Where D&D Went Wrong IMHO.

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Over the last few months I have spent a little bit of time play testing D&DN, playing Pathfinder and even a few games of 2nd ed. It is hard to define where D&D went wrong but I think I have found the main catalyst for what happened. Much like the 20th century World War II may be the popular event but the cataclysm that shaped the 20th century was really WWI as it created problems that lead to WW2, the cold war and the Wall Street Crash of 1929.


It would be hard to pick the exact moment but I think I have narrowed it down to the main problem of D&D and what actually did go wrong. Almost everything that is wrong with D&D right now ultimately leads back to this event.


That event was......


The release of 3.0 in 2000. Now do not get me wrong as 3rd edition is my favorite edition overall even though I can admit I like 2nd edition as well. 3.0 was the edition that started the ball rolling however which ultimately lead to the 3.5/4th ed edition war and the rise of Pathfinder. Anyway I found an interesting quote in the 2nd ed DMG (1995 page 45).


"Reducing a character to a list of combat modifiers and dice rolls is not role playing"


That is a insult that has been directed at 4th ed but one could make the argument for 3rd ed as well. Just to be clear I do not think 2nd ed is the be all and end all of D&D either. In 2000 2nd ed was getting dated and I do not miss level limits, THACO, and racial restrictions on classes at all. 3rd ed was also popular and still is via Pathfinder but consider.


1. The splat book spam started with 3.0. 2nd ed had a few as well but they often focused on fluff and they were spread over 11 years. I would argue that 3.5 and 4th ed suffered from the weight of their own bloat.


2. There was a large shift towards player entitlement. 3rd ed was very easy to create magic items for example. Pathfinder and 4th ed both continued this trend and if you thought magic items were overpowered in 3rd ed and boring in 4th ed this is a consequence of that decision. A quick trip to the 3rd and 4th ed char op boards quickly reveals the assumptions about acquiring magical items and if the DM doesn't give them to you they are not that hard to acquire. There were power builds in 2nd ed as well (dart grand master+dual wield+ gauntlets of ogre power/girdle of giant strength). 4th ed put the magic items in the PHB, not the DMG.


3. Partly related to point 2 but 3rd and 4th both suffered from a a lack of quality adventures and splat books were heavily focused on player mechanical benefits- feats, prestige classes, powers etc. They let Paizo which at the time stat printing Dungeon Magazine. This would later come back to bite WoTC in the butt but they were basically to lazy or unmotivated to make good adventures based on profit. PLayer crunch sells better, starve the DM.


4. Boxing up the game. 2nd ed made no real assumptions as to what type of game you would play. The DMG was full of fluff and tidbits of history in regards to what equipment was available based on things like tech level of the campaign world. It was not assumed that the world was high or low magic and 2nd ed had lots of optional rules and campaign settings with variants in it. 3rd ed assumed a somewhat high magic world with things like magic mart while 4th ed went further and added creatures with supernatural abilities in the core rule (Eladrin, Dragonborn). The fragmentation of the player base probably has something to do with this approach IMHO.


5. Losing the "feel" of D&D. 2nd ed books have aged quite well and one can still mine them for ideas. They were fluff heavy and even educational as they often used real life examples from history in the core books. The 2nd ed fighters handbook is still quite enjoyable to read 24 years after it was printed. Being honest how much fun is it to read the Complete Warrior or Martial Power just for fun? The style changed due to a focus on mechanics.


6. Mechanics (again). The major problem of the transition from 2nd ed to 3rd ed was CoDzilla. Put simply they buffed the heck out of spell casters, removed restrictions they had on them, nerfed the fighter (used to have great saves, could move and full attack) and then to top it all off let them advance at the same rate as other classes. 3.0 was fundamentally broken right out the door, 3.5 tried to fix this. Pathfinder still has issues around this and 4th ed attempted to fix it but arguably in the wrong way and alienated the player base.


In conclusion the change over from 2nd to 3rd ed I think was the main catalyst for most of the problems in modern D&D. This is not to say that 2nd ed sits on a pedestal as the definitive version of D&D just that they could have done things better. Scuttlebutt on the forums once upon a time indicated that 3rd ed was not play tested at higher levels and 3.0 haste slipped through anyway. We have had 3 major versions of D&D since 2000, 4 if you count Pathfinder, 5 if you count D&DN. In the same time frame as 1st eds existence (1977-89, although it remained in print during the transition to 2nd ed) we have had 4 versions of D&D. WoTC broke D&D back in 2000 and have been trying to fix it ever since.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I totally agree with just about everything

2e had flaws that 3.0 corrected (up-scaling maths, racial and level restrictions to classes, some clunky mecanics) but it opened the door for a different kind of game. (not better, not worst, just different)
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2. There was a large shift towards player entitlement. 3rd ed was very easy to create magic items for example. Pathfinder and 4th ed both continued this trend and if you thought magic items were overpowered in 3rd ed and bring in 4th ed this is a consequence of that decision. A quick trip to the 3rd and 4th ed char op boards quickly reveals the assumptions about acquiring magical items and if the DM doesn't give them to you they are not that hard to acquire. There were power builds in 2nd ed as well (dart grand master+dual wield+ gauntlets of ogre power/girdle of giant strength). 4th ed put the magic items in the PHB, not the DMG.


I don't think that's a matter of player entitlement.  I think it's a natural outgrowth of the magic items being pre-built into the math of the game.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

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If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.
The metagame is not the game.
If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.


I sort of agree, but to me the main difference was that they were just that: options. Which is cool, everyone likes options.
starting with 3e, that kind of play was core: it was THE way to play the game
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You underestimate the influence of other RPGs at the time. I played D&D alot up until 2E, at that point the drive for customized rules was fierce, so when I picked up a copy of GURPS my abiltiy for a flexible rule system was satisfied. I am sure there were other games at the time. But when we were bored with GURPS we started playing 3.5, because it added more choices for play. However, soon enough I had met my limits for supporting a complex game system as a DM, so 4e was the next stage. It allowed me to DM, but also allowed my friends to have a turn, where they would never consider it before.

But one thing 4E failed to follow through on was creating adventures, and it was very difficult for third parties to get involved once WOTC limited access to digital tools. There are good third party 4E supplements but the digital barrier could not be penetrated. And the last straw was to limit the digital tools to online use.
Customized rules are fine but you do not need spell DCs to be as high as they were in 3.0 or spells like 3.0 Haste or the natural spell feat.

 I do not expect perfect balance but both 3.5 and 4th ed were designed as reactions to problems in 3.0 and 3.5.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I have stated that before in reference to the basic version of 5E addressing the 1e/2e crownd, and standard bringing in concepts from 3E/4E and the blood curdling concepts from all editions can be addressed in advanced. Basically an attempt to re-address 3E and 4E in relation to previous editions. I don't even attempt to address the term balance because it is very subjective.  
Customized rules are fine but you do not need spell DCs to be as high as they were in 3.0 or spells like 3.0 Haste or the natural spell feat.

Part of me wants to place the downfall of 3E squarely on the universal ability modifier in general, and single-stat spellcasters in particular. The AD&D wizards really could have used something that correlated strength of the spellcaster with the difficulty of the save, and they could have used more spells per level, but tying everything into Int meant that a high-Int wizard was quadratically stronger - more spells and harder to resist, and they scaled much faster than expected since people were starting with Int well above the expected 15.

Even something like 3.0 haste wouldn't have been so bad, as long as spells had remained a limited resource, and those spells had more reasonable saves.

But, I digress.

The metagame is not the game.
Yeah, pretty much.

       
Fluff into Crunch and handling it poorly.

D&D didn't "go wrong", It handled making mechanics out of story elements poorly.

Many RPGs, CCGs, and strategy games handled turning the narrative aspects into gameplay mechanics very poorly. Poor conversions. Unbalanced conversions. Blindness to metagame. Inflexible or rigid design. Etc etc.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Customized rules are fine but you do not need spell DCs to be as high as they were in 3.0 or spells like 3.0 Haste or the natural spell feat.

Part of me wants to place the downfall of 3E squarely on the universal ability modifier in general, and single-stat spellcasters in particular. The AD&D wizards really could have used something that correlated strength of the spellcaster with the difficulty of the save, and they could have used more spells per level, but tying everything into Int meant that a high-Int wizard was quadratically stronger - more spells and harder to resist, and they scaled much faster than expected since people were starting with Int well above the expected 15.

Even something like 3.0 haste wouldn't have been so bad, as long as spells had remained a limited resource, and those spells had more reasonable saves.

But, I digress.




 Yup I lean towards the 2nd ed saving throws. Have a fixed DC of 20, fighters get +4+3/+2 or something like that and +1 every 2 levels. Basically give them the best saves in the game. To gain wepaon specialistation in 3rd ed the fighter had to spend more resoureces on it (2 feats vs 1 w/p) and lost the extra attack and could only complete it at level 4. 

 I think saves are still to high in D&DN. HP inflaiton and better saves would still allow 3.5 scaling damage spells but without the mass save or die effect of fireball in 2nd ed.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Whenever alignments appeared.
Whenever alignments appeared.


You never really liked that game did you ?
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com

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Whenever alignments appeared.


You never really liked that game did you ?

Not the "head games" of trying to figure out what the guy at the end of the table behind the little cardboard wall considered to be "Whatever Whichever", no.

Whenever alignments appeared.


You never really liked that game did you ?

Not the "head games" of trying to figure out what the guy at the end of the table behind the little cardboard wall considered to be "Whatever Whichever", no.



Alignments have been a part of D&D since forever. 

But there will always be DM who think they have to use the rules in non-fun ways
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
Whenever alignments appeared.


You never really liked that game did you ?

Not the "head games" of trying to figure out what the guy at the end of the table behind the little cardboard wall considered to be "Whatever Whichever", no.



Alignments have been a part of D&D since forever. 

But there will always be DM who think they have to use the rules in non-fun ways


aka as the game tells you top use them.
Whenever alignments appeared.


You never really liked that game did you ?

Not the "head games" of trying to figure out what the guy at the end of the table behind the little cardboard wall considered to be "Whatever Whichever", no.



Alignments have been a part of D&D since forever. 

But there will always be DM who think they have to use the rules in non-fun ways


aka as the game tells you top use them.



True, alignments had strange rules around them, but they were easily ignored since until 3e rolled along, alignments never really had a mecanical impact on the game (unless your DM was really anal-neutral, and insisted you lost exp for acting differently than the alignment you chose)
all those rules called for DM ruling, guess it made sorting good from lousy DM easier
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
You are right in that it was 3rd Ed but your listed reasons are wrong. The mistake was OGL. It was a complete disaster for Wizards. Wizards reactiotn to the failure of OGL led to 4th ed. Which led to OGL & 3rd ed fan backlash against 4th Ed and the creation of Pathfinder.  And the 4e hate causes Wizards to create dnd next.
I still don't believe or understand those who don't get that 3rd Edition was a BIG deal.

It REALLY divided the community and left as many (if not, possibly, more) walking away as the 3.5 to 4th split.

But, yeah.

3rd Edition had issues.

And 4th had issues.

But I absolutely, totally, reject the claim that D&D has ever "gone wrong".           
D&D went wrong when there was a choice of too many similar feats and powers.
It also went wrong when the math became too high and there was only an average of about 2 encounters per game session.

The solution is to have fewer yet more unique and powerful powers.
Another solution is to reduce the math while still keeping the feeling of character advancement and differences and shortening combat.

But combat needs to be shortened while still allowing monsters to be powerful and threatening.
There's another point that I think you've overlooked (or at least failed to mention) about the release of 3rd edition that was, in my opinion, the game's biggest step in the wrong direction.

Basic to Advanced to 2nd edition were all somewhat gradual changes. The rules were different, but not THAT different. It was conceivable - in fact it was downright practical - to take an adventure written for 1st edition AD&D and use it with almost no conversion in a 2nd edition game. Even converting Basic to 2nd edition was almost trivial.

That was a huge advantage for 2nd edition, because it meant that the new edition was only building upon the foundations of an already popular game. Everything that came before was still useful and relevant. But 3rd edition presented a radically different ruleset. Whether those rules were better or worse than what came before, the new rules were entirely incompatible with the old rules. This wasn't building on the existing game, it was throwing away the existing game and creating a new one.

Though I have no personal experience with 4th edition, I know enough to feel confident saying that the same thing happened with that edition. It wasn't a natural evolution of the previous edition, it was a completely new game.

And of course, that is what 5th edition will be - a totally new game. But at this point I think we're too far down that road to turn back.

Maybe after 5th edition we can get off that destructive path of burning our old game to the ground and starting over every few years. Maybe this will be the new foundation of rules that evolve over the years, but without making the past obsolete. Probably not, but it's a nice thought. 
 I wasn't going to go there Quasadu. ALot of 3rd ed was kind of trialed out in the players option books. They did put alot of effort into making the transition smooth though.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

 I wasn't going to go there Quasadu. ALot of 3rd ed was kind of trialed out in the players option books. They did put alot of effort into making the transition smooth though.



Personally I think that if they had just stuck with what was in the PO books and refined it a bit (because let's face it, the PO books were all just kind of slapped together from Dragon articles, except for maybe Spells and Magic; that book was tight) that would have been a great 3rd edition. Where they went wrong was messing with the fundamentals - the underlying combat math, the saving throws, the skill system, the way that ability scores worked, switching from roll-under to DC-based checks... that kind of thing. Those are the things that made third edition incompatible with previous editions.

Of course this is all my opinion only, if that needs to be pointed out.
Well some people still want a proper sequal to 2nd ed. I like he higher is always better part but I liked  d20 better in non D&D settings being honest. d20 modern/future, SWSE.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.   

 


PLayers Option books were named wrong. They should have been called DMs options but I suppose they wanted to sell them to as many people as possible.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

PLayers Option books were named wrong.


That's an interesting theory.  One could go that way or one could also consider that maybe they were appropriately named as they were intended to be players' options.  From my perspective: 2e was the edition I played where I experienced the most instances of "petty tyrant" DMs (note, I also had one of the best DMs I ever had in 2e, and I used him as a model when learning to DM), and giving players options might have been a backlash against that kind of behavior.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.


Isn't every option an option the player has to get the DM to allow?  IDK of any edition that said DMs have to allow every available option.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.


Isn't every option an option the player has to get the DM to allow?  IDK of any edition that said DMs have to allow every available option.





My experience has been when playing with a meetup group or at the gaming store or at a convention.  In general, it is the player's choice barring severe criticism from other players. 
Personally, I think "Character's Option" would have been the most accurate name.


Whether the DM or the player chooses which character options are available is up to the table.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.


Isn't every option an option the player has to get the DM to allow?  IDK of any edition that said DMs have to allow every available option.



My experience has been when playing with a meetup group or at the gaming store or at a convention.  In general, it is the player's choice barring severe criticism from other players. 


All my gaming has been with friends and/or friends-of-friends.  Heck, I've actually never been to any kind of convention.  And even if I did, I'm a bit too shy to actually RP in front of people I just met.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.


Isn't every option an option the player has to get the DM to allow?  IDK of any edition that said DMs have to allow every available option.



My experience has been when playing with a meetup group or at the gaming store or at a convention.  In general, it is the player's choice barring severe criticism from other players. 


All my gaming has been with friends and/or friends-of-friends.  Heck, I've actually never been to any kind of convention.  And even if I did, I'm a bit too shy to actually RP in front of people I just met.



The difference regarding rules is incredible.  (Again, just going off my own experience.)  When I have a homebrew campaign with friends, it's so easy to decide rules, pick a setting, choose races, etc.  That has been true for all 25 years I've gamed.  No matter what the homegroup, it's just been easy.  I think I've always been blessed that way, lucky to have good friends that are great players and DM's.

Outside the good friends bubble, it is a different world.  Incredibly different world!  In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if that's the reason some of us view the game, and therefore rules, differently.  It would certainly be neat to see what side of the fence everyone is on, and then see where they lie on certain rule debates.   
@Mechapilot: I bet you would show up at a convention and suddenly realize how great a player you are.  That's my guess. 
Well some people still want a proper sequal to 2nd ed. I like he higher is always better part but I liked  d20 better in non D&D settings being honest. d20 modern/future, SWSE.



I think the 2e rules needed fixing and I was very happy with 3.5e when it first came out.    Many of the problems like xp charts and some of the mechanics were fixed.     On the other hand 3e did introduce a number of changes that I just couldn't get behind (PrCs, multi-classing, spell changes, magic item creation, etc)  

3e wasn't bad, but it all changed with the internet.   The worse thing I recal was the 3e forums on the WoTC website.    At one point they moved all the discussions about character optimization to another thread because it just wasn't welcome in the general forums, as most gamers frowned on min/maxing and/or treated them as mild diversion not to be taken seriously.   Later on in 3.5e's lifecycle the designers started to cater to that crowd.   They gave the min/maxers exactly what they wanted and negleted the game itself.     At that point the new books stoped being about D&D as a whole and became more focused on min/maxing.   Naturally, the min/maxers found ways to break the game and then complained about their own inventions (CoDzilla).   Sadly, these guys were serious and the rules lawyers supported them.   In the end, they demanded a system that could not be broken and reduced the DM to a cog in the mechanics.    

 


My experience has been when playing with a meetup group or at the gaming store or at a convention.  In general, it is the player's choice barring severe criticism from other players. 


All my gaming has been with friends and/or friends-of-friends.  Heck, I've actually never been to any kind of convention.  And even if I did, I'm a bit too shy to actually RP in front of people I just met.



The difference regarding rules is incredible.  (Again, just going off my own experience.)  When I have a homebrew campaign with friends, it's so easy to decide rules, pick a setting, choose races, etc.  That has been true for all 25 years I've gamed.  No matter what the homegroup, it's just been easy.  I think I've always been blessed that way, lucky to have good friends that are great players and DM's.

Outside the good friends bubble, it is a different world.  Incredibly different world!  In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if that's the reason some of us view the game, and therefore rules, differently.  It would certainly be neat to see what side of the fence everyone is on, and then see where they lie on certain rule debates.   


Yeah.  Might make for an interesting poll/thread.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

@Mechapilot: I bet you would show up at a convention and suddenly realize how great a player you are.  That's my guess. 


IDK.  I generally play characters of the opposite gender.  That doesn't go over so well with a modest but not insignificant number of people.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

If player entitlement is a problem, then I would have to say that started no later than the Player's Option series of books, in late 2E.



Not really, the players option books were options for the DM's game.  They never became player entitlements.   Alternative spell casting, initative rules, critical hits, battlefield concepts, seige warfare, unarmed combat, etc were options that the DM had to allow.    They realy didn't give the character anything new.   Most of the options in those books simply provided alternative rules or expanded upon existing ones.


Isn't every option an option the player has to get the DM to allow?  IDK of any edition that said DMs have to allow every available option.



The options in the Players options books were not character build options.  They were game rules. For example a new way to run initative is not a character build option.   


Well some people still want a proper sequal to 2nd ed. I like he higher is always better part but I liked  d20 better in non D&D settings being honest. d20 modern/future, SWSE.



I think the 2e rules needed fixing and I was very happy with 3.5e when it first came out.    Many of the problems like xp charts and some of the mechanics were fixed.     On the other hand 3e did introduce a number of changes that I just couldn't get behind (PrCs, multi-classing, spell changes, magic item creation, etc)  

3e wasn't bad, but it all changed with the internet.   The worse thing I recal was the 3e forums on the WoTC website.    At one point they moved all the discussions about character optimization to another thread because it just wasn't welcome in the general forums, as most gamers frowned on min/maxing and/or treated them as mild diversion not to be taken seriously.   Later on in 3.5e's lifecycle the designers started to cater to that crowd.   They gave the min/maxers exactly what they wanted and negleted the game itself.     At that point the new books stoped being about D&D as a whole and became more focused on min/maxing.   Naturally, the min/maxers found ways to break the game and then complained about their own inventions (CoDzilla).   Sadly, these guys were serious and the rules lawyers supported them.   In the end, they demanded a system that could not be broken and reduced the DM to a cog in the mechanics.    

 



 I was here back then. The min max boards were entertaining though as some people did post the min part as well It was not pure munchkinism.

 Had the internet existed back in 2nd ed or at least was common as what it is now I am sure builds would have been put up. The builds reliant on gear would not have worked though. That is one difference I have noticed on other forums about older D&D. They talk about the game more less focus on the mechanics althoguh they come into it at times.

 I liekd the forums here alot once upon a time.

 Fear is the Mind Killer