D&D General Why Editions Don't Matter

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Imaro

Legend
I believe that most groups run into some kind of trouble with it sooner or later, yes.

Possibly...

It's why you get complaints from people who play other games--like Shadowrun fans, or White Wolf fans--of the same color as what you see with D&D, for example.

Yes but I am asking about the majority of D&D players...

If the game sells itself as a cooperative exercise that everyone contributes to, but players B and C contribute 90% of the work combined and players A and D contribute 10%, people are gonna notice. Hell, there's a HUGE brouhaha going on right now in the FFXIV comunity because one job (Machinist) is doing about 8% less damage than the top-end jobs. That 8% is enough to ignite a firestorm. So yeah, I do think there's a significant chunk of people who care about this sort of thing. The overlap between "people who play video games" and "people who play D&D" is pretty significant, and video gamers tend to respond very poorly to egregious balance issues.
I think the style in which the majority of D&D players actually play D&D does end up being a cooperative exercise where the distribution is much more even than 90/10. While I'm not claiming the problem doesn't exist... the effect seems to be disproportionately re-hashed on the internet.
 


I’ve got two fairly intensive posts in here on GMing Blades in the Dark.

I’ve got multiple others strewn about ENWorld.

I’m thinking about collating all of those posts into a “GMing Blades in the Dark” thread, but I’m not interested in doing that if there wouldn’t be both (a) interest in such a thread and (b) participation (those threads need questions like the ones in this thread to uncover how best practices work at the table).

How much of (a) and (b) is out there for this game?
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I’ve got two fairly intensive posts in here on GMing Blades in the Dark.

I’ve got multiple others strewn about ENWorld.

I’m thinking about collating all of those posts into a “GMing Blades in the Dark” thread, but I’m not interested in doing that if there wouldn’t be both (a) interest in such a thread and (b) participation (those threads need questions like the ones in this thread to uncover how best practices work at the table).

How much of (a) and (b) is out there for this game?
I will participate and ask questions specific to my running the game. It would be helpful for me.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Does this mean edition doesn't matter? Or does it mean that adventures don't matter? Or maybe that for some people, conversion-on-the-fly is a perfectly functional thing for any system they're passably comfortable with, and for other people it's really, really not. (I'd consider myself in the latter camp. Converting a PF module to 4e, or a 1e module to 5e, or stuff like that--all sounds nightmarish to my ears.)

I just don't think "this means edition is completely irrelevant most of the time" is the correct conclusion to draw from "Mistwell is very good at adapting adventures across editions on the fly."
I certainly don't think editions are completely irrelevant and I don't think the video is making that case either. Editions matter to a certain extent I just think the debate is over what extent. A 1e adventure in 1e system feels meaningfully different than that same adventure run in 5e. But it can be run in 5e and feel like a 5e adventure, without much effort to convert it (and it's easier than you might think - most is just replacing the monster stat block with the 5e stat block and making sure the challenge isn't suddenly wildly overpowered for the party and if so adapting something for that).
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
But again, @Mistwell was posting in the context of adventures. There are others aspects of the game where edition matters much more.
Sure. But I guess the question is, how much more? Is it enough to make a big fuss out of it? Is it enough to argue that systems are so important that genres need to be relegated to specific systems to be considered worthwhile for that genre? Has the importance of system been exaggerated by people who enjoy creating systems or people who enjoy discussing systems because of that enjoyment rather than because systems are really that important?
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I’ve got two fairly intensive posts in here on GMing Blades in the Dark.

I’ve got multiple others strewn about ENWorld.

I’m thinking about collating all of those posts into a “GMing Blades in the Dark” thread, but I’m not interested in doing that if there wouldn’t be both (a) interest in such a thread and (b) participation (those threads need questions like the ones in this thread to uncover how best practices work at the table).

How much of (a) and (b) is out there for this game?
When you do please pm me with the link.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I feel like most folks who've been posting in this thread play 5E. But I think most, if not all, of us have played D&D far longer than 5E has been about.

So why are we playing 5E?

If edition doesn't matter, then why are we all playing the newest edition of the game and not just playing an older version? Why is anyone converting anything when they could just play AD&D or 3E or whatever?

I know this probably seems like a post that's trying to make a point, but I'm genuinely asking. What is it about 5E in particular?
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I feel like most folks who've been posting in this thread play 5E. But I think most, if not all, of us have played D&D far longer than 5E has been about.

So why are we playing 5E?

If edition doesn't matter, then why are we all playing the newest edition of the game and not just playing an older version? Why is anyone converting anything when they could just play AD&D or 3E or whatever?

I know this probably seems like a post that's trying to make a point, but I'm genuinely asking. What is it about 5E in particular?

I figured if I got my son playing it, it would be good for him to be able to easily play with friends, and they would probably be playing 5e (or it would be easier for them to get).

If not for that, after having started him on B/X I probably would have gone for Pathfinder 1e instead.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I feel like most folks who've been posting in this thread play 5E. But I think most, if not all, of us have played D&D far longer than 5E has been about.

So why are we playing 5E?

If edition doesn't matter, then why are we all playing the newest edition of the game and not just playing an older version? Why is anyone converting anything when they could just play AD&D or 3E or whatever?

I know this probably seems like a post that's trying to make a point, but I'm genuinely asking. What is it about 5E in particular?
It's a good version of the rules (WotC's best, IMO) but I think we play it mostly because its much, much easier to get players for the current edition than any other, or any non-D&D game. Everyone is playing and discussing it. The bandwagon effect.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
It's a good version of the rules (WotC's best, IMO) but I think we play it mostly because its much, much easier to get players for the current edition than any other, or any non-D&D game. Everyone is playing and discussing it. The bandwagon effect.
That ignores the question of why people made the change in the first place. No bandwagon effect without first having a bandwagon. Which I think is what @hawkeyefan was trying to ask about.

And even then - bandwagons don’t have staying power.
 

pointofyou

Adventurer
I feel like most folks who've been posting in this thread play 5E. But I think most, if not all, of us have played D&D far longer than 5E has been about.

So why are we playing 5E?

If edition doesn't matter, then why are we all playing the newest edition of the game and not just playing an older version? Why is anyone converting anything when they could just play AD&D or 3E or whatever?

I know this probably seems like a post that's trying to make a point, but I'm genuinely asking. What is it about 5E in particular?
Do not underestimate the appeal of "It's in print."
 

Oofta

Legend
That ignores the question of why people made the change in the first place. No bandwagon effect without first having a bandwagon. Which I think is what @hawkeyefan was trying to ask about.

And even then - bandwagons don’t have staying power.
Not sure I can answer that without triggering edition wars.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
Sure. But I guess the question is, how much more? Is it enough to make a big fuss out of it? Is it enough to argue that systems are so important that genres need to be relegated to specific systems to be considered worthwhile for that genre? Has the importance of system been exaggerated by people who enjoy creating systems or people who enjoy discussing systems because of that enjoyment rather than because systems are really that important?

I'm not going to argue that some systems can't be ported over to some other genres with some work and be effective. I've commented on the fact you could probably get something out of a D&D basis supporting something pretty close to a cyberpunk game, because in the end, most cyberpunk are actually doing very similar things to D&D games in some ways, and even the supporting elements are similar once you reskin them.

On the other hand, I think on the whole D&D is a terrible system to try and do a genuine horror game (or probably even survival horror) or a superhero game, and by the time you've reshaped it enough to do so, it only has a passing resemblance to D&D (I'll direct at the rather successful Mutants and Masterminds, and how little it really looks like D&D these days).
 


Oofta

Legend
And since "system doesn't matter," as we have been told time and time again, it's not as if 4e's system could have been the problem for anyone.
I had issues with every edition that made me want to move on. The edition that shall not be named ;) was just the most recent one.
 

I feel like most folks who've been posting in this thread play 5E. But I think most, if not all, of us have played D&D far longer than 5E has been about.

So why are we playing 5E?

If edition doesn't matter, then why are we all playing the newest edition of the game and not just playing an older version? Why is anyone converting anything when they could just play AD&D or 3E or whatever?

I know this probably seems like a post that's trying to make a point, but I'm genuinely asking. What is it about 5E in particular?
Well....

In point of fact, I'm not playing 5e. Haven't for several years. It takes a pretty specific combination of things to get me to want to, and I burned out on trying to find a game actually offering those things. As I've said, I don't have the luxury of playing exclusively with friends (I run one game, but...running is different, and that's DW, not D&D.) So I have to find games with strangers. 5e has not made that easy, especially since I usually want to either test some homebrew I wrote or push the envelope (e.g. gestalt), though never both at the same time.

So...I have played 5e. Played a couple one-shot Next playtest games late in its cycle. Played three or four campaigns that imploded due to the horrible encounter building rules and DMs that ignored my advice. Played two or three more that simply didn't survive the dropout rate of PbP games. Etc.

And yes, I do very much blame all but that last group on 5e's individual system characteristics. (PbP games lose folks all the time, that part isn't 5e's fault.)
 

Sure. But I guess the question is, how much more?
A fair bit. If you want numbers (in whatever abstract, analogic sense these numbers apply), I'm talking solid plurality to slim majority. 45% to 55%, with no other individual factor being as impactful.

People hating on grappling rules in most editions, for example, or the solid majority opinion that descending AC was unwise and THAC0 was outright bad, or the whole XP=GP thing shaping player psychology etc. Many of the ways edition matters are in the style of that third thing, e.g. the way 3e handled magic and buffs meant supportive teamwork was actually really inferior to just doing things yourself and thus cooperation was significantly discouraged despite that actually being the opposite of the design intent.

Is it enough to make a big fuss out of it?
Depends. Are you casting aspersions and treating "a big fuss" as people throwing a tantrum simply because you disagree with their motives? Or are you saying people are taking a legitimate issue and blowing it somewhat out of proportion? Because your words read as strongly leaning toward the former, and if so, I vehemently disagree with that. I do think it is worth at least a decent portion of the attention it gets, and I find a lot of people have very flippant, dismissive attitudes about legitimate concerns.

Is it enough to argue that systems are so important that genres need to be relegated to specific systems to be considered worthwhile for that genre?
Has anyone done that? I haven't. My concerns barely touch on thematic expression. Most thematic content is comparatively orthogonal to the mechanical content anyway. I'm a big fan of reskinning, and have seen it work well e.g. my favorite 4e game ever was a science-fantasy cyberpunk-ish game with "grim but hopeful" space opera vibes. It required the addition of literally just two skills (essentially "tech" and "xenobiology")

Has the importance of system been exaggerated by people who enjoy creating systems or people who enjoy discussing systems because of that enjoyment rather than because systems are really that important?
No? I don't enjoy creating systems. I very much prefer to leave the hard work of system design to other people. Because actual system design, where the designer understands that this is a technology as well as an expressive medium, where you do real serious analysis of your work (using statistics, effective and unbiased survey design, and collecting a large enough data set to actually derive meaningful results), is very difficult and requires a lot more resources than those available to a lone dude plunking away at his keyboard for a couple weeks (or whatever.)
 

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