D&D (2024) What the 1e-2e Transition Can Tell Us About 5.5e

My experience was a bit different from a lot of people's. I found Gygax at the time to frankly be an insufferable blowhard with over-pretentious prose and absurd opinions. (His take on Tolkien in an infamous Dragon article definitely didn't do him any favors in my book.) I didn't know anything about the politics of anything that was going on, but I welcomed more readable core books. My group switched over without any fuss.

Though I did definitely miss the Illusionist - the 2e school specialist was but a pale shadow of what had been. Didn't really miss the monk, the assassin, or the OG bard.

(How did the monk make it into AD&D anyway? It was seriously dissonant with everything else. Still is, but not as badly.)
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Whether they stick with 5e or not only matters if 5e is being replaced by a new, incompatible edition. If the players sticking with 5e still buy WotC's new adventures, then they can stay on 5e without any impact on WotC (apart from them not buying the 1DD books) or the players.

Would WotC want them to migrate, sure, but they are not being forced off 5e by their edition being discontinued.
What if you don't like WotC's adventures? That's the biggest stated reason this "isn't a new edition", after all: you can still play our wonderful adventures (please buy our adventures!). They may be making an unwarranted assumption about how great their adventures are.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Anecdotally, the anger I saw was almost exclusively about making it teen rated. Nothing about Gygax being ousted. Then again, I was a teen at the time, so all of us teens (I think I was 16 when it came out?) were upset that TSR thought we weren't mature enough for devils and boobs lol.

Another difference I think is important that I didn't see called out was the role of social media and influencers. Those didn't exist back in 1989. They do now, and many players and almost all new players will play what Critical Role and others are playing because that's the version they will know about.

So I think 5.5 has an advantage in that regard that 2e didn't.
Of course, Critical Role is making their own game...
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I came in with the B in BECMI back in '86 and swiftly moved to 1st ed. We got 2e and used it, but the core of our game was 1e, and 2e was added in as desired. Kept that up with occasional forays into 3e and 4e until 5e came out.

I've already announced to my group that I have no desire to move to what 2024 gives us, and we're going to stick with my Level Up with other 5e bits stuck to it homebrew.
 

mamba

Legend
What if you don't like WotC's adventures? That's the biggest stated reason this "isn't a new edition", after all:
then you can continue using / buying some 3pp adventures or doing your own homebrew without having to relearn things

you can still play our wonderful adventures (please buy our adventures!). They may be making an unwarranted assumption about how great their adventures are.
this is not about whether their adventures are great, but they undoubtedly are selling and WotC does not want to change / affect that
 

GuyBoy

Hero
I missed the 1E to 2E change completely.
I’d started, aged 13, with the white boxed set in 1976 and moved seamlessly to 1E alongside my friends at school. Kept going through university, both at the uni itself and with old school friends during the holidays a bit.
I left university in ‘84 and more or less left the game for a bit. No game-related reason, just career, family and rugby taking up all my time. I returned in around 1993 to find that 2E had appeared, Gygax had gone and tanar’ri had been gated in to replace demons. THACO seemed Wacko, but I got the maths ok and returned to both playing and DM-ing. I enjoyed it just fine but it never grabbed me in the way 1e had done; it just seemed to lack soul, and I hated the various Skills & Powers books with a passion. Maybe not being “there” when 2E arrived was more to blame than the edition itself?
I loved 3e: it seemed to re-energise the game’s culture and was a neat and effective system, at least till higher levels. And bards were really cool!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
(How did the monk make it into AD&D anyway? It was seriously dissonant with everything else. Still is, but not as badly.)

A lot of the early classes were based on very specific archetypes that were around in the late 60s and early 70s- the Paladin was Holger Carlsen in Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. The Druid was based off of some ideas floating around at the time about early England as envisioned by the Romans and channeled by Denis Sustare. The Cleric was straight-up Van Helsing as seen imagined by Hammer Horror films (with a slight Gygaxian twist of no-edged weapons).

And the Monk? Brian Blume wanted to play Remo Williams.
 

Hatmatter

Laws of Mordenkainen, Elminster, & Fistandantilus
But just making something compatible, as 2e was with 1e, does not by itself ensure success.
I very much appreciate the approach that Wizards is taking with regard to the 2024 books: specifically, intending to make changes that will not require changes to existing adventures and campaign sourcebooks. Although we all know that TSR mandated that 2nd edition be backward compatible with 1st edition AD&D, the implementation was such that, at the time (at least for me and my group and also people with whom I interacted at conventions, which included multiple GenCons), it felt like 1st edition had been replaced. An example: The 2nd edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Sourcebook that came out on the heels of the 1989 2nd edition rollout (probably 1990), went to great pains to explain why there were no more assassins in Abeir-Toril and why other 1st edition AD&D elements that did not make it into 2nd edition simply no longer existed.

This was quite different from the context and rhetoric around One D&D.

I consider 5th edition to have been a masterful and elegant approach to D&D and I love the fact that they are tweaking things after 10 years of experience, but not invalidating the adventure books and campaign sourcebooks. It is the ceaseless updating of new editions of the same books that has grown so wearisome for me over the decades (1st>2nd>3rd>3.5>4th>5th editions). But, if it basically results in new versions of the 3 core books and a very few others (Tasha's & Xanathar's) and all the other old stuff can still be used, I am enthusiastically for it. It suggests a group of designers trying to stay in touch with both the legacy of the game and the people playing it today.
 
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Hatmatter

Laws of Mordenkainen, Elminster, & Fistandantilus
What if you don't like WotC's adventures? That's the biggest stated reason this "isn't a new edition", after all: you can still play our wonderful adventures (please buy our adventures!). They may be making an unwarranted assumption about how great their adventures are.
Presumably the campaign sourcebooks and some of the sourcebooks (Fizban's and Bigby's) would also be compatible in this way. It sounds to me like it is the 3 core rule books and Tasha's and Xanathar's that are going to find new homes within new spines.

Honestly, the beauty of role-playing games is that they need not require one to purchase much. With the PHB, DMG, and MM and a set of dice or two, that's enough purchases for decades of fun...with no hyperbole.
 

DataDwarf

Explorer
Presumably the campaign sourcebooks and some of the sourcebooks (Fizban's and Bigby's) would also be compatible in this way. It sounds to me like it is the 3 core rule books and Tasha's and Xanathar's that are going to find new homes within new spines.
Agreed, it sure does sound like Tasha's and Xanathar's are going to get the same revisit that Volo's and Mordenkainen's got with the Monsters of the Multiverse.
 

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