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A History of Table-Top RPGs

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  • A History of Table-Top RPGs


    A friend wants me to talk about this topic in someting informal lecture, let's say.

    If you had to talk about it to a non-rpg related audience, what would you talk about? What milestones in the history of ttrpgs would you mention?

    I've found out information online is scarce and normally limited to the creation of DnD.
    Last edited by Argonot; 08-19-2021, 10:33 PM.

  • #2
    Not sure how you'd get anything concrete beyond that it happened, or find out any standardization of symbols or terms, But since Chainmail (Proto-D&D) came from miniature War Gaming, like Napoleonics and then other historical settings, I would think their growth came from the Greeks and Romans using battlefield monk ups, anything from sticks in the sand, to objects on a map to represent, units, buildings, and all kinds of terrain


    • #3

      He/Him... I just Love Witches. I am here for conversation rather than formal debate. My Hacks.


      • #4
        As it's Onyx Path forum - you can also mention change of business with premier of Vampire: The Masquerade 1E - it was kind a revolution in hobby, where previous RPGs were mostly centered on missions and adventures, not the drama itself.

        Probably next big milestone would be Indie Games revolution of 2000-2010's, I guess?

        My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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        • #5
          There was a book series, Designers & Dragons, that did a pretty comprehensive compilation of the history of tabletop rpgs by decade. The subject matter covers a wide variety of rpgs, which would be hard to divorce entirely from D&D.


          • #6
            There are lots of things to cover. But yes, D&D is impossible to ignore if you do this history in good faith. I may talk more about it later, but I would suggest research into some topics:

            - D&D, every edition as either a milestone or a sign of its times. Chainmail, D&D Basic, AD&D, AD&D 2nd, D&D 3rd and 3.5 (OGL era), 4th then 5th.
            - The boom of the 80s. Castle Falkenstein, Amber, Gamma World, Shadowrun, Paranoia, GURPS and much, much more.
            - WoD and gaming in the 90s. The biggest thing here, in my POV, is far more that WoD captured the spirit of the times far more than introduced really new elements (the 80s were like the Cambrian Age of RPGs).
            - The Movements of the 2010s, the Old School, the Indie and the D&D 3.X.
            - The influx of new players in this period through the big works of WotC, Onyx Path and Paizo.

            And some points I want to make:

            - D&D started it all.
            - A lot of things happened in the 70s and 80s and later went into obscurity. A LOT.
            - Homebrewing and discussions about design were a strong thing in the 90s, but the entire RPG market was still amateurish. The designers were hobbyists first and the giants of the market were actually pretty small. I mean, smaller than today.
            - In this early design discussions the big examples were GURPS, D&D and WoD.
            - Read into the history of the companies, TSR, WW and all others.
            - WotC made D&D 3rd Edition into the first truly professional approach into making an RPG. This created ripples across the entire hobby.
            - The discussions about design became far more complex and mature, which is a seed of the future Indie Movement. And also of CoD and the WoD 20th line.
            - You must understand the role of the funding models of the companies as it evolved.

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            • #7
              If you want a very solid resource on the development of the concept and the hobby's early days I'd highly recommend reading Playing at the World by Jon Peterson.