Monday, March 8, 2010

My Life With D&D, Part IV

At some point during the lifespan of 3.5, I picked up a product by Eden Studios called Fields of Blood, which contained, essentially, domain management rules for D&D3.5. Even before playing AD&D2e in the Birthright setting, this idea excited me, and after enduring a number of failed attempts by various third-party publishers to cover that ground, I was awaiting Fields of Blood with great eagerness - and as I recall, it was quite late. This process led me to also discover, as a side benefit, Expeditious Retreat Press' A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe, which does not cover domain management but is a really outstanding product anyway.

Now it happens that Fields of Blood has some issues involving scaling. But despite that, unless I wanted to dip into 3.x fan conversions of Birthright, it was the best option available at that time for that sort of campaign. (Nowadays we have Greg Stolze's Reign, which is what I'd use with domain management as the primary locus of campaign activity.) So to go along with it I picked up the three 3.5 core books, set them on the shelf, and left them untouched until maybe a year ago.

Understand that my opinion of 3.x as an improvement on the previous edition of the rules (AD&D2e) had not changed. The opportunity to even think about running it simply didn't come up, and I fell into the rut of playing only with my one remaining group and nobody else. This is not really a healthy habit for a gamer of my stripe. And, to be honest, there was probably a lingering strain of subconscious elitism.

I wasn't even paying much attention when official-sounding murmurings about 4th edition started to leak out of Renton. It was impossible to miss the news of 4e's release, of course, but I paid it little attention. At least immediately. As the months went by the itch to check out the new edition grew stronger, even though I knew by then that some radical changes had been made. I mean, it's D&D, right? You really can't exist in this hobby with any seriousness without at least a passing familiarity with it.

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