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Author Topic: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?  (Read 6289 times)

Jam The MF

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What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« on: August 09, 2022, 11:53:42 PM »
If you were going to play a WOTC Edition, which one would it be?

For me, it would either be 3.0 or 5.0 Without Feats or Prestige Classes.  3.5 was just a rewrite of 3.0 with more pages to read.  Neither was perfect.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2022, 11:58:50 PM by Jam The MF »
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HappyDaze

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2022, 12:59:34 AM »
What kind of game do you want to play with it? I found 4e combat to be fine, but out of combat it was garbage.Both 3e and 3.5e were flexible and detailed but had trap options and suffered from too many supplements bloating the lines. Beyond that, spellcasters vastly overshadowed non-casters. And 5e is basically the compromise version of D&D. It's not the best at anything, but it's (generally) not thr worst st anything either.

Effete

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2022, 02:16:38 AM »
I played the absolute shit out of 3e/3.5, and there's some great memories there. It came out at the perfect time, when I was old enough to have a steady stream of disposable income, and young enough to be carelessly stupid with it. 3.5 was the better version, addressing some balance issues and ironing out some of the rough edges. Some things, like Grappling, still sucked ass, and the content bloat got ridiculous.

Core 5e is fine, but the system is starting to suffer from the same thing that killed 3e: useless bloat and power creep. If I had to pick between the two, I'd probably go with core 5e (with a few things pulled from Xanathar's and Mordenkainen's). It's just more streamlined and the subclasses offer players a nice variety of options (though I'd probably rewrite a few of them to better balance the classes). I would also ban Feats.

Opaopajr

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2022, 03:17:52 AM »
Easy, WotC Basic 5e. Everything simplified, robust, flexible for GM adjustment and adjudication, and most important... evergreen free.

Everything else is a pale shadow of utility. For playable content for Basic 5e just go third party products, pick & choose used 5e books (slim pickings), or port over better older TSR D&D content.

Edit: Oh, I would include the Basic 5e MtG setting conversion guidelines. They are not robust enough to fix MtG settings into something with tight canon, and that is for the best as it leaves things flexible. If you are a big MtG lore nerd you can go crazy because you already know the stories. If you just like the art and cards and wanna spin out your imagination from there with a few special rules, the Basic 5e setting conversions are so threadbare that your personalized planes and canon is easily placeable upon the card set lists and barebones rule suggestions.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 03:22:47 AM by Opaopajr »
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S'mon

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2022, 05:01:01 AM »
5e D&D is my main game, I just try to avoid the later Crawfordian stuff. I occasionally still play 4e D&D, but it's really hard to maintain a campaign, and it's very narrow in what it can do - I like sandboxing, and 4e REALLY hates sandboxing. I don't do 3e any more, the only version I really like is the 1e Pathfinder Beginner Box, which is level 1-5 only. An E6 3e game could also work well I guess.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2022, 08:00:02 AM »
Easily 5E (core only) + the first two Kobold Press monster collections.  I have Xanathar's and would use it occasionally, but not any of the player stuff.  Many of the options turned on to make the whole thing grittier than the defaults. 

That's what I was running as my go to game until WotC made me so sick of them I couldn't even do that any more.  I don't want to be the one encouraging another 30 plus people to buy the Players Handbook.  When the current jerks running the company are all out on their asses or the D&D license passes to someone else, I might run it again someday.  Maybe.  6 books don't take up all that much room on the shelf.

Lord Dynel

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2022, 08:43:23 AM »
For me, it's 3.5 D&D.  It's got everything we want.  I know it gets bloated with supplements and accessories, and third-party stuff.  But that's only if you let it.  We stick to mainly the PHB and maybe a handful (a couple of the Complete books, that's about it) of supplemental books, and that's the way we roll.  My table likes the flow of combat, multiclassing (believe it or not), skill point allocation, and most of my players like how the races and classes are built. 

We like 5e, also.  But we have problems with the "sameyness," - to us, the classes start feeling the same after a while.  The core mechanic is great, really.  But the bloat...Jesus.  I mean, we have the same choice as we do in 3.5 (ignoring what we don't want to use) but the group just prefers 3.5 more.  Well, it's about 50/50, really, so we can't lose either way.

Thorn Drumheller

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2022, 08:55:42 AM »
Yeah, It'd be core 5e for me as well.

I embraced 3.0 when it came out but stuck with it too long. I ended up hating the supplement mill, endless prestige classes, feats etc. I will say that the OGL gave rise to some good stuff.

4e was a joke for me. Just wasn't D&D.

But I liked 5 when it came out. But WotC had to wokify a good thing. Ah well. I'm glad I have the OSR.
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GhostNinja

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2022, 09:34:14 AM »
For me it's 5th edition.

3.0 and 3.5 made me run away from D&D with it's overcomplication and the fact I truly believe the designers wanted to turn D&D back into Wargame.

4th edition was D&D the MMORPG which I could already plan on my computer with out dice, character sheets or other people.

So yes, 5th edition.  Though something could be said about the original red box edition.
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David Johansen

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2022, 09:51:01 AM »
I guess I'm going to say core 3.0 but really, I just dislike WotC's design ethos, graphic design ethos, and general philosophy.  The best D&D of the WotC era is OSRIC.
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deadDMwalking

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2022, 10:13:01 AM »
My preference would be for 3.5.  That's not to say that it was perfect, but 3.0 did a lot of things right, and 3.5 incrementally improved on most of them.  While content bloat was certainly an issue, 3.5 had more options than 3.0.  Through low- to mid-levels, it played well and issues regarding caster power disparity didn't matter as much as they did at higher levels. 

The main issues with 3.5 RAW tended to be around a reduction in the play space because of rules bloat, especially feats.  In 2nd edition, you could describe trying to run along the back of a charging war mammoth to shoot arrows into its neck, but as soon as 'monster mounter' comes out as a feat a lot of GMs would say 'you can't do that without the feat'.  That's not strictly a problem with the rules but more a way that it was implemented. 

In 3.0, things like feats were brand-new, and it makes sense that they were extremely cautious with how many players got.  Since so many feats provide just a minor benefit and they become a major way of defining different character archetypes, they should have given more in 3.5 (like 1/level). 

Finally, 3.5 should have allowed attacks during movement (ie, a full attack should be allowed with a move, and your attacks should have been allowed before, during, and after the move).  While that wouldn't solve caster supremacy issues, it would have allowed for more dynamism for martial characters and help keep the game functioning for a couple more levels. 

But warts and all, it was a fun game and brought a lot of people into/back into the hobby.  I personally got more enjoyment out of it than any other edition. 
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VisionStorm

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2022, 10:37:33 AM »
I'm torn between 3e and 5e. They each have their pros and cons, and they both SUCK for different (and sometimes overlapping) reasons, just like every edition of D&D. Both are too bloated (overlap), but in different ways. 3e can be way too crunchy sometimes and feat implementation SUCKS, but it has a more "D&D" feel to me, like a modernized version of it that still has vestiges of the old, like Attack Bonuses (replacing THAC0), Saving Throw progression, etc. Classes feel more distinct and there are somewhat more customization options, with Skills and Feats being more central than in 5e, but unfortunately the implementation sucks and they're a pain to work with in retrospect. I would have to revamp both of them if I were to touch 3e again, but I like the idea of them and won't play a game without them.

5e is way more streamlined at its core, but makes up for it by piling up fifty tons of class related bloat on top of that slimmed down core. The upside is that the core is so simple, and a lot of the class bloat is stretched out across levels, making it more simple to just pick up and go (specially as a player). I've been getting the urge to tinker with it, since I've played it recently, but I would probably change less of it than I would for 3e, making it the stronger contender.

With either one, I would probably trim down classes to just a core three or so (Warrior, Specialist and Mystic) given the chance*, then treat all specialized class stuff as either "subclasses" or feats (or a combination of both). I'm not a fan of prestige classes, so I would drop those as well, but I do like the 5e concept of subclasses. I just think that they could have implemented them better by trimming down the core classes, then treating all specialties as subclasses, making things more streamlined and manageable, while retaining a lot of the specialized options.

5e also has some cool options when it comes to handling spells that I'm starting to like better than earlier editions, like the option of using up higher level spell slots to strengthen lower level spells. Having all spells be unaffected by caster level was weird at first, but I like the fact that characters don't have to rely on their level for spells to be effective, which makes multiclassed and secondary casters a more viable alternative. But dedicated casters can still shine by having greater access to higher level spell slots, giving them more options and power.

Unlike many here I can't fathom a world without Feats (or their equivalent in other games), or what issue anyone could possibly have with them, other than crappy implementation. So if anything I would drop Ability Increases as a default and hand out Feats instead, then turn Ability Increases into a feat, and adjust all feats to match a +2 bonus to a score in terms of power.

*I actually started doing this for 3e a while back, along with a skill and feat revamp, but never finished. Though, it's near completion so I could just pick up where I left off if I ever went back to 3e. But I'd probably focus more on 5e for now, since it's the more viable option for finding players or if I want to publish it later on.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2022, 10:44:06 AM »
4e. 3e is just a volatile concoction nearly impossible to balance and implodes at higher levels. 5e is garbage that people project whatever they want on because it hits in the nostalgic fee-fees.
4e with its flaws is the best at what it sets out to be (and unlike 5e the goal isn’t nostalgia bait).

Svenhelgrim

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2022, 10:47:04 AM »
5e including Xanathar’s and excluding Tasha’s.  They hit a sweet spot when they published Xanathar’s, there were many options for players,  lots of options for the DM (i would iot exclude any of the monster books), and the writing was still good.  I have fulfilling games with my group and we use 5e, I just wish the bloated piece of crap that was Tasha’s wasn’t casting it’s dadk shadow over our games.

HappyDaze

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Re: What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2022, 10:55:56 AM »
I'll also note that 4e was easy to run, while 3e and 3.5e could quickly become a monstrous pain in the ass for the DM. 5e is, again, a compromise but closer to the ease of 4e (IMO).