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What is the Best WOTC Edition of D&D?

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cavalier973:
The question concerned “WOTC era D&D”, and so, even if it’s the Tom Hagen of D&D, 4e should be included in the list. It is also my favorite of the (so far) 3 & 1/2 editions, since it’s the only one I’ve played on the table. Also, the Nentir Vale is awesome.

Jaeger:

--- Quote from: 3catcircus on September 08, 2022, 09:33:13 PM ---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.
--- End quote ---

I'll quibble and say that no creativity is needed to address the issue of HP Bloat: Just stop HP progression past level 6 to 8.

You do not need to get mechanically creative because the fix is perfectly straightforward.

Post AD&D1e game designers inability to recognize the root cause of HP scaling issues, and then implement the straightforward solution speaks to a complete lack of understanding why D&D has always had scaling issues.




--- Quote from: 3catcircus on September 08, 2022, 09:33:13 PM ---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.
...

--- End quote ---

Another example of so-called professional game designers changing things without understanding their wider effects on the system. Both B/X and AD&D1e had a standard die type for monster and npc HD for a reason. Using different types of dice to represent different HD for different monsters shows that they never understood why it was done that way, and then they wonder why their precious CR rating never really work...

The more I study the rules for past editions of D&D: (I have Holmes, Moldvay and Mentzer B/X, AD&D, 3.0, 4e and 5e.) The more I realize that all the WotC D&D design teams simply did not understand why certain rules were in the older editions of D&D before they began to change them.

3catcircus:

--- Quote from: Jaeger on September 09, 2022, 04:15:32 PM ---
--- Quote from: 3catcircus on September 08, 2022, 09:33:13 PM ---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.
--- End quote ---

I'll quibble and say that no creativity is needed to address the issue of HP Bloat: Just stop HP progression past level 6 to 8.

You do not need to get mechanically creative because the fix is perfectly straightforward.

Post AD&D1e game designers inability to recognize the root cause of HP scaling issues, and then implement the straightforward solution speaks to a complete lack of understanding why D&D has always had scaling issues.




--- Quote from: 3catcircus on September 08, 2022, 09:33:13 PM ---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.
...

--- End quote ---

Another example of so-called professional game designers changing things without understanding their wider effects on the system. Both B/X and AD&D1e had a standard die type for monster and npc HD for a reason. Using different types of dice to represent different HD for different monsters shows that they never understood why it was done that way, and then they wonder why their precious CR rating never really work...

The more I study the rules for past editions of D&D: (I have Holmes, Moldvay and Mentzer B/X, AD&D, 3.0, 4e and 5e.) The more I realize that all the WotC D&D design teams simply did not understand why certain rules were in the older editions of D&D before they began to change them.

--- End quote ---

But that's just it - it's "monkey see, monkey do." To be fair, there probably weren't a library of notes from the earlt data detailing why Gygax, et. al did what they did. You have to glean that from interviews and conversations they'd had over the years.

Reminds me of a joke in my industry: a team of young engineers was struggling with a problem on a missile system and they finally throw up their hands and ask management to haul the designer out of retirement. He agrees to do so for a $1M consulting fee, walks in, looks at the missile, takes a piece of chalk, and puts an 'x' on a certain spot and says check in there, a component is failed. Management says, "we aren't paying you your fee - anyone could mark an x with chalk.". He responds, "oh, you will give me my fee because you're not paying me to make an x with chalk; you're paying me because I know *where* to put the x mark with chalk."

*That's* the key when you ask people to take someone else's work and create from it - they know how to create, but not why.  At least 3e was *closer* because some of the people who worked on it worked on 2.5e first. 4e and 5e? Not so much.

Chris24601:
Maybe, but most of 3e’s biggest problems can boiled to a failure to understand how they were changing the rules would change the way the game was played.

If you ran the core classes using the same assumptions and spellcasting choices as you’d make in 2e the classes in general would be much more balanced with each other.

In AD&D the way the saves scaled made save or dies a very risky proposition… far better given the generally 2 digit hit point totals was a fireball or similar save for half damage spell… because 17 damage (half of 10d6) removed a significant chunk of hit points for certain while the save or die might fail with no effect 75% of the time. Similarly, that damage would come off the same pool the fighter was diminishing so they each contributing to the same solution.

But by setting save difficulty off both spell level and the caster’s ability score in 3e while enabling the targeting of different defenses where there were often numbers much lower than the others while simultaneously ballooning hit points into the triple digits made save or dies which completely bypassed hit points and could often succeed by targeting weak saves the optimal solution that largely rendered any class without such abilities suboptimal… particularly when a failed save vs. a save or die rendered any work the fighter had been doing irrelevant to ending the fight.

3e completely lost the plot when it came to emulating the prior experience of D&D and the AOL and similar message boards of the day were awash with the same vitriol from 2e fans against 3e (only 3e was Diablo instead of 4E being World of Warcraft) and refused to convert and fractured the base.

The main difference was the 2e players didn’t have mass social media be whining little bitches on and so just continued playing the edition they preferred without needing some 3rd party to affirm their choice with a currently supported clone to keep selling them products.

4E was just a natural evolution from the tail end of the edition that had already fundamentally broken from the previous editions of D&D.

Frankly, all of D&D is pretty mediocre… benefiting mostly from the benefit of being first and then from Hasbro marketing money. Palladium Fantasy 1e is better than any edition (TSR or WotC) of D&D.

3catcircus:

--- Quote from: Chris24601 on September 09, 2022, 08:42:00 PM ---Maybe, but most of 3e’s biggest problems can boiled to a failure to understand how they were changing the rules would change the way the game was played.

If you ran the core classes using the same assumptions and spellcasting choices as you’d make in 2e the classes in general would be much more balanced with each other.

In AD&D the way the saves scaled made save or dies a very risky proposition… far better given the generally 2 digit hit point totals was a fireball or similar save for half damage spell… because 17 damage (half of 10d6) removed a significant chunk of hit points for certain while the save or die might fail with no effect 75% of the time. Similarly, that damage would come off the same pool the fighter was diminishing so they each contributing to the same solution.

But by setting save difficulty off both spell level and the caster’s ability score in 3e while enabling the targeting of different defenses where there were often numbers much lower than the others while simultaneously ballooning hit points into the triple digits made save or dies which completely bypassed hit points and could often succeed by targeting weak saves the optimal solution that largely rendered any class without such abilities suboptimal… particularly when a failed save vs. a save or die rendered any work the fighter had been doing irrelevant to ending the fight.

3e completely lost the plot when it came to emulating the prior experience of D&D and the AOL and similar message boards of the day were awash with the same vitriol from 2e fans against 3e (only 3e was Diablo instead of 4E being World of Warcraft) and refused to convert and fractured the base.

The main difference was the 2e players didn’t have mass social media be whining little bitches on and so just continued playing the edition they preferred without needing some 3rd party to affirm their choice with a currently supported clone to keep selling them products.

4E was just a natural evolution from the tail end of the edition that had already fundamentally broken from the previous editions of D&D.

Frankly, all of D&D is pretty mediocre… benefiting mostly from the benefit of being first and then from Hasbro marketing money. Palladium Fantasy 1e is better than any edition (TSR or WotC) of D&D.

--- End quote ---

This is true. My preferred fantasy RPGs are RC/BECMI (one D&D rulebook for everything), 1e (for nostalgia) and HARP (Rolemaster without as much Roll-master) with 3e following a distant 4th.

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