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

pogre

Adventurer
4e for the Points of Light setting. My group never embraced the edition, but I loved the default setting.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
My favorite system is 3.5e, but the only non-rules reason is because I have a large personal campaign setting written for it.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.
I found the game didnt do justice to Vances flavor but reading Vance helped D&D feel a little better it was still the part of the system most often hacked back then.
Not ironically my favorite edition people often think removed Vancian is actually functionally closer in terms of use frequency to Vance and makes flavor completely adjustable. Also pretty sure I remember Vance also described in the stories exceptions to the living spell that struggled to escape your brain flavor (basically cantrip effects that were almost side effects or changes in the caster) - of course this was a bloody long time ago so I cannot claim precise memories.

I love that my favorite editions flavor is entirely my own and that it doesnt take hacking to make it so.
 

HJFudge

Visitor
The best non-mechanical part of my favorite DnD edition (4e) was the cosmology, the World Axis, as well as the base setting background.

It was vague enough to be very customizable, but had a wealth of different ideas and concepts you could delve into it. It was unique and different and it honestly was what made me initially excited about 4e when it was released.

The Dawn War is...well, very classic greek myth in style. As an appreciator of myths and legends, it struck a chord.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
I really liked AD&D 2E, in how the world seemed like a more-grounded and consistent place. Arcane magic worked in one specific way, and bards could learn to use that, but there wasn't also sorcery and song magic and warlock-ery and whatnot. I like that druids were part of the priest class, because it meant the world wasn't over-loaded with redundant methods to worship nature, only one of which was forbidden from using metal armor.

The world just seemed so much more straight-forward, and easier to understand.
 

Zeromaru X

Explorer
I really love 4e because of the PoL setting. I like its associated lore, such as the Dawn War, the World Axis cosmology (for reasons already stated here by many), and the lore behind the Nentir Vale's world. I like that it's a dark setting, but also a Big Damn Heroes setting, making the players the protagonists (instead of the settings' NPCs). I love the fact that while it's a "traditional" setting, is not as humanocentric as the rest of them, leaving room for the non-human and non-"Tolkienian" races to shine. And I also like that is a "blank setting", allowing you to customize it as you see fit.

I guess is like Greyhawk in that regard, but more fantastic-oriented (instead of real history simulator with Tolkien's stuff). I like that.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
The Encyclopedia Magica from 2e.

Just because of the number of times we could not get the DM from a campaign (or not enough players) to run the campaign, we turned to our "Random Dungeon Generator" adventures.

And using the tables of the Encyclopedia Magica to roll treasures, and its endless possibilities was AWESOME!
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
My favorite edition is 5E:

  • Slow release schedule.
  • Frequent mention of multiple classic D&D settings (instead of picking just one, like 3E picked Greyhawk, or trying to pick none and failing, like 4E produced Nentir Vale).
  • Monster Manual descriptions that are story-based. Each monster description has subheadings that are basically adventure hooks. I find this WAY more useful and evocative than "Ecology" and "Society" and "Behavior" and similar bland categories from earlier Monster Manuals.
  • Pulls in lots of new and lapsed players. This is extrinsic to the edition as a text, but is part of the edition when viewed as a cultural phenomenon.
  • Some of the best art of any edition. Granted, older editions had some amazing art, but it was always interspersed with art that was... less than amazing. All the art in 5E is top notch. (Very close second place in this category goes to 2E.)
  • Most variety of real-world cultures, races, genders, and orientations represented, compared to earlier editions.
  • Disclaimers!
 

coolAlias

Explorer
My favorite edition is 5E:

  • Some of the best art of any edition. Granted, older editions had some amazing art, but it was always interspersed with art that was... less than amazing. All the art in 5E is top notch. (Very close second place in this category goes to 2E.)
Except for one glaringly awful halfling in the PHB, yes. ;)

I remember really liking the 3e art style at the time, but the art in the 2e AD&D PHB holds a special place in my heart - most likely nostalgia, but there it is.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
The word you're looking for is 'flexibility'.

0e-1e were flexible enough (yet, amazingly, robust enough in their own cobbled-together way) to handle almost anything you could throw at them. Couple that with a design ethos that didn't always take itself too seriously and the result is pure gold.

Later editions started taking both themselves and the game far too seriously on the whole, despite occasional exceptions.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
My favorite edition is 5E:

  • Slow release schedule.
  • Frequent mention of multiple classic D&D settings (instead of picking just one, like 3E picked Greyhawk, or trying to pick none and failing, like 4E produced Nentir Vale).
  • Monster Manual descriptions that are story-based. Each monster description has subheadings that are basically adventure hooks. I find this WAY more useful and evocative than "Ecology" and "Society" and "Behavior" and similar bland categories from earlier Monster Manuals.
  • Pulls in lots of new and lapsed players. This is extrinsic to the edition as a text, but is part of the edition when viewed as a cultural phenomenon.
  • Some of the best art of any edition. Granted, older editions had some amazing art, but it was always interspersed with art that was... less than amazing. All the art in 5E is top notch. (Very close second place in this category goes to 2E.)
  • Most variety of real-world cultures, races, genders, and orientations represented, compared to earlier editions.
  • Disclaimers!


Don’t get me wrong, I like 2e, but it had the worst art of any edition. Some great art, sure, but when the reprints came out (the ones with the black borders)? Worst art I’ve seen. By a mile. Well, OK, OD&D was pretty bad, but they had an excuse. Mid 1990s big game company had no excuse for the horrid art in those books.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
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.
Oh I never had a problem with its lore. Not even its FR lore. Lord knows, I've mangled/discarded/reinvented plenty of lore & cannon for settings myself..... So I'm not going to worry when WoTC does it.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
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)
Gah! Warning or no, there should be an XP penalty for posting things like that.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Don't have a "favorite" edition of D&D, as I love every edition as it's out and I'm in the midst of playing it.

But to answer the question... my absolute favorite thing is the Eberron campaign setting and the complete set of books that were produced for it during 3.5. I can't think of a single thing that is missing a book for it. There's the religion book, the dragonmarked book, the magic book, the city book, the races book, the exploration book, the other continents books, etc. etc. As a combined package they have ecapsulated this entire world wonderfully.

The only issue I have with it (and its a minor, nitpicky thing) is WotC for some stupid reason made the cover of Races of Eberron match their other 'Races of' series covers, rather than keep it in the style of the rest of the Eberron books. So it completely stands out as being "wrong" when lines up with all the rest of them. But if that's my biggest gripe about the book series, then something's gone right. :)
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
2e: Settings - some of the best stuff done for 2e was in the setting work - particularly Al-Qadim and Kara-Tur, but also the art concepts for Planescape (though I hated the annoying patois in which some of the writing appeared).

3e: Somewhat related to mechanics - but I was impressed at how well some of the newer mechanics enabled me to handle special elements of AD&D modules better than the edition in which they were written. Overall, I was very impressed with how well AD&D modules converted in general. The "Classic Module" campaign I ran was a smashing success.

5e: I'll echo 77IM's comments about the Monster Manual - best reading for a Monster Manual I've had in over 15 years.
 

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