Saturday, September 7, 2013

30-Day D&D Challenge - Day 7: Favorite Edition

Favorite edition of D&D?!  Now this is kind of a tough one.

On one hand I have to hand it to the original 3e that came out in the year 2000 for resurrecting my interest in running weekly games.  Until then we played sporadically at best, like twice a year.  But when those three rulebooks came out we all bought them and devoured the new edition, even with all its cross-feat ridiculousness and unbalanced class issues.  It was a new beginning for D&D and a good way to bring new players into the fold.  If you asked me to help you get started playing AD&D (2e) in 1999 I would've overwhelmed you with three core rulebooks, six race guides, seven class guides, made you read through the Skills and Powers rules, and then would suggest you make a Fremlin Fighter/Thief from the Monstrous races compendium for the non-magic weapon immunity and flight capability.  
Yeah, you wouldn't have wanted to play with our group.  Too hardcore.

With the new 3e all that supplementary rulebook baggage was thrown away, and regular people again wanted to play D&D.  It ushered in a new golden age, and for that should be commended.

On the other hand I still love the old-school flavor of searching for secret doors on a 1d6, and where Elf is a Class rather than a Race.  Where every type of poison requires a Save vs. Death, and where monsters didn't need a reason to be hanging around a gigantic sealed-off dungeon with no water or food. Where every level you gained you also got a cool level name for your class, like being a 3rd level Swordsman or Conjurer, and even piddly 1st level Fighters were called Veteran.  Every Monk player wondered what it would be like to actually obtain the coveted title of Grandmaster of Flowers.

Where you rolled 3d6.  IN ORDER!  None of this wimpy 4d6-drop-the-lowest ridiculousness.  And before ThaC0 was a thing you had a huge chart of "Hit Die versus AC" that the DM had to (pretend to) reference when you rolled to hit.  Those were the days!

Finally, the crappy scrawled artwork in the OD&D rulebooks was no better than something I could draw in the margins of a college-ruled notebook, which made the whole game all the more accessible.

More current editions of D&D were capable of hiring actual artists, so the artwork is better than one could doodle during a boring class lecture, which to me makes it somehow less fun to look at.  Go figure.

In any case, my final choice for favorite edition of D&D, for all its flaws, is:
Original 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons!

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