Except for the numbers (and that’s a big exception), AD&D was a pretty straightforward system. It was those numbers that Andy Chalk, over at The Escapist, always had a hard time getting a handle on.

Then salvation arrived in the form of the gold box games, et al., and he was in heaven. No problems with numbers; the computer did all the heavy crunching. No other players getting on his case because he was “too slow”.

All was paradise until 3ed showed up (we won’t even mention 4ed here). Suddenly, all the complication was back. Most of the limits were gone, and any race could be anything. Throw in the prestige classes, the feats, and the skills, along with a lot of numbers, and what used to be simple was now a nightmare.

At least, that’s how Andy views it. In a way, I can’t blame him for feeling depressed by the new (and now, newer) rules. Yeah, we know: the rules are supposed to be “guidelines’, but many accept them as gospel. So let’s not go there.

Essentially, he believes that the D&D system is too rules-heavy, and is actually restrictive. That seems like a contradiction, when just about any combination is possible now (although 4ed doesn’t do multi-class anymore).

Keep in mind he’s thinking of the computer RPGs; I doubt he’d want to try live gaming again with the latest rules set. Andy yearns for the “good old days” when there were just the core classes: fighter, mage, cleric, thief. They were easy to understand and work with; there was nothing complicated about them.

Which, I suspect, was one reason why all those changes came in with 3ed: many players were becoming tired of the “plain vanilla” professions and wanted something more exotic. We sure have plenty of exotic now.

Obviously, that’s not going to change. From Andy’s perspective, it’s going to become worse as 4ed games begin to show up. I shudder to think about that, myself, even though I don’t have his problems with the numbers.

What do you think? Does he have a point here? Were the older games better before 3ed changed everything? Have the new rules added complications, or have they opened up the games?

I Want My D&D on The Escapist