It's My Party, And I'll Roll If I Want To

I can't say I particularly like D&D5e, but it's very far from being my least favourite version of the system.

4e was a fucking dumpster fire as an expression of D&D, regardless of its merits as a tabletop fantasy skirmish wargame.

3e arrived with good intentions, but it introduced a whole lot of needlessly byzantine munchkinish complication and tipped the game more and more towards being a kind of wire-fu superhero game.

2e introduced some reasonable fixes for some of the more egregious idiosyncrasies of 1e, but in the process it made everything terribly, terribly bland.

AD&D1e was an eye-watering mish-mash of differing and competing systems all rolled up into one steaming manure pile, but at least it did have panache. A weird googly-eyed panache maybe, but it was there. It had an identity of its own.

Of them all though, I think my favourite version is one I've never actually played as a player: the BECMI series, as published in the 1981 Rules Cyclopaedia. It provides a good framework into which one can pour one's own personality in the form of house-rules, and is robust enough not to founder under the weight of them. It's easy to run on the fly, without constant reference to specific use-cases. I like it a lot.
NOTE: The Rules Cyclopaedia is available again as a (scanned) reprint POD from DriveThruRPG, in soft or hard covers. So is the Creature Catalogue; I don't know about any other BECMI stuff.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on D&D stuff, and RPG and wargaming stuff in general. There are more shelves full of it in the library. No doubt it will all end up in a skip after I shuffle off.


  1. Small as my contribution was, I still have a moment of pride whenever I see a copy of Petty Gods on someones bookshelf.

  2. I believe Rules Cyclopedia came out in 1991. 5e is everyone's 2nd favorite edition, or so the saying goes.


Comment Spam

I'm not very good at keeping up with comments on this blog — the theme I'm currently using doesn't show them in the timeline v...