D&D General Did D&D Die with TSR?

jgsugden

Legend
This question, when asked on a board devoted to the current edition of D&D, is about as valid as asking whether breathing stopped 20 years ago.

D&D evolves. We're playing the current edition of D&D. That is as complicated and philosophical as it needs to get.
 

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R_J_K75

Legend
8) the d20 DC system for skills (that took away all DM rulings, as everything was codified)

8) Yeah - this was a pretty significant change. Made them use, essentially, the same mechanic as hitting something in combat. It does make the game easier to learn, but WAY too much is made about it not allowing DM rulings. Player who were savvy with the rules were already lawyering the heck out of things if a DM let them. 3e just put more info out there in the players' hands by default.

This was one thing that bothered me about 3.x is that it did put more power into the hands of the Player because once everything was spelled out a player could easily open a book, quote rule "x" from page "y" and the DM had little room to argue, unless of course the DM clearly let everyone know from the start what rules were being omitted or modified, or the rule was ambiguous. Case in point, I played in a 3.5 game years ago, where I rolled a 1 on a skill check and the DM said a natural 1 is always a failure, which RAW is not correct. The skill check wasnt anything too difficult but because the DM decided he was just going to change or misinterpret that rule without letting anyone know I was pissed and felt cheated. As a DM in 3E/3.5 I saw a shift in how the game was played but overall the feel of the game didnt change, it still felt like D&D, just a little different. Im glad that 5E has simplified the rules and gives the DM more freedom to make rulings on the fly.
 

Oofta

Legend
Is a Ford Mustang still a Mustang? It still has the same basic form and function. Looks roughly the same, comes with a big v8 in the front, rear wheel drive and emergency use only rear seat. Targets more or less the same niche of relatively affordable muscle car.

But it's also completely different. The modern car quite possibly has more computer power than existed in the entire US in 1964. It accelerates to 60 in roughly half the time and won't put you in the ditch if you go around a corner. Power everything, AC, far safer, the list goes on.

Yet someone can look at the cars and say that in many way's they're still the same. So yes, D&D died, yes it still lives on.
 

the Jester

Legend
Isn't this whole thread a 'no true Scotsman' argument?

I think the notion that D&D died with TSR is, honestly, patently ridiculous on its face, as is the notion that nobody plays it the same way they did in TSR era D&D. Heck, I am still running the same campaign that I was running then- my entire gaming history consists of one long megacampaign that spawned a second long megacampaign during the 2e era. There are even some 1e pcs around who have transitioned all the way up into 5e as deities.

Besides a few mentions of IP and repetition of similar fantasy tropes, there was essentially no connection between 3rd edition and any other TSR product.

Ability scores; alignment; AC; hit points; attack rolls; saving throws; most of the spells and monsters; settings such as the FR, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, etc; the basic concepts of the game.... I think there are far more similarities than differences.

Here are some of the biggest differences that I was hung up on when first learning 3rd edition:
1) tactical movement on a grid

Old school D&D arose from wargaming, which might not have always used a grid, but did in some cases; heck, if you look at the 1e DMG's example of play, you'll see reference to the pcs indicating where they move on a map. And not all 3e and later games were played on a grid- I played theater of the mind in every edition at least some of the time, and with the pandemic, we've switched to it pretty much entirely (and pretty seemlessly).

2) attacks of opportunity (for nearly everything)

They weren't called that, but again, look at the 1e DMG's example of play- when the pc grabs the spider that landed on her, it gets a free attack.


These were new, but so what? Every edition had new stuff. Did you feel the same sense of disconnect about "granted powers" for specialty priests in 2e?

4) class "balance"

This has always been a thing. It just changed methods from edition to edition- starting in 3e, it moved to a balance by level rather than by xp total.

5) Challenge Rating

Monster level in earlier editions.

6) 0-level spells, cantrips, and ever-present spells

1e had cantrips, and at will spells weren't a thing until 4e. Yes, this was a big difference.

7) prestige classes

I give you the 1e bard.

8) the d20 DC system for skills (that took away all DM rulings, as everything was codified)

The very first thing in 3e was Rule 0- basically, empowering the DM to make whatever rulings were required or desired.

9) character wealth by level baked into the system

True in 3e and 4e only.

Anyone else realizing this?

I strongly disagree with the basic premise here. Yes, every edition is different. That was true in earlier D&D too. Remember race as class, or race/class restrictions, or level limits, or maximum and minimum stats by race and sex? Those all changed or vanished over time long before the WotC era. In some cases, they even changed within the course of one edition (hey, now I can play a dwarf cleric as of late 1e!).
 


Mercurius

Legend
Everyone's experience is different, but I've been playing since the early 80s so have experienced all five editions of AD&D (very little BECMI for me). When 2E came out it was a very much needed clean-up and re-organization of 1E, but essentially the same game - with more options and settings. The problem, though, is that while the RPG world in general was advancing with systems like White Wolf's and the Ars Magica game, D&D was stuck with an anachronistic chassis that harkened back to the halcyon days of the 70s. 3E felt like a (very welcome) modernization of the game.

Where I do agree is that some of the fun tonal qualities of early TSR D&D were lost, and this was very much a generational thing. If OD&D was for Boomers and older Gen-X, most Gen-Xers cut their teeth on AD&D or BECMI. 3E was the first game that felt very much marketed to Millenials, if the older ones born in the 80s. This trend was greatly strengthened with 4E, which sought to draw in the Warcraft crowd.

5E, in a way, felt like a do-over of 3E, but with a simpler system and a tone that felt more like 80s-90s D&D, if with contemporary art. It was largely successful in what it set out to do: not only create a simpler and more accessible system, but a more classic feel. I don't know for sure, but I think it appealed to a lot of tepid OSR folks, if not the diehards. The OSR scene seems a bit more toned down than it was a decade ago. That said, if WotC goes too far in adjusting core tropes to suite some of the current cultural trends, there might be an emergence of something akin to a "New OSR." But we shall see.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
D&D changed when TSR became a more formal business entityt. After OD&D, when Gygax was trolling Hollywood for a licensing deal and AD&D was being published as was Basic D&D and tons of licensed products like D&D shriky dinks were coming out.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Everyone's experience is different, but I've been playing since the early 80s so have experienced all five editions of AD&D (very little BECMI for me). When 2E came out it was a very much needed clean-up and re-organization of 1E, but essentially the same game - with more options and settings. The problem, though, is that while the RPG world in general was advancing with systems like White Wolf's and the Ars Magica came, D&D was stuck with an anachronistic chassis that harkened back to the halcyon days of the 70s. 3E felt like a (very welcome) modernization of the game.

Where I do agree is that some of the fun tonal qualities of early TSR D&D were lost, and this was very much a generational thing. If OD&D was for Boomers and younger Gen-X, most Gen-Xers cut their teeth on AD&D or BECMI. 3E was the first game that felt very much marketed to Millenials, if the older ones born in the 80s. This trend was greatly strengthened with 4E, which sought to draw in the Warcraft crowd.

5E, in a way, felt like a do-over of 3E, but with a simpler system and a tone that felt more like 80s-90s D&D, if with contemporary art. It was largely successful in what it set out to do: not only create a simpler and more accessible system, but a more classic feel. I don't know for sure, but I think it appealed to a lot of tepid OSR folks, if not the diehards. The OSR scene seems a bit more toned down than it was a decade ago. That said, if WotC goes too far in adjusting core tropes to suite some of the current cultural trends, there might be an emergence of something akin to a "New OSR." But we shall see.

5E more or less consumed the OSR, while at the same time bringing in a hefty newer generation. Neat trick.
 
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