Saturday, February 15, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary (Blog Hop Challenge) -- The first edition of D&D I didn't enjoy

Life in the post grid world ... 

The first edition of D&D I did not like was 3.0.  Previous to that, like most people I had only played a few versions of the game. I had pretty much only played either basic or 2nd edition D&D (a very brief run of 1st ed. but so brief it really doesn't count).  So why no love for post 3.0 era D&D?  For me it is the bane of RPGs the GRID!!  I dispise the grid.  I hate how it slows the game down, forces very terrible min-maxing into every players head.  In my experience I feel that the grid means story inevitably is sacrificed. So a strong opinion there and I am well aware it is just that an "opinion" and I have had many discussions with people who love the grid and feel it has enhanced their games, etc.   Even on blaming 3.0 for the grid is sort of wrong as the grid sort of stems from many things, the advanced combat rules in 2nd edition arguably had a grid. Many DMs out there had used a grid back in the earlier days.  Using graphing paper to draw maps in a way was a "grid", etc. etc.

In my view though when the official rules went full grid the game jumped the shark.  Again depending on perspective for better or worse the grid undeniably completely changed how D&D worked.  Some people loved it, I did not.   For me I do not like an RPG to center on miniatures.  Which is sort of odd giving my love of miniature gaming.  I like RPGs to center on what players are doing, on their characters feelings, motivations and fears.  I find that when minis hit the table, the game turns into a tactical board game and most of the immersion goes out the window.  Can things be fun still, hell yes, and for some people all the things they actually like about RPGs is enhanced by minis.  To each their own I say and if people like grid based D&D more power to them.  There is room for all persuasions and perversions in my view.  

My own trek with grid based D&D though, did not really hit very heavily with 3.0. I played one quick, four or five session game of it and was sort of meh about it and went back to a 2nd ed campaign.  A few years later I played in a short 3.5 game and again was meh about it.  I then played in a few hilarious Hackmaster games that lasted the better part of a year.  Then RPGs took a turn into OSR land for me with Tunnels and Trolls, and then I sort of just hit a period where we played everything but D&D for years.

4e was the first grid based version of D&D that I really got into.  I gave it a two year run as a player (I never DM'd that version of the game).  I gave it a full on college try and it was actually fun for a few months of that time.  The rest of the time it just never felt like D&D for me.  It was something else.  We never seemed to get as much done in the games, we argued more, there was far more "meta" talk and sideline non-game BSing, etc.  I never seemed to care about my characters as much and neither did the other players (totally subjective statement I concede).   But really what killed 4e, was WoTC of course.  They botched the support of the game so badly with the introduction of "essentials" that our group just folded up shop on 4e all together and went to Pathfinder for about a year.  After that I've just totally abandoned any grid based version of RPGs.  I refuse to play in any grid game again as a DM ... UNLESS ... I could do it with pre-gen characters and run the game like Descent and just do fun one shot dungeon crawls or something.  I think the grid would be great for that but in my humble opinion it is not as good at doing D&D as non-mini based versions were/are.  

Otherwise my forevermore preference with D&D is to stick with something clean, simple and classic feeling.  At present I'm very much enjoying Dungeon World for that.  But I could happily do other OSR style games.  Who knows though I have learned that in gaming nothing is forever and preferences of one's game group are fickle.  The winds of change constantly are blowing ...

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