View Full Version : Which Ed Advice for Oldschool Newbie

04-17-2014, 11:33 PM
I'm one of those old guys who played 30 years ago and wants to get back into it. I played a couple of times at my local comic shop a few years ago right after 4E came out, but that's all I've done since I was a kid. My sons (early teens) really want to give it a try. I already have the Advanced D&D DM Guide and Players Handbooks from 1979, the 4E Heros of the Fallen Lands, and the 4E red box (which we're about 1/2 way through).

Before I get too deep into it I would like to know what you all think about which edition I should have us play. I am a little gobsmacked by all the choices. Considering what I already have and what I'll need to buy to get going, what would be best? I would like to only buy what is necessary to get into a good adventure at this point. I'm hoping to make this a summer thing to with my boys once a week.

Guidance is appreciated.

04-18-2014, 12:23 AM
OD&D or the more modern versions of Chainmail are great for very old school blast from the past play - simple if arbitrary options; and much is left up to player interpretation.

1st and 2nd ed are not quite the same beast, but are still good for a grognard experience, with 2nd being the more complex with options and expansions.

3rd ed is also heavy on the options and leans towards those who enjoy more complex option building styles of play - like previous editions it suffers from skewed balance and gygaxian expectations; but it also supports very rich gameplay with many fun options to explore.

4th ed also provides many options, but they are all built on a limited set of frameworks, much like the character building options in an MMO or CRPG - even if there are very many options. this makes it have a much wider appeal than previous version of the game, despite the fact that it undersold expectations rather drastically - there are many younger gamers who find the computer-game-ish familiar format to be easy to adapt to.

5th ed is still in beta and i'm not sure if the beta-books are still up for download from the site or not - but it is a sincere effort at melding old school style, with more simplistic and streamlined ruleset that is fast in play, yet provides many options for the players. it remains to see how the final release will turn out.

ultimately, all you really need is a PHB and a DMG - the rest is all fluff - even the monster manuals. nice to have, but your imagination can do just as well if you have the time and inclination.

and if you decide to try out 3rd edition - the SRD (system reference document) includes the majority (90%+) of the content of the first 9 books or so, and is still a free download from the wizards site (just do a search for "wizards SRD 3.5"). 9 D&D books for legally free is hard to beat, though the 3rd edition of D&D does seem to be the most complex of all, expect perhaps the latter end of 2nd ed when they were recycling splatbooks for profit.

oh, and just for the record, there ARE many options outside of D&D for great roleplaying too. ^^ but since the tenor of your post seemed to lean towards D&D i kept my comments narrowed to that focus.

04-18-2014, 04:37 AM
I would simply use the 1st ed books you have plus you can find free fan adventures at http://www.dragonsfoot.org/fe/.
I run an AD&D 1e family group with players as young as 6 (with the fathers guidance) and they don't seem to have any problem with the system. There are an almost unlimited number of games out there any every genre is even well represented these days so there is a lot to choose from but I would start with the game in hand. So, if you are looking for something different all these games are free http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/freerpgs/fulllist.html

04-18-2014, 10:48 AM
well, since we're throwing links around, here are the 9 books given away by WOTC for free (3rd edition D&D) (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35). The all-in-one zip file is at the very bottom of the page, just scroll down - it's about 2 megs. these are text files, mind, and split up by chapter and section, roughly.

04-18-2014, 04:42 PM
I'd agree with the above posts. Not a fan of d20 myself anymore but my first purchase and game was '88 redbox, and having played AD&D2E, 3x and 4, I have to say I would prefer original '88 redbox with some better rules for separate races and classes and skills.

04-18-2014, 05:14 PM
hmmm, i've played 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. own OD&D. read about 4th. beta tested 5th. i wound up liking 3rd the best, despite it's flaws.

04-19-2014, 04:54 AM
:sorry: Sorry About the "Book" , I got excited and over enthusiastic... :typing:

I look at it as OD&D, Chain-mail, and first edition are very basic, almost simplistic. And if Simplistic and rules light is the way you would like to start, i would recommend Basic Fantasy Role-Playing game which is Open source, and free in digital form, with the option of buying in print( actual hard copies) at cost! ( you can find links and supporting info, Open gaming License, etc.. Here : Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (http://www.basicfantasy.org/)

AD&D 2nd ED was what i really learned on at 11 to 12 years of age, and put a bit more customization into it. Opened up the Genre a bit for truly Fantastic game-play. One of my faves when i get a chance. I still have quite a few AD&D 1st ED and AD&D 2nd ED Hardcovers on my shelf, however they have taken quite the beating over the years.

Now, if you have worked your way up, and after getting use to the game-play and want to add even more options into your games, 3rd ED and 3.5 is your next, must take step, if you want to keep progressing into more, and highly intricate, bad-ass! D&D Fantasy style game-play. The 3.0 and 3.5 editions are fairly much the same, the differences being, it looked like they rushed 3.0 to market, and in doing so, sped thru editing and final form, and left alot of vital info unexplained, broken, or just missing period. It was still Highly playable, but there were sticky points that forced the expenditure of some small amounts of effort and annoyance agreeing on, or flat out house ruling..... Their answer to that, after realizing their Boo-boo's, was AD&D 3.5 ED. They took their time, and did quite well in addressing the shortcomings of their 3.0 release, fixed quite a bit, and made it a little smoother... the downside is that it was basically a full Re-Release, at full market pricing, LOL.

Anyway, 3.0 and 3.5 blew open the customizing options, had tons of specialized, or "Prestige Class" options, threw in some damn fine new Playable races, playable monsters, and upgraded their outdated pain-in-the-ass! ThAC0 (To Hit Armor Class 0) to hit system ( which was downright backwards and counter Intuitive!!!!) to a rising armor class scale, instead of the lowering and negative AC rating system. This Edition almost literally blew the game wide open for EPIC Adventures! While this edition was , to be expected, slightly :) imbalanced, they did a good job of keeping the feats and skills within classpurview. There were still a few problems, but there always are :)

Now we get into The Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. My opinion of this system, and how it came about, is quite high! Still based on the D20 system standard of the genre, it was desinged also under the Open Gaming License. Paizo, and its small group of disillusioned, Anti-Wizards Of the Coast-Rebels ( and i mean why not, ever since they bought out TSR, they consistently screwed the pooch, Brutally, and without lube! ), got together and sketched out a very good, and well put together, successor to the AD&D 3.X system. What made it work so well, in my own biased opinion, was the sheer enormity of time Paizo play-tested it, all the while inviting in numerous gamers of every stripe and style, and actually....., ( Pause for dramatic effect, Drum-roll please!....), Asked for!, Listened to!, And Used/Incorporated/Implemented changes to improve the game and system, based existentially on the discussions and or opinions of the Tens of Thousands of everyday gamers that Paizo invited in , In a Year-Long Open Play-Test!, to critique, and polish out this wonderful system!

Pathfinder is virtually totally compatible with the 3.0 and 3.5 editions of D&D, effectively fixing tons of their inherent problems, and streamlining game-play a bit. And you guessed it, they blew the doors open further, with yet more feats, skills, prestige classes, races, and other options. Popular Gamer heresy has been calling Pathfinder "D&D 3.75" for so long, that the moniker is almost Pathfinder Lore! ( I should be a damn P.R. Rep for the D&D and Pathfinder RPG systems :p ) As you may have noticed, D&D on into Pathfinder is my Favorite Incarnation of the D20 Fantasy RPG Genre!

:laugh: Ok , Finally, I will give a much shorter opinion on D&D 4th ED, which I thought was a near total disappointment! ( one big Joke! , hence why i will have many annoyingly stupid smileys and emotes in this paragraph, a small, snide, revenge that makes me feel better about it..... lol) :mad: Short and simple, from what i had seen, they basically removed class balancing, and class distinctions. :doh: Gave the characters a nasty " MMO quality and feel".:crazy: Mages with power attacks, or war cries.... Non-caster classes with at-will special powers, etc. :frusty: I guess if ya want cookie-cutter characters, and little to no class distinctive skill-sets and abilities, this game for you. I have also heard 4th ED referred to as the " Min-Maxer's wet dream" ... :violin: Some folk Like 4th ED, but I am not one of them , so i am done :deadhorse:.

04-19-2014, 05:07 AM
:attention:I forgot to mention that Pathfinder ALSO has a pretty darn good, extensive SRD on their Website as well.... :peace:

04-20-2014, 01:55 AM
or for another view of Pathfinder try this review: http://daegames.blogspot.com/2009/08/pathfinder-review.html

04-20-2014, 02:39 PM
Nice post, Mythus. I enjoyed reading this. I felt that I got more info and enjoyment out of the comment section tho.

I will be the first to admit, almost everyone who finds a system they truly enjoy, becomes a fanboy for that particular system, at least to some extent.
Which is why i tossed around the word "Opinion" quite frequently.

04-20-2014, 10:35 PM
Thank you everyone for all the great responses. It took me awhile to look through everything. I've downloaded and printed basic fantasy and swords & wizardry complete rulebook. I'll read those both over, but S&W looks most interesting to me. Simple and straight forward but with more variety of classes than basic fantasy. The only thing I'm confused about is which modules to use. Am I correct that anything designed for Original DnD rules will work with these rules? So I can search for free modules designed for OD&D. Just trying to get the terminology correct.

The Pathfinder Beginner Box also looks great. I may give that a try, too.

Thanks again for the advice.