D&D General On the Evolution of Fantasy and D&D

Hussar

Legend
See I see the 2e shift as simply reflecting how the game was typically played. I know people talk a lot about avoiding combat to get the treasure and I’m sure that’s true for those groups.

But the modules were not set up that way. The modules were very much set up that you killed everything you could.

Look at the Caves of Chaos. A formative module for a lot of us. You simply couldn’t avoid encounters most of the time. The layout of the adventure made that impossible.
 

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S'mon

Legend
Dragonlance or something like it was inevitable. There were enough people wanting to rerun the Fellowship of the Ring that story focused D&D was inevitable. If not Dragonlance then something else.

I've not read Dragonlance, but in Fellowship of the Ring they spend at least as much time running away as fighting. So why would this lead to a 'kill everything' mentality? I think Kill Everything does arise from lazily written Adventure Paths where the PCs are expected to kill their way through umpteen CR-balanced encounters; as such it is more a feature of 3rd edition era than 1e/2e I think. If the Dragonlance AP is written that way, that would be bad too.
 

JEB

Legend
Doing a "soft edition change" like this one allows them to update the ruleset to a more modern audience and lets them fix mechanical quirks/problems with the base game without losing a huge chunk of their fanbase.
Agreed this is certainly the idea, but we'll see how well it works. There are already folks dividing 5E into pre-Tasha and post-Tasha, and we're still two years away from seeing what the 2024 revision will actually look like (there are just lots of hints). There was also a poll here a while back that had a decent number of folks undecided on whether they would "upgrade" or not - and some had already decided against it!

That said, unless they make some serious mistakes with the 2024 revision, I doubt the trajectory of the current changes will alienate huge numbers of players. But I think it's very likely it will eliminate some current 5E fans, which is still a shame.

"Revising history" would be if they used errata to get rid of the older versions of the Core Rulebooks.
Wizards clearly made the "errata" content changes late last year (to the PHB, DMG, Volo's, etc.) because they didn't want the older material to appear in the printings picked up by brand-new fans. In other words, they want newer fans to get a different impression of those rulebooks from earlier printings. It's hard to believe they wouldn't prefer newer fans think the current text was always the way it was.

Well, aside from the fact that I'm not promising anything, it might take a few years, or at least a period in which "classic elements" are de-emphasized. But things come around, and one thing that seems consistent is a "back to our roots" cycle.
The thing is, "back to our roots" tends to happen only after a property veers so far away from said roots that it starts losing core fans, and the company feels the need to tap into nostalgia to get them back. 5E itself, of course, is one major example of this (following the much more modest attempt seen in the Essentials line), but there are others (such as DC's New 52 reboot gradually reversing itself, from DC Rebirth through Infinite Frontier).
 
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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I've not read Dragonlance, but in Fellowship of the Ring they spend at least as much time running away as fighting. So why would this lead to a 'kill everything' mentality? I think Kill Everything does arise from lazily written Adventure Paths where the PCs are expected to kill their way through umpteen CR-balanced encounters; as such it is more a feature of 3rd edition era than 1e/2e I think. If the Dragonlance AP is written that way, that would be bad too.
Because as commonly interpreted the rules do not support disengagement and running away. Also players have a strong aversion to loss of agency and will not surrender no matter the odds. Not enough plot protection due to low hit points and people trying to run narratives along with traditional dungeons and you get to kill every thing pretty quickly.

I am sure there were clubs and DMs that did things differently. We are what, 6 or 7 iterations in to the game and the best chase rules so far is the 4e skill challenge. Plot protection has been handled by hit point inflation.

I never read the Dragonlance modules but I have spoken to people that did and their reports were that they required a lot of DM Force.
I never played in any of the classic modules. My 1e/2e experience was as a player, in what, looking back, must have been a hybrid 1e/2e game in home brew dungeons and campaigns that never lasted long. I had a lot more experience at the time in TFT, Warhammer, MERP, and Palladium.

Edit: I should note that in the Dragonlance books they spend a fair bit of the books running away also, hence I suspect, the need for DM force in the modules.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
See, the problem is, your issues are largely yours alone.

Mod Note:
Oh, really? Here you are, making it accusative and personal, and the only problem is them?

Clearly, there is a communication style problem on your side as well, and I advise you correct that before continuing. Maybe consider striking arguments of the form, "The problem here is a personal fault of yours," from your approaches overall.
 

Because as commonly interpreted the rules do not support disengagement and running away. Also players have a strong aversion to loss of agency and will not surrender no matter the odds. Not enough plot protection due to low hit points and people trying to run narratives along with traditional dungeons and you get to kill every thing pretty quickly.
This is a game design issue that is at its strongest in D&D rather than an insoluble problem. Players will not surrender in 5e in part because their characters tend to be carrying a small fortune in magic items and losing them is crippling; you arguably lose less rolling up a new PC - and unless you die there are no negative consequences. Meanwhile Fate gives players active rewards for surrendering and the equipment you carry is much less important so players surrender in Fate.

Oh, and 5e is much better for disengagement and running away than previous editions due to the double move action combined with the lack of a charge action - and the inflated number of hit points keeping you further from death.
 


Mercurius

Legend
The thing is, "back to our roots" tends to happen only after a property veers so far away from said roots that it starts losing core fans, and the company feels the need to tap into nostalgia to get them back. 5E itself, of course, is one major example of this (following the much more modest attempt seen in the Essentials line), but there are others (such as DC's New 52 reboot gradually reversing itself, from DC Rebirth through Infinite Frontier).
Yes, but that is the way of things and embedded in our mythology. We "fall" only to rise again. Camelot ended, but Arthur spoke of a future return. Etc etc.

This is not to say whether (or not) "classic D&D" is akin to the golden age--or Camelot--but just to point out the cyclical nature of things. Oscillation, if you will. I personally see it more as a spiral - we don't simply return to where we were but (hopefully) at a higher, or at least different, octave. Meaning the cycle isn't a closed loop, but open and dynamic - but there is a cyclical element.

So maybe D&D veers away from classic D&D for a time. I suppose it is possible that it moves far enough away that it becomes unrecognizable to its original form, or at least whatever we consider the archetype. But I highly doubt it. More likely it explores different zones, touches upon different styles and forms, some of which are eventually let go of or subsumed by other ideas, while others are incorporated into the growing body of D&D - they become part of the tradition.

I think a lot of conflict comes from a dualistic view, that something (D&D) needs to either remain at "1" or become "2." So there is conflict between those who want it to be 1 and those who want it to be 2. In actuality, it is also 3 and 4, and on and on. 1 has a special place as the prototype - the "first form" - but it isn't negated by adding layers and variations. But 1 is also the basis of all later numbers, so is part of everything that comes after.
 


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