• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D (2024) WotC is right to avoid the word "edition."

HammerMan

Legend
Question: If I am considering purchasing D&D books this year and next, do I have a right to know if they will continue to be fully usable with the 2024 Anniversary edition? Or am I buying books where parts will become obsolete even if I can salvage other parts of it.

I feel that is a valid question for the consumer.
If you see feats without levels save your money.

My money says subclasses will also change but that is TBD
 

log in or register to remove this ad

I played 3e when it was fairly new, stopped playing and didn't dabble again until 4e launched. Can you explain what the major differences were in 3.0 and 3.5? I played PF but I don't even know how different it is to 3.5. All I know is the general consensus seems to be it wasnt very compatible.

I try to make it short:

3.0 retained a lot of the 2e structure. Spellists were close to ADnD. Spells themselves. Skills also.

Then 3.5 made following changes:

1. Restructuring of some classes
2. Removal of some skills
3. Cover rules and concealment rules were boardgamified, instead of beong DM adjucation. -> Board game dependancy was introduced.
4. Feats changed. Much easier again to cast in melee. Or even casting spells in shapeshifted form.
5. Spell lists were changed completely. Opposing schools of specialists were simplified and chosable.
6. Some spells became butchered into pieces or lost their cool applications (command was changed to a list of options, ice wall could not be used as a horizontal plane anymore).
7. Some weapons were removed/changed.
8. Prestige classes were now officially pure players material used to plug holes in the multiclass system instead of being rewards for the DM. (Although later, some cool prestige classes reappeared).
9. I think HP for monsters were inflated even more, making damage spells even more irrelevant.

That was just out of my head. Maybe I misremember something. I surely forgot a few things.

Somehow so many philosophies have changed, that somehow 3.0 books were incompatible with 3.5... Also every relevant book was somehow replaced with a newer option.
 


I try to make it short:

3.0 retained a lot of the 2e structure. Spellists were close to ADnD. Spells themselves. Skills also.

Then 3.5 made following changes:

1. Restructuring of some classes
2. Removal of some skills
3. Cover rules and concealment rules were boardgamified, instead of beong DM adjucation. -> Board game dependancy was introduced.
4. Feats changed. Much easier again to cast in melee. Or even casting spells in shapeshifted form.
5. Spell lists were changed completely. Opposing schools of specialists were simplified and chosable.
6. Some spells became butchered into pieces or lost their cool applications (command was changed to a list of options, ice wall could not be used as a horizontal plane anymore).
7. Some weapons were removed/changed.
8. Prestige classes were now officially pure players material used to plug holes in the multiclass system instead of being rewards for the DM. (Although later, some cool prestige classes reappeared).
9. I think HP for monsters were inflated even more, making damage spells even more irrelevant.

That was just out of my head. Maybe I misremember something. I surely forgot a few things.

Somehow so many philosophies have changed, that somehow 3.0 books were incompatible with 3.5... Also every relevant book was somehow replaced with a newer option.
Thank you, would it be fair to say PF is more compatible to 3.5 than 3.5 to 3.0?

*Not trying to derail this post, just trying to put things in perspective.
 

Thank you, would it be fair to say PF is more compatible to 3.5 than 3.5 to 3.0?

*Not trying to derail this post, just trying to put things in perspective.
I´d say, about the same. But this is just my point of view. I have never played pathfinder, and only studied the SRD. I think it was a consistent evolution OD&D->1e->2e->2e+player options->3.0->3.5->pathfinder1. At that point, I think however that the game needed a revolution instead of an evolution, as the ever increasing game mastery was a barrier for the game. 4e was a revolution, but it mad a few big mistakes.
5e for me is indeed convolutiion of 2e, 3e and 4e taking many good aspects from each of them. So not calling it 5e or 6e is consistent, as it is not the last link of the aforementioned chain.
 

Absolutely to all of this. In any meaningful usage of the word, this is a new typical edition being worked on. But not a new game, which is what WotC tried to make the word mean (not that theybwrre consistent!). In reasonable terms, this is approximately the 15th Edition of D&D, including OD&D, the BD&D typical editions, 3.5, and 4E Essentials as what they are in publishing terms: distinct typical editions.
So I have a problem with this, because, maybe I'm misremembering, but my recollection of 4E Essentials is that there were literally no actual general rules changes (though I admit this may be difficult to track with 4E's constant updates).

At all.

And all that Essentials did was add yet more takes on classes/abilities. Some of them were further from the AEDU structure, but still not entirely alienated from it, and they worked literally 100% perfectly with existing material.

So that idea that the Essentials books were either a new "edition" or a new "version" kind of falls flat. It's actually just a pair of splatbooks hyped as a new version/edition. That's been done before in games of various kinds, particularly board* and war games, where they have the "original" format, then later you get stand-alone add-ons, that either can be played by themselves, or are 100% compatible with the original game. I feel like even thinking it's an edition or version in a meaningful way is just buying into the hype.

If I'm wrong and there were general rules changes, please correct me.

That's a fundamentally different approach to 3.5E, which changed fundamental rules, revised existing classes (rather than providing new-but-compatible takes, which even had their own names to cleanly separate them and make them run well at the same table), and generally re-worked the game. It's also different form a lot of older ('70s and '80s) updates, where there was no clean intent to have an "edition change", just they kept changing/updating the rules and saw nothing wrong with doing that and not highlighting it, and just letting DMs deal with the consequences.

As an aside, I don't buy the OP's "skunked term" super-hot take (which is spicier than the very people he attempts to criticise), and is a pretty bad concept even in linguistics. Edition isn't changing in meaning. Edition in RPGs means what it's always mean, and this is clearly 6E (based on the current rate of change). The problem as you say, isn't this edition change at all, rather it's the 2E-3E, 3E-4E, and 4E-5E changes, all of which weren't mere "edition changes" in RPG parlance, but major re-writes, which with other games, ones less brand-reliant, might have even meant giving the product a new name. I don't really want to propose those names, because I'm not a name guy (and honestly I don't WotC are particularly good at names either), but 3E could easily have been called something like D&D 2000, or um, dare I say it "D&D: A New Era" (kill me now), if it was a lesser-known game. What was weird was trying to call THAT 3rd edition, not calling THIS 6th edition.

* = Tons of modern board games do this and it's actually a hot topic with board game fans. Dominion has a ton of stand-alone expansions, for example, which you can mix-and-match with the original Dominion set (indeed I first played it with one of these, and was severely confused when I got base Dominion and it didn't have any of those cards, but obviously played the same way!).
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So I have a problem with this, because, maybe I'm misremembering, but my recollection of 4E Essentials is that there were literally no actual general rules changes (though I admit this may be difficult to track with 4E's constant updates).

At all.

And all that Essentials did was add yet more takes on classes/abilities. Some of them were further from the AEDU structure, but still not entirely alienated from it, and they worked literally 100% perfectly with existing material.

So that idea that the Essentials books were either a new "edition" or a new "version" kind of falls flat. It's actually just a pair of splatbooks hyped as a new version/edition. That's been done before in games of various kinds, particularly board* and war games, where they have the "original" format, then later you get stand-alone add-ons, that either can be played by themselves, or are 100% compatible with the original game. I feel like even thinking it's an edition or version in a meaningful way is just buying into the hype.

If I'm wrong and there were general rules changes, please correct me.

That's a fundamentally different approach to 3.5E, which changed fundamental rules, revised existing classes (rather than providing new-but-compatible takes, which even had their own names to cleanly separate them and make them run well at the same table), and generally re-worked the game. It's also different form a lot of older ('70s and '80s) updates, where there was no clean intent to have an "edition change", just they kept changing/updating the rules and saw nothing wrong with doing that and not highlighting it, and just letting DMs deal with the consequences.

As an aside, I don't buy the OP's "skunked term" super-hot take (which is spicier than the very people he attempts to criticise), and is a pretty bad concept even in linguistics. Edition isn't changing in meaning. Edition in RPGs means what it's always mean, and this is clearly 6E (based on the current rate of change). The problem as you say, isn't this edition change at all, rather it's the 2E-3E, 3E-4E, and 4E-5E changes, all of which weren't mere "edition changes" in RPG parlance, but major re-writes, which with other games, ones less brand-reliant, might have even meant giving the product a new name. I don't really want to propose those names, because I'm not a name guy (and honestly I don't WotC are particularly good at names either), but 3E could easily have been called something like D&D 2000, or um, dare I say it "D&D: A New Era" (kill me now), if it was a lesser-known game. What was weird was trying to call THAT 3rd edition, not calling THIS 6th edition.

* = Tons of modern board games do this and it's actually a hot topic with board game fans. Dominion has a ton of stand-alone expansions, for example, which you can mix-and-match with the original Dominion set (indeed I first played it with one of these, and was severely confused when I got base Dominion and it didn't have any of those cards, but obviously played the same way!).
4E Essentials was a brand new presentation of the rules in a new format, that didn't need the core books. Sure, it was absolutely compatible on a game level with 4E plus errata (my understanding is that 4E got huge errata that never even made it into a full print run, but were considered "the rules" anyways). Still it was a new published edition of the game. TSR and WotC have done so many weird things (AD&D is a different game from OD&D, BD&D is a different game, B/X to BECMI, "Third Edition", "3.5", etc) that it really isn't helpful to say thisnis a new edition, though it is clearly a new edition in rational publishing terms (since they have mentioned a new Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual, my reckoning is thst this would be the 7th typical editions for books by those titles, or 6th for the MM if the Monstrous Manual isn't counted).
 

4E Essentials was a brand new presentation of the rules in a new format, that didn't need the core books. Sure, it was absolutely compatible on a game level with 4E plus errata (my understanding is that 4E got huge errata that never even made it into a full print run, but were considered "the rules" anyways). Still it was a new published edition of the game. TSR and WotC have done so many weird things (AD&D is a different game from OD&D, BD&D is a different game, B/X to BECMI, "Third Edition", "3.5", etc) that it really isn't helpful to say thisnis a new edition, though it is clearly a new edition in rational publishing terms (since they have mentioned a new Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual, my reckoning is thst this would be the 7th typical editions for books by those titles, or 6th for the MM if the Monstrous Manual isn't counted).
This meaning 4E Essentials or One D&D?

I think it's entirely helpful to characterize the latter as an edition, and frankly the OP's argument, which really exactly the same kind of thing he's criticising from "smug Youtubers", falls extremely flat. It's unhelpful of WotC to have failed to have addressed their previous usage of the term, or be honest about it, and make an honest comparison (like 1E to 2E).

There's absolutely nothing weird about AD&D and D&D back in the day. That's perfectly normal. That's how most RPGs operate to this day - if you change the rules fundamentally, like more than 1E to 2E, you probably rename the game. If you look at oWoD games, you see that 1E and 2E are just not that different and semi-compatible. Revised had a different name than 3E to indicate it was "more differenter". 20th Anniversary could honestly be called 3E though (particularly as it largely ignored/reverted Revised stuff in favour of deriving more naturally from 2E). I believe the current edition refers to itself as 5th edition and that is a bit misleading, because it's a fundamental break, but that's a whole other discussion and more to do with marketing than being helpful.

When WW wanted to make a bigger break, they created the nWoD and Vampire: The Requiem and so on. The nWoD even got a 2nd edition, which is kind of an overlooked masterpiece in many ways (and had some truly great campaigns), but I digress.
my understanding is that 4E got huge errata that never even made it into a full print run, but were considered "the rules" anyways
Sorta?

What 4E did was continually errata update everything, tweaking stuff, and made sure those errata were extremely accessible online (via PDFs etc.), and whatever they were doing, they got implemented really quickly on the DDI (the digital version of the game, which was sub-based automatically had all published mechanical content), like in days if not virtually immediately.

But the important thing is there was no "big errata drop" with 4E. It wasn't like they held stuff back, then dropped a ton of changes. They just gradually made changes, of varying sizes, over the edition. Nothing about Essentials required any of those changes, that I'm aware. If you're thinking they laid the groundwork for Essentials then dropped it with changes, that didn't happen, to be clear.
 
Last edited:

Parmandur

Book-Friend
This meaning 4E Essentials or One D&D?

I think it's entirely helpful to characterize the latter as an edition, and frankly the OP's argument, which really exactly the same kind of thing he's criticising from "smug Youtubers", falls extremely flat. It's unhelpful of WotC to have failed to have addressed their previous usage of the term, or be honest about it, and make an honest comparison (like 1E to 2E).
It would be honest, but if they feel it won't increase sales of Beyond subscriptions, theybwill avoid it.
Sorta?

What 4E did was continually errata update everything, tweaking stuff, and made sure those errata were extremely accessible online (via PDFs etc.), and whatever they were doing, they got implemented really quickly on the DDI (the digital version of the game, which was sub-based automatically had all published mechanical content), like in days if not virtually immediately.

But the important thing is there was no "big errata drop" with 4E. It wasn't like they held stuff back, then dropped a ton of changes. They just gradually made changes, of varying sizes, over the edition. Nothing about Essentials required any of those changes, that I'm aware. If you're thinking they laid the groundwork for Essentials then dropped it with changes, that didn't happen, to be clear.
Right, but my understanding is that there was a significant amount of errata that was never available in a physical, bound copy of the PHB, DMG, or MM. So you would need to reference DDI, a PDF or Essentials to get the standard rule.
 

It would be honest, but if they feel it won't increase sales of Beyond subscriptions, theybwill avoid it.
Fair lol.
Right, but my understanding is that there was a significant amount of errata that was never available in a physical, bound copy of the PHB, DMG, or MM. So you would need to reference DDI, a PDF or Essentials to get the standard rule.
Yeah I believe that's correct. I assume (without digging them out) that the Essentials books had the updates up to that point in them, but they kept making errata of various sizes until late in 4E.

Honestly? For us it worked totally fine. I don't recall it causing any major problems and perhaps it's because we were all familiar with videogames which updated regularly, none of use were annoyed by it.

But I gather that some people absolutely hated it.

That said, if 5E had done the same thing, I think it would be in pretty incredible condition by now, balance-wise, so many classes, subclasses, and Feats and so on could have been tweaked into perfection.
 

Remove ads

Top