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Questions tagged [history-of-gaming]

For questions about 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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Why are we abbreviating Player's Handbook to PHB?

The official abbreviations for the rule books of fifth edition according to the Sage Advice Compendium are: Player’s Handbook (abbreviated PH) Monster Manual (abbreviated MM) Dungeon Master’s Guide (...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
775 views

Parody of early D&D rules set, and specifically character creation, as part of a web novel of some kind

I'm looking (with no luck so far) for a story I read online at least a decade ago. It had some specific interpretations of early D&D rules that are, at best, controversial but I'd like to ...
An_observer's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
186 views

Is the Dungeon of the Unknown based on player characters?

We are playing through the Dungeon of the Unknown that goes by the weird name "Quasqueton" from the original D&D Basic Set introductory adventure In Search of the Unknown (updated and ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
362 views

Conspiracy of Doors Adventure Origin

In 4th Edition's Dungeon Master Guide 2, in the back of the book it goes over details for Planescape's center piece City of Sigil, and some notes on how to incorporate it into 4e alternate cosmology. ...
L.P.'s user avatar
  • 1,352
8 votes
3 answers
618 views

What is the origin of the Dancing Sword?

Most magical swords in the game either have a special name, like the frost brand, nine lives stealer, defender or holy avenger, or they follow a naming pattern of "Sword of X", for example ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the origin of the Deck of Many Things?

The Deck of Many Things has appeared in every edition of D&D so far, and while the exacting particulars have varied, the overall feel of the deck has remained consistent: the rules for how to draw ...
NFeutz's user avatar
  • 1,870
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there any explanation or discussion regarding the change in the Bard class from its AD&D1ed orignal implementation?

If I recall correctly, the Bard in AD&D1ed was a true dual (triple) class character who had to progress as a pure fighter, then a pure thief, and then finally could begin to progress as a bard. In ...
Avraham's user avatar
  • 381
32 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is "Vancian" magic in D&D?

In discussions of D&D, especially discussing older editions, the term Vancian sometimes comes up: "Vancian" spellcasting, "Vancian" magic system. But this word doesn't actually ...
user10063's user avatar
  • 3,370
5 votes
2 answers
688 views

Did the stereotypical horniness of bards come up some time after development or where they part of the original fantasy/intended design? [duplicate]

This question came up yesterday. One argument I found in the internet was paladins being lawful good and bard being the only other charisma focused class at the time. This could mean and emergent ...
Antitheos's user avatar
  • 169
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the origin of the simulacrum spell?

Simulacrum is a peculiar wizard spell that is widely held to be broken when it comes to power level, and is the source of so many rules questions that it is one of the very few spells has its own tag, ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
982 views

When and where was the first mention of Xanathar in any D&D publication?

I've been told the beholder monster first appeared in Greyhawk (1975), but what was the first appearance of Xanathar in particular? Title and year would be nice.
Valley Lad's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
3k views

History of Tarrasque in RPGs

The tarrasque is one of the iconic monsters of Dungeons and Dragons, designed to be a creature that is nearly impossible for players to deal with - or at least challenging them to be creative. But in ...
Sarge's user avatar
  • 2,560
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Have different types of normal clothes ever done anything in DND?

In 5e there are common clothes, travellers clothes and fine clothes, but I don't think they actually have any rules around them. I have found there isn't much in the way of clothing materials on older ...
SeriousBri's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
764 views

From Braunstein to Blackmoor - A chapter unexplored?

Backdrop We know from exploring the history of Braunstein games, that Dave Arneson did run a couple of games in The Northern Marches, around 1970/1971 using a Braunstein setup. This game would ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 44.8k
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the origin of the Beholder?

The Beholder is one of the games most iconic monsters. It is on the title of the Fifth Edition Monster Manual. It has spawned a whole collection of creatures, including undead Death Tyrants, Gazers, ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Where did the term cantrip originate?

Forogtten realms wiki contains information about the history of cantrips in DnD, going back to first edition. Cantrips first appeared in print in Dragon magazine and were then reprinted in the First ...
MannerPots's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
282 views

Is there a statement from Gygax on the origin of the Unseen Servant spell?

Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions is is cited in Appendix N of the original Dungeon Master's Guide as one of the inspirations for D&D, and is an influential source that contributed to ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
28 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is the origin of the Vorpal Sword?

This question reminded me of the peculiar "vorpal" swords. Vorpal blades are great flavor, but in many editions of the game, they also have been quite overpowered -- in 1e, it really was not ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can the logo of TSR help identifying the production time of old Products?

Researching the availability of old D&D products in Toys R Us I spotted a copy of Deities and Demigods with a Price Sticker that appears to still read the letters “S R US”. But what got me was the ...
Trish's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
298 views

What was the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and how did it become connected to RPGs? [duplicate]

Listening to a podcast episode covering the history of legends-of-the-five-rings, the following tidbit was what perked my interest: When discussing the history of the hobby before the inception of L5R ...
Trish's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
502 views

Why wasn't Rolemaster further developed and expanded?

Rolemaster is a great system and big in its day - but is now to be consigned to online pdfs, a small fan base (like me) and in particular never developed for a (very) long time. Iron Crown Enterprises ...
user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
14k views

When was the Hither-Thither Staff introduced in D&D?

In the movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, one of the magic items the characters come across over the course of the film is a Hither-Thither Staff. This wasn't invented for the film; ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
320 views

Suitable Dave Arneson pilgrimage location

In May, my daughter will be graduating from university in St. Paul, MN. I've been there a few times over the last four years, but when I go out for the ceremony it will likely be the last time I am ...
Kirt's user avatar
  • 53.7k
25 votes
0 answers
743 views

What is the source of the persistent rumor that D&D 3.5's Orb spells were written to provide an advantage in the writer's home game?

D&D 3.5's Complete Arcane introduced the Orb of Fire/Acid/Whatever line of spells. They are conjuration spells (normally you might expect them to be evocation), they do a reasonably large pile of ...
fectin's user avatar
  • 13.9k
18 votes
2 answers
938 views

What is the origin of the name Yan-C-Bin?

I'm planning a story arc for my D&D campaign that will heavily involve the elemental plane of air, with Yan-C-Bin being the BBEG at the end. The name Yan-C-Bin is very strange, and I'm wondering ...
DMfiend's user avatar
  • 4,355
28 votes
2 answers
668 views

Which is the “poison pill” provision in the D&D 4e GSL?

History of the GSL In 2008, Wizards of the Coast published D&D 4th edition using the Game System Licence, aka "4e GSL" or short "GSL", though there was a d20 GSL too, not tied ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 44.8k
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did AD&D players use Leomund's Tiny Hut to keep out enemies?

Brandes Stoddard has a fun article called Leomund's Tiny Problem, where he discusses ways in which Leomund's Tiny Hut is "highly exploitable" in D&D 5e, and offers suggestions on how to ...
RedGeomancer's user avatar
  • 6,813
10 votes
2 answers
275 views

Is the living shadow based on any real life myth or story?

L5R is heavily based on Japanese and other Asian philosophy and stories, the story of the Kami, Ametarasu, lord moon etc. Is the Living Shadow (first edition) or Lying Darkness as it is known later ...
Richard C's user avatar
  • 6,326
29 votes
4 answers
3k views

Where does the idea of selling dragon parts come from?

I recently played in an adventure with a new group, and after killing a dragon, the rest of the group started talking about butchering the dragon, harvesting its scales, blood, eyes, fangs, etc., ...
DuckTapeAl's user avatar
  • 48.7k
9 votes
1 answer
550 views

When did Wizards of the Coast purge the 4th Edition content from its website?

It is a fact that Wizards of the Coast did at some point remove all content for 4th edition D&D from its site when 5th Edition had come around. Since then, there is no mention of 4th edition on ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 44.8k
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

When did the Barbarian class get introduced to D&D?

In D&D 5e, Barbarians are a core class for the game, and Conan the Barbarian has been cited by E. Gary Gygax as one of the major literary influcences on the game, and is also listed in Appendix N, ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
883 views

What are the creative origins of the Storm Giant?

Giants have been part of D&D since the very beginning, with the hill giant, stone giant, frost giant, fire giant, and cloud giant featuring in the original version of the game, and the storm giant ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
36 votes
3 answers
4k views

What's the story behind kobolds being little lizards?

In tradition, kobolds were fey creatures associated with mischief, similar in appearance to gnomes or gremlins, often with the ability to become invisible (like the kobold Pumuckl popularized in a ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
31 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why are there five chromatic dragons and not four?

The five chromatic dragon types are already in the original edition of D&D. In that same game, player characters had access to four primary kinds of damage: physical blows, fire, cold and ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
152 views

When did subscribers actually receive their Dragon Magazine issues? [closed]

Would a subscriber receive issues the month before the posted month on the cover of each issue? None of the publishing info on the old Dragon magazine uploads/scans have anything about expected ...
pyrojirah's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
283 views

What is the origin of the Contact Other Plane spell?

Contact Other Plane is an unusual spell in that it carries the risk for the caster to go temporarily insane, a rider retained through all editions of the game. Similar spells, such as Divination do ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where does the concept of "failing forward" come from in RPGs?

Listening to some old podcasts, I stumbled over the idea of "failing forward" mentioned in a March 2020 (in this interview) edition of Court Games (RPG). The game designer Max Brooke there ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 44.8k
11 votes
2 answers
835 views

What games/versions were “before character sheets”?

I saw this: PS: I began in the BCS days (before character sheets days) where we all started with a 3×5 index card, 3d6 in order … in a comment on The Angry GM. What game/version (or something else) ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 2,891
10 votes
1 answer
319 views

What published resource first introduced the duergar?

What published resource first introduced the duergar? Specifically, I'm interested in when they first given a stat block (if there were allusions to them earlier). I think it was an AD&D module, ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 2,891
8 votes
3 answers
441 views

Did Shadowrun ever have a halfling equivalent?

As far as I can remember, and have been able to research, no Shadowrun setting has a halfling equivalent. The pseudo-prequel setting earthdawn is also missing this equivalent. Has this always been the ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

How was D&D 5e playtested?

The next big release of DnD will be in 2024. The article says "no timeline for the project’s development or playtesting has been announced", so it's anyone's guess what playtesting will look ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 4,233
23 votes
8 answers
5k views

Do/did any major RPGs have "hidden rules" or "spells that do things other than what they say"?

It is extremely common for answers on this site to quote either "There are no hidden rules", "Spells do only what they say they do", or often both (example), almost always ...
Tektotherriggen's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
438 views

Were some of the NPCs in 'Waterdeep: Dragon Heist' player characters at some point?

The Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure has some rather colorful NPCs that, as part of their backstory, were adventurers exploring the Undermountain in the past. Among them are: Durnan, the proprietor ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
42 votes
1 answer
8k views

What's the origin of the Mimic?

The Mimic is an iconic figure of the modern fantasy genre, best known for disguising itself as a treasure chest to tempt and ensnare adventurers and turn them into a meal. It's shown up in D&D (ca....
doppelgreener's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
744 views

Has anyone ever explained why D&D still calls them spell "levels"?

It's a common source of confusion that player "levels" and spell "levels" are related but not equal (e.g., new players really don't understand why they can't cast level 2 spells at ...
octern's user avatar
  • 377
6 votes
0 answers
135 views

When did the change from "die" to "dee" occur? [duplicate]

When speaking about dice, some older gamers will say "die-6", compared to the more common (and seemingly younger) pronunciation of "dee-6". The only real points of reference I have ...
Cooper's user avatar
  • 9,636
10 votes
2 answers
534 views

When did the Dungeons and Dragons Insider service exist?

Back in 2010, 4th Edition D&D was the main deal in D&D-land, and Wizards of the Coast did offer the Dungeons and Dragons Insider service, which was (on the stack) described as: [...] the ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 44.8k
9 votes
1 answer
820 views

What is the etymology of the term "drider"?

Gary Gygax took the word 'drow' from a Scots cognate of troll, with one of the meanings being 'dark elf'. David Sutherland III introduced the 'drider' in module Q1, as a drow that has been transformed ...
Kirt's user avatar
  • 53.7k
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Where did the concept of community copies originate in the indie scene?

Community copies are now a regular feature in the indie scene. Can we trace back to where this movement originated in the indie ttrpg scene in particular? I'm also curious about the transition from ...
Akixkisu's user avatar
  • 19.7k
7 votes
1 answer
505 views

What are some of the the first examples of feats in D&D?

I was ruminating over a book I owned a while ago, TSR's Celts Campaign Sourcebook for AD&D 2nd ed. Since I no longer have the copy I used to own I found a new (to me) one to read through it. I ...
mkdir's user avatar
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