i.e., Dragonborn and Tieflings as standard races, Warlord and Warlock as standard classes, AEDU powers and "power sources", etc.

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">• Overall, not a bad edition, it was just too much of a jarring departure from previous editions (which in turn alienated many longtime players, myself included) 





I did not play much basic and expert but I think you hit the highs and lows from what I remember so I won't add anything there.

 1st Edition Pretty well sums it up although on the Dislike side I will add 


  • Psionics poorly done - just a mess.

  • Assassin class- a sneaky guy who kills people in underhanded ways.  Should have let the thief kill him off and steal his stuff.

  • Most of Unearthed Arcana classes and races were not well thought out.  While the underlying concepts may have been solid (a Barbarian, a cavalier, a drow character or a deepgnome- COOL) the execution was horrid.


I will aslo add one like - The 1st edition DMG - so many cool tables, rules for running domains, snapshots of the basic info for ALL mm1 monsters.  Yeah the oganization was lacking but the sheer amount of cool stuff was great.

2nd edition agree with everything you said and would add some likes


  • Kits- wonderful wonderful kits.  Not all were executed well but man the concept was great.

  • They let the thief kill the assassin and take his stuff.  Assassin became a kit, as did some 1st edition classes like barbarian and cavalier.  Loved this change.


3rd edition agree with most of your items would add for like that it gave more control over character creation to players and less to dice (point buy system) and a few dislikes


  • Multiclassing- much prefer the idea behind 1e/2e multiclassing if not the execution.  I hate 3e multiclassing with a passion.

  • Caster supremacy appeared in this edition much earlier than in previous ones and was much worse imo due to some restrictions that had existed previously being removed and enormous expansion of the spell lists.

  • Magic item being assumed as part of character development.  The magic item bazaar became more prevalent in this edition and easy/cheap item creation rules took the "magic" out of items.


4th edition I would add lots of likes that probably are dislikes for others for example


  • Surge mechanic- love it.  Basing healing on the innate hardiness of the character was awesome.

  • Giving noncasters and partial casters more stuff to do- fighters and paladins (2 of my favorite character types) are awesome compared to previous editions.

  • Gave specific abilities to help classes do their roles (roles had existed before but now they were acknowledged and classes were given things to help them carry out their role)

  • Toned back the power of a lot of spells - no more easy teleports, easy divinations, overpowered summons etc

  • Got rid of save or die and replaced with escalating consequences for failed saves (made it so you didn't trash a character with 1 bad roll)

  • Got rid of or vastly changed the SCREW YOU monsters from earlier editions.  In 1e/2e you could lose months or years of experience to 1 undead creature and don't get me started on how sucky rust monsters were

  • I'm sure ive missed a lot but thats the start


Now just so you don't think I think it is perfect I have a fair few DISLIKES about it as well.


  • Long fights - good lord they go on forever it seems at times.

  • The "economy"- obviously the designers said "This isn't important so lets make it so no monsters weapons and armor can ever be resold and make magic items an exponential curve price"

  • This somewhat goes with the last but magic items in general- they are now officially baked into the math of the system- ugh 5e's bounded accuracy has me hoping that thier system will be better.

  • Some of the changes to the wizard may have been a bit drastic and contributed to the backlash- I'd have made some adjustments there.

  • Rituals -love the idea hated the execution.

  • Skill challenges- ugh hate the way they are described.

  • Hate most of the PHB races and classes

  • Marketing and modules- seriously the wotc folks virtually guaranteed that Paizo would come out with pathfinder and thier modules are by far inferior to the folks that USED to do Dungeon Magazine.


I could probably go on but you probably get the idea.  Many of the criticisms I have for 4e might be familar to the anti 4e crowd but I put up with them because on the whole it works better for my playstyle than 3e did.
 
Howdy folks,

Nifty idea for a thread.  I just want to pre-emptively step in and ask everyone to not argue over anyone's specific lists of likes and dislikes.  These are opinions and preferences and therefore can't be "proven" right or wrong.  Stick to listing your own likes and dislikes and we should have a good, constructive thread.

Thanks.  



You hear that soft, fading scream? That's the sound of your hopes for this thread falling down a very deep chasm of edition-wars and blatant snark. I wish this thread well, but since I already see 5 things on the OP's list that I vehemently disagree with at a very basic level, and to state them would be inviting the inevitable to happen even faster, I will leave it much as I found it...teetering on the edge of that chasm.
More or less agree with everything the first poster wrote about except I never played original D&D. Being a newb I'm only familiar with 1st and and Basic era D&D. Stoloc's list is also a good one.

 I wanted 4th ed to at least resemnle 3.5 with the spellcasters being nerfed hard. Its like they removed all restrictions on them from 2nd ed and didn't compenste the other classes with good stuff or accelerated level progression. Whack a 2 level LA on casters in 3rd ed and they look alot less attractive. In my Pathfinder game you can only multiclass into the primary spellcasters (anything with level 7+ spells) at level 3. Makes a huge difference to class balance i noticed although there is a in game reason for it (think Sith killing them all a'la Jedi).

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

 I already see 5 things on the OP's list that I vehemently disagree with at a very basic level, and to state them would be inviting the inevitable to happen even faster

I posted my likes and dislikes of the various editions; and I invite people to do the same, without arguing about other peoples' opinions. 

I want to get an idea of what people like and dislike about the various editions...the goal being only to list the absolute favorite elements and the absolute hated elements from each edition. There's no impetus to comment on other peoples' lists at all...and in fact, I hope no one will for the sake of civility.

Smile
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

Love the idea, and I think it's good that there are positives here as well. I believe I posted something similar in another thread, but I will try to remember my goods & bads


1st edition good stuff:
-The incredible library of modules!
-The planar design
-Many supplemental books were ideas to expand the area of play for one's campaign, instead of character splat-books.
-Erol Otus.

1st edition bad stuff:
-The formatting and design of the PH & DMG was just painful to read.
-Attack matrices; bleh.


2nd edition good stuff:
-Kits! 
-All the awesome settings available
-Refined the 1e rules, while staying quite compatible to all the 1e product, thereby giving 2e an even larger plethora of modules
-The artists: Elmore! Easley! Parkinson! Caldwell! Brom!
-The various compendiums (magic items, wizard spells, cleric spells)
-Three words: RAL PARTHA'S MINIS.

2nd edition bad stuff:
-The Player's Option series felt like it threw a monkey wrench into the rules.
-The complete destruction of Dragonlance via 5th age and the SAGA rules.
-The removal of demons, hell, and all other things that the religious right was whining about
-The way THAC0 was explained in the PH (if it was explained better, I believe that there would have been less complaining.)

3rd edition/3.5 good stuff:
-The d20 vs DC mechanic was quite simple.
-Eberron.
-The spirit of presige classes (the execution left a lot to be desired)
-The skills system, at its core
-The high quality of the physical product

3rd edition/3.5 bad stuff:
-The OGL was written poorly, so that WotC didn't have any editorial approval. This left a lot of garbage product by 3rd party companies on the market.
-The formatting made the books tough on the eyes.
-With the exception of Wayne Reynolds and Todd Lockwood, the art was awful.
-The decision to turn magic items into a tradable/salable commodity. (Worst thing to happen to D&D, IMO)
-The power creep and splat-book glut.
-The basic abandonment of many of the great settings. (I include pawning them off to other companies in this)

4th edition good stuff:
-My wizard has something to do every turn (at-will for wizards)
-The design and formatting is excellent
-The focus on making the game easier to run for DMs
-Better art than 3.5
-I happen to like the dragonborn & tiefling (and I have been playing since 1990)

4th edition bad stuff:
-To me, AEDU powers made every class feel like a spellcaster; not good.
-Promised a setting every year. WotC bailed on that after Dark Sun (sorry, but Neverwinter and Menzoberranzan don't count, they are part of the Realms, so there)
-Magic items made even more horrid by making them almost needed to keep up with level advancement.
-The "roles" forcing specific play-styles per class.
-The race, class, and power bloat due to the PH2/3 and other shennanigans.


Note, for the record, I play all of these editions, enjoy all these editions, and will continue to play them, even when 5e comes out (I will play that one too). I never understood how people can say they can't play multiple systems at the same time; never had a problem with it...
                                                                                    

Just roll some dice.

 

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 I already see 5 things on the OP's list that I vehemently disagree with at a very basic level, and to state them would be inviting the inevitable to happen even faster

I posted my likes and dislikes of the various editions; and I invite people to do the same, without arguing about other peoples' opinions. 

I want to get an idea of what people like and dislike about the various editions...the goal being only to list the absolute favorite elements and the absolute hated elements from each edition. There's no impetus to comment on other peoples' lists at all...and in fact, I hope no one will for the sake of civility.




Hope you didn't mind I just said "me too" on most of your likes and dislikes- I was lazy and didn't want to type it all out again

Heck I don't mind disagreement with my personal likes and dislikes- so long as folks don't use heavy negatives like"xyz isn't DnD", "abc belongs in Diablo/WoW/computer rpg du jour", and one I was prone to using before but have since toned back "You just want to return to casters and caddies".  If folks keep it civil discussion even disagreement is fine and productive imo.
 
Hope you didn't mind I just said "me too" on most of your likes and dislikes- I was lazy and didn't want to type it all out again
 

Not at all. I mainly want to stick to the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule.  

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

 I don't like magic item candyland supermarket feel of 3.5/PF and 4th. Rewards specialisation to much when PCs can easily aquire what they need.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

First off, to BhaelFire, I agree. Say something positive in this one please!


Also, I wanted to add an "overall to D&D in general" likes and dislikes, because some of these are VITAL.


Overall likes:
-The shared experience of a great adventure with friends.
-The game causes players to hone their mathematics skills, imagninations, storytelling abilities, and (if you're a mini painter) your artistic skills.
-The "do-it-yourself" ability to add on to the game as needed, with homebrew worlds, adventures, and homerules.


Overall dislikes:
-Have you ever tried to play with two toddlers in the house? Try it, it's not fun.
-THE BIG ONE: Both TSR and WotC have failed miserably with this problem. Neither company has adequately created a sucessful marketing strategy to keep the game popular, and gather new players. There are few/no television commercials, print ads, or product tie-ins (with the exception of the horrid movies and the drop-in in "E.T.").                   

Just roll some dice.

 

RADIO FREE BORDERLANDS:

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Dragonborn and Tieflings as standard races, Warlord and Warlock as standard classes,


Im mostly curious about this bit to be honest, and why these seem drastic and abritrary to you?
Howdy folks,

Let's refrain from the off-topic posts.  If you feel a post is detrimental to the purpose of the thread, please use the report post button.


            

All around helpful simian

For the most part i have been impressed with the behaviour on the D&D boards even form some of the hardcore 3.5/4th ed players. (content removed)

EDIT: Let's simmer down the baiting. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

LIKES:

BECMI:
- Opened up the game from OD&D
- The red box!
- Introduced legions of people to the hobby

1E AD&D:
- Expanded the game in many great directions
- Unearthed Arcana!
- Epic, memorable adventures        

2E AD&D:
- The campaign settings
- Kits
- NWPs
- The green DM sourcebooks (Celts, Vikings, etc.)
- The Core Rules CD Rom (character builder, monster builder, map maker, access to the "complete" books)

3E / 3.5:
- Didn't play it enough to comment

4E:
- Brought me back to D&D after several years away
- Removal of (most) alignment
- The cleric didn't have to be the heal-bot anymore


DISLIKES:      

BECMI:
- Race as class
- Too much player info in the DM books
- Very limited out-of-combat resources

1E AD&D:
- Gender discrepancies
- Core books were quite bland looking

2E AD&D:
- The psionics rules
- The Red Steel campaign setting

3E/3.5:
- Didn't play it enough to comment  

4E:
- Reliance on maps/minis
- Skill Challenges
- The rule books were BORING and read like a Toyota owner's manual                   
LIKES:

BECMI:
- Opened up the game from OD&D
- The red box!
- Introduced legions of people to the hobby

1E AD&D:
- Expanded the game in many great directions
- Unearthed Arcana!
- Epic, memorable adventures        

2E AD&D:
- The campaign settings
- Kits
- NWPs
- The green DM sourcebooks (Celts, Vikings, etc.)
- The Core Rules CD Rom (character builder, monster builder, map maker, access to the "complete" books)

3E / 3.5:
- Didn't play it enough to comment

4E:
- Brought me back to D&D after several years away
- Removal of (most) alignment
- The cleric didn't have to be the heal-bot anymore


DISLIKES:      

BECMI:
- Race as class
- Too much player info in the DM books
- Very limited out-of-combat resources

1E AD&D:
- Gender discrepancies
- Core books were quite bland looking

2E AD&D:
- The psionics rules
- The Red Steel campaign setting

3E/3.5:
- Didn't play it enough to comment  

4E:
- Reliance on maps/minis
- Skill Challenges
- The rule books were BORING and read like a Toyota owner's manual                   



Excellent example of the type of feedback I'm hoping this thread will generate. Thanks! Cool

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

A few of my likes/dislikes

I really haven't played much 1st ed or 2nd ed, so those lists are going to be short.

OD&D Likes


  • Very freeform. The rules left so much up to the imagination of the player or DM, it was amazing.

  • Origin of the brand. Deserves to be said.

  • Very simple character creation that has been lost in the later editions.

  • Modules were, for the most part, amazing.


OD&D Dislikes


  • Very freeform. Yes I said it again. Although it left a lot of room for creativity, sometimes the lack of rules was very frustrating.

  • The rules variations from box to box could cause some wierd rules inconsistencies between modules.



1st Ed Likes


  • Rules were cleaned up and better organized than OD&D.

  • Introduction of new classes (Paladin, Monk, and Assassin).

  • Demihumans could now take classes, which was cool.

  • Multiclass rules that made sense.

  • Titles that made advancing even sweeter than it already was.

  • Like OD&D the modules were amazing!


1st Ed Dislikes


  • Came into it kind of late and it played more like a table top minis game than the RPGs I was used to. 

  • Level caps on Demihumans could seem kind of unfair.

  • It was better organized than OD&D, but that doesn't mean it was well organized :P

  • Attack matricies were terrible.



2nd Ed Likes


  • System more came in line with the RPGs I was used to.

  •  Kits were really cool, but I didn't really get to mess with them much.

  • Tons of really cool settings that somehow got lost after the company switch.

  • Between MM and Compendiums there were tons of monsters to fight.


2nd Ed Dislikes


  • THAC0 was kind of wonky compared to the dicepool and d20 systems I was used to.

  • A lot of the additional options felt either completely overpowered or useless. No real inbetween.



3rd Ed Likes


  • d20 system was easy to play with.

  • Feats (As Bhael said I like the idea that they represent not the actual execution).

  • Characters felt a little more powerful, at early levels, than they did in previous editions.

  • Multiclassing. It was easy and could really make your character uique.

  • Classes got fleshed out like never before, allowing you to explore many variations of the same class.


3rd Ed Dislikes


  • Skills became a finite list. Many like this, but I feel it really killed the creativity I had been used to in other RPGs.

  • Magic items were a dime a dozen and characters easily became overpowered unless the DM strictly watched them.

  • Multiclassing. Yes I said I liked it, but it was also WAY to easy to break and did not have enough significance as a character choice.

  • Race was no longer a significant character choice, they were just a collection of stat buffs.

  • PRCs were a cool thought, but in the end you had to map your character out to qualify for one and that was lame.

  • Feats as they were executed. Eventually the bloat made them so rediculous it was almost mindboggling.

  • Casters were a bit too powerful.

  • Cut a good amount of the settings from 2e.



4th Ed Likes


  • Everyone felt useful.

  • The system was slimmed down so it was much less easy to DM with.

  • Expansion into levels 21-30, adding a few more months to a campaign.

  • At will spells were a great idea.

  • DMG was a book for DMs again, instead of a place they shoved magic items like in 3e.

  • Non healing class healing (Second winds and what have you) were a great add, as well as % healing.

  • MMs were really well laid out and had a good amount of useful information.

  • Monsters had cool, unique abilities instead of feeling like weak PCs (Like they were in 3e).


4th Ed Dislikes 


  • Combats took WAY too long. It was hard to make even a 1/2 challenging encounter take less than 30-45 min.

  • Even less settings than 3e. As well, hardly ANY modules were released for 4e.

  • If magic items were a dime a dozen in 3e, they were a penny a dozen in 4e. When making adventures I would often have to invent places to leave magic items the DMG says I should put in. This bugged me alot.

  • To go with the former comment, I thought treasure packages were really lame and restricting. Easy to ignore though.

  • Marking felt like a wonky mechanic that I didn't really like. It bothered me that a player was telling me that my monster felt the need to attack something. 

  • Game felt like building a raid in WoW more than creating interesting characters, thanks to roles.

  • Blast and burst descriptors made it almost impossible to play without a mat. 

  • Characters seemed WAY too survivable.


Just some of my thoughts






My two copper.
Dislike of Psionics rules and races as classes seem to be recurring themes. Players options seem popular all editions.

 Suppose I had better do my own.

Likes

D&D Basic
Nice and simple
Easy to run
1st D&D game

1st Ed.
Advanced options- alignment, races could be any class.
Random sources books like Unearthed Arcana.
Dungeon Magazine being good.

2nd ed.
Streamlined
Easy to run/play.
Some effort made for class balance.

3rd ed.
d20 system.
Options.
Skills.

4th.
Easy to DM.
More armor/weapon variety used.
skill system 1/2 level +5.

Dislikes
1st Ed.
Rules are a mess.
Arbtrary rules.
Monks

2nd Ed
level limits
racial balance. Humans suck, uber elves.
no skills as such (at the time compared with D6 not 3rd ed+).

3rd ed.
Overpowered spellcasters
Offensive options to powerful
To much bloat/splats.

4th ed
To much bloat to fast
AEDU class structure.
To much change.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Why not?

OD&D LIKES:
- It was new. It was something no one had ever seen before.

OD&D DISLIKES:
- It pulled from Chainmail too much and was still tied to battle-maps and minis

BECMI LIKES:
- It introduced a lot of people to the game with the red box.  
- It became its own entity, seperated from Chainmail

BECMI DISLIKES:
- Characters were very limited in what they could do, both in and out of combat
- Races as classes

1E LIKES:
- Made good strides over BECMI in character development
- Tomb of Horrors and other incredible modules
- Some of the best books for casual reading (DM's Design Kit, Manual of the Planes, Deities and Demigods)

1E DISLIKES:
- (Stealing from others' posts) Gender rules
- Attack matrices

2E LIKES:
- (Stealing from others again) Campaign settings
- (More stealing) Kits
- Players Options and DMs Options books

2E DISLIKES:
- Placating the religious right by removing demons and devils

3E and 3.5 LIKES:
- The D20 mechanic (always there, but streamlined)
- Options, options, options      

3E and 3.5 DISLIKES:
- Super splat bloat
- Trap options
- Adventure creation using altered monsters

4E LIKES:
- Adventure designing
- Everyone was viable in and out of combat

4E DISLIKES:
- Return to the battle-map and minis
- Too many classes that seemed to exist just because it filled a hole in the Power Source theology                                     
Can't remember old account log-in. Using this one instead. Getting old sucks.
No experience with pre-3rd so I won't say anything about them.

3.x Pros
----------
Had a number of interesting ideas.
The multiclassing allowed for a ton of flexibility.
Tons of classes for a lot of options.

3.x Cons
-----------
Multiclassing, while flexible, had that wierd kind of flexibility where it either made your build a useless waste of space or completely and utterly broken with little middle ground.
A lot of classes, but a select few stood head and shoulders above all the others, to the point that not picking these classes was just gimping yourself.
Wasn't very balanced, so numerous character ideas fall flat due to the way the system works.
Too many easily exploitable rules, which made 3.x a field day for rules lawyers.

4e Pros
---------
Relatively balanced(there's a few black sheep, Vampire and Cavalier classes to name some). Never felt like I was just wasting space picking the Fighter for once.
Rules were streamlined and mostly intuitive.
Character sheet has everything I need right on it, so I don't have to flip through 4 books every turn to see the what spells Im using do.
Put power back into the DM's hands. Since most stuff was left up to the DM to adjucate with some tables as examples to help, it was fairly difficult to rules lawyer it.
Mechanics and fluff seperation made it asy for me to just glance at my character sheet and see exactly what my abilities did.

4e Cons
----------
Having everyone under the AEDU system, while balanced, does get samey after a while.(Though the Psionic and Essentials classes fixed this somewhat).
Battle map requirement. Not a big deal for me personally, but I can see why some might be turned off by it.
Battles can egt too long. I've nevr had it happen personally, but I can see how battles can egt dragged on to 1.5-2 hours per battle.
OD&D

Likes
- Simplicity: easy to learn and play

Dislikes
- Simplicity: too few options; outgrew them too quickly


BECMI

Likes

- Simplicity: easy to learn and play

Dislikes
- Simplicity: too few options; outgrew them too quickly


AD&D

Likes
- Separation of races and classes
- Multiclassing rules
- Alignment system
- Random generation tables
- Plethora of published modules (adventures)
- More open-ended/interpretational spells (just feels more magical)
- Metal miniatures (Grenadier especially)

Dislikes
- Less well organized/written rulebooks
- Attack Matrices
- Inverse AC system
- Racial class & level limits (I preferred an XP penalty proportional to the race's longevity compared to humans)

AD&D 2nd Edition

Likes
- Better organized/written rulebooks
- Kits (I can't say how much more I like them than PrCs)
- Non-weapon Proficiencies (@Zardnaar - these are the skills for 2E)
- Plethora of published modules (adventures)
- Variety of published campaign settings (even though I almost always play in my own campaign setting)
- Compatability with previous edition
- Complete series of supplement books
- More open-ended/interpretational spells (just feels more magical)
- Class groupings (I think this kept the class bloat in check, and could do so in D&DNext)
- Psionics points system and devotion/science system
- Metal miniatures (Ral Partha especially)

Dislikes
- THAC0 (better than matrices, but still an inverse AC system)
- Racial class & level limits (I preferred an XP penalty proportional to the race's longevity compared to humans)


D&D 3rd Edition

Likes
- D20 system
- Positive progression AC system
- Skill system

Dislikes
- Multiclassing system (dipping into other classes)
- Extreme option bloat
- Increased numbers (HD, damage, etc.) and their progression
- Magic item necessity for math progression
- Lack of restrictions for magic using classes (which leads to the quadratic power issues)


D&D 4th Edition

Likes
- Second Wind mechanic
- At-will spells for casters (I'm in favor of just picking two 1st-level spells at character creation)
- Monster Stat Blocks
- DM friendliness
- Power Sources (as flavor or categorization)
- D&D plastic miniatures

Dislikes
- AEDU system
- Nerfing of spell descriptions and their functionality
- Healing Surges
- Too much focus on the "encounter" as a mechanics system
- Tactical combat integration (not a bad thing in and of itself, but rules/mechanics pretty much required it)
- Long duration (real world) combats
- Skill Challenges (implementation could have been better)

OD&D

*SNIP*



That pretty much sums it up for me.  Just a couple of sprinklings to add.


1st-2nd edition:  I liked the fact that most of the rules could be ignored and the entire mechanic was more flexible in terms of adding house rules and such without definitively breaking it.  In 2nd edition in particular I think the biggest hurdle was the lack of a core mechanic however and as such rules fiddling was... required, which wasn't always something you wanted to do.  It was a double edged sword.


3rd Edition:  I think my favorite aspect of 3rd edition was that it made D&D less genre specific and its mechanics supported a larger variety of play styles.  With skills added into the systems, you could create a larger variety of fantasy settings before it broke down.  And Of course Pathfinder! its the best thing to come out of 3rd edition and is the unquestionable and definitive final version of D&D for me.  When I start thinking Dungeon Crawlers, this is the go to system for me.  I also liked the large variety of settings made for the system, Scarred Lands remains one of my favorites. 

4th Edition:  I think my least favorite thing about 4th edition was the fact that you had to use miniatures and the game was unplayable without them.  This really limited the system in a lot of ways as it makes more narrative games next to impossible to run.  I did however think as far as miniatures games goes it worked well, if I wanted to run a heavy combat story with light role-playing and kind of a beer and prezel feel this was the system to go with. As far as editions go this one had probobly the worst officiallly published writing of any edition, the players handbook was just dismal, it was like reading a dictionary.

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

http://www.gamersdungeon.net/

As far as editions go this one had probobly the worst officiallly published writing of any edition, the players handbook was just dismal, it was like reading a dictionary.




"...I like to break a mental sweat too..." *said like White Goodman/Ben Stiller in Dodgeball*
I only have real experience with 3e and moderate experience with 4e. My experience with 2e was brief and foggy, and 1e is still about as real as folklore to me, so I won't bother with those two. Since I have so little comparative experience with D&D, I will probably be mentioning other RPGs that I really liked, and talk about how some of those elements contrast.

Really, I'm just going to mention my dislikes about 3e because everything that doesn't fall under my dislike list probably falls under my like list.

First, general power creep. A lot of other role-playing games of any format either don't have this, or don't have it to the same degree. I hated some of the damage-increasing multipler effects. I don't mind the criticals, and even the energy types, but throw in two or three more and things just get ridiculous. I actually didn't like all those special moves like disarm and trip, because I felt like they really didn't matter. I would have loved to see a lot more moves like those, with special and unique effects, which brings me into my next dislike. The fighter and his non-moveset. Yeah, he had a truckload of bonus feats, but I really feel like that was just because he had no identity, because he had no real class features he could call his own. I hated that. I really really hated that.

In every RPG I ever played before that, the warrior class always got cool stuff (I came to D&D before I ever touched WoW just want to point that out real fast) and I missed that cool stuff. I really hated low level magic user play. Sure, I could contribute once I ran out of spells, but I couldn't do so in a thematically appropriate manner. I don't mind if my "reserve cantrip" or whatever is really weak, I don't mind if its weaker than a crossbow bolt, but I don't feel like a wizard when I am shooting arrows. That's actually another problem. My one or two magic missles per day do less damage than an ordinary crossbow? Why does any character in a 3e setting bother studying magic? Yeah, sure, they get really powerful once they reach like, archmage level but you think that low starting power would discourage a lot of people from learning the art.

Also, pretty much everything in 3e needed about three times as much hp as it actually had. Low-level gib chance simply due to low max hp isn't cool. The low hp pools presented other problems at higher levels. I also didn't like the high grapple bonuses some of the monsters had. That may sound like a massive dislike list, but remember, I liked everything, everything else about it. Well, there are probably one or two minor things that I don't remember that would fall under dislike but you get the idea. On the whole, I really enjoyed all of my experience with 3e. Right now, in the OGL D20 scene, my favorite game is Pathfinder. My favorite RPG of all time is Decipher's Lord of the Rings CODA game.

Now for 4e. There was a lot about 4e I didn't like. I will mention the things that I did like, and only call special attention to a few things on my dislike list, but chances are if I don't mention it I didn't care for it much. The ones on my dislike list are the things that I feel like stand out amongst the rest of things I dislike about 4e. First though, likes.

At will abilities. Seriously, an answer to my prayers from 3e. I was so happy when I heard about this that I literally jumped for joy. The redo to some of the races, and the addition of a couple. I love love love the eladrin. I like the dragonborn just because I can make Dovahkiin jokes about them, but I also like them for thematic reasons. Oh, about the eladrin, I liked specifically the thematic elements of the fey from folklore. Something most people don't get is that Tolkien elves are much, much different and much more powerful than "typical D&D elves." I felt like the eladrin were an authentic representation of the old norse elves which really blew my mind. I never thought D&D would go there, aside from the Leshay mentioned in the 3e Epic Level Handbook. The dwarves, and their proficiencies with weapons. I think throwing hammers and throwing axes are cool, especially on dwarves. I liked that magic items were in the PHB. That small convenience, I really enjoyed. The art style was also really cool. I liked the higher hp totals, a lot.

Now, for dislikes that angered me so much I feel like they deserve a special mention amongst a whole host of others. The homogenization of all the classes into a single unified system, with only a few minor tweaks to determine classes. I feel like this wasn't enough to give classes their own identity, and it seriously turned me off to 4e. This is one of the major contributing factors in why I stuck to 3e, Pathfinder, and other games. I think it was good that the fighter got his options finally, but that was definitely not the way to handle it, which leads me to my next thing. The elimination/cutting down of vancian casting. Encounter powers on things like wizards, gigantic no-no. This was another serious contributing factor in what I mentioned earlier.

The 3e wizard is one of my all-time favorite classes (I almost never played it to high level, and never built to dominate game-play either. I liked doing strange and special builds, and making those builds as strong as I could.) and it was just too different for me. When I saw those two elements, I'm not going to lie, I felt really hurt and betrayed. I took it personal. That may seem weird or childish, but its true. Healing surges. On the surface, they didn't seem like such a bad idea to me, but once I realized that they determined all healing almost, I didn't like it at all. Basing the cleric's ability to heal on the healing power of another class made zero sense to me. i felt like part of the iconic core of the cleric was just ripped out. His abilities depend on divine power, not the stamina of the people being bolstered. This also makes the cleric less important out of battle, when everyone is recovering. Sure, you could just use magic items but those are a lot more significant than recharcheable uses of healing that can't be stolen or sundered. They are completely inherent to the person, which doesn't make sense to me from a design perspective or a world-perspective.

Edit: Oh, a lot of other people mentioning multiclassing as a 3e con, I will second that. Unless you knew exactly what you were doing, you would just end up wasting levels, and if you knew exactly what you were doing, you were creating characters that would neutralize a lot of mechanics that they shouldn't be. It wasn't really an option for flavor, which bugged me.

Well, those are my feelings on 3e and 4e.
All editons before 2nd ed: They were cluttered and confusing and despite all of that we had lots of fun with them.

2nd Ed: for me this was the first time I started playing D&D as my rpg game of choice:

Pro:
        . Was a huge improvment on the previous editions in structure and logic.
        . Each class was clearly defined and felt very much like a hero from fantasty books
        . Forgotton realms.
 
Cons:
         . Clerics were one of the most useful and most boring classes to play for everyone I knew,   
           healbots that could never cast any of their cool spells. In the end I remember many new  
           gaming sessions with people playing paper, scisors, rocks - with the looser making the cleric.

         . Lack of skills- really were optional and characters felt half complete when you tried to take    
           them anywhere outside of the stock standard class mechanics.

3rd-3.5
Pro:  
         . Introduction of skills and the various expansion books made the characters feel a bit more
           detailed.

Cons:
        . Power creep was terrible, about 14th level most characters were completely broken.
        . System became bloated and messsy with too many rules and fix-ups.
        . Forgotton realms - my fav setting got completely messed up and semi abandoned
 
4.ed
Pro:
        . Variable ways to comprise a party, the requirement for a cleric became "any leader" 
        . For the most part the best art and clearest rules
        . At will, encounter and daily abilities offering a wide varity of class "builds"
        . Interesting race selections that were outside the standard "elf, dwarf and a hobbit enter a    
          bar"
        . Rules that novice gamers could understand, with printable cards with powers that could be
          played like a deck, allowed for 3 new gamers to join up with a bunch of us oldies and not feel
          completely lost.
        . Bards were fun
        . Self healing abilities allowed for leaders to shine in other ways.

Cons:
       .  No skills beyond core adventuring ones
       .  At first it feels like each of the roles looses some flavour when you allow other types of class  
          to do your role.
       .  Until 3rd ed monster manual too many monsters had far too many hp. (our house rules use a   
          lot of minions, 1/3rd standard book hp monsters, that hit for a lot harder and have a lot more
          abilites than the normal book ones.)
       .  An inexperienced GM might assume you require a lot of combat, setup and minature use to  
          play 4th ed. 


Prob more, agree with much of above.

Btw this forum system is really poor for editing and posting. 
Anyone else remember the 2nd ed specialty priests from Forgotten Realms Faiths and Avatars? Basic priest class basically spawned over 100 distinct sub themes for clerics all with granted powers and the like. D&D next seems to be going in the same direction to some extent depending on how they do domains.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Premise

I'm basically a fan of 4E (but an even greater fan of 13th Age), although most of my experiences with D&D pre-4E would be in the form of CRPGs.  I've done some research on 0E, and there's this one campaign I'm playing under that's using a 2E/3E hybrid system (kudos to the GM, who is effectively able to utilize both THAC0 and 3E mechanics simultaneously during combat), but overall I can't say much on pre-4E D&D out of experience, merely out of observation.

Skipping 1E and 2E entirely due to complete lack of knowledge on the systems, while I'm basing my knowledge of 0E purely on reading.

Likes

0E


  • Rules-light.  Lots of space for just about anything.


3E


  • Lots of player options


4E


  • Rules simplification and unification


    • Say what you want about the non-AC defenses, the "attacker always rolls" did help both simplification-wise and feel-wise IMHO


  • Almost non-existence of rules outside combat, with encouraging advice from Player's Strategy Guide on dealing with non-combat elements

  • Easy to read and reference

  • Easy reimagining with little conflict from rules


    • Basically allowing you to take the customization offered by 3E, without having to get to level X with class A at level F, class B at level G and class C at level H, and all other min/maxing requirements 


  • Removing exclusivity of healing from the cleric

  • Granting fighters actual class features, as opposed to "feats you can only take if you have levels of Fighter... as well as extra feat slots, hit points and proficiencies"

  • Rich, rich fluff** in the form of


    • Power sources


      • not exactly executed that well, but interesting nevertheless


    • Flavor text for every power in the game 


      • if there are 9000+ powers in the game, that's 9000+ lines of flavor text [that apparently everyone ignores because they think 4E *must* be played without the fluff text taken into consideration (then complains that there's not enough fluff)]


    • New content other than what has been written and almost word-for-word re-written within 2-3 editions prior to it


      • I like how the 4E Eberron books actually reference players/DMs to 3E Eberron books for inspiration especially on existing lore; no need to re-print or re-purchase if you have the existing books

      • I actually like what they did to the Great Wheel and Cosmic Alignment




Dislikes

0E


  • Can't actually be called a system off the bat, requires a very firm GM, and is still for the most part a wargame (Chainmail) with roleplaying (D&D) as an add-on.

  • Racial limitations, class limitations, uneven EXP progression, antagonistic(?) expectation of play [probably a holdout on Chainmail]


3E


  • Heavy encouragement of "system mastery"


    • Too. Many. Options.  Needed thorough sifting through to make sure you're not getting a redundant and inferior "older" option

    • Feat trees

    • The existence of "trap options" within the option bloat

    • Spells that allowed spellcasters to do even better than mundane characters... but without the pre-3E restrictions on magic


      • And whatever restrictions were in place, could be removed with the right multiclassing/prestige class options



  • Heavy rules-interaction with non-combat elements


    • Over-specialization of skills in particular is a great irk of mine, although thankfully the fact that Acrobatics and Athletics can be used to improvise a lot in our 2E/3E game gives me reason to take lots of points in both of them



4E


  • Skill challenges as written


    • Although with enough personal tweaks it was still awesome nevertheless


  • Skills weren't breaking the mold well enough.


    • Still stuck to 3E-style skills, even though there already was encouragement to use them in unconventional ways


      • 13th Age completely focuses on the "encourage skill use in unconventional ways" without the mandatory "+5 if you're trained"



  • Forced to use same AEDU interface.


    • NOTE: The way I see it, 13th Age and D&D Next both hide the 4E AEDU system under a myriad of subsystems, allowing a semblance of balance without forcing everyone to use the same interface


      • 13th Age doesn't suffer from "must follow D&D tradition" and thus has an easier time utilizing what would be considered  blasphemous, like significantly changing spells (e.g. turning Knock into a cantrip, changing spells to follow AED or some other variants depending on how powerful the spell is) and reimagining classes into what seems both thematically and mechanically appropriate, such as Barbarians being simplified and Fighters raised in complexity (with Rogues perhaps as the most complicated martial class in the system, as appropriate I guess).

      • D&D Next has some interesting stuff to show as well, but unless the devs really work at it, the worry of the return of tier 1 classes still remains, given how there are a couple of strong spells already, such as Hold Person.



  • Combat was a separate game altogether


    • Too many conditional stuff to track [which I believe is a holdover from 3E]


  • Overpowered leaders as a whole


    • Making someone spend healing surges for non-magical or partially magical healing I get.  Allowing magically augmented mundane healing to pop a man from dying to nearly full almost at-will, in addition to surgeless healing?  And that's the "weakest" sort of leader mind you; enabling was the real monster in the room (see: Killswitch).


  • Overall customer service.  Mentioned countless of times:


    • Intentionally talking down of previous system**

    • Rushed releases instead of quality products


      • Large amounts of errata that should've been caught pre-release


        • AFAIK the playtesters did catch the errors, the devs just didn't act on them




  • Overextensive change in Forgotten Realms history


    • I like the concept of Faerun evolving after 20+ years of gaming history, but there's something about having to force 100 years between pre-4E and 4E Faerun lore that disturbs me


      • I miss Mystra.




** I think that what really happened with 4E is that while the mechanics and design were wonderful -- I think I've already pointed out in at least one other discussion that, contrary to popular belief, 4E has quite a rich amount of fluff, just not one laden with mechanics or specific details -- the aesthetics that traditional D&D had was violated so many times in both the actual game content and how WotC in general treated their existing 3E player base (you know, the ones that didn't leave 2E and 1E because of the changes made to D&D by 3E), that a company that offered an aesthetically faithful yet somewhat improved system was effectively sitting on a gold mine.
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Oddly, more than a few of these things are on both the like and dislike lists.  

Just big stuff, no details.


AD&D

Likes:

- Classes feel simple.  
- Few choices makes choices easier to make, each class is forced to be broader to compensate.
- Magic items have random, often mysterious effects.
- There's a table for everything.
- Lack of CR or Monster level makes the world seem more "natural" and less pre-planned.
- Lack of pre-set rules for common and/or obvious actions lets us make them up.
- Bad art.  So bad.  I know people knew how to draw in the 70's, don't try to tell me they didn't.

Dislikes:

-Classes are overly simple.
- Classes fail to be broad enough to compensate.
- Magic items have random, often mysterious effects, often even mysterious as to what the text means.
- there's a table for everything, especially things there shouldn't be a table for.
- Lack of CR or monster level makes presenting the PCs with an even challenge difficult.
- Lack of pre-set rules for common and/or obvious actions makes me make them up/rely on someone to make them up.
- Bad art, like, so bad.

3.5: 

Likes:

- So much choice.  A rule for everything you'd ever want to do or be.  Sometimes more than one rule.
- Magic is over the top.
- Attempts at CR/wealth by level

Dislikes:

- A rule for everything, but most of them sucked.
- Wild imbalance.  Just everywhere.  It makes most choices into effective non-choices.
- Magic is over the top, to the degree where I don't like to play non-casters in this edition.
- CR doesn't work well.
- NPCs use PC rules.  Total black mark, for me.
- DMing this edition is the hardest. 

4e

Likes:

- Balance.  Finally a large degree of the choices are real choices.
- Common rules language.  Made houseruling so easy.
- Combat got more interesting.
- Encounter building system largely works!
- System is transparent, easy to swap stuff out.
-  NPCs use their own rules.  Magic feels magical again!

Dislikes:

- Designers were too careful and sterile.  Many things could have been done that weren't, and some things that were done could have been done better.
- Encounter building system needed better advice along with it.
- Errata was often poorly implemented.
- Feats needed to go.
- Out of combat balance still sorely lacking
- Some changes seemingly made for the sake of change.
- Changes from ealier editions caused a flood of annoying gripers/nubs.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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