Thursday, May 17, 2012

Various D&D Editions and "How They Feel"

No idea why I was thinking of this today, but figured I'd sneak a non-political, non-rant post in this week. So here it goes, the various editions of Dungeons & Dragons and how the "feel."

Dragon's Lair immediately comes to mind, particularly since I have made a return to Basic D&D. Basic/Expert is cartoony to a point, but typically you have a goal and, if you play by the book, will likely never achieve it. Life is cheap in Basic/Expert and the smallest damage is life threatening. You feel like a bad ass though when you pull something off.

Excalibur is high fantasy, and despite the lack of demi-humans and clerics it is all AD&D 1st Edition. You had quite a good chance at being a bad ass in 1st edition, but that did not mean you could be all cavalier about shit. You could still die. For me, when I talk about old school D&D, I am talking about 1st edition. Excalibur and its shiny armor, mysterious wizards, and dangerous NPCs is a great definition.

To be completely honest, I completely skipped 2nd edition... well, sort of. I joined a group that played 2nd edition for a few weeks before switching to 3e. Second always seemed more gritty, and more cinematic with all its skills and class builds. Like Conan the Barbarian, the heroes seem more powerful yet have more and more powerful people to deal with. I could be wrong.

I never once, in all my years of playing D&D, fought a dragon until 3rd edition. Dragons were always rather sacred to every DM I had played with, and the general consensus seemed to be "you don't kill dragons, dragons kill you." I am down with that concept. 3rd edition brought us the fragile dragon, and we fought and killed a fair number of them. The image, by the way, is from the fairly awesome Wrath of the Dragon God. Possibly the best Syfy original to date, and is very much a "how to play" example of 3e.

Ok, I am joking a bit here. I am not afraid to say I love 4th edition, but the World of Warcraft comparisons are still fairly valid. Normally I might say that 4th edition brought us the unkillable character, and it is seriously hard to die in 4e. I have been playing 4e since it came out and only one of my characters have died. Combat-wise, 4th edition is "balls to the wall" and you never, ever run from anything. This has seriously effected my Basic/Expert play-style, as I should often run and yet choose not to.


kenchan13 said...

Have you tried the co-op board games Wizards of the Coast released? I have all 3 and love them to death. No D.M. and all the math is really simplified. My 7 year old loves them to and it was easy to teach. Of the 3 Wrath Of Shardalon is my fav with Legend of Drizzit a close second.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have not. I don't do board games much. Despite being an extrovert in the middling end of the scale, I am quite the shut-in. I blame my town. :-)

I have "Last Night on Earth" and... the other Flying Frog game... ("A Touch of Brimstone" maybe? Or was than a The Avengers episode?) and have only played LNoE once. I'll have to look at them sometime, but I get most of my gaming lately on the web.

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