D&D 3E/3.5 Edition Experience - Did/Do you Play 3rd Edtion D&D? How Was/Is it?

How Did/Do You Feel About 3E/3.5E D&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%


I bought it when it came out. I had not played an RPG in 2 years, I had fallen out with AD&D over the fumbled approach to GH in 98 and then when I hooked up with some LARPers I felt burnt by the over indulgence that seemed to fester there, some people just never went out of character and everything in their world revolved around WOD references. I study the works of Aleister Crowley, quite religiously, and they always tried to shoehorn me as Verbena or some other aspect of Mage for example and always referred to themselves through clans or breeds etc. I just got overwhelmed with the lack of reality so I abandoned RPGing.

The when announced and started previewing 3e I glimped around, thought "oh that's a neat idea" and didn't pay much attention really until the books came out and I picked one up grabbing my weekly comic book order. I thought it was an interesting cover and I flipped through it and... set it back down. It was a gorgeous book to be sure. The owner of the shop sat one back for me and then the MM and then the DMG and finally I said ok, give em to me and once I started reading it I was sold. No level limits. No class restrictions. No ability score requirements. Unified XP chart! My buddy Coleman came over and we both flipped through the books and admired the art and the he really dug the way feats and skills replaced NWP and Prestige Classes were like Kits that you had to work towards as opposed to rolling bad a$$ stats and be that right off the bat. It was a refreshing approach to D&D. And it was very much in vein with 1e's approach to the game, exploration and resource management. The back to the dungeon catch phrase was really true. I loved the D20 license for adventures, that's how I discovered Necromancer Games, my favorite non WOTC D&D publisher.

I know a lot of people disliked the soft cover sourcebooks that followed like Tome & Blood etc but I thought they were good. WHat I really liked about 3e was that it still felt very much like it was designed with the same style of play that D&D core was like, Greyhawk or the Realms. It ran smooth, not a lot of questions about how rules worked. It was just simple.

The adventures were cool, I loved Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil! I never got to run it sadly but it informs a lot of my DM style today and started my fandom of Monte Cook who just "gets it" as a game designer. The DMG was the best of the DMGs in my opinion because as much as I love the 1e DMG, Monte's 3e DMG was more concise. Admittedly I still consult my 1e DMG more for ideas but editorially it is such a mess that it's hard to find something without a personally made index. The 3e DMG was so easy to navigate. I also loved the Sunless Citadel and bought Yawning Portal for that and Forge of Fury. Two great modules. I've run Sunless Citadel 5 or more times. I always find something new in it.

I got a subscription to Dragon and DUngeon/Polyhedron for 5 years! The Book of Vile Darkness was ACES in my book.

I could run 3e today if I had the books. But something happened... 3.5. TOO SOON! I bought the core books and at their core, just the three books it is still D&D but beyond that something happened. It changed even more from characters to "builds" and the little changes made it hard to run 3e adventures or use 3e sourcebooks without combing through to make sure everything was up to speed. Why did I never run TOEE? Because the 3.5 changes resulted in a conversion document nearly 100 pages long.... for a 192 page book... that's not right. And the City of the Spider Queen? months after it came out it's climax was rendered null by the changes. But my players had all bought in on the changes that WOT had downplayed as not being all that much and minimal conversion would be required. At first I loved 3.5. Then I just got drug down by supplements and rules lawyers and arguments about the rules. I was looking forward to 4e when it was announced. None of my players wanted to play 4e.

So yeah I love me some 3e but would avoid 3.5 and PF1 like the plague. 3e was so good and I wish they had waited a couple more years to release 3.5. It wasn't needed and waiting another 2 or three years would have extended the life of the edition. By a lot as we saw with Pathfinder's popularity. It was a good system and 3.5 was just too soon.

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We play one campaign right now.

It's all good. I like it because of huge amount of books we have that we bought 15-20 years ago.

But...I like 5E a lot more. It is just more refined and balanced all around.

Maybe we will switch to 3.75(pathfinder) mechanics but still remain in FR settings.
It is just more polished than 3.5

That might work best for us. 3.5e in FR, but with 3.75 update :)


I'd been off the D&D wagon at the tail end of 2E, but 3E brought me back with a fury. Haven't seen anyone mention it, but the SRD that came with 3E is probably it's best legacy.

As for the game itself, I really enjoyed it during it day and collected way too much 3rd party material for it, as well as playing my second-longest surviving campaign with it. I took the path of Pathfinder instead of 4E, though I doubt today I'd go back to this edition down the road. Rule for everything seemed nice, until you got into the higher levels and the house of cards just sort of imploded. You couldn't pay me to play past about 9th level of this version.


Trust the Fungus
I voted that I used to play it, but that it didn't leave a strong impression on me. Not really true-- it left a very strong impression on me, but it left both a positive impression and a negative impression. If you count 3.0/3.5/PF1 as all the same game-- as I do-- then there's only one version of D&D I love more, and only one version of D&D I hate more.

I switched to 3e immediately when it came out. I'd had a subscription to Dragon for years, and the last few issues had been hyping up how fresh the new edition was going to be-- and honestly, it didn't disappoint. Barbarians and Monks and Half-Orcs and Assassins and Demons and Devils were back on the core, all the crufty old AD&D jank was gone... it was great.

I bought all the class books and I loved them. I skipped the modules, because I never used them in AD&D. I skipped the campaign setting stuff, because they didn't reprint (or license) any of the settings I cared about. I bought a lot of rad third-party stuff, like XCrawl and DragonStar. I bought Oriental Adventures and I loved it.

The 3.5 Revision came out, and it was way too soon, but I bought it anyway, and maybe it was a reflection on how loosely I followed the rules... but I only really noticed the changes to classes, feats, and some of the monsters. I bought all the class books, and they were way better than the old ones and I was glad I switched, even if I could have used the new splats with the old core. I bought all the race books, and they were even better even if they had fewer new bits to accommodate page after page after page of fluff telling you how to incorporate it into your worlds.

Late cycle, a lot of the new books bugged me. Magic of Incarnum seemed flat and uinteresting. Tome of Magic seemed ill-fitting and discordant. Book of Nine Swords was the most disappointing, because it was the book I was most looking forward to... but it added whole new classes to incorporate its new martial arts system, obsoleting the iconic martial classes, but not truly replacing them. The later class books were not great, taking the Races of... approach to extremes for Prestige Classes that were not, by any stretch of the imagination, things that needed to be incorporated into a campaign setting.

Unearthed Arcana 3.5 was the best D&D book ever published and you can fight me.

By the end of 3.5's run... I was pretty sick of it. I was sick of charop culture, I was sick of a multiclassing system that wasn't good for anything but charop-- I'd long since adopted Gestalt as a stopgap-- I was sick of the game not working at the levels I preferred to play. I got sick of D&D in general.

I switched to HARP and Rolemaster for professional reasons that have long since ceased to matter, and I just never came back. I've run one campaign of 3.PF, played in one short campaign of 4e, and run one campaign of 5e... but I haven't really come back, and I'm probably never going to.

Right now, I'm trying to make my own D&D clone-- old school, but not OSR-- by mashing up third-party Pathfinder content (mostly Rogue Genius and Purple Duck) with Retroroleplaying's Microlite retroclones and I'm running AD&D games in the meantime, until I've got something to playtest.


I haven't stopped playing 3.0/3.5 since it came out and I still love it. I have enough material for this version of the game that I could literally never buy another D&D product again and still have more than enough gaming material for the rest of my life. As a result - and because I and my players still enjoy the 3.5 version - I have never seen a need to even give the other subsequent versions of the game a try. From what I've seen of 4th Edition I personally would not enjoy it at all; from what I've seen of 5th Edition it seems like it would do in a pinch of I didn't have 3.5 around - but fortunately I do, so there's no need. I honestly do not envision myself ever switching from 3.5 to a new edition.

I'm currently at the last legs (the PCs are 19th-level) of DMing my second full-blown 20-level 3.5 campaign with the same group of players and have been a player in my son's three 3.5 campaigns (the recent one is still in the early stages: we're at 6th level). While I admit the higher up in level you get the more work is involved in statting up the monsters and running the combats, I've enjoyed all levels of the campaigns. Fortunately, none of my players are really into min-maxing so we haven't run into problems on those fronts and we pretty much stick to the core rulebooks with only the occasional dip into anything beyond that, so we've avoided a lot of the problems others have pointed out are inherent to the 3.0/3.5 edition. But the inherent flexibility of the system has allowed us to create a bunch of really interesting characters that it has been a pleasure to spend time with over these past few decades.



Rotten DM
Ok I played up to late 2004 or early 2005. I loved the one die to rule the all. One Xp chart. NPC having levels. I also finally grew a back bone when it first came out; and decided core or the door. PHB only. I did start see some flaws with the huge numbers when I went to build a green dragon with some pc levels. I also like the OGL which allowed be finally to GM Traveller T20. I am not surprise they did extra handbooks which would turn the game into build a better bot game.


I liked 3rd edition (and 3.5), mostly because it was the first D&D edition I ever played. Nowadays, it's my least favorite edition.
I would still gladly play it if someone I know to be a really good DM wanted to run it. However, I'll never, ever, subject myself to DMing it again. Too much hassle for so little reward. 4e and 5e have spoiled me.

Out of curiosity: Which two?

Manual of the planes is a very good book for a broad number of reasons (planar handbook is good too but there is little overlap and although it updates some things in manual of the planes, manual of the planes is honestly just a better book. Not just because of knowledge of the planes it offers. Its the way its built too)

And the other one. UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME.

Libris mortis. I know it has problems, but it gives dms an awful lot of material they can work with to make their undead and certain types of dark magic better. It also has the knock on effect of showing how you can do the same in many other areas. Best used with restraint. And also care for possible ways it may screw around with things.

"Johnathan"? Were you signing off with that or is it a reference to something?

Addendum. I forgot. The list is a bit longer if i include other editions.

Not a whole lot longer. But a bit.
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