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When D&D lost its soul

Discuss any non D&D roleplaying topics here.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#46 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:44 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote: The art for 1E may have been crude in some spots, but even then it was charming to look at.


Halaster-Blackcloak wrote: And then there was the "feel" of 1E. Something about it just "felt" old and ancient and exciting. Like finding an old, secret tome about all sorts of fantastic things.


I'm just going to share my TEMPORARY feelings of the '90s of D&D losing it's soul between the first and second editions. Halaster, I hope you don't mind me porting these quotes of yours over from one of your other threads, the 'No seriously, which edition is better? 1E or 2E?'one. Your quotes really capture how I felt about 1E, and when I saw the art for the 2E books it was like "C'mon now, this is not representative of D&D". For me, the art for 2E lacked that "ancient", organic, gritty and authentic feel that 1E had. It felt too engineered, too slick and I short sightedly pretty much let that judgement carry over across every part of the new system. I wasn't enthusiastic about exploring the new system and finding all those additions that many people had been doing on their own for years.
I've come to be very fond of 2E art. It just took me a moderate amount of time to embrace it.
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#47 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:18 pm

I liked a lot of the 2E art from the very beginning, but I missed the (as you said it) "ancient/organic" feel of the 1E art. To me the 1E art was more like something done by someone who actually played the game, as opposed to just being hired to do paintings. Jeff Dee and Bill Willingham, to me, captured the feel of the game better than anyone else.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#48 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:46 am

WoW. So obviously I've been missing out on this thread. I thought about what I wanted to say before I even bothered to look. Here are MY initial thoughts.

3E. A short time after 3E came out, I was off to Gen Con to (regrettably promote the new D&D Movie). I was sent there to meet up with another individual to talk about the new movie, it's cast and what we might be in store for. During the Con was my first taste of 3E, with a good DM running it. I remember making a PC (which I never do) and giving the game a go. Right away as most of you have pointed out it was about STATS and builds, but I attribute that to it being new and everyone wanting to get the best character they could get for this particular night. We played for hours and had allot of laughs, but the game definitely didn't play like the game I had been running for ages (but I also wasn't the DM).

The ART was good, but not D&Dish to me... but the same could be said about 2E, I also like the old gritty stuff, black n white just had a mystique about it. Everytime you open a 1E book you get that "fuck yeah awesome" feeling while doing it. You don't with any other edition. As the game went on and the Con went on, I watched many games and even tried to run a short session. 3E ran fine, but as noted above it simply didn't feel like MY game. Munchkinism and monty halls everywhere! 8O

Years later I have come to realize it's the DM and really only the DM. If the DM lets people build ridiculous things, then they will. If the DM hands out piles of money and hordes of items, they will in ANY edition. I'm a strict DM myself, I've pointed that out many times on these forums over the years and I've slowly gotten a little easier to play under thanks to all of you and maybe age/game time taking a toll on my style.

As for RPing, again I'd say that's ALL on the players. Yet my best RPers have all been from 1E/2E. My 2 best RPers ever were both 1E players...but I have lots of other great RPers in the past and now still do. Yet I think this matters not, because if they were playing 3E or 5E they would still be awesome fun.

But where did D&D lose it's soul? Hummm, I'd say the minute Gary Gygaxx sold TSR's rights to WotC. The minute they tried to put there spin on the game, hiring all new people, with all new art styles, all new descriptions of spells, new mechanics (which some are good) it just seemed to die.

Then 4E came along and outright fuckin KILLED it. What a pile of shit edition that is/was. If ever something killed and took the soul away from anything in history it was 4th edition D&D. Created for video gamers, played by inexperienced morons and run by the worst of DM's who couldn't tell a story if a book was strapped to their faces. :sucks: but I digress...

I do appreciate that Wizards tried to keep the company going and have at least put out an edition that I would say is ok (in 5E), but I've never had the chance to run it yet as my players always vote it off the ship. It's nice that it's drawing in new players and new generations, but I still see the same problems as 4E unfortunately. The game is brining in new players, but bad ones. Ones who build around stats, min maxers galore and not true ROLE-PLAYERS.

98% of my players (new or old ones) are instructed to build what they want to play, something they enjoy and that STATS do not matter. You will not live in because you have 18 STR, you will live because you are a smart player and a good RPer.

The player makes the character and the character can fit into any game. :coffee:

~ Long live 1E
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#49 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:25 am

Cole wrote:But where did D&D lose it's soul? Hummm, I'd say the minute Gary Gygaxx sold TSR's rights to WotC. The minute they tried to put there spin on the game, hiring all new people, with all new art styles, all new descriptions of spells, new mechanics (which some are good) it just seemed to die.

I realize we're speaking metaphorically and all, but wasn't D&D already dead at that point? WotC didn't kill it, they breathed new life into it. Yes, it was different afterward. More of a Reincarnation than a Resurrection. But they sort of had to, I think. This is the fate of any game. Sooner or later the sales will plateau and then start to drop. If you're really lucky, you might get a decade at best from any game. Then you really have no choice but either let it die or create a new edition.

Yeah, they screwed up with 4E. It was a commercial failure and helped give rise to Paizo as a big rival. But they recovered with 5E, and now D&D is actually mainstream. It's 'cool.' That's a pretty impressive accomplishment, and it probably never would have happened if Gygax had just sat on the rights forever.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#50 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:40 pm

Fair enough Jaded. I totally agree that if WotC didn't buy it up, it would be dead. The only reason D&D is alive in 2018 is because of 5th Edition. That I do not disagree with ;)

But the topic was "When D&D lost its soul" and that's the point where I feel it did. WotC simply keep it alive and tried to make the game more modern and mainstream by making it cater to the younger crowd. Which is fine from a buisness standpoint, but not for long time gamers. I would have much rather seen the 1E version modernized, updated with new spells, new races, more options, re-worked the bugs and carried on. That probably would have killed it for new generations, but that's something I don't really care about as I teach ALL of my new gen players the old school editions anyway. Matter a fact, ALL of my recent players under 25 have requested to learn the old school game and none of them even mentioned 5E.

So IMO, 5e just brought about interest again to the masses, it got exposure to the new generation and at the same time got us old guys to even look at it. Hell, I bought em all. So it did it's job... but I wouldn't say the new generation prefers to play 5E, it's quite the opposite. ;)
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#51 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:52 pm

I'd say that the game was still alive in 2E form when WOTC took over. The game was wounded, down to a single hit point or so, when WOTC came in with a heal spell and started releasing new material after months of nothing. We managed to get some quality material even after that. Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Night Below, Labyrinth of Madness, City of Skulls, etc. The core rules were still the same in any case.

It's only when 3E comes out that we see the emasculation of the game and the dramatic change of focus - the emphasis on "builds" and k3wL P0wERz, the overlapping/mixing of classes, the removal of pretty much all harmful/detrimental effects (no spells cause aging, no spells require system shock rolls, no resurrection survival roll ever needed, no CON limit to resurrections, saving throws for level drains, etc), the invention and inclusion super-boosted and yet still cheap spells like mass heal, greater resurrection, and so on, boosting of core spells from earlier editions (like raise dead, which in 3E suddenly heals damage, cures insanity, and neutralizes poison in addition to restoring life), and all the other nonsense.

If 1E was a house, 2E was a mere paint job and maybe an addition added to the 2nd floor, along with the re-arranging some furniture. 3E, in comparison, was a raging arson attack that burned the house down and then cobbled together a new one using what was left of the foundation along with bits and pieces of pipe and masonry that were left over while claiming to be the same home. :roll:

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#52 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:38 pm

Cole wrote:WoW. So obviously I've been missing out on this thread. I thought about what I wanted to say before I even bothered to look. Here are MY initial thoughts.

But where did D&D lose it's soul? Hummm, I'd say the minute Gary Gygaxx sold TSR's rights to WotC. The minute they tried to put there spin on the game, hiring all new people, with all new art styles, all new descriptions of spells, new mechanics (which some are good) it just seemed to die.
~ Long live 1E


Not to pick nits here but EGG was gone from TSR for many years (like 12-13) before the WoTC buyout. I lay that action solely at the feet of "the Bitch" Lorraine Williams who singlehandedly destroyed TSR and pretty much the D&D brand on purpose. WoTC simply wanted to cash in on the brand but wanted to wipe the slate clean with an entirely new crew of authors and ideas based on input from a newer generation of young folks playing. They were also successful in recruiting a few of the old guard by offering high-paying positions within the company such as Erik Mona and Lisa Stevens (both now with Pathfinder) and giving them plenty of creative control.

I am completely with Hal on this topic. Change for change sake is not always a good thing and in this case it was a complete disaster

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#53 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:58 pm

Gygax made two monumental mistakes in his career - 1st, his poor business decisions which allowed Lorraine Williams and the Blume brothers to take over, and 2nd, lying outright to fans and pawning his Castle Zagyg under the false pretense that it had anything to do with the original Greyhawk campaign when in fact it was at best very loosely based on a few notes and mostly new material by ghostwriters who never gamed with Gygax in Lake Geneva. The first destroyed his company, the second destroyed his legacy and reputation (at least for those in the know).

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#54 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:54 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Gygax made two monumental mistakes in his career - 1st, his poor business decisions which allowed Lorraine Williams and the Blume brothers to take over, and 2nd, lying outright to fans and pawning his Castle Zagyg under the false pretense that it had anything to do with the original Greyhawk campaign when in fact it was at best very loosely based on a few notes and mostly new material by ghostwriters who never gamed with Gygax in Lake Geneva. The first destroyed his company, the second destroyed his legacy and reputation (at least for those in the know).


Hal, Are you referring to the Castles & Crusades offerings from Troll Lord in the mid-2000's? I have generally kept up with all the gossip from the post-Gygax days at WotC and TSR but hadn't heard anything about these. I always assumed he actually had a hand in penning them. They sure get a pretty penny on fleabay and other sites but I've never actually seen/read any of them. Do you own any of them?

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#55 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:39 pm

Yep, that's the product. Gygax kept insisting it was Castle Greyhawk. He and Troll Lords Games promoted it as "the original Greyhawk campaign". What Gygax didn't mention was that it was being ghost-written by other people. He created a bare-bones outline and others detailed everything. This was all new material, done by people who never played in Gary's original Greyhawk campaign in the 70's and 80s. I would know. I was one of the ghost writers at one point. I was given literally god-like control over what went into the adventure. Use my imagination. That sort of stuff. Still got the original maps I created, correspondence, etc. Gygax really lost all respect I had for him at that point. There was a huge shit-storm when I revealed this over at DF, resulting in one of my countless "bans" :roll: for telling it like it was and revealing the truth. Castle Zagyg is literally as much the original Greyhawk campaign as I am the pope. :evil:

Rob Kuntz had approached Gygax with the idea of releasing the actual, true original Greyhawk campaign material as a collector's limited edition thing, but Gygax refused. At some point Gygax ripped on Rob at DF and Rob pulled out of the project, as did I. A sad ending.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#56 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:49 pm

Didn't Gygax lose the rights to Greyhawk when he was outed from TSR? Would it have been even possible for him to legally have made any Greyhawk products after that?

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#57 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:56 pm

That's why they changed the names, with nods to the original so that people would "get it".

The City of Greyhawk became the City of Dunfalcon (gray hawk, dun falcon, get it?)
Castle Greyhawk became Castle Zagyg after the character Zagyg who created Castle Greyhawk (Gygax retained the rights to the character's name since it was an anagram of his own)

Stuff like that. Somewhere I have screen caps of the ads. People were absolutely convinced they were getting the original Castle Greyhawk, with just a new name painted over it. No, they were getting ripped off.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#58 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:15 pm

This is all news to me. I can see why the schmoes at DF might have taken offense with your brutal candor, though. You've got to admit though, by that point in Gary's life, health-wise he probably wasn't up to managing the entire project on his own. I'd sure like to take a look at whatever you worked on, though. I simply can't afford the outrageous prices those things get on the internet just to satisfy my curiosity.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#59 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:38 pm

The schmoes at DF take offense at EVERYTHING that they don't want to hear! :lol: But that was always part of the fun of being there. SOMEONE has to kick them in the ass from time to time! :twisted:

Can you believe someone over there recently took a quote of something I said here about sycophants at DF and used it in their signature line? They stalk me! :lol:

But as for Gygax, I refuse to give him any leeway. What he did was outright fraud and a slap in the face to all those who remained faithful to him over the years. It's a shame because it totally changed the way I see him, as I know it did for a lot of others who realized what was going on.

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#60 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:42 pm

If Gygax had been honest and said look, we're not printing up the original Greyhawk stuff, but this will be inspired by ideas I had for that campaign, that would have been honest. And people would probably have bought it anyway. But to lie to the faces of the people who made him rich in the first place, to lie on such a fundamental level and lead them to believe they were getting the real thing...it makes me question everything about him. I used to feel sorry for him over losing TSR. But after the Castle Zagyg fiasco, I found myself thinking" "Maybe he was such a dishonest ass-hole even back then and got what he deserved!". It's never a good feeling to see your heroes fall. :evil:

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