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

Zardnaar

Hero
I suppose, but you're expected to die in those cases, in which case your accuracy isn't super relevant. Anyone can trip over the Tarrasque, regardless of your level or the edition you're playing.

The meta-game guidelines for 4E are that you should encounter monsters that are within two levels of your own (IIRC). The meta-game guidelines for 5E are that you should encounter a certain XP budget worth of monsters and that none of those monsters should be higher level than the PCs. You're free to ignore the guidelines, but whether the encounter turns lethal because a single monster is higher level, or whether it's because the XP budget for that fight is too high, both cases are because you've ignored the guidelines. The XP budget guidelines aren't somehow more canon than the level-limit guidelines. They're all just suggestions.
Nope you are transplanting 3E/4E expectations into 5E. Level has nothing to do with 5E encounter building guidelines. It's xp but a CR 15 critter is not for lvl 13 to 17.

Even a "deadly" encounter in 5E isn't that hard. For example assuming a 5 person party. The budget for a deadly encounter is 5500 xp CR 9 is 5000xp CR 10 is 5900.

At level 10 the budget is 14000 xp. CR 15 is 13000 xp CR 16 is 15000.

Level 15 is 32000xp CR 20 is 2500p CR 21 is 33000.

Level 20. Xp budget 63500 xp. That's roughly CR 24.

Things also don't really get deadly as such until you go triple to X5 over the xp caps. If you do exceed it reduce the number of encounters per day. CR 25+ is for high level play where you only have a few encounters so nova away.

Personally I think the guidelines are trash but I share the same opinion of the 3E and 4E ones. CR 13 can be fine on level 7 PCs and it's only a few points over the xp cap.

The encounter guidelines are basically gamist all editions. The old wandering monsters tables from AD&D are more for living world type games. Just because PCs are level 4 they can still encounter old dragons. Suggestion be very polite and persuasive.

Much like the real world don't go to certain parts of the world as a civilian.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
Nope you are transplanting 3E/4E expectations into 5E. Level has nothing to do with 5E encounter building guidelines. It's xp but a CR 15 critter is not for lvl 13 to 17.
There are a few relevant bits of text here:
When putting together an encounter or adventure, especially at lower levels, exercise caution when using monsters whose challenge rating is higher than the party’s average level.
You can build an encounter if you know its desired difficulty. The party’s XP thresholds give you an XP budget that you can spend on monsters to build easy, medium, hard, and deadly encounters.
Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most adventuring parties can handle about six to eight medium or hard encounters in a day. If the adventure has more easy encounters, the adventurers can get through more. If it has more deadly encounters, they can handle fewer.

In the same way you figure out the difficulty of an encounter, you can use the XP values of monsters and other opponents in an adventure as a guideline for how far the party is likely to progress.
There's a guideline for how strong of a monster is likely to not overwhelm the party, and then there's a guideline to estimate the difficulty of an individual encounter, and finally a guideline for how far a party can progress in a day. These correspond to the monster's level, the encounter experience budget, and the daily experience budget.

The game doesn't expect you to break any of those limits. They don't expect your level 13 party will face a level 15 monster, anymore than they expect your party will face an encounter that's beyond Deadly on the scale, or that they'll encounter more than their daily budget worth of monsters in a single day.

You're free to have your party face a high-level monster, in the exact same way that you can have them break their encounter or daily experience budgets. That's what it means to be a guideline, rather than a rule. You're making it sound like the experience budgets are actually rules, and the level limit is just a suggestion, but they're all just guidelines.
Even a "deadly" encounter in 5E isn't that hard.
This isn't a question of how hard it is. It's a question of guidelines and expectations.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
There are a few relevant bits of text here: There's a guideline for how strong of a monster is likely to not overwhelm the party, and then there's a guideline to estimate the difficulty of an individual encounter, and finally a guideline for how far a party can progress in a day. These correspond to the monster's level, the encounter experience budget, and the daily experience budget.

The game doesn't expect you to break any of those limits. They don't expect your level 13 party will face a level 15 monster, anymore than they expect your party will face an encounter that's beyond Deadly on the scale, or that they'll encounter more than their daily budget worth of monsters in a single day.

You're free to have your party face a high-level monster, in the exact same way that you can have them break their encounter or daily experience budgets. That's what it means to be a guideline, rather than a rule. You're making it sound like the experience budgets are actually rules, and the level limit is just a suggestion, but they're all just guidelines.
This isn't a question of how hard it is. It's a question of guidelines and expectations.
Had not finished typing. CR 15 is roughly a medium encounter for level 13 PCs. And you can do a few of them in a day.
 
Nope you are transplanting 3E/4E expectations into 5E. Level has nothing to do with 5E encounter building guidelines. It's xp but a CR 15 critter is not for lvl 13 to 17.

Even a "deadly" encounter in 5E isn't that hard.
Oh, CR still maps to level. As in 3e, 5e CR = level means the party can take on a lone creature of that CR as a sort of speedbump challenge. 5e skews significantly easier than 3e, in spite of that assumption, especially once magic items come into it, but it's there. In 3e, if you went against a too-high-level opponent it'd get too hard for everyone (possibly even the fighter) to hit, too easy for it to save, it would have special abilities you couldn't cope with, and it'd hit too easily for too much damage - TPK in short order. In 5e, you'll still be able to hit it, it still might miss you, but it'll hit way too hard, while your best shots barely make an impression on its mountain of hps - TPK in short order. 5e scales more dramatically on the hp/damage side than 4e/E did or 3e/PF1 does, to make up for hardly scaling at all on the d20 bonus side. It still scales, though, monsters of a given CR pretty closely approximate the proficiency bonus corresponding to that level if you care to reverse engineer them.
 

Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
Everything I play is superior to whatever I'm not playing at the time. At least, that is my hope as I spend more time playing one thing and not something else.
 

MwaO

Explorer
On the other hand, compared to earlier editions, 4e modelled expertise as universal, in the manner of action heroes or Star Trek bridge crew, where your expertise increased over time in all fields regardless of whether it was your field. A 30th level Wizard in 4e isn't merely competent in Arcana, but universally competent in everything. Again, whether that appeals to you depends on what you want from the system.
It is really strange that a 20th level PCs would ever be assumed to not improve at things that they saw for 19th levels, even if they themselves didn't do that. I think it is abundantly realistic that a 20th level incompetent is roughly as skilled as a 1st level expert in all things. Sure, the 20th level Fighter with an 8 Int isn't trained in Arcana. But they've seen all kinds of strange things that if they were adventuring with a party of 1st level PCs, would be awesomely useful. But then again, they're not doing that. You watch a Cha-Bard negotiate his way out of every mishap, you're going to pick some of that up after again, 19 levels of it. Sure, you might not be able to do it with an expert negotiator, but convince the low level peasant to tell you about their day? Why wouldn't you know how to do that?

You can pretty much apply this to any skill in the book.

Let's not start that again....defend it without resulting to spurious claims that it isn't any different than the one modelled by 1e...The last thing we need is to resurrect one of the great battles of the edition war, namely, that 4e was actually truer to 1e than 3e had been.
You're arguing here with someone else that isn't me who said things I didn't say.
 

Celebrim

Legend
It is really strange that a 20th level PCs would ever be assumed to not improve at things that they saw for 19th levels, even if they themselves didn't do that. I think it is abundantly realistic that a 20th level incompetent is roughly as skilled as a 1st level expert in all things.
The problem with the word realistic is the same that it has been since its ubiquitous use in the 1980's, namely that too often 'realistic' is used to pretend that subjective preferences are objective truths.

Can you rationalize the 4e system to create in game meaning for the rules? Sure. You can go further and suggest it has verisimilitude to certain sorts of genre. But you can't actually prove that it is 'realistic'.

You can pretty much apply this to any skill in the book.
Or not.

You're arguing here with someone else that isn't me who said things I didn't say.
That's quite possible, but whether you are aware it or not, you are edging into one of the most divisive issues on the EnWorld forums. You asserted: "All 4e does is represent the mechanical reality of hp in D&D as per Gygax." That's not a statement that there is remotely universal agreement on, and it tends to be one that causes absolutely explosive arguments.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
I did not actually intend to spark a discussion regarding the various criticisms or angst about 4e.

I was answering the question of WHY someone chose 4e or leaped into it. AS such, I was simply giving out reasons why someone might have done so.

We get too engaged in dissing on a favorite edition as well at times (for example, I may diss hard on 3e or 3.5 or Pathfinder), but not sure that was the intent of the thread and sorry if my post derailed it to that degree.

On that note, I thought about putting a poll, but instead how about we rank which editions we like the most in order. I expect 5e may be in the top 3 of most people's lists...but it could be interesting.

My list changes depending on what I'm playing and how I feel about it. Some editions will move up or down depending on the day. I'll list my favorites in order today.

The choices could be (and sorry if I miss any)...

OD&D, OD&D w/ Supplements (aka Greyhawk), Holmes Basic, AD&D, BX, BECMI, AD&D 2e, RC, 2.5 (combat options/skills & Powers), 3e, 3.5, 4e, 4e Essentials, 5e.

So mine currently (today, could be different tomorrow so don't hold me to these)...

1. AD&D
2. AD&D 2e
3. RC
4. BX
5. BECMI
6. OD&D w/ Supplements
7. Holmes
8. 5e
9. 4e
10. 3.5
11. OD&D
12. 4e Essentials
13. 3e
14. 2.5

You can tell I really enjoy/enjoyed AD&D.

5e is pretty much middle of the pack for me, meaning it beats out many of the newer editions. As you can also tell, OD&D doesn't really light my fire as much as some others. It may be that Greyhawk was the one that I really got into (a supplement of OD&D) and with the supplements it actually is very close to AD&D in many ways. AD&D solidified and consolidated OD&D, and basically was OD&D on steroids. I'm trying to think of another D&D type analogy that could fit, but cannot think of one off the top of my head. Maybe, sort of like the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting which really gathered up a lot of various FR information over the years and put it in one book, or perhaps the Grand History of the Realms is to a general timeline of the Realms.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Ah, I got it. It's so obvious looking at it. When they did AD&D it was like a consolidation of OD&D and all it's supplments and dragon articles into one set of books.

In that way it is sort of like the Rules Cyclopedia for the BECM sets. It doesn't have EVERYTHING from them, but has a LOT of the highlights and basically gathers it into one place.

This also brings up the thing that appears on my list of favorites above...why the RC is rated above BECMI?

For me, it is that many things were simplified and more direct in the Rules Cyclopedia. In addition, some of the more wonky listings that were harder to gather are better organized. A good example is the mystic which you could play a monk like character as it was listed in the Master Set but it meant that you had to gather information from several different parts of the book (the Monster listing as well as the other information) where as in the Cyclopedia it is all neatly packaged into one place with the rest of the classes.
 

Celebrim

Legend
My list changes depending on what I'm playing and how I feel about it. Some editions will move up or down depending on the day. I'll list my favorites in order today.
Mine would be:

1. 3e/Pathfinder (I have an existing homebrew rules set)
2. 5e
3. 1e/2e (any attempt to run this would result in a game so house ruled it would be difficult to determine which rules set I was playing)
4. 3.5e (I'd run this as basically core only to avoid the issues of bloat.)
5. 4e/4e Essentials (At this point and below I can't see myself ever running or playing a game.)
6. BECMI/RC/BX/Holmes
7. 2.5
8. OD&D (I'd reinvent AD&D before even trying to play this game.)
 

Greg K

Adventurer
I started with Holmes and then moved to AD&D 1e, AD&D 2e, and then 3e. I had also played occasional sessions of B/X and BECMI basic. I stick with 3e when I run D&D for several reasons

a. Many of my house rules for pre-3e were default for 3e.
b. Some other changes that I wanted were default in 3e including a skill point system, the save categories
c. Using some options from the DMG and Unearthed Arcana, I could reintroduce a tone or feel that I liked about AD&D and early 2E as played by my friends and I and from which we felt 3e began to deviate away.
d. Unearthed Arcana and third party options provided me options to further tailor the game to my liking.
e. Much of what i dislike about 3e is easily ignored because they are optional in core (e.g. PrCs) or appeared in supplements
f. Oriental Adventures provided me with a replacement for the monk class that is easy to modify to fit my campaigns.

4e had several things that I liked (e.g. rangers as non-spellcasters, magic missile needing a to hit roll, the Feywild, removal of the Great Wheel, p.42 (in theory). However, despite picking up PHB2 and Martial Power, I ended up not running it. The default feel (to me) was not the fantasy that I wanted. I did not like several of the classes (e.g. cleric, barbarian, sorcerer). I also did not want to play paragon and epic levels. Then, looking at the things that I wanted to change, my house rule list would have been the size of 3e.

5e looked good at the start out of the basic box and SRD. There are even a few additions that I like in the PHB. The main things that I like are the Battlemaster Figher, Bard as full caster, spell progression for full casters, backgrounds, Inspiration, advantage/disadvantage. However, there is still much that I dislike including

a. the design of many classes (e.g. cleric, barbarian, monk, sorcerer)
b. most classes receiving their subclasses at second or third level. Potential issues that I foresaw during open playtesting have arisen in Mearls Happy Fun Hour when he has come across the creation of certain subclasses breaking design considerations that they came up with later in the design process after several classes were created. The design consideration was mentioned in a Warlock episode where it was noted that the Valor Bard broke those design rules. In a more recent episode, his Urban Ranger broke it again requiring him to make some additions to the ranger class. The Rogue Scout breaks this design consideration as well. Also, all classes receiving their subclasses, in my opinion, would have made creating class variants much easier (including a non-spellcasting Ranger).
c. I don't like the design of the majority of WOTC's subclasses. Some issues are mechanical (including introducing class elements that I disliked about pre-3e D&D) and most create a specific type of fantasy "feel" that I don't like about default WOTC D&D.
d. I don't like the unified level based attack bonus (based upon being trained or untrained)
e. It is another edition that I do not want to run past levels 10-12.
f. There is much that I want to house rule and my house rule list would be long as my 3e. It would be easier to bring what I like about 5e to 3E​
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Yet it's utterly awful in modelling injuries. Get mauled to within an inch of your life? Rest for a while, you don't even need healing magic. . .just rest and camp and you get everything back (thanks to so many non-magical healing abilities) you can be back in action in no-time. In prior editions, if you were seriously wounded and didn't have magical healing available, it would take days (and in some cases weeks) of rest and non-magical treatment to get back in action, not just a good night's sleep.
I blame 3e's wand of cure light wounds. Its existence and cheap price meant that you could expect to be at full hit points shortly after the end of every fight that didn't bring you to 0 hit points, which in turn made spell slots the primary means of attrition, and those recover with a night's rest. So we might as well recover the hit points as well.

4e actually made things a little more short-term attrition-based than 3e, because you didn't have nigh-infinite wands to deal with hp loss. Almost every ability that recovered hit points used healing surges, which limited the number of hp you could recover in a day to a large but still finite number.
 

wingsandsword

Villager
I blame 3e's wand of cure light wounds. Its existence and cheap price meant that you could expect to be at full hit points shortly after the end of every fight that didn't bring you to 0 hit points, which in turn made spell slots the primary means of attrition, and those recover with a night's rest. So we might as well recover the hit points as well.

4e actually made things a little more short-term attrition-based than 3e, because you didn't have nigh-infinite wands to deal with hp loss. Almost every ability that recovered hit points used healing surges, which limited the number of hp you could recover in a day to a large but still finite number.
I keep hearing that, but you know what. . .I never ran across such casual use of CLW wands in the 3e games I played in. It was always something people would bring up online (mostly here), but I didn't see it at the table in actual everyday gameplay.

I always hear that as a complaint about 3e. . .but like many other "complaints" (elaborate powergaming "builds" ect.) about 3e, I never saw it in actual gameplay with actual players in a regular game.

Maybe the groups I played with had a different mentality, but people weren't buying bulk CLW wands and insta-healing after every encounter. When they bought magic items from NPC's, they were buying new weapons and armor, and consumable items were usually healing potions and maybe some scrolls of utility spells that would be nice to have on hand but often weren't worth keeping a spell slot devoted to them constantly.

I knew one guy, ONE, who even tried any of that powergaming stuff. . .and most of his little "tricks" were things that were patched going from 3.0e to 3.5e (I never played with him after 3.5e came out, so I don't know what he did then). I saw a lot of the changes going to 3.5e as being superfluous, but gaming with that one guy showed me that they were done to put a stop on some very specific rules exploits being used by some players apparently.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I blame 3e's wand of cure light wounds.
I agree. I very quickly banned all divine wands as soon as I noted the issue. Although the CLW wand is the worst offender, the problem isn't specific to it.

A quick perusal of the wand, staff, rod options available to clerics in 1e shows that this is a major oversight, as the sort of cheap spell on a stick devices the rules generalization made available just don't exist in earlier editions. This was part of the stack of rule changes that lead to CoDzilla. Other major changes included 5' step out of melee while spell-casting, no casting time, chance to save decreases with spell level, and overcompensation for the relative weakness of the cleric class in 1e (where it was almost strictly limited to being the Band-Aid).

However, the offense of the CLW wand was generally overlooked by players of RAW 3.5e because encounter balance was generally set on the assumption of frequent and continuously available healing, and the CLW wand was the only thing in the RAW that allowed you to play a party without a dedicated healer. Of course, at that point the CLW wand's justification was in part circularly the CLW wand.

I've seen the 'short-term attrition based' concept you mention in 4e, but only in some rather experimental dungeon designs that pushed the boundaries heavily on what you could do with the system and the healing surge as resource. However, my suspicion is that that sort of play was as rare in practice as my house rule eliminating the CLW wand (or a social contract/lack of system mastery not to abuse it that did the same thing). Both tweaked the system in one way or another, either with a rules change or a different approach to play than the default, in order to achieve a result that the system normally didn't.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
I keep hearing that, but you know what. . .I never ran across such casual use of CLW wands in the 3e games I played in. It was always something people would bring up online (mostly here), but I didn't see it at the table in actual everyday gameplay.
I didn't see it at all while I was playing 3.x, but I saw it immediately when I switched to a Pathfinder group. It had everything to do with the players, and the fact that one of the players in that group had already accepted the trick as fundamental to their way of playing.

Once you know of the trick, it becomes hard to justify ignoring it, unless the GM does something to house rule it out. I can't convincingly role-play a character who is so incompetent as to not take advantage of something that beneficial when it is presented. I tried to house rule them out of existence when I ran Pathfinder, but the kinds of players who like that game tend to focus strongly on RAW, so it was politically untenable in the long run. Nowadays, I only run Gishes & Goblins, which doesn't have that problem.
 

wingsandsword

Villager
I didn't see it at all while I was playing 3.x, but I saw it immediately when I switched to a Pathfinder group. It had everything to do with the players, and the fact that one of the players in that group had already accepted the trick as fundamental to their way of playing.

Once you know of the trick, it becomes hard to justify ignoring it, unless the GM does something to house rule it out. I can't convincingly role-play a character who is so incompetent as to not take advantage of something that beneficial when it is presented. I tried to house rule them out of existence when I ran Pathfinder, but the kinds of players who like that game tend to focus strongly on RAW, so it was politically untenable in the long run. Nowadays, I only run Gishes & Goblins, which doesn't have that problem.
If I ever had that come up in a 3.5 game I was running I'd be quickly to house-rule healing wands, either to say that spells with the (Healing) descriptor either can't be put into a wand, or they have a substantial cost multiplier to do so. It's never come up for me. It certainly seems like a more elegant solution than completely rewriting the rules on regaining HP and healing to make healing so ubiquitous in response.

It's been a LONG time since I've played with any group that was fanatical about the RAW. The idea that the DM may need to change things to fix any broken parts of the game that may creep up, or adjust it to fit the campaign ect. seems pretty much like an accepted social norm of the gaming groups I know.
 
This is a common mistake, and understandable. I know a lot of 1st edition games that played exactly thus. That impression has led to a whole host of players moving to skill based systems over the decades.
Treating the rules of any edition of D&D (OK, other than 3.x/PF/4e/E) as if they were, well, /rules/, is a lamentable lapse in judgment, in that sense. Even 'guideline' is pushing it.

In the shell-game of DM Illusionism, the rules are just the shells, their purpose, misdirection.

;P

I blame 3e's wand of cure light wounds. Its existence and cheap price meant that you could expect to be at full hit points shortly after the end of every fight that didn't bring you to 0 hit points, which in turn made spell slots the primary means of attrition, and those recover with a night's rest. So we might as well recover the hit points as well.

4e actually made things a little more short-term attrition-based than 3e, because you didn't have nigh-infinite wands to deal with hp loss. Almost every ability that recovered hit points used healing surges, which limited the number of hp you could recover in a day to a large but still finite number.
And non-surge healing tended to be a Daily resource, as well. Though there were a few small, circumstantial non-surge healing effects that were limited in other ways (Astral Seal, I think it was, which got errata'updated' at least once to avoid abuse).

The WoCLW in 3.x, seemed endemic and apparently assumed, AFAICT. In 3.0 it looked like it might have been an oversight, but 3.5 didn't do a thing to limit them, and doubled down with Lesser Vigour. PF1, as well, seemed to continue to embrace low-level healing wand spam (I recall the first time I saw flyers for a Pathfinder Society convention, the advice included something along the lines of "don't bother showing up with a character that doesn't have his own healing, such as a wand or at least potions").

Of course, 5e does give everyone some native healing in the form of HD, so surges & wands aren't necessarily a reason to prefer a prior WotC ed, by themselves, anyway.

But, even in TSR eds, spell slots were still the primary limiter, because cleric spells were converted into hps via cure..wounds, once your cleric was tapped out, you rested until he could heal you all up - through several days and full slates of healing if necessary. Rest & time was largely moot.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Treating the rules of any edition of D&D (OK, other than 3.x/PF/4e/E) as if they were, well, /rules/, is a lamentable lapse in judgment, in that sense. Even 'guideline' is pushing it.

In the shell-game of DM Illusionism, the rules are just the shells, their purpose, misdirection.

;P
Yeah, well don't let your players know that.

...but 3.5 didn't do a thing to limit them, and doubled down with Lesser Vigour.
From a balance perspective, 3.5 was terrible. Before it came out, the big arguments were over whether or not Haste and Harm were broken as written and needed errata (remember those?).

3.5 came down on the side of nerfing the spells, so my expectation was that 3.5 would take a look at overall spell power (clearly the worst designed part of 3.0e) and roll it back wherever the spells were abuseable - Force Cage and Find the Path would be cases that immediately came to mind as needing attention. Instead, 3.5 implemented the worst slate of unplaytested rules errata I had ever seen, turning what had already been a shaky balance between casters and non-casters into a joke. Virtually every change to every spell other than Haste and Harm had to be undone - Blasphemy, Polymorph, Ray of Weakness, Alter Self, etc., etc., etc. It was so blatantly unprofessional and ill-considered, that I never bought a 3.5 book - all my purchases for D&D after that were from third parties. Even a decade later, I'm still finding tiny changes that 3.5 made in the rules that just make my jaw drop, in a "What the heck where they thinking?" way. It was like some eager but ill-seasoned rulesmith was handed the keys to the game's canon with zero oversight.

At that's before the rules bloat choked the life out of what had been a decent system, and is still even with its blemishes my favorite system of all time.
 
From a balance perspective, 3.5 was terrible. Before it came out, the big arguments were over whether or not Haste and Harm were broken as written and needed errata (remember those?).

3.5 came down on the side of nerfing the spells, so my expectation was that 3.5 would take a look at overall spell power (clearly the worst designed part of 3.0e) and roll it back wherever the spells were abuseable - Force Cage and Find the Path would be cases that immediately came to mind as needing attention. Instead, 3.5 implemented the worst slate of unplaytested rules errata I had ever seen, turning what had already been a shaky balance between casters and non-casters into a joke. Virtually every change to every spell other than Haste and Harm had to be undone - Blasphemy, Polymorph, Ray of Weakness, Alter Self, etc., etc., etc. It was so blatantly unprofessional and ill-considered, that I never bought a 3.5 book - all my purchases for D&D after that were from third parties. Even a decade later, I'm still finding tiny changes that 3.5 made in the rules that just make my jaw drop, in a "What the heck where they thinking?" way. It was like some eager but ill-seasoned rulesmith was handed the keys to the game's canon with zero oversight.
3.5 did introduce repeated saves vs Hold and eventually nerf Polymorph.

But, yes, even minor-seeming, subtle, changes and changes to spells that seemed to decrease their power actually favored casters. The one that stuck out, for me, was Bull's Strength/Cat's Grace/Bear's Endurance. In 3.0 they had very long durations and gave a random bonus. (So if you had an odd stat, half the time, the spell would help you out a little more than if you'd had an even stat, and they made the stat-booster items a little less must-have, at the same time.) But, the main point was that they were very powerful for 2nd level spells, and casters would be fools not to pass them out, even though they didn't much benefit most casters.
3.5 'nerfed' those spells, significantly cutting their duration, so a mid-high level caster couldn't casually pass them out to his friends. But they also filled out the stat 'grid' with Fox's Cunning/Eagle's Splendor/Owl's Wisdom, and, boom, casters began to use their 2nd level slots to buff their own caster stat all day with repeated pre-castings instead of helping out their whole party.
 
I keep hearing that, but you know what. . .I never ran across such casual use of CLW wands in the 3e games I played in. It was always something people would bring up online (mostly here), but I didn't see it at the table in actual everyday gameplay.

I always hear that as a complaint about 3e. . .but like many other "complaints" (elaborate powergaming "builds" ect.) about 3e, I never saw it in actual gameplay with actual players in a regular game.

Maybe the groups I played with had a different mentality, but people weren't buying bulk CLW wands and insta-healing after every encounter. When they bought magic items from NPC's, they were buying new weapons and armor, and consumable items were usually healing potions and maybe some scrolls of utility spells that would be nice to have on hand but often weren't worth keeping a spell slot devoted to them constantly.
I saw this all the time, and if I was in a group that didn't do this, I told them to do it. (Buy wands, craft wands... if I were the cleric I would be crafting wands.) Sorry, but starting combat, half-dead, is just not sensible for a mortal PC. If D&D wants to "fix" this, they needed to fix the high attack bonus vs relatively low AC and low starting hit points issue. (4e pretty much solved all of those issues.)


I knew one guy, ONE, who even tried any of that powergaming stuff
I wouldn't consider that power gaming. I had been in too many pre-3e D&D games where we never even thought about that, and don't want to go through that again.
 

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