As part of my D&D manual addiction and for my aforementioned review idea, I read and buy a lot of manuals that aren’t for 5e. I know there are a few 3rd party 5e sources out there, but they haven’t ended up in the used books sections yet. So a lot of my acquisitions are for older editions and a large chunk seem to be 3e( or maybe 3.5e. They’re similar enough (or rather, I don’t know the difference) that I’m just going to say 3e in this article) But from my readings and note takings for a review of Tome and Blood, I discovered a new reason that I couldn’t bear to play 3e.
I’ve done large analysis of books and movies before. Some are here, some are at /r/xanth, a bunch of different places have felt the pleasure of reading through my overly in-depth look at my subject matter. And my thoughts on D&D and its various books and publications will clearly be of the same ilk.
Today, I started reading the for first such dissertation of the site. It was a daunting task, I have a page full of rough notes and I have no idea how long of an article it will be. I’m kind of excited about it.
But as I was reading through the book, a thought kept echoing through my head: “Boy, I’m sure glad I don’t run 3e.”
Now, this thought had nothing really to do with the quality of the work, or the organization of it. I was not put out by the complexity of the system or the overwhelming barrage of numbers. The idea of really weak and squishy characters didn’t phase me at all. But as I was reading though the twenty plus pages of Prestige classes, I realized that if I ran for 3e, I would never get to play more than one or two of these amazing classes and that was a saddening thought.
Of course, if I was a mostly full time player instead of an almost full time DM, then it would be a little different. I would have the time to grow a character, to design a build, to use the tools provided in splatbooks such as this to fullest effect, wielding munchkin might across the fields of imagination, bringing my full strength swinging into the game.
Of course, I don’t play full time, I’m a DM. First via volunteering, now by necessity, the game rarely runs without me in the hot seat. And while I could do cool worldbuilding and NPC things as the DM, the actual chance of playing these varied prestige classes slip down to maybe being able to get at one or two of them. And that’s assuming that someone else isn’t already a wizard so I should tank it up or something.
I guess if they did put out the splatbooks for 5e as well, I would feel the pressure of playing and not running. But I haven’t felt that compulsion with the materials they’ve put out so far.
And of course, just because I drooled at the prestige classes for players doesn’t mean I didn’t lust after other parts of the book. a full seven pages were dedicated to various magically inclined organizations, each of them a beautiful slice of world I could splice into mine.
So, all in all, I am really pleased with my progress on that article. I don’t have the day itself picked, but, as I type it up, I am glad I read the book. I think it’s a good resource for players and DMs and it has useful concepts, no matter the system. (Well, provided your system is a medieval-esque fantasy with a strong magic system)
But I’m starting to dip into the well of future articles. I’m proud to play in fifth edition, but I wish I had the chance to experience 3e in its heyday, as the newest and cleanest version of the game around. I think it may have been a lot of fun.
I’ll have to make up for it by having plenty of fun in fifth.