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Favourite D&D edition that’s not 5E

Favourite D&D Edition

  • OD&D

    Votes: 18 6.1%
  • AD&D 1E

    Votes: 42 14.3%
  • AD&D 2E

    Votes: 72 24.6%
  • D&D 3E/3.5

    Votes: 79 27.0%
  • D&D 4E

    Votes: 73 24.9%
  • Other (not 5E)

    Votes: 9 3.1%

  • Total voters

Immortal Sun

4e was much better received than popular opinion might lead one to believe. In fact, it was very successful with new players, its problem was that it didn’t appeal to established players, who were very much necessary to bring in new players at the time.

True, perhaps once "new players" become a more established group we'll see a 4E revival.

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Goblin Queen
True, perhaps once "new players" become a more established group we'll see a 4E revival.

Sadly, the lack of established players bringing new players into 4e severely bottlenecked the edition’s growth. There’s definitely a market out there for an updated 4e clone, but it’s a niche one.


Immortal Sun

Sadly, the lack of established players bringing new players into 4e severely bottlenecked the edition’s growth. There’s definitely a market out there for an updated 4e clone, but it’s a niche one.

I always try to offer to run 4E for folks, but always get dirty looks when I do.


While I played a lot of 1e and 2e, I think 4e is a my favorite edition. It wasnt perfect and I understand why many people did not roll with it, but I really appreciated the new take on D&D and was ready for something different when it came out. I really liked the variety and unpredictability of the monsters, the way that martial characters worked and the tactical options in combat.


Eternal Optimist
I went with AD&D (1st edition). There's a certain purity in the concepts of the game back then, and it's had enough time for some of the oddness of Original D&D to disappear. Yes, it's got lots of things that are still odd about it, but we ignored most of those when playing it.

2E did a lot of interesting things with the game, but I felt that, mechanically, it lost something, even while making things more consistent. For one, I don't like how 2E deals with specialist wizards - the original illusionist was far more to my taste.

I've run a fair deal of original D&D of late, but I think that if I was planning to do another long-form non-5E campaign, I'd run AD&D again.


Interesting how close everything is from 1E to 4E. I'm a bit surprised that OD&D doesn't have more, since it includes BECMI, which had a solid following through most of AD&D.

For me, it's 1E if only one can be chosen. Like many, we played 1.5 edition, which was a mishmash of both editions, taking the best of both. While both 3E and 4E revolutionized the game, I was never quite comfortable with their "crunchiness." I obviously believe that 5E really is the best edition, because it kept the style/flow of AD&D and installed just the best crunch from 3E and 4E.


Went with 1e as the definitive edition. For actual play I prefer Swords & Wizardry, an ODnD clone.

Interesting how different these results are from what is recorded as being played out in the wild, where BX clones are popular and 2e and 4e are unloved.
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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Fourth edition is still my favorite. But in truth, there is something appealing about every edition to me. Whether it is a particular mechanic, support for a setting, or an experience I had during a particular time, each has given me something I remember fondly over the 3 decades I had been involved.

All, that is, except 5e. Which is a shame because it is the edition I wanted 1e or 2e to be, and more popular than I hoped any edition could be. But it lacks something I really enjoyed about 3e, and fails to evolve forward from the innovations of 4e, which I really came to appreciate. For me, 5e is a step backwards, but it is a good step for bringing new people into the hobby where it is no longer guarded by the baggage of grognards like me. In fact, I give credit to 5e for moving me past the D&D threshold after so long and allowing me to find other games and hobbies that I have enjoyed more than I ever could if I were still committing the time and energy I did for just one game.

Speaking of which, that was one of the major strong points of 4e for me. The system was so well balanced, so meticulously measured, and so easy to scale, it was less of a chore to DM than any edition I had ever played. Everything was laid out clearly and concisely. Monster abilities were simple but interesting, and roles varied enough so that no two encounters with the same species would feel like a repeat.

Sure, there was room for improvement in several areas. I had hoped the next edition would continue the good design changes that started appearing towards the end. Or at the very least, allow other parties to pick up where they dropped things leaving their fans in the mud, so to speak. But I still have my books, and a working copy of the offline tools if I ever get the urge again. For now, I still prefer board games, (maybe) the One Ring, and (mostly) the Star Wars RPG. And it is hard to come back after experiencing all of that. ;)


Jewel of the North
For me its 4th. I took me from my usual Tolkienesque fantasy and showed me how to enjoy high-powered, high fantasy D&D, and Dm for is still super fun, because every foe is like playing a PC!

That's why I'm a 13th Age fan. I also just bought all Essentials material to play an eventual 4th game using only Essentials and some house rules:
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdom
Heroes of the Fallen Land
Heroes of the Feywild
Heroes of Shadows
- No feats
- Natural Bonus instead of the item threadmill


As I have said in other threads, 2E was the Golden Age of Campaign Settings and had the best psionics system I have seen in any edition of D&D, but 3E had a set of rules that really jelled and balance authenticity with ease of play. Feat chains and prestige classes added a lot of options for character development and lent themselves to helping customize settings even more.


My fave will always be Moldvay/Cook/Marsh, I guess.

But I voted other, as we play 13th Age more than anything else that is "D&D" in recent years-


With the 13thAge companion PC rules it has nearly the simplicity of B/X D&D on the character side (which my players prefer)

Caters to my DM style preference which is focused on narrative and per scene/encounter type adventures and play.

Easy encounter/monster prep or creation on the fly

Interesting and fun to run monster/NPC mechanics in super simple self contained stat blocks.

No hassle narrative focused "Skill" system (backgrounds) with simplified DC system.

10 levels. Perfect.

No need for Magic items for PCs to be "balanced" so you can give out more interesting items

One rulebook, everything else is fluff.

Icon system is something I didn't use at first but since have adapted to whatever setting we are playing in. I have come to love it for the twists it adds to gameplay.

No reliance on having certain character classes in the game (i.e, Clerics to heal, Rogues to do thiefy/sneaky stuff).Recoveries and backgrounds handle it effectively.

Damage based on class (which I used in O/BD&D)

"Zones" for combat, and a simple AoO mechanic (intercepts)

Most people love the Escalation Die- but we always forget to use it ;) It is great tie in to mechanics/events during a scene (if I remember).

Monster/Adventure conversion is easy peasy on the fly.

I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, but I love it as a DM. Enough "modern sensibility" without a lot of rules depth/mastery needed on either side of the screen or having to constantly reference books for monsters, items, conditions, spells, etc.
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1e. I played that from 1981 to 2012 when 5e finally pulled me away. However, I do like some 2e elements, like thief skill progression, THAC0, and specialty priests from 2e over 1e. But 1e had the best art by far, I loved how the game encouraged you to create your own worlds and adventures, and the 1e DMG is the best gaming supplement ever for said game world creators. I also prefer niche protection, and have a healthy disdain for “every class should be good at every aspect.” design philosophy. I view D&D like a team, where various classes play off weaknesses and strengths of others, like sports teams are now. Not where every player is as good in every aspect as every other player.


Hobbit on Quest
It's a very tough question between 2e and 3e/PF. I think 3e/PF just barely holds an edge but I really do feel it's some of the additions made by PF that push the 3e family over that crest.


Hobbit on Quest
I'm actually surprised 4E has that many votes. Wow.

Since it's the edition that's so different, I suspect that for people who feel it's their favorite, the distinction is extremely clear and unambiguous. Meanwhile, we've got a substantial number of people reporting difficulty between choosing between 2e and 3e, some probably reporting on the 2e answer, some on 3e but really kind of existing in a shadow in between the two choices.


While 1e has loads of good memories that was more in spite of not because of system.

3.5e would be second best to 5e imo so, 3.5.