When the New Edition Doesn't Cut It


Sadly, I played one game of 4e, and it stands as one of the single worst RPG disasters I've ever faced.
I bought the 5th edition of Shadowrun, read it, and promptly decided I'd never run it. It's a great setting, but the rules are such a hot mess that I don't want to bother with them.

I was a 1, 3 (not 3.5!) and 5e guy…with ONE approaching I may again be at a crossroads.
I skipped 3.5 because it pissed me off. I didn't think the changes warranted a new edition and then I skipped 4E because I didn't care for the changes.

Whatever do you mean?
You are so wrong to post photos of that!

log in or register to remove this ad


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
A radical edition change actually freed me of feeling like I had to stick with a system or keep updated on it. Now, I get excited by the news and then either grab at launch or quickly lose interest. Either way, I dont care much anymore because there is so much I do like available.


Do you know which edition change was the biggest departure for me and got me the most enraged (initially): 3rd edition D&D.

It took me years to understand how to run the game completely. I still won't go back to 3.x/PF1.


I abandoned AD&D 2nd edition around 1997 or so. It was third edition that brought me enthusiastically back into D&D. I wasn't even the least bit upset about THAC0.
2e still had some life left in it for me. I think I fell hard off the "back to the dungeon" marketing at the time. It's hard to believe now, but I used to be an extremely "story first" DM. 3e took a lot of power from the DM and codified it into rules, and that was something I hated at the time. I used to be very fast and loose with the rules, wrote all my own stuff, created worlds, memorable NPCs, etc. I gave up all that when 3e released.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
One D&D may be the first time I may have to face this. Overall, I like the changes, or am neutral on them.

I had a long gap in my gaming history. The only thing I can compare with D&D in high school.

With Basic & AD&D, I fairly quickly moved to the 1e books. I didn't think of it as a different game at the time. It was kinda like the starter sets today. Basic v ADD may have been very different games, but I saw it less as switching to a new edition as graduating the the advanced rules.

When 2e came out, I had already moved to Warhammer Fantasy. I remember looking at the 2e books in the bookstore and remember feeling that the art and layout was much nicer, but it didn't grab me. I stuck with Warhammer as my fantasy TTRPG until I went off to college and stopped playing TTRPGs for a long time.

So, in a year, maybe I'll go all in on the new material, or maybe I'll be playing another system. If I stick with D&D it will be the first time I feel like I will have actually changed to a new edition. But then, so far, it seems like 1DD is mostly the same, so it doesn't feel much more different than deciding whether I'll continue playing D&D with my current rules. It is less about "which D&D" and more about "D&D or another game."


Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the original playtesters for Shadowrun by Tom Dowd. It was just a collection of notes back then. The current sixth editon does not even look close to those rules. Sometimes evolution of things goes backwards before it can go forwards.


Game Designer
The only instance that I recall that's somewhat similar to that would be 5E.

I was a big fan of 4E. Thoroughly enjoyed it. So you understand that when it crashed and burn a handful of years later I was a bit bummed out. However, I loved the game but did not fully disagree with many criticisms it faced. So when it was announced that a new edition was coming out, I was very excited. I thought that they'd pick the best elements of 4E (because it had some serious good design decisions) and just pull them back closer towards the classic D&D formula.

When the playtests began and snippets of the rules began finding their way on the internet, I was really disappointed how much they through out. I don't remember the dates, but it took me like a year or two to finally swallow the pill and jump on the 5E ship. It's a good, and I saw it as such. But many glaring issues (to me) had already been somewhat fixed prior and it was very disappointing.


Limit Break Dancing
It's happened to me a couple of times, and both times I just stayed with the previous edition until something better came along.

The first time happened in the late 1980s...can't remember the exact year. My friends and I were playing the Basic and Expert boxed sets, and saving up to get our hands on the Companion rules when TSR announced their new edition. We were just teenagers at the time, and we couldn't afford to drop everything and pick up all-new books...assuming I could even find them in the evangelical small-town USA where I grew up. A couple of the wealthier upper-classmen had gotten their hands on some of the books, but it was largely inaccessible for me and my gang of friends. So we stayed with BECM, collecting the books from used bookstores, trading with other classmates, and photocopying pages to share with my friends (I had a student job in the library). And even when we were finally old enough to have cars and jobs and spending money, my gaming group wasn't really interested in re-learning a completely new gaming system for no apparent reason other than product availability. The only AD&D 2E books I ever bought were the "Desert of Desolation" series of adventure modules, and I bought them for $1 apiece at a garage sale and promptly spliced them to my "Master of the Desert Nomads" campaign.

So I stayed with BECM all through high school and college, until I moved away in 2000. I was no longer in college so I had a lot more free time. I had a whole new gaming group, too, and we used the new 3rd Edition rules (and later, the revised 3.5 Edition). It would be the longest-running D&D system I've used so far.

When 4th Edition was announced, my gaming group (now my third, and current, long-term gaming group) tried a few games but we didn't care for it. I don't want to ignite anyone's tempers or kick off another ENWorld Edition War, so I won't go into detail. I'll just say that 4E wasn't what we expected, and wasn't what we were looking for, and leave it at that. We thought Pathfinder might be a better fit, so I traded away my 4E books, and I bought all of my friends a copy of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook for Christmas.

But Pathfinder wasn't what we were looking for either...after one short-lived campaign where I tried to run them through the Serpent's Skill adventure path, we switched as quickly as we could to the brand-new 5th Edition rules. The 3.5E/PF rules were just too dense and fiddly for us...we were trying to play a game about heroes and magic, but kept getting interrupted with algebra homework and hours-long combat minigames.

And we've been with 5E ever since. The group is aware of the OneD&D playtests, and it's getting a lot of pushback from my friends, but we haven't made any decision as a group just yet. If we end up skipping it, so be it...it's a familiar road.
Last edited:

Thomas Shey

I abandoned AD&D 2nd edition around 1997 or so. It was third edition that brought me enthusiastically back into D&D. I wasn't even the least bit upset about THAC0.

I had not done anything seriously with D&D for literally decades when D&D3e brought me back, at least for a bit. In the end I concluded it made promises it couldn't keep, but I still respect the effort.

Just as an additional side comment, I played a full campaign of SR1e and thought SR4e and 5e were overall general improvements, though not lacking in warts.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases