Do You Like Rapid Edition Cycles?

D&D is almost 40 years old. This means that in theory you could be an adult and grand dad taught you how to play. 3rd ed via Pathfinder is now the longest reigning edition of D&D in continuous print followed by 1st AD&D or maybe BECM as it technically went out of print it was supported up to 1994 IIRC via Dungeon magazine. If one counts AD&D as a single unit it lasted 22 years (1978-2000)

 Under WoTC we have seen very rapid edition cycles. In the length of time BECM was around for roughly they have gone through 4 printings of core books (3.0, 3.5, 4th, Essentials) and 2-4 editions depending on ones opinon of 3.0/3.5 and if you count D&DN yet.

 Regardless of what edition you like is this what you want from D&D. 3.0 for example was in print for 3 years.  I was not happy at a 5 year lifecycle of 3.5 which partly motivated the move to Pathfinder but 3.5 came out 10 years ago and 3rd ed style is now 13 years old. Kind of ready to move on now unlike 2008 but I'm not sure if I will ever stop playing 3rd ed 100% just maybe treating it as another option when I'm in the mood for it.

 So 10 years an edition seems nice to me, 5 years is to short, 3 years is definately to short. So I would prefer a 7-10 year cycle. One thing I am iffy about with D&DN is jumping on board only to be back here in 5 years- I do not trust WoTC. A large attraction of Pathfinder is not the rules I just do not feel like getting kicked in the teeth again by WoTC. I trust Paizo more than WoTC.

 I am going to buy D&DN regardless or at least the core book/PHB just like I always have but beyond that I am thinking about sitting on the fence for a bit. That is something I have never done before as I grabbed 3rd and 4th ed at the earliest opportunity I could. My expectations for D&DN are low-as long as it doesn't suck I'll buy it may even play it. I would like to say I have been burnt once by WoTC but I got burned 3 times but I'm over the automatic buy anything response. 

 So do people actually want or like rapid edition cycles?

 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  

I guess it depends on how frequently you play. I could deal with a 5-year cycle if I was playing consistently every weekend, but if I only get a few chances to play, then I won't be in a position to appreciate the change after only two or three campaigns.

A game cycle is measured in sessions, rather than years. (Much like how history is measured in generations, rather than centuries.)

The metagame is not the game.

No I hate it and it needs to stop or I'll go with the competition who doesn't do this kind of anti-consumer practice. 
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first just becuse they just said it on the podcast, 2e was the longest running version.


Also I think that the fast over turn is a bit of an over simplfication. 



I want to say that I want the cycle to slow down, but from my point of view it almost fits right as is.


We had moved away from 2e and where playing WoD and Rifts and Shadowrun around 1998. We did play a bit of 2e still, but not as much. 3e came along nad it was new and shinny and we played more. We had the free convetion guide, but some of us bought 3.5 books (I don't want to do that again), but byt the end of 3.5 we had ALOT of probelms with 3.5.


in 2007 we had house ruled so much 3.5 it didn't really look like it at all. I said in another thread, we used Warblades, Warlocks, and Archivasts instead of fighters wizards and clerics.


Now we are very tired of long fights and we dislike some of the powers and ways things feel with 4e. I also said in that thread we have begun heavy house ruleing of 4e.



If I find the perfect D&D I want it to last 30 years, however so far every edtion has been better then the one before (although in some cases they also made new problems)                    

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

I don't mind fairly rapid edition cycles. My attitude is that I can always keep playing what I have, so something new is always welcome.

I also like reboots better than endless bloat. It would be interesting to see reboots happen within the system though. Essentials was cool because it rebooted a lot of classes but didn't invalidate the old. I ended up not liking the direction essentials went, but I do think the game was richer for having multiple approaches to some of the iconic classes.
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I think rapid edition cycles have their advantages, and I also think they're closer to what society offers its people today...

When 4th edition began, I thought 4 years would be a good "cycle" for the new edition - specially at the pace they were releasing materials. In the end of that timeframe, they could have finetuned the system and would have had new ideas to incorporate into another edition. Unfortunately, things didn't happen exactly as I had hope.

You see, I think that when you design a game, some design directions should remain "fixed" throughout its lifespan. You can certainly change and twist some things up, but the design tenets must remain the same - the chassis should not easily change. Ideas and paradigms that diverge too much from that base should be saved for a later edition - hence, my favoring of shorter edition cycles.

Instead, they started tampering with 4es base long before that four year run. When Essentials came, it diverged too much from what was established before. "Classic" 4e did not have its 4-year run as I had hoped. I believe that saving some of the ideas implemented later in 4e for another edition would have resulted in a stronger 4th edition system.

The sudden additions and divergences inflicted upon the system at its last years of development are not something I'm kind of. To my mind, they easily upset the design direction the game may have had before such hasty modifications are added.

---

So, to sum it up. If the designers follow a design path more strictly rather than shooting at any target they fancy along the development cycle, I'm all in favor of short edition cycles. I might even add that if such policy was transparent to the customers, this could be better for the company.

I particularly abhor the changing of design direction anytime the question "what if I added/modified this core design tenet?" crosses the mind of a designer. It makes the system harder to read for newcomers, and usually contributes for making it crumble on its own weight... ¬¬
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I am good with rapid edition cycles because it bring in new twist on the game while not taking away any of the older game version i play with. But then again, i don't need a ton of options in my D&D.

Now if D&D Editions cycling was like a software update suppressing older version, now i'd have a problem with it yes. But it's not so we're good. Wink

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Listening to the most recent podcast I found it interesting that TSR did NOT want to upgrade and the lack of major revisions between 1e and 2e was because they didn't want to scare people away between editions.
3e might have been as accepted as it was because D&D had been so similar for 25 years.

Personally, I believe the rapid edition changes haven't helped the game. If people aren't tired of the game they won't switch right away. You need to be ready to switch and happy to move on.

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I don't really like rapid edition cycles because once I have something I like - and I like both editions I've really played with - I like the idea of basically just getting infinity new material for that system forever. I recognize that it puts me in a stark minority, but I don't care if 3.5 has a kjillion classes and feats and spells and stuff; I'm always excited to see more. (I would be willing to do with less if the average quality of stuff was higher, though - I don't like really pointless, low-quality feats and spells.) A new edition is kind of exciting, but what I really want is more of what I'm already getting. Seeing new options is cool for me as a player and as a DM, to the extent that I'd almost rather play an actively supported edition that I like a little bit less than a no-longer-supported system I like a little more.

I realize that my appetite for new material isn't universal, but it's part of what I enjoy about being in the hobby. 
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Considering that I can buy a new RPG system every month, I have no problem with getting a new D&D system every 5 years or so. The key thing is whether or not the new one is worth it. If the new edition provides a better rules platform and improves the gameflow at the table, I will happily buy it, irregardless of how soon the previous D&D was released. If there's nothing new to it, I say editions should get a polish every decade.

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I don't really like rapid edition cycles because once I have something I like - and I like both editions I've really played with - I like the idea of basically just getting infinity new material for that system forever. I recognize that it puts me in a stark minority, but I don't care if 3.5 has a kjillion classes and feats and spells and stuff; I'm always excited to see more. (I would be willing to do with less if the average quality of stuff was higher, though - I don't like really pointless, low-quality feats and spells.) A new edition is kind of exciting, but what I really want is more of what I'm already getting. Seeing new options is cool for me as a player and as a DM, to the extent that I'd almost rather play an actively supported edition that I like a little bit less than a no-longer-supported system I like a little more.

I realize that my appetite for new material isn't universal, but it's part of what I enjoy about being in the hobby. 




+1. I'm not afraid of bloat, and as long as an edition is actively supported by a competent errata team (even a low manpower one), the serious problems are mostly halted. I feel like the constant shift in game balance is entertaining for players who enjoy watching and learning about the way the system works, and the more content released, the better all character concepts can be realized. (this is incredibly potent when it comes to reflavoring :D)
I like the excitement of an upcoming edition, if not everything that goes with it. Although I would like the ratio of wait time to play time - the duration waiting for the new version divided by its life span - to be fairly low. 5e looks like having a wait time that will be longer than the 3e and 4e wait times combined. So I hope it lasts 10 years.

If a starter set is produced, it'd be nice if it was robust enough to survive edition changes, and just become known as the gateway D&D game.
In general, the Average lifecycle of a TTRPG should be approximately 4 to 6 years. D&D, the first major TTRPG broke that rule of thumb right away, with BECMI, 1e, and 2e all easily outlasting that benchmark. Other games re-up their editions in about a 4-6 yr cycle, of course, they also don't necessarily make as major changes in a cycle as D&D typically does.

The need to refresh the game in that time is that by the 4th year, enough errata has been discovered, enough benchmark testing has been accomplished, that the system has now been evaluated and can expand and evolve into something else.  

3.0 did a partial new edition with 3.5 after just over 3 years, but really, the change was mainly an errata fix only, and 4e did Essentials in just over 2 years, but this time not an errata fix, which 4e was constantly doing, but rather an introduction of some of the mechanics that were initially intended for 4e but not ready for the initial release.

i'm okay with a 4-6 year edition lifecycle, because as others have said, after that, the editions have enough source material out to support the game ad  infinitum, and you can always continue to play that edition, but its a good time to go about getting excited about the new next shiny edition's improvements and evolution fo the game. Evaluate the splat and alternate rules that have come out, and decide if any of the alternates should go into the standard category, and if anything in standard RAW just isn't working and should be moved either out, or into the Alternate category.

EVEN with the modular themed approach of 5e, I still see needing a new edition (6e) in another 4-6 years time to keep the brand fresh, profitable, and pertinent to the next generation of gamers (who evolve faster in tastes, especially with the advent of CRPGs/MMOs feeding the itch) 
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No I hate it and it needs to stop or I'll go with the competition who doesn't do this kind of anti-consumer practice. 



Anti-consumer?  Anti-consumer behavior would be that of the video game industry,  where video games are chopped up and sold as bits and pieces*,  even if it's already on the disc on the day of release.  It would be like the cable industry,  where you're forced to buy hundreds of channels you don't want to get a couple channels you do.

Releasing a new version of a product isn't anti-consumer behavior.  If that was anti-consumer behavior,  then the Auto Industry should be shut down by the government,  they release new editions of their cars every year!

*Just occurred to me,  I guess you could level that criticism at 4th edition considering how many different versions of the Player's Handbook they released. 
You see, I think that when you design a game, some design directions should remain "fixed" throughout its lifespan. You can certainly change and twist some things up, but the design tenets must remain the same - the chassis should not easily change. Ideas and paradigms that diverge too much from that base should be saved for a later edition - hence, my favoring of shorter edition cycles.

Agreed. Some design decisions are so fundamental to the game that changing them alters the very nature of the game. Instead of adding to the game, these changes weaken its foundation and hasten its downfall. (Of course, you always have the option to ignore these changes, but then you suffer from dividing the playerbase.) 

The opportunity to change fundamental concepts is the whole point of doing a new edition.
*Just occurred to me,  I guess you could level that criticism at 4th edition considering how many different versions of the Player's Handbook they released. 

Nah, the 4E case was a matter of production schedule. It would have been nigh impossible to fit all of that content into one book, let alone balancing and playtesting that much. Besides, if 4E hadn't sold as well as it had, there's no guarantee the other PHBs would even have been made! 

It's not anti-consumer to use the proceeds from Chapter I to pay the rent while you work on Chapters II - IV.

Spacing out the content helps to keep things fresh, and keep the playerbase interested. If they'd gone so many years without releasing a new PHB, the stronger complaint could be made that they'd abandoned the edition.

The metagame is not the game.

I hate rapid edition cycles, The experimentation phase inevitably suffers and this weakens the establishment phase of the next edition. 
Wow,13 years since release of 3ed? Getting old :P I have no problem in 4-6 y cycles. Wotc is a company and it needs to earn the money and you can't milk the old cow for ever. People like to buy shiny new things even if it's only to look nice on the shelf,or you can read it,take what you like and try to incorporate it in the older edition that you like more. There are lots of options.  And if you don't like something you can always skip the edition,play the old one and hope the next one will be better. For instance,we skipped 4th. Tested it,most of the group didn't like it so we skipped it and one friend who liked it got books for his birthday. Everybody happy. 

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I don´t want rapid edition cycles, because I have bought lots of books of 3rd Edition. I don´t want spend my money for something soon it will be out-of-time. What if I was waiting the remake of that PC race or class?

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I am not a fan of rapid edition cycles. This is why I hope D&D Next can succeed with its idea of building a strong base core. Instead of having to re-invent the system to breathe life into the game they can focus on campaign settings to do that. Each setting could have its own unique modules to the core system that adds something different to the game.

Thinking back on all the campaign settings that were released throughout D&D's lifetime, imagine if each year one of them was release and given new life with unique rules modules that showcased the heart of that setting. I know its kinda an optimistic daydream, but I would love to see this new edition evolve through unique campaign settings and adventure modules rather than a short lifespan in order for D&D to become "New & Shinny" again and again.
Intersting responses so far guys thanks even the ones opposite to my view;).

 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  

i want to see a 7 to 10 year life cycle on this edition. it will allow every year or so a specific campaign setting to be launched without overcrowding the market. will give the game time to earn a good reputation and allow a full and honest look at what was good and bad about it. i hope they dont shorten that timeframe it would just skew the results of what worked and didnt.
The problem comes from the potential concept development.

2nd edition was ended, the player's options weren't creative enough, it only appealed to people satisfied with any point in its development and happy to play in these states of the rules (and houserules, lot of houseroules). The only interesting products for these customers would be adventures, as they are not interested in new ways to develop archetypes from the informations we can gather on forums and around us. It's a loyal public, but not a dynamic one.

1st edition was ended because it was an even bigger mess than 2nd edition. Again, the players are a loyal but not dynamic.

3rd edition was ended because the options offered stopped being creative or constructive to corrupt the system. Creative options like the Bo9S or the warlock encountered positive feedback from dynamic consumers, but at this point the system was already locked in the old daily system. Making the system evolve would have needed the work required to build a new edition.

Pathfinder didn't do an amazing job. It didn't have to deal with the 3rd edition development, so creating a 3.75 edition was easy for them. If WotC had made a 3.75 edition, people would have gone berserk… And all the pathfinder edition made was overloading classes with features or creating classes following the same patterns (dailies/class features), piling options on the same overused system.
The only good job comes from adventures, but it ends like the previous editions : loyal players, but not dynamic, even for a living edition.

4th edition was ended because it killed its only huge advantage : a system with a far better evolution potential than the previous ones. It started with a first PHB only proposing the AEDU model for all classes. And once the essentials became the new supported line, the creativity dropped drastically. Even the long awaited at-will nuke spammer was unimaginative (and lacking).
Essentials added to the bad aesthetical choices from the first period was the end of the edition, as the devs had made clear that they wouldn't return to the previous state of the system.
If an edition needed a .5 to find a new start, it was the 4th one. They didn't do it and chose essentials, I still don't understand the logic.

I think it's possible to create an edition with a far longer cycle than any previous edition, if it propose a wide range of class models, from full daily based to at-will casters.
The previous edition shown that an edition never evolve far beyond the models proposed in the first books.

So if the proposed class models in DDN don't go farther than what we saw in the playtest in the name of tradition, the first tradition DDN will respect is having a short cycle.

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I am not as concerned about a rapid or slow edition cycle, versus a cyle that pays attention to everything that is important to the game which are rule books for classes, adventures, supplments, game aids, etc. You can not focus on one at the expense of another. In the same respect you can not rely completely on one medium, whether it is hardcopy, PDF, or computer utilities.
I honestly don't see what is wrong with having longer edition cycles.  If they take the time to do things right, I don't see why the latest game theory has to be injected as a new edition every 5, 10 or even 20 years.  Going back and playing older editions has opened my eyes.  There is nothing wrong with 1e, 2e or BECMI.  They are equal in fun to anything that came after them.  Maybe it is a realization of this that prompted WotC to re-release all of that old content?

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
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Concerning "Default" Rules
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The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I honestly don't see what is wrong with having longer edition cycles.  If they take the time to do things right, I don't see why the latest game theory has to be injected as a new edition every 5, 10 or even 20 years.  Going back and playing older editions has opened my eyes.  There is nothing wrong with 1e, 2e or BECMI.  They are equal in fun to anything that came after them.  Maybe it is a realization of this that prompted WotC to re-release all of that old content?



I have to agree.  In the last year I have played 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and Pathfinder.  All in the same year, all campaigns of various lengths, all with very few house rules, we effectively played them out of the box.

The conclusion I came to was that while each does things differently, they all amount to a fairly definitive D&D experiance.  I found that by being familiar with all the various rulesets it made on the fly conversations extremely easy.  I was able for example to pick up Temple of Elemental Evil, run in it 1st edition, 2nd, 3rd.. It didn't matter.  With just minimal preperation I could run it using any rule set.

I had my preferences of course, but I came to the realization that these preferences aren't edition preferences, but stylistic preferences and often had more to with the content and how the particular ruleset handled it then it did with actual hard mechanics.

Ultimatly at the end of that experiance while I enjoyed all the editions for different reasons, Pathfinder is where we landed and I honestly don't see us moving to another system anytime soon.  For the most part what sold us was the simplicity of the system,  rules that are easy to remember and the excelent adventure paths.  In the end expediancy, ease of use and great published adventures is what we wanted.  

1st edition we found didn't have enough rules coverage and the rules it did have where hard to remember, same for 2nd edition. 3rd edition had a ton of content but naturally when we tried Pathfinder we just saw it as an improved version of that edition.  4th edition we liked, it was interesting and created a fun way to experiance fights.  But ultimatly combat was atrociously slow and the published adventures for 4th edition where beyond terrible, I mean we quit 2 of them halfway through because they just plain sucked.  

I think for NEXT to interest us at this point they need to come out with a good combination of streamlined mechanics, easy to remember rules and great campaign adventures along the lines of Pathfinder Adventure Paths.  Right now that is what D&D is all about for us. 

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I don't think anybody told that one edition was less fun than others for the people playing them.

A fact is that when the first books have limited propositions, the edition grows primarily from these propositions, and the inertia makes that it's harder to include and support new visions within the same system later, and it's worse with each passing year.

The idea that 2nd edition had a long cycle is not true from my experience. If its cycle have been shorter, my groups would never have abandoned D&D for several years. 

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No, I don't like rapid cycles. We tend to play L-O-N-G campaigns, and having to re-do characters just to accommodate the new rules isn't something we want to do. Even if we DO pick up 5e (which is pretty likely, actually), we may decide to start a new campaign with those rules rather than convert an existing campaign.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

Ultimatly at the end of that experiance while I enjoyed all the editions for different reasons, Pathfinder is where we landed



For us it was 2nd Edition.  While our opinions of 3e/v3.5/PF have softened, there are far too many unnecessarily complicated rules in those editions for us.  Still I firmly stick by my belief that WotC is making older content available to sell to all D&D fans, not just those who can stomach the latest version.  I think this will be a trend, and that edition agnostic material will become the norm for adventures and fluff based expansions.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

(...) So do people actually want or like rapid edition cycles? 



No. I don't.

Edition changes have oddly matched up with different stages of my life.

AD&D:  Academic years. Jr/Sr High, University, post-graduate.  
3e:  Fun years of young adulthood.  No more school, no kids, just starting the career and having fun.
3.5e:  Married, starting to have kids.
4e:  Life is child rearing.
5e:  Wife's impending career change looks like it will have a huge impact.

I really like what my life looks like when 5e will be released, so I hope it lasts for a good decade or so.
 
Ultimatly at the end of that experiance while I enjoyed all the editions for different reasons, Pathfinder is where we landed



For us it was 2nd Edition.  While our opinions of 3e/v3.5/PF have softened, there are far too many unnecessarily complicated rules in those editions for us.  Still I firmly stick by my belief that WotC is making older content available to sell to all D&D fans, not just those who can stomach the latest version.  I think this will be a trend, and that edition agnostic material will become the norm for adventures and fluff based expansions.



That's actually why I prefer Pathfinder to say 2nd edition. In the end I found having more rules then I need a far better option than a game that has a shortage of rules when I need it.  Its easier to take away, than it is to add rules.  That and I always found that the language used to define the games rules was very long winded in AD&D.  You could probobly have cut 100 pages out of the DMG if the writers just got to the bloody point.  It makes a very poor rules reference book when your in the heat of a session. I find with Pathfinder I can leave the book at home because the rules I forget work within a certain logic so if I guess at what it is, then go back and look it up later, I'm usually right on the money.  Their is a certain stability to a system when its based on a core mechanic that functions the same throughout the system.  In AD&D there are all these oddities.  To hit a monsters you need to roll higher, to make a saving throw you need to roll lower, to make a climb check you roll percentile dice.. certain rules had nothing to do with your character at all, they where just a % chance of something, like perception checks with odd racial bonuses.  All these things just clutter up the system even though despite the different mechanics statistically the odds would be the same if you just used a D20, which is exactly how the D20 system ultimatly did it.  

Its the odd thing about AD&D.  It has fewer rules, yet its the most rules complex game in the D&D line, 2nd edition being without question the most rules complex system in D&D history. 

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

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I think it is funny that you say that.  Most rules in the 2nd Edition rules are extremely short in my opinion.  Not only are the same rules much more long winded in 3e, they are unnecessarily complex by comparison.  When playing v3.5 recently when we had a rules question, play ground to a halt while we first looked up and read an agonizingly long description of the rule, then argued exactly what the imprecise language meant.  When playing 2e, most play stoppages were less than a minute and when rules didn't exist we made something up on the spot (usually ruling attribute + or - modifiers, roll under on d20).  Nothing we've played in the last year has run as quickly or smoothly as 2nd Edition.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Ultimatly at the end of that experiance while I enjoyed all the editions for different reasons, Pathfinder is where we landed



For us it was 2nd Edition.  While our opinions of 3e/v3.5/PF have softened, there are far too many unnecessarily complicated rules in those editions for us.  Still I firmly stick by my belief that WotC is making older content available to sell to all D&D fans, not just those who can stomach the latest version.  I think this will be a trend, and that edition agnostic material will become the norm for adventures and fluff based expansions.



That's actually why I prefer Pathfinder to say 2nd edition. In the end I found having more rules then I need a far better option than a game that has a shortage of rules when I need it.  Its easier to take away, than it is to add rules.  That and I always found that the language used to define the games rules was very long winded in AD&D.  You could probobly have cut 100 pages out of the DMG if the writers just got to the bloody point.  It makes a very poor rules reference book when your in the heat of a session. I find with Pathfinder I can leave the book at home because the rules I forget work within a certain logic so if I guess at what it is, then go back and look it up later, I'm usually right on the money.  Their is a certain stability to a system when its based on a core mechanic that functions the same throughout the system.  In AD&D there are all these oddities.  To hit a monsters you need to roll higher, to make a saving throw you need to roll lower, to make a climb check you roll percentile dice.. certain rules had nothing to do with your character at all, they where just a % chance of something, like perception checks with odd racial bonuses.  All these things just clutter up the system even though despite the different mechanics statistically the odds would be the same if you just used a D20, which is exactly how the D20 system ultimatly did it.  

Its the odd thing about AD&D.  It has fewer rules, yet its the most rules complex game in the D&D line, 2nd edition being without question the most rules complex system in D&D history. 



What you are doing is playing off your experience with 3.x/PF which has been in print for many years, but this has nothing to do with the PF rule books.  The PF rule books are terrible - they are full of undefined terms and terrible editing and the errata for them is lengthy.  In the same way many of us could play 2e back in the day with limited use of the books, once you play something long enough it becomes instinctive.

I would also point out that if you thought 2e was the most complex version of AD&D you never read through all of the AD&D first edition books, and comprehended the sheer awesomeness of the depth of content of that edition.

On the subject of this thread it really comes down to my hatred of splat books.  Give me quick play tested editions  I will be happy.   Give me a longer edition time frame with many campaign setting books, modules and other support material that does not contain untested feat chains and combinations and I am happy.  Just please don't give me the insanity that was 3.5 near the end, and where PF is clearly headed these days.
I'd have to say, the easiest edition to run without the books has gotta be 4e. With the characters powers printed out on their character sheets, the monsters powers printed out in their stat blocks, Dice, your Campaign notes, and a GM Screen,  your ready to go, never need to crack open a book at all.
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never need to crack open a book at all.

4E SRD disagrees.

Both rapid and long edition edition cycles can work, but only if done right.
I'd have to say, the easiest edition to run without the books has gotta be 4e. With the characters powers printed out on their character sheets, the monsters powers printed out in their stat blocks, Dice, your Campaign notes, and a GM Screen,  your ready to go, never need to crack open a book at all.

If you print things out, sure. I found it quite difficult to run 4E without referencing all of the individual powers, though, especially for the monsters. Contrast with 3E, where most monsters just had basic attacks (whose bonuses could be calculated on the fly, from their racial hit dice and ability scores), and who relied heavily upon abilities that were otherwise available to the PCs.

The metagame is not the game.


May 13, 2013 -- 9:50AM, Shamanstarr wrote:

I'd have to say, the easiest edition to run without the books has gotta be 4e. With the characters powers printed out on their character sheets, the monsters powers printed out in their stat blocks, Dice, your Campaign notes, and a GM Screen,  your ready to go, never need to crack open a book at all.


If you print things out, sure. I found it quite difficult to run 4E without referencing all of the individual powers, though, especially for the monsters. Contrast with 3E, where most monsters just had basic attacks (whose bonuses could be calculated on the fly, from their racial hit dice and ability scores), and who relied heavily upon abilities that were otherwise available to the PCs.



With power cards things go faster without the need to check the book every time.
if the changes were more subtle, less dramatic it would be fine. while 3.5 changed all these little things that added up to big changes, the game was still the same even if i needed a huge document to convert 3e advetures to 3.5, it still played the same as 3e and converting first and second to 3e and 3.5 was incredibly easy, even on the fly. fourth was a whole new paradigm, classic in feel but a completely different system that could easily have been praised if it didnt say d&d on the cover. that said i like it a lot and it IS d&d in feel even if the mechanics are paradigmatically different. I'd have preferred that fifth be an evolution of fourth, following the style of essentials rather than making fourth edition materials obsolete. especially regarding the cosmology etc because gh i was a fan of the older edition cosmology and the evolution of such, i feel the streamlined cosmology of fourth is more interesting and ripe for hooks. the assumed setting is extremely interesting and classic yet new.

mechanically by doing fifth as an evolution of fourth they could have still addressed the three pillars of the game and dealt with some of the criticisms that justifiably have been levelled at it regarding the rules support for non-combat situations and added the errata to the core rules that is lacking in the original three books. a big drawback of fourth was the reams of errata that made big changes in the RAW and required purchases of later books to get corrections when they should have just included the errata in later reprints so new people wouldnt have to refer to the errata and those unaware of the huge errata coupd see the game wasnt as broke as they thought. if any game needed a revised edition because of these reasons it was fourth. the marketing and layout of essentials as a product line is very confusing even if it fits the revised edition guidelines and the lack of rituals, magic items and dailies for non spellcasters is a drawback of essentials. especially magic items and the lack of solid guidelines  for new DMs to create their own. the lack of guidelines of any sort really for magic items in game aimed at newby players and DMs is a huge oversight.

so yeah... a revised fourth edition where they de-emphasized miniatures with a supplement for miniatures play released later would have been ideal for me. especially since they seem to want to move away from minis in the core. yet they intend on releasing a rules module for tactical play, so how come they can't simply revise fourth with those goals in mind. it already met the design goals in regard to balance with non-casters vs. casters etc. instead they are going through the headache of creating an all new system from the ground up... again. the only design goal fourth didnt meet was compatibility  with older editions but... those gamers moved on already. yeah they were able to get back a chunk of older players with third but they   had a lot of good will for havijg saved the d&d from extinction and still had a lot of the old designers from TSR. they no longer have that after the mismarketing of fourthand essentials.

that said, next looks decent for a playtest and i could see it selling like gangbusters but  really need to shut mearls up.l or edit him. lol i dont have problems with how h has handled it but a vocal chunk sure does. 
I don't mind it, so long as its not the 3e-to-3.5 turnaround.

Even then, I didn't really mind it - I just am not someone who is going to buy (almost) the same exact game and/or material over and over and over and over again.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Zard ole buddy,
I like buying new books. However I do not like being forced to purchase new gaming books every 4-6 years to remain current as a fan. As you are aware I have played AD&D for 25 years and only recently decided to move to include playing the Pathfinder game. Strangley I did not like 3.0-3.5 because of several reasons now fixed or dealt with in that version of the game. Now that I find the P.F. game working in such a way that I am satisfied with it I am more than happy to buy the entire product line one book at a time. I would not be willing to do so with any other system on todays market. Why am I doing this? I plan to be playing that system for a long time. Also there are no signs that Paizo wants to abandon it to depart from the d20 system to something different. When I purchase a complete product line it is often not because I plan on using all of the books in play. Rather I collect for the entire line to own it so that I have options to choose from- and I miss nothing. I am a collector. If a product recycles on a 4-5 year basis it is a safe bet I will have never played it before it goes out of print and is lost to the annuals of RPG history. A revolving door is not the way to get me to buy a product. Instead make the best possible product and as it stirs the rpg community so as I see it's longevity and recognise it's strength I become interested in it. A constant stream of crap that is not playtested  extensively to insure the core can accomidate the splat will not win me over. Because of wotc's practice of doing this as well as treating their fans badly, I shy away from anything bearing their logo.
So there's the long answer, If you want to skip to the jist; look right here- Hell no!