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

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.
I recently reread Three Hearts and Three Lions and I'm just not seeing it. Holger didn't have any magical powers.
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).
These, on the other hand, are completely believable. Though the Gygaxian twist had precedent in medieval canon law, and especially in the Song of Roland. (How it makes any sense for clerics of, say, Poseidon, is left as an exercise for the reader.)
And the Monk? Brian Blume wanted to play Remo Williams.
Le sigh.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I recently reread Three Hearts and Three Lions and I'm just not seeing it. Holger didn't have any magical powers.

Nothing is exact, of course. But c'mon.

Holy sword?

Primacy of the warhorse?

Laying on hands?

To put it more plainly- you can't play Tolkien's Aragorn with the original or 1e Ranger. Because you can't ever match the literary character with a D&D class. But if you don't think that Tolkien is the basis because Rangers can cast spells, well, I have a level title called "Strider" to sell you. It's the same here- if you don't think that Holger isn't the basis for the Paladin class, well, you're certainly entitled to whatever opinion you'd like, but I don't know that this is likely to be a fruitful conversation. :)
 

ART!

Deluxe Unhuman
We'll have to see, but I heartily doubt it. I think we're only at the tip of the iceberg.
I hope - and believe! - this is true.

WOTC has openly stated that one fo the goals of this revised edition is to make the game easier for new players to jump in and play. I'm not sure how far they can take that given the game that 5E is, but the changes they've announced (re-organizing content, streamlining where possible, giving more advice and examples, simplifying some terminology, virtual play) could be just what the game needs to reach new audiences.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I hope - and believe! - this is true.

WOTC has openly stated that one fo the goals of this revised edition is to make the game easier for new players to jump in and play. I'm not sure how far they can take that given the game that 5E is, but the changes they've announced (re-organizing content, streamlining where possible, giving more advice and examples, simplifying some terminology, virtual play) could be just what the game needs to reach new audiences.
Indeed! Now they need to write better & easier to run adventures. One way to do that, I think, is to stop editing important stuff out "for space". For example, many of the faults of Candlekeep Mysteries were (said to be) from stuff getting edited out last minute, but did it need (what was it?) Thirteen Adventures in it? What would have been wrong with 7 good ones? Do the HC Adventures need to go 12 levels? Why not 5-8 levels of Adventure, with much, much more detail (and DM-assistance) fit into its page count. They could also use this for synergies in products by making higher level sequels down the road.

Now, I know that higher level adventures don't sell as well as lower ones (for example, I have numbers on how well Rise of Tiamat sold compared to Horde of the Dragon Queen. (At least at my own store). Not good, in spite of having generally better reviews.

Still, I think that's due to other factors than JUST the level-thing. For one, I'd make higher-level "sequel" adventures stand more on their own. Not the second half of a single adventure, but a thematic sequel that could be run after the first one, OR be run on its own, OR be run after a completely different adventure.

Also: Plan to put it out a few years later, not as the very next book. You gotta leave your fields fallow for a season if you want them to grow well. (If you get my farm analogy).
 
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GuyBoy

Hero
The “no edged weapons” rule for clerics probably originates from Medieval European Christian rules, of which the most famous example is Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who is shown with a club on the Bayeux Tapestry. The tapestry was commissioned by Odo to mark his half-brother’s victory at Hastings and to legitimise William’s claim to the English throne.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Finally, there were the PG changes. Orcs were removed. Assassins were removed. Demons and Devils were given new names. The emphasis of the game shifted from backstabbing mercenaries looting tombs for money to groups collaborating for heroic adventure!

So, I wasn't there for the transition (it was a little before my time) but I can say that this specific change seemed very in-line with the Basic D&D line that was running parallel. It was viewed as a little more kiddie-friendly and my memories of much of the Basic/Expert and Rules Cyclopedia gave this vibe off. So, in that regard, it was very smart of TSR to align the general mythos of both basic and Advanced D&D by giving a common "heroic theme" to the game.

I can still see how that could annoy the people who liked the bewbs and demons though...
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
To put it more plainly- you can't play Tolkien's Aragorn with the original or 1e Ranger. Because you can't ever match the literary character with a D&D class. But if you don't think that Tolkien is the basis because Rangers can cast spells, well, I have a level title called "Strider" to sell you.
And a special ability to use ESP, clairaudience and clairvoyance items. Palantir anyone?
 

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