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Tormsskull
2008-07-10, 12:24 PM
A statement that someone might say if they found the most pure or integral parts of D&D removed. Every edition change has seen some people label this charge, with many others disagreeing.

So the question is, what, in its purest form, is D&D? Or, in other words, is there anything that WotC (or if someone were to buy the D&D brand away from them) could remove from a future edition of the game that would immediately make you think it was no longer D&D?

Personally, I think the things below are required for any edition of D&D (not in any particular order):


Using a 20-sided die.
Playable Races: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings.
Playable Classes: Fighters, Clerics, Magic-users, Thieves (or their equivalent names & feel).
Magic (in general) and Magical Items.
Magic Missile.


Those are the only things I can think of off the top of my head that really seem like integral parts of D&D to me.

What things are integral to D&D in your mind?

pantoffelheld
2008-07-10, 12:32 PM
There should be a dungeon.
And a dragon

That's all I ask, baby

Ecalsneerg
2008-07-10, 12:34 PM
1. Dragons, but oddly, not dungeons. Not my forte.
2. Humans, Half-Elves, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings.
3. Arcane spellcasters, clerics, rogue-types and fighter-types.
4. Rangers with at least optional spells (by alternate class features, multiclassing to cleric, etc etc)
5. A spell called magic missile is definitely seconded. :smallbiggrin:
6. A handful of needlessly silly monsters.

PnP Fan
2008-07-10, 12:35 PM
Party structure. Not necessarily of the Cleric-Wizard-Fighter-Rogue standard part make up type. But the idea that the characters are gathered together for the express purpose of adventuring. As opposed to other games where the characters are gathered for self defense (Vampire, Werewolf, Exalted, for example) or characters are gathered "to do good" (any superhero game out there), or as part of an organization (Spycraft, other military / sci-fi games).

I also think that D&D has a certain reward system in place that is kinda unique. It's so standard that it's become a joke, but when was the last time you saw a superhero/modern hero/ pulp action hero/etc. . . say "I search the bodies" looking for anything other than a clue? But mugging your enemies is a tried and true tradition in D&D, even in games with lofty heroic goals.

Not to say you can't do these things in other systems, but I feel like these are part of the D&D culture.

Jade_Tarem
2008-07-10, 12:35 PM
I had always though that at its core, Dungeons and Dragons was you and a bunch of friends in the basement of someone's house, making fun of each other for/while killing orcs. Everything else is window dressing.

- Ryan Sousa, somewhat paraphrased

Drider
2008-07-10, 12:38 PM
A pair of animated underwear that eat anything put inside them as soon as a player wears them...randomly assigned to players.

Stupendous_Man
2008-07-10, 12:40 PM
hot drow chicks :smallgrin:

Zocelot
2008-07-10, 12:41 PM
Roleplaying.

Chronicled
2008-07-10, 12:41 PM
What surprises me is the insistence on Magic Missile, but not Fireball. :smallconfused:

Jade_Tarem
2008-07-10, 12:43 PM
What surprises me is the insistence on Magic Missile, but not Fireball. :smallconfused:

Silly Chronicled, no one ever attacked the darkness with fireball. :smalltongue:

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-10, 12:49 PM
I'm with PnP Fan, it's the "Party Based Exploration" that I think is essential. A D&D group aren't just a bunch of guys who happen to know each other in a Fantasy Setting, they are an Adventuring Party.

I'd argue that Levels and Classes are part of that: it's about having a simple, obvious way to tell what a PC's job is and how powerful they are.

chiasaur11
2008-07-10, 12:54 PM
Silly Chronicled, no one ever attacked the darkness with fireball. :smalltongue:

Because while you fireball it, the darkness does not, technically, exist.

Zeta Kai
2008-07-10, 12:58 PM
That's a really good question, one that I'm not sure has an adequate answer. D&D means different thing to different people. Some see it a realistic fantasy emulation system; others see it as a storytelling framework. Many view it as nothing more than the punchline to a nerd joke, while a few see it as a means to interact with others like themselves. There seems to be as many ways to play as there are players.

This is a problem with games of all sorts, really, & it comes to light especially when sequels or remakes emerge. What makes for a definitive Legend of Zelda game? What really defines a game of football? When does Monopoly stop being Monopoly? How can you tell if your actually playing "true" Poker? These questions are difficult to determine with anything even remotely resembling consensus.

But none of that philosophical musing is going to here. If you want my opinion as to what makes for a quintessential D&D experience, I'd have to narrow it down to the following (not in any particular order, either):

a game system that is rather crunch-heavy, focusing on mechanics to drive events in the game, & assuming that everything in the game world can be represented by numerical statistics
a game system whereby an individual character, controlled by an individual player, advances in power by defeating monsters &/or other characters
the advancements in power must be broken up into separate levels
the characters are predominantly humanoid, & exist in a world populated with many different races of humanoids
a system of magic that is also broken up into separate levels
the reliance on dice-rolling to settle nearly all actions within the game that have even the slightest chance of luck-based results
a game world that is violent & hostile to the average person, mostly due to the implied proliferation of predatory creatures that are all but invulnerable to attacks by human beings

I'm sure there are other things that "define" D&D, but those are the ones that stand out to me.

PS: I was ninja'ed 11 times. I gotta type faster.

Heliomance
2008-07-10, 01:07 PM
Roleplaying.

I see what you did there.

RukiTanuki
2008-07-10, 01:13 PM
Wow, a dozen posts between loading up this post in a tab and hitting Reply. Can't imagine how it'll look when I'm done...

Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters had a good writeup of the things Wizards specifically called out as being central to D&D, but sadly I'm away from my book.

Here's what's important to me* in order to say "this is D&D":
* The overall d20 mechanic. No game system is perfect, but with one I recognize, I can adapt by playing to its strengths and anticipating its weaknesses.
* The use of classes, skills, and feats to advance characters that need progressive advancement, notably PCs.
* The expectation that a group of individuals of disparate but useful talents will work together to achieve more than each could separately.
* A story focused on the actions of heroes in a dangerous world (be it dangerously physically, politically, or otherwise).


(*) Other things are important, but these make D&D what is, not necessarily what make it good.

Ebonsword
2008-07-10, 01:56 PM
(1) Rules written by Gary Gygax (or, at the very least, in a Gygaxian style).

(2) Vancian magic

(3) LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, and CE alignments

(4) Percentile strength

(5) Negative armor classes

we3kings
2008-07-10, 02:08 PM
(1) The dice based system
(2) The Books
(3) Beholders
(4) mythological creatures

hamlet
2008-07-10, 02:09 PM
(1) Rules written by Gary Gygax (or, at the very least, in a Gygaxian style).

(2) Vancian magic

(3) LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, and CE alignments

(4) Percentile strength

(5) Negative armor classes

*hug*

You are correct sir!

Xyk
2008-07-10, 02:10 PM
a bunch of friends sitting around playing pretend with overly complex rulesets.

valadil
2008-07-10, 02:16 PM
For me it's all about the high magic medieval setting. I don't even need there to be other races beside human. I can cut out the weird monsters too. Hell, I don't even have to set foot in a dungeon. Cutting magic (unless its part of the plot) would make it stop being D&D. Advancing technology would stop it from being D&D - as soon as there's gunpowder I'm done.

nagora
2008-07-10, 02:19 PM
Classes which represent archetypal character types from literature.

Vancian spell-casting.

Hit points rather than detailed injury effects.

3-18 ability scores (Str Int Wis Con Dex Cha).

Humanocentric world - humans are the dominant race and there is a reason for that within the rules.

Objective alignments.

Dungeons, and Dragons.

Specialised rules for specific situations (rather than a generic system that tries to cover everything).

Experience levels that define your character's abilities rather than skill levels.

Encounters which kill reckless characters.

A sense of danger and adventure.

Funny dice, including the d12!

I think that's everything I would say makes D&D D&D. Houseruling these things is not bad, it's just makes the game something other than D&D as its designers intended, IMO.

KoDT69
2008-07-10, 02:25 PM
(1) Rules written by Gary Gygax (or, at the very least, in a Gygaxian style).

(2) Vancian magic

(3) LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, and CE alignments

(4) Percentile strength

(5) Negative armor classes

What? You think that's Funny? Roll for initiative MONKEY-BOY!!! :smallbiggrin:

I made one up myself too... I don't want your stinking THAC0! :smallamused:

I'm a huge fan of the AD&D 2nd Edition (minus Skills and Powers :smallyuk:)

Any game with the funky dice, random silly monsters of every type and combination, and lots of charts and/or formulas to calculate stuff. As long as there is some way to punt a goblin or use a bag of gold coins as a weapon I'm happy.

Lady Tialait
2008-07-10, 02:26 PM
Cheetoes, it's not D&D without them.

Nu
2008-07-10, 02:31 PM
Killing things and taking their stuff. That is the core of DnD in my opinion.

Woot Spitum
2008-07-10, 02:35 PM
3-6 random strangers meet in a tavern and agree to work together towards the goal of killing monsters and taking their stuff.

There should also be snacks.

Premier
2008-07-10, 02:46 PM
I find it funny how some people are classifying the original Dungeons and Dragons game as "not essentially D&D":


# Playable Races: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings.
# Playable Classes: Fighters, Clerics, Magic-users, Thieves (or their equivalent names & feel).

The Thief class was not present in the very first D&D book, it was only added later. Also, up to the publication of AD&D 1E (and even in the non-Advanced product line running concurrently with it), race and class were not two separate things. "Elf", "Dwarf" or "Halfling" were classes unto themselves.


a game system that is rather crunch-heavy, focusing on mechanics to drive events in the game, & assuming that everything in the game world can be represented by numerical statistics

Early D&D was anything but crunch-heavy.


* The use of classes, skills, and feats to advance characters that need progressive advancement, notably PCs.

Class, sure, but skills and feats - or rather, similar concepts under different names - only started to appear in the AD&D era.


LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, and CE alignments

That only first appeared in AD&D 1E.




Anyway, here's my list:

- D&D is a game a group of characters with complementary abilities cooperating to achieve a goal.
- All characters are literary, mythological and/or historical archetypes.
- The Dungeon Master is an arbiter, rather than a judge or referee. The ultimate right to settle disputes and make rules-related decisions is vested in his person, rather than in a rulebook.
- D&D encourages houseruling.
- Classes and levels.
- D&D takes it's inspiration from (predominantly) European mythology and history, as well as a number of fantasy genres including but not limited to high fantasy, sword & sorcery, sword & planet, etc.. Any other, significantly different sources of inspiration must take a back-seat in defining the game's sensibilities (with the exception of "gimmicky" settings like Oriental Adventures, etc.).
- Within the limitations described in the first point, D&D caters to a variety of playing styles, including but not limited to dungeoneering (and its subset Megadungeons), wilderness or city adventures, intrigue and politics, etc..


Of course, several of those firmly exclude anything by WotC. Not an accidental oversight. :P

CarpeGuitarrem
2008-07-10, 02:52 PM
The Order of the Stick. Without it, there is no D&D.:smalltongue:

On a more serious note, though...

I think that the dice-based system is core to D&D. You have to have different dice, and plenty of them. Particularly the d20. No d20, it's not D&D. That's also probably the only die that you could get by with if you were to make D&D a one-die system.

You have to have a variety of classes. Not necessarily a variety of races, but a number of classes are a must. On top of that, you have to have roles, which the classes help to fill.

You have to have the team element in there. If you're not adventurers working together, where's the D&D?

And it should have some element of quest.

JaxGaret
2008-07-10, 02:58 PM
D&D is a swords and sorcery d20 RPG with an iconic emphasis on, obviously, dragons and dungeons.

That's it.

Indon
2008-07-10, 02:59 PM
Ten-foot poles and a use for them.

Tengu
2008-07-10, 03:02 PM
The close-mindedness of people who write general RPG stuff here amuses me greatly. Except that by greatly, I mean a bit, and by amuses, I mean annoys. DND is not the only RPG, you know!

And what makes DND for me?

A fantasy setting.
The use of the six stats.
D20 being the main die.
A class system.
A level system.
Magic items.
Classic spells: Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning, Cure X Wounds.
Classic DND monsters.
A fanbase that goes "I don't need other games, I have DND" way too often. :smalltongue:

mcv
2008-07-10, 03:03 PM
To me, 3e was actually not (A)D&D anymore. It was a completely different system that broke the line of accummulating mess that were D&D, AD&D and AD&D2. I think it's a good thing that 3e was not D&D anymore, because it became a much better system. I also think 4e is not D&D anymore and a completely different game (even fundamentally different from 3e), but it does look like an interesting system, and certainly a more balanced one.


(3) LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, and CE alignments
That wasn't in the original D&D.

mcv
2008-07-10, 03:05 PM
And what makes DND for me?

A fantasy setting.
The use of the six stats.
D20 being the main die.
A class system.
A level system.
Magic items.

Das Schwarze Auge also has all these elements, yet it's a different game. (Or was it 5 stats? I forgot.)

Tengu
2008-07-10, 03:16 PM
But it doesn't have the others, does it? And everyone knows Das Schwarze Auge, being a fantasy game with very old roots, is a DND ripoff anyway.

One of these sentences is not serious.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-10, 03:43 PM
And what makes DND for me?

A fantasy setting.
The use of the six stats.
D20 being the main die.
A class system.
A level system.
Magic items.
Classic spells: Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning, Cure X Wounds.
Classic DND monsters.


This is pretty close to what it is for me. To be more specific:

A fantasy setting with a quasi mideval flavor.
The use of the six stats; Str, Dex, Con, Wis, Cha, Int
D20 being the main die.
Needing a full set of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 to use every option in the system (even if the d12 is unloved)
A class system with classes that can perform both supernatural (magical) and mundane (non-magical) feats of derring-do.
A level system.
Magic items: specifically: Bag of Holding, Sphere of Annhilation, Deck of Many Things.
Classic spells: Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning, Cure X Wounds.
Classic DND monsters or monster flavors, specifically: Beholders, Great Wyrm Red Dragons, Mindflayers and sneaky trap-building Kobolds.
Traps

Jayabalard
2008-07-10, 03:45 PM
I find it funny how some people are classifying the original Dungeons and Dragons game as "not essentially D&D":OD&D existed for a handful of years before those things were added. Everything on that list that you're pointing out has been part of the game for 30+ years. It's pretty understandable that some people think of those part of the most fundamental set of "What is D&D)

tbarrie
2008-07-10, 08:47 PM
OD&D existed for a handful of years before those things were added. Everything on that list that you're pointing out has been part of the game for 30+ years. It's pretty understandable that some people think of those part of the most fundamental set of "What is D&D)

Many of the things on that list were not, in fact, part of the game that TSR sold under the name "Dungeons & Dragpns" throughout the entire 1980s and into the '90s. So I think Premier's point is pretty solid.

(Although he is mistaken regarding Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling being classes in original D&D. I believe that was only true in boxed set D&D. In the original rules, the three classes were Fighting Men, Magc-users, and Clerics. Dwarves and Halflings could only be Fighting Men; Elves could choose each adventure whether to be a Fighting Man or a Magic User.)

Raum
2008-07-10, 09:04 PM
So the question is, what, in its purest form, is D&D? Or, in other words, is there anything that WotC (or if someone were to buy the D&D brand away from them) could remove from a future edition of the game that would immediately make you think it was no longer D&D?
<snip>
What things are integral to D&D in your mind?It's sold with some version of a trademarked Dungeons and Dragons logo on the cover.

Seriously. Or were you meaning to ask what aspects of a particular genre (as opposed to brand) are desirable? D&D is just a brand after all. As other have pointed out, many of the lists either fit other brands' systems or exclude one or more versions of D&D...or both.

Yahzi
2008-07-10, 09:05 PM
Levels and classes.

Not that I particularly like that mechanic, but it's what defines D&D for me.

Jayabalard
2008-07-10, 09:07 PM
All of them were in the game Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, sold by TSR through the 70s, 80s, and 90s... TSR's Flagship game at the time. They also happen to be in the game Dungeons and Dragons, the streamlined successor to 2nd edition AD&D which was sold by WOTC in the current decade. Also, I'm pretty sure that all of them were initially release through the official magazines for Dungeons and Dragons during those decades.


many of the lists either fit other brands' systems or exclude one or more versions of D&D...or both.I don't see a problem with that. For some people 3e D&D isn't D&D; for some AD&D wasn't. It's not like the OP is trying to debate something that anyone considers factual.

Baidas Kebante
2008-07-10, 10:02 PM
I find it funny how some people are classifying the original Dungeons and Dragons game as "not essentially D&D"

Superman's defining characteristics (flying, heat vision, etc) are not the characteristics he was originally given. But they are an important part of what he grew into and have been a part of his essence for long enough that they are what fans would consider important aspects of him. If you were to take away any of those non-original characteristics, every fan would agree you'd be taking away something that defines him.

That said:

- six attributes
- saves
- absurdly long spell list
- amalgam of mythologies represented in a monsters compendium
- +X magic weapons and armour
- alignments

Grynning
2008-07-10, 10:16 PM
The close-mindedness of people who write general RPG stuff here amuses me greatly. Except that by greatly, I mean a bit, and by amuses, I mean annoys. DND is not the only RPG, you know!
*snip*
A fanbase that goes "I don't need other games, I have DND" way too often. :smalltongue:

There are games besides D&D? :smallconfused:

I'm kidding, of course, I play WoD and M&M, and I've tried quite a few more, but really, you have to admit that D&D is *THE* tabletop RPG. It's a highly recognizable cultural icon. It's what every non-roleplayer thinks of when they think of roleplaying, and it's what most roleplayers think of too. It's the first, and to many, still the best.

As for what makes D&D for me...dwarves who get drunk and smash things with axes. Halfling thieves who pickpocket the wrong guy in town and get the party thrown in jail. Bards who hit on the princess while she's trying to explain the quest (made slightly disturbing by the fact that it's usually a rather unattractive dude playing the part). A die coming up on a natural 1 and someone groaning, while another one comes up 20 and someone cheers.

To me, D&D isn't a clearly defined set of terms or rules...it's just a feeling. A mystique, if you will. It's something I love, and it's something that brings my friends and I together. As long as there's monsters to kill, traps to set off, and loot and experience to be had, we'll be there.

Mark Hall
2008-07-10, 10:36 PM
D&D is a set of rules. BECMI (by which I'm generalizing all of oD&D), 1e, and 2e were all fairly interchangeable, especially at the lower levels; I've run 2nd edition characters through Keep on the Borderlands, a BECMI. I can use 1st edition stuff with almost no conversion for 2nd edition. PO stretched these rules mightily; I'll free admit that my version of 3rd edition wasn't really D&D by these standards, but neither do I consider 3.x or 4e to be D&D; they diverged too much from the mechanics that made D&D D&D.

Later games were D&DINO.

kjones
2008-07-20, 11:06 AM
Magic items with names in the style of "blank of blank".

fleet
2008-07-20, 11:43 AM
A skill based game in which luck is the single greatest skill.

Above all, i think dnd, is a game where people get together, and play a dice based role playing game, with a good chance of creating utterly absurd situations. If you can't get lucky and kill a dragon in a single blow, or accidentally fail to hit a wall with an axe. It's not dnd. And I'm not laughing.

karmuno
2008-07-20, 01:55 PM
What makes it D&D for me:

Main mechanic for combat revolving around a d20
Wandering monsters
Fighters, Clerics, Magic-Users, and Thieves
Flexible humans, limited demi-humans
Low-level fragility
Ability scores from 3 to 18
Limited spell-casting
Saving throws
Level-based system


But really, all of these are secondary to the overall feel of the game. AD&D and OD&D didn't take themselves very seriously, as evidenced by the cartoons that appear throughout the 1E core books. Also, the rules were fairly rigid, and most characters stuck to one specialty. In my opinion, 3E was still D&D, and it was a much better system than the earlier editions, even though I'd much rather sit down and read 1E books. 4E, I think, is stretching the name very far, possibly to the point of breakage. It seems to me that just about every character has some type of uber-cool ability with multiple attacks at 1st level, which doesn't really fit into the fragile feel that earlier incarnations had.

Actually, I think the purest form of D&D is HackMaster. It captures the not-too-serious feel of 1E, and actually features a system that, to me, is much more fun to play with than WotC's vision of the game.

Ralfarius
2008-07-20, 03:36 PM
I think I actually covered this thread before it was even made, back in the 'This is the Problem with fourth edition' thread.

I'm not sure about these supposed grand expectations people have that 4E isn't going to fulfill, but here's what my expectations have always been for Dungeons & Dragons, regardless of system (bold for particular importance):

- Dragons to kill, potentially of various colours
- Dungeons to crawl
- A twenty-sided die somewhere in there
- Arcane magic
- Divine magic
- Hit points
- AC
- Good times with my friends spent gathered around some sort of table, making use of the above elements to weave stories that are interesting and fun

Really, everything else is just a matter of which rules system I prefer. If I play AD&D, 3.X, 4E, or even some horrible amalgam of these systems, I'm still playing D&D. I mean, how many people homebrew numerous rules, spells, classes, equipment, and so on? They're still playing D&D, aren't they? I don't think there's much difference between them playing their own version of the game to people playing 4E.

Myatar_Panwar
2008-07-20, 04:11 PM
Lets see:

The full set of 7 dice being put to use
Fireball's and Lightning Bolts
Dragons and other Mythical Creatures
Dark and damp dungeons deep underground
Traps
At least one of each archetype: Wizard, Cleric, Rogue, Fighter
The six pure attributes
A bunch of friends sitting at the table messing around
Silly roleplaying antics

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-07-20, 04:22 PM
The main parts of D&D are the dice, the d20 in particular, the odd monsters, the party based play, the classic party, the goal and treasure based adventuring, etc.

tbarrie
2008-07-21, 10:15 AM
All of them were in the game Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, sold by TSR through the 70s, 80s, and 90s... TSR's Flagship game at the time. They also happen to be in the game Dungeons and Dragons, the streamlined successor to 2nd edition AD&D which was sold by WOTC in the current decade.

Mostly true, but kind of beside the point. Nobody is arguing that the absence of these features is essential to the definition of D&D, after all.

(If you're wondering about the "mostly", one of the items on the original list referred to the use of skills and feats to represent character progression. You'd have to stretch pretty hard to argue that any edition prior to third satisfies that.)


I don't see a problem with that. For some people 3e D&D isn't D&D; for some AD&D wasn't. It's not like the OP is trying to debate something that anyone considers factual.

Sure, it's subjective. But suppose the subject under discussion was "What does the word 'car' mean to you?", and somebody posted that to them, a "car" was a vehicle, with at most one wheel, primarily used for transporting eels. Hey, it's subjective, you can't really say they're wrong. At the same time, I don't think other posters would be out of line if they pointed out that this definition was a little odd.

Tormsskull
2008-07-21, 11:03 AM
(If you're wondering about the "mostly", one of the items on the original list referred to the use of skills and feats to represent character progression. You'd have to stretch pretty hard to argue that any edition prior to third satisfies that.)


It did?




Using a 20-sided die.
Playable Races: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings.
Playable Classes: Fighters, Clerics, Magic-users, Thieves (or their equivalent names & feel).
Magic (in general) and Magical Items.
Magic Missile.



Which item on the original list are you talking about?



Sure, it's subjective. But suppose the subject under discussion was "What does the word 'car' mean to you?", and somebody posted that to them, a "car" was a vehicle, with at most one wheel, primarily used for transporting eels. Hey, it's subjective, you can't really say they're wrong. At the same time, I don't think other posters would be out of line if they pointed out that this definition was a little odd.

This seems very tangenital. You are trying to disprove a point by using an incredibly extreme example.

I started playing D&D in the late eighties under the Red Boxed set. That wasn't the original D&D obviously, but it was the first I was exposed to. That's why the question wasn't a factual one, i.e. "What is D&D", it was a subjective one, "What is D&D to you" or to quote myself to be exact:



What things are integral to D&D in your mind?

Destro_Yersul
2008-07-21, 11:52 AM
there absolutely must be a d4. It's my favourite dice of all time, not counting my actual d100, which I have because it's AWESOME.

There must also be dragons, loot, wizards and taverns. And swords. lots of swords.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-07-21, 02:53 PM
So, these are the things I love to see in my D&D games. Some are long gone, probably never to return. Some seem here to stay.


The six attributes, from 3-18, that stayed the same without magic.
The Nine Alignments, or No alignment at all.
Traps, overpowered Monsters, Cursed Items, and Healthy Paranoia.
Horizontal over Vertical progression.
Glaives, Voulges, Guisarmes, Glaive-Guisarmes, Glaive-Voulges, Glaive-Voulge-Guisarmes-Glaives, Glaive-Glaive-Glaive-Glaive-Glaive-Glaive-Baked Beans-Glaives
Ten Foot Poles
Vancian casting, dadgummit.
101 Useful things to do to the Party Halfling.
Bar-be-que flavored potato chips.
Beer.

Prophaniti
2008-07-21, 11:17 PM
You know, it's tempting to raise my voice with those who say it's not D&D without d12s or vancian casting, and from an absolute standpoint I do feel that way.

Really though, when saturday rolls around, no matter who's campaign we do, be it futuristic, fantasy, using d20 system, WFRP, or anything else... I still call it D&D night, and when I call everyone, I ask "Can you make it to D&D this weekend?".

So, to be perfectly honest, D&D, to me, is the game that started it all, that got me and so many other people interested in table-top roleplaying. It's the game that got me and my friends (and some family) to get together every week and have fun. Regardless of what forms the name may take in the future, and regardless of whether I play with those forms or older ones, it's all D&D to me. Even when it's not.

The_Werebear
2008-07-21, 11:55 PM
To me, DND must have


A primarily d20 based system that uses all seven dice.
A mechanical (crunch) and a roleplaying (fluff) aspect to the rules, with the emphasis on a mechanically sound game.
A class based system that uses skills, feats, and class features to mark advancement
Enough flexibility in the rules to model several different types of games to some degree (I.E., E6 and other setups like it, as well as campaigns with different focuses, like military, diplomatic, spying, or smash and grab.)
Use of Magic

Tallis
2008-07-22, 01:45 AM
Dragons
Magic(divine and arcane)
Classes based on heroic archetypes (wizard, fighter, cleric, rogue or equivalents)
Level advancement through experience points.
XP comes mainly from killing monsters
magic items (+1 sword is a must)
humans, elves, dwarves, halflings
funny dice
rolling d20 to hit
growing from a slightly above average joe to great power
that feeling of adventure, danger, and discovery

To me 3.X stretched the limits of what is D&D. 4e breaks past those limits. I have almost finished reading the rulebooks, but have not yet played it. My first impression is that it is a balanced and probably fun system, but not D&D. I look forward to playing it, but I don't see how it can duplicate the feeling I loved so much when I first started playing D&D.

Dairun Cates
2008-07-22, 01:56 AM
There should be a dungeon.
And a dragon

That's all I ask, baby

Not a fan of Eberron then? That's more like labs and constructs. Just not as catchy.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-22, 02:02 AM
To me 3.X stretched the limits of what is D&D. 4e breaks past those limits. I have almost finished reading the rulebooks, but have not yet played it. My first impression is that it is a balanced and probably fun system, but not D&D. I look forward to playing it, but I don't see how it can duplicate the feeling I loved so much when I first started playing D&D.

What's missing from 4e that's on your list?

(note: I'm not saying this as admonishment, I'm genuinely curious what makes folks tick in their preferences)

selim nahanahs
2008-07-22, 03:16 AM
the one key thing D&D needs....imagination:smallsmile:

Ralfarius
2008-07-22, 10:09 AM
To me 3.X stretched the limits of what is D&D. 4e breaks past those limits. I have almost finished reading the rulebooks, but have not yet played it. My first impression is that it is a balanced and probably fun system, but not D&D. I look forward to playing it, but I don't see how it can duplicate the feeling I loved so much when I first started playing D&D.
I'd like to reiterate The New Bruceski's question. 4E seems to actually contain every single thing on your list, as far as I can tell.

Tormsskull
2008-07-22, 10:15 AM
I'd like to reiterate The New Bruceski's question. 4E seems to actually contain every single thing on your list, as far as I can tell.

The only thing I see on the list that I personally don't believe is in 4e is:



growing from a slightly above average joe to great power


In 4e you start off far above slightly average Joe. NPCs are a joke compared to PCs.

In addition, I think 4e really reduced the likelihood of a character dying (healing surges, being able to drop to negative bloodied value before dying, no save or dies, etc.), which for some players will remove:



that feeling of adventure, danger, and discovery

ericgrau
2008-07-22, 11:01 AM
The thing is, other fantasy RPG's have 75% of the elements that D&D also has. Heck, they usually have both dungeons and dragons

How about we screw the list for a second here and just look at the unique D&D elements? 4e keeps most d20 rolls similar (AB/AC/etc.), even the d20 system added in 3e is just an extension of the old. Saves were changed a bit, but that's been done before. Spells were overhauled. Special abilities were overhauled. Skills were just modified somewhat, definately been done before. Or basically:
1. What do I do each round? Completely overhauled.
2. How do I determine the results of such mechanically? What are my "numbers"/stats? Pretty much the same.

Tallis
2008-07-22, 10:54 PM
What's missing from 4e that's on your list?

(note: I'm not saying this as admonishment, I'm genuinely curious what makes folks tick in their preferences)

The only thing missing from the list is the ability to play someone who is average. I like playing the low end of the spectrum and becoming a hero (or villain depending on the game). Just from reading it I also doubt that the top levels would be the equal of a high level wizard in earlier editions. I feel like they've sacrificed flexibility and the high and low ends of the power spectrum for balance.

The vast changes they've made also change the feel of the game for me. I'm not saying that 4e is a bad game. It seems much better balanced than older versions, but it just doesn't feel like D&D to me anymore. Wizards in particular seem rather bland compared to earlier versions.

4e does have some very good ideas. As I've been reading it I've been brainstorming ways to make 3.5 better balanced without losing the feel of it. I will probably end up playing a heavily modified 3.X if I can find a group in my area that's willing to try it out.

Merlin the Tuna
2008-07-22, 11:09 PM
In addition, I think 4e really reduced the likelihood of a character dying (healing surges, being able to drop to negative bloodied value before dying, no save or dies, etc.), which for some players will remove:My experience with KotS was generally the opposite. 3E combat tended to be not very distressing until the last one of the day, since there was no rationing of abilities/healing/etc. The introduction of the healing surge changed that structure to provide PCs with plenty of long-term stamina but relatively little short-term healing. I imagine that can change as the levels go up, but I felt a lot more tension in the average level 1 encounter than I had for most of the encounters I went through in 3.5.

We also tended to not involve a lot of Wizards in 3.5 though, specifically because Save or Dies are pretty intensely boring.

Doresain
2008-07-23, 01:16 AM
slaying your enemies and turning them into mindless shambling corpses to do your evil bidding

nagora
2008-07-23, 04:14 AM
It seems much better balanced than older versions
By "older versions" do you in fact mean "3rd edition"? Let's get this straight here: 3rd edition was a disaster of a mess of a pig's ear of a shambles of a rule set which never worked - it didn't work when it was introduced and so 3.5 came out, and 3.5 has become epitome of an unbalanced ruleset which had never been play-tested properly.

3e is not D&D, it is a load of badly thought-out rules and mistaken interpretations of previous editions slapped together by three designers who had no real interest in in D&D and just wanted to see their pet notions in print form for a large audience. Calling it D&D was simply false advertising.

I'm very tired of every edition being tarred with the same brush as bloody 3e.

Yes, 4e probably is better than 3e. But so is poking yourself with a pointed stick.:smallfurious::smallfurious::smallfurious: *Damn, now my head hurts*

Charity
2008-07-23, 05:30 AM
In fairness AD&D was not exactly balanced either, it was not such an issue back then for whatever reason, but a 15th level magicuser would eat a 15th level fighter for breakfast even back in those days.
At low levels magicusers were miserably under powered, if you failed your know spell rolls you could end up without even an offensive spell but later on they had exactly the same planetary orbit changing spells, and even the damage dealing spells were effective as HP were very much lower than 3e.

Sorry Nagora but I don't buy that AD&D was balanced, love it though you might it really wasn't.

Tormsskull
2008-07-23, 05:35 AM
My experience with KotS was generally the opposite.

Do you mean the feeling was opposite, or did you actually have characters die in KotS? I way I am reading the rules, dieing should be incredibly rare in 4e unless everyone wipes (which should be incredibly rare in and of its self).

Charity
2008-07-23, 05:48 AM
KotS is famous for TPK's if anything it is too deadly.
Irontooth is apparantly bloody deadly, as is the final encounter.
I am avoiding looking at threads that detail why as I am due to play soon, but if you check out EnWorld there are threads there.

RelentlessImp
2008-07-23, 06:02 AM
1. Humans, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Dwarves
2. Magic Missile
3. A dungeon
4. A dragon somewhere along the way
5. Danger
6. Excitement
7. Treasure
8. Crazed wizards/clerics/druids/whathaveyous and a MacGuffin that threatens the very fabric of existence.
9. Save the world at least once.
10. Fun people to play with.

That's what my D&D requires. *nods seriously*

mistformsquirrl
2008-07-23, 06:12 AM
For it to be D&D - these things must be true (Imo!)

1) There must be, somewhere within the world, both a Dungeon and a Dragon. The Dragon need not live within the Dungeon, nor need the Dungeon exist within the Dragon; but they both need to exist 'somewhere'. The players don't even have to go near either; but both must exist.

2) There must be insane monsters of some variety; at least a few of which are utterly hilarious (intentionally or otherwise). Magmin 3.0e portrait anyone? >.>

3) Regardless of the actual character class names, you must have the ability to assemble a party with a Thief, Fighter, Mage and Cleric. You don't have to HAVE that party - but it must be available.

4) A d20 must be the 'die of choice'; and there must be a use for at least the vast majority of die in your die bag. Because even the d12 needs love.

5) I must be able to say something about the game to another player, and have a 3rd non-player who is listening give me an utterly baffled look; as though I just spoke some alien language. (Today I mentioned to my brother "Hey, if I use a Bastard Sword with a Small character, do I need Exotic Weapon Proficiency, or can I swing it two-handed as a Martial weapon?"

My mom who was in the room at the time actually cracked up laughing, cause it was so far out of her experience. >.> (No xp jokes will be made over this... though I am tempted.)

6) There's gotta be xp, levels, and loots (and probably lutes)

If its got those things, its D&D, regardless of what's actually under the hood. At least if you ask me.

Cheesegear
2008-07-23, 07:19 AM
For it to be 'true' D&D;
It must be accused of being synonymous - or at least leading to - worshiping the Devil at least once by a misguided group, or member of the public who are woefully uninformed of the true mechanics of the game.

It must also be accused of being responsible for violent behaviour in young adults / teenagers at least six times by the aforementioned uninformed group.

It must have a fanbase that accrue more negative attention than the game itself.
ex; "Hi, I play D&D." when said to a non-D&Der, should get a negative reaction towards the person saying it, not towards the game itself.

It must be unbalanced so that people can complain about it.
It must be different to previous systems so that people can complain about it.
It must be similar to previous - or other - systems so that people can complain about it.
It must not be compatible with any previous edition so that people can complain about it.

It must include Gnomes.
It must include daemons/fiends/devils (Otherwise it can't be synonymous with devil-worship)
It must include celestials (Which the "D&D is devil-worship" crowd must always overlook)
It must include Mind Flayers...Err...Squid Thingies.
It must include at least five types of dragon, metallic and chromatic varieties.
It must include a God for almost anything you can imagine.
It must include Tarrasques.
It must include Divine and Arcane magic. And Arcane casters can't wear armour.
It must include Gnomes.
It must include six - and only six - 'primary' stats.
d20 should be used from almost everything (THAC0 or BAB)
Non-Weapon Proficiencies, or Skills should be in attendence
Goblins, Kobolds, Xvarts, Gibberlings must all come in swarms. And be easy to kill. (Yeah, Xvarts.)
Must include Bards, Druids and Paladins
Must have a Great Wheel
It must include Gnomes.
Must have an iconic character who shrugs of the evils of his race who has two swords and cat, that everyone wants to copy at least once.
Something so weird has to be in the game that there is no other explanation except for "Wizards did it."
Humans must be able to procreate with anything even remotely humanoid.

I think that's all I've got.

Oh...And Owlbears. Can't forget Owlbears.
It must include Gnomes.

EDIT: It also needs a nine-alignment Good-Evil/Law-Chaos axis. That must be debated over until the end of time.

Jimp
2008-07-23, 09:01 AM
It has to be a tabletop role playing game.
So far I have yet to be disappointed by any edition's ability to deliver that need. In my experiences the fun of D&D has been roughly 85% players and in game time and less than 10% mechanics. The remainder varies with the fun of the setting used for the game.

Ralfarius
2008-07-23, 09:07 AM
It must include Gnomes.
Phew... It's a good thing they added gnomes as a playable race in the Monster Manual for 4E. That was a close one.

Also... Gibberlings and Xvarts? Does that mean only Forgotten Realms is D&D to you?

AKA_Bait
2008-07-23, 10:30 AM
By "older versions" do you in fact mean "3rd edition"? Let's get this straight here: 3rd edition was a disaster of a mess of a pig's ear of a shambles of a rule set which never worked - it didn't work when it was introduced and so 3.5 came out, and 3.5 has become epitome of an unbalanced ruleset which had never been play-tested properly.

3e is not D&D, it is a load of badly thought-out rules and mistaken interpretations of previous editions slapped together by three designers who had no real interest in in D&D and just wanted to see their pet notions in print form for a large audience. Calling it D&D was simply false advertising.

I'm very tired of every edition being tarred with the same brush as bloody 3e.

Yes, 4e probably is better than 3e. But so is poking yourself with a pointed stick.:smallfurious::smallfurious::smallfurious: *Damn, now my head hurts*

Wow man... just... wow. Take a deep breath.

Jolly Steve
2008-07-23, 12:18 PM
Colonic massages.

Admittedly, some people have told me that I'm not playing properly.

Phil Lucky Cat
2008-07-23, 12:22 PM
Wow man... just... wow. Take a deep breath.

That it is not WoW. That it is not "hunt 6 wild boars", "collect 10 red spores", "fetch 3 artifacts of true knowing", or any bloody thing like that.

That it is "you are this person in this world and you need to do something profound with your amazing character who is special for some reason that actually makes narrative sense" rather than "You are a 16.57 level Dark Mancer of Upgrade Feature 22 on a mission to defeat boss monster 16 : XYGATEHERIX(tm)."

That it is a number of people being together on an amazing adventure. That I don't see pixels in front of me when you describe the situation. That my imagination doesn't ever become pixelated. That my minature remains my minature, rather than the actual representation of the character in my vision. Or some cartoonised version of the vision. Except from OOTS, of course. :smallcool: That is my ideal version of D&D.

marjan
2008-07-23, 12:44 PM
Colonic massages.

Admittedly, some people have told me that I'm not playing properly.

Or maybe everyone else are doing it wrong. :smalltongue:

As far as I'm concerned, until you loot your first corpse, you're not playing D&D, no matter what your GM says.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-23, 12:53 PM
That it is not WoW. That it is not "hunt 6 wild boars", "collect 10 red spores", "fetch 3 artifacts of true knowing", or any bloody thing like that.


Jeebus. Has it really gotten this bad? A man can't even use an exclamation, properly capitalized to be a word rather than an acronym, without folks assuming it is a comparison bettween one table top system and an online RPG?

For the record:

–interjection 1.
(an exclamation of surprise, wonder, pleasure, or the like): Wow! Look at that!


I was just surprised by the venom in Nagora's post since he's usually not that hot under the collar. However, this reply to my observation only serves to reiterate the need for everyone to calm down. This isn't a debate thread after all...

Phil Lucky Cat
2008-07-23, 01:08 PM
. However, this reply to my observation only serves to reiterate the need for everyone to calm down. This isn't a debate thread after all...

I did actually extrapolate "WoW" from your post, yes, but I was using it as a launchpad for my own vision. It's called dramatic irony, or simple opportunism for a rant from your use of the word "wow". Otherwise, yes, you are right. But people should be allowed to be passionate about things, otherwise we wouldn't post to forums, neh?

However, my point stands. THAT'S (see my post above) what I want from my D&D. Not WoW. D&D. With characters that live and breathe. Not just a matrix of numbers and abilities and stats and completed fetch quests. An actual life and story and person in their character. Roleplaying...

AKA_Bait
2008-07-23, 02:30 PM
I did actually extrapolate "WoW" from your post, yes, but I was using it as a launchpad for my own vision. It's called dramatic irony, or simple opportunism for a rant from your use of the word "wow". Otherwise, yes, you are right. But people should be allowed to be passionate about things, otherwise we wouldn't post to forums, neh?

Hint: Dramatic Irony (and irony in general) don't work so well without verbal inflection.


However, my point stands. THAT'S (see my post above) what I want from my D&D. Not WoW. D&D. With characters that live and breathe. Not just a matrix of numbers and abilities and stats and completed fetch quests. An actual life and story and person in their character. Roleplaying...

I must then ask, what separates D&D from other table top roleplaying games in that case? You can have living and breathing characters in GURPS, Exalted, the White Wolf games, and other systems as well. Or so I'm told. :smallbiggrin:

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-07-23, 02:55 PM
...

EDIT: It also needs a nine-alignment Good-Evil/Law-Chaos axis. That must be debated over until the end of time.

See, overall, I'd prefer the nine-axis alignment system in my D&D, if I am using an alignment system at all. I'd sooner do without alignment at all than with the linear, 5-point system that 4e has in place. It never really worked for me in Warhammer 1st edition (and is notably absent in 2nd edition), and it doesn't work for me in Dungeons & Dragons, 4e. It's far too simplistic in my view, and lacks the breadth that the nine-axis had. It's changing a 2-dimensional system into a simple 1-dimensional system.

Ganurath
2008-07-23, 03:00 PM
1. Half-orcs.

TheOOB
2008-07-23, 03:18 PM
I suppose I'll put up my list, it's the trendy thing to do

-Class and Level based system(important, few good PnP games use this any more)
-High fantasy setting
-Hit Point system
-Basic thematic elements(fighters, clerics, mages, theieves, dragons, dungeons, magic items, etc)
-Using multiple types of dice
-Tactical wargaming-esq combat system.

arguskos
2008-07-23, 03:21 PM
Might as well throw my list out there (doesn't cost me anything, and might amuse someone):

1. Gnomes
2. Nine-point Alignments
3. Wizards, with pointy hats and overly large spellbooks.
4. Turnips. Don't ask.
5. Hoighty-toighty elves who like nature, magic, and hate humanity and orcs.
6. d20, six stats, vancian casting, etc...
7. I'm sure there's something else, but I can't place it atm. >_<

-argus

nagora
2008-07-23, 05:42 PM
I was just surprised by the venom in Nagora's post since he's usually not that hot under the collar.
I was being a drama queen for a comedic effect, but I have genuinely noticed a lot of people criticising 3e-specific issues with "previous editions did xxx, 4e is better than previous editions because it fixes xxx", and it is wearing a bit thin.

On general reflection I think that Classes and Vancian Casting are the indispensable "core values" of D&D, although there are a fair few "nice to haves" like the objective alignment system. 2e and 3e overloaded and obscured these core items with lots of other stuff rather than throwing them out. In particular, skills badly muddled the workings of the classes.

Deepblue706
2008-07-23, 05:52 PM
What things are integral to D&D in your mind?

Six ability scores, a fictional basis for determining many of the dimensions and much of the overall usability of a large quantity of armors and weaponry, a rigid class and leveling system, dumb skill systems, lots of stupid-looking monsters that can be killed without calling to question anyone's ethics, and only dying because the dice hate you.

Starbuck_II
2008-07-23, 06:04 PM
Hint: Dramatic Irony (and irony in general) don't work so well without verbal inflection.


Wait, what in the world is verbal inflection? Is it contagious?

cheesecake
2008-07-23, 06:15 PM
I had always though that at its core, Dungeons and Dragons was you and a bunch of friends in the basement of someone's house, making fun of each other for/while killing orcs. Everything else is window dressing.

- Ryan Sousa, somewhat paraphrased

I couldn't of said it better myself! My fondest memories of D&D all start with "we were in my parents basement.....

karmuno
2008-07-23, 06:49 PM
After giving it some more thought earlier today, I think I may have to add Vancian casting to my list as well. This is about the one thing that all pre-4E editions of D&D have had in common, and many of my house rules for all editions revolve around somehow taking advantage of Vancian casting. Now, I'm trying to make a sort of houseruled 3.x/4E devilchild, and the magic systems are totally incompatible. With the new powers, it is very hard to carry over the flavor of a Vancian magic system, especially if you have, say, a homebrew setting that you want to run future, 4E adventures in.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Powers system, and I think it is a Very Good Thing, just not D&D.

Covered In Bees
2008-07-23, 07:20 PM
By "older versions" do you in fact mean "3rd edition"? Let's get this straight here: 3rd edition was a disaster of a mess of a pig's ear of a shambles of a rule set which never worked - it didn't work when it was introduced and so 3.5 came out, and 3.5 has become epitome of an unbalanced ruleset which had never been play-tested properly.

C'mon, don't even go there. AD&D intentionally unbalanced itself by rewarding players who rolled high stats even further. 2E had gaping balance issues everyone knew about--or are you really going to try and argue that a level 1 wizard is "balanced" because, what, at level 20 he'll rock the house? That's not balance, that's seesawing imbalance.

Pic related to wackiness in AD&D (and while we're at it, you can't tell me that rolling a falcon follower is balanced with rolling a treant, werebear, or Pegasus follower).

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i245/mgorinev/ADDRangerStupid.jpg

Tallis
2008-07-23, 07:40 PM
By "older versions" do you in fact mean "3rd edition"? Let's get this straight here: 3rd edition was a disaster of a mess of a pig's ear of a shambles of a rule set which never worked - it didn't work when it was introduced and so 3.5 came out, and 3.5 has become epitome of an unbalanced ruleset which had never been play-tested properly.

3e is not D&D, it is a load of badly thought-out rules and mistaken interpretations of previous editions slapped together by three designers who had no real interest in in D&D and just wanted to see their pet notions in print form for a large audience. Calling it D&D was simply false advertising.

I'm very tired of every edition being tarred with the same brush as bloody 3e.

Yes, 4e probably is better than 3e. But so is poking yourself with a pointed stick.:smallfurious::smallfurious::smallfurious: *Damn, now my head hurts*

By older editions I, in fact, mean older editions. All of them. D&D classes have never been balanced. 3e just made he problem worse by standardizing xp across the classes and letting all classes make multiple attacks. If you read my first post you'll see that I said I felt 3e stretched the limits of what is D&D for me. I started playing with OD&D, then moved to AD&D and have tried evey edition up to 4e.

I also did not say I like 4e better, I said it was better balanced. I choose to play it before making more of a judgement about it's value.

Tallis
2008-07-23, 07:47 PM
For it to be 'true' D&D;
It must be accused of being synonymous - or at least leading to - worshiping the Devil at least once by a misguided group, or member of the public who are woefully uninformed of the true mechanics of the game.

It must also be accused of being responsible for violent behaviour in young adults / teenagers at least six times by the aforementioned uninformed group.

It must have a fanbase that accrue more negative attention than the game itself.
ex; "Hi, I play D&D." when said to a non-D&Der, should get a negative reaction towards the person saying it, not towards the game itself.

It must be unbalanced so that people can complain about it.
It must be different to previous systems so that people can complain about it.
It must be similar to previous - or other - systems so that people can complain about it.
It must not be compatible with any previous edition so that people can complain about it.

It must include Gnomes.
It must include daemons/fiends/devils (Otherwise it can't be synonymous with devil-worship)
It must include celestials (Which the "D&D is devil-worship" crowd must always overlook)
It must include Mind Flayers...Err...Squid Thingies.
It must include at least five types of dragon, metallic and chromatic varieties.
It must include a God for almost anything you can imagine.
It must include Tarrasques.
It must include Divine and Arcane magic. And Arcane casters can't wear armour.
It must include Gnomes.
It must include six - and only six - 'primary' stats.
d20 should be used from almost everything (THAC0 or BAB)
Non-Weapon Proficiencies, or Skills should be in attendence
Goblins, Kobolds, Xvarts, Gibberlings must all come in swarms. And be easy to kill. (Yeah, Xvarts.)
Must include Bards, Druids and Paladins
Must have a Great Wheel
It must include Gnomes.
Must have an iconic character who shrugs of the evils of his race who has two swords and cat, that everyone wants to copy at least once.
Something so weird has to be in the game that there is no other explanation except for "Wizards did it."
Humans must be able to procreate with anything even remotely humanoid.

I think that's all I've got.

Oh...And Owlbears. Can't forget Owlbears.
It must include Gnomes.

EDIT: It also needs a nine-alignment Good-Evil/Law-Chaos axis. That must be debated over until the end of time.

I'm not sure there has ever been an edition of D&D that met all your requirements. AD&D (1e) comes close, but if I remember right multiclassed magic-users and illusionists could wear armor. That's the way we always played it in every group I was in anyway.

Covered In Bees
2008-07-23, 07:54 PM
I'm not sure there has never been an edition of D&D that met all your requirements.
I think that's the point.


AD&D (1e) comes close, but if I remember right multiclassed magic-users and illusionists could wear armor. That's the way we always played it in every group I was in anyway.

1E doesn't have Non-Weapon Proficiencies, etiher, IIRC.


By older editions I, in fact, mean older editions. All of them. D&D classes have never been balanced. 3e just made he problem worse by standardizing xp across the classes and letting all classes make multiple attacks.
Multiple attacks for rogues and standardized XP have nothing to do with 3E's balance problems.

Starbuck_II
2008-07-23, 08:28 PM
Come on, Covered in Bees:
Don't you think the Image of Aragorn calling forth his army of undead bears awesome?!

Wow, I can't believe I never noticed that ability.

Tallis
2008-07-23, 10:14 PM
I think that's the point.



1E doesn't have Non-Weapon Proficiencies, etiher, IIRC.


Multiple attacks for rogues and standardized XP have nothing to do with 3E's balance problems.

1e had secondary skills in core. Non-weapon proficiencies were introduced in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide expansion.

I disagree with you about multiple attacks and xp. They are certainly not the primary causes of imbalance, but they do contribute in my opinion.
In AD&D only the warrior classes got multiple attacks. Now everyone gets them. It may be a minor issue in most cases, but it does give away an ability that had some equalizing effect for fighters, paladins and rangers. i think this becomes even more significant now that rogues can make multiple sneak attacks in one round. Rogues are now in the position of doing much more damage than a fighter can hope to if well played. It has much less effect for mages, since they should be avoiding mele anyway, but there is some small impact.
Varying the xp needed to level was an important balancing factor in older editions. The designers admitted that magic-users were much more powerful than anyone else at high levels. To balance that they made it harder for them to get there. In 3e the xp needed to level was standardized for all classes without taking away any ofthe power that wizards have at high level. An already unbalanced system was thrown even farther out of balance because wizards could now surpass everyone else even more quickly by staying at the same level as the other classes instead of lagging behind.

Helgraf
2008-07-23, 10:30 PM
1e had secondary skills in core. Non-weapon proficiencies were introduced in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide expansion.

I disagree with you about multiple attacks and xp. They are certainly not the primary causes of imbalance, but they do contribute in my opinion.
In AD&D only the warrior classes got multiple attacks. Now everyone gets them. It may be a minor issue in most cases, but it does give away an ability that had some equalizing effect for fighters, paladins and rangers. i think this becomes even more significant now that rogues can make multiple sneak attacks in one round.

Not in 4th ed, they don't. You get to apply your sneak attack damage to _one_ attack per round.

Covered In Bees
2008-07-23, 10:39 PM
1e had secondary skills in core. Non-weapon proficiencies were introduced in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide expansion.

I disagree with you about multiple attacks and xp. They are certainly not the primary causes of imbalance, but they do contribute in my opinion.
In AD&D only the warrior classes got multiple attacks. Now everyone gets them. It may be a minor issue in most cases, but it does give away an ability that had some equalizing effect for fighters, paladins and rangers.
More like "it actually makes the semi-warrior types useful in combat". If Rogues were only able to make one attack in 3E, that'd be terrible (much like stealing 40 cakes, which is as many as four tens).


i think this becomes even more significant now that rogues can make multiple sneak attacks in one round. Rogues are now in the position of doing much more damage than a fighter can hope to if well played.
No, they're not. You want I should crunch the numbers for you? The higher BAB, high STR, two-handed weapon Fighter with Power Attack will . On top of that, the rogue has a lower AC and d6 HD (without the ability to prioritize CON like the Fighter can, too).

A bigger problem is that full attacks take a full round action (and possibly that they're at ever-increasing penalties).


Varying the xp needed to level was an important balancing factor in older editions. The designers admitted that magic-users were much more powerful than anyone else at high levels.
Multiclassing shot this to hell, but that aside, it wasn't a balancing factor like having classes that are balanced at any given level would be. Wizards level slowly... but they're not strong to start with, they're weak and very fragile for quite a few levels. Fighters level quickly, but Weapon Specialization is at least on par with Ranger abilities.


To balance that they made it harder for them to get there. In 3e the xp needed to level was standardized for all classes without taking away any ofthe power that wizards have at high level. An already unbalanced system was thrown even farther out of balance because wizards could now surpass everyone else even more quickly by staying at the same level as the other classes instead of lagging behind.
That's not "balance", that's seesaw imbalance. Suck Now, Awesome Later is in no way the same thing as balance (especially not when you have games that never get to high levels, and others that start there).

The problem is the spells, not the levelling. Arcana Unearthed/Evolved has casters that level 3E-style and cast 3E-style, but are balanced, because what the spells *do*.

Tallis
2008-07-23, 10:57 PM
Not in 4th ed, they don't. You get to apply your sneak attack damage to _one_ attack per round.

I worded that poorly. I was referring to 3.X not 4e.

Tallis
2008-07-23, 11:13 PM
More like "it actually makes the semi-warrior types useful in combat". If Rogues were only able to make one attack in 3E, that'd be terrible (much like stealing 40 cakes, which is as many as four tens).

But it takes away one of the few things that made fighters worthwhile from anything other than a RP standpoint.



No, they're not. You want I should crunch the numbers for you? The higher BAB, high STR, two-handed weapon Fighter with Power Attack will .

I'll take your word for it. Does it apply at all levels?


A bigger problem is that full attacks take a full round action (and possibly that they're at ever-increasing penalties).

Agreed.



Multiclassing shot this to hell, but that aside, it wasn't a balancing factor like having classes that are balanced at any given level would be. Wizards level slowly... but they're not strong to start with, they're weak and very fragile for quite a few levels. Fighters level quickly, but Weapon Specialization is at least on par with Ranger abilities.


That's not "balance", that's seesaw imbalance. Suck Now, Awesome Later is in no way the same thing as balance (especially not when you have games that never get to high levels, and others that start there).

We disagree on the definition of balance. I believe seesaw balance is still a form of balance, though not an ideal one. The earlier editions obviously were not balanced, but at least you had to pay a higher price to get ultimate power later. I admit it doesn't help in games that don't run long. In 3.X you pay the same price for ultimate power as you do to hit someone with a stick 4 times a round.


The problem is the spells, not the levelling. Arcana Unearthed/Evolved has casters that level 3E-style and cast 3E-style, but are balanced, because what the spells *do*.

I agree that his is a much more significant factor. I hate to lose the option of reaching those power levels though. I would prefer to slow down the aquistion of new spell levels and bring up the power levels of martial characters. 4e improves martial characters, but I feel like it takes too much away from casters.

Cheesegear
2008-07-24, 01:42 AM
I'm not sure there has never been an edition of D&D that met all your requirements. AD&D (1e) comes close, but if I remember right multiclassed magic-users and illusionists could wear armor. That's the way we always played it in every group I was in anyway.

Covered In Bees was correct. That was my point. Each edition that I've played has had a general 'something' that was lacking in it's system. What makes true D&D, well, D&D, is the fact that it can be adapted to whatever the DM (and to a lesser extent, the players) wants it to be. My big list was what I would generally require of the game for it to be D&D. Otherwise, my playing experience gets a li'l bit shot down.

And I forget who said it, but no; Forgotten Realms is not my setting of choice, I prefer my own homebrewed one, which has Gibberlings and Xvarts (and Draconions!) in the world because they're just so useful as small, easily killed monsters. Goblins and Kobolds are only fun up to a point.

D&D requires adaptabilty. If it doesn't have that...It's ruined. Or, rather; It's less fun.

Tallis
2008-07-24, 01:54 AM
Y'know what really makes D&D for me?

Houserules. I have never played any version for very long without tweeking it.

Cheesegear
2008-07-24, 01:55 AM
Y'know what really makes D&D for me?

Houserules. I have have played any version for very long without tweeking it.

That's just a shorter way of saying what I just said :smalleek:

nagora
2008-07-24, 05:53 AM
That's not "balance", that's seesaw imbalance. Suck Now, Awesome Later is in no way the same thing as balance (especially not when you have games that never get to high levels, and others that start there).
That last point is interesting and I was just thinking about it. Although there are and were few games where PCs don't rise above 4th level, later editions seem to have had a lot of players who start at 10th, or even higher, level. I suppose 4e is trying to address this form of system abuse by making 1st level characters much tougher so that there is less temptation for poor players to start at higher levels.

So, that brings us back on-topic: something that is pretty core to D&D is the idea of starting off as a slightly more capable than normal person and becoming a figure of legend. This is actually connected to the class concept in a lot of ways and is perhaps rather contrary to fantasy writing where most characters start stories pretty talented already, which is probably one reason so many people want their characters to be world-class from the off too.

But I think people who constantly start at high-level, play until they are demi-gods and then start new characters again back at 10th are really not playing D&D any more than someone who starts each game by dealing out the property deck to the players is really playing Monopoly.

Climbing the greasy pole from mundane to heroic is part of the game that marks D&D out as distinct from many other games. And in that context the varied XP charts are an important balancing factor which work very well. As a result, inter-class balance is a very minor issue in 1e (except for the monk, possibly).

But, if you just start all characters at level-n (as opposed to n-xp), then that balance is short-circuited because you're effectively giving the magic users (and barbarians) a big boost relative to the other classes. 3e pretended otherwise by defining level and xp as being synonymous across the board, but the designers were incapable of/uninterested in making the massive changes needed to make that work. I think 4e is doing that work now, and in the process showing how bland and uninteresting the approach is. But, at least this time they're following their design idea through properly instead of leaving a half-done notion flopping about on the table, and I think they deserve credit for trying.

Charity
2008-07-24, 07:54 AM
faint praise from Nagora is praise indeed :smallwink:

D&D is now and will always be different in each and every mind that experiances it.
We are all looking for our holy grail D&D, some of us found it with AD&D some with 3.x but with each new edition we all have an increased chance of getting what we want. I don't understand why there is such a massive resistance to anything new, you still get to keep the old stuff, when my AD&D PHB got nicked a few years back I went on to ebay and bought myself a new on, not because I'm likely to ever use it again, but it does remind me of halcion days.
What I expect from D&D is fantasy, simplicity and fun, nothing else matters that much.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-24, 10:38 AM
I was being a drama queen for a comedic effect, but I have genuinely noticed a lot of people criticising 3e-specific issues with "previous editions did xxx, 4e is better than previous editions because it fixes xxx", and it is wearing a bit thin.

On general reflection I think that Classes and Vancian Casting are the indispensable "core values" of D&D, although there are a fair few "nice to haves" like the objective alignment system. 2e and 3e overloaded and obscured these core items with lots of other stuff rather than throwing them out. In particular, skills badly muddled the workings of the classes.

Cool. I'd agree with the classes part, but not necc about the vancian casting part. But then, 3.5 is the version of D&D I've played most and Sorcerers never struck me as not really belonging in D&D.


Wait, what in the world is verbal inflection? Is it contagious?

Oddly, yes. :smallwink:


D&D is now and will always be different in each and every mind that experiances it.
We are all looking for our holy grail D&D, some of us found it with AD&D some with 3.x but with each new edition we all have an increased chance of getting what we want.

For shizzle.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-07-24, 02:47 PM
In all honesty, with enough beer, I can take on any RPG system. 1st Edition Traveller actually makes more sense after a few beers.

nagora
2008-07-24, 05:41 PM
In all honesty, with enough beer, I can take on any RPG system. 1st Edition Traveller actually makes more sense after a few beers.
I don't drink; perhaps that's why I've played Traveller's background with AD&D rules.

Covered In Bees
2008-07-24, 05:54 PM
I don't drink; perhaps that's why I've played Traveller's background with AD&D rules.

Now that's masochism! :tongue:

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-07-24, 06:23 PM
I will note that there's not enough booze in the world to make sense of out 1st edition AD&D psionic rules.

Mark Hall
2008-07-24, 09:45 PM
I will note that there's not enough booze in the world to make sense of out 1st edition AD&D psionic rules.

Actually, they're not that bad. Powers are activated by power points. Each power point is equal part attack and defense point.

Tallis
2008-07-24, 11:44 PM
That's just a shorter way of saying what I just said :smalleek:

...and reading your post is what made reminded me of how much I've used houserules. Credit to you.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-07-25, 02:47 PM
Actually, they're not that bad. Powers are activated by power points. Each power point is equal part attack and defense point.

*shakes fist* Damn your Vulcan logic! How dare you spoil my crummy joke with facts!

Anyhow, I recall the old, 1st Edition psionics that seemed an afterthought in the appendix of the Player's Guide, also where the original, nigh-arcane rules for Bards lay. Fortunately for most DMs of my age at that time, the chances of any given character to have psionic ability was dismal (based on the percentile dice), more or less. I remember one picked mental attacks and mental defenses, and attacks would be effective against one sort of defense and ineffective against others. There was even a section in the Dungeon Master's Guide on psionic combat, but it involved what at the time appeared an annoying chart for something that would never be referenced, at least in my gaming group.

Thus, along with 1st Edition Bards, Psionics in my circle were relegated into the "What were they on when they wrote this?" category, unfairly or no.

Mark Hall
2008-07-25, 08:58 PM
I don't find the 1st edition bard rules to be that arcane, either (except as applies to half-elves).

Maybe I'm just more in tune with Gygaxian thought. ;-)

aaron_the_cow
2008-07-25, 11:30 PM
*shakes fist* Damn your Vulcan logic! How dare you spoil my crummy joke with facts!

Anyhow, I recall the old, 1st Edition psionics that seemed an afterthought in the appendix of the Player's Guide, also where the original, nigh-arcane rules for Bards lay. Fortunately for most DMs of my age at that time, the chances of any given character to have psionic ability was dismal (based on the percentile dice), more or less. I remember one picked mental attacks and mental defenses, and attacks would be effective against one sort of defense and ineffective against others. There was even a section in the Dungeon Master's Guide on psionic combat, but it involved what at the time appeared an annoying chart for something that would never be referenced, at least in my gaming group.

Thus, along with 1st Edition Bards, Psionics in my circle were relegated into the "What were they on when they wrote this?" category, unfairly or no.

my uncle runs a 1/2 edition and had to almoast compleatly re-wright the psionic rules for it to make sense.


But thats DnD, as many posiblities as thier are ideas!

Mark Hall
2008-07-26, 02:49 PM
Oh, I've got plan in my head to rework the 2e psionics system into something more akin to S&Ps proficiency system.

ken-do-nim
2008-07-27, 10:54 PM
In fairness AD&D was not exactly balanced either, it was not such an issue back then for whatever reason, but a 15th level magicuser would eat a 15th level fighter for breakfast even back in those days.
At low levels magicusers were miserably under powered, if you failed your know spell rolls you could end up without even an offensive spell but later on they had exactly the same planetary orbit changing spells, and even the damage dealing spells were effective as HP were very much lower than 3e.

Sorry Nagora but I don't buy that AD&D was balanced, love it though you might it really wasn't.


Hey folks, I don't come back here very often anymore since I've switchd from 3rd edition back to 1st, but I just had some spare time tonight and thought I'd browse OOTS for old times sake. I want to respond to the notion that in AD&D a 15th level wizard would "eat" a 15th level fighter for breakfast.

First of all, in any edition you don't measure a class' worth by seeing how 2 characters would do in a dual against each other; you compare how much their skills aid an adventuring party. In that sense, both 15th level fighters and 15th level magic-users are extremely useful to a party. The guy playing the 15th level fighter certainly does not feel like the magic-user is doing all the work.

Second, in AD&D with the uneven xp tables, a 15th level wizard has more xp than a 15th level fighter. The better comparison is probably more like 17th fighter & 15th magic-user.

Third, in AD&D fighters at high levels have awesome saves across the boards. In 3E they have a weakness in will saves, but in AD&D they really don't have any weaknesses.

I've run 2 high level sessions so far this year, and in both the high-level fighters kicked major butt, which is how I remember the game playing out in my youth. In contrast, the magic-users hit problems with magic-resistant opponents. In the words of the player running the fighter, "Magic resistance is a potent defense, but doesn't help against 3 feet of cold steel."

nagora
2008-07-28, 04:52 AM
First of all, in any edition you don't measure a class' worth by seeing how 2 characters would do in a dual against each other; you compare how much their skills aid an adventuring party.
Hi, Ken! *waves*

This is an important point, and core to 4e's fallicy that character balance can only be obtained by making all classes the same with different explanations of how they do their thing.

It's related to the argument made by someone here that marking is essential in order to allow players to play slow, heavily armoured fighters who don't get rings run around them in combat by faster opponents (well, DuH!).

Some character classes are good at some things and bad at others and there's no reason to suggest that should be "fixed" either by making everyone the same nor by making everyone great at everything all the time (which actually boil down to the same thing, since "great" is relative).

There is very little trouble with class balance in 1e, especially at mid levels from 4th to 9th. But, even at higher levels like 15th, the problems there are are minor. I personally think fighters without the specialisation rules are a little weak, but that's all I can think of at the moment as regards class-balance.

A bigger issue is that many of the top monsters (demon princes etc) are weak when faced by an entire party of high-level characters, unless played very, very well by the DM (at which point they become unstoppable in many cases). Because the DM doesn't get to practice these levels of play as much, the first time such a foe is encountered is often a let down with the DM doing the old head-slap on the way home as s/he remembers some vital ability that would have made the encounter an interesting challenge.

Later editions tried to compensate by huge power/HP/damage inflation, but that's a crude answer which never really works in the long-term.

ken-do-nim
2008-07-28, 09:15 AM
Hi, Ken! *waves*


Nice to see you're still off defending old-school D&D in these parts.



There is very little trouble with class balance in 1e, especially at mid levels from 4th to 9th. But, even at higher levels like 15th, the problems there are are minor. I personally think fighters without the specialisation rules are a little weak, but that's all I can think of at the moment as regards class-balance.


One of the reasons I moved back to 1E is in fact because class balance is much better.

Btw, I don't use 1E's take on specialization; instead I moved back the feats Weapon Focus (+1 to hit) & Weapon Specialization (+2 damage) from 3E and called them weapon proficiencies, so if you spend 3 slots on a weapon you get those benefits but not the increased attacks/round. However, you can do this in more than one weapon. So far it has worked out great.



A bigger issue is that many of the top monsters (demon princes etc) are weak when faced by an entire party of high-level characters, unless played very, very well by the DM (at which point they become unstoppable in many cases). Because the DM doesn't get to practice these levels of play as much, the first time such a foe is encountered is often a let down with the DM doing the old head-slap on the way home as s/he remembers some vital ability that would have made the encounter an interesting challenge.

Later editions tried to compensate by huge power/HP/damage inflation, but that's a crude answer which never really works in the long-term.

Ah, I shall face that issue head on; near the end of Abduction of Good King Despot is ... Orcus. Mwuhahahah!!!!

nagora
2008-07-28, 09:19 AM
Ah, I shall face that issue head on; near the end of Abduction of Good King Despot is ... Orcus. Mwuhahahah!!!!
Is he? I don't remember that :smalleek:

Tola
2008-07-28, 11:25 AM
Come on, Covered in Bees:
Don't you think the Image of Aragorn calling forth his army of undead bears awesome?!

Wow, I can't believe I never noticed that ability.

....You mention Pegasi as a choice.

I can only ask this; do Eagles appear on that list at all? Because it'd explain a heck of a lot.

nagora
2008-07-28, 11:35 AM
Come on, Covered in Bees:
Don't you think the Image of Aragorn calling forth his army of undead bears awesome?!

Wow, I can't believe I never noticed that ability.

....You mention Pegasi as a choice.

I can only ask this; do Eagles appear on that list at all? Because it'd explain a heck of a lot.

No, Giant Owls (2) are the closest. The Ranger is supposed to be Aragorn's class, but the Eagles were hardly his "followers" in LotR. You could get wearbears, though.