Which edition would be best for me?

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I'm looking into playing D&D but I'm not which version my friends and I should learn/play. We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly. I think we'd be more into the actual roleplaying and having fun than worrying too much about numbers. I don't know if one edition is better for that than the others or not. I hear that 4e is pretty simple when it comes to the roleplaying (outside of combat) and exploring but has a lot of extra rules for combat. Also, that it doesn't have as much customization that 3.5 has like being able to choose any skills instead of being limited to class only skills. I also read that 3.5 has more rules when it comes to outside of combat. I've read/heard quite a bit about each edition but I don't know if everything is true or not. I was hoping that you guys could help point me in the right direction. For my group, it'll come down to mainly having fun and not stressing too much about the rules. We'll probably have more fun outside of combat (if combat is really strict) like doing puzzles and exploring. Even so, we will be interested in the combat aspect but we don't want it to be too confusing for us. 

Tbh you can have just as much fun playing any edition because I don’t think that one edition is more “role play” focused then the others.


IMO you should start with 4e, It is simple and your DM can choose to ignore any complex rules and just mainstream things; ex if you all are doing something the DM can’t find a rule on, he/she can always just make you do a DC check of a random skill and keep the game going.


DnD is very Fluid, and it allows DMs to use the rules which work and chop the ones that don’t.


That being said I like 3.5 as well, simply due to the huge mass of content the player has to play with in character creation which I feel is slightly lacking in 4e; But I at the same time feel for new players that the rules in 4e are Easy to understand (Anyone who takes an hour or so to read over the phb can pretty much get the general idea)


Also I found when I started that watching youtube videos of gameplay helped me understand how some things work and other didn’t

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

I'm looking into playing D&D but I'm not which version my friends and I should learn/play. We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly. I think we'd be more into the actual roleplaying and having fun than worrying too much about numbers. 



try labyrinth lord, it is a free clone of the old '81 basic/expert d&d sets. it is very rules-light and easy to learn

goblinoidgames.com/docs/GBD1001_no_art.z...
I would suggest Fate Core, it is free and seems to be something you might like,  It is low on numbers.
I'm looking into playing D&D but I'm not which version my friends and I should learn/play. We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly.

"Essentials" is prettymuch made for you, then.  Start with the "Red Box" starter set and go from there.  

Don't pay any attention to the 'edition war' debates over 3.5 vs 4e, it's a bunch of nerdrage that only matters to people who have played the game forever and want something to fight about besides whether dwarven women have beards (they don't) or how much damage katanas should do. ;)  For a new player, Essentials is prettymuch ideal.  It gives you much of the functional game play of 4e, while introducing more of the traditional D&D tropes than core 4e did.  

If there's a place hosting it in your area, you can also start with D&D Encounters.


 

 

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I'm looking into playing D&D but I'm not which version my friends and I should learn/play. We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly. I think we'd be more into the actual roleplaying and having fun than worrying too much about numbers. I don't know if one edition is better for that than the others or not. I hear that 4e is pretty simple when it comes to the roleplaying (outside of combat) and exploring but has a lot of extra rules for combat. Also, that it doesn't have as much customization that 3.5 has like being able to choose any skills instead of being limited to class only skills. I also read that 3.5 has more rules when it comes to outside of combat. I've read/heard quite a bit about each edition but I don't know if everything is true or not. I was hoping that you guys could help point me in the right direction. For my group, it'll come down to mainly having fun and not stressing too much about the rules. We'll probably have more fun outside of combat (if combat is really strict) like doing puzzles and exploring. Even so, we will be interested in the combat aspect but we don't want it to be too confusing for us. 


Well first off your asking this on the wrong forum. This is a horrible place to ask about which edition to play . Try the "Whats a Player to Do Forum".

Personally I prefer playing 3.5 (Pathfinder runs a lil better IMO). 

But lets go into what you said about each thing:

 "I hear that 4e is pretty simple when it comes to the roleplaying (outside of combat) and exploring but has a lot of extra rules for combat." 

Well this is true to some degree. While 4e has almost no rules that support Roleplaying out anything outside of combat, Roleplaying does and can happen with the proper DM. Yes you are right 4e combat is very rigid. It has many rules and limits you to only using powers and a small handful of maneuvers. Not to mention no called shots (Darn you 4e!). But honestly exploration and Roleplaying is group dependent not game. I've seen 3.5 games be boring slug fests.n And 4e does have a longer combat chapter but it is easier for new people to understand.


 " Also, that it doesn't have as much customization that 3.5 has like being able to choose any skills instead of being limited to class only skills"

 
This is true. 3.5 does let you choose any of the available skills for your character even if they aren't class related. Though you can take feats in 4e that allow you to train in other skills. Not to mention 3.5 has over double the amount of skills.


"I also read that 3.5 has more rules when it comes to outside of combat."

This is also true. 3.5 has many more rules for things outside of combat. The skills are a big one. But don't let that be a turn off from 4e really. 4e had a simple design philosophy, create and simple Roleplaying game that is fun with friends and doesn't bog people down with rules. And thats exactly what it does. 4e doesn't have rules for outside of combat things because it follows a free form Roleplaying design.

Conclusion:


  • 3.5 has more rules for things outside of combat from skills, spells, class abilities, etc. As well as more character customization options mainly because of Multiclassing and the wide variety of spells and weapons. Though I prefer 3.5. I will tell you 3.5 is not easy for beginners to just pick up and play. It requires lots of memorization in order to remember the massive amount of rules. 

  • 4e has more rules for in combat things mainly because nearly every power your character will have is combat related. 4e supports what its good at the most, and that's combat Though combat is lack more complex maneuvers like sundering and disarm. It still is very tactical. 4e also doesn't have rules for RP and many out of combat scenarios. It makes it easier on players because all the have to do is Roleplay their characters and not worry about a certain rule popping up. 



And to be honest I would completely ignore Froths suggestion. Very few people play OD&D. Its easier to find 4e and 3.5 players. Not to mention many rules in the older editions seem to contradict themselves.


 

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

And to be honest I would completely ignore Froths suggestion. Very few people play OD&D. Its easier to find 4e and 3.5 players. Not to mention many rules in the older editions seem to contradict themselves.


 



He's already got a group together. Did you not bother to read his post? He also asked for simple...not what is currently the most popular edition. The rules I linked are also completely free, so the entry point is simpler as well.

PS-Please show me some of the "many" contradictory rules in Labyrinth Lord. Surely if you are going to open your mouth and tell someone to ignore my suggestion, you will be able to back up your claim here. I personally doubt that you have ever even read it.


"Essentials" is prettymuch made for you, then.  Start with the "Red Box" starter set and go from there.  

For a new player, Essentials is prettymuch ideal.  It gives you much of the functional game play of 4e, while introducing more of the traditional D&D tropes than core 4e did.


On the other hand, if the group he's starting is new to D&D as a whole, I'd recommend going with the PHB & PHB2 over Essentials because it's far more intuitive (everyone advances similarly, same resource structure, et cetera) if you don't have the old edition baggage weighing you down.

Its also the version with more actual options to it, and customizability of characters was mentioned by the OP as something they desired.

My recommendations for people who are brand new to D&D (or RPG's in general) would be to pick up the Fourth Edition Player's Handbook (and the Player's Handbook 2 if you can afford it since it really rounds out the major fantasy archetypes), the 4E Dungeon Master's Guide (easily the best guide for new DM's that's ever been written) and the Essentials Monster Vault (as its an all-around improved version of the Monster Manual).
And to be honest I would completely ignore Froths suggestion. Very few people play OD&D. Its easier to find 4e and 3.5 players. Not to mention many rules in the older editions seem to contradict themselves.


 



He's already got a group together. Did you not bother to read his post? He also asked for simple...not what is currently the most popular edition. The rules I linked are also completely free, so the entry point is simpler as well.

PS-Please show me some of the "many" contradictory rules in Labyrinth Lord. Surely if you are going to open your mouth and tell someone to ignore my suggestion, you will be able to back up your claim here. I personally doubt that you have ever even read it.




Are you sure YOU read my post? I said OLDER editions not just OD&D. 1e is the greatest offender mainly because of Gary's way of writing, 2e because of the massive amount of if your DM likes this rule type thing. OD&D is probably the most comprehensible of all pre-3e D&D games. Especially the Moldvay sets, and Mentzer sets.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

To the OP, your question is like asking Nascar fan which brand of car is the best.  You could start fist fights.  Everybody has an opinion, they all stink.


If you want to find the best edition for you, you need to try them out. And more than once.  Download the playtest, try it.  Download some free OD&D clones.  Check out D&D Encounter and try 4E.  See if you can find someone that will let you sit in on some 3.5 or Pathfinder.


The most likely answer is the the edition you like will be more effected by the people you play with than by the mechanics of the game. 


TjD

For my group, it'll come down to mainly having fun and not stressing too much about the rules.

I'd recommend D&D Next. It seems like the right edition for you. And even if not: it's probably the best place for you to start since it's free, relevant to other editions, and will probably be around for awhile.

Oh yeah: if you can, try out a public D&D game at your local game store.

For my group, it'll come down to mainly having fun and not stressing too much about the rules.

I'd recommend D&D Next. It seems like the right edition for you. And even if not: it's probably the best place for you to start since it's free, relevant to other editions, and will probably be around for awhile.

Oh yeah: if you can, try out a public D&D game at your local game store.




Really no. A playtest with everchanging rules for beginners? Worse place to start you can pick.

Once it's done, that's another matter. 
I'd recommend D&D Next. It seems like the right edition for you.

Really no. A playtest with everchanging rules for beginners? Worse place to start you can pick. Once it's done, that's another matter. 

- The playtest is actually far enough along that they're not planning much changes to the core.
- Stuff outside of core is still in flux, but beginners shouldn't really go outside of core anyway.
- the core is definitely solid enough for players that aren't much concerned about rules (like the OP)
- the core it actually has more playtesting now than previous editions.
- chances are good that the gamestores in the OP's area are only running D&DNext public events now.
- as mentioned: it's free.
- any D&DNext knowledge he obtains will probably be more future-proof than other knowledge (even if it does undergo some changes).
Geez. I was going to suggest Castles & Crusades (very simple D&D clone), but I remembered the terrible equipment chapter and how confusing it can be for, well, pretty much everyone... I'm gonna agree with frothsof's suggestion.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.

- The playtest is actually far enough along that they're not planning much changes to the core.
- Stuff outside of core is still in flux, but beginners shouldn't really go outside of core anyway.
- the core is definitely solid enough for players that aren't much concerned about rules (like the OP)
- the core it actually has more playtesting now than previous editions.
- chances are good that the gamestores in the OP's area are only running D&DNext public events now.
- as mentioned: it's free.
- any D&DNext knowledge he obtains will probably be more future-proof than other knowledge (even if it does undergo some changes).



- They have just announced a major overhaul of the Fighter in the last L&L article. There you go.
- There is no 'core'. There is Basic, Standard and Advanced, but they have not been defined and separated yet.
- At the moment the current packet is more complex than the 4E Red Box. 
- The number/quantity of playtesting is irrelevant for the sake of this topic.
- Gamestore games are not a factor since the OP has his own group. 
- It's free, so there is no harm in giving it a look anyway.     
- You are assuming all D&D players will definitely have to make the switch to DDN. That is in no way necessary. 


goblinoidgames.com/docs/GBD1001_no_art.z...



Thanks for the link, I just checked it out and it looks like a great old school BECMI clone. While my preferred edition is 4e, I also really enjoy the older editions. Based on a quick read, Labyrinth Lord seems to capture the play style of those early games and I bet it would be a lot of fun to play. I'm going to run it with some friends next week to give it a try. Thanks!
"Essentials" is prettymuch made for you, then.  Start with the "Red Box" starter set and go from there.  

For a new player, Essentials is prettymuch ideal.  It gives you much of the functional game play of 4e, while introducing more of the traditional D&D tropes than core 4e did.


On the other hand, if the group he's starting is new to D&D as a whole, I'd recommend going with the PHB & PHB2 over Essentials because it's far more intuitive (everyone advances similarly, same resource structure, et cetera) if you don't have the old edition baggage weighing you down.

While I agree with you on those points, two things mitigate them.  First, Essentials, and, particularly, the "Red Box" are written and organized with new players in mind, so though the rules they contain may be slightly less intuitive they are presented in a friendlier manner.  Second, as much as I dislike the fact, D&D is trending back towards its old "baggage" burdensome though it may be, and new players will need to start getting used to it.  Essentials eases you into the absurdities and imbalances of D&D tradition more gingerly than 3e (or other prior eds) does or 5e/Next is likely to.

Its also the version with more actual options to it, and customizability of characters was mentioned by the OP as something they desired.

Also true.  But, since Essentials and 4e are compatible, adding 4e core materials after plumbing the limits of Essentials remains an option.  More likely, though, before they've done everything they want to with Essentials, the next edition will be on the store shelves, and it promises to be highly customizeable.

My recommendations for people who are brand new to D&D (or RPG's in general) would be to pick up the Fourth Edition Player's Handbook (and the Player's Handbook 2 if you can afford it since it really rounds out the major fantasy archetypes), the 4E Dungeon Master's Guide (easily the best guide for new DM's that's ever been written) and the Essentials Monster Vault (as its an all-around improved version of the Monster Manual).

I think that's an excellent article for a determined first-timer who won't be put off by jargon.  4e core books are written more like reference manuals than introductory material, that's really the only thing that makes them less than ideal for a new player.  If you can get past the presentation, you're right, the rules really are very solid, consistent, and intuitive compared to other versions of the game, Essentials included.

 

 

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BTW:  Playtest rules would be the absolute worst place to start.  Even mentioning the playtest is doing a dis-service to a curious new player.  I'm running the playtest rules right now, at Encounters, and they are not anything I would want a first time player to form his impression of the hobby with.  The session opened with an unintended character death on the first round of the first combat, and went down hill from there.  My players were all experienced and were good sports about it, but a new player could have been put off the whole thing in the first 10 minutes...  

The 'right' place to start is with the current standard, and that's Essentials.  You'll find it on the shelves of stores that carry D&D product, it's the flagship.  It's not even arguably the best version of D&D ever, but it's current.

 

 

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 I would recommend tring out the various free versions and the 4th ed sample and see what you like.

 I do not know where the 4th ed sample link is but here is the Pathfinder PRD if you want to have a look at that. Its basically 3.5 and free.

paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/

 I would recommend an older clone thats is free or the 4th ed sample to try if you have never played D&D before. Keep it simple. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

4th edition is the easiest for the DM.  3rd edition is the hardest for the DM, but most fun for the powergamer munchkin players.  1st/2nd edition is the loosest and is a very unsatisfying ruleset mechanically, but because of that, if you prefer to just make stuff up and your players are cool with the fact that any given situation will be pretty much made up on the spot and may not be the same next time, then thats the edition that doesnt get into your way.

Personally - I recommend 4th ed, because when you start, it is difficult to go wrong if you just stick with the rules - but once you get the hang of why it works, well - it is a role playing game just like everything else is, so you are always free to add and change what ever you want to make it 'your game'  The much more solid mechanical foundation of 4th edition lets you build on it in a stable and sustainable way, rather than just being arbitrary.

your own personality and that of your group is the biggest influence though.
4th edition is the easiest for the DM.  3rd edition is the hardest for the DM, but most fun for the powergamer munchkin players.  1st/2nd edition is the loosest and is a very unsatisfying ruleset mechanically, but because of that, if you prefer to just make stuff up and your players are cool with the fact that any given situation will be pretty much made up on the spot and may not be the same next time, then thats the edition that doesnt get into your way.

Personally - I recommend 4th ed, because when you start, it is difficult to go wrong if you just stick with the rules - but once you get the hang of why it works, well - it is a role playing game just like everything else is, so you are always free to add and change what ever you want to make it 'your game'  The much more solid mechanical foundation of 4th edition lets you build on it in a stable and sustainable way, rather than just being arbitrary.

your own personality and that of your group is the biggest influence though.


That's a fairly biased post ya got there. 

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

4th edition is the easiest for the DM.  3rd edition is the hardest for the DM, but most fun for the powergamer munchkin players.  1st/2nd edition is the loosest and is a very unsatisfying ruleset mechanically, but because of that, if you prefer to just make stuff up and your players are cool with the fact that any given situation will be pretty much made up on the spot and may not be the same next time, then thats the edition that doesnt get into your way.

Personally - I recommend 4th ed, because when you start, it is difficult to go wrong if you just stick with the rules - but once you get the hang of why it works, well - it is a role playing game just like everything else is, so you are always free to add and change what ever you want to make it 'your game'  The much more solid mechanical foundation of 4th edition lets you build on it in a stable and sustainable way, rather than just being arbitrary.

your own personality and that of your group is the biggest influence though.


That's a fairly biased post ya got there. 



If anybody would know ...
4th edition is the easiest for the DM.  3rd edition is the hardest for the DM, but most fun for the powergamer munchkin players.  1st/2nd edition is the loosest and is a very unsatisfying ruleset mechanically, but because of that, if you prefer to just make stuff up and your players are cool with the fact that any given situation will be pretty much made up on the spot and may not be the same next time, then thats the edition that doesnt get into your way.

Personally - I recommend 4th ed, because when you start, it is difficult to go wrong if you just stick with the rules - but once you get the hang of why it works, well - it is a role playing game just like everything else is, so you are always free to add and change what ever you want to make it 'your game'  The much more solid mechanical foundation of 4th edition lets you build on it in a stable and sustainable way, rather than just being arbitrary.

your own personality and that of your group is the biggest influence though.


That's a fairly biased post ya got there. 



If anybody would know ...


I would know.

I recognize every edition for what they are worth. Can you say the same? 

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 



There are certainly a few choices and sub-choices. IMHO go with something that is currently in print. Your choices then devolve down to 3 basic paths, OSR, Pathfinder, and 4e. OSR is a pretty broad category of both free and non-free clones or reinterpretations of various older D&D editions. Labyrinth Lord, and Chivalry and Sorcery are two the more well-known and well-regarded OSR games. LL is basically a rewrite of Moldvay Basic/Expert circa 1983 from what I can tell, and C&S is a somewhat loose rewrite of AD&D, mostly 1e era material I believe. LL is going to be a fairly simple straighforward game, probably the simplest thing you can get that can reasonably be called D&D.

Pathfinder is basically 3.5 with some minor tweaks and revisions. There is a Beginner's Box version of this game that you can purchase which, while still a fairly complex rule set, is not too drastically hard to figure out and is obviously designed to appeal to new players. It includes various useful things. 3.5 in general is a pretty complex game, the character building rules, magic, etc are pretty involved, but you don't have to understand all of the details to make usable characters and play it. One drawback of 3e in general is that the game expects the DM to build NPC characters and monsters up in much the same way PCs are, which can lead to a lot of DM overhead if you design your own material. OTOH if you run modules it isn't so much of an issue, though a lot of page flipping in books can happen once you get up a few levels.

You obviously have 2 choices with 4e, PHB1/2/3 etc 4e and the softback Heroes of... Essentials books. There is also a free PDF containing the Keep on the Shadowfell module and a slightly error-laden set of beginner rules that cover levels 1-3 or so for some PHB1 characters. Its usable as an intro, or you can buy a Red Box, which has a more revised but similar set of stuff in it (a solo adventure that guides you into making an Essentials style character and leads into a level 1-2 adventure). Honestly whatever people say about 4e in general it is a bit easier system to use than PF in general. Combat in both of these games is "on the grid" and uses roughly similar rules. 4e's version is a bit more polished but also a bit more elaborate. What it adds in figuring out precise rules text it makes up for in being far less ambiguous. Outside if combat it gives you a simpler but equally powerful general system for resolving success/failure, plus a "skill challenge" system, which is somewhat tricky to use well, but can be pretty interesting once you get the hang of it. If you just use the Essentials books (the DM's kit and Monster Vault come with extra adventures, maps, etc) you can play through several levels and have good fun.

Any of these are fun options. No doubt there are other less mainstream possiblities too.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Hopefully the OP heeded my warning to ingore edition wars & warriors, but for anyone who enjoys such...

Show
4th edition is the easiest for the DM.  3rd edition is the hardest for the DM, but most fun for the powergamer munchkin players.

Not that 3.5 is easy to DM, but it's not any harder than 1e or 2e.  Hard in different ways, perhaps, such as...  
1st/2nd edition is the loosest and is a very unsatisfying ruleset mechanically, but because of that, if you prefer to just make stuff up and your players are cool with the fact that any given situation will be pretty much made up on the spot and may not be the same next time, then thats the edition that doesnt get into your way.

As you acknowledge, some of us like to play fast and loose with the rules, or even extensively modify them.  1e, in particular, is written with the assumption that you'll do so, but all editions acknowledge that they can't /stop/ you... ;)  Anyway, while it can be fun to play with older rule sets, it's not /easy/ by any stretch of the imagination.

Personally - I recommend 4th ed, because when you start, it is difficult to go wrong if you just stick with the rules - but once you get the hang of why it works, well - it is a role playing game just like everything else is, so you are always free to add and change what ever you want to make it 'your game'  The much more solid mechanical foundation of 4th edition lets you build on it in a stable and sustainable way, rather than just being arbitrary.

Trying to assimilate the whole of 4e, both the PH/DMG/MM 'core' books, and Essentials, would not be that easy.  Essentials is meant to be a starting point, so makes a pretty good one.  I'll agree that 4e has the more "solid mechanical foundation," though.

your own personality and that of your group is the biggest influence though.


That's a fairly biased post ya got there. 

No more so than yours, Felorn, just in the other direction.  He obviously doesn't share your love of 3.5, nor your prejudice against 4e.

Personally I prefer playing 3.5 (Pathfinder runs a lil better IMO).

Yes, your bias is quite obvious.

But lets go into what you said about each thing:

 "I hear that 4e is pretty simple when it comes to the roleplaying (outside of combat) and exploring but has a lot of extra rules for combat." 

Well this is true to some degree. While 4e has almost no rules that support Roleplaying out anything outside of combat, Roleplaying does and can happen with the proper DM.

This is false.  4e has a structured system for the DM to use in designing non-combat challenges, and is the first version of D&D to do so.  It thus has /more/ support for out-of-combat play than any prior version of the game.  

"Support for Roleplaying" is a fuzzy concept, at best.  

Some games - and D&D has never, in any edition, been one of them - do include whole sub-systems that act as hooks to 'spark' RP or character background.  Examples would include Interlock's "life path," 13th Age's "Icons," large portions of the FATE system, Hero & GURPS disadvantages, and so forth.  D&D has at best flirted with this sort of things.  2e Kits and 4e Backgrounds being examples of the game's timid forays.


Yes you are right 4e combat is very rigid. It has many rules and limits you to only using powers and a small handful of maneuvers. Not to mention no called shots (Darn you 4e!).

4e actually has fewer, and more consise combat rules than 3e.  In part, that's because 3e munges non-combat and 'flavor text' in with its combat rules.  In part it's because 4e uses fewer and simpler sub-systems.  

As to it 'limiting' you to what is actually detailed in that tighter system, well, I can't imagine that you are unaware of the 4e DMG's "page 42" which gives actual and quite flexible rules for improvising actions, but, as I don't want to assume that you are intentionally and maliciously lying, I will point out that it is there and encourage you to actually read it, and henceforce, refrain from displaying such complete ignorance.

And, fwiliw, "Called shots" are at best an optional variation in earlier versions of D&D, including 3.5, AFAICR.  

 " Also, that it doesn't have as much customization that 3.5 has like being able to choose any skills instead of being limited to class only skills"

 
This is true. 3.5 does let you choose any of the available skills for your character even if they aren't class related. Though you can take feats in 4e that allow you to train in other skills. Not to mention 3.5 has over double the amount of skills.


3.5's skill-rank system keeps a character from being good, or even remotely competent, at most skills, and penalizes you for taking out-of-class skills.  4e does have 'class skill' at chargen, but you can acquire out-of-class skills at no penalty, and level adds to all skills, so adventurers are broadly competent in most of the things adventurers do, at all levels.  In 3.5, the realities of the rank system make most characters at least capable of attempting untrained or out-of-class skills at low level, but diverging to idiot-specialists at high level, when the gulf between trained and untrained or in- and out- of class skills is so extreme that the party can only pass a skill related challenge if the apropriate skill specialist is available (or a spell caster has the right spell prepared or in a wand to obviate the entire challenge).


"I also read that 3.5 has more rules when it comes to outside of combat."


This is also true. 3.5 has many more rules for things outside of combat. The skills are a big one. But don't let that be a turn off from 4e really. 4e had a simple design philosophy, create and simple Roleplaying game that is fun with friends and doesn't bog people down with rules. And thats exactly what it does. 4e doesn't have rules for outside of combat things because it follows a free form Roleplaying design.

This is false.  4e is the first version of D&D to have any structured, useable, rules for out-of-combat challenges.  These "Skill Challenge" rules were rough and mathmatically flawed in their first itteration, FWIW, but the final version (two or three cycles of errata in) works quite well, and allows DMs to design non-combat challenges with level-apropriate difficulty and exp awards, and resolve them using the rules, themselves, instead of having to improvise systems or use player knowledge to muddle through. 

What 4e 'lacks' and 3.5 had a few of, are rules for non-adventuring tasks and non-adventuring skills.  3.5, for instance, has rules that let you devote character creation resources to being able to make a living as a cobler or lawyer or teamster or ballerina.  Ironically, any non-adventuring skill gives you the same income check, whether you're making baskets or jewelry.  :shrug:   4e has a tighter list of skills suited to the adventuring of the heroic fantasy genre, and, where a skill is "lacking" the assumption is that it is 'bundled' into the closest adventuring skill.  Making a clock, for instance, would fall under 'thievery,' since that skill includes picking locks, and thus, covers the understanding and manipulation of small, precise, mechanical devices.



 

 

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Ignore the edition warriors. AbdulAlhazred had some good advice. Try out the free 4th ed material or the free Pathfinder material or try out one of the free retro clones if you want something very basic. THere should be enough to try before you buy that will not cost you a penny.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Hell, I'll just cut right to the chase.  4th is best.  Arandor gave some pretty good reasons that I happen to agree with.

And no, I don't apologize for being biased toward 4th.  I'm biased toward recommending 4th because I've played all editions and I like 4th the best.  Nothing wrong with that.

If it turns out you try 4th and don't like it, hey, it's just a game and you can try something else.  I've had fun playing ALL editions of D&D, and Pathfinder and 13th Age and Labyrinth Lord and all sorts of other non-fantasy RPGs.  But I think it says something (I don't know what) that after 30 years of RPGs, 4th is my favorite so far.

Good gaming!

(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)


Yeah, if only 13th Age was available in print, I'd have recommended it. Only a few more months to go, I think. It's a very rules-light and modern version of D&D fantasy, which sounds perfect for this group.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)


Yeah, if only 13th Age was available in print, I'd have recommended it. Only a few more months to go, I think. It's a very rules-light and modern version of D&D fantasy, which sounds perfect for this group.

Yes, the ETA on 13th Age is now April.  I preordered, which is something I have never done for an RPG before.  Got the pdf version of it and what I like about it is that it solves several of the problems that 4e (option bloat, combat speed) had while still being very 4e-ish.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)


Yeah, if only 13th Age was available in print, I'd have recommended it. Only a few more months to go, I think. It's a very rules-light and modern version of D&D fantasy, which sounds perfect for this group.

Yes, the ETA on 13th Age is now April.  I preordered, which is something I have never done for an RPG before.  Got the pdf version of it and what I like about it is that it solves several of the problems that 4e (option bloat, combat speed) had while still being very 4e-ish.



Agreed. We were involved in the playtest and are now playing a 4E/13th Age hybrid right now. Classes and general rules are 4E, but Bakgrounds, Icon Relationships, Escalation Dice and TotM Combat are 13th Age. It's working great for us.
 No preview options for 13th Age?

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

 No preview options for 13th Age?



None yet. I've asked the question on their forum and got this answer.

Free RPG day is mid June anyway, but the game should be out in April. 
Alternatively by preordering you get access to the final draft sent to print. I did and didn't regret.
(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)


Yeah, if only 13th Age was available in print, I'd have recommended it. Only a few more months to go, I think. It's a very rules-light and modern version of D&D fantasy, which sounds perfect for this group.

I just got to play 13th Age at DunDraCon, and it is pretty decent.  It still needs some work, and, like 5e, seems more like its pulling back from 4e than evolving from it.  I just can't reccomend it for the same reason I'd warn a new player from the 5e playtest, because it's not a finished system yet.  

 

 

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I just got to play 13th Age at DunDraCon, and it is pretty decent.  It still needs some work, and, like 5e, seems more like its pulling back from 4e than evolving from it.  I just can't reccomend it for the same reason I'd warn a new player from the 5e playtest, because it's not a finished system yet. 



It's interesting, for me 13th Age propagates radially from 4e: in some ways it moves backwards (deliberately) in other it moves forward. Overall as a game I still prefer original 4e, by an inch, but at the same time I prefer 13th Age to Essentials. Thanksfully hybriding 4e and 13th comes quite easily and organically.
(Incidentally, right now, my 2nd favorite RPG is 13th Age.  Go figure, it's very similar to 4e.)


Yeah, if only 13th Age was available in print, I'd have recommended it. Only a few more months to go, I think. It's a very rules-light and modern version of D&D fantasy, which sounds perfect for this group.

Meh, I was in 13a playtest. I think its a decent game, but I think it lacks some of the better points of 4e. Certainly the rules for PCs abilities are a lot less transparent and easy to use than those in 4e. I mean a 13a Bard is using 4 different 'power' systems (I have the same criticism of DDN's Cleric amongst others). Both games have a nice intent of speeding up playing through encounters and allowing some more abstract play (though personally I like 4e's combat), but I think both games are missing the boat in other ways. It is definitely worth trying out 4e and learning how it plays in contrast to either of the newer games.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Well, if the OP had said "I want to play D&D, which version do you think I should go with" I would have said 4e. Instead, he said...

We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly. I think we'd be more into the actual roleplaying and having fun than worrying too much about numbers.



"Not worrying about numbers" sounds to me like not particularly caring about the tactical maneuvering that 4e excels at in combat, and 13th Age eschews.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
     My preference is 4e, but I have always found that the game played by everybody else is the superior choice because you get to actually play the game.  [You talk about a new group, but some of you will want to play in other groups at times, and you will find it easier to recruit players [which you will likely need to at some point] if you use the popular system.]
     That probably argues for Pathfinder [D&D 3.7 or so].
Well, if the OP had said "I want to play D&D, which version do you think I should go with" I would have said 4e. Instead, he said...

We're going to be leaning more towards the casual side because we'll only play it occasionly. I think we'd be more into the actual roleplaying and having fun than worrying too much about numbers.



"Not worrying about numbers" sounds to me like not particularly caring about the tactical maneuvering that 4e excels at in combat, and 13th Age eschews.

Yeah, I dunno. I think 4e is a good game not to worry about numbers in. You will have fine usable characters and you can just play. The DM can simply go crazy and add whatever nutty things they want to the game and it is very hard to break. Its also true that you can get quite wrapped up in numbers in 4e if you want, and some people will get sucked into that. You can also have a boring time building 1e-style heavily static crawl-type exploration games. DDN or 13a are more likely to avoid the problems with an exploration game. OTOH neither of them is as simple mechanically for the player. 13a also adds some more explicit narrative type elements to the game, which is interesting. I still want consistent class/monster mechanics, it was just simple. I also thought the crunching things down to 10 levels in 13a was a bit extreme.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
OTOH neither of them is as simple mechanically for the player. 13a also adds some more explicit narrative type elements to the game, which is interesting. I still want consistent class/monster mechanics, it was just simple.



Speaking as someone who has DM'd 4E since it came out in June of 2008 and as someone who has run 13A for four different groups (two playtest one-shots and two ongoing campaigns currently), I find these claims about 13A...... well, interesting, to say the least.
OTOH neither of them is as simple mechanically for the player. 13a also adds some more explicit narrative type elements to the game, which is interesting. I still want consistent class/monster mechanics, it was just simple.

Speaking as someone who has DM'd 4E since it came out in June of 2008 and as someone who has run 13A for four different groups (two playtest one-shots and two ongoing campaigns currently), I find these claims about 13A...... well, interesting, to say the least.

13A definitely has some 'fuzzy' mechanics, and the way classes work is not as consistent as 4e.  In that sense, it's not as simple as 4e, though that sense is not as easy to pick up & play, more than in the sense of not as complex.  13A definitely has strong narrative (narrativist?) elements, like Icons and Backgrounds.  Icons are easily ignored if you don't feel the need for them - they remind me of Hero System "Watched" and "Hunted" disads.  

Backgrounds, though, made me nervous: they're player-defined/DM-interpreted, so there's a lot of room for dissapointment and/or conflict over how often they work.  5e Backgrounds and 13A Backgrounds both determine your characters skills, but where 5e at least gives definitions of which skills and what each skill can be used for, 13A drops all that in the GM's lap.  One player says "I'm a Locksmith" and another says "I'm a Thief," the GM lets them both add their background to lockpicking, but the Thief also adds his to sneaking around, picking pockets, running confidence games, and circumventing traps.  Another GM might also let the locksmith make clocks, wheelock pistols, and  traps (all things locksmiths /did/ at some point in history), and keep ledgers, deal with guild politics, and the like - but that's still not as much adventuring stuff as the traditional 'thief' might get.  Too fuzzy.  5e at least avoids the worst of that with its take on Backgrounds.  


 

 

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13A definitely has some 'fuzzy' mechanics, and the way classes work is not as consistent as 4e.  In that sense, it's not as simple as 4e, though that sense is not as easy to pick up & play, more than in the sense of not as complex.



13A is *MUCH* easier to learn to play than 4E. At my very last 4E campaign, I still had players (some of whom, by the way, had been playing it since 2008) confused about how the Fighter's combat challenge works, whether a warlock's curse supercedes a defender's mark, who took close to 5 minutes every turn even at 1st level juggling the 7+ combat options (including basic attacks and action points) every non-Essentials character has. The only real question I have had about 13A that comes to mind is about icon relationship rolls and thats because the players were not accustomed to that type of narrativist mechanic.

4E was a great game and I had a good time running it for 4 years, but its major failing was that it assumed every player needs to be a tactician that can juggle over a half-dozen power cards each and every combat scene. That, in my opinion, is the one reason we often heard complaints of "combat takes too long" or "the game is all about combat". If you have a group that understands tactics and makes effective use of teamwork, 4E combat runs pretty fast and smooth and gives the table enough breathing space to focus primarily on the story. If your group doesn't fit that mold, however, combat quickly devolves into a grindy boardgame experience that feels like some kind of minigame within the RPG itself. This is one of the reasons they provided simpler options with the Essentials releases --- because, while I personally don't have a problem being a power card juggling tactician (and am pretty half-decent at it), a lot of players can't (and won't) wing it and need other options.        

The main issue I have with 13A is "simple" vs "complex" is a class choice, rather than a build choice (DDN has this problem, as well). However, there is enough flexibilty and creativity within character building in 13A (as well as the advice of "swapping out" talents between classes if it fits your concept and your GM says yes) that this is far less of an issue in 13A than it is in most versions of DnD. Also, because of backgrounds and icon relationships even the "simple" classes have a TON of opportunities to take narrative control of a scene.

Honestly, I think some of you have internalized 4E's mechanics so thoroughly from years of play that you have trouble understanding how they actually look to casual players or complete newcomers to the hobby. A lot of the rules interactions and synergies can get very very complicated really quickly. 13A mechanics, by contrast, tend to have a much more organic and narrative feel ("I move nearby to the the orc and do X") without having to juggle through long lists of power cards, class skills, action points, geometric blasts, and a dozen different conditions.  

Backgrounds, though, made me nervous: they're player-defined/DM-interpreted, so there's a lot of room for dissapointment and/or conflict over how often they work.  5e Backgrounds and 13A Backgrounds both determine your characters skills, but where 5e at least gives definitions of which skills and what each skill can be used for, 13A drops all that in the GM's lap.  One player says "I'm a Locksmith" and another says "I'm a Thief," the GM lets them both add their background to lockpicking, but the Thief also adds his to sneaking around, picking pockets, running confidence games, and circumventing traps.  Another GM might also let the locksmith make clocks, wheelock pistols, and  traps (all things locksmiths /did/ at some point in history), and keep ledgers, deal with guild politics, and the like - but that's still not as much adventuring stuff as the traditional 'thief' might get.  Too fuzzy.  5e at least avoids the worst of that with its take on Backgrounds.



Backgrounds are absolutely Not A Problem if the GM embraces the spirit of 13A (Say Yes and Fail Forward) and you avoid the antagonistic relationship that typically defines older editions of DnD. I have yet to have an argument about backgrounds with any of the four groups I've run the game for.

13A's backgrounds also have the advantage over DDN's approach in that they are an opportunity for the player to assume some narrative control over the campaign world. One of my paladin's backgrounds was "Veteran of the Goblin War +2". See, I didn't know there was a Goblin War in my campaign world, but guess what? Now there is.

FYI, "thief" and "locksmith" are both really really really lame backgrounds for a 13A game and the rulebook encourages GMs to guide players into coming up with really interesting and evocative ones. "Middle-ranking member of the Neverwinter Thieves Guild" and "Apprentice to Dwarf King's Chief Locksmith" are much better ones that took me all of 10 seconds to think up.        

Then again, if you absolutely *have* to have the rules detail to you *exactly* what you can do at all times (something I never even embraced even when I ran 4E --- I was a skill challenges, rule 42, terrain powers kinda DM), then no game that involves shared storytelling or narrative collaboration will really be the scratch for your gaming itch. That includes 13th Age.
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