The older I get, the more I appreciate 3.0

JeffB

Legend
The core books anyway. I much prefer it over 3.5 and PF as written.

Yes it has some warts that needed fixing on the character and spells side of things..dead levels, the 'H" spells, some weird feat trees/taxes, too many skills, I have found most of them to be easily fixed, either with a patch from 3.5/PF or house rules. Easier to fix than adopting so many more changes that were done in 3.5. Thats all IMO, IME, of course.

On the DM side I much prefer it for the following reasons.

Weapon sizes make more sense and are less complicated to deal with. Wait, is that a small greatsword?, or a medium longsword?

Damage Resistance- the numbers are high-probably too high in many cases, BUT it eliminates a big chunk of the "golfbag full of weapons" issue with 3.5 and PF. In addition, I feel DR for creatures like skeletons (1/2 damage if using piercing/slashing) works better than a fixed number. It helps out lower level characters so they can usually at least rack up a point or two without feeling completely worthless-I have found DR/5 in 3.5/PF results in alot of disappointment from hits that do nothing most rounds. 5E I think has the best system though (reward bludgeoners-instead of penalizing piercing/slashing)

Easy peasy monster advancement-not as detailed, but if you need a big tough goblin, its much easier than 3.5 and easy to do on the fly/in your head.

Calculating XP is less complicated. PF wins here, but 3.0 is still better than the convoluted mess of 3.5.

The Monster Manual- Besides having the better cover of the two (3.0/3.5) ;) It is easier to use at the table. No, Flatfooted and touch AC is not pre-calculated, but every entry includes a detailed description of unique abilities/qualities/traits. For example- in 3.5 a Skeleton says- Undead traits- then you go look that up. In 3.0, the Undead traits are described right there- immune to poison, crits, blah blah. You can crack open the 3.0 MM and flip to a page run an encounter with less need to reference elsewhere.

DMG- In general not fan of Monte's DMG ( way too much "Well, you can break that rule if you want, but here is why your game will suck if you do, I wouldn't do that if I were you'), BUT it's NPC tables are far more useful for pulling out a quick NPC on the fly. The 3.5 tables required way too much prep work beforehand.

In retrospect, I look more fondly back at 3.0 and see that it is closer to AD&D in many respects, and with a just a few house rules, cleans up nicely. At least for me. I didn't love 3.0 rules back in the day and 3.5 drove me away from D&D, and now I understand even more- there seems to be a great amount of change for change's sake or to conform to the (then) new business need.
 

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Celebrim

Legend
It seems more and more people are noticing just how big of a down grade 3.5 was. I'm still playing a 3.0 derived version (probably as close to 3.0 as pathfinder is to 3.5).

3.5 took everything that was wrong with 3.0 and broke it. For example, one of the many things wrong with 3.0 is how complicated in play shapechanging could be. So what did 3.5 do? Make shapechanging even more abusable, and from lower level (compare 3.5 alter self to 3.0, for example). Another problem is how complicated high level play is, so 3.5 rather than dialing back the power level ramped everything up - monsters of a given CR are more powerful, PC's of a given level are more powerful, all the numbers are bigger and have more sources.

And tons of things that aren't broken in 3.0 - say Blasphemy/Holy Word - are utterly and completely broken in 3.5. So instead of errata of a few known issues - say Haste and Harm - 3.5 ended up being lots of completely unplaytested changes for no apparent purpose. It was literally like someone was allowed to import their untested house rules into the game. It was the sort of stuff that at the time, I was busy explaining to new rules smiths why it was a bad idea on the old D&D house rules EnWorld forum and then all the sudden it was canon.
 


Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
3E was the edition we had to have. While 4E remains my preferred edition, 3E was the one that really dared to break with a lot of the crap behind Gygaxian D&D and provide some basic game design logic. Perfect? No. But very necessary for the survival of the game.

And, I agree with some of the other comments or at least what they imply: 3.5E was a lost opportunity to refine a pretty good system.
 

Ranes

Adventurer
Out of habit, I refer to the edition I prefer to play as 3.5, because I did take on board a fair amount from 3.5 that actually made sense to me (and I tried other elements that didn't appear as wonky at first as they eventually did). Certainly, I wasn't happy that when I heard WotC was going to release 3.5; I thought a less heavy-handed approach to fixing problems would have been a better approach. When I look at the game I play now, it's much more 3.[cough]. I agree with almost everything said above.

But overall, I still love third edition.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
I never actually played 3.0, as I was still playing 2e, for the first 4 years or so of the release 3x. Really the first time I looked at 3x, as about a year after 3.5 showed up. Now some of the players in our group had and were using both 3.0 and 3.5 books in the same game (as they did really understand the difference.) So when Pathfinder showed up, I didn't have any existing loyalty to 3x or WotC, per se. I jumped onto PF at Beta and never turned back. So unlike many D&D fans, I basically missed out on the transition 3.0 - I have no opinion of 3.0.
 


I was quite upset when 3.5 was announced so (relatively) quickly after 3.0. Even more so after learning about some of the purposed changes (new ranger? Cool! Changing how weapon sizes work? What the hell?!) but, eventually I got used to it.

Anyways, I think it could be enlightening to re read Monte Cook's thoughts about 3.5 back in 2003.
Monte Cook said:
Caster level is still a prerequisite for magic item creation. This was an error in the 3.0 DMG and remains. You still have to be 17th level to make a 1st-level pearl of power.
Caster level pre-requisites were an error? By induction, then:

* The requirement of being a caster to create a magic item is an error. All that is needed is for the requisite spells to be cast.
** Spell casting services can be hired: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm#spell
** Alternately, item(s) which cast the required spell(s) can be used.

Edit: By induction of these:
* The donor of the experience for the item does not need to be the character(s) casting required spell(s), and most likely won't be any item(s) casting required spell(s).
** Thus, a non-caster can create a magic item (with appropriate assistance or tools), create magic items using their own experience, and thus take advantage of reduced pricing for creating their own magic items (plus the price of assistance).

Additional edit: Two price-point checks imply that this makes no difference in the final price of the item, as the cost of spellcasting services makes up for the reduction in cost of paying for the experience points. I shall stop editing here, for simplicity's sake.

We can then estimate, using the rules on reducing magic item costs by using restrictions: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/creatingMagicItems.htm#otherConsiderations
* Between Spell Trigger and Continuous/At-Will, a Spell Effect of "50 Charges, Triggered Spell; Caster Level x Spell Level x 1,000 gp; Wand of Fireball, Usable by Any".

Thus, one of the most major weaknesses of non-casters, the inability to neither create magic items nor use any but the most expensive magic items, may be entirely resolved by the removal and extrapolation from said removal, of this error.
 
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Tequila Sunrise

Adventurer
I remember that one of my players at the time wanted to use the 3.5 ranger, and that I had thoughts about change for the sake of change, much like you. ~12 years later though, 3.0 and 3.5 tend to blur together in my mind. I remember that the ranger went from d10 to d8 HD (I think) and got more goodies, but it's been long enough that I can't remember the difference with most of the changes:

Weapon sizes make more sense and are less complicated to deal with. Wait, is that a small greatsword?, or a medium longsword?
Oy, I can't even remember what the difference was, let alone which one worked which way!

Damage Resistance- the numbers are high-probably too high in many cases, BUT it eliminates a big chunk of the "golfbag full of weapons" issue with 3.5 and PF.
Personally, I favor the 'Each +1 bypasses 5 points of DR/magic' house rule, with the higher DR values. Best of both worlds, IMO.

Yes it has some warts that needed fixing on the character and spells side of things..dead levels, the 'H" spells, some weird feat trees/taxes, too many skills, I have found most of them to be easily fixed, either with a patch from 3.5/PF or house rules. Easier to fix than adopting so many more changes that were done in 3.5. Thats all IMO, IME, of course.

And some of them I'm totally blanking on. Don't even remember there being a difference at all, for whatever reason:
Easy peasy monster advancement-not as detailed, but if you need a big tough goblin, its much easier than 3.5 and easy to do on the fly/in your head.

DMG- In general not fan of Monte's DMG ( way too much "Well, you can break that rule if you want, but here is why your game will suck if you do, I wouldn't do that if I were you'), BUT it's NPC tables are far more useful for pulling out a quick NPC on the fly. The 3.5 tables required way too much prep work beforehand.

Calculating XP is less complicated. PF wins here, but 3.0 is still better than the convoluted mess of 3.5.
How did 3.0 do xp? I don't remember monsters having static xp values between 2e and 4e/PF.

The Monster Manual- Besides having the better cover of the two (3.0/3.5) ;) It is easier to use at the table. No, Flatfooted and touch AC is not pre-calculated, but every entry includes a detailed description of unique abilities/qualities/traits. For example- in 3.5 a Skeleton says- Undead traits- then you go look that up. In 3.0, the Undead traits are described right there- immune to poison, crits, blah blah. You can crack open the 3.0 MM and flip to a page run an encounter with less need to reference elsewhere.
That's certainly a plus!
 
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ksbsnowowl

Explorer
I remember that one of my players at the time wanted to use the 3.5 ranger, and that I had thoughts about change for the sake of change, much like you. ~12 years later though, 3.0 and 3.5 tend to blur together in my mind. I remember that the ranger went from d10 to d8 HD (I think) and got more goodies, but it's been long enough that I can't remember the difference with most of the changes:
Most of the changes had to do with the core spells. Bull's Strength, et al; Heal and Harm, Haste; Holy Word, et al.

Condensing the skill list and altering the Ranger were the other big items, as well as adding feats to Core that had previously been published in the 3.0 splat books, as well as the FRCS.

Also, Sorcerers and Bards didn't get to swap out spells as they leveled to 4th, 6th, 8th, etc. Once you picked a spell known, you had it forever.

How did 3.0 do xp? I don't remember monsters having static xp values between 2e and 4e/PF.
I forget the exact specifics at this point, but it was basically:
- Determine average party level
- Determine how much XP total should be awarded to a party of that level (& PC number) based on the CR/EL
- Divide the total XP by the number of players; that's how much they get

Basically, it didn't matter if there was one 5th level PC in a party where everyone else was 7th level; you all got the same XP. There was no "XP is a river," stuff that gave more XP to lower-level PC's.
 

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