150

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 phenomenal strength and bull-like hooves, a combination that allowed him to stomp the ground and produce destructive seismic waves. Coincidentally, another ...


149

This has changed over time in D&D. The balance between Dungeon Master discretion versus reign of the rules versus player empowerment has always been debated in D&D circles but there's a clear evolution of thinking across the span of time and game versions. The attitude towards rulings vs. rules in the game shows up explicitly in the rules text ...


149

Is Pathfinder D&D? No, but kind of. Pathfinder is published by Paizo, who does not own the rights to Dungeons & Dragons. Those rights are owned by Wizards of the Coast, who currently publish D&D 5e. But Pathfinder is a spin-off of Dungeons & Dragons, specifically D&D 3.5e, and is extremely similar to that game in many ways. Playing a ...


132

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 them making up a list of silly liquids for the Alchemy Jug. Mayonnaise eventually was the only survivor of said list (while many others were too inappropriate to ...


122

It began with "Dungeon Crawl" during the development of the game Dungeons and Dragons. According to Gary Gygax (in an interview with Dungeon #112), the first dungeon crawl1 was part of a wargame in which the invading force entered the enemy's castle through a former escape tunnel dug from the fortress's dungeon. The group had so much fun with this ...


109

It's based on a toy. And that's all most sources will give you, because they're drawing from an article (Ed Greenwood's "Ecology of the Rust Monster" in Dragon #88, later quoted by another article of the same name in issue #346) which is actually about the rust monster, and only passingly mentions the owlbear. In fact, the original quote is so vague it's ...


101

It boils down to what kind of style you like. Most systems have an inherent style to the way the world works and people tend to pick the game that fits their favorite style. The style in D&D is medieval (or early renaissance) sword and sorcery, where themes of powerful wizards wielding magic, gods being real and bestowing powers upon their clerics and ...


88

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, Hal, Iris, and Jake} and the group of {Adam, Betty, Chip, Delilah, Edwin, Frances, Garth, Harriet, Isaac, and Jessica} and the group {Alice, Adam, Karen, and Luke} ...


85

It came from the fans of White Wolf's World of Darkness games. "Splat" is another name for the asterisk character ('*'), which is often used as a placeholder or "wild card" in a name by technical types of people. Someone somewhere starting referring to all of WW's various Clanbook/Tribebook/Guildbook/Kithbook supplements for their various games as "*books", ...


84

As with the vampire-to-lawn-chair problem, it involved Matter magick in Mage 1e. One of the examples listed of "coincidental magick" for Matter was "transmuting bullets into air" with the coincidence of "the gun was never loaded." Now, earlier examples in the book of coincidental magick in the book suggested that to be coincidental magick, the coincidence ...


81

I can't speak to exactly how it made its way to Hungary, but as a gamer and Christian who's been both since the 1980s I can explain the general history of religious backlash against fantasy role-playing games. Ancient History The Church was initially quite uncomfortable with acting and theater back in the early ADs, and with fiction writing in general as ...


81

I suspect you're underestimating the effects of the wargaming roots, both on D&D specifically and on role-playing games in general, which, in those early days, were all but synonymous. The cover of the original edition of D&D, published in 1974, described it as "Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames". Although it included various non-wargaming ...


76

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 long backstory was three-fold. 1: to ensure the GM would never actually read it and 2: Since he would never read it except for in excerpts I pointed ...


75

In general in play they were ignored or just treated as an abstract language with no further comment. As to where they came from, here's an answer from Gary Gygax on Dragonsfoot! As D&D was being quantified and qualified by the publication of the supplemental rules booklets. I decided that Thieves' cant should not be the only secret language. Thus ...


75

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, magazines and personalities mentioned in the fictional history of M&M is entirely fictional - and yes, it was a direct reference to Chivalry & Sorcery (...


73

Short answer: Yes Christian and Christian-themed elements, in the very early years of Dragon Magazine, did in fact get some coverage. An article called The Politics of Hell in Dragon 28 (warning that it "cannot be considered the official doctrine of" AD&D) presented a history of Hell's struggle against God as played out on an interpretation of modern ...


69

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 rights on Tolkien's works in 1976: TSR was served with papers threatening damages to the tune of half a mil by the Saul Zantes (sp?) division of Elan Merchandising on ...


66

Added complexity versus added value The core objection to Psionics in a Swords and Sorcery / Fantasy RPG (for those who do find it a problem) is rooted in two issues: Damage done to the suspension of disbelief due to genre overlap Additional mechanics with no added value In my experience as both player and DM, it is the second factor that puts a burden ...


64

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 edition of M&M (the “1972 edition”) was really first published in 2006, during the early years of the Old School Renaissance. The conceit behind M&M is ...


63

It Isn't Based in History You won't find the answer to this element of your question in that form: ... rather an outside source that shows the historical connection) to show the origin of scimitar as a druid weapon in Dungeons and Dragons, and if, as I suspect, the scimitar was a substitute for a curved sword thought to be used by a historical ...


62

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 know of. To summarise, the Immortals rules allow very high-level D&D characters to become Immortals: demi-gods, gods, or the like. This opens up a very ...


61

The earliest official source I know of for punishment tactics in this vein is actually the First Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, 1979, E. Gary Gygax. The discussion is "Handling the Troublesome Player," described as "Those who enjoy being loud and argumentative, those who pout or act in a childish manner when things go against them, those who use the books ...


60

That's interesting, as being a non-native English speaker I always assumed it was one of the accepted meanings. So as every time I realize one of these things, let's check the Wiktionary entry for soak: Verb soak (third-person singular simple present soaks, present participle soaking, simple past and past participle soaked) (transitive) To ...


57

Like every boom/bust cycle, the "d20 bust" was what happened when the "d20 boom" ended. What's the d20 Boom? I don't know if that's an official term, but it's one I use because it works, and it fits the idea of a bust pretty well. If you look back to when 3.0 came out, it did an interesting thing that no game with it's reach had done before: it made it ...


56

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook (1981, Gygax & Arneson), pg B60: Your character doesn't know that A player should not allow his or her character to act on information that character has no way of knowing (for example, attacking an NPC because the NPC killed a previous character run by the player, even though the NPC and current character ...


54

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 Chainmail, and the Chainmail fantasy supplement. (See Forward to Men and Magic, E. Gary Gygax, dated 1 November 1973; Chainmail, 3rd Edition, Gygax & Perren, ...


53

The githyanki have been a fixture in Dungeons & Dragons ever since they showed up in the original Fiend Folio in 1981. (Look! Right there on the cover!) Like drow, githyanki had mixed parties of different characters, featuring both front-line warriors and support casters. One of the specialized githyanki types was the gish, who was essentially a multi-...


51

The caller is an archaic role that is only relevant when the play group is very large. And by very large, I don't mean six or eight players, I mean ten or sixteen. Our sense of what a "large" group is has adjusted drastically downward since BD&D was written, and consequently the purpose and utility of a caller is no longer obvious. The gameplay ...


51

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 original D&D. At that time, they were known as "priests of a neutral-type religion", had both cleric and magic-user spellcasting, and had "barbaric followers". ...


50

In first edition Mage, vampires fell entirely under the sphere of Matter, and changing the shape of matter was available at fairly low levels. (This was referenced in Book of Shadows, the Player's Guide to Mage, in a subhead: "Turning Vampires into Lawn Chairs and Other Works of 'High' Magick" -- although it wasn't a rote.) The notion that a starting mage ...


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