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D&D General Make a Frankedition!


Here's the challenge:

Create a "new" version of D&D out of the parts of previous editions (hence "frankedition"). You must choose one system or design philosophy each from:
Original D&D
Basic (Holmes, B/X, BECMI)
and 5E
If you want, explain why you chose what you did.

For my part:
OD&D: Alignment. Of all the variations on alignment, I prefer the stark contrast between law and Chaos the most.
Basic: Domain management as a focus of "endgame" play.
AD&D 1E: XP for Gold and its associated implications. I just think it makes for better gameplay.
AD&D 2E: The art. It's so good.
3.x: Prestige classes. I know they got overpowered and silly quickly but I think the core idea is solid -- and better than 5E subclasses.
4E: Monster stat blocks.
5E: Advantage and Disadvantage.

I am not sure in my theoretical Frankedition I would use "skills" per se but I think I would keep 5E "proficiency bonus" but it would be tied to stuff your class, race and background suggest you would be skilled at.

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OD&D - Underworld and Wilderness Adventures - use the default assumptions for the campaign world
Basic D&D - XP format gold for XP and minimal XP for monsters
AD&D - character classes
AD&D 2E - don't really know, haven't played it all that much
3E: Ascending AC and to hit bonus
4E: Skills - simple straightforward skill list with Trained/Untrained being just a flat bonus against an Easy/Medium/Hard DC setup.
5E: Advantage/Disadvantage


B/X Known World
OD&D. The DIY attitude and the gonzo, weird, science fantasy feel. The settings.
B/X. How clean and straightforward the rules were, how quickly you can create characters, how smooth and fast actual play is, and the gonzo, weird, science fantasy feel. The settings.
AD&D 1E. The gonzo, weird, science fantasy feel. The settings.
AD&D 2E. Monster ecology and settings.
3X. Maybe prestige classes and epic destinies? I never played 3X. The settings.
4E. Almost everything except how it actually played at the table and a few odd assumptions about play and advancement.
5E. Advantage and disadvantage.

Up until a few years ago my ultimate edition of D&D was 4E without the focus on map-bound tactical skirmishes, but adding in the gonzo, weird, science fantasy feel of earlier editions. But lately, I'd rather see Arneson's original notes that he sent to Gygax and play that.
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Limit Break Dancing
For OD&D, I would choose the pantheon. I like the gods of Greyhawk best.

From BECM, I would harvest the campaign setting of Mystara, so that I could more easily run some of my favorite classic adventures.

AD&D 1E is going to be hard for me, because I never played it. But I've tried to convert some of the monsters from it, and I really liked the older version of the Rust Monster...that sucker was terrifying. So that's my answer: RUST MONSTER.

I really liked the idea of Kits in AD&D 2E, so that's what I would grab.

For 3E, I'd get the monster templates. Oh how I miss monster templates!

The only thing I'd take from 4th Edition is the Raven Queen and her associated lore.

And everything else would come from 5th Edition.
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OD&D - not familiar with it, so I'll actually skip this
Basic: War machine
1E: Random Dungeon Generation, Polearm variety
2E: NWP/Weapon proficiencies
3E: Character options
4E: Monster stat blocks
5E: Bounded accuracy, advantage and disadvantage


Limit Break Dancing
@Stormonu Good call on the war machine rules. If I were to pick a second thing from the BECM rules to add to my "Frankendition," it would be the Siege Engine rules for mass combat.


Despite being old enough to know better, I don't recall what a lot of the differences were in pre-AD&D editions - they blur together for me.

There's a wonderful - albeit sometimes clunky - simplicity to the earliest editions that is worth keeping in mind as a goal. the simplicity part, not the clunky part!

I played very little 2E, but the kits seemed pretty good.

As for 3E, just stay away from those feat trees!

The format of the 4E Monster Manual entries and statblocks.
4E's structure of at-will, encounter, and daily powers - at the time, I didn't care for this innovation, but looking back it seems easier to grok than how 5E handles things.

5E. aside from what most others have said, backgrounds are great.

OD&D- never played
BECMI - gradual expansion of options. A first level fighter shouldn't need to choose what kind of fighter they are just yet.
1e - Capping major advancement at 9th or 10th, and then only small increases.
2e - never played. There's a lot of good settings to borrow from, though.
3e - prestige classes. Late 3.5 had some really creative new classes as well, some of which were forgotten but deserve to come back IMO (like shadowcaster)
4e - paragon paths and epic destinies. Skill proficiency being a +5.
5e - most of the actual core rules would come form here.

For myself as an ideal player, I'd just want Pathfinder 2e. But for many of the people I play with, and more incremental way to handle character building and growth would make for a much better experience - easier to learn and more connection between story and advancement.


OD&D - Ability scores from the original 3 booklets. Must have a 16 to get a bonus in anything, and then it's a maximum of +1 bonus.

AD&D - Weapons, Armor, and THAC0 (yes, it actually was in 1e before 2e had it).

B/X and BECMI - Monster stats

2e - Class creation rules (loved these, maybe could be abused without STRICT DM oversight of the creation, but they were AWESOME guidelines. With a campaign like this, you could MAKE any class that you wanted to).

3e - Mercurial Great swords

3.5 - The entire Dragonlance set (not just the Wotc DLCS, but all of the other books as well)

PF - Skills (they had skills make the most sense and done the best way out of all the 3.X series)

4e - Saves (how saves were implemented was actually one of the easier ways to remember and handle)

5e - Backgrounds


Goblin Queen (She/They)
My frankenedition would be built on 4e, particularly post-PHB3, as a base. AEDU but with different progression structures for different classes a la Essentials. Role and Power Source. 4e’s monster design. Non-AC defenses. Nentir Vale as default setting.

From 5e I would bring in bounded accuracy, advantage/disadvantage, and the fundamental pattern of play. Probably the PHB race and class lists, though with the addition of the warlord from 4e.

From 3.X I would take clear wealth by level and magic item pricing guidelines (with the caveat that the DM is not obligated to follow those guidelines; bounded accuracy insures magic items are not needed for progression, but I’d still like actual usable rules for the buying and selling of magic items for when I want to offer the option). The unified d20 + modifiers, roll over target number to succeed mechanic. “Dungeon punk” aesthetic.

I haven’t played any of the editions before 3e, but I’ll borrow some of the things other people have said. Troupe based play as the default with a heavy focus on dungeon and wilderness adventuring from Original. Domain management as a focus of "endgame" play from Basic. XP for Gold from AD&D. Maybe kits from 2e? Again, I don’t know much about pre-WotC D&D, so I’m kinda just taking shots in the dark here.


I tried that for a few years. Didn't work. In the end, I started from scratch and built the super simple d20 mini-rpg I wanted. Taking ideas outside D&D helped me a lot. You have to look out of the sandbox.


Victoria Rules
If starting from scratch, what would I take from each edition as a basis?

0e/Basic/BECMI (these all kinda blur together for me) - short spell lists, simple randomized char-gen, stand-alone adventure modules, general sense of whimsy and-or gonzo, lethality and danger are a constant fact of life, underlying philosophy of guidelines-not-rules
1e - the PC race selection, most of the pre-UA classes plus Cavalier (specifically including the 1e Ranger!), clerics-v-undead subsystem, individual weapon proficiencies, variable xp progression by class, strongholds etc. at higher level, training rules, risky magic e.g. expanding fireballs or possible death in teleport, saving throws that depend on what is being saved against
2e - open-ended but slow class advancement, death at -10, many spells (but severely curated for each campaign or style), magic item compendia, alignment, slow recovery rates for spells and hit points
3e/3.5e - sorcerer casting system (slots but no pre-memorization) for all casting classes, Bards that can start at 1st, NPCs and PCs on the same chassis, various magic items
4e - geographical and tactical set-piece encounter design, terrain rules, bloodied condition for everyone, points-of-light style setting
5e - advantage-disadvantage in certain situations, bounded accuracy but only to a point

There would be a base 1e-like set of classes intended for all games plus a similar-length list of options that could be added or not to any given campaign or setting.

I would also harvest a selection of monsters from each edition's various MMs - hell, what am I saying? I'd just use them all. :)


Original D&D--being a game that emulates genre fiction, not a self-referential one
Basic--the deliberate effort at simplicity; as in the short monster and spell lists
AD&D 1E--the class list
AD&D 2E--Dark Sun, and generosity in setting publication generally
3.x--man, I'm drawing a blank, I can't think of anything it does that 5e doesn't do better, maybe the faux in-setting object book covers
4E--replacing saves with defenses
5E--the d20 resolution system with its bounded accuracy, advantage, and disadvantage

Do I have inconsistent and conflicting preferences there? Yes.


Original D&D: Law/Chaos only alignment axis. Adding a Good/Evil axis in later editions created more problems than it solved.
Basic (Holmes, B/X, BECMI): Skills from the Rules Cyclopedia. The best implementation of skills in D&D for my money.
AD&D 1E: Weapon types versus armor types. Probably re-worked mechanically, but I really like the idea, if not the implementation.
AD&D 2E: Specialty priests/clerics. It makes more sense than all clerics casting from the exact same spell list as they do in many editions.
3.x: Unified task resolution mechanic. Roll 1d20+Ability+Skill vs Difficulty.
4E: Skill challenges (final form). WotC had a lot of trouble getting this right, but when they did it was pretty awesome.
5E: Advantage and Disadvantage. Such a simple, elegant, mechanic that eliminates so much of the boring, pointless, modifier math introduced in D&D 3x.

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