Monday Pointers: In Like a Lion 2011

D4:Art from the Greatest Gonzo RPG of All Time
Most people think Rifts is the ultimate kitchen sink game and in many ways it is. However, the greatest gonzo game in terms of raw inspiration in a small package is Lords of Creation by none other than Tom Moldvay. The art at the link is from the game and if those pictures plus the rules light set of your choice can’t spark adventure I probably wouldn’t enjoy your table.

D6:Another great description of why D&D (and games like it work)
After playing some indy games Zak decides:
I think D&D works like this: the rules, setting, and DM are relatively serious (or at least intense) so you–the player–don’t have to be. You can be drunk and play the goofiest half-troll half-gnome bard in the world and the game will keep chugging along and being a game full of twists and challenges and unexpected delights for all (including the drunk gnome) because it’s pre-loaded with serious business.
I think that’s a pretty serious insight both into why D&D is top of the heap (which Pathfinder outselling branded D&D doesn’t change. I also think this explains why Palladium survives…it’s this attitude turned up to 11.

D8:Forget the drip, she’ll cost me XP
The Land of Nod presents a very interesting alignment system which provides XP bonuses or awards based on behavior. Better yet Matt walks us through it’s logic so you could easily adapt it to your own worldview.

D10:D&D is Dead
Over at “I Waste the Buddha with my Crossbow” a declaration of the death of D&D. What’s interesting is this is a pattern I’ve seen in the boffer LARP world twice with Amtgard (which survived it) and with Dagorhir (which split into two organizations, Belegarth being the other). When you create something that isn’t a thing unto itself but a platform for others to build on with their own imagination you run this risk when you release it, that one day it will have a life of its own separate from you. You can either embrace that and be a light in this new world or try to take it back and make all the rules. I have yet to see the later succeed.

3 thoughts on “Monday Pointers: In Like a Lion 2011

  1. I think it makes a lot of sense to see D6 and D10 at the same time, here.

    The reasons described in D6 for why D&D is immortal are the very reasons underneath what is being described in D10 for why D&D is dead.

    Immortal, dead. UNDEAD UNDEADE UNDEAD. (*sorry, habit*)

    When WotC bought the IP in the late 90's and clearly set about to create something new to sell immediately, resulting in v3.0 rules in 2000, I knew then and there that there was no need to pay attention to a single thing that WotC did with the brand name ever again.

    There were two basic complaints about D&Dv2 in the gaming world:
    1) It was overly hack-and-slash with not enough core rules to encourage role playing outside of combat
    2) The combat system itself was shockingly unrealistic.

    WotC decided to prove how clever they are by solving problem #1 by making problem #2 even worse, and in so doing completely failed to fix either one.

    Basically, they attempted to make combat mechanics so streamlined, simple and even more shockingly unrealistic that no one would be able to -sustain- a purely hack-and-slash campaign because combat would be too quick.

    But they completely ignored the real problem with the hack-and-slash complaint, which was not that the rules made lazy DM'ing too easy because combat was slow and tedious, but that the rules failed to ENCOURAGE role playing outside of combat. They did NOTHING to improve that situation. v3.0 v3.5 v4.0 still do NOTHING to encourage role playing outside of combat.

    Meanwhile they left us with a combat mechanics that has neither the fun of realism nor the fun of the quirks of the old system.

    Basically, instead of giving us an even more serious set of rules to allow players even more leeway to be silly, they made a silly rules set which upset the balance of the whole thing.

    They seem to be paying more attention to the video game franchises than anything else, and v4.0 rules are practically a video game anyway.

  2. I didn't notice that convergence of the two but how mutually reinforcing they are.

    That said, I think the point in D10 about how we have all the parts is much more interesting. This habit of popular culture escaping it's creator and belonging to a community. This happens on a smaller scale with fandom of TV shows/novels/comics. The principle difference, and the reason the fans never own the property, is that additional creation is secondary to a tv show but integral to RPGs. My playing of a classic TSR module straight is, in many ways, a more creative exercise than the writing of most (if not all) fanfic.

    So while Firefly fandom can survive the end of the show it still puts a lot of emphasis on additional “official” material such as comics. An RPG, however, conditions it's users to create their own material from the beginning and thus official material can be less of a nexus.

    This is the real problem WotC is trying to solve with their editions (I'm predicting D&D 5 which will be almost exclusively online no later than 2012). There is a great element of truth to the saying that I only need ever buy 1 RPG ever.

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