Monday, April 16, 2012

D is for Dungeons and Dragons

This is kind of a duh, obviously.  However, DnD was not my first RPG (Champions 4E, in fact, was), nor was it ever been a game I was very fond of playing.  The way our group ran the game and interpreted the rules, made DnD seem like a ruleset more about what you could not do, than what you could (a polar opposite to Champions and the HERO System).  ADnD 2E, in hindsight, is probably my preferred edition, but I reached a point where I simply wouldn't play it (I really, really like unified resolution systems).  DnD 3.X was well done, but in trying to run either iteration of the rules, I discovered I didn't want to run them the way I felt the designers intended and the whole experience fell flat.  I fully embraced 4E and enjoyed it for close to a year, but its emphasis on miniatures and grids, something we never used, turned me off. For many, many years DnD was a game I felt I simply didn't understand.  Something I couldn't quite mold to into the image I needed it to be.

Then I discovered the OSR, and things began to change.  House rules weren't simply encouraged, they were required and I began to see that less was definitely more for me and the stories I wanted to tell.  Swords and Wizardry, OSRIC, Basic Fantasy and Labyrinth Lord helped me focus less on rules and more on an interesting story and an intriguing setting.  And while I learned to enjoy a more stripped down simulation of the DnD rules, I was startled to find that I actually really enjoyed Pathfinder.  Things that I couldn't tolerate in 3.X were somehow more palatable now.  I honestly believe its the quality of the product and the devotion Paizo shows not only for their rules but also their fans and the legacy that Pathfinder is trying to carry forward.  In learning to understand these interpretations of the DnD rules and settings my journey toward loving DnD was finally coming to my desired destination.  This newfound place of comfort gave me to the courage to begin to shape new games and begin to ponder DMing them, after long hiatus from the hobby.

And now we have the 800 lb. gorilla that is DnD Next waiting to be unveiled.  I have a lot of thoughts on this subject, but unfortunately a Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents me from sharing any of them.

I will say that my journey has taught me that what the rules don't tell you isn't intended to prevent you from doing something, its empowering you to do something.

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