D&D General Did D&D Die with TSR?


I played my last game of 1e around 1983 and didn't play D&D again until a 5e meetup in 2016. I walked away from that first 5e session saying, "Wow, that felt just like it did in 1979 when I started." I've been playing 5e ever since. D&D didn't die with TSR. In fact, TSR almost killed it in the 1990's and WotC revived it and has been a great custodian. I just started playing an OSR campaign using OSE and there is a close kinship between rule sets separated by decades.

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Morkus from Orkus
Here are some of the biggest differences that I was hung up on when first learning 3rd edition:
1) tactical movement on a grid
2) attacks of opportunity (for nearly everything)
3) feats
4) class "balance"
5) Challenge Rating
6) 0-level spells, cantrips, and ever-present spells
7) prestige classes
8) the d20 DC system for skills (that took away all DM rulings, as everything was codified)
9) character wealth by level baked into the system

The game looked different too. The art style was no longer based in fantasy illustrations, rather than "this is D&D 'dungeon punk' and it can't represent a character from history, fantasy fiction, etc."

I'm not presenting this as a value judgment. I like things about 3.x - the present. But it seems to be that the game forever shifted in 3rd edition. I can't even run the games in the style I used to 20 years ago or play characters the same way. I don't think anyone does in modern D&D.

Anyone else realizing this?
I'm with you on all but #4. 3e was the most unbalanced edition made. :)


3.0 was still very much in line with AD&D. They just made it so it made more sense and skills were handled consistently as opposed to a mix of extremely low percentages vs More favorable ability checks. Feats and Skills complimented the Non Weapon Proficiency System. The big change was 3.5 when they leaned heavily into gamism and it became about “builds” right out of the core. System mastery was always a thing in D&D and 3.0 certainly rewarded it but 3.5 encouraged the ivory tower with not just numerous feats and prestige classes amping up in power every few months with new releases but also the new base classes and races amping up that power curve as well. Top that off with a move away from classic D&D races and classes and the game became something very different and at an accelerated rate compared to in 2e with new races and kits. 5e brought D&D back for me. I loved 3e for a long time though. Core plus 1 was a great house rule to reign things in. I started playing Pathfinder 1e recently and I am remembering how much I enjoyed 3e but as a DM I love the pick up and play of 5e.


Seems like someone needs to listen to the "Five Generations of Designers" Garycon panel, that was on the Plot Points Podcast: (cool, didn't know it'd embed the podcast stream thingie in there!)


Add me to the list of people who absolutely play DnD today in the same style as AD&D. A few years back, I even wrote a 5e super dungeon that is very much 80s feel. Almost 80s overload lol. For example, the "Lord's of Rock" are three stone golems. The illustration of them will he familiar to fans of Rush 😂

And the interior art is by Brian Glad Thomas, whose style is almost exactly like that of the late Jim Holloway

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