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

Michael Linke

Adventurer
What I've gathered from a lot of passionate AD&D fans is that they never really played AD&D. They played a game they mostly made up with their friends during the years when TSR was actively publishing AD&D books, but most people seem to be largely oblivious to, or intolerant of, the rules as written.

I started being led down this line of thinking in a thread a year or two ago about how strong (or not strong) dragons were in 1e, and ran up against someone who believed that the reference to dragons "charging" an enemy in the first edition Monster Manual had nothing to do with the rules for "charging" as presented in the DMG, as if dragons had some supernatural power to inspire terror in everyone on earth, whether they were aware of the dragon or not, as long as the dragon was moving in their general direction. I'm not saying their interpretation doesn't make a VERY cool dragon, but it's in complete disagreement with the actual rules in the books.

This isn't a phenomenon isolated to that specific conversation. Frequently people will claim that AD&D was more elegant or faster to run than later editions, but if pressed admit to ignoring or modifying or simplifying huge swathes of rules.

So, I disagree. TSR D&D didn't even define how the game was played in practice when TSR was making D&D. TSR's philosophy on roleplay in general, however, was hugely influential then and now.
 
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Yora

Legend
I think they did that in 3e in 4e and in 5e... I don't know if they did from 1e to 2e
The 2nd edition map is just traced over from the 1st edition one. They basically only changed to a prettier color scheme.

The 3rd edition map is different, but mostly it's quite subtle. Areas that got squeezed smaller mostly had nothing of interest in them to begin with. And it did serve a purpose, avoiding having a giant empty space of sand and snow take up most of the northern part of the map.
The North is no longer as far north as it used to be, but you might not actually notice the difference unless you compare the 2nd and 3rd edition map side by side.
Whoever said Planescape was an expansion of FR?
It is presented as an expansion of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. It explicitly takes place in the planes of those setting since it covers the home domains of their gods.
Dark Sun isn't relevant in that regard because that world is cut off from any other planes, and I don't recall it ever being mentioned in any Planescape works. (Being 2nd Edition, the existence of Greyhawk is quitely ignored.)
 

The 2nd edition map is just traced over from the 1st edition one. They basically only changed to a prettier color scheme.

The 3rd edition map is different, but mostly it's quite subtle.
I am not a realms fan... so I don't know.

I do know I had 2 players throwing fits about things moving and things being wrong sizes.
 

What I've gathered from a lot of passionate AD&D fans is that they never really played AD&D. They played a game the mostly made up with their friends during the years when TSR was actively publishing AD&D books,
never have I heard my years in 2e being summed up better... but I loved it and it was at least RAW adajcent... like comparing stargate d20 to 3e... is it the exact same know but you could tell the bones are the same
 

1. The six ability scores of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Sure, the order might have moved around, but we are still using the exact same ability scores.
2. The core races are primarily the same. There are nine races in the 5e PHB, of which seven of them are identical to the ones codified in the 1e PHB.
3. The core classes are primarily the same. There are twelve classes in the 5e PHB, and nine of them are in the 1e PHB. Another (the Barbarian) was a popular optional class in the 70s (from Brian Asbury's article) and was first codified in 1e's UA.
4. The dice are the same. Famously, D&D was originally going to use just a d6 with a d20 option, but by the Greyhawk supplement they included the use of the Platonic solids (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20). While percentiles existed before, they were rolled using the d20 and the first d10 as we know it now didn't ship with D&D until the Moldvay set. Regardless, we still use the exact same dice.
5. Levels? Yeah, we still use the confusing term to refer to both class level and spell level. Luckily, we don't refer to dungeon level quite as often.
6. Hit points. Whether they are meat, or not, they are still hit points.
7. Experience points. Again, mostly the same.
8. Names and effects of spells. There is a staggering amount of overlap between the basic spells in the 1e PHB and 5e PHB; everything from fireball and magic missile to Leomund's Tiny Hut.
9. Primary Monsters. The vast majority of iconic monsters in D&D all date back to the TSR era; Beholders and Mind Flayers and Tarrasques, oh my!
10. The "primary loop," while somewhat different (with the action economy) is still very familiar- initiative, attack, repeat.
I don't think 2 or 3 will hold indefinitely. 7 is mostly dead. 8 is also changing we've got Floating Disc not Tenser's Floating Disc. I choose to believe this is in case Tenser gets #MeToo'd. 10 is just cheese on your part, you know the D&D/AD&D approach is already dead, the 3E approach is what lives on now.

All the 2E races (but not, perhaps, all the 1E races) will be in the next PHB, and most of the 2E classes (we've already lost Speciality Priests, or we've lost Clerics, depending on your perspective - one of them is dead anyway) and indeed a bunch of stuff that was optional in 1E will be in the next PHB, but they're rapidly losing ground in popularity. Fighter and Wizard are living on borrowed time, frankly. They're both one good new class design away from basically becoming obscure classes. Tieflings, Dragonborn and the like are muscling Halflings, Gnomes, maybe even Dwarves out of the way.

Experience points are on the way out. A huge number of groups don't use them, including some influential ones. If you'd written this in 2007 you'd have included alignment, and been shocked, SHOCKED when it was all but deleted in 2014.
 

All the 2E races (but not, perhaps, all the 1E races) will be in the next PHB, and most of the 2E classes (we've already lost Speciality Priests) and indeed a bunch of stuff that was optional in 1E will be in the next PHB, but they're rapidly losing ground in popularity. Fighter and Wizard are living on borrowed time, frankly. They're both one good new class design away from basically becoming obscure classes. Tieflings, Dragonborn and the like are muscling Halflings, Gnomes, maybe even Dwarves out of the way.
I wonder what a 2034 PHB might look like with the 'new' races and classes

Artificer, Bard, Druid, Monk, Sorcerer, Warblade, Warlock, Warlord

Custom Linage, Damphyr, Elf, Fairy, Human, Orc, Tiefling, and Xenomorph
 

Aldarc

Legend
Fighter and Wizard are living on borrowed time, frankly.
They both remain popular classes, so I'm not sure about this.

They're both one good new class design away from basically becoming obscure classes. Tieflings, Dragonborn and the like are muscling Halflings, Gnomes, maybe even Dwarves out of the way.
4e was derided for including tieflings and dragonborn as core PHB races. 5e kept them core for people coming from 4e. Then a lot of newcomers into 5e gravitated hard to tieflings and dragonborn. I guess the haters were wrong.
 



They both remain popular classes, so I'm not sure about this.


4e was derided for including tieflings and dragonborn as core PHB races. 5e kept them core for people coming from 4e. Then a lot of newcomers into 5e gravitated hard to tieflings and dragonborn. I guess the haters were wrong.
I get it re: not being sure, but if D&D had like an "anime semi-magic warrior" class, probably no/Light/Medium armour, lot of zipping and chopping people with swords and iaijustu and stuff, think Demon Slayer, we'd lose at least 50% of Fighters right then and there, especially those played by people under 40. Equally, if D&D acquired a "Harry Potter"-style caster, a bit more of a free-caster with a smaller number of more distinctive spells and a simpler mode of operating (think between a Warlock and a Wizard in complexity), and like themed in a way that was Potter-esque, we'd lose easily 50% of Wizards in the same sub-40 age range. Maybe like 80%. Maybe higher.

D&D doesn't have those classes, nor the fighting-game-style Magic Martial Artist which would instantly and totally destroy Monk, so they're safe. For now. But who can say what comes towards the end of the 2024 edition?

And yeah the haters were dead wrong. It was ridiculous.

I wonder what a 2034 PHB might look like with the 'new' races and classes

Artificer, Bard, Druid, Monk, Sorcerer, Warblade, Warlock, Warlord

Custom Linage, Damphyr, Elf, Fairy, Human, Orc, Tiefling, and Xenomorph
I honestly don't think more than like six people want Warlord back, but replace that with Paladin, and you're cooking with gas.

If Dhampir had been introduced early in 5E D&D (technically they ARE a custom lineage btw), they'd be all over the place.
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
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).
From the sounds of it, 5e Spelljammer will be about plane hopping, not space travel...

Yeah.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
The 2nd edition map is just traced over from the 1st edition one. They basically only changed to a prettier color scheme.

The 3rd edition map is different, but mostly it's quite subtle. Areas that got squeezed smaller mostly had nothing of interest in them to begin with. And it did serve a purpose, avoiding having a giant empty space of sand and snow take up most of the northern part of the map.
The North is no longer as far north as it used to be, but you might not actually notice the difference unless you compare the 2nd and 3rd edition map side by side.

It is presented as an expansion of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. It explicitly takes place in the planes of those setting since it covers the home domains of their gods.
Dark Sun isn't relevant in that regard because that world is cut off from any other planes, and I don't recall it ever being mentioned in any Planescape works. (Being 2nd Edition, the existence of Greyhawk is quitely ignored.)
Why do the people who make the game hate Greyhawk so much? I mean TSR made Castle Greyhawk, that right there is cause for a riot if you're a Greyhawk fan.
 

Staffan

Legend
It is presented as an expansion of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. It explicitly takes place in the planes of those setting since it covers the home domains of their gods.
Dark Sun isn't relevant in that regard because that world is cut off from any other planes, and I don't recall it ever being mentioned in any Planescape works. (Being 2nd Edition, the existence of Greyhawk is quitely ignored.)
I'm pretty sure Greyhawk stuff is given equal treatment to Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance in Planescape material, mostly concerning gods. On Hallowed Ground covered gods from all three settings along with those from real-world mythologies. I can't recall if Birthright gods were included at the time.

Why do the people who make the game hate Greyhawk so much? I mean TSR made Castle Greyhawk, that right there is cause for a riot if you're a Greyhawk fan.
I have no real explanation for Castle Greyhawk, but I doubt that the Powers That Be "had it in" for Greyhawk. But the D&D market at the time was limited, and having both Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Mystara things in the market is redundant. I mean, they did make 2e Greyhawk material for a while, so I assume it wasn't selling.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Why do the people who make the game hate Greyhawk so much? I mean TSR made Castle Greyhawk, that right there is cause for a riot if you're a Greyhawk fan.
Probably because Greyhawk was Gygax's world and after a certain point TSR and Gygax didn't exactly get along very well.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I mean they don't mind taking elements of the setting, like the Gods, but not so much as a City of Greyhawk. Could there be some legal reason?
 

The 2nd edition map is just traced over from the 1st edition one. They basically only changed to a prettier color scheme.

The 3rd edition map is different, but mostly it's quite subtle. Areas that got squeezed smaller mostly had nothing of interest in them to begin with. And it did serve a purpose, avoiding having a giant empty space of sand and snow take up most of the northern part of the map.
The North is no longer as far north as it used to be, but you might not actually notice the difference unless you compare the 2nd and 3rd edition map side by side.

It is presented as an expansion of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. It explicitly takes place in the planes of those setting since it covers the home domains of their gods.
Dark Sun isn't relevant in that regard because that world is cut off from any other planes, and I don't recall it ever being mentioned in any Planescape works. (Being 2nd Edition, the existence of Greyhawk is quitely ignored.)
No. It covers the home planes of every god, because it covers everything (at least as it existed at the time). Trust me, not everything is connected to FR as your post history would lead me to think you believe.
 

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