D&D General Making and surviving the break…

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I have mentioned many times before I have been an every other edition guy so I can answer the questions for myself.

I am interested in hearing how it is for others!

I played AD&D 1e, 3e and now am fully entrenched in 5e.

What makes folks (you) stay with an edition?

What are the costs of being left behind? How does it change your gaming life?
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
So...this one was a bit weird for me. I'm sure for anyone that's seen me post for any length of time, I'm a big 4e fan and unapologetic about it.

That wasn't always the case. Indeed, originally, I was a dyed-in-the-wool 4e hater.

My original exposure to it was through (now-former) friends...who hated it. Openly loathed it. I'm pretty sure they'd never even cracked the books open. They condemned it as a cash grab (as though the 3.5e "revision" wasn't), as being antagonistic to story and RP, an MMO on paper, a boardgame not an RPG, a rollplaying game not a roleplaying game...basically, if there was a screed you could shout at it that didn't actually require you to know anything about it, they said it. And I believed them. What reason would I have to doubt their word?

So I stuck with 3.5e--because I thought it was merely an imperfect implementation of a wonderful idea. Because I thought if I could just find the right little bit of homebrew or house-rule or combination of ACFs or (etc., etc.), that I could get from it the experience I wanted. I wasn't satisfied with it, but I simply assumed that that was on me. That I was just looking for the right angle, and if I could find it, I'd truly be completely content with 3.5e.

Of course, there were discussions, and I parroted the things I had heard from others I trusted (at the time, anyway.) I gave my two bits. Eventually, at some point, I made an argument, and someone pushed against it--with citations. That of course required that I actually sit down and read the text, right? Can't meaningfully respond to citations unless you actually know what's being cited. So I did.

And the more I read, the more I realized I loved what I was seeing.

4e wasn't a cash-grab. In fact, it wasn't any of the things I'd been told it was. It was a game that married both serious design--with actual testing, and sometimes really quite clever solutions--and loving design--with heart, and sincerity, and a genuine desire to make something bursting at the seams with flavor and mythic resonance and pure potential. Moreover, as I read it, I realized precisely why I'd been so frustrated with 3.X for so long with no end in sight. I wanted something the game categorically couldn't provide.

I could go into deeper detail, but the point here isn't to crap on 3e, it's to celebrate 4e. 4e truly offers a game where teamwork actually matters, you can't afford to not use teamwork. A game where cold, bloodless calculation is actually not that useful, and flavor-first choices can be perfectly acceptable, even good. A game where you can stop worrying about whether you're hyper-optimized (because it is well-balanced), and instead focus on what makes sense for your character. A game where you can try weird combinations and funky builds without fear that you'll hold your party back. A game that rewards lateral thinking, non-combat tasks, setting and completing personal goals.

And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't say, it's the game that gave us not just in-the-PHB-dragonborn, but specifically Arkhosia and the story thereof. It gave us the Raven Queen, and Erathis, and the Dawn War and War of Winter, the Feywild and Shadowfell, and a zillion other brilliant lore and cosmology elements. All of which are designed for how useful they are as part of play, not just as navel-gazing academic cosmology construction that couldn't even in principle have an impact on 99% of campaigns.

All those things combined are why I stick with 4e. Or, at least, I would if I could find people playing it. Because that's the price I pay here. I haven't had a game of 4e at all in something like four years, and I haven't had a really good game of 4e in something like six years. Even then, games were few and far between.

It's frankly pretty miserable, loving something so much and being just genuinely unable to ever get it, and having most people happily and eagerly $#!+ all over it and tell me to my (digital) face what badwrongfun it was. I would love to love 5e. I would love to be able to look at it and say, "Awesome, this is something that can at least get me part of what I want." But it doesn't. It constantly reminds me just how much it repudiates the things I love. Again, I'd rather not digress into talking about something I don't love, so I'll just leave it at what I've said before: "5e was supposed to be the 'big tent,' but I've always felt like that so-called 'big tent' pointedly excluded my interests."
 

Having played since the Blue Box, I have never stayed with an edition. I just bought the new one and wholly embraced it. That said, there were times we played a different system, and just dropped D&D. And it wasn't because we disliked the system of D&D, but we were just trying new things.
As far as being left behind, I am unsure. Since I have always adopted the new system, it just has always seemed to work out.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
So...this one was a bit weird for me. I'm sure for anyone that's seen me post for any length of time, I'm a big 4e fan and unapologetic about it.

That wasn't always the case. Indeed, originally, I was a dyed-in-the-wool 4e hater.

My original exposure to it was through (now-former) friends...who hated it. Openly loathed it. I'm pretty sure they'd never even cracked the books open. They condemned it as a cash grab (as though the 3.5e "revision" wasn't), as being antagonistic to story and RP, an MMO on paper, a boardgame not an RPG, a rollplaying game not a roleplaying game...basically, if there was a screed you could shout at it that didn't actually require you to know anything about it, they said it. And I believed them. What reason would I have to doubt their word?

So I stuck with 3.5e--because I thought it was merely an imperfect implementation of a wonderful idea. Because I thought if I could just find the right little bit of homebrew or house-rule or combination of ACFs or (etc., etc.), that I could get from it the experience I wanted. I wasn't satisfied with it, but I simply assumed that that was on me. That I was just looking for the right angle, and if I could find it, I'd truly be completely content with 3.5e.

Of course, there were discussions, and I parroted the things I had heard from others I trusted (at the time, anyway.) I gave my two bits. Eventually, at some point, I made an argument, and someone pushed against it--with citations. That of course required that I actually sit down and read the text, right? Can't meaningfully respond to citations unless you actually know what's being cited. So I did.

And the more I read, the more I realized I loved what I was seeing.

4e wasn't a cash-grab. In fact, it wasn't any of the things I'd been told it was. It was a game that married both serious design--with actual testing, and sometimes really quite clever solutions--and loving design--with heart, and sincerity, and a genuine desire to make something bursting at the seams with flavor and mythic resonance and pure potential. Moreover, as I read it, I realized precisely why I'd been so frustrated with 3.X for so long with no end in sight. I wanted something the game categorically couldn't provide.

I could go into deeper detail, but the point here isn't to crap on 3e, it's to celebrate 4e. 4e truly offers a game where teamwork actually matters, you can't afford to not use teamwork. A game where cold, bloodless calculation is actually not that useful, and flavor-first choices can be perfectly acceptable, even good. A game where you can stop worrying about whether you're hyper-optimized (because it is well-balanced), and instead focus on what makes sense for your character. A game where you can try weird combinations and funky builds without fear that you'll hold your party back. A game that rewards lateral thinking, non-combat tasks, setting and completing personal goals.

And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't say, it's the game that gave us not just in-the-PHB-dragonborn, but specifically Arkhosia and the story thereof. It gave us the Raven Queen, and Erathis, and the Dawn War and War of Winter, the Feywild and Shadowfell, and a zillion other brilliant lore and cosmology elements. All of which are designed for how useful they are as part of play, not just as navel-gazing academic cosmology construction that couldn't even in principle have an impact on 99% of campaigns.

All those things combined are why I stick with 4e. Or, at least, I would if I could find people playing it. Because that's the price I pay here. I haven't had a game of 4e at all in something like four years, and I haven't had a really good game of 4e in something like six years. Even then, games were few and far between.

It's frankly pretty miserable, loving something so much and being just genuinely unable to ever get it, and having most people happily and eagerly $#!+ all over it and tell me to my (digital) face what badwrongfun it was. I would love to love 5e. I would love to be able to look at it and say, "Awesome, this is something that can at least get me part of what I want." But it doesn't. It constantly reminds me just how much it repudiates the things I love. Again, I'd rather not digress into talking about something I don't love, so I'll just leave it at what I've said before: "5e was supposed to be the 'big tent,' but I've always felt like that so-called 'big tent' pointedly excluded my interests."
Thumbs up for the insight and not my agreement about 5e in particular!

I did not like 4e personally and that is just a taste thing. I wanted to move to the new and spent hundreds and it just did not resonate. And it sucked because on some level I like to be “current.”

I too felt a price to pay for not moving on…but not as steeply as you. My group did not even buy 4e so once I was done there was not objection from them.

I have always had a built in group (my pals of decades and now fingers crossed! Our kids!) but when I moved away for grad school, I was surely in the minority on tastes.

And online interactions changed too. It was like being on a New York Yankees fan site but only really liking the Mets or some equivalent…
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
I started with BX, went on to play AD&D, AD&D2e, then 3e, 3.5e, PF, then went back to BX and AD&D2e. I play BX fairly BTB, with a few houserules, and I play AD&D2e with a glorious and absurd amount of hacks, houserules, and content stolen from all the other editions. I've played a little 4e and really enjoyed it. I've played some 5e as well and think it's fine.

I stuck with/returned to 2e and BX because I have a massive ongoing 40-year campaign that uses those rules and I am very at home with it. I find them both very robust editions that allow me to hack and hew at them without the system exploding in my face (I found that harder to do with 3e and PF). From my perspective, there isn't anything that the more recent editions can offer me that my hacked 2e doesn't already do. If I see something I like in newer releases, I take it out back, mug it at knifepoint, and then incorporate it into my houserules ;)

I don't feel left behind and honestly don't really understand that sentiment. I think it's possible to be too concerned with what the "industry" or "hobby" is doing when all that matters is my own gaming groups. I have no shortage of players, often have to turn people away because my groups are full, and find as much enthusiasm for older editions as for newer ones. It doesn't change my gaming life at all except for giving me new editions to steal from. Looking forward to taking the next version of D&D out back for a friendly chat when the time comes... :D
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I started with BX, went on to play AD&D, AD&D2e, then 3e, 3.5e, PF, then went back to BX and AD&D2e. I play BX fairly BTB, with a few houserules, and I play AD&D2e with a glorious and absurd amount of hacks, houserules, and content stolen from all the other editions. I've played a little 4e and really enjoyed it. I've played some 5e as well and think it's fine.

I stuck with/returned to 2e and BX because I have a massive ongoing 40-year campaign that uses those rules and I am very at home with it. I find them both very robust editions that allow me to hack and hew at them without the system exploding in my face (I found that harder to do with 3e and PF). From my perspective, there isn't anything that the more recent editions can offer me that my hacked 2e doesn't already do. If I see something I like in newer releases, I take it out back, mug it at knifepoint, and then incorporate it into my houserules ;)

I don't feel left behind and honestly don't really understand that sentiment. I think it's possible to be too concerned with what the "industry" or "hobby" is doing when all that matters is my own gaming groups. I have no shortage of players, often have to turn people away because my groups are full, and find as much enthusiasm for older editions as for newer ones. It doesn't change my gaming life at all except for giving me new editions to steal from. Looking forward to taking the next version of D&D out back for a friendly chat when the time comes... :D
We played 1e for a long while. Right up until 99 or so. The lure of a half orc Paladin was too much. Had to try it out…

My dm liked the monstrous compendium so he made use of that with our 1 e game. For 5e if there is something super compelling in 5.5 we might make use?

However the language and rules will be 5e so spectating will be more possible: the leap to 4e meant learning a new language and whole system. So I became waynout of the loop before long when I decided not for me
 

I abandoned running 3E around 3.5E - not specifically because of it, but because I'd increasingly had enough of the significantly increased DM burden of 3.XE and because combat took literally 3-5x as long as 2E combat, especially as you went up levels (even like at level 5-6 it was slowing down hard).

What were the consequences? Because I have a regular main group, nothing particularly bad. We just played other games. Another DM ran some 3.XE, so I did keep playing it.

As soon as 4E came out, we were playing it, and loving it. It was just tremendously well-suited to that group of players.

But by the time 5E came out, we didn't switch to it, even though we were kind of done with 4E, not for the usual stated reasons, but very specifically again became combat turned into an unholy slog. For most of the 1-10 bracket, 4E ran at least twice as fast as 3.XE, in very large part because of a much stronger "exception-based" design, where genuinely did have everything you needed on your character sheet and/or power cards. But as you got to the end of the bracket and into the 11-20 bracket (Paragon? or was that 21-30? I forget the three tier names - some great concepts there), suddenly vast numbers of Instant, Interrupt, Reaction and similar powers were showing up - not just for PCs, but also for monsters. And my god did they slow the game down as it turned into move-countermove stuff. What's particularly interesting is this stuff wasn't even videogame-y - it's stuff annoyingly hard (instant and interrupt particularly) to implement in a turn-based videogame - but what became clear was that the playtesting of the higher tiers cannot have been anywhere near as good as 1-10.

Anyway, we switched off from 4E, but instead of going to 5E, we went to Dungeon World from about 2013 to 2017, and we actually had a great time. What it really made us wish for was a much crunchier and more extended Dungeon World. Unfortunately, pretty much every game inspired by Dungeon World is distinctly less crunchy and more simplified (with the exception of Star Wars World, which was quite similar), because that's how the PtbA community tended to work.

So if I think if you have a regular group, who aren't obsessed with a specific game, you'll be fine.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Having played since the Blue Box, I have never stayed with an edition. I just bought the new one and wholly embraced it. That said, there were times we played a different system, and just dropped D&D. And it wasn't because we disliked the system of D&D, but we were just trying new things.
As far as being left behind, I am unsure. Since I have always adopted the new system, it just has always seemed to work out.
More or less the same, except 4e didn't work for me, personally (not edition warring, just stating my perspective). Otherwise, though, I've found each edition to be an improvement on the previous one, and when I've taken breaks its been because I moved and didn't have a group to play with, and was at a time in my life where I couldn't make room for it - it's a time consuming hobby, especially when you are usually the DM.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I started with Holmes Basic but shifted to 1e as soon as I could because 1) it was Advanced (hey, I was a teenager and that was a big thing), and 2) it had a LOT more options and demi-humans had choices. It was a no-brainer for me.

Almost every other new edition announcement came with skepticism from me, though there’s a twist.

With 2e, I carefully evaluated the new edition, partially because I was in charge of the RPG budget for my sci-fi/fantasy/gaming club in college. But after review and recognizing how compatible it was, I embraced it. It was so easy to hybridize it with 1e materials it was barely felt as a shift.

When 3e was announced, I was skeptical until I found Eric Noah’s 3e news site. The info coming out won me over and I shifted to 3e.

When 4e was announced, I wasn’t skeptical. WotC had proved it could come up with a good D&D game and, generally, fix its worst shortcomings with 3.5 (even if 3.5 over fixed a few things). So I initially looked forward to 4e. But the info coming out as it was developed did the opposite of the info with 3e, it raised my skepticism. Finally, playing it for several months sealed the deal and I bounced off it. It was NOT the D&D I wanted.

Then when D&D Next was announced, skeptical again. WotC had kind of screwed the pooch with 4e as far as I was concerned. But the surveys, the review of D&D’s identity, did a lot to win me over. The public playtest did the rest. 5e is now my favorite edition.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I'm unusual in that I have played since 1e, but once a new edition has come out, I have always adopted the new one, and never once gone back to play even a single session of an older edition. This is not because I don't like (or in some cases, even prefer) an older edition. It's because I also SELL them for a living, and you've got to play them to sell them.

I know how important this is, because I didn't enjoy DMing 3.x. (I was fine with playing, at least at lower levels) so we played a lot of other games in that era, and it clearly negatively effected the sales of the edition. (I still played and ran it, just not as often).

So I guess that's a long-winded way of answering the OP: I have no idea what it's like.
 

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