I've played a LOT of versions of D&D with a lot of old timer and new players and everyone in between. (Both as a DM and as a player.) And I have never played with anyone who is 100% by-the-book (even if they wrote the book), and almost every game of D&D is roll a 20-sider, add some modifiers, hit some target number and every other situation is determined by a die roll based on the odds of success (some say, "you have a 20% chance to do that, roll percentile," others say "roll a d6. You have a 1 in 6 chance," others say, "roll a d20, add your Str bonus, you need an 18 or higher.").
So, basically, everyone has their own version of D&D and they are almost exactly the same as every other version of D&D in the actual playing. The dice rolled may differ slightly at times. But it's still, "roll these, hit a number or higher [or lower] (even if the number is secret)."
Do other folks have radically different experiences with this? Because I just don't understand the debates about the mechanics of the various editions. They are fundamentally identical (even 4e, which was still roll-a-d20-add-this). To me, the debate should be about tone and aesthetic. That's what matters. That's where the differences are.
This post brought to you by +Donn Stroud
and +Adam Muszkiewicz
and thinking some more about their recent DSR episode.