D&D (2024) WoTc and TSR... what is D&D


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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
D&D isn't exactly the Ship of Theseus - too many significant changes to the structure as well as individual parts to really be the same.

But if we want to use attenuated analogies...might as well have fun with it.

OD&D and the basic varieties are like relatively simply sailboats, highly customizable, simple infrastructure
1e AD&D gets into more elaborate rigged vessels with multiple masts and more elaborate rules of operation and subsystems
2e AD&D takes those rigged vessels and throws wide the various configurations (campaign settings) to the point that nobody can agree on a preferred configuration and the manufacturer can't achieve enough economy of scale to pay the bills
3e D&D puts D&D on more modern materials (steel instead of wood hulls) and a more standardized broader system but then throws the plans to everyone to make their own accessories so the whole thing becomes very convoluted
4e redesigns D&D to be a catamaran. Sure, it's more stable in a number of ways, but it handles differently and doesn't carry as much as its mono-hulled predecessors
5e returns D&D to the mono-hulled sailing ships of pre-3e but with the modern materials filtered through the 3e/4e generations, moreover the manufacturer paces their release of accessories and doesn't oversaturate their own market
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
You forgot GURPS! (or maybe you didn't)
For me, playing GURPS was more about "if I don't want to be the GM then I have to resign myself to playing the one game that any of my players was willing to GM'. Which was GURPS because he was absolutely convinced that GURPS could model any kind of game you would ever want to play, so why not use it for everything?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
For me, playing GURPS was more about "if I don't want to be the GM then I have to resign myself to playing the one game that any of my players was willing to GM'. Which was GURPS because he was absolutely convinced that GURPS could model any kind of game you would ever want to play, so why not use it for everything?
I can attest that just because GURPS said it could do anything didn't mean it could really do anything, as my short-lived GURPS Supers campaign can attest. And the less said about GURPS Lensman, the better!
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
what does this mean for the game I started in 94/95? I don't know. It just is something in my head so now I am forcing you to all think aboout it.
Weird. I think about this constantly. I started in 1984 with B/X. I've played AD&D longer than most players new with 5E have been alive. I frequently want the kids to get off my lawn, but they stubbornly refuse. Rangers at 1st level have 2d8 hit points, dammit. Weapons do more damage to larger creatures. You're dead at zero hp. Ability checks are roll under. Grump grump grump. The only good thing that's come from WotC owning D&D is flipping armor class and swapping THAC0 for attack bonus. I could leave the rest and be fine. Though dis/advantage instead of hunting-and-pecking piddly modifiers is great.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Things change, people don't.

I can't ever see myself going back to 1E or 3E. Basic (B/X) or 2E (prePlayer's Option) I might enjoy for a one-shot or two, but I remember being quite sick of 2E's "archaic" engine back in the late '90s. I'm pretty happy with 5E pre-Tasha's, and I expect that's where I'll sit for the remainder of my days. Maybe I'll pull in something from down the road, but I'm overall happiest with 5E with the tweaks I've been compiling for my own game. No more edition churn for me, I pretty much have the game now I wanted all the way back to '79, though I couldn't express it back then with the game design paradigm and mindset of back then.
 

Yora

Legend
The big turning point and split in D&D that I see is not between TSR and WotC D&D, but between pre-Dragonlance and post-Dragonlance D&D. Dragonlance changed everything.16 years before 3rd edition was released.

Early D&D was the game of dungeon crawling and XP for treasure. OD&D, AD&D 1st edition, and B/X. But then came Ravenloft and the revised Basic and Expert Sets in 1983, and Dragonlance and the BECMI Companion Set in 1984 and there was a really big noticable shift. Dungeon crawling was out, Sword of Shanara, Wheel of Time, and happy pastoral quaintness was in. "You know, for kids!"

When the OSR was a thing back in about 2008 to 2014, the people involved didn't get excited about returning to pre-3rd Edition D&D. It was all about pre-Dragonlance D&D. OD&D, AD&D, and B/X were the names of the game. AD&D 2nd edition and the Master and Companion Sets remained pretty much completely untouched. (I know there was one 2nd ed. retroclone in the works, but that never got completed.)
Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, and Spelljammer; those are all 2nd edition works. (Forgotten Realms had a few releases right at the very end of 1st, which were all much smaller in scope than the big 2nd edition boxes.) I think there is quite a lot of continuity between 2nd edition and 3rd, which continies into 5th. A greater continuity than what you find in works from 1982 and 1986.
 


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