Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

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Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:30 pm

Stan! was intereviewed on the D&D Podcast, on a show they called: Stan! Brown on TSR Old Days:
D&D Podcast at the WotC website wrote:Stan! Brown on TSR Old Days
By Greg Tito and Bart Carroll - 06/29/2017

Over the course of his career Stan Brown (@stannex) has worn a lot of creative hats, but he now serves as a producer for the tabletop RPG at D&D. Bart Carroll (@bart_carroll) fills in as host for Shelly Mazzanoble while she recovers from Origins Game Fair. Watch Dragon Talk recordings live on twitch.tv/dnd Mondays at 2pm PT! Sage Advice – Jeremy Crawford (@jeremyecrawford) speaks about the philosophy of rules and rulings in D&D fifth edition.

Here’s a guide to when each segment on the podcast begins:
  • 00:00 – Intro with Greg Tito (@gregtito) and Bart Carroll (@bart_carroll) and Stan!
    09:52 – Sage Advice – Rules and Rulings for D&D fifth edition
    48:00 – Interview with Stan!
    01:38:35 – Outro with Greg and Bart
Stan! Brown
Stan! is the award-winning author of 2 novels, 15 short stories, more than 60 gaming products, and innumerable cartoons and comics (including the long running comic strips Bolt & Quiver and 10’–10’ Toon). He is currently a Producer for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, and Consigliere at Rogue Genius Games. In times past, he has worked on staff for companies ranging from TSR, Inc. and West End Games to Upper Deck Entertainment and Monte Cook Games. He also has done freelance work for companies ranging from Green Ronin and Malhavoc Press to Viz Media and Harper Collins Children’s Books. You can find Stan! on Twitter and Facebook @stannex and at www.stannex.com, the Home of All Things Stan!
The bit about SAGA is between 1:07-1:16, but you might want to listen to the entire interview.

He talks about the way that TSR totally failed to give him any sort of financial feedback on the SAGA prodcuts (and D&D products) that he was working on, and how lots of products that could have been tweaked to be profitable went out and lost money.

I've heard that before, but it does make me wonder what would have happened with SAGA if Stan! and Steve Miller had been given proper feedback and had focused on the most profitable parts of the 5th Age product line.

The other thing he discusses, is how The Bestiary has a fairly similar structure to the 5th Edition D&D book Volo's Guide to Monsters (but with Caramon Majere, rather than Volothamp Geddarm discussing the Dragonlance creatures). So it looks like Stan! was helping to invent some of the really innovative things that WotC is using for D&D today (but was being undermined by not being told what products were not "working" financially).
Last edited by Big Mac on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by shesheyan » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:09 pm

What is SAGA? Star Wars SAGA? or is it something else?

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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by shesheyan » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:29 pm

shesheyan wrote:What is SAGA? Star Wars SAGA? or is it something else?
For those who don't know :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAGA_System

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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by Big Mac » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:16 am

shesheyan wrote:
shesheyan wrote:What is SAGA? Star Wars SAGA? or is it something else?
For those who don't know :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAGA_System
That's it. I hadn't heard of it either, at the time. (I had taken a break from D&D in the second half of the 2nd Edition Era.)

People might know the Dragonlance SAGA products better under the name "Fifth Age". (I'll get the topic title edited.)

Looking at what RPG Geek has listed for Dragonlance: Fifth Age, it's actually a bigger product line than Spelljammer had. This niche area of Dragonlance is bigger than over half of the D&D campaign settings that TSR put out.

I know the SAGA system used cards, instead of dice, but I'm not totally sure how all the additional expansions fitted into that model. :?
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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by Falconer » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:54 pm

The expansions were adventures and area sourcebooks as well as in some cases rules additions. I’m a big fan of the 5th Age setting; not so much into the SAGA ruleset so I can’t really help you with that. However, I don’t believe the rules additions added cards. There was just the one deck for the game, which you could get with the core set or with the Fate Deck product.
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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by Havard » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:54 pm

Falconer wrote:The expansions were adventures and area sourcebooks as well as in some cases rules additions. I’m a big fan of the 5th Age setting; not so much into the SAGA ruleset so I can’t really help you with that. However, I don’t believe the rules additions added cards. There was just the one deck for the game, which you could get with the core set or with the Fate Deck product.
Huge fan of the ruleset here. You are right, the deck was never expanded upon. That would not really have made much sense. You got a deck with the core set and you could buy additional decks separately if you needed to replace your original one.

The expansion sets also expanded on the rules as well as the setting.

Heroes of Steel added new combat rules.

Heroes of Sorcery added new rules for Sorcery

Heroes of Hope added rules for Mysticism.

I think Heroes of Defiance added things for more roguish types, but I don't recall exactly.

Like I have said before, I think SAGA should have been produced as a parallell system to AD&D for Dragonlance the whole time. I think many people reacted negatively because they felt that it was being forced upon them. I also think the core set should have included options of running SAGA in other settings as was later provided in Dragon Magazine. They could even have produced decks for each of the TSR settings. I bet that would have sold well even among non-SAGA fans.

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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by finarvyn » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:07 pm

I haven't played DL SAGA much, but I'm a big fan of the rules. I like the small booklet format and the notion of making XP more quest-based than monster kill or GP centered. I agree that this system could have been a lot more popular if they had branched out to other settings a little, since some folks were so anti-DL and others (like myself) don't really play Superhero RPGs much. If I remember correctly, there were some excellent SAGA articles in Dragon about how to apply the rules to Ravenloft.
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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by Havard » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:41 pm

finarvyn wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:07 pm
I haven't played DL SAGA much, but I'm a big fan of the rules. I like the small booklet format and the notion of making XP more quest-based than monster kill or GP centered.
Indeed. I liked the XP system. You generally gained a Quest at the end of each adventure or each session or whenever a major goal had been achieved. This more or less corresponded to gaining a new level. This is similar to one of the optional advancement rules in D&D 5E.

I agree that this system could have been a lot more popular if they had branched out to other settings a little, since some folks were so anti-DL and others (like myself) don't really play Superhero RPGs much.
Good point. We actually had three groups that TSR failed to attract to the game:
1) People who don't like Dragonlance
2) Dragonlance fans who wanted to play AD&D.
3) Dragonlance fans who didn't like the 5th Age.

True, you had Marvel SAGA, but I think there was little overlap between the DL SAGA fans and the Marvel SAGA fans. Those two rulesets also had some significant differences which might have been a problem. I would have loved to see a 2nd edition of DL SAGA implementing some of the additional rules from Marvel SAGA.
If I remember correctly, there were some excellent SAGA articles in Dragon about how to apply the rules to Ravenloft.
Yes. Mathew L. Martin's article Saga of the Mists in Dragon #240 had rules for convering Saga to Ravenloft.

There was also Dragon #239 which included the article A Saga of Your Own by Stephen Kenson which offers conversions to various settings (BIRTHRIGHT®, DARK SUN®, PLANESCAPE® or FORGOTEN REALMS® AL-QADIM®, GREYHAWK®, and MYSTARA® are mentioned in the article).

I would have loved to see, if not a sourcebook per setting, at least a single sourcebook detailing all of the D&D/AD&D settings TSR supported at the time for the Saga System.


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Re: Stan! discusses SAGA/Fifth Age on the D&D podcast

Post by finarvyn » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:19 pm

If I recall correctly, one of the boxed sets (maybe the core one) had a "GM Screen" which was very small but contained a general SAGA to AD&D conversion. That kind of thing ought to have been pushed strongly, so that players could take their existing AD&D materials and convert to SAGA. It might have helped to jump-start the SAGA system.

Years ago I made a yahoo group for the SAGA system: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SAGA_System/info

There may be nothing there anymore. I haven't looked for a long time...
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