Why do people still play older editions of D&D? Are they superior to the current one?

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Interesting question - and answered pretty well in the posts above. In my experience it tends to be where you came in and made the most investment - time and money. I still play basically 1st ed rules but have added a few extra things from 2nd ed (like the secondary or non-weapon skills). Does it limit play? Not in my opinion because the way we play is much more collaborative group puzzle solving...plus beer/wine and a belly full of laughs. The basic rules do limit initial character selection and development but is that really why you are playing the game? There are plenty of other fun things to do with it and at the end of day it's more about you and your group of friends getting together on a regular (or irregular) basis. We are still playing after 35 years - marriages, kids, divorces and a ton of other real life nonsense getting in the way. When we want to switch pace or fancy a change someone else in group runs some Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, or Traveller for a while and/or we start a new campaign. For AD&D I think I have almost every module, rule book and supplement issued for both 1st & 2nd Ed. Why change to a new edition of the same game? Will we role play any differently? I don't think so...
Exactly. For us the rules are secondary to generating the fun unless they are getting in the way. Or just fail to do what I want them to do for my current game. But for us 99% of the fun isn't based off someones using the kung-fu grip feat at the right time, or putting complicated mechanics together for max effect, its from player interaction and player decisions, and bad dice rolls. My OD&D clone gets out of the way and provides a framework for our antics that works fine. Most of my group said they had no desire to go back to AD&D, which I would gladly run, so I took them back even further, just disguised it a bit from them. At first they were a bit hesitant, "how can I be a great hero with a d8 HD, and my fighter has a 14 STR..." but the stats don't matter all that much since the bonuses are mostly +/- 1 for most things and the lower damage dice worked well with the lower HP values for foes. We are having a blast from a single 144 page volume, though I can use most of my D&D stuff up to 2e without much issue if I need to. The rules put most of the work on me to be a fair, fun, and impartial referee so its a good thing I rule. ;) 3.x I was looking up the rules too often in our massive pile of rule books and 5e was just far too easy and I was re-working stuff too often.

Its a vast difference between systems at our table. In my S&W game its "oh crap a spider...save or die...RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!" In 5e its more "well its a 100 foot drop so I'm going to jump off the side and try to land a headbutt...yeah I'll take damage but 8 hours of sack time cures cancer and if I "die" we have revivify and I'll get a 20 minute nap in" totally different focus. One is more Fafhrd and Grey Mouser the other is a Micheal Bay take on wuxia. I know someone who wanted over the top action vs having to be cautious and worry about logistics and henchmen would not enjoy our game as much but its rocking for us. Not pure nostalgia, I'd be running 1e, but just a better fit for what we are doing. And I could just rework 5e for that but why?
 
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Nymblwyly

Villager
I remember DM'ing a group of kids on their first time out (including my own!) and one of them did something pretty stupid. Instead of killing his character as the rules and directions stipulated I had the large rock that should have killed him land on him and jam his helmet on his head. For the rest of the adventure he wasn't allowed to speak unless he put his hand tight over his mouth and shouted! They all thought that was hilarious and he changed his character name to meathead. After the adventure I told him that the blacksmith had to take a tin opener to him to get him out. He and his brother still play and are both DMs now running their own campaigns in 5e. They've switched because they have less invested in the old systems and that's what all their friends are now playing. But the one universal rule still remains - use the rules where and when they help but feel free to bend them as you see fit (within reason) - keep the fun flowing, that's why we play, not because of the rules!
 

Eltab

Villager
I can play Dark Sun in 4e. But not 5e - yet; psionics rules (and eventually a Dark Sun Campaign Setting book) are still under construction.
I got the 4e DSCS for Christmas. Therefore I am creating a 4e DS campaign. If/when 5e gets everything together, I can convert over.
If I wanted to lay out some money, I could play DS in 3e or 2e. If I also wanted to do a lot of conversion work I could play DS in 1e or BASIC.
 

KenNYC

Explorer
I still play the older editions because I think they are superior games. Just this week I was playing a retro clone called Basic Fantasy. I am a 1st lvl Magic User with 3 HP. My one spell is Sleep. We come across a giant room with two entrances on the same wall about 40 feet apart. We look in one doorway and see 20 zombies and skeletons standing dormant. We knew from a previous session that the moment anyone walks through a door all 20 come to life and go on the attack. 1st lvl party, 6 characters, what to do?

I had 10 vials of oil. I made a puddle in front of the doorway covering the entire width of the doorway, in the hallway between the two doors I made 3 more giant puddles of oil 10' apart. I stepped in the room, the zombies shambled first because they were in front. They're slow, so I waited til they got close and set the first puddle in front of the door on fire. Then I backed up down the hall and led them like the pied piper from puddle to puddle setting them on fire as I went, each one doing 1d6 of damage for 2-4 rounds. By the time they followed me all the way down the corridor, all the skeletons and zombies were dead, and not a single HP had been lost.

The 5e way would have been probably 70 rds of arrows and me with a non-stop cantrip with an ice ray--rolling dice endlessly. The older cloned system required me to think about the problem, and solve it using my head, not my sheet. That's why I prefer the older editions. And so much for the notion that wizards need cantrips or they have nothing to do.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
And, I dunno, I just like the way 3.5 makes the game-world 'feel'. Which doesn't make any sense, but there ya go.
That makes plenty of sense. The rules of the game go a long way to describing how the game world works, and the rules of 3.5 describe a world which is internally consistent and mathematically regular. Other editions describe game worlds which are more ad-hoc and less predictable.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Why do people still play older editions of D&D? Are they superior to the current one?

And, I dunno, I just like the way 3.5 makes the game-world 'feel'. Which doesn't make any sense, but there ya go.
This is so literally a thing. And I don't get why people don't seem to feel the same way.

Every rules system feels different. 5E feels different to Fate feels different to Rolemaster feels different to Savage Worlds feels different to WFRP (I mean, obviously they do - why else would people play different games?)

5E feels different to 4E feels different to 3E feels different to 2E feels different to 1E.

I find it hard to agree with folks who say "the rules don't matter, it's just the style of play which matters". Because really, they feel different. They create different styles of play, and a game designer's art is creating a style of play through rules.

Different rules *feel* different. They literally embody different game worlds as much as the fluff text does. The rules are part of the world.

And that's why it's OK to say "2E feels better to me" or whatever.

I mean, Michael Bay's Transformers feels different to Goodfellas, right? And Gygax's 1E feels different to Mearls' 5E.
 
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I mean, Michael Bay's Transformers feels different to Goodfellas, right? And Gygax's 1E feels different to Mearls' 5E.
I feel the same level of total disinterest in both Bayformers and Goodfellas. ;p
And, the major reason I like running 5e is that it feels so much like running AD&D.

Some games hard-core more feelz than others, though. For all that 5e openly wants you to ignore it's own rules, and AD&D necessitated doing so, they both keep a definite feel, however far afield the DM takes them.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
I can play Dark Sun in 4e. But not 5e - yet; psionics rules (and eventually a Dark Sun Campaign Setting book) are still under construction.
I got the 4e DSCS for Christmas. Therefore I am creating a 4e DS campaign. If/when 5e gets everything together, I can convert over.
If I wanted to lay out some money, I could play DS in 3e or 2e. If I also wanted to do a lot of conversion work I could play DS in 1e or BASIC.
If you can run DS in BASIC, then you can certainly run it in 5e.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
If you can run DS in BASIC, then you can certainly run it in 5e.
Alot more conversion work and Basic has that gritty feeling that 5E lacks. You can outright port the 2E psion rules to Basic, can't do that in 5E.

In BASIC, 1E, 2E and 3E to a lesser extent energy drawing undead are feared. You might bolt from a 4HD Wight as a lost initiative roll and good attack roll you lose level.

Death also matters a lot more pre 3E as resurrection is not guaranteed and gets smaller the more you are raised.

1E is more Sword and Sorcerery 5E more high fantasy.

If you like modern mechanics but old feelings there are also clones. I'm not a fan of 4E but understand why fans like it.

A lot of okd settings are also better off under original rules than newer updates assuming they actually got updated.
 
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MechaPilot

Explorer
Hello everyone,,
This is kind of a general question, and I know that, but I see lots of people playing 3rd edition and even more 3.5, but why do they play those instead (Mod Edit: spam link removed ~Umbran) of 5e? I'm fairly new to 5e as a whole, and I'm just wondering, in what ways are 3.5 and 3rd better than 5th? Is it simply for the feeling of playing something original? Or does 5e do something terrible that can only be done correctly in past editions? Just genuinely curious, and would it be worth it for me to learn the older versions?
Every edition of D&D has it's own quirks and features that changes the feel of the game; it's part of why people develop favorite editions.

For some people, being able to perform cantrips all day long makes magic feel less magical. For others, it makes sense to them if their wizard can always have something magical they can do, instead of resorting to a crossbow or running away and hiding when they run out of spell slots.

For some people, overnight healing makes combat feel like there aren't any repercussions. For others, it speeds up play so the party doesn't spend a week or four recovering from the first fight of the adventure.

Some people enjoy the more rule-heavy tactical part of the game that some editions offer, while others prefer a more rules-light combat experience with less moving parts to track.

I love the way AD&D 2e handled multiclassing (though I wasn't a fan of it being restricted solely to non-human races) in which you simultaneously advanced in levels of each class by dividing your XP among all your classes; and I despise the 3e and 5e versions of multiclassing, where you have a set number of total level slots in which to equip class levels, and you have to pick and choose at each level.

I also love the to hit paradigm of editions 3, 4 & 5, where you simply roll, add bonuses and compare to AC, and where high ACs are better. By contrast, AD&D 2e had a system where ACs ranged from 10 to -10 (with -10 being the best) and a Thac0 score (meaning To Hit Armor Class Zero) that determined what number you needed to roll to hit a creature with an armor class of zero. Thac0 and 10 to -10 AC aren't overly difficult to use, especially over time and with experience, but it is algebraic and counter-intuitive, and I find a lot of people have a more lengthy time struggling with it before it finally breaks through and they're fine with it.

I don't really care for the 5e method of each attribute having its own saving throw. The lion's share of saving throws in 5e are Dexterity, Constitution and Wisdom saves, which corresponds directly to the Reflex, Fortitude and Will saves (or defenses) of 3e (and 4e). The rest of the 5e saves feel kind of tacked on (at least to me).

And I'm sure that's just a sliver of opinions you'll find on the matter.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Also, skills and feats: their mere existence in the rules enables "builds" and optimization. In editions where they don't exist, everybody can do (or at least attempt to do) everything.
There's no real reason why anyone can't try anything. However, the person who invested in gaining the feat (or power) should generally do it easier, faster, better or at less of a cost than those who haven't.
 

wingsandsword

Villager
Ultimately, people tend to stick with the editions they already play, and don't change to a later edition unless it offers something new that they see as being worth leaving the edition they already play, have books for, know the rules for ect.

People left 1e for 2e because 2e incorporated a lot of various optional rules that had become popular into the core rules, and included support for taking all character classes up to at least 20th level (in 1e, some classes such as Monks and Assassins reached max level before 20).

People left 2e for 3e because 3e provided a consistent, unified rule system and a LOT more flexibility than 1e or 2e in characters, monsters, ect.

Well, I can't say why people left 3e for 4e, because I didn't and none of the people I gamed with did, they all rejected 4e en masse. Presumably it provided something to someone though.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Ultimately, people tend to stick with the editions they already play, and don't change to a later edition unless it offers something new that they see as being worth leaving the edition they already play, have books for, know the rules for ect.

People left 1e for 2e because 2e incorporated a lot of various optional rules that had become popular into the core rules, and included support for taking all character classes up to at least 20th level (in 1e, some classes such as Monks and Assassins reached max level before 20).

People left 2e for 3e because 3e provided a consistent, unified rule system and a LOT more flexibility than 1e or 2e in characters, monsters, ect.

Well, I can't say why people left 3e for 4e, because I didn't and none of the people I gamed with did, they all rejected 4e en masse. Presumably it provided something to someone though.
At it's core 4e was much simpler than 3e. It was basically a simplified form of 3.X rules. However, each class then added it's powers which, for some, made it seem far more complex (and with all the powers it COULD be more complex).

There were some that enjoyed the more tactical nature of combat that 4e offered. In many ways it provided a more solidified form of grid play than 3.5 or even some boardgames like Descent, while offering the opportunity for roleplay.

Others preferred how it made skills far more simpler to handle (+5 if trained), and monsters were far easier to throw into the mix or create on the fly than they were for 3.5 for many people.

Others preferred how simple many of the skills worked and thus how roleplay in general was far more open and less restrictive than the skills and feat system of 3.5 and how it handled such things.

Some felt that 4e was far more balanced, and in many ways there was no spellcaster vs. martial imbalance (like many claim there was/is for 3.5 or Pathfinder).

Once again, there is no set answer, there were probably as many different reasons as there were groups (or even individuals) who played 4e.

In many ways, 4e was a direct precursor to 5e, if you take away the powers system and instead replace it with class based abilities that are more solidly applied. It had the first precursor of Bounded accuracy (though it went to +15 rather than +6 for combat and saves, skills were still at +5 across the board) there are a lot of similarities between the two. 5e has many elements taken from 4e, but less emphasis on grid and miniatures in combat.

Part of what made some people get a sour taste about 4e was the marketing of it, but in many ways, 5e is probably closer to the basic core idea of 4e than most of the other versions of D&D that came before it. This probably was another reason some jumped onto the 4e rules and later on were eager (those who did do this, as not all did this) to jump headfirst into 5e.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
To answer the original question, the answer is yes, they are better. For some.

Each set of game mechanics has it's features and limitations, and it's a question of which appeals to you.

1st and 2nd edition AD&D were open ended and in many ways quite simple to play. No dice rolls for a skill, and skills were in the "you have it or you don't" form. They existed for role playing purposes and not much more. Building a character took ten minutes. Advancement was paced so you left the "squishy and easily killed" levels pretty quickly, then spent more time on the higher levels. Time enough at each level, in fact, that you had a chance to explore who or what the character was.

3rd edition, and by extension, Pahfinder, standardized the game mechanics, bringing essentially everything down to a single D20 roll. Numerous tables and charts, necessary for D&D, Basic and AD&D were rendered obsolete. The additions of detailed skills and feats made character creation and advancement far more flexible. By contrast, characters now took more than 10 minutes to create. While many had found AD&D advancement too slow at higher levels (double current EXP to advance a level), advancement in 3rd was quick and regular. Perhaps too quick for some, which lead to Pathfinder's option to choose advancement rate. Prestige classes added to the flexibility and capacity to fine tune character development.

4E was not my favorite, so bear with me if my critique seems unflattering. It seemed like an attempt to move the computer game World of Warcraft to the tabletop. Many concepts from WOW were codified in 4e: The Tank, DPS, etc. In that sense the succeeded brilliantly, except that without the computer to do the bookkeeping, tracking which effects ended when became a headache. The first books returned a level of simplicity to character design: You chose a class and a role, and that pretty much dictated every advancement choice from there in. In that sense it was very reminiscent of AD&D. They introduced, through the Powers concept, the idea that everyone had some type of near-supernatural ability: Most combat powers did more than one thing, with many of the secondaries often hard to rationalize. But the scale of most powers was such that it returned the game to a tighter frame, where you seldom had to deal with anything that would be "off the battle mat". In 3rd edition, a longbow's range could allow a character to shoot over three hundred feet, which if plotted out at five feet per one inch square, was five feet on the board, which was well beyond the size of the board. Spells like Fireball started at 900 feet (400 + 100 per caster level), which would require a table top over 15 feet long.

5th edition tried to be all things, taking parts of all the previous editions, If they happened to take aspects that you liked then it was just about perfect. If they saved the "wrong" parts (in your opinion) and left the good stuff behind, then it was far from perfect, and to some it seemed to fall short of anything enjoyable. But to those who like what it offers, well, they'll like what it offers.

So yes, we play earlier editions because they are superior, at least for us.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
At it's core 4e was much simpler than 3e. It was basically a simplified form of 3.X rules. However, each class then added it's powers which, for some, made it seem far more complex (and with all the powers it COULD be more complex).

There were some that enjoyed the more tactical nature of combat that 4e offered. In many ways it provided a more solidified form of grid play than 3.5 or even some boardgames like Descent, while offering the opportunity for roleplay.

Others preferred how it made skills far more simpler to handle (+5 if trained), and monsters were far easier to throw into the mix or create on the fly than they were for 3.5 for many people.

Others preferred how simple many of the skills worked and thus how roleplay in general was far more open and less restrictive than the skills and feat system of 3.5 and how it handled such things.

Some felt that 4e was far more balanced, and in many ways there was no spellcaster vs. martial imbalance (like many claim there was/is for 3.5 or Pathfinder).

Once again, there is no set answer, there were probably as many different reasons as there were groups (or even individuals) who played 4e.

In many ways, 4e was a direct precursor to 5e, if you take away the powers system and instead replace it with class based abilities that are more solidly applied. It had the first precursor of Bounded accuracy (though it went to +15 rather than +6 for combat and saves, skills were still at +5 across the board) there are a lot of similarities between the two. 5e has many elements taken from 4e, but less emphasis on grid and miniatures in combat.

Part of what made some people get a sour taste about 4e was the marketing of it, but in many ways, 5e is probably closer to the basic core idea of 4e than most of the other versions of D&D that came before it. This probably was another reason some jumped onto the 4e rules and later on were eager (those who did do this, as not all did this) to jump headfirst into 5e.
Bounded Accuracy is more from B/X or BECMI. ACs top out around 30 for the most part, level 20 fighter +13 to hit, only goes up to +3 weapons etc. The numbers are not that far off 5E.

If you play B/X the numbers are even smaller a +1 sword is comparatively great.

Some of us figured this out in the great migrations of 2008-2014 when going back to pre 3E made D&D fun again especially when you tinkered with it to import the good parts of 3.5 (ascending ACs).
 
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wingsandsword

Villager
At it's core 4e was much simpler than 3e. It was basically a simplified form of 3.X rules. However, each class then added it's powers which, for some, made it seem far more complex (and with all the powers it COULD be more complex).

There were some that enjoyed the more tactical nature of combat that 4e offered. In many ways it provided a more solidified form of grid play than 3.5 or even some boardgames like Descent, while offering the opportunity for roleplay.

Others preferred how it made skills far more simpler to handle (+5 if trained), and monsters were far easier to throw into the mix or create on the fly than they were for 3.5 for many people.

Others preferred how simple many of the skills worked and thus how roleplay in general was far more open and less restrictive than the skills and feat system of 3.5 and how it handled such things.

Some felt that 4e was far more balanced, and in many ways there was no spellcaster vs. martial imbalance (like many claim there was/is for 3.5 or Pathfinder).

Once again, there is no set answer, there were probably as many different reasons as there were groups (or even individuals) who played 4e.

In many ways, 4e was a direct precursor to 5e, if you take away the powers system and instead replace it with class based abilities that are more solidly applied. It had the first precursor of Bounded accuracy (though it went to +15 rather than +6 for combat and saves, skills were still at +5 across the board) there are a lot of similarities between the two. 5e has many elements taken from 4e, but less emphasis on grid and miniatures in combat.

Part of what made some people get a sour taste about 4e was the marketing of it, but in many ways, 5e is probably closer to the basic core idea of 4e than most of the other versions of D&D that came before it. This probably was another reason some jumped onto the 4e rules and later on were eager (those who did do this, as not all did this) to jump headfirst into 5e.
Well, I don't want to re-ignite the Edition Wars (which was the main reason I stopped posting at ENWorld regularly). . .but suffice it to say that there are a LOT of players who strongly disagree with the idea that 4th edition is in any way even vaguely related to 3rd edition or any predecessor edition.

One reason it was so controversial, besides as you mentioned its marketing that actively alienated many players and told many players that they were playing D&D "wrong" and 4e would show them how to play it "right", was that it seemed custom designed to divorce D&D from its entire history both in terms of setting/lore "fluff" and game rules "crunch".

Also, many players stick with 3.5 because they didn't just see 4e as being utterly alien to D&D (to the point that if the same game had been released by another company, under another name, nobody would have thought of it as being anything but an odd d20 fantasy variant). . .and they didn't go to 5e because they see it as stripped down, dumbed down, and gutted of options and flexibility.

I can appreciate that 5e at least looks and feels more like D&D than 4e ever did. . .but I don't play it because it removes so many options and so much functionality from the game.

When I played 2e, I'd describe my character concept to the DM. . .and we'd work together to come up with something that worked to describe it. . .even it it was often a hideous chimera of kits, optional rules, Skills & Powers variants ect. . .but it could be done. In 3e and 3.5e, I could come up with a character concept and with multiclassing and prestige classes, feats, skills, various races and templates I could create the character. In 4e, we quickly learned that such intricate customization was verboten and that characters were much less flexible. . .and while 5e isn't as much of a straitjacket to creativity as 4e was, it's nowhere near as versatile as 3.x or even 2e (it's got better mechanics than 1e or 2e, but not the intricate customization that 2e had by the late '90's).

I play 3.5e because to me, and the people I play with, it's the peak of D&D evolution and is far more versatile, flexible than any edition before or after and we can play whatever setting, whatever world we want and have such a vast library of classes, races, feats, spells ect. to work with. . .and a system that is designed to make the game highly customizable in ways no other edition ever could.

I've heard it argued that people stick with the edition they started with. I started with "Black Box" basic D&D, then moved on to 2e in college. . .and we dropped it quickly when 3e came out, and moved to 3.5 not long after it came out, because in each one I saw continuous progress and improvement from the game, things that worked better and allowed me and my friends to play better games.

We never saw that from 4e or 5e, we saw a U-turn in game development at 4e, and while 5e was an improvement from 4e, it wasn't as good as 3.x (but better than 1e or 2e).
 

Celebrim

Legend
But the scale of most powers was such that it returned the game to a tighter frame, where you seldom had to deal with anything that would be "off the battle mat". In 3rd edition, a longbow's range could allow a character to shoot over three hundred feet, which if plotted out at five feet per one inch square, was five feet on the board, which was well beyond the size of the board. Spells like Fireball started at 900 feet (400 + 100 per caster level), which would require a table top over 15 feet long.
As a practical matter, few players of 3.Xe edition had regularly fired fireballs or longbows at things 100's of yards away. Large distances like that existed solely because in real life, we know longbows were used in combat over great distances, and rarely did anyone try to game them (if they did, they probably ended up changing the rules). One thing that 4e did is that it dropped any attempt to simulate anything - the part of D&D at low levels that one writer had called 'casual realism'. Now, for most players this probably didn't matter much - they'd never used D&D for anything of the sort. But what 4e did was it took away the option for those that had previously cared about such things. An entire aesthetic of play disappeared, which for some players was I suppose welcome. But it was far from the only aesthetic of play that disappeared.

This is why 5e reversed itself and went back to trying to be all things to all people, rather than trying to be the perfect game for some. I wouldn't be surprised if 5e is, even for people who aren't playing it, almost everyone's second favorite edition. For example, if I wasn't happy with my homebrewed 3.X (which among other things greatly reduces the range of fireball and greatly changes the spot rules so that they work better at long ranges), 5e would probably be the edition I'd play.

So yes, we play earlier editions because they are superior, at least for us.
I certainly can understand the problems people have with 1e and 3e. If I didn't think those editions had problems, I would have never written as extensive of house rules for them as I have. But every edition and every rules set of every game has tradeoffs. There is no such thing as the one best set of rules. There are only rules that work for what you want to do. Even my house rules, while I think they reduce the pain points of 3e (or 1e) are only reducing what I consider the pain points, and different people might experience frustration over different things. Indeed, I can even see how some of my changes - say banning all PrCs - might, especially on first hearing them without seeing what I've done, strike many players as killing the best part of 3e, since there are indeed players who most enjoy 3e for its CharOp minigame of mixing and matching powers to do something creative. It's just for me, planning and creating novel characters shouldn't be one of the best parts of the game. And to the extent that you want to create a novel character, IMO the path to doing so should be more straight forward, involve fewer steps, and result in something of more predictable power given the level of the character. But that is a subjective preference.
 
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wingsandsword

Villager
This is why 5e reversed itself and went back to trying to be all things to all people, rather than trying to be the perfect game for some. I wouldn't be surprised if 5e is, even for people who aren't playing it, almost everyone's second favorite edition.
I think that's a fair appraisal.

I'm a 3.5 devotee. . .but I'd say 5e is my 2nd favorite (albeit a distant 2nd). . .with 2e, then 1e. . .then 4e in that order.

5e at least is an honest effort to appeal to a wide variety of players and styles. It doesn't really fit any one style perfectly, but it does fit many styles at least passably well.

Also, as you were noting, one of the reasons that 4e alienated so many players was that it made zero attempt at anything approaching simulation. While D&D was never a game of hardcore realism in simulation, there was always a certain level of expected verisimilitude by many players, that the game should at least have enough simulation and realism that it doesn't break the illusion. . .but 4e, in its quest for game balance and mechanical perfection, placed that over any semblance of realism. . .and the focus on perfectly balanced mechanics (that often ignored even a vague semblance of realism) is one of the things that drove complaints of it being like a "video game". . .that things players might accept in a video game RPG as just aspects of the medium wouldn't be accepted in a tabletop game because many players came to expect at least a little more nod towards simulation and realism in a tabletop RPG.
 

MwaO

Explorer
Bounded Accuracy is more from B/X or BECMI. ACs top out around 30 for the most part, level 20 fighter +13 to hit, only goes up to +3 weapons etc. The numbers are not that far off 5E.
5e math is literally 4e/2 math. You should expect a level 20 fighter to get a +3 magic weapon if you play in a 'typical campaign' ala page 133 of DMG, which makes the increase from levels 1-20 usually +9 additional(+2 stat, +4 proficiency, +3 weapon), where in 4e, you'd expect it likely to be +18 additional(+2.5 stat, +10 level, +4 weapon, +2 expertise).

Ditto for important skills, which are +2+4 vs +2.5+10 or +6 vs +12.

The big difference is 4e is super-transparent about expectations and 5e is trying to thread the needle of OSR people believing Bounded Accuracy wasn't abandoned and everyone else doing numbers as expected by running a 'typical campaign'. Which creates some problems when not everyone at WotC is aware of what Jeremy Crawford did, such as Adventurers League which hands out too many magic items, which then breaks numbers.
 

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