Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fiddly Bits

Last night, one of my friends (who has played in the majority of the campaigns I've run since I moved here) tried his hand at DMing. (I actually had no idea it was his first outing until after the session) He knows that I have no love for 3.5, but I played because he's my friend and I always encourage people who want to start up a game. Dungeon Masters are always somewhat in demand, from my experience. I thought he did a pretty good job for his first time; I've been in sessions that weren't half as well run that were done by people with more "experience."

However, I will say that building a 3.5 character and fighting 3.5 combats did solidify what I dislike about the system. My "build" was not efficient, and as such my character was not very effective. You would think that a guy with a big double headed axe would know his way around the battle field, but I did not cross the i's and dot the t's and use three different source books, so I was not as useful as my compatriots who made their character using the so-called "splat" books. I no longer have the patience for juggling multiple source books to make a character whose numbers all click in the right ways. I also forgot how magic-item dependent the game has become... much of my character's effectiveness was derived from his magical gear and not from his abilities. (Or my abilities as a player)

Now, don't get me wrong... there was a time when I enjoyed this sort of thing, but my tastes have changed and I just don't want to spend two hours making a character. Granted, we did make high level characters...I'm pretty sure that I could have rolled out a 1st level d20 character in a much shorter period of time. This does not really change the whole "build" aspect, nor my feelings toward it.

The older editions continue to appeal more and more to me. Roll stats, grab race and/or class (depending on the version), grab gear and/or spells and you're off. I'm even rueful of the bastardized skill system I put in place in my game... next time I might just swipe the prime attribute idea from Castles & Crusades and call it good.

I am not against all games that involve building... I can knock out a Savage Worlds character in fifteen minutes, maybe a bit longer if he's a spell caster, psychic, or other power-user.

It may be just a phase, but for now I find that I long for games with less finicky mechanics and crunch.


  1. Right on.
    --Cool for ideas, but once incorporated into the currency of efficiency in the game, they become a real drag.

  2. Like you, I used to be interested in customising characters, but D20/3e just pretty much ended my interest in doing so because its methodology was one of "good" and "bad" choices. That is really more work than I need out of an adventure game.