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Questions tagged [history-of-gaming]

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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What is Pathfinder's relationship to D&D?

Pathfinder is often conflated with D&D, 4e I think, but it isn't actually named "Dungeons & Dragons." What is Pathfinder's relationship to D&D, and how does it fit in with the various D&...
14
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1answer
242 views

How were play-by-mail games played in the 1980s?

I recently purchased several copies of Dragon magazine from the early-to-mid 1980s. They contain several references to fairly large play-by-mail games that I haven't heard of before. How were these ...
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0answers
74 views

What are the roots of “dungeons” as a theme for “dungeons and dragons” [duplicate]

As far as I know, the roots of role playing games and dungeons and dragons lie in wargaming and conflict simulations? Is there a reason known (perhaps from an interview) why dungeons were a ...
9
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1answer
312 views

How did the multiclassing rules change in the different editions of D&D?

I'm interested in how the multiclassing rules evolved/changed throughout the history of the game. A small summary of differences should be sufficient. Please include Pathfinder in the answer. I ...
32
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2answers
3k views

What is the origin of the expression/trope “Rocks fall, everyone dies”

I think most people are familiar with this scenario (either first hand or via media). The PCs are going off the rails, the GM gets fed up, and then suddenly, Rocks fall, everyone dies This is more ...
17
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2answers
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Are there examples of priests/clerics having water creation abilities that predate D&D? [closed]

As far as I know, many D&D spells were inspired by popular fantasy tropes, like priests' blessings and healing hands or wizards' fireballs and lightnings. However, the Create Water spell seems to ...
11
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1answer
179 views

Where was the first Social Contract proposed in a rule book?

We have questions delving on the social contract themselves and what it is (like What is a social contract?), and there is also explained where the word comes from. We know very well that most RPGs ...
2
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2answers
195 views

What is the history of the stories and imagery around Asmodeus?

I recently purchased the D&D 5e book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and found the devils really interesting. I know there was a section in... 2nd edition(?) where there were no devils or demons ...
10
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2answers
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How would adventures be run with traps on maps that show where they are?

I am currently prepping an adventure and have purchased some source material from an older D&D 2E one-shot (The Shattered Circle) which I have loaded onto Roll20 and am prepping for a 5E adventure....
8
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1answer
271 views

What was the best selling TSR Dungeons & Dragons module?

As the title says, I want to know what was the best selling TSR Dungeons & Dragons module - no matter for what D&D edition - before Wizards of the Coast acquired TSR in 1997. I suspect it ...
3
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1answer
195 views

What is the history of creatures having Multiattack versus multiple attacks?

In D&D 5th edition, Multiattack for creatures makes it so that all of its attacks are treated as a single action. As a result, one of the attacks cannot be used for grappling. So, for example, a ...
28
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2answers
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Where does the D&D concept of a Gnome come from?

Outside of D&D, whenever anyone thinks of a gnome, they are more likely to think of a "garden gnome" or (something along the lines of "David the Gnome"), not how they are presented in D&D. ...
13
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1answer
261 views

Did Castle Amber influence Magic: The Gathering?

Has a published source cited the adventure module Castle Amber as an inspiration for Magic: The Gathering? Alternatively, has a published source dismissed the seeming connections between Castle Amber ...
11
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1answer
180 views

What is the origin of the name for the tabletop miniature company “Ral Partha”?

It sounds like something out of an old pulp fantasy novel. Is it someone's actual name, or is it just something made up? I read the wikipedia article and there's no mention of where the name came from....
8
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1answer
224 views

What is the origin of deities gaining power from worship?

Among players of various editions of Dungeons & Dragons, there is the idea that a deity's power, perhaps even existence, is derived from the number of people who worship them. A deity who gains ...
2
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1answer
91 views

When was LotFP grindhouse edition published?

I have some trouble finding bibliographic information for Lamentations of the flame princess grindhouse edition referee book, or the set as a whole. The pdf of the referee book contains no ...
3
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0answers
137 views

Why did the designers refactor Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves into six different saves in 5e? [duplicate]

In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, there were Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws, each tied to a particular ability: CON, DEX, and WIS respectively. (Prior to this edition, saving throws ...
27
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1answer
6k views

Why aren't Halflings Hobbits?

Just curious, given how heavily from Tolkien D&D drew, and the fact that games like Wizardry used Hobbits, is there a good design reason why Gygax and company used Halflings (a term that also ...
20
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3answers
694 views

Where does the name 'Sigil' come from?

I would like to learn about any designer explanations about how they came up with the name of the famous city. One possible hypothesis I have is that the designers were inspired by the planet "Nivil" ...
32
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4answers
4k views

What is the origin of the term fizzled?

When a spell like raise dead fails due to something such as a soul not being willing to return to its body, it will cause the spell to fizzle. It's a term I'm used to and not surprised to see describe ...
11
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2answers
646 views

Where did the first Dungeons and Dragons miniatures come from?

Did the first players even use miniatures? If they did, how did they acquire such things? The main reason I'm asking is because I'm looking for a cost effective way to create my own miniatures. I've ...
26
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4answers
2k views

Is the shapeshifting druid an original D&D invention?

The Dungeons & Dragons druids have been largely defined by their ability to change into an animal form in every edition, e.g. through the Wild Shape ability in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Is the ...
11
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0answers
290 views

What's the largest PBM RPG ever run?

What play-by-mail (or email) RPG had the largest number of players? I've recently been looking into "Net Games", play-by-post (not email) RPGs run by a company called Youentai in Japan in the 90s ...
94
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1answer
13k views

Why is the D&D gorgon a metal bull?

In mythology, the gorgons were Medusa and her sisters; snake-like beings who petrified those who saw them. In Dungeons & Dragons, gorgons are bulls with metal scales and the ability to breathe ...
27
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2answers
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Why were there two ongoing D&D magazines, and what distinguished them?

D&D has over its history been accompanied by two core supplemental magazines: Dragon magazine, starting in March 1975. Dungeon magazine, starting in September/October 1986. Both went on hiatus ...
28
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1answer
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Where and when did “the GM is always right” get codified first?

In a recent answer about GM-ming in D&D, I had to resort to a certain "universal" rule I'm familiar with: “the GM is always right”. Upon this doppelgreener correctly pointed out that it is not ...
6
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2answers
310 views

Who were the holders of the Shadowrun license through 2017?

I was looking at my RPG books yesterday and wondered at how much Shadowrun sits there: almost all the fourth edition German material (from FanPro GmbH and Pegasus Press), the fifth edition core rules (...
18
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1answer
332 views

What was Brian Gleichman's take on threefold gamism?

The threefold (GDS) model was developed in rgfa in 1997, and is not to be confused with the more recent GNS model and Big model. A good source is the website of John H. Kim. According to Kim's ...
6
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0answers
205 views

What games other than Ars Magica encourage Troupe play? [closed]

Troupe play is a specific style where the group is encouraged to collaborate in creating and running the game. There's often more than one GM, players often run more than one character and, indeed, ...
12
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1answer
285 views

Etymology of 'crawl' in 'dungeon crawl'

Does someone have a pointer to the origin of 'crawl' in 'dungeon crawl'? I always suspected it has to do with the cautious pace, but I wanted to know if there was a definitive answer on this.
12
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5answers
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Why is the “final” level of E6 chosen as 6, not lower?

I have just reread the introduction part of the Abridged P6 codex, an implementation of E6 rules for Pathfinder. And I noticed (once again) a very interesting passage: One way of envisioning the ...
26
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2answers
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What does “badwrongfun” mean? Where does it come from?

I've often encountered the term 'badwrongfun' used in discussions about role-playing games, and I see that it was already in vogue in the early days of this site judging from answers like this one. ...
3
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0answers
133 views

How did DnD 3.0 barbarian optimization work? [closed]

I started thinking about this after my wife demanded that I optimize a 3.0 barbarian character. I never paid much attention to martial optimization back in 3.0 though, so I don't know how to think ...
22
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3answers
849 views

Who invented Difficulty Class?

As far as I can see, one of the watershed changes with D&D 3e, which has survived down into 5e, was the replacement of a plethora of different systems for determining success to a d20-roll-over ...
16
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2answers
801 views

Who or what first said to “don't name monsters, describe them”?

There is an interesting GMing principle that more or less states that a GM should only ever describe monsters, and let the players name them. There may also have been mention of creating a sense of ...
5
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1answer
317 views

How and why has D&D changed its character generation across editions? [closed]

The first version of D&D that I played - Basic - instructed players to roll 3d6 for each stat and assign the number to that stat. I believe these are the rules for OD&D as well. In AD&D ...
33
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3answers
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What is the bad history around the three-fold or GNS model of RPG's?

On a forum elsewhere, I recently started a discussion about how people might categorise popular RPG's according to the GNS theory model. My intention was merely to stimulate discussion. I was ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Why do the tiers of classes change so little regardless of what additional material is used

From comments by user2227713 on this answer: Why hasn't Paizo done more to balance these low-tier classes? Don't get me wrong, new classes are great, but I'd like to see balance changes too. ...
3
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0answers
80 views

What was the first game to have an explicit “worse than failure” rule? [duplicate]

These days it's not uncommon for systems to have a rule, explicitly stated, in the rulebooks as an "optional" rule, or commonly house-ruled in, where a sufficiently bad roll of the dice not only ...
11
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1answer
314 views

Is Tunnels and Trolls or Tékumel the second roleplaying game that was published?

I recall reading that Tunnels and Trolls was the second roleplaying game to be published, but I also recall reading the same about Empire of the Petal Throne. I don't have the relevant editions of ...
4
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1answer
726 views

Is the gem of infinite wishes in the original Tomb of Horrors?

So, we played through the 3.5 version of the Tomb of Horrors. In one part there is a gem that grants a wish/nuclear fireball combo once/week. It seems like the gem is supposed to be bad for the ...
41
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1answer
5k views

What is this story I recall about an extremely long ever-changing character backstory?

I read recently a post that was going around about a player who didn't like his DM, so he wrote an ever-changing backstory (hundreds of pages so no one would read it) for his character that allowed ...
15
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2answers
835 views

Where did the term BBEG come from?

BBEG means "Big Bad Evil Guy" and refers to the villain of a campaign. My question is, where did it come from? How did it get made, and who popularized it?
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2answers
597 views

What are the ages of role-playing game history?

Many media have convenient names for their different historical periods (for example, comics has its Golden Age, English literature has Romanticism). Does something similar exist for role-playing ...
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3answers
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In gaming's infancy, were PCs expected to distrust, mistreat, and work against other PCs?

In the 1970s at the dawn of role-playing game history in the campaigns of the time, was it the expectation of both the players and the figure managing the campaign that the PCs would betray each other?...
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2answers
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In the history of D&D were Demons and Devils the same thing at one point?

I recently finished the book Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore and in it a Balor warns a wizard of his Pit Fiend subordinates and a character uses an Imp to collect information from the Abyss. Now as ...
25
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3answers
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Why do RPGs have metaplots?

Lacking a more definitive source, I'm working from the metaplot article on Wikipedia, which says, in part, that The metaplot is the overarching storyline that binds together events in the official ...
6
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3answers
257 views

What was the first commercial RPG system designed and sold for one-shot games?

Nowadays we're all familiar with one-night games like Fiasco. But when I started playing back in the late 80's, all the systems I encountered were geared for campaign play. Sure there were "tournament ...
34
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1answer
2k views

Evolution of the Rogue in D&D

How and why has the concept of the "rogue" evolved over D&D's history? It seems that what the general perception of what people think of with a "rogue" or "thief" has changed drastically over the ...
36
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2answers
3k views

Was “Warfare & Wizardry” a real game?

I recently downloaded the "Mazes & Minotaurs Player's Handbook: 2012 Silver Jubilee Edition" PDF. I believe this PHB is a revised / updated version of the Legendary Games Studio-revised 1987 ...