Questions tagged [history-of-gaming]

This tag covers questions about 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 was the first adventure to use boxed text?

James Introcaso recently wrote a blog post titled, "We Can Do Better Than Boxed Text", where he outlines the benefits and drawbacks of boxed text. This has raised the question, who started it and how ...
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1answer
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Have PCs Historically Played Through More Campaigns Than is Currently Typical?

I'm relatively new to D&D, only having tabletop experience with 5e and a bit of 3.5, along with some scattered exposure to earlier editions through video games. I've heard references to ...
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How did Immortal boxed-set campaigns work in practice?

At the end of a long campaign, my player group's PCs ascended to immortality. Since I had a copy of the Immortals boxed set lying around, I attempted to continue the campaign using those rules, and ...
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Was Steve Kenson involved in the design of Mutants & Masterminds 3e?

I was talking to a group of gaming friends and the topic of Green Ronin and Steve Kenson came up. Someone commented that Steve Kenson was working on Aberrant and didn't seem to do anything for Green ...
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What are the literary influences of the D&D Bard?

Can anyone tell me what sources, in literature, film, etc. inspired the Bard class for Dungeons & Dragons? I'm familiar with the Celtic Bards of history and legend, but the modern D&D Bard ...
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Do all RPGs have critical failures, and which was the first?

In all the games I remember playing, critical failures have always, in every case triggered an event. This critical failure is due to exceptionally bad rolls on dice, either a 'natural one' in DnD or ...
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How did 3e evolve into a more rigid ruleset?

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 ...
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Was there an Amulet of Yendor in any of the D&D official, or 3rd party published material?

Amulet of Yendor is a main artifact in many rogue-alike games, for example Rogue itself, NetHack and Pixel Dungeon families of computer / mobile games. It also appeared in many places as a homage or ...
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What is the history of the Eldritch Knight as a class/character option?

When was the Eldritch Knight first introduced, and what is the basis for the kind of character? Obviously there's the space for some kind of cross between a mage and a warrior in D&D and other ...
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When did 5 foot squares become standard in D&D?

Perhaps showing my age here, but in "The Good Old Days", 10-foot squares were a standard map size. Each square on the map was 10 feet, and a 10-foot wide corridor was normal. Now, having started ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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When did the 5-foot square/hex become the standard unit of measurement in Dungeons & Dragons? [duplicate]

I was playing with AutoREALM the other day and noticed a lack of a five-foot-unit of measurement. There are inches, feet, yards, meters and then fathoms (apparently, six feet). This tool seems fairly ...
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History of the Wish Spell

A friend of mine was wondering about the history of the wish spell in Dungeons and Dragons. It is his suspicion that the spell “only” exists because they needed something for genies to cast to work in ...
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What was Burning Wheel made for?

Of course all RPG systems have many characteristics, and all of them are made to improve or impede some part or another of the experience. My question is not about what different features Burning ...
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1answer
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Origin of 'Air-Breathing Mermaid Charm'

The 'Air-Breathing Mermaid Charm' is a useful descriptor for a certain kind of negligence in writing of RPG books, and particularly their rules. Usually it means approximately the following phenomenon:...
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What was the first RPG podcast?

What was the first podcast that specifically focused on tabletop RPGs? Wikipedia says the term "podcast" was coined in February 2004. If there were any RPG-related radio shows or actual play ...
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What is the origin of the term describing a game as a ‘Heartbreaker’?

I’ve often heard the term ‘fantasy heartbreaker’ used to describe a game. Where did this term originate and how was it used? Matt Colville used the phrase 'fantasy heartbreaker' in his YouTube video "...
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What's the story to “WotC gave up on fixing Polymorph”?

This is about D&D version 3.0 through 3.5e. It's been well-established that the Polymorph spell is broken. However, I often see the claim that "Wizards of the Coast (WotC, the game publisher) ...
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WHERE was the longest D&D 5e game held? [duplicate]

I have looked everywhere on google, bing, yahoo, and so far found nothing. Can anyone tell me where the longest D&D game was held?
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Monsters' creative origins? [closed]

I can't read about Cloud Giants without thinking of "Jack and the Beanstalk", or Balors and Tolkien's Balrog, or Cyclops and Odysseus. Has anyone compiled a list of 5e monsters and their creative/...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Origin and Actual Meaning of 'Stress and Consequences are Not HP' [closed]

Over the course of my interactions with the fate community, I've repeatedly encountered the mantra that Stress and Consequences are not HP and should not be treated as such. The comparison can be ...
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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 ...
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OD&D said it could be played with 20-50 players and one referee. How was that expected to work and still be fun?

Original D&D is often the shorthand name for the 1974 Dungeons & Dragons, Vol. 1, Men & Magic, written by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The section on "Scope" has this quote: Number of ...
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Where has the community from Avidgamers (1 & 2) migrated to?

Where has the community from Avidgamers (1 & 2) migrated to? The original Avidgamers.com was teeming with personal RP site. There was a conversion/migration to a new ag2.avidgamers.com site, but ...
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Why did D&D Paladins originally have a requirement to be Lawful Good? [closed]

In every edition of D&D before 4e, Paladins are required to be Lawful Good. If they stray from that, they are completely stripped of their powers. This means that evil deities can't grant powers ...
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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&...
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How did Robilar plunder the Tomb of Horrors?

I was reminded last time on how evil the Tomb of Horrors dungeon is (instant death traps, an absolute necessity in one room is gruesomely fatal in another room). Sure, Gary Gygax constructed it to ...
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What is the oldest published version of the Sorcerer class/kit in D&D?

I'm wondering if the absolute first incarnation of a Sorcerer EVER in the history of D&D (and D&D compatible published works) was 3rd edition. My gut tells me there's probably been 100+ ...
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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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Where does the distinction between “Mind Flayer” and “Illithid” come from?

I know that a Mind Flayer is an Illithid, and vice versa. And I know in some of the D&D fiction, like Forgotten Realms and the like, that Mind Flayers refer to themselves or their race as ...
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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 ...
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Where did the writing-focused roleplaying forums go?

Asking on behalf of a friend. She writes: One of my first experiences with text-based roleplaying was on an anime AU (alternate universe) forum. While they accepted people with all levels of literacy,...
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Who is that demon on the cover?

One of the most enduring and iconic images from the history of D&D is Trampier's cover for the 1ed AD&D Player's Handbook. You know the one: orange demon idol with the thieves prying out the ...
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What's the order of publication of classic Spycraft products?

While classic Spycraft didn't suffer the same sort of abundant rules replacement that plagued, for example, Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, enough occurs that it bothers me that the books are silent on ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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What were the first publication dates of the Big Bads in the Elder Evils?

Elder Evils (2007) is a supplement for world or multiverse-ending Big Bads published by Wizards of the Coast. It contains nine primary antagonists (see below) with a host of subordinate or supporting ...
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Who owns the Dragonlance intellectual property?

This answer states that Margaret Weis "owns" Dragonlance, and that she "won the rights to Dragonlance in a court battle." Is this accurate? I could not find any details of such a court battle, or ...
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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 ...
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Is there a difference between the meanings of the terms “module” and “adventure”?

Is there a difference between "module" and "adventure", and where and when did the terminology branch? My impression is that "module" is an older term, but I am unsure if this is correct and when the ...
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Whatever happened to Mind Storm Labs and Alpha Omega?

Back in 2008, Mind Storm Labs released Alpha Omega, which was a really unique RPG. My group had a lot of fun with it, until we managed to find some flaws and totally break the system. Even with that,...
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What's the deal with alignment languages?

In early D&D, there was the concept of an "alignment language." The original "little brown book" D&D says only: Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each ...
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What's the earliest instance of a “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” reference to beholders?

Is there any recorded use of the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" being used in a commercially available D&D campaign or any rulebook of any edition, specifically to reference (...
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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 ...
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When did rolling a natural 20 on the d20 become a “critical success” in the history of Dungeons & Dragons?

I've only played Dungeon @ Dragons in its 5th edition, and I have only limited exposure to earlier editions from PC games, but never understood the rules behind them (or knew the calculations), so I'...
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How has D&D's guidance to DMs on when to extrapolate from written rules and when to improvise changed over time?

This answer (to a question about a levitating character trying to catch an object that exceeds the spell's weight limit in D&D 2e) states that: The spell levitate has a maximum weight limit, ...