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Old 09-25-2018, 09:29 PM   #41
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Default Re: Does DFRPG more and more resemble a super hero game to you

I would agree with Anthony and Kromm, I also started with AD&D. You needed a Fighter/Ranger/Paladin, a Cleric/Druid*, a Thief, and a Magic User, if you wanted to cover all the bases. Without those four, you would hit a point where you were likely stuck, at least in the Modules they sold.

*For outdoors stuff, the Druid was often a better choice, if you were constantly running into undead, you needed the Cleric instead.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:03 PM   #42
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I would agree with Anthony and Kromm, I also started with AD&D. You needed a Fighter/Ranger/Paladin, a Cleric/Druid*, a Thief, and a Magic User, if you wanted to cover all the bases.
I think I'm repeating a past comment I made in a thread somewhere, but I find it interesting that the FRPG Big 4 roles fighter, wizard, thief, cleric are still, after all these decades, the core of adventuring parties. I don't know whether that's due to D&D hitting on an ideal quartet from the start, or due to expectations and adventures continually developing to accommodate the quartet. (I expect there's much of the latter. As you & Kromm noted, modules would often flat-out demand these roles.)

Why those four roles? I expect that even without Tolkien, D&D's designers would have of course come up with fighters (how could they not?) and probably wizards of some sort (if not so blatantly Gandalf-ish).
Thieves, it seems to me, definitely owe their FRPG adventuring party slot to Tolkien; would the idea would have come to Gygax & friends without Bilbo?
Clerics would be D&D's true original addition, as noted upthread. I imagine they were born largely out of game necessity: some means of keeping HP positive long enough for a fun session.

But that all strays from the topic of superheroes. In that genre, I don't see any mix of archetypes that's as entrenched as FRPGs' core roles. Other than Tank/Brick, perhaps; kind of hard to find a supers group without one of those. (And the reason, I suspect, is simply that it's an eternally fun archetype, whether on a page or in a game.)
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:42 PM   #43
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Default Re: Does DFRPG more and more resemble a super hero game to you

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Why those four roles? I expect that even without Tolkien, D&D's designers would have of course come up with fighters (how could they not?) and probably wizards of some sort (if not so blatantly Gandalf-ish).
Thieves, it seems to me, definitely owe their FRPG adventuring party slot to Tolkien; would the idea would have come to Gygax & friends without Bilbo?
Conan was sneaking into the Tower of the Elephant four years before The Hobbit was published. The Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories were inspired by Conan, and published in various forms from the late 30s as well. I feel fairly confident that the thief or rogue would have been present (though "halflings" may not have) in any case.

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Clerics would be D&D's true original addition, as noted upthread. I imagine they were born largely out of game necessity: some means of keeping HP positive long enough for a fun session.
My recollection is Clerics were an outgrowth both of Gygax's Christianity plus maybe the need to properly deal with undead by Arneson.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:58 PM   #44
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Conan was sneaking into the Tower of the Elephant four years before The Hobbit was published. The Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories were inspired by Conan, and published in various forms from the late 30s as well. I feel fairly confident that the thief or rogue would have been present (though "halflings" may not have) in any case.
True, true. I've even read the Tower story.

Sneaking about, infiltration, and stealing stuff is as old as adventure itself; nothing new in Tolkien there. What I'm thinking is that the specifically labeled role of thief sounds like an inspiration from Tolkien's "burglar" hobbit. But maybe Grey Mouser was a much more direct inspiration for D&D thieves. Good point.
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:04 AM   #45
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Default Re: Does DFRPG more and more resemble a super hero game to you

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As well, there were baked-in assumptions about who did what that you couldn't escape in the GMing advice and adventures published at that point; e.g., there were bottlenecks in adventures where you had to have a thief use skills nobody else could learn, the ranger track because nobody else could, or the magic-user cast Read Magic.
There are reasons I hate D&D and that one comes in somewhere around number 3.


However, I will note in 2e I played a Barbarian that made our party Thief all but irrelevant, for all the same reasons they're irrelevant in DF.





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I think I'm repeating a past comment I made in a thread somewhere, but I find it interesting that the FRPG Big 4 roles fighter, wizard, thief, cleric are still, after all these decades, the core of adventuring parties.
5e pretty much did away with these. Now it's best described as 'striker', 'tank', 'healer/undead smiter', 'controller'. Pretty much anyone can be the Thief. Anyone can cover the scut work of Arcanist/Diviner (Read/Detect Magic, etc). Healer/Undead smiter is still very locked down (basically Cleric or Paladin, though others can pick up some slack, like Warlocks). Etc.
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:14 AM   #46
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I'm actually fond of the D&D 4e monster categories -- brute (melee, hard-hitting and tough but relatively low skill), soldier (melee, high skill, with zones of control), skirmisher (melee, high mobility), lurker (ambushers), controller (specialized in disrupting enemy coordination), artillery (ranged damage).
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Old 09-26-2018, 08:31 AM   #47
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Default Re: Does DFRPG more and more resemble a super hero game to you

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I think I'm repeating a past comment I made in a thread somewhere, but I find it interesting that the FRPG Big 4 roles fighter, wizard, thief, cleric are still, after all these decades, the core of adventuring parties. I don't know whether that's due to D&D hitting on an ideal quartet from the start,
There were only three classes to start with Cleric, Fighter, and Magic User. The thief got added in the Greyhawk supplement. The elements of what most people consider to be classic old school D&D stems from OD&D (1974 release) plus Supplement I Greyhawk.

Greyhawk added the thief, varying hit dice per class (fighters d8, clerics d6, thief/MUs d4). Damage dice for example 1d8 for longsword. In OD&D core everybody did 1d6 damage irregardless of weapon type or class.

As a consequence OD&D core books plays somewhat differently than OD&D + Greyhawk. This lead to many including myself ask how did character sneak around, climb, find traps, disarm traps, etc from people who played back in the day.

Got a variety of answers which basically boiled down to they either adjudicated it based on the plan i.e. player skill or did a bit of the former and had them roll dice based on an attribute like dexterity for stealth.

Their opinion was split on the Greyhawk thief. One view is that their skills represent extraordinary or heroic use of the skill. Anybody could disarm a trap but only thieves could do it at the listed chance in a middle of lightning in a storm giant melee.
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:07 AM   #48
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My recollection is Clerics were an outgrowth both of Gygax's Christianity plus maybe the need to properly deal with undead by Arneson.
The story I read was the cleric in the OD&D draft was one part Bishop Turpin and Charlemagne Paladin and one part Van Helsing Vampire Hunter.

The genesis of the D&D clerics stems from Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign. As I mentioned earlier the campaign had good guy PCs and bad guy PCs. One of the bad guy PCS, Sir Fang, was a PC who became a Bram Stoker style vampire. Which was one of the most powerful monster types. The good guys were having a tough time handling Sir Fang.

Mike Carr played a village priest who, among other things, produced holy water for sale. One of the few effective weapons against Sir Fang.

From there it the idea evolved by mashing together a variety of source material as outlined in section 2.7.3 of Peterson's Playing at the World and alluded to in Judges' Guild First Fantasy Campaign. Until we have the form that Gygax wrote up in the first release of D&D in 1974.
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:35 AM   #49
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5e pretty much did away with these. Now it's best described as 'striker', 'tank', 'healer/undead smiter', 'controller'.
I've played a little 4e, but clearly know little about 5e. It sounds... different (though I have heard good reviews).

Incidentally, the roles you describe there (even if they're not actual names used in D&D) sound quite compatible with superhero roles, or at least roles in some superhero computer games. City of Heroes, which I played once or twice, had Blasters, Controllers, Defenders, Scrappers, and Tankers. ('Healer/undead smiter' would probably be closest to Defender.)
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:05 PM   #50
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I've played a little 4e, but clearly know little about 5e. It sounds... different (though I have heard good reviews).
The Basic Rules can be downloaded for free from Wizard's Website. Overall the marketing and presentation of D&D 5e represent a remarkable recovery from the issues that surrounded D&D 4e.

One of the friendly jokes about D&D 5e is that it is everybody's second favorite edition to play. The main reason it that it successfully melded some of what people liked about newer editions with some of the ease of use of older editions including the initial 1974 release of D&D.
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