D&D General Did D&D Die with TSR?

I believe that was 2e.

IIRC Arneson was getting royalties on the 1e MM and they had a legal fight that he won about the 1e MMII with the ruling mostly focusing about the name so we got the 2e Monstrous Compendiums which he did not get royalties for.

No, that was definitely 1st edition. Gygax lost the court case so he ended up having to pay royalties, but a lot of the rationale for creating AD&D and D&D as separate lines was to restrict Arneson's royalties to D&D proper.

There was no need for a separate AD&D game, and indeed, Holmes version of basic suggested a transition from those rules, directly to the Players Handbook. Under Cook and Moldvay and later, Mentzer, a separate line was created.
 

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I believe that was 2e.

IIRC Arneson was getting royalties on the 1e MM and they had a legal fight that he won about the 1e MMII with the ruling mostly focusing about the name so we got the 2e Monstrous Compendiums which he did not get royalties for.

Gygax's claim was specifically Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is a different game from the pre-existing Dungeons and Dragons and therefore he didn't have to pay Arneson royalties. That was 1e.

The Monstrous Manual 2 was another lawsuit (I believe that Arneson sued TSR a total of five times).
 

Aldarc

Legend
Combat in D&D has always been sport rather than war. You have literally ever since the early days had an XP bounty for killing things, and there has never in any edition of D&D been significant long term consequences for getting injured. And no injury death spirals. Either you are at full health, ready to go, or you're dropped.

The Combat As Sport/Combat As War thing has always reminded me of a group of paintballers sneering at a group of lazer-tag players. Meanwhile I cut my RP teeth on GURPS and WFRP 1e where injuries actually happen to your characters rather than just being in or out depending on whether you're splattered in paint/the laser sensor has picked anything up. And combat is therefore something to be much more feared because you continually feel those consequences.
Then please take it up with the OSR community.
 

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
 



GreyLord

Legend
There was also Ghostwalk, but it was released in the 3.0 to 3.5 transition era, so most people don't remember it.

Ghostwalk may be the most imaginative and creative idea for D&D ever...but it was so strange I didn't even understand how it worked completely and never implemented it.

You live after death, but do you ever die?
 

wicked cool

Adventurer
In the authors defense there was a period where D&D did die and there have been radical changes to the game. There was a period of time you couldnt find the book (mid to late 90's) and it was pretty much magic the gathering. even miniatures companies disappeared such as Ral Rartha etc. At the time i found a new group that was still playing 2nd and i had to order an old copy off rules on ebay for a friend

Then 3.0 in 2000 and then the started releasing the new edition draft rules online for 3.5 in 2003.

Biggest change in D&D for me is low level monsters and even some mid level monsters are not as scary as they were back then.

Back in my day lol so many games you were lucky to survive an entire module and sometimes an encounter. TPK was greater than 50/50

Examples-giant spiders were super deadly before 3rd edition if you were in a small group. Same with ghouls

if you died a lot of times the cleric didnt have raise dead. If you were say a dwarf there was a chance the only spell the cleric had was to bring you back on a random table where you were lucky to come back as a humanoid
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
In the authors defense there was a period where D&D did die and there have been radical changes to the game. There was a period of time you couldnt find the book (mid to late 90's) and it was pretty much magic the gathering. even miniatures companies disappeared such as Ral Rartha etc. At the time i found a new group that was still playing 2nd and i had to order an old copy off rules on ebay for a friend
Yes. I thought it was all over back then and that Dungeons and Dragons had died. Magic the Gathering overwhelmed the hobby, and it became increasingly harder to even find Dungeons and Dragons. Then, the sweet irony of Wizards of the Coast, creator of Magic, swooping in to rescue Dungeons and Dragons.

I'm sure TSR was in bad shape before Magic the Gathering, but it sure seemed to be the last nail in the coffin.
 

Retreater

Legend
Here are some differences that were baked into the rules, pre-WotC

1) Monsters were scary and invulnerable to basic attacks.
If you wanted to harm a werewolf, you had to have silvered weapons. You had to study its weaknesses. If you contracted lycanthropy, you had to perform a ritual to undo the effects. (Wolfsbane, full moon night, killing the werewolf that gave it to you.) [Today this is damage reduction - so it effectively just has double hit points. Lycanthropy is a simple saving throw or cured with a spell.] See also mummies, vampires, etc. The monsters actually resembled creatures of folklore and legend, not just stat blocks made to fit the game.

2) Spells were open to creative use.
You could use Command to issue any number of commands, instead of a pre-ordained list to hamper creativity and usefulness. You could cast Light on the eyes of a creature to temporarily blind it.

3) Spells were effective
Hold Person, Sleep, etc., lasted long enough to sway a combat. Now, they last for a round - if you're lucky enough to have a creature fail its save. This means that the only option available to most parties is to swat at an enemy until its HP are whittled away.

4) Poisons were scary
Now they're just HP damage, maybe giving you disadvantage for a round.

5) Passive Perception
Finding traps and spotting enemies required paying attention to the fiction, the DM's description. Interacting and asking questions. Now, you don't even have to roll a die. You can play on your phone, scroll through social media.

My statement isn't that post-3.0 D&D isn't a fun time. It's that maybe enough has changed that it's a different game from TSR-era D&D. Like as different as Savage Worlds is from Genesys.
 

wicked cool

Adventurer
speaking of werewolves i just noticed the new werewolves introduced in the new Van Richton book makes it that you cant just cure the disease (this feels like someone had old school nostalgia when creating this). Theres another monster that you can turn back with its reflection. This is so easy to implement back into the game

I think down the line there needs to be a return to this. Like you stated you had to prepare for a werewolf encounter (akin to the Witcher series)
 

Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
My statement isn't that post-3.0 D&D isn't a fun time. It's that maybe enough has changed that it's a different game from TSR-era D&D. Like as different as Savage Worlds is from Genesys.

Is that even controversial? The TSR editions are all fairly compatible with each other on a base mechanical level. Even if D&D and AD&D had to be "different games" for legal reasons, they're still not really "different" games.

3e/3.5/d20/PF1 used a completely different mechanical engine. Yes, it kept the same basic structure as AD&D 2e; borrowed some verbatim text (e.g. spell descriptions) here and there; and was, fundamentally, a reorganization and rationalization of 2e at its most complex (with all the options, like kits, proficiencies, skills & powers, combat & tactics, etc., "switched on"). But at this point, the argument could definitely be made that D&D3 was an entirely different game from what had come before. On a fundamental mechanical level, it just didn't play the same way.

And as for D&D4 and D&D5, these too are completely unrelated to earlier editions mechanically. "Full reboots" I'd call them, without even that bare thread of connection that D&D3 had back to late option-heavy 2e. You can't move characters between TSR, D&D3, D&D4, and D&D5 campaigns without full mechanical conversion — and that's the most surefire sign there is that you're dealing with different games!

So as to the Thread Necromancy Question: did D&D "die" with TSR? Well, it depends on what you mean by "D&D." Is D&D a name-brand, a game-system, or an idea? Obviously the name-brand didn't die, but who here is such a corporatist zombie that they care about a name-brand before anything else? As to the game system — the TSR D&D engine — well, that's being kept alive by a dwindling pool of grognards and a decidedly more vibrant OSR scene that may not be growing like it was five or ten years ago, but which is at least firmly entrenched as a permanent corner of the RPG hobby. So the old rules aren't going anywhere.

But what about the idea? The big idea of D&D is, in a sense, the RPG hobby itself, which is flourishing like never before. But the devil is in the details. The kind of game that Gary and Dave created before they even knew what they had created — the "fantasy wargame" that didn't even have the (at the time) pop-psych term "roleplaying" applied to it yet — is a little idea that got partially revived by the OSR. But the OSR tends toward nostalgia and revisionism, and its dominant theory will always trump authenticity or rigorous reconstruction. People playing old-school D&D in an early 80s, B/X or AD&D1 influenced style — using old-school rules in an old-school way, but still just playing trad campaigns in small, fixed groups — are the bulk of the OSR. But what about playing in a 70s LBB style — the Lake Geneva or Twin Cities "fantasy gaming club," where lots of players run lots of characters in a persistent sword & sorcery milieu? That's pretty much dead. It might have even died back in the late 70s before gaining any real traction with the player-base that actually developed once D&D was released into the wild.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Here are some differences that were baked into the rules, pre-WotC

1) Monsters were scary and invulnerable to basic attacks.
If you wanted to harm a werewolf, you had to have silvered weapons. You had to study its weaknesses. If you contracted lycanthropy, you had to perform a ritual to undo the effects. (Wolfsbane, full moon night, killing the werewolf that gave it to you.) [Today this is damage reduction - so it effectively just has double hit points. Lycanthropy is a simple saving throw or cured with a spell.] See also mummies, vampires, etc. The monsters actually resembled creatures of folklore and legend, not just stat blocks made to fit the game.

2) Spells were open to creative use.
You could use Command to issue any number of commands, instead of a pre-ordained list to hamper creativity and usefulness. You could cast Light on the eyes of a creature to temporarily blind it.

3) Spells were effective
Hold Person, Sleep, etc., lasted long enough to sway a combat. Now, they last for a round - if you're lucky enough to have a creature fail its save. This means that the only option available to most parties is to swat at an enemy until its HP are whittled away.

4) Poisons were scary
Now they're just HP damage, maybe giving you disadvantage for a round.

5) Passive Perception
Finding traps and spotting enemies required paying attention to the fiction, the DM's description. Interacting and asking questions. Now, you don't even have to roll a die. You can play on your phone, scroll through social media.

My statement isn't that post-3.0 D&D isn't a fun time. It's that maybe enough has changed that it's a different game from TSR-era D&D. Like as different as Savage Worlds is from Genesys.

You're getting 5E's rules wrong quite a bit while criticizing them here.

1. Many of the powerful monsters are still invulnerable to basic attacks. In 5E, werewolves, the example you cite, are in fact totally immune, not resistant, to damage from non-magical weapons unless they are silvered.

2. Most spells are still open to creative use - or at least, as creative as a given DM will allow. Regarding the Command spell, the list provided in the spell description isn't a finite, pre-ordained list. It's a list of "typical" commands (i.e. suggestions). The description says, " You might issue a command other than one described here. If you do so, the GM determines how the target behaves."

3. If a creature succumbs to the Sleep spell, it's unconscious for a minute. And there is no saving throw - if the spell covers a sufficient number of hit points, the creature goes down. Not just for one round, and there are no additional saves. They wake up early only if attacked or if another creature uses an action to wake them.

4. There are many different kids of poisons, described both in monster descriptions and in the DMG, that cause lingering, debilitating effects.

5. Passive perception - this very much depends on how the DM is running the table, but in practice the vast majority of DMs won't allow passive perception to work in the way you're describing.
 



Jaeger

That someone better
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."

This was 100% intentional.

Because Johnathan Tweet said so:
D&D 3E/3.5 - 3E and the Feel of D&D
"Personally, one part of the process I enjoyed was describing the world of D&D in its own terms, rather than referring to real-world history and mythology. When writing roleplaying games, I enjoy helping the player get immersed in the setting, and I always found these references to the real world to be distractions. In the Player’s Handbook, the text and art focused the readers’ imaginations on the D&D experiences,..."
...
"For the art in 3E, we took pains to have it seem to illustrate not fantasy characters in general but D&D adventurers in particular. For one thing, lots of them wore backpacks. For the iconic characters, we wrote up the sort of gear that a 1st-level character might start with, and the illustrations showed them with that gear. The illustrations in the 2E Player’s Handbook feature lots of human fighters, human wizards, and castles. Those images reflect standard fantasy tropes, while the art in 3E reflects what you see in your mind’s eye when you play D&D."

Your lying eyes were not sending you false information:
But it seems to be that the game forever shifted in 3rd edition.

Because it did.

Just the removal of moral rules, and the NPC reaction rolls have had long term effects on how players react to D&D combat and social encounters.

Then you have the mechanical knock on effects of having PC hit dice go up every level instead of PC 's no longer gaining hit dice around level ten or so.

And the list goes on...


Levels, classes, hit points, AC, alignment, the monsters, spells, settings, and a bunch of other D&D sacred cows, the list goes on and on.
Levels, classes, hit points, AC? Just 'window dressing'? They're the main features of the game!

Yet how they are applied can greatly effect how the game is played.

B/X gives a very different play experience at the table compared to 4e, yet they both have many for the self same 'sacred cows' in their core design.

In my opinion:

D&D "Died" in 1986 when Gygax lost control.

For all his business failings, he at least had a personal stake in what the game meant to people, and a fairly consistent vision of what it should be.

His lack of control was mitigated a bit in the Williams era of TSR because a lot of employees who worked directly under Gygax still had input into the game.

Things just got accelerated under WotC with 3e, as different people with different experiences of what D&D was to them, and different visions of what it should be going forward, have taken control of the games development.

Is 5e still D&D? Yes, it says so right on the cover. Because the current IP holders put it there.

Just as the current IP holders of D&D have the right to mine all the legacy material, change it how they see fit, and then release them as "classic" settings/adventures/modules.

D&D has died, and yet it still continues to live.

Whether fans view D&D as being either resurrected, or un-dead, depends on whether or not they agree with the current design direction that game has taken.
 

GreyLord

Legend
This was 100% intentional.

Because Johnathan Tweet said so:


Your lying eyes were not sending you false information:


Because it did.

Just the removal of moral rules, and the NPC reaction rolls have had long term effects on how players react to D&D combat and social encounters.

Then you have the mechanical knock on effects of having PC hit dice go up every level instead of PC 's no longer gaining hit dice around level ten or so.

And the list goes on...





Yet how they are applied can greatly effect how the game is played.

B/X gives a very different play experience at the table compared to 4e, yet they both have many for the self same 'sacred cows' in their core design.

In my opinion:

D&D "Died" in 1986 when Gygax lost control.

For all his business failings, he at least had a personal stake in what the game meant to people, and a fairly consistent vision of what it should be.

His lack of control was mitigated a bit in the Williams era of TSR because a lot of employees who worked directly under Gygax still had input into the game.

Things just got accelerated under WotC with 3e, as different people with different experiences of what D&D was to them, and different visions of what it should be going forward, have taken control of the games development.

Is 5e still D&D? Yes, it says so right on the cover. Because the current IP holders put it there.

Just as the current IP holders of D&D have the right to mine all the legacy material, change it how they see fit, and then release them as "classic" settings/adventures/modules.

D&D has died, and yet it still continues to live.

Whether fans view D&D as being either resurrected, or un-dead, depends on whether or not they agree with the current design direction that game has taken.
NOT to disagree necessarily, but slap another viewpoint into this just because...

Or maybe it was neither...

Perhaps it's just a different thing completely with the name slapped on it's cover...

Sort of like How you have The Mummy from the black and white era...The Mummy with Brendan Frasier...and the Mummy with Tom Cruise.

Same name...completely different films.
 

teitan

Legend
speaking of werewolves i just noticed the new werewolves introduced in the new Van Richton book makes it that you cant just cure the disease (this feels like someone had old school nostalgia when creating this). Theres another monster that you can turn back with its reflection. This is so easy to implement back into the game

I think down the line there needs to be a return to this. Like you stated you had to prepare for a werewolf encounter (akin to the Witcher series)
You don't run it this way? I sure as heck do.
 


I would say yes, but we're getting back on track. I would place D&D on life support during the tail end of 2e when we were under constant attack by an army of splat books. Second Edition D&D was taking a lot of rules supplements (Unearched Arcana, Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, Wilderness Survival Guide, et al), ironing them out, and incorporating them into the system. I fondly remember running AD&D, and I still consult my Campaign Sourcebook & Catacombs Guide even when running a 5e or non-D&D game like Mage the Awakening or Gamma World. At the height of D&D we had gamers making games for gamers, and the CS&CG was just that, a D&D product that had DMing tips from experiences in Runequest. It transcended the game. I think that's when D&D as we know it was really born. Yes, we can talk about Chainmail and miniatures games but in today's terms they're closer to Necromunda/Mordheim than D&D. When D&D grew into AD&D and 2e that was birth of the heroic mode of D&D that we see today. Many of the mechanics that were born back then are still here today, they just have different forms.

Without getting into the nitty gritty I'll make a sweeping statement about 3e and 4e: 3rd Edition reduced PCs and Monsters to an aggregate of numbers; 4e reduced PCs and Monsters to an aggregate of powers.

5e brings back some of the general principles of character classes that AD&D had, that classes were exclusive, even if some powers and abilities might be shared; and that class levels mattered greatly.

I believe this does a lot to restore the heroic mode of game play, where the lowly 1st level Wizard that can get killed by a house cat will one day grow into a powerful, fireball flinging Wizard who gets killed by a tiger.
 

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