Is Pathfinder leaving its D&D (1st & 2nd edition) roots?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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My D&D meetup group had a discussion about this. We are all in our 30's and 40's and grew up on the old game.
Not many younger people we meet have played 1st & 2nd edition and we are concerned that this could translate into the designs of what Pathfinder puts out. Does Pathfinder have their collective finger on the pulse of the "old school" gamer demographic?
I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks!


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We're a dying breed, man; whether or not anyone has their finger on our pulse, it's very thready.

Speaking seriously, Paizo is handling the Paizo demographic quite well. If you want old school stuff take a look at Castles & Crusades, Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC. They're all very playable systems.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Look at Golarion. If that doesn't assuage your fears, there are plenty of retro clones for your old school fix.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aretas wrote:

My D&D meetup group had a discussion about this. We are all in our 30's and 40's and grew up on the old game.

Not many younger people we meet have played 1st & 2nd edition and we are concerned that this could translate into the designs of what Pathfinder puts out. Does Pathfinder have their collective finger on the pulse of the "old school" gamer demographic?
I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks!

Its impossible to tell from a distance, of course, but I think paizo people (both young and old) have "old school" leanings - thats how it seems to me, anyhow.

I don't think that translates into PF being an old school system, though. RPGs have come a long way in thirty years and I think learning from that and continuing to innovate is terrific (even if the system isn't quite to my tastes - I'm glad they're pushing in new directions).

I'd suggest finding a game system you like and running PF adventures (or basing home brew adventures in golarion) using that. You get the best if both worlds then, in my experience - fantastic stories, flavor material and support products coupled with whatever game system sits well with your group.

I find that part of the beauty of that old school style and the systems that support it is that conversions are relatively easy. It doesn't matter if you lose some nuance (together with some convoluted subsystem) in translation - just pick an equivalent adversary in your chosen system and go from there.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aretas wrote:

My D&D meetup group had a discussion about this. We are all in our 30's and 40's and grew up on the old game.

Not many younger people we meet have played 1st & 2nd edition and we are concerned that this could translate into the designs of what Pathfinder puts out. Does Pathfinder have their collective finger on the pulse of the "old school" gamer demographic?
I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks!

D20 left those "roots" behind long before Pathfinder. Like it or lump it, Pathfinder is blazing it's own trail. In many ways it's related closely to D&D, but it's not a game that Gygax or Arneson would have created.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Look at Golarion. If that doesn't assuage your fears, there are plenty of retro clones for your old school fix.

What about Golarion?

Sovereign Court

I didn't know PF had 1st and 2nd Edition roots. WOTC seems to be attempting to channel the old school right now with Next. Many clones out there too. Seems leaving behind old school is hard to do.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Paizo's roots aren't really in 1st or 2nd edition D&D, except inasmuch as 3rd edition D&D (3.0 or 3.5) showed that heritage.

That being said, I've noticed that there are quite a lot of old-timers who grew up playing AD&D (or even, in some cases, original D&D) and stayed with 2nd edition during the 90s who are now showing up at PFS tables at conventions. A purely anecdotal observation suggests that Pathfinder (and Golarion) is picking up quite a few of the old Forgotten Realms diehards.

Perhaps it's because "old school" D&D was more about the atmosphere and less about the ruleset - "not so much rules as guidelines" :-) I know I wasn't the only GM to use the Forgotten Realms as a setting for my home games, even if the rules I was using over the years varied considerably from by-the-book AD&D.

When my wife and I got back into RPGs recently we took a look around and tried various systems, including D&D4e/Encounters. Pathfinder seemed to come closest to offering us the 'feel' of AD&D, while working with a set of rules that were far more complete (but which had the worst excesses of 3rd edition tamed, even if not totally eliminated).

Liberty's Edge

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Paizo's "old school" roots aren't in the rules (obviously - calling 3.5 "old school" is just wrong on so many levels - heck, I call 2nd Ed. "middle school" because it was the fifth version of the D&D rules published). Their old school roots are in the way they approach world building and adventure making. Much of it is homage, really, Easter Eggs of a sort in many of the adventures and in the campaign setting.


houstonderek wrote:

Paizo's "old school" roots aren't in the rules (obviously - calling 3.5 "old school" is just wrong on so many levels - heck, I call 2nd Ed. "middle school" because it was the fifth version of the D&D rules published). Their old school roots are in the way they approach world building and adventure making. Much of it is homage, really, Easter Eggs of a sort in many of the adventures and in the campaign setting.

I wasn't aware of that. Do you have an example (without spoiling anything if possible)?


One thing that comes to mind, and it's been awhile since I read it so I'm paraphrasing here, is a note in the entry on orcs in Classic Monsters Revisited that mentions that orcs with less human-blood in their ancestry tend to look more pig-faced.

That, to me, is a reference to the pig-faced orcs of earlier editions.

Of course Classic Monsters Revisited is kind of old now as far as Pathfinder books go (since it was written for 3.5e Pathfinder Chronicles). Not sure if that same note is called out anywhere else though.


I don't know that this question can ultimately avoid skirting the edge of the Edition Wars. That's not what I'm trying to do, but the reason my group went with Pathfinder was because it at least owed as much to the older editions as 3.5 did. 4th was alien to us. I know some of you like it, and I'm not bagging on you, I'm just saying that 4th was not as recognizable to some older dudes, and going to PF was one way of keeping at least a little of the old feeling at the table.

Frankly, I don't know quite what the point of this thread is. As others have pointed out, and I did above, PF basically owes as much as 3.X to Old School and not much more. This question is about 12 years too late.


Similar vintage.

I'd say the old school demographic are still well catered for.

There's a few differences, but I could easily see a PF version of DarkSun, and Golarian is a suitable compromise as a world and not out of step with Greyhawk and FR.

The way the modules are assembled and written these days has a different look and feel, sure, but thats not better or worse.

You can still play Beer & Pretzels or Semi-LARP like we did in the wayback times as well.

So I say I find PF quite a good pace... then again I am accused (rightly so) of being a "2nd Ed style" cinematic GM - a fair accusation.

I dodged 3rd ed (and 4th) but am very happy with what we have here.

Disclosure - I went through the old 'basic' style edition(s) as well as AD&D and 2nd ed


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Maerimydra wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

Paizo's "old school" roots aren't in the rules (obviously - calling 3.5 "old school" is just wrong on so many levels - heck, I call 2nd Ed. "middle school" because it was the fifth version of the D&D rules published). Their old school roots are in the way they approach world building and adventure making. Much of it is homage, really, Easter Eggs of a sort in many of the adventures and in the campaign setting.

I wasn't aware of that. Do you have an example (without spoiling anything if possible)?

Well, as a specific example (hopefully not spoiling anything), Golarion has a land with a crashed spaceship in its background. Right at the beginning of RPGs, Dave Arneson put a crashed spaceship in his 'Blackmoor' campaign - the Earth explorator 'FSS Beagle'. Players could visit it to get their hands on advanced technology. Blackmoor and the 'Beagle' were later incorporated into TSR's Mystra/Known World setting, while Gygax himself wrote 'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks', which explored similar themes. I don't know if the Paizo designers are deliberately referencing these, but I suspect so.


Yeah first thing I thought of was Barrier Peaks.

A PF re-write could work :)

Liberty's Edge

I definitely agree on Golarion being old school. And the folks at Paizo in general being pretty old-school as well.

The module naming scheme and the fact that the people at Paizo apparently often run and play old modules from pre-3E D&D using the Pathfinder system, are two examples of this.

Another is...well, read the Pathfinder Tales stuff. A fair amount is free on this site and very little of it wouldn't fit in pretty well in the worlds created by Robert E. Howard or Fritz Leiber (as well as in many cases matching the tone of such stories).

Another is their focus on naming conventions and using things from real-world mythology when possible as opposed to making things up with no sense of history (as 3E and 3.5 were wont to do), that speaks to me of respect for the past and tradition.

And a final one is reading the Ask James Jacobs thread (at least for me). He clearly likes old-school stuff just from his answers to various questions involving it in that thread specifically.

I could come up with several other thematic areas where the folks at Paizo (and the world of Golarion) seem pretty old-school given time, but those are what I've got more-or-less off the top of my head.

Dark Archive

I honestly don't get all this "old-school" gripe. Better, I don't get the specific point being discussed.

Golarion as a setting is definitively old school. Pulp-era inspired, I might say.
PFRPG as a game, is based on the d20 engine/3rd edition rules, with all the implications inherited.

Paizo as a company, is developing both the setting and the rules to keep the pace with the grognards (like me, BTW) and the new demographics, and is doing quite a good work.
Obviously they can't appease everyone in every facet, but it's also very easy to skip the part we don't quite like so much.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, the OP is like 12 years late.


Personally I thought 3.0 was an attempt to get back to elements of 1st edition that 2e strayed from but that is just me. Forgotten Realms really came into its own durring 2e so that sort of flavor vibes with the 2e notions. I think PF is doing very good at balancing the feel of old school with the pace of newer games. Though in general there is an acceptance of some playstyles that in 1e or 2e were frowned upon.


I switched to Castles & Crusades. I really wanted to play Pathfinder, but I just don't have the time to do the game prep and reading that a properly run 3.5/PF based campaign requires. C&C has the best retro feel, in my opinion. I can still buy Pathfinder modules and run them with C&C, too.


Hitdice wrote:

We're a dying breed, man; whether or not anyone has their finger on our pulse, it's very thready.

I didn't know you old timers had a pulse :P.

I started playing D&D with 2nd ed just before 3.0 was released.(so I'm not that young myself)

I think some of Paizo staff remember the old editions very well so I don't think you have to worry about them forgetting where the game started.


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I'd honestly rather the setting have an old school feel than the rules set. As much as I enjoyed 2nd edition, even I know that I'm looking at it through nostagia-vision. I'd rather the rules keep improving but still have the adventures keep that 'old school' feeling.

Of course, everyone's definition of 'old school' is different. And there isn't anything wrong with catering to both the newer crowd in addition to the old school people. Always good to expand your demographic so that more people can enjoy the game.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Wrexham3 wrote:
Maerimydra wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

Paizo's "old school" roots aren't in the rules (obviously - calling 3.5 "old school" is just wrong on so many levels - heck, I call 2nd Ed. "middle school" because it was the fifth version of the D&D rules published). Their old school roots are in the way they approach world building and adventure making. Much of it is homage, really, Easter Eggs of a sort in many of the adventures and in the campaign setting.

I wasn't aware of that. Do you have an example (without spoiling anything if possible)?
Well, as a specific example (hopefully not spoiling anything), Golarion has a land with a crashed spaceship in its background. Right at the beginning of RPGs, Dave Arneson put a crashed spaceship in his 'Blackmoor' campaign - the Earth explorator 'FSS Beagle'. Players could visit it to get their hands on advanced technology. Blackmoor and the 'Beagle' were later incorporated into TSR's Mystra/Known World setting, while Gygax himself wrote 'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks', which explored similar themes. I don't know if the Paizo designers are deliberately referencing these, but I suspect so.

The two that come first to mind for me are the location of Caves of Chaos being mentioned and a pseudonymous Gygax being Lord of Absalom.


Odraude wrote:

I'd honestly rather the setting have an old school feel than the rules set. As much as I enjoyed 2nd edition, even I know that I'm looking at it through nostagia-vision. I'd rather the rules keep improving but still have the adventures keep that 'old school' feeling.

Of course, everyone's definition of 'old school' is different. And there isn't anything wrong with catering to both the newer crowd in addition to the old school people. Always good to expand your demographic so that more people can enjoy the game.

I definately hear you here. I think in general the feel to PF lends itself to old school pretty darn well. Also I think it has a great deal of sophistication in the lore that adds a huge amount of depth.


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Wrexham3 wrote:
Dave Arneson put a crashed spaceship in his 'Blackmoor' campaign ... while Gygax himself wrote 'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks', which explored similar themes.

Pleasure to read Barrier Peaks typed here on the messageboards, Wrexham3.

To topic, I'm not sure where Pathfinder's headed, but I'm along for the ride.

-- Andy


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It's kind of hard to look back on anything rules-wise to hold onto from editions previous to 3x. As an old timer, I vociferously hated limited race/class combinations,obscure multiple exp levelling (great, the rogue in the party's now four levels ahead of everyone else) as well as level caps that effectively made you expand into a useless-until-equal second and third class, that never did grow beyond that.

Pathfinder maintains a huge 'anything's possible' ruleset, while trying to hold back against the tide of personal publishing power creep that was seen in 3x.

cant stand tall elves though. seriously. they're ELVES!


Aretas wrote:

My D&D meetup group had a discussion about this. We are all in our 30's and 40's and grew up on the old game.

Not many younger people we meet have played 1st & 2nd edition and we are concerned that this could translate into the designs of what Pathfinder puts out. Does Pathfinder have their collective finger on the pulse of the "old school" gamer demographic?
I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks!

Well, Gygax hated 2E. He never played it. So It depends on what you liked about 2E.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

In a word, No. The old-school feeling suffuses all of the Pathfinder material. The ruleset is obviously not 1e/2e, but it is a solid, ultra-playable ruleset. For me, getting the "feeling" right is the key, and Paizo does that hands down. Look at the influences of the designers, not to mention the whole line of books, Planet Stories, and you will quickly find where their mindsets are.

DnD (ie. Pathfinder) is in good hands.


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shadowmage75 wrote:

It's kind of hard to look back on anything rules-wise to hold onto from editions previous to 3x. As an old timer, I vociferously hated limited race/class combinations,obscure multiple exp levelling (great, the rogue in the party's now four levels ahead of everyone else) as well as level caps that effectively made you expand into a useless-until-equal second and third class, that never did grow beyond that.

Pathfinder maintains a huge 'anything's possible' ruleset, while trying to hold back against the tide of personal publishing power creep that was seen in 3x.

cant stand tall elves though. seriously. they're ELVES!

Tolkiens elves were tall. Dragonlance elves are christmas elves dressed as Tolkien elves.


That lizard thing is NOT a kobold damn it!....I think all versions of D&D have good and bad points. I really dont miss thaco and "golf style" AC. I do miss the solid rule set and fine tuning though.


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I (mis)spent my youth playing AD&D. Loved everything about it, was a huge dork for it. But in all honesty I wouldn't want to go back. Being old school is all in your play style. The ruleset does not define your gaming group.


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The new kobolds are growing on me but I remember the days they were little rat like gnolls.


I don't like tall elves either.

I don't see six foot tall creatures in my mind's eye when I hear them described as elves.

Maybe it's Dickens' fault, but next I'm going to be told that Santa's elves were tall as well.


I remember when kobolds had fur.

Grand Lodge

Lakesidefantasy wrote:
I remember when kobolds had fur.

Uhh...

Kobolds were never described (or shown) as having fur, even as far back as the original "White Box" booklets...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Actually, it wasn't that long ago.


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As far as I have been able to figure out, the PF and D&D elves are clearly based on Tolkien's elves, and Tolkien's elves were based on ancient Norse and German mythology, where elves were frequently mistaken for human and humans and elves interbred many times, producing "half-elven" offspring, just as in PF today.

The tiny elves are a modern invention by comparison, and were mostly a fusion of elves and other "fey" legends, particularly fairies or brownies. It was that association that led to the diminutive versions of elf folklore, which is the path that Santa's elves came down.

I like the ancient, warrior-elves of Norse and german mythology. I'm glad Tolkien essentially resurrected them.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

As far as I have been able to figure out, the PF and D&D elves are clearly based on Tolkien's elves, and Tolkien's elves were based on ancient Norse and German mythology, where elves were frequently mistaken for human and humans and elves interbred many times, producing "half-elven" offspring, just as in PF today.

The tiny elves are a modern invention by comparison, and were mostly a fusion of elves and other "fey" legends, particularly fairies or brownies. It was that association that led to the diminutive versions of elf folklore, which is the path that Santa's elves came down.

I like the ancient, warrior-elves of Norse and german mythology. I'm glad Tolkien essentially resurrected them.

The only difference is that Tolkien's elves and Pathfinder's elves are slightly taller than humans while D&D's elves are slightly shorter, so I guess it makes Pathfinder elves even more "old school" than D&D elves, since Tolkien came before D&D. :)


Kingmaker AP has a lot of references to Keep on the Borderlands. It's just one example of how Paizo is a company RUN by old school gamers, like you and I.

Give it a try, I think you will like it.

And remember, there are plenty of holes in the older rules, you just house-ruled them away already.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Andrew Tuttle wrote:
Wrexham3 wrote:
Dave Arneson put a crashed spaceship in his 'Blackmoor' campaign ... while Gygax himself wrote 'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks', which explored similar themes.

Pleasure to read Barrier Peaks typed here on the messageboards, Wrexham3.

To topic, I'm not sure where Pathfinder's headed, but I'm along for the ride.

-- Andy

If I remember at the time, Gygax and Arneson were engaged in a bitter war of oneupmanship.


Digitalelf wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:
I remember when kobolds had fur.

Uhh...

Kobolds were never described (or shown) as having fur, even as far back as the original "White Box" booklets...

If I recall correctly the illustration associated with Kobolds in original D&D depicted them as small twisted Dwarf / Gnome like beings with wild hair. That's still how I describe them in my game. They were described as similar to Goblins but weaker iirc as well... The reptile thing happened in 1st Edition AD&D, again iirc (I don't have my older books in hand).


LazarX wrote:
Andrew Tuttle wrote:
Wrexham3 wrote:
Dave Arneson put a crashed spaceship in his 'Blackmoor' campaign ... while Gygax himself wrote 'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks', which explored similar themes.

Pleasure to read Barrier Peaks typed here on the messageboards, Wrexham3.

To topic, I'm not sure where Pathfinder's headed, but I'm along for the ride.

-- Andy

If I remember at the time, Gygax and Arneson were engaged in a bitter war of oneupmanship.

They had two very different visions of how a role-playing game should be played. Gary ultimately produced AD&D - the rule-bound, level-based system a lot of us are familiar with (I have 1st and 2nd ed. at home, although I don't play them any more). Dave released 'Adventures in Fantasy' - which apparently is a looser, more intuitive, (sort of) skill-based game. Anyway, 'Adventures in Fantasy' is very hard to find these days.


what, there were a 1&2 edition before 3.5?
You learn something new every day.

No seriously, of course it didn't leave it's roots, but has grown very high above them. Isn't that what plants are all about?
However by the height of a tree you can deduce how strong the roots must be.
Ah metaphors, they are fun.

Shadow Lodge

Richard Leonhart wrote:
No seriously, of course it didn't leave it's roots, but has grown very high above them.

YMMV on that. Mine certainly does.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Did the OP even bother to come back to the thread?

Protip: Don't start threads on a discussion forum if you're not interested in a discussion, or if you're not prepared for sentient beings not agreeing with you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:

Did the OP even bother to come back to the thread?

Protip: Don't start threads on a discussion forum if you're not interested in a discussion, or if you're not prepared for sentient beings not agreeing with you.

It's called flame bait. And we all fell for it. It's fairly obvious that the only reason the poster started this thread was the hope of igniting a flamewar.

Good reason to have this thread locked.

My answer is that Paizo has it's finger on the Pathfinder heartbeat. And that they're mainly looking at the Under-60 market for its core.

Played a game of 1st Edition awhile back to get that "old time feel". Then I realized that "old time feel" was why I left the game for a decade.


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I started with ADnD back in junior high, and I can honestly say, pathfinder is now exactly as far from that as it was when the game launched. Pathfinder isn't leaving its roots. It is maintaining the same distance it's always had. It was never directly connected to first edition, or even second, its connected to 3rd edition. And its slightly further away from it's roots then 3.5 was.

If I wanted to I still have my ADnD books, and several adventures. I COULD play that if I wanted to. I choose to play pathfinder, but because it's the same as 1st edition, but because I consider it an improvement on that foundation.


Long time player here, I can't see why people don't see 3rd edition as a natural progression to 1st and 2nd. Each has basis in previous system. That is one the big reasons for the big Anti-4th contingent, Forth has very little reference from the previous three.

Again as someone who has played all the editions and currently owns all of them, and reads the first two for kicks every so often, I really don't see why someone would want to go backwards.

The part that always entertains me about prior to 3rd is the 1 minute combat rounds . . just to lack of people comprehending a 6 second combat round now trying to comprehend a 1 minute combat rounds slays me.

Shadow Lodge

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Malach the Merciless wrote:
Long time player here, I can't see why people don't see 3rd edition as a natural progression to 1st and 2nd.

Perhaps because 0E to 1E to 2E (along with all the various Basic editions) all pretty much used the same basic system. Yes, there were some changes to it over the editions, but the overall base stayed the same. Hell, in many ways, 1E was just a reorganization of most of the collected 0E rules and supplements.

3E threw that base away. It's core base seems as if it was designed by someone who played AD&D a few times. Or maybe even just saw AD&D played a few times.

Malach the Merciless wrote:
That is one the big reasons for the big Anti-4th contingent, Forth has very little reference from the previous three.

I personally don't really think it's any further from the pre-d20 editions than d20 itself is.

Malach the Merciless wrote:
Again as someone who has played all the editions and currently owns all of them, and reads the first two for kicks every so often, I really don't see why someone would want to go backwards.

Asside from the fact that the books have become better organized over the years, I personally don't see why anyone would want to move FORWARDS. Right now my fantasy game of choice is Swords & Wizardry, based off of 0E. It's a much easier, more fluid system than d20's death of a thousand modifiers.

Pathfinder definately left it's "retro" D&D roots behind. And it did so back in 2000, when it was called "Third Edition".

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malach the Merciless wrote:
Long time player here, I can't see why people don't see 3rd edition as a natural progression to 1st and 2nd. .

Considering that one of those people was a little known designer by the name of E. Gary Gygax, they might have had a point.

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