What do you love about your favorite edition that ISN’T rules related?

Sacrosanct

Legend
What do you love about your favorite edition that ISN’T rules related?

Yep, anything rules or mechanics related is verboten. So no comments about attack matrix, or healing surges, or vancian casting, or AEDU. I’m talking about what sort of things do you love about your favorite edition that are apart from the rules.

My favorite edition is 1e, and in large part because it captured the pop culture of fantasy in the late 70s and early 80s. IMO the 80s were the best decade for fantasy. It really took off in the 80s to be mainstream rather than something obscure that only stoners who listened to prog rock in their painted van were into. We started seeing big budget movies with A list action stars. Fantasy literature took off. Video games became a thing in every household with actual graphics.

But the best part was how anything went. The 80s were wonderful in that things never took themselves too seriously and going over the top into a bit of silliness was perfectly OK. I mean, just go watch some of those 80s movies and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Conan the destroyer (still the best and most accurate D&D movie to date), Ice Pirates, Krull, Dune, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Willow, Predator, Time Bandits, Goonies, Raiders of the Lost Arc, etc. D&D 1e captured all of that really well.

It was also the edition with the best art, IMO. Black and white art is just as good as color art, just different, and I think modern editions really suffer by excluding black and white line art.

It was the era that also had the D&D cartoon, and a toy line, and a mainstream comic book line.

So yeah, for non mechanical reasons, those are the big ones why AD&D is my favorite. It’s not nostalgia. It’s attitude and aesthetics of that era.
 
Last edited:
The first chapter header for D&D 3rd edition depicted a naked man. And the book had no cheesecake sexualized women. Thank you, Peter Adkison and team for having respectful art design.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The cosmology, very clearly and cleanly adaptable but also closer out of the box to classic fantasy, the fae wild in particular is gorgeously presented.

So many things though interact with the rules without being direct I could say getting to finally play characters able to do the job your archetype was described as doing all the way back in 1e or fulfilling the archetype profile described in the 2e players handbook and so on they are most definitely rules induced and related.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
While I realize that this was unpopular with many folks, I really loved that 4e was willing to slaughter sacred cows in order to push the lore in new and interesting directions.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I really liked the 4e cosmology - especially the feywild and shadowfell. It felt like it was something really well integrated into the monsters and races but offered a good range of story telling possibilities, largely because the planes was separated from alignments. I liked the great wheel, I just think that this take was a touch more unpredictable and more usable in the game.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I liked different editions for different reasons so I've picked up different things from different editions.

From original editions (lumping together a bit because I'm old and they blur together).
  • The embrace of a wide variety of fantasy tropes and sources that I could use in my own campaigns. Conan? Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser? Lord of the Rings? Pick your style.
  • The pantheons that I still use non-human races
  • The splat books for the different races which helped my form ideas on how an elven civilization would work or The Complete Book of Dwarves.
  • The sense of humor

mouse-god.jpg
From 3.x
  • Making the world a bit more concrete and logical, or at least attempting to do so. I loved things like The Complete Stronghold Builder's Guidebook.
  • More variety in builds allowing me to have a high level fighter, for example, that didn't want followers.
From 4
  • The Feywild and Shadowfell. I already had the basic concepts in my campaign world, so it was great to see it incorporated with "real" rules and suggestions.
From 5
  • Reinvigorating the hobby (maybe by accident).
  • A return to more free-form style play.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
4e had an incredibly refined sense of its own mythos, a dramatic, tension-filled Chaoskampf that permeated its cosmology and every creature, character, location, and often mechanics.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
  • The sense of humor


What I liked most about the early stuff (I am thinking OD&D, B/X, and especially AD&D) was that anything was possible.

Yes, it was serious. But it also had lots of humor (as you point out) and that was important to me. Just kinda sorta.

And the breaking of the fourth wall to the reader.

...not to mention the real sense of wonder by combining all the genres (sure, maybe you have a space ship in the middle of your elven forest, or an adventure in Wonderland, or the Finnish pantheon). It was just a gloriously mixed-up, messed-up grab bag.

Screw canon and continuity; give me the mess.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
What I liked most about the early stuff (I am thinking OD&D, B/X, and especially AD&D) was that anything was possible.

Yes, it was serious. But it also had lots of humor (as you point out) and that was important to me. Just kinda sorta.

And the breaking of the fourth wall to the reader.

...not to mention the real sense of wonder by combining all the genres (sure, maybe you have a space ship in the middle of your elven forest, or an adventure in Wonderland, or the Finnish pantheon). It was just a gloriously mixed-up, messed-up grab bag.

Screw canon and continuity; give me the mess.
Yep. That's why I said above re: the 80s. T Rex's shooting lasers. Katanas cutting through tanks. In D&D terms, things like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. The DMG even had a section for combining your Boot Hill PC with your buddy's Gamma World PC into your other buddy's D&D campaign.

And I really do miss the humor. Not just in the DMG, but Dragon magazine had Dragon Mirth. Humor was part of the game.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
I know the OP mentioned Vancian Casting as an example of undesirable subject but, here I go: Vancian Casting

Not as a game mechanics - that is not being discussed here - but as an in-game (fluff) property of magic. Spells are magical constructs, entities of their own, held in the magic-user's mind like individual bullets in a gun. Casting (releasing) spells isn't hard to do (just like pressing the trigger), holding multiple complex spells is. If one had the time and funds to do it, a magic-user could use another medium - like a wand or a scroll - to hold the spell for them and relieve their mind of that burden, but spells remained their own entities. Even the spells scribbled in a spellbook were "live" and in a hurry, a magic-user could rip the page off and cast the spell as a one-off, erasing it from the present spellbook. Because that made sense in that particular paradigm.

5e has brought this back to a certain extent, but there are so many exceptions that it isn't really "how magic works" anymore. I used to dislike this concept back in AD&D days. Now I find it has a certain poetry to it, and i surprise myself missing it.
 
Last edited:

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Yep. That's why I said above re: the 80s. T Rex's shooting lasers. Katanas cutting through tanks. In D&D terms, things like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. The DMG even had a section for combining your Boot Hill PC with your buddy's Gamma World PC into your other buddy's D&D campaign.

And I really do miss the humor. Not just in the DMG, but Dragon magazine had Dragon Mirth. Humor was part of the game.
Snarf! ... and .... oh boy .... I can't stop myself ... you've been warned about this blast from the past!

[sblock]
Valley Elf,
He’s a Valley Elf,
Valley Elf,
He’s a Valley Elf ...



So cool, so fair,
With chartreuse hair,
So young, secure --

“Fer sure, fer sure,
like, oh, man, I was really down today,
like, sooo down,
I almost flunked archery today,
I was blitzed totally, it was
wrong. Like, I wore my elven cloak
into the dungeon, y’know, and it got all
grody with, wow, like
spider webs and green slime all over it,
like yucko, like
when I saw it when we got out I thought, oh,
gag me with a wand,
it was grody to the max, just psionic, like,
and I had to clean it, oh,
Totally awesome. I hate to go in dungeons,
they are so rank, and some of the monsters just like
freak me out, man, like wow.
I even saw a fer real monster, like real close up
once, and it was really, like, totally
disgusting, barf city man, it was so gross
that I thought, like, Hey, keep away from me, man!
Like no way I’m gonna ever even use my sword
on you, I just waxed it, y’know, like
gag me with a mace.”


Valley Elf,
He’s a Valley Elf,
Valley Elf,
He’s a Valley Elf . . .

North of Geoff, South of Ket,
By the River Javan wet,
Living with the stubby gnomes,
The Valley Elves do make their homes,

“Sure, totally, y’know, I had a dog, man,
a cooshee, like he was special,
a Gucci cooshee poochie,
he had designer genes, like, really rare,
he was just awesome, but not too housebroken.
I had to clean up after him, and that was like grody
just gross to the rnax, but, wow,
like, no biggie, cuz he was my
dog, y’know, but he’s gone now, totally, see,
I met-the mage the other day, and, wow, man,
the mage has got like no,
totally no sense of humor. Like, I made a joke,
y’know, I thought it was super,
like, I saw the mage and said like, hey,
we’re in the Valley of the Jolly,
like, Ho Ho Ho, Green Valley Mage,
just like the freakin’ commercials,
but he just looked at me, like wow,
he must have really been out of it, man,
like he was so out of it he threw
one of those, like, meteor swarms at me, it was just
awesome, I mean it was just, oh wow man, it was
astral, and it missed me and hit my dog,
my designer dog, like,
crispy critter city,
I was really bummed out, really bad like.”

Valley Elf,
He’s just a Valley Elf,
Valley Elf,
He’s just a Valley Elf ...


He’s a super Valley Elf,
So chaotic, sure of self,
Tall and thin and fair of face,
His brain is lost in outer space.

“Oh, super, like I live in the
good part of the Valley,
y’know, where we’re all into, like,
real ethereal things, like
I got a set of designer ring mail
for my birthday, I was totally
freaked out, like, my old set was getting
full of wrinkles and it had
blood on it from where I cut myself
with my short sword, yeah, really, like
agony, man, I was in total agony
for an hour. Really,
but now I’m together, like,
fer sure, no problem.
That was close, man,
like I was so sure I was gonna
pass out fer sure,
I lucked out totally.
Good thing.”
[/sblock]


(From Dragon 72, April 1983 ... attributed to unnamed gamers in Kentucky)
 

coolAlias

Explorer
I loved the 2e Planescape campaign setting and related books - the way they were written, the art, the maps.

The descriptions of each of the planes and various other things in those books really got my fledgling DM gears spinning.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
AD&D 2nd.

Because it was a good enough system for a great DM to run ridiculous amounts of interwoven games with multiple campaigns in the same world while I had plenty of time to play (HS & college).

In other words, my best memories of playing D&D came from AD&D 2nd. Nothing really about the system or lore - though there was a good enough of FR lore back then.

Even 5e, which is my favorite from a mechanics perspective (both as DM & player) still has a long way to go to eclipse those time-goldened memories.
 
The art: 1e art had a charm and enthusiasm that the technically more professional art of later eds, or even later 1e, for that matter, would never re-capture.

Steal from the best: When I was introduced to D&D, I found animated sword-fighting skeletons, out of Harryhausen, zombies out of Night of the Living Dead, viscous (not just vicious) monsters out of The Blob, and just the general B-movie attitude that fearsome monsters could be defeated if you just knew how they worked and had the right 'weapon' that worked on them - even if it was a fire extinguisher or table salt or something.

The Dragon: again, enthusiasm & charm over professionalism & slick production made the early D&D magazine something that could never be imitated.


...and, yeah, it's mostly nostalgia, but I'm not sorry, nostalgia counts...
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
As a fan of 2e, I could just say "campaign settings" (and I believe most 2e fans would agree), but I'll go for something more specific: the Ravenloft modules. They're not all real gems, but I love most of those that I've played/run.
 

Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
1e for the classic adventure modules that would define our expectations of what this game was really about: exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, and gaining treasure!

2e for expanding on the basic ideas and pushing the limits of imagination with different settings, rules, and worlds that give us more than just the standard garden-variety experience with D&D.

3e for opening the rules up to the fans, and for the most comprehensive and interesting version of the Forgotten Realms in print.

4e for taking bold steps trying to bring new ideas to improve an old game despite protests.

5e for compromising to be the best version of the game for everyone else (and letting me off the hook to finally explore more games that have become my new favorites).
 

Advertisement

Top