Sunday, April 27, 2008

Greywulf Makes the Case for 3rd Edition

Today must be contrarian day in the Troll Cave...

Over on his blog, Greywulf makes the case for 3rd edition:

The thing is, did 3rd Edition need changing that much? Sure there were areas with cracks and problems, but IMHO there weren’t all than many, not compared to the sheer amount of material produced for the game. Most gamer groups I know have put in hundreds (if not thousands) of hours playing it, and the majority of those have perhaps a handful of house rules which “fix” the game in their eyes.

Here’s my list of what needed fixing in 3rd Edition. I’m pretty sure you’ll have a different list, and will disagree with some of my choices; the point is that it’s a very short list, compared to the sheer volume of work for D&D. I’ve bandied about that 2% of 3rd Edition was broken, and 98% of it works just fine - this is the 2%. The other 98% is the rest of the core and all of the supplements. That’s a lot of spells, feats, monsters and classes that didn’t need nerfing at all.

He then goes on to list six areas he thinks 3rd edition needs some tightening up. I'd add in the high-level economy issues as well, but honestly, number 4 was a deal-breaker for me, so I'll have to defer to his greater experience with the system.

Also be sure to peruse his art while you're there.


James Maliszewski said...

3e definitely isn't "broken" in any sense of the word. It's certainly overly complex and a chore to run at high levels, but those problems can mostly be avoided if you slow down XP acquisition and level progression to something more sensible than the assumed 18 months of play to reach level 20.

That said, I'm increasingly of the opinion that 3e isn't at all the kind of things I want out of D&D but that's not a fault of the game's rules so much as my own shift toward simpler, more seat-of-the-pants play. I think anyone who claims 3e is broken has an agenda.

greywulf said...

James, you've summed up what I was trying to say perfectly - thanks!

I just don't think that 3rd Edition is as broken as Wizard's are making out; they're pulling the typing software developer trick of rubbishing the previous model in the hopes that this will drive existing customers to upgrade. It's good to know I'm not the only one around who is seeing this :)

That's not to say D&D is perfect - as you say, high level play can be problematical, and combat could be speeded up some, but I just don't think that these fixes merit a whole new release bringing a whole new raft of problems to the game table.

Thanks for the linkage, Trollsmyth! :)

trollsmyth said...

My pleasure, Greywulf. There are a lot of good gaming blogs out there, and it's easy to overlook 'em if nobody tells you about them.

Frankly, I have to lay the blame for all the "broken" talk at the feet of WotC's marketing. That said, the game is hardly where I'd go if I was introducing someone to RPGs, and I simply can't DM it. I'm not sure 4e is going to be much better from what I've seen.

I'm very curious to see where Paizo goes with their Pathfinder version. The conversation on their message boards tends to be a bit too technical for me to follow closely, but it's a fascinating story to follow, and I can't wait to see how their audience reacts to the final product. 3e has got a lot of life in it, still, and I'd be shocked if it doesn't still have a very strong following decades from now, just like 1e and 2e do.

- Brian