Thursday, March 24, 2011

White Plume Mountain, I challenge you to do this!

So.  Been a really busy week for me.  Work. School. Family.

I took a mental health break from it all last night around 8:00pm and was looking through all my material for the White Plume Mountain and I realized something.

Edition wars are fundamentally bullshit.

The concept of an "edition war" is based on the idea that one edition of a game is better/worse than another.
My running of White Plume Mountain flies in the face of this.

Here are the materials I am using:

Rule base: D&D 3.0 (not 3.5, just 3.0).
Module: White Plume Mountain, 1st Ed AD&D, with 3rd Ed D&D updates and an extension, Dragotha's Lair, written for 2nd Ed. AD&D.
Characters: A Pathfinder Ranger, a 3.5 ed Paladin that is a 4e race (Dragonborn), a 3.0 witch, a couple of converted elemental sorcerers (were M&M 2ed, now Pathfinder), and a Star Wars revised ed bounty hunter.
Dragotha (Big Bad 1): D&D 4e stats from the Draconomicon.
Keraptis (Big Bad 2): BASIC D&D Witch that I am playtesting.
Plus I am using D&D 4e fortune cards.
Also maps released under GSL and minis from at least 5 or 6 different sources (which are all of course edition-free).

Everything so far has run nice and smooth and everyone is having a blast.

So.  Either I am some Mad Scientist, Super-Genius-level DM that can make all these conversions on the fly  OR there is just not as many differences between these systems as some people think.

You may not like a particular edition, but that doesn't actually devalue it nor change it's worth to others.

Anyone else out there do this kind of D&D freestyle mixing of editions?  What were your experiences?  Did it work? Did it fail miserably?  If none of the above would you be interested in trying it out?


Rhonin84 said...


Wow we have had this really is about power creep. The newer editions take the game to higher power levels. The original game was about your average guy winding up in the dungeon and hoping he survived. This is not the case, especially with 4th edition, the power level across the board is cranked up.

One of the reason I have heard from various sources is that they wanted to compete with the online games and how they came across. NOT like the games we played in ASCII or even Lord Britain's Ultima series.

Can you use various sources across the board, sure no one said you couldn't but it comes down to WHAT DnD is to you. IT's easy to use a 1st edition dungeon for a 4th ed game AS long as you can convert but once you convert it's just a map that has been used.

In my eyes it's always about what you earn and in the later edition games it became what can I get for free...

BUT alas this is of course just my opinion.

Sully said...

You sir are clearly an epic-level DM. It would drive me mad trying to make all the stuff from different systems work together! Major kudos to you!

Kevin said...

Stop! Stop! Say it ain't so.

Geez Tim, don't let them know that! Without Edition Wars there won't be enough flames to keep the Universe heated above Absolute Zero.

I mean seriously, if this kind of thinking becomes commonplace we're likely to realize that, since it's all imaginary, we don't really NEED editions!

And just where I ask would that lead us? Chaos my friend, utter and complete chaos.

To paraphrase, "Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Oh, and nicely done.

Greg Gorgonmilk said...

"Edition wars are fundamentally bullshit."

Yeah, pretty much.

Greyhawk Grognard said...

As it just so happens, I'll be running White Plume Mountain at Dexcon in Morristown, NJ this July. I'll be running it straight AD&D 1st edition.

I happen to concur about the power creep issue, but it just comes down to personal preference. I like 1E, I don't like 4E, just like I like strawberry ice cream but not pistachio. I don't think expressing a preference is necessarily a declaration of an edition war, because it can be done without any sort of implicit value judgement.

Except, of course, for that subset of people who automatically see anything less than a whole-hearted endorsement of their preferred edition as a personal slight. :-)

Martin R. Thomas said...

I've been going through a somewhat similar experience, having started a "strictly RAW 1st Edition AD&D" game using S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. After the first combat with a group of vegepygmies ended up taking more than an hour of actual play-time, I changed things up a little bit the next time.

The players had fallen out of habit of looking at charts for Saves, Attacks, etc. Nobody wanted to do the "Weapons vs. AC" stuff. It was just very non-intuitive. Everybody had gotten so used to the "roll a d20 and compare to a target number."

I'm not saying that way is better. I'm just saying we got used to it and things move faster for us that way.

So, I'm converting things in my head on the fly, but really (SSSSH!)... I just guess. I figure if the fighter rolls a "10" to hit, that's probably going to work, whereas when the thief rolls a "10" - that's a miss.

Nobody seems to have caught on that I'm just winging it. And they're having much more fun than they were a few sessions ago when they spent the entire session staring down at the attack roll tables and scratching their heads.

My "Cal & D" game I'm playing in is similar. It's a mash-up of Pathfinder, Trailblazer, 4E, and Savage Worlds, with little splashes of Rollmaster thrown in.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah Power creep is an issue within and between editions, but that is nothing terribly new really. As long as I can adjust for it it should be fine.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

You are a mad scientist super genius! I ran Dungeonland straight out of the box with no conversions up-front for 3.5. Dungeon as you may remember is an old edition dnd module written by Gary back in the early days. It worked just fine though I will say that the power creep factor did come in on occasion but it was simple enough to fix on the fly. Kudos to you sir!

Gaming Ronin said...

I agree that its bullshit. Because it boils down to telling some one else how they should be having fun to begin with.

I think its all a matter of taste. I will play any edition if i got to play much. As a DM I like C&C. Not to lite, not to heavy, Just right for my tastes.

Cas said...

I saw your comment on Grognardia that linked to this post and thought I'd come here to comment.

I'm really curious about the conversion mechanics you used for this. Can you expand on that a bit in a later blog post? I think I'd like to try something like this but I'd rather not have to reinvent the wheel if you've got one around that rolls just fine.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Cas. Sure. Maybe when I do my recap.

Sudro Brown II said...

I use a lot of 4E material in my current 5E game, which is a rerun of a campaign I ran for a different group of players. I've found that 4E offers a better variety of monster abilities and I've loosely adapted them using 5E guidelines for difficulty. I use milestone advancement, so I don't have to worry much about XP values. Overall, any DM should feel free to use whatever works for source material.