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5E With the Holy Trinity out, let's take stock of 5E


Let's be honest: most people wound up deriving a home ruleset from AD&D 1E (rather than actually playing the rules of AD&D 1E) because of the combination of rambling/disorganization/stream-of-consciousness, erudite language, and conversational tone, not to mention the unpublicized addenda in later printings. Almost everyone missed something.

Of the 5 different DM's I played AD&D 1E under, each of them had simply flat out missed something different from the rest. I'd missed stuff as well. And discovered that different printings of the books have some added content in later editions.

Well, sure, but that is different than the claim that figuring out the house rules ala Mastermind is the point of the game, or that improvising solutions as a DM (recommended by the people who made the game) is somehow cheating.


A game like that is much more akin to something like Warhammer Quest - essentially a board game with a relatively narrowly defined set of admissable actions. New actions can be introduced, but if so they must be accompanied in advance by defined rules. In the case of Warhammer Quest, that would have been a 1d6 random table of possible outcomes. For example, in Warhammer Quest, you can't trip an opponent, because there are no rules for that.

It's one way to play a game, and I admit that I loved playing Warhammer Quest, but I'm skeptical about the assertion that this was the "one true D&D" of the early days.

I'll believe it was the way things were done in some particular circle in the 80's, for sure. But that is not what the books or creators were advocating; quite the opposite, Gygax suggests fudging rules or improvising solutions, as need be. No Mastermind model to be seen.


...Same with the bad editions of Boot Hill and Gamma World, or even board games, like SFB and Warhammer.
How dare you impugn* Star Fleet Battles?????? /grin

*Man that game was great at the time...looking back now I was playing space excel sheet. Actually, we have computers now. Hmmmm. I could automate....


I think what howandwhy is saying is the DM is supposed to make the rules up, using the books as guidelines, and that the game is the players figuring out the DMs personal rules by play.

In addition, the DM should take every possible action into account and create precise rules to meet the possible range of actions. So, the books don't say how to resolve jumping over a pit, but the DM should have created such rules ahead of time, rather than wing it on the spot.
I agree with that assessment. And although that particular poster rails against GNS terminology, what he is actually claiming is that D&D is intended to be played as 'perfect' sim, involving a 'code' which isn't in the rulebooks and which he will never actually share or illustrate through example, but which acts as a simulation engine which creates an output for any player input.

In the absence of any evidence for this 'code' I, and seemingly others in this thread, find the claim a little far fetched, while the wailing and gnashing of teeth against Ron Edwards more than 10 years after those essays appeared is, frankly, rather hilarious.


I started D&D with second edition. Played it quite a lot. At that time, I mastered Cyberpunk 2020 and Vampire and I weighted heavily on storytelling. After the club closed and I went away for some years, thanks to the military, I came back to playing, but I bought 1st edition D&D because I wanted to try it and compare it to 2nd edition. Was interesting, but not as playable as 2nd edition (I had trouble finding willing players).

3rd edition came, I was send complete PDFs of it from a friend that wanted me to either play or master. Well. I read those, and not only did not master any game, but did not play either.

4th edition came. And my friends told me such things I have not even tried to open one of the books and look inside, and they were all playing 3.5 and didn't feel like playing it. Too much books, too much combat oriented when I saw them play (well, game might be different, but that's how they played it).

5th edition is now here and I bought it. And for the first time since the 90's, I want to master 5th edition games, and got tons of ideas for. It's like D&D just finished doing a "circle" back to me.

aramis erak

How dare you impugn* Star Fleet Battles?????? /grin
I've run rated ace tournaments. I know exactly how much it is "Star Fleet Accounting"... especially when a semi-final is decided by a half point error in EA on turn 3.

And I've played base assaults, and 1500BPV ISC, Fed and Hydran fleets in fleet battles.

*Man that game was great at the time...looking back now I was playing space excel sheet. Actually, we have computers now. Hmmmm. I could automate....
Don't let SVC catch you doing so...
Discrete resolution mechanics are all over the place in D&D. From the Thief Skills to the Strength "Bend Bars/Lift Gates %" to even a wide range of spells. "I cast Knock. The door opens." A resolution mechanic. Any claim that D&D doesn't have discrete resolution mechanics is simply, trivially false.


This again is completely false. Once D&D was published then players had access to the rules. Once a second person within the gaming group started to run games then at least some of the players had to know the rules.
Original D&D doesn't have separate players' and GMs' books, so every player who has read the rules can be expected to have read all of them, including the monster entries. (Which s/he might already be famiiar with in any event, from playing Chainmail!)

And the AD&D contains plenty of resolution rules, including the STR rules, thief abilities and spells that you mention.

The idea that it is a general feature of D&D that players never know the rules is absurd.

As for the D&D vs GURPS battle? I wasn't there. But if this battle really happened and people really were claiming that GURPS wasn't an RPG because it had unified rather than disjoint resolution mechanics? Guess what? You got squished like bugs
I've never heard of any such battle. It didn't figure prominently in the pages of Dragon magazine. There was no rift in the university gaming community that I was part of from 1990 onwards. GURPS is, in this resepct, not significantly different (in general approach/structure) from Runequest or Traveller or Rolemaster, and all these games were understood to be roleplaying games.