Category Archives: Role-playing game history

The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996): Greatest D&D Adventures Since 1985—Number 10

The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Bruce Cordell for levels 5-8. When TSR introduced the second-edition Player’s Option books, new designer Bruce Cordell drew the job of writing an adventure highlighting … Continue reading

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Why Did So Many Classic Adventures Come From 7 Years of D&D’s 45-Year History?

When Dungeons & Dragons fans rate adventures, the ones published early get the most accolades. In 2004, Dungeon magazine listed the greatest adventures of all time. Of 30 adventures, 20 came from 1985 or earlier. TSR started publishing adventures in … Continue reading

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Why Dungeon & Dragons Dropped Assassins and Renamed Thieves

Why did D&D’s second edition drop assassins and its third edition change thieves to rogues? Continue reading

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In 1981 a Troll Named Grimtooth Set a Path for Today’s D&D Books

Starting in 1981, Flying Buffalo Games published a series of Grimtooth’s Traps books. They featured diagrams of traps that showed heroes on the verge of being folded, spindled, and mutilated. For instance, one sample shows a covered pit trap where … Continue reading

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The History of Traps In Dungeons & Dragons

In original Dungeons & Dragons, the three brown books only include one rule for traps. “Traps are usually sprung by a roll of a 1 or a 2 when any character passes over or by them.” That’s it. Except for … Continue reading

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How D&D Shed the Troubling Implications of Half -Orcs

In real life, we all sometimes feel bound by caution and frustrated by rules of decorum, so we enjoy characters who act recklessly, play by their own rules, and boast the power to ignore the consequences. This accounts for some … Continue reading

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How Years of Trying to Fix Obnoxious People Shrank D&D’s Appeal

How much should the outcomes of characters’ actions be decided by the dungeon master instead of the rules? Before roleplaying games, the rules of a game specified every action players could take, and then decided the outcome of each possibility. … Continue reading

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Three Reasons the Ecology of Monsters Can Make Creatures Worse

During the early years of Dungeons & Dragons, speculative fiction enjoyed something of a fashion for combining science and fantasy, so the popular Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey and Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley provided scientific explanations for fantasy-flavored worlds … Continue reading

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The True Story of the Cthulhu and Elric Sections Removed from Deities & Demigods

Just a couple of years after its release, the original Deities & Demigods from 1980 became legend. The first copies included sections featuring the Melnibonéan mythos from the Elric stories by Michael Moorcock and the Cthulhu mythos from the tales … Continue reading

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The Plight of the Unfrozen Dungeon Master

If you play Dungeons & Dragons in game stores, you will meet an unfrozen dungeon master. Fifteen years ago, I was one. The first surge in the popularity of D&D started in 1977, when I found the first Basic Set, … Continue reading

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