D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023


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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
And next thing we know there'll be a push to make them PC-playable, resulting in their being neutered down in order to balance with other PC-playable species and in the process ruining the whole idea.
The Firbolg was made a PC race for 5e seven years ago.

The Rune Knight subclass for Fighters was released three years ago.

A "watered down giant" PC race for AD&D was, of course, introduced as an option (though not a core book one) by Gary Gygax in Dragon Magazine #29 in Sept 1979, and expanded on by Roger Moore in Dragon #73, May of 1983. And there were options in 2nd ed (Complete Book of Humanoids and no doubt other books) and of course in 3.x (where the Goliath originated, as I recall) and 4E too.

If any of these things ruined the whole idea of giants I certainly haven't seen any sign of that ruination.
 
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Red Castle

Adventurer
The Firbolg was made a PC race for 5e seven years ago.

The Rune Knight subclass for Fighters was released three years ago.

A "watered down giant" PC race for AD&D was, of course, introduced as an option (though not a core book one) by Gary Gygax in Dragon Magazine #29 in Sept 1979, and expanded on by Roger Moore in Dragon #73, May of 1983. And there were options in 2nd ed (Complete Book of Humanoids and no doubt other books) and of course in 3.x (where the Goliath originated, as I recall) and 4E too.

If any of these things ruined the whole idea of giants I certainly haven't seen any sign of that ruination.
Pretty much this. The possibility has been here for a long time, just like many other monster race.

Wanna play a giant? Here’s the Goliath!

Wanna play a dragon? Here’s the Dragonborn!

A demon you say? Well, look no further, here’s the Tiefling!

An orc? How about we meet in the middle with a half-orc?
 


Zardnaar

Legend
I find edition wars hard to understand. Games evolve out of and influence one another. For example, 4e's action mechanics were an evolution of 3.5e design work done in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords. And surely no one looks at 5e and fails to see how it hearks back to earlier editions? As much as they may have been influenced by WoW, the 4e designers were also responding to background RPG discourse, what was being done in other games, and well-known flaws in earlier editions.

Technically yes BUT.....

Alot of folks didn't buy into late 3.5 products either. I didn't aquire ToB, Tome of Magic, Weapons of Legacy etc.

By the second round of Complete Books (Psion, Mage, most things post PHB2) quality fell off a cliff.

ToB was also widely banned not so much of its power. Alot of that stuff was only popular/divisive online.
 

The D&D & AD&D split was arguably the edition most accurately describable as a "cash grab" as it was literally designed in significant part to cut Dave Arneson out of royalties and credit. Gary threw lots of rules he barely or didn't even use into AD&D almost exclusively for the purpose of making it more distinct from D&D. And explicitly told the B/X design team to experiment and make it more distinct from AD&D. To this day (and for at least the 12+ years since I first encountered and played with Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask at conventions) the surviving original TSR folks will tell you that as far as they're concerned OD&D and AD&D are one game.
We never saw it is 2 games. I mean, first of all when the MM was published the 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' moniker that was on it meant nothing to us, and it was rules compatible with the only 2 games we had, D&D and Basic (Holme's) D&D, which were clearly the same game themselves.

When the PHB came out things were maybe slightly murkier in that it was plain that AC had changed a tiny bit (AC10 was now unarmored). Aside from that the new class rules were just improved descriptions, or in several cases official codifications of, existing classes. There are definitely rules differences/clarifications, but none of it amounted in our minds to a 'new game', and by then there were quite a few modules, clearly one could play through them with characters derived from any of the three iterations of character rules.

Once the DMG came out, there was a more clear sense of this as a distinct 'edition' of D&D (that term was not current however). Still, it wasn't a new game, it was, perhaps, a 'new edition' of THE game. It wasn't, at least, until B/X was published that people started to get a sense that anyone thought Basic was a different game from Advanced. However WE never thought so! Most people seemed to play Advanced IME, but basic was just a slightly different flavor of the same game. In fact mixing mechanics between the two was simply seen as a possible expedient thing to do if it suited your immediate needs. Nobody would have thought it was weird to use the B/X reaction rules in an 'AD&D Game', it probably would have been considered clever, assuming it produced good results in the view of the people playing.
 



Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
We never saw it is 2 games. I mean, first of all when the MM was published the 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' moniker that was on it meant nothing to us, and it was rules compatible with the only 2 games we had, D&D and Basic (Holme's) D&D, which were clearly the same game themselves.

When the PHB came out things were maybe slightly murkier in that it was plain that AC had changed a tiny bit (AC10 was now unarmored). Aside from that the new class rules were just improved descriptions, or in several cases official codifications of, existing classes. There are definitely rules differences/clarifications, but none of it amounted in our minds to a 'new game', and by then there were quite a few modules, clearly one could play through them with characters derived from any of the three iterations of character rules.

Once the DMG came out, there was a more clear sense of this as a distinct 'edition' of D&D (that term was not current however). Still, it wasn't a new game, it was, perhaps, a 'new edition' of THE game. It wasn't, at least, until B/X was published that people started to get a sense that anyone thought Basic was a different game from Advanced. However WE never thought so! Most people seemed to play Advanced IME, but basic was just a slightly different flavor of the same game. In fact mixing mechanics between the two was simply seen as a possible expedient thing to do if it suited your immediate needs. Nobody would have thought it was weird to use the B/X reaction rules in an 'AD&D Game', it probably would have been considered clever, assuming it produced good results in the view of the people playing.
Sure, unless you were following Gary's columns in Dragon about it, the concept of it being a new and distinct game would have certainly been murky, or even seemed somewhat silly.

By the time I came in with BECMI in '85, the party line at TSR of D&D and AD&D being two distinct games was well established, and IME younger enthusiasts tended to accept that claim with more credulity.
 

Sure, unless you were following Gary's columns in Dragon about it, the concept of it being a new and distinct game would have certainly been murky, or even seemed somewhat silly.

By the time I came in with BECMI in '85, the party line at TSR of D&D and AD&D being two distinct games was well established, and IME younger enthusiasts tended to accept that claim with more credulity.
We were very well aware of what Gary was saying, I've got stacks of The Dragon going all the way back. People just didn't care. We bought a few books and then did our own thing. That's hugely different from late '80s on when the idea of canonical D&D lore and whatnot became common.
 

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