Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cutting the fat

Let me begin by stating that I am a huge fan of 3E. Ok, maybe I’m re-stating that, but it’s still true. I like the sheer amount of options and customization potential. Honestly, aside from universal systems like GURPS and HERO, I can’t think of another game that allows you to play exactly the character you want.

That being said, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Case in point, my current game is basically 3.5. We started out using a dash of Pathfinder and 4E, but those elements have kind of fallen away. Anyways, rather than awarding XP regularly, the DM just tells us when to level up, in order to keep us up to snuff for the challenges he plans to bring in next. We recently leveled to 15th, so I sat down with my messy character sheet, and proceeded to add a 6th level in Favored Soul to the 5 levels of Barbarian and 5 levels of Fighter that Ahnuld the Half-Orc already had.

In so doing, I also cleaned up my character sheet, and re-calculated all of my bonuses and whatnot. That’s when I discovered that, somewhere along the way I was forgetting things. Turns out my AC is much better than I had been playing it, and my to-hit bonuses were off by a couple of points. Not a huge deal, as Ahnuld performs quite well in his role as resident Tank. But it was enough to make me wonder. So, I gave the whole character a good scouring, finding points where I could, and maximizing my benefits. I even discovered that his wearing of Full Plate armor was a bit of a hindrance, as the limit to DEX bonus to AC made it less effective than if I was wearing a simple Breastplate.

And then it hit me that I was being a Munchkin. A Min/Maxer. Basically, I was becoming what everyone said 3E would produce. They were right, and I was ashamed. Sorta. Ok, not really. I still enjoy playing the game like this, and will thoroughly enjoy announcing that Ahnuld is just that much better than he was previously. But, I do think that, once this campaign is over, and we are ready to move on to another, I will put forth the idea of simpler system.

Ideally, I would love to go back to B/X, with some add-ons. But I’m not sure everyone would up for that. So, I might see if we can compromise and play Castles & Crusades. It’s got enough d20 crunch to satisfy most of us, but a more simple mechanic for skills and other abilities. Of course, just about the time we finish this, D&D Next will be out. And based on our playtests, as well as the information I am seeing about it, it might fill the niche nicely. Though I will push for a more streamlined version (no feats, prestige classes, etc.).

In short, I want to clean out the clutter, and just play. I don’t want to have to sit and wait for another player to add up all of the bonuses from six different parts of his character sheet (I personally play with a simplified version of my sheet that has everything listed right there in front).

Also, while I really like the idea of playing in a fantasy version of our own world, integrating some real historical event and persons, I would love to play in a more traditional fantasy setting, filled with alien-sounding names and places, and bizarre landscapes that simply don’t exist here.

We’ll have to see how it all pans out. In the meantime, we have a demon lord to slay, and a horde of plague-ridden ratmen to eradicate. Thankfully the God of War has my back.


  1. If you're a fan of 3E/Pathfinder (as I am) you may not like Castles & Crusades very much. There's really no customization at all, not even skills as such. Unless you're a spell caster your character barely changes after 1st level except for To Hit bonus and HP (and any magic items you get). Thus after the first few levels the only real difference between Fighter One and Fighter Two will be what magic items they have. I'm kind of disappointed with it. If you want to try something more B/X but "modernized" like take a look at the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System.

  2. I've heard good things about that one too. I got to play C&C at Gary Con and had a lot of fun. Then again, that was a 1st level one-shot. Hmmm. Somthing to ponder for sure.