Zeromaru X wrote:Was the 3.0 to 3.5 change that severe?
I wouldn't say "severe", but "significant" definitely. The conversion documents Wotco put out covered the most straightforward changes, but there were a lot of details they missed, especially in the Monster Manual. They were so busy standardizing monsters to follow the same rules as player characters, they got rid of a lot of neat "bits" that the 3.0 monsters had - for instance, the Annis Hag had an extraordinary "ability" called Brittle Bones, where she reduced all damage from piercing and slashing weapons by 1 point, but took 1 point extra from bludgeoning weapons. This vanished in the 3.5 revision, when they changed how damage reduction worked, likely because they didn't want any "loophole" abilities that resembled DR but weren't called out as such.
A more drastic example is the Slaads; in MM 3.0, there was a table of random abilities that you could roll up to make every Slaad unique, where some of them would have four arms or the like, and this entirely vanished from 3.5 - this is probably the single biggest loss between editions IMO (but then, I'm irrationally fond of Slaads - which is of course the way the Slaads would prefer anyone to be fond of them).
1) Character creation is fast; if you want to save time, each class contains a package which allows creating a character of whatever race in a few minutes. I think something similar was done for 3.5 as well in a web enhancement, but in 3.0 it's straight in the PHB.
Pretty sure the equipment packages and skill suggestions are still in 3.5
2) Little or no decision paralysis, both at character creation and when advancing: there are very few feats, and their design is very tight (as a bonus, if you come from AD&D, you recognise some of those feats as previously fixed class features.) Many feats are designed as clear exceptions to very specific rules. For example, Alertness is designed to provide a bonus in surprise situations, and it's the only feat providing a bonus to two skills. If you want to get better in a skill in general, there's Skill Focus. Furthermore some of the feats in 3.0 were split into two or more feats in 3.5, with the result that each feat becomes less relevant. In general, when you take a feat in 3.0, it's a significant boost (this is important since, except for the fighter, there aren't many occasions to get feats.)
I'll have to look into this at some point, as it sounds interesting, but I suspect it may not hold up on examination for the majority of examples. In particular, even if this was true in the 3.0 PHB, it quickly stopped becoming true as additional books were put out, each of which had a slew of new specialty feats which were often added to the 3.5 core.
3) The game is not strongly wedded to the grid; there are some references in the DMG, but that's all. You won't find things like diagonal movement costing differently than horizontal/vertical movement (which technically doesn't even make much sense as it imposes an Euclidean concept of distance, whereas in fact when we use the grid, we are implicitly assuming a non-Euclidean metric.) This relies on DM fiat being more important, and in our experience, it also typically results in way faster combats.
3.0 had directional facing, while 3.5 didn't (except as an optional rule in Unearthed Arcana). I assume you're saying that 3.5 is the one which requires a map less than 3.0 did.
5) Lots of monsters are easier to adjudicate in play, since monsters don't follow the same rules as PCs when it comes to skills and feats. Again, faster combats (and faster prep.)
Perhaps, but I think the Savage Species changeover is worth it. 3.0 treated monsters very awkwardly, and it always annoys me when any edition (including 5E) regards them as somehow being inherently different than characters with class levels (even if these are NPCs).
6) Lots of monsters are scarier, as you will need specific magical bonuses; a weapon being generically "magic" is not enough.
Asking for a specific numerical bonus annoys me; I like requirements like dr/silver or dr/chaotic instead of dr/+3. But I agree that dr/magic might as well not exist, since every player character past about level 3 has at least a +1 weapon (unless the DM specifically denies them access to magic item shops).
8) Gnomes favour being illusionists (as traditional in AD&D.)
Neverminding how shit the Favored Class mechanic was in both versions of 3E, this was the only case of any class having a wizard subclass
as favored; elves got to favor Wizard whether they did Illusions or not. Nobody had Bard as a favorite, and Gnome fits nicely I think.
9) Some skills are class specific, and can't be acquired by other classes as cross-class skills AT ALL: Animal Empathy, Decipher Script, Read Lips, Scry, Use Magic Device. This too is a sort of "throwback" to AD&D, and in general it helps with "niche protection".
I regard this as having been a sort of a nice idea, but not worth the rules baggage it carried. It's much easier to memorize the class skill lists when you don't have to keep any exemptions in mind. Animal Empathy turned into a class feature, although I actually think that might have been a mistake; I don't see any reason why a Wizard or Rogue couldn't learn how to "Diplomacy" animals instead of just Handling them. UMD is widely regarded as the most powerful skill in 3E, and maybe allowing anyone other than Rogues to access it created problems, but this could be fixed the same way Animal Empathy was, just treating UMD as a class feature instead of a skill.
12) Most spells have the same name and level as their AD&D counterparts. In 3.5 spells changed names AND levels, which makes porting spellcasting characters and monster a huge hassle.
Agreed, and a lot of spells changed their effects too. I love the 3.0 version of Creeping Doom - it does exactly 1000 damage in an area, flavored as insects which appear, bite once, and then vanish. The new version creates Swarm monsters under the player's control, and as much as I love summoning, it's a pain in the ass at the game table, creating a ton of extra work and delays if not handled carefully.
13) In general, classes are simpler, and have less "stuff" going on and/or fewer/simpler features; in general, they are less "powerful (e.g. the clerics don't have Auras; paladins don't have Auras and can only smite once per day; sorcerers can't change their spells; rangers don't get an animal companion by default etc.) The overall "feel" is definitely grittier (and play is faster.)
The auras you're talking about here are largely irrelevant, only interacting with Detect spells. But limiting Smite to 1/day is just sad, and denying Sorcerers the right to change their spells just makes them even more gimped than they already were compared to wizards.
Overall, 3.0 retained a lot of legacy features from AD&D, which made the game more easily recognisable by players used to AD&D, and made porting of characters and scenarios A LOT easier.
This is of course something I cannot weigh in on.
rabindranath72 wrote:Some of the 3.0 main designers (Monte Cook and Sean Reynolds, for example) had been very critical of the new changes; most of which were apparently done for no real reason other than screw compatibility up and force people to buy again the books
I don't think that this is true. Pretty much all the changes I've been able to spot seem to be well-reasoned - for instance, DR 50/+5 was pretty much a "**** you" to all players who didn't want to just focus in on getting the most powerful sword, instead wanting something fancy like a Dancing weapon of Fiery Burst. With that much DR, anyone who didn't have the right sword shouldn't even try to kill this thing - unless they're a wizard, since Fireballs etc. don't care about DR, so it just made LFQW worse. Likewise, most of the monster changes were prompted by Savage Species showing up how unnecessarily awkward the process of making monstrous PCs was, and adding more spells and feats gave players more options to personalize their characters. It would have perhaps been logical to keep some of the 3.0 stuff in as an "on ramp" for new players or 2E converters, but more ability to create characters that aren't narrow cliches is definitely something I care a lot about.
also some design decisions screw some fundamental elements of the game, for example magic item economy (the designers of the revision weren't probably into the inner workings of 3.0)
I'm very curious what you mean by this. Could you elaborate?