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Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition vs. 3rd

Discussion in 'Games' started by Black Dragon, May 28, 2011.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    For those of you who enjoy D&D, have you tried the fourth edition? My gaming friends don't care much for it. It apparently goes a little too far in trying to streamline the game for new players, and in the process sacrifices options.

    What has been your experience with it?
     
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    Sorry, but I guess you'd classify me as really "Old School" as when we get together to game, it's using the AD&D's 1st edition rules and books.
     
  3. Dr.Dorkness

    Dr.Dorkness Minstrel

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    Yes 4th ed is easier to play and understand. but this only aplies to combat, and in combat only to your atacks. I believe it is more fun. since i remember that in 3rd when you have a powerfull wizard in the party the battle would be over soon. now in 4th ed you rely more on teamwork.

    sure I miss aspects of 3rd ed like more freedom in character creation and the allignments like chaotic good and lawfull evil and all the neutrals. also 4th ed tends to push you to a good/neutral alignment. Sure it takes some time to get used to, but if you have a good dm and good players, this all should not matter. you can still do what you want and can use rules from 3rd ed or what ever.

    so yes I get why people dislike 4th ed but the fact of the matter is that these poeple are not open to new rules in the roleplaying world, while it is equally fun some times even more fun.
     
  4. ade625

    ade625 Scribe

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    I've played a fair amount of 4th edition, and am fairly familiar with 3rd edition rules. One thing that certainly stands out, as pointed out by Dr.Dorkness, is that combat is done much better. If you are a fighter for example, you will not just be rolling to hit each time, and nothing else. It's very tactical in its use of positioning and buffs/debuffs, and balanced as well. If you mostly play DnD for the combat, you get the hang of 4th edition very fast, and enjoy it quite a lot.

    One problem 4th edition has, in my opinion, is its handling of spells. These are divided into: combat spells, which work much like any attack, only with a fair amount of variety in targets and effects; utility spells, which are spells that have uses out of combat, but can be used in combat as well (think invisibility, dispel magic etc); and rituals, which can be used by any spellcasting class, but usually cost too much gold and time to be feasible in most situations. I can see why they'd want to divide spells up this way, but it feels a lot more limited than third edition.

    I feel like skill checks are mostly similar, however there are much fewer skills that are much broader in scope. I quite like the new skill system myself, as I feel they work better than the old system (although it's hard to explain exactly why).

    Another thing to note is that you no longer need to have a cleric (or similar) in your party to be sure of not dying. As long as you have a decent balance of classes (and the players handbook gives you an easy way to make sure of that) things will generally work out alright. There's a new system called 'healing surges', in which characters naturally have surges of energy that rejuvinate a quarter of their health. Certain characters allow others to spend those healing surges, all characters have a second wind ability that lets them spend their own, and healing surges can be spent in short rests. After an extended rest, you gain all those surges back. It may seem a little weird to begin with, but it works so much better than sitting around waiting for your cleric to spam 'heal light/medium/heavy wounds' many times.

    Really, with any smaller problems with the none combat elements, house rules can be applied with not a massive amount more effort on the dm's part. The main thing is that the game can only be as good as the people you are playing it with. I'd recommend it myself, but there's more than enough material written for 3rd edition for you to be getting on with, if you don't want to make the leap.
     
  5. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Only played a few times with an inexperienced group, 4th edition was easier to understand, but the story and twists our DM came up with a under the 3.5 rules were more fun. Maybe she had more experience with the 3.5 rules.
     
  6. J. Rosemary Moss

    J. Rosemary Moss Scribe

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    I shook my head when I saw 4th edition come out. I decided I had invested far too much time and money into 3.5 to make the switch! Now I'm mostly a Pathfinder girl, which is a slightly tweaked version of 3.5.
     
  7. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Some of my friends having been singing the praises of Pathfinder. How does it differ from D&D? And can the 3.5 books be used with it?
     
  8. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Also, can any of the 3.5 books be used with 4th edition D&D?
     
  9. Dr.Dorkness

    Dr.Dorkness Minstrel

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    Nope not straight away anyway. I use the deities and some ledgends from 3.5. also some npc races. I recently costumised a gully dwarf, which is 2.0 I believe, to fit in 4th ed. with a bit of imagination you can turn every thing into 4th ed. but it is a lot of work.

    so I reconmend that you don't do it unless you need it. adventures on the other hand are quite simple to do from 3.5 material, only look up the monsters, traps and so forth in 4th ed books. (or use masterplan)
     
  10. J. Rosemary Moss

    J. Rosemary Moss Scribe

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    Pathfinder is a tweaked, house-rulish version of 3.5, generally giving more options and a bit more power to each character. It streamlines a couple of things (the 3.5 skills Balance, Jump and Tumble are all covered by one skill called Acrobatics; Spot and Listen are both covered under Perception). Classes have certain innate talents: for example, sorcerers have particular abilities depending on their bloodlines (Fey bloodlines, Draconic bloodlines, etc); clerics can channel positive or negative energy through their holy symbols, depending on their alignment.

    Pathfinder tweaks some feats too, as well as a few combat rules. And, of course, it has a world of its own--although that doesn't affect my group much, since we all enjoy world-building.

    Any 3.5 material is theoretically compatible with Pathfinder--but all that tweaking adds up, so if you have a 3.5 character that you want to use for a Pathfinder game, you need to sit down and figure out all the adjustments. But they're so similar that it won't take long. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  11. Derin

    Derin Troubadour

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    I tried 4th ed but I didn't like it. It was the whole destiny choice thing that really got to me. The rules seemed too restrictive and simplistic; but I should point out that I had a really bad DM using a book-derived railroad plot. So it might not have been the rules' fault.
     
  12. I had to let that passion die long ago for lack of intelligent, motivated, and interested like-minded players. Anyone in Colorado??
     
  13. razzazzika

    razzazzika Scribe

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    I DM 4th ed with my group. I like it. It takes a lot longer to make a character and level up because of the picking of spells, but it engages the players so much more than any of the previous versions did.
    Take 3.5, we have a Barbarian, a Cleric, and a Wizard fighting some goblins.

    Barbarian - I attack a goblin
    Cleric - I attack a goblin
    Goblin - attacks barbarian
    Wizard - MAGIC MISSILE
    Goblin - attacks barbarian
    rnd 2
    barbarian - attacks goblin
    cleric - cure light wounds barbarian
    goblin - attack barbarian
    wizard - BURNING HANDS
    goblin - attack barbarian

    that's about it
    3.5... ok, it was a bit better than 2, Barbarians rage was a bit better, druids could shapeshift and were quite separate from clerics... I get it, but unless you were a spellcaster, all you were really doing each round was... attack... attack... attack... attack

    4e is nice because the barbarian can go:
    Avalanche Strike! --- 3 x weapon damage + str (Barbarians usually greataxe is a d12, so that's 3d12 + str) damage, but at a -4 to your defense--- hell I'd do it, much better than the normal "I hit him" for 1d12 + str
    the cleric can:
    Avenging Flame --- 2 x weapon damage + str, ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends) BUT if the target attacks on their turn, they can't save vs ongoing damage--- nice
    and... well... wizard has ... virtually the same spells so f* them
    but those are level one spells LEVEL ONE

    They split them into daily(need an 8 hour rest to use again[some races 6 or 4]), encounter(15 min rest) or at-will(use whenever you freakin' want)

    I love it personally. The only hard part is DM'ing it honestly. You can't just put monsters together on the fly anymore like you used to. It requires more preparation.
     
  14. Dr.Dorkness

    Dr.Dorkness Minstrel

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    I recomend Masterplan. it is a great tool to DM. sure it takes a while to get it figured out but when you have it figured it is much easier to dm and get random encounters. If you want only specific kinds of creatures, you create a encounter deck. this way you can get encounters with only the monsters in the deck. if you have a second screen you can also share things with your players via player view.

    google masterplan to get to the download site and I sugest going to demonoid.me to get the libraries for the monsters traps and all the other stuff you might need. (if demonoid does not let you register PM me)
     
  15. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

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    I just finished up running my last 2nd Edition campaign. I never played 3rd Edition or higher (except playing Neverwinter Nights, if that counts) and didn't see the appeal in it. But I have to tell you, since 4th Edition has been out for awhile and more rules and options have been released, I'm looking forward to running the game. A good DM can run any kind of game; the storytelling aspect is the important part and the rules are just the mechanics. I'm looking forward to more intuitive combat rules.
     
  16. Aiden Sawyer

    Aiden Sawyer Scribe

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    I've been playing AD&D since the early 80's. The only times I've played 3e & 4e were at Garycon (memorial gaming convention for Gary Gygax if you're not familiar), and I have to say I'd rather play 1st ed. Like 3e, and perhaps more so, 4e seems too restrictive and takes the gaming aspect out of almost everything, for the DM as well as the players. Every move you make, roll a skill check. I'm not saying I didn't enjoyed the sessions I played in. Who wouldn't enjoy them? Some of the games were run by those who created the systems, and the others were all very experienced DMs. What is probably the best option if you're DM is running original modules/campaigns is to pick what you like from all the editions, plus some home grown house rules. That's sort of what we do now, but we use 1st edition as the base for character creation, armor class, and combat tables.

    PS. Map the Dragon, I understand the challenges of finding local players. But technology has opened up other options. My friends from back in the day are scattered across the nation, but we started playing again just over 2 years ago via Skype. The time difference between east and west coasts is a bit of a challenge, but we've managed to play almost every weekend for the last 2+ years. So, maybe you can get your old gaming group together.
     
  17. razzazzika

    razzazzika Scribe

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    oh... that's looks NICE. I was looking for something like this! and free nonetheless. I'm going to have to wait til I get home to check it out, but check it out I will. Hopefully I can work something out before my game on saturday.

    Never played 1st. I started with 3.5, but had a friend who always insisted on DM'ing 2nd, so I was exposed to almost every other edition.
     
  18. drumsinthedeep

    drumsinthedeep Acolyte

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    Personally i enjoy Pathfinder. It improves on 3.5, and the 3.5 source books are compatible.
     
  19. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Haven't even looked at the 4th Ed stuff… apart from taking a quick glance at the wiki article just now. Entirely apart from the fact that I no longer have a regular gaming group, the materials have just become too damned expensive to keep up on.

    What I fail to understand is why they insist on continually "fixing" things that aren't broken. (Well, actually, I do understand it: it's so they can sell all new books to the same players. But that's beside the point.) I have, as I've mentioned elsewhere, been playing the game since it was three saddle-stapled paperbacks in a white box… in which the character class options were fighter, cleric, and magic user; the races were human, dwarf, elf, and hobbit (yes, "hobbit," not "halfling"); and the alignments were lawful, neutral and chaotic.

    This was gradually built upon (the first expansion added thief as a class, for instance), until it was decided to collect everything into a new version: AD&D (that is, 1st Ed.). It broadened most of the non-mechanics areas of the game, screwed up psionics slightly, and left the mechanics untouched.

    2nd Ed. deleted assassins and monks, robbed rangers, druids, and bards of most of what made them interesting, gutted illusionists, deleted psionics (only to reintroduce them as "optional," after really screwing them up)… and left the mechanics untouched.

    3rd Ed. had some genuine improvements: skill rolls and a unified XP progression. (It was also nice that they finally turned AC around so that you weren't counting down from 10 to 0 to -10, but that was simply renumbering, not an actual change.) The sorcerer was a nice addition, and the first really unique character class to be introduced in ages. The prestige classes… somewhat less of a good idea. The "epic level" stuff was a flat-out disaster. Feats could have been a great addition, but they were never very well balanced. It also reintroduced the monk, added the barbarian, and reintroduced psionics, after screwing them up yet again. And, apart from adding skill rolls–it left the mechanics untouched.

    3.5 was put out to sell books, pure and simple. What little was changed could as easily have been published in a single supplement for those people who already owned 3rd Ed. and were willing to have to refer back and forth, and changed in subsequent printings. Except from some minor "balancing" (not all of which needed to be done, or went in the right direction), it left not only the mechanics but virtually the entire game untouched.

    Now they want to change the mechanics?

    I have to admit, I love the reduction of the number of alignments. That aside, a quick read-through of the changes suggests that absolutely nothing has been changed for the better, in most cases for the worse–and that unlike previous revisions, someone familiar with an old version of the game couldn't sit down and play the new one right away. (I do have to admire them finding a way to screw up the monk and psionics simultaneously this time, by linking them together.) It also, as far as I can tell, makes the game incompatible with all the d20 System materials published by third parties over the years… which may have been part of the point. Why didn't they leave D&D alone, and put this out as a different game under a new name?

    Oh, right: if they did that, nobody would have bought it.

    Well, I'm not nobody. And I'm not buying it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  20. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

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    Having gotten my feet wet with 4th Edition, I have to say it has made my life so so so much easier as a DM. I have a third-party program which I use to build and run encounters pretty quickly and smoothly, the players seem to *enjoy* combat again instead of making triple-classed characters just so they all have something "interesting" to do other than "what's the AC? My thac0 is this." and all the character classes are interesting from 1st level to 30th level. When it first came out it didn't have many options but now that it has been out for a a few years, you can make pretty much any type of character you want. The system is fully integrated which makes it easier to use. No separate systems for clerical magic, wizard magic, psionics, fighters, etc. Now a player who played one type of class can easily figure out how to play another.

    Roleplaying is still the same. You can roleplay over any system, but having game mechanics that are engaging to the players, so they aren't just sitting around waiting for their turn makes combat less of a break from the RP action to being action itself. To me, what was simplistic and restrictive was playing through 20 levels of a fighter in the old days. Level, adjust your a couple of numbers, rinse, repeat. Now every class is fun to play. My players are all old-schoolers and they still love this system the best. It gives them more control in the game and gives me an easier time putting games together.

    Win-win, I say.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
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