Keep on the Borderlands and eD&D

Some time ago, over a year ago in fact, I wrote a post about how we were going to start playing some RPGs over teh internets. I’m happy to report that we’ve been playing pretty much every week via Roll20 since January 2013. Most of that time we’ve been playing D&D 3.5, but just recently we moved on and Mike is running a Star Frontiers campaign.

KotB post-mortem

Back in that original post, I wrote:

It’s a pretty shitty adventure in many ways since there’s so little in the way of a plot actually in the module. Unfortunately, not only due to my lack of motivation to really make it good, my skills are a wee bit rusty.

So, yeah, that was pretty much spot on. It’s a shitty adventure. You basically hear some rumors about a cave and then you go to the cave and murder all the coexisting monsters that live there in separate cave complexes.

I think it is only a legendary adventure because it’s one of the first many people played. Probably a lot of fun campaigns were launched using the setting as well. It’s suckiness this time around is due in no small part to my shitty DMing. So it goes.

D&D 3.5

It’s a cool system, but it’s just too goddamn complicated, often for no good reason. There is a layer of realism added tactics-wise compared to ‘old school’ D&D, but I don’t really think it’s worth it. After all, most players optimize their characters and/or character play style so that they become pretty one dimensional. Who cares if there are attacks of opportunity if everyone just becomes a statue in order to avoid them. Likewise, characters with sneak attack or skirmish always do the same thing in battle to maximize their special ability. Likewise for most any other character class’s special ability.

I think I’d rather just go back to 1st or 2nd ed., keep most of the ‘options’ rules out of things, and wing it if someone wants to do a special maneuver. So, if Might & Magic ever ships, maybe we’ll play that next. Otherwise it’s vanilla 2nd ed. D&D or something like OSRIC.

3 thoughts on “Keep on the Borderlands and eD&D

  1. My gripe with D&D 2nd Ed. was that each battle was just an attrition of hit points (and healing potions). I guess, with the assessment that characters in 3.5 always do the same thing anyway and that any real choice is pretty much just an illusion, that renders my initial complaint mute.

    It all takes me back to what we want out of these RPGs versus video games. That starts thoughts rolling about what things would be like if I were to create the sourcebooks, but then I realize I am neither that smart nor do I have that kind of time.

  2. KotB is a terrible game. That said, it’s allure, like old AD&D, has something to do with it’s clunkiness.

    Star Frontiers is also pretty bad. Whereas KotB is more or less a dungeon crawl, and it’s lack of plotting make it bad, it is the plotting that make Star Frontiers bad. Well, I guess there is the problem of its half-baked rule system as well. I should really familiarize myself a bit more with the rules to make its experience richer. But I have had fun playing it. The plotting is laugh out loud hilarious at times, and figuring out how to make the rules work in a sensible way is enjoyable. I prefer that style of gaming to the, as you say, overly complicated and max-out-encouraging 3.5.

    I’m interested to try Top Secret at some point too. It had an interesting battle system as I seem to recall. I’d also like to try Cthulhu and Shadowrun.

  3. A while ago I mentioned a friend who offered to run Shadowrun with us. Here’s a message I got from him last month, “My game group fizzled out mid-Shadowrun a couple of months back and we haven’t done anything since. In the time since then, I’ve determined that Shadowrun is just too complicated for its own good. The setting will probably always be a personal favorite of mine, but the clunky-ass rules system isn’t worth the aggravation.”

    He’s now looking into -lite systems, especially Dungeon World:

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