We Actually Prefer Older Editions.

“The majority of people playing AD&D/OD&D/Basic D&D are playing those editions for the nostalgia.”

In spite of numerous blog posts, social media posts, podcast episodes and interpretive dances declaring that we do in fact, actually prefer older editions of the “worlds greatest roleplaying game,” the falsehood persists. I’ve heard it for at least a decade and I’ve been saying otherwise, for at least a decade, but some of you weren’t listening. Therefore, I’ll repeat.

This notion that some of us only play because of nostalgia has an unstated underlying premise. That unstated premise is that modern D&D is superior to pre WotC editions of D&D and us old people should just get over our foggy memories of yore and accept the new fancy D&D in all it’s majesty.

Allow me to retort.

I actually prefer older editions of D&D. I like them better. I enjoy playing them more than I like any edition of Dungeons and Dragons published by Wizards of the Coast. It is my personal preference to play Original and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons over 3rd, 4th and 5th editions of the game. I like them for a variety of reasons. Many “flaws” you point out are “features” in my book.

There are people who also prefer older editions of D&D who were not even born when those games were in print. They don’t have nostalgia, they just like the older games better. My most dedicated player is under 30 years of age.

Just because a game is the current in print edition and it is popular doesn’t make it a better game. It makes it the edition that brings in the most money. Edition releases are driven by financial results and mass market tastes. You know what else is popular? McDonalds, Budweiser and Folgers

I own core rule books for Pathfinder and 5E. I’ve read the books and played the games. Guess what? I still like AD&D better.

In closing, “just nostalgia” is bullshit.

I like the old games better. I don’t expect you to like them. I don’t care if you don’t like them. They aren’t for you and that’s OK.

2 thoughts on “We Actually Prefer Older Editions.

  1. Zachary Forget

    I have only played 4e and 5e (and video games based on 3.5 I guess.)
    What are the specific things that attract you to the older versions of D&D? Are there any modern versions that capture the feel of the older games (not the nostalgia, like you debunked, but the mechanics)?

    BTW it’s me the workshop haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Zach. Thanks for your question! It is an excellent question which I think I will use for a longer blog post. For now I’ll give you a couple of quick answers.

      I play a “retro-clone” of original D&D that includes some of the earliest supplemental rules. It’s called Sword’s and Wizardry. It’s a cleaned up better organized and easier to understand clone of the original rules. 5E comes closer than 3, 3.5 or 4. There are some optional rules in 5E DMG that make it feel more like the older versions. Modifying short rest/long rest, death saves and some of the feats would definitely make it feel a little more like older versions.

      What do I like about older versions? 1. It places the fiction or the concept of the game world/encounter above the mechanics of the game. If a player concocts a crazy plan that is at least feasible or doesn’t outright violate a rule then its possible and the DM makes a ruling about whether or not it works or what dice roll would be required to make it. 3E and 4E went in the opposite direction and 5E comes back a little. The difference is that in 3E and 4E the player says, “I walk into the bar, (rolls dice) I rolled a 18 on perception, what do I see.” In Original D&D the player says “I walk into the bar, what do I see?” the DM describes the scene and the player interacts with the scene. The DM may roll some dice and describe what happens as a result of the dice rolls but doesn’t tell the player what the dice rolls are necessarily.

      Original D&D has been referred to a “build your own RPG kit” which means its very open to modification. You can hack, chop and bolt on without breaking the game (usually) but 3e and 4e had systems that were so intertwined that if you modded it, you almost certainly broke something else. I actually use mechanics from entirely different games (Swords Without Master and Trail of Cthulu) in my OD&D.

      The rules are simple, easy to teach a new person and don’t require a lot of book flipping and memorization. You can make a character in 15 minutes and it doesn’t require a piece of software to help you do calculations every time you level up.

      These are the big ones. There are others but I have to get back to my workshop lessons. I hope that answers your question. I’ll post a link to this comment when I write the full on blog post.


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