D&D General When did you leave D&D? Why? For what game? And what brought you back?


After the disappointment with 4th Edition, I thought I would play Pathfinder, but the size of the books was bothering me - they are really too big to open and read while playing. So, I went for a mixed approach: Sometimes "Old School Essentials" (quick and simple), other times, for long campaigns, Tormenta RPG (simplified Brazilian D&D with anime and manga elements). This Tormenta has a very cheap B&W Pocket edition called "Tormenta20 — Edição Jogo do Ano (Versão Econômica)" which is great. It is similar to the Pathfinder Pocket Editions P2 but with fewer pages for the core book.

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Left in the mid to late 80s because 1) was busy with other things, like work and girls when I was in high school, and 2) never liked the disconnect between D&D and fantasy fiction as I knew it, i.e., I always expected D&D to more resemble fantasy fiction that seemed to me to be the obvious draw, but instead it was a weird dungeoncrawling pseudo-wargame/boardgame experience.

There's an infamous (at least to me) quote from a column by Gary in Dragon that I searched up because I referred to it on my blog. Let me reproduce it: "Frankly, to attract those readers and often at the urging of persons who were playing prototypical forms of D&D games I used certain names and attributes in a superficial manner, merely to get their attention! I knew full well that the façade would be dispelled by the actualities of play. I relied on the power of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game to overcome the objections which would naturally occur when diehard Tolkien enthusiasts discovered the dissimilarity. This proved to be the case far more often than not. Tolkien fans entered the D&D game fold, and became a part of its eager audience, despite the fact that only a minute trace of the Professor's work can be found in the games. As anyone familiar with both D&D games and Tolkien works can affirm, there is no resemblance between the two, and it is well nigh impossible to recreate any Tolkien-based fantasy while remaining within the boundaries of the game system."

That's the main reason that I left. I didn't get over the bait and switch, even though he claims most people did. Not that I necessarily wanted to reproduce Tolkien specifically, but certainly I wanted D&D to resemble fantasy as I knew it, and it didn't. D&D really only ever resembled itself.

I came back in 2000 when 3e launched and although I lingered in 3e for a little while after 4e launched, I was pretty much done with D&D then again. Would have been 2007-8 or so. Haven't really looked back since. And I didn't leave because of 4e. I was done with 3e by that point too. The D&Disms, the complexity, the difficulty in running the kind of game I wanted, the static, careful tactical approach; it just wasn't at all what I was looking for anymore.

Although it's curious; as Professor DungeonMaster often says, if I'm playing a game that has the six attributes and the handful of normal dice, am I playing D&D regardless of the actual details of the system and game? Whether my game is "D&D or not" is subject to some interpretation. Most gamers who are serious about their systems would say no. My players, who are not, consider that it is. 🤷

Lord Shark

I first quit D&D in the early 2000s after it became apparent to me that 3.5 was broken and unmanageable; there were just too many overpowered spells and it was too easy for casters to dominate the game.

I was skeptical of 4E at first but when I tried it, I found it was exactly what I wanted: fresh, innovative, balanced, and willing to kill sacred cows if it made the game better. That brought me back to D&D, at least for a few years, until...

The 5E playtest, and seeing the final product, killed any interest I had in continuing with "official" D&D. I've never played 5E and have no interest in doing so. I still continue to play other games, including 13th Age and Pathfinder, for the D&D "experience."


A simple desire for more variety. To try a game that made my eyes go wide. To play something that one of our number was keen to run. To have some fun with an upcoming holiday (e.g. Hallowe'en). To test my ability to cook up a one-shot.

I always come back because D&D's baseline matches the kind of world I like building. I houserule very little, and variants do nothing for me. I'm not a tinkerer, and D&D always fits just fine.


I loved 4E (yes, I know), and while I liked 5E when it dropped, over time, the issues became bigger and harder for me to avoid. Specifically, I dislike:
  • the spellcasting system
    • haves vs have-nots
    • "I Win" buttons
    • having to act like a lawyer to peruse spell text
  • limited GM support, and terrible subsystems
    • Group checks are about the only usable sub-system I like (and I hesitate to even call it a "system")
    • why spend over a page of text on how to run an Avalanche in RotFM (which will be used once - maybe!) over a generic skill challenge system?
  • the Adventuring Day
    • the number of times "I need to sleep" comes up in my heroic fantasy RPG is too damn high
    • different classes requiring different kinds of rest just causes unnecessary friction
    • it forces me to run multiple trash encounters, which I vehemently dislike
    • it's the reason why (I assume) 5E doesn't come with subsystems (or what does cover is super specific and niche) because if it doesn't interact with the resource system, it's basically a waste of time
My search brought me to Savage Worlds, which I totally fell in love with. It basically fixes all of my issues with 5E. It still operates on a GM-run game, but I have more tools and support. I can also run fantasy, horror, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, pulp, investigative, modern - all from the 200 page core rulebook.
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Distracted DM

Distracted DM
We always played different TTRPGs, not just fantasy stuff- but fantasy was always the biggest draw, and with some GURPS and Warhammer exceptions D&D was The Fantasy Game we'd come back to.

As far as D&D, it was AD&D to 3e, then the big move was 3.5 to Pathfinder1e, and then PF1e to 13th Age. iirc 5e pulled me from years of 13A, and after years of running mostly 5e I've wanted to branch out into something less superhero-ey..

I haven't yet figured out if that's an "Epic 9" homebrew in the style of 3e's e6, or going to something like Shadowdark or DCC...

I'm not sure about SD or DCC though, because 5e got me burnt out on "Rulings not Rules."
I like consistency, and 5e doesn't cover so many things that frequently come up and it'd always bug me if I couldn't remember how I'd ruled something in the past. So A5e was nice because it provides more rules without going as far as 3.Xe.


I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I’ve never been all that attached to D&D settings and lore. The pull for me has been the rule set and what kind of toolkit it can provide. 4E proved too tactical for me, and sent me over to Pathfinder. PF2 sent me back to D&D, but I’m more of a moon lighter with it these days. I keep settling on my favorites 3E/PF1 and Mongoose Traveller. I find they can give me a toolset to do my kind of Fantasy and Sci-fi.

That said, I’m enjoying a lot of bespoke one shot and/or short campaign RPGs and that’s not really D&Ds wheelhouse, nor should it be.

Mull Ponders

Left at 4th edition. I tried to like it. I bought the books, got into campaigns, played one shots. Switched to PF1, which was just a cleaned up version of 3.5. Came back at 5th edition.


Prince of Dorkness
Shortly after 4e was released I stopped playing D&D. My group’s dislike for the edition was only part of it. The other reasons were: one person got married, another person moved, a third person decided he wanted to go back to college.

Back in 2018, my daughter had gotten into WoW, so I was explaining to her how it originated in a tabletop game called Dungeons & Dragons. She wanted to learn more, so I decided to run a game for her. Unfortunately, and it’s very hard for me to say this, but
when my wife and I moved into our house, she made me throw out all my 3e and 3.5e books. All I had for 4e was the three core books, so she let me keep them.
So we stared playing 4e and I wasn’t liking it. I went on the internet to look for ways to make it more enjoyable, and I discovered that 5e came out in 2014. So we’ve been playing it ever since, and we’ve even gotten her two best friends to join us.

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
In 1994 I joined the Army and I set aside many of my childhood passions in order to be accepted by the unit I was assigned to. Outside of a very short lived spring 97 duet campaign with an SF medic, I didn't play again until 5e's public release.

The familiarity, simplified rules and an internal demand for me to understand myself better pushed me to start again. Now, 8 DMd and 3 played campaigns later I'm never quitting again.

Voidrunner's Codex

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