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    AssassinGuy

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    Default 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    For the most part the question is in the title. I know 5e is more noob-friendly than 3.5 is but the difficulty is that while I've played 3.5 for years and have a very strong working knowledge of the rules, monsters, balance issues, etc., I've never actually played a 5e game myself. I've read the rulebooks and I have a basic understanding of it, but nowhere near to the extent I have for 3.5. It's also really the first time I'm going to be DMing. Of the group of players I'll be DMing for, my wife is the only one who's played before and that was just one game of 3.5. Any advice or tips would be appreciated.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Swords and Wizardry

    I partly want to say "the difference isn't that big", but I don't think that's entirely true. Maybe if you use premade characters or otherwise go through chargen quickly (do not ask them to allocate skill points or pore over a table of feats or a spell list. Go with a starting package), 3.5 is workable

    I wouldn't recommend trying to learn 5e at the same time as you're trying to teach it if you just want to Play D&D; there's just enough different to trip you up and that's not an environment you want to learn in. It's very much a different game. If you want to learn 5e for the sake of learning 5e and having recently-released official material that is branded "Dungeons and Dragons" instead of "Pathfinder", then do that, otherwise, no need to complicate by learning a new edition.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I've often been in the situation of trying a system new to basically everybody with one (or two) people having to learn how to play as well as GM it at the same time. Tends to work out, but the question is rather what you're expecting. Are you planning to go into some longer campaign? Are you trying to find out whether the new players might be interested in the hobby and/or genre? How willing are you to put in some extra effort?
    Stay with 3.5, if 5e makes you really uncomfortable. Otherwise, might as well try something new. You're used to 3.5, so it's a kind of comfort and safety zone, where you know your way around. That's nice, but you're basically familiar with the whole thing anyhow in terms of fluff, as well as parts of crunch (e.g. maybe not what specific spells do in 5e, but that things like X probably exist). If it's going to be okay for your players if you make a mistake here and there (and who doesn't anyway, no matter how experienced) and you're willing to learn stuff together, you might as well go with 5e. On the other hand, if you think you'll probably never ever look at 5e again if this doesn't work out, maybe it's not worth the effort. Also, how willing are you to help out and accomodate your players? 3.5 is quite overwhelming and as a first time player I would certainly appreciate some handholding in creating my character that goes beyond "I wanna be a shining knight kinda guy." "Well, a paladin might be for you.", so that the character actually manages to be competent on the mechanical side of things, as otherwise it might get frustrating.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by FinnDarkblade View Post
    For the most part the question is in the title. I know 5e is more noob-friendly than 3.5 is but the difficulty is that while I've played 3.5 for years and have a very strong working knowledge of the rules, monsters, balance issues, etc., I've never actually played a 5e game myself. I've read the rulebooks and I have a basic understanding of it, but nowhere near to the extent I have for 3.5. It's also really the first time I'm going to be DMing. Of the group of players I'll be DMing for, my wife is the only one who's played before and that was just one game of 3.5. Any advice or tips would be appreciated.
    5e has many serious balance issues as well. It can be argued that they aren't as numerous as 3.5, but if you have experience correcting that system, then 3.5 is more likely to work out better.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by FinnDarkblade View Post
    For the most part the question is in the title. I know 5e is more noob-friendly than 3.5 is but the difficulty is that while I've played 3.5 for years and have a very strong working knowledge of the rules, monsters, balance issues, etc., I've never actually played a 5e game myself. I've read the rulebooks and I have a basic understanding of it, but nowhere near to the extent I have for 3.5. It's also really the first time I'm going to be DMing. Of the group of players I'll be DMing for, my wife is the only one who's played before and that was just one game of 3.5. Any advice or tips would be appreciated.
    A YouTuber I've been following recently started up a 5e game after playing 3e for years. He's expressed more than a little regret at that decision. Unless you're particularly eager to try 5e, stick to what you know.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Seconding 3.5 and giving the players premade characters. Should probably also keep it low-level because then you can keep it simpler and there's less tier problems.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I'll leave my personal issues with the systems aside and say that the answer to this question is as follows:

    Which game are you most comfortable running and most excited to run.

    That's the game you'll be putting time, effort & energy wholeheartedly into. That's the one where your good mood will be infectious to the newbies.

    Giving them training wheels is fine to start with, regardless of edition you choose, just make sure that it's the edition you're excited for and it's the game you want to run.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I've introduced new players to 3.5 and never had problems with the complexity of the system. In fact, I've had more problems with PF-players getting thrown by "No, you can't do that in 3.5," or "No, you can do that even though there's a rule against it in PF" than with totally new players getting thrown by system complexity. This suggests to me that not only is 3.5 perfectly fine, but that teaching players another system might actually make it harder to teach them 3.5 later.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Well, 3.5 is a bad system and 5e is a somewhat less bad system so...

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Well, 3.5 is a bad system and 5e is a somewhat less bad system so...
    You know, this post is so obviously meant to bait an edition war that I don't know why you bothered. At least try to conceal it if you're gonna flamebait.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Honestly, from the players point of view, there isn't a huge difference in difficulty of learning the two systems.

    If you, the DM, know 3.5 better, then you should stick with the 3.5.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I mean, somebody's gotta GM your first game of 5e. I'm a big fan of the system and found it a lot easier to teach with relatively few 3->5 conversion hiccups.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Well I definitely wasn't thinking of this as some kind of inevitable transition from 3.5 to 5e. 3.5 is where I started back when I was young enough to have time to endlessly pore over rulebooks and I expect it will kind of always be my favorite because of the extent to which it rewards system mastery. It can also punish players who don't understand how it works though, and from what I understood 5e had less of that issue. I had been mulling over the idea of making pre-made characters regardless of which edition I ended up using but I remember making characters being one of my favorite parts when I first started. I guess I should hardly expect that to be everyone's reaction though. The solution I had kind of settled on was doing a type of prologue thing where the players use premade characters that get killed by the first major villain so they have a chance to learn the mechanics and be exposed to the setting before having to make their own characters.
    I was also thinking about making it an E6 game for the purpose of limiting complexity.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    That CAN work.


    But I would suggest staying with 3.5 (or 3.P or whatever you see as "your Home System") and talk with the Palyers beforehand and build their Characters with/for them.

    The main problem,a side from really complex prepared Caster builds, for new players with 35 is Option overload.

    make sure you clarify what they want to do, and build it for them is usually a good solution.

    Maybe they want to build something themselves once that campaign/Adventure is over, but believe you me, sitting a 4 player group through learning enough basic 3.5 to build characters, even with Core only, is a lot of effort for a group where youa re unsure if they will "stay".

    As for 5th, if you knew both I woulkd suggest using it for "newbs", but as Ic an say from eprsonal experience, playing it with a DM who only read it a few times himself is NOT fun (we stopped after 3 sessions as it simply wasnt...good).
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    I've introduced new players to 3.5 and never had problems with the complexity of the system. In fact, I've had more problems with PF-players getting thrown by "No, you can't do that in 3.5," or "No, you can do that even though there's a rule against it in PF" than with totally new players getting thrown by system complexity. This suggests to me that not only is 3.5 perfectly fine, but that teaching players another system might actually make it harder to teach them 3.5 later.
    I never noticed this before, but now that you mention it...

    - Sometimes-nonsensical rules that interact in weird ways with each other, many being carryovers from previous editions.
    - Can steal material from pretty much anywhere and have it work (at least to some degree).
    - Extraordinarily adaptable. If you know what you're doing, you can make it do just about anything.
    - Ability for anyone to create non-official material.
    - Has the appearance of order while actually being a chaotic mess.
    - Easiest if you learn it first before learning any others.


    Conclusion: 3.5 is the English Language of gaming.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Yeah, while I love 5e, if you know 3.5 better, start with that. Just, as many other posters mention, help them through the process, and help them avoid pitfalls - that might be the big thing, as in 5e, you have some saffty rails, and it is hard to break them. in 3.5, one person can find the DMMpersist cleric online, while another insists on a Monk with high Cha (not personal experience, having only played 3.5 here, and a wild exaggeration, but you get the idea)
    also, may I sig this (sorry forgot to quote, but the final will reference you):
    - Sometimes-nonsensical rules that interact in weird ways with each other, many being carryovers from previous editions.
    - Can steal material from pretty much anywhere and have it work (at least to some degree).
    - Extraordinarily adaptable. If you know what you're doing, you can make it do just about anything.
    - Ability for anyone to create non-official material.
    - Has the appearance of order while actually being a chaotic mess.
    - Easiest if you learn it first before learning any others.
    Conclusion: 3.5 is the English Language of gaming.
    Last edited by JMS; 2018-04-02 at 10:40 AM.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Absolutely! (text so it will allow me to post).

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    My usual inclination for your first game is to play something that you're familiar and comfortable with. DMing is a skillset, and it's easier to work on that skillset if you're comfortable with the rules you're using... you don't have to work on system mastery at the same time you work on Game Mastery.

    That said, even with decades of gaming experience, I find 3.x to be a daunting ruleset, with a lot of choices to make that aren't always clear as to their value... is Two-Weapon Fighting worth it? What about Sword and Shield? How do I make a GOOD fighter? These are topics of long debate, and so approaching them as a new player is going to be difficult... especially as 3.x makes several unintuitive leaps (like, you can do better defending with two weapons than with a shield).
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I'm going to go a bit against the feathers and suggest that you pick the system by what is easiest available to you and your players.

    I assume it is a local group, so visit your local hobby shop and see if they still have the 3.5 reprints available. If they don't, they probably have 5th edition books available for purchase.

    Next ask your players if want to try an older system that has a tons of options for the future if they want to explore it or if they want a newer system that is tailored more for a modern audience, but lacks the plethora of options.

    My group still plays 3.5 despite some of us also liking Pathfinder and 5th edition a lot, we've just sunk too much money into 3.5 to abandon it.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    My usual inclination for your first game is to play something that you're familiar and comfortable with. DMing is a skillset, and it's easier to work on that skillset if you're comfortable with the rules you're using... you don't have to work on system mastery at the same time you work on Game Mastery.

    That said, even with decades of gaming experience, I find 3.x to be a daunting ruleset, with a lot of choices to make that aren't always clear as to their value... is Two-Weapon Fighting worth it? What about Sword and Shield? How do I make a GOOD fighter? These are topics of long debate, and so approaching them as a new player is going to be difficult... especially as 3.x makes several unintuitive leaps (like, you can do better defending with two weapons than with a shield).
    3.5 generally works out of the box at low levels if you stick to the tropes. a bog standard fighter with cleave isn't something to write home about, but it'll work as intended for the most part, until about level 7-9ish or so as long as you toss him a +1 sword, but past that point is also where the game starts splitting at the seams for various reasons, outside of fighter's overall suckitude. we'll all piss and moan about issues and how grave and in need of fixing they are (and ye gods i can go on and on about those) but in general the game works as long as you're not trying to do something weird and the GM isn't trying to kill off PCs like he's got a quota to meet.

    for the new player, especially the into game, they shouldn't be looking at the game 6 months down the line and optimization. that's stupid. get them acclimated to how the game plays first before opening up the resources.

    a short levels 1-3 adventure featuring a handful of premades is fine. Once that's finished and they're familiar with how stuff plays out, ask if they want to continue with these dudes and show them how to level up (and here is where you can ease them into the "good/bad/at your own risk" feats, classes, etc...) or just show them char gen and start a proper campaign anew while being available for advice.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordaedil View Post
    I'm going to go a bit against the feathers and suggest that you pick the system by what is easiest available to you and your players.

    I assume it is a local group, so visit your local hobby shop and see if they still have the 3.5 reprints available. If they don't, they probably have 5th edition books available for purchase.

    Next ask your players if want to try an older system that has a tons of options for the future if they want to explore it or if they want a newer system that is tailored more for a modern audience, but lacks the plethora of options.

    My group still plays 3.5 despite some of us also liking Pathfinder and 5th edition a lot, we've just sunk too much money into 3.5 to abandon it.
    Amazon is your friend (and soon-to-be retail overlord), dude. Most bookstores will put in an order if a thing is still in print too. If I were the betting type, I'd put money down on the OP already owning 3e books. You don't run into problems getting into 3e until you're looking for obscure supplements unless you're just not trying.

    Although, if ease of access is the name of the game, it's hard not to hand it to PF; http://www.d20pfsrd.com
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2018-04-03 at 02:09 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    I think it depends on the players. I would have suggested 5e if you didn't already know 3.5, that makes it equal to me. It will be easy for you to learn the 5e rules, but more importantly it is a slight shift in how to approach the game, rulings vs. rules etc.

    If your players already plays complex board games, and pick up new rules fast, then don't be afraid to start with 3.5. If they rather prefer games like Cards Against Humanity and so on, I suggest you all start with 5e instead...

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Amazon is your friend (and soon-to-be retail overlord), dude. Most bookstores will put in an order if a thing is still in print too. If I were the betting type, I'd put money down on the OP already owning 3e books. You don't run into problems getting into 3e until you're looking for obscure supplements unless you're just not trying.

    Although, if ease of access is the name of the game, it's hard not to hand it to PF; http://www.d20pfsrd.com
    I mean, I still buy books from Amazon, but they are really expensive there and I recommended checking the hobby store because it's often easier to ask people to check there instead of checking Amazon.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    i'm seconding the "play what you know" idea. as to telonius and jormengand, going from pure pf or 3.5 to the other is daunting. i grudgingly played 3.5 for years, and it always felt clunky. i've been playing pure pf for close on a year, now, and i'm still making newbie mistakes in pf that are totally legal in 3.5.

    the pf dm is understanding of this, and even suggested we play 3PF until i showed him the abuse that that allowed and the homebrewing it took to make some classes work (looking at you, cleric). i'm just glad that at the table, there are 3 very proficient pf players to help me out. it feels less clunky than 3.5, but not by much. two at my table keep on vaunting the merits of 5e, and i'm getting really curious about playing a one-shot to try it out.

    to the op: play what you know, rehearse your scenario, prepare cheat sheets of common rules and abilities for your players, bookmark your books just in case, and memorize the rest. neither 3.5 or 5e are particularly rules-light, so you'll have a crazy amount of work either way, since you'll be teaching the system to newbies on top of learning system mastery. don't be afraid of making mistakes, you'll learn as you go. just go with a system you're comfortable playing, don't fight the system on top of dm'ing (which is why i will never dm for d20 system in the first place, despite playing it for close to 10 years).

    good luck.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    5e is more streamline than 3.5 and has much better balance.

    However if your use to DMing 3.5 than it will be easier to help new players learn 3.5 rules. Having a DM that's just new to an edition as the players can cause a lot of confusion and slow down games.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aetis View Post
    Honestly, from the players point of view, there isn't a huge difference in difficulty of learning the two systems.

    If you, the DM, know 3.5 better, then you should stick with the 3.5.

    For DM's, yes both 3.5 and 5e look very complex....

    .....as a player though...

    5e has the Champion Fighter, which is a class that's almost as easy to play as an old D&D class, so it's an excellent "training wheels class", that lets you "dip your toe in the water" to learn the game, and I had a great time playing one until I was confident enough to try Thief and Swashbuckler Rogues.

    I have not yet found a 3.5 equivalent (which you guys should totally suggest for me, I'm trying to think of a way to respectfully start a thread asking that).

    If your players want to play Magic-Users however both 3.5 and 5e look very complex to me, so whichever.
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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    For DM's, yes both 3.5 and 5e look very complex....

    .....as a player though...

    5e has the Champion Fighter, which is a class that's almost as easy to play as an old D&D class, so it's an excellent "training wheels class", that lets you "dip your toe in the water" to learn the game, and I had a great time playing one until I was confident enough to try Thief and Swashbuckler Rogues.

    I have not yet found a 3.5 equivalent (which you guys should totally suggest for me, I'm trying to think of a way to respectfully start a thread asking that).

    If your players want to play Magic-Users however both 3.5 and 5e look very complex to me, so whichever.
    3.5 warlock is robust enough that you don't have to know"the system" to be fine at most tables. In a lot of ways it's far simpler than even the 5e version.

    3.5 Fighter is pretty simple and a DM can hand out the magic items to make it work regardless of build. As in, if a 3.5 warrior can work, then so can a fighter. This requires active DM involvement.

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhedyn View Post
    3.5 warlock is robust enough that you don't have to know"the system" to be fine at most tables. In a lot of ways it's far simpler than even the 5e version....

    Since the 5e Warlock is pretty complex, I would hope not!

    ....3.5 Fighter is pretty simple and a DM can hand out the magic items to make it work regardless of build. As in, if a 3.5 warrior can work, then so can a fighter....

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Fighter was my first thought, but selecting and remembering "Feats" is a hurdle for me.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aetis View Post
    Honestly, from the players point of view, there isn't a huge difference in difficulty of learning the two systems.

    If you, the DM, know 3.5 better, then you should stick with the 3.5.
    I think the only way you'll know for sure which one you like is to actually play the game. You have someone (you) who is familiar with 3.5, so I think playing that first is best. If you like it, great! If you don't like it, get some 5e books. No point in fixing something that isn't broke, and what works for other tables will NOT work for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
    For all of your completely and utterly honest needs. Zaydos made, Tiefling approved.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: 3.5 or 5e for a group of new players?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Fighter was my first thought, but selecting and remembering "Feats" is a hurdle for me.
    I would look at the static feats then.

    Toughness, Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus, Named Skill feats

    Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization

    You really just have to put the mod on your sheet and then you can forget these feats.

    Then you can grab some rule augment feats like Blind-Fight, Cleave, Great Cleave (Power Attack to get Cleave), Endurance, and Diehard.
    You less have to remember these feats and instead learn that the game works a little differently for you because of these feats.

    That there is enough feats to get you through games. Is this a good build? No. But you are adequate. You can hit things and a watchful DM can bring up such a character with artifact weapons or your party caster decides to dump buffs on you (the latter is where the game gets complicated)

    Plenty of games such a character would be fine, but I think many die-hard 3e players tend to optimize.

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