Greyhawk setting material

That's fascinating, @grodog. It seems early D&D campaigns were much more complex than I thought. All kinds of factions interacting with one another, and even time travel.
 
That's fascinating, @grodog. It seems early D&D campaigns were much more complex than I thought. All kinds of factions interacting with one another, and even time travel.
I have to say in my experience all of the first 3 editions seem to actually have much more complex campaigning and rp than 4e (admittedly i havent played 4e more than a single one shot campaign session because i just really didnt like it but ive watched a lot of people play it) and 5e (admittedly still pretty new to this one but ive played enough to make this assessment on my own experience i think). Its contrary to general opinion though and im not quite sure how this perception grew into being. Actually it really confuses me.
 

grodog

Adventurer
That's fascinating, @grodog. It seems early D&D campaigns were much more complex than I thought. All kinds of factions interacting with one another, and even time travel.
Indeed, the original campaigns were, by their very early nature, filled with all sorts of off-the-wall creativity! Some creations certainly grew standardized over time, but much of that early magic failed to find its way into the published content that most of us grew up on. I think that's one of the reasons that the earliest content draws so much interest, from both a historical as well as a gaming POV---because it still stands the test of time (in many cases), and remains a unique window into the big bang of creativity bouncing back-and-forth between Lake Geneva and Minneapolis BITD.

I have to say in my experience all of the first 3 editions seem to actually have much more complex campaigning and rp than 4e [snip] and 5e [snip].
Its contrary to general opinion though and im not quite sure how this perception grew into being. Actually it really confuses me.
Well, I'm not sure what the general opinion is, I suppose, since I've always felt that you can run a good game under any system with the right group of players. That said, I think I understand your point, @Son of the Serpent , in that the general assumption/perception may be that as each edition is created, it improves on the previous ones. I believe that's the case with OD&D (which improved upon and codified the playtest versions of the game), and with AD&D (which streamlined and rationalized OD&D), but my sense is that editions after AD&D (even within AD&D, given the 1.5e books from UA, OA, and onward) simply seemed to serve the product and marketing needs of the company, without design as the key driver for their creation.

To my mind, 2e seems to be have been created to solidify the post-Gygaxian era of TSR, but largely remained within the same 1e footprint from a design POV---the focus then wasn't on new rules/platforms, but on the FR as well as more new worlds/settings, and on fiction. 3e certainly did redesign the game---quite substanatially, with a strong vision and guided design awareness/intent. But 3e was also a device through which Wizards asserted their ownership of the game, and put their mark on it (much like 2e-era TSR did after Gary's ouster), and served as the vehicle to support their strong emphasis on the RPGA living campaigns model of game play. 4e's emphasis on miniatures built upon the tactical paradigm re-introduced to the game in 3e (OD&D was originally a miniatures RPG game, if you'll recall from the game's subtitle), but took that game in a new (and ultimately unsatisfying) directions, while 5e rolled back some of 4e's changes and built anew upon 3e's foundations, with a sprinkling in of OSR sensibilities and values (drawn originally from OD&D and AD&D, of course).

So, all that said, while I think that the perception of the earlier editions as being "has beens" is likely real, I certainly also understand the sense of dissonance that perception creates, too: I've certainly found AD&D 1e to be far more satisfying as a D&D game platform than any other edition. I'm sure that's in part due to my familiarity with it, but also because it supports a detailed and complex, but also simple and fast-paced, gameplay that's easy for me to manage creatively.

Anyway, I'm rambling and off to bed ;) Let me know if any of that resonates with you, please :D

Allan.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
@ Grodog OD&D (which improved upon and codified the playtest versions of the game), and with AD&D (which streamlined and rationalized OD&D), but my sense is that editions after AD&D (even within AD&D, given the 1.5e books from UA, OA, and onward) simply seemed to serve the product and marketing needs of the company, without design as the key driver for their creation."

Lots to unpack here. I can't come to terms with the bolded, Too late now to expand as nighty-night approaches in minutes. Later on all.
 
Indeed, the original campaigns were, by their very early nature, filled with all sorts of off-the-wall creativity! Some creations certainly grew standardized over time, but much of that early magic failed to find its way into the published content that most of us grew up on. I think that's one of the reasons that the earliest content draws so much interest, from both a historical as well as a gaming POV---because it still stands the test of time (in many cases), and remains a unique window into the big bang of creativity bouncing back-and-forth between Lake Geneva and Minneapolis BITD.





Well, I'm not sure what the general opinion is, I suppose, since I've always felt that you can run a good game under any system with the right group of players. That said, I think I understand your point, @Son of the Serpent , in that the general assumption/perception may be that as each edition is created, it improves on the previous ones. I believe that's the case with OD&D (which improved upon and codified the playtest versions of the game), and with AD&D (which streamlined and rationalized OD&D), but my sense is that editions after AD&D (even within AD&D, given the 1.5e books from UA, OA, and onward) simply seemed to serve the product and marketing needs of the company, without design as the key driver for their creation.

To my mind, 2e seems to be have been created to solidify the post-Gygaxian era of TSR, but largely remained within the same 1e footprint from a design POV---the focus then wasn't on new rules/platforms, but on the FR as well as more new worlds/settings, and on fiction. 3e certainly did redesign the game---quite substanatially, with a strong vision and guided design awareness/intent. But 3e was also a device through which Wizards asserted their ownership of the game, and put their mark on it (much like 2e-era TSR did after Gary's ouster), and served as the vehicle to support their strong emphasis on the RPGA living campaigns model of game play. 4e's emphasis on miniatures built upon the tactical paradigm re-introduced to the game in 3e (OD&D was originally a miniatures RPG game, if you'll recall from the game's subtitle), but took that game in a new (and ultimately unsatisfying) directions, while 5e rolled back some of 4e's changes and built anew upon 3e's foundations, with a sprinkling in of OSR sensibilities and values (drawn originally from OD&D and AD&D, of course).

So, all that said, while I think that the perception of the earlier editions as being "has beens" is likely real, I certainly also understand the sense of dissonance that perception creates, too: I've certainly found AD&D 1e to be far more satisfying as a D&D game platform than any other edition. I'm sure that's in part due to my familiarity with it, but also because it supports a detailed and complex, but also simple and fast-paced, gameplay that's easy for me to manage creatively.

Anyway, I'm rambling and off to bed ;) Let me know if any of that resonates with you, please :D

Allan.
5 e is still a very caged up/restricted mode of d&d imo. I find it stifling. Not very dense either. It may be easier for new players to jump into but once theyve become competant there isnt nearly as much room for the player to expand their exoerience to the greater heights that longer campaigns woth more complex plots can give (complexity of rule set and classes can contribute to the hardware necessary for complex multiplanar adventure too btw. This is not necessary but i think its a positive. One that some people far too readily dismiss as cancer from 3/3.5. This is a side note. But figured id mention it. Mostly other factors matter more but this does contribut after a fashion). To me, 4th edition was, well, roundly a failure, but 5e isnt and yet i cant help but see it as the "get the players in the door and comfortable playing short campaigns" edition while also failing to be the "convert players to life long players and long term complex campaign players" edition. Once it gets players in the door it doesnt have much more there for them by comparison to the first 3 editions. Feels very locked in sometimes. And small. And over simple.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
5 e is still a very caged up/restricted mode of d&d imo. I find it stifling. Not very dense either. It may be easier for new players to jump into but once theyve become competant there isnt nearly as much room for the player to expand their exoerience to the greater heights that longer campaigns woth more complex plots can give (complexity of rule set and classes can contribute to the hardware necessary for complex multiplanar adventure too btw. This is not necessary but i think its a positive. One that some people far too readily dismiss as cancer from 3/3.5. This is a side note. But figured id mention it. Mostly other factors matter more but this does contribut after a fashion). To me, 4th edition was, well, roundly a failure, but 5e isnt and yet i cant help but see it as the "get the players in the door and comfortable playing short campaigns" edition while also failing to be the "convert players to life long players and long term complex campaign players" edition. Once it gets players in the door it doesnt have much more there for them by comparison to the first 3 editions. Feels very locked in sometimes. And small. And over simple.
Yes... Well, in 2012 I penned this for my "New Ethos in Game Design: The Paradigm Shift Originated by D&D, 1972-1977" (still in ms form, est. 150,000 words written). From the chapter "Linear vs. Granular" ©2012-2019 Rob Kuntz:

"...We are building worlds and their parts, whereas the expedient company-made model has been used as a linear sample of worlds built for us. One is accomplished to fulfill personal world-views (the world is the author/artist); the latter is fashioned for reasons related to group and business views. The latter is detached from the individual view and has been achieved by median processes that lead to median use. In other words, interpreted use tends towards generality rather than specificity. Due to this contraction commercial designs tend toward strictly linear (non-granular) patterns of plug-and-play design and usage. By extenuation, as this model continues and there is no change from it, design and its product, play, become automatic functions through imitation of the design model and by its patterned processes in play. This in turn leads to stagnation in design thought and play thought, i.e., to cyclical expressions in both cases. ..."

Therein lies the divide between the DIY ethic of WoG and all those Worlds (and thus the rules attaching to these) fashioned as median use products and that dominate our past and current market.
 

Hussar

Legend
Meh. Even back in the 90's, when WotC did the market research for current gamers back then, most campaigns ended before one year. The multi-year epic campaign was always the outlier in play, even back then. It has nothing to do with complexity or what setting you are using and everything to do with real life generally not being conducive to most people being able to maintain a multi-year game.

Never minding those of us, like me, for whom the notion of playing in the same setting for more than a year or so just doesn't hold any appeal at all.

This notion that gamers are different now than they were back then is not really supported by anything.
 
Never minding those of us, like me, for whom the notion of playing in the same setting for more than a year or so just doesn't hold any appeal at all.
Unfortunately i dont have the time to address everything, but i find claims that 5e does multi setting campaigns as well as the first three editions (in multiple ways)...a bit dubious...
 
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Hussar

Legend
Unfortunately i dont have the time to address everything, but i find claims that 5e does multi setting campaigns as well as the first three editions(in multiple ways)...a bit dubious...
Sorry, but, what is a "multi setting campaign"?

If you mean multi-year campaign (which is what I was talking about) then, well, no edition does that very well for me since I would rather chew glass than spend more than about 18 months in a given campaign. I have zero interest in a campaign that is going to take longer to resolve than that.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, see that's the thing. While the games may have been designed to last several years in a single campaign, very, very few people actually played it that way. So, what's the point of having a game where it takes two or three years of constant play to hit the top end of the game when 99% of people don't ever play that long?

Heck, 1e, according to the DMG, was supposed to hit name level in about a year of play. And that's when most people retired their characters.
 

grodog

Adventurer
Hi Rob---

@grodog "OD&D (which improved upon and codified the playtest versions of the game), and with AD&D (which streamlined and rationalized OD&D), but my sense is that editions after AD&D (even within AD&D, given the 1.5e books from UA, OA, and onward) simply seemed to serve the product and marketing needs of the company, without design as the key driver for their creation."

Lots to unpack here. I can't come to terms with the bolded, Too late now to expand as nighty-night approaches in minutes. Later on all.
I was simply describing my perception of how the original rules evolved as they were formalized/written for publication, and how AD&D collected the OD&D rules and supplements and brought them together under a rationalized, more-consistent umbrella.

Allan.
 

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