Moving on From 3.5 Edition

4E D&D

Now that my long-running Xorian Wars campaign has concluded, what next?

I’ve been playing D&D 3.5 edition for more than a decade. I like the system, but I feel like its taken me as far as it can go.

If D&D were like any other product I’d say, “It’s time for an upgrade!” but pen-and-paper roleplaying games aren’t really like that.

Choosing a roleplaying system has more to do with personal preference than something being newer and having a larger number slapped on the cover.

And the 4th edition of D&D isn’t the only option my group has to choose from our next game! The Xorian Wars game took us so long that D&D 5th edition has come out.

There are other systems as well. We’ve explored Blades in the Dark, an urban, fantasy, apocalyptic game about crime and intrigue. We’ve looked at Mouseguard which is basically Redwall. We looked at Dungeon World, a rules-lit system similar to D&D. And we looked at Camelot, a retelling of King Arthur’s Tale with yourself as one of the Knights of the Round Table.

At this point we’ve narrowed it down to two contenders, Blades in the Dark with a sci-fi space setting similar to Firefly or Cowboy Bebop or 4th edition.

Blades in the Dark would be run by one of the other players. D&D 4E would be run by me.

I like both systems, but given the choice I would go for Blades in the Dark. I am excited to be a player for a bit and “get some time off.”

I enjoy being a DM most of the time. The additional level of control and knowledge is fun. I put a lot of thought into what all the NPCs are doing outside of sessions to keep the world feeling alive during play time.

As a player there’s only so much productive thought I can put into a campaign outside of active sessions. What is this guy’s motivation? I don’t know, I have to ask the DM. What is the cult doing in that city? I don’t know, I have to ask the DM. Where does this type of metal come from? Don’t know, have to ask the DM.

While the DM can and should share that creative process with the players, the DM usually remains the major shareholder of the story. It’s hard for me to be as invested in a roleplaying campaign as a player when I am literally less invested in it.

But along with that control comes responsibility. It takes time to design engaging encounters. If really want it to be good I have to find music to set the mood and sound effects for the climactic moment. I can throw some programming in to really make something shine if I feel like it.

It’s an enormous amount of fun, but it takes effort. I’d like to relax while someone else in the group takes the load for a while.


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