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 1991 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.