As you all know, I have been playing retro D&D clone rules for the last few months and having a great time. Since discovering "traditional style" gaming, we've begun several ongoing face-to-face campaigns at my house, one online PbP game, and we're embarking on starting up a weekly dungeon-crawl "pickup game" down at our local Hobbytown USA store. As a matter of fact, I probably am beginning to annoy the hell out of folks with my praise of "Oe" and "old-school"... but then sometimes I have to get things back in perspective.
I started out playing good ol' 2nd Edition..with the THACO and all that good stuff. It was not long after before a friend convinced us to try out 3e, and eventually that version took over our group. We never really bought into the 3.5 because over the course of three years we had a decent-sized investment in 3e books. Besides, as our GM will be the first to admit, he hates having to learn a new system if there's nothing wrong with the one he's already got. Suffice to say, 4e ain't gonna be happenin' here.
And I LIKE 3rd Edition actually. Or at least I think I do. Even now I have no reason to grumble about skill-checks or all the various types of Saving Throws or the different races and classes available. Those just add more dynamic to the game... ..but..
(hehe... she said, 'butt'...hehehehe)
Eariler this evening, a friend dropped by and asked me if I could print him up a 3.5e character sheet for a face-to-face game he has been invited to join. So I offer him one-better and fire up my /wink/ "secondary market" /nudge/ eTools software and start generating him a nice li'l 3rd level barbarian.
Now..I've used eTools plenty of times in the past. It's especially handy for PbP games when you like having an HTML version of the character sheets as an online referrence. The program is also nice because ... to be blunt...the Resident Half-Orc sometimes makes math mistakes and screws up AC or Saves or forgets the cost penalty for cross-class skills.
So, the friend I am making the character for is our own Shane "the Crusher" from my previous Traditional Roleplay Week posting. He wants his Bbn-3 to be a Chaotic Neutral half-elf with high INT, decent STR, could care less about CON, and wants to speak an extra language, maybe put a few ranks in Move Silently and Craft(Weaponsmithing)...and did I mention Tumble?
No..I'm not making this up.
So who am I to stifle a dude's creativity! We got a character generated in about an hour, and it's all rulebook-legal and 3.5 compatible and stuff. I almost wanna be there when he springs this'un on his DM.
So we print out a sheet. There are all his vital stats in three pages of glorious 150 dpi Canon-colour..right down to his chosen god, his weight, and a spiffy colour cartoon of a wild-elf with a huge sword. My Oe character sheet should be so lucky. It is one page..B&W with no artwork..and nowhere does it say how old my character is nor even her gender.
I could be making those up as I go along, ya know?
So.. at last, we are nearing the elusive point of this post.
If you like planning ahead, quantifying everything, and knowing exactly what your character is capable of, and you don't mind spending an hour or two filling out your character sheet, then 3e and 3.5 are both right up your alley.
But if you don't care for number-crunching, like to make things up as you go along, or find that most of your characters don't survive more than a few hours of gameplay, then you might want to go retro like me and lots of others are doing.
BTW I plan (depending on the capabilities of my ftp space) to upload my own retro-clone character sheet in PDF form.
Ya know... I've yet to see anybody come up wtih software for generating Oe characters. I suppose they figure if the Resident Half-Orc can do it without a computer's help, anybody can.