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What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?

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Jam The MF:

--- Quote from: Opaopajr on September 08, 2022, 07:19:20 AM --- :) So, Jam the MF, as you can see from the continuance of this topic the objectively correct answer is still 5e.  ;) It doesn't come with all this whinging and bickering, which alone already puts it leagues ahead of WotC's first few forays.

Happy travels! 8)

--- End quote ---


I think the answer is either the original release of 3.0, or the original release of 5.0

Jam The MF:

--- Quote from: Chris24601 on September 08, 2022, 09:55:30 AM ---
--- Quote from: Shrieking Banshee on September 08, 2022, 08:41:28 AM ---Oh 5e is the worst. I take its support from the OSR crowd as evidence thst they only care about superficial layout.

--- End quote ---
Agreed. Boring as heck.

Every meaningful mechanical choice for your character is done by level 3 unless you’re a spellcaster and, even then, their system of leveling up the spells by using higher level slots and very few upper tier slots means you’ll have most of the spells you’ll actually want to use on a regular basis by the time you hit level 7.

In combat even the spellcasters are reduced largely to “I hit with my cantrip” that only do damage (not even interesting riders like 4E had). Advantage/Disadvantage is nice for reducing complexity (and easier to apply if you forgot about it until after the action was done) but allowing them to completely cancel each other rather than just counting relative value (i.e. one positive and two negatives still being disadvantage).

And it’s still got the massive hit point bloat without even the restraint of 4E’s healing surges (which unlike the extra healing of 5e’s HD was actually a hard limit on daily healing in 4E).

5e is exactly what you’d expect of an edition designed by a committee of marketing analysts.

--- End quote ---


You mention level 3 and level 7.  That level range is probably at the heart of most gaming sessions.  Perhaps, that design is intentional?

3catcircus:

--- Quote from: Steven Mitchell on September 08, 2022, 02:41:00 PM ---3catcircus,  I think you are forgetting just how bad the 3E "splats" were as a whole.  Sure, had some good content, but signal to noise was rather low, with lots of drivel and a few completely broken things in there too, to liven things up. 

When it comes to making things useful for the GM and players, WotC has been screwing up since day 1, and nothing has changed on that front other than the particular things they decide to screw up today will be different than yesterday and tomorrow. 

I was thinking earlier in this back and forth that one of WotC's problems is that they find it very difficult to get something exactly right.  When the design is good, the development/implementation is slap dash.  Then they'll do pretty darn good development on something that is designed poorly, making something sort of adequate out of a bad situation.  They can't explain well how their own systems work or are intended to work, and can't even be consistent within the same book on such topics.  Under those conditions, it is amazing that their marketing isn't even worse, because how the heck is the person doing the marketing supposed to understand it?  And how I hate the term, but their "Vision" is even screwed up--often bipolar and suffering from multiple personalities.

It wouldn't surprise me if they try to make the 6E woke edition and fail at that.

--- End quote ---

I'm not forgetting it. I think that 3.0 with the base splat books works fine. Or 3.0 with campaign specific supplements. Or 3.0 with BoVD and BoED in a very specific campaign style. Or 3.0 without letting players access what should be DM supplements. (e.g. Savage Species).  It's when you combine all of them that it's a problem because there is insufficient playtesting to really see how badly things break - with too many DMs not being willing to say no to ridiculous combinations of feats and prestige classes and races.  We had (and continue to have) players selecting a race, a class level, feats - not because it is cool - but for a mechanical bonus "take this race for the +x bonus to that so when you take this feat, it..."

Jaeger:

--- Quote from: Jam The MF on September 08, 2022, 04:37:00 PM ---
You mention level 3 and level 7.  That level range is probably at the heart of most gaming sessions.  Perhaps, that design is intentional?

--- End quote ---

Not intentional so much as that is the way the "sweet spot" works out for the system math + Spell progression

And it has more or less been that way since the beginning...

From another thread: Does the Armor Class system produce HP Bloat?


--- Quote from: estar on August 12, 2022, 12:38:47 PM ---Regarding Hit Points
In miniature wargaming with dozen if not hundreds of figures you don't want to be messing around the details of individual figures. So combat was abstracted to 1 hit = 1 kill. When Gygax introduced fantasy elements to Chainmail along with heroes and superheroes, once way he beefed them up was to require 4 hits in order to kill a Hero and 8 hits to kill a Super-Hero.

Dave Arneson started running Braunsteins and later Blackmoor. This was found hit to kill too harsh for when the campaign was starting out. So one 1 hit to kill became 1d6 hit points. And one hit became 1d6 damage.

...

Hit Point Bloat
With OD&D everybody rolled 1d6 for hit points. Fighters got +1 to the die roll at first level and in general, got to roll an additional 1d6 hit points every level. Other classes rolled 1d6 hit points infrequently. Fighers had an average of 8 hit points at 2nd, 15 HP at 4th, 23 HP at 6th, and a whopping average of 39 HP at 10th level.

Later editions had varying reasons for inflating the hit points of the characters (and monsters). But in 5e we know that the reason was to allow more combat options despite both 5e and OD&D having the same rough power curve as characters level.  By inflating hit points rather than muck around with bonuses, higher-level characters are distinguished by being able to do more damage in more ways than lower-level characters.

BY now there are options and combos that break 5e, but if you stick to the core rules I found that the outcome of various 5e encounters track the same as the outcome various OD&D encounters. It's just in 5e, you have more explicit mechanics for how that is played out.
...

--- End quote ---

From 4 to 8 hits being the scale for hero to superhero. The E6 mod for 3.x D&D. To virtually every edition running into mechanical scaling issues around level 10 or so...

The reality is that with the escalating HP Bloat model that D&D embraces, the mathematical sweet spot has virtually been a constant despite various designers wishful thinking that they had cracked the math to make high level HP bloat work.

The complete inability to acknowledge or even recognize that you are just inviting systematic scaling issues into the game if you keep adding HP after more than 6-8 or so levels for PC's shows that after almost 50 years becoming a so-called "professional" game designers is more about persistence and desire, rather than having any real affinity for good game design.

3catcircus:

--- Quote from: Jaeger on September 08, 2022, 08:50:05 PM ---
--- Quote from: Jam The MF on September 08, 2022, 04:37:00 PM ---
You mention level 3 and level 7.  That level range is probably at the heart of most gaming sessions.  Perhaps, that design is intentional?

--- End quote ---

Not intentional so much as that is the way the "sweet spot" works out for the system math + Spell progression

And it has more or less been that way since the beginning...

From another thread: Does the Armor Class system produce HP Bloat?


--- Quote from: estar on August 12, 2022, 12:38:47 PM ---Regarding Hit Points
In miniature wargaming with dozen if not hundreds of figures you don't want to be messing around the details of individual figures. So combat was abstracted to 1 hit = 1 kill. When Gygax introduced fantasy elements to Chainmail along with heroes and superheroes, once way he beefed them up was to require 4 hits in order to kill a Hero and 8 hits to kill a Super-Hero.

Dave Arneson started running Braunsteins and later Blackmoor. This was found hit to kill too harsh for when the campaign was starting out. So one 1 hit to kill became 1d6 hit points. And one hit became 1d6 damage.

...

Hit Point Bloat
With OD&D everybody rolled 1d6 for hit points. Fighters got +1 to the die roll at first level and in general, got to roll an additional 1d6 hit points every level. Other classes rolled 1d6 hit points infrequently. Fighers had an average of 8 hit points at 2nd, 15 HP at 4th, 23 HP at 6th, and a whopping average of 39 HP at 10th level.

Later editions had varying reasons for inflating the hit points of the characters (and monsters). But in 5e we know that the reason was to allow more combat options despite both 5e and OD&D having the same rough power curve as characters level.  By inflating hit points rather than muck around with bonuses, higher-level characters are distinguished by being able to do more damage in more ways than lower-level characters.

BY now there are options and combos that break 5e, but if you stick to the core rules I found that the outcome of various 5e encounters track the same as the outcome various OD&D encounters. It's just in 5e, you have more explicit mechanics for how that is played out.
...

--- End quote ---

From 4 to 8 hits being the scale for hero to superhero. The E6 mod for 3.x D&D. To virtually every edition running into mechanical scaling issues around level 10 or so...

The reality is that with the escalating HP Bloat model that D&D embraces, the mathematical sweet spot has virtually been a constant despite various designers wishful thinking that they had cracked the math to make high level HP bloat work.

The complete inability to acknowledge or even recognize that you are just inviting systematic scaling issues into the game if you keep adding HP after more than 6-8 or so levels for PC's shows that after almost 50 years becoming a so-called "professional" game designers is more about persistence and desire, rather than having any real affinity for good game design.

--- End quote ---

It's not even affinity for "good game design." It's a lack of creativity in how to address a particular mechanical issue.  In previous editions prior to 3e there was essentially a natural washout of AC because there were only so many creatures with really good AC below -2. Three typical range was between 2 and 9 for the monsters.  The hit points were also similarly scaled.  With 3e, because of stackable bonuses allowing ACs and BABs to continuously improve, the arms race means that hit points need to be inflated.

Looking at a hill giant, in 2e it has AC 5 (3 with armor) and 12 HD +1-2 hp. So - that's a +5 natural armor bonus and in 3e+ terms, it's be AC 15.  It's THAC0 was 9, so (if I recall correctly), that works out to a +11 to hit.  So - already it's hp was inflated from 1e where it had 8 HD. But it only has 1 attack.

In 3e, they kept the same HD but adding in the bonuses for CON gives 12HD+48 hp. But it gets almost 2x the natural armor bonus it had in 2e with an AC of 20. It has 2 attacks each round.

In 5e, they only reduce HD a bit, but it's actually a higher average hp than 3e because they use d12 instead of d8. AC is back on par with 2e at AC 13. Attack bonus is lower than 3e but damage is about the same - and abourv the same damage as in 2e.

It's really not that much of a difference between 3e, 5e, and PF for most of the "normal" monsters, but 3e felt "fresh" while 4e, PF, and 5e don't really add anything.

One more reason I'll continue believing 3e is the best WotC edition.

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