I maintain this framed quote on my desk. Possibly you’ve heard it. It goes like this:

“In some ways, the work of a critic is simple. We danger little or no but take pleasure in a place over those that provide up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on unfavorable criticism which is enjoyable to put in writing and to learn. However the bitter reality we critics should face is that, within the grand scheme of issues, the typical piece of junk might be extra significant than our criticism designating it so.”

That quote’s there to remind me that I’m not a critic. And I don’t need to be. I need to do one thing significant.

I admit I do a whole lot of s$&%-talking and I provide a whole lot of private opinions, however I by no means do it for enjoyable. By no means for reasonable laughs. Okay, typically, I do it for reasonable laughs. And to needle Web players who take themselves too severely to make enjoyable of the issues they love. I make enjoyable of the issues I like on a regular basis. However I at all times attempt to provide one thing of worth in return. That’s my rule. By no means tear one thing down with out placing one thing else as much as exchange it.

Look, any fool can break stuff down — and it’s enjoyable to do — but when it’s all you do, you find yourself sitting bored in a room filled with damaged toys. And perhaps the f$&%wits in Hollywood ought to do not forget that the subsequent time they’re deconstructing one thing or subverting expectations simply to show how a lot smarter they’re than everybody else.

For those who’re selecting distress over pleasure and a world of damaged leisure, how good are you actually?

With all of that mentioned, let me current you the primary of two clickbaity, prime and backside 5 lists! Yay!

With the 12 months coming to an finish and my gearing as much as take my website in a brand new course — or to seek out my imaginative and prescient once more; no matter — I need to have a bit of enjoyable. So, I’m participating within the age-old Web commentator apply of publishing an inventory! No, two lists! No, wait, 4 lists!

4 entire lists of unfettered, unqualified, nugatory opinions!

Let me clarify…

For years, I’ve been enjoying, working, and writing in regards to the newest incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons to hit retailer cabinets. Which it did eight f$&%ing years in the past now. Throughout that point, I’ve had lots to say about it. A few of it good and a few of it unhealthy. And I’ve made it fairly clear I don’t a lot look after D&D 5E within the grand scheme of D&D editions.

In the meantime, within the final 12 months, I’ve switched my private dwelling video games — considerably inconsistent although they’re — again to the best incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons to hit retailer cabinets. Which it did twenty-something years in the past, relying on what you depend. Throughout that point, I’ve had lots to say about it. A few of it good and a few of it unhealthy. And I’ve made it fairly clear that I very a lot love D&D 3E.

Now, I’m a hyperbolic man. Hyperbole’s good for laughs. And it’s good for successful fights on the Web as a result of being proper is much less necessary than bullying individuals into quitting. Reality is, I don’t actually assume 3E was despatched by a Heavenly Host to save lots of us all from unhealthy video games any greater than I believe D&D 5E emerged from the stinkiest a part of Devil’s furry a$&.

However I need to give each editions a very stable — if very subjective — look. Particularly, I need to provide up my listing of the 5 greatest and 5 worst issues every version has to supply. And I’m beginning off with D&D 3E.

I used to be going to do that entire lengthy speech about how all this crap is subjective. And I used to be going to elucidate all of the bizarre little guidelines I adopted when populating these lists. And clarify my course of. However you realize what? F$&% that. I’m simply itemizing issues. No matter issues I need to listing for no matter motive. Simply issues that make me completely satisfied or make my blood boil. In no specific order.

However I do have guidelines. For you. You commentators. Two guidelines.

First, if you wish to add one thing good or unhealthy of your individual, positive. However it’s essential to add certainly one of every. For those who add a superb factor, it’s a must to add a nasty factor too. And vice versa. Any fool can reward what they like and bash what they don’t. Don’t be any fool.

Second, no rumour. For those who ain’t performed or run D&D 3E, you bought nothing to say. Any fool can parrot bulls$&% they learn on Reddit and any fool can prejudge s$&% they’ve by no means touched. Don’t be any fool.

Break my guidelines and I’m going to delete your remark and name you an fool. And in the event you begin a f$&%ing version battle, I’ll make you remorse it. Acquired it? Good. I ain’t f$%&ing round.

So what are the 5 greatest issues about D&D 3E in keeping with Offended? Right here they’re in random-ish order. As a result of Offended don’t rank s$&%. These 5 issues are all equally greatest so far as I’m involved.

How You Roll: Fail by 5, Take 10, and Take 20

First, the factor you all knew was coming. Yeah, after I piled all that reward on the Fail by 5 rule in that final article, you needed to know it could be right here. However it ain’t alone. As a result of Fail by 5 was certainly one of three corollaries to the D&D 3E Core Mechanic that made that version a lot much less reliant on good GMing judgment.

I ain’t going to elucidate the Fail by 5 rule once more. I will briefly clarify Take 10 and Take 20, but when the discussions within the Offended Supporter Discord Channel are any indication, you most likely gained’t grasp the delicate nuances that make these two guidelines such genius.

The Take 10 rule allowed a participant to skip the die-rolling a part of any capability test if the scenario wasn’t notably worrying. The character cleared their head, breathed, and took care in what they had been doing as a result of they didn’t have stress weighing on them. And the participant calculated the end result as in the event that they’d rolled a ten on the d20. Easy.

The Take 20 rule allowed a participant to skip the die-rolling a part of any capability test in the event that they had been keen to waste as a lot in-game time as was essential to succeed. Taking 20 wasn’t an possibility on any test that had some sort of price or penalty for failure. As above, the participant calculated their capability test end result as in the event that they’d rolled a 20 on the d20. Easy once more.

Taken collectively, Fail by 5, Take 10, and Take 20 offered stable mechanical guidelines for skipping pointless cube rolls and added stakes to probably the most worrying and harmful of conditions. Gamers might elect to accept common outcomes when that’s all they wanted, offered the stakes weren’t too excessive. And gamers might at all times get the very best end result by spending inordinate quantities of in-game time offered they weren’t risking harm, dying, or loss with each test. And thus, the GM’s capability to wreck the sport by calling for pointless die rolls was drastically decreased.

Each D&D 4E and D&D 5E have experimented with totally different variations of those guidelines — however Passive Checks nonetheless don’t depend as a Take 10 mechanic and also you sound like a moron if you counsel they do — 4E and 5E experimented with totally different variations of those guidelines, however each are lacking key parts and their implementations lack a number of the nuances that made these three guidelines so highly effective.

I’m all for educating GM’s common sense, however I choose if common sense ain’t a prerequisite for not working a s$&% recreation. Therefore the necessity for stable guidelines that present a superb expertise whatever the GM’s judgment.

A World that Makes Sense: Inner Mechanical and Flavorful Consistency

D&D 3E was designed round universality. The designers wished every part to work the identical. That’s how the d20 Core Mechanic got here to exist. However it was additionally evident in how the identical guidelines utilized to every part on the earth. And the way a lot care went into determining how these guidelines represented the fiction of the world.


The clearest instance of that is in chapter 10 of Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 Participant’s Handbook. The chapter that totally defined how magic labored. Not simply mechanically, however fictionally as nicely. The principles defined what it meant to organize spells and why spells {that a} wizard wished to forged twice needed to be ready twice. It defined what spell parts had been for. And it defined how spellcasting interacted with magical gadgets. Hell, within the DMG, it defined why wizards and clerics invented the magical gadgets they did. Based mostly on the restrictions of their very own magical programs.

The consistency ensured the GM normally wasn’t left at the hours of darkness to resolve bizarre guidelines interactions. GMs knew, for instance, whether or not darkvision was magical and which monk talents didn’t work in anti-magic fields and s$&% like that. Furthermore, it ensured that when a GM couldn’t discover the reply — or didn’t need to waste time wanting — the GM nonetheless understood the world nicely sufficient to determine a superb, constant, logical reply.

D&D 3.5 didn’t have a whole lot of handwaving. It by no means mentioned, “nicely, it’s a magical fantasy world so something is feasible.” Small creatures couldn’t be as robust because the strongest people. And in the event that they had been, magic was concerned. Specific magic. Magic that could possibly be countered. Hell, there have been a bunch of spells that existed solely so the GM might construct magical results into his adventures with out having to handwave s$%&. Nothing was simply fluff and nothing was simply crunch. For those who knew the foundations, you understood the world. For those who understood the world, you knew the foundations.


DIY Bestiary: Monster Customization

By right this moment’s normal, a lot of D&D 3E’s monsters look a bit of bland. Particularly the humanoids. D&D 3E simply didn’t have the give attention to push-button particular powers that 5E does. However what D&D 3E did have was the one most customizable bestiary ever.

Say you wished an enormous toad for an journey, however your high-level get together was too robust for an enormous toad. You might actually simply advance the toad. Or the chimera. Or no matter. Make it greater and extra highly effective. There was a scientific solution to principally give each monster additional ranges in its personal species.

Monsters with feats and gear could possibly be re-specced and re-equipped very simply to alter their focus. And the GM might give any clever monster ranges in any class. Certain, the MM goblins are generic, 1st-level mooks, however in the event you wished a battle chief or skulk or shaman, you can simply slap a couple of class ranges on one. Hell, there have been even 5 totally different NPC courses that weren’t fairly as highly effective as the conventional character courses however had been good for customizing mooks with class-like talents. In addition to for statting up any city guards or bandits or healer clergymen you wanted.

Then there have been templates. Everybody remembers templates. Take a monster, decide a template, comply with the step-by-step course of, and bam, you’d have a demonic monster. Or an angelic monster. Or an undead monster. Or a half-dragon monster. No matter.

All of these choices had been spelled out within the Monster Guide alongside the construct your individual monster from scratch guidelines so the Monster Guide wasn’t only a bestiary however a totally customizable, do-it-yourself monster toolkit that didn’t require you purchase a second e-book after which construct each distinctive monster from scratch. Or ham-fistedly reskin s$&% and provides it a unique identify.

Zeroes to Heroes: Humble Low Ranges

I do know a few of you gained’t name this a superb factor — and also you’re simply f$&%ing unsuitable — however 1st-level characters in D&D 3E felt like 1st-level characters. They felt like neophytes, newbies, and greenhorns. Their abilities, skills, talents, and gear had been restricted. That they had room to develop and evolve.

You don’t get that very same vibe from newer incarnations of D&D. Sure, low-level characters are nonetheless delicate, however delicate like a glass cannon is delicate. They’re delicate superheroes.

D&D 3E simply didn’t pile a whole lot of s$&% onto the character sheet. Particularly at low ranges. Most courses solely gained a modest variety of particular talents all through their profession and so they needed to look forward to — and earn — their greatest stuff. However the stuff they did get was sufficient to make the category really feel like no matter archetype it was alleged to.

In D&D 3E, you possibly can’t begin the sport enjoying Aragorn however you possibly can play a personality that appears like a teenage Aragorn. Sure, I do know teenage Aragorn lived a century earlier than the LotR tales. Shut up. The purpose is, in D&D 5E, you can begin the sport enjoying Aragorn. Or a minimum of, Aragorn with hemophilia and that brittle bone illness.

A Full Toolbox: The Dungeon Grasp’s Information

There’s at all times fights over which D&D DMG is the perfect. However anybody who argues any DMG was higher than the v.3.5 DMG both by no means learn it or they’re an fool.

That is the one factor on this listing that ain’t a matter of subjective opinion. It’s a categorical, axiomatic, goal reality: the Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 Dungeon Grasp’s Information is the perfect DMG ever printed.

It’s wonderful simply how a lot s$&% is in there. Not prose s$&%. Not recommendation s$&%. Precise helpful game-building instruments. I imply, positive, it’s obtained all of the DMG staples about managing video games and utilizing guidelines and magical gadgets in fact. However it additionally offers, for instance, a survey of each main biome you would possibly discover on a D&D world map with descriptions of the options, hazards, and obstacles you would possibly discover in every. That features the dungeon biome. There are intensive descriptions of the multitudes of terrain varieties, hazards, and options that litter the underground. There are tables of stats for each sort of NPC at each stage you would possibly want. Full sufficient that you just might use these stats in a pinch to run the NPC on the desk. You wouldn’t — the tables had been meant that can assist you construct NPCs beforehand — however you can. There are pages of poisons, traps, and illnesses and detailed guidelines for constructing your individual variations of every. There’s a complete chapter devoted to constructing and populating any sort of settlement in a fantasy world in the event you felt the necessity for that sort of exhaustive element. And there are a minimum of a dozen different helpful issues I’ve not listed.

And there’s an entire glossary of recreation phrases and a fantastically full index.

You may accuse the D&D 3E DMG of being overstuffed, however I can’t consider one factor that must be in there that isn’t. Which is one thing I can’t say about some other DMG that’s ever been printed for any version of D&D. The D&D DMG additionally understands its tripartite position as an instruction guide, reference e-book, and toolbox totally and utterly. Its presentation is top-notch.

Honorable Point out: Alternative Assaults

I’m dishonest a bit of and I don’t give a crap. I began writing this text by writing down as many Bests and Worsts as I might provide you with off the highest of my head. Then, I pared every listing down to 5 issues. However there was one Finest I actually wished to incorporate, however which wasn’t fairly sufficiently big to qualify for such an inventory.

However I need to discuss it anyway and it’s my listing, so I’m gonna.

D&D 3E had intensive Assault of Alternative guidelines. And if I used to be making an inventory of super-important mechanics that don’t appear enjoyable however can’t be eliminated with out breaking the sport, Alternative Assaults would prime that listing. In D&D 3E, in the event you did principally something apart from make a melee assault the place one other creature might slap you, they obtained to do exactly that.

The principles had been extra detailed than that — I gained’t deny they had been advanced — however all of them amounted to that: in the event you’re in one thing’s melee attain, make a melee assault or endure the implications.

OA guidelines fall into this broader class of guidelines referred to as Zone of Management mechanics. They usually’re a mainstay of technique and tactical video games as a result of they permit models to restrict different models’ choices by being in the suitable place on the proper time. And that’s particularly necessary in video games that blend unit varieties — like, for instance, melee, ranged, and magical models. With out sturdy ZoC guidelines, melee attackers lose their most necessary edge. That’s, as soon as a melee fighter’s in your face, they’re onerous to cope with or escape from.

D&D’s worn down its OA guidelines as a result of they’re difficult and so they’re annoying and so they result in limitless, nitpicky square-counting. They don’t, by the best way. It’s GMs that create limitless, nitpicky square-counting, however that’s a narrative for one more time. The issue is gamers are beginning to discover that melee fight is the crappiest fight in D&D 5E. You’re completely at all times higher off having a bow-and-spell shootout than pulling a sword. And which means the one helpful monsters are those with bows and spells too.

Merely put, if you need a strategic-and-tactical fight recreation that mixes melee and ranged fight — and supposedly, that’s what D&D needs — you want sturdy Zone of Management mechanics. Letting fighters scowl at particular foes and dare them to assault — as a variant rule — ain’t sufficient and it by no means will probably be. Melee fighters should exert robust, sticky, harmful Zones of Management.

The third version stands out as the single greatest version of Dungeons & Dragons ever printed, however that doesn’t imply it’s an ideal recreation. Like each version of D&D, it’s obtained bugbears. And a few of its bugbears get fairly huge dimension modifiers.

Mapping Progress: Character Planning Bulls$&%

Cease me in the event you’ve heard this one…

How do you make a 1st-level character in D&D 3E? Make a Twentieth-level character after which take their ranges away.

In D&D 3E you began with a zero and made it a hero. You needed to develop. However you had been additionally discouraged from truly evolving. 3E provided a lot of methods to customise your character. You had feat timber, liberal multiclassing — which I liked and hated — and status courses. However each cool possibility had an limitless listing of stipulations and necessities you needed to meet. For those who wasted one rank on the unsuitable ability, you would possibly by no means qualify for that status class you wished.

Am I being hyperbolic? A bit. It was completely potential to only construct a enjoyable character level-by-level, however as soon as gamers obtained even a bit of skilled with the system, the sport pushed them towards planning their development ranges prematurely. It wasn’t simply the min-maxers and the pleasant of us on the CharOps board. It was everybody.

Why? Effectively, it was down to 2 issues, actually. First, as I mentioned, D&D 3E was very into its stipulations and progressions. You had to spend so much of sources on a whole lot of prerequisite s$&% to get the best toys. And second, a number of the greatest fantasy archetypes had been gated behind high-level status courses as a substitute of being extra freely out there. For those who wished to play an efficient swashbuckler, an precise draconic sorcerer, or any taste of efficient gish — a spell-sword, a spell-thief, or a spell-bow — you needed to wait by means of a minimum of six ranges and comply with a really fastidiously deliberate development scheme.

And that sucked in a recreation that in any other case actually hit the proper stability of zero-to-hero.

You Now Have 9 Rounds to Dwell: The Loss of life and Dying Guidelines

In D&D 3.5, you possibly can have lower than zero hit factors. You may have unfavorable HP, okay? And when you’ve got unfavorable hit factors, you’re unconscious and bleeding out, proper? And if you attain -10 hit factors, you’re lifeless, obtained it?

Now, there are two penalties to this s$&% that, by themselves, aren’t issues however they turn out to be issues if you put them in the identical recreation.

At low ranges, there wasn’t a lot uncertainty about dying. The dying guidelines offered a really exact and really lenient timer. Your get together had as much as 10 rounds to save lots of your dying a$&%. And since most fights not often lasted greater than 5 rounds — and since most individuals didn’t go down within the first spherical — most gamers found out they might safely ignore their dying allies till after the struggle was gained.

At excessive ranges, given the harm a single, highly effective creature might dish out with one full assault motion, an injured PC might go from aware to dying to lifeless within the span of 1 monster’s flip. That 10-hit-point buffer wasn’t sufficient to cushion a PC from high-level harm.

As I mentioned, neither of these is inherently an issue. I discover the primary situation’s relaxed, informal perspective towards dying — take your time, your dying buddy will probably be positive for some time — a bit of lame, however it labored. However you possibly can’t have that perspective for a short time after which swap to a recreation wherein each low-health PC is one fortunate hit from complete existence failure. You may’t have it each methods.

Write the Gross Armor Class from Web page 2, Field 2 in Field 13 B: The Character Sheet

Hey Alan! Do you need to play this wonderful, freeform fantasy journey recreation the place you get to be a knight or a wizard or an elf and discover ruins and struggle monsters and do actually something you possibly can think about doing?

Hell sure! That sounds superior!

Right here’s your character sheet…

Uhh… I believe I hear my mom calling me.

I Will Not Make a Grapple Joke: Fiddly Little Trivialities

D&D’s third Version had a whole lot of guidelines. Numerous tiny, fiddly little f$&%ing guidelines. Ignoring the truth that half of each PHB is dedicated to its spell listing, one thing like a 3rd of the D&D v.3.5 PHB was taken up by the f$%&ing abilities chapter. And the abilities chapter was 10% helpful guidelines and 90% setting exact DCs for any possible scenario that may come up in any fantasy journey ever.

Wish to know the exact DC to Tumble one-half pace with out upsetting Alternative Assaults up a gravel-covered, angled flooring? It’s 19.

Wish to know the precise quantity it is advisable to roll to trace a celebration of seven ogres that handed by means of this forest two days in the past assuming it rained for 2 hours final evening and the day’s sort of foggy now? DC 17.

Making an Intimidate test to demoralize a younger grownup black dragon that simply downed a potion of take away worry? That’s… oh, wait, that’s an opposed test and the dragon rolls a d20+21 towards your Intimidate test.

I ain’t complaining in regards to the stage of element per se. It’s truly good to have a way of what figures into the problem of a given process. The issue’s extra in regards to the granularity. Many of the DCs fall into that good, snug Straightforward, Medium, Laborious, Very Laborious, Tremendous-Extremely-Laborious scale that goes up by 5 anyway, so it actually wasn’t value calculating the exact DCs. And it was a ache within the a$&. That’s why GMs winged the DCs more often than not.

However this ain’t nearly DC calculations. D&D 3.5 additionally had a whole lot of tiny little guidelines that had been simply tremendous straightforward to neglect throughout play. They had been neat — and included issues like ability synergies and the Dodge feat — however a rule you neglect to make use of is a rule that doesn’t exist.

My one participant and I nonetheless neglect about his damned Dodge feat each session.

Your Anger Meter is Empty: X per Day Talents

D&D’s obtained spells, proper? And people are powered with spell slots, proper? That are both Vancian spell slots or extra like mana factors relying on the version you’re enjoying, proper?

In D&D 3.5, issues had been extra Vancian, however, as I discussed, that was all labored into the worldlore and wizards make sense. I’ve zero issues with Vancian magic. Actually, I believe the world was a greater place earlier than that at-will cantrip bulls$&% contaminated every part.

However D&D’s additionally obtained character talents, proper? Magical, supernatural, or distinctive issues PCs can try this aren’t spells. And people issues have costs proper? They can be utilized a sure variety of occasions every day or between rests or no matter. Barbarians simply can’t fly into adrenaline-fueled bloodlust every time a struggle breaks out. That’s not how uncontrollable bloodlust works. Simply ask sharks. As a substitute, the barbarian should intentionally select to fly right into a rage and it’s right down to cautious useful resource administration.

It’s silly, arbitrary gamey bulls$&% and I’ll by no means, ever prefer it it doesn’t matter what dumba$&% excuse you spew out of your noisehole. Talents that solely work a sure variety of occasions per day are recreation mechanics and so they solely work that means due to recreation stability. And D&D 5E has leaned into that s$&%. Laborious. Each class has experience cube or inspiration cube or ki factors or no matter.

Are you aware the place that s$&% began?

It began with Third F&$%ing Version. 3E made that s$&% a staple of sophistication design. Barbarian rage, bardic music, flip undead, wild form, lay on palms, smite evil. That was all 3E. Bull. F$&%ing. S$&%.