Thursday, 19 June 2014

Another refreshing glass of Kool-Aid? Don't mind if I do.

I've been playing D&D, in its various incarnations, for quite some time now. I've played with a lot of other roleplaying systems as well, but D&D has always been there, sitting in the background — when I was using the Hero System, I was pretty much using it to play D&D, but with even more book-keeping.

The last "official" version I played to any great extent was the 3rd edition. It had its merits, but its byzantine character creation rules (feat chains! Aaaaarrrgh! Skill points! Aaaaarrrgh!), along with some clumsy peculiarities of its combat/action resolution rules became too onerous and frustrating, and I went back to Hero (5th Edition, that time).

I was profoundly under-impressed with D&D's 4th edition. It seemed to me to be nothing much more than a very much more complex version of the boardgame Descent, only without the board. Though it appears you could buy boards, so there's that.

I tired of the Hero System's relentless accounting, and thanks to the advent of the OSR, went to a much more free-form D&D-ish game through Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord.

I had no intention of bothering with the 5th Edition (D&D Next, as they've been calling it), but I've changed my mind about that. WotC has indicated that they'll be releasing Basic D&D as a free pdf, and free is a price-point at which I'm prepared to investigate the possiblitites of the new, improved Kool-Aid.

I didn't engage in the playtesting process for 5th Edition, so I don't know precisely how it works, but noises have been made about it allowing a much more "old-school" style of play... just what that means to Mike Mearls and co., I don't know, but it piques my interest enough that, come July (that's only a month away now!), I'll fire up the downloadin' machine and take a look.

Who knows, maybe this time it will be PERFECT.