Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Should We Let D and D Die?

The Rules Magis over at the Gamer's Closet wants to pull the plug on D&D. What do you say? Should we toss D&D on fire for kindling. I agree with him on the cookie cutter classes and I've never been a fan of the Vancian magic system. I don't think MMORPGs are much better though. Lord of the Rings Online for example, I had a 50th level Hunter. He was cool, but every Hunter at 50th Level had the same powers. There were slight differences in wardrobe, but not much. So I think most MMORPGs suffer from the same short comings as a system like D&D does.

Mechanical wise, I am not as much of a fan as I once was, but what I think we sometimes forget or that gets put the side (and this is going to sound corny as hell, but it is true) is that it's not the classes, skills, spells or equipment that matter. It's the journey that matters. It's the time we spend playing our character, having fun with friends, embarrassing ourselves when we finally kill the last boss with only 1hp left. Sit me around a table with friends, with any game, give me a fist full of dice, pizza delivery on speed dial, and a few cold cokes in the fridge and don't care if we play Monopoly, charades or D&D. It's all good.

So should we let D&D die? I vote no. I think there is still some life in the old girl.


  1. "D&D" exists as long as anyone who has ever gamed it or one of its descendants (T&T, RQ, MA, etc.) is still alive and has their memory and thinking faculties still available.
    Moreover, it exists as long as there is a single copy, even in the ether, still extant. It is virtually a Platonic truth at this point.

    Now, if you mean the brand-name Dungeons & Dragons-- Unless Hasbro sells the right to someone else, I think that WotC will do whatever it wills against the protestations of a few (many?) Old Schoolers, and there is nothing any of us are able to do about that.

    But, with the old books still available; with the Clones and Simulacra; and with new content being produced for them, why give up on it?
    --If this is a question of giving up on the particulars of D&Disms, say, in favour of GURPS or some such, then I've nothing to add to the discussion, as there is plenty of room for all games.

  2. Actually I think D&D is quite alive and well. Look at all the retro clones out there and there doing well. I think there are plenty of options for eveyone involved and in this day of technology everyone has a self publishing machine in front of them so if they want something different it will just take hard work. The tools are there.

    Recently I've been cracking open the originals. So much has been done to shadow them that I wanted to go back to the source. The crazy thing is I still find stuff in the original DMG that I missed or never read. I still think that book is a real magic tome.

  3. D&D is still ridiculously fun. Much like many RPGs out there. It really is whatever you make of it.

    And yes, the 1e DMG is pretty much gold. It's like a timeless tome of RPG goodness that has yet to be topped. Certain areas have been improved upon or fleshed out, but the 1e DMG is really something that should be in print til the end of time.

  4. @ Tim I agree the calbur of friend and setting make anything fun. Even socks sticking to walls. But why play soemthing ok when you can play something great.

    @ every one else Yes D&D was great so was space invaders do you still play it or pong. No you out grew it to some thing better.

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
    there is no santa clause either.

  5. I like fantasy tropes, so have little issue with class-based systems like OD&D and AD&D, but I also like borrowing ideas from skills-based systems.

    D&D's all about the fun. As long as we are still enjoying D&D, it will reamin alive.

    And I agree on the AD&D DMG. I hear lots of complaints about "high Gygaxian", I grew up reading that stuff, so it is pure gold to my tin ear.

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  7. every one else Yes D&D was great so was space invaders do you still play it or pong. No you out grew it to some thing better.

    Apples to oranges, friend. For the record, I still do prefer a lot of old NES games to the stuff on my Xbox 360... flashier graphics and more hardware do not necessarily make a video game better.

    I think that the idea you can "outgrow" D&D relies upon the fallacy that some rpgs are inherently better or more sophisticated than others. While some are certainly more complex than others, I don't think this translates into superiority. Pathfinder is nearly 600 pages, beautifully illustrated, and hard back. Would I ever play it? Heck no. I could easily get just as much fun out of the red and blue books or the Cyclopedia.

    You say D&D was great. I say it still is.

    ...and so is Space Invaders. I'll take that over Halo 3 any day of the week.

    Word verification: Zatottol. I have no idea what that is, but I'm totally stealing this for the name of something in my AD&D game.

  8. Apparently there are a couple of million players out there who would disagree with any assertion that D&D is dead...;)

  9. Almost 30 years after first discovering it, D&D still hasn't lost its magic for me. And with several children under the age of 14 in my gaming group, who love the game as intensely as I do - a new generation who will possibly have 30+ gaming years ahead of them too - sorry, but this seems to me to be a bloody silly question.