A few months ago, at a local con, the wife and I were itching to play an RPG. All of the D20 games were taken, so we sat at this one weird system we’d never heard of. We hoped it would be as pleasurable as the Rift and Traveller games we found in similar fashion. We were not so lucky. As this guy began to explain this discombobulated system with the end goal being that you could be anything. This game was horrible. When we asked to see the book it was a collection of loose leaf sheets of paper with scribbling and poor artwork.
That is what I thought about when I got read 3-D RPG. Developed by Eerie Vikiing Entertainment, 3-D RPG is the primary reason why we should not be surprised about the stricter gaming license that will come with 4th edition. It is simply a rehashed mishmash of previously published material sold at a high cost in the name of providing something “new” for the public.
The premise of 3-D RPG is to provide a level less system for Dungeons and Dragons. How the system plans on doing this is not developed quite well. Apparently you gain XP for doing objectives and you can spend it on various character related items. Nothing that we have not seen before, and in all honestly, should only take up a quarter of the books overwritten pages. Instead it is very difficult to figure out that that is where this is going. It is not until a bit into the book that you get the “oh, that’s what this is”. Instead you plod through wondering why every single skill, feat, and class ability from the PHB and other OGL sources are in this book. And I mean every source. There is future stuff, modern stuff and stuff that doe not belong in any setting. Why the writer decided to pretend that his new version of a point buy system is revolutionary new thing in RPG is beyond me. There is one point where the writer talks about how he has met people who hated leveling and need a fix. Those people obviously were not looking hard enough, else they would have found the half dozen other point buy systems on the market.
For the Dungeon Master
This is a first as there is little that I liked about this book because it is quite difficult to tell what is actually new in this. This section is where i like to at least pick out one thing that the product is worth buying. There are some new skill uses, but nothing that I have not seen a creative PC use the skill for. Outside of that, everything in this book is borrowed from somewhere else with no shame. Wealth systems, advantage/disadvantage points, defensive bonuses, conditions… It is all rehashed with not an innovative touch.
The Iron Word
3-D RPG needs a lot of things. Layout work, bookmarks, a more concise objective, original material, and some decent artwork. There is very little to love about the product, and if not for 3es open license this product would be text book plagiarism. It is sad that suck products will be the reason for a harsher license in 4e.