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Subject: Thinking of starting D&D again rss

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Thomas Giaquinto
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Some friends of mine who come to my house for regular gaming have suggested that we start playing D&D again. After some serious consideration I think this is a great idea. However, Not having even looked at D&D since I was about 14 I can't remeber anything about it. It seems to have grown a bit in the past 16 years. We just want to play some simple games on a friday night to pass the time. Where should we start?!

~TOM
 
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Michael Daugherty
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Run, don't walk, in the opposite direction away from said D&D 'game'.

 
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Karl Deckard
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Third Edition rules
I'm a big fan of first edition AD&D, but the latest edition is really quite good, in my opinion. It's much more approachable than second edition.

You can play with just the three core books; Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual.
 
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Anson Li
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D&D
There's a beginner's D&D module. It contains counters and a map and a lot of the rules and calculations and tips are printed on the side of 7-8 premade characters. That's the best place to start.
 
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Scott A. Reed
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Which one of these are you talking about?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/11484

or

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/4329

or did you mistype and mean this:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/44
 
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Thomas Giaquinto
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As I Suspected
Thank you for your help. This was EXACTLY what I had thought. I will pick up the 3 manuals and get to work.

~Tom
 
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George Heintzelman
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RPGs are still alive and well! If you like them, by all means play.

I personally can't recommend D&D -- it's too combat-focussed and mechanically crunchy for my RPG taste. However, for those who like that style of RPG, the consensus is that the recent (Version 3.5) rules are better than any of the older rules sets, and with the advent of the 'd20 System' and its attendant licensing, there is a plethora of 3rd-party material (of varying quality) out there.

That said, there are lots and lots of quality RPGs, of varying styles and levels of mechanical crunch, out there if you want to get back into that. Some ideas: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (or other Unisystem lite RPGS) is a fine light-crunch RPG; I hear good things about Fate and HeroQuest; for crunch-heavier people, there are Storyteller system games like Exalted, the new World of Darkness stuff, or Adventure! out there; there's also a flourishing bunch of indie RPGs, many very mechanics light, such as Sorceror, My Life With Master, or Prime Time Adventures.

A good resource, IMHO, is www.rpg.net, which has plenty of reviews and very active forums, all of which will help you figure out what you might want to do.

My personal game of choice at the moment is Nobilis, but I can't recommend that to someone just getting back into the RPG scene; it's a lot to wrap your head around.
 
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Thomas Giaquinto
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PERFECT
Thank you! This is the perfect response. I figure I will start with the old school D&D (v3.5) and then look into other RPGs. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

~TOm
 
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Jay Little
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Variety is the spice of life
Kudos for mentioning some real genre-stretching games like Sorcerer, Life With Master and Nobilis -- all excellent, excellent games.

For standard, straightforward games, I still thoroughly enjoy D&D - in fact, writing D&D adventures and supplements is how I make my living. But there are scores of great games out there, even some a bit older, that don't have nearly the number of intimidating "splat" books (or secondary source books) that D&D does -- both a blessing and a curse.

Other favorites include:
- Call of Cthulhu (1920s film noir horror investigations)
- Ars Magica (mythic europe fantasy adventures)
- All Flesh Must Be Eaten (zombie survival horror)
- Universalis (free form, masterless gaming, an engaging exercise in group storytelling dynamics)
- Deadlands (wild west meets horror and mayhem)
- Marvel Super Heroes SAGA (the best game design mechanic - a deck of cards - brings super heroes to life in vivid detail).

Regardless, if you have a group that's open minded and eager to play, and a storyteller/referee that's enthusiastic and creative, you can't go wrong with any system... it's all about fun, after all.
 
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Christopher Brandon
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go C&C instead!!!
SKIP D&D 3e!!!! Having been a gamer for many years and played RPG's on and off for (gulp) almost 25 years-I recommend you NOT pick up 3rd Edition D&D (3.0 or 3.5)! DO PICK UP CASTLES & CRUSADES from Troll Lord games. $19.99 for the the Players Handbook!!! It is in the same vein as classic D&D with all the stats (Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con, Cha) you remember. Easy to each, play and modify if you choose! Sort of like classic D&D with a bit more meat on it. Check out the review on RPG.NET, then run don't walk to pick it up!
 
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Dane Peacock
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AD&D 3.5 D20 system is the King. There are much better RPG’s out there that have advanced, changed, and/or improved upon AD&D.

It is like Magic the Gathering. Not the best CCG by a long shot, but it is the one everyone is playing.

It is the game that is easiest to get into, easiest to find players, and has the most resources and support. It seems like the most logical plays to re-start, but it wouldn’t hurt to investigate a bit and see what’s out there.


 
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Ted Nolan
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P-shaw
Dont' mind the game snobs you'll find on this site. To my mind the gamer community needn't be as hierarchical as some would like. I, for one, have no interest in playing two person wargames with hundreds of cardboard counters, but I would hardly think it appropriate to respond to someone's journal about said games entry with derision.

Of course, this is a boardgame site. We did seem to have a lot of political discussion a few months back, and I've even seen some occasional discussion of (god forbid) computer games, so I think an occasional query posted of games tangential to bordgames should be tolerated.

As to your question: I similarly have started some forays into RPG's after a many year hiatus. The 3.5 version of D&D is much superior the older versions, in my opinion, in a similar way that Settlers in superior to Monopoly. The game design has grown more intelligent over the past 20 years. The D20 sytem upon which the new D&D is based has the advantage that it is meant to be a generic sytem that can be used to play RPG's with other themes. You find books from many companies featuring Spy, SciFi, Cthullhu, and other themes all using the same system of play.

I, personally, like games that aren't quite so combat heavy. Ars Magica is currently my favorite RPG. It uses a different system than the D20 and I hope to strongarm my friends into giving it a shot next, after we get done killing all those Drow . . .
 
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Tim M-L
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D6 system
I'd recommend the D6 system by West End Games. It is a universal system based on the mechanics from the old starwars RPG. Right now they have Fantasy, Space and modern day versions of the game. You have to make up most of your own setting though. It is lighter, on the same level as Buffy or All flesh.
 
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David Brain
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I'll join the long line of people saying that yeah, ver 3.5 of D&D is excellent for what it is. I'd be surprised if you found yourself still getting the same thrills from killing an ever-increasing power curve of monsters as you might have done w15 years ago though; so after you've sated yourself with that, have a look around at some of the other terrific systems out there and explore the more narrative-complex games on offer (I'd certainly endorse "Nobilis" and I've got a soft spot for "In Nomine". And, for all their faults, the White Wolf games are exceptional.)
 
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CHAPEL
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Good News


Good luck with your new game. I only wish I had more time to dedicate to playing in a game. I know of three different groups here locally that keep asking, but I just can't squeeze it in on a regular basis.


soblue

 
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Peter Marchlewitz
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Cool!!
Nice to hear that people are still playing this!
I played a lot of first edition in the late 70s and early 80s, dabbled a bit in the second edition, own the thrid edition books but have yet to play third edition.
RPGs are fascinating. Have fun playing!
Peter
 
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Thomas Giaquinto
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WOW!!
THANK YOU ALL!!!

I have decided to start out with Castles and Crusades then possibly move on the D&D v3.5. I'm sure that by this time next year I will be more then interested in numerous other RPGs but I will start here!

~Tom
 
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Thomas Giaquinto
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Hmm...
I was looking at this Box Set:

http://www.trolllord.com/specials.htm

but

Quote:
"This box set will include condensed versions of the main books and rules.
Each box contains the following: 1 players handbook (5x5 x 8x5), 1 monsters and treasure guide (5x5 x 8x5), 1 adventure book (5x5 x 8x5), 1 set of Zocchi dice (old school, YEAH BABY), 1 crayon, 1 err, box (6x9)."


Is this the wrong way to go when starting out or is the condensed material just missing some of the story but none of the rules and explanation?

~TOm
 
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Ken
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May I pass along my congratulations for your great interdimensional breakthrough. I am sure, in the miserable annals of the Earth, you will be duly enshrined. -- Lord John Whorfin
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Do you need more stuff?
I'm a long time player of rpg's. They have their time and place and I think they can give players a wonderful experience.

But one of the joy's of many rpg's is their massive replayability without a raft-load of new books and supplements. Here in Portland, you can often find a set of the basic Ad & D books (variety of editions) in thrift stores. Get a cheap copy of some of the old books (if you don't already have them) and give them a whirl. You can have a great time without getting over your head in new game products. If a rule doesn't work, modify it. That type of flexibility in play is another great part of this particular type of game.

Glad to hear you're re-discovering these games.
 
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J Boyes
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D&D
From looking at you prefrences in boardgames and not seeing anything too heavy there I think that D&D 3.5 is a good fit. Easy to find, mostly easy to start playing, good luck. Hopefully you will be an rpg geek instead of a board game geek soon enough.
 
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John Peterson
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Check out Savage Worlds...
I'd suggest Savage Worlds. It is a generic system that allows a lot of creativity and customizations without a big ruleset. Also, if you're an "old dog" in RPG-ing (like me), it is pretty easy to pick up!

 
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Chris Farrell
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This I can help you with

D&D 3.5 is a pretty good game with a fair number of flaws; but its ubiquity and name recognition is going for it. It's the Microsoft Windows of RPGs. But everyone is familiar with the basic ideas, and you can use just the rules you're comfortable with and it should work out just fine, as long as you aren't playing with a group of munchkin rules-lawyers. In my opinion, you're likely to have a lot more problems with any of the fringe stuff, and once you've learned D&D, you can play many d20 systems without having to worry too much about the rules.

There are a number of good d20 systems that use a basically identical engine to D&D but that work a bit or a lot better. The two I would recommend checking out are Star Wars d20 from Wizards (if you're into that sort of thing, IMHO it's a much better-executed d20 system) and Arcana Unearthed (www.arcanaunearthed.com) which is basically the same system as D&D but retooled in a number of ways to be a big improvement. A failing IMHO of D&D is how incredibly generic and at times non-sensical the world is. AU is much cleaner and as a game is more solid, but it's also less familiar as all the standard fantasy Elves and Dwarves have been dropped in favor of a genre much more rooted in Ursula LeGuinn and Stephen R Donaldson's fantasy books (Donaldson actually gets a credit on the front page).

There is a new book out called D&D for Dummies (yes, really) that actually might be very nice for learning D&D and d20 by extension:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764584596/qid...

Here is a link to entries on my blog covering my recent experience of moving to D&D from a boardgaming background:

http://homepage.mac.com/c_farrell/iblog/C473079882/index.htm...

Here is a link to my favorite columnist on RPG.net:

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/collists/kosher.html

Walt's very smart and writes great advice for the boardgamer turned roleplayer. Here's a column of his I particularly recommend:

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/kosher04jun04.html

 
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Phil
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Take The Plunge!
Well,

Chris summed it up very well, but I just wanted to welcome you back into the world of RPGs. I have been playing off-and-on for many years now, but for the past five years I have been getting a steady dose of RPG bliss.

One gripe I usually hear from those who have given up role-playing is "I just don't have time for that anymore...". When I started my foray back into D&D five years ago I was single and had a bachelor's degree. At the completion of the three plus year campaign I was married with two kids and had a master's degree! So it can be done!

I think the secret is all in the pacing. We played every other week at most, and sometimes had to scale it back even from that. But we still played. Also, to run a large campaign requires lots of pacing skill on the part of the gamemaster. Because of our limited time I favored advancing the characters rather quickly and pushing them through scenarios that were getting boring. I would also recommend starting very SMALL! Come up with scenarios you think can be completed in one or two nights.

It also helps that my wife is at least as avid a role-player as I am! I believe I have Warhammer Quest to thank for that (there's a reason I give it a 10)!

Besides D&D, we have played Call of Cthulhu, MERP, and Vampire. There's a free multi-part scenario for Vampire available on the White Wolf website which was a wise marketing decision on their part. The basic rules are even discussed, so you can play without owning any books. Also, there's a website that contains all the MERP (Middle-Earth Roleplaying) books for free as well. I think it's http://www.merp.com?

Anyway, I've also got random fragments of my last campaign up at my website: http://www.overcastrecords.com/gaming/

Good luck!

--p

 
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Tim Franklin
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Quote:
D&D 3.5 is a pretty good game with a fair number of flaws; but its ubiquity and name recognition is going for it. It's the Microsoft Windows of RPGs. But everyone is familiar with the basic ideas, and you can use just the rules you're comfortable with and it should work out just fine, as long as you aren't playing with a group of munchkin rules-lawyers. In my opinion, you're likely to have a lot more problems with any of the fringe stuff, and once you've learned D&D, you can play many d20 systems without having to worry too much about the rules.


I picked up some 3e rulebooks when I was looking to get back into D&D a couple of years back after about a ten year hiatus. I quite like it - the order things are presented in the rulebooks is fairly illogical, but after a couple of reads the rules themselves hang together quite well.

Does 3.5 change enough things (for the better) to make it worthwhile over 3e?

TTFN,
Tim.
 
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Chris Farrell
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3.5 is not a major upgrade. There are a few significant balance fixes: for example, the Ranger class is not as front-loaded as it used to be, so every fighter in existance who wants missile competance isn't a Rng1/*; in compensation they get more choices and more skill points. The Monk has a few more choices, and they get Spot as a class skill, which only makes sense. There were a large number of small changes of this type. Almost all the classes are now slightly more powerful.

There are only two downsides: Now there is a whole system for "sized" weapons, so your Halfling can no longer use a Medium-character sized Dagger as a shortsword. This whole thing doesn't work and is ignorable. And the Damage Reduction scheme, while cleaner rules-wise, now has so many categories of damage reduction that characters have to carry around a veritable golf bag of swords (silver, cold iron, lawful, good, lawful good, magic, adamtine ...) to deal with everything they run into.

There is a lot of little fiddly stuff that is still kinda broken, like the spiked chain. Characters still don't get enough skill points and the classes are still unbalanced. But the quibbles are fairly minor, not show-stoppers, and the DM can always do whatever he wants unless you try to get into the various Living campaigns.
 
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