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D&D General How Long Did You Play the Different Editions of D&D? (+)

GMforPowergamers

Adventurer
  • BECMI: not really
  • AD&D (1E): not really
  • AD&D (2E): 1996 to 2001
    • Used Combat & Tactics skills& powers eratta options for 2E from and called it 3e for years
  • D&D (3.xE): 2000 to 2009 we were used the Bo9S and better built latter classes for last half but that didn't really feel it. we were going to quit and go back to 2e/retro clones of just other systems when 4e was announced
  • D&D (4E):my fav edition 2008-2018 but from 2015+ it was off and on... this saved D&D in my mind set
  • Pathfinder: 2 campaigns less then a year... I am never EVER going back to 3e style gaming
  • D&D (5E): 2015ish to present I still want to go back to 4e but I respect 5e as the true successor of 2e.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
B/X Late 1993 to mid 95.
2E 1995-2000
3.0 2000-2003
3.5 2003-2009
4E two short campaigns 2008/10.
Pathfinder 2009-12.
2012-14 OSR/2E
5E 2014-now.

1E was an occasional side trip, 2009-12 was a mix of 3.5, 4E,Pathfinder, Star Wars Saga Edition. Burning out on 3.5 couldn't get into 4E.
 
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delericho

Legend
My very first game ('88) was a 1st Ed. campaign. It lasted a few weeks before the DM disappeared off to university.

'88 - '89: BEC(MI). We only got as far as the Companion rules, hence the parentheses.

Christmas '89 - '94: AD&D 2nd Ed.

Summer '94 to '99ish: Hiatus. For some of this time I wasn't gaming, for much of it I was playing various other games, notably WOD.

'99ish: One final AD&D 2nd campaign.

2000 - 2003: 3e.

2003 - 2014ish: 3.5e. There were some gaps here, and there were two brief attempts at 4e, but it was almost entirely 3.5e.

2014 - present: 5e.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I got into D&D late. I was born in 82 and once I was old enough, in the south, satanic panic was real, I got my first 2e PHB in 96 I think. I remember at the time TSR was in trouble and getting books was not easy. I finally found a DMG about a year later. In between that time I scored the FR grey box and a few other splat books.
Oh, the satanic panic. If it hadn't been for the Egbert case being on the news (accompanied by a fantasic dungeon layout from I think Gencon), I wouldn't have known about the game. But damn did it make it rough to play without having to look over my shoulder - and it got worse when I moved from California to Mississippi. I'm so glad those sort of days are gone.
 

John R Davis

Adventurer
Other rpgs 1980 onwards
BECMI 1985-1987, and a few times just recently
1st edition. 1988-1992, but playing again soon
2nd edition. Never.
3rd/3.5 Edition. 2000-2008.
4th Edition. A bit of 2008 to 2009.
Pathfinder 1st 2009-present.
5th edition. 2014-present.
Pathfinder 2nd. Once at a con.
 


MockingBird

Explorer
Oh, the satanic panic. If it hadn't been for the Egbert case being on the news (accompanied by a fantasic dungeon layout from I think Gencon), I wouldn't have known about the game. But damn did it make it rough to play without having to look over my shoulder - and it got worse when I moved from California to Mississippi. I'm so glad those sort of days are gone.
Ha I live in Mississippi, all my life. Yeah my grandmother was hardcore about the satanic panic lol. It only made me more curious about the game. The way I got into it is funny. The same grandmother got me Hero Quest for Christmas one year. My older brother looked it over and said "this is pretty much a stripped down D&D". I was dead set to get some books after that lol.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I was going to answer... B/X 81-82, 1e 82-88, but thinking back I have no recollection of when I switched to 2e between then and around 93 or when I switched to 3/3.5/PF between then and around 2005. The characters and campaign supplies are probably all in boxes downstairs somewhere...
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
5e: April / May 2020 to August 2021, every two weeks. Stopped for now for a variety of reasons.

I have not played any other edition. I'd be most interested in 4e.

Hope to run and / or play Pathfinder 2e and Cyberpunk RED at some stage.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Hmmm…

Basic and AD&D: 1977-1989
2Ed and AD&D/2Ed fusion: 1989-2000
3Ed: 2000-2003
3.5Ed: 2003-2013
4Ed: 2010-2016

If asked to, I’d play any of them, and run any of those except 4Ed. And 3.5Ed is my fave.
 

Jack Daniel

OD&D Referee
Been a while since I've broken this down. Let's see:

OD&D: Once or twice in the 90s and then seriously for the first few months of my freshman year of high school ('98) before switching to AD&D; and pretty much only this since 2006, which would make for at least a solid 15 years.

AD&D: 1998–2000 (2nd edition with some 1st edition mixed in); plus a couple of short campaigns in more recent years (which have been 1st edition with some 2nd edition mixed in). I don't really distinguish the two in my mind, because I've always blended both to some degree. 3 years, but most of that time was from when I was in high school, so we played constantly — seriously, I played so much AD&D in those 3 years that it almost doesn't do the idea justice to frame it in terms of dates rather than hours.

3rd Ed: 2001–2006, so 5 years. In terms of sheer quantity of time spent, my 3e gaming was probably about equal to my AD&D gaming.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
I list 1e and 2e together because while I technically started with 2e, I actually didn't realize there was a difference between the two for ages and used sourcebooks and materials from both. The Player's Handbook and DMG were 2e though.
I hear this sort of thing was a common experience. Myself, I came across a used copy of the AD&D (1e) DMG in a bookstore once, and I knew AD&D as that unbelievably fun-sounding game my friends’ older brothers played that they wouldn’t let us play with them. I was so excited to finally get to learn to play it… I was very confused by its contents. It felt like half the book was just missing; mostly it just seemed to meanderingly talk about rules that, as far as I could tell, didn’t actually exist anywhere, and what rules I could find always seemed to be missing vital context, alluding to other rules I couldn’t find anywhere.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I hear this sort of thing was a common experience. Myself, I came across a used copy of the AD&D (1e) DMG in a bookstore once, and I knew AD&D as that unbelievably fun-sounding game my friends’ older brothers played that they wouldn’t let us play with them. I was so excited to finally get to learn to play it… I was very confused by its contents. It felt like half the book was just missing; mostly it just seemed to meanderingly talk about rules that, as far as I could tell, didn’t actually exist anywhere, and what rules I could find always seemed to be missing vital context, alluding to other rules I couldn’t find anywhere.

I had 5 books, MM, DMG, UA, OA, and FF.

No PHB though. Had to figure out class via UA and OA.
 

Koppe

Villager
BECMI: 1990 - present
AD&D: short stint in -92 or -93

Thank god for OSR. We had played all good original D&D and Dungeon Magazine adventures over ten years ago.
 

Kind of depends how you count. Solidly play the game every year or just not completely stop? Like, with 2E, I feel like we played it from 1989 to 2000 but some years we played a ton and others we might not have played at all because of all the other RPGs we were playing, but we hadn't given up on it. I guess go with what feels right?

So:

2E - 1989 to 2000 - nearly stopped entirely in 1994, but Planescape saved it.

3E - 2000 to 2004, then like 2007 to 2008. The main group completely stopped playing it in-between but my bro kept buying stuff for it and ran a couple of campaigns in 2007-2008. Most years we were playing other RPGs too.

4E - 2008 to 2015, but in like 2014 and 2015 we were mostly running Dungeon World.

Edit: worth noting that we played a lot more frequently in the 4E years than the 3E ones, but how much was down to different life circumstances is an open question.

5E - 2014 to present but until 2017 we were only playing 5E occasionally, usually Dungeon World, Shadowrun (ugh) or other RPGs. I'm actually running other stuff ATM but also playing in two active 5E campaigns.

Edit: 5E is notable in that more old DMs seem to want to run it, whereas in 4E it seemed to attract new DMs, for our group. Like two people who had never DM'd before ran 4E, but three old DMs came out of retirement for 5E, whereas I gradually DM'd less and now mostly play. Peak group size was 4E but again maybe just life circumstances.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Kind of depends how you count. Solidly play the game every year or just not completely stop? Like, with 2E, I feel like we played it from 1989 to 2000 but some years we played a ton and others we might not have played at all because of all the other RPGs we were playing, but we hadn't given up on it. I guess go with what feels right?

1. Always go with what feels right with these kinds of posts unless what feels right is to completely flout the question and talk crap about it. So, I think you're good.

2. And yeah, I just assumed people would include years where even if they didn't play the specific edition that is the edition they would have been playing or gone back to if they had decided to play D&D then. Of course, if people gave up on D&D altogether until a new edition came out to draw them back in, I would not count those intervening years.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
  • BECMI: 1987 - 1988 (1 year)
  • AD&D 1E: 1988 - 1989 (1 year)
  • AD&D 2E: 1989 - 2008 (19 years)
  • D&D 3E: 2000 - 2008 (8 years)
  • D&D 4E: 2008 - 2014 (6 years)
  • D&D 5E: 2014 - 2021 (7 years)
AD&D 2nd edition is the only edition i continued playing after a new edition rolled out, keeping a campaign during 3E and playing another one during 4E.
 

Tormai

Villager
Time is weird. And when you've been playing D&D for nearly 40 years, the time you spent playing one edition over another can seem really skewed, as some editions can have an outsized influence on your view of the game even when you didn't play them that long. So I decided to try to break down how long I played/ran each edition.
  • BECMI: 1983 to 1985 (2ish years)
  • AD&D (1E): 1985 to 1989 (4ish years) [switched to it eagerly because "advanced" meant I was more "mature" :ROFLMAO:]
  • AD&D (2E): 1989 to 2000 (11ish years) [switched reluctantly at first but then jumped in whole hog]
    • Used Combat & Tactics options for 2E from '96 to '00.
  • D&D (3.xE): 2000 to 2016 (16ish years) [I was adopting 3E rules before it had even been released thanks to Eric Noah and picked up my PHB at GEN CON 2000]
  • D&D (4E): One playtest session in 2008 [was skeptical, remain skeptical - but still adopted a rule or two from it]
  • D&D (5E): 2019 to present (hasn't been two full years yet, but will be soon) [after a break from D&D and a move to a new city I was talked into starting a new game]

    So I was wondering what other people's breakdowns might be. I know some people play multiple editions with different groups at the same time, so in that case just break it down how it makes sense for you (maybe just focus on the most common and/or the one you preferred to play). I also know that some of you have not been playing as long, but that is okay - I am just curious when and if you shifted to each edition after playing the previous for however long. I am even interested in hearing about people who stuck with a previous edition or switched back to it after trying a newer one.

    For myself, 2E is always gonna have a large influence on my play and DM style and what I want out of a game, with a healthy dose of 3E's tactical focus (but without the "arms race" and "build" mentalities and sans the overly-granular rules), thus why I find myself enjoying 5E (which feels like a good mix of those two), even if some of its choices are not what I would have done.

    One other notable point: I have used material for or from each of the editions in each of the other editions that I played for any length of time and have never had any issue converting stuff (in fact, I find it fun). I still used the best DMG (1E) regularly and have barely cracked the 3E or 5E DMGs.

    Notice the "(+)" in the thread title. This thread is not meant to become an edition war. It is okay if you want to mention why you switched editions, but don't slag off on other people or judge their choices.
BECMI 83 to 88.
1E: Sunmer of 88
2E: 89 to 02 (stayed with it to finish a couple of campaigns
3E: 00 to 2020
4E: 2012, one session
5E: 2019 to present, but with a lot of table rules, my own Hard Mode, to offset the inherent hero complex built into the system

Been playing Pathfinder off and on since 2009 and heavily playing Star Trek Adventures since the play test.

2E will always be the version that most heavily influences my approach to the game.
 

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