D&D 5E Vestiges of the old!

What parts of earlier editions have flavored or shaped your 5e?

we were 1e to 3e to 5e. Dabbled shortly with 4e…

but our group's sensibilities are no doubt 1e in a lot of respects. We accept death as very possible, we keep track of ammunition and expensive/rare spell components, we lean into alignment as a force (good and evil are real/tangible things).

we also play with a survivalist mindset too. The story we want might happen but we don’t expect it. Heck we might not live much less vanquish our nemesis!

i think we also hew pretty closely to dungeon delving quite a bit…though we did some hexcrawls way back then too.

orcs, drow and goblins are almost always evil. We have had a few good drow back when but we play as if the under dark is a nasty place…if we even know what it is!

what are some things you do that newer players might not? What are some vestigial? Parts of your older gaming that effect our 5e?
 

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Bloodied from 4e is the biggest one that comes to mind. My group includes players I played 4e with, and we'll announce when NPCs and PCs are bloodied. When we've added new players, they've always stared at us in confusion.
I will have to read about it! We played so little 4e that I cannot recall it!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I started with B/X, moved to AD&D, skipped 2E but obsessively collected setting material, skipped 3X, played 4E from start to the Next playtest, played 5E since the playtest. Though I still play AD&D and B/X. The latter mostly in the form of Old-School Essentials.

I maintain the old-school frame of mind in that PCs start as zeros and advance to heroes through hard fought victories, or die ignobly without reward. The cool stuff your character gets to do is earned through actual play, not handed to you at character creation, nor automatically received simply by leveling up. I also run games mostly in the old-school style. Tracking encumbrance, tracking food & water, torches, etc. Light sources really matter. I'm one of the few 5E DMs that actually uses darkvision as written, apparently as every single one of my players over the last 10-ish years have all been taken aback when I tell them that darkvision doesn't mean they just see perfectly in the dark.

Use the 2E setting stuff as much as I can. And the Known World. I absolutely loved Nentir Vale and the points-of-light setting from 4E, so I keep using that either directly or as a template for homebrew settings. Monster design from 4E was amazing, so still use that. Still use B/X dungeon and wilderness turns basically as written. I push players to actually describe what they're actually doing in the world instead of just shouting a skill name, throwing dice, and declaring a result.

So what do I use from older editions? Everything I can.
 


I started with B/X, moved to AD&D, skipped 2E but obsessively collected setting material, skipped 3X, played 4E from start to the Next playtest, played 5E since the playtest. Though I still play AD&D and B/X. The latter mostly in the form of Old-School Essentials.

I maintain the old-school frame of mind in that PCs start as zeros and advance to heroes through hard fought victories, or die ignobly without reward. The cool stuff your character gets to do is earned through actual play, not handed to you at character creation, nor automatically received simply by leveling up. I also run games mostly in the old-school style. Tracking encumbrance, tracking food & water, torches, etc. Light sources really matter. I'm one of the few 5E DMs that actually uses darkvision as written, apparently as every single one of my players over the last 10-ish years have all been taken aback when I tell them that darkvision doesn't mean they just see perfectly in the dark.

Use the 2E setting stuff as much as I can. And the Known World. I absolutely loved Nentir Vale and the points-of-light setting from 4E, so I keep using that either directly or as a template for homebrew settings. Monster design from 4E was amazing, so still use that. Still use B/X dungeon and wilderness turns basically as written. I push players to actually describe what they're actually doing in the world instead of just shouting a skill name, throwing dice, and declaring a result.

So what do I use from older editions? Everything I can.
I like keeping track of torches too though cantrips have almost obviated them.

I also like the idea of being a newbie when new. I also think limiting darkvision to what is written makes sense and is cool. Light still has its place for nonhumans!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I like keeping track of torches too though cantrips have almost obviated them.

I also like the idea of being a newbie when new. I also think limiting darkvision to what is written makes sense and is cool. Light still has its place for nonhumans!
Right. Which is why I've banned the light cantrip. Dancing lights is still in because it only provides dim light, thus disadvantage to perception checks.
 


BookTenTiger

He / Him
I wonder if it's possible for this thread to move forward without folks dumping on "modern playstyles!"

...

3rd Edition was the one I got really into in high school and college. I loved how it felt like a big toolbox I could play around with, making my own races and monsters, creating house rules... I've definitely carried that aspect forward into now I run 5e. I still love to make little tweaks and house rules and explore how that changes gameplay!

We also really enjoyed how tactical 3rd Edition could be... Finding all those ways to add up +1's and +2's in combat, flanking and higher ground... I find the players I still play with from those days look for strategic advantages in combat.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I wonder if it's possible for this thread to move forward without folks dumping on "modern playstyles!"

...

3rd Edition was the one I got really into in high school and college. I loved how it felt like a big toolbox I could play around with, making my own races and monsters, creating house rules... I've definitely carried that aspect forward into now I run 5e. I still love to make little tweaks and house rules and explore how that changes gameplay!

We also really enjoyed how tactical 3rd Edition could be... Finding all those ways to add up +1's and +2's in combat, flanking and higher ground... I find the players I still play with from those days look for strategic advantages in combat.
I played a lot of 3rd ed, and enjoyed it. 3rd and most of 5th was still written in a way that didn't fight against the way I enjoy D&D, so I just kept going with the new ruleset. There were also a lot of cool 3rd party products made for 3rd. My favorites were probably the Green Ronin stuff, and a great gear book called From Stone to Steel. I still have those.
 


I wonder if it's possible for this thread to move forward without folks dumping on "modern playstyles!"

...

3rd Edition was the one I got really into in high school and college. I loved how it felt like a big toolbox I could play around with, making my own races and monsters, creating house rules... I've definitely carried that aspect forward into now I run 5e. I still love to make little tweaks and house rules and explore how that changes gameplay!

We also really enjoyed how tactical 3rd Edition could be... Finding all those ways to add up +1's and +2's in combat, flanking and higher ground... I find the players I still play with from those days look for strategic advantages in combat.
I assume so?

I only play 5e and think it is very well designed. There are relatively few changes I would make to the core rules.

no one has yet said I am a philistine for liking to keep track of torches and arrows so I am happy to return the favor.
 


The red box, 1ed, BECMI, 2e and up to 5ed.
My games are deadly in the low levels but good players rarely die at high level because they make contingency plans in case of death.

Characters start from zeroes to heroes and we keep track of valuable components, amunitions and food. Having NPCs like henchmen and hirelings is still a thing (sidekicks are used) as promoting one to full PC is often the only way to get a new character upon the death of a low level one.

Foes are deadly and running away is often the only way to survive an other day. Players quickly learn to recognize when they are in way over their head and actually plan a way out beforehand.

I am an old style DM but have been accused by people not playing with me of being adversarial because of my style, yet my players call me the most cooperative DM they ever saw, go figure....

Player range from 27 to 52. My oldest player left to live in an other town with the love of his life and is now 67. My youngest just finished the university and copies my style because he loves it. Damn copy cats...

I play a variant of gritty realism and it suits my groups perfectly well.
 
Last edited:

Scribe

Hero
I wonder if it's possible for this thread to move forward without folks dumping on "modern playstyles!"

If people go looking for things to be upset, or be happy, about, they often find it. ;)

What parts of earlier editions have flavored or shaped your 5e?

we were 1e to 3e to 5e. Dabbled shortly with 4e…

but our group's sensibilities are no doubt 1e in a lot of respects. We accept death as very possible, we keep track of ammunition and expensive/rare spell components, we lean into alignment as a force (good and evil are real/tangible things).

we also play with a survivalist mindset too. The story we want might happen but we don’t expect it. Heck we might not live much less vanquish our nemesis!

i think we also hew pretty closely to dungeon delving quite a bit…though we did some hexcrawls way back then too.

orcs, drow and goblins are almost always evil. We have had a few good drow back when but we play as if the under dark is a nasty place…if we even know what it is!

what are some things you do that newer players might not? What are some vestigial? Parts of your older gaming that effect our 5e?

All of this. I still dont get what I want out of Character creation, and its going in the wrong direction completely (up till this last UA!) but yeah, all of this is great.
 



DND_Reborn

Legend
A lot of what people talk about sort of exists in 5E, but is either skipped over, not widely used, or outright rejected by many newer players who lack the "old-schooL' upbringing on B/X and AD&D.

For "bloodied" hit points in 5E (PHB 197):

1650133608075.png


This however is merely descriptive and offers no in-game consequences for being a half hp. But combine it with morale (DMG 273):

1650133722076.png

1650133740506.png


And you could have something more useful IMO.

Anyway, like the OP I track ammunition, food, rest times, travel distance, light sources, spell components, and all the other things that "ground" the game so the magic and heroics seem more magical and more heroic.

Like others in 5E, darkvision is far from perfect and many times even creatures with darkvision will have a light source. Hiring NPCs and retainers to increase the size of the party, especially for tough challenges, is fairly expected.

One thing I don't like is PCs just gaining features as they level... in prior editions you didn't have a lot of features for the most part, and I think the idea of granting features as awards and in-game training would make them also seem more "real" to me.
 

Arilyn

Hero
Just a few things. Skeletons take half damage from bladed weapons instead of blunt doing extra. Ghoul paralysis doesn't give players a save every round. Stuff like that in order to make some of the Monster abilities scarier.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
A lot of what people talk about sort of exists in 5E, but is either skipped over, not widely used, or outright rejected by many newer players who lack the "old-schooL' upbringing on B/X and AD&D.

For "bloodied" hit points in 5E (PHB 197):

View attachment 155455

This however is merely descriptive and offers no in-game consequences for being a half hp. But combine it with morale (DMG 273):

View attachment 155456
View attachment 155457

And you could have something more useful IMO.
Yeah... I didn't play 4e, but as I understand it, the "bloodied" condition often as not resulted in a boost to the monster effectiveness; whereas Morale was generally about fleeing/surrendering, iirc.
Combining the two ideas into some semi formal system opens it up a bit, so that taking X damage just results in a decision point, with either positive or negative outcomes for that creature. Great stuff if you want to just run baddies without worry of "playing favorites."
 

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