I go away, and I miss a whole edition - Help?!


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jbear

First Post
If I were in your boat, I'd go cheap-or-free, and try out a few things.

You're familiar with 3e, and if you're not annoyed by it too much, try Pathfinder. It's a modification of the 3e rules.

I'd also sign up for the 5e playtest, and do that.

Those are your free solutions.

If you want a full game, and/or you're annoyed by aspects of 3e, I'd try out 4e, but I wouldn't bother buying the books right off the bat. Rather, sign up for DDI for a month or two, and see how you like the system. If you're excited by it, then you can buy books that interest you, but you can mostly play the game with the DMG and a DDI account, and you'll have the most up-to-date stuff.

That way, you don't even have to worry about much of an investment to tinker around with the three major games that people will be looking for players/DM's for.
This is the best suggestion I have read so far.

The answer to your questions depends so heavily on what you are looking for in a game as a DM.

But even if you were to buy 4e I wouldn't get the PHB.

I'd get the Rules Compendium (which includes all the core rules with errata included) and the Monster Vault (which gives you some very good monsters (the Original Monster Manual Monsters are way behind the curve, you'd want MM3) and some nice tokens to boot.

For the Character Classes and splat books ... erk! I'm loathe to say get DDI ... how long that is going to continue ... no one knows. I guess for a couple of months you'll be good to go and you can download ALL of the magazines and download the updates to the original PHB classes (which are free anyway). The Character Builder is great ... but if DDI goes ... well there goes your CB (which totally sucks).

So I guess the question is: What are you looking for in a game?
 

Mishihari Lord

First Post
It's very hard to say whether you'll like 4E without more information. It's really different than what came before, and some folks love it while others hate it. I think the best idea is to read up on some of the discussions here and see what's been said about it. In your place, based on what little I know, I would stick with 3.5E until 5E came out.
 

Viking Bastard

Adventurer
To me, this seems like a question best answered with the answers to a couple of different questions: "How much disposable income do you have?" and "Do you enjoy buying/owning/reading RPG books for their own sake?"

I'll counter all those who say 4e is super-duper completely different from earlier D&D and claim that it really isn't that much different, really. It has all the D&D things you'd expect. Mechanically it's much closer to 3e than 3e was to it's predecessors, but is a game way more focused on a particular playstyle than any other edition (to it's detriment, I'd say, in the big picture sense, but others would disagree, countering that a focusing the game made it a better experience for all).

It's very good at blockbuster action adventures, with a strong tactical bent. If you like that, it's fantastic. If you don't, I'd skip it. And if you pick it up, I'd get the Essentials books, because, well, I think they're better than the original core books. The core 4e books kind of read like technical manuals. But if you just like checking out new systems for their own sake and have the money to do so, it's a game well worth a look.

I haven't tried Pathfinder, but a lot of people like it (but if you have the 3.5 books, I personally don't really see the point). The mechanics are all available for free online, so that's the cheapest option if you don't care about fluff or physical products.

I also don't think waiting for D&D Next is a thing to do. Just get what suits your needs now, not wait for a future game that might be to your taste.

Third, know the difference between Fourth Edition and Fourth Edition Essentials; they're not the same thing, and (again, from what I've heard) not interchangeable. They're supposed to be roughly as compatible as 3.0 and 3.5 were, but they're not the same thing. A 4E fighter is not the same as an Essentials fighter; magic missile is different between the two, etc.

This isn't exactly right. Essentials redid all the core classes, so yeah, a core Fighter isn't the same as an Essentials Fighter, but the incompatibility is about the same as between a Wizard and a Ranger. They're not the same class, mechanically, but they play by the same rules at the table. There is only one set of 4e rules, be it "Old 4e" or Essentials 4e.
 

Blackbrrd

First Post
I would go with Pathfinder, it does seem to have much better adventure support than 4e. Currently I see a lot of good things with 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition DnD and I am hoping 5e will merge many of those into one system.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
As all the others have said.....but I'll add another option.

If you enjoyed 3.0/3.5...I'd take a look at Pathfinder. Paizo has released their own game that extends and fiddles with the 3.0 ruleset and has a very large following. Tons of game material there as well.

Because he asked about 4E specifically, which is a great game he should check out if he's interested.
 

Mordane76

First Post
I have reasonable disposable income, so that's not the biggest issue... but as several people pointed out (and I did as well), the edition is about to cease being supported and a new edition is coming.

I don't have a group specifically ready to go - I have people interested, but I haven't put together an adventure yet; I have a lot banging around in my head, some of which are fantasy-setting (and hence D&D), and others that are more modern (so d20, Shadowrun, etc).

I never had overt issues with 3.5 other than the power-creep that came with mixing and matching prestige classes from different sources (I run homebrews, and I do like to mix and match), but that had more to do with my choices and the impossibility of playtesting every class with every other class.

The DMG interests me... I do think I'm going to pick up the PHB... but I do know that, as a homebrewer, I'm going to want to make my own stew in my own world setting. I'm sure there are plenty of books at this point (WotC and D&D have always been prolific), so I know that to get the best mix of material I'm looking at possibly sizeable investment for books.

Is anyone in the 5E playtest at this point? Without giving away information that you're bond against supply, what is the impression coming from these individuals? I know I've been reading the data being supplied about the nuts and bolts, but I haven't seen/found much on people's impressions thus far in the playtest... I might just be missing it...

Also... I don't know if I can wait for the new edition before I play again - if I decide to wait, then I'm putting off playing until the new books are out... Hence my issue.
 

Mordane76

First Post
I would say look for a 4e group to play in, and probably best to buy a 4e Essentials Heroes of the Fallen Lands to make a PC - easier than the older 4e PHB and the classes, races & feats in there are generally a bit more powerful, esp the Feats.

I'm much more interested in running games; I do apologize if I wasn't specific on that in my OP. I haven't gotten to PLAY in years - I always end up running the games (people like my games, and I'm happy to do the work)... which is why my question is truly about the investment - I'm going to need a gad of books (as Alzrius pointed out) to get all the nuggets I might want/need; I'm familiar with the WotC model of breaking up material into multiple books (TSR pioneered the model, and it works).
 

Liquidsabre

Explorer
If you enjoyed what 3.5e offers to your game play and only the power creep bothered you I'd recommend going with the three Pathfinder books: Core Book, Bestiary, and Advanced Player's Guide. These will have everything you'll need to play plus a handful of new base classes and character options. You can add the other books later as you play and decide to incorporate them into your game. Though if you like tooling around the Advanced Race Guide has a new system for generating your own balanced races. With that said, it seems power creep may only be inevitable with additional material, though there have been complaints that many novel options Paizo has published are under-powered. So take that for what you will.

Pathfinder is a thriving continuation of 3.5 and I haven't seen anyone assert Pathfinder 'fixed' 3.5e beyond obviously baseless and/or trolling posters. What it did do though was add some improvements that many 3.5e fans enjoy, as their sales and fan support attest. You'll find base classes have been powered up compared to PrCs and these are no longer the go-to-place for power they were in 3.5e.
 

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