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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Reviewed

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the rules-updates-or-cash-cow? dept.

Role Playing (Games) 125

WorselWorsel writes "The new edition of the seminal Dungeons & Dragons paper-RPG comes out this Friday and d20zines.com has this review. This is the first new edition of D&D since Hasbro acquired Wizards of the Coast. The last edition came out almost two years ago, and this time around the prices of three core books are up by $10 each. Since these are partially incompatible with older 3rd edition books, WotC is printing/making downloadable a short booklet explaining some changes." In addition to being a product review, it's a good overview of what's changed since 3rd edition, and really helps one decide if the changes are important enough to rebuy the core rulebooks.

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Nerds! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401153)

Ha! Only nerds play Dungeons & Dragons and post to Slashdot about it....oh, wait.

Odd that they haven't raced to 4.0... (1)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401188)

Geeks might identify with it, they could call D&D 4.0 something like:


Dungeons and Dragons: GPA Edition.

Re:Odd that they haven't raced to 4.0... (3, Funny)

macrom (537566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401828)

Show me a D&D-playing college student (that's hardcore about it) with a 4.0 and I'll give you my ocean front property just outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

I'm sure there are tons of us that wish we could do some kind of class action lawsuit like the tobacco addicts. D&D killed our GPA! As did Warcraft II, Quake, MUDs, etc. I think females were in there somewhere, but I can't really remember.

Price Up? Hardly (3, Interesting)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401208)

this time around the prices of three core books are up by $10 each

Up $10 over the price of the old books when they were first released. Exactly the same price as the old books have been selling at since January 2001.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401440)

I've seen some people complain about the 3.5 initial offering price on other boards. To them I say "get over it". The only reason the 3.0 core books sold at around twenty bucks for the first printing was because WotC knew everyone was gonna buy the damn things and bought a huge number from the printers at a substantial discount. They're not going to sell nearly as many this time around, so they're not buying as many, so they're not getting a huge discount for them.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (1)

Azrael Newtype (688138) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402025)

Bah. Don't yell at us for whining. We are poor geeks for crying out loud. There are so many nerdy things in the world, and we don't have enough money to buy them all, so this $10 hike is significant.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (2, Insightful)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402081)

I'm a rich geek. I'll buy them all from my local game store, at full price, just because I like having a local game store.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (1)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402490)

Bah. Don't yell at us for whining. We are poor geeks for crying out loud.

That's no excuse for being an asshole. You've got no right to complain about the "hike". The original books were still a good deal when they were $30 (you won't find other hardcover full-color RPG books for that price), 3.5 is an even better deal since the books are longer, Wizards offering a limited-time great deal on the others implies no obligation to continue to do that with later books in the line (especially since there are reasons it was economically feasible at the start and isn't now), they're offereing a free document explaining the changes so there's no need to upgrade, and they have the free SRD with all the rules so you don't even need to have spent a single dime in the first place.

Wanting more is understandable. Whining because you don't get it is extremely bad manners.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402717)

get over it? bah. the main complaint that D&D gamers have over the price increase is that when TSR was in charge, you had to go out of your way to find a book or module that cost more than 25 bucks.

combine a price hike for each of the core books and you've got a significant change in cost for any serious players. at least when AD&D came out, we got a lot of extra content over the first edition to make shelling out the cash worth it.

I highly doubt that WotC would be taking a loss if they had left the prices alone, anyways. No, the price increase is because the bastards know that we'll buy it because we've been hooked on the damn game for many years now and we'll have to upgrade to keep pace.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (2, Informative)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403721)

I highly doubt that WotC would be taking a loss if they had left the prices alone, anyways.

Nobody else sells a hardcover, full-color RPG book of that length for even $30. Why? Because the printing costs are too high to make a profit. The only reason Wizards can afford to sell them at $30 is because they order a higher volume than other RPG makers. There's no reason to think they wouldn't be taking a loss if they sold them at $20.

No, the price increase is because the bastards know that we'll buy it because we've been hooked on the damn game for many years now and we'll have to upgrade to keep pace.

Upgrade or download the free PDF explaining the changes from the bastards website.

Re:Price Up? Hardly (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402787)

I just figured they knew they could afford to sell the original core books at a low, almost break-even point, because they stood to make a fortune on the $25 pamphlets known as the expansion books, some of which contained content which probably should have been in the core rules, others of which contained "munchkin" enhancements that foolish players would snap up for the purpose of making their characters more '1337.

Personally, after playing 3.0 a whole bunch, and seeing this review, I'm not inclined to spend another penny on D&D for now. I'll still join in games with friends... After all, you can have fun with any RPG system, but I think I'll be going back to GURPS whenever I GM again.

MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (5, Informative)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401213)

True the MSRP of the books is now $29.95 but a quick look at almost all online retailers shows them going for about $20. Walmart.com and abebooks.com have em for around 18 each.

Granted this is the shortest core rules turnaround of all time, it would seem that WoTC is milking the public.. but if you check their website... htt://wizards.com/dnd you sill see that there is just an INSANE ammount of free stuff. Adventures, additional classes, monsters, maps.. just a bunch of stuff. As long as WoTC puts out free quality stuff like that, I'll bite on new rule books.

Re:MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (1)

Perky_Goth (594327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401585)

you don't live in europe do you?

No, i won't buy the books but i'll be happy with the changes.
And i'm happy with wizards, dnd, d20 and OGL.

Re:MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (1)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401881)

"Granted this is the shortest core rules turnaround of all time, it would seem that WoTC is milking the public"

It wasn't unexpected. Both first and second edition AD&D were "refreshed" around the middle-end of their run. It's a great way to get people to buy what they already have -- and Hasbro has been having money issues.

FWIW, both first and second edition AD&D were in print for about 10 years (give or take). By my guesstimate, we're 5-10 years away from the 4th edition. :)

Re:MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (0, Troll)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402203)

Hey dumbass. If you have to re-buy the books ... IT'S NOT FREE CONTENT IS IT?!?!?! You're paying for it!! You're one of those people who thinks that Windows Update is a free service too huh?

Kleedrac

Re:MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (1)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402740)

TANSTAFL.. obviously. Thanks for the economics lesson.

Current 3e users don't have to buy the 3.5 books, they can just get he update off the web.

I'm the kind of person who looks very carefully at what he buys to give the least amount of money possible to people that are screwing me, and to support those that do not.

Re:MSRP vs real price. Free stuff from WoTC (1)

waytoomuchcoffee (263275) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404747)

Sorry, your wrong. WOTC is not publishing the changes (and there are a lot), just a document to upgrade your characters from 3 to 3.5.

whoa....this is evil... (-1, Flamebait)

Hitch (1361) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401221)

I was just getting to the point where I was going to start a campaign...so it's evil in that right. More to the point, this is saying that to jump to the 3.5 rules, you're going to have to buy the 3rd edition rules AND the 3.5 rules - ergo, not only is the price increased $10/book, that's in ADDITION to the original books. we're looking at >$100 outlay just for the first three core books (given that I assume the 3E &3.5 to be one "book")

Re:whoa....this is evil... (2, Informative)

aridhol (112307) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401266)

Er...where do you get that idea from? 3.5 is a replacement to 3.0. The shows the differences between the two; you don't need 3.0 in order to use 3.5.

Re:whoa....this is evil... (1)

Hitch (1361) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401302)

whoops...my bad, I think - I read his description of the "accessory update" book as relating to *all* the books.

You're mistaken (1)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401604)

You're quite mistaken. They are releasing 3.5-versions of the 3 core books, and additionally, they are releasing an update guide for those who have the old books and don't want to buy new ones.

Of course, you don't really have to buy crap. The old rules were great in their own right, and the new ones aren't too much of a change, really.

-Grant

Re:You're mistaken (1)

Hitch (1361) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402920)

so I noticed. I'm thinking that some of the rules are really quite good. I've always WANTED to play a bard, but they're really difficult to justify. If you've got a Rogue and a Sorceror (or any other kind of magic user) a bard is really just a red-headed stepchild. This should really give them a little more "reason to be". Anyway, thanks to all for bringing me around. That 40 page pdf should be good enough for me - hope it comes out soon.

Re:You're mistaken (1)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403782)

That 40 page pdf should be good enough for me - hope it comes out soon.

I think it will come out the 18th. That seems to be the official release date for the books, and it's supposed to come out the same day.

Re:You're mistaken (1)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405332)

Yes, but I like to get new books :)

On the cheap (3, Informative)

SnowDog_2112 (23900) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401232)

If you're like me, and you know you're going to buy them anyway, pre-order the books from Amazon at a discount, instead of paying retail.

You can even do a little better if you buy all three books and then use the "share the love" feature to invite the rest of your gaming group to buy the books at 10% off the already reduced price.

(Not that I, er, still play D&D or anything.)

As much as I like to support the local game shops, some offers are too nice to pass up.

we never used the rulebooks (2, Interesting)

cheezus (95036) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401262)

Back when I played (years ago), we had the rulebooks, and used them as a guide, but didn't actually stick to most of the rules. we found that when we did most of the time was spent looking stuff up and rolling a lot of dice. Our game ended up being mostly a storytelling game, and pretty much the only rules we used were for combat.

There was still a lot of min/maxing and THAC0 manipulation going on... i can't imagine how bad it would have been if we were actually following the rules!

Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time... (1)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401314)

THAC0.

Wow.

To Hit Armor Class Zero.

Real geeks know that this "thac0" thing was a 2E crap term and has no place in "real" (1st and 3rd) DnD. :P

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401388)

THAC0 was in 1st Edition.

No, it wasnt (1)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401492)

changes from 1st ed to 2nd ed... found on google...

"The THAC0 system is now standard; combat charts with six 20's no longer exist. A natural 20 always hits, a natural 1 always misses."

the premise was the same (roll D20, add modifiers) but the term "to hit ac 0" or "thac0" wasnt added until 2nd ed

Re:No, it wasnt (1)

Schezar (249629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401706)

the term "to hit ac 0" or "thac0" wasnt added until 2nd ed

To Hit Armour Class 0 became THAC0 pretty quickly for us. We needed a noun to use in reference to the concept, and the acronym was pronouncible.

I'm sure many geeks came up with THAC0 independently of one another.

Re:No, it wasnt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402029)

the premise was the same (roll D20, add modifiers) but the term "to hit ac 0" or "thac0" wasnt added until 2nd ed

Actually, it was used in a handful of later 1st edition modules (mostly, the adventures published under the UK branch of the hobby's aegis), for space reasons. The description didn't make it into a 1st edition rulebook, though, so as a commonality it didn't really hit until 2E was out.

But, as another poster noted, the math was obvious, and quite a few people likely came up with it on their own.

Re:No, it wasnt (1)

irix (22687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402206)

I'll be digging out my 1st edition AD&D rulebooks when I get home, but I think you are wrong. I am pretty sure that they used THAC0 (or the supplements did) and I know that the D&D sets that were out at the time (basic, expert, companion, masters, immortal) did for sure - I can picture the character sheet in my mind :-)

Regardless, as you stated, the system used the concept of THAC0: the unmodified d20 roll you needed to hit armor class 0.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (2, Informative)

irix (22687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401501)

Real geeks know that this "thac0" thing was a 2E crap term and has no place in "real" (1st and 3rd) DnD. :PM

Real geeks played 1st Edition AD&D know that THAC0 was present then too. They changed the system for 3rd edition.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

Jonsey (593310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401617)

And ya know, even though 2E had tremendous merit... and I (from the DM side of the house) love the concept of volumetric fireballs... I really have to say that 3rd is very easy to teach (like 2nd, but fewer vocab words :p ), very smooth to run (albeit, I'm older now (not too much)), and easy to come up with new rules to fit things on the spot (as any RPG is once you know the concepts).

So, in short, this post has no point other than to say things I like about 3rd that are very easy to refute. But, I like it. Now, giving Hasbro more money for more 3rd edition? Maybe the Fiend Folio... maybe.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402893)

The most startling change in 3rd Edition is that they moved to a square grid instead of hex (allowing for 8 attackers to surround you instead of 6,) and to be considered "flanking" in your attack, you must be in the square exactly opposite another attacker (in other words, right and left flanks functionally no longer exist.) Also, when you stand on opposite sides of an enemy from an ally, you are both considered to be making a flanking attack.

This didn't seem like such a strange idea, until we started using miniatures, and almost every battle eventually turned into "The Melee Conga Line" as a result of player characters and NPC's all shifting to flank each other for the +2 bonus (or +4, if you took the Improved Teamwork feat.)

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (2, Informative)

SnowDog_2112 (23900) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402016)

You can get even geekier and point out that 3E D&D is not "Advanced" D&D any more (even though it's 3E which would seem to come after 1E and 2E in the AD&D chain of releases). So if the original poster was claiming that THAC0 wasn't part of 1E or 3E D&D, he was probably right -- THAC0 was a part of AD&D.

(Sorry to assume gender up there, but sometimes it's just a safe bet :P )

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402651)

So I guess you're not a "Real Geek" then? My 1e books are in storage but I have something better, the official ESD of the first edition PHB. OCR makes it quite trivial to settle this. The phrase THAC0 does not appear in the first edition PHB. The phrase "to hit AC" only appears twice in irrelevant contexts. First edition handled combat with "attack matrices." These basically worked out the same as THAC0 later would, but the term and concept of delegating that information directly to the players did not yet exist.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402782)

Pick up (I think) either Unearthed Arcana, DLA, or a few of the modules.

THAC0 did appear firstly in 1e AD&D.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403145)

Nope, not in UA either. As for the DLA modules, I don't know but that wouldn't really count as they're not part of the rules. P.S. Hi Doug, didn't know you had a slashdot account :)

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402906)

Not in the PHB, no, but in later expansions which were pre-2nd Edition.

Re:Now thats a term I havent heard in a long time. (4, Funny)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401939)

Real geeks know that this "thac0" thing was a 2E crap term and has no place in "real" (1st and 3rd) DnD. :P

HA!

REAL geeks still PLAY 1st edition!

And live in their parent's basement.

And hope someday they'll actually meet a real GIRL (with +5 ta-tas).

I am shocked to remember that I remember THAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6403017)

-nt-

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1, Insightful)

DoctorTuba (688153) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401405)

After ditching AD&D 20 years ago and working through a dozen homebrew variants we hit upon GURPS. It let us get to the role playing without having to be lawyer/accountants. And it translated well to any genre we wanted...

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

Perky_Goth (594327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401610)

Right... GURPS is easier... hmmmkay...
I'm glad it works for you, but it is not simpler. By a long shot. DnD/d20 is as simple as it can be.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

jtkauff (552147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401890)

d20 is as simple as it can be? I suppose that depends on your definition of "it", but I personally hate d20 for its complexity. Granted, I'm not familiar with GURPS or earlier editions of D&D, but I know that the Storyteller system (White Wolf) is much simpler and easier to run/play when compared to d20. Just comparing the rules section of d20 D&D (which is basically the DMG and a good chunk of the PG, iirc) to any of the storyteller books (which is about a sixth of the core book, or 40-50 pages) will show you that d20 is a pretty complex beast. Heck, just looking at the fact that you need three 300 page books to run the game should say something about complexity - practically every other game I've ever seen can be run with a single 200-300 page book...

I'm not trying to turn this into a d20 vs. White Wolf battle, but just saying that there are much more simple systems out there, and that (IMHO) d20 is far from "as simple as it gets".

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

litesgod (79941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402061)

White Wolf has its own issues. I play both systems regularly. I personally like D20 better, it seems easier, probably brought on by having to roll fewer dice. Tell me why WW makes the roll for every 3rd level discipline a different Ability/Attribute combination than that of the other discipline levels? I spend way to much time checking those strange combinations. But my greatest problem with WW- an ungodly powerful character can fall way to easily due to die rolls. The probabilities don't scale properly. Sure it's more 'realistic' but when was a game about vampires and werewolves supposed to be real? D20 has some overpower problems- such as why can my 16th level dwarf fighter take out an entire army of Orcs in one turn? But hey- he's a hero, right? That is what hero's do.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (2, Insightful)

jtkauff (552147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402385)

You've got some good points, though I can't really relate to the discipline point since I don't play Vampire (being a Werewolf junky myself). I have to agree with you on point about powerful characters falling too easily to bad rolls. I still think that, although both have issues, White Wolf is a simpler system. d20 is very structured, and I find myself looking up what combinations I'm supposed to roll or what modifiers/saving throws/etc/etc/etc more often than I do with White Wolf's games, since so few of the Storyteller rolls require anything specific at all (Disciplines, Gifts, etc. seem to be about the only things that do). Plus, talking about Disciplines, I saw a lot more spells and feats being looked up in books during D&D games than I ever have in a White Wolf game...

Storyteller just has a lot fewer rules than d20. Both systems have quirks, both good and bad, but when it comes down to simplicity (which was what the original comment was about), I think that Storyteller wins hands-down.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402039)

The problem with D&D's d20-based system is that it's random. I mean random in a bad way. The odds of rolling a 1 are the same as rolling a 10 are the same as rolling a 20.

GURPS's 3d6-based system produces results in the range of 3-18... but it does it along a normal distribution. (Think "bell curve.")

So to roll hit effectiveness in GURPS, for example, you roll 3d6 and compare to a chart. If you get somewhere in the middle (say, 9-12), you score normal damage. If you get slightly outside the middle (6-8, 13-15) you score slightly lower or slightly higher than normal damage. If you get outside that (4-5, 16-17) you score significantly lower or higher damage. If you get an 18, you lopped off the bad guy's head or sense cluster or whatever and killed him instantly. If you get a 3, you lost your balance, fell down, and broke your wrist.

You can't do that kind of thing in a d20-based system. The math doesn't allow for it.

Plus, to play GURPS all you need is six-sided dice. You don't have to special order your dice, or be seen going into one of those freak shops. And if anybody sees you with your dice, you can just claim that you like to gamble in alleyways. No one is the wiser.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402828)

While a bell-curve is desireable, it's not really that hard to implement in D&D if you so desire. Rolling 2d10, will get you a nice bell curve from 2-20. You can safely count 2 at the automatic miss roll, though by default d20 does not do critical misses, which in my opinion is something good going for it. It also doesn't do instant-kill critical hits, which is also something I believe it has going for it since the PCs are the most rolled-against characters in any game.

While I too prefer only using a single type of dice per game, I really think that if you're too ashamed of being associated with the other members of your hobby, you should find a new one.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402984)

I love GURPS, but you are exaggerating the importance of the bell curve. Rolling a 3 is a critical failure, rolling an 18 is a critical success... the odds for each of these is, what? About 3.5%? (I don't feel like calculating it at the moment). With the d20 system, 1 is a critical failure, and 20 is a critical success. Chance for each of those rolls? 5%. Slightly higher, but not enough to completely destroy the game balance.

The d20 system was carefully weighted so that you have about a 50% chance of doing almost everything. As your "combat modifier" goes up, so does the AC of the monsters you face. It actually works fairly well.

Where GURPS really kicks ass all over d20 is the character point system, complete with advantages and disadvantages. In D&D 3, there are a lot of skills (tracking) which are classified as "feats," with little rhyme or reason beyond the desire to shoe-horn the old D&D class models into their new system. It's still not quite as nice as the skills & advantages model of GURPS.

When 3rd Edition first came out, one reviewer praised it for "finally dragging D&D, kicking and screaming, into the 1980s." That was probably the best summary of d20 I've heard to date.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6403297)

the odds for each of these is, what? About 3.5%?

One in seventy-two.

Slightly higher, but not enough to completely destroy the game balance.

You're ignoring the stuff in the middle. What's the chance of rolling an 11 on a d20? 5%. What's the chance of rolling 11 on 3d6? One in twelve. Significantly higher.

The d20 system was carefully weighted so that you have about a 50% chance of doing almost everything.

Which is, of course, no fun at all for anybody.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405194)

You're ignoring the stuff in the middle. What's the chance of rolling an 11 on a d20? 5%. What's the chance of rolling 11 on 3d6? One in twelve. Significantly higher.

I'm not ignoring it, it's just that in d20, where damage is rolled separately, it doesn't matter. What's the chance of rolling 11 or better on d20? 45%. What's the chance of rolling 11 or better on 3d6? Somewhere just under 50%.

Bell-curve distributions can make some things a little more predictable, but if you don't like randomness and the unexpected, why use dice? Just assume you score 10 every time. (By the way, that's an option for many of the skill rolls in 3rd Ed. It's called "taking ten," and it's a way to guarantee modest success in situations where you are doing something that your character finds relatively easy.)

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402599)

Okay, I'll agree that GURPS is not anywhere close to being as simple as the d20 system, but claiming that d20 is "as simple as it can be" is a little too much. I can list off the top of my head 8 systems which are easier to play than d20, without even mentioning any diceless systems.

1. "Feng Shui" by Atlas Games
2. "Star Wars" by West End Games
3. "Sorcerer" by Adept Press
4. "Cartoon Action Hour" by Z-man Games
6. "Over the Edge" by Atlas Games
5. "Savage Worlds" by Pinnacle Entertainment
7. "Teenagers from Outer Space" by R.Talsorian Games
8. "Big Eyes, Small Mouth" and other Tri-Stat games by Guardians of Order

Now these aren't all necessarily better games than d20 games since better is a subjective term, but these all have much simpler mechanics for combat and task resolution. They may or may not fit your style of play. However, of the above listed games, I recommend solidly buying "Sorcerer" and its two supplements "Sword and Sorcery" and "Sorcerer and Soul" just to read. They solidly peg the literary genres of Faustian Horror, Barbarian Fantasy, and Noir Mystery, respectively.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (2, Funny)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402177)

It let us get to the role playing without having to be lawyer/accountants.

Not only that, but with GURPS you could BE a lawyer/accountant!

Accountant: "I summon the Holy Audit Avenger, and command it to smite the Enron Dragon"

Lawyer: "Bah! You don't have a chance against my Vorpal Blade of Shredding +5!"

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402891)

Wait... you're claiming that GURPS allows for _less_ bookkeeping?

The game with point-based play, per-bullet counting, one-second rounds, et cetera?

Maybe you're thinking of Storyteller... or just about any game where the ref. says "don't worry about that bookkeeping, we'll just fudge it."

Exploring Various RPGs (1)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404477)

A lot of RPGs nowadays have free versions of the rules.

If anyone is interested in GURPS, you can check out GURPS Lite [sjgames.com] , a simple subset of the GURPS rules. Some people prefer it to the full GURPS rules.

Microtactix gives away Simply Roleplaying! [microtactix.com] , and they also make cool printable cardstock stuff.

Guardians of Order [guardiansorder.com] will be releasing their Tri-Stat dX system for free tomorrow.

Atlas Games has released Ars Magica [atlas-games.com] for free.

Grey Ghost Press gives away Fudge [fudgerpg.com] .

It's a good time to be a gamer.

TACO! :) (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401969)

Was it just my group or did everybody say "TACO" or "THA-CO" for this term?

I remember making a lot of runs to Taco Bell playing D&D...maybe this was part of their plan? ;)

WHAT manipulation? (0, Redundant)

ddilling (82850) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402234)

Nonono, it's THACK-o manipulation!

No, it's THAY-co manipulation.

THACK-o.

THAY-co.

THACK-o! THAY-co! THACKO! THAYCO!

*vicious slapfight breaks out in which no one could possibly ever be injured*

Nice to know we were not the only ones doing this. (1)

Monty67 (634947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402404)

It was many years ago when I last played the original (I think??) D&D, then AD&D came out and our collective interest faded until we settled for something in the middle.

We made battles occur in real time. If someone hesitated during battle, they lost initiative.
When someone "noticed" something, the DM passed a note to only that player.
Alignment was heavily used. Bad guys don't stand and fight with the Good. If you do, you would pay. And we made up a good number of races before TSR/TRS(sp????) did. Like Samuri and Ninjas.

The review brought back fond memories....but what's a BARD????

Man am I out of touch. Has it been that long? ;-)

Re:we never used the rulebooks (1)

agrounds (227704) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402766)

There was still a lot of min/maxing and THAC0 manipulation going on... i can't imagine how bad it would have been if we were actually following the rules!

Well, if you had, then you would have figured out that you could generate a Drow Bladesinger at level 1, with no magic items or fudging other than a semi-decent initial rollup, that started with a THAC0 of 14. If you played Planescape, you could push that margin a bit further with a tweak of race. Ah the memories of my cuisinart-fu tiefling. Too bad I sold all my books just before 3 came out.. not enough time anymore with the kiddo.

Re:we never used the rulebooks (2, Interesting)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403079)

You should have played The Extraordinary Adventures [demon.co.uk]
of Baron Munchausen, a much superiour game, with many fewer encumbrances.

It's basically a lying contest. It takes a bit of practice before you're any good, but once you're good... you're great. Fantastic game.

We used to manipulate our Cmdr THAC0. (0, Offtopic)

Flying-Cow-Man (686404) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404384)

Heh. Couldn't resist.

Even if the price went up 3x ... (3, Insightful)

Blitzshlag (685207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401580)

You're still getting more entertainment time for the buck playing paper D&D in a regular group than virtually anything else out there.

Re:Even if the price went up 3x ... (1)

Schezar (249629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402355)

Except maybe the weekend orgies every good college has.

Somehow that seems more fun than attacking the darkness.

Once again.. (2, Funny)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401898)

I now own a set of books that are just going to sit around until they are worth more to someone else than they are to me.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that they are breathing some nice life into it, and that they are trying to balance everything. But to revamp the core rulebooks entirely in just 2 years?

Who do they think they are? Microsoft? ;-)

No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401929)

I'll post the same thing here I did on the WOTC forums. In fact ... I'll cut and paste!

WHY IS THERE NO REBATE POLICY?!?!?!

This shows me WOTC has NO respect for me whatsoever! I paid them money (They rightfully deserved) for D&D 3e. I have no problem with that. But the fact that I now have to pay all over again to get the same damned thing is downright insulting! It's doubly insulting by them saying "It's a small update" and "Two players could be using different books for hours and not notice" How can you justify the price of the books for such a small update and not offer a rebate program or similar?? I for one will be downloading these books and would rather pay HP for the toner than pay WOTC for their "update." Hell ... I wouldn't mind paying $15 for a 3.5 companion to be used with my 3e books. But being greedy gets you NOTHING!!

That's my 2 cents ... no refunds.

Kleedrac

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (2, Insightful)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402020)

So just download the free update from their website. It details the differnces between 3e and 3.5e.

3e books + update (think of it as errata) = 3.5 game

3.5e books = 3.5 game

Really, you are getting a better deal since the 3e books were cheaper and the update is free.

Or just play 3e.. and houserule to your hearts content.

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402078)

I'm sick of people telling me to do this!! Have you ever read the SRD? I have it here ... I've had a couple of friends who were told they could use it instead of the PHB. Not a chance in hell. First off, it's a technical document, not a well-laid-out Game Rule Book. Secondly, it's broken into 67 different MSWord files!! It's a pain in the ass. And if you try to justify buying the 3.5e books so that it's well organized, fsck right off!!

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402795)

Then don't get the 3.5e books and don't use the updates.. christ, I gotta solve all your problems for you?

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402867)

As I recall I already said what I was doing ... I'm downloading the 3.5e books and sending them to my trusty HP Laserjet IID. This seems to be the third option you missed. Anything else you want to suggest that I'm not going to do?

Kleed

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402961)

That is exactly what I would do if WoTC wasn't already giving tons of stuff away on their website.

Obiwan - "You must do what you feel is right, of course."

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

Ondo (187980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404519)

The SRD isn't just free. It's also something you can make a derivative work from. I don't have a URL, but people have put together well organized versions.

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402864)

I missed the part where someone stuck a gun down your throat and forced you to buy anything. Your "fact" is not fact.

And as a matter of personal opinion, I thought the 2nd edition rules were better than the 3rd anyway. Everything about the 3rd edition seems too mechanical and pre-planned. Sure, it's great for making computer games where everything has to be known in advance. But the 2nd edition leaves more to the imagination than to the roll of dice, and imagination is why I play in the first place.

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402918)

All right ... mebbe I forgot to clarify. The reason I need 3.5 is because inevitably someone is going to join my game and they won't already have 3rd ed. And thusly they will go out and buy D&D 3rd only it'll be 3.5! So instead of forcing all players to either interpret which rules they can and cannot use, my group has decided to migrate to 3.5 (not to mention the fact that there are 3 people who haven't bought 3rd yet and wanted 3.5) That's why I need 3rd. And I've already explained why I'm not using the damned SRD ... and I've also explained why I'm not buying the damned thing. So unless there are any more stupid questions???

Kleed

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403244)

Because there's no way they could offer a rebate that would be both large enough to be appealing to conumers yet not be disastrous financially.

First, consider that the distributor markup is around 50%, maybe only 40%. Wizards is already only getting a $15 cut of that $30 book. They have to pay to print it, and they most certainly have overhead. Let's say that all of those costs will roll up into $5 a copy (which is pretty lowball since it's hard to find information on 244 page 4 color glossy print on good stock and I had to mostly guesstimate based on lower page count or poorer quality prints). Wizards is now making $10 a copy.

Now you want your rebate. Would a $5 rebate satisfy you? That's doubtful but let's say it would. Who's going to administer this rebate program? The retailers like Barnes & Noble? Your local hobby stores? What interest do they have in doing this? It doesn't make them any money. So Wizards has to pay them a bigger cut to run this program for them. Say another $1 a copy. Wizards is now making $4 a copy on that book rather than the $10 they would make without a rebate program. Less than half. Is a $5 rebate going to bring in over double the amount of sales they would normally get? Of course not. Financial disaster.

Re:No rebate makes Kleedrac something something. (2, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403772)

I'll post the same thing here I did on the WOTC forums. In fact ... I'll cut and paste!

WHY IS THERE NO REBATE POLICY?!?!?!


Two reasons, I suspect.

1: The pricing for books in America is so skewed that rebates for printed paper simply aren't workable.

2: You can get every last changed rule in the SRD. Think of it as "the mother of all eratta."

Don't pirate the books--just get the rules, honestly, from the source: www.wizards.com/d20

(Oh, and there IS a rules-conversion guide, which you'll only really need if you play in a mixed system. 3.0 is still the exact same game it ever was, after all...)

Not a Huge Change (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401964)

The reason this is 3.5 rather than version 4 is the size of the changes. 3 to 3.5 is not anything like 2 to 3. 3.5 is a balancing act, fixing the broken and strengthening the weak. Just like MacOS 7.5 was much like 7.0, just better, you don't need to relearn very much. If you know 3, you'll only need the 3.5 books for reference. If you don't know 3, 3.5 is a good place to start.

Re:Not a Huge Change (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403151)

Bah. I don't need a .5 release to fix what's wrong with 3.0. Here goes:

1. Allow skewed flanking (the three squares opposite you are all considered flanks.)

2. Cut the XP rewards to about one-fifth where they are in 3rd Ed. It's supposed to be D&D, not NWN.

3. Allow magic bows to penetrate DR just as well as magic arrows.

4. Give the sorcerer some charisma-based skills.

5. Increase the Bard's skill points, and come up with some more interesting song effects at high levels.

6. Burn all the munchkin books, and play out of the core rules only.

7. Create a "Combat Aim" feat, similar to Combat Casting, to allow the use of ranged weapons without provoking attacks of opportunity, at a -4 penalty to hit.

8. Pull out the old 2nd Edition Legends and Lore book, and re-introduce "granted powers" to clerics who dedicate themselves to a specific god, perhaps at the cost of other feats. It was a feature of 2nd Edition that made clerics a lot more colorful and interesting.

9. The moment a player in your campaign pursues a "prestige class," beat them senseless.

bleh (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402260)

I only bought the 3e books for Neverwinter Nights [bioware.com] module design, I'm not "upgrading".

Unless someone wants to give me a 1:1 trade for my 1e AD&D books... ;-)

Special Ed. (1)

August_zero (654282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402377)

Well since some bastard Level 3 Rogue/Sorcerer stole my books (He had a hide skill of +10, my spot was only +4) I guess I might as well buy the new books....

Honestly though, anyone familiar with the system can adapt any edition into any other edition. While cosmetically 3rd edition changed a lot for 1st and 2nd edition, deep down they are the same game with very similar mechanics.

As a DM I liked what they tried too do with 3rd, but there was just too little balance and way to many opportunities for players to create super-characters, while others who were more creative and less concerned with min/maxing were left only passive roles when it came to combat. I never trust the books anyway, I change most of the rules and my players still have a great time.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402821)

Honestly though, anyone familiar with the system can adapt any edition into any other edition. While cosmetically 3rd edition changed a lot for 1st and 2nd edition, deep down they are the same game with very similar mechanics.

Not really. The differences between 3.5 / 3.0 and the bulk of the precessor versions are easily as noticable as the differences between D&D and any other RPG.

As a DM I liked what they tried too do with 3rd, but there was just too little balance and way to many opportunities for players to create super-characters, while others who were more creative and less concerned with min/maxing were left only passive roles when it came to combat. I never trust the books anyway, I change most of the rules and my players still have a great time.

Call it semi-professional interest, but what exactly are you finding "unbalanced" about the game? Sure you're reading the rules right?

(damnit, I'm pureblood geek now... ah, well.)

Re:Special Ed. (2, Interesting)

August_zero (654282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403129)

Not really. The differences between 3.5 / 3.0 and the bulk of the precessor versions are easily as noticable as the differences between D&D and any other RPG

I didn't say they were the same, but mechanically they are. Examples? Armor class, 1/2 ed you have a number that starts at 10 (unarmored man sized target) that decreases as it gets "better" AC -10 is very well protected, etc. You have a THAC0 score, that gives you a number, the lower the better, that you subtract the targets AC from to arrive at the roll needed to hit them.To hit an AC 10 target with a THAC0 of 20 (1st level character) needs to roll a 10 or better

In 3/3.5 ed they just combine the THAC0 and the AC to just straight out give you the same value. AC 10 is the base, and the number increses as protection gets better, but the number is the same, 3rd ed just does the math for you.

In either edition, a first level fighter needs to roll a 10 to hit the naked guy, a 15 for that naked guy in chainmail, or a 17 if that naked guy invests in platemail. 90% of the weapons and items in 3/3.5 have the same effect as they did in 1/2 ed (long sword does 1d8, mace does 1d6) So the framework is the same.

Even skill checks are basically the same. In 2 ed you had NWP's (skills) that had a target number that you had to roll under on a d20. Guess what, 3/3.5 is the same thing, but once again the math is reveresed. an average task has a DC around 20. Well? a 4 in the skill means I need a 16 or better on the roll, or I have a 20% chance to success. in 2 ed If I have a 4, I have to roll a 4 or less, which is OMG! a 20% chance.

What 3/3.5 did was change saving throws, and introduce feats, and prestige classes which were positive improvements.

Call it semi-professional interest, but what exactly are you finding "unbalanced" about the game? Sure you're reading the rules right?

My first reaction to that statment is that you were trying to insult me. Perhaps you just haven't played the game enough to know all the ins and outs.

3 ed gave people a lot of freedom in their character design, but the problem is, that there are a lot of feats that are very powerful, and in certain combinations they can be used to make hideously powerful characters. (the Ranger/Rogue dual-weilder springs to mind) Other feats on the other hand, are boderline useless (most of the Meta-Magic). As a DM I never let people just build and pick whatever feats and prestige classes they wanted, because it got out of control all to quickly. You would end up with a super tank melee guy, that in order to challenge them, you need to throw things out that could ahniliate the other characters instantly. Throw in some of the optional texts that gave new races and classes and good luck keeping things reasonable if you don't tone it down. I forced my players to work their characters training into the story and I even forced them on quests and so on and this went a long way to keeping things honest.

thats all the energy im going to waste on this.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403251)

A brief comparison of a typical 1evel 14 bard against a level 14 monk, rogue, or fighter will show you just how radically out-of-balance the classes are. Sure, the bard can raise the spirits of an army on the eve of battle... how often does that come up in a 6-player dungeon crawl?

Also, the sorcerer, while a good idea, was not very well thought-out. If sorcerers are natural users of magic, and do not rely on studying, then why are all of their class skills academic and intelligence-based?

Paladins, once the shining heroes of the old AD&D game, now have the life expectancy of a fruit-fly in most of the campaigns I've either played in or watched.

So no, it's not a very balanced game system. A good DM, along with the right mix of players (no munchkins or rules lawyers,) can make it so, but that's true of any game system.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403733)

Sure, the bard can raise the spirits of an army on the eve of battle... how often does that come up in a 6-player dungeon crawl?

You DO realize that a 6-player adventuring party counts as a an "army" for the bardic abilities, right? And at 14th level, that bard can take six seconds to "inspire greatness" in the dungeon-crawler's front line fighters, giving them +2 atk and +2d10 hp? (or that the darn bard is a spellcaster, not a front-line fighter?)

(This is probably a good point to say that classes are supposed to compliment each other, not all be interchangeable. Clerics, druids, and bards are support characters, fighters, rangers, barbarians, and paladins are front-line combatants, monks and rogues are special-purpose characters, and wizards & sorcerors are artillery pieces.)

Also, the sorcerer, while a good idea, was not very well thought-out. If sorcerers are natural users of magic, and do not rely on studying, then why are all of their class skills academic and intelligence-based?

Out of the sorceror's seven class skills in 3.0, three are used in spellcasting (Concentration, Scry, Spellcraft), two are general skills (Craft & Profession), and two are "all magic-users get these" (Knowledge (arcana) and Alchemy.)

In 3.5, Alchemy becomes just another craft skill, Scry goes away--and Sorcerors get a bunch more Cha. based skills.

Paladins, once the shining heroes of the old AD&D game, now have the life expectancy of a fruit-fly in most of the campaigns I've either played in or watched.

This comment makes me think that you're trolling. A 3e Paladin with the 2e minimum stats has a better save bonus mechanic, can lay on hands for more hp each day, gets spellcasting five levels earlier, and has a shiney new Smite Evil ability. (Not to mention all of the spiffy Paladin-only spells.)

So no, it's not a very balanced game system. A good DM, along with the right mix of players (no munchkins or rules lawyers,) can make it so, but that's true of any game system.

I do play with munchkin and rules-lawyer players on occasion, and the game handles them just fine.

A DM who changes rules willy-nilly, or who doesn't like an option in the system, or just doesn't know how to cope when things go awry can throw off the game balance--but, like you said, that's true of any game system.

Re:Special Ed. (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404066)

or that the darn bard is a spellcaster, not a front-line fighter?

Yes, I do realize that the bard is a spellcaster. He's not a very effective one, but he is a spell-caster.

ut of the sorceror's seven class skills in 3.0, three are used in spellcasting (Concentration, Scry, Spellcraft), two are general skills (Craft & Profession), and two are "all magic-users get these" (Knowledge (arcana) and Alchemy.)

In other words, skills that would require intellectual rigor and study to master, which were not supposed to be what a sorcerer is all about. Researching ancient tomes, studying history, and struggling to comprehend the very nature of magic itself is what wizzards do. The Sorcerer in D&D summons magic from his own essence, "blood of dragons" and all that. They are charisma-based spell casters, without the jack-of-all-trades inquisitiveness found in bards. Doesn't it make sense that their skills would reflect, not a life of booklearnin' (knowledge skills, spellcraft, alchemy) but a life of relying on force of personality? Skills such as diplomacy make much more sense. The king-maker sorcerer is something you can build an interesting campaign around. With the current skill-set, sorcerers do pretty much the same things as wizards, only not as well (because they are not likely to be as intelligent).

A 3e Paladin with the 2e minimum stats has a better save bonus mechanic, can lay on hands for more hp each day, gets spellcasting five levels earlier, and has a shiney new Smite Evil ability.

Comparing the Pally to the 2nd Ed version is not really all that valid. Almost all of the characters from second edition have been munchkined up, stat-wise. But compare a level 12 paladin to a level 12 fighter, and the problem becomes obvious. Yes, the paladin can heal a little, turn undead a little, do some priest stuff, and has that fancy Smite ability... but stack it up against the 7 additional feats that the fighter of the same level will have acquired at that point, and the paladin benefits are no longer much of an edge. Paladins have that code of honor which under a strict DM makes them "first to the field" in a crisis while fighters have more latitude about choosing how and wen to fight; avoiding sneaky tactics, when fighters will gladly raid that cove of sleeping brigands; giving a lot of their wealth away while the fighters shop for better armor and weapons. These restrictions should be rewarded with a knight who is the epitome of excellence, not a weaker fighter who also casts a few spells.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404744)

But compare a level 12 paladin to a level 12 fighter, and the problem becomes obvious. Yes, the paladin can heal a little, turn undead a little, do some priest stuff, and has that fancy Smite ability... but stack it up against the 7 additional feats that the fighter of the same level will have acquired at that point,

Ok.

A 12th level Paladin:

* Detect Evil at will
* Gets at least a +2 to all saves
* Can heal at least 24 hp per day
* Is immune to all diseases
* Is immune to magical fear
* Can smite evil once per day, at least +2 to attack and +12 to damage.
* Can remove disease 4 times a week
* Can turn undead at 9th level
* has an intelligent horse with 6 extra hit dice, +8 natural armor, some minor "familiar" abilities, and the ability to command other horses.
* Casts spells as a 6th level caster, including access to 3rd level spells that are approximatly as powerful as 3rd level cleric spells.

I think the paladin's nine "abilities", each of which is far more powerful than a feat, balances out the fighter's 7 more bonus feats. Especially when it comes to survivability.

Paladins have that code of honor which under a strict DM makes them "first to the field" in a crisis while fighters have more latitude about choosing how and wen to fight; avoiding sneaky tactics, when fighters will gladly raid that cove of sleeping brigands; giving a lot of their wealth away while the fighters shop for better armor and weapons.

If a DM stretches the paladin's code to require giving away wealth or bar discretion in combat, then he's got a bias against paladins (or he's stick in 2nd edition.) They essentially just need to be Lawful Good, emphasis on the Good.

Paladins, IMC (and, AFAIK, in the games at WotC) can run away, sneak around, hoard wealth for powerful weapons and armor, set ambushes, and wait for reinforcements before charging into battle.

(Plus, even if the Paladin's code bans sneaking around or setting an ambush, only "gross violations" have any ill effect--and a 9th level cleric can clear up the ill effect.)

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405378)

* Detect Evil at will

Handy for spotting the spy in the royal court. When crawling through catacombs filled with undead... you can pretty much assume all the zombies, mummies, vampires, etc., are evil. Also, while "detect evil" helps a Paladin maintain his moral codes, it has no real combat value to a neutral or evil fighter, who attacks based on situations, rather than the aura of an encounter's karma.

* Gets at least a +2 to all saves

Very handy.

* Can heal at least 24 hp per day

When you consider that a cleric at that level can heal 20d8+178 from cure spells alone, plus Healing Circle three times and Heal twice (all assuming that the domain spells are not healing spells, too,) those 24 points are not much.

Also, since a warrior will have put his second-best stat into Constitution, while a Paladin would have put it in Charisma, there's a good chance that the fighter has 24 HP more than the Paladin at level 12.

* Is immune to all diseases

Something which comes up maybe once per campaign at most in the vast majority of games I've witnessed.

* Is immune to magical fear

Ah-ha! This is a perfect example of why paladins die faster. The party encounters an ancient black dragon holding the princess hostage. Everybody except the Paladin flees in terror due to the magical fear. Now the immune-to-fear paladin is facing the dragon alone, and is honor-bound to try to save the princess anyway, even though he's got a snowball's chance in hell of survival. This is why I was saying the paladin's meager advantages do not really offset the rigid code of ethics that a good role-playing paladin will likely follow.

* Can smite evil once per day, at least +2 to attack and +12 to damage.

Uh-huh. Meanwhile, the fighter's pile-o-feats allow things like Weapon Specialization and Greater Cleave, which are available, not just once a day, and can be used against any opponent, not just those deemed by the powers-that-be to be "evil."

* Can remove disease 4 times a week

See above: Doesn't come up much. Even if it does, all this "power" means is that it saves the clerics the trouble of having Cure Disease spells ready.

* Can turn undead at 9th level

As a cleric of two levels lower, meaning that any time you encounter an undead being who is strong enough to be an actual threat to the party, your turning ability will be no help whatsoever.

Now consider the warrior, who by now could have, in addition to the usuall feat-per-three-levels they share with Paladins, can do something like the following:

Weapon Focus (+1 to hit)
Weapon Specialization (+2 damage)
Expertise (great for when you care more about staying alive than dishing out pain)
Dodge (+1 AC)
Power Attack, Cleve, Great Cleave. (Mulch through them monsters!)

If a DM stretches the paladin's code to require giving away wealth or bar discretion in combat, then he's got a bias against paladins (or he's stick in 2nd edition.) They essentially just need to be Lawful Good, emphasis on the Good. Paladins, IMC (and, AFAIK, in the games at WotC) can run away, sneak around, hoard wealth for powerful weapons and armor, set ambushes, and wait for reinforcements before charging into battle. (Plus, even if the Paladin's code bans sneaking around or setting an ambush, only "gross violations" have any ill effect--and a 9th level cleric can clear up the ill effect.)

Sure, with careful rules-lawering, you can have a Paladin who acts pretty much the same as any Good-aligned fighter... but then why bother having Paladins? The whole point of the character, from an RPG perspective, is that they are Holy Protectors, beacons of nobility, truth, virtue, and purity. Play them as a mere fighter/cleric hybrid, and you might as well throw your D&D books away and log on to EverQuest.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405468)

Oh, one more thing:

Paladins, IMC (and, AFAIK, in the games at WotC) can run away, sneak around, hoard wealth for powerful weapons and armor, set ambushes, and wait for reinforcements before charging into battle.

I just peeked at the player handbook. From the code itself (comments in italics added by me):

"Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect local authority (which obviously would include paying all tithes and taxes,) act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, etc.), help those who need help (oops, I guess you can't wait for reinforcements, if they won't get here in time to save the princess) (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those that harm or threaten innocents. (Note: nothing there about punishing those who harm or threaten innocents who you think you can handle. If an evil 40 HD death-god kicks a helpless child down a well, guess who you are honor-bound to punish? Good luck recruiting others to help you attack them.)

Even in 2nd Edition, when Paladins were considerably tougher than the fighters in many ways, they had a tougher time surviving in the big, bad world than your garden-variety fighter... and that's as it should be. They walk a path of sacrifice, serving the greater good before their own interests. However, older versions of D&D rewarded such faithfulness with divine power that set them apart. Now they feature the same divine power, but must not only stay on the straight-and-narrow, but pass on all those extra feats they would be getting if they were leveling as fighters.

In fact, at least under 3.0, it makes a lot of sense for a half-elf or human who's not interested in mounted combat to just pick up three levels of Paladin, and take fighter levels from then on. They don't get spells or undead turning that way, but they get most of the really impressive paladin powers, plus they can pick up weapon specialization (which is not available to the paladin.)

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405693)

If an evil 40 HD death-god kicks a helpless child down a well, guess who you are honor-bound to punish?

If attacking evil doesn't help anyone, and it doesn't even stop the evil, then a Paladin would be foolish to charge head-in and throw their life away.

Paladins aren't required to be stupid, and an interpretation of their oath (or manerisms) to require them so is asinine.

In fact, at least under 3.0, it makes a lot of sense for a half-elf or human who's not interested in mounted combat to just pick up three levels of Paladin, and take fighter levels from then on. They don't get spells or undead turning that way, but they get most of the really impressive paladin powers, plus they can pick up weapon specialization (which is not available to the paladin.)

I agree, actually. Paladins are a bit too front-loaded.

3.5 spaces out their powers a bit better, and IMC I've tweaked the paladin to be more of a fighter/spellcaster than a "fighter with some spellcasting." Works out fairly well so far.

Now they feature the same divine power, but must not only stay on the straight-and-narrow, but pass on all those extra feats they would be getting if they were leveling as fighters.

So drop the Code of Conduct from the Paladin, or give them some bonus feats. It's a RP characteristc, not a rules-based balancing act.

In 3e, a Paladin is supposed to be "about equal" to a LG fighter, not better. I'm all for changing them so that they are better--a PrC version of the Paladin, for example, is a fairly common variant.

Re:Special Ed. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403629)

In either edition, a first level fighter needs to roll a 10 to hit the naked guy, a 15 for that naked guy in chainmail, or a 17 if that naked guy invests in platemail. 90% of the weapons and items in 3/3.5 have the same effect as they did in 1/2 ed (long sword does 1d8, mace does 1d6) So the framework is the same.

That's a fair bit of an oversimplification. I never said that they weren't related--but they aren't "drop-in and use." (pre-3.0 didn't have critical threat info or reach, for example.)

My first reaction to that statment is that you were trying to insult me. Perhaps you just haven't played the game enough to know all the ins and outs.

I have. I find it fairly balanced (compared to, say, Storyteller with its "the guy with clerity rules combat" system.), if a bit bloodthirsty.

You would end up with a super tank melee guy, that in order to challenge them, you need to throw things out that could ahniliate the other characters instantly

Like a *charm* spell?

By and large, the core rules are "balanced" as-is. Once the players know enough to play their characters, just about any combination two characters pick is "effectivly balanced." (All this is in quotes because, really, game balance is a hotly debated term--and what fits the games in Renton doesn't necessarily fit my game in Albany.)

I could go on more, and get into a bit-for-bit discussion, but you're obviously not interested. Shame, really. RPGs and /. get a chance to mingle so rarely. ;)

Can some D&Der please explain... (1)

jxa00++ (322387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402838)

From the review - "Overall Rating: 3.35 (Open Content has an effect on overall score.)"

What is the Open Content modifier they refer to above?

Don't forget it's Open source! (5, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402842)

(I'm always amazed by how much /. ignores this.)

D&D has been, since 3.0 came out, the lead-runner in "Open Gaming."

Go to this page on WotC's website [wizards.com] , and you can get quite nearly every rule in the core 3.0 books--soon to be quite nearly every rule from the core 3.5 books.

The only rule that's really missing is awarding XP--and there are easily a half-dozen ways to find that on the web.

(So, everyone who's complaining about a 3 year turnaround for a revision--do you complain about how quickly Linux gets a new kernal, or how swiftly Mozilla moves from 1.0 through 1.4?)

Re:Don't forget it's Open source! (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403185)

You don't have to pay for the new Linux kernel. No one's asking you to shell out >$30 for the new Mozilla Point Release. Yes ... it's Open Source. But the SRD is nothing more than 67 MSWord documents spouting technical details about the books. Comparing the two, to use your analogy, is comparing the millions of Linux manpages to Windows Blah for Dummies. If you want to go through the manpages to find out how Red Hat 7.0 differs from Suse 6.7 be my guest. I'll just read the easier book.

Kleed

Re:Don't forget it's Open source! (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403660)

Comparing the two, to use your analogy, is comparing the millions of Linux manpages to Windows Blah for Dummies.

Have you actually looked at the SRD files, in comparison to the book?

To use your analogy, it's comparing MAN pages for a single program with a book that's essentialy just the MAN pages and some structure and flavor text.

*sigh* Ah, well. Try and larn some folks, and they wind up bitching anyway.

I NEED to point this out (1, Interesting)

XO (250276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403121)

I NEED to point this out.

I see a TON of messages on this subject talking stuff like "I played D&D 1st edition, before it was AD&D .." ...

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons IS the first edition. It was simply called "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". Dungeons & Dragons came out -after- that as they tried to simplify the concepts to attract new players.

So, REAL AD&D players know that the first edition is AD&D not D&D.

Re:I NEED to point this out (4, Informative)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403400)

Interesting, but incorrect.

Dungeons and Dragons was published by TSR in 1974. This is the three volume set (Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasure, and the Underworld and Wilderness Adventures).

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons wasn't published until 1977 (Monster Manual), 1978 (Player's Handbook), and 1979 (Dungeon Master's Guide).

So, Dungeons and Dragons existed for at least three years before Advanced Dungeons and Dragons came out.

Sources: here [mistrealm.com] , here [acaeum.com] , and TSR's list of every product ever [yahoofs.com] .

Re:I NEED to point this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6404312)

Well, no, actually.

First came Chainmail, a battlefield mins game that introduced the "hero" unit, a unit that was a single character. There were three types of hero units: fighter, cleric, and magic-user. These hero units were eventually joined by the thief and elf units for tactical dungeon crawling games. That eventually became "Dungeons & Dragons", a three-book game set (each book was printed on 8.5x11" paper folded in half and stapled together). These books became the foundations for the Dungeons & Dragons Basic and Expert boxed sets. These also forked the hardcover "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" game books.

"Dungeons & Dragons" eventually fell by the wayside as TSR concentrated on AD&D, eventually publishing a second edition circa 1990. Third edition AD&D dropped the "Advanced" part of the name.

Am I the only one? (2, Insightful)

ae0nflx (679000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403324)

No one is forcing anyone to upgrade. If you want to buy the darn things do so. I personally still play with 2nd edition books and I haven't upgraded for years. I mean, If I were to still play, I'd use 2nd edition....Not that I play D&D anymore...No. Never.

Just stick with your old books and don't upgrade. It's that simple. Yea, it sucks that they raised the price. Even more reason not to buy it. It may show them that people won't buy at those prices.

But... (0)

rmezzari (245108) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404418)

I always thought that this would make me kill myself or join some satinc cult! http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.a sp

This is disgusting (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405000)

The first version of 3ED was 20 bucks. Now its 30. Why can they charge this much? Because its not TSR, its WoTC that is selling it. And guess what, they jack up their prices on everything. Why? Because stupid little kids buy it, or rather get their parents to buy it. And if people buy 3.5ED now, guess what, 4ED will be out a year later. And once they convince people to buy a new edition semi-annually, guess whats next? 4.1ED, 4.2ED, 4.3ED etc. If you think they wouldn't do that......give it a decade. Unless they go the way of TSR, it is inevitable. Simply put, its a lot easier to sell upgrades to a product at a slightly higher price on a more regular basis than it is to sell one large overhall at a way more expensive price than the last one people remembered.

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