These questions cover the the entire history of role-playing games: the history of game companies, trends within the hobby, developments of new kinds of mechanics, and gaming's place in culture.

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19
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1answer
1k views

What RPG was the first to use stats, and what was it inspired by?

The notion that different characters or pieces have different attributes seems to be one we take for granted today, but upon a quick historical survey, it is not so. After all, in chess, a pawn takes ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

What is the motivation for the rule and lore changes in 7th Sea 2e?

When I first heard about the second edition for 7th Sea, I thought it would be a small update to the first one - like offering searchable .pdfs, having a nicer layout and better pictures in the books, ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Forgeite” mean? Where does it come from?

I have heard usage of the word "Forgeite" as a descriptive name for a certain kind of games - in most recent example it was Dogs in the Vineyard. It is implied that it has something to do with Forge ...
2
votes
1answer
250 views

Where does the term “Elfgames” come from and what specifically did it refer to?

"Elfgames" seems to be occasionally used to refer to fantasy RPGs that are perceived as generic or escapist. Where does the term come from and what was it originally used for?
15
votes
1answer
683 views

Where did the misspelling 'Lloth' originate?

In the past you could sometimes come across the deity Lolth being spelled 'Lloth'. I once heard it was a typo that somehow kept being repeated. Where did the spelling 'Lloth' first appear?
4
votes
1answer
183 views

What is a rolton?

In 1999 I found a parody of The Twelves Days of Christmas to have a Dungeons & Dragons feel to it. It wasn't until I started playing D&D in 2014 that I realised it was based on D&D when I ...
27
votes
3answers
868 views

What is the reason behind “one level at a time” level advancement in D&D?

During the answering to this question about large experience point gains getting truncated -- when a single XP award would raise a character more than one level at a time -- the following question ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Was Dungeons and Dragons the first to introduce colour-coded dragons?

The colour-coded dragon is a popular trope, where dragons have distinct colourings that affect their strength level and the nature of their abilities: red dragons breathe fire and thrive in hot ...
5
votes
1answer
166 views

Are the design goals for 5e currently available?

Numerous questions and answers refer to the design goals of 5th edition, and if a reference is given, it is to a no-longer valid link at wizards.com. Are the design goals of 5e currently available, ...
33
votes
1answer
716 views

Is there any documented proof of Mage: The Ascension writer intoxication?

I have several times been told that Mage: The Ascension is a rulebook written in a state of perpetual intoxication. There has been numerous allusions to it for years, and it has been argued the ...
3
votes
0answers
90 views

The D20 / 4th edition OGL licence switching what was really up there? [closed]

As was pointed out to me just in another question the 4th ed / D20 licence switch was not a revoke of the D20 open license. Although what I remember from that time is that publishers were forced to ...
4
votes
1answer
454 views

Have any of the designers of D&D explained why Strength increases Hit Chance?

This is a personal bias, but when I think high strength score, the imagery I get is: When it comes to accuracy of a muscle-bound and bulky person, the imagery I get is: Bruce Lee had stated he ...
3
votes
1answer
246 views

Are there sourced statements about what inspired the D&D Demogorgon visuals

Wikipedia states: Demogorgon is based on the invented, supposedly pagan god or demon Demogorgon, which was first spoken of by Christian scholars as a being whose very name is taboo. A creature ...
66
votes
3answers
7k views

Why are psionics controversial?

I have recently had a conversation with some of my friends about psionics and their place in the D&D universe, both lore-wise and gameplay-wise. We were discussing the psionics as an optional part ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What did Gygax and Arneson base the Bag of Holding on?

The Bag of Holding has been a staple of D&D since the game started. The idea of a bag that can hold more than it's physical capacity (and weight less than the it holds) can also be seen in other ...
46
votes
6answers
4k views

Has Christianity ever been given stats?

Background We have plenty of material through several editions of D&D for several pantheons of old - Norse, Greek, Egyptian, and etc. Have there ever been published material for Christianity? Or ...
15
votes
2answers
722 views

Why did the designers make it so chromatic dragons can't shapechange?

In 5e, the Monster Manual states that each kind of Metallic Dragon gains the Change Shape ability by the time it is Ancient or Adult. However, no such ability is ever mentioned for Chromatic Dragons. ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do druids use scimitars?

I know this question has been asked on other forums, and I have heard some explanations, but I wondered if there was a source that could be cited (not the rule itself, rather an outside source that ...
10
votes
0answers
250 views

When, where, and with whom did the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle originate?

In trying to give credit where it's due, I'd like to learn the name or pseudonym of the originator of the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle (DCFS) (link is to a definition not a source), and where and when both ...
1
vote
0answers
293 views

What do you call yourself if you run a game? [closed]

I would be very interested in what term people who run a game like to use for themselves when describing what they do, since that title may set the tone for the game at the outset on a given table. ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the history of the term “Dungeon Master's Screen”?

The question What's the name of cardboard wall DMs use to hide their part of table? has a fairly clearcut answer--"X Master's Screen," where X is "Game" or "Dungeon" depending on the speaker, the game ...
8
votes
2answers
381 views

When did the word “buff” become used to describe bolstering effects in RPGs, and why?

This english.se answer describes how the word "buff" evolved independently in video game dialect. When was the word "buff" first used in tabletop RPGs to describe bolstering effects, and was it ...
3
votes
0answers
165 views

How has the focus on roleplaying versus combat in D&D changed in the years since its inception? [closed]

There was recently a post bemoaning the lack of "real roleplaying" in the current RPG community (specifically in the D&D Adventurers League), suggesting that, since some point in its history, more ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the history of vampires having high natural armor class?

Based on this question to Order of the Stick #1002 featuring combat between the main protagonist and a vampire, I wonder what is historical motivation for D&D vampires being tough to hit, not ...
0
votes
2answers
300 views

Which are races, and which are species? [closed]

In all of the incarnations of D&D players can choose to be of different "races." Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings, from the beginning (putting on pause the race-as-class idea from ODD). In 1e ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are Solars so powerful compared to other Outsiders in D&D?

Going through a number of D&D books that feature the Solar I noted that it is amongst the most powerful monsters in the book, frequently only matched in level and power by the likes of the ...
12
votes
1answer
750 views

Where is the origin of the “Duck in a Dungeon” trope?

Let's say your party is in the second floor of a dungeon, and you just arbitrarily see a duck, in the dungeon. The act of there being a duck in a dungeon should provoke a fight or flight response ...
65
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does “dungeon” mean the places adventurers go to kill stuff?

Why does ‘dungeon’, in the context of roleplaying games and D&D in particular, mean the places adventurers go to kill stuff? I’m asking because ‘dungeon’ usually means a kind of prison, and I can’...
8
votes
3answers
587 views

Why were AD&D modules designed for so many player characters?

Recently I've been looking through AD&D modules for session ideas. Something I've noticed is that many of the modules were designed for more player characters than I've generally seen in one ...
9
votes
2answers
824 views

Is it confirmed that the Hammer of Thunderbolts is intentionally based on Mjolnir?

In Viking Mythology, Thor has 3 prized possessions: First a hammer, Mjölnir. To be able to wield it properly, he must also wear his magical belt Megingjord to increase his strength, and his iron ...
7
votes
1answer
342 views

What is the origin of Dis/Advantage in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the mechanic of Dis/Advantage as being one of the coolest aspects of the game. I was wondering: Is this innovation ...
4
votes
2answers
368 views

What is the origin of Inspiration in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the mechanic of Inspiration (points awarded (5e DMG Inspiration) by the DM for a roll boost due to good role play) as ...
4
votes
1answer
539 views

What is the origin of Backgrounds in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the Backgrounds as being one of the coolest things in the game. I was wondering: Is this innovation created by the D&...
7
votes
2answers
502 views

First RPG to use randomness during character creation

Randomness during character creation - such as for example rolling for your base stats - is a very old concept in RPGs and has been around for quite a while. But while I personally like the idea ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of the concept of punishing players in-game as a GM?

I have observed GM punishing players by punishing their PCs, often through intentionally implausible, humiliating, and sometimes fatal events. Where and when does this GMing technique originate, and ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Dungeons & Dragons the origin of “Bahamut” as a dragon?

Bahamut, the platinum dragon god of good, metallic dragons, takes his name from the Bahamut of Arabian mythology, the great fish upon which the earth rests. The similarities between dragons, serpents,...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

When was Armour Proficiency first included and why?

It's a crazy idea that you need some sort of special ability to use/put on armour, it's just clothing really. I know DnD is not simulationist but most components have a fantasy justification. When ...
16
votes
1answer
751 views

Who actually is Tucker?

Tucker's Kobolds, from an article in Dragon Magazine, is an example of challenging higher-level player characters with lower-level monsters. Who actually is 'Tucker', in (modern-day) real life, and ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Where does the idea of using the same character in multiple games come from?

I just read about a strange behavior in RPGs that didn't make much sense to me. To give an example: Susie joins up with a new game in Milwaukee. She makes a character for that game and plays in ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are elves immune to a ghoul's paralyzing touch?

I was reading Are Half-Elves immune to the paralyzing property of a Ghoul's Claw action? and it struck me that I have no idea as to why elves would be immune to the paralyzing touch of a ghoul, ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the Symbol on the Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location?

On page 150 of the D&D 5e Dungeon Master's Guide, there is an illustration of the Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location. The illustration depicts a closed eye, with a symbol above it, ...
1
vote
0answers
172 views

Origin of Arcane Magic [closed]

I was intrigued by a question over on the worldbuilding stack exchange. In answering that question, I realized that most ancient forms of magic were, at least according to most D&D classifications ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is the Deck of Many Things called the Eater of Campaigns?

I hear this term tossed around a lot. Where does it come from and what does it mean?
32
votes
4answers
6k views

Origin of “You all meet in a tavern…” cliche in fantasy roleplaying games?

Where does this silly (but fun) cliche come from? I couldn't find a definitive answer online. The value of the tavern as a place where characters can meet, find new adventure hooks, and spend gold is ...
9
votes
2answers
338 views

What game made leading questions a GM technique?

I am looking at history of gaming to understand the range of RPGs that are being played today. In the context of sharing some influence on narration between players and game masters, loaded or ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

Are the quotes in the Anima rulebook legit? [closed]

I like the quotations in the Core Rulebook, and have sourced some of them (like the Seneca one and the one from the Count of Monte Cristo). Others, however, are harder to track down or are ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the soft level-cap set at level 20, specifically?

I've been wondering lately if there is any sort of precedence or context for the soft level-cap of level 20 in various D20 style tabletop games. I say soft cap because I'd like to, for the purposes of ...
24
votes
1answer
991 views

What inspired the Ioun Stone?

While looking over the rules for Ioun Stones a question came to mind. What inspired the Ioun Stone? It is present in nearly all editions of D&D, and also made it into Pathfinder. This ...
46
votes
1answer
3k views

Origin of the term “Splat Book”

Where does the term "Splat Book" come from? Roughly a splat book is any book not required to play the system. There is some debate over its exact meaning, but that is not the point of this question. ...
9
votes
1answer
232 views

Has “write in to impact the metaplot” been tried since the 90s?

The Wikipedia article on Torg describes a way that players could attempt to influence the metaplot of the default setting: At the time of its release Torg's 'Infiniverse' campaign was an ambitious ...