After being somewhat critical of 3rd Edition D&D earlier, I naturally got curious and started reading more about it, in the freely available System Reference Document (also mentioned recently), and other web sources. And yeah, even though I'm still concerned it might be a little on the complex side for my typical game mastering style, I have to admit there are some neat ideas mixed in there. And despite the rules overhaul it's still recognisable as D&D.
I do have a history of being easily carried away with new things. Even things I thought I disliked, sometimes. Of course 3.5 rule books are no longer readily available. (And from the little I've learned of 4th Edition, I think I'd rather stick to my trusted 2nd Edition given a choice between the two.) So I guess that'll help me save my money...
Except... Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon a system called Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This is a game directly based on the d20 3.5 SRD, slightly modified and expanded. Released after Wizards of the Coast discontinued the 3.5 line, it could almost be seen as a direct replacement for it. As with the original 3.5 D&D, much of the game is released under the Open Game License and is publicly available on the publisher's website. And unlike WotC's SRD, which was available as a bunch of RTF documents and only put into more usable formats by third parties, this is available as a decently formatted website. And unlike the somewhat restricted open content of the original, this also includes rules for character creation and advancement, making it essentially a complete, usable system.
The effect of this on a person like me being instant respect for Paizo Publishing, of a kind I never could have had for Wizards of the Coast, who, although they begun a good initiative with their open content, nevertheless crippled that content, and in the end basically pulled the plug on it.
And I'm actually tempted to buy it. (There's probably a lesson WotC could learn right there.) Although I'm not quite convinced that'd be a great idea, seeing as how unsure I am of ever actually running a game with it. (Not to mention the cost... Even though it actually comes a little cheaper than a corresponding set of D&D books would.) But did I ever listen to common sense in such things?