D&D 3E/3.5 4E vs 3E... what are the main changes?


First Post
Well, you're wrong.

Not being snarky, I just did both extensively now and prepping for 4e is considerably faster faster, period. Fights themselves are somewhat faster. Not to as great an extent as the prepping, but still noticeable so (though you need to get used to it first).

I tried to read a 4E adventure, and *every* room took me something like an hour to "get" (i.e. how the monsters and traps et al. work "together" and how the encounter should be ran from a tactical POV). Maybe I'm just not tactically-inclined enough to run 4E?

Also, it's probably a lot faster if you just use existing monsters, traps and skill challenges. I think it'd feel quite intimidating if you try to create your own stuff for the first time. But, as SC noted above, once you "get" the system, you can use short-hand notes or run stuff "on the fly".

For the record, I'm considering about participating in a 4E campaign (despite what my friend said). The trouble is, I only know of one 4E campaign in the town I live in (and I know a lot of gamers here). So I'll probably have to join the same group eventually... :hmm:;)

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I tried to read a 4E adventure, and *every* room took me something like an hour to "get" (i.e. how the monsters and traps et al. work "together" and how the encounter should be ran from a tactical POV). Maybe I'm just not tactically-inclined enough to run 4E?
Everyone is different, but I think the tactical interaction of monsters (especially in published modules) is easier to work out then figuring out which of the spell-like abilities of a monster or spells of an NPC apply in a certain situation in 3E. Especially because I way to often forget some critical ability (hey, damn, this monster would be immune to Death Effects thanks to this Death Ward spell!)


Even though I say skill challenges are "complicated" to build (if you include all the skills and at which point they become "relevant" to use), it's one of my favorite mechanics in 4E. I hope PF would adapt a "subsystem" like that, but it may not be "backwards compatible" enough. :.-(
Honestly, in the skill challenges I've made, I've never settled on a defined list of appropriate skills beforehand.

The framework still works perfectly well if you just let your players participate with whatever skills they can work into it, and set DCs accordingly.



First Post
I'd say give it a shot. If you don't want to invest financially find a group of players who already have the rules, use their books (but be polite of course) and give the game a shot. My group and I did that (though I was the one person who bought the box set) and found that it wasn't the game for us. For some people, nothing too significant changed for them in the negative, for me and mine, well, we're playing the Pathfinder RPG and we're happy with that. 4e just wasn't for the type of players I game with. While I didn't mind the system I'm not hating it either... just the skill challenge system when executed poorly... that is simply annoying >.<


First Post
In my experience, the biggest difference between 3e and 4e is this:

In 3e, the most fun, and the most options, were before the game began. Allocating your equipment and classes and powers and abilities and feats were the real game. The encounters were a test to see how well you'd done.

In 4e, the most fun, and the most options, are during the game. You have fewer choices before the game starts, but during the game? You can hand the same character to two different people, and those two people can play that character differently. The battles will go differently. The TACTICS matter, and they matter for more than the strategy (character building) of 3e.

Whoah. I thought I was the only one that felt that way about 3E. I seriously wished that after I was done with character creation, I could then fast forward a character to level 20 and quickly see if/where they died along the way. And if I forgot something (oops, no flying or ranged attacks) then I'd tweak the build and try again. It'd be like a combination of progress quest and tower defense.

I'm absolutely not talking smack about 3E when I say that. Creating characters was a lot of fun when I was in the mood for that kind of thing. Probably more fun and definately more engaging than in 4E where the difference between shrewd decisions and mediocre decisions is smaller, and players are less obligated to plan everything out in advance.


This is just another opinion, so please take it as such. I played 4ed for awhile...how is it different than 3ed? The only way I can describe it is that it plays more like a video game than a roleplaying game. You can only do as many things as you have buttons to make them happen...i.e. it seems limited to me.
That being said, I was never completely happy with 3 or 3.5 either...so I've done what I always do...take the things I like and that work from whatever edition and make it part of my own "edition"...Bladesong version number "who cares?". I'm happy, players are happy and the game is great!
There are probably people out there that are 100% content with a single version (no changes wished for), but I've never met one. I would recommend you try the new version...out of the 10 in our group, 2 liked it better than previous versions. You may find you like it as well..."different strokes" and all.


Also, one last note. I strongly encourage you to play the game a couple of times before making a decision. Hundreds of people report that the game plays differently than it seems from reading it. Do not assume you can grok the whole thing from reading the rules.

Agreed. Try to get a few levels in the game before you decide if it's for your group or not. Just reading the rules doesn't give you the many nuances that simple first hand experience does.


First Post
Everyone is different, but I think the tactical interaction of monsters (especially in published modules) is easier to work out then figuring out which of the spell-like abilities of a monster or spells of an NPC apply in a certain situation in 3E.
The DMG gives quite a bit of helpful advice on these matters, too. You don't have to hurt your head poring over the entire description of each monster or hazard, if you instead spend your time reading about what roles like "Blaster" and "Skirmisher" mean. Between those definitions, and the DMG-recommended encounter builds like "Double Line" and "Wolf Pack", tactical synergy of monsters is laid out pretty well for you.

It's once you get the hang of that, that you can start to do CCG-esque combos of monsters. E.g. one causes people to fall prone, another gets bonuses vs. prone targets... it's pretty fun!


Sounds to me that it's a major dumb down of the 3e rules set....

not so sure that i like the sound of that.... the major thing that i like about 3e was that options were basically limitless and no matter what class you were you could do well with enough smarts

You would be wrong then. ;)

The difference is a lessening of rules sets for non-combat and putting th epower of the game back in the DM's hands, where many of us feel it belongs.

3e is all about number crunching: which combo of PrC, magic, etc. gives me the best chance to break the curve. If that's your thing fine, but many of us hated that part of 3e, especially in the role-playing portion of the game instead of making it roll-playing.

4e grants a lot more flexibility and breathing room in to the role playing portion.

Funny enough, partly because it's still newish, the classes are more balanced against the others now but I feel have lost some of their differentiation. There are only so many powers in the few books published. Now every class has attack rolls vs. defenses. Auto-damage as we knew it is basically gone. You can be standing at Groud Zero of a fireball and not be hit even without fire resistence.

Classes are now divided in to rolls that are different than before. Ranger is no longer the brother of fighter, but the brother of rogue. Wizards don't blast something big to submission very often, but they lay waste to minions and decide/control where and when the smackdown will occur. Suddenly that big, baddie is alone and not fighting at an advantage and doesn't have cheap flankers any more.

They're simply quite different games. I hated 3e personally and like 4e even though there are aspects I think were done better in past editions.

But that's me.


First Post
You can be standing at Groud Zero of a fireball and not be hit even without fire resistence.

Unless you are a minion, or you have evasion, you would take half damage. Outside of the minion part, that is exactly how a fireball worked before. There are other things (magic missle) that definitely work differently, but outside of changing the reflex save to an attack vs. reflex (making it only different in "who rolls the die"), fireball works pretty much the same in that respect.

Most of the big changes are mentioned.

Small stuff: Durations are changed. Instead of X minutes of 1d4 rounds, etc ... you have stuff that lasts a round or 2 (until end of next turn), they last until the end of the encounter, or they have "save ends" which at the end of each turn you roll a saving throw looking for 10 or above. Also "save or die" type effects are gone, anything that would be extremely devastating (like unconciousness or petrification) won't be easy. For example, the sleep spell requires they fail the first save against being slowed to have them pass out, and even then they have a chance to wake up each turn.


First Post
4e has emergent complexity. The rules are simple, but the interactions of the rules leads to a reasonably complicated game.

I'll also add another vote to the idea that 4e is much easier to DM. Monsters tend to have all their info spelled out in their stat blocks, which makes the prep work much easier. Occasionally I'll miss an important combo/synergy of monsters, but once you get used to the basic sets, its not too bad (ie, any time you have a creature that can take advantage of combat advantage, I'll need to look for other monsters that can either flank or daze etc.)

Primal: I think you're over thinking some of the DM work. On skill challenges, for example, the formal write-up is rather long, but an informal write-up can just be the basic idea of the challenge, what skills are primary, and have the DM screen at hand to reference the DC chart. For monster powers, the rule of thumb I use is if the creature recharges on a :6:, use the largest limited damage set, if it recharges on :4: :5: :6:, it uses the smallest limited damage set.


First Post
Skill challenge writeups are only there in long format in current mods etc to show the person running the game all the possibilities. When running your own skill challenge that you have designed there is very little you really need to write down. The only reason for making a very large writeup of a skill challenge is to enable other DM's to run it as you intended.

You can run a skill challenge off the cuff very easily. All you have to do is be consistent. And as a home game type situation the players do most of the work in the skill challenge. Ask them what they want to try, think about what they said and tell them if it works or not. Take notes while you are adjudicating it so you don't have a 19 work one time and a 20 fail the next round etc.

One of the things I'm really enjoying about 4E is the balance. A 20th level fighter is just as powerful as a 20th level mage. In 3.X, a mage at high levels was truly frightening, and standard melee fighters had an extremely difficult time bringing one down. 4E? Not so much. Everyone has their roles, and everyone has their strengths.

And is it me or does it seem like 4e is going back to the feel of Advanced D&D 1st edition? Believe me, that is not a bad thing. Some of the most classic game modules of all time are 1st Ed.


First Post
Yeah, as has been said 4e is basically a different game. It's a PnP RPG, has D&D written on it and is from WotC, but it's very different. I run it for my players (and it's a bit easier to run IMO) since they like it better than 3e because of the player options they have.

I don't know I'd want to -play- it though. The tone is so different, I'd have no interest in it if my players didn't. I find no sense of immersion in 4e, or very little at best. A lot of that was let go for the sake of balance, which isn't really a bad thing, but not something that "does it" for my at all. A lot of people confuse this with saying they don't have rules for RP, but it's nothing like that at all. I just don't see any internal reality... it's just so very gamey.

So I can't say it's bad, but it's not for me. I liked the evolution of D&D (played and DM'd basic, 2e, 3x) and this just doesnt' seem part of it. My players do dig it though so far.

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