Thought it would be fun to post this picture, they’re sitting on my shelves right now, representing 25 years of my gaming history with D&D (!), on the cusp of fifth edition being released:
FWIW, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing in every single edition of D&D I’ve played in.
I got my start with 1st edition under an experienced DM, and and cut my teeth on Tomb of Horrors, the Slavers series, running the desert in the Oasis of the White Palm, and tackling the mystery that was Castle Ravenloft.
I can honestly say that I am one of the first people to get their hands on the 2nd Edition Player’s handbook in all of the province of Ontario, through the fortune that one of my gaming buds’ dad was the distributor for TSR for all of Ontario. He brought us all copies of the books on release day straight from the warehouse. Most of my D&D history runs through this 2nd edition (you can tell by the condition of its cover), in campaigns far and wide, playing all manner of characters. I have seen ancient dwarven prophecies, the harsh lands of Dark Sun, the gonzo action of Castle Greyhawk, the mysterious disappearance of magic in a world. I played dwarves, elves, Halflings, humans, centaurs, dryads, and more. I saw the use of miniatures on a grid map for the first time. I had DMs who played in the open, behind screens, prepared modules, whole-cloth worlds, and more house rules and additions than I can count.
I followed every single moment of Eric Noah’s website on 3rd edition news, and its release was a new day. I joined new campaigns, with yet more characters and fun, and it laid the basis for my own running of the 1st edition’s Throne of Bloodstone series of modules, passing through the .5 revision along the way.
I am unabashed in saying I enjoy 4th edition. I do not understand the vitriol this edition sparked and the downright hyperbolic accusations against it and its players. Is it different? Yes. And is it the same? Yes. The take on many things in 4e even harkens back to a 1e way of doing things. I’ve DMed it, I’ve played in it. I’ve written my own supplements for it, tweaking it as I like.
It is a game of sweet RP, exciting dungeoneering, tense combats, and flavourful characters.
That has been the essence of D&D for me throughout the editions. The metrics from which I want to measure each campaign I’ve been in. Great moments of adventure that we will remember going forward. Great interactions between the party members. Great unknowns and great resolutions. The moments of great luck, and the moments of great screw ups. At the end of the evening, we leave feeling puffed up, engaged, and heroic.
I will see how 5th ed is when it arrives on the scene in a few months. I will have my thoughts on the rules, to be sure. But on this, the 40th anniversary of D&D, to see the ship sailing strong, gathering new people into the fold, and more discover the fun of the hobby, that is what I am excited to see.