I am sitting in my game room now, looking at my shelves. I have D&D. And by that I mean I have EVERY D&D ruleset there is. Original, Basic (3 different boxes claiming to be “Basic D&D” and none of them are very compatible with the others), Advanced, Editions 1, 2, 3, and 4. Not to mention OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy, S&W, Spellcraft & Swordplay, Hackmaster, Castles & Crusades and now I am adding Pathfinder to my crowded “D&D” shelves, and this not even counting what is on my hard drive.
It has gotten insane. I NEVER need to buy another “D&D” product again. Yet I know I will.
But it has gotten so chaotic and even psychotic. If I look at the products released only in the last year on my shelf I can play 5 (maybe even up to 7) different versions of the “Largest Selling Role Playing Game” of all time. And that is not even cracking my books from back in the day. I have at least 15 different ways to play “D&D” and I am sure I have forgotten one or two.
I think I either need to choose one version of the game and stick with that (but which one) or design a simple, streamlined version of the game that fits my needs that includes elements I like from all the other versions. While that idea has merit and appeal to me, it is an awful lot of work. Plus the game has changed so much over the years that some concepts I liked in one version have no place in another.
I think I would start with fewer classes. Like in 2e, go with Priest, Rogue, Magic-User and Warrior. Then break it down into tiers like 4e. So 1 to 10 you can have 2e-like kits to allow role playing. A magic-user then takes a kit to be a wizard, warlock, illusionist and so on. Levels 11 to 20 are prestige classes (including prestige versions of core classes), Levels 21 to 30 are epic level. Use 3e as a base (I like the idea of feats), give the classes powers at each level (like Pathfinder), but start them out at a higher level. That is a Level 1 character in this version is more like a 5th level character in D&D3. In a way it is like using the D&D Rules Cyclopedia and just starting everyone on 5th level. Use 4e’s skill system or use more of an “ability” check system like from 0.
But that is all surface stuff. That doesn’t tell me anything about how to redo monsters, deal with magic or the numerous other rules that are effected (Pathfinder is 575+ pages of rules. And it is not complete!)
Well maybe we can see 5th Edition work out some of these issues, or just adds to them. Or I can just stick to playing Ghosts of Albion. ;)