D&D General What *is* D&D? (mild movie spoilers)

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I think there was also a disconnect between the old-school rulebooks and the old-school modules.

Reading the rulebooks, you could easily get the impression that magic was rare and wondrous. They tried to convey that big magic and "high level" were not something encountered everyday.

But then you get the modules, where the amount of treasure presented could charitably be called excessive (and not just in the dungeons). And where mid high level NPCs popped up all the time.
I was always bigger on homebrew based on the rulebooks over modules, so that makes sense. Even today, modules often don't match with expected play as expressed in the rulebooks.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The rules have never supported that though - even back when there where only four classes, half of them where spellcasters. D&D has always been high magic, if you want to play it otherwise you need to make substantial alterations to the published rules.
Not technically true. There is one edition which supported this perfectly fine. It's just The Edition That Must Not Be Named.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Not technically true. There is one edition which supported this perfectly fine. It's just The Edition That Must Not Be Named.
Yeah, low magic was definitely possible in 4e in a way other editions struggled with. Of course, 4e wasn't going to work for everyone either, for several reasons.
 

There's also a pretty big difference in feel from your magic-user having a single spell slot for an entire adventuring day at 1st level versus your wizard having two such slots, the ability to recover one of those slots once during the day, and a handful of spells castable at will, along with a wider variety of spells to cast and far more player-facing discretion over what those spells are.

The latter is necessarily going to create a feel of higher magic than the former, to my mind.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
The rules have never supported that though - even back when there where only four classes, half of them where spellcasters. D&D has always been high magic, if you want to play it otherwise you need to make substantial alterations to the published rules.
As someone who was playing it back in the day, that's not really true. Of those four classes, only one of them cast spells at first level. And the one that did had one random spell that might be relevant to adventuring.

It definitely wasn't no magic, but early D&D is fundamentally different than what we have now. I'd say thing really started to change at the end of the AD&D1 era and the 2E PHB just evokes an entirely different image than the OD&D/Basic/AD&D1 era.

The magic we see in the movie is fundamentally different than what was the case for a long time. Combat cantrips alone makes for a huge difference.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
Have you looked at the early Greyhawk modules and supplements? Or the 2e Greyhawk modules/supplements.

They are absolutely PACKED with magic items and mid/ high level NPCs.

Plus quasi Dietes, demigods and even greater gods are on the table for the PCs to encounter.

I love Greyhawk, but I would never characterize it as a low or even mid magic setting!
As someone who was there playing at the time (although quite young) I just can't disagree with this enough. It is true that by the time we hit 2E the game had changed. The color artwork and Elmore style is a real change from the grim black and white early years, 1E and Basic/OE games are a different world from what we see today.

The early adventures were in the wild places, on the borders (literally on the Borderlands!) and so you saw more unusual things. There was more magic, yes, but it was also hidden away and getting it likely would be deadly.

I just see this sort of discussion from time to time and have to shake my head: these things were out there, but that is very much not the norm. "You can encounter a deity" ... yes, in the wilderness you can encounter a lot of different things. You're far more likely to be lunch for some orcs, goblins or an ogre.
 


One thing about the movie, the gate and some interiors of Castle Never where filmed at The Bishop's Palace in Wells (I know it well), which is actually medieval. First built in 1210, although I believe the bits featured are 14th century. So HAT contains more authentic medieval stuff than any edition of D&D.
 



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