D&D General Why TSR-era D&D Will Always Be D&D

Oofta

Legend
I've noticed something a little different in the past 10 years. I have had two 5E games wrap up one way or another. Probably about half the players are first time RPG players, the other half are long time D&D returners. Both groups eagerly jumped at the chance to try a new genre/system. In past, a lot of the players I knew and gamed with didnt want to learn a new system. I blame some of that on D&D popularity, but I think the bigger culprit was how heavy a lot of systems were a few decades ago. Thats a lot of homework when you have barely mastered the beast that is D&D.

I can't speak for anyone else but most of the time I simply don't have the time or desire to learn new systems. I don't get to play any game as often as I'd like and I only have so much head space for rules. If I want a change of pace there are hundreds of cool board games out there.

In addition, the ruleset for an RPG matters ... but not as much as the stories we tell. No matter what RPG I play, I'm still going to be playing make believe with some rules constraints.
 

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Yora

Legend
Planescape, and there were a number of Planescape fans who were pretty vocal about the planar changes during the Edition Wars as a result.
Planescape is best treated as a separate setting, instead of an expansion of Forgotten Realms. While you can play a Faerûnian character in Planescape, I don't think the two settings are well suited for crossover campaigns.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Planescape is best treated as a separate setting, instead of an expansion of Forgotten Realms. While you can play a Faerûnian character in Planescape, I don't think the two settings are well suited for crossover campaigns.
Even then, I don't think that the Great Wheel is necessary for Planescape. What makes Planescape sing as a setting, IMHO, are the factions, Sigil, and traversing the planes. I don't really see how the Great Wheel really adds much to those elements that couldn't also be served by a different cosmological setup. 🤷‍♂️
 


payn

Legend
I can't speak for anyone else but most of the time I simply don't have the time or desire to learn new systems. I don't get to play any game as often as I'd like and I only have so much head space for rules. If I want a change of pace there are hundreds of cool board games out there.

In addition, the ruleset for an RPG matters ... but not as much as the stories we tell. No matter what RPG I play, I'm still going to be playing make believe with some rules constraints.
Honestly, I think it was the crunch factor of the past. Alternates like WoD, Grups, Rolemaster, etc.. All were just as heavy as DD so the entry level was steep. I get not wanting to dive into another heavy system. Though, recently you got lots of rules lite systems that are even easier than board games to get into. They even promote better role play, IMO. Not quite as daunting these days to try out other RPGs.
 

Oofta

Legend
Honestly, I think it was the crunch factor of the past. Alternates like WoD, Grups, Rolemaster, etc.. All were just as heavy as DD so the entry level was steep. I get not wanting to dive into another heavy system. Though, recently you got lots of rules lite systems that are even easier than board games to get into. They even promote better role play, IMO. Not quite as daunting these days to try out other RPGs.

It's really simple. I play D&D as escapism, to meet people and have social get together where we all play pretend. D&D continues to do that for me well enough and the rules simply aren't that important to me.
 

payn

Legend
It's really simple. I play D&D as escapism, to meet people and have social get together where we all play pretend. D&D continues to do that for me well enough and the rules simply aren't that important to me.
Sure, but you just said you dont want to learn new systems because of limited headspace. So, it would seem that rules are important to you in that way.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Planescape, and there were a number of Planescape fans who were pretty vocal about the planar changes during the Edition Wars as a result.


Not just heavy, but also the purchasing required to learn a new game/system. D&D often gets us in the habit of buying three hardback books plus player supplement after supplement or adventure path after adventure path. If you think that this is the norm for TTRPGs, then it's understandable that the idea of buying into a new game/system would seem daunting. But yeah, many TTRPG don't require nearly as much financial investment as D&D.
Oh no, I understand why a few people might be upset, I love Planescape personally, but the amount of times I've visited more than one or two planes during even long campaigns is pretty small. Even in Scales of War during 4e, we went to basically not-Ravenloft and the Astral Sea (both of which felt sufficiently like the real thing that I couldn't tell you the difference). Most of the players seemed confused, but I was having the time of my life, navigating our "ship" (the severed head of a dead god which took the form of a medusa head) to reach a Githyanki maximum security prison to rescue the rightful heir to the throne (Vlaakith having been deposed by a new leader who made a deal with Tiamat).

And let's be honest, there were a ton of Outer Planes that basically had no purpose to exist (like all the varieties of Heaven). So we didn't lose a whole lot, and 3e had messed up a lot of lore anyways (like temporarily having the Inevitables take over Mechanus).
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Jeff Grubb was instrumental in bringing the Realms to TSR. I don't know if he was personally to blame (I've heard yes, but I wasn't there, obviously), but it was under his watch that several new settings got stapled onto the Realms, making it even more of a kitchen sink. Kara-Tur, Zakhara, and Maztica, for examples.

EDIT: as well as Bloodstone Pass and the Hordelands.

Zakhara being especially egregious since the Realms already had an "Arabian-style" region with genies and magic called Calimshan, lol.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Oh no, I understand why a few people might be upset, I love Planescape personally, but the amount of times I've visited more than one or two planes during even long campaigns is pretty small. Even in Scales of War during 4e, we went to basically not-Ravenloft and the Astral Sea (both of which felt sufficiently like the real thing that I couldn't tell you the difference). Most of the players seemed confused, but I was having the time of my life, navigating our "ship" (the severed head of a dead god which took the form of a medusa head) to reach a Githyanki maximum security prison to rescue the rightful heir to the throne (Vlaakith having been deposed by a new leader who made a deal with Tiamat).

And let's be honest, there were a ton of Outer Planes that basically had no purpose to exist (like all the varieties of Heaven). So we didn't lose a whole lot, and 3e had messed up a lot of lore anyways (like temporarily having the Inevitables take over Mechanus).
Experiences vary, but I experienced more plane-hopping adventures across the World Axis in 4e D&D than I ever had before with the Great Wheel in 3e or 5e D&D. 🤷‍♂️
 

1. D&D is close to being a generic term for TTRPGs for laypeople.
ex. If you are going to play some other TTPRG, and you're explaining to someone who is not familiar with it, you can probably just say, "It's like D&D."

Eh, for someone like that, I am more likely to compare to video games, as the number of people who have played Final Fantasy, or any of many other RPG games, dwarfs the number of people who play TTRPGs, even after removing the crossover.

2. D&D tends to draw a LOT of new players to the overall market, and many of those new players will later play other games and/or some of them will even design other games.
-This one is kind of a big thing. D&D is, by far, the largest driver of new players into the TTRPG market. No, I don't have data, but ... do I really need it?

This is another reason to look forward to the full release next year of the Marvel Multiverse RPG currently being playtested, as it has the potential to bring in millions more new gamers from the massive MCU fanbase.

3. When D&D is doing well, you tend to have a much larger player base, and this player base often is more willing to experiment with other games.

Yes and no, as that can depend on how different those games are. I remember the 90's and the D&D vs VtM stuff, as in, if you played one, you did not play the other. And from my personal 40 years of gaming experience, people whose primary game was not D&D were more likely to experiment with other games, while people whose first choice was D&D, getting them to try anything that did not "feel like D&D" was very difficult.
 

Not really. 5e actually changed a lot of lore even at the outset. But as so much of the base lore was no longer tied to the World Axis, so a lot of people overlooked those lore changes because they assumed it was the same or were just happy that 4e's World Axis was gone.
I was happy the world axis was gone, yes.

What lore in early 5e was that different from before 4e? To me it started to go downhill with Volo's and its ridiculous "beholder dreams" story.
 

What always struck me as funny about people who didn't like the reordering of the Outer Planes is how rarely they are ever used in the first place. How many games are really centered around plane hopping as a matter of course?
My favorite setting in all of D&D was Planescape, which the World Axis literally kicked to the curb and might as well have spat on.
 

Planescape is best treated as a separate setting, instead of an expansion of Forgotten Realms. While you can play a Faerûnian character in Planescape, I don't think the two settings are well suited for crossover campaigns.
Whoever said Planescape was an expansion of FR?
 

Even then, I don't think that the Great Wheel is necessary for Planescape. What makes Planescape sing as a setting, IMHO, are the factions, Sigil, and traversing the planes. I don't really see how the Great Wheel really adds much to those elements that couldn't also be served by a different cosmological setup. 🤷‍♂️
Completely disagree. Planescape used alignment, in particular the alignments of the Outer Planes, as an integral part of the setting. It was about conflicting philosophies and literally changing the world with your beliefs, not just travel to insane and alien locals for adventure (that's pretty much Spelljammer).
 

Oh no, I understand why a few people might be upset, I love Planescape personally, but the amount of times I've visited more than one or two planes during even long campaigns is pretty small. Even in Scales of War during 4e, we went to basically not-Ravenloft and the Astral Sea (both of which felt sufficiently like the real thing that I couldn't tell you the difference). Most of the players seemed confused, but I was having the time of my life, navigating our "ship" (the severed head of a dead god which took the form of a medusa head) to reach a Githyanki maximum security prison to rescue the rightful heir to the throne (Vlaakith having been deposed by a new leader who made a deal with Tiamat).

And let's be honest, there were a ton of Outer Planes that basically had no purpose to exist (like all the varieties of Heaven). So we didn't lose a whole lot, and 3e had messed up a lot of lore anyways (like temporarily having the Inevitables take over Mechanus).
YOU didn't lose a lot. YMMV. And for the record, I didn't like the 3rd ed changes either, but they were easier to ignore than entire new cosmology.
 

Jeff Grubb was instrumental in bringing the Realms to TSR. I don't know if he was personally to blame (I've heard yes, but I wasn't there, obviously), but it was under his watch that several new settings got stapled onto the Realms, making it even more of a kitchen sink. Kara-Tur, Zakhara, and Maztica, for examples.

EDIT: as well as Bloodstone Pass and the Hordelands.

Zakhara being especially egregious since the Realms already had an "Arabian-style" region with genies and magic called Calimshan, lol.
I don't think Grubb changed any existing geography; rather, he added more. Adding is infinitely better than replacing to me.
 


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