CaptainHellrazor
 member, 135 posts
Sat 26 Jun 2021
at 07:23
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
Never having played AD&D past 1st Edition I have noticed that 3.5e and 5e seem to be the most popular versions of the game looking for GM's or Players.  Can anyone give me the Readers Digest version of the differences between these editions compared to 1st Ed. and what seems to make them more popular?
Heath
 member, 2987 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Sat 26 Jun 2021
at 08:48
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
I would suggest using AD&D 2nd edition to compare with the others instead of 1st edition. I have been playing that edition since the 80s and it is widely regarded as superior to the 1st while still using the same basic mechanics (almost like a version 1.5), and it also has the most to offer in the way of supplements and literature, lasting many years longer than 1st. (I do wish they would have kept monks and psionics in 2nd edition, but  I don't play later editions but there were a lot of changes in gameplay, treatment of armor class, etc.) (1st edition was "advanced" over the previous Basic and Expert editions, which is where the name came from. I started with the Red Box and went through all editions up until 3rd, then came grinding to a halt.)

Later editions really changed a lot of the mechanics and the way characters work (almost too much flexibility), mostly to make it more accessible--but having 2nd edition burned into my mind, I have a hard time accepting them as the same game.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 383 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Sat 26 Jun 2021
at 10:11
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
D&D 3.5 allows you to customize your character to a great degree, and provides rules for doing darn near everything.  There are formulas for magic item creation, monster/encounter creation, everything.  You can backwalk almost any monster or magic item to see how it was made.  It's a flexible system, and nearly everything revolves around using a d20 and adding up various bonuses to get the best roll you can to succeed.  You use various feats, skills, classes, races, and magic items to get those bonuses up high, or spread them around, as you please.  The players and the DM often have similar knowledge of the game rules (this can be an feature or a bug depending on your group and gaming style). Gaming is complex, but consistent.

D&D 1st ed and (moreover) 2nd edition Advanced D&D was closer to the game's origins as a wargaming system, and has a number of various charts and dice rolls for your saves, armor, ability to hit monsters, etc. with different dice needed and the numbers to hit will vary widely.  (Usually higher is better, but not always.) As it grew out of a wargaming system, it does feel like parts are occasionally grafted on as new mechanics were needed or adapted.  Rules for making magic items or monsters were either non-existent or very complicated. It requires a certain amount of DM fiat (as rules and tables can vary a great deal), and the players often do not have access to all the rules and tables a DM does.  Gaming is complex, sometimes a little confusing, but players must be willing to accept DM ruling more than 3.5 or 5e due to the differing rules.

D&D 5e is simplified from 3.5.  More emphasis is placed on building background and character backstory, the mechanics are more unified even than 3.5 and very simple to resolve.  There is a great deal of easy customization available, also simplified, to allow various flavors without needing a great deal of differing mechanics.  Gaming is simpler and more straightforward.

I have played 2e/AD&D, 3.5, and 5e, and greatly enjoyed all three.  I did find 3.5 much more consistent than 2e/AD&D/1e, in that I could easily look up a rule.  I did feel there was more of a burden on the players in 3.5 because you were expected to know more mechanics.  2e/AD&D was fun, because beyond the differing charts, the DM would take charge of everything (again, this could be a bug or a feature, depending on your DM).  5e is by far the simplest to teach, to learn, and to play.  You can spend two sessions making a 2e or 3.5e character.  You can make a 5e character in a much shorter time frame.

In summary:
2e/AD&D - crazy and loving it - if everyone's on the same page, you're good
3.5e - rules for everything; make your character/world Precisely how you want it
5e - Fast and easy, able to paint new colors over things fast to customize
liblarva
 member, 706 posts
Sat 26 Jun 2021
at 15:12
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
AD&D has the weird rules and high Gygaxian language that either is wonderfully flavorful or causes nose bleeds. Has assassins and monks. Demons and devils. Bards and psionics are back of the book options. If you have some house rules and/or agree to ignore oddities like weapon speed and weapons vs armor types, you can dig out a fairly quick and easy game underneath all the extras.

3.5 has hyper-detailed rules for everything that you will be looking up constantly. It has the most customization options so has the highest chance of power gamers and expects that you will build monsters like PCs and it thus a monumental time suck to DM. High level play bogs down and is the premiere edition for showing just how useless non-casters are at mid- to high-levels.

5E has simpler rules that are widely applicable which makes things play quick and smooth. It has a fair amount of customization options. Far more than AD&D but nowhere near 3.5. Dis/advantage and concentration and subclasses are the killer apps of the edition. The game math is balanced on some odd assumptions like a party of four PCs and 6-8 encounters per day, but those are easily dealt with.

If limited to those three, Id suggest 5E (far and away the most players/DMs), AD&D, then 3.5.
Doom Shoom
 member, 27 posts
Sat 26 Jun 2021
at 16:26
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
3.5 is not time suck any more than any other RPG as long as you aren't super anal about it. I am always quicker setting up 2.5/PF games than most other non-freeform things. As long as the players know their rules for their class it is less of an issue.

I actually liked weapon speed in AD&D, it makes total sense. My biggest issue with this version were the tables and the inconsistency about having to roll above or below a number.

5e didn't live up to its promise in my eyes. It has a bunch of good things,like advantage and disadvantage as game mechanic rather than as a feat. I love the backgrounds. But they can be houseruled into any other d20 version. It feels like a game for beginners, and it gets boring in longer campaigns with all the limitations.
truemane
 member, 2155 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Wed 30 Jun 2021
at 17:20
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised. Normally a question like this is basically a invitation to have a edition-based flame war. But everything everyone's said here so far is both reasonable and correct.

CaptainHellrazor:
[...] 3.5e and 5e seem to be the most popular versions of the game [...] what seems to make them more popular?


I'll answer this specifically. D&D 3.0 (and then 3.5) had a thing they call the Open Gaming License. Which basically means that most of the game's mechanics and material was open for anyone to use without legal or financial penalty. That meant anyone could publish a gaming book using the same system and the same terms. And lots and lots of people did just that.

This made the "D20 System" the sort of lingua franca of role-playing in a way it had never been before, so much so that lots of other games and settings (Star Wars, L5R) published D20 versions of their own games. And Paizo was able to make Pathfinder (which is basically 3.5-revised). And their Pathfinder Society Organized Play was very well conceived and executed, which brought more people into the hobby and kept them playing longer.

5E had a bit of luck and a bit of foresight. The foresight is that the barrier to entry for 5E is the lowest of all the editions. It's very easy to learn and pick-up and (even more importantly) very easy to run compared to any prior D&D. The cost for that, as some people have mentioned, is a loss in granularity, but the gain is that I think I could pick just about any four people, sit them down around a table with pregens, and we could have a fun, functioning game going in a very short time.

The luck part is that the introduction of 5E coincided with an explosion in the popularity of livestream RPG's. There's a little chicken and egg here I'm sure, but it seemed like, as soon as 5E was a thing, everyone was doing it online all the time, which has made it extremely popular.

It help(ed)(s) that Adventurer's League took a lot of good lessons from Paizo's Pathfinder Society and, while it has its issues, it's a great way for people without a regular group to participate. Pre-COVID, there were lots of AL tables where I live. I ran two or three games a month and there was always new people just getting into the hobby. And walking newbies through the basics of 5E was a lot of fun (certainly more fun than the heavy-cart-up-a-steep-hill experience of teaching 3.5 or 4E).
facemaker329
 member, 7348 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Wed 30 Jun 2021
at 18:25
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
There's a lot to be said for simple rules, especially if you want to introduce new people to RPGs in general.  I haven't really gotten into D&D since the original AD&D days...dabbled a little bit with 2E, dabbled again with 3E, and recently gave 5E a try.How much of my choice to dabble was rules complexity vs chemistry within the group is debatable...but complexity was definitely an issue with 2E and 3E...not as bad with 5E, but it's still more complex than AD&D was, especially in terms of combat.

My favorite gaming system was not D&D, once I'd been introduced to stuff outside it, although I understand the appeal.  But I could (and did) take people who had never role-play before, sit down at the table with my favorite system (unnamed here since this is a D&D thread and I don't want to muddy the waters too much), and have them ready to play ENJOYABLY in an hour (emphasis added because I have tried systems where my character was "ready to play" and the first two or three sessions were laborious, at best).

A lot of those friends I introduced to gaming went on to enjoy other, more complex systems.  I'm a fan of simplicity, however...when my gaming starts to feel too much like working to keep track of everything, it impedes my enjoyment.  If I knew anyone in my area that was running a 5E game, I think I'd give it another try...but I miss the days of just having basic stats, saving throws, and armor class and not having to worry too much about all the rest.  It helped a lot that I had a DM who was not only willing to arbitrate stuff on the fly, but he was good at it, as well...but every effort I've made at D&D since then felt cumbersome, by comparison.
Hoser
 member, 38 posts
Sat 24 Jul 2021
at 19:35
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
Isida KepTukari:
In summary:
2e/AD&D - crazy and loving it - if everyone's on the same page, you're good
3.5e - rules for everything; make your character/world Precisely how you want it
5e - Fast and easy, able to paint new colors over things fast to customize


I kind of skimmed this thread, so, sorry for walking in the middle of a movie, but I just wanted to wholeheartedly agree with this summary.

Personally, I have been coming to the conclusion that 2e was the best. It has some issues, but the arbitrary nature is part of the appeal.

3e - Better off playing pathfinder IMO.

4e - Many of the advancements of 5e are found here, and I genuinely admire aspects of it. Also means it's the beginning of the end.

5e - "When everyone's super... no one is." Everyone can do everything. Everything has been deconstructed (thanks to 3e) then simplified (thanks to 4e) and now everything is a reskin of everything else.
pdboddy
 supporter, 716 posts
 EST/EDT [GMT-5/GMT-4]
Sat 24 Jul 2021
at 19:54
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
3.5 is popular I think due to the d20 open license.  You literally have millions of options.  WotC provided many official options in d20 Modern, with 'historical' past and present offerings, as well as d20 Future.

Then the offerings are expanded by the plethora of d20 offerings from pretty much everyone else.  I think 3.5 and d20 single-handedly saved the industry and hobby.  It may have almost sunk it due to the glut of d20 materials, but it did generate a lot of interest.  D20 soldiers on in the form of Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2e, Starfinder and Mutants & Masterminds, among others.

5e is more of a pop culture icon, supported by the force of nature known as Critical Role, and the ease of which gaming can be done online these days.  The system is a pretty solid one, simpler and leaner, but no dearth of options.

I have had great fun in all editions of D&D, and the two main systems I play today are 3.5 and 5.
praguepride
 member, 1834 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 05:38
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
Here is my take on it:

1st Ed: You walk into a room. Roll a 1d6. On a 4+ you die. Make a new character.

AD&D: You walk into a room and see an orc. If you want to attack it you must first consider this terrain chart, this armor value vs. your weapon type chart, this list of combat modifiers before hitting and then you have to roll on the hit location...

3.0: You walk into a room and see two orcs. You dispatch the first orc by simply rolling 1d20+5 and 1d8+4. The other orc decides to grapple you and the rest of your party kills you trying to attack into the grapple and failing the mischance die. Also if you survive the barbarian in the next room does 100 damage on the charge and destroys your paladin in one hit because rhino hide is busted.

3.5: You walk into a room and see two orcs. You dispatch the first orc by simply rolling 1d20+5 and 1d8+4. The other orc decides to grapple you and the rest of your party kills you trying to attack into the grapple and failing the mischance die. Also if you survive the barbarian in the next room does 100 damage on the charge and destroys your paladin in one hit because rhino hide is busted.

4E: You walk into the a room and see 6 orcs. You take a step forward which triggers their 'Warrgh!" reaction giving them +1 AC and to-hit. Because they are orcs this triggers your "Orc Hatred" ability giving you +2 to-hit and +2 AC which cancels out their bonus. Your bonus and their bonus triggers the Orc Tea Time group ability which.... (1 hour later)... alright. We've finally figured out that your attack roll is 1d20+5. Oh... wait we forgot that the Orc Ferocity doesn't stack....crap. Let's start over.

5E: You see a couple of orcs. If you want to attack them roll a die. If you're really good at it, roll two dice and take the best result. Great, you killed them. Back to the story.
facemaker329
 member, 7353 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 06:05
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
Am I the only one who remembers that AD&D was just a more elaborate version of 1E and designed to deal with characters advancing beyond, say, 8th level, and that they then came out with 2E, which is when they started throwing in things like weapon proficiencies and rules for multi-classing, etc?  I mean, you had Basic (the red book), and Expert (the blue book)...and then you moved into AD&D, which is where all the hardbound books came into use...DM's Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Deities and Demigods, etc...

Because my D&D books all have the AD&D logo on them, but I don't remember dealing with any of the extraneous extras that people keep saying was AD&D...and I tried playing 2E and absolutely loathed it because I felt it had robbed the game of its spontaneity (which was actually as much due to different DMs than the rules, but the rules certainly didn't help any!)
Zag24
 supporter, 705 posts
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 13:01
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
facemaker329:
Am I the only one who remembers ...  I mean, you had Basic (the red book), and Expert (the blue book)...and then you moved into AD&D, which is where all the hardbound books came into use...DM's Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Deities and Demigods, etc...

If you are the only one, then I must be the only one who remembers the three-book boxed set that came before any of that.  I still have my original copy, as well as a copy that is still shrink-wrapped, because they accidentally sent the order to me twice.
praguepride
 member, 1835 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 14:02
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
AD&D was just that, a huge expansion on the original rules. Expanding races so that your class wasn't "Elf" or "Dwarf", expanding the level cap, adding in rules for building strongholds and castles. It also introduced a lot of charts and more complicated systems. For example armor having different AC versus different damage types, expanded rules for magic item creation, overland travel etc. etc.

It took the core system and added charts for everything :D
Fyrerain
 member, 106 posts
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 19:22
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
The different AC vs damage type in AD&D was optional. It was available for those who wanted a more wargaming crunch. None of the groups I played in then or now used it. Nor did we ever use hit location, unless we were using an also optional critical hit mechanic, where it was used for flavor.
CaptainHellrazor
 member, 147 posts
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 02:14
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
There was no 'hit location' in first edition.

Thanks for all the feedback folks, I will stick to what I know and love.  1st Edition AD&D :)
Zag24
 supporter, 706 posts
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 13:41
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
praguepride:
AD&D was just that, a huge expansion on the original rules.

Not according to the courts!  Do you remember how TSR cut Dave Arneson out of royalties by saying that AD&D was a "completely different game."  I don't know what was going on in the politics, but I thought it was pretty rotten of them at the time.

(Edited to correct Dave Arneson's name.  Thanks, Piestar.)

This message was last edited by the user at 01:09, Thu 29 July.

Piestar
 member, 920 posts
 once upon a time...
 ...there was a little pie
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 15:18
AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
I always felt Dave Arneson was the real heart and soul of the game.
Heath
 member, 2989 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Sun 22 Aug 2021
at 11:51
Re: AD&D 1st Ed Vs 3.5e Vs 5e?
In reply to praguepride (msg # 10):

+1 to this. Apropos and good for a laugh.

The only thing I'd add (being a 2nd edition die hard myself) is that the AD&D 2nd edition rules were simply add ons. You could use them or discard most of them--proficiencies, specialties, etc.

Back then, every "new" thing in the rules was actually new. These days, 40 years later, everything's been tried and done by one RPG system or another. We tend to be myopically focused on the here and now and forget that this whole hobby we love was developed and changed and added to over years with the blood, sweat and tears of many.

I mean, I remember when AD&D came out circa 1980ish. It was like a whole new horizon of gaming after Basic and Expert sets. Then 2nd Edition showed the versatility of the game with whole new horizons. At some point, it became too much for newcomers to embrace without becoming overwhelmed, I think, and required some scaling back.

When I used to be a lawyer for Wizards of the Coast, I remember them giving me a tour and just being in awe of how many people and how much in resources it takes to give us this game.