There is a big bad monkey in my lawn and he is certainly not going away! I recently wrote an entry titled “There is a Gap Between Us”, and I’ve realized that people have mostly gotten the wrong impression from it; the “screaming maniac who thinks that the mere mention of D&D is worse than killing puppies” kind of impression.
That is simply wrong, and you might be rejoiced to know that I harbor a certain affection for that bulky primate. In fact, our bond is so strong that I have set my sights on a fabulous journey of RPG goodness that will take me through all the core books of its latest incarnation as I madly chop and cut to take D&D to its true unD&D potential (hint: that was sarcasm.)
Dungeons and Dragons is, without a shadow of a doubt, the current expression of tabletop roleplaying. It is by no means the one and only (nor the best… in case such things can be measured) example of a roleplaying product, but it is the most structured one (both in content releases and as a commercial endeavor) and is what can be called the mainstream of tabletop RPGs.
Dungeons and Dragons (or just D&D) has also an incredible following, and that is quite simple to notice both on-line and off-line. However a relevant part of that community is not feeling like a happy panda lately. As an outsider to such dilemmas it would be hypocritical of me to try to fill you in on all the minutiae, but suffices to say that the latest incarnation of the game (which is 4th Edition) has been received with mixed reviews. The interesting bit is the sheer amount of passion that the gamers are showing towards this issue. I have seen cries of blind support and shouts of angry disappointment and frustration.
I have seen and played (although only about 4 times) the newest edition of D&D, and I just couldn’t see what was the source of all this emotion. That does not mean that either position (and all the spectrum in the middle) is wrong or just doesn’t know what is what… but it did show that I was completely cut off from this whole bag of gaming that was being thrown around. It is time for that to change.
During the following weeks I will be digging deep into the core books of D&D 4th Ed. I’ll read them front to back to get well acquainted with the game, the mechanics and the type of play. I will receive aid from the countless bloggers who are, right now, spilling their thoughts about D&D onto the Internets as I try to get a good grip on what’s working, what’s not and why is this big enough for people to be upset about.
By the end of the journey I hope to befriend the bulky gorilla and run the game a few times. I’ll be using the aid of the Mythic Gamemaster Emulator to play a few games by myself (and later with others) and I’ll try to fill my geeky self with some good willed D&D funtimes.
Then, and only then, I’ll be putting D&D through my personal fitness routine. In the end, we will see what can be done to make the system that is on everyone’s minds, our little bitch (no, I do not hate women.)
I foresee a journey through perilous lands and fiendish places… I also think that this will be a good way to tackle the system and really see what are its best accomplishments and its clunky failures. I should also state (in case it’s not obvious) that the ‘reconstruction’ that I have planned, will gear the gameplay away from the tactical game that you all know and love (or hate?) This is not a statement on what’s better or on what is the “good and proper” way to play roleplaying games, this is just the experience of taking a well established product to see if it can be successfully used by people with different tastes.
The books are right next to me, oozing their malevolent charm to lure me into their grasp… today, I gladly accept such grim fate. Only time, and blog posts, can tell what will become of this traveler.
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