Boy this is confusing.

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello everyone, I am just getting started with D&D (The 4th edition Red Box is being sent in the mail as we speak) but I have a question. While rummaging around through my shed I found a Advanced Dungeons and Dragons monstrous manual. Upon inspection the book states "With the DUNGEON MASTER Guide (DMG) and the player's Handbook (PHB), the Monstrous Manual forms the core of the AD&D 2nd Edition game. This causes some speculation, where can I get the 2nd edition board game plus the manuals and other stuff and if so what should I get (seeing as there is a shart load of D&D stuff both new and old it's rather confuzzelsome), Is the 2nd edition even a tangible board game or does it require you drawing your own maps and whatnot, Is the second edition Monstrous Manual compatible with The 4th edition Red Box? All these questions.....bleh. Also if no one knows what I'm talking about it's probably cause even I don't know what I am talking about. This is all new to me and I haven't even played or DM'ed a game yet. So any help will be appreciated!
I am Black/Green
I am Black/Green
AD&D 2nd is vastly different from 4th edition. A lot of people playing earlier editions don't use any maps or miniatures. Try to find out more about 2nd edition and see if you like the idea behind it, if you do just buy the PHB and DMG. I'm pretty sure Wizards just reprinted all of the D&D books recently, so you can find them online anywhere. Good luck.

lol d&d "tangible board game"
AD&D 2nd is vastly different from 4th edition. A lot of people playing earlier editions don't use any maps or miniatures. Try to find out more about 2nd edition and see if you like the idea behind it, if you do just buy the PHB and DMG. I'm pretty sure Wizards just reprinted all of the D&D books recently, so you can find them online anywhere. Good luck.

lol d&d "tangible board game"

That's my point, there are so many books I don't know which ones to get and when people say the PHB and the DMG there are so many variations...I don't know, do you have any good links you can send me? And what was so funny about that lol?
I am Black/Green
I am Black/Green
There are the four editions of the game, plus additions of basic versions of some of the editions.

Before you go out there and spend money, the 5th Edition currently is in play test. You may want to have a look at that by signing up.

It really depends on what you want to play.

If you are desperate to get the out-of-print D&D stuff take a look at www. rpgnow.com or www.drivethrurpg.com as PDFs of 4th Edt and earlier material can be found.

Whatever you decide I would not spend huge chunks of money at mo due to the re-boot.
There are the four editions of the game, plus additions of basic versions of some of the editions.

Before you go out there and spend money, the 5th Edition currently is in play test. You may want to have a look at that by signing up.

It really depends on what you want to play.

If you are desperate to get the out-of-print D&D stuff take a look at www. rpgnow.com or www.drivethrurpg.com as PDFs of 4th Edt and earlier material can be found.

Whatever you decide I would not spend huge chunks of money at mo due to the re-boot.

A new edition you say? This may be a perfect opportunity to not only get into D&D but start fresh with a completely new experience with everyone! I may have picked a perfect time to start playing :D however I will still be getting the other ones just for the sheer fact that it will still be fun and I may enjoy it better than the 5th edition (not to mention the Red Box is already being sent in the mail lol)
I am Black/Green
I am Black/Green
The 4th Edition "Red Box" is a great place to start... it should have everything you need to keep your group busy for a while, getting used to how things work.


As for the various editions and which books to look for and so on:

[spoiler Too Much Information]
Yes, you've got a LOT of stuff to deal with there!

The game has been around since the 1970's, and has seen many changes over the decades, and has changed creative teams and management a few times.

There've been several major revisions to the game, with many of the newest editions being almost completely incompatible with each other.  The design philosophies and play styles of the different editions have changed a lot over the years, with some of the biggest changes occurring between 2nd and 3rd editions.  Most of the editions have their rabid supporters who refuse to agree with fans of the other editions on much of anything; bitter Editions Wars are common occurrences among any gathering of D&D fans.

Most of the older versions have, until recently, been out of print.  But, the classic editions have since been reprinted as collector's editions almost all at the same time, which can help to add a layer of confusion onto the whole thing.


Generally, D&D has had three core books for each edition for a long time, along with "beginner's kits":

  1. "Starter"/"Beginner" boxed set (pretty much everything needed to test-drive the game, in a box:  simplified rules, dice, maps, tokens, a short adventure, and so on)

  2. Dungeon Master's Guide (the rule book for DMs, with advice on how to design and balance adventures, and keep the game running)

  3. Player's Handbook (the rule book for Players, focusing mainly on all the rules needed to create and maintain their characters)

  4. Monster Manual (a book full of monsters for DMs to populate their dungeons and adventures with)

The idea is to start with the beginner set, and, after you decide you are ready to get into the more advanced game, the group buys the three core rulebooks.



The most recent stable, fully-developed, play-tested version of D&D would be 4th Edition... with the "Essentials" line in particular being aimed at beginners, by providing a lot more of the extras than the group would get from the core rulebooks alone.  The key products in the 4th Edition "Essentials" line would be:

  1. The Essentials "Red Box" beginner's kit (can stand alone for the first couple levels)

  2. The Dungeon Master's Kit (a boxed set that would be the next logical step for DMs)

  3. The Monster Vault (a boxed set that is an excellent resource for DMs)

  4. The two "Heroes of..." books (rule books that would be the next logical step for players)

  5. The Rules Compendium (an optional, but very useful rule book)


Alternatively, the 4th Edition books released before  the "Essentials" line, aimed more toward more experienced players, follows the more traditional three-book core of previous editions.  These books can be used with the "Essentials" products, but there is often a fence between the "Essentials" 4th Edition fans, and the "Core" 4th Edition fans.



Besides the Core books or the 4th Edition "Essentials", each edition had a mind-numbing array of supporting books and products:  new options for every race or class imaginable, new races and classes, entire new rules sets for new elements like psionics, collections of monsters, descriptions of religions and gods, and a large variety of very different campaign settings for the rules (the core rulebooks, especially in the newer editions, would provide a default, generic fantasy setting, but the optional campaign settings would be set in very different worlds with their own flavor, with each setting having its own sets of fans and detractors!)



Generally, the earlier versions of the game, sometimes called "OD&D", had much fewer rules, but the rules were apparently not as complete or intuitive.   Not many groups still play these editions these days, except for the sake of nostalgia, but there are still a few rabid fans out there who have little interest in playing anything else:  these editions earned a fierce loyalty from these fans.  There was a rather complex relationship in these early editions between the Chainmail wargame, D&D, Basic D&D, and Advanced D&D, which I guess only the old-timers could completly explain.  The game in that era was essentially a medieval war game inspired by Tolkein and other fantasy authors, with early role-playing elements added on to simulate a sort of Tolkeinian Fellowship fighting the forces of evil in their dungeons and vaults.  True to the wargame roots, toy soldiers and other crude miniatures were expected to be combined with elaborate graph-paper maps for quick-and-dirty fight scenes.


2nd Edition is probably the edition that got most D&D players really hooked on the game.  By this time, the game aimed toward a more epic feel, with some of the original war-game elements downplayed in favor of a more conversational approach to role-playing.  Many groups rarely or never used miniatures or maps.  I take it some of the earlier products could still be used with 2nd Edition, though some complex conversion work might be required from time to time.  In this era, the original publishers began to run into financial problems, thanks to an increasingly murky and confusing business strategy.  Several boxed sets for OD&D and various flavors of 2nd Edition, including the "White Box", "Blue Box", and original "Red Box" were produced through the 1970's and 1980's, and are fondly and nostalgically remembered by D&D fans from that era, but these have been long out of print, and would probably be pretty tough to find these days.


3rd Edition, with a new publisher, launched, with some of the more dramatic changes to the game.  There was no backwards compatibility with earlier products, so almost none of the earlier materials were compatible without fairly dramatic conversions.  Modern miniatures and 1' grid maps and map-equivalent Dungeon Tiels sets became a core element of the game, a return after many years of 2nd Edition to the wargame roots of D&D.  A complicated and highly customizable, modular game system allowed a bewildering wealth of new options (in many ways, 3rd Edition was a new, generic set of game rules, "D20", with Dungeons & Dragons ported into it as a sameple RPG for the system).  Like the previous editions, 3rd Edition had its share of game balance problems and bugs to work out, and a new, theoretically backwards-compatible edition was quickly released in the form of 3.5 Edition, which is generally more popular than 3rd Edition (though each flavor of 3rd Edition has its own rabid fans who bitterly and loudly agree to disagree.)  There was a 3rd Edition boxed beginner set, and two 3.5 Edition boxed beginner sets complete with game boards and miniatures, now out of print and hard to find, which could loosely be called "board games", but which actually were introductory versions of the D&D game.


4th Edition arrived shortly after 3.5 Edition, and almost completely rewrote the rules, and older materials were again all but impossible to use (except for miniatures and maps).  4th Edition was generally better balanced than its predecessors, but detractors cried out that things were just a bit TOO balanced, at the expense of variety.  A more serious complaint was that 4th Edition was just too different from its predecessors.    Where 3rd Edition could generally work without the maps and miniatures, 4th Edition all but completely relies on them to make combat work efficiently.  Critics accused 4th Edition of abandoning the game's roots, and borrowing heavily from Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games like World of Warcraft, and collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering (whether this is a bad thing is purely a matter of perspective).  Shortly after 4th Edition arrived, the 4th Edition "Essentials" was released, which was sort of a more "user-friendly" version of 4th Edition.  (The differences here were probably smaller than the differences between 3rd and 3.5 Edition, but, as always, each flavor of 4th Edition has its own rabid fans who often bitterly and loudly agree to disagree.)  4th Edition also began to take advantage of online subscription services and support materials in revolutionary new ways.  In any event, perhaps the Edition Wars reached their most bitter, violent, and irrational levels at this stage of development... a third-party licensed revival of 3.5 Edition rules called "Pathfinder", with the "serial numbers filed off" the more recognizable intellectual property, was even published, which gained some popularity in reaction to 4th Edition... as well as spawning yet another new faction in the inevitable Edition Wars.  A 4th Edition beginner boxed set (in a mostly blue box), which could loosely be called a "board game", was developed but is now out of print and hard to find, and a similar "Essentials" beginner boxed set (the "Red Box", inspired by the original "Red Box" from the older editions of the game) was also released, which might still be available in limited quantities.


A couple series of modular board game sets, loosely based on the 4th Edition rules or concepts, was developed as well:  the "Adventure System" products "Castle Ravenloft", "Wrath of Ashardalon", and "Legend of Drizzt", and the indirectly related but compatible "Dungeon Command" products.  Though they can provide something of a loose introduction to D&D, these aren't precisely D&D RPG products; but, as always, the miniatures and map tiles included in these sets are compatible with pretty much any edition of the game, so they are nevertheless handy to have around.


[/spoiler]



That brings us to 5th Edition. 


As I understand it, the rules change yet again, so previous starter sets, rule books, supplements, supporting content, and so on can yet again be expected to be all but totally unusable in the new edition... or least, with the usual exception of the maps, tiles, and miniatures.


And, I think you can expect to see more of the usual Edition Warfare, with enthusiastically angry fans on both sides of the fence hurling insults and arguing over which version of D&D is better.


I suppose it's too early to tell, but I think you can expect the usual four-part entry point for 5th Edition:


- Beginner/Starter set (with essentially everything you need to demo the game for a couple levels)
- Game Master's rule book or boxed set
- a Monsters book or boxed set
- one or more Player's books (or, perhaps, boxed set)


- and, of course, more supporting non-Core rule books than the casual gamer is ever likely to be able to bear reading or cataloguing



Good luck, and welcome to the game

[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Sign In to post comments