How many of us are here with D&D? Won’t lie, I’ve only purchased the latest D&D to have the most current edition.


Hmm. I think the BECMI Berserker is waxing nostalgic quite a bit in that video. I played the old boxed set editions too, and there’s no part of me that wants to return to them. While Berserker suggests that the newer editions stifle creativity, I feel the opposite. Demi-Humans being classes for example felt very constraining.

I have grown to prefer more open, non-class based systems like Savage Worlds that are able to support basically everything I want to play from fantasy to science-fiction. That’s me though.

I guess what bothers me about this video is that it suggests there is one right, one pure way to enjoy roleplaying games and then there’s the “empty gaming” way that saps all the creativity from the game. I have run campaigns in 1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e, 4e and 5th edition. The one edition from that list that I actually felt constrained by was 4th. It took quite a bit of house ruling to make that system work for the kinds of scenarios I wanted to build.

I’m all for people playing whatever makes them happy and fits their group’s playing style best. There’s no reason to make value judgements about what people enjoy. If your group loves OSE, more power to you! There were things to like about all the editions – things each of them, I think, did well. Even 4e had some awesome elements to it.

Play what you enjoy. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to do otherwise.


Yeah, he might be a bit nostalgic. His assertion that, in the pre-internet age, there was no one weighing in on rules beyond your own table is naive. Third party publishers go back to the '70s, unleashing endless variants and supplements, and arguments over it all were being waged regularly through the pages of Alarums & Excursions, and other 'zines.

It was exciting, arcane stuff, and I craved it all, because even the most of the bad ideas still represented a new idea. What he’s referring to as his good old days in the early to mid '80s was a period of huge official content bloat, and a lot of it was pretty uninspiring. I bought little of it and needed none of it.

I think the issue isn’t so much that back then was better than right now, but rather that community creativity tends to be more fun than corporate commercialism. This is, I think, at the heart of his argument, but is probably better expressed in this recent video:


I actually had watched this video before watching the other.

Play what you like.


This is exactly my position. I don’t get the edition wars but can quote my father on how I read these critiques:

Things aren’t as good as they used to be, and they probably never were!

Do what you like. Have great fun with friends. Don’t get caught up in any hype.

If anything, the alarm over One D&D is a sign of great success. It feels like the gap between 2e and 3e when we all knew WotC was going to do something, just not what.

That said, perhaps I just found the name for my blog. Win!


I can understand liking one edition over another. I do too. I cannot understand the urge, nay need to have everyone agree with you.

It sadly is a Human thing, you see it all over, in politics, religion, band preference, but I repeat myself.


We agree. A strong opinion is a personal opinion - what others do is their own business. :slight_smile:

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He is definitely being nostalgic, and normalizing his own experience. However, it is true that pre-internet there were far fewer sources for info - especially on the “how to” kind of stuff youtube is great for - and aside from the occasional zine or con, most GMs were experimenting in a vacuum most of the time.

What you did with that time, of course, depended on you. I was pushing into LARPs and other forms of interactive fiction engineering pretty early (mid-late 80s). I know I wasn’t alone in doing that, but it often felt like I was.

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And I’m nostalgic for the lack of trolls in the world. The dividers for the sake of division had less traction. You had to work to work people up, one tweet from a twit was not enough.

I love the gift that easy connectivity brings, but I dread the pure hateful noise it beings as well.


Heh, that wall of BECMI books he put up (and really his whole trajectory) matches me very well.

However, I’m not looking to go backward on rule sets. What was great for BECMI for me was the setting–Mystara and the Gazetteer line were amazing and still my favorite “generic fantasy” setting.

BECMI and 5e are honestly to me about the same as far as systems go. I can use the various BECMI alternative rules to get more options into play, add skills, etc. We house-ruled things all the time running BECMI.

For the comment about sitting around making characters in D&D Beyond–yeah, I did that sitting in my room in '84. Made tons of characters and had no one to play with, so I ran them through modules.

The lack of rules/ambiguity he’s looking for, unfortunately, paralyzes lots of players in my experience. Some few are like me, devouring any game systems, stories, etc. we can find and building elaborate characters just because. Most, however, aren’t putting that time into the character. Having some rules/splatbooks/etc. helps guide them to a character that’s fun to play. And honestly that’s how it’s been for most of my gaming years.

I saw this most glaringly in my time running Genesys games. Building from the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games, Genesys is, to me, an awesome framework to build just about any character, challenge, adventure, and setting you want (though I’ve been poking around at Cortex lately). The system is so flexible I’ve run time traveling dino sci-fi, Star Wars just after Order 66, various Pathfinder APs (including converting Skull and Shackles to Space Pirates with magic replaced by tech) and the system just handles it all no problem. But the players are at times paralyzed by the freedom. The original rules from FFG for Star Wars had career paths laying out character options, and I’ve found that’s what most players need–guide rails to point them in the direction they want to play.

That’s actually what’s got my d20 diehards shifting to PF2e from 5e–the 5e ambiguity often leads to less character development and actions at the table. I guess some folks might say these players need to get better imaginations or some such, but that’s missing the point. I’ve got decades of play experience helping me game like I do, while lots of these folks are new and only spend 4-5 hours a week or less thinking about gaming.


“Play what you enjoy” amen, amen, amen!
I played the original 3-booklet D&D, and almost no edition after that (a touch of 3/3.5, but not enough to matter) - got into other RPGs (Fantasy Trip, Space Opera, etc., etc.) until D&D 4th. My group loved it - it hit some of us in our old ‘wargamer’ nostalgia, and meshed well with our math-heavy group (we’ve got three computerists of various kinds, a physics professor, a business manager, one psych professor and then little old me, who squeaked out a BA in psych and filled some desk jobs at the phone company for 30-odd years. So much 4e hate everywhere, but we still play it, and have no plans to pick up 5e.


I love Genesys, but I’ve seen this too. Telling someone they can be anything they want is mystifying if they haven’t spent enough time in the world to have any context for what all is possible, much less how to translate that vision to action at the table.


Hmm. Yeah, people get hung up on Imaginary Floating Concepts of Great Importance… Because of Reasons! (Usually not well defined or articulated to boot. )

For example, I have experienced backlash for simply saying I play 3.x D&D, and worse backlash if I dare suggest it to others (online at least).

Why do I like it? I sorta don’t, not that much - there are a fair number of things I would change. But I do like systems that allow you to Lego Brick your characters, plus psionics is a must for me, and since D&D is often the only common game a group of people are willing to play, that only leaves 3.x edition of D&D as an option. 5e for all of its plusses and different minuses, simply can’t match up in that aspect among others.

For me D&D is like old worn and stained slippers… but you can’t stop wearing them because they are well known, comfortable, already broken in, and they still work well enough.

I’m sure others find other editions, or even other games, feel the same to them.


It’s nice to see another D&D 4e player here! I don’t understand the hate, either. (And please don’t explain it again because I don’t really understand or care why you [the generic you, that is] feel that your publicly-expressed hate is justified. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, and that’s perfectly OK). I have my reasons for liking and playing 4e, and don’t feel a huge need to change anyone else’s opinions about it.

I am also in the play-what-you-enjoy group. Play what you like. I think it’s great that there are so many different games and so many different ways to play, whether it’s the newest game or something much older.


I will agree specifically with one point the berzerker touched on. It has always been difficult for a DM to keep on the supplement book treadmill, and it is fair to assume “One” will make that treadmill faster. Too much stuff. It’s hard to keep up with players who have powers in books you don’t own, and it’s a killjoy to ban the shiny new content from the table. I am fortunate that my current party agreed that all PCs material should come from the PHB only.

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I don’t even get that far. I loan a potential player my Genesys book, and they hand it back 2 weeks later with a “noooooope” from being stunned by Genesys analysis paralysis. I wonder if converting an existing campaign would be easier?

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I have a standing Bribe The GM rule in my groups. If you want to use something from a system book I don’t have, you have to buy me the book first.


In my experience, converting existing campaigns is the way to go with Genesys (unless you have a documented personal campaign–that works too). I converted Eberron and my players had a blast since the magic system allowed a lot more freedom to custom-make spells. But that did indeed mean we custom made spell list for each character. They could cast these known spells easily, but had to increase difficulty (or even use Hero Points) to create a new spell on the fly. If the players hadn’t been on board with helping build that structure it wouldn’t have been successful. So, basically from my experience Genesys requires more buy-in from the players to get their hands dirty coming up with mechanics to support their concept, but it’s well worth the investment with a dedicated group.

If you go down the conversion route, one thing I’ll not is don’t try to replicate everything exactly. It’s more important to capture the feel of a race/archetype/class than to exactly mirror, say, 3e game mechanics jammed into the Genesys system. And lean on the third party community; Genesys Foundry has put out some great stuff.

And to stay on topic a bit, I think this gets back to what the OP video is trying to get at, but ultimately it has much more to do with each group finding what works for them.


It’s hard to keep up with players who have powers in books you don’t own

It definitely can be. 2nd Edition AD&D was my first experience with this. Late in the run the Players Options books overwhelmed me. Everyone wanted to use their favorite options and it became multiple different home games in a single party.

From that I learned to limit the sources anyone could use. This helped when 3E and now 5E have done that. It’s part of the product cycle.

One D&D will do it too. I’ll still decide what’s being used in my game to keep things manageable. So I’m not stressed by that outcome. I’m ready.

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