Guide for Choosing Path?

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Greetings All  -

Is there a guide available that can help a newbie choose which D&D path to take?  (eg. PathFinder, 3.5, Encounters, 4E ....)

In particular, looking for a clear definition of pros and cons for each split of D&D there is available.

Thanks! 
I really dislike 4E. I find that there's little real variation between different classes in the same "role," the system is less interesting to tweak, skills were almost overcondensed, and the few with combat roles were removed entirely, skill challenges don't work (though I believe a "fixed" mechanic was introduced later in its run,) and every class was made too similar in the means by which it functioned.
It does have some good mechanics and ideas, but they're easy to pilfer for 3.5 or Pathfinder, so I don't find it worth slogging through the gameplay itself for them. Essentials looked slightly better, but I never tried it and have no interest in it.
However, combat can be described as tactics based, and somewhat interesting due to the options possessed by the player characters, though I find that the PCs are less at risk than they should be and that 3.5 requires more tactical and (unlike 4E) strategic thought, while offering classes with even more options.

I have a strong preference for 3.5. Martial adepts, psionics, Incarnum users, and spellcasters all use different, interesting systems, and can each be built to the same tier of optimization without much difficulty. The multiclass system is far superior, and allows you to create a greater variety of character concepts. Yes, the edition is "broken." (Technically, it's not truly broken, as that implies unplayable. Unbalanced is a better term.) But it's enjoyable to mess with the mechanics and try to fix it, and easy to avoid the truly overpowered or underpowered options. Players also benefit from more versatile characters. I'm playing a melee sorcerer right now, for example, who still has ranged firepower to some extent, mobility, and options to help in social situations.
Pathfinder is sufficiently similar to 3.5 that I'm not really going to comment on it.
However, if you don't know what you're doing, it's very easy to make a rather weak character (though inexperienced GMs and players work pretty well with that.)

EDIT: Oh, and technically, we're not supposed to talk about D&D here. Off-topic for the forum, or something.
Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Resident Invisible Man Lurker in the House of Trolls A Testament to My Glory
I think Ragnar has done a fine job demostrating why a guide for such thing would be very flawed, everyones biased, obviosly Ragnar likes 3.5, so obviously hes going to tell you thats the way to go, I like 4e so id tell you to go with it, but honestly, the only real way that you would know is to play them all, and hell why limit yourself to D&D, theres lots of other quality role playing games out there,
Pretty much, yeah. I freely admit to bias. The best way to decide is to play both main editions still talked about long enough to decide whether you like them or not. If neither, Fantasy Flight Games has some very solid systems too.
Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Resident Invisible Man Lurker in the House of Trolls A Testament to My Glory
Not only is he biased, he's wrong; 4e is awesome with it's clear definitions and streamlined encounter creation and managment, they just take a tad too long
I started with an love 3.5 but have done a bit of 4e and played a bit of Pathfinder.

3.5 has option. Metric pig-tons of options. But, even in core only, there is tons of difference in balance between classes. 1-3 fighters, clerics, barbarians, and paladins are supreme. 4-8 is pretty evenly balanced. 9+ prepared spellcasters beat everyone and don't even have to try. Wizards, Clerics, DRUIDS, and Archivists are rediculous late game and noncaster classes are useless. Look up the tier lists and reasoning behind placement to see why. Also, it is the easist to pirate. It might be harder to pick up physical books. Furthermore, there's a spell or mechanic for everything.

4e is very tactics based and focuses less on the mechanics for roleplay. "How does the necromancer raise dead?" "'Cause he can." This is both a pro and con. Also, the classes are more balanced, but individual roles all play the same in the end: defender, melee striker, tanky striker, ranged striker, aoe controller, debuff controller, and leader. Combat is very tactical, if abit safe using core (I increase monster HP and damage. Monsters don't hit hard enough.). Books are rather easy to come by physically but I haven't seen pirate copies yet. Oh and the monsters are cool.

Pathfinder is a more "patched" 3.5. More options for classes, less "dead levels" and simplified mechanics. Wizards, Clerics, and DRUIDS (just remove druids from 3.5 and Pf they're rediculous) are gods at high level as per usual. It s easiest to find the core book and beastiary at any bookstore and you can find all the information from every Pathfinder book online (legally) at their own SRD wiki thingy.

D&D Next can be downloaded from WotC and looks legit. Haven't played it yet but I've heard it said to be a more streamline, balanced 3.5. with 3.5 characters and4e monsters

Overall, I like 3.5 as it has the most stuff and it's easy enough to go "Yeah, that's degenerate let's remove that." 4e is pretty balanced, but has fewer options and makes a close second in my book.

Also on a tangent, the 4e Empire won the first and second Edition Wars and wiped out the 3.5 survivors during the last war  (although I think only one person on the 4e side actually liked 4e).
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

Not only is he biased, he's wrong; 4e is awesome with it's clear definitions and streamlined encounter creation and managment, they just take a tad too long


Well, this isn't the D&D Next playtest forum, so I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree. 
Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Resident Invisible Man Lurker in the House of Trolls A Testament to My Glory
Well, this isn't the D&D Next playtest forum, so I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree.


Id say start off with 1e and work your way up from there. Just skip over the BECMI crap.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
Id say start off with 1e and work your way up from there. Just skip over the BECMI crap.


Don't listen to him, BECMI was better than 1e.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Elves as a class!? no way man!
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
Shut Up!
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
I wish someone had said that to the person who suggested 4E.
Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
Its better than 3.75e
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
Its better than 3.75e

Want to try again? ;)

Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
If you insist, Its better than 3.75e
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
If you insist, Its better than 3.75e

Your grammar, much like your assumption, is still wrong.

Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
your the last person who should be complaining about grammar, mr. I let my cat type my posts for me.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
The best game to start with is whatever the GM wants to run. 
Resident Over-Educated Ivory-Tower Elitist [You don't have the Need-to-Know for that, citizen]
your the last person who should be complaining about grammar, mr. I let my cat type my posts for me.

I tell them they have terrible grammar as well. I don't think they care. Still, the fact remaind that your post was incorrect... in more than just grammar.

Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
Its a proven scientific fact that 4e is better than D&D 3.75 aka Pathfinder.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
oh I dunno scientists have been proven full of it before.......
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
Its a proven scientific fact that 4e is better than D&D 3.75 aka Pathfinder.

Were those Alex Jones approved scientist?

Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
I bet they were the ones that J Edgar Hoover payed off
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
Its a proven scientific fact that 4e is better than D&D 3.75 aka Pathfinder.

Were those Alex Jones approved scientist?




Alex Jones approved scientists all play Pathfinder, I thought everyone knew that.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
Its a proven scientific fact that 4e is better than D&D 3.75 aka Pathfinder.

Were those Alex Jones approved scientist?




Alex Jones approved scientists all play Pathfinder, I thought everyone knew that.


So even they don't like 4E, huh?
Nut Eating Resident Sociopathic Eye Forker 2346-strong Squirrel leigon of DOOM Squirrel Overlord of the House of Trolls Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke "I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs." ~ Chael Sonnen It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! ~ Upton Sinclair Kicked Adam and Eve out of Missouri. Wears flip-flops in church buildings. Official troller of Kolob.
This is not a trapp
My temple name is Elohim. What is your super-secret temple name?
Riddle me this
How can two people with physical bodies make spirit babies?
*Two points about this gag. Firstly, every writer of anything makes typos and I’m no different. It’s “there but for the grace of God go I” rather than schadenfreude here. The second is something called Muphry’s Law (no, it is Muphry’s, not Murphy’s) which states that any piece correcting or laughing at a typo, spelling or grammatical mistake will contain at least one worse than the original being complained of.
They don't because they're not right in the head
You can't really have a guide for that...
Personally, I think 4E is boring but that's my opinion. If you are just starting out and do not want to shell out money for something you are unsure about I'd start playtesting DDN or using PF since both are available free right now. PF through their legal srd and DDN through this site. Then if you enjoy it- you can buy it.  
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
They don't because they're not right in the head



but are anyof us right in the head
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
There is only one method to answer that inquiry.
You can't really have a guide for that...
Personally, I think 4E is boring but that's my opinion. If you are just starting out and do not want to shell out money for something you are unsure about I'd start playtesting DDN or using PF since both are available free right now. PF through their legal srd and DDN through this site. Then if you enjoy it- you can buy it.  



You can also get D&D 3.5 for free via its online SRD.  It's missing some stuff (like beholders) but all you need to play is there.

And everyone knows 4e is boring.  Some people just like boring for whatever reason.  The rest of us play stuff that isn't D&D Bore E.  Cuz we like games that aren't boring.  ;)
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

They don't because they're not right in the head



but are anyof us right in the head


Seeing how many people here claim 3.x is superior to 4e, I'd say most aren't
You can't really have a guide for that...
Personally, I think 4E is boring but that's my opinion. If you are just starting out and do not want to shell out money for something you are unsure about I'd start playtesting DDN or using PF since both are available free right now. PF through their legal srd and DDN through this site. Then if you enjoy it- you can buy it.  



You can also get D&D 3.5 for free via its online SRD.  It's missing some stuff (like beholders) but all you need to play is there.

And everyone knows 4e is boring.  Some people just like boring for whatever reason.  The rest of us play stuff that isn't D&D Bore E.  Cuz we like games that aren't boring.  ;)


I didn't mention it because I am not sure if it is a legal source or not.... lol. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
I didn't mention it because I am not sure if it is a legal source or not.... lol. 



Heh.    I assure you it's legal.  Wizards put it out there.    It's part of the OGL.  What's there is really the basics of the d20 system but with some D&D flavah.  It's legal because it's supposed to be used by anyone who wants it.  To play, to develop, to whatever.  Wizards ain't like that no mo'.  ;)
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I didn't mention it because I am not sure if it is a legal source or not.... lol. 



Heh.    I assure you it's legal.  Wizards put it out there.    It's part of the OGL.  What's there is really the basics of the d20 system but with some D&D flavah.  It's legal because it's supposed to be used by anyone who wants it.  To play, to develop, to whatever.  Wizards ain't like that no mo'.  ;)


Ah. I wasn't sure since I only used it once or twice, lol. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
I love 3.5.
I like 4e.
I'm "eh" on  Pathfinder.
D&DN looks ok. 
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

I love 3.5.
I like 4e.
I'm "eh" on  Pathfinder.
D&DN looks ok. 


I haven't played D&DN but I've played 3.5, 4e and PF. Out of those I've liked PF the best, honestly. I'd like my group to playtest but no one seems interested until its completed. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
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