It's August 2015, and to follow on with the success of last year's #RPGaDay event, David Chapman at Autocratik has created a new list. Each day in August, I'll be posting my "answer" to that day's topic.
This is a tough one. I've been playing a lot of fantasy lately. My weekly Sunday game has been 13th Age, I'm playing in D&D Encounters on Wednesday nights with my daughter, and I've played and run a ton of Dungeon Crawl Classics games at my FLGS. They're all great games. I guess I'll break it down and come to a decision by the end.
I really love the feel of 13th Age. It has excellent theater of the mind-style combat. It's very satisfying to use the various powers in the game. For the game master, the stat blocks are a dream. The One Unique Thing and Icons-related rules are pretty cool too. That said, in later levels the damage dice can be cumbersome, and while there are suggestions to take an average on some, that sticks in the craw of many gamers. Also, the Icon dice rules can really leave the GM hanging. There's a lot of advice out there for these, but at the end of the day, it's easy to run out of ideas or be repetitious when there's a lot of fives and sixes on the table.
Fifth Edition is the best D&D since Second Edition. I'm enjoying playing. I ran one session and found it easy. I love the organization of the books, and the new art style is really evocative. The PHB comes with a great selection of races and classes. Adjudicating the game is easy with the simplified combat rules. That said, there's still quite a bit of math necessary to create encounters, and the stat blocks haven't really been improved. Thus far, I'm also not a big fan of the way WotC is handling setting in this edition—I don't typically have good luck with published adventures. I also have an unreasonable hatred for the Forgotten Realms.
Dungeon Crawl Classics just speaks to me. The design of the book is mind blowing. The art is blended into the layout beautifully. The book is deliberately written in a Gygaxian style, which I find quite fun. Every spell has its own table you roll on to get your results, and every wizards' spells look and act a bit differently. Remember way back last paragraph when I said I don't have much luck with published adventures? Well DCC has the best published adventures in RPGs today. They're well-organized and very creative, and I love running them! I also love the funky dice, but it bugs me I can't get them in all the cool modern Chessex styles. While the base mechanics are super-simple, the game is quite fiddly when you want to do anything involving magic.
Having gone through all three candidates, I just can't provide a favorite. I love them all for different reasons, and they're all my favorite, depending on my mood. Sorry, dear reader!