PDA

View Full Version : Which version is most Similar to Baldur's Gate?



Jankmaster98
2015-10-28, 12:47 AM
Hi, I'm kinda new around here. I'm not sure if this is the best forum to ask in, but I have a small question about where to really start with PnP DnD. I've been playing the Baldur's Gate series for many years, and read OOTS of course. I know that OOTS uses 3.5. rules but I'm not sure what ruleset Baldur's Gate uses, and whether or not knowing how Baldur's Gate works and plays will really help me at all as I finally have gotten a group together and are looking at different versions. I'm off topic I suppose, but I guess the question boils down to which version of DnD will my BG knowledge most be applicable to, and whether or not said knowledge would trickle to other versions well.

Ruslan
2015-10-28, 12:50 AM
Baldur's Gate is by 2nd Edition rules.

TheOOB
2015-10-28, 12:56 AM
Balder's Gate uses 2nd edition rules, but I don't suggest playing 2nd edition on that merit alone. BG uses a heavily modified version of 2e, so you may not recognize everything. Also 2e books are old and hard to find at reasonable prices(I also don't think 2e is the best edition for most purposes).

You'd probably be better off getting D&D 5th edition, it's incredibly easy to learn, readily available, and will still feel very much like you're used to. Plus IMO it's the best all around version of D&D yet.

Jankmaster98
2015-10-28, 01:05 AM
Thanks! I'll look into getting books for 5th edition, though I do wonder what lore changes will be present if I choose to play in the Forgotten Realms setting as I want to. Man... I really should have read all those books laying around to get a sense of the lore there... side question where's the best place to learn about the lore and history of the Forgotten Realms setting?

Kane0
2015-10-28, 01:59 AM
Lucky for you the Sword Coast adventure guide for 5e is literally a week or two away from release.

Mark Hall
2015-10-28, 11:14 AM
As mentioned, Baldur's Gate uses the 2nd edition rules; BG2 using 2nd edition rules, adding in a few of the complete handbooks. There are not, IME, too many differences between BG and core D&D... mostly in terms of things left out (for example, dwarves don't get their bonus to find stonework traps and so on, and they don't have differing damages against S/M and Large targets on the weapons).

If you're interested in 2e, I find the rules to be fairly available... the hardcovers are popular in used book stores, and there's a retroclone called Gold and Glory that reproduces the rules very well... but you can pretty well play 2e straight out of the Baldur's Gate handbook.

Anonymouswizard
2015-10-28, 11:28 AM
I find Baldur's Gate to be 2e, after taking most of the optional rules out and simplifying everything at the point of delivery (i.e. they change your THAC0 instead of having a separate to-hit bonus).

However, I suggest looking at the FREE! basic rules for 5e D&D (https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules). It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it takes the best bits of 2e and 3.X, while throwing in some 4e (but not al the great things, Second Wind and Healing Surges could have stayed). I like it for everything except the 'running a game' aspect, although that might change if I get a decent pre-written adventure and see how it's supposed to work (I also don't have the money for all three books. Seriously WotC, everybody is doing 1 book plus maybe a monster book for their core nowdays).

Honest Tiefling
2015-10-28, 11:45 AM
Thanks! I'll look into getting books for 5th edition, though I do wonder what lore changes will be present if I choose to play in the Forgotten Realms setting as I want to. Man... I really should have read all those books laying around to get a sense of the lore there... side question where's the best place to learn about the lore and history of the Forgotten Realms setting?

I uh...Well. I don't know all of the changes, but the changes to the lore are humongous. So unless 5e retconned a whole bunch of stuff, it really is quite different. I mean, Mystra died and came back so that's a tiny bit familiar, but in doing so, killed heaps of recognizable NPCs. But then other continents decided to wander off (Like Maztica!) and in came a continent of Dragonmen. And a bunch of stuff blew up or otherwise became crappified, such as Sembia. Also, 4e is 100 years into the future, so unless 5e went back into time, that's an issue.

I don't know all of the changes and am probably describing them badly. I know for a fact that 4e was very, very, very different, so 5e probably isn't going to be close. However, I very strongly urge you to simply use the lore of 2e and disregard the rest if you want the true Baldur's Gate feel. I believe you can get some PDFs of the lorebooks from certain sites for rather cheap.

Solaris
2015-10-28, 04:39 PM
AD&D and core 3.5E do a pretty good job of playing Baldur's Gate. They even put the sorcerer and barbarian into BG II because of 3rd Edition.

I'd second Mark Hall's suggestion on sticking with core AD&D to play something like Baldur's Gate. It's very newbie-friendly and doesn't have the concept of the character build like later editions of D&D.

Hawkstar
2015-10-28, 06:26 PM
I don't know all of the changes and am probably describing them badly. I know for a fact that 4e was very, very, very different, so 5e probably isn't going to be close. However, I very strongly urge you to simply use the lore of 2e and disregard the rest if you want the true Baldur's Gate feel. I believe you can get some PDFs of the lorebooks from certain sites for rather cheap.

5e's version of the Forgotten Realms, as far as I can tell, is: "Sorry about 4e. Let's pretend that nonsense never happened."

Keltest
2015-10-28, 07:04 PM
5e's version of the Forgotten Realms, as far as I can tell, is: "Sorry about 4e. Let's pretend that nonsense never happened."

I don't blame them. 4e did not agree with them.

JAL_1138
2015-10-29, 12:26 AM
The downsides to 2e are poor editing/layout, a steep learning curve, pretty much everything having a different subsystem, descending AC with THAC0, "balance" being something you do on a tightrope rather than a major part of class design (it's still not as bad in the balance department as high-op 3rd though), and practically no encounter-building guidelines for the DM.

The upside is everything else. Still my favorite edition to this day. Once you get past the admittedly-steep learning curve, it's fast, simple, has a ton of setting material and published adventures for it, and is a blast to both play and to DM.

And if you're looking specifically for the edition that matches Baldur's Gate most closely, as others have said already, BG is built on a fairly-faithful use of 2e rules.

Legal PDFs of the corebooks and 2e setting material can be found at dndclassics.com, for around US$10 a pop last time I looked.


That said, 5e is much more newbie-friendly (and actually has useful encounter-building guidelines, if you end up DMing.) 5e runs on markedly different game mechanics than old-school AD&D, so knowledge of BG game mechanics won't be a huge help, but it still has a whole lot of the classic feel to it anyway. Much as it pains my "old grognard" side to say it, it's probably the better one to start out with if you're new to tabletop.

If you go with 5e, I'd recommend picking up the Starter Set. It's a good intro to the system, though it doesn't have most of the class and feat options of the full game, and it has a set of dice and a very nifty (and somewhat lethal) adventure module in it. Certainly worth the $20 or so the starter set costs.

GloatingSwine
2015-10-29, 05:45 AM
The downsides to 2e are poor editing/layout, a steep learning curve, pretty much everything having a different subsystem, descending AC with THAC0, "balance" being something you do on a tightrope rather than a major part of class design (it's still not as bad in the balance department as high-op 3rd though), and practically no encounter-building guidelines for the DM.


One look at the arbitrary race/class restrictions in 2E is enough to show that it wasn't written with balance in mind, it was written to tell certain kinds of stories with certain kinds of characters. Want to be, eg, a gnome? The game is written to all but systemically insist that you want to steal or backstab things, because most of your class choices involve thief somewhere.

JAL_1138
2015-10-29, 09:11 AM
One look at the arbitrary race/class restrictions in 2E is enough to show that it wasn't written with balance in mind, it was written to tell certain kinds of stories with certain kinds of characters. Want to be, eg, a gnome? The game is written to all but systemically insist that you want to steal or backstab things, because most of your class choices involve thief somewhere.

Gnomes had a higher level-cap in Illusionist (which used to be a separate class back in first edition instead of a specialist wizard; it was the only wizard school they could take in 2e, presumably as a nod to 1e) than thay got in thief, iirc. They also got significant combat bonuses against kobolds, goblins , orcs, bugbears, ogres, giants, and I think titans. Small to-hit bonus against the first two, massive AC bonus against the rest. Fighter/Illusionist, Fighter/Cleric, or Cleric/Illusionist could be a good option.

Buuuut still your point stands that they pushed demihuman races into certain classes (and outright banned them from plenty, although the DMG suggests case-by-case exceptions) much more than WotC editions.

Ravian
2015-10-29, 12:36 PM
I don't blame them. 4e did not agree with them.

Yeah, I'm a bigger fan of 4e than most, but I agree that they forgotten realms never really fit with it. So much of the world had to be rewritten to fit the new rules and elements that it just became a mess.

Some of the other d&d settings for 4e did a somewhat better job by trying to keep the newer elements controlled. Take Eberron for instance. Magic changed significantly yes, but because rituals fit the style of most of Eberron's usual style of magic they were able to make it work. They also made sure that the new races existed without trying to take a huge place in the setting. Dragonborn and Tieflings were mostly stuck on different continents and tied to bigger powers, and Eladrin were fit in with a slight alteration to the backstory of elves.

Meanwhile Forgotten Realms needed to change everything already to match their magic systems, so they ended up trying to go whole hog and sticking dragonborn into the middle of everything. They also decided to rewrite the cosmology to try to fit in 4e's planes. (Eberron also sort of did this, but their cosmology of the three dragons allowed them to bs their way through comparing the two, instead of really changing much)

The big issue is that 4e ended up trying to fit much more of its core elements into previously established settings, rather than just letting the old settings do their thing and just using the new edition as a new set of rules.

GloatingSwine
2015-10-29, 02:15 PM
Gnomes had a higher level-cap in Illusionist (which used to be a separate class back in first edition instead of a specialist wizard; it was the only wizard school they could take in 2e, presumably as a nod to 1e) than thay got in thief, iirc.

True, but then Illusionist is the wizard school best suited to supporting or mimicing thiefly activities....

The race/class restrictions were clearly intended though to present the nonhuman races as specific versions of themselves, if you wanted to play an Elf or a Dwarf you were playing their sort of Elf or Dwarf or not at all.

JAL_1138
2015-10-29, 02:40 PM
True, but then Illusionist is the wizard school best suited to supporting or mimicing thiefly activities....

The race/class restrictions were clearly intended though to present the nonhuman races as specific versions of themselves, if you wanted to play an Elf or a Dwarf you were playing their sort of Elf or Dwarf or not at all.

I agreed with you in the second half of the post you quoted, kinda :smalltongue:

Still, the DMG did suggest being open to allowing other race/class combos on a case-by-case basis. And it wasn't as restrictive as OD&D or Basic, where you could play a Wizard (Magic-User) or an Elf.

Anonymouswizard
2015-10-29, 03:31 PM
I agreed with you in the second half of the post you quoted, kinda :smalltongue:

Still, the DMG did suggest being open to allowing other race/class combos on a case-by-case basis. And it wasn't as restrictive as OD&D or Basic, where you could play a Wizard (Magic-User) or an Elf.

Hey, with the hollow world expansion you could play a warrior elf!

And then go to the outer world and get your 'missed out on magic' to become a stereotypical elf, but one step at a time.

Zrak
2015-10-29, 03:36 PM
One look at the arbitrary race/class restrictions in 2E is enough to show that it wasn't written with balance in mind, it was written to tell certain kinds of stories with certain kinds of characters. Want to be, eg, a gnome? The game is written to all but systemically insist that you want to steal or backstab things, because most of your class choices involve thief somewhere.

Eh, not really. As JAL said, thief wasn't really their schtick as much as illusionist, and backstabbing/stealing weren't even their shtick as thieves; their racial bonuses to thief skills were more focused on traps and illusions than stealth or thievery.


True, but then Illusionist is the wizard school best suited to supporting or mimicing thiefly activities....
Eh, the overlap isn't really that big. A lot of illusion spells help a fighter more than a thief, and none really mimic any thiefly abilities other than stealth, while spells form other schools do; knock was from alteration, for example. Gnomes had a schtick, but it was much more "wacky trickster" than "sneaky thief."

Jigawatts
2015-10-30, 01:07 AM
Baldur's Gate is pretty darn faithful rendition of 2nd Edition, most of the (relatively few) differences are little things.

These forums skew newer school (3E+) so you aren't likely to get as many recommendations here to actually play it, but it is a solid and fun system. I still play it from time to time (I tend to save any multiclass character concepts I have for when a new 2E campaign rolls around, as its by far my favorite D&D multiclassing system) and can heartedly recommend it, especially for a lover of BG.

And I dont know what the person saying the books are hard to get is talking about, I just did a cursory glance at Ebay and found several 2E books (including multiple copies of the core rulebooks) going for around $10, or if you want brand new ones, there are the 2E premium edition reprints on Amazon which sell for about 30ish per book. Also, 2E is by far the best edition for Forgotten Realms sourcebooks, the Volos Guides (all 7 of them), the 3 gods books (Faiths and Avatars, Powers and Pantheons, and Demihuman Deities), City of Splendors, Drizzts Guide to the Underdark, Cloak and Dagger, the Undermountain box sets, the Myth Drannor box sets, the Night Below box set, all those and more are just flat out amazing RPG products.

Give it a try, I bet you will like it.

Zrak
2015-10-30, 01:13 PM
2e multiclassing really was the best.

Talakeal
2015-10-30, 05:31 PM
2e multiclassing really was the best.

I agree. Although the racial restrictions and the dual class system are pretty horrendous.

I always find it weird that people consider 3e's "gestalt" rules to be the absolute height of munchkinism when they are more or less just the 3e version of the 2e multiclass rules which always worked so well for me.

Zrak
2015-10-30, 06:24 PM
I never really liked dual-classing until I tried it in the 2e CRPGs, like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. At the pace a lot of tabletop games go, it could really be forever until you got your first class's abilities back, and you spent week after week as a slightly-less-ineffectual hunk of dead weight, while in the video games, it's really only a few hours to get your mojo back even if you go for one of the insanely late-level dual classes that seemed to be so popular. Dual-classing is actually a pretty interesting mechanic, in a much faster paced game. I think it could've been a really good alternate system with a few modifications for slower-paced play. Maybe you gain all the abilities from your original class below the level of your current class? I don't know, I'd have to try it, but I think it's a neat core idea that could totally be salvaged with a little touch of that 3e homebrew spirit.

My tables always played pretty fast and loose with the racial multiclass limitations, so I don't really know how those worked in practice. It was really only halflings that got the short end of the stick right, and half-elves getting a few unique options that there was really no reason for elves not to get?

aspekt
2015-10-31, 09:35 AM
As for lore changes, if you're the DM that's entirely up to you. When I use Faerun I run my own alternate timeline, as every DM must if their players are going to have a lasting impact on the world.

Use whichever starting point you want. These are resources to be drawn on. The Greyhawk world setting never had The Wars timeline in it for me. That's just what I enjoy doing and my table doesn't comolain, so I think we're good.

Just get the materials, read and keep what your table likes or makes sense to them.

Enjoy!

Mark Hall
2015-10-31, 09:40 AM
Yeah, I'm a bigger fan of 4e than most, but I agree that they forgotten realms never really fit with it. So much of the world had to be rewritten to fit the new rules and elements that it just became a mess.


See, I don't agree with this. I think they decided to change the setting to fit the rules, rather than just continuing on and saying "Yes, the rules are different now, but most people don't really notice; we're not making a big story change out of it." Wizards sit down to memorize spells; clerics pray every morning. You could run a perfectly adequate Pre-ToT game with 4e... and run it pretty much like Ed writes the Realms... unless you became obsessed with "The mechanics are different!"

True story, I read the first three Knights of Myth Drannor books when a friend was getting heavily into 4e... and I could easily see running those books in 4e with pretty much no changes.

Inevitability
2015-10-31, 11:09 AM
I personally think that when 4e arrived the developers made the all-to-common mistake of seeing the rules as the driving force behind the game world, rather than a tool to facilitate interaction between the players and the story.

If a 3.5 player says: "My fighter uses his shield to push the goblin off the cliff.", the DM might look up the rules for bull rushing and the damage a fall would cause, use those rules to determine what rolls are made, then provide a description of the in-game effect of those rolls. (did the goblin get pushed, and if so, was the fall enough to kill him?)

A 4e player might say: "My fighter uses his shield to push the goblin off the cliff.", the DM might look up the rules for the Tide of Iron ability and the damage such a fall would cause. He then describes the in-game effect of what just happened. While the mechanics were vastly different, from a story perspective nothing changed at all.

In other words, a change in rules does not equal a change in fluff. WotC made the big mistake of assuming it did.

Keltest
2015-10-31, 11:42 AM
My understanding is that it wasn't the rules changes, exactly, that caused all the chaos, it was other things like pantheon cleanup and radically different magic that they had to explain.

Jigawatts
2015-10-31, 02:22 PM
They listened to Forgotten Realms detractors while ignoring its fans, as if changing the setting for the people who already hated it would all of the sudden make them love it. It backfired horribly, and as a result we now have the Realms almost completely back to what they were before the Spellplague/4E, with only the 100 year time jump remaining (which they should have reversed also).

Mark Hall
2015-10-31, 02:50 PM
My understanding is that it wasn't the rules changes, exactly, that caused all the chaos, it was other things like pantheon cleanup and radically different magic that they had to explain.

Basically, they made radical changes in the world. It is thought they felt they had to do that to account for the radical change in mechanics.

Jigawatts
2015-10-31, 04:04 PM
Basically, they made radical changes in the world. It is thought they felt they had to do that to account for the radical change in mechanics.
If that was just the case then they would have only done the Spellplague and not the 100 year time jump, instead they did both.

Keltest
2015-10-31, 07:21 PM
If that was just the case then they would have only done the Spellplague and not the 100 year time jump, instead they did both.

It seems like theyre trying to start clean to me. Drizzt gets the old companions back shiny and new, Elminster gets his favorite goddess back, but a lot of the other established characters, like the Seven Sisters are getting removed from the world. Major players are dying or fading into the background of things, and only a few staples remain.

GloatingSwine
2015-10-31, 07:26 PM
My tables always played pretty fast and loose with the racial multiclass limitations, so I don't really know how those worked in practice. It was really only halflings that got the short end of the stick right, and half-elves getting a few unique options that there was really no reason for elves not to get?

Halflings got the shortest stick (only one option), but Dwarves and Elves didn't have it much better (two and three respectively. Baldur's Gate allows elves to choose F/M/T but that's half elf only in the PHB).

Gnomes are positively rich in options having six, and Half Elves are just cheating with 11 (including times they can choose Druid instead of Cleric in a multi).

Jigawatts
2015-11-01, 02:15 AM
It seems like theyre trying to start clean to me. Drizzt gets the old companions back shiny and new, Elminster gets his favorite goddess back, but a lot of the other established characters, like the Seven Sisters are getting removed from the world. Major players are dying or fading into the background of things, and only a few staples remain.

I'm actually not completely against that, although I do mourn the loss of both Khelben and Halaster still.

Jigawatts
2015-11-01, 05:10 PM
Halflings got the shortest stick (only one option), but Dwarves and Elves didn't have it much better (two and three respectively. Baldur's Gate allows elves to choose F/M/T but that's half elf only in the PHB).

Gnomes are positively rich in options having six, and Half Elves are just cheating with 11 (including times they can choose Druid instead of Cleric in a multi).

Actually the PHB allows elven fighter/mage/thieves as well, the elf description in the race section specifically mentions it, the table at the end of the class section mistakenly left them off.

Half elves do have a crazy amount, and even more if you utilize the complete series (then again, most races do), I played a NG half-elf ranger/bard (an option opened up in the bards handbook) a few years back, that was a really fun multiclass.

GloatingSwine
2015-11-01, 07:38 PM
Though halflings also get a bit extra screwed in Baldur's Gate because they get max 17 strength on creation, whereas in P&P they could get 18 but not roll exceptional strength. (In BG that would let you boost them to 19 with the tome, and the jump from flat 18 to 19 is hueg, but 17 to flat 18 is not so much).

Less annoying for a Fighter/Thief who backstabs all the things because of how strength bonus works on backstabs (not included in the multiplier), but a straight fighter wants some itemisation to help.

Jigawatts
2015-11-01, 09:45 PM
Though halflings also get a bit extra screwed in Baldur's Gate because they get max 17 strength on creation, whereas in P&P they could get 18 but not roll exceptional strength. (In BG that would let you boost them to 19 with the tome, and the jump from flat 18 to 19 is hueg, but 17 to flat 18 is not so much).

Less annoying for a Fighter/Thief who backstabs all the things because of how strength bonus works on backstabs (not included in the multiplier), but a straight fighter wants some itemisation to help.
I remember that in the max/min stat table for races, but I never understood it because halflings get a +1 dex -1 str, so even if you put an 18 into a halflings strength at character creation it becomes a 17. I think it might be some kind of idiosyncrasy carried over from 1E. That table was interesting though, like how dwarves dont get a -1 dex but their max natural dex is a 17.

Mark Hall
2015-11-02, 12:55 PM
I remember that in the max/min stat table for races, but I never understood it because halflings get a +1 dex -1 str, so even if you put an 18 into a halflings strength at character creation it becomes a 17. I think it might be some kind of idiosyncrasy carried over from 1E. That table was interesting though, like how dwarves dont get a -1 dex but their max natural dex is a 17.

It makes a bit more sense in 1e, where Young Adults got a +1 to Con and a -1 to Wisdom, while Mature Adults got a +1 to Strength and a +1 to Wisdom (so, if you started as a mature adult, you had a +1 to Strength and Con, and no change to your wisdom).

So a halfling rolls an 18 and puts it in Strength. He only has a 17 strength until he hits Mature Adulthood, then he's got an 18 strength... but, even if he's a Fighter, he doesn't get an exceptional roll. Since a Halfling Fighter was likely to start out as a Young Adult, and a Fighter or Fighter/Thief as Mature adult, it was more of a consideration. 2e simplified those two age categories out, more to the game's detriment, IMO.