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.
 

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