A Retrospective Glance at D&D 3.5
by Michael Mills
I was invited recently to a 3.5 game of D&D. I hadn’t played the rules edition for about a year and a half, but my nostalgia was high, and after playing fourth edition for several months, I wanted to take a look back at yesteryear.
The game was on the lower end of the epic spectrum, being at level 12, and in contempt of the power gaming prestige class monstrosities in the party, I made a pure fighter. Here is where things get interesting, because after choosing the regular feats (Power Attack, Cleave), I went directly for the Improve Disarm, Improve Trip, and Improve Bullrush. Normally these are combat tricks you use once in a while because of the hefty page flipping and calculations you need to do to perform something that (without the proper feats) will probably fail. But these were first on my list.
Why did I choose them?
Because I pulled out index cards immediately after I choose my feats and got to work crunching the numbers on those abilities so that I can use them on the fly in combat. I got halfway through the first one when I realized I was playing fourth edition. And through thinking back to the fighter powers in 4e, I realized that I was preparing my fighter to play exactly the same as the class does in fourth edition.
So I get into playing later on, and as we go tromping through the dungeon, my fighter is continuously being called to make die checks for his spot. Right away I start to miss the passive perception stat, but I don’t complain. A few hours go by and while in combat I hear something that hasn’t been said around me in a long time, “I am out of spells.” Until then we have had a few small skirmishes, but now this player had to kick back and make conversation with the other magic user who had run dry. They were completely out of the game for about an hour, and I had forgotten just how much that sucked thanks to new spell system in fourth edition.
Those are some of the things that came up that made me appreciate fourth edition a little more. Before this, I was a 3.5 fanboy when fourth edition was releasing, and was for quite a while after it dropped, I actually owned the book for a year before I played it. But now that I am looking back instead of forward, that system was super clunky, and while fourth edition didn’t necessarily fix that, they streamlined it enough so that it was easier to do cool stuff. From now on, I am proud to say I am a 4e fanboy.