The Road to 3E

The creation of D&D 3E was a pivotal point in the TTRPG industry, and game designer Jonathan Tweet looks back at its development along with other pivotal elements of his career.


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Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
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The Book of Many Things
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Vecna Storyline


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EVERWAY Then and Now
Years before I worked on D&D 3rd Ed, Wizards of the Coast hired me not to work on D&D but to...
Jonathan Tweet: Third Edition and Per-Day Spells
On the Third Edition design team, we were tasked with rationalizing the game system, but there...
D&D 3E Design: The Unbalanced Cleric
What do you call a D&D cleric who can’t heal? A 1st-level 1970s cleric. The original first-level...
Diversity in D&D Third Edition
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
For 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, the big picture was to return the game to its roots...
Jonathan Tweet: Streamlining Third Edition
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
Ars Magica had an obscure origin, but it had long-lasting effects. We did a number of...
Jonathan Tweet: On The Origins of Ars Magica
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
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
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.

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