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183 votes
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What is Pathfinder's relationship to D&D?

Is Pathfinder D&D? No, but kind of. Pathfinder is published by Paizo, which does not own the rights to Dungeons & Dragons. Those rights are owned by Wizards of the Coast, who currently publish ...
KRyan's user avatar
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180 votes
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Why is the D&D gorgon a metal bull?

Alright, well, let me wade into this. Oddly enough, I'm going to start by pointing to The Inhumans, the Marvel Comics property, whose character Gorgon debuted in 1965. Gorgon was described as having ...
afroakuma's user avatar
  • 8,201
137 votes
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Why is mayo in the alchemy jug?

Funnily enough, Christopher Perkins goes into exactly this topic during his 'Storytime'1 speech at PAX South 2017. Summary: Being exhausted and angry about broken air conditioning at WOTC led to ...
CTWind's user avatar
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101 votes
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Why do most people consider a "00" and a "0" on a percentile roll a 100?

In common practice a d100 is effectively a 0-99 roll, with the stipulation that 0 be treated as 100 The game needs a way to roll 1 to 100 with equal chances, and no chance of getting zero. Let's ...
Valley Lad's user avatar
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95 votes
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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?

A "campaign" isn't what it used to be... Early campaigns often had multiple groups running within the same campaign. That is, the group of {Alice, Bob, Charlene, Dave, Edith, Francis, Ginny, ...
nitsua60's user avatar
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83 votes
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Why are there five chromatic dragons and not four?

The different colours of chromatic dragon were inspired by more than just damage types The Slayer's Guide to Dragons (2002) includes a preface from author Gary Gygax which explains, to some extent, ...
Carcer's user avatar
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81 votes
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What is the origin of the Vorpal Sword?

The Vorpal swords originate from "Jabberwocky" Lewis Carroll's children's book "Through the Looking Glass", contains a nonsense poem called "Jabberwocky", which is full ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
80 votes
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What is this story I recall about an extremely long ever-changing character backstory?

You may be thinking of the story of Old Man Henderson, the player who won Trail of Cthulhu. He had a 320 page backstory The explanation of the backstory is as follows: The point to having such a ...
guildsbounty's user avatar
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77 votes

Was "Warfare & Wizardry" a real game?

I'm Olivier Legrand, main creator of Mazes & Minotaurs - and the above answer is 100% correct (I must say I'm impressed by SevenSidedDie's M&M-lore). Warfare & Wizardry, like all games, ...
Olivier Legrand's user avatar
75 votes
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Was there ever an official "win condition" in early D&D editions?

There is no "win" condition in the earliest editions of D&D, but one appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Immortals Rules, published in 1986, although it has not been in any other edition that I ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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72 votes
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Why aren't Halflings Hobbits?

Halflings were originally called hobbits prior to a legal challenge. According to Gary Gygax himself, it was due to a legal claim on "hobbit" by a company who purchased the merchandising ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
66 votes
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Was "Warfare & Wizardry" a real game?

No, the Warfare & Wizardry referenced by M&M never existed, nor did its author. All those details are part of the fictional history that Mazes & Minotaurs weaves around itself. The first ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
58 votes

Why is Armor Class called that way?

It derives from the wargames which inspired D&D. The 1971 Chainmail miniatures game which inspired D&D included a table for one-on-one combat, which determined hit or miss based on the ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
55 votes
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What is the origin of D&D 1-9 spell levels?

The origin of spell levels is found in the Chainmail miniatures game, Fantasy Supplement. There were originally six spell levels in D&D's first version. OD&D as published was related to ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
55 votes
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Evolution of the Rogue in D&D

The Rogue, a bowdlerized Thief, was always an Adventurer / Treasure Hunter For a swords and sorcery genre fictional or legendary root, you could look at the Grey Mouser (from Fritz Lieber's fiction), ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
54 votes
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Is the shapeshifting druid an original D&D invention?

Druids have been shapeshifters from the beginning The D&D Druid ability to shapechange showed up originally in their first appearance in the game, as a monster in the Greyhawk supplement for ...
Ben Barden's user avatar
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53 votes

OD&D said it could be played with 20-50 players and one referee. How was that expected to work and still be fun?

A couple things that hopefully add insight: One: Note that this comment is about "any single campaign" (with more verbiage in that regard in the answer to which you've linked). Those players ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
53 votes

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

"Spells" that do more than they say are fairly common. The easier answer is in "spells only do what they say". It's pretty common for game systems to give a character an unusual ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
53 votes

What is "Vancian" magic in D&D?

Vancian magic is memorization-based A Vancian magic system is one where a wizard memorizes a spell and then loses that memorization from his brain after a single use. It's termed "Vancian" ...
user10063's user avatar
  • 3,400
52 votes
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What is the origin of the term fizzled?

Fizzle isn't RPG jargon, it's just an ordinary English word that has been in common use since long before D&D. The relevant definition of fizzle at Merriam-Webster is: to fail or end ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
51 votes
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Where does the idea of selling dragon parts come from?

Way, way back. As to where it first appeared in the rules, the first edition to include rules for selling dragons was... the original game! "Subduing Dragons" was a special rules section ...
sgfit's user avatar
  • 1,389
50 votes
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What's the story to "WotC gave up on fixing Polymorph"?

Wizards of the Coast made numerous attempts to errata the unbalanced polymorph spell family in D&D 3.0 and 3.5, before eventually accepting that the spell was inherently broken due to its ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
50 votes
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Do/did any major RPGs have "hidden rules" or "spells that do things other than what they say"?

“No hidden rules” is just what it sounds like, and what several other answers say: the rules are what’s printed on the page, and you have access to them. That wasn’t always the case. You mention Mao ...
fectin's user avatar
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49 votes
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What is the bad history around the three-fold or GNS model of RPG's?

The GNS theory (later recodified as the Big Model) was born at the Forge, a now dead forum mainly managed by the author of the theory, Ron Edwards. Having been a part not of the Forge but of a ...
Zachiel's user avatar
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47 votes
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Why are Clerics and Druids Wisdom-based?

Wisdom: Prime Requisite versus Spell Casting Ability The thing that originally made Clerics different was the prime requisite being the Wisdom score. Druids, being a sub-class of Cleric, were along ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
47 votes
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Where and when did "the GM is always right" get codified first?

Using loaded expressions to start (or try to end) a disagreement The problem with using a loaded expression like "the GM is always right" is that it is often too broad in terms of how the social ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
46 votes

Why do most people consider a "00" and a "0" on a percentile roll a 100?

That method of rolling percentile dice actually pre-dates D&D. Reading percentile dice in this manner pre-dates D&D, and has been used consistently in the rules throughout editions of the ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
46 votes
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What's the origin of the Mimic?

They were indeed an original invention of Gygax. Tim Kask, an early TSR employee, relates the anecdote in his 2017 YouTube video Curmudgeon in the Cellar #9: Who remembers the mimic? Alright, I know ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
44 votes
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Where did the term cantrip originate?

The other answers correctly assert the origin of "cantrip" dating back centuries before D&D, but I'd like to add some context for how it made its way into D&D. In Dragon Magazine #59 ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
43 votes
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What's the earliest instance of a "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" reference to beholders?

The earliest reference is 1983 First time I heard it referenced in Dungeons and Dragons was in the 1983 Saturday morning cartoon. It was Episode 2, The Eye of the Beholder, specifically at this point ...
Slagmoth's user avatar
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