DnD 3.5E… Oh my

Hi all!

Ah, the entertainment. We played a one-off game in a little freebie adventure dungeon-crawl on Saturday to get a better feel for D&D 3.5E and how combat works, etc. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of, I must say. Even after not playing D&D forever, we were in the groove pretty quickly.
Compared to Hero, our last system, in which it took nearly 6 months to get semi-familiar with and another 6 to feel like I sort of knew what I was rolling on a regular basis…  D&D 3.5E had charts, diagrams, examples… I actually felt like I wanted to buy a miniature for my character so I’d *see* where they were on the map (as opposed to using a die as a marker, which does work in a pinch). The guys were like — you know you could’ve done that before! It’s like the Monty Python routine where the guy can’t say the letter C — “I never thought of that before, what a silly bunt.”
We did have some debate. It came up that the magic system in D&D has never been all that great. Wizards and priests and now sorcerers are all limited by the rules for game balance. Wizards can learn lots of spells, but only memorize and cast a set number a day. Sorcerers can learn fewer spells, but cast any of them a set number of times a day. And priests were another slight variation, but they had to pray for spells instead of memorizing them, and they were limited by the spell areas granted by their deities.

Ok, so I can see that D&D vs. Hero, Hero wins for creative spellcasting. I get it.

Another item that came up was the increased randomness of a d20 vs. d6 die. The average roll between 1 and 6 is a very different thing from an average roll between 1 and 20. And yeah, there is a much wider variance there. I actually appreciate the increased randomness, but perhaps that was from my early days with D&D and getting used to it.

Honestly, every system has a tenuous balance between rules and randomness. That’s one of the qualities of RPGs that is consistent, no matter what system you use. You accept the limits set by the rules and play in the world accordingly.

Hero is a very open system. It has its faults, just like every system. D&D isn’t perfect either.

But in the several hours that we played the one-off session in D&D, we worked our way through several combats and never got bogged down. If we’d been in Hero, we’d still be playing the first combat IMHO.

I’m not a combat monster or munchkin. I thrive on having a cool character in a world that’s rich and interesting and occasionally gets us into combat situations. Did we nearly die in a battle with huge ogres? Sure. Did we have fun and learn about tactics while nearly dying? You bet. 🙂

I appreciate having flexibility, but not at the cost of being able to play my character. Getting bogged down in combat isn’t my idea of a good time. I’d rather fly fast and loose and have less realistic combats — the idea is to have fun after all.

Anyway… That’s enough on this for now. Hope everyone has a great week.

–Fitz

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