What was the first edition of DnD you didn’t enjoy? Why?
Oh man, this is a great question. Think it has a bit of overlap with the edition wars question that crops up next, so I’ll try to take this in lil’ bites. The first edition of DnD I didn’t enjoy was 3rd…or more accurately, the 3e conversion guide we picked up at a Borders at the mall before the edition itself dropped.
At the time we’d been playing the same homebrew campaign for something like two, two and a half years. We’d built up the characters, the NPCs, the plot. Things were firmly entrenched, but the new ish was out and we were intrigued. So we picked up the little packet that listed some of the changes and explained how to convert things over. The ability mods caught my eye: suddenly you were getting twice the benefit and twice the penalty, and that made it feel more impactful. Added to that, the streamlined ability score tables suddenly made everything useful—Charisma was no longer a dump stat! (Or so I thought…)
But then we got to the part where we were converting our characters over, level-wise. We saw that the tables capped out at like 100k for a 20th level. And that pretty much sunk it. See, back in 2nd you could easily be creeping past a mil by middle levels, and the chart was based around a CR-derived system where totals didn’t need to be that inflated.
But we didn’t know this.
We read that, there was fury, and I turtled up and avoided 3rd for several months. I only ended up getting into it because several of my players were considerably wealthier than me, and one of them picked it up. That let me be a player, and as a Monk no less! So eventually I came around and, by the time of 3.5, really appreciated the edition. Even at the outset I liked the flexibility and openness, the removal of qualifying stats for classes and races, and the flexibility in building. But I also lost a lot of the comfort–at least for a couple years–I’d had with building things in 2nd. In 3rd you could combine feats and race and class powers to get the character that you wanted, and I had fun with that. In 2nd I just built what I wanted, or what my players wanted, and had 9 elves, 3 dwarves, orcs, goblins, five gargoyle races, and altered gnomes…each of which had their own unique classes.
In the event I don’t hit a “favorite edition” question, 4th remains my most beloved even though I never once built a class or race for it.