Hot answers tagged

103

With ingenuity, a ten foot pole can be used for a nearly infinite number of tasks. A huge part of D&D back in the day was its exploration aspect, mainly in dungeons. There were no "skill checks" so plausible innovation was the primary game mechanic for those scenes. You had to use your mind and whatever gear or other things you could leverage to find ...


90

It began with "Dungeon Crawl" during the development of the game Dungeons and Dragons. According to Gary Gygax (in an interview with Dungeon #112), the first dungeon crawl1 was part of a wargame in which the invading force entered the enemy's castle through a former escape tunnel dug from the fortress's dungeon. The group had so much fun with this ...


89

It's based on a toy. And that's all most sources will give you, because they're drawing from an article (Ed Greenwood's "Ecology of the Rust Monster" in Dragon #88, later quoted by another article of the same name in issue #346) which is actually about the rust monster, and only passingly mentions the owlbear. In fact, the original quote is so vague it's ...


75

Many of the items on this list have been done in games I've been involved in... Using to carry the quarry back to camp. Even, no, especially when it's an uncooperative princess. replacing the pike's haft after the swordsman with the sweihander whacked the head off of it. pole-vaulting over certain obstacles and traps pushing the inept climbers from below ...


74

As with the vampire-to-lawn-chair problem, it involved Matter magick in Mage 1e. One of the examples listed of "coincidental magick" for Matter was "transmuting bullets into air" with the coincidence of "the gun was never loaded." Now, earlier examples in the book of coincidental magick in the book suggested that to be coincidental magick, the coincidence ...


72

It boils down to what kind of style you like. Most systems have an inherent style to the way the world works and people tend to pick the game that fits their favorite style. The style in D&D is medieval (or early renaissance) sword and sorcery, where themes of powerful wizards wielding magic, gods being real and bestowing powers upon their clerics and ...


67

This has absolutely changed over time in D&D. The balance between Dungeon Master discretion versus reign of the rules versus player empowerment has always been debated in D&D circles but there's a clear evolution of thinking across the span of time and game versions. The attitude towards rulings vs. rules in the game shows up: directly and ...


67

It came from the fans of White Wolf's World of Darkness games. "Splat" is another name for the asterisk character ('*'), which is often used as a placeholder or "wild card" in a name by technical types of people. Someone somewhere starting referring to all of WW's various Clanbook/Tribebook/Guildbook/Kithbook supplements for their various games as "*books", ...


66

The ultimate and most ancient point system for "quantizing success through a numerical method" is, of course, money. Or perhaps predating even that, number of cattle, sheep, size of land controlled, etc. And war and trade were very early human activities to optimize that quantized success. History aside, LordVreeg's answer above looks the most promising ...


63

I can't speak to exactly how it made its way to Hungary, but as a gamer and Christian who's been both since the 1980s I can explain the general history of religious backlash against fantasy role-playing games. Ancient History The Church was initially quite uncomfortable with acting and theater back in the early ADs, and with fiction writing in general as ...


59

E. Gary Gygax notes in several places that the class limits and level limits were both game balance and to force the game to be humanocentric. I'll let EGG speak for himself (Dragon #29, Sept. 1979, p. 12): The character races in the AD&D system were selected with care. They give variety of approach, but any player selecting a non-human (part- or ...


59

My first encounter with a D&D sorcerer class was 3E. The 3E PHB says on p51: Sorcerers create magic the way a poet creates poems, with inborn talent honed by practice. They have no books, no mentors, no theories -- just raw power that they direct at will. In religious studies, "charisma" sometimes refers to the inner personal power in an ...


59

I suspect you're underestimating the effects of the wargaming roots, both on D&D specifically and on role-playing games in general, which, in those early days, were all but synonymous. The cover of the original edition of D&D, published in 1974, described it as "Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames". Although it included various non-wargaming ...


57

History D&D started as a series of little booklets, now called "original D&D" (OD&D). These booklets were basically barely-edited versions of the house rules of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. In 1977, TSR hired J. Eric Holmes to develop a Basic D&D game. This was a dark blue, boxed set containing D&D in a single book, plus a module (B1 ...


55

In 'Different Worlds #3' (June / July 1979), Dave Arneson describes his adding experience points (and a few other ideas) to the Chainmail rules after he and Dave Wesley started playing a medieval version of Braunstein's games. It was certainly not in Chainmail and it was in the original OD&D booklets from 1974. So this makes perfect sense to me. It's ...


55

Short answer: Yes Christian and Christian-themed elements, in the very early years of Dragon Magazine, did in fact get some coverage. An article called The Politics of Hell in Dragon 28 (warning that it "cannot be considered the official doctrine of" AD&D) presented a history of Hell's struggle against God as played out on an interpretation of modern ...


50

Gygax felt that the 'work' side of the whole affair counted far more, but Arneson felt that his 'spark of life' was of paramount importance. The debate continues after their passing; Gygax's fans claim he was cheated, and Arneson's fans claim he was neglected by both history and Gygax. To understand these conflicting points of view, review the early ...


50

In general in play they were ignored or just treated as an abstract language with no further comment. As to where they came from, here's an answer from Gary Gygax on Dragonsfoot! As D&D was being quantified and qualified by the publication of the supplemental rules booklets. I decided that Thieves' cant should not be the only secret language. Thus ...


48

Like every boom/bust cycle, the "d20 bust" was what happened when the "d20 boom" ended. What's the d20 Boom? I don't know if that's an official term, but it's one I use because it works, and it fits the idea of a bust pretty well. If you look back to when 3.0 came out, it did an interesting thing that no game with it's reach had done before: it made it ...


48

The core objection to Psionics being folded into a Swords and Sorcery / Fantasy RPG (for those who do find it a problem) is rooted in two issues: Damage done to the suspension of disbelief due to genre overlap Additional mechanics with no added value In my experience as both player and GM, it is the second factor that puts a burden on a GM in a psionic ...


47

That's interesting, as being a non-native English speaker I always assumed it was one of the accepted meanings. So as every time I realize one of these things, let's check the wiktionary: Verb soak (third-person singular simple present soaks, present participle soaking, simple past and past participle soaked) (transitive) 4- To allow ...


45

In first edition Mage, vampires fell entirely under the sphere of Matter, and changing the shape of matter was available at fairly low levels. (This was referenced in Book of Shadows, the Player's Guide to Mage, in a subhead: "Turning Vampires into Lawn Chairs and Other Works of 'High' Magick" -- although it wasn't a rote.) The notion that a starting mage ...


44

Tolkien's Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion lead directly to Perren and Gygax's minis-battles fantasy supplement, Dwarves in Chainmail (see Chainmail 3rd Ed, p. 28, and the later designer's notes article). Also, Gygax and Arneson made much use of this in the games which would later become D&D. Tolkien claimed inspiration from the Norse and ...


43

There is no name for the full set other than "a set of polyhedral dice." If I need to distinguish it from another set of polyhedral dice: I would say a Set of polyhedral dice suitable for playing DnD, as compared to a Set of dice for playing L5R (10d10) or a Set of dice suitable for playing Dilettante (10 d8s and 10 d4s) History The d4, d6, d8, d12, ...


42

The earliest official source I know of for punishment tactics in this vein is actually the First Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, 1979, E. Gary Gygax. The discussion is "Handling the Troublesome Player," described as "Those who enjoy being loud and argumentative, those who pout or act in a childish manner when things go against them, those who use the books ...


39

Monte Cook introduced the "dire" animals in D&D 3e, according to this blog post: When we were developing 3E, we recognized that we needed animals that could serve as appropriate foes and allies for mid- and high-level characters to help druid and ranger abilities continue to be valuable. It was my idea to create "dire" versions of various animals, ...


39

Every part of a vampire that isn't its heart is effectively armor. Severing a vampire's arms & legs won't kill it. Destroying its lungs or breaking its back won't kill it. It likes having those things, true, but it can survive without them to go hole up somewhere and heal. From a perspective of "what needs to be protected, and what is protecting it", ...


39

It Isn't Based in History You won't find the answer to this element of your question in that form: ... rather an outside source that shows the historical connection) to show the origin of scimitar as a druid weapon in Dungeons and Dragons, and if, as I suspect, the scimitar was a substitute for a curved sword thought to be used by a historical ...


38

Compiled Results DnD Next numbers include calculations from both the 1st and 2nd playtests. Fighter Rogue Wizard Sturdy Wizard OD&D 11 3 2 - AD&D 14 6 2 - 3.5 11 6 3 4 4e(MM1) 13 10 7 9 4e(MM3) 11 8 ...


38

It was in the very first incarnation of D&D. Witness ye, the words of OD&D (Men & Magic) from 1974: Magic-Users: Top level magic-users are perhaps the most powerful characters in the game, but it is a long, hard road to the top, and to begin with they are weak, so survival is often the question, unless fighters protect the low-level ...



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