Edition-less DnD?

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When you play Dungeons and Dragons, how closely do you stick to the specific rules of the edition? Personally, I find myself not referring much to the books or rules, rather, I just try to put out a great adventure for my players.

I've been a PC in 3, 3.5, and 4, but I didn't see much of a difference. Sure, I wasn't scrutinizing the different core rulebooks, I was just playing to have a good time without putting much thought into it.

I guess the reason why I bring it up is that I am starting a new group in my new home town. Of course, those familiar to the game are curious to what edition I will be DMing. Well, I have the 3rd edition books? And I use them to reference monsters and such? But I don't really think how I DM fits into any specific edition.

What is your take on this style of DMing? Is it similar to what you do, or is it "wrong"?

Thanks,
Dungeon Hobbit
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When you play Dungeons and Dragons, how closely do you stick to the specific rules of the edition? Personally, I find myself not referring much to the books or rules, rather, I just try to put out a great adventure for my players.

I've been a PC in 3, 3.5, and 4, but I didn't see much of a difference. Sure, I wasn't scrutinizing the different core rulebooks, I was just playing to have a good time without putting much thought into it.

I guess the reason why I bring it up is that I am starting a new group in my new home town. Of course, those familiar to the game are curious to what edition I will be DMing. Well, I have the 3rd edition books? And I use them to reference monsters and such? But I don't really think how I DM fits into any specific edition.

What is your take on this style of DMing? Is it similar to what you do, or is it "wrong"?

Thanks,
Dungeon Hobbit


Right on Dungeon Hobbit! 

My preference is to apply the "Pirate's Code" to D&D: the rules are more guidelines, really. That said, once we have an established rules set, I stick to it consistently and impartially (except in those cases where we get into territory the rule don't cover...about once a session for us ;) ).

With your players, they probably are that thinking about the sorts of characters they can make in edition X. If you can honestly answer "any character, any edition" then yes, you have miraculously found edition-less D&D! And let me know how you did it! Otherwise, it's probably safest just to pick the edition you all are most familiar with.
I'll follow the rules I know, but I won't spend time arguing them or correcting people or figuring things out, so I do a fair amount of handwaving.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I don't really stick the guns on things too badly. I've let players max their hit dice and skill points in 3.x, and have let players from my 4e games made checks that were suppose to be standard actions as move or minors because their idea sounded cool.

Way I see it, the old DMG adage of "the rules as they are presented are just a guideline" is the only rule any DM really needs to bother with.
In first edition AD&D, I think rules were mostly ignored, wholesale, once you got to 2nd you could possibly play it by the rules. 1e and 2e were complicated but not very complex. I found that 3.x was at once both complex and complicated, with a massive amount of modifiers and feats and monster feats and special abilities, and things that give me headaches everytime I think about it.  I personally found 4e the easiest edition to run according to the rules, as long as everything happens outside during the daytime. 

For a fudgy DM, I think Classic Rules Cyclopedia D&D is the easiest to work with. It is so simple, it can't break.  
Mad Scientist
I'm currently running a 4E game, the group operate within the rules mostly. I don't stop the game to check rules, players can check things out if they like but I keep the adventure moving. I might check rules after a game session, but otherwise that's about it.
those familiar to the game are curious to what edition I will be DMing...I don't really think how I DM fits into any specific edition.

What is your take on this style of DMing? Is it similar to what you do, or is it "wrong"?

"Right" or "Wrong" depends on your group (but the first sentence above makes it sound like it's likely wrong for those players). Some points:
- The rules are mainly for the players (since the DM can already do anything).
- The rules afford the players some measure of consistency, control and knowledge of their world.
- The players often rely on (and trust in) the DM to know these rules and follow them.
- The various editions of D&D are completely different rulesets.
- Following multiple different rulesets is effectively akin to not having rules.

Well I play and DM 4e and know the rules back to front.  Didn't spend a ton of time memorizing them but I sort of absorb stuff like rules sets ect.  I generally tend to follow the rules unless I want to make an exception as a DM, 4e is exception based so I sort of just feel free doing that.
Well I play and DM 4e and know the rules back to front.  Didn't spend a ton of time memorizing them but I sort of absorb stuff like rules sets ect.  I generally tend to follow the rules unless I want to make an exception as a DM, 4e is exception based so I sort of just feel free doing that.

Good point. Especially with monsters, I feel like I can have them do whatever I want, without having to "build" them out of a set of rules.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I guess the reason why I bring it up is that I am starting a new group in my new home town. Of course, those familiar to the game are curious to what edition I will be DMing. Well, I have the 3rd edition books? And I use them to reference monsters and such? But I don't really think how I DM fits into any specific edition.

What is your take on this style of DMing? Is it similar to what you do, or is it "wrong"?



Well as long as your players are having fun, there's no wrong way to DM, but there's no real way to divorce D&D from edition.  If you're using 3E books magic is still better than your character class and 9th level spells are still better than rulebooks.  Players will make classes from the rulebooks, and bring them to your table.  I agree DMing style is almost system agnostic - what you are doing does not heavily depend on what system you are using, but it's still nearly impossible to divorce the edition from the game.

As a simple thought experiment, I walk into the room.  I listen to your game, look at your table, see what you're doing.  If I can guess what edition you're using within 5 minutes, then you're not edition agnostic.  And I guarantee I can except maaayyyybbeee 1E/2E (if the 2E is very, very basic and uses no non-core stuff, which is extremely uncommon at this point - it's been a reasonably long time since I interacted with either 1E or unmodified core 2E) or 3E/Pathfinder (and that's because those two are the same damn thing)
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