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Jonathan Tweet

D&D 3E, Over the Edge, Everway, Ars Magica, Omega World, Grandmother Fish

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Jonathan Tweet
Andrew Finch’s Monsters by Level
  • 11
One unsung hero of D&D game design is Andrew Finch. He had a lot of roles at Wizards over the years, and he was involved in D&D playtesting and design as early as I was. To my mind, his biggest...
Monsters in the Miniatures Handbook
  • 19
The other day, I was looking up the nothic in the Miniatures Handbook (2003), and I was happy to be reminded of all the other worthwhile monsters we put in that book. Whereas the core three...
Alignment in D&D
  • 375
Alignment is, on some level, the beating heart of Dungeons & Dragons. On the other hand, it’s sort of a stupid rule. It’s like the hit point rules in that it makes for a good game experience...
Multiclassing in D&D 3rd Edition
  • 198
My best friend Rob Heinsoo was the lead designer on 4th Ed, and one of his jobs was to fix things that 3rd Ed hadn’t fixed. Multiclassing was on that list of systems that needed work. At one point when playing 3rd Ed, Rob was running a 3rd level barbarian-fighter-ranger. Given the way multiclassing worked, why not?
Jonathan Tweet: Third Edition and Per-Day Spells
  • 105
On the Third Edition design team, we were tasked with rationalizing the game system, but there were some big elements of the system that we didn’t question. We inherited a system in which...
D&D 3E Design: The Unbalanced Cleric
  • 115
What do you call a D&D cleric who can’t heal? A 1st-level 1970s cleric. The original first-level cleric could turn undead but had no spells. Skip Williams says that the original conception of the...
Diversity in D&D Third Edition
  • 683
With 3rd Ed, our main goal was to return D&D to its roots, such as with Greyhawk deities and the return of half-orcs. By staying true to the feel of D&D, we helped the gaming audience accept the sweeping changes that we made to the rules system.
3E and the Feel of D&D
  • 270
For 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, the big picture was to return the game to its roots, reversing the direction that 2nd Edition had taken in making the game more generic. The plan was to...
Jonathan Tweet: Streamlining Third Edition
  • 106
The D&D 3rd Ed project was part big-picture vision and part a collection of individual decisions about rules, terms, and characters. In terms of rules, a lot of what we did amounted to streamlining.
Jonathan Tweet: Legacy of Ars Magica
  • 17
Ars Magica had an obscure origin, but it had long-lasting effects. We did a number of influential support products that influenced 1990s game design, and it launched the careers of five of us who...
Jonathan Tweet: On The Origins of Ars Magica
  • 25
By the time I started college in 1987, I was a die-hard Chaosium fan, and I taught my new college friends RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu. These friends and I talked a lot about roleplaying games and game design, and we tried to figure out how to create the best possible games.
Jonathan Tweet: My Life with the Open Gaming License
  • 33
In 1978 at age 12, I bought my second roleplaying game, Metamorphosis Alpha (MA) by Jim Ward. That’s the day I became a fan of the Open Gaming License and the d20 logo. Or at least I would have been a fan if someone had gone back in time and told me about them.
Jonathan Tweet: Prologue to Third Edition
  • 171
The story of Third Edition D&D starts, perhaps, with Peter Adkison reading 2nd Edition AD&D (1989) and being sorely disappointed. For one thing, he felt the new system left several underlying problems in place, so players didn’t get much benefit from the effort it took to switch to a new system. For another, 2nd Ed stripped away all the charm and character of 1st Ed. No more half-orcs, arcane sigils, monks, or assassins. Demons and devils were renamed to avoid the ire of superstitious parents. The new AD&D was tamed and genericized.

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

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