Say what you will about role playing games but I think we all, at some point in our lives have wound up role playing in some form or fashion. No, I'm not referring to when we were kids playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers or even playing house. I mean once we have grown up to be adults. It can be when training for a job, behind the closed bedroom door, or singing in the car. All role playing really is is pretending to be something you are not for a time. It's part of our stress relief and I don't think most people even begin to realize that without it, the toll in and on our lives would be incredibly negative. I think that what we label as nerds, today, or geeks or gamers are just more up front about their stress relief. They admit that they love their games and refuse to be ashamed of them. Well, as a rule they do anyway.
Tonight, I bring a question to the table that has been the subject of discussion a few times amongst myself and my friends. From First Edition D&D all the way to Fifth, and all those RPG systems in between, there have been flaws and mechanics that seemed to work at the time. However, when the newest edition comes out, we see the flaws in the old one versus the new way. Now, with this in mind, most editions of an RPG tend to build off its predecessors by incorporating new ideas an tweaking old systems to make them better. My personal favorite RPG systems, as there are multiples, are mostly one of a kind. The first being a book I don't even have any more by Cloud 9 productions called Project AKO. It is anime based and D6 based. It's a very loose and fast paced system designed to generate laughs and have a good time. The second being West End games Star Wars D6 RPG. It incorporates the Star Wars world so well in to role playing that I find little in the way of flaws. I am not a master of the Star Wars RPG system that a friend or two are but I am still fairly fluent. It is designed to be challenging but fun an as long as you don't have a group of power gamers who think all stats need to be maxed in every way possible. Tonight, thought, is about Dungeons and Dragons. I have played in four of the five editions out. I am working towards playing/running 5e.
My opinions vary from edition to edition. I liked First because it had monks and they were removed until Third. Monks were the second hardest thing to run in First. I liked second because the system made more sense with it's scale-ability and stat design. Then Third / 3.5 came out and I became a real fan of it but it has the flaw of being under powered at low levels for some characters and severely over powered at high levels for others. I despised fourth and played very little fourth. It was to much an MMORPG on paper. The one thing that was always a struggled, I think until 3/3.5 was the ability for actual role playing. 3/3.5 came up with the skill mechanic which I think made it a little easier for people to understand that true idea of what it is to role play. By giving a defining set of skills that fleshed out what it was your character could do; it allowed a player to say well my rogue has sleigh of hand with a +5 so I can maybe do a couple of good "magic" tricks to earn some extra gold to the Warrior with +8 in intimidate saying, "I glare at the meat fisted ogre and bellow as loudly as I can". This mechanic was carried over, to some degree, in to 4e and in a fashion, to 5e from my reading.
It is my humble opinion the 3/3.5 brought the ability to truly role play to the game by helping people understand and define what their characters could do making it a little easier for learning and understanding role playing. The potential was there before for those of us that were good enough to understand how the mechanics could and would work together, don't get me wrong but I think the 3/3.5 was the best edition for bringing role playing back to the forefront of D&D.
What say you? What's your opinion on this subject?