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Prompted by a comment to this question: How to use skills — did this change between editions and how?

Interestingly, 3.x was originally intended to be used as a toolset like AD&D, but it wasn’t explicitly stated because it was just “how RPGs worked” at the time and taken for granted, but the online community ended up reading it as a more rigid framework, and later books shifted to accommodate that community feedback, making 3.x clearly a rigid-framework game before halfway through its life.

It made me wonder, how exactly has the rules text changed over the publishing run of 3e?

What are some examples of more "toolset"-y wording vs more rigid wording?

And how did Pathfinder fit on that spectrum?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am adding the history of gaming tag to this because that evolution is something that's likely tied to the transition from one company to another company that was successful due to a card game, and the parallel expansion of the computer RPGs and their popularity. (And for that matter, The Forge, etc ...) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 19 at 13:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this, since it’s predicated on unsupported (and almost-certainly unsupportable) speculation. It’s little more than one player’s opinion, which leads to only that person being able to really discuss their opinion—and that discussion is just going to be speculation. Anyone else will just layer on more speculation, speculating what that person was saying. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 19 at 14:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan "It didn't" is a valid answer. But if we have a clear definition of toolset-y vs rigid, which the other question seems to agree we do, then the question can be explored based on that metric. \$\endgroup\$ – martixy Nov 19 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, for example, the answer to the question I linked notes " Pathfinder define this even stricter, explicitly describing when "you must make a skill check" " \$\endgroup\$ – martixy Nov 19 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is fine - it's exactly the sort of question that historians deal with all the time. Which gives guidance for what a good subjective answer needs - it has to be properly referenced historical research on the topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Nov 20 at 1:14

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