Three more data points for your consideration here.
The first from Sarah Newton:
It’s recognisably the same game, with that very specific T&T fantasy vibe (very swords and sorcery, much more Fafhrd and Conan than D&D’s slightly more po-faced Tolkienery), yet with a rules set that was quite revolutionary even back in the 1970s, when, to be honest, we didn’t really realise quite how revolutionary it was.
T&T has retained its pulp fantasy flavor while D&D has been successively reinterpreted so many times it has very little in common with its own literary antecedents.
Something happened. OD&D and T&T were both the product of the same literary inspirations. They both, for instance, treat Jack Vance and de Camp & Pratt as authoritative in ways that do not come naturally to children of the eighties or to people whose views of fantasy are strongly colored by the Sword or Shanarra/Thomas Covenant/Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms/Wheel of Time school of thinking. But even playing the most recent edition of T&T, you get the same pulp fantasy flavor that Gary Gygax prized so highly.
And about Gary Gygax…. Was his taste in science fiction and fantasy all that offbeat? It is now, certainly. But check out these recordings of the Mind Webs radio segments that began in the seventies. They’ve got Appendix N authors Philip José Farmer, H. P. Lovecraft, Roger Zelazny, Fritz Leiber, Fredric Brown, Poul Anderson, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, and Fred Saberhagen right in there with all the other greats, giants, and grandmasters that are far more recognizable to present day fans.
Would those guys make it into a similar series begun in this century? Not likely. Because something happened. Maybe the publishers’ decision to drop Fritz Leiber’s back catalog in the mid-eighties explains his lapse into obscurity and maybe it doesn’t. My question is, who decided to retire/exclude/drop/exile/excommunicate Stanley Weinbaum from these sorts of things…? Is his work any more dated or any less original now than it was in the seventies…?
But now you’re like, “hey… calm down Jeff. You’re raising your voice over something trivial.” The maitre d’ is prepping his “excuse me, sir” speech. But I’m telling you something did happen in both science fiction and fantasy. And I’ll tell you how I know it happened, too: because it didn’t happen in the time travel subgenre. Check out the literary inspirations list to GURPS Time Travel. Look at how Poul Anderson and a whole raft of the usual suspects are still authoritative both there and in GURPS Infinite Worlds. Do you see what I’m talking about…? Do you?!
But excuse me for a moment, here. Someone’s come over to my table to speak to me…!