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    So I (and my gaming buddies) have been playing DnD since the early 80’s. I first played basic, then expert before moving on to ADnD and then 2nd and 3rd. We all got peeved when they released 3.5 and decided not to venture into any new editions. After a break of several years, one of the guys decided he wanted to give 4E a try and we have been playing for about a year and a half. At the risk of starting a flame war over the editions, I have to say that we aren’t too happy with 4E.

    Let me add that we have jumped around from a variety of RPG’s over that time. Top Secret, Gamma World, Palladium, Rifts, Vampire…the list goes on…

    So, after giving 4E a serious try we have decided to go back to the earlier editions and do some ‘play testing’ to see if we can figure out which edition we want to play. We are going to go back and make some first edition characters and play a couple of sessions. Then we’ll convert to 2nd and then 3rd and so on. Part of the goal will be to recreate the 4E characters in each edition as we move along, so we are trying to play the same storyline while only changing the game system.

    I’m not necessarily looking for any advice or guidance since I feel pretty confident in our ability to evaluate the systems, but I am curious to hear other perspectives about the various systems.

    I’ve got my own sense of why 4E was so unsatisfying as a system (to us) but I’m curious about other opinions.

    violent skies


    4e for me was nothing more than an attempt to turn a video game into a tabletop game and a porr attempt at that. It lacked all the social skills and abilities found in the more successful tabletop RPG’s and left you with only a combat system set up for miniatures and little more. I was totally bummed out when I played my first game of 4e especially after all the hype about the system.

    As for your idea, it sounds like alot of fun and I envy your players.

    Star Trek Late Night
    Duskreign’s CotM December 2011
    CotM January 2012

    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012 edited

    I have played and collected D&D stuff since 1982, I played most of the other systems out there but D&D was always my favorite; until 4e

    In truth, mere words cannot articulate my disgust with 4e; the system sucks so bad the books ought to be burned. I actually tried on several occasions to play that drek but to say it was only awful would be a tremendous understatement. It was essentially WOW on paper. They took all of the imagination out of the game when they “balanced” the classes. What they did to the wizard and the traditional spell casting system was out right heresey, in fact so blasphemous that it would make Beelzebub himself vomit.

    I do not like it when a system specifically goes way out of the way to “level” the playing field so to speak. I have never thought that a player should be punished or looked down on for the ability to work a RPG ruleset, to me it shows they have a level of dedication to the game and furthermore the whole idea of leveling the playing field between players is BS anyway, more time than not building an effective character is more about the individual playing, not the ruleset. When a system such as 4e comes along and tries to artificially level the field it often as it did with 4e it spits in the face of individualism which is the very foundation of an RPG.

    @ dlaporte7271 – have you tried Pathfinder, they are doing a good job continuing and reinventing D&D as it should have been. I recently got the first wave of playtest stuff for 5e – it does not look terrible so far, definetly some interesting Ideas – If you are more curious about it shoot me an e-mail and I can tell you more.

    but if not (which, after the kind of taste 4e leaves in one’s mouth I cannot blame you) you may want to check out:

    Old-School Renaissance – there is also a number of third party publishers that do OSR, some are very good, some eh… not as good (but all better than 4e).

    Hackmaster from Kenser and Co – It uses the first/second edition D&D rules matrix and is defintely not a joke game, they did some real quality stuff. I believe it is due for re-release this summer.

    May all your hits be crits – especially vs/PC’s

    Manifestation of Chaos


    I love hackmaster, great game and a real old school feel. I personally am done with class based systems. I feel they limit the players and the individualism of the characters. Games systems like CORPS, GURPS, Unisystem, ICON, etc that allow for the players to create their own personal vision without being limitted by the confines of a class, will always appeal to me alot more. If I am going to play a class bassed game I am going to play Hackmaster or Talislanta or maybe Shield Bearer. Games that give me that oldschool feel but are fresh enough to still be fun.

    As for D&D, its its not 1st ed, I really don’t see the point. With each new version the game became much more complicated and much easier for players to abuse rule sets. 3.5 was probably the best of the later games and PAthfinder does a great job or reconditioning 3.5 and making it even better. Still 1st ed is my fav of the D&D field.

    Now I am off to find Beelzebub and join him in a little vomitting contest over 4e. We can see who can project his the furthest. I think my disgust over the system is enough that I will win.


    Wow…Leonidas…strong feelings? Not that I blame you entirely. For my part, I wouldn’t say that 4E sucked…it’s just that it’s a sham to call it D&D. I think they made a good tactical miniature game. I call it ‘Dungeon the Gathering.’ Our biggest problem was that combats were universally, too long and drawn out. As we learned the game, I spent lots of time on the WOTC forums, reading blogs and generally seeking out tips on making the game run smoothly. It was all wasted effort. We have a very experienced DM. All of us have been role playing for more than 20 years apiece, and that includes one avid tactical gamer. Our last session (this past Saturday) was the final straw. It consisted of one FIVE HOUR combat. We have 5 players, each with the ability to lay on status effects, plus monsters with save end stunning powers…basically it got so bogged down that we finally decided we’d had enough of the whole system.

    My other criticism is that the classes are essentially identical. Sure the DESCRIPTIONS are different but when you boil the powers down…everybody has a 1(W) ability with a Daze effect. The only difference is that on my rogue it’s called ‘Dazing Strike’ and I describe it as a strike with my dagger. The mage has something similar but he gets to describe it as a spell. I think you’re right on about the wizard too…but not so much because of the ‘traditional spell casting system.’ It’s just that the magic system got lumped in with the ENTIRE combat system so that it lost all of its flavor. Our mage character just couldn’t get into the play because he didn’t really feel like he was playing a mage.

    Anyway, Pathfinder is on the list of systems we are going to try since it’s really a DnD system at heart. Our first goal is to go back and replay each of the editions, partly to see if we want to adopt one again…and partly just for the fun of it.

    Let me add here, for any fans of 4E who happen to read this…I’m not looking to start a flame war over the systems(the title of the discussion is meant to be sarcastic). I know people feel strongly about their games. If you happen to disagree with me…or anyone else who decides to reply…let’s just leave it at a matter of taste. I know I’ve made up my mind and a year of playing has given me a pretty clear perspective about what does not appeal to ME about 4E.


    I may talk with the guys and see about checking out Hackmaster.
    @StephenWollett: We have definitely tried some of the ‘classless’ systems (GURPS comes to mind), but we keep coming back to the class based games. No preference on my part. I don’t know that agree that later editions became more complicated…THACO anyone? In any case, it’s been a while since 1st and 2nd so we’ll get a refresher once we play them again. I’ll be able to chat more about it. I will say that we have been looking back at the 1st edition stuff and recalling some of the seemingly arbitrary rules that existed in the name of balance. One in particular were the level caps for non-humans. Never really made sense to me…not to mention the crazy path you had to take if you wanted to play a bard…certainly there WERE elements of 1st edition that could be improved upon…but…when it seemed necessary, we just changed it ourselves and adopted our own house rules. Anyway i may use this discussion as a place to reflect on the experiment as we go through it. Anyone who feels like they would like to join in the discussion is welcome.

    How’s the vomiting contest going? I myself have just gone 13 feet!


    I appear to be beat by your magnificent 13 feet but I shall try again after lunch.


    dlaporte7271, I spent 1989-1990 becoming a Bard using the 1st edition rules. I thought TSR was going to ask for blood and fluid samples before I could use a bard instrument…

    Good times…


    Well StepheWollett, we should establish some standards. I was leaning way out over the line…and I measured to the extreme, farthest point of the ‘splash zone.’ So, If I measure to the point of impact I really only reached about 10 feet…with a splash area of about 3 feet.

    @FrankSimarco, I tried a bard once as well…but the campaign just didn’t last long enough for me to reach the sacrificial stage…you know…when you had to sacrifice a virgin in order to switch over to the next class…oh well…

    Good times indeed…


    We should measure out to the furthest point of the splash but the line must not be crossed or the vomit is disqualified. Three tries each and they must be taken before the strike of twelve at midnight. Winner gets to eat one of the loser’s souls.

    How does that sound for ground rules?

    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
    Anyone who says that 4e is just "Wow on paper" isn't providing a fair assessment, they are simply trying to oversimplify a system and then make a negative value judgment about it. 4e isn't a perfect system, it isn't even a system I myself like, but it does make a lot of important contributions to the evolution of the D&D brand and shouldn't be summarily dismissed. New players to the Pen and Paper RPG world have a lot easier time learning the game because it <gasp> actually makes logical sense and doesn't obfuscate its rules as badly as older systems tend to do.

    To hear Grognards decry 4e as some sort of "heresy" is simply another way of them saying that in order to be good at D&D (like they are of course) one must spend years studying the rules to learn their obvious weaknesses so that they can exploit them like all the other 50 year old nerds. If you can look at a 4e character and not have the ability to imagine that character as any more than a WoW character, then the lack of imagination rests with you, not with the system. 3e was insanely broken in that half of the feats were useless or absurd, and only 1 in 10 were really worth taking so that builds could be optimized and more specialty books could be printed for your $$$.

    I don’t know Ninestar…for my part, I’d say that I gave 4E a pretty fair shake and I’m a 40 year old nerd. I submit that they created a pretty sound GAME for very WOW like combat. (let me add here that one of our players is an avid WOW player and does a gaming podcast on the topic, and more) analogholegaming In fact I think I’ve seen discussion from the creators that they were, in fact, attempting to reach the WOW market…and maybe successfully. I would also say that it was probably sensible business practice to try and reach a new market. I haven’t been following any conversations about how they’re sales have been for different demographics…but the conversation about 5E seems to indicate that A LOT of people are dissatisfied with 4E as a whole.

    I wouldn’t classify myself as a Grognard except to say that since I’m not happy with the new edition, I’m looking back for something that is more fun for ME. I happen to be gaming with a bunch of guys who have reached the same conclusion. You can try to categorize it, or not, but the bottom line is we did not have fun playing this game. We DID have loads of fun playing older editions…including 3E…broken or not. I’d like to think that though we may be old nerds…(30’s and 40’s) we have pretty good imaginations.

    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012 edited

    Well Ninestar, I guess that “anyone” would be me. Wow on paper is a more than fair assessment but I agree that I over-simplified the statement so that I did not have to spend an hour saying what has already been said about 4e a thousand times over (AKA – it sucks).

    “but it does make a lot of important contributions to the evolution of the D&D brand and shouldn’t be summarily dismissed”


    Exactly what contributions to the evolution of the brand did it make?

    The alienation of a significant portion of the fan base

    The failure of its highly marketed and “revolutionary” E-tools

    The lack of support from its own designers

    The slathering of Iconic prior edition names and places on virtually every 4e product in the last two years, in a desperate attempt to get someone to but their sub-par work.

    The turnaround time between editions

    No… I am not seeing any of those things as a contribution so to speak.

    And to paraphrase a geeky line from a fictional character – Um… for 30 years have I played and taught D&D, my own counsel I will keep on what is and what is not D&D.

    4e took imagination to an Orwellian level of conformity, Striker, Controller and so on; give me a moment while I puke at the thought of it. (wow 15 feet looks like I win)

    And you do not have to be a 50 year old nerd to be good at the prior editions of D&D. you just need to give a damn, which the mindless conformity that 4e requires makes impossible.

    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012

    Hm, with 5th Edition (D&D “Next” or D&D “Last”? Only time will tell) on the horizon, isn’t it a bit late in the game to be tearing 4e a new one? I think by now people have fairly well settled into their polarized camps of haters vs. lovers of 4e. Besides, seems like this has already been hashed out at length here (and at just about every other gaming forum on the net). Unless anyone has anything new to contribute, I don’t see the point of getting into this all over again. My 2c.


    • CommentAuthorGordius
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012
    My biggest criticism of 4E is the combat system. The length of battles are far too long. Immersion is difficult if 80% of the time is spent resolving combat. The "RP" in this RPG is diminished greatly because of this. Encounters become just some mind numbing banality after the first 30 minutes. Especially when you know that you have another 150+ minutes left of rinse/repeat. 4E doesn't make me want to role-play, it makes me want to drag out Clix or Car Wars to play a strategy game at a faster pace.
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012 edited

    arsheesh I largely agree, however I had kept my comments/criticisms short and system based until Ninestar stepped up to the personal plate. For the record I am 37, and I believe by merit of actually have given 4e a shot (every week for 5 months) as well as having signed up to play test 5e that the Grognard comparison was way off and really the bitter old nerd remark as well. (we are all “nerds” when it boils down to it, but I came up in the day that playing D&D got you a trip to the school shrink and or labled a satanic cultist and in truth the geek/nerd label was just another way that we older gamers were ostracized by the mainstream public. As we established above I am well past the age that I have to put up with that type of BS).

    I think if someone is going to blindly call “someone” out that perhaps their argument should have a better leg to stand on. I felt obligated to point out just a few of the fallacies in Ninestars resoning. A little petty granted, but I was nice enough not to point out that the whole “so that builds could be optimized and more specialty books could be printed for your $$$”. statement was just completely ludicrous givin the amount of specialty and additional core books that 4e churned out. (of course everything was core in 4e)

    I actually feel that I owe alot to the game, I have met many of my friends through gaming and have no doubt that the skills I have acquired through gaming have aided me in my chosen profession as well, so I do take a vested interest in it’s overall health. No one can refute that 4e is an abject failure insofar as the spirit and fiscal health of D&D.

    The rift in the gaming community is obvious and they would not be shelving it if it was making money.

    Cheers to you as well.


    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012

    Leonidas, that comment wasn’t directed at you specifically (though it pertains to your comments) but to the thread as a whole. The problem is that these sorts of discussions have historically tended to degenerate into mud-slinging fests pretty quickly. People have strong opinions on both sides of the fence and criticism of one’s system of choice, or of one’s arguments in favor of or against it can easily be perceived as a personal attack. And once the mud starts flying, kiss rational argument goodby.

    That isn’t to say there isn’t value in discussing/arguing about the relative merits or demerits of a system, my point is simply that it’s all been said before. I was expecting to see a new discussion emerge here on the forums regarding 5e (within the restraints of the NDA of course), but I was surprised to see the edition wars being waged over 4e again; that’s a battle that I see no reason to continue fighting (not least because 5e is waiting in the wings).


    Arsheesh – I took no umbrage at you comment. I agree with most of what you you have stated in both posts.

    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012 edited

    Hey Arsheesh…I realize I’m a little late to the game on this discussion but my intent was not to go into any heated debates…I, and my group, are going through the final stages of 4E burn out after giving it a reasonable try. Since we are going to go through an exercise of re-experiencing the previous editions, I thought it might be fun to enlist some other folks and their perspectives.

    I realize how passionate people can be about their game systems, but I don’t want to foster any argument. I’m going to use this forum as a place to reflect on our experiment as it happens and garner feedback and discussion from the folks here (who might be interested). I will apologize up front for choosing the wrong title for the discussion as I was referring to a contest, of sorts, between the previous editions. In the end, I think our group will try out a bunch of systems before we pick one to stick with as our primary.

    BTW I am also signed up for playtesting 5E and I will be taking a good look at the new system as it develops.

    So…to anyone out there who reads this discussion: Let’s not turn this into a hate fest. If you love 4E this is probably not a discussion you want to join in on. I hope to have a healthy, fun chat about the old editions and RP in general.

    Edit: Arsheesh…I would love to use this to discuss 5E as well since it will be part of the equation.

    A proud “old nerd”

    violent skies


    Whats the difference between a nerd and a jock?

    Both keep track of long numbers/records, play fantasy games, and know tons of stuff no one else but others of their ilk cares about. Both collect books and cards about their subject of interest. Both Love to go on and on about their best game.

    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012

    @Diplorte, ah, I misunderstood the intent of the thread. Well in that case, I’m interested to see what emerges from your playtest.

    BTW, I signed up for playtesting 5e as well. Overall I’m ambivalent at this point. There are some elements that I like, and some that I don’t. And then there are some elements that are just deal breakers for me. For instance, the current 5e rules are chalk full of Disassociated Mechanics (briefly, mechanics that are not associated with the game world). For me this was probably the single biggest element that turned me off from 4e, and is now turning me off about the direction that the Pathfinder supplements are going. Not sure how many people feel as strongly about this as I do, but I won’t be purchasing 5e materials if the disassociated mechanics remain.


    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012
    "for 30 years have I played and taught D&D, my own counsel I will keep on what is and what is not D&D"

    That's my argument summed up. You're mad that 4e is simple/logical enough that someone new to the hobby can read the books for a few hours and make a character as effective as you can with decades-worth of "system mastery" (aka how to break the game). Your appeal to public opinion is also duly noted - so I'm guessing you will agree that the Bodyguard soundtrack is one of the top 5 best albums ever made, right? You don't personally like 4e - that's fine. That's called an "opinion", to which you are entitled. But you didn't come here just stating a personal preference, you came in with the typical Grognard "I've been playing this game since Hoover was President and I can tell you for a scientific fact that 4e is objectively inferior to my preferred edition" type of nonsense.

    As for contributions to the D&D brand, it finally...FINALLY...made Wizards a class that does not at a certain level become near-infinitely more powerful than any other class through the gifting of god-like spells and abilities. I know you'll come back with some weak argument about how another class with a specific build can hypothetically defeat a Wizard at level 20, but the fact remains that virtually any build of 20th level wizard can kill any other character very easily. That's just a fact - and Grogs are pissed that their precious wizard class (the ultimate manifestation of the "I'm smarter than you so I should be more powerful too" fantasy) was actually <gasp> brought in line with other classes so that they could have a role other than being the Wizard's errand boys.

    5e is going to suck if released as is, because Wizards have once again attained an absolutely broken level of relative power against other classes. I mean, why wouldn't you just have a party of Wizards and maybe one cleric? Hey, this is how D&D should be right??? Fat, mountain dew swigging Wizards should beat 6'3", 250lb, built like a mack truck mercenaries because, well, that's the way I want it to be in real life.

    Once again I largely agree with you Arsheesh. I plan on giving the 5th edition a playtest but in truth based on what I have seen so far I am not really impressed. It is kind of what I expected insofar as a mix between elements of 3.5 and elements of 4e. I will say that unlike when I sat down to read 4e when it came out, there are some interesting Idea’s in this playtest. I think the only two things I liked when I was reading 4e was the concept of the Warlord Class and the stabilization rules.

    Without going into a huge history of my gaming/gaming groups history, I came late to the game in third (I was running a very good 2e game), although I was buying and reading the third edition stuff as it came out and was really impressed by some of what they had changed. My group and I started third about 2 months before 3.5 came out and switched to 3.5 rightaway, and for the most part we really liked 3.5. When 4th came out many of my players were jazzed about it, most of them with the exception of myself and a couple others had never been in on the ground floor of a new edition.

    But you can see from my earlier posts 4e was just not D&D.

    I will playtest 5e but I would be suprised if I moved to it. I am pretty happy with Pathfinder, I really like what they have done class wise. My biggest grouse with Pathfinder is the magical item crafting rules – they are broken and inconsistent. I do think crafting can have a place in a game and allow it in mine but I am old-school and hold a firm belief that most magic items should be found in the dungeon/givin out by me. I allow 98% of the stuff from the 4 Core Pathfinder books – I don’t let much in from the other Pathfinder supplements because they are not balanced against the system. They rarely hold up to scrunity especially when a player tries to grab this from this book and that from that book and this other thing from the other book – that is the same slippery slope that 3.5 went down and really the only thing Ninestar said that I agreed with.

    I do think there are a couple things that I can cannibalize from 5e and easily adapt to my pathfinder game. for instance the idea that if a player rolls for hit points and gets an amount lower than his con modofier the roll is automatically upgraded to equal the con modifier.

    @ dlaporte7271

    I don’t know if you have access to or desire to play/run it but at one point i was looking at combining the Aces and Eights Western RPG from Kenzer and co with the Serenity RPG from Margaret Weis Productions, I thought that the mechanics of A&8’s would do well in the fluff of Serenity. – just a thought

    @ StephenWollett

    GD right, Stephen – GD right.

    Manifestation of Chaos


    Yet somehow this wonderful contribution failed to save your precious system – and maybe my thirty years have clued me into the fact that is a Role-playing Game not a what class can beat what class in a dick measuring contest.

    “Your appeal to public opinion is also duly noted” – I am not aware of any appeal to the public and as of yet I have not made baseless assumptions about you as you have with me.

    Although I am beginning to get a pretty clear picture of what to base my assumptions about you on.

    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012

    Hey Ninestar keep things civil man, this is a friendly forum, don’t go picking a fight.


    4e is a “Role Playing” game only in the losest sense of the word “Roleplay” as it is primarily a miniature war game. I equate it to Magic the Gathering. Another game based on RPG’s but in reality, has snuffed the “Roleplaying” out of the game. I play a game to become a character and experience a story. Any game that ties me up with mechanics and multi-hour combats for a simple random encounter, loses my interest very quickly. Also any game that fails to put is social elements such as skills or abilities that only apply in social situations loses my interest. When I want to play a wargame I turn to Crimson Skies or Battletech or maybe even warhammer which all created far better battle systems that 4e. When I want to play a “Roleplaying” game I have hundreds of choices that offer the ability to create a story without the need for endless combats and no “Roleplaying” at all.

    As for the 20th level wizard killing everyone in a fight. Who cares? The wizard was so weak at lower levels that I never saw one in one of my campaigns make it past 10th level. In nearly every fantasy book, the powerful wizard is nealy unbeatable and that is how it should be. Classes do not have to be equal to make a game fun. The story is what makes the game fun. We have run D&D games with people ranging from 3rd to 15th level in the same adventures and they were still fun because we “Roleplayed”. If “ROLL Playing” is your thing then 4e is the game for you. It is a good system for what it does but as a “Role Player” I find “ROLL Playing” to be rather boring. If I want to play a game where I roll dice all night, I much prefer the HERO system where I really get to roll lots of dice.

    Every game appeals to someone for different reasons. Who cares if you like it or hate it. Play the ones you like and leave it at that.

    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012 edited

    It occurs to me that Role playing really does not REQUIRE any SYSTEM at all. Sure it’s helpful to have guidelines and mechanics to follow, but to the extent that we are pretending to play a role we’re really not doing anything more than we used to do when we were kids. Arsheesh this reminds me of the brief conversation we had about mechanics and ‘free-form’ play. I believe you linked me to another blog post at the Alexandrian about game mechanics and role playing.

    When you were a kid and you were running around in the backyard pretending to shoot your friends with your finger you didn’t have any game mechanics. You might have a loose set of rules that you and your friends agreed on. I recall lots of ‘role playing’ sessions that took place in the car on the way to a buddies house before a session. We were able to get in character, carry on conversations and generally advance the story without picking up any dice. If we needed to resolve combat, I (as the DM) would describe actions and results in such a way as to make it sound fun, exciting and risky…but also perhaps…moved the story along. Every combat didn’t have to be a potential TPK…sometimes the fight was part of the story…maybe a chance to pick up a clue or capture a key NPC…or any other set of possible outcomes..but always with the goal of moving the story along. This kind of play transcended the specific rule set we were following as we often played this way in other settings (top secret was a favorite with some of my buddies).

    When it came time to sit at the table (actually we were usually on the floor) we used the system at hand. So…when it came to ‘role’ playing I would say that the specific system was not the main factor…it was influential in that the decisions we made would eventually come to be affected by the game mechanics…but as for being in character…the system wasn’t really the thing. It was the setting and the story…but not the game rules. If I’m Balbo Biggins the mighty wizard and I live in the kingdom of Furry Yondy in the realm of GrowHack…I can play that character regardless of the game system…Right?

    When I first started playing 4e, I came to it well into it’s life. I went to forums and found this same kind of discussion going on. Lot’s of folks…really unhappy…and lots of others baffled by the reactions…and lot’s of anger on both sides. For my part, I applied my logic…who cares what the system is…I can ‘role’ play regardless of how I ‘roll’ play. That lasted until our last session, when that reasoning simply failed. Sure…I could still role play regardless of the combat system at hand…but that combat system just took over the game…not because we didn’t do any role playing…but things just took FOREVER to resolve. As we got higher and higher in level and acquired more and more status effects…and the monsters did the same…it lengthened combat. Our last session involved a group of monsters dealing out save ends stunning effects. It just became a stun fest….they stunned us…we stunned..or dazed them…we fail a save…they fail a save…blah blah blah…5 HOURS FOR ONE COMBAT…there was NO chance to ROLE play.

    Whatever reason you want to attribute to it…for US who have played MANY game systems over MANY years…which DOES afford a certain perspective…WE did not have much FUN…so we are dropping the system because this is a failure of the SYSTEM…not the players or the DM. Some might want to say it…but to quote leonidas…“my own counsel will I keep..” We used to have fun with the old, broke, out of balance, overpowered etc…editions….we don’t with 4e. Moving on.

    I’ll give 5E a look…but honestly I’m not hopeful.


    Once again, Arsheesh has tried to be the voice of reason, yet the bitter war of those who hate 4e versus those that love 4e rages on, unhindered.

    Let’s agree this is a divisive subject, and at best we can agree to disagree. Liking or disliking 4e does not make someone wrong. The whole point of these game systems is to provide entertainment and enjoyment. If you are entertained and have an enjoyable experience playing 4e, then it served its purpose. If you didn’t have an enjoyable experience playing 4e, find something else to play that you’ll enjoy and be entertained by.

    Getting all bent out of shape and demeaning other gamers over their choice of system seems a bit pointless and a bit mean-spirited.



    I respect your opinion (BTW -baller page) but you are mistaken to insinuate that anyone in any post on this thread indicated that the people who like(d) 4e were “wrong” to like it, and with the lone exception of Ninestar, I cannot find where anyone demeaned other gamers, Did I demean the system, sure I did, but demeaning the system is not the same as demeaning the players. If someone reads a personal insult in my hatred of 4e then that is on them.

    Truthfully I abhor the 4e system, and in candor there are a number of systems I don’t care for, however I don’t blame the players of those systems.

    I think the reason that this is still such a hot topic is that D&D is the flagship RPG, many folks myself included started with it and have played it for decades. D&D is certainly part of our lives and that makes folks protective of it

    Bottomline is that the 3.5 +/4.0 edition war died the minute they annouced 5e. You don’t generally mothball a system less then 4 years into it without some pretty good reasons.



    Leonidas. Thanks for the kind words about my page – I appreciate it.

    I agree with you – the 3.5 +/- 4.0 argument is a moot point. Unfortunately, it is still pretty divisive, and one person seems to have taken umbrage with the discussion. Was their anger misguided? Probably. But it doesn’t change the fact that whether or not you’re directly saying that someone is wrong for liking one edition over another, someone’s bound to take it the wrong way, which leads to pointless mud-slinging. I was just trying to nip it in the bud.

    As for what D&D systems I’ve preferred, I have to say that 3.5 was my favorite – mostly because it was my first foray into d20, and I felt it was a real game-changer. And I’ll always have a soft-spot for AD&D just because its quirkiness was sort of charming. I was actually telling one of the people in my gaming group about THAC0 last night, and he looked at me like I had monkeys flying out of my butt.

    I would like to say that our group did a lot of research before we decided to move forward with Pathfinder, but that wouldn’t be accurate. Two of us read through the 4e rules and decided it wasn’t our cup of tea. In hindsight, it might have been useful to play-test 4e before we went to Pathfinder, but in the end it didn’t matter – we made the choice and never looked back.


    I agree with Leonidas, just because I dont like a system doesnt make that system wrong in any way. It just means that my taste are different than another persons. Gaming is about having fun. We all play for that reason alone. I will never begrudge anyone who enjoys a system. It is all a matter of style and taste. Play on and have fun, whatever system you choose. Most gamers I have known say their first system was the best and that is probably because it is the one they learned on and the one they know they best. Change is a beast and not all of us are able to accept or enjoy it. I for one hate it when the game I am playing ends and a new version begins. The company stops supporting my game and I have to buy new books and relearn the game. This probably makes me prejudiced against the new game and unless it is extraordinary, I will judge it less than the prior version.

    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012

    I had a chance to review, watch, and received an invite to "play test" 4e. Needless to say after the first observed game session and review of the rules, I walked away from it. It was not D&D and lacked imagination in my opinion, besides I already had a subscription to World of Warcraft. Our whole group rejected 4e and as a result stayed with 3.5 and later converted to Pathfinder.

    4e is on its way out, abandoned by Hasbro. While the game system may be considered good by some, it does not have D&D feel that most would recognize. The success and popularity of 4e can be gauged by its short life span. My understanding is that all 4e product development has been cancelled in preparation for 5e. Which is their sole hope to win over their fractured community.

    This brings me from my slight rant (sorry). In your position as you look for a new game system I would review stick with 3.0 or convert to Pathfinder. Else hang on to your cash and get 5e. Other than that the OGL community is strong and has a number of interesting game systems that align with 3.x.

    Another option is to play-test 5e with your group. Signup is at

    Hey Calivan,

    Thanks for jumping in. I don’t know if you’ve read all the earlier posts…but I am signed up for 5e play-test (as well as one of the other guys in the group). We will be checking out Pathfinder also. Between all the guys in my gaming group, we still own all the core books from all 3 prior editions. So I wouldn’t say we’re looking for a NEW game system. We’re sticking with DnD at this point. We haven’t gone into detail yet, but I think we’ll play some 1st edition for a couple of sessions, then 2nd…maybe 3e, but I will advocate skipping 3e it and going right to Pathfinder. At this point, there are no plans to explore other systems but that could always change.

    @StephenWollet: “Change is a beast and not all of us are able to accept or enjoy it.”

    Way back in the day when Palladium was first released, our group gave it a try. I think most of us liked it, I know I did. The biggest change to get over was simply the idea of stacking bonuses in positive numbers. A few of us really had a problem with the idea of a +20…“what…no negative numbers?!” Once you get attached to something it can be hard to let go, no matter how illogical. I certainly recognize that trait in myself at times.

    To anyone else who wants to join in on the discussion: In my original post I mentioned that I’d like to hear other perspectives on the older systems, specifically DnD though if you feel the need to throw in something else to make a point…feel free.

    If you have ever played the originals (even back to basic), let me know what you liked/loved about them. What were some of the things you didn’t like?


    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012
    If I never have to hear another blithering autist go on about what is or isn't a "real roleplaying game" it'll be too God-damned soon.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012

    First Edition will always have a very special place in my heart, since it opened my life to RPG but I wouldn’t go back there now.
    Second Edition had some nice embellishments in both game design and content. I didn’t like THAC0 at first but got used to it. I loved PLANESCAPE!
    I missed 3rd Edition because I stopped playing RPG for a few years.
    When I returned to RPG I was utterly bewildered with the immensity of 3.5 and all the things that had been added. It took me quite a while to get to grips with it but it certainly opened up all sorts of possibilities – perhaps too many for my liking. The proliferation of Forgotten Realms is utterly astounding but I didn’t like Eberron.
    Our group was too much invested in 3.5 to change to 4e. I played a few games and it seemed OK – I actually like some of the simplified mechanics, but there were others in my group that refused to play, so we stuck with 3.5, which I still like.
    With D&Dnext just around the corner, I have lost all interest in 4e but will keep an open mind regarding D&Dnext.
    I have to say that Pathfinder would be my natural choice if I had to move on from 3.5. (They have made some excellent amendments and the PFSRD is pretty good!)

    Shimring – The Faces of Divinity
    (a multiplanar 3.5 D&D campaign)


    Wow – Who let the Troll in? Bad Troll, Bad, now that you shared your “insight” go back under your bridge.


    Hey Twigs did you ever try the Birthright Campaign Setting? – very underated back in the day, but really well done. I think at some point I stumbled on to some d20 material for it. I would have much rather had seen Birthright get a reboot, then Ebberon get the green light. If you do ever move on from 3.5 I whole-heartily think that you would like Pathfinder – The Channel Energy idea for the cleric is one of the best game rules I have ever seen, it really give the cleric some spell selection choice/casting choices that they did not have before due to having to save the slots for spont. healing or memorized healing.

    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012 edited


    Yeah…we have all been inspired to pull out our old 1st ed stuff and look back at it. We won’t end up sticking with it. It would purely be an exercise in nostalgia. The more we talk, the more we seem to be leaning towards pathfinder. I actually got the PDF and started trying to figure out how to make a conversion of my 4E level 12 Eladrin rogue, shadowblade into a pathfinder character. I’m in the process of figuring out how the ability scores translate.


    Birthright was one of our favorite settings…good stuff


    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012

    I’m afraid I have never had the chance to try Birthright, Leonidas but I guess it must have been good since both you and dlaporte seem to have liked it so much.

    In my table top world we are playing 3.5 but I have been playing a pathfinder online game for the last four months and am very much enjoying it. Poison is a bit nasty and a bit too complicated, but otherwise, most things are an improvement and the additions to the basic classes are very cool.

    Shimring – The Faces of Divinity
    (a multiplanar 3.5 D&D campaign)

    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012 edited

    I’m not much of a fan of D&D – it was the first roleplaying game I learned, starting with the Holmes blue box back when the only ‘advanced’ book was the Monster Manual, but I usually played it just because everyone played D&D. I ‘graduated’ to 1e AD&D as the books were released, but I stopped gaming in the late Eighties and never played 2e.

    I came back to gaming with 3e, but I grew frustrated with d20 games generally, which prompted my personal ‘old school renaissance’ as I returned to the roleplaying games I liked when I was younger.

    I opened a 4e book exactly once, at a bookstore, to read the section on skill challenges, so I could understand what others were talking about.

    If I run D&D again, it will be for my kids, and I’ll probably use B/X or Labyrinth Lord.

    Mike aka Black Vulmea
    Le Ballet de l’Acier – swashbuckling adventures in the age of the Three Musketeers and Captain Alatriste
    Featured Campaign of the Month – August 2011

    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012
    "Wow – Who let the Troll in? Bad Troll, Bad, now that you shared your “insight” go back under your bridge."

    Nobody's trolling. I really do find the constant hard-on that a certain type of gamer has to demean what other people enjoy ("oh, that's not a real roleplaying game" is a good one, as is the unironic use of the term "rollplaying") one of the most stomach-churning aspects of this hobby.

    Well, jacobkosh…for my part, I used the ‘unironic’ term and I really challenge you to point out where there was any demeaning language. I am referring to MY OWN experiences and opinions about what I have been playing. In searching for ways to describe my likes and dislikes I’m choosing those terms to distinguish between the act of immersing myself in a character and the act of rolling dice to resolve game mechanics. I found that the mechanics of 4E got in the way of immersion FOR ME..and, as it turns, out for my group. That doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t feel immersed when they play it and I wouldn’t demean anyone who loves playing the game. By the same token, I can’t for the life of me, understand the negativity around this issue. If someone feels ‘demeaned’ by another’s expression of opinion it’s on them.

    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012 edited

    Well dlaporte that is the culture we live in today. The expression of dislike or disagreement is taken as a personal insult. Gone are the days where people could state a difference of opinion and not have it turn into a “I got my little feelings hurt because someone does not like the stuff I like or think the way I think” cryfest.

    @ jacobkosh, normally I don’t respond much to a troll – (no real point in it), but since you claim you were not trolling, it leads me to wonder What was your expectation for your post? By calling people who state their opinion on what is or is not a RPG “blithering autist” are you not directly demeaning them? Perhaps you meant to be Ironic by deliberately demeaning people instead of the “supposed” demeaning of people, that many people expressing their dislike of a game system are being accused of.

    BTW – folks – Its called dislike for a reason we all have dislikes, stuff we choose not to partake in for whatever reason. I dislike suicide, ut oh… now I must of pissed off all of the people who like suicide (lucky for me, I won’t have to hear from too many of them). If people cannot cope with the fact that others don’t always like or care to participate in things that they do that is on them.


    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012

    Oh my god. “The culture we live in?” Are you going to start yelling at the kids on your lawn next?

    Take a second and listen to yourself.



    I guess when a troll’s argument has been rebuked so soundly it leaves them little recourse, other than to nitpick some small phrase and try to turn that into something. Thanks for living up to all of my expectations.


    and if I were to “yelling at the kids on my lawn” – it would be an awesome Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino type of yell.

    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012

    Hmmm… I don’t have much to comment on this (for now), but
    @ jacobkosh
    I’m pretty sure you misspelled “dammit”.

    @ Leonidas
    I dislike suicide too!

    I’ll come back with my ideas tomorrow probably, I’m heading home for now.


    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012

    Okay, Leonidas. Here goes.

    “In truth, mere words cannot articulate my disgust with 4e; the system sucks so bad the books ought to be burned. I actually tried on several occasions to play that drek but to say it was only awful would be a tremendous understatement. It was essentially WOW on paper. They took all of the imagination out of the game when they “balanced” the classes. What they did to the wizard and the traditional spell casting system was out right heresey, in fact so blasphemous that it would make Beelzebub himself vomit.”

    “When a system such as 4e comes along and tries to artificially level the field it often as it did with 4e it spits in the face of individualism which is the very foundation of an RPG.”

    “4e took imagination to an Orwellian level of conformity, Striker, Controller and so on; give me a moment while I puke at the thought of it. (wow 15 feet looks like I win)”

    Leaving aside your fixation on bodily fluids, let’s break this down: your opinion is that 4e is a video game, that it is “Orwellian” and “spits in the face of individualism” (what does individualism’s face look like, anyway? is it a blonde?), and that it changed everything but at the same time has no imagination (I’m really curious to hear how that works!).

    Well, my opinion is that you’re a loudmouthed creep.

    I think your protestations of innocence – “it’s just my opinion!” – are egregious horseshit. Nobody held a gun to your head to make you compare a game about elves to vomit and spit. Contrary to what you appear to think, people do get to comment on your opinions, and griping about “the culture” when they do is a punk’s move.

    I think attitudes like yours are why so many people get turned off the RPG hobby in the first place. I had a complete stranger come up to me in the game store the other day to interrupt my quiet conversation with a friend (in the back corner of the store, no less) and shout “4e sucks!” in our faces. I honestly, 100%, no-fooling think that anyone who would seriously do that has Asperger’s or some other flavor of mental illness and is in serious need of medication and therapy. But apparently on the internet that’s just business as usual. What a fucking clown show.



    Well -first I stand by everything I said.

    Second, you have the right to your opinion about me and unlike you I will not bitch and cry about how you expressed your opinion. (nor will I lose an instant of sleep that you dislike me).

    But while we are expressing opinions, I will say that I think you are a small and frightened man, who is so wrapped up in the cancellation of an inferior, dogshit gaming system that you vent your anger on everyone who expesses a dislike of it. The system could not possibly suck because you like it, right? I must be the only person in the world who would rather play anything else than 4e. (that must be why it was cancelled) Perhaps, instead of projecting your rage from the other day on a stranger for the grevious insult (aka the truth) about your precious system, you should find the sack to have confronted the person who so offended you; but you won’t do that will you?

    Also for the record your behavior and comments, concerning this subject is the king of punk ass moves.

    @FrankSirmarco and arsheesh – you guys were way right about how this is a subject that can not be discussed civilly.

    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2012

    “Well -first I stand by everything I said.”

    What a brave stand to take on the internet. “I’m proud of being a walking, talking stereotype!”